Biden's Top Tech Advisor Trots Out Dangerous Ideas For 'Reforming' Section 230

from the this-is-a-problem dept

It is now broadly recognized that Joe Biden doesn't like Section 230 and has repeatedly shown he doesn't understand what it does. Multiple people keep insisting to me, however, that once he becomes president, his actual tech policy experts will understand the law better, and move Biden away from his nonsensical claim that he wishes to "repeal" the law.

In a move that is not very encouraging, Biden's top tech policy advisor, Bruce Reed, along with Common Sense Media's Jim Steyer, have published a bizarre and misleading "but think of the children!" attack on Section 230 that misunderstands the law, misunderstands how it impacts kids, and which suggests incredibly dangerous changes to Section 230. If this is the kind of policy recommendations we're to expect over the next four years, the need to defend Section 230 is going to remain pretty much the same as it's been over the last few years.

Let's break down the piece and its myriad problems.

Mark Zuckerberg makes no apology for being one of the least-responsible chief executives of our time. Yet at the risk of defending the indefensible, as Zuckerberg is wont to do, we must concede that given the way federal courts have interpreted telecommunications law, some of Facebook's highest crimes are now considered legal.

Uh, wait. No. There's a very sketchy sleight-of-word right here in the opening, claiming that "Facebook's highest crimes are now considered legal." That is wrong. Any law that Facebook violates, it is still held liable for. The point of Section 230 is that Facebook (and any website) should not be held liable for any laws that its users violate. Reed and Steyer seek to elide this very important distinction in a pure "blame the messenger" way.

It may not have been against the law to livestream the massacre of 51 people at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand or the suicide of a 12-year-old girl in the state of Georgia. Courts have cleared the company of any legal responsibility for violent attacks spawned by Facebook accounts tied to Hamas. It's not illegal for Facebook posts to foment attacks on refugees in Europe or try to end democracy as we know it in America.

This is more of the same. The Hamas claim is particularly bogus. The lawsuit in that case involved some plaintiffs who were harmed by Hamas... and decided that the right legal remedy was to sue Facebook because some Hamas members used Facebook. There was no attempt to even show that the injuries the plaintiffs faced had anything to do with Hamas using Facebook. The cases were tossed because Section 230 did exactly the right thing: note that the legal liability should be on the parties actually responsible. We don't blame AT&T when a terrorist makes a phone call. We don't blame Ford because a terrorist drives a Ford car. We shouldn't blame Facebook just because a terrorist uses Facebook.

This is fairly basic stuff, and it is shameful for Reed and Steyer to misrepresent things in such a way that is designed to obfuscate the actual details of the legal issues at play, while purely pulling at heartstrings. But the heartstring-pulling was just beginning, because this whole piece shifts into the typical "but think of the children!" pandering quite quickly.

Since Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act was passed, it has been a get-out-of-jail-free card for companies like Facebook and executives like Zuckerberg. That 26-word provision hurts our kids and is doing possibly irreparable damage to our democracy. Unless we change it, the internet will become an even more dangerous place for young people, while Facebook and other tech platforms will reap ever-greater profits from the blanket immunity that their industry enjoys.

Of course, it hasn't been a get out of jail card for any of those companies. The law has never barred federal criminal prosecutions, as federal crimes are exempt from the statute. Almost every Section 230 case has been about civil disputes. It's also shameful that Reed and Steyer seem to mix-up the differences between civil and criminal law.

Also, I'd contest the argument that it's Section 230 that has made the internet a dangerous place for kids or democracy. Section 230 has enabled many, many forums and spaces for young people to congregate and communicate -- many of which have been incredibly important. It's where many LGBTQ+ kids have found like minded people to discover they're not alone. It's where kids who are interested in niche areas or specific communities have found others with similar views. All of that is possible because of Section 230.

Yes, there is bullying online, and that's a problem, but Section 230 has also enabled tremendous variation and competition in how different websites respond to that, with many creating quite clever ideas in how to deal with the downsides of purely open communication. Changing Section 230 will likely remove that freedom of experimentation.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. According to former California Rep. Chris Cox, who wrote Section 230 with Oregon's Sen. Ron Wyden, "The original purpose of this law was to help clean up the internet, not to facilitate people doing bad things on the internet." In the 1990s, after a New York court ruled that the online service provider Prodigy could be held liable in the same way as a newspaper publisher because it had established standards for allowable content, Cox and Wyden wrote Section 230 to protect "Good Samaritan" companies like Prodigy that tried to do the right thing by removing content that violated their guidelines.

But through subsequent court rulings, the provision has turned into a bulletproof shield for social media platforms that do little or nothing to enforce established standards.

This is just flat out wrong, and it's embarrassing that Reed and Steyer are repeating this out and out myth. You will find no sites out there, least of all Facebook (the main bogeyman named in this article) "that do little or nothing to enforce established standards." Facebook employs tens of thousands of content moderators, and has a truly elaborate system for reviewing and modifying its ever changing standards, which it tries to enforce.

We can agree that the companies may fail to catch everything, but that's not because they're not trying. It's because it's impossible. That was the very basis of 230: recognizing that an open platform is literally impossible to fully police, and 230 would enable sites to try different systems for policing it. What Reed and Steyer are really saying is that they don't like how Facebook has chosen to police its platform. Which is a reasonable argument to make, but it's not because of 230. It seems to be because Steyer and Reed are ignorant of what Facebook has actually done.

Facebook and other platforms have saved countless billions thanks to this free pass. But kids and society are paying the price. Silicon Valley has succeeded in turning the internet into an online Wild West — nasty, brutal, and lawless — where the innocent are most at risk.

Bullshit. Again, Facebook employs tens of thousands of moderators and actually takes a fairly heavy hand in its moderation practices. To say that this is a "Wild West" is to express near total ignorance about how content moderation actually works at Facebook. Facebook spends more on moderation that Twitter makes in revenue. To say that it's "saving billions" thanks to this "free pass" is to basically say that you don't know what you're talking about.

The smartphone and the internet are revolutionary inventions, but in the absence of rules and responsibilities, they threaten the greatest invention of the modern world: a protected childhood.

This is "but think of the children" moral panicking. Yes, we should be concerned about how children use social media, but Facebook, like most other sites doesn't allow users to have accounts if they're under 13-years old, and the problem being discussed is not about 230, but rather about teaching children how to be more discerning digital citizens when they're online. And this is important, because it's a skill they'll need to learn. Trying to shield them from absolutely everything -- rather than giving them the skills to navigate it -- is a dangerous approach that will leave kids unprepared for life on the internet.

But Reed and Steyer are full in on the "think of the children" moral panic... so much that they (and I only wish I was joking) compare children using social media... to child labor and child trafficking:

Since the 19th century, economic and technological progress enabled societies to ban child labor and child trafficking, eliminate deadly and debilitating childhood diseases, guarantee universal education and better safeguard young children from exposure to violence and other damaging behaviors. Technology has tremendous potential to continue that progress. But through shrewd use of the irresponsibility cloak of Section 230, some in Big Tech have turned the social media revolution into a decidedly mixed blessing.

Oh come on. Those things are not the same. This entire piece is a masterclass in extrapolating a few worst case scenarios and insisting that they're happening much more frequently than they really are. Eventually the piece finally gets to its suggestion on "what to do about it." And the answer is... destroy Section 230 in a way that won't actually help.

But treating platforms as publishers doesn't undermine the First Amendment. On the contrary, publishers have flourished under the First Amendment. They have centuries of experience in moderating content, and the free press was doing just fine until Facebook came along.

That... completely misses the point. Publishers handle things because they review every bit of content that goes out in their publication. The reason why we have 230 treat sites that host 3rd party content different than publishers who are publishing their own content is because the two things are not the same. And if websites had to review every bit of user content, like publishers do, then... we'd have many fewer spaces online where people can communicate. It would stifle speech online massively.

The tech industry's right to do whatever it wants without consequence is its soft underbelly, not its secret sauce.

But it's NOT a "right to do whatever it wants without consequence." Not even remotely. The sites themselves cannot break the law. The sites have very, very strong motivations to moderate -- including pressure from their own users (because if they don't do the right thing, their users will go elsewhere), the press, and (especially) from advertisers. We've seen just in the past few months that advertisers pulling their ads from Facebook has been an effective tool in getting Facebook to rethink its policies.

The idea that because 230 is there, Facebook and other sites do nothing is a myth. It's a myth that Reed and Steyer are exploiting to make you think that you have to "save the children." It's bullshit and they should be ashamed to peddle myths. But they lean hard into these myths:

Instead of acknowledging Facebook's role in the 2016 election debacle, he slow-walked and covered it up. Instead of putting up real guardrails against hate speech, violence, and conspiracy videos, he has hired low-wage content moderators by the thousands as human crash dummies to monitor the flow. Without that all-purpose Section 230 shield, Facebook and other platforms would have to take responsibility for the havoc they unleash and learn to fix things, not just break them.

This is... not an accurate portrayal of anything. It's true that Zuckerberg was initially reluctant to believe that it had a role in 2016 (and there are still legitimate questions as to how much of an impact Facebook actually had or whether it was just a convenient scapegoat for a poorly-run Hillary Clinton campaign). But by 2017, Facebook had found religion and completely revamped its moderation processes regarding election content. Yes, it did hire thousands of content moderators. But it's bizarre that Reed and Steyer finally admit this way down in the article after paragraphs upon paragraphs insisting that Facebook does no moderation, doesn't care, and doesn't need to do anything.

But more to the point, if they don't want Facebook to hire all those content moderators, but do want Facebook to stop all the bad stuff online... how the hell do they think Facebook can do that? The answer to them is the same as "wave a magic wand." They say to take away Facebook's 230 protections, like that will magically solve stuff. It won't.

It would mean much greater taking down of content, including content from marginalized voices. It would mean Facebook would likely have to hire many more of those content moderators to review much more content. And, most importantly, it means that no competitor could ever be built to compete with Facebook because it would be the only company that could afford to take on such compliance costs.

And, the article gets worse. Reed and Steyer point to FOSTA as an example of how to reform 230. Really.

o the simplest way to address unlimited liability is to start limiting it. In 2018, Congress took a small step in that direction by passing the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act and the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. Those laws amended Section 230 to take away safe harbor protection from providers that knowingly facilitated sex trafficking.

Right, and what was the result? It certainly didn't do what the people promoting it expected. Craigslist shut down its dating section, clearing the field for Facebook to launch its own dating site. In other words, it gave more power to Facebook.

More importantly, it has been used to harm sex workers putting many lives at risk, and shutting down places where adults could discuss sex, all while making it harder for police to find sex traffickers. The end result has actually been an increase rather than a decrease in ads for sex online.

In other words, citing FOSTA as a "good example" of how to amend Section 230 suggests whoever is citing it doesn't know what they're talking about.

Congress could continue to chip away by denying platform immunity for other specific wrongs like revenge porn. Better yet, it could make platform responsibility a prerequisite for any limits on liability. Boston University law professor Danielle Citron and Brookings Institution scholar Benjamin Wittes have proposed conditioning immunity on whether a platform has taken reasonable efforts to moderate content.

We've debunked this silly, silly proposal before. There are almost no sites that don't do moderation. They all have "taken reasonable efforts" to moderate, except for perhaps the most extreme. Yet this whole article was about Facebook and YouTube -- both of which could easily show that they've "taken reasonable efforts" to moderate content online.

So, if this is their suggestion... it would literally do nothing to help the "problems" they insisted were there for YouTube and Facebook. And, instead, what would happen is smaller sites would never get a chance to exist, because Facebook and YouTube would set the "standard" for how you deal with content moderation -- just like how the EU has now set YouTube's expensive ContentID as "the standard" for any site dealing with copyright-covered content.

So this proposal does nothing to change Facebook or YouTube's policies, but locks them in as the dominant players. How is that a good idea?

But Reed and Steyer suggest maybe going further:

Washington would be better off throwing out Section 230 and starting over. The Wild West wasn't tamed by hiring a sheriff and gathering a posse. The internet won't be either. It will take a sweeping change in ethics and culture, enforced by providers and regulators. Instead of defaulting to shield those who most profit, the United States should shield those most vulnerable to harm, starting with kids. The "polluter pays" principle that we use to mitigate environmental damage can help achieve the same in the online environment. Simply put, platforms should be held accountable for any content that generates revenue. If they sell ads that run alongside harmful content, they should be considered complicit in the harm. Likewise, if their algorithms promote harmful content, they should be held accountable for helping redress the harm. In the long run, the only real way to moderate content is to moderate the business model.

Um. That would kill the open internet. Completely. Dead. And it's a stupid fucking suggestion. The "pollution" they are discussing here is 1st Amendment protected speech. This is why thinking of it as analogous to pollution is so dangerous. They are advocating for government rules that will stifle free speech. Massively. And, again, the few companies that can do something are the biggest ones already. It would destroy smaller sites. And it would destroy the ability for you or me to talk online.

There's more in the article, but it's all bad. That this is coming from Biden's top tech advisor is downright scary. It is as destructive as it is ignorant.

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Filed Under: bruce reed, content moderation, intermediary liability, jim steyer, joe biden, liability, moral panic, responsibility, section 230, think of the children
Companies: facebook, youtube


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  • identicon
    Mike, 9 Dec 2020 @ 9:45am

    Democrats' biases showing

    It is now broadly recognized that Joe Biden doesn't like Section 230 and has repeatedly shown he doesn't understand what it does. Multiple people keep insisting to me, however, that once he becomes president, his actual tech policy experts will understand the law better, and move Biden away from his nonsensical claim that he wishes to "repeal" the law.

    These mental gymnastics are the natural result of smugly believing that their party is the "party of science, evidence-based policy" and all stuff like that. It's never occurred to them that Biden really is a "whatever gets me elected," mentally deteriorating old coot who will be replaced by a corrupt as hell former prosecutor and they will choose their advisors along those lines.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 Dec 2020 @ 9:54am

      Shit sandwich, or shit sandwich with cyanide

      Thing is even if that's a correct assessment so long as neither Biden or Harris are actively malicious as bad as they'd be it would still be an improvement.

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

      • identicon
        Mike, 9 Dec 2020 @ 10:26am

        Re: Shit sandwich, or shit sandwich with cyanide

        so long as neither Biden or Harris are actively malicious as bad as they'd be it would still be an improvement.

        I take it you are unaware of Biden's actual history in the Senate of doing such things as promoting the RAVE Act, various other crime bills and even his efforts under the Obama Administration to effectively wipe out due process for men under on college campuses.

        But I remind myself that this is the year in which the ACLU is suing the Dept of Education for raising the due process requirements to something resembling the bare minimum federal courts require for potentially life-destroying criminal charges and trials.

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        • icon
          James Burkhardt (profile), 9 Dec 2020 @ 11:01am

          Re: Re: Shit sandwich, or shit sandwich with cyanide

          the ACLU is suing the Dept of Education for raising the due process requirements to something resembling the bare minimum federal courts require for potentially life-destroying criminal charges and trials.

          Probably because a title X hearing is not, in fact, an article 3 court in any way. A student is not deprived of life or liberty by a title X court (which is the standard in which constitutional due process applies). If you have no right to attend college, there is not a reason to apply criminal due process standards. Just because criminal action can't be proven, doesn't mean there isn't ample evidence of behavior you have exhibited that the college might not want to be associated with. You are complaining they aren't meeting criminal due process, but it isn't a criminal proceeding.

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          • identicon
            Mike, 9 Dec 2020 @ 11:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Shit sandwich, or shit sandwich with cyanide

            A student is not deprived of life or liberty by a title X court (which is the standard in which constitutional due process applies)

            Title IX courts typically adjudicate matters that are criminal in nature and falsely accusing someone of criminal conduct is legally defamation per se which courts of law very much consider a deprivation of liberty.

            You are complaining they aren't meeting criminal due process, but it isn't a criminal proceeding.

            The matters under discussion are criminal in nature. In fact that is precisely why many of the more nuanced activists have condemned these hearings as they tend to be an ersatz criminal trial that treats a typically felonious accusation that warrants real process with the same level of severity as cheating.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 5:35am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Shit sandwich, or shit sandwich with cyanide

              "The matters under discussion are criminal in nature. In fact that is precisely why many of the more nuanced activists have condemned these hearings as they tend to be an ersatz criminal trial that treats a typically felonious accusation that warrants real process with the same level of severity as cheating."

              And that is a failure of the US legal system in general. However, I can see no issue at all with you being hauled to a hearing if you are such a douchebag in general that it warrants the college trying to decide whether you are a person they want on their premises.

              This is still a lot more lenient than when you hit working life at which point, if a line manager determines that you have violated the Code of Conduct, you can get fired so fast your feet won't touch the floor on your way out.

              Bluntly put, your behavior has consequences. To be an asshole may be your right under the constitution but that constitution equally protects the ability of private property owners to evict you from their premises for being that asshole.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 5:26am

          Re: Re: Shit sandwich, or shit sandwich with cyanide

          "I take it you are unaware of Biden's actual history in the Senate of doing such things as promoting the RAVE Act, various other crime bills..."

          We've discussed Biden's shortcomings and history of carrying water for Wall Street against consumer interests, both before and during his Obama era. I've said it again and again that he's at best a self-serving windsock more bought and sold than the blockbusters on the NYT bestseller list.
          ...which still makes him more presidential and less actively harmful by far than Trump. Hell, Nixon would be better than Trump.

          "...and even his efforts under the Obama Administration to effectively wipe out due process for men under on college campuses."

          If that was about "men under influence" then that's probably a topic about the rampaging statistics of college campus sexual assaults committed by men too drunk to realize that No Means No. In which case that merits a more thorough discussion about the laughable way a sexual assault, even when a conviction is secured, can become laughably lenient because the judge is scared to destroy the "career" of a young athlete just because that athlete ruined a young womans life.

          "...something resembling the bare minimum federal courts require for potentially life-destroying criminal charges and trials."

          It's weird how high that bar goes when the accused is a white young man where the latest data from Harvard suggests a drastically lower bar on burden of proof required for life-destroying sentences when the accused is latin or black.

          Whatever Obama or Trump may have done to that part of the legal system is as irrelevant as trying to determine the optimal placement of the deckchairs on the titanic.

          The only takeaway from the statistics of sexual assaults on campus in the US is that the colleges need to do a whole lot more to protect their students from assault on their premises.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2020 @ 11:37am

        But yet...

        Section 230 is still being attacked.

        And this is definitely going to continue.

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      • identicon
        Vote Third Party, 10 Dec 2020 @ 4:58am

        Re: Shit sandwich, or shit sandwich with cyanide

        Except... Trump and Biden weren't the only people on the ballot. You could've voted Kanye.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 5:08am

          Re: Re: Shit sandwich, or shit sandwich with cyanide

          "Except... Trump and Biden weren't the only people on the ballot."

          They weren't. But, sadly the US system forced a 2 horse race under its current setup and nobody else had a realistic chance of winning in a system that last time rejected the votes of the majority of voters.

          "You could've voted Kanye."

          You could also have voted for Vermin Supreme. But, I'm thinking most people are asking for a realistically competent third party to vote for rather than another insane narcissistic media star.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 9:25am

          Vote third party: The current parties will thank you for it.

          Or they could have lit their ballot on fire, used it as terrible toilet paper, turned it into a paper airplane...

          Leaving aside that we've already had one celebrity in office and we've seen how that went it's an unfortunate truth but it's true nonetheless: With the US's current system if you're planning to vote third party on anything major then you might as well not vote at all, because in neither case are you going to actually do anything productive.

          The only people who benefit from voters going third party are funnily enough the very parties that are being protesting against with that vote, because it means one more person who isn't voting for a viable candidate opposing them and therefore doesn't risk causing them a loss, though it can mean a loss to their real opponent if enough people are foolish enough to do so.

          Change up the voting system(or more accurately rebuild it from the ground up) such that it's a viable tactic to vote third party and it might be a good move, but as it stands voting third party in basically any US election is just throwing your vote away and making it clear you don't care who is in office.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2020 @ 7:19pm

          Re: Re: Shit sandwich, or shit sandwich with cyanide

          Kanye is another Trump, and a Trump fan. How is that a third choice?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2020 @ 1:21pm

      Re: Democrats' biases showing

      "These mental gymnastics are the natural result of smugly believing that their party is the "party of science, evidence-based policy" and all stuff like that. "

      Who are you addressing with this bullshit?

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

    • icon
      cattress (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 2:00pm

      Re: Democrats' biases showing

      Nobody said Biden was perfect, or Harris for that matter, or that he represented an ideal candidate. But he is a decent, reasonable, moderate/centrist who is actually capable of handling the pandemic, especially rolling out the vaccine (because how-in-the-actual-fuck are we still not able to do as much testing as we should, still rationing PPE, and still don't have the capacity to produce enough needles to actually administer the vaccine 11 months plus into this nightmare). I don't see where he has shown any mental decline, and FFS at least he lives in reality.
      Biden's stance on this issue was already known, as was Harris's. But there are shouts from both ends of the political spectrum to get rid of or curtail section 230, much of with the same "save the children" bent because pornography and prostitution are the eternal moral panic inducers, because someone will inevitably spoil things for everyone if we can't stop the spoilers, we have to take away the spoiled activity, and because one side of the isle is always going to feel unfairly targeted or insufficiently protected on any given day. Biden needs to be pushed to listen to better, more informed people on this issue, and I think he is capable of being swung in the right direction. That is only going to happen if you convince Democrats that section 230 is a good thing and force them to understand what is lost, especially for marginalized communities and the ability to show the reality of police brutality, without it.
      And hell, Republicans should appreciate the amount of freedom they have had, because the conservative movement has amplified their voice significantly.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 9 Dec 2020 @ 9:51am

    ... we'll just leave that part out

    The best part of using Facebook of all platforms as the Big Bad here is that Facebook is on their side. Facebook has made clear that it's fine with gutting 230 because it understands that unlike the vast majority of other sites that allow user submitted content it will be able to survive that.

    Bringing up Cox and Wyden adds an extra dash of 'I really hope no-one fact-checks us on this' as well, since unlike what that cherry-picked quote would seem to suggest they have made clear that 230 is working as intended.

    I get at this point that anyone attacking 230 has to lie to make their arguments, since there's no honest arguments to be made, but even knowing that this argument is laughably bad and banking really hard on ignorance and emotional manipulation, which tells you all you need to know about the one making it, none of it good.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2020 @ 5:47pm

      Re: ... we'll just leave that part out

      Facebook has made clear that it's fine with gutting 230 because it understands that unlike the vast majority of other sites that allow user submitted content it will be able to survive that.

      Not if every controversial decision can be challenged in court. You can be sure that with some content, they would be sued whether they leave it up or take it down. Also not moderating at all would be suicide, if that choice is left open for them to take.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2020 @ 10:02am

    Sounds like these people need to be bombarded with a link to this article: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200531/23325444617/hello-youve-been-referred-here-because-youre- wrong-about-section-230-communications-decency-act.shtml

    But honestly, this whole article reeks of dishonesty and the fact it's using children as a shield to cover for bad policy is disgusting. This entire thing can be summed up as "Bad people sometimes do bad things on the internet so let's take away EVERYONE'S ability to talk!" and I'll hazard a guess that politicians no longer having their bullshit called out is a feature, not a bug.

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    A Dalek of Colour -- new BBC character, 9 Dec 2020 @ 10:10am

    You're using this for straw man! YOU agree with a key point:

    But treating platforms as publishers doesn't undermine the First Amendment.

    THAT is your key assertion and WISH for CDA Section 230, that "platforms" BE publishers without responsibility, AND be able to control ALL speech by some new "First Amendment right" that you assert for MERE HOSTS.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      A Dalek of Colour -- new BBC character, 9 Dec 2020 @ 10:11am

      Re: You're using this for straw man! YOU agree with a key point:

      By the way: you may NOT in fact LIKE what happens IF Biden gets in. Too much for even you. -- Let alone if AOC gets to influence! -- You will almost certainly pull back some toward my views, Maz.

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      • icon
        bhull242 (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 9:27am

        Re: Re: You're using this for straw man! YOU agree with a key po

        That Biden is problematic doesn’t mean that he wasn’t the best of the available viable options. It’s not like Trump wasn’t also keen on repealing §230.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 9:33am

          Both of them may be against 230 but as evidenced by Trump's current tantrum he's absolutely obsessed with killing it off under the delusional belief that doing so will stop people from calling him out as a liar and he will take any and all avenues to do so, up to and including holding the military's budget hostage, such that he's still noticeably worse on the matter.

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    • icon
      ECA (profile), 9 Dec 2020 @ 2:04pm

      Re: You're using this for straw man! YOU agree with a key point:

      WOW, where in hell did you dig that up at?
      They can NOT be a publisher except in the Adverts they sell.
      They have a choice to fight court and LEAVE everything UP, or to cut out the derogatory CRAP that bombards us every day.

      Its the EDITING they can not do, Cut it out or LEAVE IT FOR EVERYONE to see. Which would you like to be responsible for? Go ask that repub chat site, how they are doing. Letting everything STAY on site, with no edits.

      1st amendment is ME, not the corp. JUST ME, as long as Im not sending out Crap about White this and that, or wishing you to go kill yourself.
      They cant EDIT, that would be the PUBLISHING THING, so they CUT IT.
      This is No worse then newspapers and Letters to the Editor.

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

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 9 Dec 2020 @ 6:13pm

      Re: You're using this for straw man! YOU agree with a key point:

      Projects facts not in evidence]

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    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 9:26am

      Re: You're using this for straw man! YOU agree with a key point:

      We’ve been over this. That’s what the law is. And those 1A rights already exist. Plus, a lot of it is just getting the right party in court.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 9:49am

        Re: Re: You're using this for straw man! YOU agree with a key po

        "Plus, a lot of it is just getting the right party in court."

        Seriously, the only reason section 230 exists is to tell people that they have to get retribution from the person who committed the crime rather the the person whose property they happened to be standing on at the time.

        It's amazing that some people can't understand that there might be some unforeseen consequences for holding people directly liable for things other people did that they had no knowledge or control over: It's just a damn shame that if they get their way we won't be able to see their impotent rage over what they achieved.

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    identicon
    A Dalek of Colour -- new BBC character, 9 Dec 2020 @ 10:11am

    The "Democrat" / leftist / liberal view is that

    Facebook should be doing more to CENSOR "Republican" / conservate / Populist views.

    Big corps are ACTUALLY censoring anything not totally to their liking, controlling speech not promoting it as was intended by Section 230. Period.

    And of course you and this person both being wrong says nothing about what "Free Speech" should be on teh internets: NEUTRAL PUBLIC FORUMS.

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      A Dalek of Colour -- new BBC character, 9 Dec 2020 @ 10:12am

      Re: The "Democrat" / leftist / liberal view is that

      MERE HOSTS ARE NOT IN ANY DEGREE "PUBLISHERS". To hold otherwise is just arguing over which views will be censored.

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      A Dalek of Colour -- new BBC character, 9 Dec 2020 @ 10:12am

      Re: The "Democrat" / leftist / liberal view is that

      YET NOTE that Common Law / Brandenburg restrictions ARE to be enforced by sites, but that clear line is NOT to be moved by mere legal fictions called corporations and boy billionaires.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 5:42am

      Re: The "Democrat" / leftist / liberal view is that

      "And of course you and this person both being wrong says nothing about what "Free Speech" should be on teh internets: NEUTRAL PUBLIC FORUMS."

      Nope.

      I mean, sure, you could get the government, the city, and/or the state to put up a public forum - and that would have to abide by 1A rules.

      But no privately owned platform has ever been a "public forum". No matter how many times you try to lie about that the fact remains; Private property is not public property.

      And the fact that your "argument" consists of an outright falsehood spammed fifteen times within five minutes will not alter reality to conform to what you'd like it to be.

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    A Dalek of Colour -- new BBC character, 9 Dec 2020 @ 10:16am

    Section 230 immunizes hosting: it doesn't authorize censoring.

    A business, the host, invites / charges users to use its machinery.

    If they accept, users don't agree to be controlled: they expect SERVICE.

    Persons being able to publish freely so long as within well known common law limits is what Section 230 is to enable.

    The host is NOT the publisher, it's mere machinery. Section 230 does not / cannot intend that network hosts gain arbitrary control over what persons wish to publish.

    WHY would The Public authorize control over our speech? That'd be STUPID. -- Surely that's why your assertions seem logical to YOU.

    In American Law, The Public is ALWAYS to be the beneficiary. We allow corporations to exist solely to SERVE us. Corporations are legal fictions. They are not even allowed to exist before agree to OUR terms. Persons will be arrested if try to operate in The Public's marketplaces without permission. Corporations are SUBJECTS to a panoply of commercial law which does not apply to persons.

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    • icon
      ECA (profile), 9 Dec 2020 @ 2:07pm

      Re: Section 230 immunizes hosting: it doesn't authorize censorin

      And every Book publisher has for ages done this and NOT been taken to court.

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      • identicon
        William Null, 10 Dec 2020 @ 5:09am

        Except... book publisher is not a host or conduit for books.

        Book store or a library is. And facebook, etc. should be just like bookstore/library - host any "books" (or posts) that come in no matter of the origin or the content UNLESS the content is illegal (CP, etc.)

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 5:47am

          Re: Except... book publisher is not a host or conduit for books.

          "Book store or a library is. And facebook, etc. should be just like bookstore/library - host any "books" (or posts) that come in no matter of the origin or the content"

          False equivalence. Again. What's with you people and not being able to put up a single argument not based in outright lying?

          A public library is a government institution. Of course it's bound by the regulations applying to government.

          A book store is private property and unlike what you claim that book store isn't bound to stock anything the owner does not like. Here, you go and open a book store online and insist all you'll sell is copies of "Mein Kampf". People may rightfully believe you an asshat but no law will demand you add titles to your inventory.

          Facebook? Privately owned, so it sure as hell isn't a library and just like a book store it's not and should not be bound to carry any titles its owners does not want to carry.

          By your argument you wouldn't be allowed to run a pub unless you served every type of potable found in the friggin' world.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2020 @ 7:01am

          Re: Except... book publisher is not a host or conduit for books.

          Libraries and book stores can and do decide what books to stock on their shelves. usually they will obtain a book for someone if requested to so, but they do not have to.

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        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 10:11am

          Re: Except... book publisher is not a host or conduit for books.

          Here’s the thing: generally speaking, you can’t sue a bookstore or library for refusing to stock a particular book(s) that is/are sent to them. In particular, bookstores all have their own standards as to which books the will or won’t stock. Unless there’s something anticompetitive about it (refusing to sell books published by a rival store or something while also selling books it publishes), there’s no law that forces bookstores to stock certain books.

          In fact, I don’t think you understand how bookstores work. Generally, they aren’t just given books to sell. They buy them (in bulk).

          Similarly, libraries aren’t exactly required to lend out any books donated to them. Most often will, but that’s purely a philosophical thing (most libraries are very anti-censorship and are willing to lend out even the Mein Kampf or a dirty porn book so long as it isn’t illegal. It’s not a legal issue (outside of government-run libraries, but that’s because they’re publicly owned); privately owned libraries can choose which of the books or other media in their collection they will offer to lend visitors, but there’s no legal requirement that they have to do so for every book they have.

          So no, bookstores and libraries don’t legally have to “host any books […] that come in no matter [] the origin or [] content UNLESS the content is illegal (CP, etc.)”. Outside of publicly owned libraries (which are bound by the 1A as government agencies), they have full legal discretion over what books or other media to make available to the public on their shelves.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 10:34am

            Re: Re: Except... book publisher is not a host or conduit for bo

            "Outside of publicly owned libraries (which are bound by the 1A as government agencies), they have full legal discretion over what books or other media to make available to the public on their shelves."

            Even with public libraries, surely there's some discretion? They can't possibly have every book ever published in every library, and having copies of the Harry Potter movies surely doesn't mean they also have to have Salo and Violent Shit available. Or, are they required to spend their budget on the nastiest stuff just in case someone asks for it?

            Obviously, private bookstores can do what they want within reason, but unless I'm misunderstanding something there's still acceptable restrictions on public libraries? I bet it's fun when trying to battle between people who think that the Potter books are witchcraft while Satanists insist on having their bible on the shelves, but budgets are sadly more of a thing in education than they are in the military.

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            • icon
              bhull242 (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 10:59am

              Re: Re: Re: Except... book publisher is not a host or conduit fo

              It depends on the library, I guess. I’m just saying public libraries may not have full discretion like privately owned libraries and bookstores do.

              Plus, a lot of what’s available in libraries comes from donations.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 11:06am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Except... book publisher is not a host or condui

                "I’m just saying public libraries may not have full discretion like privately owned libraries and bookstores do."

                I'm sure you're not wrong, I'm just intrigued as an outsider.

                "Plus, a lot of what’s available in libraries comes from donations."

                I suppose that changes the argument as well. There would be a difference between "we won't buy book X" and "book X was donated to us but we won't allow it on our shelves", if only due to the lack of financial incentive.

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                • icon
                  bhull242 (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 6:19pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Except... book publisher is not a host or co

                  I'm sure you're not wrong, I'm just intrigued as an outsider.

                  To be honest, I’m not exactly an expert on these matters. I’m just basing this on my understanding of constitutional law, specifically that public schools and other publicly run institutions count as part of the government for constitutional purposes. As such, I’d imagine that content-based restrictions on books in libraries would have to survive at least some level of legal scrutiny to be valid.

                  Again, though, this is just speculation on my part; an educated guess, if you will. It’s a grayer area of law that I’m not as familiar with as I am with how private libraries and bookstores work. I might have to look this up to see if I have any better info to give you.

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            • icon
              Toom1275 (profile), 12 Dec 2020 @ 9:35am

              Re: Re: Re: Except... book publisher is not a host or conduit fo

              Libraries are no less into "engagement: than social media. A book that doesn't circulate takes shelf space from one that could, so we focus our purchases toward what seems to be popular, and weed out ones in the collection that nobody;s checked out for long enough.

              If someone wants something more esoteric whan what we have available, there's always the inter-library-loan system where we can request materials from another system that happens to have it.

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              • icon
                bhull242 (profile), 12 Dec 2020 @ 12:34pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Except... book publisher is not a host or condui

                Thanks for the info! I thought there might be something like that, but I wasn’t sure.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 15 Dec 2020 @ 1:59am

              Re: Re: Re: Except... book publisher is not a host or conduit fo

              "Even with public libraries, surely there's some discretion? They can't possibly have every book ever published in every library, and having copies of the Harry Potter movies surely doesn't mean they also have to have Salo and Violent Shit available."

              Some do, some don't. There's in most countries at least one national library required to stock everything ever published in the nation on its shelves.

              Municipal, state, and country libraries will have to prioritize within the budget they're provided.

              That said, all public libraries are, at least in theory, as government agencies bound to whatever provisions may apply and be relevant in the constitution.

              How their charter is interpreted between whoever does the purchasing and stocking of the library and political pressure from city or state council is, i think, a different topic.

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    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 9:53am

      Re: Section 230 immunizes hosting: it doesn't authorize censorin

      A business, the host, invites / charges users to use its machinery.

      And they get to decide whether the user may continue to use that machinery. If I get kicked out of a restaurant for saying something the owners don’t like, I have no legal recourse as long as I still get what I paid for: the food.

      If they accept, users don't agree to be controlled: they expect SERVICE.

      Actually, you might want to reread those TOS’s. You’ll find that they do include explicit provisions that allow the ones running the platform to remove content or kick off users for any number of reasons, even if everything the user did was perfectly legal and lawful.

      Persons being able to publish freely so long as within well known common law limits is what Section 230 is to enable.

      That’s only one part. The other part is for platforms to be able to moderate freely. Reread the law. It explicitly permits ICSs to be moderated as the owner desires according to what it finds to be objectionable.

      The host is NOT the publisher, it's mere machinery. Section 230 does not / cannot intend that network hosts gain arbitrary control over what persons wish to publish.

      It explicitly says otherwise. Well, not about network hosts but about ICSs, which are not at all the same thing. Specifically, an ICS platform will hold the published speech on servers owned and/or controlled by the platform holder. Network hosts don’t actually retain the speech; speech merely passes through conduits controlled by the network host.

      WHY would The Public authorize control over our speech? That'd be STUPID. -- Surely that's why your assertions seem logical to YOU.

      “The Public” (i.e. the government) often does stupid things. Furthermore, this isn’t authorizing control over your speech that you didn’t already hand over. By putting it on a privately owned server you don’t own, you have ceded control over that speech. By agreeing to a site’s TOS that authorizes the site to moderate what appears on it, you have ceded control over your speech on that site.

      In American Law, The Public is ALWAYS to be the beneficiary.

      While that’s ostensibly the goal, this is demonstrably false. See qualified immunity and DMCA §1201. Furthermore, as we see it, this does benefit the public by allowing sites to moderate as they wish, so if you want a family-friendly site, that can be done.

      We allow corporations to exist solely to SERVE us. Corporations are legal fictions. They are not even allowed to exist before agree to OUR terms.

      And none of those terms include not having property rights or the right to not host speech it doesn’t want to.

      Persons will be arrested if try to operate in The Public's marketplaces without permission.

      That applies to both corporations and human persons. Even if you’re self-employed and don’t have a corporation, you still need the same licenses to do business as any corporation would.

      Corporations are SUBJECTS to a panoply of commercial law which does not apply to persons.

      Not really. Persons in the commercial sphere still have to obey the same laws with or without a corporation involved. Theoretically, it would also work for competition laws or anti-trust laws. Other than the laws governing creating, buying, selling, suing, filing a case on behalf of, or liquidating a corporation, there aren’t really any laws that specifically govern corporations that wouldn’t apply to human persons. That said, technically corporations can’t be criminally charged under any law; only human persons can.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 10:08am

        Re: Re: Section 230 immunizes hosting: it doesn't authorize cens

        "By putting it on a privately owned server you don’t own, you have ceded control over that speech"

        Not even that. You still have that speech and the right to express it. You just can't co-opt someone else's property to do so. If you try shouting anti-semetic slogans at someone inside the mall and they kick you out, you haven't lost the ability to speak, you have simply been told by the mall owners that the rights of Jewish customers to shop in peace outweighs your speech. You're still free to shout outside until the cops turn up,

        "And none of those terms include not having property rights or the right to not host speech it doesn’t want to."

        The important part. No physical business has to agree to serve a person who abuses other customers, strips naked or decides that their sexually predatory nature outstrips the rights of their staff. Why should online businesses have to do that?

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    A Dalek of Colour -- new BBC character, 9 Dec 2020 @ 10:18am

    Oh, YES: corporations CAN violate your First Amendment Right!

    Again, here's Masnick's view that doubles up on his wish that corporations CONTROL speech on "platforms". -- He always omits this so can pretend it's just Section 230 that he views as enabling corporate control.

    In fact, that's the KEY point of contention. Masnick says "platforms" are authorized to control speech regardless whether it's Constitutionally protected!

    Masnick is for corporations CONTROLLING the speech and outlets of "natural" persons. He repeats it often, can't be mistaken. From last year:

    "And, I think it's fairly important to state that these platforms have their own First Amendment rights, which allow them to deny service to anyone."

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170825/01300738081/nazis-internet-policing-content -free-speech.shtml

    Masnick is not hedging "lawyers say and I don't entirely agree", or "that isn't what I call serving The Public", but as VERY RARE for him STATES FLATLY. By deeming it a fundamental "Right", Masnick STATES that he wants a few corporations to have absolute and arbitrary control of ALL MAJOR outlets for The Public! He claims that YOUR Constitutional First Amendment Right in Public Forums are over-arched by what MERE STATUTE lays out!

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

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 9 Dec 2020 @ 2:12pm

      Re: Oh, YES: corporations CAN violate your First Amendment Right

      I hope you understand the concept of Idiocy?
      And NOT Bitching with bad information. Or just yelling or abusing speech to abuse another person.

      I hope you know that there are many cases about this already.
      Its Not that they are Cut off from posting. Its HOW they express their opinion. Would you listen to a Person Bitching, cursing and complaining, If you werent HIS DOCTOR? I dont.
      I will listen to a person persuade and discuss their problems, and also give a hint on what they See/Do, might be related to something ELSE. But Im not his Doctor. I have nothing to tell a person who Cant/wont listen.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2020 @ 5:16pm

      Re: Oh, YES: corporations CAN violate your First Amendment Right

      Ok bud, based on your logic (as best i can follow anyway) I should be able to wrote whatever I want on your house. It is my free speech, how dare you not allow me to say things you disagree with on your siding. Its Facebook's platform, their physical servers, they have have every right to control what you write in their property. The problem that your ilk continue to fail to grasp is "how the fuck did shit random people post on social media (the definition of gossip) become able to shape the country?"

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 5:52am

      Re: Oh, YES: corporations CAN violate your First Amendment Right

      "He claims that YOUR Constitutional First Amendment Right in Public Forums are over-arched by what MERE STATUTE lays out!"

      Is this where we have to point out, once again, that the constitutional amendments only forbid government to do certain things?

      And that no privately owned platform is a public forum just as no private property is the public space?

      I realize that after ten years of proving yourself an incurable and annoying shitwit on every forum around you may be yearning for a law which tells people they can't throw you out for shitting on the floor. But your private desires to have the government seize control of private property so you can go and shitpost on Facebook just isn't realistic.

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 10:32am

      Re: Oh, YES: corporations CAN violate your First Amendment Right

      No, private corporations cannot violate your First Amendment Rights unless they specifically occupy one of the spaces (like holding elections to public office) traditionally and exclusively occupied by the government. (This exception is extremely narrow as made clear in a number of Supreme Court cases, including a very recent one.)

      Again, here's Masnick's view that doubles up on his wish that corporations CONTROL speech on "platforms". -- He always omits this so can pretend it's just Section 230 that he views as enabling corporate control.

      Regardless of his wishes, the fact is that §230, private property rights, and the 1A do allow corporations to control speech on platforms that they own. He has also explicitly stated a number of times that it’s not just §230. You even quote him saying that.

      In fact, that's the KEY point of contention. Masnick says "platforms" are authorized to control speech regardless whether it's Constitutionally protected!

      This is true. That’s also what the law says. Platform holders are authorized to control speech on their platforms regardless of whether the speech is constitutionally protected. You have not provided any counter-evidence to convince anyone otherwise.

      "And, I think it's fairly important to state that these platforms have their own First Amendment rights, which allow them to deny service to anyone."

      Masnick is not hedging "lawyers say and I don't entirely agree", or "that isn't what I call serving The Public", but as VERY RARE for him STATES FLATLY.

      The fact that he agrees with the law as is doesn’t change the fact that the law says what he says it does. And yes, that is what the law says. That Masnick is okay with that doesn’t change that.

      By deeming it a fundamental "Right", Masnick STATES that he wants a few corporations to have absolute and arbitrary control of ALL MAJOR outlets for The Public!

      Nope. Masnick has expressly said he wishes platforms went more open, and he is all for having more competition in this space. However, he is against the government dictating any of that. Furthermore, the 1A doesn’t guarantee you an audience of a certain size or even an audience at all.

      He claims that YOUR Constitutional First Amendment Right in Public Forums are over-arched by what MERE STATUTE lays out!

      No, he claims that these aren’t publicly owned forums but publicly accessible and privately owned forums run by legal persons (who happen to be corporations in these cases) who have the constitutional 1A right and fundamental property right to host or choose not to host any user’s 1A free speech on their privately owned forum at their discretion. Furthermore, this right is further protected by §230.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2020 @ 7:26pm

        Re: Re: Oh, YES: corporations CAN violate your First Amendment R

        By deeming it a fundamental "Right", Masnick STATES that he wants a few corporations to have absolute and arbitrary control of ALL MAJOR outlets for The Public!

        Jesus Christ, i could see this asshat picketing TV stations in the 50s just because they decline to air his diatribes.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 15 Dec 2020 @ 2:05am

          Re: Re: Re: Oh, YES: corporations CAN violate your First Amendme

          "Jesus Christ, i could see this asshat picketing TV stations in the 50s just because they decline to air his diatribes."

          Don't give him ideas. Baghdad Bob has, for ten years running, been that guy who'll be found, having been thrown out of a MacDonald's for disturbing the other guests and pissing on the floor, on a soapbox right outside bellowing through a bullhorn on how he has been silenced and is deliberately being starved to death by evil, evil MacDonald's and their CIA paymasters.

          Back on torrentfreak i occasionally hoped he was at least putting a hat out for his clown act.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2020 @ 10:19am

    And if websites had to review every bit of user content, like publishers do, then... we'd have many fewer spaces online where people can communicate.

    And far fewer people able to actually get anything published. Guess which industries would like to see the Internet crippled as a means of allowing self publishing, and review before allowing publication would cripple YouTube, Jamendo etc.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2020 @ 10:19am

    Then inevitably Republicans will be massive hypocrites by opposing this while at the same time they propose laws that attack 230 for “Censoring conservatives”.
    Lets be honest, Both parties are hypocrites when it comes to 230.

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  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 9 Dec 2020 @ 10:19am

    Since Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act was
    passed,

    [...]

    Unless we change it, the internet will become an even more
    dangerous place for young people

    So, what new and special danger exactly are we to expect that hasn't come up yet since 1996?

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    • identicon
      Mike, 9 Dec 2020 @ 10:37am

      S230 doesn't cover the two new problems

      Realistically, the only two new things that are a problem for child safety are end to end communication services and Tor/Tor Hidden Services. Neither of those fall under S230 coverage anyway.

      Child safety issues are a problem primarily with privacy zealots anyway, as they increasing take a borderline Sovereign Citizen stand on their rights vs duties.

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      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 5:58am

        Re: S230 doesn't cover the two new problems

        "Child safety issues are a problem primarily with privacy zealots anyway, as they increasing take a borderline Sovereign Citizen stand on their rights vs duties."

        So...you're saying that adhering to the spirit of the US constitution and being quintessentially american is the cause of "Child safety issues"?

        And here I was thinking child safety issues had more to do with the sieve of a social safety net which keeps failing to safeguard children from being victimized than with the fact that dual-use tech will be used by the needy and the criminal alike.

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    • icon
      ECA (profile), 9 Dec 2020 @ 2:16pm

      Re:

      And who has to TEACH the kids how to protect themselves, or do we hand them over to the Gov/corps.
      1 wants us not to know HOW to control the gov.
      Other wants us obedient Slaves to work and die.

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

  • icon
    Blake C. Stacey (profile), 9 Dec 2020 @ 10:39am

    Free slogan: "You say you want to kill Facebook, but you're going to miss and kill Wikipedia."

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2020 @ 11:28am

      Re:

      Unless they create a law to protect smaller companies like Wikipedia.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2020 @ 1:33pm

        Re: Re:

        Why should you suddenly be subject to different rules just because you make $X revenue?

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

        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 9 Dec 2020 @ 6:18pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Why should you suddenly be subject to different rules just because you make $X revenue?

          That's how tax brackets work.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 3:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No, tax brackets work by subjecting everyone to the same rules. Just because you don't personally earn enough to have income in the highest bracket does not mean that different rules apply, it's just that you haven't earned the amount that the rules

            Now, the US tax system overall is full of messy loopholes that benefit only the rich, but tax brackets are not one of them.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 3:07am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "it's just that you haven't earned the amount that the rules..."

              state require you to pay more tax on the income past that level.

              Fingers slipped...

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2020 @ 7:28pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          They make no revenue.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 3:01am

        Re: Re:

        ...and what kind of law would that be, that couldn't be exploited by other companies, and based on what criteria? Wikipedia have a huge number of users so it can't be that. Revenue? I'm sure there will suddenly be a lot more private foundations asking for "donations". Specifically naming the site? That's clear government overreach.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2020 @ 11:59am

    Profits?

    This, like most other 'wars' waged by politicians, isn't intended to address the issues that are at topic. It's meant to fail, so they can use it as torch to carry on potentially for decades.

    If you really want to deal with some of the nasty online, then use it's presence to get the people doing what 'bad' thing it was.

    If you really want to take away the 'massive profits' that these tech companies are currently seeing that's being framed as 'bad', put some effort into research showing the actual impact of online advertising and put some backbone/teeth into the appropriate agencies to (try to) stop misleading advertisements and some of this rather intrusive tracking that's done.

    But solving 'problems' what this is about...

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    A Dalek of Colour -- new BBC character, 9 Dec 2020 @ 12:20pm

    YouTube to remove videos disputing Joe Biden's election

    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, 9 Dec 2020 @ 1:17pm

    leading with innocuous

    one-liner because Techdirt isn't so "open access" as appears and claims!

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

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2020 @ 1:19pm

    no, back to apparent lockdown to okaying!

    Techdirt can't stand dissent.

    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, 9 Dec 2020 @ 1:19pm

      Re: no, back to apparent lockdown to okaying!

      See? Here am in again, but not with the link!

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Spock Plugs, 9 Dec 2020 @ 1:29pm

      Re: no, back to apparent lockdown to okaying!

      And now I'm back without problems!

      To clarify for hypothetical new readers:

      The browser session that worked for hours was suddenly blocked. Usually it's within a couple minutes, maybe only ONE comment! Evidently just that TD didn't click "Block this IP address" that once.

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

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 9 Dec 2020 @ 6:15pm

      Re: no, back to apparent lockdown to okaying!

      [Projects facts not in evidence]

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

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2020 @ 1:20pm

    Try this another way, no name new subject line

    The Googoole says we aren't allowed to discuss math.

    Statistician: The Likelihood that Biden Could Be So Far Behind at 3am the Morning After the Election and Yet Still Eke Out a Win Is... About One in a Quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000)

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 10:46am

      Re: Try this another way, no name new subject line

      I’d like to see your calculations, because I actually expected this to happen given how many Democrats (who took COVID seriously) and few Republicans (many of whom did not) voted by mail, and mail-in ballots have always leaned heavily to the left even during normal election. Then there’s the fact that improbable things happen all the time, and elections aren’t random at all, making computing specific probabilities like this about an election’s results—especially after the fact—quite problematic and highly inaccurate.

      For an illustration of how dumb this logic is, imagine a deck of cards containing numbers from one to one quadrillion. I draw one of them. Regardless of which number I drew, the probability that I would draw that specific card is guaranteed to be one in a quadrillion. For something easier to picture, take an ordinary 52-card deck and draw five cards. Again, no matter what five cards I get, the chances of me getting that specific combination of cards is astronomically low.

      Do you see the problem?

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 11:16am

        Re: Re: Try this another way, no name new subject line

        "I’d like to see your calculations"

        That would assume he has any, let alone any argument based on something that's not a hallucination of his own making.

        "For an illustration of how dumb this logic is"

        You don't even have to be that inventive. The argument appears to be that something was fixed because Trump was ahead in the early part of the vote count, while Biden gained later. But, Trump encouraged his voters to vote in person while others promoted mail in votes. Trump then prevented some states from counting mail in votes early, requiring them to count in person votes before the mail in votes. So, the Trump votes were counted then the Biden votes were counted. This is not suspicious.

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

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    identicon
    Spock Plugs, 9 Dec 2020 @ 1:21pm

    The Googoole says we aren't allowed to discuss math.

    That worked! Here it is whole:

    Statistician: The Likelihood that Biden Could Be So Far Behind at 3am the Morning After the Election and Yet Still Eke Out a Win Is... About One in a Quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000)

    [Subject line text from http://ace.mu.nu/]

    https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/matt-margolis/2020/12/08/expert-the-odds-of -biden-overcoming-trumps-lead-in-the-four-swing-states-is-less-than-one-in-a-quadrillion-n1198438

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Spock Plugs, 9 Dec 2020 @ 1:26pm

      Re: The Googoole says we aren't allowed to discuss math.

      SO I have to conclude after 20 or so tries that again the switch has been flipped and I'm golden -- at least until the session is blocked again.

      This "black box" ya got is kinda fun to test, Techdirt. You won't even say whether you have the alleged mighty "filters" up at times, or it's some systemic, uh, confluence that blocks me.

      But I guess so long as you don't mind me having to conclude that you're cheating behind the scenes to keep my viewpoint from appearing then it's fine with me. -- You COULD for instance quickly and reliably release from the "Moderation" as that's currently just a LIE, mine never come out.

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

      • icon
        AC Unknown (profile), 9 Dec 2020 @ 1:54pm

        Re: Re: The Googoole says we aren't allowed to discuss math.

        Stop spamming.

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

      • icon
        bhull242 (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 10:51am

        Re: Re: The Googoole says we aren't allowed to discuss math.

        The filter is always up. That sometimes certain things get through and others don’t means nothing other than that the filter is unreliable.

        As for releasing things from moderation, you do know this is a small site run by people who have lives outside this site and doesn’t have a team dedicated solely to checking the filter to see what’s stuck in it.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 11:10am

          Re: Re: Re: The Googoole says we aren't allowed to discuss math.

          "That sometimes certain things get through and others don’t means nothing other than that the filter is unreliable."

          Not so much unreliable as changeable. No filter is perfect, and I know I've had comments held for moderation for no apparent good reason. The difference is, I get on with my day instead of trying 20 different filters to spam the site as a result.

          "people who have lives outside this site"

          It's impressive that the people who actually own and operate the site have more of a life outside it than the guy who pretends the care about nothing but him.

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 10:49am

      Re: The Googoole says we aren't allowed to discuss math.

      From the article:

      Justin Grimmer, a professor at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, says the claim “is based on an embarrassing and basic error in statistical reasoning.”

      And it really is.

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

      • icon
        bhull242 (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 9:05pm

        Re: Re: The Googoole says we aren't allowed to discuss math.

        Here’s the basic flaw: the calculations involved assume that the distribution of votes for each candidate is exactly equal among cities and counties and between in-person and mail-in or absentee votes. None of that is remotely true. Some counties leaned heavily towards Biden; others leaned heavily towards Trump. On top of that, mail-in votes have always leaned Democrat, and it was expected that this trend would be greater this election.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 12 Dec 2020 @ 9:54am

          Re: Re: Re: The Googoole says we aren't allowed to discuss math.

          Bloody hell that's not basing calculations on a couple of flawed premises that's basing them on an entirely fictional world.

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

          • icon
            Toom1275 (profile), 12 Dec 2020 @ 10:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The Googoole says we aren't allowed to discuss m

            It's like pro-plaguer math, in which "the virus is 0.00001% deadly" because of adding in all the people who haven't yet gotten it didn't die from it, or saying a vaccine is ineffective because a number of unvaccinated disease victims in kne group is large in proportion to a second group of victims on the other side of the country.

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

          • icon
            bhull242 (profile), 12 Dec 2020 @ 12:31pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The Googoole says we aren't allowed to discuss m

            Yeah. You can see why Grimmer called it “an embarrassing and basic error in statistical reasoning”.

            Incidentally, there is another possibility for the flaw, which is an assumption that votes are counted completely randomly, regardless of where, when, or how they were cast, which is equally untrue. After all, in PA, votes cast in person on Election Day get counted first as they come in, followed by early votes cast in person, then mail-in ballots, then absentee ballots, so when and how affects when votes get counted. And since each county counts their own ballots simultaneously with each other and have different population sizes, the “where” part isn’t random either. This lack of randomness is only irrelevant if the statewide distribution between the candidates is evenly spread across counties and across voting methods/times, which, as mentioned, it absolutely isn’t.

            There are a lot of flawed statistical arguments that fail because it assumes randomness/even distribution where we don’t know that’s the case or where it’s probably nonexistent, but it’s rare for an argument to come up that’s this far off base to be brought up by an actual statistician.

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

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 14 Dec 2020 @ 7:51am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The Googoole says we aren't allowed to discuss m

            Bloody h*** that's not basing calculations on a couple of flawed premises that's basing them on an entirely fictional world.

            Exactly right. The reasoning is: assume P, and figure out the chances that P is true based on the sampling. It turns out the chances are astronomically low, so we conclude P must not be true. The Texas lawsuit just cherry picked the "chances are astronomically low" part without mentioning the rest. The statistician didn't conclude there must have been fraud, he concluded (you may want to be sitting down for this part) that the preferences of voters were different in this race compared to 2016.

            https://reason.com/volokh/2020/12/09/more-on-statistical-stupidity-at-scotus/

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

  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 9 Dec 2020 @ 2:30pm

    Let me be clear.

    What Bruce Reed and Jim Steyer are saying aren't misconceptions. They're brazen lies and propaganda.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2020 @ 6:00pm

    Courts

    All of his suggestions are unconstitutional under as amendment amendment speech violations.

    No doubt he knows this and is just inserting his own personal politics.

    So who cares take it to court.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 Dec 2020 @ 6:51pm

      Re: Courts

      It matters because even if it's ultimately struck down as unconsititional going to court is still a costly, lengthy process, during which platforms would be stuck in limbo as they have to play it safe by following the law anyway just in case and to avoid being dragged through the mud by a prosecutor/AG looking for some easy PR.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2020 @ 7:14pm

    At what point do we hear how something harms children, and how tearing up 230 will stop that?

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

  • icon
    Federico (profile), 10 Dec 2020 @ 11:38pm

    Domestic Policy Council

    I wonder whether this is one of the things that an outsized "Domestic Policy Council" run by Susan Rice will have some role in...
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/dec/10/susan-rice-domestic-policy-council-denis-mcdon ough-biden-administration

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

  • identicon
    John Smith, 14 Dec 2020 @ 10:56am

    I warned you that this was coming.

    More people are onto you than you think.

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


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