Zuckerberg And Facebook Throw The Open Internet Under The Bus; Support Section 230 Reform

from the because-of-course dept

This shouldn't be much of a surprise, unfortunately, but it appears that once again Facebook is the first to crack under political pressure, and has decided to sell out the open internet and free speech online. In testimony Mark Zuckerberg is planning to give tomorrow to the Senate Commerce Committee, he's going to say a few nice things about Section 230, immediately followed by him saying the company now supports reforming the law. The praise for Section 230 is accurate, but it doesn't much matter when he takes it back immediately:

However, the debate about Section 230 shows that people of all political persuasions are unhappy with the status quo. People want to know that companies are taking responsibility for combatting harmful content—especially illegal activity—on their platforms. They want to know that when platforms remove content, they are doing so fairly and transparently. And they want to make sure that platforms are held accountable.

This ignores that people are unhappy for contradictory reasons. Some are unhappy because sites are taking down propaganda and disinformation. Others are upset that they're not taking down propaganda and disinformation (or not taking it down fast enough). NOTHING will satisfy everyone. Pretending that there's some magical reform that will work is crazy talk.

But here's the real problem. Whatever nuance there is to be discussed here, whatever recognition of the problems this will cause, the following paragraph will be seen as declaring open season on Section 230 because "even Facebook supports changing the law."

Section 230 made it possible for every major internet service to be built and ensured important values like free expression and openness were part of how platforms operate. Changing it is a significant decision. However, I believe Congress should update the law to make sure it’s working as intended. We support the ideas around transparency and industry collaboration that are being discussed in some of the current bipartisan proposals, and I look forward to a meaningful dialogue about how we might update the law to deal with the problems we face today.

This is nonsense. It is working as intended. It's allowing companies to make their own decisions, and to experiment with different moderation regimes. That many people are unhappy with those choices is the very nature of content moderation. It's not like Congress is going to step in and create rules that work any better. It will only create rules that work worse.

At Facebook, we don’t think tech companies should be making so many decisions about these important issues alone. I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators, which is why in March last year I called for regulation on harmful content, privacy, elections, and data portability. We stand ready to work with Congress on what regulation could look like in these areas. By updating the rules for the internet, we can preserve what’s best about it—the freedom for people to express themselves and for entrepreneurs to build new things—while also protecting society from broader harms. I would encourage this Committee and other stakeholders to make sure that any changes do not have unintended consequences that stifle expression or impede innovation.

And, yes, he's repeating what he's said before, knowing full fucking well that any regulations that Congress puts in place will simply serve to lock in Facebook's position. Facebook can handle the compliance costs. The upstart companies that might disrupt Facebook will have a much harder time.

Make no mistake about it: this is Mark Zuckerberg pulling up the innovation ladder he climbed behind him.

This probably isn't a huge surprise. Facebook's vocal support for FOSTA -- the law that amended Section 230 and put lives at risk -- was only a first step. I was told, point blank, by a Facebook lobbyist that the company needed to support that "minor" change to Section 230 or Congress would have passed something even worse. And here we are, with Congress seeing Facebook's initial caving not as a way to be satiated, but rather as the go-ahead to continue dismantling the framework of an open internet.

And, once again, here's Facebook, happily willing to go along with it.

Facebook is throwing the open internet under the bus -- in part gleefully, as so-called "critics" of Facebook stupidly demanded "reforms to Section 230" incorrectly believing that 230 was a "special subsidy" for Facebook. Facebook doesn't need it any more, but all of the people who called for such reforms are now going to help cement Facebook's position of dominance.

Unfortunately, this is likely to be the focus of tomorrow's hearing, with Senators taking this as permission to destroy the open internet. It is likely that they will ignore fellow panelist Jack Dorsey giving the opposing message that Section 230 is necessary to enable new competitors and free speech on an open internet:

As we consider developing new legislative frameworks, or committing to self-regulation models for content moderation, we should remember that Section 230 has enabled new companies—small ones seeded with an idea—to build and compete with established companies globally. Eroding the foundation of Section 230 could collapse how we communicate on the Internet, leaving only a small number of giant and well-funded technology companies.

We should also be mindful that undermining Section 230 will result in far more removal of online speech and impose severe limitations on our collective ability to address harmful content and protect people online. I do not think anyone in this room or the American people want less free speech or more abuse and harassment online. Instead, what I hear from people is that they want to be able to trust the services they are using.

That's the right message and an accurate one. And it will be stomped on by the message from Zuckerberg agreeing to throw the open internet under a speeding bus.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: free speech, jack dorsey, mark zuckerberg, open internet, section 230
Companies: facebook, twitter


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    pointingthefinger, 27 Oct 2020 @ 2:34pm

    pfft

    they just want to be able to point the finger somewhere else and cry - they made me do it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2020 @ 2:38pm

      Re: pfft

      Story of america

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 1:31pm

        Re: Re: pfft

        If only it was that new. It seems the most intoxicating notion has long been "it's not my fault!". The devil made me do it/it was predestined!

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Oct 2020 @ 1:12am

          Re: Re: Re: pfft

          Not by far. The most intoxicating notion is; "This is bad and we HAVE to do something!"

          And then the side effects, often more harmful by far, are ignored.

          Young people having sex? Teach the children to view everything about their bodies as shameful and sinful. In too many places to the point where mutilation is performed on said children.

          Law and order perceived as lacking? Give law enforcement free reign to, in practice, murder people in the streets.

          Kids downloading copies of media? Introduce mass surveillance of everyone or try to abolish free speech.

          People saying bad things in public? Shut everyone up!

          ...and if you're in a doom cult; "Since this world is full of sin and evil it's better to get everyone to the next one as soon as possible".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2020 @ 2:36pm

    Question: would amending or repealing 230 violate the constitution itself? Seeing as offline or online such things seem to be open to control of speech through government entity?

    Not that conservatives or liberals have ever had such a problem with that...

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 2:52pm

      Re:

      It would depend on how it was done.

      If they just tried to strip it away entirely then no, but then sites would just fall back on the first amendment and continue to moderate as they desired, likely being far more restrictive in the process.

      If they tried to condition 230 protections against liability based upon anything speech related, like what content a site is and is not allowed to moderate then yes, that would be a pretty blatant first amendment violation.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Jack Headstrong (BNR), 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:25pm

        Re: Re:

        If they just tried to strip it away entirely then no, but then sites would just fall back on the first amendment and continue to moderate as they desired, likely being far more restrictive in the process.

        That's simplyt not true. You've been reading only Maz.

        Businesses don't have unlimited First Amendment rights, and most certainly not to use it as basis to control the speech of others.

        Businesses are required to serve The Public as condition of existence. You clearly don't grasp (or agree with) the "lunch counter principles". Businesses need a good cause to refuse service, not just turn people away arbitrarily.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:34pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          On the other hand, what gives you the right to tell a business what speech they can and cannot carry?

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

        • icon
          Chris-Mouse (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 4:54pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          As a person, you have the right to hop up on your soapbox and start talking about anything you please. The first amendment prevents the government from punishing you if they don’t like what you say. Nowhere, in the constitution, or in any other law, is there any requirement for twitter to provide you with that soapbox. If you use Twitter’s soapbox, Twitter still can’t punish you, but they can refuse to let you use their soapbox.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2020 @ 5:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          “Not simply just Turn people away”

          You mean like they do everyday? Lol

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

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 5:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Businesses don't have unlimited First Amendment rights, and most certainly not to use it as basis to control the speech of others.

          No one has "unlimited" 1st Amendment rights, but if you do not believe that companies do not have the ability to block speech on their own premises, you're dumber than you already appear to be.

          Businesses are required to serve The Public as condition of existence.

          Lol.

          You have a huge problem with understanding the differences between "what the law actually is" and "the batshit ridiculous, nonsensical, unworkable way I want the law to be."

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 5:29pm

            Mike, please, go easy on ol’ Brainy Smurf there. He believes in the following three ideas simultaneously:

            1. Corporations have no legal rights or government-conferred authority in any way.

            2. Corporations can exercise control over copyrights they own.

            3. Corporations exercising control over copyrights they own is not and cannot be, under any circumstances whatsoever, a form of censorship.

            His brain is still trying to figure out how to hold all three ideas as true and not explode.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 1:06am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Businesses are required to serve The Public as condition of existence."

          In Soviet Russia, Modern China, and any other nation which considers itself to be in an interim state between full socialism and full communism, yes. Nowhere else. It's perhaps the most pathetic thing about the alt-right these days - that they have gone full-on commie, quoting the bloody Communist Manifesto as soon as it comes to what business "needs" to do to "justify" existence.

          "Businesses need a good cause to refuse service, not just turn people away arbitrarily."

          No they don't. They need a policy which applies equally to every customer. That policy may not be rooted in racism or bigotry, but that's it. If that policy is "don't disturb the staff or the clientele" then that's fully legitimate.

          A well done rant, Baghdad Bob - a full-on communist rallying cry about what businesses must do to be suffered to exist, paired with a statement which denies the existence of every restaurant, retail store and bar through history.

          I can imagine that you get tossed out of such establishments quite often given how you behave, but I can only refer to you that old line that if everyone you meet treats you like you are an asshole then maybe that's a call for self-reflection.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 1:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "No they don't. They need a policy which applies equally to every customer."

            They don't even need that. They can have a policy that says "no shoes no shirt no service" but then kick you out for not wearing shoes while letting a friend of theirs prop their dirty bare feet on the chair next to them. Legally, there's nothing you can do about that, unless you can prove that your skin colour might have been the real reason behind being told to get out. The choices then are to choose another establishment or put some shoes on, not to demand that the government force everywhere to lose their right to have dress codes.

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

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 8:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "They can have a policy that says "no shoes no shirt no service" but then kick you out for not wearing shoes while letting a friend of theirs prop their dirty bare feet on the chair next to them."

              Well, yeah, but that's nuance. I appreciate the correction, but when Baghdad Bob's original position is that a business needs to justify its existence to the public I don't think the details matter much. That "person" - and given his posting history I'm still not fully convinced he's anything more than a badly programmed iteration of Googlebot - would take a dump on top of the table and scream about how Masnick and Google were silencing him while the cops dragged him out.

              "...not to demand that the government force everywhere to lose their right to have dress codes."

              I don't know what to tell you. Apparently not being an raging sociopathic asshole is harder for Baghdad Bob to manage than trying to force the government to make "respecting malicious morons" a point of law.

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

        • icon
          Trails (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 6:16am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Maz

          Goddamit, Cartman, stop trying to make "Maz" happen.

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

      • icon
        Koby (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:32pm

        Re: Re:

        If they just tried to strip it away entirely then no, but then sites would just fall back on the first amendment and continue to moderate as they desired, likely being far more restrictive in the process.

        Another possibility would be exemplified by Cubby v CompuServe, where they were much more permissive. In this case, which happened before 230 even existed, CompuServe was determined to be a distributor and not a publisher of 3rd party content. CompuServe wasn't monitoring its message boards, and therefore had no reason to know about the problem. So the case was thrown out in the summary judgement phase.

        If Section 230 is eliminated, it could open up new models whereby the the website stays neutral and does not monitor its own site, and therefore maintains a neutral point of view. As mentioned above, any changes would make some people grumpy, including this one. However, it would pave the way for a new generation of 3rd party content distributors, perhaps with new features such user-based content moderation. This could provide a way to break through the current social media monopolies.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:36pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          A content neutral site becomes a haven for trolls an those exercising the hecklers veto.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:38pm

          How about 'No' Scott?

          If Section 230 is eliminated, it could open up new models whereby the the website stays neutral and does not monitor its own site, and therefore maintains a neutral point of view.

          And immediately turns into a cesspit, driving a majority of users away as trolls and similar losers fill it with bigotry, hatred, wild-ass conspiracy theories and disgusting but perfectly legal content.

          You want a platform like Parler and/or Gab you can already go to them, stop trying to force the more civilized platform to host your garbage and bile.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 3:39am

            Re: How about 'No' Scott?

            I could see such sites being a haven for piracy since sites would not be able to police their sites, to stay neutral

            This could also cause problems with the EU pirace directive

            Of course, US sites would only have to follow US law as long as none of their servers are in Europe.

            So good luck to the EU in enforcing their directives here

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 5:06pm

          If Section 230 is eliminated, it could open up new models whereby the the website stays neutral and does not monitor its own site, and therefore maintains a neutral point of view.

          The admins of the site may retain a neutral point of view in such a case. The site itself? Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck no, it won’t. Hell, look at 4chan — that site barely moderates anything aside from CSAM, furry porn, and (maybe) spam, but the POV of that site is easy to grasp from ten minutes surfing literally any board. You’re a fool if you believe any site left unmoderated won’t develop a point of view driven by the userbase that remains after all the “normies” leave the shitheels to their own devices.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 8:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          This could provide a way to break through the current social media monopolies.

          You mean like Parler, Koby?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 12:48am

        Re: Re:

        That watch all the towns in Silicon Valley become ghost towns as companies leave the United States to avoid liability in the USA.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 1:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That's more or less the expected outcome. What the people pushing for 230 reform keep failing to get is that if they get all they want the only thing which happens is that all the Big Tech takes their toys and jobs and move out of the US.

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

          • icon
            Ehud Gavron (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 1:22am

            "Companies moving out" ... "Avoid liability in the USA"

            It's good to have fantasies.

            Nobody's moving out. This is part of a process that started years ago and continues today. Nobody's left the US of the big content/UGC hosters.

            Nobody avoids liability in the USA by "moving out" [whatever that means]. Just ask Kim Schmitz. [aka Kim DotCom]

            Just because you wish something to be true and say it... won't create a self-fulfilling prophecy. It will just make you appear to say "COVID is cured" or "We've turned the corner" or something equally self-serving... and wrong.

            If you wanna argue the point, name a large well-known UGC hosting firm that has left the country. In the alternative name a company that has "avoided" being subject to US law after leaving the country.

            The rest is left as an exercise to those who assert but have no proof.

            Ehud

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 1:36am

              Re: "Companies moving out" ... "Avoid liability in the USA"

              "Nobody's moving out. This is part of a process that started years ago and continues today."

              The process that started years ago was a bunch of massive companies being created and thriving as a direct result of section 230 stating that they face no direct legal liability for the actions of their users, nor face legal issues if they moderate their own platforms. Weakening or destroying these protections will obviously change the status quo.

              "Nobody avoids liability in the USA by "moving out" [whatever that means]. Just ask Kim Schmitz. [aka Kim DotCom]"

              Nobody has to service the US market, either. If you change the law so that companies cannot operate globally from there, they may just bail and service the other 96% of the world's population instead. Or, just split the companies so that the US uses the crippled version but the rest of the world accesses it as it is now. The protection granted by section 230 is already in place in other countries without having to manually create it, so we'll be fine as long as we geofence the US away from our platforms.

              "If you wanna argue the point, name a large well-known UGC hosting firm that has left the country"

              So, as evidence of a possible negative reaction to a law that hasn't been changed yet, you want examples of companies that have left due to that change that hasn't been made? Huh...

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

              • icon
                Ehud Gavron (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 2:03am

                Re: Re: "Companies moving out" ... "Avoid liability in the USA"

                I see you can't follow the simple rule of he who asserts must prove. Can't let it go, can you, kid?

                Sorry, your answer is wrong on so many levels all I can say if you'd bothered to answer my challenge, I'd explain to you where your answer is wrong.

                Section 230 protections in other countries. Oh PUhleeaaze. The EU I'm sure. Idiot.

                E

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

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 2:28am

                  Re: Re: Re: "Companies moving out" ... "Avoid liability in the U

                  "I see you can't follow the simple rule of he who asserts must prove."

                  No, I understand the way that time works, and nobody can demonstrate evidence of something that hasn't happened yet, they can only offer their opinions as to what might happen.

                  I'm sorry that your argument apparently depends on time travel to answer, but it's a handy way of avoiding the need to back up your own claims.

                  "Section 230 protections in other countries"

                  Yes, other countries aren't sue-happy morons who demand that people who didn't do something be held accountable because they have deeper pockets than the ones they did, so this clarification hasn't been necessary in most places. Only in the US would this even be in question.

                  Same with net neutrality - it's a non issue in most places because it's naturally protected by the existing legal framework without clarification.

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

                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 8:42am

                  Re: Re: Re: "Companies moving out" ... "Avoid liability in the U

                  "Section 230 protections in other countries. Oh PUhleeaaze. The EU I'm sure. Idiot."

                  I haven't been forced to assume that you were a moron, Ehud. Until now.

                  The US is bloody unique in its reliance on tort as the answer to everything. In the EU tort is on the contrary expensive and inconvenient, not to mention that it tends to demand a far higher burden of proof to fly and the liabilities are far lower.

                  Section 230 is only really required in the US because of civil litigation to begin with. Meanwhile messenger immunity, mere conduit, and neutral platform are more often than not safely ensconced in basic EU telecom legislation. There is no section 230 protection in the EU because the threat 230 defends against doesn't exist under EU tort law.

                  Companies which expanded their platforms in the US under a legal paradigm which allowed immunity from being targeted by any of a thousand hungry lawyers eager to troll for money are NOT going to retain their business in a legal landscape where the cost of running those social platforms suddenly goes from being minor to major.

                  It's that simple, and it's not even going to be the first time the US loses a significant part of it's business to other countries.
                  I'm sure that as long as the network is suitably separated from the citizenry China will be VERY happy to accept the burden of hosting all of Facebook, Google the same way they currently "host" manufacturing.

                  Your response appears to be rooted in not much more than a belief that "No one's leaving the US, land of milk and honey, hoo-rah!"...and, uh, I'd have to ask you to look at the way the US industry landscape's changed since around the 80's. And that's over fairly minor gains as compared to the showstopper which would be a neutered 230.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 2:36am

              Re: "Companies moving out" ... "Avoid liability i

              And what if foreign countries decides they are not gonig to cooperate with the United states.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 2:59pm

      Re:

      Question: would amending or repealing 230 violate the constitution itself?

      Some of the proposals would. Some wouldn't. I half wonder if Facebook is betting that any of the proposals with legs would get tossed out anyway at some point. Seems like a gamble.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Jack Headstrong (BNR), 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:20pm

      Re: Lood Gord! The bulk of CDA was found UN-Constitutional!

      Question: would amending or repealing 230 violate the constitution itself?

      Section 230 is the surviving part, which corporatists believe confers to them authority from the gov't. It's borderline Constitutional, NOT the other way round!

      Do you have ANY idea of what "Constitutional" mean? You seem to have dropped in from off-planet.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 5:07pm

        Hey, Brainy: How can a corporation control and enforce a copyright when you believe corporations have no legal rights or government-conferred authority, and how do you feel about corporations using copyright to censor speech?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 8:52am

        Re: Re: Lood Gord! The bulk of CDA was found UN-Constitutional!

        Do you have ANY idea of what "Constitutional" mean?

        Yeah, sure do.

        Do you realize it pertains to what government can and cannot do?

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Oct 2020 @ 1:19am

        Re: Re: Lood Gord! The bulk of CDA was found UN-Constitutional!

        "Do you have ANY idea of what "Constitutional" mean? "

        Better, by all appearances, than you do.

        Essentially the US constitution is a charter which details what government must do, can do, and must NOT do.
        It imposes no limits on the citizenry.

        With few hopes that you'll listen to the facts for the first time in your many years of trolling I just have to posit the question, once again, just when, in your opinion, did corporation become government agencies?

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

        • identicon
          Rocky, 29 Oct 2020 @ 6:18am

          Re: Re: Re: Lood Gord! The bulk of CDA was found UN-Constitution

          just when, in your opinion, did corporation become government agencies?

          Don't you know that corporations exists in a superposition between having no legal rights and being an extension of the government?

          This fits his narrative perfectly, since depending on what he want's to say the superposition collapses neatly into a state that support his bogus argument.

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

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Oct 2020 @ 7:38am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Lood Gord! The bulk of CDA was found UN-Constitu

            "This fits his narrative perfectly, since depending on what he want's to say the superposition collapses neatly into a state that support his bogus argument."

            Someone should tell Baghdad Bob that quantum mechanics don't really apply to anything larger than a subatomic particle, in that case.

            That'll be uphill work if he's still stuck at being unable to comprehend the Bill of Rights.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2020 @ 2:46pm

    If every moderation decision can be challenged in court, even Facebook will not have the resources to survive. Individual cases may be no more than a flea bit, but enough of those can drain all the blood out of a victim.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2020 @ 2:48pm

      Re:

      And if one thing stroke a coming protesters which blame said platforms for actions that’s happen politicians who were never told no as a child right wingers who love guns more then god and everyone else in America can agree on it’s a lawsuit.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 2:48pm

    'Now that we're at the top no need for that ladder...'

    This shouldn't be much of a surprise, unfortunately, but it appears that once again Facebook is the first to crack under political pressure, and has decided to sell out the open internet and free speech online.

    Well no, this is Facebook knowing that they can handle a 'reformed' 230 but any potential competitors will be squashed before they can become real competitors throwing them under the bus.

    Make no mistake, this is not cowardice or 'caving to political pressure' on Facebook's part, this is a calculated move to ensure that they can keep their current position, if not solidify it even more.

    As for the idea of 'updating' the law to make sure it's 'working as intended', that one gets me every time because it shows just how grossly dishonest the ones saying it are. The people who wrote the law have publicly stated what their intentions were when they wrote it and that they think that it's working exactly fine, so the idea that it needs to be 'updated' to get it to where it was 'supposed' to be is beyond absurd. Those making that argument need to drop the bullshit already and admit that they want to change the law so that it fits what they want it to say, rather than continue the lie that it's not working exactly as intended.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 1:16am

      Re: 'Now that we're at the top no need for that ladder...'

      *"Well no, this is Facebook thinking that they can handle a 'reformed' 230 but any potential competitors will be squashed before they can become real competitors throwing them under the bus.

      Fixed That For You.

      Zuckerberg ought to know that in the land of the tort no entity can handle a "reformed" 230. I'm sure he knew this at the time he set Facebook up in the first place.
      Either he's forgotten most of what he knew about how people work after buttering up to Trump, or he somehow counts on his "good friends" among the republicans somehow shielding him from the worst outcomes of his suggestion.

      "...this is not cowardice or 'caving to political pressure' on Facebook's part, this is a calculated move to ensure that they can keep their current position, if not solidify it even more."

      You mean, "Please, good sir, may I have another Red Flag Act?". Yeah, but I'm fairly convinced Zuck's out of his depth when it comes to realizing what he's asking for.

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

  • icon
    Blake C. Stacey (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:03pm

    One of my senators is on the Commerce Committee, so I sent his office an e-mail:

    In advance of Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee tomorrow, I urge Sen. Markey to remember that Facebook would really like laws that only Facebook is rich enough to comply with.

    While, as Zuckerberg's published statement says, "people of all political persuasions are unhappy with the status quo," the deeper truth is that the bipartisan clamor is neither unified nor consistent. On the left, there are serious concerns about corporate monopolies, about hate speech and the stoking of it for profit, about privacy and about how our infrastructure fails those most in need. On the right, the world's most corrupt human is throwing a fit that his lies were timidly challenged.

    It requires no flight of fancy to see that Facebook is eager to pull up the ladder that it climbed so that no competitors may follow. By creating a regulatory regime that only the largest players can afford to operate within, we risk entrenching Facebook and every deleterious effect it has had upon our lives.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Jack Headstrong (BNR), 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:05pm

    Oh, "under a speeding bus". Glad you clarified that since

    overwork the silly phrase. Also open your internal thesaurus at "crazy" for your usual eloquence when can't find any substance.

    Let's see... If I agree at all with what Zuckerberg says, not that I believe his good intentions for a second, M will accuse / blame me for locking in a giant. -- Actually, my wish is to break up Facebook into TINY pieces.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Jack Headstrong (BNR), 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:05pm

      Re: Oh, "under a speeding bus". Glad you clarified tha

      This ignores that people are unhappy for contradictory reasons. [Blah, blah, blah.]

      What you leave out as always is the real complaint that the giant "platforms" are ever more blatantly allowing only one view to be seen, the pro-corporate, pro-globalist one, which uses "social justice" only for cover and to sow discord. Corporate control of all speech is NOT what Section 230 was made for.

      Actually, the standards for online speech should be same as "real world". Long been clearly defined.

      But you "leftists" are leaving NO room for dissent.

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

      • icon
        Samuel Abram (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:42pm

        Re: Re: Oh, "under a speeding bus". Glad you clarified

        globalist

        Nice anti-Semitic dog-whistle there, bucko.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2020 @ 5:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: Oh, "under a speeding bus". Glad you clari

          We should set up an algorithm that can hunt this guys future comments down before he can even post them lol
          -my inner troll

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

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 5:35pm

            While they are predictable enough you probably could throw together a fairly accurate filter to catch their comments there's no need as the community handles them well enough, and by having the community do it you avoid innocent people getting caught up by a filter and as a bonus every single hidden comment of theirs acts as a little reminded that the more civilized people here don't think anything they say has any value(which is likely the cause of their conspiracy theory of the staff having it out for them, as it's easier on the ego to think that one person thinks you're garbage rather than an entire community).

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2020 @ 4:10pm

        Re: Re: Oh, "under a speeding bus". Glad you clarified

        Actually, the standards for online speech should be same as "real world"

        I think the online standards are much more timid than in the "real world'.

        I mean, think about it, if I am somebody like you, and goes in to the lobby of Facebook's office and decides to drop trou and take a shit on THEIR floor, I am going to be not-so-very-nicely escorted to the exit of the building and would probably have to answer to a court of law at some point. And I imagine that I would be invited to never return.

        You come to a place like this, drop trou and always leave a huge stinking pile of shit, and all that happens is that we can, as a community, "vote" to no longer see your pile of shit. Granted your pile of shit is still here but the community is essentially covering it up such that anybody who wants to see it can uncover it. Now you did not have to be forcibly removed from a location, do not have to answer to a court of law, and can freely come back and drop more piles of shit.

        Now when you are here complaining about why nobody wants to see your pile of shit and believe that section 230 needs reform so that all platforms are required to allow you to shit on them, what's going to happen? Most places are just going to be covered in shit, except for the large ones with the resources to smell out and remove such shit before it makes too much of a stink. But for all the small sites and online communities, they will just have to close down their open internet forums as it will be too much of a burden to be constantly wading through the shitpiles.

        What is the end result? People like you having a far smaller number of sites where you can go take a shit on, but more importantly, those sites will be much more aggressive in removing your shit to avoid any diseases from spreading. Essentially you will be left with nothing but shitholes to troll in, but since you are all shitting there, what fun will that be. Sites like twitter and facebook will be much less used as very few posts will make it past the shit detectors in order to not be liable from any diseases spreading from your shitpile.

        Does that about sum it up for you?

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 5:25pm

        Corporate control of all speech is NOT what Section 230 was made for.

        And if Twitter could use 230 to control what I say here, maybe you’d have something resembling a point. But Twitter can’t do that, so you don’t have that.

        230 was made to help services like Twitter and Facebook, websites like Techdirt and 4chan, and every other service or site that accepts third-party speech — including your inane bullshit — avoid legal liability for speech they chose not to moderate so those services/sites could legally moderate speech. That you confuse moderation with censorship and people telling you that you’re a spam-happy bad faith troll with less intelligence than a raisin with people trying to make sure you can’t say anything ever is a “you” problem; I can’t help you with that.

        the standards for online speech should be same as "real world"

        Okay. Cool.

        Privately owned businesses in meatspace can’t be forced to host or publish speech. I seem to recall a bunch of holier-than-thou conservative asswipes like you making a big deal out of that in cases involving cakes for same-sex weddings. For what reason, then, should privately owned online services be denied the same right to refuse speech that you believe (correctly, might I add) privately owned businesses already have?

        you "leftists" are leaving NO room for dissent

        Pot, kettle, black. You never learn, do you, Brainy?

        You leave no room for dissent against you — because everyone who disagrees with you is a “masnick”, a “troll”, a “leftist”, a “globalist”, or whatever other fucking right-wing buzzword you found on 8kun this week. Some of us here give you detailed arguments about the law in the U.S. (including references to “common law” court rulings), and you call us idiots before whining about how nobody listens to you and your definitions of everything are the objectively correct ones and everyone else is wrong to the nth degree. Some of us here try to engage you in good faith — against all solid reasoning that says we shouldn’t — and you spit acid in our faces.

        You want us to accept your dissent? Prove you’re capable of accepting dissent first. Engage with us in a good faith argument where you leave room to have your mind changed by actual evidence and logical arguments. Stop insulting; start listening. Hell, some of the better conversations I’ve had on this site have been with people who disagreed with my positions but didn’t try to act like I’m out of my fucking mind for offering an opinion with which they disagreed (and vice versa).

        Unless you can mature past your “I’m right and you’re wrong and everyone can kiss my ass because I’m the smartest Smurf in the village” act that you probably should’ve given up in your teenage years, we’re going to keep calling you names and hiding your posts. We neither need nor want to censor ourselves to comfort your ignorance. And we only want you to shut the fuck up so long as you keep up the Brainy Smurf act. Start having conversations instead of pissing contests where you’re the only one with your dick out, and maybe we’ll participate in them. Until then? Please get fucked, Blue Balls.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Oct 2020 @ 7:47am

          Re:

          "You want us to accept your dissent? Prove you’re capable of accepting dissent first. Engage with us in a good faith argument where you leave room to have your mind changed by actual evidence and logical arguments. Stop insulting; start listening."

          We've all tried this line with Baghdad Bob for many years. He consistently manages to be outrageously and occasionally deliberately wrong about every topic he feels compelled to comment on, always treats dissent as an invitation to scream hysterically, and has a paranoia so virulent he not rarely dismisses every poster around here as being the sock puppet of whoever is his current most hated target.

          In the time he's been posting around here and on Torrentfreak even freaking googlebot has evolved it's ability to respond, and you could train a household pet to higher standards of discourse.
          I've been forced to conclude that old Bobmail doesn't hit the barrier treshold of sapience, because the man couldn't even ace a Turing test. Asking him for logic and good faith arguments is like asking a jellyfish to wear a tux properly and do a ballroom dance.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 11:32pm

        Re: Re: Oh, "under a speeding bus". Glad you clarified

        "Actually, the standards for online speech should be same as "real world"."

        Yes, they should. For example, when you're being an obnoxious asshole in my bar and annoying the other customers, I have the right to kick your ass off of my property. But, you want to block web platforms from having the same right. Why is that?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 8:54am

        Re: Re: Oh, "under a speeding bus". Glad you clarified

        But what about Parler?

        Why aren't all you conservatives flocking there so you can freeze peach to your heart's content, big guy?

        This isn't about not having room for dissent. It's about you whiny little fucks demanding an audience.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 9:09am

          Re: Re: Re: Oh, "under a speeding bus". Glad you clari

          It's also about them losing an audience. These guys think they're being discriminated against because they're not allowed to use the stage at an open mic night any more. What they forget to consider is that the reason they're not allowed on stage is because there were some unfortunate incidents last time they went up there...

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Jack Headstrong (BNR), 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:09pm

    Principal Fired Over "All Lives Matter" Statement

    Here's good example of a liberal being punished for adding a qualifier to the rigid orthodoxy:

    I firmly believe that Black Lives Matter, but I DO NOT agree with the coercive measures taken to get to this point across; some of which are falsified in an attempt to prove a point. While I want to get behind BLM, I do not think people should be made to feel they have to choose black race over human race.

    She was suspended for so outrageous an opinion.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/vermont-goes-tone-deaf-free-speech-principal-fired-over -all-lives-matter-statement

    There's no appeasing totalitarians and masnicks. You keep backing reasonable people into corners, not trying to convince, just to bludgeon.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Jack Headstrong (BNR), 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:12pm

      Re: Principal Fired Over "All Lives Matter" Statement

      By the way, shortening comments (by simply cutting then making another comment) seems to be the new useful tactic for getting the first in, so expect more of that.

      Wish you'd explain your wacky RANDOM "filters", Maz, it'd just save time.

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

      • icon
        Samuel Abram (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:15pm

        Re: Re: Principal Fired Over "All Lives Matter" Statem

        You're spamming more than the Hormel factory if it were run by John Cleese and Michael Palin…

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

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Jack Headstrong (BNR), 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: Principal Fired Over "All Lives Matter&

          You're spamming more than the Hormel factory if it were run by John Cleese and Michael Palin…

          It's not "spam". I'm on topic, civil, and enjoying a probably brief period when my browser session isn't poisoned.

          Do you think that your opinions are the only ones that should be allowed? You've classified me as someone who shouldn't be permitted at all, first and key step of censors.

          Now, do you have anything on topic?

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

          • icon
            Samuel Abram (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:35pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Principal Fired Over "All Lives Matter&

            It's not "spam". I'm on topic, civil, and enjoying a probably brief period when my browser session isn't poisoned.

            "poisoned" by what? What in the periwinkle hell are you talking about?

            Do you think that your opinions are the only ones that should be allowed? You've classified me as someone who shouldn't be permitted at all, first and key step of censors.

            Um, no. And this is Techdirt. If too many people think your comment is abusive, spamming, and/or trolling, they'll put it behind a pink wall which they could reveal with one click. How can that be deemed censorship if people can still access your comments easily?

            Now, do you have anything on topic?

            I was making a reply to your cavalcade of comments, calling them spam, so I would say I'm pretty much on topic.

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

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 3:44pm

              "poisoned" by what? What in the periwinkle hell are you talking about?

              Funny thing there, turns out when someone posts a large stream of comments in a short amount of time it looks like spam, so the spam filter kicks in and treats it appropriately, holding future comment in the spam filter until they can be vetted. However since Woody could never engage in spam then clearly it could only be someone from the nefarious TD staff mildly inconveniencing them by flagging their comments as spam.

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

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 8:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Principal Fired Over "All Lives Mat

              ""poisoned" by what? What in the periwinkle hell are you talking about?"

              Baghdad Bob appears convinced the only reason his comments show up as "hidden" is because Masnick keeps selectively injecting sql scripts or cookies which call him back every time old Baghdad Bob posts a comment and tells the site to auto-flag the text.

              I imagine he prefers that "explanation" to the more reasonable idea that his rhetoric is such obvious garbage most readers reach for the flag button after reading the first sentence of his commentary.

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

    • identicon
      Rocky, 27 Oct 2020 @ 4:42pm

      Re: Principal Fired Over "All Lives Matter" Statement

      While I want to get behind BLM, I do not think people should be made to feel they have to choose black race over human race. While I understand the urgency to feel compelled to advocate for black lives, what about our fellow law enforcement? What about all others who advocate for and demand equity for all?

      If you don't understand what's wrong with the above quote, I'm afraid you don't understand the basis for BLM at all, and ex Principal Riley didn't either it seems.

      You keep backing reasonable people into corners, not trying to convince, just to bludgeon.

      Well, just ask a black person how being reasonable have really helped them the last two centuries in the US. You on the other hand, is a snow flake throwing a temper tantrum because you aren't allowed to throw your shit all over, and being reasonable, that's the last thing you are.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2020 @ 4:49pm

    Well, conservatives will be complaining bout this. Talk to a manager they will, about being censored. It will be terrible.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2020 @ 5:23pm

    Just like with FOSTA and likely will with EARN IT next year, Mark can absorb whatever requirements they have to adhere to but other small companies won't. It's a classic case of pulling the ladder up after he's already climbed.

    However I will find the irony most delightful when it's besieged on all sides by overzealous State AGs suing Facebook left and right.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 12:09am

      Re:

      I kind of wonder if he's pushing for bad laws to be made on purpose. Then take everything out he has of value in Facebook only watch it burn when the State AG's come calling. Having something he built and grow but it became a headache and monster to the point that it's easier to manipulate others to destroy it for him. After the beast has been slain he can go his own way with his wealth and be promptly forgotten after a few years. Mark who?

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

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 27 Oct 2020 @ 5:50pm

    "people" - what people?

    ...people of all political persuasions are unhappy with the status quo.

    No, that's an unfounded assertion. Even so, it's entirely irrelevant, and also anecdotal.

    People want to know...

    Well sure, and I want to know how much Orange Clown steals from the White House, but MY DESIRE TO KNOW does not create a REQUIREMENT for me to get this information, nor a law. Even a "real-life" law like FOIA is often obfuscated by redactions, evasions, and with this administration outright "We don't have to, and the Senate won't do anything" responses.

    CDA sec 230 has nothing in there to "balance" out what "people want" and whether "people are unhappy." It's about enshrining a right to allow user-generated-content (UCG) not to reflect on hosting platforms that follow copyright law.

    The "lawmakers" (rotten pork-barrel politics farmers who got elected and immediately said they're not here to represent us... because they know better) will destroy this right... to claim a victory against successful companies (Google, Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, Wikipedia, Youtube, and the millions of sites that allow comments, such as this one).

    Is it RICO?

    E

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

  • identicon
    MightyMetricBatman, 27 Oct 2020 @ 6:05pm

    One of the things we need to understand is that regulation does not have to be neutral. Depending on the nature of it, regulation can be used to give an advantage to one competing party over another. This should not be new to readers of Techdirt.

    A good example is Jewish Kashrut laws; whose difficulty of following those laws inherently favor large, established, and well resourced parties over the scrappy underdog at mass producing Kosher food.

    Facebook is not interested in no regulation, and is merely fine at regulation that protects it like it does now. Facebook wants regulation that makes it more difficult for competitors to arise.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 3:39am

      Re:

      Government should not be choosing winners and losers in business or elsewhere.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 5:47am

        Re: Re:

        "Government should not be choosing winners and losers in business or elsewhere."

        So, you agree that the government should not be suppressing the freedom for these platforms to moderate their own property and for people to go elsewhere if they don't like the rules?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 8:17am

          Re: Re: Re:

          yup

          I thought small government meant the government would stay the hell outta mah biz ... but that aint it at all - LOL

          To conservatives, small government means the government gives a small number of fucks, mostly none, about the people.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 8:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "To conservatives, small government means the government gives a small number of fucks, mostly none, about the people."

            ...until the conversation moves to things like birth control and gay marriage, in which case they want a government agent installed between you and every possible decision...

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

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 2:15am

    They support it as they're so well connected to the GOP establishment now, any reform will include a barely concealed 'but not facebook' clause, so they'll never have to change in any meaningful way and only their rivals suffer the consequences.

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

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 28 Oct 2020 @ 3:39am

    Rearranging the deckchairs

    on the RMS Open Internet as it lurches after striking a Zuckerberg.

    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, 28 Oct 2020 @ 3:40am

    ButtBook, who needs it. Looks like ButtBook is headed into the sunset like AOL did.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    fabiwih (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 4:33am

    Never used ButtFacebook

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

  • icon
    Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 8:17am

    Free speech for me but not for thee...

    Some are unhappy because sites are taking down propaganda and disinformation. Others are upset that they're not taking down propaganda and disinformation (or not taking it down fast enough).

    The largest group are unhappy because sites won't take down the other side's propaganda and disinformation while leaving their own side's propaganda and disinformation intact.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 8:25am

      Re: Free speech for me but not for thee...

      Yes, and then there are those who think the drinking of chlorine should not be advertised as an effective method of dealing with the Covid virus. Some of these people feel that it is a health hazard and should be dealt with seriously.

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

      • icon
        Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 8:36am

        Re: Re: Free speech for me but not for thee...

        there are those who think the drinking of chlorine should not be advertised as an effective method of dealing with the Covid virus...

        Sounds like an urban legend.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 8:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Free speech for me but not for thee...

          Yeah, Apparently POTUS, being a very stable genius, subscribes to those. I'm just waiting for him to push the idea that covid is caused by alien DNA and demon sperm as that's a long-standing hobbyhorse of the latest "medical expert" from which he draws advice.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 9:16am

          Re: Re: Re: Free speech for me but not for thee...

          Guess again. Between teh Prez and QAnon, enough people have found things like bleach to be their go-to.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 11:54am

          Re: Re: Re: Free speech for me but not for thee...

          People died from your urban legend

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 8:58am

    Going to edit the First Amendment, are they? gl,hf

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

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 9:06am

    A private company offering a public space

    I love when people say sites like Facebook and Twitter have to accept anything that people say because they're a public business. What makes them any different from other private companies that offers a public space?

    For example, suppose you go to the Magic Kingdom park in the middle of Walt Disney World. We can argue that this is a very public place (never mind that you have to pay to get in), so can people say whatever they want?
    What if someone acted as bad in the theme park as they act on Twitter: calling people names, hounding people, and so on. Do they expect to be able to get away with it or would security throw them out... and then would they claim they have the first amendment right to say what they want... while on private property?

    Honestly, if people acted as racist in Disney World as they act on Twitter, I'd expect Disney to ban them for life!

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 9:19am

      What makes them any different from other private companies that offers a public space?

      The Internet. That is, in all seriousness, what the arguments about repealing 230 and forcing Facebook, Twitter, etc. to host all legally protected speech boils down to: They’re in cyberspace, so their owners shouldn’t have the same right as the owners of private property in meatspace to decide what speech they will and will not host.

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

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 10:58am

        Re:

        I don't think the new Bush-Bush-Trump Supreme Court majority is going to have much more sympathy for the "but on a computer" qualifier than the old Reagan-Bush-Bush one did, but on the other hand nothing they do could surprise me at this point.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 12:34pm

        Re:

        You may want to study Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins, a case out of California that was considered by both the California Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. It is worth noting that California has a free speech provision in its constitution that is broader than the 1st Amendment, and that Twitter, Google and Facebook are all headquartered in California. Importantly, private property is not as sacrosanct as some here appear to believe.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 12:42pm

          I’m pretty sure people have pointed out before that Pruneyard has specific limits which don’t apply to interactive web services.

          And even if it did, here’s the million dollar question: For what reason should the government have the ability to force a service such as Twitter into hosting third-party speech on private property?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 3:38pm

            Re:

            Uh, the Pruneyard Shopping Center was private property, and yet its owner was required by law to accommodate speech against its wishes. What is useful is not trying to distinguish the case from social media platforms, but to focus on why the center was required by the courts to permit the speech it sought to prevent. One telling factor is the California Constitution and the rights accorded by it for speech, which are substantially broader that the federal constitution. Again, it is noteworthy that all of the social media platforms I mentioned are located in California and subject to its laws.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 4:24pm

              Re: Re:

              I doubt that Pruneyard could simply turn off the Shopping Center.

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

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 4:58pm

              Re: Re:

              The idea of treating social media as public forums and therefore barring them from moderation while not explicitly ruled on(the case was about public access cable) was mentioned pretty clearly and rebuffed in a case that made it to the US Supreme Court all of last year.

              For a more extensive read the article in question on TD is 'Supreme Court Signals Loud And Clear That Social Media Sites Are Not Public Forums That Have To Allow All Speech', but two excerpts should drive the point home that the argument has already been found severely wanting and wouldn't have very good odds unless the supreme court decided to wildly deviate from their own past ruling in a new case.

              It is not enough that the federal, state, or local government exercised the function in the past, or still does. And it is not enough that the function serves the public good or the public interest in some way. Rather, to qualify as a traditional, exclusive public function within the meaning of our state-action precedents, the government must have traditionally and exclusively performed the function.

              The Court has stressed that “very few” functions fall into that category.... Under the Court’s cases, those functions include, for example, running elections and operating a company town.... The Court has ruled that a variety of functions do not fall into that category, including, for example: running sports associations and leagues, administering insurance payments, operating nursing homes, providing special education, representing indigent criminal defendants, resolving private disputes, and supplying electricity.

              ...

              In short, merely hosting speech by others is not a traditional, exclusive public function and does not alone transform private entities into state actors subject to First Amendment constraints.

              If the rule were otherwise, all private property owners and private lessees who open their property for speech would be subject to First Amendment constraints and would lose the ability to exercise what they deem to be appropriate editorial discretion within that open forum. Private property owners and private lessees would face the unappetizing choice of allowing all comers or closing the platform altogether. “The Constitution by no means requires such an attenuated doctrine of dedication of private property to public use.” ... Benjamin Franklin did not have to operate his newspaper as “a stagecoach, with seats for everyone.” ... That principle still holds true. As the Court said in Hudgens, to hold that private property owners providing a forum for speech are constrained by the First Amendment would be “to create a court-made law wholly disregarding the constitutional basis on which private ownership of property rests in this country.” ... The Constitution does not disable private property owners and private lessees from exercising editorial discretion over speech and speakers on their property.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 5:21pm

                Re: Re: Re:

                Again, the California Constitution is an independent source of law and governs all within its jurisdiction, which includes the named platforms. What the likely outcome would be were the issue pressed against the platforms is not readily apparent.

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

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 6:27pm

                  Whether the California Constitution applies to services like Twitter and Facebook is ultimately irrelevant when federal law — like, literally, the First Amendment — prevents any government entity from compelling association with persons or speech. That applies just as much to Twitter as it does to you as an individual.

                  Furthermore, if Pruneyard applies as you claim it does and the government can force Twitter to (as you put it) “accommodate speech against its wishes”, what prevents the government from doing the same thing to Techdirt, or Parler, or some 30-person Mastodon instance? For that matter, what prevents the government from doing it to your private property?

                  The government shouldn’t have the right to force Twitter, Facebook, etc. to host all legally protected speech/associate with anyone that violates the TOS of those services. The government shouldn’t get to tell Mike Masnick that he must host anti-230 propaganda “or else”. Who- or whatever led you to think the government should have that right turned you into a supporter of fascism. You may want to rethink your position before you dig your heels in further and look even worse.

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

                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 28 Oct 2020 @ 6:47pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Unless it trumps the first amendment and a US Supreme court ruling and not one or two but three rulings(district, superior and ninth circuit court of appeals) denying that very argument thanks to PragerU already trying that stunt and failing, then no, any such case is pretty much a given at this point, and not in favor of Pruneyard applying or social media platforms losing the right to moderate as they see fit.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 7:11pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Again, the California Constitution is an independent source of law and governs all within its jurisdiction, which includes the named platforms. What the likely outcome would be were the issue pressed against the platforms is not readily apparent.

                  This coming from the same people that believe that it's Comcast's / ATT's / Verizon's 1st A right to do with as they please with your low level network traffic in order to scam more money.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 11:57am

      Re: A private company offering a public space

      "I love when people say sites like Facebook and Twitter have to accept anything that people say because they're a public business. "

      Those who make such complaints are very much acting like a Karen and they want to talk to the manager about being censored even tho they were not even close to being censored.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2020 @ 12:42pm

    I know dozens of lawyers that are salivating at the thought of suing Facebook if section 230 drops for them.

    they have TENS OF THOUSANDS of cases where Facebook would be on the hook for large sums of money to each person for data violations, HIPAA violations, and cases where FB staff themselves handed round pictures of users that were later blocked as 'inappropriate'....

    It's going to be a sue-fest of epic proportions.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 29 Oct 2020 @ 12:26am

      Re:

      "I know dozens of lawyers that are salivating at the thought of suing Facebook if section 230 drops for them."

      Yes, which is both the reason why it exists and the reason why it would be disastrous for the entire internet if it were to be removed. Even the cess pools where you go to gather your fantasies between psychotic breaks here would not be immune.

      "cases where FB staff themselves"

      If you have evidence of this, section 230 does not protect those people, so why are your friend not suing them already. You're bad at inventing these stories.

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

  • icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Oct 2020 @ 1:30am

    "Yes, which is both the reason why it exists and the reason why it would be disastrous for the entire internet if it were to be removed."

    For a while, at least. Any social platform headquartered in the US would be in trouble deep. Major actors such as Facebook could survive it but it'll be expensive to do so.
    ...and that's when alternatives to those major platforms will emerge from nations with a much more lenient legal paradigm.

    My own pet hypothesis is that chinese entrepreneurs will broker a deal with their government to be allowed a platform piped outside of the great firewall as long as they ensure no chinese citizens can get on that platform, and then a Hongkong-based Facebook v2, with moderation based on common sense, emerges and eats Zucks market share whole. Neat and all as long as you can accept that none of the privacy options apply to Big Brother Xi.

    Zuckerberg's gone off the deep end these last few years. I'm wondering if the skilled and savvy nerd who set up FB originally just spent long enough in the company of Trumpists that by now he can't see that taking a national legislative axe to his own business which acts in a global market might not be the brightest of ideas...

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 29 Oct 2020 @ 2:14am

      Re:

      " Major actors such as Facebook could survive it but it'll be expensive to do so."

      Depends on how they deal with it. Facebook has an estimated 2.7 billion active users, so they could in theory dump the entire US and still have over 2 billion users. If they deal with that by splitting the US division of to its own company, then geoblocking the US so that the international division is completely separate, they might not be too badly affected all things considered. The smaller players who cannot do such things will, of course, be crippled or killed, but there might be some new players who can enter the market in their place.

      "moderation based on common sense"

      Define "common sense". You can't without falling foul of the same problems, and certainly not a way that's able to be 100% accurately enforced at scale.

      "Zuckerberg's gone off the deep end these last few years"

      He's not god king, he answers to a board of directors and will be reprimanded severely if he does things that jeopardise the bottom line of the company. I can imagine that pushing for legal changes that result in the loss of 300 million customers and massive changes to the way the company needs to do business to remain afloat counts as such a thing, if that happens.

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

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 12:53pm

        Re: Re:

        Facebook has an estimated 2.7 billion active users, so they could in theory dump the entire US and still have over 2 billion users. If they deal with that by splitting the US division of to its own company, then geoblocking the US so that the international division is completely separate, they might not be too badly affected all things considered.

        I think you're overthinking it.

        Facebook can afford to go to court. Even absent 230, it's probably going to prevail anyway.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 31 Oct 2020 @ 6:14am

          Re: Re: Re:

          “Can” does not mean “will”, and they might want to do things to avoid being in court all the time for the sake of less than 1/6 of their customer base. Plus, if grandstanding idiots manage to get section 230 revoked, they might just decide to also introduce severe enough penalties for the newly culpable offenses that even Facebook can’t just wave off, or at least will not have the will to bother trying.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 3 Nov 2020 @ 7:57am

        Re: Re:

        "If they deal with that by splitting the US division of to its own company, then geoblocking the US so that the international division is completely separate, they might not be too badly affected all things considered."

        They can do that, yes. It'll be expensive. and ad notam I'm betting the Hongkong deal is still on the table. China has proven extremely flexible when it comes to doing great business with Johnny Gwailo as long as Johnny Gwailo keeps his grubby paws away from mainland China and the citizenry.

        "Define "common sense". You can't without falling foul of the same problems, and certainly not a way that's able to be 100% accurately enforced at scale."

        Best effort. What there is right now while 230 still exists and 1A hasn't been successfully challenged online.

        "I can imagine that pushing for legal changes that result in the loss of 300 million customers and massive changes to the way the company needs to do business to remain afloat counts as such a thing, if that happens."

        I'd like to say that's only logical but there's a cynical part of me which reminds me that there's the possibility he'll have let his partners buy out his share for an unreal amount of cash he can then use to set up Facebook v2 just in time for the original version finds out what the loss of section 230 means the hard way and collapses before adapting.

        "He's not god king..."

        Blasphemer! Burn, heretic! 😁

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.