Dumb New GOP Talking Point: If You Restore Net Neutrality, You HAVE To Kill Section 230. Just Because!

from the unserious-people dept

As the FCC gets closer to restoring net neutrality, a new and bizarre GOP talking point has emerged. It goes something like this: if you're going to restore some modest rules holding telecom monopolies accountable, you just have to dismantle a law that protects free speech on the internet! This of course makes no coherent sense whatsoever, but that's not stopping those looking to demolish Section 230, a law that is integral to protecting speech online.

Take FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, for example. Despite having a post at the nation's top communications regulator, Carr is literally incapable of even acknowledging that US telecom monopolies exist. Or that said monopolization is directly responsible for the high broadband prices, spotty coverage, terrible customer service, and/or sluggish speeds everybody loathes. His tenure has been spent rubber stamping the every whim of Comcast and AT&T, yet, for no coherent reason whatsoever he's emerged as a major voice in the conversation about Section 230 and social media.

This week, Carr had this to say at the INCOMPAS policy summit:

While there certainly are moments these worlds collide (like Amazon AWS or Google Fiber) this is not a good faith argument, and conflating net neutrality and the debate over 230 into one incoherent ball is a tactical strategy, not a real legal or policy argument.

Like it or not, net neutrality was simply an effort -- in the absence or real US broadband market competition -- to create some baseline rules preventing natural, physical telecom monopolies from abusing their market power. Power they attempted to abuse time, and time, and time, and time again. The Trumpist GOP assault on Section 230, by contrast, is the brain fart of an unqualified and corrupt ex-president, designed largely to bully content platforms into carrying hate speech and political disinformation, cornerstones of modern GOP power in the wake of changing US demographics and a sagging electoral base.

The latter is dressed up as something more noble and patriotic than it really is. But there's absolutely nothing meaningfully tethering one policy debate to the other. Well, aside from the blistering hypocrisy required for FCC Commissioners like Carr to claim that FCC efforts to hold telecom monopolies accountable was "socialism" or "government run amok," then pivoting on a dime to support Trump's ridiculous attempt to have the FCC regulate social media (despite having no authority to do so).

Of course this same bizarre conflation also recently popped up over at Fox Business courtesy of an anonymous "former FCC official" (possibly ex FCC boss turned cable lobbyist Mike Powell) in a piece that uses the exact same illogical framing (and even the word "holistic"):

"If Democrats want to talk about net neutrality, they’re going to have to include Big Tech,” says one former FCC official. "It has to be a holistic conversation."

Uh, no they don't?

There's absolutely nothing, anywhere that fully tethers the two policies, and just claiming otherwise repeatedly won't magically make it true. It's clear the GOP wants to confuse the public into conflating "net neutrality" with some imagined requirement for platform and service "neutrality." They've already confused "being held accountable for being a lying asshole on the internet" and "being kicked off a private service for clearly violating its terms of service" with "censorship," and Fox is more than happy to muddy the water further:

"GOP activists and lobbyists interviewed by FOX Business concede legislation that would extend net neutrality rules to Big Tech is a long shot given the current makeup of Congress. Still, they believe they can start a debate on the matter that could focus the public's attention on what they believe is the tech industry's stifling of conservative voices."

Let's be clear: the GOP has made "big tech" public enemy number one not because they genuinely care about corporate power or monopolization, but because companies like Twitter finally started more seriously policing hate speech and political disinformation after the country almost imploded. At the same time, the GOP is literally incapable of even acknowledging that "big telecom" (1) exists, or (2) is a problem. That's in part thanks to telecom lobbyists, who've been beating that particular drum for years as they attempt to grab a broader share of online video advertising by lobbying for a lopsided policy environment.

The GOP position here is about money and political power, and all else is performative bullshit.

If you really want to crack down on monopolies, let's have that conversation and apply it to all industries, not just the one you're currently trying to pressure for political reasons. Let's talk about shoring up antitrust, and perhaps not rubber stamping every job and competition killing megamerger that comes down the road. Let's talk about campaign finance reform, so giants like AT&T (or Facebook and Google) aren't literally writing state and federal law. This is not, I can assure you, a conversation the Trump-obsessed GOP actually wants to have, despite the occasional policy wonk claim to the contrary.

Regardless, as the conversation heats back up about net neutrality, you can expect a lot of dodgy op-eds parroting this intentional conflation. Because who wants to have an honest, good faith discussion about US tech policy reform, when you can instead try to confuse the public into supporting your bad faith victimization complex?

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Filed Under: brendan carr, broadband, fcc, net neutrality, section 230


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2021 @ 6:01am

    Section 230 shot my dog.

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

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 6:01am

    After a decade of obstructionism and lawmaking designed to target and harm people who don't vote for them, the response to all republican requests should be the raising of a middle finger. After all the years of partisanship and outright cruelty, they have no right whatsoever to turn around and make requests and pretend to care about fairness.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2021 @ 7:30am

      Re:

      While I quite agree that republicans are a major problem, with their ongoing contempt for democratic norms and their willingness to disenfranchise swathes of the population to ensure their continued grip on power - all the while projecting their own behaviour onto their political enemies, I really don't think lowering to their level is good for the future of the US. I don't know how the US is going to get out of it's current political mire, but I pretty sure that each side getting progressively nastier to the other isn't the way. I don't see any end that way except for a truly horrible and ruinously expensive (in blood as well as treasure) civil war.

      Someone has to start being the adult in the room. By all means oppose the misdeeds of the other side, through the ballot box, through the courts and through discourse. But if you're nasty about it, you're making things worse in the long run, not better. I'm not sure that will work, given the massive amounts of ill-will in republican circles, but the alternative is worse, guaranteeing failure rather than merely risking it.

      It really does take two to start a fight, though I'm well aware that it only takes one to commit a murder.

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

      • icon
        Bloof (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 8:00am

        Re: Re:

        The democrats have been thr adults in the room for generations, meeting republicans half way nearly every time and all it has done is make the republicans demand more. Every decade of my life the republicans have stepped further and further to the right, and meeting them halfway has resulted in the democrats achieving nothing but drifting further right themselves, in a situation where they get called Marxist for proposing laws first suggested by republicans. Look at the ACA, changes first proposed as a compromise by republicans, basically as a means to stop the Democrats passing more meaningful healthcare reforms, and even that is too far left for them and they moved heaven and earth to try and kill it, not because they had a better idea, but because they're governed by spite and greed. Trying to compromise with republicans sabotaged the Obama administration and led to something far worse.

        America has been pulled toward a cliff edge, one party takes two steps towards it each year, the other meeting them halfway and viewing the republicans taking one step forward as a victory, ignoring they're both closer to the cliff than they were. It's time fir the democrats to dig their heels in and let the republicans go over that cliff alone. They've proven they can't be trusted, any further concessions and they'll use that olive branch to pull them to their death.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 9:09am

          The democrats have been th[e] adults in the room for generations, meeting republicans half way nearly every time and all it has done is make the republicans demand more.

          Meet me in the middle, says the unjust man. You take a step toward him. He takes a step back. Meet me in the middle, says the unjust man. (Source)

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Feb 2021 @ 3:02am

        Re: Re:

        " I really don't think lowering to their level is good for the future of the US."

        Democrats taking the high road for the last thirty years of the republicans sinking ever deeper into the cancerous rot they are now inextricably mired in is precisely what got everyone to this point.

        You can't debate with people who are only willing to come to the table if you first compromise away all of your integrity. There's no reasoning with someone who will just keep screaming invectives at you until you cave on their "point" that perhaps Brown People are lesser beings and Liberals all part of the "satanist child-trafficking ring helmed by the Kenyan Muslim".

        You can not debate these people. Turning the other cheek only means they slap you on the other side, and forgiving them their transgressions against you only means they next transgress against your neighbor, friend, or children.

        "Someone has to start being the adult in the room."

        It's been tried for thirty years. It does not work. We're at the point where what the adult needs to do is to send the entitled children to their room and ground them until they learn basic manners.

        "But if you're nasty about it, you're making things worse in the long run, not better."

        No. You may be lancing the festering boil and it may sting, but leaving it until you have to cut your arm off is not the answer. You can't meet the "proud chauvinists" of the Proud Boys halfway. There's no debating the KKK about equality. The neo-nazis will not stop until they can plant their boot on your face and keep it there.
        Nor can you "convince", by mere argument, example, or demonstration of factual reality, to the conspiracy theorists that they are wrong about the "liberal agenda" faking school shootings, churning out a hoax called "Covid-19", or trying to take your guns - and your children - away.

        "I'm not sure that will work, given the massive amounts of ill-will in republican circles, but the alternative is worse, guaranteeing failure rather than merely risking it."

        That failure has been guaranteed since the 70's when the GOP began their Southern Strategy of adopting all the racists fleeing FDR's New Deal democratic party.

        "It really does take two to start a fight, though I'm well aware that it only takes one to commit a murder."

        Go count the GOP voter base for those willing to commit murders, planned domestic terrorism, or armed insurrection.
        These are not people who can be talked down any longer. They are the people already set to commit murder - for no other reason than that people insisted on democratic rules.

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

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 6:25am

    What Brendan Carr thinks he said in his tweet:

    "we need to look at the big players in the marketplace, and not treat small independent companies the same as major corporations"

    What he actually said:

    "As the FCC commissioner, I haven't the first clue of the massive fundamental differences between ISPs and platforms, and should be immediately removed from any position with any power over either of these markets"

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2021 @ 6:42am

    Will this work?

    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, 11 Feb 2021 @ 6:52am

    Most of the companies providing Internet access are also gatekeepers by also being cable services. As cable services they are not required to be neutral, and laying waste to the Internet by enforced content neutrality looks like being good for cable in an era of cord cutting.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 7:12am

      Re:

      "enforced content neutrality"

      So, you're saying that you haven't got a clue what the term "net neutrality" actually means?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2021 @ 7:18am

        Re: Re:

        Paul, I think everything you wrote after "clue" is superfluous.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2021 @ 7:35am

        Re: Re:

        Net neutrality does not apply to cable TV. Tying content neutrality and net neutrality benefits companies that are in both markets. As cable TV suppliers, those companies are not affected by any content neutrality that they try get imposed on Internet content.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2021 @ 8:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          wth is content neutrality?

          I could guess

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

        • icon
          BernardoVerda (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 3:18pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Colorless green ideas spin furiously."

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

          • icon
            BernardoVerda (profile), 12 Feb 2021 @ 9:59pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            This was meant to be a reply to a post further up.
            Like so:

            > Net neutrality does not apply to cable TV. Tying content neutrality and net neutrality benefits companies that are in both markets. As cable TV suppliers, those companies are not affected by any content neutrality that they try get imposed on Internet content.

            "Colorless green ideas spin furiously."

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

        • icon
          R.H. (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 10:48pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          There have never been any rules requiring content neutrality on television besides the "fairness doctrine" which was rescinded in 1987 and only applied to broadcast (OTA) television anyway. Net neutrality, on the other hand, is the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) must treat all Internet communications equally, and not discriminate or charge differently based on user, content, website, platform, application, type of equipment, source address, destination address, or method of communication.

          All ISPs, including the cable companies you've mentioned, were covered by the net neutrality rules that were formerly put in place by the FCC.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 11:18pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "content neutrality"

          Net neutrality has nothing to do with content.

          So, I guess you're confirming you don't know what it is?

          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), 11 Feb 2021 @ 7:36am

    Handoff

    Let's be clear: the GOP has made "big tech" public enemy number one not because they genuinely care about corporate power or monopolization, but because companies like Twitter finally started more seriously policing hate speech and political disinformation after the country almost imploded.

    The terms "hate speech" and "disinformation" are simply speech with which you disagree. If big telecom was engaged in suppressing the leftist speech that you support, then you would clearly identify this behavior as censorship. Government is outsourcing to corporations that which it isn't able to do itself.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2021 @ 7:42am

      Re: Handoff

      The terms "hate speech" and "disinformation" are simply speech with which you disagree.

      Wrong, speech that promotes hatred and violence, especially when aimed at a class of people is abhorrent.

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

    • icon
      John Roddy (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 7:48am

      Re: Handoff

      There has never been any credible evidence suggesting "conservative censorship." Why do you keep insisting otherwise?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2021 @ 8:26am

      Re: Handoff

      I see your trying your best to redefine censorship so that your very act of trying to redefine censorship qualifies as censorship.

      Very meta Koby. But you still are not quite the oppressive regime you fantasize yourself to be.

      Because Twitter isn't public property. And they are not using governmental power to prevent people from speaking, only saying that people can't graffiti on their site, even if they do happen to freely give away (figurative) cans of spray paint. (Twitter is an example, it more ore less applies to other sites the same)

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 8:28am

      If big telecom was engaged in suppressing the leftist speech that you support, then you would clearly identify this behavior as censorship.

      I wouldn’t.

      A corporation is free to associate with whatever speech it wants — even if that association costs them business. If Twitter wants to align with right-wing speech (which includes conspiracy theories and flat-out lies about elections these days), that is Twitter’s right. But that would likely make Twitter another victim of the “worst people” problem. The kind of people who make that problem are the kind of people who repeat rhetoric more closely associated with conservative politics than any other kind.

      No one has a right — legally, morally, or ethically — to use Twitter, Facebook, or any other platform that hosts third party speech. Twitter telling “leftists” to fuck off is no more censorship than Twitter telling people who use racial slurs to fuck off. Anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or trolling…or possibly both. (Which one are you, Koby?)

      Government is outsourcing to corporations that which it isn't able to do itself.

      Please cite the evidence that proves the government is asking corporations, up to and including Internet access providers such as Comcast and Internet service providers such as Cloudflare, to “silence” hate speech on behalf of the government. Reminder: Linking to either random blogs that echo your political beliefs or supposed “news” sites with less credibility than Shiva Ayyadurai is not the same as citing evidence.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2021 @ 10:28am

        Re:

        I still want to know why this government which has been in the control of conservatives is passing notes to platforms to get conservatives silenced.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 12:15pm

        Re:

        No one has a right — legally, morally, or ethically — to use Twitter, Facebook, or any other platform that hosts third party speech. Twitter telling “leftists” to fuck off is no more censorship than Twitter telling people who use racial slurs to fuck off. Anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or trolling…or possibly both. (Which one are you, Koby?)

        What makes this argument extra funny/hypocritical is that Koby was front and center in defending Parler when they were kicking people off their platform, I guess the standards differ depending on whether he agrees with the platform in question and who's being given the boot.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2021 @ 8:33am

      Re: Handoff

      " simply speech with which you disagree"

      Are you then ok with the dissemination of content that encourages dangerous things like injecting chlorine into one's body?

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

    • icon
      Paul Johnson (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 8:54am

      Re: Handoff

      The terms "hate speech" and "disinformation" are simply speech with which you disagree.

      That is incorrect.

      Many other countries have been able to clearly define and ban "hate speech". For instance, from the UK Public Order Act 1986:

      A person who uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, is guilty of an offence if—

      (a) they intend thereby to stir up racial hatred, or

      (b) having regard to all the circumstances racial hatred is likely to be stirred up thereby.

      The US Supreme Court decided that this kind of thing is protected by the 1st Amendment, but that is not the same thing.

      "Disinformation" means deliberate lies spread for a malicious ulterior purpose. Examples are lies that dissuade people from getting vaccinated, or which try to trick them into wasting money, or to prevent them from voting. Not permitting such lies to propagate is a Good Thing.

      There may be difficulty in some cases in determining whether a particular statement is true or false, but unless you cling to some lit-crit post-modernist claptrap about the social construction of reality there is a real world out there and it is possible to make statements about it which are objectively true or false. When discussing the roundness of the Earth, the effectiveness of vaccines or the winner of the US election, "that's just your opinion" is a cowards cop-out.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 9:06am

        Many other countries have been able to clearly define and ban "hate speech".

        Do any of those countries include “blasphemy” in their list of hate speech? If so, that list are bullshit.

        We don’t have a strict “hate speech” definition in the U.S. because having one would make censorship way too damned easy. Proclaim racial slurs to be hate speech and you could likely ban any number of books, movies, songs, and other media. (Say bye-bye to Blazing Saddles, for example.) Proclaim blasphemy to be hate speech and you could wipe out legitimate criticism of religion. Would a gay person using the f-word and a Black person using the n-word both be cited for using hate speech even if they were using those words in the context of talking about being on the receiving end of those words? And that doesn’t even get into the idea of hate speech laws aimed at, say, stopping “anti-conservative censorship”.

        “Hate speech” isn’t as cut-and-dry a concept as you might think, especially in regards to the law. In the U.S., we don’t have laws against hate speech because we can’t create an easy one-size-fits-all definition that won’t also ban a whole bunch of protected speech. Does that mean hateful speech is allowed to flourish in the U.S.? Sure. But we accept that as the price we pay for having the freedom to speak our minds. People will use that freedom to say horrible things. That isn’t reason enough to fine them — or jail them, for that matter.

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

        • icon
          Paul Johnson (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 10:27am

          Re:

          Nice straw man you have there.

          Blasphemy is orthogonal to hate speech. Merely blaspheming is not promoting hatred, and hatred can be stirred up without blaspheming against any particular religion.

          Mentioning the n-word, or using it in a way that lampoons racism (as in Blazing Saddles) is not attempting to stir up hatred of Black people. OTOH saying that "Black people are all diseased imbeciles who need to be taught a lesson before they rape all the White women" would be stirring up racial hatred, even though it doesn't use the n-word. Try reading the law I quoted to see the distinction, and stop assuming that a hate speech law would just be a list of banned words.

          (BTW I'm using the term "n-word" here to avoid any keyword filters, not because I won't mention the actual word more generally. That is a content moderation issue rather than an issue with the law on hate speech)

          Yes, stopping hate speech has been used as an excuse for censorship in various times and places. That doesn't mean that you can't write carefully targeted laws to ban it without censoring speech that doesn't incite hate. The Supreme Court in Brandenburg v. Ohio decided that the government interest in preventing group hatred was not sufficient to justify an exception to the 1st Amendment, but that was their judgement call, not a universal principle.

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 10:51am

            Merely blaspheming is not promoting hatred, and hatred can be stirred up without blaspheming against any particular religion.

            And I would bet that countries with anti-blasphemy laws would also consider blasphemy to be a form of hate speech — especially countries where one religious group dominates all others in terms of sociopolitical power. (And I’d also bet that if they had the chance, American Christians would enshrine into the law the idea that anti-Christian blasphemy is hate speech.)

            Mentioning the n-word, or using it in a way that lampoons racism (as in Blazing Saddles) is not attempting to stir up hatred of Black people. OTOH saying that "Black people are all diseased imbeciles who need to be taught a lesson before they rape all the White women" would be stirring up racial hatred, even though it doesn't use the n-word.

            Yes or no: Can you guarantee that a U.S.-based “hate speech” law could be written to cover both those situations (and more) without any loopholes that would allow for unintended consequences (e.g., prosecuting an author for using that “racial hatred” speech in a novel regardless of context)? If “no”: Now you know why the U.S. doesn’t have such a law. If “yes”: I can’t wait to see you dig yourself out of that hole.

            Yes, stopping hate speech has been used as an excuse for censorship in various times and places. That doesn't mean that you can't write carefully targeted laws to ban it without censoring speech that doesn't incite hate.

            You wanna know the key phrase in those two sentences that explains why such laws will never be passed in the United States? It’s “incite hate”.

            Any language can be used to incite hate if someone is creative enough. As you yourself pointed out, someone could say “Black people are all diseased imbeciles” and have it be considered hate speech. But by the same token, you could replace “Black people” with “Trump supporters” and be accused of the exact same thing: “inciting hate”.

            And race isn’t even the full extent of what could be covered under “hate speech”. Age, height, weight, romantic/sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, economic status, religious beliefs, political beliefs, where you live, where you work, who you hang out with, what sports teams you like — all those and likely more can be insulted, and all such insults could be considered an incitement of hate. None of that speech would need to involve slurs, either.

            How can you write a law that prevents all that kind of “inciting hate” while still protecting as much speech as possible, up to and including offensive speech and parodies thereof?

            The Supreme Court in Brandenburg v. Ohio decided that the government interest in preventing group hatred was not sufficient to justify an exception to the 1st Amendment, but that was their judgement call, not a universal principle.

            I welcome you to try explaining why “the government has no right to censor people only because they irrationally hate other people” shouldn’t be a universal principle. But don’t blame me if you can’t.

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

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Feb 2021 @ 6:20am

              Re:

              "Yes or no: Can you guarantee that a U.S.-based “hate speech” law could be written to cover both those situations (and more) without any loopholes that would allow for unintended consequences (e.g., prosecuting an author for using that “racial hatred” speech in a novel regardless of context)?"

              In the US? Probably not.

              Everywhere else? Well, most of Europe operates under laws banning hate speech and it doesn't work the way you perhaps envision it.

              "And race isn’t even the full extent of what could be covered under “hate speech”. Age, height, weight, romantic/sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, economic status, religious beliefs, political beliefs, where you live, where you work, who you hang out with, what sports teams you like..."

              That's a straw man. Sorry, Stephen, but many europeans have lived with laws against hate speech since 1945 or so and never seen any of your fears realized.

              This appears to be yet one more of those things which would be a problem only in america.

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

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Feb 2021 @ 6:49am

                This appears to be yet one more of those things which would be a problem only in america.

                It should be a problem elsewhere, too. No government should have the right to ban speech, or punish people for speaking offensive speech, because that speech it might hurt feelings or express hatred of other peoples. Any government given that power will eventually abuse it.

                No one should be jailed for using racial slurs, drawing the prophet Muhammed, or yelling the f-word — the bad f-word, that is — at Pride attendees. I don’t agree with any of that speech. I would do my best to avoid using any of it outside of discussions about it. But that speech should still be legally protected, and the people who speak it should be allowed to speak it without legal retribution.

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

                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 Feb 2021 @ 1:08am

                  Re:

                  "It should be a problem elsewhere, too."

                  And yet it isn't. You claiming that it ought to be is just you pointing out the hypothetical teapot orbiting mars. Kindly show it to me.

                  "No government should have the right to ban speech, or punish people for speaking offensive speech, because that speech it might hurt feelings or express hatred of other peoples."

                  A nice principle. I now invite you to read up on logic. To begin with, Karl Popper's "paradox of tolerance".
                  Tolerance is a vital part of the social contract and as such it is as important to sanction those who refuse to extend it to others as it is to affirm the rights of those expecting it.

                  Because that you tolerate nazists, racists, outright misogynists, etc, is the very reason the US is teetering on the brink of the abyss right now, and has been struggling not to tip over the edge for decades. You do not owe speech without consequences to those who would take that right from others.
                  Because you do not believe in that principle of reciprocity you now have proportionally more people believing in extreme authoritarianism and nodding to white supremacy than Hitler had in 1933.

                  All it really takes at this point is one sufficiently severe crash of the economy and the fourth reich rises right from the american heartland. Some 30% of americans will believe it's do-or-die time and the vast majority of the rest will all be sitting there again going "This can't be happening here! We're americans!"

                  "No one should be jailed for using racial slurs, drawing the prophet Muhammed, or yelling the f-word — the bad f-word, that is — at Pride attendees."

                  They don't, in europe either. But you may be forced to take down a publication where you use those words and if your use of those words are connected to an actual crime, then charges will be aggravated.

                  "But that speech should still be legally protected, and the people who speak it should be allowed to speak it without legal retribution."

                  ...and you usually can. It is, however, discouraged and people are taught that it is wrong on official levels.

                  You are conflating hate crime laws with dictatorial censorship which is very much NOT the same thing.

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

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 16 Feb 2021 @ 1:53am

                    Re: Re:

                    "To begin with, Karl Popper's "paradox of tolerance"."

                    This should be basic reading for anyone discussing the subject. If you can't understand that tolerating the intolerant emboldens them and encourages them to escalate, then you don't understand how things have worked in history.

                    "They don't, in europe either. But you may be forced to take down a publication where you use those words and if your use of those words are connected to an actual crime, then charges will be aggravated."

                    There are some exceptions - but these tend to be very controversial and lead to public backlash. There are 2 examples that spring to mind in Spain - El Jueves were prosecuted for mockery of King Juan Carlos, while the rapper Pablo Hasél
                    has just been arrested after refusing to hand himself in to serve a sentence handed down over lyrics which included attacks on the courts and state.

                    But, both of these were well-known agent provocateurs, and the state's reaction has led to some reforms in how these things should be dealt with and loud criticism from all sides. Hardly the slippery slope to totalitarianism that some appear to fear, and this is a country that was actually a dictatorship within living memory.

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

                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 16 Feb 2021 @ 6:33am

                      Re: Re: Re:

                      "This should be basic reading for anyone discussing the subject. If you can't understand that tolerating the intolerant emboldens them and encourages them to escalate, then you don't understand how things have worked in history."

                      It is, perhaps, ironic but not surprising, that creaky old europe, having lived through some very dark times indeed, is much better at handling free speech issues than the US, self-appointed bastion of "freedom" is.

                      Every human right is a guideline meant to steer governments and be a basis for individual interaction on the private level. For that to work the basis of a human right within the social contract is reciprocity. You should affirm and abet any given right to those who similarly affirm and abet that right. Those who refuse to do so or even seek to undo that right for others should not be entitled to seek the protection of those rights.

                      There are 73 million americans today who are utterly horrible people. Whether, on an individual level they are racists, misogynists, paranoid about the "commie menace" of health care for all, condemning the LGBTQ-community for being hateful in the eyes of god, or simply because as long as they get the goods everyone else can fuck off...doesn't matter. They're horrible people and failed examples of humanity and demonstrated this when they stood to cast their vote for the white supremacist and authoritarianism.

                      Most of those people have been brainwashed since early childhood in the twisted beliefs driving them. Addicted to the endorphin high of grievance since their early teens.

                      You can't cure or deprogram them so barring they meet their end in the war so many of them yearn to provoke they'll be poisoning the US well for decades yet.
                      One way or another the US either manages to push these malignant cretins out of mainstream society to sit and bay on the fringes, clearly removed from any of the respect entitled citizens with even marginal respect for their neighbor...or there will be another Trump, far smarter, more subtle, and with less blatantly obvious stooges doing his bidding. And any vestige of US democracy dies right there, until it's bought back in the coin of Jeffersson; the blood of patriots and tyrants.

                      That's the situation the US is in right now, and it all comes from the US as a whole not persistently and with great political will coming down on white supremacy and nazism like a ton of bricks.

                      When the racist prick stands up to holler that it's his right as an american to scream the N-word as loud as he can at the top of his lungs or sit at the local watering hole loudly ranting about the baby-eating satanists helmed by the Kenyan Muslim then it's up to the rest of the town to roll up their sleeves and run that asshat out to his trailer on a god damn rail and inform him that he's no longer welcome among the trappings of civilization until he knows the rules. Had that been done there wouldn't be 73 million americans believing that their white skin or baptism made them the Master Race not to be doubted.

                      But there are, and those 73 million entitled man-children are now, for the first time in their god damn lives, told "enough". No fucking wonder they freak out.

                      What may be surprising to some is where the blame goes. It's not solely on those 73 million horrible people. It's on the other side of that equation. The mild-mannered and well-intentioned liberals who have shied away from taking the fight every time one of the angry trailer-trash neckbeards growled their way. The ones who have persistently enabled these benighted motherfuckers by always compromising and calling for bipartisanship and a debate when what they should have done is to respond with the exact amount of belligerence offered.

                      Principles are great and the willingness to meet even your adversary in debate is laudable...but it first of all requires that your adversary is willing to engage in that debate in the first place.

                      They're not. The sturmabteilung isn't going to sit down over beer and pretzels and calmly debate you.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2021 @ 8:56am

      Re: Handoff

      Government is outsourcing to corporations that which it isn't able to do itself.

      Yeah, including creating social media platforms in the first place, right? Because that's what you'd have to believe for any other of the bullshit you post over and over again to be even remotely true.

      Then again, as long as it's your belief that conservative speech is being silenced, I'm fine with just telling you to 'cope harder, snowflake,' to quote the republican cry of unity I've heard for the last 4 years.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Feb 2021 @ 3:16am

      Re: Handoff

      "The terms "hate speech" and "disinformation" are simply speech with which you disagree."

      So, white americans murdering black americans for being black merely disagree with their right to live?

      I'm not sure an argument which makes Hitler a mere dissenter in a debate rather than a monster is what you were going for Koby, but it certainly is what you delivered.

      Hate speech is most definitely a very well defined thing and is quite different from a "dissenting opinion" on whether a tax raise is or is not merited, or where you should draw the line on fiscal regulation of banking interest.

      "If big telecom was engaged in suppressing the leftist speech that you support..."

      Which they probably would be if "leftist" speech regularly called for, or lauded the enslavement or wholesale murder of entire demographics, or had to build every argument out of obviously manifest untruth.

      Now as before, Koby, your argument that extreme right-wing hatemongering and racist rhetoric is equivalent to leftists calling for universal health care and education is still only troll rhetoric.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 12 Feb 2021 @ 4:47am

        Re: Re: Handoff

        "Which they probably would be if "leftist" speech regularly called for..."

        Now, now - there's plenty of evidence emerging that Facebook directly favoured right-wing speech over more liberal stuff, and it's well known that Parler, et al regularly censored people for saying stuff as far-left leaning as "you know, maybe this Trump guy isn't god emperor material".

        The only issue here is the reaction. You or I might go "Parler will delete inoffensive posts randomly because they don't conform? OK, I guess I'm using something other than Parler", whereas Koby will go "my friends were blocked for calling for genocide and taking part in the attempt to violently overthrow a democratic election? The government need to seize Twitter's property and force them to let them back on!"

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Feb 2021 @ 6:28am

          Re: Re: Re: Handoff

          "Now, now - there's plenty of evidence emerging that Facebook directly favoured right-wing speech over more liberal stuff, and it's well known that Parler, et al regularly censored people for saying stuff as far-left leaning as "you know, maybe this Trump guy isn't god emperor material". "

          Well, there are certainly some indications of this, and good reason for it. We liberals tend to be far more quiet and less upset when someone decides they'd rather not we say certain stuff on their property. The Trump cultist, otoh, will stand outside and bellow that he has been silenced so people can hear it across state borders. Of course FB and Twitter would rather get rid of liberal posts whose doubt in God-Emperor Trump tends to set of the rabid shitweasels in his cult.

          "...whereas Koby will go "my friends were blocked for calling for genocide and taking part in the attempt to violently overthrow a democratic election? The government need to seize Twitter's property and force them to let them back on!""

          Yeah, for self-defined right-wing "conservatives" the alt-right certainly advocates a LOT of outright marxism as the solution to their problem of people being unwilling to lend them a soapbox and a bullhorn.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 14 Feb 2021 @ 1:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Handoff

            "We liberals tend to be far more quiet and less upset when someone decides they'd rather not we say certain stuff on their property"

            Well, we're usually intelligent enough and responsible enough to understand the consequences of our own actions and take appropriate action - be that using a different site or making amends for those actions.

            Take, for example, the actress who has just been kicked off the Mandalorian for comments about the holocaust. Lots of whining and persecution comments and pretending that getting Ben Shapiro to help make her a movie instead is a step up somehow. Compare that to Megan Fox, who was similarly blackballed for comparing Michael Bay to Hitler - I don't recall wailing and moaning about how it was really a Hollywood conspiracy against the left.

            "a LOT of outright marxism as the solution to their problem"

            They love that stuff because they always imagine they will be the ones in power, and have no problem abusing that power when it benefits them. They never consider that they won't be the ones in charge, nor do they understand words well enough to realise that's what they advocate for.

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

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Feb 2021 @ 7:32am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Handoff

              "They love that stuff because they always imagine they will be the ones in power, and have no problem abusing that power when it benefits them. They never consider that they won't be the ones in charge, nor do they understand words well enough to realise that's what they advocate for."

              Literally an army of entitled morons stuck in a power fantasy where they, having been powerless losers for all their lives, somehow end up running the show.
              It's no wonder so many of them got stuck on Trump - he's the manifest ideal of all their hopes and dreams; The incompetent and unpopular asshole who ended up on top of everyone else. Every time they applaud him they're reinforcing their own self-image.

              But even if their chosen proxy wins, history shows quite clearly the first thing the new dictator does is to get rid of the angry mob floating him to his current position, once they're no longer useful and just an embarrassment expecting things he never intended to deliver.

              73 million people. All stuck in a malicious power fantasy and completely disconnected from reality. I have no idea at all if there is any other option on the table for the US than a second civil war at some point. This will not just go away.

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

        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 12 Feb 2021 @ 9:01am

          Re: Re: Re: Handoff

          Do you think claims of "anti-conservative bias" comes from those making it being math-illiterate, thinking 60/90 > 8/10 because 60>8?

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Feb 2021 @ 9:10am

            To be fair, it’s why the A&W Third-Pounder never succeeded — Americans thought they were getting less meat than the McDonald’s Quarter-Pounder because "four is bigger than three".

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 14 Feb 2021 @ 1:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Handoff

            I think those claims come from them being mentally stuck in adolescence and can't comprehend consequences coming from actions.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 12 Feb 2021 @ 10:55am

        'Oh, you know the speech...'

        I find it so very telling that the tactic these days is to describe bigotry, lies and trolling content as being banned because people 'disagree' with it rather than because it's content that civilized platforms don't want around, as it shows that even those trying to defend it know they can't do so honestly which results in the ever popular attempt for that lot to try to shift the blame off the speaker and on to the one who brought the ban-hammer down, while at the same time obscuring what the actual content of the speech was so they never have to own it directly.

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

  • icon
    Paul Johnson (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 8:39am

    "Tactical strategy"

    [...] conflating net neutrality and the debate over 230 into one incoherent ball is a tactical strategy, not a real argument.

    What exactly is a "tactical strategy"? Its either a tactic or a strategy.

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

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 9:09am

      Re: "Tactical strategy"

      Yes, a tactic is "a plan, procedure, or expedient for promoting a desired end or result," whereas a strategy is "a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result". Completely different.

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

      • icon
        Paul Johnson (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 10:11am

        Re: Re: "Tactical strategy"

        In military terms (where it comes from), tactics are short-term plans for winning a battle while strategy is the long term plan for how you win the war.

        https://fs.blog/2018/08/strategy-vs-tactics/

        "tactical strategy" means a short-term plan for the long term.

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

        • icon
          crade (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 10:21am

          Re: Re: Re: "Tactical strategy"

          yeah you don't even need all 53 steam games to know that!

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

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 11:15am

          Re: Re: Re: "Tactical strategy"

          In military terms (where it comes from), tactics are short-term plans for winning a battle while strategy is the long term plan for how you win the war.

          Which would be relevant if we were speaking in military terms.

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

          • icon
            crade (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 11:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Tactical strategy"

            It's relevant because thats where the words came from and thus how they are defined and used.

            tactics is micromanaging, strategy is macromanaging.

            "Tactical strategy" is an overall plan (strategy) applied broadstroke to your micromanaging (tactics).. "stop drop and roll" or CPR are tactical strategies general plans covering how to win "battles" without necessarily considering the specific situation..

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 9:05am

    Net Neutrality has never been related to speech.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2021 @ 9:19am

    Only people who live in their parents' basement have a "mom and pop ISP."

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

    • icon
      crade (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 9:42am

      Re:

      it's not your mom and pop oligarchs who are
      blocking access to content, they are completely focused on legal and lobbying to prevent competition and get free money from the government. It's those rogue businesses actually out trying to accomplish something you have to worry about

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

    • icon
      R.H. (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 11:05pm

      Re:

      There are "Mom and Pop" ISPs, in fact, Tech Dirt talked about this one (that I can't find the Tech Dirt article for) last month.

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

      • icon
        crade (profile), 12 Feb 2021 @ 6:22am

        Re: Re:

        In name, yes. No one is much concerned if they are neutral or not though. If that guy from that article throttles his 1 or 2 hops that get from his neighbors house to the big boys that really run the show, they can just switch to the big boys or pay a few grand to run their own pipe to bipass that guy entirely. If the the big boys throttles their network, this guy's customers and everyone else is throttled too and they take it with a smile.

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

  • icon
    TasMot (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 10:14am

    Too bad that Section 230 couldn't be easily promoted to be a Constitutional Amendment. To legally put liability where it belongs, not on the intermediaries. Just the the phone company is not sued if people use their phones to talk about a crime and the car companies are not sued when a car is used in a crime, the platform and the wires that carry the Internet should not be sued all of the time because a person uses them to commit a crime.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 11:34am

    Can we admit, trump dont know politics?

    And leave it at that.

    "The Trumpist GOP assault on Section 230, by contrast, is the brain fart of an unqualified and corrupt ex-president"

    Really think this was the GOP, telling trump to Kowtow or loose all the GOP backing.

    "designed largely to bully content platforms into carrying hate speech and political disinformation"

    This isnt shown. It has been edited/removed. You cant tall people What WAS/had been, to be said. After the fact. Its not there.
    The problem with censorship is Censorship, and what was/wasnt said.

    The problem with 230? is the Gov. deciding WHAT and WHO can decide what to keep. Its in there. but AFTER the fact that something has been removed in comments, means its Gone unless you have a Trash can to read it from.

    This site is pretty good at Controlling the Problem.
    HOW can we get the other sites to do the same.
    But. we have to declare the site as NOT, "Right to be forgotten". Which should REALLY scare the republicans and democrats.

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

    • icon
      crade (profile), 12 Feb 2021 @ 8:22am

      Re: Can we admit, trump dont know politics?

      Trump knows politics.. it might be the only thing he does know.
      He doesn't know how to accomplish anything, but he knows how to lie and how to get people to back him anyway.

      Of course you can tell people what happened.. you have a record.

      Private entities telling you to fuck off because they think you are an asshole isn't censorship. No matter how loudly and constantly rascists assholes claim they are being censored and no they can't tell anyone about how oppressed they are, they are still completely and utterly full of shit.

      If 99% of the population in your town goes to a church, bar, website, whatever there and the church won't let you swear, preach white supremacy and act like an asshole there (or whatever else the owners don't want you doing), they aren't censoring you. It's just their church, their rules don't like it, make something useful yourself or go make a nuisance of yourself on public property.

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

      • icon
        ECA (profile), 18 Feb 2021 @ 1:14pm

        Re: Re: Can we admit, trump dont know politics?

        But that is also the corp ideals, and how to play the game.
        Trump has learned those.
        But playing in the big guys games, Is alittle different. and how he has pissed off most other countries.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 12:11pm

    One of these things is not like the other...

    To make a meatspace analogy, just because public roads are open for all to use, even people/companies that the local government doesn't like, it does not follow that businesses along those roads should be prohibited from being able to kick disruptive assholes out for harassing customers or swearing at the staff.

    Network neutrality is just what it sounds like in the name, forcing equal treatment in sites so that the companies offering internet service are not allowed to give preferential treatment to certain platforms/services over others. Those attacking 230 for 'censoring' assholes however do not want equal treatment, they want preferential treatment, special exemptions to the rules so that they can say and act however they want without consequence.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2021 @ 11:28pm

    Answer No

    After all this would you say there’s any point in including republicans in...
    Well anything lol

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

  • icon
    fairuse (profile), 17 Feb 2021 @ 9:57am

    After reading all of the comments I have only one thing to add.

    Laurie Anderson figured it out years ago.

    https://youtu.be/KvOoR8m0oms

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


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