Free Market Advocate Switches Sides, Calls For Direct Government Interference In Online Moderation Decisions

from the hypocrisy,-thy-name-is-one-easily-confused-with-a-basketball-icon dept

There's something in the air. Call it TDS. Trump Derangement Syndrome. To acolytes of Trump, this means everyone opposed to Trump will find some reason to blame anything on him. But the derangement affects the acolytes more than it affects his opponents.

Former free speech warriors have started calling for government interference in private companies' handling of third-party speech. Lawyers that used to defend even seemingly indefensible people from bogus defamation lawsuits are now filing bogus defamation lawsuits of their own. Far too many Trump fans are convinced the First Amendment should override moderation decisions by social media companies. Some of these Trump fans are actually in the legislative business, which means they have the power to harm -- perhaps permanently -- the First Amendment and the immunity given to social media companies that extends to moderation decisions.

It's hypocrisy. It's blatant. And it just keeps spreading. Recently, Newsweek allowed Will Chamberlain to publish an op-ed in support of direct government interference in private companies' moderation efforts. That name might not ring a bell, so let's take a look at Will Chamberlain.

Chamberlain now works for the "Internet Accountability Project." It describes itself this way:

Our Mission is to lend a conservative voice to the calls for federal and state governments to rein in Big Tech before it's too late.

The site contains a page called "Google is Evil." It hosts a video with the same title and links to articles about supposed Big Tech "bias" that deals with companies other than Google.

Chamberlain's bio says he formerly worked as an attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The CEI presents itself as a "libertarian think tank." Here's how the CEI describes itself (emphasis added):

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is a non-profit public policy organization dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty. CEI's mission is to promote both freedom and fairness by making good policy good politics. We make the uncompromising case for economic freedom because we believe it is essential for entrepreneurship, innovation, and prosperity to flourish.

So, what does Chamberlain really stand for? Is it this?

advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty

Or is it this?

calls for federal and state governments to rein in Big Tech

Apparently, it's whatever Chamberlain wants it to be, depending on who he's working for and who he supports politically.

Given his cognitive dissonance, it's unsurprising his op-ed is a hot mess full of bogus assertions and incoherent arguments.

First, Chamberlain claims Twitter's blocking of the New York Post's story on supposedly damning Hunter Biden emails is the platform "running interference for the Biden-Harris ticket." That's a stretch. There appears to be very little limiting Trump and his supporters from campaigning for Trump. That they've been forbidden from propping up some unvetted claims from [checks notes] a computer repair service owner isn't really doing much to prevent pro-Trump electioneering. It was a bad decision, but it's not the conspiracy Chamberlain feels it is.

Chamberlain then moves on to deliver a wholly disingenuous reading of Section 230 immunity.

Section 230 "works" only to the extent that it gives tech platforms carte blanche to run their platforms unconstrained by tort law. In the early days of the internet, that was defensible, to create space for innovation, experimentation—and even protection. But social media is now a mature market, and Section 230's liability shield now does more to foster censorship than anything else. The shield also acts as a sword—giving tech giants the power to censor certain speakers using arbitrarily applied and unexplained community standards.

Chamberlain acts as though the "late days" of the internet no longer require this immunity. But that's only if you limit your view to the largest platforms that could survive the removal of this immunity. Smaller startups and competitors would likely be forced to shut down as they'd be unable to absorb the legal costs of defending themselves from the flurry of vexatious litigation that would follow the removal of this immunity. If Chamberlain wants the biggest platforms to consolidate their power, he should definitely work towards repealing these protections.

He moves on to completely misrepresent the arguments of Section 230 defenders.

Critics of Section 230 reform often focus on defending the publisher-versus-platform distinction, arguing for the importance of not treating social media platforms as the "publisher or speaker" of the content posted on their platforms.

Bullshit. Only critics of Section 230 focus on this nonexistent distinction. The law contains nothing about a "publisher-versus-platform" distinction, much less any wording that suggests immunity relies on neutral presentation of third-party content. Chamberlain is wrong about Section 230 and should have been directed to this Mike Masnick post before crafting this misleading and stupid op-ed.

Chamberlain pretends the administration can do better. He touts Bill Barr's recommendations that platforms should be more limited in their moderation efforts, removing only what is "objectively" objectionable content. We can all agree platforms should be more transparent about their moderation efforts, but allowing the government to define (most likely through expensive litigation smaller competitors can't afford) what is "objectionable" enough to be removed would allow presidential administrations to control the narrative via social media outlets.

Then there's the overuse of an incorrect term by Chamberlain -- a use designed to dupe people into believing private companies are violating the Constitution by moderating content.

Section 230 was not designed to provide blanket immunity for companies that use their power to censor political speech.

Private companies are incapable of censorship, at least in terms of the Constitution. No private company is obligated to allow individuals to say whatever they want whenever they want -- no more than private individuals are required to allow people to stand inside their house and say things the homeowners find objectionable.

And I can't even to begin to explain what this batch of word salad is supposed to mean:

Our society has recognized that the right of Americans to participate in society comes before the free association rights of common carriers. That principle undergirds our civil rights laws and our common carrier laws, and should be the basis of our laws regulating censorship on large social media platforms. Society is freer when Americans can speak freely without the Sword of Damocles (meaning a potential Twitter ban) hanging over their heads.

Society says participants have a right to society… or something. I think Chamberlain is trying to say the rights of individuals trumps the rights of corporations. Even if he's correct (which he isn't), he further clouds the issue by dropping in stuff about "common carrier laws," which has nothing to do with moderation efforts and everything to do with, say, phone companies being obligated to hook you up with a landline, if that's your kink. Society is still as free as ever and if certain trolls and dipshits don't like swords hanging over their head, they probably should stop doing stuff that summons the sword-bearer.

This shitshow closes with some more Chamberlain hypocrisy. This guy once advocated (as, you know, an actual legal advocate) for "advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty." Now, with his boy in the White House and his "I'm being censored" fever dreams, he's pounding out ridiculous sentences like this:

Big Tech's unprecedented level of control in modern life allows social media oligarchs to reign over the digital marketplace, filtering the flow of online information and censoring viewpoints—and even news—that disrupt their preferred narrative. Such unfettered discretion in a private group of companies is contrary to the values held by a civil society.

Chamberlain was for "unfettered discretion" before he was against it. Say what you will about a leftist rag like Techdirt and its contributors, but at least we've always been for Section 230 immunity and against government interference in First Amendment activities. That hasn't changed no matter who's occupying the Oval Office. I hope people like Chamberlain remember how much they wanted to strip these protections away when there's someone whose views they disagree with running the nation.

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Filed Under: 1st amendment, content moderation, free market, government interference, intermediary liability, section 230, will chamberlain
Companies: iap, internet accountability project


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  • identicon
    Berto, 30 Oct 2020 @ 6:49am

    I 100% support any politician who wants to give me final say on editorial decisions at media companies, and the right to veto anything coming from corporate boardrooms.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 6:57am

    Have a look at Section 230 itself, and its list of reasons for removal.

    They are not a general license to remove postings; the actual language is "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable".

    Removal not justified by this list should make the internet provider subject, among other things, to suit for libel; claiming that a poster is doing such is libel per se

    And the New York Post certainly has cause for such a suit .

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 7:30am

      Speech advocating for the revocation of same-sex marriage rights is not “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, [or] harassing” and, to some people, not even remotely objectionable. Should the law force, say, a Mastodon instance geared towards (and run by) LGBT people to host that speech?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 1:17pm

        Re:

        If it were posted intentionally to piss off the members of the community on the instance, then that would meet at least some definitions of the word "harassing."

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

    • icon
      Jan Bobrowicz (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 7:31am

      Re: otherwise objectionable

      The 1st Amendment, independent from §230, gives companies a general license to remove postings that it finds “otherwise objectionable”.

      To bring a libel suit, a plaintiff must show that the defendant published an untrue, damaging statement about them. Twitter said that the NY Post violated the Twitter Rules, which is neither false nor defamatory.

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

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        icon
        Koby (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 9:14am

        Re: Re: otherwise objectionable

        Twitter said that the NY Post violated the Twitter Rules, which is neither false nor defamatory.

        Twitter has changed their story. Originally, there was no reason. Then, they decided that it violated their rules against releasing content that was "hacked". Then, when they learned that the information came from a laptop that is now owned by the computer repair shop owner due to non-payment from a signed service contract, once again there is no reason. Dorsey himself has admitted that during congressional testimony the other day.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 9:17am

          And your point is…what, exactly? Even if the reason for the moderation changed (or changes again in the future), Twitter admins had (and still have) every legal right to moderate that speech on Twitter.

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

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 9:35am

          Re: Re: Re: otherwise objectionable

          Twitter has changed their story.

          No, they did not. Literally within about an hour of it coming out they explained the story clearly, about how it violated the hacked content.

          Then, they decided that it violated their rules against releasing content that was "hacked". Then, when they learned that the information came from a laptop that is now owned by the computer repair shop owner due to non-payment from a signed service contract, once again there is no reason

          This is false. Once again, Koby, you are lying or incredibly misinformed. They have not changed from their original position that the material was (a) potentially hacked and (b) exposed private information like email addresses. This is the same reason they gave before and it's remained true.

          The only change in policy came later when they addressed the concerns of how the pure "hacked materials" policy might impact journalism, and they changed it in a way that benefited the NY Post, though they still have blocked the link for exposing email addresses.

          Dorsey himself has admitted that during congressional testimony the other day.

          This is not at all what he said. You are lying or woefully misinformed.

          Again.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 12:46pm

          Re: Re: Re: otherwise objectionable

          Perhaps the NY Times should close their account and fuck off to Parler along with the rest of you whiny conservatives.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 7:40am

      Re: I'm King

      Which of the following is applicable to the suggestion that one inject chlorine as a method of combating the corona virus; obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable

      I choose otherwise objectionable because I object to the disinformation that could potentially kill someone. I suppose one could use the otherwise objectionable to cover most everything. For example, I imagine Donald might object to the dissemination of data with regard to his taxes. It is objectionable right? Then there would have to be laws stating what one is allowed to object to. A bit silly, no?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 7:43am

      Re:

      or otherwise objectionable

      Is a catch all for what the site administrators object to. To many people racism, objections to peoples sexual orientation, and other forms of bigotry are objectionable.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 9:04am

      Re:

      Have a look at Section 230 itself, and its list of reasons for removal.

      This is incorrect on multiple levels. Read the entire sentence. It says "that the provider considers..." to be all those things. That is, it explicitly leaves the decision up to the website to decide what they consider to be otherwise objectionable.

      Second, the law does not say that it is exclusive to that list. It is using the beginning as examples, and then adds in "otherwise objectionable" as a catch all for anything the provider finds objectionable.

      Third, to drive this point home, the law says "whether or not such material is constitutionally protected" in order to drive home the point that it is not just for speech that is not protected.

      Finally, you are focused solely on (c)(2) when courts have concluded that almost every moderation/removal decision is separately protected under (c)(1) which does not include "otherwise objectionable".

      So basically, take your pick. You are misreading the law. Badly.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 9:49am

        Re: Re:

        So that is a subjective assessment on the part of the provider: that says that the provider is exercising editorial judgement, i.e., acting as a publisher not a provider.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 9:51am

          You might have a point…if 230 mentioned the publisher/provider dichotomy even once in its text. But it doesn’t — so you don’t.

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

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 12:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So that is a subjective assessment on the part of the provider: that says that the provider is exercising editorial judgement, i.e., acting as a publisher not a provider.

          So what? That's literally what the law sought to enable.

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

    • icon
      allengarvin (profile), 31 Oct 2020 @ 7:41pm

      Re:

      The license to remove content is the First Amendment. Section 230's (c)(2) just explicitly declares publisher liability isn't changed when content is removed for basically any reason. This confuses a lot of people. It's questionable whether it's even needed, because (c)(1) is so strongly worded about 3rd party content.

      If (c)(2) were deleted entirely from the law, it would introduce no cause of action for people whose content is removed. It was added as a backup to the NY state decision Stratton Oakmont v Prodigy, that because Prodigy had a naughty words filter and a policy on posting, plus board administrators that enforced the latter, it made Prodigy a publisher. Say that situation is added: it still gives you absolutely zero rights to sue if your post is deleted. It gives you less than zero standing. The whole thing about the court case was Prodigy didn't censor the content.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2020 @ 4:28am

        Re: Re:

        Without 230 (c), you can't sue because your content was removed, but it still turns moderation (and, more importantly, promotion/hiding of particular posts) into a legal minefield because doing it at all would oblige them to not publish anything bad.

        Essentially, S230 eliminates the distinction between a dumb intermediary and a publisher, by treating all online platforms as gently as a meatspace intermediary would be, even when they are acting as a publisher. Mike is right that at present there is no such distinction in law for online platforms, but it does exist IRL: the post office delivering mass mail, or even a printer, has no liability for what they deliver or print, whereas a publisher who picks particular things to have printed and distributed is liable along with the author for whatever the author did wrong.

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

    • icon
      Tanner Andrews (profile), 1 Nov 2020 @ 11:35am

      Re: [having a look at Section 230 itself]

      or otherwise objectionable

      This seems pretty broad. It could cover descriptions of marital activities, in a forum for children. It could cover descriptions of pork products, in a Jewish forum. Or it could cover white supremecist rantings, in a forum for decent people.

      In fact, I am not sure but what any action taken against content would inherently fit within this rubric. ``If it were not objectionable, we would not have objected to it.''

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 4 Nov 2020 @ 7:03am

        Re: Re: [having a look at Section 230 itself]

        "This seems pretty broad."

        Because it is. Literally the definition of "objectionable" is that someone objected to it. That's not just broad, it's a carte blanche paragraph obviously intended to allow unlimited leeway.

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

  • icon
    Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 7:00am

    Turkey derides Covid-19 guidance against Thanksgiving parties...

    Has he noticed who is likely to be voting on and enforcing government Internet controls after next January?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 7:33am

    removing only what is "objectively" objectionable content

    Hmm... I do not think "objectionable" means what he thinks it means. "The color blue" is objectively discernible. So is "Trump is president". So is "I wish for Trump to not be president for very much longer.

    However, "objectionable" requires a judgement on the part of the viewer. Even the nine most lauded sages of the land threw up their hands at trying to pin down even a small part of what might be "objectively objectionable".

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 7:48am

      To go back to an example I posted above: Some people object to calls for the overturning of Obergefell v. Hodges, while others object to keeping that ruling in place. Deciding which group is “objectively” correct, and thus deciding which speech is “objectively” objectionable, is impossible.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 9:15am

        Re:

        Looking back at your previous comment (in this post), you put in

        and, to some people, not even remotely objectionable.

        ... which is kinda my point. Offense is always a subjective thing, not an objective thing. "objectively objectionable" is non-sequitur.

        Again, I agree with your conclusion. I just think you're getting there the long way around.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 8:17am

    As reliable as gravity

    At this point the idea that in order to attack 230 you have to lie about it might as well be considered a law of reality right alongside gravity given it has proven to be just as reliable and consistent time and time again.

    One of these days those attacking 230 might do so honestly but that day has yet to come, and the fact that so far the only arguments against 230 have been dishonest is most telling when it comes to those making them and the validity of those arguments.

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

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 8:36am

    I'd like to call people's attention to the real oppression going on here. I am not allowed to post my opinions on the front page of the Human Events website operated by Will Chamberlain, therefore I am being deprived of my free speech. It doesn't matter that I'm not a conservative, not american, that I typo like it's going out of style or that my long form writing quickly descends into stream of consciousness territory, let's be honest, I wouldn't be the worst writer on there. I feel that because I exist, I am entitled to that audience, no matter what they may actually want to read and no matter how much money my words may cost them, therefore I am being oppressed by big tech because I am denied that.

    I look forward to established centrist outfits letting me write op eds on this topic and I fully expect to go completely unchallenged, and if someone does call my nonsense what it is, I will write another one about how I'm being cancelled then hold out my hat to petrochemical billionaires so I can fund my own nonsense outlet where I'llI surely won't be the one denying others a platform, because freedom.

    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), 30 Oct 2020 @ 9:02am

      Re:

      I'd like to call people's attention to the real oppression going on here. I am not allowed to post my opinions on the front page of the Human Events website operated by Will Chamberlain, therefore I am being deprived of my free speech.

      Human Events is a publisher, not a platform.

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

      • icon
        Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 9:05am

        Re: Re:

        Human Events is a publisher, not a platform.

        There is no distinction in the law. Why do you keep pretending there is.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 9:20am

          Because he wants the people who run Twitter, Facebook, etc. held accountable for booting assholes from those services — regardless of whether said assholes violated the TOS — so he can use such a ruling to justify calling for government control of speech on those services. He’s a horrible champion for the protection of free speech and association…but he’s remarkably adept in his advocacy for fascism.

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        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          icon
          Koby (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 9:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          There is no distinction in the law. Why do you keep pretending there is.

          If there is CURRENTLY no distinction in the law, it does not mean that we are not allowed to want it. That is why we want to reform Section 230.

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 9:31am

            For what reason would you want Twitter to turn into another New York Times or Gawker or, God forbid, InfoWars? And if that isn’t what you want, you’re doing a shit job of telling us what you really want out of this whole “I want Section 230 reformed” bullshit you’ve got going on.

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

          • icon
            Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 9:36am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If there is CURRENTLY no distinction in the law, it does not mean that we are not allowed to want it. That is why we want to reform Section 230.

            So you want to change a policy to force private property to host compelled speech?

            Dude, you hate the 1st Amendment.

            And, also, the change you want is not constitutional.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 10:36am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              And, also, the change you want is not constitutional.

              Since when have religious or political zealots ever considered niceties like a constitution when converting the heathens by force.

              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), 30 Oct 2020 @ 11:11am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So you want to change a policy to force private property to host compelled speech?

              If you have an open platform, whereby any American can discuss anything, then the speech is not compelled. The corporation has simply created an internet version of a town hall or town square. The speech that occurs is that of the speaker, not the property owner. And Americans are plenty smart to realize and understand that.

              Dude, you hate the 1st Amendment.

              You are the one supporting censorship. I support fully open discussion for all Americans. I sense that some of the leftists here are growing uneasy with their loss of traditional free speech allies. Yesterday it was Glen Greenwald. Today Will Chamberlain. Folks are starting to see how morally ugly your position has become.

              "When a commercial platform de facto replaces the public forum, then either free speech must be enforced on that forum or free speech dies."

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

              • icon
                bhull242 (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 11:24am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                The First Amendment says otherwise.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 11:37am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I support fully open discussion for all Americans.

                So long as you have a platform on which you can speak, you can take part in the discussion, even if few people want to listen to you. What you want is the right to exercise the hecklers veto by forcing your way into any conversation you disagree with. That is not free speech, but more like forcing people to convert to tour viewpoint or shut up and suffer in silence.

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

              • icon
                Khym Chanur (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 11:38am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "When a commercial platform de facto replaces the public forum, then either free speech must be enforced on that forum or free speech dies."

                So would you be satisfied if the changes you want were applied just to large social media sites like Twitter and Facebook? Or would you want it to apply to every social media type site, including things like the comments section of personal blogs, pro-LGBT forums, anti-LGBT forums, and so on?

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

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                  icon
                  Koby (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 11:49am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  So would you be satisfied if the changes you want were applied just to large social media sites like Twitter and Facebook? Or would you want it to apply to every social media type site, including things like the comments section of personal blogs, pro-LGBT forums, anti-LGBT forums, and so on?

                  Your personal blog need not become a commercial platform.

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

                  • icon
                    Khym Chanur (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 12:05pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    I'm curious as to why you'd want (or at least be satisfied with) the law applying by whether or not the site is commercial, as opposed to the size of the site's audience/membership. For instance, Wikipedia is a non-profit with a huge audience, and many people think that it has an anti-conservative bias.

                    I'm also curious as to what would turn a personal blog into a commercial platform. Banner ads? Links to your Patreon account?

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

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                      icon
                      Koby (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 2:02pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      >I'm curious as to why you'd want (or at least be satisfied with) the law applying by whether or not the site is commercial, as opposed to the size of the site's audience/membership.?

                      While I definitely have a problem with a commercial platform being able to editorialize through censorship, I probably also would have a problem with a sufficiently large "private" owned platform as well. It seems to me that only a small, private forum is incapable of large scale coordinated censorship.

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

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 2:12pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        What if a, for example, gardening forum reaches you size limit, do you then force it to accept political speech?

                        Your reasoning seems more like people do not want to listen to me, so anywhere large numbers gather should become a platform where you can force them to listen.

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

                      • icon
                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 2:28pm

                        I probably also would have a problem with a sufficiently large "private" owned platform as well.

                        All interactive web services not owned by the government are “privately owned”, you dipshit. Twitter, Facebook, Gab, Parler, 4chan, 8kun, DeviantArt, Hentai Foundry, Reddit, Voat — all of them and more are all privately owned, regardless of how big they are and how much that fact interferes with your belief in what platforms the government should be able to compel into hosting all legally protected speech.

                        Or do they not count as “privately owned” because they’re “open to the public”? Because if that’s what you believe…hoo boy, we’re gonna need to have a talk about a bakery.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 1:27pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    So if I put ads on a personal blog or link to my Patreon account, I have to host anti-Semitic content?

                    The First Amendment doesn't stipulate you only have free speech (including the choice of what speech to host) if you're not making money off of it. The First Amendment restricts the government from suppressing free speech, including that of the people who run large social media companies. If you overturn that, you're not for free speech. You're advocating for government control of speech.

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

                  • icon
                    Tim Cushing (profile), 31 Oct 2020 @ 7:44pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    wat

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 11:56am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "When a commercial platform de facto replaces the public forum, then either free speech must be enforced on that forum or free speech dies."

                I have asked you to defend your position on this statement many times, but you NEVER DO! Why do you still come here with this BULLSHIT claim but run away whenever anybody asks you to defend your argument.

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

              • icon
                Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 12:07pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                If you have an open platform, whereby any American can discuss anything, then the speech is not compelled.

                Your understanding of the compelled speech doctrine is as fucked up as your understanding of, well, just about everything else. Forcing someone to associate with speech they do not wish to associate with is compelled speech.

                The corporation has simply created an internet version of a town hall or town square.

                No, they have not. Why do you make stuff up like that?

                The speech that occurs is that of the speaker, not the property owner.

                And they are free to speak it. They are not free to force anyone else to host or promote it. This is fundamental property rights. The kind of thing I thought Republicans supported.

                And Americans are plenty smart to realize and understand that.

                Considering everything you said is wrong, uh, dude.

                You are the one supporting censorship. I support fully open discussion for all Americans.

                Bullshit. You are literally demanding an attack on the 1st Amendment.

                I sense that some of the leftists here are growing uneasy with their loss of traditional free speech allies. Yesterday it was Glen Greenwald. Today Will Chamberlain. Folks are starting to see how morally ugly your position has become.

                My position is morally ugly? The one that actually supports free speech.

                Fuck off Koby. You are truly too stupid for words. Go wallow in your pit of deception and ignorance.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 12:07pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Yesterday it was Glen Greenwald

                Answer me this smart guy, how did GG get censored when he went on a FUCKING PRIME TIME fox news show to talk about it? How easy would it be for me to go on a prime time cable news show.

                Oh, and there's the fact that somehow, with all this leftist censoring, he was able to publish his resignation letter. How was it widely read if he was being censored?

                So tell me, how was he censored?

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 12:22pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                If you have an open platform, whereby any American can discuss anything, then the speech is not compelled.

                What don't you understand about forcing somebody to host your speech is compelled speech.

                Applebee's may be a public place with an open policy, but try to go into the middle of Applebee's and start calling people racial epithets and see how long it is before being kicked out? Now in your world, you would have us believe that Applebee's is in the wrong and is stifling free speech because they are not letting this individual on THEIR property to spew their garbage.

                I mean seriously, how can you be sooooooo fucking wrong about this?

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

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 2:23pm

                How. How do you keep getting this so goddamned wrong. How.

                If you have an open platform, whereby any American can discuss anything, then the speech is not compelled. The corporation has simply created an internet version of a town hall or town square.

                An “open platform” is not a “public forum” or “public square”, in the sense that the “platform” is owned by the public/the government and thus required to remain neutral towards all legally protected speech. You can’t show me how Twitter is a “town hall” until you can show me the exact moment Twitter was either purchased by the government or somehow declared itself public property.

                Also: An “open platform” being forced by law to host speech its admins don’t want on the “open platform” is, without any equivocation or doubt, compelled speech. But I suppose if you want to get technical, it’s actually compelled association. But either way, it’s a violation of the First Amendment’s protections against government intrusion into speech and association.

                Mastodon instances operate much the same way as Twitter operates, albeit at a smaller scale. Lots of them have open sign-ups, too. And I come up blank when I try to think of a single Masto instance that is owned/operated by a corporation in the way Twitter is. For what reason, then, should the law force those “open platforms” into an association with speech their Terms of Service say isn’t allowed on those platforms?

                The speech that occurs is that of the speaker, not the property owner.

                And yet, 230 opponents literally want to remove the law that says “the service that hosts the speech of a third party without directly helping to create or publish that speech isn’t legally liable for that speech”. You’re one of those people — because you’ve been calling for 230 reform where none is needed because you have an issue with the exact purpose of 230. And yet, here you are, saying the same thing that 230 does.

                And Americans are plenty smart to realize and understand that.

                No. No, they are not. If they were, we wouldn’t have so many assholes in Congress trying to change 230 because they want either legal liability for moderating speech foisted upon services such as Twitter or “neutrality” towards all legally protected speech from those same services.

                You’ve been supporting those efforts. You’ve been on their side. If you’re not, you know how to prove it: Answer that One Simple Question.

                You are the one supporting censorship. I support fully open discussion for all Americans.

                Do you support Twitter being forced to host, say, propaganda in favor of the physical and psychological torture known as “conversion ‘therapy’ ” — a practice so thoroughly discredited that no reputable medical organization in the country endorses it in any way and so utterly heinous that listening to the survivors of this therapy describe what they want through will make your stomach churn — because it’s “one side” in an “open discussion” that concerns “all Americans”?

                Twitter admins choosing not to allow certain kinds of speech on Twitter is not “censorship”. If it were “censorship” for the owners of private property to decide what speech isn’t acceptable on their property and act accordingly when someone says something “unacceptable”, you would be censoring me if I stepped onto your front lawn and yelled “Koby is a fucking moron”. After all, my speech is “one side” of an “open discussion” about your intelligence, and “all Americans” should get to hear it if they wish to listen. Or would there be an exception to that rule for opinions about you that you don’t like?

                I sense that some of the leftists here are growing uneasy with their loss of traditional free speech allies.

                I don’t see why. Anyone who abandons the idea that a privately owned platform shouldn’t be compelled to host or associate with speech deemed “unacceptable” for that platform by its owners/operators is not a “free speech ally”.

                You don’t have a right to an audience. You don’t have a right to use someone else’s private property as your own personal soapbox. And you don’t have a right to force anyone into either becoming your audience or helping you publish/distribute your speech. Anyone who believes any (or all) of those statements are false in any way doesn’t believe in “free speech”. They believe in fascism — in forcing speech upon others by any means necessary.

                "When a commercial platform de facto replaces the public forum, then either free speech must be enforced on that forum or free speech dies."

                This sounds like you actually believe Twitter admins should be denied the right to choose what speech Twitter can and cannot, will and will not, must and must not host so long as the service is making money. If that isn’t the case, you might want to explain how.

                Because if you believe that, you’ll have to explain whether a Mastodon instance that has a Patreon account associated with it for the purpose of covering costs is a “commerical platform” — and, if it is, whether the government should force it to host all legally protected speech. You expressed a belief, even if only by implication; let’s see you defend it instead of running from it for once in your miserable life.

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

                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 5:10pm

                  Re:

                  How. How do you keep getting this so goddamned wrong. How.

                  It is difficult to get a person to understand something when their entire position and arguments depends on a real or feigned(and in this case it is definitely the latter) ignorance of it.

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

              • identicon
                Rocky, 30 Oct 2020 @ 5:30pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Koby, can you explain how free speech can be "enforced" without ignoring the 1st amendment?

                Can you also tell us which commercial platform has replaced the "public forum"?

                As Mike said, you hate the 1st amendment, and for the simple reason that your whole argument hinges on that the government should ignore it to force speech.

                You political leanings reeks of fascism, and if you want too see the consequences of your wish, look no further than to the media in Russia where the "government" decides what is allowed or not. And when it has gone that far, and you don't like it, you can't do jack shit about it anymore because you gave away your rights.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2020 @ 7:56am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                “Americans are plenty smart”

                “Laughs out of chair”

                “The speech that occurs is that of the peeler not the property owner”

                Go into a McDonald’s and start yelling every racist thing you people do when the camera is off and say it’s a town square. Fuck outta here lol

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 12:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Human Events is a publisher, not a platform.

            Wanting it isn't the same as it being so. Alternative facts only go so far, bud.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2020 @ 9:12am

        Re: Re:

        What if the poster used infowars rather than human events?
        Why does Alex Jones keep censoring me? Whaaaaaaaa, I'm telling.

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

        • icon
          Bloof (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 9:20am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Oh Alex Jones will have anyone on, you just need to be prepared to eat prepper buckets and brain pills to prove your loyalty to the cult of the shirtless bulls*tter.

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

  • icon
    Blake C. Stacey (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 10:38am

    The New York Post story burned up Twitter, regardless of any URL-blocking, and it's been viewed umpty-ump million times on Facebook despite any timid deprioritization they tried on the first day. Conservative social media treats reasonable moderation efforts as damage and routs around them.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 30 Oct 2020 @ 1:58pm

    HOw can this be?

    "convinced the First Amendment should override moderation decisions by social media companies."

    So, internet Services have no Rights to Monitor and censor Basic comments on their OWN forums and chats?
    So, Umm Why dont they pass this onto NEWSPAPERS? TV? CABLE/SAT?
    Or how about Product/goods/services evaluations posted on the NET. Which is very interesting as SOME corps are suing people over BAD evaluations.

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


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