A Few More Thoughts On The Total Deplatforming Of Parler & Infrastructure Content Moderation

from the it's-tricky dept

I've delayed writing deeper thoughts on the total deplatforming of Parler, in part because there was so much else happening (including some more timely posts about Parler's lawsuit regarding it), but more importantly because for years I've been calling for people to think more deeply about content moderation at the infrastructure layer, rather than at the edge. Because those issues are much more complicated than the usual content moderation debates.

And once again I'm going to make the mistake of offering a nuanced argument on the internet. I urge you to read through this entire post, resist any kneejerk responses, and consider the larger issues. In fact, when I started to write this post, I thought it was going to argue that the moves against Parler, while legal, were actually a mistake and something to be concerned about. But as I explored the arguments, I simply couldn't justify any of them. Upon inspection, they all fell apart. And so I think I'll return to my initial stance that the companies are free to make decisions here. There should be concern, however, when regulators and policymakers start talking about content moderation at the infrastructure layer.

The "too long, didn't read" version of this argument (and again, please try to understand the nuance) is that even though Parler is currently down, it's not due to a single company having total control over the market. There are alternatives. And while it appears that Parler is having difficulty finding any such alternative to work with it, that's the nature of a free market. If you are so toxic that companies don't want to do business with you, that's on you. Not them.

It is possible to feel somewhat conflicted over this. I initially felt uncomfortable with Amazon removing Parler from AWS hosting, effectively shutting down the service, and with Apple removing its app from the app store, effectively barring it from iPhones. In both cases, those seemed like very big guns that weren't narrowly targeted. I was less concerned about Google's similar removal, because that didn't block Parler from Android phones, since you don't have to go through Google to get on an Android phone. But (and this is important) I think all three moves are clearly legal and reasonable steps for the companies to take. As I explored each issue, I kept coming back to a simple point: the problems Parler is currently facing are due to its own actions and the unwillingness of companies to associate with an operation so toxic. That's the free market.

If Parler's situation was caused by government pressure or because there were no other options for the company, then I would be a lot more concerned. But that does not appear to be the case.

The internet infrastructure stack is represented in different ways, and there's no one definitive model. But an easy way to think of it is that there are "edge" providers -- the websites you interact with directly -- and then there's everything beneath them: the Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) that help route traffic, the hosting companies/data centers/cloud providers that host the actual content, the broadband/network/access providers, and the domain registers and registrars that help handle the naming and routing setup. And there are lots of other players in there as well, some (like advertising and certain communications providers) with elements on the edge and elements deeper in the stack.

But a key thing to understand is the level of granularity with which different players can moderate, and the overall impact their moderation can have. It's one thing for Twitter to remove a tweet. It's another thing for Comcast to say "you can't access the internet at all." The consequences of moderation get much more severe the deeper you go into the stack. In this case, AWS's only real option for Parler was to remove the entire service, because it couldn't just target the problematic content (of which there was quite a lot). As for the app stores, it's a tricky question. Are app stores infrastructure, or edge? Perhaps they are a little of both, but they had the same limited options: remove the app entirely, or leave it up with all its content intact.

For many years, we've talked about the risks of saying that players deeper in the infrastructure stack should be responsible for content moderation. I was concerned, back in 2014, when there was talk of putting liability on domain registrars if domains they had registered were used for websites that broke the law. There have been a few efforts to hold such players responsible as if they were the actual lawbreakers, and that obviously creates all sorts of problems, especially at the 1st Amendment level. As you move deeper into the stack, the moderation options look less like scalpels and more like sledgehammers that remove entire websites from existence.

Almost exactly a decade ago, in a situation that has some parallels to what's happened now, I highlighted concerns about Amazon deciding to deplatform Wikileaks in response to angry demands from then Senator Joe Lieberman. I found that to be highly problematic, and likely unconstitutional -- though Wikileaks, without a US presence, had little standing to challenge it at the time. My concern was less with Amazon's decision, and more with Lieberman's pressure.

But it's important to go back to first principles in thinking through these issues. It's quite clear that companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google have every legal right to remove services they don't want to associate with, and there are a ton of reasons why people and companies might not want to associate with Parler. But many people are concerned about the takedowns based on the idea that Parler might be "totally" deplatformed, and that one company saying "we don't want you here" could leave them with no other options. That's not so much a content moderation question, as a competition one.

If it's a competition question, then I don't see why Amazon's decision is really a problem either. AWS only has 32% marketshare. There are many other options out there -- including the Trump-friendly cloud services of Oracle, which promotes how easy it is to switch from AWS on its own website. Oracle's cloud already hosts Zoom (and now TikTok's US services). There's no reason they can't also host Parler.*

But, at least according to Parler, it has been having trouble finding an alternative that will host it. And on that front it's difficult to feel sympathy. Any business has to build relationships with other businesses to survive, and if no other businesses want to work with you, you might go out of business. Landlords might not want to rent to troublesome tenants. Fashion houses might choose not to buy from factories with exploitative labor practices. Businesses police each other's business practices all the time, and if you're so toxic that no one wants to touch you... at some point, maybe that's on you, Parler.

The situation with Apple and Google is slightly different, and again, there are lots of nuances to consider. With Apple, obviously, it is controlling access to its own hardware, the iPhone. And there's a reasonable argument to be made that Apple offers the complete package, and part of that deal is that you can only add apps through its app store. Apple has long argued that it does this to keep the phone secure, though it could raise some anti-competitive concerns as well. But Apple has banned plenty of apps in the past (including Parler competitor Gab). And that's part of the nature of iPhone ownership. And, really, there is a way to route around Apple's app store: you can still create web apps that will work on iOS without going through the store. This does limit functionality and the ability to reach deeper into the iPhone for certain features, but those are the tradeoffs.

With Google, it seems like there should be even less concern. Not only could Parler work as a web app, Google does allow you to sideload apps without using the Google Play store. So the limitation was simply that Google didn't want the app in its own store. Indeed, before Amazon took all of Parler down, the company was promoting its own APK to sideload on Android phones.

In the end, it's tough to argue that this is as worrisome as my initial gut reaction said. I am still concerned about content moderation when it reaches the infrastructure layer. I am quite concerned that people aren't thinking through the kind of governance questions raised by these sledgehammer-not-scalpel decisions. But when exploring each of the issues as it relates to Parler specifically, it's hard to find anything to be that directly concerned about. There are, mostly, alternatives available for Parler. And in the one area that there apparently aren't (cloud hosting) it seems to be less because AWS has market power, and more because lots of companies just don't want to associate with Parler.

And that is basically the free market telling Parler to get its act together.

* It's noteworthy that AWS customers can easily migrate to Oracle Cloud only because Oracle copied AWS's API without permission which, according to its own lawyers is copyright infringement. Never expect Oracle to not be hypocritical.

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Filed Under: app stores, aws, cloud computing, content moderation, deplatforming, infrastructure, network stack, play store
Companies: amazon, apple, google, parler


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  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 5:59pm

    They haven't jumped to another host as the funding has dried up because of the whole terrorist insurrection thing, and the people running it know it's more valuable as a martyr in the fight against section 230. They could regain everything tomorrow, but they'll never attract anyone close to being center right after what went down, making it useless as a radicalization tool, so a talking point on fox is the only thing it's good for now.

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    • identicon
      Killer Marmot, 15 Jan 2021 @ 7:46pm

      Re:

      And you know all this how?

      Seriously, don't present guesses as facts.

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

      • icon
        Bloof (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 3:49am

        Re: Re:

        Let's go through this using techdirt stories

        Parler was funded by a mystery benefactor as a 'free speech platform' and immediately begins banning left wing voices to make a right wing echo chamber where the right go to get angrier and angrier.

        https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200627/23551144803/as-predicted-parler-is-banning-users -it-doesnt-like.shtml

        The mystery donor turns out to be right wing heiress Rebekah Mercer, part of the dynasty that funded Cambridge Analytica, Breitbart and Steve Bannon while he was helping to radicalise people through Gamergate.

        https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20201116/01141545710/what-if-cambridge-analytica-owned-own-social -network-ca-backer-rebekah-mercer-admits-shes-co-founder-parler.shtml

        They act like they'll be fiiine without section 230, they have the funding to survive after all, like so many other sites funded by republican megadonor largesse.

        https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20210114/14013746058/judge-not-impressed-parlers-attempt -to-force-amazon-to-put-it-back-online.shtml

        Parler loses their hosting after ignoring Amazon's requests that they actually moderate, and you know that whole terrorist attack thing, and despite claiming the site was set up to be able to quickly move to another service, they are yet to do so, choosing instead that to try and sue their way back onto Amazon, a suit they have admitted they cannot afford. Whatever money they had backing them is gone and this is one last roll of the dice as they don't seem to have the finances, knowhow or the will to move elsewhere.

        They'll fail, but the site will be brought up for the next four years every time the right want to screech about big tech censorship, that's pretty much all the value the site has now since the whole world now knows what they were doing.

        Yes there's some guesswork, but it's not a huge leap like saying '2+2=5' or 'removing section 230 will be good for free speech or the internet'.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Good point.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 1:44am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That's some mighty fine collation of bullet points there. History, background, and plausible motive.

          I have to agree. with the Mercer's history and affiliation Parler was a good platform for creating political leverage by collecting every deranged crazy with "fuck liberals" on the agenda in one and the same place.

          Now that its gotten the public reputation of being the all-american version of the Al-Quaeda homepages it's no longer beneficial to keep running and only has value as a martyr leveraged into the case for government-compelled speech.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 2:33am

            the all-american version of the Al-Quaeda homepages

            I believe the correct terminology for such groups is “Y’all Qaeda”.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 12:52am

              Re:

              "I believe the correct terminology for such groups is “Y’all Qaeda”."

              Trae Crowder's description of Parler is still the best;

              "...also, it's three biggest user bases are Trump supporters, conspiracy theorists, and saudi nationalists. One step closer to Howdy Arabia y'all. It's such beautiful self-parody, it is. These people think they're the only true americans left and their closest allies are confederates, nazis, russians and the 9-11 guys..."

              We should probably all be happy that the average US domestic terrorist is a monumental fuck-up so inept they make the average middle-eastern crackpot fanatic look like Alexander The Great.

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

  • icon
    PeterScott (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 6:22pm

    More moderate than I was expecting.

    When you started with something like: Read the whole post and avoid kneejerk responses.

    I was expecting a more polarizing article. Though perhaps, I am not as much of a Free Speech absolutist as some readers, and they may be more upset with Amazon kicking Parler off, so it might seem more controversial to them.

    My feelings echo the article to a large degree. I have no problem with companies have TOS that set community standards, and then boot out bad actors.

    In fact, I would prefer them to be more stringent and do even more to curtail hate cesspools like like Parler.

    It seems right now, companies only start really doing something about these hate cesspools after someone dies. After the Capitol riots, Parler loses it app store placement and it's hosting.

    IIRC, Daily Stormer ran into similar issues after Charlottesville.

    I'd really like to see more sites refuse to host hate cesspools, BEFORE people die. That I expect may be an unpopular stance here.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 6:36pm

      Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

      I'd really like to see more sites refuse to host hate cesspools, BEFORE people die. That I expect may be an unpopular stance here.

      I've seen opinions going both ways in the comment section actually, with some people arguing that giving the boot to scum early prevents them from swelling their numbers and getting worse, while others argue that doing so just hides the issue and lets the problem fester out of sight until it reaches the boiling point and blows up in a big way.

      As for your idea being an unpopular one in general I don't really see why unless you step into the realm of arguing in favor of sites being forced to moderate one way or another, as that's usually where the objections come in.

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

      • icon
        PeterScott (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 7:26pm

        Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

        Maybe I expected more people arguing for leaving Parler up, because this tends to be a strong free speech, distrust big tech site, and I keep seeing it all over other sites. But a lot of those were from new accounts, that could just be angry Parler users.

        I really don't buy the "fester out of sight" argument. Deplatforming tends to quell recruitment, and shrink the scale of the problem, making it a smaller problem for law enforcement to monitor for threats.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 8:33pm

          Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

          Maybe I expected more people arguing for leaving Parler up, because this tends to be a strong free speech, distrust big tech site, and I keep seeing it all over other sites. But a lot of those were from new accounts, that could just be angry Parler users.

          A core part of free speech is consequences for speech(otherwise you've only got free speech for the speaker but not the listeners), with part of that being the right of association, and while there are certainly discussions worth having about the impact of major companies giving people the boot the general consensus on TD at least seems to be that if companies are choosing which speech they want on their platforms that's mostly on them, and it's a better alternative than the government stepping in and dictating that sort of stuff for various reasons like constitutionality to precedent that might be applied elsewhere.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

            and it's a better alternative

            According to who? "Better" is a term relative to the one using it.

            A company dictating what's allowed online is going to do so in regards to it's profits. I.e. What's allowed is what is profitable. A government does so based on it's political agenda. I.e. What's allowed is what is Politically Correct. Neither are acceptable from a democracy standpoint. As what is profitable or Politically Correct need not be truthful nor supportive of political debate and consensus. (The reason the Right to Freedom of Speech is important to democracy and should be encouraged.)

            Hell, the very example used in this article (Parlor) is the perfect embodiment of that fact. Parlor is not truthful, and it's only Politically Correct to those that support it's views. Views that got it banned and censored for fear of the loss of profits. Those against Parlor's views crown it's banishment as a Politically Correct solution and now seek to further enable the use of that solution in the future. With little care given to the fact that in doing so, they will have that solution used against them at the first opportunity under the same justifications. (Whether or not such justification is truly justified.)

            is consequences for speech(otherwise you've only got free speech for the speaker but not the listeners

            Those spoken to can just as easily refuse to listen. Online, doing so is even easier due to the Internet being an experience driven by the person using it. If you want proof of that, just hit the X button at the top of the tab and be amazed at how it cannot enter your field of vision or cause your eardrums to vibrate without your permission. Even with the power of the X button, there is more power for you the user to wield, your AD blocker is one of the biggest examples. Actively denying revenue to web services unless you permit it. (You did make a donation to Techdirt for using an AD blocker while browsing the site right? ;P )

            Why should a web service be unwillingly forced into censorship of others when the users of the Internet refuse to use the tools available to them at no cost? Inb4 "appliance": If censorship is such a huge mandatory requirement for you, you should be more than willing to learn how to implement it yourself. Inb4 "Cost and accuracy": Such is life. Why should a company shoulder the cost of implementing censorship that is inaccurate and prohibitively expensive for even themselves, when users refuse to do anything on their own? Much less help pay for it? Why should a web service have the authority to silence it's users when said users are fully willing participants? Inb4: "Trump / Terrorism / etc." Such silencing has a body of evidence that can and should be presented to a court. Any restriction on speech in a democracy should only be done after through and rigorous examination of both the evidence supporting it and the law. An unaccountable body of corporate shareholders making arbitrary choices based on personal profit isn't anywhere near close to that. (As Parlor itself proves.) Why should a unwilling listener have the authority to silence a speaker and their willing listeners? I.e. Why are there no consequences for the unwilling listeners who chose to involve themselves in the conversation?

            Democracy only survives with majority consent and the accepted means of creating that consent in democracy is via open and truthful debate. Forbidding communication is the fuel of all conspiracies, and leaves only violence as a potential solution. Yes, we may disagree with what you have to say, but the reason that we fight to the death to protect your ability to say it, is so that we may avoid fighting to the death to better our country.

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

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 8:24pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

              Neither are acceptable from a democracy standpoint. As what is profitable or Politically Correct need not be truthful nor supportive of political debate and consensus. (The reason the Right to Freedom of Speech is important to democracy and should be encouraged.)

              How can you be in favor of freedom of speech, but against permitting companies to decide what speech they want to host on their own platform?

              With little care given to the fact that in doing so, they will have that solution used against them at the first opportunity under the same justifications.

              Not so. I mean sure, there are people like you describe, but plenty more who are aware there is no guarantee that their speech will continue to be acceptable to social media giants and others. And they're OK with that, because the alternative is trampling free speech and private property rights.

              Why should a web service be unwillingly forced into censorship of others when the users of the Internet refuse to use the tools available to them at no cost?

              1) They're not. If someone wants to host a service and not moderate anything, they're free to do so. 2) Why should a web service be unwillingly forced into hosting speech it does not wish to host?

              Why should a company shoulder the cost of implementing censorship that is inaccurate and prohibitively expensive for even themselves, when users refuse to do anything on their own? Much less help pay for it?

              Because they find it's in their best interest to do so.

              Why should a web service have the authority to silence it's users when said users are fully willing participants?

              Because it's their private property. They have the right to do what they want with it, and to associate (and not associate) with whom they please. Why do you want to take those rights away?

              Such silencing has a body of evidence that can and should be presented to a court.

              There has never been such a requirement in the US. Or even a mechanism for doing it.

              Any restriction on speech in a democracy should only be done after through and rigorous examination of both the evidence supporting it and the law.

              And yet you propose removing the freedom of web platforms to make editorial decisions.

              Why should a unwilling listener have the authority to silence a speaker and their willing listeners?

              I don't even know what you're saying here. An ordinary Twitter or Facebook user, for example, has no authority to silence other users. For why Twitter and Facebook themselves have such authority, see above.

              Yes, we may disagree with what you have to say, but the reason that we fight to the death to protect your ability to say it, is so that we may avoid fighting to the death to better our country.

              Quite right. But the first amendment guarantees freedom of speech. It doesn't guarantee an audience, and it doesn't guarantee the use of others' property to speak.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2021 @ 1:15pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

                How can you be in favor of freedom of speech, but against permitting companies to decide what speech they want to host on their own platform?

                IMO. When a company's platform is large enough to influence the outcome of a national election they shouldn't be allowed to exist, much less decide. Whats worse is there is no way to prove to the extent that it's happening. I see a future, if it's not happening already, where Democracy is shaped by Algorithms. Manipulation of the voters thru control of the information is already being done. Fox and CNN are obvious examples. Below is an older article, but a good read.

                https://www.harvard.co.uk/how-did-social-media-influence-the-general-election/

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

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 1:32pm

                  When a company's platform is large enough to influence the outcome of a national election they shouldn't be allowed to exist, much less decide.

                  That idea is an argument for using antitrust or monopoly laws to keep a company from getting that big. It isn’t an viable argument for taking away the right of a service like Twitter to choose what speech it will and won’t host. It also isn’t a viable argument for taking away that right from everyone else who runs a social interaction network.

                  You can’t say one company should have to host all legal speech and another company shouldn’t based only on their size. That leads to questions about how and when to compel that association (i.e., “at what point is a company ‘big enough’ to warrant the compelled hosting of speech”). Unless you have some damn good answers for them, you won’t get far in any discussion on the matter.

                  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, 18 Jan 2021 @ 4:08pm

                    Re:

                    "You can’t say one company should have to host all legal speech and another company shouldn’t based only on their size. "

                    Yes I can. When the company is large enough to alter the outcome of a Presidential Election, then as a citizen, yes I can.

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

                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 6:25pm

                      When the company is large enough to alter the outcome of a Presidential Election, then as a citizen, yes I can.

                      Cool. So when will you be calling for the government to regulate the speech and association rights of Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, OAN, Newsmax, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and virtually any other media outlet that is “large [and powerful] enough to alter the outcome of a [p]residential [e]lection”?

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2021 @ 5:06am

                      Re: Re:

                      "Yes I can. When the company is large enough to alter the outcome of a Presidential Election, then as a citizen, yes I can."

                      Yes, you can .... but who will listen?

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

                • icon
                  bhull242 (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 2:10pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

                  As Stephen said, that’s an argument about antitrust law that is entirely separate from discussing the extent of constitutional protections, §230, the rights of edge providers or higher infrastructure providers, corporate personhood, or the whole thing with Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Apple, and Google Play. Once you argue that your problem is the mere existence of large platforms at all, your issue is not with what platform holders can do with their platforms but how big they can be allowed to get.

                  All I’ll say on that front is that, absent good evidence of anticompetitive behavior, I don’t see any practical way to limit the size of a platform or what good it would actually do in practice. It sounds nice in theory, but I don’t think it’s actually practical.

                  I have no real interest in discussing the antitrust issues in this thread, though. I’m more interested in the rights side of things. Antitrust law is too much of a headache for me.

                  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, 18 Jan 2021 @ 4:10pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecti

                    You don't get to claim protections, then alter the election. The left is just as adamant about removing 230 because they know it can be used against them. Neither side wants to relinquish control to the corporations, and for good reason.

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

                    • icon
                      bhull242 (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 12:58am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was exp

                      You don't get to claim protections, then alter the election.

                      Free speech and liability don’t work that way.

                      The left is just as adamant about removing 230 because they know it can be used against them.

                      They want to do so for completely different reasons. The right is opposed to moderation protections, while the left is opposed to them not being liable for third-party content. Basically, the right wants platforms to moderate less, while the left wants them to moderate more.

                      Neither side wants to relinquish control to the corporations, and for good reason.

                      There is no relinquishing of control here because neither side had that control to begin with.

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

                    • icon
                      bhull242 (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 1:01am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was exp

                      Also, this comment has nothing to do with anything I said in this comment. Not that I had any interest in discussing antitrust issues to begin with.

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 10:46pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

                  "When a company's platform is large enough to influence the outcome of a national election they shouldn't be allowed to exist"

                  Well, I'm all for the forced dismantling of News Corporation, but I'm not sure that's what you had in mind.

                  But, I'll ask what I always ask when someone brings up the "too big" argument - what's the magical point at which a company has to avoid growing to in order to avoid this? Does this apply to everything offline as well? If a protest gets to a point where it might affect an election, are you supporting its destruction by the government? That doesn't sound like a situation that will ever end well.

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

                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 1:04am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

                  "When a company's platform is large enough to influence the outcome of a national election they shouldn't be allowed to exist, much less decide."

                  Communism is a valid philosophy to debate. Just so long as you're aware that that is the logical extension of your argument - when the state must seize control over the means of production, because those means are too important to leave in private hands. You can't fix one drawback of free speech by effectively removing it by making popularity of a platform or business mandate government intervention.

                  " I see a future, if it's not happening already, where Democracy is shaped by Algorithms."

                  If the average user is willfully ignorant, willing to accept everything written as gospel truth, and is absent any knowledge about how to constructively criticise then yes. That's the only reason things are looking this bleak.

                  The main reason social media has such an enormous leverage over people is that there has been no will at all among the body politic to have the citizenry taught to doubt. The answer to making a democracy work at all is that the average voter must be informed and aware.

                  When the citizenry isn't either of the above all social media does is to be the bigger bullhorn for demagogues eager to whip the sheeple into action.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2021 @ 5:04am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

                  "IMO. When a company's platform is large enough to influence the outcome of a national election they shouldn't be allowed to exist, much less decide. "

                  What about people becoming large (rich) enough to influence the outcome of a national election? Should they he allowed to exist and/or decide the election outcome?

                  No - obviously ...... but they are. What to do about it, well I bet the rich folk will not be helping any such endeavor.

                  Democracy will not be shaped by algorithms or software or good intentions ... no, politics is about money and power. I suppose one could say that the wallstreet algorithmic trading influences the election, but to what extent?

                  "manipulating" voters is nothing new and certainly algorithms/software is not required to accomplish pulling the wool over the eyes of the populace, have a look at the history of yellow journalism. Humans have been lying their asses off for eternity and will not stop just because someone is moderating.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 2:13am

              Okay, I got a little time to kill…

              A company dictating what's allowed online is going to do so in regards to it's profits. I.e. What's allowed is what is profitable. A government does so based on it's political agenda. I.e. What's allowed is what is Politically Correct. Neither are acceptable from a democracy standpoint.

              That’s cute, that you think capitalism is the same thing as democracy. But it’s wrong.

              Go to a different service if’n you don’t like how Twitter moderates speech. You’re not owed a spot on Twitter. It’s not obliged to give you an audience.

              Parl[e]r is not truthful, and it's only Politically Correct to those that support it's views. Views that got it banned and censored for fear of the loss of profits. Those against Parl[e]r's views crown it's banishment as a Politically Correct solution and now seek to further enable the use of that solution in the future. With little care given to the fact that in doing so, they will have that solution used against them at the first opportunity under the same justifications.

              Parler can ban people for their political views. But considering how Parler is largely a far-right shitpit, I don’t think that’s gonna happen all that much to its “intended” userbase. (If Parler ever comes back online, that is.)

              Why should a web service be unwillingly forced into [moderation] of others when the users of the Internet refuse to use the tools available to them at no cost?

              Those tools become irrelevant in the face of an overwhelming flood of “bad content”. And having the content on the platform at all is an issue of “acceptability”. Yes or no: Would you want a platform you own and operate known for accepting bigoted speech as easily as it accepts the use of emoji?

              (I didn’t even need to bring up the issue of compelled speech/association…but I could have.)

              Why should a company shoulder the cost of implementing [moderation] that is inaccurate and prohibitively expensive for even themselves, when users refuse to do anything on their own?

              That is literally better than doing nothing (or next-to-nothing) and watching a platform turn into the next 8kun. Nobody gets moderation right all the time. See also: the “acceptability” argument above.

              Why should a web service have the authority to [moderate/ban] it's users when said users are fully willing participants?

              If Twitter were legally denied the ability to moderate or ban users, it would lose the mechanisms necessary to stop “hate speech” from spreading and becoming normalized (i.e., “acceptable”). Such a denial would also keep Twitter from banning the worst people on the platform. The broader userbase will get tired of those people and move on. Then Twitter would have the unenivable task of solving the “Worst People” Problem.

              Such silencing has a body of evidence that can and should be presented to a court.

              And a court will laugh any such case out of said court. The law can’t (and shouldn’t be able to) tell Twitter what legally protected speech speech Twitter can and cannot host.

              Any restriction on speech in a democracy should only be done after through and rigorous examination of both the evidence supporting it and the law.

              And if Twitter were a government institution, you might have a point. But it isn’t. So you don’t.

              Why should a unwilling listener have the authority to silence a speaker and their willing listeners?

              “Why should I have the authority to kick someone out of my home for saying shit I don’t want them to say?” That’s you. That’s you right now.

              Twitter can’t “silence” people except on Twitter. And while Amazon being able to boot people from AWS is fraught with its own issues, it can’t “silence” anyone except on Amazon/AWS. You’re guaranteed the right to speak. That doesn’t give you the right to make a soapbox out of property you don’t own.

              Why are there no consequences for the unwilling listeners who chose to involve themselves in the conversation?

              I don’t know what consequences you could inflict upon them, but if you have a suggestion, fire away.

              Forbidding communication is the fuel of all conspiracies

              Twitter doesn’t “forbid communication” when it boots someone from Twitter. Amazon (arguably) doesn’t “forbid communication” when it boots someone from AWS. No interactive web service can moderate speech outside of that service. We can have a discussion about how high up in the infrastructure chain we can go before that principle stops applying. But until we figure that out — or until the government declares something like AWS to be a public utility — services like AWS have every legal right to boot someone from the service.

              If that means people start believing conspiracy theories like “Biden is actually Trump in a Biden suit and the stuttering is Trump learning to mimic Biden’s speech patterns”¹, that’s on those people, not on the services that boot them.

              we may disagree with what you have to say, but the reason that we fight to the death to protect your ability to say it, is so that we may avoid fighting to the death to better our country

              Will you fight to the death for my right to choose whether I want to listen to you? If “yes”, kudos. If “no”, your principles could use some reëxamination.


              ¹ — This one was from a 4chan screenshot, so take it for what it’s worth. But I seen’t it!

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2021 @ 12:37am

                Re:

                That’s cute, that you think capitalism is the same thing as democracy. But it’s wrong.

                I never said that. I said that profit motives, like political agendas, should not define what speech is allowed in a democracy.

                Those tools become irrelevant in the face of an overwhelming flood of “bad content”.

                Then that is a problem with the society as a whole. Not the tools. Nothing will forever stop the flood short of diplomacy or violence. To those who would demand whitewashing, why shouldn't they see an empty white page of nothingness if it was truly that bad?

                Further, the amount of "bad content" doesn't absolve those who refuse to use the tools available from their own choices.

                And having the content on the platform at all is an issue of “acceptability”. Yes or no: Would you want a platform you own and operate known for accepting bigoted speech as easily as it accepts the use of emoji?

                Depends. If I were the webmaster of the site I might. If I was the administrator of a hosting provider, I would say the actions / speech of others are not representative of my beliefs / opinions and therefore not my problem.

                “Why should I have the authority to kick someone out of my home for saying shit I don’t want them to say?” That’s you. That’s you right now.

                Let's use a more proper analogy. Remember, we have a third party here. It's not the site itself that's wanting to censor speech:

                Users ----> House Guests.
                Site -----> Home Owner.
                Infrastructure providers -----> City / County Officials.

                Your complaint is that the Infrastructure providers should be allowed to police the speech of a Site's Users and deplatform the Site if the Site fails to comply.

                This is the equivalent using your analogy: City / County Officials should be allowed to police the speech of a Home Owner's House Guests and size the house from the Home Owner using eminent domain if Home Owner fails to comply.

                If Twitter were legally denied the ability to moderate or ban users, it would lose the mechanisms necessary to stop “hate speech” from spreading and becoming normalized (i.e., “acceptable”). Such a denial would also keep Twitter from banning the worst people on the platform. The broader userbase will get tired of those people and move on. Then Twitter would have the unenivable task of solving the “Worst People” Problem.

                Your entire argument for infrastructure policing speech is the same as 1970s Home Owners in a panic over that neighborhood existing in the city. Want proof? Here it is:

                If Washington were legally denied the ability to moderate or ban African Americans, it would lose the mechanisms necessary to stop “hate speech” from spreading and becoming normalized (i.e., “acceptable”). Such a denial would also keep Washington from banning the worst people in the nation. The broader citizenry will get tired of those people and move on. Then Washington would have the unenivable task of solving the “Worst People” Problem.

                If all it takes is a few noun replacements to make your justification against others racist, your justification could use some reexamination.

                I don’t know what consequences you could inflict upon them, but if you have a suggestion, fire away.

                Tell them to sod off. I have a right to speak just as much as they do. If they want to participate fine, but if they don't and only want to prevent others from having a conversation, then they should be ridiculed and shamed for it. If they continue, sue them for aggravated harassment.

                Will you fight to the death for my right to choose whether I want to listen to you? If “yes”, kudos. If “no”, your principles could use some reëxamination.

                Yes. I would. I would also fight for the right of others who wish to hear me to be able to do so.

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                • icon
                  bhull242 (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 1:13am

                  Re: Re:

                  If all it takes is a few noun replacements to make your justification against others racist, your justification could use some reexamination.

                  As I mentioned before, being African-American is an intrinsic property that exists from birth that cannot be chosen or changed. Being a user is nothing like that. You also changed the scope from “a single internet platform” to “an entire nation” and went from “a private entity” to “the government”. Each of these things make your point invalid.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 1:15am

                  profit motives, like political agendas, should not define what speech is allowed in a democracy

                  The law protects most speech. Whether it’s “allowed” in the sense that it’s seen as acceptable speech is entirely dependent on the flawed, frail, imperfect people within that democracy. And yes, they’re allowed to base their opinions on political ideology and profit motives.

                  that is a problem with the society as a whole

                  Forcing speech onto Twitter or AWS won’t fix that problem.

                  To those who would demand whitewashing, why shouldn't they see an empty white page of nothingness if it was truly that bad?

                  …fucking what

                  the amount of "bad content" doesn't absolve those who refuse to use the tools available from their own choices

                  Yes or no: Should the average Twitter user need to willingly wade through any amount of that “bad content” so they can better tune their client-side tools for blocking/muting said content? If “no”: Good, you have a conscience. If “yes”: Twitter has moderators for a reason and this situation is that reason.

                  If I were the webmaster of the site I might.

                  I’m not the least bit surprised.

                  If I was the administrator of a hosting provider, I would say the actions / speech of others are not representative of my beliefs / opinions and therefore not my problem.

                  They do become your problem if people associate that speech with your company and yank their business from your company as a result. You won’t stay in business for long if people refuse to do business with you. You would inevitably need to decide whether protecting one asshole client associated with horrible speech is worth losing all other clients. Whether giving the boot to that asshole client is right — morally or ethically, anyway — is a hard question to answer. Not even the article above manages to come up with a solid answer that applies to all situations and companies.

                  Your complaint is that the Infrastructure providers should be allowed to police the speech of a Site's Users and deplatform the Site if the Site fails to comply.

                  Yes, basically. Hosting companies such as AWS have the legal right to boot assholes from their services, just as Twitter does. The moral and ethical implications of doing so are irrelevant to whether they have that right. (Exercising it, on the other hand…)

                  Your entire argument for infrastructure policing speech is the same as 1970s Home Owners in a panic over that neighborhood existing in the city.

                  No, it isn’t. And your argument seems to be “the law should make Amazon host any legally protected speech on AWS, regardless of whether they want to host it”.

                  I’m well aware of the moral and ethical implications behind AWS booting Parler. They’re the same implications behind Cloudflare booting The Daily Stormer not too terribly long ago. And while I have no easy answers, I’m not going to tap my pity well for Nazis, alt-right chuds, and Trump supporters. (Is that a tautology? Someone tell me if that’s a tautology.)

                  Tell them to sod off.

                  For what reason should Twitter or AWS be denied the right to tell assholes who keep violating the TOS to “sod off”?

                  I would also fight for the right of others who wish to hear me to be able to do so.

                  Yes or no: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any privately owned interactive web service into hosting your speech, even if the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host it? If “no”: That position conflicts with your arguments above. If “yes”: Congratulations, you’ve shat upon the First Amendment for the sake of a megaphone you had no legal right to use in the first place.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2021 @ 4:34am

                  Re: Re:

                  Tell them to sod off. I have a right to speak just as much as they do.

                  Yes. I would. I would also fight for the right of others who wish to hear me to be able to do so.

                  You do, at your own expense or via a third party that agrees to assist you publish your speech. It is up to the speaker to attract an audience, and that does not include forcing your way into a conversation or onto platforms where you are not welcome.

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                • icon
                  nasch (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 7:21am

                  Re: Re:

                  If all it takes is a few noun replacements to make your justification against others racist, your justification could use some reexamination.

                  Changing a few nouns changes the meaning of the statement. You can take any true statement, change a few nouns, and make it ridiculous (or racist). That says nothing about the original statement.

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                  • icon
                    bhull242 (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 1:10pm

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    It makes sense to do so if the nouns replaced are equivalent in some way. For example, replacing “man” with “woman”, “homosexual” with “heterosexual”, “homosexual” with “black”, “Hispanic” with “black”, “Asian” with “black”, “white” with “black”, “black” with “white”, “Muslim” with “Christian”, “transgender” with “homosexual”, etc. The idea is to essentially equate discriminatory beliefs and practices with each other or make someone realize that they have a double standard.

                    The problem here is that the replaced nouns are in no way equivalent with their replacements: “users” with “African-Americans”, “Twitter” with “Washington”, “on the platform” with “in the nation”, and “userbase” with “citizenry”. These are not equivalent in any way, and possibly the worst offender in that regard is “users” with “African-Americans”. Being a “user” of Twitter is not a protected class, is much broader than “African-American”, is not an unchangeable or intrinsic property, is a choice, and gives no indication of a hidden motive. There are a number of other problems with this swap alone that invalidate the entire argument, and each of the other swaps are quite problematic on their own.

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                • icon
                  bhull242 (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 1:45pm

                  Re: Re:

                  I never said that. I said that profit motives, like political agendas, should not define what speech is allowed in a democracy.

                  Twitter, Facebook, and AWS have no control over what speech is allowed in a democracy; only what speech is allowed on their platforms or servers.

                  Depends. If I were the webmaster of the site I might. If I was the administrator of a hosting provider, I would say the actions / speech of others are not representative of my beliefs / opinions and therefore not my problem.

                  And other people are free to believe otherwise and choose not to use you as a host because of it. It is possible that that might put you out of business. This is how the free market works.

                  Let's use a more proper analogy. Remember, we have a third party here. It's not the site itself that's wanting to censor speech:

                  Users ----> House Guests.
                  Site -----> Home Owner.
                  Infrastructure providers -----> City / County Officials.

                  Your complaint is that the Infrastructure providers should be allowed to police the speech of a Site's Users and deplatform the Site if the Site fails to comply.

                  Actually, I don’t think it makes sense to leap straight to government officials. Maybe “landlords” would be better, but I think the analogy is sort of falling apart at this point.

                  This is the equivalent using your analogy: City / County Officials should be allowed to police the speech of a Home Owner's House Guests and size the house from the Home Owner using eminent domain if Home Owner fails to comply.

                  Not at all. You’re confusing cloud hosting with the DNS provider. Not all infrastructure providers are equivalent. You can run a site without cloud-hosting at all. It’s more like a business being run from an office within a skyscraper where the owners of the skyscraper have certain rules about what businesses can be in their building and then enforcing those rules when they’re broken or they have some profit reason to kick the businessman out.

                  Or let’s put it this way: AWS wanted Parler to have some rules for dealing with an emergency and a way to enforce those rules in return for using their service that Parler could get elsewhere or make their own but decided not to. Parler failed to enforce its own rules. Eventually, AWS decided enough was enough and revoked that benefit.

                  Yes. I would. I would also fight for the right of others who wish to hear me to be able to do so.

                  So if you say something in a bar that causes the bar owners to kick you out for whatever reason, and one person inside the bar says, “I want to hear more,” even though no one else wants to, you still have a problem with the bar owners kicking you out? You can still say the same things and, with some resources, you can even find the person/people who want to hear you so that they can hear what you have to say. Again, you’re not entitled to a platform.

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                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 4:50am

                  Re: Re:

                  "I never said that. I said that profit motives, like political agendas, should not define what speech is allowed in a democracy."

                  And it doesn't. No speech can be disallowed just because of profit motives. Denied individual platforms, yes, but not disallowed.
                  Now, the minority representation has never been easy, simply because the majority doesn't want to hear it. Abolition of slavery, womens voting rights, the right of assembly, messenger immunity...these were all, at some point or other, controversial just because they rocked the boat. The reason they gained traction was because as knowledge disseminated over time, these issues all became majority-backed topics.

                  It's all well and good to say that profit should be allowed less sway over free speech in a democracy. But there is no fix you can implement where the cure isn't far worse than the perceived disease. It's like saying that because of "burden of proof" many murderers walk free so why don't we just abolish that?

                  We could "fix" the issue of platforms becoming too popular and having a sway over the population with legislation. It's easy. All it'll cost is Freedom of Speech which will be dead. We'll be China.

                  Here's the thing. It's never been the platforms and the media. It's always been the common citizen being willfully ignorant and eager to leap on the bandwagon of every passing demagogue with a convenient explanation for who is responsible that the middle class family with two breadwinners can't make ends meet or why there are no jobs for skilled factory workers any longer.

                  Social media and large platforms only act as force multipliers for the underlying core issue of a large percentage of the US citizenry being taught to be proud of being uneducated, of facts being optional. That's the problem. The impact of social media? That's just the symptom.

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 5:31am

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    "No speech can be disallowed just because of profit motives"

                    More to the point, none of the companies in this conversation have the power to disallow speech in totality. Amazon blocking a site does not block that's site speech, they just have to choose somewhere else to host it, and they have many options. Parler deciding to block "leftist" speech does not disallow that speech, it just means they don't allow it on their platform. Neither company has to power to block the same speech anywhere outside of its own property.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 4:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

              Those spoken to can just as easily refuse to listen.

              Yes, but in many cases that means not using the forum at all. For instance how does one avoid speech on this forum before it is hidden by the community?

              The idea that all speech should be allowed in all forums is to grant hecklers the right to take over all forums. With platforms varying in what speech they allow, people can choose which conversations they want to partake in, and it is up to speakers to attract an audience.

              Also, if gab and 8kun can remain online, so could Parler, but either by choice or incompetence they have been forced offline, but that does not mean its users should be allowed to invade any other platform.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 6:32am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

                "With platforms varying in what speech they allow, people can choose which conversations they want to partake in"

                ...and sometimes they defer that power to the platform itself so that they, say, can use the platform without wading through neo-Nazi propaganda in order to flag it individually.

                If these people are losing audience because the places they want to attract an audience from have already said "we don't do that here", and the users of that platform agree, then there's not a good solution that involves forcing that platform to host them against their will.

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            • icon
              Toom1275 (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 9:27am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

              A company dictating what's allowed online...

              ... does not exist.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 2:38am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

              "...What's allowed is what is profitable. A government does so based on it's political agenda. I.e. What's allowed is what is Politically Correct. Neither are acceptable from a democracy standpoint."

              According to whom? Democracy has no writ to insist that the person owning a platform or bar should not be allowed to evict whoever they don't like. At most democracy can assert that the property owner is free to write their own rules on who is allowed on their property but must apply the same rules for everyone.

              "Those against Parlor's views crown it's banishment as a Politically Correct solution and now seek to further enable the use of that solution in the future."

              It has jack shit to do with Political correctness since no government is involved. This is all just private companies discovering that Parler reeks and individually making the decision that "Not on our turf". If a man gets expelled and banned from every bar in town for what he does rather than what he isthen that doesn't mean every bar owner is in the wrong. It just means the expelled person has only themselves to blame, and is such a toxic asshat no one wants anything to do with him and no business wants him to bother their other patrons.

              "Why should a web service be unwillingly forced into censorship of others when the users of the Internet refuse to use the tools available to them at no cost?"

              They shouldn't. And that's neither what is happening nor anything any of the serious Techdirt commenters advocate. AWS is kicking out Parler exactly like the bar owner kicked out the local gang whose members kept pissing on the floor. Other services refuse service to Parler because they are similarly aware of Parlers issues.

              "Forbidding communication is the fuel of all conspiracies, and leaves only violence as a potential solution."

              And since that isn't happening that's irrelevant to this topic. Parler simply isn't welcome on the property of multiple private properties because of its behavior.

              "...the reason that we fight to the death to protect your ability to say it, is so that we may avoid fighting to the death to better our country."

              Ironically the Trumpian mob storming the capitol were in it exactly to prevent people's ability to say who they'd like to have for president. And indeed one officer did give his life there. After which private entities all over promptly decided they didn't want to host the SA club house any longer.

              A company dictating rules under which it is willing to serve isn't undermining democracy as long as those rules abide by given minimum standards, none of which standards were violated here.

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            • icon
              James Burkhardt (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 11:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

              No one is likely to read this, but I need this to exist.

              A company dictating what's allowed online is going to do so in regards to it's profits. I.e. What's allowed is what is profitable. A government does so based on it's political agenda. I.e. What's allowed is what is Politically Correct. Neither are acceptable from a democracy standpoint. As what is profitable or Politically Correct need not be truthful nor supportive of political debate and consensus.

              You have hit a core issue on its head. Capitalim talks like it is democratic, with the marketplace being described as a democratic forum, where the best products rise and the worst fail by voting with your wallet. And if you subscribe to that view, twitter booting voices off because of a profit motive is the market at work. Democracy (the will of the userbase reflected in what ideas are profitable) has decided that certain ideas are disfavored.

              Your complaint, and the complaint of every "Twitter/Facebook/et al cant boot me off because they are too big" user is at its core a complaint about the ways capitalism can subvert the democratic process. It is very true that it can. But your assessment stops at stating that the process can be subverted, but then proceeds to assume that it has been subverted. You keep flailing towards profit being the motive, but refuse to question if profits come not because a minority is subverting the market, but because the market is responding to the will of the majority.

              You have to do more than prove the possibility of market subversion for the argument to be taken seriously. You need to actually establish the market is being subverted. Part of a democratic process is establishing the Overton Window, the scope of ideas that are on the table for discussion. Race science isn't on the table, not because we 'can't talk about it', but because race scientists are making the same arguments, with the same data, they were making 50 years ago and we've already had that debate. The marketplace can decide that a product is too toxic to carry. IF a survival knife became known to fall apart in shipping, consumers will stop buying it. Retailers stop stocking it because they can't sell a faulty product. Eventually its not in the marketplace at all. Then it can't be bought, even if what you want is indeed a knife that falls apart under any strain.

              Same goes for speech. If you want to think of speech as a product in a marketplace, you have to accept that the marketplace might remove some speech because the market refuses to carry it.

              and it's a better alternative
              According to who? "Better" is a term relative to the one using it.

              Better for anyone who believes in speech free from government abuse. If you quote the rest of the sentance:

              ...it's a better alternative than the government stepping in and dictating that sort of stuff for various reasons like constitutionality to precedent that might be applied elsewhere.

              That One Guy explained why he thought it was a better alternative. You didn't engage on the actual argument he made, just quoted an out of context bite and argued THAT. Its a strawman.

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2021 @ 1:02pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

                facebook was (is?) funded by government VC, violates GDPR (Schrems 2) and does not pay taxes, like in general other GAFAM. how can you make the argument that they are "just private companies" when they have heavy govt contracts (AWS works for the CIA) and herd hundreds of billions in cash offshore? you cannot evade taxes that brazenly do unless you are heavily investing in lobbying and are very cozy with the government. and maybe dining with the president, once in a while. this thing that facebook et al are just "private companies" when it is clear from blue leaks, snowden, assange etc that they are the first place the police, ice and the military go to obtain often illegally information and metadata is preposterous.

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                • icon
                  bhull242 (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 1:59pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

                  None of that proves or even suggests that Facebook, Twitter, AWS, etc. are not private corporations rather than part of the government. Private companies get government contracts all the time, and governments seize information from private companies all the time. That has nothing to do with anything.

                  Also, AWS doesn’t “work for the CIA”; it provides the CIA with a product/service the same way Verizon provides a product/service to its customers. AWS “works for the CIA” no more than it “worked for” Parler.

                  And herding money offshore and evading taxes, while something I don’t support, do not transform a private entity into a government agency. Same goes for lobbying and violating the GDPR.

                  You’re saying a lot of things that have no effect on the claim, “Facebook, Twitter, AWS, etc. are all private companies.” Even if I agree that those are things that should be corrected, they are completely irrelevant to this discussion.

                  In fact, your entire comment had no relevance or even a reference to the comment your replying to or any previous comment in this thread. It’s a complete non sequitur.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2021 @ 1:04am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecti

                    it does have relevance - it is about subverting the democratic process. if facebook violates my privacy rights (ex. FISA), how can you say that this is not subversion of a constitutional right to privacy? you asked for proof of subversion. i am giving you one documented in court.

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                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Jan 2021 @ 2:10am

                      a constitutional right to privacy

                      Show me where the Constitution explicitly guarantees the absolute right to privacy.

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                      • icon
                        nasch (profile), 21 Jan 2021 @ 7:32am

                        Re:

                        Show me where the Constitution explicitly guarantees the absolute right to privacy.

                        The constitutional right to privacy is a real thing but it comes from Supreme Court decisions. However as far as I know it is a right to privacy from the government. I don't think a private entity can violate it.

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2021 @ 12:54pm

                          Re: Re:

                          Art. 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

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                          • icon
                            bhull242 (profile), 21 Jan 2021 @ 7:40pm

                            Re: Re: Re:

                            We’re talking about US law.

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                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2021 @ 3:39am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              Ok, then I should have stated that Facebook is subversive of the constitutional order in Europe, as documented by the EUCJ. It does not change my point of view as my fundamental rights are violated all the same. And in all honesty, I would call subversive a eu company using some offshore trick ti violate fundamental rights of the US citizens as well. I do not like the idea of companies using the incorporation state as a screen to evade local laws in democratic states.

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                    • icon
                      bhull242 (profile), 21 Jan 2021 @ 7:46pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was exp

                      The Constitution doesn’t protect from private individuals. To the extent that there’s a constitutional right to privacy, it only restricts the government.

                      So FISA would violate your rights, but not Facebook.

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          • icon
            PeterScott (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 4:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

            I just came back and now it appears the same thing I was seeing elsewhere has broken out here, though I am happy that it seems to be almost all "Anonymous cowards" spouting the BS about forcing companies to host repugnant content.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 9:38pm

          Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

          "But a lot of those were from new accounts, that could just be angry Parler users."

          That's usually the big tell that an issue isn't as big as some people believe it will be. If you're in a large, well established community and all the arguments in a certain come from new or anonymous posters rather than people who usually participate in the conversation there, that's usually a sign that the community doesn't actually believe that take.

          Although - is there such a thing as a not-angry Parler user? I admit I had my view of that site filtered through people on other sites going "look at these assholes", but there wasn't a lot of calmed reasoned discourse going on from what I saw. As with any site there will be a range of sentiment, of course, but I was about as shocked about the insurrection attempt being planned there as I was about the listening and reading habits of McVeigh.

          "Deplatforming tends to quell recruitment"

          This is the big issue, really. When the white supremacists were on Stormfront and the conspiracy nuts were on Infowars, they were breeding grounds for idiots but you had to be a certain type of person to look for that sort of stuff to begin with, and people wouldn't just stumble across them. If you're on a mainstream site and something triggers these people to come up on feeds between actual news and cat videos, they tend to find recruitment easier. Which is why they wail and moan so loud when they lose that audience - they know they can never get such an audience on their own merits. For some people this means less people joining their "cause", for others it means less people to grift.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 3:54am

          Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

          "I really don't buy the "fester out of sight" argument. Deplatforming tends to quell recruitment, and shrink the scale of the problem, making it a smaller problem for law enforcement to monitor for threats."

          This sounds like wishful thinking to me. If it were the case there would be no fear of a dark net, right? Or is that fearmongering just a ploy to extract more resources from the unsuspecting public.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 1:57am

          Re: Re: Re: More moderate than I was expecting.

          "I really don't buy the "fester out of sight" argument. Deplatforming tends to quell recruitment, and shrink the scale of the problem, making it a smaller problem for law enforcement to monitor for threats."

          Both are true, which is part of what makes this such a hard nut to crack. There are countries where the public as a whole consistently suppressed neo-nazism and bigotry...up until the government made a law suppressing the expression of that type of speech. Twenty years later parties espousing xenophobia made it into the parliaments of those nations, because the public had forgotten the type of people this was about. I've seen that exact scenario happen, and seen the shocked and surprised expressions of the average person when they saw protest marches flying flags which weren't exactly swastikas while hollering about "multiculturalism" rather than their trusty old "Ausländer Raus!" rhetoric. All suddenly taking place twenty or more years after banning a certain type of speech, and with everyone blithely assuming the neo-nazis and skinheads were all gone.

          Suppression of hate speech allows for a short-time window of opportunity to weed society of large, organized mobs of people aimed at political targets by scapegoating and badly aimed hatred by depriving them of self-reinforcing echo chambers of sufficient size.

          Long term it also keeps the public as a whole from realizing they are still on the barricades, in the end leading to worse consequences by far.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 6:28pm

    Maybe, just maybe, it's you Parler

    “If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you're the asshole.” ― Raylan Givens

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2021 @ 7:28pm

    I wonder though if the world doesn't need garbage collection sites like this. It does make finding and monitoring the factually impaired an easier task.
    That said, I cannot say I am sorry for Parlor or it's owner. Sad about the out of work programmers I guess - hope they find new work quickly.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 9:43pm

      Re:

      "I wonder though if the world doesn't need garbage collection sites like this. It does make finding and monitoring the factually impaired an easier task."

      As I mention above, yes these sites do serve such a purpose. But, that does not mean that others be forced to work with them against their will, or given free exposure to the mainstream for easy recruitment.

      "Sad about the out of work programmers I guess - hope they find new work quickly."

      Meh, depends on who they are. A competent tech guy who has worked on building and maintaining a site that massively ballooned in popularity in its latter stages (they had around 7x the number of users in at the beginning of this month than they did last month) should not have too many problems if they phrase it right on their resume. But, if they were "true believers" in the site's ideology rather than neutral coders working on an interesting startup project, they deserve the consequences of what they wrought.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 1:47am

        Re: Re:

        A competent tech guy who has worked on building and maintaining a site that massively ballooned in popularity in its latter stages (they had around 7x the number of users in at the beginning of this month than they did last month) should not have too many problems if they phrase it right on their resume.

        A little while back, Parler ran out of free speech because users had spoken freely 2,147,483,647 times. Their tech guy has more to worry about on his resume than just "I worked for extremist crackpots" ;)

        Twitter thread with amusing details is at https://twitter.com/sarahmei/status/1348466213987315712

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:02am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Oh, that is actually hilarious. Further proof that people who willingly work with these platforms might not be chosen due to their technical acumen.

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          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 3:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Further proof that people who willingly work with these platforms might not be chosen due to their technical acumen."

            Well, that link led to an actual IT professional breaking down Parlers technical 'ingenuity' in a twitter feed which eerily resembled the way Richard Liebowitz was handled last time he was in court.

            I'm was particularly fond of her "TL;DR? Technical Clown Shoes" summary 🤣

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  • identicon
    Killer Marmot, 15 Jan 2021 @ 7:55pm

    As an isolated incident, you may be right.

    What should concern you is if this is part of a growing trend to make conservative thought -- or any political belief outside of a very narrow progressive window -- unviable in a modern society.

    You have the right to whatever political opinion you want, but no one owes you a digitial platform, or a job, or an education, or a bank account, or a loan, or a plane ticket. If the screws keep on tightening it will get very ugly.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 8:40pm

      Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

      Out of curiosity which particular 'conservative thought(s)' do you think is/are being pushed out of society as unacceptable, because depending on what you mean you could get agreement, disagreement or flat out laughter since not all 'thoughts' or 'beliefs' are equal or deserve equal treatment or consideration.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2021 @ 10:50pm

        Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

        The squeezing out of conservative professors from higher education has been in progress for a few decades now. They are made to feel unwelcome by their peers, and it's not at all unusual for student organizations to demand the firing of conservative or even liberatarian professors. Many conservative professors now record their lectures so that they have evidence when students file complaints against them,

        A prominent example was Jordan Peterson, which the University of Toronto student newspaper demanded be fired. They weren't successful but they did make it crystal clear that Peterson's "problematic" views were not welcome.

        Brett Weinstein of Evergreen State College DID get forced out by a student mob. His views weren't even conservative, but classically liberal.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 11:46pm

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          Still no mention of what the 'conservative thoughts' that are so problematic that they're being shown the door are, so I'll ask again, could you try listing some of them?

          You said that some of Peterson's views were 'problematic' but without having any idea of what those views are I can't judge whether the students might or might not have been justified in their actions, for all I know they were entirely right in calling to have him fired, and same with Weinstein.

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            Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

            The main point was Peterson's refusal to participate in compelled speech, even speech he agreed with.

            This is not so much a conservative stance as a classically liberal one, but campus progressives don't bother differentiating these days.

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            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

              Which 'forced speech' would that be, and be specific, because details and context matters.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

              "The main point was Peterson's refusal to participate in compelled speech, even speech he agreed with."

              So, he refused to agree to the rules and he should be able to ignore them and continue as normal... because?

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            • icon
              Bloof (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:08am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

              Jordan Peterson has not been silenced. Jordan Peterson has not been prosecuted or persecuted for saying what he says. Jordan Peterson has made a LOT of money painting himself as a free speech martyr, while trying to use his position as a right wing celebrity to attack his colleagues and purge classes that he disagrees with.

              "Women's studies, and all the ethnic studies and racial studies groups, man, those things have to go and the faster they go the better," he said. "It would have been better if they had never been part of the university to begin with as far as I can tell." - Jordan Peterson

              https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-friday-edition-1.4396970/u-of-t-profs-al armed-by-jordan-peterson-s-plan-to-target-classes-he-calls-indoctrination-cults-1.4396974

              Choose a better martyr for free speech because if you Judge Jordan Peterson by his actions, it sure looks like the right only want free speech to be a thing when it protects them.

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            • icon
              Leigh Beadon (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:20am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

              Jordan Peterson, despite all his polemics about the evils of "compelled speech", once threatened to sue a writer and magazine unless they published an apology to him - i.e. he openly and unashamedly attempted to compel speech from someone using the threat of government intervention.

              He's not a "classical liberal" he's just a deluded and deeply troubled hypocrite.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 12:33am

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          "Jordan Peterson"

          LOL. Yeah, you might want to pick better examples.

          "His views weren't even conservative"

          So, you're saying there is no exclusive campaign against conservatives? Interesting...

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        • icon
          Bloof (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 6:57am

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professor_Watchlist

          Remember when conservative AstroTurf group, Turning Point USA tried to set up a list of liberal professors for targeted harassment?

          https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-friday-edition-1.4396970/u-of-t-profs -alarmed-by-jordan-peterson-s-plan-to-target-classes-he-calls-indoctrination-cults-1.4396974

          Remembe r when Jordan Peterson planned to use his platform to attack left wing professors and subjects?

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bari_Weiss

          Remember how Bari Weiss built her entire career on trying to get professors she disagreed with fired by making false allegations against them?

          Damn the left and their censorship and attempts to purge the ranks of academia... Oh wait.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2021 @ 11:49pm

        Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

        Conservative thought in general is being pushed out. Twitter and Facebook have long been hostile places even for moderate conservatives. Conservatives and centralists in main stream media are being forced into quitting, the New York Times being just one example. And higher education is way ahead of the curve in being hostile to conservatives.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 2:38am

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          "Conservative thought in general"

          You were asked for examples and you supply generalities.

          Let me give it a go, I assume your conservative values include things like white supremacy, misogyny, ruthless "capitalism" for the poor and generous "socialism" for the rich ... oh, and the war on drugs.

          And how dare anyone attempt to educate the masses because they are so much more difficult to manage when they know how bad they are being treated.

          Ignorance is bliss while on your secluded island but the water is rising.

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        • icon
          Bloof (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:04am

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          You know Bari Weiss quit because the NYT wouldn't censor her co -workers free speech and punish them for criticising her nonsense on social media, right? Why is her speech precious and that of her co-workers not?

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            Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

            That's one way of putting it. Another way is that Weiss's co-workers were becoming openly hostile not just to her points of view, but to her. She was persona non grata amongst the younger journalists.

            I think almost anyone would quit in that environment.

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            • icon
              Bloof (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 11:26am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

              Sorry, but that's bull.

              She tried to use her seniority to silence other people and take away their free speech while painting herself as a victim on the way out the door. She tried to get her professors fired while at university, and at the NYT, she tried to use her position to take away the livelyhood of freelancers that dared to criticise her. She also used her platform to cheer on the cancellation of muslim members of congress, but yes, she was the true victim of cancel culture.

              She was persona non grata because of her treatment of and attitude toward others. If someone tries to block your friends from getting work elsewhere because she decided to throw her weight around, you are under no obligation to pretend to like them.

              She left because she thinks she can ride the wave of 'OMG, cancel culture is bad!' to get higher profile jobs in the right wing media.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:44am

          'You know... those... thoughts...'

          And like that I no longer care. If you can't answer a simple freakin' question without dodging like crazy then I see no reason to waste any more effort on you than what's required for a copy/paste reply.

          Conservative: I have been censored for my conservative views
          Me: Holy shit! You were censored for wanting lower taxes?
          Con: LOL no…no not those views
          Me: So…deregulation?
          Con: Haha no not those views either
          Me: Which views, exactly?
          Con: Oh, you know the ones

          (All credit to Twitter user @ndrew_lawrence.)

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        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 5:18pm

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          Conservative thought in general is being pushed out.

          Define “conservative”, then provide examples, then provide data. Otherwise, I cannot even say whether or not this statement is true, let alone what it’s ramifications are.

          Twitter and Facebook have long been hostile places even for moderate conservatives.

          Well, with Facebook, we’ve actually seen data and evidence suggesting the opposite. As for Twitter, again, we need data and examples to say whether or not this is true and, if so, what, if anything, should be done about it.

          Conservatives and centralists in main stream media are being forced into quitting, the New York Times being just one example.

          Again, some examples would be nice.

          And higher education is way ahead of the curve in being hostile to conservatives.

          Look, stop using generalities. Which “conservative ideas” are being discriminated against? Where is your evidence?

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        • icon
          techflaws (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:13pm

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          Conservative thought in general is being pushed out.

          Well, maybe, just maybe they should just stop making shit up when presenting their points - and being less assholish about it.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 5:12am

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          "And higher education is way ahead of the curve in being hostile to conservatives."

          So what you are trying to say is that those who are educated are biased against conservatives? I must say it's not a good look for conservatives if the people in a position to know things were rejecting that philosophy.

          Too bad for your argument that what there is a bias against are assholes, not conservatives. No matter how much you try to insist racism and bigotry are core conservative values they are, in fact, not.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 8:11am

        Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

        ron paul claims his facebook page has been disabled. he was always a strong advocate of non violence.

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        DNY (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 12:40pm

        Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

        You write "not all 'thoughts' or 'beliefs' are equal or deserve equal treatment or consideration."

        Yes, but who decides which thoughts are merely 'thoughts' and which beliefs (or 'beliefs') are not deserving of equal treatment or consideration? What used to be called the "liberal" view was that each human being got to decide that, not strictly on their own, but in conversation with others (even those long dead, whose writings survive) and society as a whole. In America, many conservatives, interested in conserving the American Founding, subscribe to this view, as did, until recently most self-described liberals and progressives.

        Now, we are told by a new high-priesthood, that what for the vast sweep of human history would have been an unexceptional view -- that biological sex is an important reality, and that segregating latrines, prisons and athletic competitions on its basis is a benefit to women -- is "bigotry" and not worthy of consideration because the latest cause celebre, that people who are unhappy with their biological sex, and either wish to be the opposite sex, or are under the delusion that they are, are "excluded" from facilities on the basis of the age-old separation not by "gender" but by sex. (If you don't understand why this is not bigotry, biologically female humans, what we used to call "women" without any ambiguity of meaning, who run competitively or who have been imprisoned after commission of a crime can explain to you why the biological segregation makes sense on the basis of their lived experience.) Tech companies try to prevent books based on this view from selling.

        Now the same high-priesthood tells us that qualms about the propriety of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election are beyond the pale and must be censored, but qualms about the propriety of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election (cf. Hilary Clinton's recent remark "we still don't know what happened in 2016") are acceptable. Tech companies shut down fora in which the former qualms are aired frequently, and allow the latter to circulate freely.

        I could go on with other matters, but you see the point. It suffices to regard all thoughts and beliefs (no scorn quotes, please) opposed to the consensus of the bien pensants of Silicon Valley on the basis of historically believed positions to be "conservative" for @Killer Marmot's point to stand.

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 12:54pm

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          So you want this person restricted to using the women's restroom?

          https://www.upworthy.com/heres-what-itll-look-like-if-trans-people-arent-allowed-to-use-th e-right-bathroom

          And this one?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buck_Angel#/media/File:Buck_Angel_Headshot.jpg

          Just be clear that is what you are advocating when you say people should be required to use the restroom based on their sex at birth, and not their gender. I don't know that it's a bigoted position, but it certainly strikes me as one that at best has not been fully considered.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 1:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

            A lot of these people don't seem to understand the difference between transgender and transvestite, nor do they seem to understand the existence of trans men. A lot of their arguments seem to suggest they're thinking it will always be a man in drag.

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        • identicon
          Rocky, 16 Jan 2021 @ 1:42pm

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          Now, we are told by a new high-priesthood, that what for the vast sweep of human history would have been an unexceptional view -- that biological sex is an important reality, and that segregating latrines, prisons and athletic competitions on its basis is a benefit to women

          For the vast sweep of history, nobody gave a flying fuck about gender or sex when taking a shit, being thrown in prison or in athletic competitions. Saying otherwise shows a distinct lack of historical knowledge.

          Now the same high-priesthood tells us that qualms about the propriety of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election are beyond the pale and must be censored, but qualms about the propriety of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election (cf. Hilary Clinton's recent remark "we still don't know what happened in 2016") are acceptable. Tech companies shut down fora in which the former qualms are aired frequently, and allow the latter to circulate freely.

          You do understand the difference between proven interference in the 2016 election vs unsubstantiated claims and pure lies that the 2020 election "was stolen", right?

          I could go on with other matters, but you see the point. It suffices to regard all thoughts and beliefs (no scorn quotes, please) opposed to the consensus of the bien pensants of Silicon Valley on the basis of historically believed positions to be "conservative" for @Killer Marmot's point to stand.

          The point is, he doesn't elaborate what he means by "conservative" views which is especially important when the context is Parlers shutdown and the attack on the Capitolium. And what growing trend is he talking about? That white supremacists, racists, bigots and sedition are bad for business?

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 2:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

            "You do understand the difference between proven interference in the 2016 election vs unsubstantiated claims and pure lies that the 2020 election "was stolen", right?"

            Except theyre not pure lies...

            Here's an example: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/texas/article/TX-woman-arrested-election-fraud-project-ver itas-15867537.php

            How many more of those are there out there that havent been caught yet?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 4:38pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

              How many more of those are there out there that havent been caught yet?

              Statistically? Zero until proven otherwise.

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            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 5:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

              You might want to do a little more research regarding Project Veritas, because to call their credibility 'questionable' would be a 'surface of the sun is kinda warm'-level understatement.

              Even if the source video is legit though(the video that was made public absolutely isn't as it was apparently given the Veritas treatment) it might not be the smoking gun that republicans would want to point to, given who she was working for at the time.

              At the time of the video, she appeared to be working on behalf of a Republican congressional candidate, and mentioned working for several other San Antonio area political figures, including former Republican state Sen. Pete Flores, newly elected state Rep. Elizabeth “Liz” Campos, a Democrat; and former state District Judge Renee Yanta, a Republican.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 1:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

              Hint: if something says "Project Veritas", it's lying to you. I'm not sure I've heard of a single video of theirs that was found not to be misrepresenting evidence in some way.

              If you have no other source, you can assume it's a lie. Meanwhile, there have been several people found to have committed voter fraud in the 2020 election - they just all happen to have been voting for Trump...

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 1:43pm

          You could’ve said “trans people are subhuman trash” and gotten your point across in far less time.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 3:26pm

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          Who decides? We decide for ourselves. And if the owner of the house in which we are conversing finds our speech objectionable, they are free to decide for themselves to show us the door.

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        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 5:41pm

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          that biological sex is an important reality, and that segregating latrines, prisons and athletic competitions on its basis is a benefit to women -- is "bigotry" and not worthy of consideration because the latest cause celebre, that people who are unhappy with their biological sex, and either wish to be the opposite sex, or are under the delusion that they are, are "excluded" from facilities on the basis of the age-old separation not by "gender" but by sex. (If you don't understand why this is not bigotry, biologically female humans, what we used to call "women" without any ambiguity of meaning, who run competitively or who have been imprisoned after commission of a crime can explain to you why the biological segregation makes sense on the basis of their lived experience.)

          So the discrimination is okay because it’s not based on gender but on sex? That’s still bigotry even if it’s traditional. You know what else was unremarkable throughout the “vast sweep of human history”? Racism, religious discrimination, slavery, incest among nobles, serfdom, and discrimination against women. Your assertion doesn’t actually prove your point (that liberals are going too far and the current pro-trans movement is unprecedented).

          And as for “age-old”, the separation of bathrooms based on gender isn’t that old to begin with, same goes for the separation of prisons, and sports didn’t allow women at all until recently (the separation of gender was more of a compromise). So yeah, that’s not something that’s

          Also, let’s say you’re right for the sake of argument. How do you propose we enforce such a separation? Lots of transwomen and cismales look no different from cisfemales, lots of transmen and cisfemales look no different from cismales, and there are some cases where you simply cannot tell whether a given person is male or female at all. The only distinguishing feature is something you shouldn’t see to begin with, so why should you care?

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        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 6:24pm

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          Now, we are told by a new high-priesthood, that what for the vast sweep of human history would have been an unexceptional view -- that biological sex is an important reality, and that segregating latrines…on its basis is a benefit to women

          I guess you're ignorant of the history of bathrooms were. Public Restrooms sans privacy were a thing (at least in England) up until the renaissance where everybody got modern plumbing and thenceforth we got the idea of privacy when taking a shit. Times and attitudes change.

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        • icon
          sorrykb (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:25pm

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          Now, we are told by a new high-priesthood, that what for the vast sweep of human history would have been an unexceptional view -- that biological sex is an important reality, and that segregating latrines, prisons and athletic competitions on its basis is a benefit to women -- is "bigotry"

          So you’re upset because you’re being criticized for opinions that people used to let slide. You’re upset because other people are publicly challenging your opinions, and you’d always assumed that your opinion is the natural default and it’s everyone else—not you—who has to face criticism.

          Well welcome to the world.

          Calling someone a bigot is not censorship, and no one is obligated to find your opinion worthy of debate or discussion.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 1:33am

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          "who decides which thoughts are merely 'thoughts' and which beliefs (or 'beliefs') are not deserving of equal treatment or consideration"

          The people whose property you're using. If you dislike this, find a property owner who agrees with you, or use your own property.

          "qualms about the propriety of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election are beyond the pale and must be censored, but qualms about the propriety of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election (cf. Hilary Clinton's recent remark "we still don't know what happened in 2016") are acceptable."

          Because when you grow up a bit and understand things like context, you will understand that there's a massive difference between genuine concerns about a historical election that will be studied for years but cannot be affected in any way, and outright fiction about an election that the cult believes they can still change if they lie enough.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 11:46pm

        Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

        not all 'thoughts' or 'beliefs' are equal or deserve equal treatment or consideration.

        Then please oh great sage, give us your wisdom and define all acceptable thought or beliefs so we can purge via the law all others that are undesirable.

        Fascist. Just wearing another flag.

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        • identicon
          Rocky, 18 Jan 2021 @ 12:26am

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          Why don't you just come out and say that you think all viewpoints have equal merit, even those who think white supremacy, slavery and pederasty is something good.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 12:45am

          Some thoughts/beliefs don’t deserve equal treatment because of their outlandishness, offensiveness, or flat-out wrongness. Do we need to take the beliefs of QAnon cultists seriously? What about people who think Black people are “glad their ancestors were brought here as slaves”?

          You can’t think all thoughts/beliefs deserve equal treatment. That way lies madness — and the justifying of great evils such as pedophilia, terrorism, and thinking Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a good movie. But if you want to argue otherwise? I’m not gonna stop you from making that mistake.

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        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 12:53am

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          Fascist

          [Projects facts not in evidence]

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 5:26am

          Re: Re: Depends on how you're defining 'conservative'

          "Fascist. Just wearing another flag."

          For denying you a perceived "right" to look down on other human beings and treating them like garbage based what they are rather than on what they do?

          Nope. No matter how much ignorant asshats keep railing it is not and never has been a human right to be entitled the respect that you deny others. Tolerance is a reciprocal part of the social contract and as long as you deny equality to anyone else based on what they are no one owes it to tolerate you.

          So here's the deal; feel free to set up your own echo chamber, live in your own little cabin out in rural pennsylvania, and have yourself little parties with your like-minded outcasts.
          And when you come into any place where rational beings gather, feel free to be shown the door when you decide to shit on the floor and decide the patrons no one else has a beef with are subhuman because they've got the "wrong" skin tone or plumbing.

          You should probably consider moving to some middle east country where they share your particular views - because the principles the US was founded on don't agree with you.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 9:46pm

      Re:

      "What should concern you is if this is part of a growing trend to make conservative thought -- or any political belief outside of a very narrow progressive window -- unviable in a modern society."

      That would concern me, if it weren't for every supposed example of this boiling down to people acting like assholes in a way that would have got them kicked off in the same way no matter their political beliefs. I somehow think that you wouldn't be whining about these people losing their platform if Parler were a hive of Marxists who just tried overthrowing a democratic election...

      "If the screws keep on tightening it will get very ugly."

      You know what else is very ugly? Forcing people to do business with these kinds of people against their will and giving them free access to recruitment tools.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2021 @ 10:54pm

        Re: Re:

        "I somehow think that you wouldn't be whining about these people losing their platform if Parler were a hive of Marxists who just tried overthrowing a democratic election..."

        1. Don't speculate about views I haven't expresssed because you're not smart enough.

        2. Planning of the assault on Capital Building did not occur through Parler.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 12:31am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Don't speculate about views I haven't expresssed because you're not smart enough."

          I'm free to express any assumption I want.

          "Planning of the assault on Capital Building did not occur through Parler."

          Irrelevant to them being kicked off services for their role, and their repeated refusal to stop breaking terms of service. The attempted insurrection was the catalyst to finally take action, it was not the sole reason.

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        • identicon
          TFG, 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Don't speculate about views I haven't expresssed because you're not smart enough.

          Then don't force people to speculate by refusing to provide specifics and instead going with generalities.

          Understand that we've seen all this before. "Conservative thought is being suppressed!" the person says.
          "That's concerning if true!" We reply. "To enable a reasoned discussion, which conservative thoughts are being suppressed?"
          "Conservative thought in general!" comes the reply.
          "But that does not allow for discussion or actual action to be taken."

          And then it devolves into nonsense, as the person claiming that conservative thought is being suppressed retreats into the assumption that people asking for specifics are attacking them, and reveals that they've bought into ideologies that they call conservative but in reality are fascistic, racist, or conspiracy theories.

          This trains everyone who comes across the argument to treat it as yet another instance of the same tired old nonsense. The actions of others, which are comparable to your own, lead to everyone being too weary of this shit to give it a fair shake. So please break the pattern, and when asked for specifics, give some specifics.

          You want to have a reasoned discussion? Then be socially intelligent enough to be reasonable, and tell us exactly what conservative views are being suppressed.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 8:02am

            tell us exactly what conservative views are being suppressed

            Oh, you know the ones…

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 6:32am

              Re:

              "Oh, you know the ones…"

              Must be the ones about black people being worth three fifths of an actual person. That one statement by Lincoln the current GOP can get behind.

              Or the opinions as formulated in the conversation Reagan had with Nixon about african delegates at one time;

              "then–California Governor Ronald Reagan phoned President Richard Nixon at the White House and vented his frustration at the delegates who had sided against the United States. “Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,” Reagan said. “Yeah,” Nixon interjected. Reagan forged ahead with his complaint: “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Nixon gave a huge laugh."

              • The Atlantic, Ronald Reagan’s Long-Hidden Racist Conversation With Richard Nixon.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 2:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Don't speculate about views I haven't expresssed because you're not smart enough."

          Is this speculation on your part?
          Interesting.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 2:41pm

        Re: Re:

        "That would concern me, if it weren't for every supposed example of this boiling down to people acting like assholes in a way that would have got them kicked off in the same way no matter their political beliefs."

        SCOTUS has ruled the even hate speech is protected under the 1A.

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        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 5:44pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          True, but irrelevant. The 1A only stops the government from intruding on speech, not private persons like Twitter.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 9:44am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Proof that even the most repugnant views are not being repressed in the US. Bigots just want everyone to be forced to agree with and repeat them.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 6:35am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "SCOTUS has ruled the even hate speech is protected under the 1A."

          Meaning that government may make no law suppressing that speech, yes.
          How slow do people have to be to realize that after all this time, private corporations and individuals are not government.

          The government can't have you jailed for screaming the N-word out loud.
          Neither can the pub owner, the restaurant owner, or the owner of an online platform passing by. They can all ban your ass from their personal premises though.

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 9:58pm

      Re:

      What should concern you is if this is part of a growing trend to make conservative thought -- or any political belief outside of a very narrow progressive window -- unviable in a modern society.

      I have seen no evidence, whatsoever, that supports this hypothesis.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 10:25pm

        Re: Re:

        "I have seen no evidence, whatsoever, that supports this hypothesis."

        In fact, as I often mention, I've seen plenty of evidence to the contrary. Whenever people bother to give a concrete example, it's almost without fail a ban due to behaviour that would have been punished no matter the political slant of the person.

        This is true of the Parler issue - they have been blocked because they helped ferment and armed insurrection attempt of the Capitol, and have been removed from services whose terms of service they had already been breaking. I don't believe that the political viewpoint that led to this has any bearing on the action taken as a result.

        What some people need to be asking is not "why are people who think like me getting disproportionately banned?", but rather "why do I align politically with so many toxic assholes?".

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2021 @ 10:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "This is true of the Parler issue - they have been blocked because they helped ferment and armed insurrection attempt of the Capitol"

          Glenn Greenwald says otherwise. He did some research and claims there is no evidence that the assault on Capitol Hill was organized through Parler.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 12:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I don't believe that for a second, given the posts I've been seeing from there the last couple of months. They may not have been exclusively organised through there, but a lot of the drive to do this is certainly present.

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          • icon
            mermaldad (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 1:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I don't believe those two statements are mutually exclusive.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 1:05am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              They're not.

              It's also irrelevant - the stated reason why Parler has been refused service from most of these providers is not that they directly organised the insurrection attempt.

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          • icon
            Jan Bobrowicz (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 3:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            [Greenwald] did some research and claims there is no evidence that the assault on Capitol Hill was organized through Parler.

            Glem didn't do any research. He just took Parler's word for it:

            a Parler executive told me that of the thirteen people arrested as of Monday for the breach at the Capitol, none appear to be active users of Parler.

            It's also not true. A number of Parler users have been arrested, among them Troy Smocks, Jake Angeli, and Nick Ochs.

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          • icon
            Mike Masnick (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Glenn Greenwald wrote that based solely on Parler execs claiming as much, and before multiple reports came out detailing how much was actually planned on Parler. And now that Parler's entire database has been leaked, more and more examples of planning done on Parler has come out.

            Maybe don't trust Glenn, because he's not at all trustworthy.

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          • icon
            techflaws (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Glenn Greenwald says otherwise.

            Glem didn't do any research. He just took Parler's word for it:

            Also, f*ck Glenn Greenwald.

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          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 6:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Glenn Greenwald says otherwise. He did some research and claims there is no evidence that the assault on Capitol Hill was organized through Parler."

            Organized? maybe and maybe not. The key point is that Parler is filled to the brim with people who advocated such action or applauded it. Which means Amazon, Google and Apple have politely asked Parler to leave their premises and not come back.

            It's a bit like how, if you're standing in a bar loudly discussing treason, murder or the minutiae of practical necrophilia, at some point the owner will more or less firmly remind you where the door is and invite you to make use of it. Even if you can't be shown to have been involved in either.

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2021 @ 11:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So it's okay for the cool kids to blacklist the outcasts. Welcome to eighth grade.

          The LIBERAL definition of "hate" is what rules. That's the bias.

          If it's that horrible make it illegal, and if not, allow it online.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 12:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "So it's okay for the cool kids to blacklist the outcasts. Welcome to eighth grade."

            No, it's OK for companies to refuse service to customers they believe will hurt their business by serving them. Whether that's because you refuse to put on a shirt or because you were involved in violent criminal activity is meaningless. Welcome to the adult world.

            "The LIBERAL definition of "hate" is what rules"

            No, the real world definition of hate, which includes beating a police officer to death during an attempt to violently overthrow a legal electoral process. That applies to anyone doing such things, no matter their political viewpoint, but only one group has done that recently.

            "If it's that horrible make it illegal"

            It is illegal, which is why so many people are being arrested.

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            • icon
              John Thacker (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 6:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Right, but the Hollywood blacklist was private, and it was done because of belief that it would hurt their business by doing so. Yes, politicians approved of it, and government investigations or lack of testimony was sometimes evidence used, but the studios had their own investigations and a clearance system for people to dispute their blacklisting. They also were influenced by pressure and evidence brought by private groups like the American Legion.

              Certainly the same sorts of analogies apply to censorship of, say, LGBTQ issues in decades past, but there it is much easier for me to argue that I opposed the censorship because there was nothing wrong with the views being suppressed.

              In the case of the CPUSA, they were as evil and pro genocide as the rioters on Parler. Yes, in both cases some dupes get swept up along with the truly evil. But both are private actions done to protect business, and in both cases people have and had alternatives, even if not as good.

              All of this is to explain why the Hollywood blacklist was quite popular at the time, and why people who support the actions against Parler would support the Hollywood blacklist (and similar actions against Nazi sympathizers) then and probably should support it now. Equally, people could oppose either blacklist without actually being sympathetic to the views.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:11am

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

                "Right, but the Hollywood blacklist was private"

                Really? Did you miss the hearings? I wasn't around at the time but it seemed pretty obvious that people who refused to testify at those were blacklisted, and those named during the hearings were also blacklisted. Maybe you didn't get the full list, but the overall information wasn't exactly private.

                "In the case of the CPUSA, they were as evil and pro genocide as the rioters on Parler"

                Maybe, but the difference is that people who weren't in the CPUSA were still blacklisted if they were fingered, no matter how innocent they were. Parler being taken offline doesn't silence anyone outside of Parler, and certainly doesn't silence people who never used it to begin with.

                Do you notice the very obvious difference there? The main takeaway here is that people are desperate to pretend that the use of anti-fascist tactics is somehow the same as Nazi/fascist tactics, and that requires such an ignorance or distortion of history that it's quite disturbing. Thankfully, the fascists who did actually involve themselves in violent insurrection are being arrested and tried, so they will be less able to infect people with this false equivalence in the future.

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        • icon
          CallmeSteve (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 1:24pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          What some people need to be asking is not "why are people who think like me getting disproportionately banned?", but rather "why do I align politically with so many toxic assholes?".

          This is why I do not belong to either party. Time for third parties to start getting their name in the game. Besides, why is Facebook and Twitter allowed when there is quite alot of hate spewing from all stripes of people on those platforms. Why are those platforms exempt? Seems to me, it was a move to get rid of a potential competitor.

          Also, doesn't the Government have AWS as one of their providers? Seems like some money can flow from there if someone does the "right" thing.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 1:41pm

            why is Facebook and Twitter allowed when there is quite alot of hate spewing from all stripes of people on those platforms. Why are those platforms exempt?

            Exempt from what? If Twitter doesn’t own its servers/hosting and whatever company runs that hosting wants to boot Twitter, that hosting company can boot Twitter. (Whether it would is a whole different can of worms.)

            The key difference between Twitter and Parler is one of size. That much is true. But that size difference significantly lowers the percentage of “hate speech” on Twitter as opposed to Parler. And Twitter doesn’t apparently ignore moderation reports by the thousands.

            Seems to me, it was a move to get rid of a potential competitor.

            Parler competes with Twitter/Facebook in the same way some rando developer on itch.io competes with Nintendo: It’s technically true, but the playing field isn’t anywhere near level.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 3:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Facebook and Twitter are allowed... what, exactly?

            Hate on their platforms... sure, but they moderate it. That's why people complain when their hate or dangerous lies get taken down, or the accounts suspended.

            So again, exempt from what?

            Also, doesn't the Government have AWS as one of their providers?

            Nice theory, but Amazon makes so much money that the government can hardly tease them with a contract. But the thinking here is... Trump and other government conservatives asked AWS to silence Parler? Is that the gist here?

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          • icon
            bhull242 (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 5:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Besides, why is Facebook and Twitter allowed when there is quite alot of hate spewing from all stripes of people on those platforms. Why are those platforms exempt? Seems to me, it was a move to get rid of a potential competitor.

            AWS does not compete and never has competed with Parler, and Facebook and Twitter are not hosted by AWS at all.

            (Also, neither Apple nor Google compete with Parler, either.)

            Besides, according to Amazon, Parler barely even tried to do something about the hate-spewing on their platform, while Facebook and Twitter clearly have tried.

            Also, doesn't the Government have AWS as one of their providers? Seems like some money can flow from there if someone does the "right" thing.

            I don’t know. That would require some investigation. It also wouldn’t mean that AWS did anything wrong.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 1:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "This is why I do not belong to either party."

            You might start by understanding the the issues here aren't restricted to what the 2 major US political parties happen to be. It's a lot more complicated than that. Try and educate yourself on the actual issue without letting partisanship in a single country confuse you.

            "Besides, why is Facebook and Twitter allowed"

            Allow to do what, exactly?

            "there is quite alot of hate spewing from all stripes of people on those platforms"

            Yes, but it's a vast minority of what happens on those platforms. There's a different question about a platform histing 2.7 billion users across the globe having a certain type of hate, compared to a platform with 2.3 million users that has been promoted exclusively to right-wing extremists in the US.

            "Seems to me, it was a move to get rid of a potential competitor."

            Then, you really need to get your head out of your arse and understand what's happening because you're conflated things that have nothing to do with each other. Facebook and Twitter had nothing to do with Amazon kicking Parler off their platform, and Parler is not a competitor to AWS.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2021 @ 11:01pm

        Re: Re:

        There are none so blind as those who are paid not to see.

        Masnick is very desperate for reasons which will become apparent very soon. He knows lawyers who know hackers who organized the insurrection. They're the same lawyers who paid these hackers to defame people online. Not saying he DID anything but he's aware of what's going on a lot more than he's revealing. No telling which side he's on.

        What's done in the dark will be brought to the light.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 12:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "He knows lawyers who know hackers who organized the insurrection."

          I'm sure the evidence for that will be as forthcoming as the evidence of electoral fraud that Trump's lawyers have refused to show to the courts.

          "What's done in the dark will be brought to the light."

          Yes, I do look forward to the court proceedings that will reveal who was behind recent events. I somehow doubt it will be the people you're fantasising about, however.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 4:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          " reasons which will become apparent very soon"

          Not this again, do you have anything other than more bullshit?

          Lawyers and hackers? lol

          "What's done in the dark will be brought to the light."
          Vampires will enjoy that.

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        • icon
          techflaws (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Masnick is very desperate for reasons which will become apparent
          very soon.

          Yeah, right. Bring it on, pumpkin!

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 4:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "He knows lawyers who know hackers who organized the insurrection."

          I guess that's why all the insurrectionist mob leaders live-streaming themselves committing sedition and treason while identifying themselves on camera turned out to be very well known extreme right wing activists? Because Masnick?

          Thank you for that little gem, Baghdad Bob. Almost as amusing as when you claimed Masnick was being paid by the CIA to hire astroturfers for the sole purpose of...shooting holes in your leaky excuses of arguments on open forums...

          You're not going to give the Kenyan Muslim or the Global Jewish Conspiracy any screen time today the way you usually do when you're in full gear?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 2:07pm

      Re:

      I'm not concerned about that outlandish lie, no. Not at all. It's rather generally the other way around. Y'all just mad that people you want to label "progressive" or "liberal" or "leftist" (and quite frankly some of them very much are not) are speaking up and it doesn't align with the "conservative" story of the moment.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 9:31am

      Re:

      What concerns me is the idea that we should put bad ideas on life support and treat them like protected classes. Conservatism needs no help spreading its filth, and it would be great if it did eventually die, like some of its more blatantly awful tenets are dying (homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, anti-science).

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 4:54am

      Re:

      "What should concern you is if this is part of a growing trend to make conservative thought -- or any political belief outside of a very narrow progressive window -- unviable in a modern society."

      Is this where I more or less have to point out to you that for most of human historythe progressive window has always been extremely wide?

      And "conservative" thought has never been so much as even frowned upon. Unless of course you want to redefine what Parler is getting cast out for - being a platform for nazism, racism, bigotry and delusional conspiracy theories - as "conservative".

      I don't think I'm concerned a single bit that racist assholes are being treated as the outcasts they are, nor that delusional lunatics are denied credibility by society as a whole. Nor should any other rational person be.

      Tolerance is a reciprocal part of the social contract. The rights you would deny other people will not be extended to you in turn.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 15 Jan 2021 @ 8:23pm

    "I urge you to read through this entire post, resist any kneejerk responses"

    You're so cute!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2021 @ 10:44pm

    We should also be concerned about the abject failure of antitrust legislation/enforcement (especially in the US) leading to a situation where there are only a few companies that provide a specific service in the infrastructure stack that can then be weaponised against any number of targets. We saw this with the successful pressure by ill-informed anti-porn organisations on payment processors to cut off PornHub leading to its massive video purge.

    It seems that in order to "fix" (as much as you can given how inherently complex content moderation is) the issues of moving moderation policy enforcement deeper into the infrastructure stack, you need to fix/reboot antitrust legislation and enforcement.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 12:36am

      Re:

      "leading to a situation where there are only a few companies that provide a specific service in the infrastructure"

      Amazon has only 1/3 of the cloud infrastructure market, and have many competitors, plus you don't require cloud infrastructure to perform any of the functions that Parler were performing - there any many alternatives beyond the cloud.

      If you're referring to other services then there's a discussion to be had there, but the bottom line is that this discussion has nothing to do with companies not wishing to do business with a specific actor under the current marketplace rules.

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    • icon
      fairuse (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 1:34am

      Re:

      The Antitrust Legislation you seek is not here (because it does not apply).

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 4:10am

      Re:

      "failure of antitrust legislation/enforcement"

      You think ISPs should be a utility?

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 4:59am

        Internet access providers (what we currently know as ISPs) should be regulated as public utilities. Internet service providers (providers of online services such as cloud hosting and social interaction networks) should not — but they should be subject to antitrust and monopoly laws if necessary.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:05am

          Re:

          I agree. I figured that AC did not.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 5:55pm

          Re:

          Pretty much this. I was also speaking in general terms and not necessarily the situation involving Parler. The PornHub Purge of 2020 I mentioned was just an example of the dark road things can go down when you leave mono/duo/oligopolies unchecked.

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

    • icon
      Ben (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 5:54am

      Re:

      They have alternatives within the cloud market.
      They could even avoid using cloud services altogether and host the entire system on their own computers using open-source software, with only a leased line connection to t'internet. (It would need to be a high capacity line, but there are plenty of providers out there, depending upon where you are)
      There's no antitrust behaviour going on, Parler are just too cheap and lazy to build their own.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:12am

        Re: Re:

        "too cheap and lazy to build their own"

        I read they were using free trial software, filthy pirates!

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:58am

          Has anyone ever actually paid for WinRAR? 😆

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 11:19am

            Re:

            I'm not able to quickly find figures, but basically - yes, they did. The average home user wouldn't, but the idea is to get individuals who weren't a lucrative market to use it then get the corporate users to pay for it, which many would due to corporate acquisition policies. This is something that works for companies who understand they stand to make more money from corporate licences than they are from nickel-and-diming home users who are more likely to pirate and/or use FOSS solutions than stick to an expensive brand name.

            However, what I believe AC was referring to was this:

            https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/parler-free-trial-software-b1786153. html

            They were using a free trial version of 2FA authentication software, which the vendor promptly removed them from when it was publicised they were abusing.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 1:02pm

              Re: Re:

              "what I believe AC was referring to was this"

              LOL, yes indeed :)

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

              • icon
                Ben (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 1:11pm

                Re: Re: Re:

                Clearly they're lazy as previously stated then, because implementing 2FA need not be complicated. Hell, I did it in a day using free software not six months ago.

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

                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 6:47am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "Clearly they're lazy as previously stated then, because implementing 2FA need not be complicated."

                  And inept. Don't forget inept. Sarah Mei, software engineer and developer, described what Parler revealed about their technical expertise as "Technical Clown Shoes". Her twitter comments about that is a joy to read.

                  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, 15 Jan 2021 @ 11:01pm

    First Principles ?

    ("But it's important to go back to first principles in thinking through these issues. It's quite clear that companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google have every legal right to remove services they don't want to associate with, and there are a ton of reasons why people and companies might not want to associate with Parler." MM)
    .

    Odd that you stress 'first principles', but never state what those principles are in your mind.

    You hint at a "Freedom of Association" for "people and companies" as a basic principle.
    That principle, if stated, would greatly clarify your position.

    However, I strongly doubt you accept freedom-of-association as a basic principle of society (e.g., you fully accept the use of government force to compel private restaurant owners to serve black customers even though some owners do not want to associate with black people at all).

    Your latest view on this Parler issue still seems tentative and loosely expressed.

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

    • identicon
      Rocky, 16 Jan 2021 @ 12:03am

      Re: First Principles ?

      However, I strongly doubt you accept freedom-of-association as a basic principle of society (e.g., you fully accept the use of government force to compel private restaurant owners to serve black customers even though some owners do not want to associate with black people at all).

      What's a black customer and why shouldn't that customer be served?

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 12:30am

        Re: Re: First Principles ?

        These guys are all for the free market until they're the minority being refused service, then they're all for government seizure of private property.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 12:29am

      Re: First Principles ?

      "you fully accept the use of government force to compel private restaurant owners to serve black customers even though some owners do not want to associate with black people at all"

      Yes, the concept of legally protected classes is very important to prevent racists from treating minorities differently. Violent insurrectionist and easily-fooled alt-right fascist are not protected classes.

      "Your latest view on this Parler issue still seems tentative and loosely expressed."

      Only to people desperate to pretend that Parler are not facing perfectly acceptable consequences for their actions.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:40am

        Re: Re: First Principles ?

        so did you understand what first principles the author here was talking about to justify his Parler viewpoint?

        if so, please spell them out for us dummies.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:12am

          Re: Re: Re: First Principles ?

          "if so, please spell them out for us dummies."

          Weird how you expect me to explain his point rather than expect him to explain it if he finds my interpretation of his words faulty.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 7:00am

          Re: Re: Re: First Principles ?

          "if so, please spell them out for us dummies."

          You mean the part where what you are is legally protected but what you do is not?

          You can toss a person out for pissing on the floor, espousing the confederacy, violating the dress code, or ranting until the other patrons have had enough.
          You can't toss them out for "Being Brown".

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

    • identicon
      TFG, 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:30am

      Re: First Principles ?

      It's very easy to have a coherent, consistent, and non-hypocritical viewpoint of the right to freedom of association, while also not supporting racists.

      It goes as follows:

      1. Private People and companies have the right to choose who they associate with, including providing services to, when that choice is based upon actions and expression of the other party. (Standard 1st amendment caveat: the Government, governmental services, and government employees operate under severe restrictions in this theater)

      2. People and companies do not have a right to choose who they associate with, including providing services to, when that choice is based upon *what the other party is.

      Ergo: You can kick someone out of your bar because they're being an asshole. You can't kick someone out of your bar because they're black.

      "But bars kick Nazis out!"
      No one was born a Nazi.
      "But what <protected class> does a bad thing?"
      Then kick them out for doing the bad thing. You just can't kick them out for being <protected class.>

      It's not hard, guys.

      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, 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:54am

        Re: Re: First Principles ?

        Nope, U clearly do not understand the classic definition of freedomof association, nor its long established history in American culture and law.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 8:04am

          Yes or no: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any privately owned interactive web service into hosting legally protected speech that the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host?

          If yes: For what reason should that apply to privately owned businesses/services on the Internet, but not to privately owned businesses/services in meatspace?

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:13am

          Re: Re: Re: First Principles ?

          "U clearly do not understand the classic definition of freedomof association,"

          People here seem to understand it as a person or company can refuse to associate with another person or company for any reason, unless otherwise prohibited by things like protected classes.

          What's your interpretation.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:13am

          Re: Re: Re: First Principles ?

          "U clearly do not understand the classic definition of freedomof association, nor its long established history in American culture and law"

          Do continue .....
          What American cultural reference best suits this classic definition of freedom of association?
          What long established American law best addresses this classic freedom of association?

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

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:22am

          Re: Re: Re: First Principles ?

          Nope, U clearly do not understand the classic definition of freedomof association, nor its long established history in American culture and law.

          Then by all means, explain it. Or provide link(s).

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

        • identicon
          TFG, 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:42am

          Re: Re: Re: First Principles ?

          1. I wasn't talking about the classic definition of it. I was explaining how you can have a coherent, consistent, and non-hypocritical viewpoint of it, which does not require a classic definition to be considered in any way, shape, or form. In fact, if the classic definition requires that racists be supported, then we can put that in the column of "unfortunate history" and use a more morally sound definition going forward.

          2. Notwithstanding the complete lack of relevance of what you have claimed as a rebuttal to what I have said, you have not actually provided the definition to which you referred, nor provided anything to explain it. Without this, there can be no meaningful discussion of what you attempted to say. If you wish to have a discussion of the "Classic definition" and the long-established history, please give us something about what those are. I'd also appreciate it if you would include something that would link it, in any way, to my point.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 7:03am

          Re: Re: Re: First Principles ?

          "Nope, U clearly do not understand the classic definition of freedomof association, nor its long established history in American culture and law."

          Too darn bad because his association is what the US Supreme Court has ruled in favor of every time the subject has come up. Which it lamentably has, a lot of times.

          The only constitution your particular version of "Freedom of Association" would fly under is the one written by the confederacy.

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

      • identicon
        Mike, 16 Jan 2021 @ 5:52pm

        No, you're just begging the question

        It's very easy to have a coherent, consistent, and non-hypocritical viewpoint of the right to freedom of association, while also not supporting racists.

        All you've done is declared by fiat that "what the other party is" is somehow a special category of association that doesn't get included in the discussion.

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

        • identicon
          TFG, 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:02pm

          Re: No, you're just begging the question

          Note the "while not supporting racists" part. Supporting Freedom of Association that is based purely on what the other party is is to support racists.

          Do you therefore argue that people should be allowed to deny services to people because they are black, not-black, chinese, gay, etc?

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Mike, 17 Jan 2021 @ 4:09pm

            Re: Re: No, you're just begging the question

            Note the "while not supporting racists" part. Supporting Freedom of Association that is based purely on what the other party is is to support racists.

            And note that what you did, again, was move the goal post while trying to tell everyone you didn't. The truth is, you don't believe in Freedom of Association just like almost no one believes in Freedom of Speech given that they don't support the right to share state secrets, commit defamation, etc.

            Most modern political ideas are based on catch phrases that fail the moment you consistently apply them. That's why people do what you did, which is create an unprincipled exception that you pretend is just common sense rather than a very real flaw in your argument.

            Do you therefore argue that people should be allowed to deny services to people because they are black, not-black, chinese, gay, etc?

            No, and I generally think that should include things like this issue as well.

            "But the 1A."

            That's a legal point, which I agree controls the matter, but it's not how I think things ought to be. Corporations are not people. If corporate executives want to express their opinions on how to run a business, I have a novel idea for how to reconcile this: they can run it as their own sole proprietorship.

            Granting corporations human rights makes less sense than granting them to parrots and apes as corporations have no reality beyond a piece of paper.

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

            • identicon
              TFG, 17 Jan 2021 @ 4:49pm

              Re: Re: Re: No, you're just begging the question

              And note that what you did, again, was move the goal post while trying to tell everyone you didn't.

              ...the goal as expressed was to provide a coherent philosophy of Freedom of Association while not supporting racists. To remind you of the original statement is not moving the goal posts: it is literally restating where the goal posts are, so that everybody remembers what was being talked about.

              I don't know what you imagined the goal posts to be, but if you had them as something other than what was stated, all I can say is "read better."

              The truth is, you don't believe in Freedom of Association just like almost no one believes in Freedom of Speech given that they don't support the right to share state secrets, commit defamation, etc.

              The truth is that I believe in Freedom of Association under the framework I originally supplied. You have the right to associate, or not associate, based on the actions and speech of people. You do not have the right to associate, or not associate, based on the nature of people. To hold otherwise is to, again, open the door to racism, sexism, etc.

              Most modern political ideas are based on catch phrases that fail the moment you consistently apply them. That's why people do what you did, which is create an unprincipled exception that you pretend is just common sense rather than a very real flaw in your argument.

              My argument is that it is possible to have a coherent understanding of Freedom of Association without also supporting racists, by noting and applying the difference between treatment based on actions and treatment based on nature. I have yet to see an actual explanation of the flaw in this argument.

              >Do you therefore argue that people should be allowed to deny services to people because they are black, not-black, chinese, gay, etc?

              No, and I generally think that should include things like this issue as well.

              So then what exactly is your issue with what I've said? If you are not arguing for people being allowed to deny services based on skin color, gender, etc., what is wrong with my outlay of the conditions for Freedom of Association?

              "But the 1A."

              That's a legal point, which I agree controls the matter, but it's not how I think things ought to be. Corporations are not people. If corporate executives want to express their opinions on how to run a business, I have a novel idea for how to reconcile this: they can run it as their own sole proprietorship.

              I don't actually follow your point here. Sole proprietorship, incorporated, LLC, what restriction can you place on the company that does not, in effect, place a restriction on the people themselves? Also, should it be just the owner that has a say? Employees, board members, and so on also have a say in things.

              Granting corporations human rights makes less sense than granting them to parrots and apes as corporations have no reality beyond a piece of paper.

              While tangential to what I was talking about earlier, I agree with you to a certain extent (in particular I don't quite agree with the idea that corporations can make "political contributions" aka bribes). The complexity of this is to ensure that rights granted to people are not immediately obviated just because they created a group that uses a name.

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

              • identicon
                Mike, 18 Jan 2021 @ 4:33pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: No, you're just begging the question

                ...the goal as expressed was to provide a coherent philosophy of Freedom of Association while not supporting racists.

                And you failed because what you actually did was mutilate Freedom of Association as a concept and substitute your mutilation as being a perfectly coherent and natural form of the idea, which it's not. This is like saying "I believe it's possible to have a coherent idea of free speech that excludes hate speech." What you really mean there too is "I believe in the freedom to say things I think people should be free to say."

                The only coherent form of Freedom of Association is the extreme one, which allows people to be racist. This becomes especially obvious when you consider that by your own criteria, it becomes incoherent when you include sexual orientation and religion in the mix, as both of those are "what people do," not "what people are." There is no documented proof yet that anyone is born Jewish, Buddhist or Christian; born gay, pedophile, etc. Both categories are firmly in the behavior and expression category, not "intrinsic attributes" yet both are considered protected classes.

                (Note: one does not need to believe in Freedom of Association to consider forced association imprudent; there are plenty of cases where discrimination is not harmful and others where it is and an abstract principle cannot do justice to that)

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

                • identicon
                  TFG, 18 Jan 2021 @ 5:01pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, you're just begging the question

                  And you failed because what you actually did was mutilate Freedom of Association as a concept and substitute your mutilation as being a perfectly coherent and natural form of the idea, which it's not.

                  This is an assertion you keep making, but you have so failed to provide any coherent arguments to explain why this assertion is true. Until such time as you actually provide reasons why your assertion is true, it simply an unsubstantiated assertion. Please correct this as soon as possible, or I'll be forced to simply ignore what you're saying as you attempting to discard what I'm saying based on nothing.

                  The only coherent form of Freedom of Association is the extreme one, which allows people to be racist.

                  Why?

                  This becomes especially obvious when you consider that by your own criteria, it becomes incoherent when you include sexual orientation and religion in the mix, as both of those are "what people do," not "what people are."

                  I posit that it doesn't.

                  1. Sexual orientation as choice vs. nature is a thorny subject and you're going to find that your assertion that it's what people "do" as opposed to what people "are" is not actually universally accepted.

                  2. Yes, religion is what people do and say. So it can be entirely valid to deny someone based on their religion, in a coherent view of Freedom of Association. Morally this should be based entirely on an understanding of what that particular religion actually espouses, and whether it's problematic. For example, Scientology would be Non-Grata in my own establishments, because that is a religion of exploitation. Similarly, Westboro Baptist Church would be Non-Grata in my own establishments, as that's a Religion of Hate. On the other hand, Muslim covers a broad range of people, many with peaceful views. Same with Christian - so, because those religions are not guaranteed problematic, I withhold judgement based solely on that.

                  On a slight tangent:

                  There is no documented proof yet that anyone is born Jewish...

                  Don't use this one in future, as, yes, people are born Jewish - it's a real genetic lineage, same as Palestinian, Irish, German, etc. There is also a Jewish faith/religion, etc., but you can 100% be Jewish in lineage without following Judaism. Anne Frank was born a Jew.

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

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 6:54pm

                  The only coherent form of Freedom of Association is the extreme one, which allows people to be racist.

                  The freedom of association doesn’t “allow[ ]people to be racist”. Nothing in the Constitution gives (or denies) the “right” to believe racist bullshit. But it does deny racists the right to make others listen to their racist bullshit or force others to have any association with them. If you’re more worried about racists being denied an audience that doesn’t want to hear their bullshit than about the racists trying to make that potential audience listen to them by force (legal or physical), you…might want to reconsider your own values.

                  it becomes incoherent when you include sexual orientation and religion in the mix, as both of those are "what people do," not "what people are."

                  U.S. law protects people from religious persecution so the law can’t be used in a way that implies favor or affection for one religion and malice or ill will for all others. You’re not born a Christian or a Muslim or an atheist; this is true. But you shouldn’t be barred from participating in the public sphere because you’re any of those things.

                  As for sexual orientation: Yeah, no, that’s not a “choice”. If it were, straight people could either point out the exact moment they chose to be straight or “choose” to go from straight to gay like it’s an internal light switch. (A straight man who sucks a dick ever now and then isn’t completely straight, despite what they may tell themselves.)

                  Both categories are firmly in the behavior and expression category, not "intrinsic attributes" yet both are considered protected classes.

                  I laid out why religious creed is a protected class. As for sexual orientation: It’s not as protected a class as religious creed under federal law. And state laws are an inconsistent patchwork of whether queer people can be denied employment, housing, and/or service in public accomodation businesses based on their being queer.

                  Oh, and one more thing:

                  gay, pedophile

                  Homosexuality is a sexual orientation. Pedophilia is a sexual paraphilia. Don’t conflate the two ever again…unless you want people to think you’re intentionally trying to smear all gay/queer people as pedophiles (or pedophilia-adjacent) out of some sort of bias against or fear of gay/queer people.

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

                • icon
                  Toom1275 (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 8:21pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, you're just begging the question

                  And you failed because what you actually did was mutilate Freedom of Association as a concept and substitute your mutilation as being a perfectly coherent and natural form of the idea, which it's not.

                  [Projects facts not in evidence]

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 5:10pm

              Yes or no: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any privately owned interactive web service into hosting legally protected speech that the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host?

              Please note that “privately owned” applies to both corporations and people alike. Your answer would apply equally to a corporate behemoth such as Twitter and a forum with a couple dozen users that’s owned and operated by some random jackoff in Walla Walla, Washington. Think about that carefully before you give your answer.

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

              • identicon
                Mike, 18 Jan 2021 @ 9:47am

                Re:

                Yes or no: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any privately owned interactive web service into hosting legally protected speech that the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host?

                With caveats: yes, absolutely. I am not a libertarian. Far from it. I think constitutional rights should only apply directly to US citizens acting as such.

                Please note that “privately owned” applies to both corporations and people alike.

                Since we're operating in the realm of should, I'm going to cheerfully ignore your stipulation and say that corporations' rights should generally be whatever the government deigns to permit.

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

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 9:58am

                  yes, absolutely

                  Follow-up yes-or-no question: If you’re not a fan of White supremacists, should the law force you to host White supremacist propaganda on a forum you own and operate?

                  I'm going to cheerfully ignore your stipulation

                  Coward.

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

                • icon
                  nasch (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 10:41am

                  Re: Re:

                  I think constitutional rights should only apply directly to US citizens acting as such.

                  They generally apply to anyone in the US, since most if not all constitutional rights are actually restrictions on what the government can do, and do not have exceptions for non-citizens (or people not "acting as such", whatever that means).

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

                • identicon
                  TFG, 18 Jan 2021 @ 10:41am

                  Re: Re:

                  I think constitutional rights should only apply directly to US citizens acting as such.

                  If I and three of my buddies have a bar, called "The Bar on the Corner," should the government have the legal right to force me and my three buddies to host Nazis in that bar?

                  If I and a couple of my buddies start up a message-board as a small company, should the government have the legal right to force me and my buddies to host Nazi speech on that bar?

                  Why do constitutional protections disappear when more than one US citizen decides to act in concert under a group name?

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                  • identicon
                    Mike, 18 Jan 2021 @ 4:39pm

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    If I and three of my buddies have a bar, called "The Bar on the Corner," should the government have the legal right to force me and my three buddies to host Nazis in that bar?

                    How about this: should you be allowed to deny service to Nazis who are behaving themselves in your bar?

                    Let's get creative: should you be allowed to deny them access to your services as a medical provider? How about kicking them out at the grocery store and bank?

                    At some point, this society starts to sound an awful lot like the Amish but without a real doctrine for forgiveness and tolerance of sinners.

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                    • identicon
                      TFG, 18 Jan 2021 @ 5:02pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      I will answer your questions if you answer mine.

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                      • identicon
                        TFG, 19 Jan 2021 @ 6:33am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        I somewhat wish y'all had taken the same tack of refusing to answer Mike's questions, Paul, Stephen, bhull, and Scary Devil Monastery.

                        The "How about this?" followed by the questions Mike presented was a dodge - by responding to the questions he presents, Mike is then allowed to not answer the question of "should the bar be forced to host the Nazi?" and most importantly, "why do constitutional protections disappear when more than one US Citizen decides to act in concert under a group name?"

                        I'm still looking for answers to those questions, Mike. I'll answer yours if you answer mine.

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                        • icon
                          PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 6:56am

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

                          This is public forum, and until the time Mike's inclined to answer your question himself, the rest of us are free to present our own opinions.

                          "why do constitutional protections disappear when more than one US Citizen decides to act in concert under a group name?"

                          The answer to that is simple - the constitution does not protected you from the actions of non-government agents. Unless you can prove that Amazon (or the bar) made their decision under government duress, they are as free to act as they have to protect their right to free association as you had to try and express your freedom of speech on their private property. You don't have the constitutional right to use someone else's property if they don't want you there.

                          A bar can kick you out for whatever reason they decide, whether it's because you're a Nazi, you ignored their "no shirt no service" sign, you were trying to hit on the manager's girlfriend or the bartender thought you were with the guy who started a fight in there last night. As long as they're not kicking you out because you're black or similar, they have that right. This is not controversial, and has never been until recently.

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                          • identicon
                            TFG, 19 Jan 2021 @ 7:18am

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

                            This is public forum, and until the time Mike's inclined to answer your question himself, the rest of us are free to present our own opinions.

                            Yes, I know. Thus I presented it as a wish, not a directive, with the rationale.

                            As to the rest of your response: I'm not sure you answered the question I was actually meaning to ask, which was meant to explore the rationale behind denying Free Speech rights to groups of people. Let me clarify:

                            For context, the question I asked is in response to the following statement by Mike:
                            "I think constitutional rights should only apply directly to US citizens acting as such."

                            So, within that context, why do the rights granted to [individual] US citizens disappear when they decide to act in concert under a group name [but not as government, rather in the sense of co-ownership of a bar or internet forum]?

                            Does that make sense or am I being obtuse in the presentation?

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                            • icon
                              PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 7:29am

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

                              I'm just not sure what constitutional rights you think should be applied when the government is not involved in the activity.

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                              • identicon
                                TFG, 19 Jan 2021 @ 7:31am

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

                                The right to kick someone off your service for being an asshole.

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                                • identicon
                                  TFG, 19 Jan 2021 @ 7:34am

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

                                  The assertion by mike implied that only an individual has the right to kick someone off. I.E. a bar owned by one person, the owner can kick some out. But a bar owned by a corporation, the corporation can't.

                                  My question (to Mike) is why do constitutional protections disappear when more than one person acts in concert under a group name? Why does a single person enjoy Freedom of Speech, but a bunch of people (operating under the name of Amazon) don't?

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                                  • icon
                                    PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 7:48am

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

                                    OK, this is a busy thread and I might have confused something here with various other posts I've responded to recently. Obviously, I agree - unless there's evidence that the government were involved in some kind of coercion to get Amazon to kick Parler out, then that's their right. If there is such evidence, then the constitutional beef is with the government agents, not Amazon.

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                                    • identicon
                                      TFG, 19 Jan 2021 @ 8:01am

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

                                      Indeed. I already knew your answer to the question ("the constitutional protections don't vanish") - it's Mike's answer to the question that I'm interested in.

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                                      • icon
                                        PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 9:42am

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

                                        Again, I apologise, I seem to have messed up the reading of the thread and assumed there was another Mike you were talking about, rather than seeing the handle you were replying to. I hope you get a reasonable response to your actual question.

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                                        • identicon
                                          TFG, 19 Jan 2021 @ 9:46am

                                          Multiple Mikes

                                          Yeah, I getcha. The ubiquity of name "Michael" and the short form "mike" can certainly breed confusion... especially since a Mike wrote this article :D

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                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 7:04pm

                      should you be allowed to deny service to Nazis

                      Yes. You’d be denying them service based on what they say and do, not for an intrisic trait (or a religious creed).

                      As for the other examples: Healthcare, no, because healthcare is (or should be) a human right; grocery store is an edge case, because food; bank is also an edge case. I have no easy answers for those.

                      this society starts to sound an awful lot like the Amish but without a real doctrine for forgiveness and tolerance of sinners

                      For what reason should I be required to forgive someone who has expressed no regret, remorse, or atonement for their past bigotry? For what reason should I be required to tolerate someone who currently expresses bigotry outside of any situation that involves human rights? (Reminder: Tolerance is a peace treaty, not a moral precept.)

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                    • icon
                      Toom1275 (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 8:27pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      How about this: should you be allowed to deny service to Nazis who are behaving themselves in your bar?

                      This should help explain why the answer to your bad-faith straw-question is definitively yes:

                      https://i.imgur.com/jHqVtuk.jpg

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                      • icon
                        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 5:25am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "This should help explain why the answer to your bad-faith straw-question is definitively yes:"

                        Can't help noticing how the AC with the temp name of "Mike" did exactly that. Start off being reasonable and when challenged on a bad faith assertion immediately resorted to troll rhetoric peppered with false equivalence, straw man arguments, and moved goal posts.

                        The only thing which works with the racists, bigots and fascist fuckwits currently banned from Facebook for being liberal only with their use of the N-word, is to shut them down hard. No tolerance to those who refuse to extend that courtesy unto others.

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 10:51pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "How about this: should you be allowed to deny service to Nazis who are behaving themselves in your bar?"

                      Yes. A bar owner reserves the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason so longer as they are not due to being part of a protected class - and Nazi is not a protected class.

                      "How about kicking them out at the grocery store and bank?"

                      Yes, for the same reason the bar has.

                      "Let's get creative: should you be allowed to deny them access to your services as a medical provider? "

                      That's slightly more problematic, and a different situation legally, I believe. But, under certain circumstances I believe it could be justified.

                      "At some point, this society starts to sound an awful lot like the Amish"

                      The Amish are generally way more open and accommodating to people who believe differently to you than the average Trumper, so I'm not sure this means what you imagine it to mean.

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                    • icon
                      bhull242 (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 12:51am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      How about this: should you be allowed to deny service to Nazis who are behaving themselves in your bar?

                      Yes, though I should note that you didn’t really define “behaving”, which could change some people’s answers. It could include not disruptive but saying white-supremacist things.

                      Let's get creative: should you be allowed to deny them access to your services as a medical provider?

                      Generally, no; healthcare is or should be a fundamental human right, moreso than speech. That said, I’m unsure if that should be a legal issue. But since I’m in favor of the government being at least partly responsible for covering healthcare costs moreso than any other human need, I have plenty of reason for having this as the exception.

                      How about kicking them out at the grocery store and bank?

                      Generally, yes. The grocery store thing is somewhat arguable, but I still lean towards “yes”.

                      At some point, this society starts to sound an awful lot like the Amish but without a real doctrine for forgiveness and tolerance of sinners.

                      I—what? How? What do you even mean?

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                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 1:44am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "Yes, though I should note that you didn’t really define “behaving”, which could change some people’s answers. It could include not disruptive but saying white-supremacist things."

                        That's a good point. If "behaving" means simply that they're not actively causing problems to terms of being rowdy or violent, that could still mean they're doing things to offend other customers and thus cause problems for the business. It's possible to have a quiet conversation about how the holocaust didn't result in enough dead Jews, but someone sat at the next table may well not take this line of conversation well. They could be talking about something else entirely, but their Nazi t-shifts and flag pins might offend someone else.

                        A bar owner doesn't have to wait until another customer decides to tell them how offended they are and they escalate it to a fist fight, or wait until other customers start walking out, before he tells the Nazis to leave. It's a little concerning that some people think that you have to wait for actual violence, or actual business to be lost, before doing so.

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                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 5:19am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "How about this: should you be allowed to deny service to Nazis who are behaving themselves in your bar?"

                      Well, the bar owner is normally free to evict any person, at any time, for more or less any reason. So yes.

                      The only exception made to this is where judges and juries have established protection, for minorities under threat. A person being thrown out of a bar might have a case in civil court if the only reason they were thrown out was having a shaved head, wearing a yarmulke, or a palestinian scarf. Less so if they were also wearing a swastika, a framed pendant with a photo of Baruch Goldstein, or a patch with a crossed-out star of david.

                      Context matters.

                      "Let's get creative: should you be allowed to deny them access to your services as a medical provider? How about kicking them out at the grocery store and bank?"

                      Creative as in Moving the goal posts and putting up straw man arguments? There is already well-established precedent for all of those cases. All of which has proven to work just fine and none of the long provided answers backing your argument.

                      It's getting pretty clear here that you didn't start this argument in good faith because your logic falls apart in favor of low-grade troll rhetoric the very second you got challenged on it.

                      "...this society starts to sound an awful lot like the Amish but without a real doctrine for forgiveness and tolerance of sinners."

                      Right. And there's the second tell. Nazis and racists being the persecuted victims over not being allowed to force other people to host their hate sessions.

                      Last I checked forgiveness and tolerance of sinners demands repentance. You are implying it needs to be extended to the assholes who see no wrong in what they do.

                      Let me save you some time here by a big reveal even a few of the more eager stormfront trolls learned early on; There is no way that any reasonable assertion can be brought to provide the conclusion you want without the addition of a few major and very obvious falsehoods, false-equivalences, and goalpost-moving rhetoric...as you've presented very well in this thread.

                      AWS, Facebook, Twitter, or any other privately owned platform does not have to host any speech they disagree with and are free to set their terms of service accordingly.
                      Forcing them to host such speech is not possible under a democracy, or a nation valuing the concept of free speech. The only ones thinking that is possible are the people from the "alt-right" - i.e. fascists, racists and bigots, trying to push the twisted parody often given the nickname of "Freeze Peach" for very much NOT being Free Speech or an argument favoring it.

                      And when this is pointed out the comeback is always, invariably, bullshit rhetoric like the one you just served.

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                • icon
                  bhull242 (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 12:01pm

                  Re: Re:

                  “Yes or no: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any privately owned interactive web service into hosting legally protected speech that the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host?”

                  With caveats: yes, absolutely. I am not a libertarian. Far from it.

                  I am far from a libertarian, too, but I would answer, “With caveats: no, absolutely not.” I’m just going from the Constitution. Also, you should probably explain what at least one of those caveats is.

                  I think constitutional rights should only apply directly to US citizens acting as such.

                  1. The Constitution places no such limitations on constitutional rights. The only exceptions are the right to vote and the right to run for or hold public office. In fact, with regards to free speech in particular, the text of the constitution not only doesn’t limit it to citizens, it doesn’t even limit that right to persons. An AI program or an orangutan (theoretically) would have the right to free speech and, with it, a protection from government-compelled speech.

                  2. By that logic, the government should be able to freely regulate the speech of legal immigrants who are not US citizens.

                  3. Define “acting as [US citizens]”.

                  4. What do you mean by “apply directly”?

                  5. Restricting the free speech and free association rights of corporations necessarily restricts the free speech and free association rights of the US citizens in that corporation or people working in that corporation.

                  “Please note that “privately owned” applies to both corporations and people alike.”

                  Since we're operating in the realm of should, I'm going to cheerfully ignore your stipulation and say that corporations' rights should generally be whatever the government deigns to permit.

                  That’s not how it works. That means you’re ignoring the stipulation of the question. The question defines “privately owned” as being owned by one or more private individuals, private corporations, or private organizations and not the government or a government agency/organization. You cannot simply decide that that’s not what the question means. Furthermore, legally speaking, there is no difference between a private corporation and a private individual.

                  At any rate, the government has “deign[ed] to permit” corporations to have free speech and free association. The judicial branch is part of the government, and it has explicitly ruled that corporations have these rights.

                  So let me repeat the question with this point in mind:

                  Yes or no: Do you believe the government should have the legal right to compel any interactive web service owned by a private individual, private corporation, or private nongovernmental organization into hosting legally protected speech that the owners/operators of said service don’t want to host?

                  Keep in mind that, legally speaking, there is no real distinction between an individual, a corporation, or an NGO.

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    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 6:08pm

      Re: First Principles ?

      However, I strongly doubt you accept freedom-of-association as a basic principle of society (e.g., you fully accept the use of government force to compel private restaurant owners to serve black customers even though some owners do not want to associate with black people at all).

      I don’t recall Mike’s actual position on that, but most people would point out that:

      1. Being black is determined at birth regardless of decisions made.

      2. It is literally impossible to choose to be black or not to be black.

      3. There is nothing about blacks that inherently gives a good reason to discriminate against them.

      4. Outside of skin color, there does not appear to be any statistically significant differences between black people and non-black people.

      5. Serving black people is no different from serving white people.

      6. The only difference in reputation that might stem from someone choosing to serve black people vs. refusing to would be that the latter would be seen as a racist.

      And some other points that I may have forgotten.

      Basically, a place of public accommodation refusing to serve someone based on race is an exception to the freedom of association, just like how speech meant to and actually inciting imminent lawless action is an exception to freedom of speech. It is also a limited exception that has limited extensions (adding in sex, gender, sexuality, disability, and religion as factors and adding in employment decisions) rather than being particularly broad.

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      • identicon
        Mike, 17 Jan 2021 @ 4:15pm

        Point of order

        It is literally impossible to choose to be black or not to be black.

        Michael Jackson would beg to differ.

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        • identicon
          TFG, 17 Jan 2021 @ 4:52pm

          Re: Point of order

          Michael Jackson was still black, even when he was white.

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        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 1:03am

          Re: Point of order

          Michael Jackson didn’t choose to be white. He had a skin condition that caused his skin to become paler as he grew older. He was also still considered black even when his skin got pale.

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          • identicon
            TFG, 18 Jan 2021 @ 7:10am

            Re: Re: Point of order

            Specifically, it was vitiligo.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_and_appearance_of_Michael_Jackson

            Put simply, he chose to use makeup and potentially skin-lightening treatments to cover the uneven patches of color that vitiligo creates. By his own words, he was not trying to be "white."

            I say this to forefend anyone trying to technicality the "didn't choose to be white" statement by bhull. Michael chose to have a uniform skin appearance. That's it.

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            • icon
              bhull242 (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 12:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Point of order

              Yes, thank you. That’s exactly what I meant.

              I actually learned about this from a friend who has the same condition (vitiligo). It really changed how I saw MJ.

              Plus, most people look at who is and who isn’t “black” based at least in part on ancestry, which you simply cannot change at all and never will be able to change at all even with hypothetical treatments that change one’s natural skin color, along with the natural skin color. Also, I’m pretty sure there’s a stigma against people who change their skin color, too.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 6:55am

      Re: First Principles ?

      "However, I strongly doubt you accept freedom-of-association as a basic principle of society (e.g., you fully accept the use of government force to compel private restaurant owners to serve black customers even though some owners do not want to associate with black people at all)."

      You know how we can tell you've got an axe to grind here, for which you aren't adverse to moving the goal posts and propping up a straw man or two, bro? Lack of context.

      I'll give you a hint though. It's not the same in much the same way skin color has no legal bearing on whether a killing is rules "murder" or "self-defense".

      Or I can spell it out for you; You are not allowed to refuse any customer based on what they are. Only on what they do.

      If your hypothetical restaurant guests are violating the dress code, the code of conduct, or bothering the other patrons then out they go, no matter what their skin color is.

      Now, should we understand your question as meaning that you do think "Being Brown" is in itself an act rightfully considered offensive or are you truly at the kindergarten level it would take to honestly bring that comparison to the table?

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  • icon
    mermaldad (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 12:42am

    Let go of my Knee, Jerk

    Didn't have time to read all of the article, or the comments, but I strongly object to the use of "I've" rather than "I have" at the start. This contraction belies a laziness that invalidates all the points you make in the rest of the article.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 12:54am

      Re: Let go of my Knee, Jerk

      Wow, there must be a lot of interesting articles you refuse to read if that's all it takes to trigger you...

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      • icon
        mermaldad (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 1:13am

        Re: Re: Let go of my Knee, Jerk

        Sorry, but Mike's intro tempted me to think of the most extreme example of a kneejerk reaction. I guess that this was intended to be humorous was not evident enough. I'm actually guilty of use of contractions to the point of overuse myself.

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        • icon
          Gwiz (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 5:17am

          Re: Re: Re: Let go of my Knee, Jerk

          I guess that this was intended to be humorous was not evident enough.

          I think everybody's sarcasm meter took a jolt last week.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 8:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Let go of my Knee, Jerk

          "I guess that this was intended to be humorous was not evident enough"

          Poe's Law exists, satire is dead, and you can't invent an opinion right now that some basement dweller doesn't believe in completely.

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:23am

          Re: Re: Re: Let go of my Knee, Jerk

          I guess that this was intended to be humorous was not evident enough.

          If it makes you feel better, I thought it was obvious.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 3:55pm

          Re: Re: Re: Let go of my Knee, Jerk

          Just to clearly state it: I thought it was funny.

          It's sad though that you could have been stating a perfectly honest and serious opinion, not only in general, but you hit a few points that get used here regularly by the cognitively challenged.

          IOW: Good job lol.

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  • identicon
    RandoMan, 16 Jan 2021 @ 4:08am

    If a company is honest and even, I don't think you would see such an outpouring of anger.

    AWS choosing to work with twitter and booting parlor because of hateful comments seems hypocritical.

    PARLOR could be another stormfront level of trash while Twitter has many of the same hate filled/hurtful/angry posts.

    If two buddies have continually keyed cars and you suddenly stop talking to one but not the other because of it. The reasoning seems hollow in many ways.

    I don't think as many people would care about Parlor being booted if they believed twitter would get the same treatment.

    If the argument is that twitter is more active at curbing posts, maybe? They also make more money and have had years to clean up their platform. Even with that, to this day, there are still issues on twitter.

    AWS, in my opinion has the right to boot whom ever they choose. Just don't pretend to be the good guy by not sleeping with one bad guy for another.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 4:21am

      Re:

      "AWS choosing to work with twitter and booting parlor because of hateful comments seems hypocritical. "

      afaik, the two are not the same.
      Twitter was moderating the hate while Parler was banning what it did not like. How are these two comparable?

      Treating completely separate issues in a separate fashion is not hypocritical.

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      • identicon
        RandoMan, 16 Jan 2021 @ 5:16am

        Re: Re:

        Twitter has had, does have and will have issues moderating content. There are only so many ways to police on the internet. I won't give twitter stuff about that.

        Parlor, to my understanding, would moderate. Slower yes, after reports yes.

        ISIS was on twitter recruiting and working on their brand. Im sure twitter went after many of those accounts. But like a game of walk a mole, they kept popping up.

        I don't fault twitter for not being able to knock them out right away. I don't doubt government official's requested that twitter leave ISIS tweets up in order to try and track people.

        But that same argument could be made by Parlor. A new, by comparison, company that has had growing pains no different then an early twitter.

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        • identicon
          Rocky, 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:08am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Parlor, to my understanding, would moderate. Slower yes, after reports yes.

          And when Amazon told them to clean up their act it didn't really spur Parler into action to do something about it. If one of your critical suppliers tells you that your service breaches the contract, perhaps the smart thing would be to allocate more resources to deal with the moderation issue.

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          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            icon
            Appreciative user (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I've listened to an interview with the ceo of Parler and the way you are presenting things seems very different han reality

            Would it change your opinion at all if correspondence was released and it turns out the characterization was wrong and AWS has been supportive of them almost the entire time? That when aws gave the ban threat, it came out of the blue, and nothing parler could have done would allow them to stay (since ultimately it was a political decision behind the facade)

            Or would that just move the goal posts to: well aws is a private company?

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            • identicon
              TFG, 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:50am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The goal posts have never moved: AWS is a private company and has the legal right to do what they did. The only question is whether we criticize them for it.

              If you actually have correspondence of that nature, it could well change how AWS' actions are viewed. However, I note that you have not actually provided said correspondence, so I must operate under the assumption that it remains a hypothetical (aka, does not exist).

              Since there does exist actual shared correspondence indicating that the AWS Trust and Safety Team was warning Parler for months about breaches of contract, the narrative you present does not mesh with reality, and so will not be considered.

              TL;DR: Present the evidence, or be ignored.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:23am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "I've listened to an interview with the ceo of Parler and the way you are presenting things seems very different han reality"

              You listened to the most biased source possible and you accept that as the unvarnished reality of the situation?

              "AWS has been supportive of them almost the entire time"

              AWS are supportive of most startups, I've worked for a couple of them. But, when you've ignored 26,000 requests to take down content that violates AWS standards and a major news story appears that risks business from other, more signifiant, users of AWS, you can expect their stance to change.

              "it came out of the blue"

              No, it didn't. Amazon have stated in court documents that they ignored requests for months and had a huge number of complaints in violation of their T&Cs outstanding at the time they removed their service.

              "Or would that just move the goal posts to: well aws is a private company?"

              There's no moving of goalposts, except from the people at Parler desperately trying to pretend they're innocent. AWS have T&Cs, which were violated. Parler have no right to use their service if they violate the conditions. AWS have a large number of competitors, both inside and outside of the cloud infrastructure market, and Parler can set up their infrastructure without using the cloud if that's not available. There is no actual problem here, except that a company that violated its main supplier's terms of service is too incompetent (or unwilling) to move to a different supplier.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Twitter has had, does have and will have issues moderating content."

          I'm not reading anything to the contrary, here or elsewhere. Agreed - no one is perfect.

          I pointed out that twitter was moderating hate while parler was banning what it disliked.

          "Parlor, to my understanding, would moderate. Slower yes, after reports yes."

          I read such claims are in dispute, what mattered was what AWS thought about it.

          "game of walk a mole"

          The game is whack a mole, although I suppose one could walk a mole.

          Arguing that parler leaving posts up so that the feds can more easily track them is a bit silly no?

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 8:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I pointed out that twitter was moderating hate while parler was banning what it disliked.

            You've nailed the crux of the problem without recognizing it. "Moderating hate" versus "banning what it dislikes" are exactly the same thing but from different ideological perspectives. A huge number of Americans truly believe that Twitter is "banning what it dislikes" and that Parler "moderated hate".

            This is entirely an issue of perspective. The difference, and the reason Parler and its supporters are losing this fight, is that the other side is currently in power. Personally, I believe the correct group is in power and that it is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Right-wing talking points are becoming less popular as the boomer generation dies off and younger Americans age into positions of power. That ultra-conservatives are throwing fits is not surprising; everyone lashes out once threatened with extinction.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 8:49am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Moderating hate" versus "banning what it dislikes" are exactly the same thing but from different ideological perspectives.

              How do you come up with that equality? What it dislikes can include moderate non violent viewpoints or the love of cats, while hate is well defined as an antagonistic viewpoint against people, and politics.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:23am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well of course it is always the other guy doing all the bad stuff whilst you, being the good guy, are doing all the good things.

              Brilliant!

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:25am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "This is entirely an issue of perspective"

              Perhaps, but even if you're correct - so what? Despite the whining of the losers here, there's no law that says that a platform provider has to be neutral. That's a main issue here - even if both platforms were cherry picking, there's nothing to say they couldn't, it's just that the audience on Parler were more open to particular... cherries than people who used Twitter.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:07am

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

                I don't disagree at all. Maybe I wasn't clear enough in my post but I wasn't addressing whether moderation should or should not be done, only that any possible resolution of this whole argument hinges on everyone understanding that what one person thinks is absolute truth is a complete falsehood to another, purely based on perspective.

                Platforms can and should moderate based on their views and beliefs. Doing so, regardless of which side of the argument you fall on, doesn't automatically make you right and the other person wrong. But expressing a minority opinion, even as "fact", is not protected from being shut down by the majority. You know, that whole 1A thing, the right to speak but not the right to be heard (or supported).

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:25am

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

                  "any possible resolution of this whole argument hinges on everyone understanding that what one person thinks is absolute truth is a complete falsehood to another, purely based on perspective"

                  Oh, I certainly agree there. Which is why it's probably more important that platforms have the leeway to apply their own community standards, rather than have some top down mandate that would force the to host content against their will. The idea that a community cannot kick out troublesome members is a bigger problem than those less popular members having to make the choice between self-censorship or having to find a less popular venue.

                  With what might be a dated analogy in numerous ways - if I want to watch the uncut Cannibal Holocaust on the big screen, the correct response to that is to find a small arthouse venue that wants to work with me and my guests, not to demand that AMC do a wide release across their entire estate because I think I have the same rights as the latest Marvel movie for eyeballs.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2021 @ 5:37am

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

                  "everyone understanding that what one person thinks is absolute truth is a complete falsehood to another, purely based on perspective."

                  Understood, but not applicable everywhere. Somethings need to be agreed upon to be facts.

                  For example, gravity is just a theory.
                  If I jump off this cliff, I will fall. That is not usually disputed and neither is the fact that one may become injured as a result.

                  It seems that lately society has crossed a line in their gullibility and willingness to accept and believe total bullshit.

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            • icon
              techflaws (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:53pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              A huge number of Americans truly believe that Twitter is "banning
              what it dislikes"

              A huge number of Americans truly believes in prophets and that Democrats eat babies. What does that tell you?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 8:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "You've nailed the crux of the problem without recognizing it. "Moderating hate" versus "banning what it dislikes" are exactly the same thing but from different ideological perspectives. A huge number of Americans truly believe that Twitter is "banning what it dislikes" and that Parler "moderated hate"."

              Under this scenario, one is unable to identify the hate by others unless it is something you also hate? Or am I reading too much into this?

              I was probably not entirely clear when making the prior comment regarding moderation vs ban, but your response was informative in that I now understand some people have more difficulty than others recognizing hate.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 9:52am

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

                Under this scenario, one is unable to identify the hate by others unless it is something you also hate? Or am I reading too much into this?

                That might be a bit of an extreme way to interpret that but yes, to some extent. An example:

                My grandmother was raised in rural Missouri and still lives there. For her, growing up included calling black people "negros", "black-face" was ok and blacks were expected to submit to the will of any whites that might be around. She still behaves that way. She doesn't at all recognize how shocking her behavior is to someone younger visiting from the west coast.

                A more modern example is the cadre of Trumpists. They believe everything he says, take every word at face value and trust in it no matter how wrong it may be. They may have heard the term "racism" but they've been told there is no racism in America today and they believe that. To them, racist thoughts and deeds are not racist, not hate in any way, shape or form because "racism doesn't exist". Instead, they think that people telling them they're being racist is the real hate crime -- others are discriminating against them. So they react with more hate toward their detractors and still don't see it as hate.

                Hate is the easiest thing to identify no matter your ideology or political leaning and yet many, many people from all points on the spectrum fail to recognize their own personal biases, fail to see the bigger picture and fail to view things from others' viewpoints. I'm not saying all viewpoints are "correct", only that until we can all become capable of putting ourselves in the shoes of those we disagree with this supposed "anti-conservative" argument will never be resolved. We'll just continue flailing at each other, accomplishing nothing but further division.

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                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 7:40am

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

                  "I'm not saying all viewpoints are "correct", only that until we can all become capable of putting ourselves in the shoes of those we disagree with this supposed "anti-conservative" argument will never be resolved. We'll just continue flailing at each other, accomplishing nothing but further division."

                  The division is unfixable, and has been for some time.

                  To sit at the same table is possible for only 70% of the US voting citizenry.
                  The remaining 30% refuse to sit down and talk until their viewpoints are recognized - those viewpoints being George Floyd not being murdered, Evolution being a lie, being homosexual is an abomination, the N-word is perfectly OK, Charlottesville was all the fault of the damn leftist liberals, the election was stolen by the child-trafficking satanist antifans led by Hillary, and Biden is The Devil.

                  You base your whole assumption on the concept that there are two adults in the room, able to set aside their differences and find common ground. That this is not the case here has been made obviously manifest.

                  To 74 million americans naked and obvious white supremacy and bigotry is not a deal-breaker. How do even debate that? Where do you find the common ground with people like the ones who would look at a man being slowly choked to death on camera and relish the fact that another animal - i.e. a person with black skin - was removed from the soil of white america?

                  You can not argue with stupid. This generation of people taught to disbelieve facts, disbelieve evidence, disbelieve logic and disbelieve science in favor of what they get told by some authoritarian wearing an elephant button...they're lost.
                  All you can do is suppress them and put your hopes in that they haven't managed to raise their children to be as willfully and stubbornly dumb.
                  Or you can try to put up with them for long enough that you'll instead have to face them across the barrel of a gun, like the last time the US failed to act appropriately.

                  The storming of the capitol wasn't the end of this. It was just the sound of the fuse being lit. Biden will have to deal with the fallout of everything Trump has messed up or broken. His presidency is going to be about nonstop firefighting at monumental expense. Come 2024, barring a miracle, the GOP will be back with another candidate set to appease Trump's base. Pray hard it's not going to be a Bohemian Corporal.

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                • icon
                  bhull242 (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 12:18pm

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

                  Speaking as someone who’s tried, it’s rarely successful.

                  On a related note, it would appear to be the case that alt-rightists and Trump supporters think the left look down on them because we think they’re stupid. The problem is that leftists calling them stupid (or ignorant and stubborn, which a lot of conservatives seem to thing is equivalent to being called stupid, which it isn’t) is, to liberals, a charitable way of looking at it because the alternatives would be far worse, like “evil”, “fascist”, “liar”, etc.

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                  • icon
                    That One Guy (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 1:26pm

                    Supporting X because of being fooled vs Supporting X by choice

                    That's basically how I see it when dealing with that lot, yeah. As a lengthy comment a good while back basically put it 'If people are calling you(Trump supporters) stupid and/or gullible that's them giving you the benefit of the doubt, because the alternatives are much worse.'

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                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 7:40am

                      Re: Supporting X because of being fooled vs Supporting X by choi

                      "...because the alternatives are much worse.'"

                      It's not hard to understand the alt-right doesn't want to talk to anyone who takes factual reality at face value. At some point you just need to realize that there is no way to debate, argue, or even agree to disagree with someone with whom you need to do actual violence to your own sense of proportion or principle to even be around;
                      Your gay friend? A sinful abomination its quite ok to beat and demonize.
                      That black man driving through the neighborhood? A <N-word> looking for children to molest or houses to rob.
                      A pro-choice advocate? A child-killer.
                      A black man choked to death on camera? An officer of the law doing their job.

                      There is no common ground here. We're talking about 74 million americans who, upon observing reality, rewrite it to fit the narrative they have running on repeat in their heads. In no few cases compounded by an utter lack of empathy and/or the idea that it doesn't matter how much something will hurt them if it also hurts liberals. A whole generation so indoctrinated to hate and react it's literally a religion where the articles of faith can't be cast in doubt.

                      And yeah. Most of the time the 70% of the US citizenry which isn't fucking nuts does give them the benefit of doubt and call them stupid or ignorant, as if showing them the facts just one more time would cure that. It won't. That excuse's worn mighty thin by now.

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                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 7:50am

                        Re: Re: Supporting X because of being fooled vs Supporting X by

                        It's been said that if you're used to a position of privilege, then any attempt at equality seems like oppression.

                        That's probably what we're seeing here - people who have been told that they're special coming to realise that they're not.

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                      • identicon
                        TFG, 19 Jan 2021 @ 7:55am

                        Re: Re: Supporting X because of being fooled vs Supporting X by

                        To put a different spin on things: the only effective way I see to pulling someone out of alt-right shitholes, aside from the occasional rare epiphany, is personal action with those you actually know.

                        I have a few members of extended family who are towards this line. I and my family can take it upon ourselves to keep personal lines of communication open with them and with enough persistence perhaps make progress with them.

                        This has zero to do with interacting with rando right-wing fanatics on the internet, and has nothing to do with allowing a platform for the bullshit to be spread. It's got nothing to do with forcing that type of interaction on the rest of people. My family's choice to interact with the Trumpists in the family is our own, done out of a hope of redemption (however faint it might be).

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:08am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: nuance

            Don’t expect a conservative to understand the difference between doing nothing at all and making an effort to reduce harm. These are the same folks claiming that because their buddy got Covid even though he wore a mask that “MasKs dOn’T woRk!!!!#”

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          • identicon
            RandoMan, 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yo, cut me some slack on the spelling please, lol.

            Don't be a grammer German.

            The fed comment was brought up in regards to twitter leaving ISIS posts up. (I was suggesting that maybe the government agencies might have requested that ISIS post be left up for some reason.) Basically cutting Twitter some slack on not cleaning up everything.

            That doesn't mean I'm for tech giants bending over for government agencies.

            At the end of the day AWS can/should do what it wants. Whatever contracts were made should be held too.

            I'm just saying, "don't fart in my face and call it a summer breeze."

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:17am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Parlor, to my understanding, would moderate. Slower yes, after reports yes."

          My understanding is that Parler's volunteers would quickly remove left-leaning posts, but would refuse to deal with right-wing content, to the point where they has 26,000 open complains via Amazon at the time they were removed for ignoring requests to deal with the latter content.

          That's a different argument to the one about sheer numbers or the difficulty of moderating accurately at a massive scale - a scale at which Twitter and Facebook shared but Parler did not.

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      • icon
        cynoclast (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 11:18am

        Re: Re:

        Twitter was allowed to have growing pains and sort them out. Parler is not.

        Remember when twitter as a concept was a joke and nobody cared? That was like 13 years ago.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 11:25am

          Twitter was allowed to have growing pains and sort them out. Parler is not.

          And that’s largely because Parler is a “Twitter-like”. Anyone wanting to be the next Twitter (or Twitter-like) should already know the issues that plague Twitter and have an idea of how their service will handle it. One of those issues is moderation. Parler admins didn’t have a plan for that beyond “ban liberals on sight”.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 11:42am

            Re:

            "And that’s largely because Parler is a “Twitter-like”. Anyone wanting to be the next Twitter (or Twitter-like) should already know the issues that plague Twitter and have an idea of how their service will handle it."

            That's not even the issue. It's that Parler set themselves up as a haven for people who had already been kicked off the likes of Twitter.

            If your entire business model is to welcome the garbage that's not welcome elsewhere, you shouldn't be surprised if people regard your clientele as garbage...

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 1:46pm

              It's that Parler set themselves up as a haven for people who had already been kicked off the likes of Twitter.

              Like I said: People who want to run the next Twitter(-like) should already know the issues that plague Twitter. One of those issues is White supremacists/racists/actual goddamn Nazis using the service.

              Parler’s problem? The admins thought that issue was a feature instead of a bug.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 5:27am

      Re:

      Twitter does not use AWS.

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

      • identicon
        RandoMan, 16 Jan 2021 @ 5:32am

        Re: Re:

        Twitter is starting to use AWS

        "Amazon Web Services said Tuesday that Twitter has signed on to use AWS for its global cloud infrastructure to deliver Twitter timelines. Under the multi-year deal, Twitter will use AWS infrastructure and products across compute, containers, storage, and security, marking the first time Twitter has leveraged the public cloud to deliver its real-time service. "

        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.zdnet.com/google-amp/article/twitter-taps-aws-cloud-to-deliv er-twitter-timelines/

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Amazon Web Services said Tuesday that Twitter has signed on to use AWS "

          and yet (according to you) AWS is not treating twitter and parler the same ... LOL

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            identicon
            RandoMan, 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Brother,
            If Parlor has hateful/inciting language and Twitter has hateful/inciting language... well im hard pressed to believe AWS is making a good faith argument in booting Parlor.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 8:08am

              If two social media services have “hate speech” on them, but only one tries to moderate such speech in a timely manner, for what reason should the other be given equal or better treatment?

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                identicon
                RandoMan, 16 Jan 2021 @ 8:44am

                Re:

                Again, Twitter has had years to figure out their programing and still they suck at moderating.

                Parlor, newish, is being asked to moderate the backwash of people leaving twitter. (Be it kicked off or leaving of their own free will)

                I don't envy the task.

                Ultimately, AWS can do what they want in my book. I'm just saying that AWS isn't the knight in shining armor they would like to be portrayed as.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 11:08am

                  Parl[e]r, newish, is being asked to moderate the backwash of people leaving twitter.

                  Parler’s admins should’ve hired more people to moderate the site in proportion in the wake of that influx. That they didn’t is their mistake. And mistakes always have consequences.

                  AWS isn't the knight in shining armor they would like to be portrayed as.

                  No one is portraying AWS as a knight in shining armor. At best, it’s a bar owner who finally got sick of the racists in the far back shouting dumb bullshit and kicked them out.

                  And far more people are now pondering the difficulties and consequences of infrastructure-level content moderation. That might not have happened if Amazon hadn’t booted Parler. Victory has its price.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 8:24am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Twitter has such content in very small proportion to its content load and does a far better job at shutting it down when it appears. Parler was almost entirely hateful content and moderated only the voices arguing against that content.

              You're comparing apples to oranges.

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                identicon
                RandoMan, 16 Jan 2021 @ 8:48am

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

                I'm comparing a young tech/app company to an older tech/app company.

                Isn't Parlor kind of known as "Conservative Twitter?"

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:30am

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

                  "Isn't Parlor kind of known as "Conservative Twitter?"

                  It's generally known as "cesspool that attracted people who got kicked off Twitter/Facebook but didn't use Gab, Voat or similar". There are several "conservative" alternatives to Twitter, but there's reasons they don't fare well in the general free market, and it's mainly due to that audience.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:10am

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

                  You're still ignoring the audiences that use those platforms. Parler attracts people who tend to spew bile and dissent where Twitter attracts, well, everybody. The result is a far smaller percentage of Twitter's content is hate/bile than that found on Parler.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "If Parlor has hateful/inciting language and Twitter has hateful/inciting language.."

              Twitter has 320+ million active users, Parler has 2.3 million last month, rising to around 15 million before their ban, with Twitter's appeal and reach being far more international compared to the US right wing focussed reach of Parler?

              Context is key here - what was the ratio of hateful speech on Twitter compared to that of Parler. Also, Parler is known to have been openly ignoring requests from AWS - have Twitter ignored those yet?

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:33am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Brother,
              If Parlor has hateful/inciting language and Twitter has hateful/inciting language... well im hard pressed to believe AWS is making a good faith argument in booting Parlor."

              The link provided by you claimed Twitter just recently decided to use AWS in supplement of their (non AWS) resources, implying Twitter did not use AWS previously ... no?
              But AWS was supposed to demand Twitter moderate commenting activities occurring upon some other business hosting outfit?

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                identicon
                RandoMan, 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:24am

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

                Unless we are splitting hair's helpful/hate filled posts, sure?

                But if it's "we don't deal with cesspools."

                Does anyone have AWS's take on what percentage of hate is allowable? If its defined and Parlor failed to meet that sure.

                It's less about moving the goal post and more about where it actually stands.

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 11:11am

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

                  "Does anyone have AWS's take on what percentage of hate is allowable?"

                  That's not really relevant, unless you want to argue that they have a legal requirement to host a certain level of hate.

                  You have the legal ability to walk around wearing nothing but a pair of shorts, however if a bar has the "no shirt, no shoes, no service" policy then they have the right to refuse you service - even if one of the owner's mates is sat at the bar wearing only a pair of shorts.

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                    identicon
                    RandoMan, 16 Jan 2021 @ 11:51am

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

                    I agree with your bar example. The owner gets to set the rules and in doing so he demonstrates that people can and will be treated differently.

                    And that is, seemlying, what Amazon is doing. I don't disagree with it. Again, I support their right to do as they like, just don't act like a saint in doing so.

                    I'd rather AWS come out swinging, "Parlor, we whole heartily disagree with your form of hate. Most of you are Nazis and want nothing to do with you."

                    I could respect that statement more then a set of rules that they may or may not act on depending on who is breaking them and by how much.

                    But that is me, I would just like to know where to post my drawings of Mike Pence having sex with Jesus and painting of Kamala Harris as a blow up doll.

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 1:30am

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

                      "I'd rather AWS come out swinging, "Parlor, we whole heartily disagree with your form of hate. Most of you are Nazis and want nothing to do with you.""

                      AWS are going to do what is best for them as a global business, and it's best for business if they truthfully say that they've kicked Parler off for breaking the terms of service, than it is to take a concrete political stance that might lose them other business.

                      You might not like this part of capitalism - that Amazon will happily take money from anyone until it becomes a business problem for them to do so - but this is the real world at the moment.

                      "I would just like to know where to post my drawings of Mike Pence having sex with Jesus and painting of Kamala Harris as a blow up doll."

                      Anywhere that would have you, just don't come whining about persecution when the people whose property you used to post them tell you to GTFO.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 3:16am

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

                  "Unless we are splitting hair's helpful/hate filled posts, sure? "

                  A claim of hypocrisy was made based upon the assumption that both parler and twitter were hosted upon AWS and AWS did not treat them equally.

                  It was pointed out that Twitter was not hosted upon AWS and therefore there was no hypocrisy.

                  This is considered splitting hairs?

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 6:28am

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

                    "It was pointed out that Twitter was not hosted upon AWS and therefore there was no hypocrisy."

                    Also, even if they were right about the basic facts (huh people wrong on this issue not understanding the basic facts, how weird!), it's still meaningless. There is no legal or moral requirement for AWS to be neutral. Just as Parler refused to moderate neutrally themselves. They could probably put a clause in their T&Cs saying "we don't allow political speech to the right of Marx", and while it would be a horrible business move it would not be problematic in other ways.

                    In fact the only hypocrites here are the right-wingers who apparently believe that Amazon had no right to affect Parler's business but Parler should have the right to not only negatively affect Amazon's business, but also moderate political views they disagree with while doing do.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 9:03am

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

                      Yes, and in addition I had the impression that this claimed hypocrisy was being used elsewhere to support their ridiculous anti-trust accusations.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 3:57pm

      Re:

      Go ask AWS why they never booted twitter. You'll be amazed at what happens next!

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 6:18pm

      Re:

      If a company is honest and even, I don't think you would see such an outpouring of anger.

      I mean jeez, why so much anger over the fact a bunch of extremists invaded the US Capitol with the intent of overturning a free and fair election? /s

      AWS choosing to work with twitter and booting parlor because of hateful comments seems hypocritical.

      PARLOR could be another stormfront level of trash while Twitter has many of the same hate filled/hurtful/angry posts.

      I don't think as many people would care about Parlor being booted if they believed twitter would get the same treatment.

      AWS does not work and has never worked with Twitter at all. It can’t boot Twitter off of its services because Twitter has never used them.

      Furthermore, as you noted was a plausible argument, Twitter is more active in curbing these problematic posts:

      If the argument is that twitter is more active at curbing posts, maybe? They also make more money and have had years to clean up their platform. Even with that, to this day, there are still issues on twitter.

      To address your counterpoint, they have more resources, but they have even more users/content to moderate. Some things are bound to make their way through.

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  • icon
    Ben (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 5:58am

    Where is the insightful button when you need it.

    I wonder if we can have the same insightful, funny & flag buttons for the articles as for the comments? Though FW & LW might be unnecessary as FW is clearly the case every time, and few article writers seem to believe they could be writing the LW on a topic if they want discussion to follow.

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  • icon
    John Thacker (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:03am

    A nuanced argument in favor of the Hollywood blacklist

    The second Red Scare's Hollywood blacklist operated in the same way. It was privately organized, even if many politicians approved of it and government investigations provided evidence. The studios did their own investigations and provided a process for people to clear their names. Communists violated their contracts. Communists had alternatives to produce entertainment and get their views across without being part of the major studios; in addition to smaller presses, live action theater was virtually unaffected. Yes, the alternatives weren't as attractive as working with the major studios, but they were still there.

    I wholeheartedly agree that the people being banned on Parler are dangerous insurrectionists who believe in violence and indeed often genocide, along with a lot of dupes. That also precisely describes the CPUSA, along with other groups like Nazi sympathizers targeted by the Hollywood blacklist and other private blacklists. I am fine with people being okay with the Parler ban, but they should at least be very understanding of the private, and popular Hollywood blacklist of Communists.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:36am

      Re: A nuanced argument in favor of the Hollywood blacklist

      mccarthyism

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 8:14am

        Re: Re: McCarthyism

        McCarthyism was vigorous 'government' persecution of those with disfavored political viewpoints & those even casually suspected of associating with persons of disfavored viewpoints.

        Pelosi_ism seems to be in the same mold but with a different political target.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 9:57am

      Re: A nuanced argument in favor of the Hollywood blacklist

      A blacklist is very different from a bunch of companies deciding not to do business with someone, whatever similarities there might be. Also, communism and bigotry are different things.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 10:18am

        Re: Re: A nuanced argument in favor of the Hollywood blacklist

        "A blacklist is very different from a bunch of companies deciding not to do business with someone, whatever similarities there might be."

        It's also a complete red herring no matter how similar the superficial similarities might be to someone straining to make an analogy.

        The whole witch-hunt happened under the old studio system, where the people involved would have been employees, not independent artists, often on exclusive contracts with a specific studio. This meant that not only was the production industry controlled by a small number of players, but so were distribution and exhibition, and someone who fell foul of the witch-hunt would be affected in many different areas. The studios owned the cinemas, so if they decided you were persona non grata, you have very few choices. This was not just something that happened due to McCarthyism (witness what happened to Orson Welles after Citizen Kane), but until the breakdown of the studio system in the early 60s, if you wanted something to be done in mainstream Hollywood, you had to use those studios. Yes, you had the choice of a small number of Poverty Row outlets, or moving outside of the US, as many affected did, but you had to use one of the big six for the most part.

        This is not analogous to the current state of cloud computing. While AWS is the biggest player in that market, they don't have anything like the control that the old studios had. Even if you believe that the big three are in collusion, there are many smaller players, inside and outside the US. You can switch between these easily, without leaving your office. There's also many other options outside of a cloud provider, ranging from rolling your own cloud infrastructure to using a more traditional form of hosting. No matter what you choose, unlike the movie studios, the cloud providers have no control over distribution of something that's not on their network. MGM could make sure that your independent movie can never be seen in the theatres they controlled. Amazon can't do anything about the end user's access to something hosted on non-Amazon architecture.

        Overall, someone bringing up this analogy either doesn't understand the breadth of the control that studios had at that time, or they don't understand that actual landscape for web services in 2021. There's a superficial similarity of people with controversial belief being blocked from accessing the same resources as those with non-controversial beliefs, but that's where it ends. Plus, of course, AWS gave Parler every chance to improve their actions before they were removed. McCarthyism was all about "name names or suffer the global consequences", which is a far cry from Amazon saying "hey, follow the rules on our platform or we will have to remove you from only our specific platform".

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  • icon
    Appreciative user (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:17am

    It is obviously a difficult topic, but this is such a weak argument. There is actually very little nuance here. It can be boiled down to "if you dont like what companies are doing, build your own".

    Mike would be the guy arguing for you to building your own railroad 100+ years ago. Hey if the electricity company doesn't want to give you power, you must not have nurtured that relationship hard enough and why should private companies be forced to provide you services! You can make your own wind turbine after all!

    Mike has a strong analytical mind, but his issue is it isn't able to disconnect from his politics/emotions. He may be able to overcome them when something is clearly illegal, but as soon as it steps into a gray zone where you have to think about new structures and how existing laws may not apply, he doesn't think thru the consequences as long as its speech he disagrees with.

    His articles that rely on law interpretation are very valuable but unfortunately it seems like visionary he is not.

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    • identicon
      TFG, 16 Jan 2021 @ 7:40am

      Re:

      Mike would be the guy arguing for you to building your own railroad 100+ years ago. Hey if the electricity company doesn't want to give you power, you must not have nurtured that relationship hard enough and why should private companies be forced to provide you services! You can make your own wind turbine after all!

      This is a false equivalence. Railroads and electricity have vastly different requirements than a social interaction app for a phone: namely, the infrastructure operates physical space in a way that cloud services or server banks do not.

      The difficulty and expense of just building your own railroad to compete with the one that was already there, or of creating your own energy generation facilities, complete with energy distribution infrastructure, is so great that, yes, the argument to just build your own is ridiculous.

      This is why transportation and energy infrastructure falls under the realm of "public utility" for the most part.

      Application infrastructure is leagues different. It is well within the resources of an organization like Parler to set things up so as to not require cloud services such as those provided by AWS. It is, in fact, well within the resources of many start-ups to do so. It is not difficult to create methods of access that do not require the app stores of either Apple or Google, as Mike already mentioned in the article. The cost and expense is reasonable, and frankly, given what Parler was doing, they should have made contingency plans for this sort of move.

      So, no, Appreciative user, I'm sorry, but your analysis falls flat on its face. This isn't a weak argument at all, and your failure to see that calls into question your own ability to disconnect analysis from your politics and/or emotions.

      I suggest you remove the plank from your own eye, before you attempt to remove the speck from another's.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 8:04am

      Re:

      There is this critical difference between electric companies and cloud companies. Where your premises are determine which electric company you use, and you rarely have any choice. With cloud, there are multiple choices of supplier, because it does not matter where your premises are.

      That is you get your electricity from the local company, and unless you are an isolated premises, making your own is not a practical option. With cloud you have multiple choices, and provisioning your own is an option. Also, distributed social media software is freely available, allowing the creation of a social network that is almost impossible to take down.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 8:27am

      Re:

      Hyperbolists gonna hyperbole.

      Setting up your own servers is actually quite simple. Simpler, I'd argue, than setting up in the cloud. It's what we all did before Infrastructure-as-a-Service became a thing and that wasn't all that long ago. Many huge corporations and governments around the world still do not use the cloud.

      None of that is anywhere even close to being as difficult as supplying your own power or building your own railroad. Try again.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:35am

      Re:

      "It can be boiled down to "if you dont like what companies are doing, build your own"."

      No, it's saying that you can't force someone to host your business when you violate their terms of service, and it's idiotic to argue so when there's so much competition outside of AWS in the space we're talking about.

      There's literally hundreds of other options that Parler have at their fingertips before they have to build their own infrastructure (which is actually quite easy for the competent)

      "Mike would be the guy arguing for you to building your own railroad 100+ years ago."

      You'd have a point if this was something analogous to that, like an ISP. But, it's not, by any stretch of the imagination.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 3:25am

      Re:

      "It is obviously a difficult topic, but this is such a weak argument. There is actually very little nuance here. It can be boiled down to "if you dont like what companies are doing, build your own"."

      How is: "if you dont like what companies are doing, build your own"
      1) a weak argument
      2) very little nuance

      "isn't able to disconnect from his politics/emotions"

      What might those be and how do they affect this discussion? How do you stop your politics/emotions from affecting your day to day activities? How does one determine whether others are being too political/emotional to post here on this and other topics?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:39am

    And what would have been wrong with building your own railroad 100 years ago?

    Lots of people were doing just that. If the railroad didn't serve your mine/mill/factory--and, like modern ISPs, the big railroads focused on major population centers--you built your own.

    (Full confession: yes, I love going to those little railroad museums set up in abandoned stations and depots.)

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 11:09am

      Re:

      "And what would have been wrong with building your own railroad 100 years ago?"

      Building a railroad can be very expensive, complicated and requires logistics beyond the reach of the average citizen. However, it's completely unrelated to the argument here.

      The better analogy is that Parler wished to set up a store. They had a lot of options, ranging from setting up in a mall, a strip mall, a non-mall location, or just setting up a mail order store hosted in their own garage. They chose to set up in the largest mall available, repeatedly violated the terms of their lease and were kicked out when some of their favoured regular customers decided to start a riot across the street. They didn't lose the option to set up in a smaller mall or to use any of the other options listed, they just decided they'd rather try and force the larger mall to keep a leaseholder they didn't want.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 2:54pm

        Re: Re:

        You are right, of course. Just responding to the troll who accused Mike of taking a .... conservative position. Which is kind of true, libertarianism is no longer a significant part of liberalism, if it doesn't involve sex or drugs, and especially if it involves guns not used for drug distribution. But again, binary thinking allows one to count one's thumbs but not one's fingers.

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Brass (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 1:38pm

    Amazon Incites Violence and Breaks Their Own Terms of Service

    Tell me again why Amazon was justified to kick Parler off its platform when you can buy several products that incite violence against Republicans?

    https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2021/01/16/amazon-boots-parler-for-users-violent-languag e-but-hosts-merchant-selling-kill-all-republicans-shirt/

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 2:37pm

      Re: Amazon Incites Violence and Breaks Their Own Terms of Servic

      So report it to Amazon and they'll more than likely take it down. Their platform is automated. Anyone can sign up and offer whatever they like for sale. Amazon don't know what's going on most of the time unless someone reports it. That goes for AWS and amazon.com alike.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 3:17pm

      Re: Amazon Incites Violence and Breaks Their Own Terms of Servic

      I would not be surprised to find out is was a republican selling those t-shirts on Amazon.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 1:51am

        Re: Re: Amazon Incites Violence and Breaks Their Own Terms of Se

        I would not be surprised to find out that it was a Breitbart reporter setting it up so he could write the article, but it's probably not that.

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    • identicon
      TFG, 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:17pm

      Re: Amazon Incites Violence and Breaks Their Own Terms of Servic

      Because hypocrisy only affects the validity of someone calling out bad behavior on another party's part. It does not affect the validity of that person doing something about bad behavior.

      Consider, for example, someone named Ansen who halts a murder in progress (and for the purposes of this hypothetical, the victim, whom we shall name Judith, in no way deserves to die). This action of halting the murder is justified and correct.

      If Ansen later commits murder himself, that action does not in any way eliminate the justified nature of his halt of the murder of Judith. Put another way, that Answer went on to murder someone does not then cause Judith to deserve to die.

      In similar fashion, that one of the Amazon's services (their marketplace) in some fashion caters to the type of behavior that AWS found objectionable is ultimately irrelevant. AWS remains justified in choosing not to associate with Parler, a service that actively invited problematic behavior, and did not carry through on their part of the contract for AWS' services regarding said problematic behavior.

      All it means is that Amazon needs to take a closer look at applying those same standards to their own services - rather than destroying the justification of kicking Parler off, it points out the lack of justification for those products to be on Amazon. To go back to our example with Ansen, he was correct in saving Judith from death, and the only action that lacked justification was the later murder that he committed.

      Do not make the mistake of thinking that because a person or company does bad things, they should not be able to do good things.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 1:41am

      Re: Amazon Incites Violence and Breaks Their Own Terms of Servic

      You're right, they should be kicking that Marketplace user off as well. Did Brietbart inform them of that, or is it in their best interests to keep the product up to anger people who aren't thinking for themselves on this issue.
      ?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 10:01am

      Re: Amazon Incites Violence and Breaks Their Own Terms of Servic

      I really don't get the right-wing's susceptibility to these "gotchas". "You said murder was immoral, but I saw you step on a bug the other day when you were jogging! QED, you are wrong about everything and I am right."

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 1:47pm

    Parallel to Backpage

    Although speech endorsing white supremacy/naziism/racism/etc. is not illegal, I would think the same thoughts that Techdirt used to argue against the removal of Backpage would apply to Parler.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 4:50pm

      Re: Parallel to Backpage

      The concerns when it came to Backpage were relating to the government stepping in to shut them down or otherwise pressure them into acting a certain way, which is significantly different than if the site itself had decided to purge certain content.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous, 16 Jan 2021 @ 2:19pm

    Techdirt has become too TOXIC

    BLM/ANTIFA and Hillary TROLLS come here to foam at the mouth at every chance to make SH*T posts at anyone who's pro-Trump or conservative or with independent views in opposition to the terrible articles about Trump.

    You're so toxic, Google has stopped providing advertising revenue. That's a sign people don't want to touch you... at some point, maybe that's on you, TECHDIRT.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 2:41pm

      Re: Techdirt has become too TOXIC

      Google has stopped providing advertising revenue

      That's not at all what happened. But nice try.

      make SH*T posts at anyone who's pro-Trump or conservative or with independent views in opposition to the terrible articles about Trump.

      That's not true either.

      You can be pro-Trump without being an asshole. It's when you come in here slinging insults (such as the post I'm responding to), calling names, making false accusations and utterly fail to back up any of your assertions with reliable facts and sources that you will get called out.

      The same goes for being conservative. There are many conservative posts in this thread alone that are not hidden because they are calm and rational, trying honestly to debate the points on their merits. If you tried the same you wouldn't get community-moderated.

      The same goes for any other commentary that disagrees with the majority here, regardless of political alignment.

      It's really very, very simple: Don't be an asshole.

      Also, fwiw, the asshole is the toxic one, not the community that shuts him down.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous, 16 Jan 2021 @ 3:31pm

        Re: Re: Techdirt has become too TOXIC

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

      • identicon
        TFG, 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:19pm

        Re: Re: Techdirt has become too TOXIC

        You can be pro-Trump without being an asshole.

        The evidence writ large so far suggests that this is not actually a correct statement.

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 2:24am

        You can be pro-Trump without being an asshole.

        You can be all nice and agreeable and personally considerate with your language and all that other “put on a happy face” horseshit, sure. But being “pro-Trump” makes you an asshole by definition.

        Supporting Trump doesn’t make someone a bigot, sure. But Trump’s own bigotry — his racism, his misogyny, his implicit transphobia, his explicit Islamophobia — wasn’t a dealbreaker for them. And that doesn’t even get into how Christian evangelicals “overlooked” even more of Trump’s moral failings (e.g., his multiple marriages and admissions of adultery) so they could put him into office and get him to put conservative judges on federal benches as part of a plan to undo Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges.

        Trump supporters are assholes for the fact that they support an asshole without reservation. That applies equally to John Q. Everydude and Mitch McConnell. Don’t like it? Don’t support a guy who thinks White supremacists are “very fine people”, refuses to concede a free and fair election, and still cares more about how good he looks to his supporters than whether he has ever improved the lives of his supporters (and detractors).

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 10:00am

          Re:

          You feel that way and I, for the most part, also feel that way but if you refuse to even listen to a Trump supporter, never build an understanding, we'll never find consensus or put this argument to rest. That goes for everyone.

          Democracy was never thought to be easy.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 10:25am

            Re: Re:

            "if you refuse to even listen to a Trump supporter, never build an understanding"

            Amazon have stated that they tried to get Parler to follow their terms of service for months, yet at the time they were blocked there were still 26,000 outstanding issues they had refused to deal with. There was a refusal to listen, but it's wasn't the non-Trump supporters refusing to listen to the cultists.

            "put this argument to rest"

            The argument appears to be that one group of people would rather attempt to kidnap and murder officials to overturn a democratically elected government, instead of accepting that they lost a free democratic election. I'm not sure what the solution to that is, but it certainly isn't allowing those people to have a free megaphone for their propaganda.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 4:22pm

              Re: Re: Re:

              but it certainly isn't allowing those people to have a free megaphone for their propaganda.

              I'm not at all suggesting that it is. But do you think they're going to go away and we'll all live happily ever after if there is no discourse between these opposing factions?

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

              • identicon
                TFG, 17 Jan 2021 @ 5:19pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                But do you think they're going to go away and we'll all live happily ever after if there is no discourse between these opposing factions?

                That's something that has to be done on an individual level - and has nothing to do with AWS cutting Parler's feed, nor does it have much to do with the viewpoint that Trump supporters are assholes.

                In the meantime, while people work on pulling other people out of the deep dark shit they've thrown themselves into, curtailing the ability for the shit to spread is probably wise.

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

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 9:16pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "But do you think they're going to go away and we'll all live happily ever after if there is no discourse between these opposing factions?"

                No, because one "opposing faction" is saying things like "let's strive for equality and ensure everyone has opportunities in life" and the other is saying things like "people who are not straight white males are inferior and should be exterminated". One faction is saying "we have fallen from the ideals that we boast for our country and need to return to a place where we can regain respect and prosperity", while the other is saying "anyone rich or famous is a demon worshipping vampire intent on murdering your children and selling the country to China". There cannot be any middle ground when one side is so openly insane.

                The best we can do is cut off the oxygen for movements like Q and Proud Boys and ensure they don't have easy recruitment tools.

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 1:21pm

            Anyone who supports a racist, misogynistic, anti-trans, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, lying, grifting, philandering, narcissistic sociopath of an elderly game show host with no history of public service being put into (and kept in) the presidency of the United States isn’t worth listening to. Unless they’re saying “I was wrong to support him”, that is.

            I’ve heard that bullshit before about “we need to talk with Trump supporters to understand them”. Spare me that inanity. Trump supporters aren’t hard to understand. They see the world as “passing them by” because of certain societal upheavals within the past decade (notably, the legalizing of same-sex marriage and a Black man having been president). They think “their kind” isn’t “welcome” in society, or that the lawmakers in Washington are more concerned with “diversity” or “globalization” or whatever QAnon says they’re doing this week than with “real Americans”. Trump gave those people license to finally do what they’ve been wanting to do for years: be an asshole to their political “enemies”. “Own the libs,” says the modern conservative, “Make them cry liberal tears!” The ethos of modern right-wing political belief is two-fold, and one fold is “dominance” — at any cost, even to themselves.

            The other fold is “fear”. Republicans have done one hell of a job over the past two decades (if not longer) in making their voter base fear the Repugnant Cultural Other. That could be queer people (gay and trans people in particular), atheists (“they’re gonna take religion out of your life”), Muslims (I don’t think I need to go over this one), Black people (“Black Lives Matter is a Marxist terrorist movement”), liberals (“they want socialism”), or any other group that doesn’t fit the narrow-ass mold of the broader Republican voter base — i.e., anyone who isn’t a straight White cisgender Christian.

            And all this is done to anger the GOP voter base so they don’t realize the truth: The GOP has no ideas on how to fix anything wrong with this country. Republicans tried for damn near a decade to repeal Obamacare, but they never had a solid replacement plan to back up that repeal. They haven’t once tried to address income inequality in a way that helps shrink the wealth gap because they don’t have any idea how to do that (and not piss off their donors). They have nothing but “it’s all a hoax, the weather is fine” in regards to climate change. And instead of making elections more secure, they’re making it harder for certain people to vote. (A joke lifted from Twitter: “If Mitch McConnell’s heart were any blacker, he wouldn’t let it vote.”)

            Republican politics is a grift. It relies on the grifters hoping the gullible and uneducated aren’t smart enough to see past the façade. But take away the fearmongering and the “we have to own the libs” bullshit, and what you have is a political party whose only real idea is “how do we take these fuckers for all they’re worth and more”. And I didn’t need a chat with a single Trump supporter to understand any of that.

            Now go sell that sack of bullshit somewhere else, son. Nobody here is gonna buy it and it’s already stinking up the joint.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 4:20pm

              Re:

              Thanks for that childish rant. It's right up there with those you disparage and every bit as blind and unreasoning.

              Now what's your solution for this mess?

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

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 5:06pm

                unreasoning

                I could go on and on and on about how the GOP has ultimately screwed the American public at damn near every level of government. Saying the same thing about Donald Trump would be equally as long a task (and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency beat me to the task anyway). So I’ll keep it confined to three key points, all from within the last year or so.

                1. The Trump administration tried to have the Affordable Care Act repealed — either through legislation or judicial ruling — in the middle of a global pandemic, and it never once produced a replacement healthcare plan. (Neither did Congressional Republicans.)

                2. Mitch McConnell refused to let a second COVID relief bill passed by the House come up for a vote in the Senate, and when Republicans finally came to the bargaining table for that last-minute relief bill, their starting number for another round of direct payments for the American people was reportedly $0.

                3. Several Republicans in Congress either supported or did nothing to refute Donald Trump’s Big Lie (the 2020 election was rigged against him), and those who did support the Big Lie said things to defend the lie that — along with Donald Trump’s continual stream of self-serving bullshit — got people mad enough to storm the goddamned Capitol building.

                And then there’s the hypocrisy of Republicans being for “small government” but pushing for a ban on abortion (i.e., for the law to tell a woman what she can’t do with her body). And the hypocrisy of supporting Christian nationalism while decrying “Sharia law” and anything like it. And the hypocrisy of claiming to be the party of “economic conservatism” but always pushing for increased military spending no matter what. And the hypocrisy of claiming to be the party of “law and order” but refusing to hold responsible for their actions virtually any Republican and shit-ass police departments. And the hypocrisy of claiming to want “every legal vote” counted but doing everything possible to damn near rig elections through gerrymandering and voter suppression. And the hypocrisy of claiming to want “unity” but doing nothing before a violent insurrection to cool the political temperature in America (and sometimes adding gas to the fire). Again: I could go on further if I put my mind to it, but I trust you get the point.

                My reasoning behind my opinions on the Republican party is based primarily on what that party has done over at least the past ten years. I’m sure you could come up with a similar list for Democrats — and I’d probably agree with you on a good chunk of it. My loyalties don’t lie with any one party. But I’ll never vote Republican, even with a gun to my head. They are a party of fear and dominance at any cost. As the now-infamous headline says: The cruelty is the point.

                what's your solution for this mess?

                Vote to get as many Republicans as possible out of, and more women and (relatively) young people into, seats of power at every level of government. That’s alls I can do as a regular jackoff. Anything else would be a wishlist of things I’d like to see happen.

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

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 4:24pm

              Re:

              They haven’t once tried to address income inequality in a way that helps shrink the wealth gap because they don’t have any idea how to do that

              They don't have any desire to do it. To the Republican leadership, wealth and income inequality are not problems to be solved, they are goals to be advanced.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 9:32pm

      Re: Techdirt has become too TOXIC

      You're so toxic, Google has stopped providing advertising revenue. That's a sign people don't want to touch you... at some point, maybe that's on you, TECHDIRT.

      Except we have said they have every right to say that, and we didn't play victim. We told our side of the story, pulled down their ads and moved on.

      So... yes?

      So what?

      Also, we have a new ad provider now.

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

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 11:08pm

      Re: Techdirt has become too TOXIC

      with independent views in opposition to the terrible articles about
      Trump.

      Are these independent view build on facts? No? Thought so.

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 3:08pm

    People are voting with their wallets...

    Twitter, Facebook Hemorrhage $51,200,000,000 Combined in Market Value after Trump Ban

    https://newsbusters.org/blogs/business/joseph-vazquez/2021/01/15/twitter-facebook-hemorrhage-512 00000000-combined-market?fbclid=IwAR13W3qZeT7QBMOfR-cVlBPPAy_7Cf5t0f3WfkZYqgPq3F22OaMfJkgDl2o

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 3:21pm

      Re:

      The stock market is not schizophrenic ?
      lol, yeah sure

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 1:49am

      Re:

      I tell you what, why don't you look at the stock trend for the last year on both stocks instead of getting some biased organisation to feed you a large sounding number? You'd be amazed at what you see (both stocks are significantly higher than they were last March, and Facebook has already recovered 5% of his value since that small blip).

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

  • icon
    avirab (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 3:45pm

    The deplatforming CEOs are perceived as anti-Conservative

    If the companies deplatforming some particular voice are all perceived as belonging to a completely opposite viewpoint, then there could be a problem.

    What is the public perception of the CEOs etc of the companies which deplatformed Parler? Might it be that if they had an opposite political view they would not have taken that action?
    Or, might it be that the anti-Conservative voices are more powerful politically and economically (as well as technically) and so their opinion or slant counts more?

    Are there any extreme voices in universities or among journalists etc coming from the opposite slant which have similarly been 'deplatformed'?
    'Extreme' as judged by those whose views are as Conservative-leaning as some of those supporting the deplatforming of Parler are Liberal/Progressive-leaning.

    I don't know the answer to all of this; the post is meant only to frame a question which I think is important to answer before one can gauge how the deplatforming will be viewed among Conservatives, and whether it would be judged by them as more appropriate than a siilar action taken by "regulators and plolicymakers".

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Jan 2021 @ 4:48pm

      'Not something I'd want to embrace, but you do you...'

      Conservative: I have been censored for my conservative views
      Me: Holy shit! You were censored for wanting lower taxes?
      Con: LOL no…no not those views
      Me: So…deregulation?
      Con: Haha no not those views either
      Me: Which views, exactly?
      Con: Oh, you know the ones

      (All credit to Twitter user @ndrew_lawrence.)

      Anyone who sees Parler being kicked off Amazon's services and jumps to 'look at how terrible they treat conservatives!' really should look into the sort of content that was on that site(Amazon has helpfully provided a decent sampling in their defense against Parler), and if they still want to own that as being 'conservative' after they've done so then hell, they've done more damage to that label than anything 'liberals' or 'progressives' ever could.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 17 Jan 2021 @ 1:53am

      Re: The deplatforming CEOs are perceived as anti-Conservative

      "If the companies deplatforming some particular voice are all perceived as belonging to a completely opposite viewpoint, then there could be a problem."

      Not at all. Unless you want to introduce a legal requirement to be neutral, these companies are as free to kick off right-wing nutters are Parler were free to block "liberals" from posting (which they did).

      "Are there any extreme voices in universities or among journalists etc coming from the opposite slant which have similarly been 'deplatformed'?"

      I don't know. Do you have any examples of such people?

      "I think is important to answer before one can gauge how the deplatforming will be viewed among Conservatives"

      Sadly, I know this - they will view it in the way that Fox, OANN and NewsMax tell them to think.

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      • icon
        crade (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 10:22am

        Re: Re: The deplatforming CEOs are perceived as anti-Conservativ

        Even though it's generally a conservative viewpoint that people should get to decide who benefits from their work, in this case for some wacky unknown reason that I simply can't fathom, the people doing the work are all left leaning science believers, and that doesn't benefit me so they should be forced to work for me at gunpoint.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2021 @ 3:38am

      Re: The deplatforming CEOs are perceived as anti-Conservative

      "If the companies deplatforming some particular voice are all perceived as belonging to a completely opposite viewpoint, then there could be a problem. "

      The problem may be in the perception of problems where there are none. Have you ever considered this possibility?

      "What is the public perception of the CEOs etc of the companies which deplatformed Parler?"

      What are you asking me for? You are claiming some nebulous perception may be a problem but are unaware of what that perception may be? What sort of bullshit is this - lazy assed gaslighting I guess.

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  • icon
    crade (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 6:56am

    I'm no fan of Parler, but saying they can just go to Oracle? Thats ice cold man.

    The argument that everyone has the right to a cloud service of some sort, to me is just nonsense, they are already a nice alternative to doing the work of hosting yourself not a necessity by any means. Their competition includes all the real hardware vendors, some of whom are still willing to sell to parlor.. To me it's akin to debating whether we've remove all the options for them getting caviar because they are so used to it they can't go back to regular food

    I think the infrastructure vs edge provider is a false dualism. It's more about transparency and barriers to potential competition. This choice to dump parlor in all cases is completely transparent, which means people are able to choose to support it or not.
    Personally I think one of the biggest issues with the internet today and reasons net neutrality is required is more that you can't tell who is screwing you over rather than you can't find any other option

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  • icon
    Shel10 (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 11:03am

    It's possible that Paler doesn't want to get in the middle of a dispute between AWS and Oracle.

    Consider that you were spending thousands of dollars each week with AWS and they decided to give you 48 hours notice that they were shutting you down and wouldn't give you access to your stored data. What would be your reaction?

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    • icon
      crade (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 11:16am

      Re:

      Actually lots of us who aren't so high profile are dumped by services all the time.. Basically the normal reaction is (if you are big enough) to fall back to your redundancy that you already have in place, if you aren't that big, it's to restore from your existing up to date backups using the disaster recovery plan that you already have in place, and if you are really small it's to backup your data from whoever told you you are being shut down and migrate somewhere else after some downtime.

      If they dumped me in an emergency because I was a keystone in a major threat against my country however I think my reaction might be to rethink my life choices.

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    • identicon
      TFG, 18 Jan 2021 @ 11:45am

      Re:

      AWS did give them access to their stored data. Part of the released communications is that AWS was willing and able to work with Parler in effecting the transition from AWS to whatever they figurd out as a replacement.

      Additionally, the shut-off came after 90 days of warnings and examples of content that was in breach of their contract, plus notices that Parler was doing fuck-all to do anything about it. Parler can't feasibly claim they didn't have warning.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 10:58pm

      Re:

      "Consider that you were spending thousands of dollars each week with AWS and they decided to give you 48 hours notice that they were shutting you down and wouldn't give you access to your stored data. What would be your reaction?"

      If that's the way it happened, it would be concerning, but it would also be Parler's fault if they didn't have any backups or other form of storage of their data or a robust business continuity plan. What if the issue isn't AWS kicking them off for violating their T&Cs, but that Amazon suffered some for of attack that left them inaccessible for other reasons?

      Fortunately, the 48 hours / no access to data thing is a lie that's being promoted by people who want to fool people into not blaming Parler for their own actions, and not the way it went down in real life.

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

  • identicon
    Alan, 18 Jan 2021 @ 2:04pm

    I agree with most of this article, but I see a few missing concerns because I see this only as a start for things to go worse.

    1. Potential lifetime penalty for everything is wrong. For sure Parler is currently silenced by other private entitles because of what it did, but there is nothing to stop it from being silenced forever even if it promises to change. (Not yet the case, but also not impossible.) If I started a fight in a bar, I served jail, and now I am allowed to speak in public again. Yet I can be banned of that bar forever, or from every bar if they all independently act so. The online equivalent of this story is more dire, because 99% of properties on the internet are private.

    2. It is way easier to find a public forum offline than online. If you want to host a MAGA sign, you just need to rent a storefront from the city. On the internet, you first need to host your own server, or else you can be kicked by your hosting provider. Your hosting can be pressured by their network peers to take you down. ISPs of end users may block your domain/IP address from being reachable. If you want a SMS gateway for two-factor, you have to peer with phone companies, which are all private. It is just not impossible to be completely silenced if enough of them hate you. Also you don't have to be 100% silenced to be a violation of your free speech rights. If you are silenced from 80% of all options, you only have 20% of your free speech right.

    3. Stopping monopolistic practices is hard and takes time. It is easy to say it is merely a competition question when enough players can make independent decisions to completely silence an individual. But our current way to avoid monopolistic practices requires micro-management: legislature to recognize a problem before writing it to antitrust laws, and judiciary to act on the violations after taking years on collecting evidence and lawsuits all the way up. ISPs, cellular, and Internet Explorer are just prime examples. Smartphone stores could be another yet to be acted on. Private companies having their full First Amendment right to association works perfectly, until they become monopolistic, so we are basically sitting here to witness it to fail, rather than taking preemptive actions like every other public policy. It's unconstitutional otherwise, so that takes us to the next point.

    4. US First Amendment does not have to be the holy grail of free speech rights, in the world. Nowhere in "The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak..." implies the way US top courts decided over the next 200 years what it meant. We have to find a balance when rights clash, e.g. between companies. Saying "either side can stop association" simply means whoever upstream can kick downstream to another "supplier", i.e. not an equitable balance after all. The current balance looks okay only because we explicitly disallowed discrimination to predefined protected classes. This is again micro-management, which leads to gaming. Private discrimination is allowed as long as it can be justified based on a discrimination of a non-class, e.g. censoring bigots not political opinions, and excuses can be imaginative.

    In summary, I agree the current situation is fine, but I foresee problems if allowed to grow untouched. I do not fundamentally disagree with First Amendment or that "we never have free speech rights on others' property", but I do not see them as wisdom of god that is not worth debating. It is hard for people deep in legal background to think blue sky that First Amendment as decided by courts may be fair for 200 years, but due to circumstances it slowly diverge from Human Rights as defined by humanity. I argue that the First Amendment is merely a compromise to strike the balance between conflicting rights, just like how copyright was a compromise. And we are losing the balance due to vastly diminished public forums, just like how copyright lost the balance in the computing age due to information having zero transaction cost.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 2:22pm

      Yes or no: Should the law compel you to host all legally protected speech on your private property regardless of whether you want to host it? Please note that “private property” can refer to your home, a brick’n’mortar business you own and operate, or an interactive web service you own and operate (including the servers on which the data for that service is stored).

      And before you use “that’s an unfair question” or some other dodge to get out of answering one simple question, remember that you said the following of the First Amendment and the idea of what is essentially “not my property, not my personal soapbox”:

      I do not see them as wisdom of god that is not worth debating

      You wanted to discuss and debate these ideas. I say “let’s go”.

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

      • identicon
        Alan, 18 Jan 2021 @ 3:42pm

        Re:

        I read enough of Mike's articles to know what you are trying to say here. I am merely pointing out the problem, that in a world where fiber optic cables are all privately-owned, servers are 99% privately-owned, the way the First Amendment is currently constructed (may still be but) will no longer produce a outcome with Free Speech Rights observed.

        You wanted to discuss and debate these ideas. I say “let’s go”.

        No, I do not want to debate ideas. There are too many experts here that have better ideas than I can offer. I have also read enough comments to know how majority of ideas are too naïve to work.

        I only want to bring awareness to the problems, because Mike said in his own article that he originally thought there is "something to be concerned about", but eventually decided otherwise.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 6:21pm

          the way the First Amendment is currently constructed (may still be but) will no longer produce a outcome with Free Speech Rights observed

          You have no “free speech rights” on someone else’s property. They can kick you off their property for saying “Black lives matter”, “ ‘blue lives’ matter”, or “Disintegration is the best album ever” and you can do exactly fuck-all about it. To say otherwise is to want compelled association — which the First Amendment specifically prohibits.

          So again, I ask — yes or no: Should the law compel you to host all legally protected speech on your private property regardless of whether you want to host it? Please note that “private property” can refer to your home, a brick’n’mortar business you own and operate, or an interactive web service you own and operate (including the servers on which the data for that service is stored).

          I do not want to debate ideas

          Could’ve fooled me.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 11:03pm

          Re: Re:

          "in a world where fiber optic cables are all privately-owned"

          This is irrelevant to the argument here.

          "servers are 99% privately-owned"

          Yes, including companies that have their own private servers for their own use. Even if Parler have managed to alienate themselves from the many (hundreds?) of cloud providers that could given them the same deal that AWS had given them and they managed to not be able to use the thousands of data centres worldwide that allow dedicated or co-located hosting, they always have the choice of setting up their own infrastructure.

          "the way the First Amendment is currently constructed (may still be but) will no longer produce a outcome with Free Speech Rights observed"

          The way it's constructed right now is that private speech is not to be interfered with by the government, and it says nothing to deal with how private contracts are dealt with between private parties.

          If you want the government to start interfering with private contracts or start seizing private property to force them to be as restricted as the government, you might not like the results of what you're wishing for.

          "There are too many experts here that have better ideas than I can offer"

          Yet, you appear to be ignoring them in favour of the right-wing talking points being issued about how it's unfair that private companies are able to treat them differently to how the government needs to treat them...

          "I only want to bring awareness to the problems"

          Many people have mentioned these "problems" before, and they were as unrealistic here the first time they were mentioned, for the same reasons.

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

          • identicon
            Alan, 19 Jan 2021 @ 2:29am

            Re: Re: Re:

            Most of my answers would just be a repeat of what I said above. Including but not limited to the fact that even if you go all the way to host your own infrastructure, you have to peer with someone, or else it's Parlernet, not internet.

            My main concern is "no limit to private-private free association" doesn't necessarily mean fair. For one Amazon can define their T&C and everyone can only choose to accept or go elsewhere. Hence the larger one always has a better say.

            Therefore sometimes government or courts have to step in and say contracts cannot sell a person or the terms should be understood stricter against party drafting the contract, etc. When two entities' right are conflict, it does not need to be resolved in the most natural way, but rather the most just way.

            Yet, you appear to be ignoring them in favour of the right-wing talking points being issued about how it's unfair that private companies are able to treat them differently to how the government needs to treat them...

            Frankly I genuinely believe my stance were not copied from some right-wing media. I do read them for a balance of view points, but they are usually so self-inconsistent or factually wrong that I would just have a laugh and move on.

            There are indeed a lot I am agreeing with you folks. I even agree with you that the First Amendment is working quite well so far. I just happen to see a few recent trend: increasing importance of internet due to covid, increasing dependence of private property to speak, increasing concentration of power due to network effect and failure to act on anti-trust situations, that can be causing problems for free speech rights in future.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 2:37am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "For one Amazon can define their T&C and everyone can only choose to accept or go elsewhere"

              ...and since they're in a highly competitive market with many other options for people to go if they don't like them, the problem is...?

              "My main concern is "no limit to private-private free association" doesn't necessarily mean fair."

              Nobody's saying there's no limits, only that in this specific case there is no problem with either the contract or the way it's been enforced. If you disagree, please outline the problems you have with the private contract that's been enforced.

              "Frankly I genuinely believe my stance were not copied from some right-wing media"

              But, you are saying the same things as they have been saying, whether you got them from there or not.

              "I even agree with you that the First Amendment is working quite well so far."

              Good, but since the First Amendment is not involved in this case in any way whatsoever, that's irrelevant.

              "xI just happen to see a few recent trend: increasing importance of internet due to covid, increasing dependence of private property to speak, increasing concentration of power due to network effect and failure to act on anti-trust situations, that can be causing problems for free speech rights in future."

              You're conflating several, completely unrelated things. If this were Comcast telling people they couldn't access a particular site, or an area where there was an actual monopoly or anything related to antitrust, there might be a conversation. But, Parler have literally thousands of options available to them, about which Amazon can do nothing to stop the site or its users operating in the way they wish no matter how much Amazon disagrees. So, these concerns have nothing to do with the issue at hand.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2021 @ 2:38pm

      Re:

      For sure Parler is currently silenced by other private entitles because of what it did, but there is nothing to stop it from being silenced forever even if it promises to change.

      Parler is currently silent because of incompetence or choice. If The Pirate Bay can remain on line for 17 years and counting despite the best efforts of the RIAA and MPAA and their allies to silence it, why is Parler offline because some US companies decided that they will not deal with them?

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

      • identicon
        Alan, 18 Jan 2021 @ 4:00pm

        Re: Re:

        Good point, but I am exactly arguing this is just the beginning. The Pirate Bay, or even WikiLeaks, are merely being chased down by a few, albeit giant, players, where Parlor and others are about to be silenced by half the country. I advise you to keep watching the events unfold, especially when they go more underground, and see if it still makes sense to say The Pirate Bay is worse.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 11:08pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The Pirate Bay, or even WikiLeaks, are merely being chased down by a few, albeit giant, players, where Parlor and others are about to be silenced by half the country"

          Define "silenced", because I don't think it means what you're thinking.

          Anyway, TPB were initially hounded down by a foreign government who forced Sweden to change the laws to make something that was previously perfectly legal in their own country illegal. That's slightly different to a company being held responsible for violating the explicit T&Cs on the suppliers they used to host their site, only facing responsibility for the role that the T&C violations had in inspiring an armed insurrection against the country they are in.

          "see if it still makes sense to say The Pirate Bay is worse"

          Oh, Parler is definitely worse. It's just amusing to see them fail so badly to implement any backup plans for their company, when it's been so easy for others.

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

    • icon
      crade (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 2:48pm

      Re:

      1. Potential lifetime penalty for everything is wrong.
        Parler isn't being punished. They just not being helped. These are services that other people created we are talking about here, not some fundamental right or anything. The potential for being not helped in this way forever is there for everyone.. Got no money? We won't help you.

      2. It is way easier to find a public forum offline than online. That is because reaching a vast audience on the internet specifically is not something that people should have a right to. Those cases aren't people preventing you from speaking on the internet they are people who are electing not to hear or further broadcast what you are saying on the internet. You have the right to speak, not to a captive audience

      3. Stopping monopolistic practices is hard and takes time.
        Yes, but... there is nothing close to monopoly on any of these services. Considering the massive amount of effort these services take to supply there is actually a very decent amount of competition in basically every area. If you are so toxic that every existing player won't deal with you, you are so toxic that a serious new player wont deal with you either.

      4. US First Amendment does not have to be the holy grail of free speech rights, in the world.
        There aren't clashing rights. Not doing something for someone is not hindering them. Anti discrimination is needed to combat the harm that discrimination itself causes and has nothing to do with the internet.

      This is not about property, these aren't property they services that one is or isn't working hard to provide for the other. it's about forced work.

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

      • identicon
        Alan, 18 Jan 2021 @ 4:33pm

        Re: Re:

        1. Agree with you that lack of money is their issue. I am implying accessing and speaking on the internet is a fundamental right, which I guess not everyone agrees. But if you agree with that, depriving a group of people with (say) 80% of the means to speak is a reduction of their right.

        2. People are not guaranteed the right to a captive audience, but an audience (i.e. I should be allowed to talk to my existing followers), something taken away from Parler users. Also, if internet is fundamentally a louder medium, then depriving speech on this medium alone is deprivation of speech. I would be similarly concerned if some entites have been declined their freedom to buy TV ads because every TV station wants to dissociate with them.

        3. Again I am not concerned about now but how this is developing. Right now your ISPs and cellular providers have not acted. Having only a handful of mobile phone app stores may soon become one.

        4. Your argument is perfectly valid when public forum is still a viable option, but where are the public forums on the internet? This goes back to the above issues, where Amazon and Parlor would not have clashed rights if the government can sufficiently protect Parler's, but the internet is full of private entities.

        When private-private clash of right exists, I brought up the topic of discrimination because we always practiced "all private-private associations are free when not explicitly banned by laws e.g. anti-discrimination". Yet, laws can become outdated and be games, and hence suppliers (of infrastructure) arbitrarily decline association induces much more harm than the other way round, making it not the fair balance I hope to see.

        1. Unlike you I am not fundamentally against "forced" work. We force companies to serve protected classes, pay minimum wages, treat shareholders fairly, etc. All of these are forcing them to do something they otherwise may not do. Hence "forcing" is not wrong, but a spectrum that needs a fine balance. If there is a new world where more forcing is needed, we should accept it, even if it is currently unconstitutional (we have to be very careful here, but the constitution also guaranteed us to be extra careful should we amend it).

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2021 @ 5:23pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          But if you agree with that, depriving a group of people with (say) 80% of the means to speak is a reduction of their right.

          Judging form what they have said in court, Parler does not have the financial support to come back. It almost certainly cannot support its operations from advertising. So how come they are not raising funds from the people that used it

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          • identicon
            Alan, 18 Jan 2021 @ 5:44pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If our argument has been that platforms should be allowed to experiment different moderation practices and decided by market, what we see is an attack on this idea. Say 4chan/8kun will be next if deplatformed people move there for identical discussions.

            I am happy to see that Parler penalized by market forces and die, but I am seeing its existence threatened by other companies exercising their FA right. It is more akin to a startup being sue by bogus patent infringement. It's all its own fault using a patented invention, or you can doubt the patent system is broken.

            The fact that we cannot find a single case where justice isn't served simply means we are not that desperate yet, which is the whole point of Mike's article —— is what's currently legal causing injustice? I think not yet but soon.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 7:09pm

              If our argument has been that platforms should be allowed to experiment different moderation practices and decided by market, what we see is an attack on this idea.

              Not really. Parler was given ample warning to get its shit together on the moderation front. That it chose not to do that, and suffered the consequences for its decision, is on Parler.

              You can question whether Amazon should have the kind of power it does. But if you’re going to question whether it should have the right to boot people from its services, you’ll need a better (and far more sympathetic) argument than “what about 8kun”.

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              • identicon
                Alan, 19 Jan 2021 @ 2:08am

                Re:

                Frankly I did not follow what kind of moderation Parler has exactly done, but to me "chose not to do moderation" is a moderation choice they are allowed to experiment. Unless you are saying they broke the law, yet FBI is bribed and do not sue it, and Amazon is the Batman who takes justice into their own hand.

                And then yes the question is why the society as a whole think it is in our best interest to allow Amazon to have that power. And the worrying part is that this power, as I mentioned in my first post, is unlimited —— it can be a punishment for good, and such punishment by an infrastructure provider can harm the free speech right more than other actors (just to reinterate a few points).

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 2:24am

                  Re: Re:

                  "Frankly I did not follow what kind of moderation Parler has exactly done"

                  Then I suggest you at least read up on the lawsuit that Parler are currently attempting against Amazon, where Amazon have detailed exactly what the problems were, then follow up with the many articles written about this exact subject recently.

                  "And then yes the question is why the society as a whole think it is in our best interest to allow Amazon to have that power"

                  Amazon's "power" extends nowhere beyond its own property. They can't affect speech on any of their competitors in the cloud hosting space, of which they only control around 1/3, and cloud hosting is only one of many options available to someone wishing to host a website.

                  The problem seems to be that you're imagining power that they don't have, which is why you're having problems convincing people who understand the reality of the situation that they're wrong.

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                  • identicon
                    Alan, 19 Jan 2021 @ 2:35am

                    Re: Re: Re:

                    Then I suggest you at least read up on the lawsuit that Parler are currently attempting against Amazon

                    Good point. Will do.

                    If you read my earlier comments again, I only had one point about Amazon, and I am actually more concerned with infrastructure that are do not exist much alternatives, like ISP, cellular providers, and mobile app stores. Of course internet peering is one too, because if a tier-1 network is allowed to pressure tier-2 networks unpeer your hosting provider, you are truly off the net despite a thousand hosting providers to choose from.

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 5:14am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "I only had one point about Amazon, and I am actually more concerned with infrastructure that are do not exist much alternatives"

                      Then, you may have a point, but frankly you're in the wrong discussion. This is not a conversation about wider reaching issues with ISP monopolies, the control payment processors have, potential national control over backbone networks, etc. In those conversations then there is certainly something to be discussed.

                      But, in the context of this conversation, it's about a toxic site that seems to believe they are above the T&Cs of the platforms it contracts to use to host themselves, and the platform telling them they have broken those T&Cs and are no longer welcome there. Unless you can provide a real reason why this particular issue falls under the scope of the problems you're claiming, you're arguing a very different point to everyone else.

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                      • identicon
                        Alan, 20 Jan 2021 @ 1:04am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        I hate to say it this way, but I believe many have misread my initial comment, and thought I meant things I didn't.

                        In the realm of justice, existing law and T&C won't matter. What matters is whether the alleged victim deserves a better treatment, and if so, we propose better laws. Laws are above T&Cs, and that further explains why I keep saying it is a T&C violation but so what? It's irrelevant in a justice discussion.

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                        • icon
                          PaulT (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 1:18am

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

                          Hey, no problem, I think you were trying to have an honest discussion. It's just that while you're correct in some of the wider points you were bringing up here, they don't apply to this particular situation.

                          The thing is, you keep bringing up "injustice". I don't see what injustice is being done here. if you can explain what you think is unjust in this particular situation, and not confusing things with the wider points you try to address, I'll be happy to discuss that.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 11:15pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Say 4chan/8kun will be next if deplatformed people move there for identical discussions."

              8kun exists because 8chan dissolved because their providers didn't want to host the mass shooting boot camp any longer, and even they guy who built it didn't want to deal with it an y more. If those sites accept these users, break the T&Cs of their hosts in the same way and fail to have any backup plans for when they eventually get kicked off for violating their providers' terms of service, that's on them.

              "but I am seeing its existence threatened by other companies exercising their FA right"

              So, what's your solution for this? Remove those FA rights from the people currently exercising them?

              "t is more akin to a startup being sue by bogus patent infringement"

              No, it's really, really not. Not least because patents and lawsuits involve the government, and the government is not involved in the slightest with Parler's woes.

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              • identicon
                Alan, 19 Jan 2021 @ 2:00am

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

                Thanks for your history lesson. I would say laws can restrict what T&Cs can contain, just like laws can restrict what contracts can contain. I agree a breach of the current T&C gives Amazon all the right to take it down, but this doesn't make it just.

                I used copyright and patent as examples here and there not only because I see social injustice there too, but also because it is easy to blame the victim when there exist a wider injustice issue.

                Not least because patents and lawsuits involve the government, and the government is not involved in the slightest with Parler's woes.

                Frankly I see Patents and lawsuits involve the government as much as free speech involves government. Government defined a framework, made a registry and the rest is left to private entities and courts. In contract, the government can provide public forums, can define regulations that do not involve speech taken away from private companies involuntarily, can define better anti-trust frameworks, can make net neutrality rules that are constitutional, etc. But please try not to argue with me on these points, see below.

                I mentioned very early on that I am not trying to suggest a solution. I am not familiar with the history of moderation. I am not familiar with legal limitations. I am only looking at the situation and seeing the swiftly growing social injustice.

                I've seen many unworkable solution, but many are only trying to patch existing legislation. I imagine this is a harder problem that requires a more innovative solution. That's why I hope to convince some of you, free speech experts, on the issues, so hopefully we can walk in that direction. But unfortunately I am alone.

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 2:20am

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

                  " I agree a breach of the current T&C gives Amazon all the right to take it down, but this doesn't make it just."

                  Why is a private company enforcing its terms of service on people who violate it unjust?

                  "I mentioned very early on that I am not trying to suggest a solution"

                  No, you're just very intent on trying to pretend that some injustice has been done by Amazon enforcing its terms of service instead of hosting a company that they did not only want on its service, but would actively damage its business if they continued to host them. I'm not sure why that is, but that's what you're doing.

                  "That's why I hope to convince some of you, free speech experts, on the issues, so hopefully we can walk in that direction"

                  You seem to be trying to convince said "experts" that they're wrong on several fundamental aspects of what free speech is, and failing miserably at that task.

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                  • identicon
                    Alan, 20 Jan 2021 @ 1:10am

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

                    I think we drifted too far away from my initial comment.

                    The injustice I mentioned is not about T&C, Amazon or even Parler. If, for the sake of argument, bigots is a protected class, I hope you would agree with me that banning bigots by platforms is injustice, despite platforms can write whatever T&C or contracts they like.

                    But of course bigots is not a protected class, but the argument stays. I am merely saying allowing a possible future where monopolistic private entities are norm (because we failed to deter them) and our only last resort to justice for people is the laws having to write down every protected class.

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 1:22am

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

                      "If, for the sake of argument, bigots is a protected class, I hope you would agree with me that banning bigots by platforms is injustice"

                      Yes, but the reality of the situation in front of us is that they are not.

                      "our only last resort to justice for people is the laws having to write down every protected class."

                      But, they are already written down. Aside from your fears of what might happen under complete monopoly (which is far from reality in the industry we're talking about in this situation), it's not like these things are not addressed. If you're saying that things like political affiliation need to be added to the protected classes, we could have a discussion (though I would very much oppose that happening). But, on the basis of the case under discussion and the existing law, I don't see the problem.

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                    • icon
                      bhull242 (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 9:39am

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

                      First, let me bring up something you say in another comment:

                      In the realm of justice, existing law and T&C won't matter. What matters is whether the alleged victim deserves a better treatment, and if so, we propose better laws.

                      I bring this up so you understand that I’m working from my understanding of your definition of justice, which is not tethered to what the law currently says. In other words, something can be unjust even if it is legal, and something can be just even if it is against the law.

                      With that in mind, let’s address this comment.

                      If, for the sake of argument, bigots is a protected class, I hope you would agree with me that banning bigots by platforms is injustice, despite platforms can write whatever T&C or contracts they like.

                      Going back to definitions again briefly, what is or isn’t a “protected class” is defined by law, while what is or isn’t “injustice” is not. Now, I don’t think that there is any reason being a bigot should be a protected class, and there are plenty of reasons against it (practicality for one), so I would not agree that platforms banning bigots would be unjust even if it violated the law because “bigots” is legally defined as a protected class.

                      A protected class should not be based on 1) something that is based on what a person says or does rather than an intrinsic property of a person or 2) something so open to interpretation as being a bigot. That would violate my sense of justice, and it’d just overcomplicate things since we’d have to balance two protected classes (the bigot and whatever the bigot is prejudiced against) in just about every case involving a protected class.

                      Now, if I did think that being a bigot should be a protected class, then I’d agree. That’s just not going to happen and defeats the purpose of a protected class to begin with. We can’t have it be the case where one person can’t discriminate against people for their discriminatory words or behavior.

                      But of course bigots is not a protected class, but the argument stays.

                      As I pointed out above, I disagree. The reason we have protected classes is to prevent discrimination based on intrinsic properties. It makes no sense to prevent discrimination based on the target’s discrimination based on intrinsic properties as that would defeat the object.

                      I am merely saying allowing a possible future where monopolistic private entities are norm (because we failed to deter them) and our only last resort to justice for people is the laws having to write down every protected class.

                      I mean, that’s how it works, and that’s what we do. What is or isn’t a protected class is defined by the law in a country or state, and the laws that prohibit discrimination based on protected classes must list all of the classes protected under that particular law. If the law doesn’t protect a certain class, that class is not a protected class in that country/state. It is also the case that what is or isn’t a protected class can vary between jurisdictions and laws within a jurisdiction, though they generally include, at a minimum, race, sex, religious belief, religious practice (within reason), and disabilities (within reason). Age is also commonly a protected class.

                      We can disagree on what should or shouldn’t be a protected class, but the way the law works is that a class of persons isn’t protected unless the law says it is. It’s not really a “last resort”; it’s Law 101. (And, in fact, there are a number of debates going around about introducing homosexuality and/or being transgender as protected classes, which they aren’t under a number of state laws, though in some cases it’s been determined that homosexuality and/or being transgender are covered by certain laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex; however, that varies wildly from law to law and case to case.)

                      So, you see, it already is the case that “the laws hav[e] to write down every protected class” even without getting into “a possible future where monopolistic private entities are norm (because we failed to deter them)”. No need to get into a dystopian future.

                      I’m afraid I don’t really see the problem. I also don’t really see how that’s even relevant to the discussion or what your point is. Are you suggesting that political affiliation should be a protected class? I would firmly disagree with that, but that is at least a plausible argument to make, and I’m willing to have that discussion. I can say that it is not a protected class under any anti-discrimination law that I’m aware of.

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                      • icon
                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 10:03am

                        there are a number of debates going around about introducing homosexuality and/or being transgender as protected classes

                        Technically, “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” would be the protected classes. Remember, any protection for a protected class also applies to people who generally don’t need such protections (e.g., White people, Christians). Any protection for discrimination against gay people would also apply to straight people, even though nobody is (seriously) going around saying “breeders shouldn’t be allowed to buy things from me”.

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                        • icon
                          nasch (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 11:10am

                          Re:

                          The Supreme Court has ruled that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is inherently discrimination on the basis of sex. This is because it is treating men who are attracted to men differently than women who are attracted to men (and vice versa). The attraction is the same, and what's different is the sex of the individual, and you're not allowed to discriminate on that basis. Similar reasoning for trans people. You can't treat a biological male who identifies as male differently than a biological female who identifies as male because that's discriminating on the basis of sex.

                          https://www.npr.org/2020/06/15/863498848/supreme-court-delivers-major-victory-to-lgbtq-employee s

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 18 Jan 2021 @ 6:39pm

          depriving a group of people with (say) 80% of the means to speak is a reduction of their right

          Parler users are not deprived of the means to speak because Parler is offline. They’re deprived of the means to speak on Parler because Parler is offline.

          People are not guaranteed the right to a captive audience, but an audience (i.e. I should be allowed to talk to my existing followers)

          You do not have the right to an audience. You do not have the right to make others give you an audience. If you want your audience to hear you, you’ll have to work for that. And if you lose access to your audience on one platform, tough shit.

          where are the public forums on the internet?

          Ask the government to set one up. Nobody has the right (nor should they have the right) to make the government force Twitter or Parler or any other such service into becoming a “public forum”.

          suppliers (of infrastructure) arbitrarily decline association induces much more harm than the other way round, making it not the fair balance I hope to see

          You can’t get a “fair balance” here. Either the law compels Amazon to host speech it doesn’t want on its servers or Amazon has the freedom to decide what speech it will allow on its servers. The law can’t say “this speech is okay to kick off, but this other speech isn’t” because that would bring a massive First Amendment issue to the table.

          If there is a new world where more forcing is needed, we should accept it, even if it is currently unconstitutional

          I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to accept the government telling me what speech I can and cannot, will and will not, must and must associate with because of some need for “neutrality” or “balance” or whatever other horseshit term you want to use for compelled association.

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          • identicon
            Alan, 19 Jan 2021 @ 1:39am

            Re:

            You do not have the right to an audience. You do not have the right to make others give you an audience. If you want your audience to hear you, you’ll have to work for that. And if you lose access to your audience on one platform, tough shit.

            I misspoke here. I wanted to say I have the right to keep my (already-acquired) audience. In the physical world, I can keep speaking in any public forum every week, and no one is supposed to stop me from doing that, unless I broke the law or disturbed others' rights. I am sad that no one agreed with me that we should strive to have the equivalent of this online. In other words, if almost everyone else has 100 places they can speak, and I only got 20, I feel deprived of my right.

            The other half of your reply are just missing my point. I did not suggest compelling Amazon to host speech is a solution. I am focusing on the injustice here. The first day we fight slavery or racial injustice, there was no solution. We first identify the problem, then we find a solution and then we find a viable path to the solution.

            I just want to repeat my point in another thread here that government placing restriction on private entities is not unprecedented. It is more sensitive on the area of free speech, just because free speech is a fundamental human right. But also because it is a fundamental human right, we should focus more on what's the right thing to do, rather than what's the easiest thing to do.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 1:57am

              Re: Re:

              "I wanted to say I have the right to keep my (already-acquired) audience"

              You have no such right. If a TV shows has an argument with their network that gets them kicked off that station and they're forced to do a deal with a smaller station to continue, they have no right to have the same people watching the show on the new channel.

              "In the physical world, I can keep speaking in any public forum every week, and no one is supposed to stop me from doing that"

              Wrong. The government is not supposed to stop you doing that. If you're speaking in a private venue, you can get kicked out for whatever reason they feel is necessary.

              "In other words, if almost everyone else has 100 places they can speak, and I only got 20, I feel deprived of my right."

              Feel whatever you want, it's not true, and if you got yourself kicked out of thousands of places online (which you would have had to do to have been kicked out of a fraction of a percent of the places available to you online), maybe the problem isn't the venues?

              " I am focusing on the injustice here."

              There is no injustice. Parler were breaking Amazon's T&Cs for their platform and had been told multiple times to improve their activity. They refused to do so, and Amazon decided to stop treating them with kid gloves after it because apparent that keeping them there would affect the rest of their business.

              "We first identify the problem"

              We have, you're just pretending the problem can't be Parler's own actions, for some reason.

              "we should focus more on what's the right thing to do"

              We are...

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              • identicon
                Alan, 20 Jan 2021 @ 1:19am

                Re: Re: Re:

                You have no such right. If a TV shows has an argument with their network that gets them kicked off that station and they're forced to do a deal with a smaller station to continue, they have no right to have the same people watching the show on the new channel.

                I indeed agree with you on what you said. Or they have no TV station and have to do a play on the streets, but if A is B's follower and C is trying to stop A from following B, this is injustice. But I know we disagreed on other aspect so I won't sell you on the injustice anymore.

                Feel whatever you want [...]

                Don't forget that Human Rights are mere feelings, feelings that the people as a collective share, not facts. When I claim First Amendment is not doing justice on the aspect of free speech rights, you can state that you disagree and we can try to convince each other or stop talking. But trying to discredit my feeling is not going to help. What would help is say statistics of how rare my feeling is versus yours. But while I am alone here on this forum, I don't think I am that alone.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 4:01am

                  trying to discredit my feeling is not going to help

                  You have a right to hold an opinion. That doesn’t make your opinion right.

                  You want to say Parler losing access to AWS or Twitter is an “injustice”? Fine. Go right ahead. But you’re not gonna find many people here who feel that Amazon refusing to associate with a bunch of racist insurrectionists is an “injustice”. If anything, they’d see the government forcing Amazon to serve Parler as an “injustice”. Are those feelings “discredited” because they stand in opposition to yours? Are those feelings “invalid” because they’re based more on the facts of the law than some vague sense of what is just and unjust?

                  I can assure you that I’ve given some serious thought to this subject (and others similar to it) over the years. My “feelings” — that is, my opinions — are formed not by what feels “right”, but what the law says. I hate Illinois Nazis as much as the next guy, but for as “right” as it would feel to have the law say they can’t speak, I can’t rightfully push for that position. The law says Illinois Nazis have the same right to speak their mind as you or I.

                  The same goes for the freedom of association. It may feel “right” to say “Amazon should be forced to serve Parler”, but pushing for that position would mean you’d also have to push for forced hosting of speech on any platform you own and operate. You’d have to either accept being associated with racists if the government were to say “you run a speech platform, so you must associate with racists” or risk punishment. You can’t have it both ways: Either you/Amazon must be free to associate (or not) with whomever you/they want or you/Amazon must be forced to associate with everyone who tosses you/them enough money for some hosting space.

                  You can “feel” however you want about what Amazon did to Parler. That doesn’t mean your opinion should receive respect only for the fact that you hold it. And considering how your opinion amounts to “I want racists to be able to force their way onto AWS, Twitter, etc.”, you’ll find few people here who will respect your opinion on its merits.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 3:55am

              I have the right to keep my (already-acquired) audience.

              No, you don’t. The First Amendment guarantees your right to speak freely without government interference. It doesn’t guarantee (or give you) the right to an audience — either to make one or keep one. You can’t make other people listen to you. You can’t make someone else give you an audience, either.

              In the physical world, I can keep speaking in any public forum every week, and no one is supposed to stop me from doing that, unless I broke the law or disturbed others' rights.

              And that’s fine. The government (generally) isn’t supposed to stop you from speaking on public lands/property. But that still doesn’t give you the right to an audience.

              I am sad that no one agreed with me that we should strive to have the equivalent of this online.

              The closest things we have to that online are 4chan, 8kun, and their permissive imageboard brethren. Browse 4chan’s /b/ for an hour and you’ll soon know why asking for more sites like that is a mistake.

              In other words, if almost everyone else has 100 places they can speak, and I only got 20, I feel deprived of my right.

              You are only ever deprived of your right to speak freely if you are deprived of all places to speak — cyber- and meatspace alike. Your misguided feelings on being “deprived” of more places to speak than others (but not all places) are irrelevant in that regard. As the dipshit conservative saying goes: “Facts don’t care about your feelings.”

              I did not suggest compelling Amazon to host speech is a solution. I am focusing on the injustice here.

              Let’s say I agree that Amazon refusing to host Parler is an “injustice”. The only possible remedy for that injustice would involve compelling Amazon to host Parler again. (That, or a massive fucking payout for a “breach of contract” lawsuit that Parler already has no chance of winning right now.) If you have any better ideas, I’m open to hearing them.

              government placing restriction on private entities is not unprecedented

              When someone steps into the public sphere, they make an implicit compromise with everyone else: “My rights end where another person’s rights begin.” A person can hold whatever religious or sociopolitical beliefs they want, no matter how ridiculous or heinous or wonderful they are to other people. But they can’t force their beliefs on others as if being in public gives them that right. (You can’t, for example, go around beating people upside the head with a holy book and tell them “convert to my beliefs or else”.) No one else can do the same to you.

              When the right of association clashes with one’s right to enter and participate in the public sphere, the first one must generally give way. Only through such a compromise can we have a functioning society. That is why we have non-discrimination laws — the kind of government restrictions that specifically clash with (and often supercede) the First Amendment.

              A privately owned private business (e.g., a business not open to the general public) can discriminate however the hell it wants. A privately owned public-facing business (e.g., a Walmart) must follow the law. We allow this because we recognize how depriving people of participation in the public sphere also deprives them of three classic American ideals: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

              because it is a fundamental human right, we should focus more on what's the right thing to do, rather than what's the easiest thing to do

              The easiest thing to do would be to compel forced association between Parler and Amazon. That doesn’t make it right by any stretch of the imagination.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 5:09am

                Re:

                "The closest things we have to that online are 4chan, 8kun, and their permissive imageboard brethren. Browse 4chan’s /b/ for an hour and you’ll soon know why asking for more sites like that is a mistake."

                Plus, I'll just reiterate that the reason 8kun exists is because 8chan was set up by a guy who thought they moderated too much. By the time 8chan had encouraged and inspired multiple mass shootings, even its founder didn't want that environment any longer. They not only moved but rebranded to disassociate themselves with their prior iteration.

                Their new hosts? A Russian owned save haven for white nationalist and other unwanted dregs, who just so happen to be the same host that Parler are currently trying to set themselves back up with.

                “My rights end where another person’s rights begin.”

                I prefer a slightly more explicit version - "your right to swing your fists ends where my nose begins". You can do all you want in a vacuum, but as soon as you start infringing on the rights and safety of others, someone has to step in. Whether that's a nightclub bouncer, a property owner or the government depends on where you are at the time.

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              • identicon
                Alan, 20 Jan 2021 @ 1:32am

                Re:

                You are only ever deprived of your right to speak freely if you are deprived of all places to speak — cyber- and meatspace alike.

                After talking to you for a while, I think this is our major disagreement. I hope you agree with me that I lost my right of movement if I am jailed, but I guess you disagree I lost my right of movement if I am barred by a court to leave the city I live in.

                The only possible remedy for that injustice would involve compelling Amazon to host Parler again.

                The easiest thing to do would be to compel forced association between Parler and Amazon. That doesn’t make it right by any stretch of the imagination.

                I would say there are lots of alternatives that nobody here wants to discuss. There are unlimited ways to write laws. Laws can ask you to trade off one right for another; e.g. 230(c)(2)(A) asks you to exercise good faith if you want to be immune. There are countless ways we can make platforms voluntarily trade some of rights to achieve something else. (I know any plan I write down will be outright wrong, so I won't) Some plans will be unconstitutional, but I bet King George also said succession is unconstitutional.

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 1:56am

                  Re: Re:

                  "I hope you agree with me that I lost my right of movement if I am jailed"

                  That is actually the point of it - that you lose your freedom because you committed a crime. But, that's not relevant to the discussion about one of many options for speech using a third party platform being removed, as we're talking about here.

                  Parler being removed from Amazon isn't analogous to being in jail. It's more like being told you can't hold a social meeting at a particular venue because one of the attendees caused a fist fight last week.

                  "I guess you disagree I lost my right of movement if I am barred by a court to leave the city I live in"

                  I don't think he would, but that has no relevance here. This is a case where Amazon refused access to a specific building, it has no relevance to Parler's ability to use other buildings, let alone cities.

                  "e.g. 230(c)(2)(A) asks you to exercise good faith if you want to be immune"

                  Good faith that Amazon did exercise, as it's clear from their rebuttal to the lawsuit that they had 26,000 outstanding complaints that Parler hadn't dealt with at the time of the attempted insurrection, and Amazon decided to action those instead of waiting until the association damaged their own business.

                  "I know any plan I write down will be outright wrong, so I won't"

                  If you can't personally think of any way in which the situation can be improved, maybe it doesn't need to be in this example? As I've said before, you might have a point on some larger issues, but you really don't seem to have one here.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 3:47am

                  I hope you agree with me that I lost my right of movement if I am jailed, but I guess you disagree I lost my right of movement if I am barred by a court to leave the city I live in

                  Irrelevant. Either Facebook, AWS, or both services refusing to do business with you doesn’t violate your civil rights. Trying to say that statement with different words so you can ask me to disagree with my position won’t work.

                  230(c)(2)(A) asks you to exercise good faith if you want to be immune

                  And the courts have basically said that “good faith” means “if they had a reason for banning some form of speech”. Neither 47 U.S.C. § 230 nor the First Amendment have (or need) a “neutrality” requirement for legal protections.

                  There are countless ways we can make platforms voluntarily trade some of rights to achieve something else.

                  Yes or no: Should Twitter give up its right to refuse association with racist speech so White racists can have a place on Twitter? Please note that one consequence of such a concession would be an increased rate of harassment of people of color, which would likely drive many of them from Twitter, which would in turn deprive them of their Twitter audience — which you seem to believe is an “injustice” when Twitter does it to White racists.

                  Some plans will be unconstitutional

                  Until such time as the courts say otherwise or the Constitution is amended to say otherwise, corporations have rights. That means Twitter gets to choose what people can say or do on the property owned by Twitter. If’n you don’t like that? Get the courts or the Constitution to say otherwise. All you can do in the meantime is accept reality as it is, which means accepting this:

                  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 someone else’s private property. Nobody is entitled to a platform or an audience at the expense of someone else.

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                • icon
                  bhull242 (profile), 20 Jan 2021 @ 8:50am

                  Re: Re:

                  I hope you agree with me that I lost my right of movement if I am jailed,

                  I do believe that is a point we can all agree on, yes.

                  but I guess you disagree I lost my right of movement if I am barred by a court to leave the city I live in.

                  And that’s where you’re wrong. Like, completely. No one disagrees with that.

                  Here are the issues:

                  1. In your hypothetical, the court is the one barring you from leaving. In other words, the government is interfering with your right of movement.

                  2. The situation here is that some platforms and a cloud infrastructure provider are refusing to deal with certain persons. This is nowhere near as restrictive as being unable to leave a city. Being barred from Facebook or Twitter has 0 effect on your ability to visit or post on literally any platform not run by Facebook or Twitter, and AWS refusing to host your platform’s services has 0 effect on your ability to get someone else to provide the same service or your ability to make your own. It’s more like a particular venue refusing to allow you on their premises or a delivery company refusing to deliver your packages any more. In other words, the scope of your hypothetical and the scope of what’s actually happening are completely different.

                  I would say there are lots of alternatives that nobody here wants to discuss. There are unlimited ways to write laws. Laws can ask you to trade off one right for another; e.g. 230(c)(2)(A) asks you to exercise good faith if you want to be immune. There are countless ways we can make platforms voluntarily trade some of rights to achieve something else. (I know any plan I write down will be outright wrong, so I won't) Some plans will be unconstitutional, but I bet King George also said succession is unconstitutional.

                  Okay, there’s a lot to unpack here, but the biggest issue is: really? You’re going to propose a revolution as a viable alternative? Of course we’re not willing to discuss plans that are unconstitutional or involve getting rid of the Constitution! For one thing, a revolution based solely on not being able to post on your favorite platform is not going to end well, and if a plan is unconstitutional, it will not actually do anything because it will be struck down in court. So if only from a pragmatic perspective, let’s stick to what’s at least somewhere in the realm of plausibility, okay?

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            • icon
              bhull242 (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 8:24pm

              Re: Re:

              I wanted to say I have the right to keep my (already-acquired) audience. In the physical world, I can keep speaking in any public forum every week, and no one is supposed to stop me from doing that, unless I broke the law or disturbed others' rights.

              Or if the audience members did something to get themselves kicked out. And the issue is that a public forum is owned by the government, while there is no real online forum run by the government.

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

          Re: Re: Re:

          "But if you agree with that, depriving a group of people with (say) 80% of the means to speak is a reduction of their right."

          They are being deprived of no such thing. In this instance, they are being deprived of the ability to speak in one specific way on one specific place. They are free to speak anywhere else that would have them, they just can't do it on Parler until Parler decide to fix the issues they created by violating T&Cs of their providers and failing to have a business continuity plan.

          Your argument only works if you pretend that Parler is required to speak, which is utter nonsense.

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          • identicon
            Alan, 19 Jan 2021 @ 1:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Sorry to have misled you, but the line you quoted is not only about Parler, but the internet being fragile in general to "upstream" private actors e.g. infrastructure taking action against people or sometimes companies. It is exactly the argument against "you can speak anywhere else", because unlike the physical world where there are full of public forums, there is not much anywhere else you can go to, as I explained in detail above.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 1:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "he internet being fragile in general to "upstream" private actors e.g. infrastructure taking action against people or sometimes companies"

              Can you name any instance of this happening and the people affected not having places to go? The people I'm aware of still have a great many places to speak, they just don't like the fact that the more popular ones have told them to go elsewhere.

              You also seem to be talking about infrastructure, while the rest of us are talking about platforms. Maybe you're not arguing the same thing as everyone elseis?

              "It is exactly the argument against "you can speak anywhere else", because unlike the physical world where there are full of public forums, there is not much anywhere else you can go to"

              Largely because the physical world and the internet are in no way analogous and unless you're calling for the government to set up their own websites or seize private property, I'm. not sure what you think the solution is.

              There are literally hundreds of millions, maybe billions, of places to speak online, and there's nothing to stop you setting up your own space if none of those are good enough for you. You can't do that on physical property, which has a bunch of unique limitations that don't apply online, which is why government property is necessary.

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    bobinorlando (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 4:56am

    On the Internet everything is different & everything is the same

    Today, freedom of the Internet belongs to the man (or woman - but are there any?) who owns an ISP or a social media platform. (to paraphrase a famous quote about newspapers) Perhaps you have a short memory or weren't even alive when the Internet didn't exist or maybe you're just not paying attention. If you haven't been on the receiving end of blocking or banning at the hands of an ISP, a social media company, a platform, a web/cloud/email/ecommerce/content hosting company, an infrastructure provider, a domain registration company, a broadband provider, you a) have no idea or b) quite possibly haven't fully lived in our time ;) The blocking and banning is so pervasive that I can confidently say sooner or later every Internet user will themselves be blocked or will be related to, or work for, or know someone who has been blocked by some Internet something or other just like Parler has been blocked by Amazon. 20-30 years ago it was AOL, Compuserve and Prodigy that were the dominant platforms that were moderating, blocking and banning users for saying the wrong thing or trying to sell anything. The advent of the Internet was a relief and a breath of freedom compared to those net nannies. AOL even claimed in one court case that it was like an online private country club that could set its own rules any way it wanted. Of course nobody knowingly signed up for that kind of justice and well, where is AOL today - it's a pale shadow of its former self - little more than a department at Verizon. It's been replaced by other dominant platforms like FB. But one day even mighty FB too could end up like AOL. I call it the AOLization of everything. When commercialization was allowed on the Internet in 1996, ISPs came along and then started blocking Unsolicited Commercial Email (aka spam) or anyone accused (rightly or wrongly) of spamming - and those accused had no due process, no recourse, no right of appeal. Adult websites, Napster, copyright infringement letters from the MPAA or Getty Images - do you remember none of this? Of course banning or controlling speech did not start with the Internet we had many who felt their speech was limited (take your pick): Newspapers "Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one" - A.J. Liebling Books Banned in Boston really was a thing And no shortage of landmark Supreme Court cases regarding the First Amendment. Tolerating free speech is hard. It's messy. It's inconvenient. And a lot of speech is annoying, offensive, repulsive. But when you think the rights of the blocker to block are more important than the rights of the speaker to speak, you're on the wrong side of the free speech issue.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 5:21am

      Re: On the Internet everything is different & everything is the

      "20-30 years ago it was AOL, Compuserve and Prodigy that were the dominant platforms that were moderating, blocking and banning users for saying the wrong thing or trying to sell anything"

      Indeed. But, if you don't understand the vast fundamental differences between those walled garden portals and a single end destination not hosting a particular website, then you don't understand the issues here. An ISP and AWS are nothing like the same thing, and I suggest you read up on those differences if this confuses you.

      "The advent of the Internet was a relief and a breath of freedom compared to those net nannies"

      The internet predated all of those services by many years, and they lost in the open free market when it was clear the advantages that an open ISP would have compared to them.

      "But one day even mighty FB too could end up like AOL"

      Facebook are a single site on the internet, and even if it was dumb enough to do something to alienate a majority of the 2.7 billion users it currently has, it would not affect a single other site on the internet outside of its traffic driving effect (which would be gone anyway under a walled garden approach).

      "Newspapers "Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one""

      Indeed, and the reason why the internet exploded as it did is party because it enabled everybody to have one. Even if Amazon or Facebook block you, you still have one.

      "But when you think the rights of the blocker to block are more important than the rights of the speaker to speak, you're on the wrong side of the free speech issue."

      No, if you think that people should be forced to host speech against their will because someone doesn't want to move to the millions of other options they have, you're on the wrong side of the issue.

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        icon
        bobinorlando (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 5:57am

        Re: Re: On the Internet everything is different & everything is

        When they act like a walled garden, they are a walled garden.

        And are there in fact, "millions of other options"? Only in theory, not in reality.

        Bottom line, Section 230 gives immunity to ISPs and platforms when they take a hands off approach. But they can't have it both ways. When they start meddling with content, they're going to lose their Sec. 230 protection. And when they lose it, we'll all lose.

        On the flip side, what's good for the Internet goose is good for the broadcast gander. So if they want a Fairness Doctrine on the Internet they better be prepared to bring back the Fairness Doctrine to broadcast.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 6:11am

          Re: Re: Re: On the Internet everything is different & everything

          "When they act like a walled garden, they are a walled garden."

          Amazon are not acting like a walled garden, though. They host whatever they agree to host, as do any of the thousands of other hosting providers out there, as do any individual hosts. They can't prevent things from being hosted elsewhere, and the location of the host is irrelevant to anyone attempting to access a ny given site. I can (and have) moved entire websites to different hosts during my career, and nobody accessing those sites would have noticed.

          "And are there in fact, "millions of other options"? Only in theory, not in reality."

          Hundreds, then, maybe thousands. They have more options that I can list in this post, though.

          "Bottom line, Section 230 gives immunity to ISPs and platforms when they take a hands off approach"

          False. Section 230 allows platforms to moderate as much or as little as they wish, with no implication of liability for anything they fail to moderate. It protects platforms like Breitbart (and indeed Parler) when they over-moderate posts they dislike politically as it does Twitter or Facebook when they do the bare minimum in most circumstances.

          Besides, this actually has nothing to do with section 230. Parler were involved in a contract dispute with Amazon, and recent news accelerated Amazon's response in dealing with that dispute. I know that the people angry with this are trying to conflate several different issues to pretend it's some kind of overreach by Amazon, but it really isn't.

          "So if they want a Fairness Doctrine on the Internet"

          The only people asking for that are the butthurt right-wingers who are complaining that they don't have the ability to force platforms to host things they don't want to host. They had better be careful what they wish for as the consequences are not going to be what they imagine them to be.

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        • identicon
          TFG, 19 Jan 2021 @ 6:21am

          Re: Re: Re: On the Internet everything is different & everything

          Bottom line, Section 230 gives immunity to ISPs and platforms when they take a hands off approach. But they can't have it both ways. When they start meddling with content, they're going to lose their Sec. 230 protection. And when they lose it, we'll all lose.

          Manifestly incorrect. For your consideration, a link to the verbiage of the law:
          https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230

          Note under (b) Policy, point (4):
          "(4) to remove disincentives for the development and utilization of blocking and filtering technologies that empower parents to restrict their children’s access to objectionable or inappropriate online material;"

          That's the policy point that explains the general purpose of the law, and that's certainly a case of wanting providers to create ways to meddle with content. As to the actual immunity of which you speak:

          "(2) Civil liability
          No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—
          (A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected;"

          So yes. They are immunized for actions they take to restrict access to the availability of material, whether they the provider find it objectionable or their users do - aka, meddling with content. Expressly, even.

          Please at least know what the law says before entering into discussions about it.

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        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 19 Jan 2021 @ 10:27am

          Re: Re: Re: On the Internet everything is different & everyt

          Bottom line, Section 230 gives immunity to ISPs and platforms when they take a hands off approach. But they can't have it both ways. When they start meddling with content, they're going to lose their Sec. 230 protection.

          Hello! You've Been Referred Here Because You're Wrong About Section 230 Of The Communications Decency Act

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          • icon
            bobinorlando (profile), 25 Jan 2021 @ 12:51pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: On the Internet everything is different & ev

            Hello! I don't need to read this I"ve already read it. Bye now!

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 25 Jan 2021 @ 11:45pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: On the Internet everything is different &

              Read it, but apparently didn't understand or opted to ignore because it interfered with the completely false claims you're basing your other posts upon...

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      • icon
        bobinorlando (profile), 25 Jan 2021 @ 1:48pm

        Re: Re: On the Internet everything is different & everything is

        "Facebook are a single site on the internet"

        No FB is not a "single site" on the internet. It is not a web page. It is a platform that hosts billions of sites (user profiles and timelines), user pages, user groups, ecommerce, payments, games and many other things still under development still to come and TBD. It is no more a single site than a dialup ISP was a single phone number or a single IP address.

        "if you think that people should be forced to host speech against their will"

        It's not "people" that we are talking about hosting the speech, it's commercial platforms that as a practical matter act like public squares.

        Sec 230, though you wouldn't know it to read the comments here, was a Compromise with an implied message that differs from the actual language. What was the compromise? It was this: ISPs - the govt will take a hands off approach with you if you take a hands off approach (or a light touch) to user content. I know that is not what the law SAYS, but it's what the law MEANS. It is WHY the law was written. And if you don't understand that, you need to go back and read the issues of the day when the law was passed.

        Congress had a choice - whether or not to make ISPs common carriers like phone companies or freight companies or shipping companies. They chose not to, provided that ISPs act like good citizens and don't interfere (too much) with individual speech. Sec 230 gives them the ability to screen or filter objectionable content mainly to make the Internet "safe" for children and "families" - an issue of the time that is no longer at the forefront of the issues of today, and one that is now largely absent from the marketplace - good luck trying to run a filtering business.

        20 years later, the Internet is a more mature industry and social media platforms have become pervasive platforms for political speech. Political speech is a far different animal than family friendly content. Political speech is speech intended for an adult audience and raises an entirely different set of expectations than the issues of family friendly content. When it comes to political speech, protection OF the speech is more important than protection FROM the speech.

        When it comes to political speech in America today, no one wants filtering by the ISP or the platform. No one wants blocking by the ISP or the social media platform or the web hosting company or the back end server company or the backbone provider, any more than anyone wants phone companies to block political speech. Instead what we want is User control over content - and the more fine grained the better - or not at all.

        Bottomline - Lower level providers in the technology stack need to act like de facto common carriers if they expect to stay in business. If AWS acts like a walled garden it will go the way of AOL.

        And if they don't adhere to the bargain struck by Sec 230 (what is says, yes, as well as what it really means and the reasons why it was written) then they can expect to be deemed common carriers. That is the sledge hammer that is hanging over their heads. Abuse your rights under Sec 230 and we will make you a common carrier.

        It must be thus. Otherwise if it's ok for FB or AWS why not go down the stack even farther and allow HP or Dell to decide they don't want particular political speech on their brand of computers or Cisco on their routers. Try to type it in, they will block it. Or MS deciding you can't write particular political speech in MS Word. Or Samsung or Apple deciding they don't want particular political speech on their phones. Or Intel or AMD blocking at the chip level. It's quite trivial to implement, so easy they could have it in place overnight if they wanted to - as quickly as AWS pulling the plug on Parler or TW pullling the plug on Trump.

        But blocking by TW or AWS only serves to highlight the issue. Just like FBI tactics in the 60's and 70's against left wing groups highlighted the issues then and today we see the same tactics applied to right wing groups. Either way, neither group is happy when the tactics are applied to them. In the same way, no one is happy when their own political speech is the target of blocking. Today it's them. Tomorrow it could be you. That is the issue - and the only issue. Which is why smart ISPs, smart social media platforms and smart backend providers act like de facto common carriers. And dumb ones don't.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 25 Jan 2021 @ 11:36pm

          Re: Re: Re: On the Internet everything is different & everything

          "No FB is not a "single site" on the internet"

          He says, going on to describe a bunch of things that don't stop it being a website. I suppose if you redefine terms on the fly then it's not a site, but then you're not using the same dictionary as everyone else and words lose their meaning somewhat if nobody agrees on what they mean.

          "It's not "people" that we are talking about hosting the speech, it's commercial platforms that as a practical matter act like public squares."

          Again, with this lie. Why is this fiction so important top you people? Do you not have another argument other than "the government should seize power from private property if they are considered too successful"?

          "Sec 230, though you wouldn't know it to read the comments here, was a Compromise with an implied message that differs from the actual language. "

          He says again inventing language that's not in the actual law...

          "Sec 230 gives them the ability to screen or filter objectionable content mainly to make the Internet "safe" for children and "families""

          Not stated in the law. Do you have any comments based on what the law actually says, or are you just trying to throw in an idiotic "think of the children" to try and distreact from people who have actually read it?

          "Political speech is a far different animal than family friendly content"

          It's also protected in an equal manner by laws that have nothing to do with what you¡'re whining about.

          "When it comes to political speech in America today, no one wants filtering by the ISP or the platform"

          No, nobody wants filtering by the ISP. The entire point of platforms is to filter. Think about that for a moment.

          "If AWS acts like a walled garden it will go the way of AOL"

          Ah the idiotic AOL comparison again. Two things - so what? What you describe is the free market in action. Do you want to block the free market? If not, what is your preferred solution to force Amazon to do things against their will at the behest of a biased government actors?

          "what is says"

          You've proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you don't know what it says.

          "why not go down the stack even farther and allow HP or Dell to decide they don't want particular political speech on their brand of computers"

          Because, as with Facebook and AWS, people are free to use their many competitors? If a company does something that people buying a new computer don't like, they can just buy a different computer. Which most sane people would do, especially enterprise customers who these companies usually suck up to and would take great umbrage at handing over direct control of their data for reasons that have nothing to do with their business.

          Your paranoid fantasies are only breathtakingly stupid, they couldn't be implemented in the real world. You'd have to remove the free market first - which, ironically, only the people demanding that the government seize control of private markets due to a misreading of section 230 are even suggesting.