GOP Senators Release Latest Truly Stupid Section 230 Reform Bill; Would Remove 'Otherwise Objectionable'; Enable Spamming

from the this-is-not-the-reform-you're-looking-for dept

Honestly, you'd think that the Senate might have a few more important things to be working on right now than introducing what has to be the... what... 8th bill to try to rewrite Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act this year? Either way, three Senators on the Commerce Committee have released yet another truly ridiculous attempt at reforming Section 230. Senators Roger Wicker, Lindsey Graham, and Marsha Blackburn are the three clueless Senators behind the ridiculously named "Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act."

Before we dig deeper, I should remind you that Marsha Blackburn hates net neutrality with the passion of a thousand suns. Hell, she even put together this lovely video nearly a decade ago where she sings the praises of the open internet, and companies like "Facebook, YouTube, Twitter." And then she says: "There has never been a time that a consumer needed a federal bureaucrat to step in to intervene."

So, anyway, federal legislator Marsha Blackburn, along with Senators Wicker and Graham have decided to "intervene" in order to attack Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, because those companies are moderating their private property in a way that these Senators don't like. It seems that they want... a bit more... what's the word I'm thinking of? Oh, right, "neutrality" in how content moderation works.

Blackburn's press release quote is particularly hilarious after what she said about net neutrality:

...the contentious nature of current conversations provides perverse incentive for these companies to manipulate the online experience in favor of the loudest voices in the room. There exists no meaningful alternative to these powerful platforms, which means there will be no accountability for the devastating effects of this ingrained ideological bias until Congress steps in and brings liability protections into the modern era.

Oh really? Wicker's quote is just as dumb:

“For too long, social media platforms have hidden behind Section 230 protections to censor content that deviates from their beliefs,” said Wicker. “These practices should not receive special protections in our society where freedom of speech is at the core of our nation’s values. Our legislation would restore power to consumers by promoting full and fair discourse online.”

No, Senator, they've relied on the 1st Amendment to do that. You know, the thing you swore an oath to protect and defend? Even without Section 230, internet platforms would have every right to take down content. Indeed, they'd likely do so more often to avoid having to fight over it in court.

Meanwhile, Senator Graham's quote just emphasizes that this legislation is designed to violate the 1st Amendment:

“Social media companies are routinely censoring content that to many, should be considered valid political speech. This reform proposal addresses the concerns of those who feel like their political views are being unfairly suppressed.”

See, here's the thing about the 1st Amendment, Senator, it means that you don't get to decide what is and what is not "valid political speech." It also means you can't compel speech, meaning you cannot compel private companies to host speech they don't want.

So what does this silly and unconstitutional bill do? Not what it's backers think. The key part is that they want to limit the liability protections for moderation to a very specific list of things that the government deems okay to moderate. We'll get into why that's unconstitutional shortly, but it is. The first part is that it tries to reinvigorate Section (c)(2) (and then cut it down). If you don't recall, (c)(1) is the part that says a website can't be held liable for third party content. (c)(2) then says that a website can't be held liable for moderation choices. In practice (c)(2) is never used, because courts have determined that holding a website liable for moderation practices would also be making them liable for third party content. So (c)(2) rarely even gets brought up in court.

So this bill first rewrites (c)(1) to say that it "shall not apply to any decision or agreement made or action taken by a provider or user of an interactive computer service to restrict access to or availability of material by another information content provider." And then further says that any immunity for moderation can only be protected under (c)(2). Then, it totally neuters (c)(2). First, it changes the part that says a website or user can moderate if it "considers" the content "to be" a long list of things "or otherwise objectionable" and now says it has to have the "objectively reasonable belief" of those things -- but without the otherwise objectionable part. It would strike the term "otherwise objectionable" from (c)(2)(A) and replace it with: "promoting self-harm, promoting terrorism, or unlawful." That would then make it say that (new parts in bold):

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user has an objectively reasonable belief is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, promoting self-harm, promoting terrorism, or unlawful."

So... the end result is that moderation decisions would no longer be protected under (c)(1), and without the "otherwise objectionable" only a limited number of categories of content would get this protection under (c)(2). Note that "posting disinformation," for example, would no longer be covered. So, under this, Section 230 would no longer protect a website if it pulled down disinformation about, say, an election. Or COVID safety. Also it would seem to remove spam from 230 protections.

Of course, sites would almost certainly still be protected under the 1st Amendment, but it would be a hell of a lot more expensive for companies to defend against a slew of vexatious lawsuits regarding their moderation practices. This would be a full employment bill for tort lawyers (remember when Republicans used to whine about tort lawyers and their vexatious lawsuits?).

Finally, the bill would also change the definition regarding what constitutes an "information content provider." The law has always said that an ICP is anyone "that is responsible, in whole or in part, for the creation or development" of the content in question. Thus, in the Roommates.com case, Roommates was found to be the ICP for the content that potentially violated the Fair Housing Act, and therefore did not get 230 protections over that content (but did get 230 protections over actual 3rd party content).

In the new bill, it tries to redefine the "being responsible" bit to say that it "includes any instance in which a person or entity editorializes or substantively modifies the content of another person or entity."

You can think of this is the "make Twitter liable for fact checking Trump" clause. Of course, as I've argued in the past, the content of Twitter's fact check was never protected by 230 in the first place. Because it created that content. However, that content is 100% protected by the 1st Amendment. As would almost all content moderation decisions even under this bill.

So this bill would create a bunch of wasteful litigation and probably end up in the same basic place: platforms still able to moderate content, though they could face more expensive lawsuits about it all.

But it's also worth highlighting that the bill itself is obviously unconstitutional. By limiting the types of content that gets immunity protections, these three Senators have created a bill that is literally the opposite of content neutral. The Supreme Court has made it clear that you can't pass laws that are not content neutral. And this bill explicitly is not -- saying that only certain types of pre-approved content get legal protections (even if the content itself is legal), and others don't. That's a huge 1st Amendment no-no. In Ward v. Rock Against Racism, the Supreme Court said it pretty clearly:

Government regulation of expressive activity is content neutral so long as it is "justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech."

Yet here, the content is directly referenced, with a list of acceptable moderation reasons.

Either way the end result here is that (1) the bill is obviously unconstitutional, (2) it won't create more speech online, (3) won't stop Trump and his fans from getting fact checked, but (4) might lead to a bunch of wasteful litigation that will lose in the end, and (5) might destroy niche communities, and (6) encourage spam.

Those last two are kind of important. Because it would mean that niche communities might face vexatious lawsuits for moderating merely off-topic content. And it would mean that nearly all spam filtering is no longer protected by 230. Again, in the long run, they'd likely be protected under the 1st Amendment, but boy would there be wasteful litigation in the middle.

Anyway, I'm only moderately amused that this ridiculously unconstitutional piece of garbage, which focuses on the removal of the phrase "otherwise objectionable" happens to be released the day after we released "otherwise objectionable" merchandise. I guess get it while it still matters?

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Filed Under: cda 230, content moderation, intermediary liability, lindsey graham, marsha blackburn, moderation, otherwise objectionable, roger wicker, section 230


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 9:52am

    The 'Stop Moderating Assholes' bill, take 8

    No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user has an objectively reasonable belief is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, promoting self-harm, promoting terrorism, or unlawful."

    Under that change one could easily argue that content that promotes one race/gender/sexuality as inherently superior to others would be out of bounds for moderation, along with blatant lies, delightful positions as holocaust denial or arguing that Hitler was an amazing guy and had some great ideas...

    By trying to force sites to only be able to moderate specific things one can fairly easily infer what they want protected, and to say it's damning both of their person and their positions is a monumental understatement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 10:17am

      A proper example:

      Under that proposed change, religious anti-LGBT propaganda could potentially be out of bounds for moderation so long as it wasn’t aimed directly at an LGBT person on the service. That means someone could post something that openly advocates for the torture that is “conversion ‘therapy’ ” and could avoid getting dinged for that post so long as they don’t tag a queer person in the post.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 1:25am

      Re: The 'Stop Moderating Assholes' bill, take 8

      "Under that change one could easily argue that content that promotes one race/gender/sexuality as inherently superior to others would be out of bounds for moderation, along with blatant lies, delightful positions as holocaust denial or arguing that Hitler was an amazing guy and had some great ideas..."

      In other words it would work as intended by the people pushing for this amendment.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 8:41am

        Re: Re: The 'Stop Moderating Assholes' bill, take 8

        Pure coincidence I'm sure...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Sep 2020 @ 12:33am

          Re: Re: Re: The 'Stop Moderating Assholes' bill, take 8

          Of course. Nothing to do with the fact that the alt-right fuckwits of the KKK and other white supremacy groups are long tired of being shown the door from any civilized establishment and want the law changed so no one can opt to throw the unpleasant dickhead with a bullhorn out from their own property.

          I keep saying it, the way the Very Fine People want the law changed, if it were applied to the real world, would prevent Bar owners from banning unruly patrons and homeowners from telling people to get out.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 11 Sep 2020 @ 8:16am

            'Imma 'murican, you can't throw me out!'

            I keep saying it, the way the Very Fine People want the law changed, if it were applied to the real world, would prevent Bar owners from banning unruly patrons and homeowners from telling people to get out.

            Given the overlap between the Very Fine People online and offline I imagine that would be seen as a feature, not a bug.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Sep 2020 @ 12:53am

              Re: 'Imma 'murican, you can't throw me out!'

              "Given the overlap between the Very Fine People online and offline I imagine that would be seen as a feature, not a bug."

              Of course it would. The tiki torch-toting mob would just love it if they could run inconvenient non-racist business owners out of business just by sitting around screaming at the customers while the cops were shrugging their shoulders saying "Nothin' we can do. They're within their rights. You shoulda thought twice before opening a bar or store in a city with a KKK chapter".

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 4:12pm

      Re: The 'Stop Moderating Assholes' bill, take 8

      I like the nickname, but do you mean “stop assholes who moderate” or “stop people from moderating those who are assholes”?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 7:17pm

        Re: Re: The 'Stop Moderating Assholes' bill, take 8

        More the latter than the former given the goal of the bill is to prevent platforms from moderating/booting the assholes infesting said platforms, but I can see where the wording might be confusing.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 9:58am

    Politicians please note that not being able to use the big social media sites doe not prevent online speech; see Parler, Gab etc. Also, will you allow forums, FaceBook goups etc. to remove off topic posts, or will you insist that they allow political speech, and so ensure the destruction forums and groups that want to avoid politics?.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 9:59am

    Typical Orwellian bullshit name for a bill that attacks one of the main pillars protecting online freedom and viewpoint diversity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Freemon, 9 Sep 2020 @ 8:31pm

      Re:

      You think that the sort of censorship that youtube / twitter et al is protecting "freedom". God you are stupid. Left gets a free pass. Right can not even say "learn to code" to journalists.

      If you edit the content of your website by censoring then you are an EDITOR and you lose section 230 protection.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 10:30pm

        Re: Re:

        The catastropic head trauma you had to have experienced to make that ass-backwards stupid of a comment must really have been painful.

        Not a single claim in your steaming pile of hallucinated drivel has even the most tenuous tether to how things work here in the real world.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 10:57pm

        Even if that were 100% true — and it’s not — those “editors” still have First Amendment protections. Twitter admins can “editorialize” Trump’s tweets all they want and the government can’t legally do a damn thing about it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 5:36am

          Re:

          Say, Mr. Stone, didn't you write a couple of Techdirt posts differentiating between Moderation, Censorship, and Discretion?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Sep 2020 @ 12:34am

            Re: Re:

            He did. Very good reading, I thought.

            Too bad it went right over the head over the people currently heavily invested in the concept that there's no difference between the three.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:04pm

        Re: Re:

        "You think that the sort of censorship that youtube / twitter et al is protecting "freedom"."

        No, he's saying that they are using their own freedom of speech and freedom of association to ban your stupid ass if you act stupidly, and you don't have the right to remove their freedoms just because you don't like that - and that calling the removal of their freedoms some kind of protection of freedom is some Orwellian bullshit.

        "If you edit the content of your website by censoring then you are an EDITOR and you lose section 230 protection."

        Lol, good luck with that. I can name numerous right-wing cesspools that censor all the time, and I'm happy that you're calling for them to be shut down, although I disagree with your methods.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 10:00am

    This is like the 50th 230 bill this year, Too many to count

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 10:13am

    Ah, another entry for my personal lexicon.

    viewpoint diversity noun — The proposition that ideas already rejected in the marketplace of ideas must be forced upon that same marketplace to uphold an absolutist notion of “neutrality”.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 10:21am

      'We support a free market so long as it supports us.'

      'We support a free market!'

      'The free market has determined that it doesn't want you around because your arguments are just as horrible as you are.'

      'The free market can hang, platforms must be forced to host us so that we always have a guaranteed audience!'

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 10:29am

    For left wingers anything that contradicts their propaganda is spam and trolling.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 10:32am

      You can say the same about Parler and Gab, given the lengths they go to for the sake of making their services friendly for conservatives, right-wingers, and the trashbag of used condoms that is the alt-right.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 9 Sep 2020 @ 10:55am

      Re:

      I got my popcorn. Can I have some more projection, please?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 10:56am

      Re:

      The ISS called, they were wondering if you could tone down the projection as apparently it's causing uncomfortable levels of glare on the windows up there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 1:49am

        Re: Re:

        By now the right-wing projection is probably bright enough to be seen in neighbouring star systems a few years down the road. If first contact with an alien race is hostile I won't blame them, if the first thing they saw from us was the ranting of a Stormfront troll.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:08am

      Re:

      That is often true because most of the shit coming from the most vocal right wingers is actually spam and trolling.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:07pm

      Re:

      "For left wingers anything that contradicts their propaganda is spam and trolling."

      You spelt "right wingers" wrong, but I'll bet you don't mind the cesnorship when Stormfront and Breitbart are doing it..

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 1:46am

      Re:

      "For left wingers anything that contradicts their propaganda is spam and trolling."

      As that "propaganda" often includes observable reality that statement tells us more about you and the "right wing" than it does about "left-wingers".

      Tell me more about how drinking bleach might cure covid or that the pandemic itself is a "democrat hoax", eh?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 10:47am

    Misinformation

    Just who will define misinformation? If them, then anything that denies their viewpoint, or calls bullshit on lies they tell will be misinformation. If an objective reasonable person, then their lies and bullshit (a.k.a. actual misinformation) will be called out, like it is now.

    The problem being that if any of these § 230 (ahem) reforms passes (which are all likely unconstitutional) it will take years for it to pass through the courts to be found so, and then it is a serious question that it will be found so. I bet they will start with anyone who complains will have a lack of standing.

    In the meantime, think about the damage that will have been done. It is highly possible that they know this and the actual plan is in that damage they could do to cement themselves into positions that will be difficult to be undone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Koby (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 10:55am

    Commercial Spam

    Currently, if someone gets ripped off when attempting to purchase illicit drugs, they usually don't file a police report. Similarly, I don't expect many commercial spammers to file a lawsuit claiming that their solicitations for bogus products were being removed by moderators. The commercial spammers can't afford to come out of hiding. Removal of 230 protection against spam won't increase the levels of spam seen currently, nor does it provide them an avenue for legitimacy in court. No cause for concern.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:00am

      Removal of 230 protection against spam won't increase the levels of spam seen currently

      Can you guarantee, with the absolute certainty of God Herself, that your statement will hold up if lawmakers get rid of 230 protections for moderating spam?

      No cause for concern.

      If this were only about spam? Maybe, and that’s still a big maybe. But you know this isn’t only about spam, so stop pretending that it is. You’re not as good a bullshitter as you think you are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:13am

        Re:

        Can you guarantee, with the absolute certainty of God Herself, that your statement will hold up if lawmakers get rid of 230 protections for moderating spam?

        '... obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, promoting self-harm, promoting terrorism, or unlawful."

        Barring spam for porn sites with explicit images none of the 'you are cleared to moderate this' categories would seem to apply to spam, so no, spam would not be covered and as such any site that took it down would risk legal action, and even if they knew they would win thanks to the first amendment that 'conservatives' seem to hate so much it would still be costly, which would lead them to be less likely to do so.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rocky, 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:19am

      Re: Commercial Spam

      Removal of 230 protection against spam won't increase the levels of spam seen currently

      This statement belongs together with some other famously wrong statements:

      "Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."
      -Darryl Zanuck, producer for 20th Century Fox, 1946.

      "We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out."
      -Decca Recording Company, after rejecting Beatles in 1962.

      "No, it will make war impossible."
      -Hiram Maxim, inventor of the machine gun

      "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home."
      -Ken Olson, 1977

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:23am

        See also:

        “The VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston Strangler is to the woman alone.”
        Jack Valenti, then-president of the Motion Picture Association of America, 1982

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        LOL, 10 Sep 2020 @ 7:34am

        Re: Re: Commercial Spam

        The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:26am

      Re: Commercial Spam

      The problem with your reasoning is picking out the spam, that if blocked, will result in a law suite.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 4:12pm

      Re: Commercial Spam

      Huh - commercial spamming is like use of illicit drugs

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:09pm

      Re: Commercial Spam

      So, your take on this is that it's OK to enable crime and abuse because you don't think criminals will use the loopholes?

      You always have a special way of thinking, Koby.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ann Brush (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:12am

    Sign me out

    The toxic mess that has followed social media. Why people participate in this garbage is beyond me. Engaging on FB, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok etc has become a super unpleasant activity and really diminishes the perceived benefits. It’s the modern equivalent of hate and propaganda leaflets dropped from the air in WWII except now your friends are sending them to you, and you are judged by the ones that land at your door.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:16am

      And this has relevance to discussions on protecting or dismantling 230…how, exactly?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ann Brush (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:32am

        Re:

        STS you are a smarter individual than that.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:39am

          Unwarranted and inaccurate flattery doesn’t answer my question.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 5:56pm

            Re:

            Here, let's check her comment history... yup, signed up recently, posts mostly conspiracy theory junk, calls Mbps "Millions of Brave People Succumbing" in her first post... If I didn't know any better I'd say the nod to Stephen suggests that she's a Hamilton attempt.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 12:10am

              I didn’t even notice that. I just figured that they tried to flatter me so I would think twice about replying to their actual point. (They failed because I’m far too self-depricating to fall for that trick.)

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 1:48am

              Re: Re:

              "calls Mbps "Millions of Brave People Succumbing" in her first post"

              How pathetic do you have to be to try turning a basic descriptive technical term into some kind of political conspiracy? Even as a troll, that's wallowing in the depths of stupidity.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 1:59am

                Re: Re: Re:

                "How pathetic do you have to be to try turning a basic descriptive technical term into some kind of political conspiracy?"

                And in that same comment she uses "Mbps" to determine deaths caused by 5G "waves".

                So a technologically illiterate conspiracy nut who believes her own at-home router gives her cancer - because she's too dumb to realize that 5G is essentially just an attempt to provide smartphones with the same OTA connection as the average wifi router.

                Plenty you can say about 5G - that it's dumb, far past the point of diminishing returns when it comes to data transfer contra range, and that we'd be better off pouring money into expanding the existing 4G network instead...
                ...but the part where 5G turns into a friggin' death ray experiment is something you wouldn't even find in bad superhero comics these days.

                I shouldn't even bring the part up where the person complaining about the toxicity and undesirable qualities of social media tries to make that point...on social media.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 2:46am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "And in that same comment she uses "Mbps" to determine deaths caused by 5G "waves"."

                  I believe I was sufficiently warned not to bother investigating the comment first hand, lest the stupidity affect my ability to finish the rest of my work week. But, I hope someone told her that whichever connection she was using, chances are it's also measured in Mbps. By her own standards, she's killing millions of people just to post her drivel!

                  "I shouldn't even bring the part up where the person complaining about the toxicity and undesirable qualities of social media tries to make that point...on social media."

                  Yeah, this happens all the time. I always laugh when I see someone using an open sourced browser to use open protocols to access a site using open sourced web server and database software to whine that open source is evil / will never beat proprietary software.

                  But, I'll hazard a guess as to that being the very place they unironically got their misinformation from in the first place. If moderation is a problem, it's because these people are not moderated before dangerous stupidity is able to fester. People have already been attacked and has property burned because of this stupidity, I won't be surprised is someone actually gets hurt or killed. Whether it's do do with pizza, furniture or school shootings, these people have a worrying tendency to get violent when the rest of the world rightfully laughs at their idiocy.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Sep 2020 @ 12:41am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "Whether it's do do with pizza, furniture or school shootings, these people have a worrying tendency to get violent when the rest of the world rightfully laughs at their idiocy."

                    True dat.

                    The trusty old Hanlon Mk 1 Razor isn't reliable at all any longer without Grays Law to prop it up.

                    To paraphrase Popehat once again with a twist, If you do evil shit and claim you didn't know any better the shit you've done is still evil.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:23pm

          Re: Re:

          "STS you are a smarter individual than that."

          No, he's got a point - how will removing section 230 stop your friends from being shitty people?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:16am

      ... okay?

      If you're not a fan of social media(I'm not either) then there's nothing forcing you to use it, but politicians putting forth unconstitutional bills should still be of concern to you because if they're willing to do so once(or eight times, as the case may be) then odds are good they'd be willing to do so again, and the other targets they go after may be something you do care about and are involved in.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:50am

      Re: Sign me out

      Your opinion on social media says more about you and the people you follow than it does about social media. Most people manage to avoid the toxic trolls most of the time, and use social media to stay in touch with friends family, and people with shared interests.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:22pm

      Re: Sign me out

      "Engaging on FB, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok etc has become a super unpleasant activity"

      Not for me, maybe you need to choose better people to be friends with? The last unpleasant exchanges I personally had on Facebook involved two sets of friends who had to cancel their weddings this month due to COVID restrictions, but you can hardly blame Facebook for them being the best medium to communicate the bad news.

      "It’s the modern equivalent of hate and propaganda leaflets dropped from the air in WWII"

      If you choose not to visit the site... how?

      "you are judged by the ones that land at your door"

      No, you're judged by the ones you send and share. So, either stop using social media, or stop sharing misleading propaganda on there?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ann Brush (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:42am

    In my opinion S230 and the attempts at meddling therewith are all symptoms of the broken social media landscape. If SM wasn’t so toxic we wouldn’t have need for most of this. I’m just making that observation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:49am

      Let’s say I agree with you. So what? Your opinion of social media doesn’t make 230 an awful idea, nor does it have any relevance to any of the arguments about whether 230 is good.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rocky, 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:50am

      Re:

      My observation is that it's not the social media that's toxic - it's a vocal subsection of users on said social media that are toxic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 1:30pm

      Re:

      230 existed long before "social media".

      SM isn't toxic, humans are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 2:01am

      Re:

      So, when people go around saying bad stuff - i.e. being people - you blame the existence of speech?

      I suggest you bring your argument back to the drawing board. It's making very little sense.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2020 @ 2:48am

      Re:

      "If SM wasn’t so toxic we wouldn’t have need for most of this."

      Yes, and what makes it toxic is toxic people. There's plenty of social media that is not toxic, the problem is when toxic people are allowed to be such without moderation. If you're calling for section 230 to be removed, you're calling for the removal of that moderation, thus you are calling for it to get worse.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2020 @ 2:03am

      Re:

      I disagree. The meddling attempts are symptoms of social resitance to the inherent messiness of human freedom. Humans were always "toxic". Now we think that mess needs to be reined in because we see the darker side shoved in our faces more, have lost our culture of privacy, are surveilled constantly, and are denied adequate tools to determine our online experiences for ourselves. The frightening thing isn't the toxicity, it's the shift toward treating the internet like a carefully curated TV channel instead of a bunch of phone conversations.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 11:52am

    Irony

    It strikes me as extremely odd that ultra-right folk consider themselves to be the purported victims of censorship. Whoever is allegedly censoring all that stuff is doing an awful job of it, because I have never seen such a teeming pool of ultra-right and hate material in all my life as I see nowadays.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 12:38pm

      Re: Irony

      Indeed, if the tech companies really do have it out for them said companies are doing a terrible job at silencing them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 4:18pm

        Re: Re: Irony

        I thought what they really wanted was an exclusively conservative immutable bullhorn that everyone is forced to listen to.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 6:06pm

          Re: Re: Re: Irony

          That and people being prohibited from calling them out on their bullshit does seem to be the goal, yes.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 8:30pm

          Re: Re: Re: Irony

          Not for lack of trying.

          Parler was supposed to be that bullhorn,where they could pat each other on the back and be mean to democrats and libs. Until they realized, "Wait, democrats and libs are coming on here to be mean to us. We don't want that." So they put in checks and systems to make sure the democrats and libs couldn't come in.

          Of course, all that did was make them realize "Wait, now there aren't any democrats and libs here for us to make fun of." And that's on top of all the conservatives who fucked off after realizing they had to surrender personal information to the platform, who they trusted to screw over the libs but not enough to give all their info to... for reasons.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2020 @ 1:55am

      Re: Irony

      Fascists always accuse others of their own crimes. I notice it constantly with Trump. This is just another example. Social media platforms are pretty biased in their favor. Before I threw in the towel I got repeatedly banned for obvious jokes and harmless political discourse, while righties advocated for the deaths of their enemies. Leftists get banned for being mildly subversive, but rightists get banned only if they slip and use one of a small set of slurs. Now Facebook has escalated and is even openly banning mainline and peacenik anarchists and antifascists, under the pretense of fighting "violence".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 15 Sep 2020 @ 10:36pm

        Re: Re: Irony

        "Fascists always accuse others of their own crimes."

        This is the one thing that concerns me about QAnon idiocy. Sure, run of the mill people falling for such a hilarious fiction are just stupid, but I worry about the possibility that someone is using it to deflect from something they are actually doing themselves.

        "Leftists get banned for being mildly subversive, but rightists get banned only if they slip and use one of a small set of slurs."

        Which is of course hilarious, because right-wingers claim that it's the other way around.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 1:23pm

    "Our voices, unaccountably, are not the loudest in all the things at just this exact moment. Waaaaaaa."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 9 Sep 2020 @ 1:31pm

    GOP says to itself: "Hmm, what can we do to help rich fuckers like us get richer, preferably at the expense of everyone else [esp. Democrats]?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2020 @ 1:35pm

    ...and now says it has to have the "objectively reasonable belief" of those things...

    Geez, if only cops had it so hard every time they chose to randomly murder someone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 2:35pm

    'Hey, society as a whole hates the message we're preaching, maybe we should do something about it.' 'So we're going to cut out the xenophobia, racism, misogyny, homophobia and billionaire bootlicking?' 'Oh heck no, that's 99% of the party platform! We'll just change the laws to make it easier for right wing spambots and make it illegal for anyone to tell a conservative to shut up. That'll show those snowflakes.'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 6:09pm

    Do tell.,

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 9 Sep 2020 @ 6:10pm

      Re: Do tell.,

      Lets see, how does spam work.

      Can we pass around links to Any Chat, FB, YT, Games these folks use?
      I think we can SHOW/EXPLAIN what spam is, very easily.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2020 @ 1:46am

    One of the more bizarre aspects of the deep stupidity of this bill is the notion that something can be objectively obscene. What? Why can't rightwingers accept their weird hangups/taboos are entirely subjective? Obscenity is just idiotic as a legal concept. And "filthy"? That is possibly even more loaded and ridiculous. Are they banning videos about mud? "Lewd" and "lascivicious" are weird too. What a weird fucking society.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 15 Sep 2020 @ 10:33pm

      Re:

      "Why can't rightwingers accept their weird hangups/taboos are entirely subjective?"

      I'd guess that religion has a role. Some people get told constantly what to think on certain subjects, and believe that that's fine so long as it's their guy doing it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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