Koby’s Techdirt Profile


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  • May 28th, 2020 @ 8:57am

    It's Spreading

    Years ago, magazine content started to dwindle, with many pages instead being filled with mostly advertisements. Some of these multi-page advertisements, of course, began to almost disguise themselves as content, appearing more like a product review. Then the concept spread to newspapers. Now it's up to TV. It's the perfect scam, to let someone else do your work for you, and yet you get paid for it.

  • May 28th, 2020 @ 8:46am

    Application Denied

    This is going to be quite the setback if Germany wanted to join the Five Eyes intelligence group. Countries may be prevented by law from spying on their own citizens, but if other countries spy on their behalf and then report back, then the spy agencies have a deal. Except that this court ruling now renders Germany useless to a cross-border spy network.

  • May 27th, 2020 @ 11:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: 'So, Fox, about that glaring bias of yours...'

    [Citation needed]. There are certainly a lot of people claiming bias, but so far the evidence at any scale(or at all really) has been rather lacking.

    https://quillette.com/2019/02/12/it-isnt-your-imagination-twitter-treats-conservatives-more -harshly-than-liberals/

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/11/18/conservatives-accuse-twi tter-of-liberal-bias/94037802/

    https://www.vox.com/2018/9/14/17857622/twitter-liberal-employees-cons ervative-trump-politics

    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jan/16/twitter-political-bias-seen -project-veritas-video/

    But if you are looking for some kind of massive study, I don't think any social media companies have opened their sites for outside inspection. This is why most of us prefer things such as open and transparent government. Until that changes, the complaints shall accumulate, and will be the primary source of evidence.

  • May 27th, 2020 @ 9:07pm

    Re: 'So, Fox, about that glaring bias of yours...'

    Grind the first amendment into the dust and force platforms to host all speech so long as the speaker claims that it's political(followed soon by countless other 'protected exceptions')

    The same predictions were made with regard to Brandenburg v Ohio. A group as vile as the Klu Klux Klan gained the right to hold public rallies. But the first amendment was not ground to dust, and everything was okay.

    and the calls to gut 230 will remain, if not grow even louder as people continue to whine that platforms dare moderate how they don't like them to/moderate at all.

    This makes no logical sense. The calls to gut section 230 are directly because there is a bias in moderation. No bias = no complaint. Citizens who are satisfied do not demand changes to the law.

  • May 27th, 2020 @ 8:42pm

    Re: There's no problem with banning him

    His tweets have violated their ToS hundreds of times over the last 3 years. Anyone else would be banned, so treat him the same.

    Ohhh but they don't. Issuing death threats against Trump is apparently not a bannable offense. One set of rules for me, and another set of rules for thee.

    https://variety.com/2020/biz/news/kathy-griffin-trump-tweet-syringe-controversy-backlash-12346 17006/

  • May 27th, 2020 @ 7:48pm

    Re: One more time for the hard of reading


    This is exactly how Trump takes advantage of the situation: just because something is legal to do, does not mean that it isn't a morally ugly position to take. Supporting a corporation's ability to create a open speech platform, and then censor those with whom you disagree is a morally ugly position. You can support this position, but it makes Trump very popular.

  • May 27th, 2020 @ 7:30pm

    The Problem Is Bias

    Changing Section 230 also won't solve anything, because the problem isn't with Twitter at all. The problem is that the President of the United States is of such poisoned character that he uses his time in office to spread corrosive garbage. The problem is that the President of the United States is using his power to menace citizens. The problem is that the President of the United States is using his role as the chief executive of the country to dissolve confidence in our laws and democratic norms.

    What goes overlooked is that people on the other side of the political spectrum are equally, if not more poisonous than him. Some are even issuing death threats.

    https://variety.com/2020/biz/news/kathy-griffin-trump-tweet-syringe-controversy-backlash-12 34617006/

    But people like Kathy Griffin will not be banned from social media. If Trump is banned, and others are not, Middle America will have no choice but to be forced to conclude that it is because of political bias. It is possible to complain about the things that you don't like about Trump. That's fine. But until you begin arguing for the same set of rules for everyone, a large portion of the electorate will fear this new form of corporate censorship, and cling to Trump as the last hope and savior.

    On the other hand, eliminating platform political bias will eliminate the calls to do away with section 230.

  • May 27th, 2020 @ 1:24pm

    Worse-er Case

    The worst-case scenario would be that, between in-house and third-party tools, pretty much any law enforcement agency can now reliably crack into everybody’s phones

    I disagree, in that I can imagine a much worse case scenario: that the FBI can crack the encryption 1.) from a remote location, 2.) quickly, as in perhaps a few minutes, and 3.) cheaply, as in they could choose to break the encryption on every device that they so desire. In other words: remote mass surveillance.

    My outlook on the grumpy press conference, is that although the FBI got the data off of this device, the exploit that they used required physical possession, was time consuming, and cost enough resources that their ability to replicate this success is somehow limited. They did NOT get what they truly wanted, which was a court case which could be used to mandate remote mass surveillance installed by default from the manufacturer.

  • May 27th, 2020 @ 12:58pm

    Space Rocket

    There was a saying that if NASA waited to perfect orbital space vehicles until they were relatively safe, then we never would have sent a man into orbit. Early space travel was inherently risky, and some paid the ultimate price along the way.

    A similar thing seems to be happening now, where there is a race to build tech products and then sell them. Code the app now, launch and then sell it, but then fix the privacy/security problems later. Except that for most products, later never arrives.

    Putting a product security bond onto the each sale might provide a financial incentive for companies to work on that security before it's too late. If the company secures the product, and proves to continue to be secure after some amount of time, then the company gets its money back. If hackers beat them to it, then the bond money goes to consumers, or perhaps to whatever agency is left cleaning up the mess.

  • May 27th, 2020 @ 12:40pm

    (untitled comment)

    This is a pro-free speech approach to handling these matters. It's a "respond to bad speech with more speech" approach.

    I would say that there is also another free speech approach, and one that I take: if you don't like what someone else has to say, don't listen. Don't follow them on Twitter.

  • May 27th, 2020 @ 12:34pm


    I say compromise, and declare that nuclear weapons launched by an AI system is the most likely downfall of humanity. The Terminator movies were prophetic.

    Actually, I take this as sort of a lesson: you might be able to predict that a technology might exist someday, but predicting how it will interact with everything else is much more difficult.

  • May 27th, 2020 @ 8:24am

    Not Too Late

    The AT&T 5GE ads may have already run, but I say it's not too late to do some counter-marketing. Suppose we could crowd-fund an advertising campaign that says "If you see 5GE on your phone, then it's fake 5G", I bet the negative publicity would make AT&T drop it really fast.

  • May 27th, 2020 @ 6:44am

    (untitled comment)

    If this turns into another pandemic nightmare that the state could have avoided by being honest, citizens are going to start wondering why government entities are immunized against manslaughter charges.

    But if it DOESN'T turn into a nightmare, then the nanny state health "experts" will be exposed as Chicken-Littles, and citizens will continue to lose faith in the elitists. I can't predict what will happen, but you have to admit that it's surprisingly high stakes either way.

  • May 26th, 2020 @ 8:27pm


    Deep State is gonna Deep State.

  • May 26th, 2020 @ 1:55pm


    No specific standard for ubiquity can be established, thus I attempted to cite an example that clearly social media has become a defacto public forum.

    Since we might not ever achieve a well defined threshold on something subjective, my solution would be a 230 reform, where service providers must choose between being a platform, or being a publisher, but not both simultaneously. All platforms then ought to be politically neutral, because the speech on that platform is important to someone. Oh, and your spam filters will be okay. Just don't engage in political censorship if you are a platform.

  • May 26th, 2020 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re:

    By what method are you determining whether or not something meets this standard?

    While this is an attempt at nitpicking a general truth by demanding specificity, how about "If someone sues the President of the United States to be able to post comments, then yes it is the defacto standard.

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180523/18033139894/court-says-unconstitutional-trump-t o-block-people-twitter-doesnt-actually-order-him-to-stop.shtml

    By this argument, spam filters would be illegal. Is that the way you think it should be?

    “In resolving this appeal, we remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less.”

  • May 26th, 2020 @ 1:02pm


    with no thought put into the consequences of legally enforced “neutrality” towards speech on social media platforms.

    Oh, I think that they HAVE put a lot of thought into it. Another poster down below says it best, "When a commercial platform de facto replaces the public forum, then either free speech must be enforced on that forum or free speech dies."

  • May 26th, 2020 @ 12:49pm


    Please point out where in Section 230, or in any jurisprudence surrounding both 230 and the First Amendment, the law makes a distinction of “platform” and “publisher” vis-á-vis interactive computer services.

    I dont think that it does, and I believe court cases thus far have also failed to do so. But that is the complaint: editors can essentially publish their viewpoint, while hiding behind section 230 to claim that they are merely a provider of the service. Yet, indeed, the service providers are going beyond merely providing the service, and into the realm of publishing by using the censorship strategy. And this is why some people want to reform 230.

  • May 26th, 2020 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re:

    I've read this sentence about 10 times and I still have zero idea of what you might be trying to say.

    The primary objective of politically motivated corporations is to influence others, while also being perceived as politically neutral. If social media companies were to defend against a potential government action by claiming a first amendment right to editorialize by censoring viewpoints with which they don't agree, that would be pretty honest of them. And it looks to me like it would hold up in a courtroom, if it were to come to that. But it would also dent their ability to do the influencing thing after that sort of admission. Once people are aware that you are being marketed to, the marketing doesn't work so well. TV and print news media have been suffering from this in recent years. Social media doesn't enjoy the thought of joining the rest of the club.

  • May 26th, 2020 @ 11:36am

    (untitled comment)

    There is no indication that any of the moderation activity is unfairly targeting conservatives or even that there is any "bias" at all.

    Generally, if a conservative voice is censored for supposedly violating terms of service, it is then readily noted that those same terms of service are violated by a number of liberal voices with no action taken. This is the bias, and the method through which social media transforms from a platform to a publisher: all viewpoints are initially presented, but only the ones that they agree with remain uncensored and published.

    But, more importantly: the government can't do anything even if they were biased.

    If social media companies were to claim 1st amendment, which I think they should do, then it would be to admit a bias, which runs contrary to the goal of influencing viewers. Moreover, it would stake out a legal position that they are a publisher, and not a platform.

    So even if a panel is formed, it couldn't actually do anything to change things, beyond just being an annoying pest.

    It would serve a valuable public interest to voters that the things you see on social media are not organic, but a deliberate attempt by company bigwigs to influence public opinion. Changing public perception to be aware of corporate meddling and shenanigans is why many of us peruse Techdirt.

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