How Do You Debate Section 230 When One Side Constantly Lies About It?

from the this-is-not-a-both-sides-issue dept

The Federalist Society this week released an interesting and well-produced video all about the Section 230 debate. Whatever you might think about the Federalist Society, the video is worth watching. The video does not take a position on 230 but basically presents it as if there are two equally competing visions of 230 -- one in which it's good and one in which it's a problem. And if you just watch the video, you might think that this is because there are just disagreements about how 230 works and the impact it has on speech online. But that's only because one side of the debate is completely making shit up and the other is being accurate.

In this case, the person making up shit about 230 is... Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz has been lying about Section 230 for years. Indeed, I think we can trace most of the blatant falsehoods about 230 that seem to come from Republicans to Ted Cruz. It seems like 3 years ago, Cruz decided that it would be a fun culture war thing to "attack big tech" and lying about 230 seemed like the easiest way to do so. Other politicians (most notably Josh Hawley) have since followed him down that path, but it's Cruz who seems to be patient zero of the GOP's "making shit up about 230." Of course, what's perhaps most ironic is that everything that Cruz has been falsely saying about 230 conflicts directly with the other stuff he made up about net neutrality back when that fight was on.

Back in 2014, when the FCC finally put in place reasonable net neutrality rules, Cruz flipped out and insisted that simple rules against throttling or blocking access to websites was the government taking over the internet. Now, with 230, he insists (falsely) that 230 had some built in neutrality requirement, and he's mad that it's no longer there. He's wrong on... all of this.

Let's dig in:

Who in their right mind would want all of political discourse in America governed by a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires? With unfettered power to silence anyone. That's what we have now and I think it threatens our elections, it threatens our democracy, and it threatens free speech in a way we've never seen before in our democracy.

Oh come on. First of all, pre-internet, the vast majority of people had no outlet for them to speak to the vast majority of other Americans (or people around the globe). They could only speak to people around them, and that was an extremely limited audience. Today, the internet has enabled people to speak to tons of people across a wide variety of platforms or -- even better, to set up your own website and communicate to whatever audience you can attract. The idea that a few popular sites have "unfettered power to silence anyone" is ridiculous. First of all, they can't silence people. They can only refuse them service on their platforms. And the internet is much bigger than those platforms.

Second, they have strong incentives not to just randomly silence people and really are not doing so. While they sometimes make mistakes, it's not like they're suddenly deciding that idiots like Ted Cruz can't lie to the American public and create bogus culture wars. Hell, this video is... hosted on YouTube. Are there cases where these sites have over moderated content that they probably should not have? Sure, absolutely. But there remain many other options out there, and the idea that a few sites having moderation policies Ted Cruz doesn't like is in no way a "threat to free speech." And, it most certainly is not a historic threat the way Cruz presents it.

Again, compare this to what we had before. Before people had no significant tools to get their speech out there. If you wanted to speak to a wide audience, you were immediately limited by a bunch of giant gatekeepers who suppressed way more speech than any internet platform ever has. You needed to get a newspaper publisher, book publisher, or TV or radio station to agree to allow you to speak, and they rejected nearly all such efforts. They only allowed through a tiny fraction of those who wished to be published or put on the air.

The change today is massive. But if we're talking about the power of big companies to silence speech, we're in a fundamentally different world today where the primary purpose of many of these companies is enabling the vast majority of people to be able to speak to wider audiences. The old systems were focused on just allowing through a tiny minority of people to speak. We're currently in amazing times for freedom of speech, and the fact that a few platforms don't want assholes and disinformation merchants is not an attack on free speech.

Later Cruz does this misleading garbage thing where he says that the big tech companies have refused to tell him how many Republican candidates for office have had their content "blocked, shadowbanned, or restricted." He insists that there is a clear number "an integer" that these companies know and refuse to tell him and "that unchecked power is dangerous."

Except that entire statement is garbage. First of all, "shadowbanning" is not a defined thing, and most companies don't do anything that can be reasonably defined as "shadowbanning" or "throttling." But all of these platforms do have algorithms that suggest content to users, and they may rank certain content higher than others, because the algorithms believe users are more likely to want to see some content, and less likely to see other content. Is having the algorithm decide that one politician's content is less interesting than another's... is that "shadowbanning"? Is that "throttling"? Who the fuck knows? That's why Cruz's question is so disingenuous. He's asking an unanswerable question, and then pretending that when companies don't answer a question that can't be answered that they're dodging the issue.

And, no, that power is not "unchecked." Remember when Ted Cruz was a Republican who pretended to believe in the market? If these companies were really terrible at all of this, then that's an opportunity for alternatives to spring up. Or it's a reason for users to stop using the platforms. Or for advertisers to go elsewhere. There are all sorts of market incentives for these companies to be better. Cruz is just making shit up again.

Right now, Section 230 is part of how Congress continues to protect these monopolies that are abusing their power and trying to silence you.

Oh come on. Section 230 protects everyone online. It's got nothing to do with "monopolies" (and just the fact he is referring to multiple companies as monopolies should make you question if he knows what the word monopoly means). And, no, they're not trying to "silence you." They're trying to balance a ton of competing interests, including stopping spam, harassment, abuse, and disinformation that is creating larger societal problems that cynical opportunist politicians like Ted Cruz want to brush under the rug or deny.

The question of what to do about big tech censorship is a difficult question. I will readily concede that as a policy matter, that is not easy to solve. Nobody in their right mind wants to see a federal government speech police.

And here he is trying to have it both ways, because everything else he says is demanding exactly that. Having the federal government force websites to host some speech while removing some other speech. But Cruz wants to have it both ways. Because he's lying.

But it's no longer the case that tech companies are these tiny little startups. It's no longer the case that they're a couple of kids starting something in their college dorm room.

Uh, there are still tons of startups, including started by kids in their dorm rooms that are protected by 230.

So it then becomes a thorny problem. How do you solve this blatant censorship and bias coming from Silicon Valley. First, which we're talking about right now, is repealing or modifying Section 230. Eliminating the special immunity from liability that big tech gets that was based on the belief that they would be neutral public forum. They've abandoned that promise. They've decided that they're not neutral. They're partisan, they will silence your views if they disagree with them.

Everything he says here is hogwash. First, the small lie: Section 230 is not about "big tech." It protects small sites and users as well. It protects Ted Cruz when he retweets something or when he forwards an email.

Then the big lie: the idea that 230 was premised on "neutrality." While the video later does show Chris Cox -- who wrote Section 230 -- debunking this myth, it's much later in the video and people watching it might not even realize that he's basically calling out Cruz as a blatant liar. Section 230 was never based on the idea of any website being "a neutral public forum." As Cox says later, how would that even make any sense? No one would expect, say, the Republican National Committee to have to host speech promoting Democrats.

The entire point of Section 230 was to allow websites to moderate how they saw fit for the community they wanted to have on their website. It's why we see so many different websites with so many different approaches. Because no one wants or needs a one-size-fits-all approach. So, if websites wanted to be biased, that's exactly what 230 was designed to support. So no site "broke" any promise, because no promise was made.

And finally, it's bullshit that any of the big companies are "partisan" in their moderation. They're not banning people for their political views. They're banning them when they're spewing disinformation or harassment in a way that makes it difficult for others using the site as well. The only site I've seen admit to being "partisan" was Parler, whose former CEO bragged to reporters about banning "leftists." I didn't see Cruz complain about that.

I think there should be strong incentive in federal law for the big companies to go back to being neutral public fora. They know how to do that. They did that for years. Because if they silence anyone who disagrees with the leftwing orthodoxy we'll only hear one view.

Oh come on. Again, they were never "neutral public fora." They have always had content moderation policies, removing spam and harassment -- and things they were legally required to remove, such as copyright infringement and child sexual abuse material.

And, again, remember that the one regulation we did have about making a part of the internet "neutral" resulted in Cruz himself screaming about how it was "Obamacare for the internet" and "the government takeover of the internet." Ted Cruz is a lying fucking hypocrite.

Oh, and there is no site out there that is silencing "anyone who disagrees with leftwing orthodoxy." Again, Ted Cruz -- who clearly disagrees with leftwing orthodoxy -- is still on all these platforms. This video is hosted by YouTube. Cruz is just culture warrioring, by lying to you.

That's the world of big tech, but it's even worse because it's 3 or 4 billionaires in Silicon Valley deciding what you get to hear, what you get to say, what you get to know. That is an incredible danger to our Constitution, to our Bill of Rights, and to our democracy.

Again, no. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution are mostly about limiting what Congress can do. Private companies exercising editorial discretion on their platforms is actually protected by the Bill of Rights.

I'm not sure there was a single thing in this entire video that came out of Ted Cruz's mouth that was anywhere near truth. It was all cynical bullshit that was not only ridiculous and wrong, but was designed to mislead people. I know the Federalist Society wants to present "both sides" of this issue, but how do you do that when the people you choose have no compunction about just flat out lying?

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Filed Under: content moderation, lies, neutrality, section 230, ted cruz


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 10:59am

    I know the Federalist Society wants to present "both sides" of this issue, but how do you do that when the people you choose have no compunction about just flat out lying?

    You throw out your ethics and say “wE’rE bEiNg NeUtRaL” like it’s a point of pride instead of a badge of shame.

    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), 26 Apr 2021 @ 11:54am

    That's How

    How Do You Debate Section 230 When One Side Constantly Lies About It?

    Good news: you did it! The answer to debating against someone is with more speech. Personally, I think you did a bad job of it, offering a massive column of text that mostly offered opinion, instead of proving that someone was "lying". That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it.

    But what IS a problem is the left wing fascist solution, which is to engage in censorship. Leftists do not want debate, and cannot tolerate counterpoints to be heard. Instead, they want their opponents' opinion to be declared "lying" and preemptively removed.

    That's why leftists are attempting to coop with big tech platforms: envy. Currently, tech platforms have the power that they have desired, which is the ability to censor those with which they disagree. Reform section 230, and obligate those who build an internet public square to provide it under common carrier laws, with equal access and rules for everyone.

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

    • identicon
      Glen, 26 Apr 2021 @ 11:58am

      Re: That's How

      And thus the lie get spread even further.

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

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 26 Apr 2021 @ 12:01pm

      Re: That's How

      "left wing fascist"

      And unicorns, don't forget the unicorns.

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

      • icon
        Samuel Abram (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 5:05pm

        Re: Re: That's How

        And unicorns, don't forget the unicorns.

        That'll happen as soon as we get those mythical right-wing communists.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 12:21am

          Re: Re: Re: That's How

          "That'll happen as soon as we get those mythical right-wing communists."

          Not so mythical anymore. The right-wings's current angle on 230 is that as soon as private property becomes too popular the state must seize it.

          If it keeps quoting pure marxist doctrine about how the state must seize the means of production from corporations just so people can't kick nazis off their lawn then the right-wing communist isn't a myth - it's the standard.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2021 @ 12:06pm

      Re: That's How

      Will you allow them to moderate racist, misogynist anti-LGBTQ content, or you want to drive groups you disagree with offline?

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

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 12:14pm

      Re: That's How

      [Projects facts not in evidence]

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

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 12:18pm

        Re: Re: That's How

        Actual censorship: Koby and his fellow fascists making free speech illegal with Section 230 "reform."

        Hallucinatory censorship: "leftists" engaging in thevkinds of free speech Koby doesn't like.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 1:10pm

      Re: That's How

      Koby, nearly everything you wrote here is utter nonsense.

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

      • icon
        sumgai (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 2:04pm

        Re: Re: That's How

        ^^^ Not just "wrote", as in the past tense, but everything he posts live - it's all beyond the pale when viewed through the lens of reality. I personally wonder at his every post, that he's not been hospitalized for gross manifestations of clinical inability to successfully relate to the real world.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 2:08pm

          I wonder the same thing about tp… 🤔

          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, 26 Apr 2021 @ 5:29pm

            Re:

            Tero Pukefucker is, at minimum, protected by a heavily subsidized welfare system for Scandinavian territories. Koby has no such luck. He has to be assraped by the Trumpian government he supported and that can't be good for your health.

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

        • icon
          lucidrenegade (profile), 28 Apr 2021 @ 4:44pm

          Re: Re: Re: That's How

          So Blue changed his screen name?

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

          • icon
            Samuel Abram (profile), 29 Apr 2021 @ 2:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: That's How

            I think Blue–like a Pokémon–evolved.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2021 @ 5:49pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: That's How

              Nah, Koby's the sort of Pokemon that looks like an evolved Blue but isn't actually linked to them by evolutionary line, albeit it actually serves some kind of niche in the lower usage tiers such as Alomomola.

              blue's akin to a Luvdisc, serves one gimmick in one game in one generation but does fuck all beyond being mildly annoying.

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

    • icon
      Bloof (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 1:56pm

      Re: That's How

      Lies are lies and the truth is the truth. Right wingers do not deserve to go unchallenged just because they are on the other side of the political spectrum, and let's be honest here, that is the kind of 'fairness' you want. You want people top be completely free of any criticism, any pushback for saying things they know are false, and you don't want them to have to adhere to the rules of platforms they agreed to when they signed up to a platform, the way every other user is. You will not be happy until white republican males are a protected class, while still somehow being a persecuted minority that's also the silent majority, despite being fewer in numbers than ever before and being completely incapable of shutting up about theiur entirely imaginary grievances.

      You throw around words like censorship, but as we've seen time and time again on this site, there's always some excuse when it's a right wing site doing it, 'the people banned on parler are clearly trolling', 'The Mypillow guy isn't censoring anyone despite banning swearing and what he deems blasphemy'. You are completely fine with Joel Kaplan's treatment of left wing news sources and journalism in general on facebook because it benefits far right blogs like the Daily Wire, and I sure don't recall you ever calling for the return of the fairness doctrine to traditional media.

      Your biggest issue with social media and section 230 as a whole isn't that there's moderation or 'censorship', it's that the right wing aren't in charge of, and exempt from it.

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

    • identicon
      Rocky, 26 Apr 2021 @ 3:57pm

      Re: That's How

      When someone tells you that you are wrong because of <factual reason A>, are they then automatically leftist fascists that help capitalist corporations make money? Have you actually listened to yourself? You sound like a village idiot who's only defense for doing stupid things is to attack others.

      Let's take a page from your method of arguing:

      The fascist right's only hope of survival is to force others to carry their speech to reach a wider audience, and to do that they lie and cheat constantly in an effort to whip up the emotions of their intellectually challenged followers, aka the fascist right's useful idiots. They aren't in the least interested in the truth or facts, they are only interested in staying in power and they will try to tear down democracy in their struggle to remain relevant. One of the ways they are dishonest is that they accuse everyone disagreeing with them to be "fascists", "leftists", "corporate shills" and "pro-censorship" to get them on the defensive. At no point in their diatribe do they actually supply any kind of facts to prove that any of their accusations could be true, it's just an emotional-laden smoke-screen to make their idiot followers feel good that they are on the "right" side. Their followers have at this point been so indoctrinated that even though presented with verifiable facts they either ignore it or call it "fake".

      Now Koby, if you actually had bothered to actually read up (and understood) on section 230 and what SCOTUS have said about it and the 1A, you would either realize that you up to this point been an ignorant fucker or still think you are right contrary to available facts. By judging what you post, it's the latter, which means you are an ignorant fucker who rather would believe in fairy-tales than facts.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2021 @ 5:59pm

      Re: That's How

      Koby just so you know. You aren’t the first person to show up here with a self humiliation fetish.

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

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 9:28pm

      Re: That's How

      "...offering a massive column of text that mostly offered opinion, instead of proving that someone was "lying". That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it."

      Much of the column is provable facts. This is not some weird esoteric topic that hardly anyone understands. It's been studied in great detail, and nobody with any academic credibility has provided any evidence of suppression of online right wing political speech. Just lots of Nazis, racists, misogynists' and arseholes who can't follow the rules they agreed to when signing up to a service.

      "But what IS a problem is the left wing fascist solution..."

      Left wing fascist? Really?! Please go read Wikipedia or something...

      "Reform section 230, and obligate those who build an internet public square to provide it under common carrier laws, with equal access and rules for everyone."

      So 'public square' and 'common carrier' can join 'left wing' and 'fascist' on the list of words you don't know the meaning of.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 1:36am

      Re: That's How

      "That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it"

      Weird, you own opinion stated here is provably wrong, but we all know you're too much of a coward to actually debate anyone. You'll just disappear until the next thread, repeating the same tired, debunked lies over and over again, fooling nobody except the klan buddies you're desperate to have forced on people who don't want them.

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

  • icon
    Keroberos (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 11:54am

    I've come to the realization that the problem that they have with social media is that all their lies are almost immediately called out. They've never had to deal with that before. Mainstream media has usually bent over backwards to not call them out on their lies due to the risk of being cut off.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2021 @ 1:26pm

      Re:

      Which is why they love things like Fox News that are one way mediums that just project out their statements and they don't have to deal with debate or fact-checking.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 26 Apr 2021 @ 12:02pm

    Maybe you start by asking why he wants it dismantled. The real reason. My guess is, he wants to silence people. Ted Cruz is a floater turd. Keep flushing, eventually he'll go down.

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

    • icon
      Strawb (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 1:05pm

      Re:

      Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2021 @ 1:13pm

        Re: Re:

        Willful ignorance based on wounded privilege is pretty much malice.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 2:29pm

        Re: Re:

        Stupidity as an excuse only gets you so far, all the more so when it's long-term and based upon hypocrisy and the person in question is in a position of authority that should carry a higher bar of acceptable behavior and expectations.

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

      • icon
        Samuel Abram (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 5:09pm

        Re: Re:

        Considering everything that Ted Cruz has done in his entire career as a Senator, he doesn't even deserve the slightest shadow of the benefit of the doubt.

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

      • icon
        JMT (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 9:30pm

        Re: Re:

        Boebert and Green are stupid. Ted Cruz is not, he knows exactly what he's doing.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 12:26am

        Re: Re:

        "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

        Yeah...I wish the US right-wing problem was adequately explained by "stupidity". It's not. Engage any Trumper in a debate for about five minutes and it'll emerge that to the last person they're really in it because they want to see harm fall upon the other - by which they mean anyone better off, better educated, differently colored, with a different opinion...

        Only after that cheerful wish of theirs does "stupid" come into the picture, when they go braying after a Dear Leader for whom they will be the most willing and expendable of tools, or advocate for legislation which will scuttle and hinder democracy as a whole but certainly make sure none of their voices are ever heard again.

        Don't fool yourself. one out of three americans is today a fucking horrible person, not just a stupid one.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    MajorRacham, 26 Apr 2021 @ 12:55pm

    Not seeing facts, only opinions

    As I read through this response what I'm not seeing are any pointers to facts, statistics, evidentiary refutation. It's all ad hominem, and personal opinions on what is "meant" by the fcc guidance, what motivation the large technology companies have to allow free debate, etc, and not how it's actually being used - to the point or counter.

    This is the type of article that quashes debate by citing, at best, anecdotal evidence, and at worst, outright misinformation disguised as truth.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2021 @ 1:17pm

      Re: Not seeing facts, only opinions

      Read CDA 230. It's all the fact you need.

      Everything most people have against it is hatred for the First Amendment when it doesn't amplify their views and suppress the views of others. What "evidence" do you want?

      P.S., There are exactly zero instances of argumentum ad hominem in the article. If you are one of those people who think calling an asshole an asshole is an "ad hominem", and that this makes some sort of case for you, you've got nothing.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 1:24pm

      The freakin ISS is going to be seeing that projection...

      Hitchen's Razor: That which has been asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

      Those crying that tech companies have been 'silencing' them for their political views(and boy are they loud for someone who's been 'silenced') have yet to actually presented evidence that anyone is being shown the door for their political views, rather than for being an asshole, and if you need it to be painstakingly explained why tech companies would want to foster platforms free of assholes that people want to use you may need to do some more research into the primary motivation of companies.

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

      • icon
        sumgai (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 2:13pm

        Re: The freakin ISS is going to be seeing that projection...

        do some more research

        Republican: Research is for nerds, you know, the little people.

        Also Republican: I'm too important to listen to little people who do that kind of thing. You just listen to me, and obey everything I say, or I'll get you. Just watch, you'll see.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 1:32pm

      what I'm not seeing are any pointers to facts, statistics, evidentiary refutation

      If you want a citation on the original intent of 230, here are the actual, factual, on-the-Congressional-record words of Republican(!) lawmaker Chris Cox, who helped craft 47 U.S.C. § 230:

      We want to encourage people like Prodigy, like CompuServe, like America Online, like the new Microsoft network, to do everything possible for us, the customer, to help us control, at the portals of our computer, at the front door of our house, what comes in and what our children see.

      [O]ur amendment will do two basic things: First, it will protect computer Good Samaritans, online service providers, anyone who provides a front end to the Internet, let us say, who takes steps to screen indecency and offensive material for their customers. It will protect them from taking on liability such as occurred in the Prodigy case in New York that they should not face for helping us and for helping us solve this problem. Second, it will establish as the policy of the United States that we do not wish to have content regulation by the Federal Government of what is on the Internet, that we do not wish to have a Federal Computer Commission with an army of bureaucrats regulating the Internet because frankly the Internet has grown up to be what it is without that kind of help from the Government. In this fashion we can encourage what is right now the most energetic technological revolution that any of us has ever witnessed. We can make it better. We can make sure that it operates more quickly to solve our problem of keeping pornography away from our kids, keeping offensive material away from our kids, and I am very excited about it.

      If you want a citation for the claim that social media services are not public fora, look no further than a Supreme Court ruling from 2019 where Justice Brett Kavanaugh(!) wrote the majority opinion:

      Under the Court’s cases, a private entity may qualify as a state actor when it exercises “powers traditionally exclusively reserved to the State.” … It is not enough that the federal, state, or local government exercised the function in the past, or still does. And it is not enough that the function serves the public good or the public interest in some way. Rather, to qualify as a traditional, exclusive public function within the meaning of our state-action precedents, the government must have traditionally and exclusively performed the function.

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

      When the government provides a forum for speech (known as a public forum), the government may be constrained by the First Amendment, meaning that the government ordinarily may not exclude speech or speakers from the forum on the basis of viewpoint, or sometimes even on the basis of content[.]

      By contrast, when a private entity provides a forum for speech, the private entity is not ordinarily constrained by the First Amendment because the private entity is not a state actor. The private entity may thus exercise editorial discretion over the speech and speakers in the forum. This Court so ruled in its 1976 decision in Hudgens v. NLRB. There, the Court held that a shopping center owner is not a state actor subject to First Amendment requirements such as the public forum doctrine[.]

      The Hudgens decision reflects a commonsense principle: Providing some kind of forum for speech is not an activity that only governmental entities have traditionally performed. Therefore, a private entity who provides a forum for speech is not transformed by that fact alone into a state actor. After all, private property owners and private lessees often open their property for speech. Grocery stores put up community bulletin boards. Comedy clubs host open mic nights. As Judge Jacobs persuasively explained, it “is not at all a near-exclusive function of the state to provide the forums for public expression, politics, information, or entertainment[”.]

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

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

      A private entity … who opens its property for speech by others is not transformed by that fact alone into a state actor.

      Do you need any more citations, or will that be all for today?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2021 @ 1:34pm

      Re: Not seeing facts, only opinions

      As I read through your comment, I'm not seeing you actually prove that any of the statements were false or just ad hominems or personal opinions.

      This is the type of comment that pretends to be debating but is just saying, "no, you're wrong" with vague references to "anecdotal evidence" or "misinformation" that you haven't proven is actually such.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2021 @ 3:48am

      Re: Not seeing facts, only opinions

      As I read through this response what I'm not seeing are any pointers to facts,
      statistics, evidentiary refutation.

      You first. Back up your claims of conservatives being silenced for being conservatives.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 5:54am

        Re: Re: Not seeing facts, only opinions

        ...and it has to be people "silenced" for being conservatives, not for being hateful abusive idiots while happening to be conservatives.

        Actually, I'd like an example of someone actually being "silenced". All I tend to see is obnoxious idiots getting free air time on right-wing propaganda outlets, shouting louder than they ever have before, because they got themselves kicked off one of a multitude of platforms available to them. Sorry, if some knuckledragger gets to spend a week on Fox and OANN whining about nonsense, they haven't been silenced for a moment.

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  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 1:04pm

    Lying continually is the only way republicans can get any traction in debates as it takes the other side an hour to pick apart five minutes worth of lies. The truth needs evidence to support it, while right wing bullsh*t only needs to sound like it's kind of sort of true and to make stupid people feel angry and aggrieved.

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 1:16pm

    I again suggest we demand a law that when they lie to us they get horsewhipped.

    They refused to confirm a nominee because some of her tweets were "mean"... I notice their absence in calling out "mean" tweets from their side.

    I notice their complete disregard for that Constitution thing they all claim they love & support (up until they think they can score some points against the other guys).

    They are feeding a culture that believes being told to get the fuck out should be a crime, yet they sure as fuck walk away from people who ask them hard questions & silence them for asking.

    It plays to the rubes, so they will keep doing it because their base will not accept anything anyone else says could remotely be true & they will cling to the false statements that make them feel better about their chances of getting paid by Twitter for denying them the right to scream hitler did nothing wrong over and over on the platform.

    Our elected leaders lie to our faces, something something undermining public trust seems like a really really bad thing.

    They talk a good game about civility & such but until they decide to hold everyone to 1 simple standard "TELL THE FUCKING TRUTH" and actually punish the liars its going to get worse.

    500+ dead, assisted by elected liars that have never been held to account. I mean I tell people I'm an immortal sociopath, but I'm not elected and there isn't a bodycount attached to the things I've said.

    Gay guy with a trendy avatar is actually more trustworthy than any elected offical... 'MERIKA!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2021 @ 1:18pm

    And finally, it's bullshit that any of the big companies are "partisan" in their moderation. They're not banning people for their political views.

    I have said this before and I will say it again. The kind of speech that regularly gets banned is racist, homophobic, white supremest, threatening violence, and all the other horrible things that the average person does not want spoiling their time line. The problem becomes that all this speech has become so mainstream in the GQP party, when a popular GQP persona (or elected official) gets banned for spewing their hate filled garbage, the right-wingers think that the platform is banning people for their political ideology.

    The other thing that upsets the delicate egos of people like Ted Cruz, is that he and his cronies can't stand the fact that there are people / organizations / companies that have actual power over them in the form of banning them from their online platforms. They feel that in their capacity as an elected official, they hold all the power and how dare somebody disrupt their ability to continue to spew more of their lies and garbage.

    And since all that hate has become mainstream for the Republican party, then who fucking cares if they get banned. That garbage has no place in a civilized community, online or otherwise.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 1:44pm

    An argument built on imaginary slights

    It's important to not let them get away with probably the most egregious lie, that of claiming that people are being 'silenced' for their 'political views', when all that's really happening is they're being shown the door for repeatedly taking a dump on the floor.

    They are hypocritically crying out for the government to step in and force companies to host speech they don't want to, and the 'harms' they are pointing to either do not exist or show just how abysmal the standards for 'acceptable behavior' has become for that lot(not that they're ever honest enough to admit that), and that should and needs to be shoved in their faces every time they bring this lie up, because that is the bedrock upon which their entire argument is based upon.

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    • icon
      sumgai (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 2:26pm

      Re: An argument built on imaginary slights

      What's going to be rich is when, even before the court cases on the constitutionality of any law requiring the hosting of all content, is the court cases of those companies who are forced to close all comments for fear of being penalized by the government. At that point, no advertiser will foot the bill for some stale static pages, and income to those companies will essentially evaporate. That''s an even bigger "interference with business model" that will get the ball rolling much more quickly, I'm pretty sure.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 2:33pm

        Re: Re: An argument built on imaginary slights

        The problem is that large companies like Facebook and Google will be able to bear the losses for a good while, whereas a month or two of no ad revenue on top of the threat of liability stands to completely tank smaller companies/platforms that might currently or in the future compete with them, such that the larger companies(that actually have money for the legal fights) will actually have some incentive to slow down any legal responses they might make.

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        • icon
          sumgai (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 8:06pm

          Re: Re: Re: An argument built on imaginary slights

          It's never a good business practice to "bear losses" when you have lawyers chompin' at the bit to get out there and prove their worth. But more to the point, advertisers won't be appeased by statements such as "we're waiting for the rest of the market to go under, then we'll unleash the lawyers on the government". That looks like you're not willing to lead the counter-attack to the assault on your livelihood - bad juju, that.

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          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 10:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: An argument built on imaginary slights

            It's never a good business practice to "bear losses" when you have lawyers chompin' at the bit to get out there and prove their worth.

            Any company in that position would need to get better/smarter lawyers then because gutting your competition without having to lift a finger and in fact being able to act as a 'victim' for PR points is a great business practice. Sure it would mean less profits in the short term but in the long term that's an outcome you usually have to bribe a bunch of politicians to get, and they'd be getting it for free.

            But more to the point, advertisers won't be appeased by statements such as "we're waiting for the rest of the market to go under, then we'll unleash the lawyers on the government".

            Which is why they wouldn't explain it that way, instead it would be 'looking at our legal options', or 'making sure we've got an airtight case so we can be sure of success when we take the matter to court'.

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    icon
    carl636 (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 6:34pm

    Facebook, Apple, Amazon/AWS and to a lesser extent Twitter are dominate tech players.

    You claim that these "Private companies exercising editorial discretion on their platforms is actually protected by the Bill of Rights."

    My wife was 14 years old when she escaped Cuba during the Mariel boat lift without her parents because the government needed their skills.

    In Cuba, she lived with a government that determined what was right think vs. wrong think.

    Also, the government encouraged Neighbors (Facebook/Twitter) to report people who did not agree.

    Then the government kills, imprisons or ostracizes (cancelling) the wrong thinkers and then denies them and their family’s employment, housing, food, and clothing.

    My wife said she could see the writing on the wall like a lot of the Latin people of South Florida who have lived in South American dictatorships.

    It happens, one step at a time.

    1) Government/ Party states what is right vs. wrong, no discussion or recourse.

    2) Government/ Press / Journalists reinforce what is right and denigrates those people who do not think the same way. (Capitalists, Racists, Fascists, Christians, Phobos etc.)

    3) Government/ Party determines which people, companies and organizations oppose the “right” position.

    4) Government/ Party deletes their position from historic record, government, companies, and press (aka social media Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon (AWS).

    5) Government/ Party encourages neighbors, companies to ostracizes (cancel) the wrong thinkers and then deny them and their family’s employment, and housing.

    My wife, sisters and most of her extended family exercised their rights by deleting their Facebook and Twitter accounts and migrated to a lesser-known platform. As a result, they lost of years of recorded activity and access to people who chose not to leave.

    If you come to think of it a small thing to lose.

    But tell me now why you want to let these companies cancel me or maybe you in the future?

    Would your opinion change if there were a takeover of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon by the opposing viewpoint?

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 7:30pm

      Re:

      ... it baffles me that you wrote all of that without realizing that those arguing against 230 are arguing for government interference, not against it, or that there are big differences between the government saying 'you're not allowed to say that' and a private platform doing so.

      If platforms have to worry about liability for user content then they are going to be a lot quicker to show people the door, so if your concern is people being 'wrongly' ostracized then you should be all for 230 and platforms not being told what content they will and will not host, as otherwise you're merely supporting the very thing you seem to be objecting to and your own question of 'would you support this if the other side was running things?' becomes something you should be asking yourself.

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 10:36pm

      Re:

      I am entirely against government interference and the gov't determining right think and wrongthink... and that includes in having the government compel websites to host speech they disagree with.

      So, you seem to be arguing against your own position here.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 12:33am

      Re:

      So your cure against private entities being able to govern their own house is for government to forbid them from evicting those they do not desire on their own property?

      You know how I can tell you're as cuban as Putin? Because I very much doubt anyone other than a benighted clown would drag that spiel online and then advocate that Castro should be able to order the landlords who they must host.

      Try again, Comrade, but next time don't forget to underline that what you advocate is that government should cut out the middle-man of corporation and go straight to seizing the means of production.

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    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 1:07am

      Re:

      "kills, imprisons or ostracizes (cancelling)"

      Please tell me where the black site for cancelled people is.
      Please show me where the memorial of all those killed by cancelling is.
      Ostracizes... yep that one might be close.

      If you say shitty things on someone elses platform they can ask you to behave or to get out or remove you by force.
      This however being in the same line as kills and imprisons is a nice tactic to draw a connection in peoples minds between those things.

      Oh they force you to say right things...
      Have you ever seen my twitter feed (well pre febuary anyways)?
      I say some horrendous things
      Never been timed out for them.
      Never been warned.

      Comparing big tech to a nation state is a very bad comparison scale.

      Being "cancelled" is SOOOOOOOOOOOO Horrific.
      I stood up on their dinner table & took a shit 5 days in a row, they asked me not to, but its MY RIGHT to shit on their dinner table. How dare they lock the door to keep me out.
      It plays better when you whine that they are doing because you are conservative/evangelical/what have you.
      A sitting member of congress said on video the jewish space lasers thing... she now claims she never did & she is being cancelled unfairly.
      She stalked and harassed a citizen who survived a mass shooting she isn't sure really happened.

      She is being cancelled for HER views, because her views are insane. But she wraps up in the conservative comforter & people defend a woman they would normally cross the street to avoid.

      Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, not a symbol for all things people put in their mouths.

      I mean white people always love to demand that all Muslims need to denounce the bad acts of a few, but where was the demand for apology's from white people after Charlottesville? They love lumping "others" into a singular group, but when one of their own is caught snorting coke off the ass of an underaged hooker they have nothing to say.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2021 @ 3:09am

      Re:

      Currently companies can culture the community that they want to support, with different companies building different communities. The volume of users of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube show that the are getting their moderation more right than wrong.

      Those screaming for common carrier status for social media have no interest in freedom of speech, but rather the right to invade any platform and attack any people or groups that they do not like. How long would your family use social media is wherever they went they were being abused by outright Nazis and white suprematists.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 5:40am

        Re: Re:

        Indeed, these people foster the idea that if only they were let in to the place the popular kids hung out then they'd no longer by outcasts. In reality, what they're asking for is that these services be made unpalatable for most people and the audience to move elsewhere.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2021 @ 6:58pm

    I tell them I don’t care if they are mad and I’m glad they are angry🤣

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

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    identicon
    William Null, 26 Apr 2021 @ 8:09pm

    Let's respond to it claim by claim this time

    "Is having the algorithm decide that one politician's content is less interesting than another's... is that "shadowbanning"? Is that "throttling"? Who the f*** knows?" I know. If someone's post shows much less than somebody else's post to people who aren't the direct audience (followers on Twitter, subscribers on YouTube, friends on Facebook, etc.) then that post is, by definition, throttled. If someone's post does show up AT ALL to people other than the poster, the person is by definition shadowbanned. Reddit is famous for shadowbanning people for arbitrary reasons. "Today, the internet has enabled people to speak to tons of people across a wide variety of platforms or -- even better, to set up your own website and communicate to whatever audience you can attract." Which doesn't really make it better than when "people had no outlet for them to speak to the vast majority of other Americans (or people around the globe). They could only speak to people around them, and that was an extremely limited audience" since you can only get a reasonable amount of following on big platforms and once you try to "make your own site", you get booted off by the hosting provider (see Parler for the most recent example). "The change today is massive. But if we're talking about the power of big companies to silence speech, we're in a fundamentally different world today where the primary purpose of many of these companies is enabling the vast majority of people to be able to speak to wider audiences. The old systems were focused on just allowing through a tiny minority of people to speak. We're currently in amazing times for freedom of speech, and the fact that a few platforms don't want assholes and disinformation merchants is not an attack on free speech." The moment you start adding qualifiers to the sentence" I support free speech" you are not supporting free speech. And, as you said in the past, the only solution to the bad speech is more speech. "Later Cruz does this misleading garbage thing where he says that the big tech companies have refused to tell him how many Republican candidates for office have had their content "blocked, shadowbanned, or restricted." He insists that there is a clear number "an integer" that these companies know and refuse to tell him and "that unchecked power is dangerous." [...] He's asking an unanswerable question, and then pretending that when companies don't answer a question that can't be answered that they're dodging the issue." Oh come on, big data companies don't have, well, data on how many people they ban? My father is a statistician by trade and he is currently on the floor laughing after reading this part. Who's disingenuous here, again? "The entire point of Section 230 was to allow websites to moderate how they saw fit for the community they wanted to have on their website. It's why we see so many different websites with so many different approaches. Because no one wants or needs a one-size-fits-all approach. So, if websites wanted to be biased, that's exactly what 230 was designed to support." Now we're getting somewhere. And that entire paragraph is why CDA230 should be repealed or drastically changed. Either you host everything (with the exception of content that you are legally required to remove) and are responsible for nothing or you editorialize and are responsible for all your content, including moderation choices. Free speech is absolute human right. Not company right, not corporation right, HUMAN right. And no company should remove speech just because some person currently in charge of it doesn't like it. Sincerely, Always Watching William Null The Free Speech Maximalist.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 9:23pm

      Oh, this is gonna be fun.

      Reddit is famous for shadowbanning people for arbitrary reasons.

      All those reasons would be legal, since shadowbanning would be a form of moderation.

      you can only get a reasonable amount of following on big platforms

      You’re not entitled to an audience. Nobody is.

      once you try to "make your own site", you get booted off by the hosting provider

      Amazon Web Services didn’t boot Parler for trying to make its own service. AWS booted Parler for being lazy about moderation in the wake of the insurrection on the 6th of January.

      The moment you start adding qualifiers to the sentence" I support free speech" you are not supporting free speech.

      That’s bullshit, and I’ll tell you why shortly.

      And, as you said in the past, the only solution to the bad speech is more speech.

      In an ideal world, yes, good speech would always drown out bad speech. We don’t live in such a world. Letting bad speech choke by denying it oxygen (i.e., spaces to spread and audiences to hear it) is an alternate solution.

      big data companies don't have, well, data on how many people they ban?

      They have the data. But that data, in and of itself, doesn’t automatically tell them whether a person being banned is a conservative/Republican or a liberal/progressive/Democrat.

      that entire paragraph is why CDA230 should be repealed or drastically changed

      I’ll get back to this one, too.

      Either you host everything (with the exception of content that you are legally required to remove) and are responsible for nothing or you editorialize and are responsible for all your content, including moderation choices. Free speech is absolute human right. Not company right, not corporation right, HUMAN right. And no company should remove speech just because some person currently in charge of it doesn't like it.

      When I said this was gonna be fun? Yeah, this is gonna be fun for me. See, I enjoy taking apart shit like that paragraph when other people say it. Now it’s your turn to be dismantled.

      I support free speech. Full stop. A racist who wants to use a racial slur should have the absolute, unassailable, irrefutable legal right to use that slur. Anyone who says otherwise has to clear a bar that nobody else has ever cleared: They have to define “hate speech” in a way that leaves room for legally protected speech such as books and movies (e.g., To Kill a Mockingbird and Blazing Saddles). Even if the speech offends and disgusts me, my feelings don’t justify making that speech illegal. Neither does anyone else’s feelings.

      But where you and I seem to differ, Billy Zero, is in the support for the freedom of association. See, the First Amendment guarantees everyone the right to speak freely without government interference — but it also guarantees everyone the right to choose, without government interference, whether to associate (or not associate) with any given person or speech. The government can’t, say, force a Christian church to associate with gay people (and vice versa). A person also can’t use the power of the government to force their way into an association (e.g., using a lawsuit to get into a private golfing club).

      Therein lies the problem with your call to repeal/alter Section 230: It would force some form of “viewpoint neutrality” upon services such as Twitter. That would prevent such services from exercising their right of association — their right to choose what speech and which people deserve a place on a given service. Moderation is community curation; without the ability to curate a community, a service would become yet another example of the “Worst People” Problem.

      As an example, consider the collective of Mastodon instances known as The Fediverse. A large number of Fediverse instances have rules against bigoted speech such as racial slurs. They rely on 230 to let them make that decision without the fear of facing a lawsuit. A repeal of 230 would likely result in a mass shutdown of U.S.-based instances. Any instance that didn’t shut down would face the decision of whether to undermoderate (i.e., become 4chan or worse) or overmoderate (i.e., hold back speech until a lawyer declares it “safe”). In all three cases, those instances would be denied the right to choose with whom, and with what speech, those instances could associate.

      The First Amendment protects your rights to speak freely and associate with whomever you want. It doesn’t give you the right to make others listen. It doesn’t give you the right to make others give you access to an audience. And it doesn’t give you the right to make a personal soapbox out of private property you don’t own. Nobody is entitled to a platform or an audience at the expense of someone else. A anti-queer Christian has no more right to spread anti-queer propaganda on Twitter than I have to spread positive pro-queer messages on Twitter; using Twitter is a privilege, no matter who you are.

      Keep pushing for 230 repeal/reform, Bill Nil. I can’t stop you. But before you do it again, consider these questions: If you’re a liberal/progressive who operates a social media service, would you want the government forcing you to host racial slurs, anti-queer propaganda, and QAnon-sense? And if you’re a conservative in the same situation, would you want the government forcing you to host propaganda for socialism, queer pride, and the Movement for Black Lives?

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      • icon
        Mike Masnick (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 10:38pm

        Re:

        Uh, yeah, what Stephen said. If you're a "free speech maximalist" and you don't support 230, then... you're not a free speech maximalist. You are a free speech tourist who doesn't understand free speech.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 5:48am

        Re:

        "They have the data. But that data, in and of itself, doesn’t automatically tell them whether a person being banned is a conservative/Republican or a liberal/progressive/Democrat."

        Even if they do have that data, it's often irrelevant to the reason a person was banned. If people are banned for being racist pieces of shit, and 80% of those people voted R, that doesn't mean anything unless you can prove that there's a lot of Democrat racists who have been allowed to continue without a ban. It more likely means that there's just more racists on the "right" than there are on the "left".. That's not really something Facebook can do anything about.

        It would probably really surprise the cultists to learn how many people in the general population don't define everything they say or do by which political team they decided to be on, if they have done that at all.

        "I support free speech. Full stop."

        As usual, the problem with these people is they don't want freedom of speech. They want freedom from consequences of their speech. Which nobody has ever offered from other private citizens. What's sad is that this type of person is usually the first one to cry and demand a safe space when other people exercise the right they demand for themselves. They can't even see a children's book publisher decide to stop printing some of their least popular titles without crying persecution and demand the government stop them. Imagine what they'll be like when they're forced to host speech they disagree with themselves.

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        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 6:56am

          Re: Re:

          They can't even see a children's book publisher decide to stop printing some of their least popular titles without crying persecution and demand the government stop them.

          What's fascinating is that the conservatives would have a legitimate point if they were arguing that the copyright terms were too long such that the Dr. Seuss estate was in essence preventing people from reading their older material. But to my recollection, I haven't heard them make that argument.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 7:37am

            And they won’t make that argument because they’re not so far gone as to alienate members of the donor class within Big Media.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 7:57am

            Re: Re: Re:

            They don't really know what they're arguing. Although the Dr Seuss estate tried to make the decision to stop publishing some books look to be due to their racial content (and it was problematic in today's context), the simple fact is that they weren't big sellers. Some books barely selling 100 copies a year, IIRC. Most people had never heard of the books being cancelled.

            When Fox and the useful idiot brigade tried pretending that this was some kind of leftist plot to ban Green Eggs And Ham, they responded by buying Dr Seuss en masse. In their deluded eyes, they were "sticking it to the libs". Whereas, in reality they were just handing money to the people who had threatened to stop publishing the books in the first place.

            The kicker? It appears that the least purchased books in that fit of outrage were the very books that were going to be discontinued. In other words, not only did their act have no effect at all against the people making the decision not to publish, they actually proved the original point - these books were not selling enough to bother printing them.

            So it goes with all of these "outrages", especially with regard to section 230 - they don't even know what they're fighting against, and incapable of picking a fight that will actually get them what they claim to want. Hopefully they can be shown how wrong they are in a way they understand without bringing the rest of the country down with them.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Apr 2021 @ 2:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "In their deluded eyes, they were "sticking it to the libs". Whereas, in reality they were just handing money to the people who had threatened to stop publishing the books in the first place."

              Yeah but you know, in this the stupidest of times these gormless morons are the major threat civilization faces. "Idiocracy" was supposed to be satire and yet even that gets struck down by Poes Law in the face of real-life village idiots willing to give their last shirt to the very people they oppose in principle.

              The sheer amount of dumb per square inch the new "conservative" keeps showing is at a point where the alt-right demagogues have largely had to abandon Newspeak as it is too advanced for this braying herd of grievance-addicted junkies to follow.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2021 @ 10:11pm

      Re: Let's respond to it claim by claim this time

      Hallucinations don't make for good policy.

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

  • identicon
    anon, 26 Apr 2021 @ 8:36pm

    You can't.

    When they demand that SESTA/FOSTA was necessary because Section 230 protected companies from being charged with federal crimes.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2021 @ 4:49am

    Unfortunately, it isn't just the one side lying about 230. There are plenty of lies to go around on the other side as well. Obviously false claims like platforms have no incentive to moderate hate speech if they aren't liable.

    Section 230 "reform" is like some kind of political black hole with a giant swirling vortex of lies, hypocrisy and stupid all around it.

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

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 6:59am

      Re:

      While I don't disagree with you about Democrats and those on the left lying about §230, Mike Masnick was responding to a video by the Federalist Society, which is a right-wing organization, and they cited Ted Cruz. Had it been on the other end of the political spectrum, I do not doubt for a second that Mr. Masnick would address the lies, as he has done so in the past.

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

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Apr 2021 @ 5:26pm

      Re:

      No its a handy dog whistle to keep the sort of people who, Oh I dunno... Storm Congress to take prisoners & harm leaders over a bold faced lie focused on something other than the fact that those blowing the whistle are actively harming EVERYONE with their bullshit.

      We have water coming our of taps that can kill.

      We have military personal & families living in what could be classified as SuperFund sites.

      We have those who defended our freedom around the world, denied care unless they can produce data showing that the giant ass clouds of thick black smoke from uncontrolles burn pits might have been toxic. So what if 1000's have already died of the EXACT same cancers & symptoms and the ONLY connection is their time near burn pits.

      We have roads & bridges that can kill people because of their shitty conditions.

      We have 100's of millions of gallons of poison in a retaining pond that shoudl have been dealt with decades ago, but until it was a large enough problem they couldn't cover up they took minimal action, but hey they managed to pass an unconstitutional law allowing for 3 or more people on the street to be arrested if someone they don't even know called DeSantis a bitch.

      And the LARGEST PROBLEM in this nation is allegedly that some conservative assholes are being cancelled for being assholes while pretending its because of being conservative not because they are a truly shitty person. They've spend more time on this that making sure the rest of us had the same access they had to the vaccines (that many of those who were first in line STILL pretend isn't killing people) is happening.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Apr 2021 @ 2:40am

        Re: Re:

        "And the LARGEST PROBLEM in this nation is allegedly that some conservative assholes are being cancelled for being assholes while pretending its because of being conservative not because they are a truly shitty person."

        An apt summary. Yes, one in three americans gives exactly zero fscks about collapsing infrastructure, a higher proportion of poverty than any other in the G20 and a nation run by callous cruelty. Just as long as the libs get it and the white power brigade and evangelical doom cultists get to treat other people's property as a safe space from which to scream their message of bile and hate.

        This is the US of today. Biden winning isn't going to fix the decay. This either stops with the liberal part of the US finally waking up to the fact that they are indeed personally invested in the fight against bigotry - because in the end if they aren't personally willing to light a burning cross or discuss an endlösung then those bigots will eventually come for them as well.

        No one put their foot down or drew a line in the sand over the last fifty years and so by now the one solution left is that the grievance-addicted losers from the "new conservatives" need to be cast out from civilization. Taught that tolerance demands reciprocity. That they are not welcome any longer.
        And maybe this way the next generation won't end up learning that it's OK to be a malicious idiot if you want to live among actual people.

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


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