Lindsey Graham's Latest Attack On Section 230: Reform It By 2023, Or We Take It Away

from the but-why? dept

I still am perplexed at why so many politicians hate Section 230. They've yet to provide any compelling reason at all. But, hate it, they do. Lindsey Graham, who has been at the forefront of senators wrongly attacking Section 230, has now decided to introduce yet another bill to attack Section 230. This comes just days after Graham tried to move forward on one of his many anti-230 bills, the Frankenstein's monster bill called the Online Content Policy Modernization Act, that simply grafted together two bad bills: the dangerous and unconstitutional copyright CASE Act with the Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act, that would basically force websites to host any hate speech.

The hearing was yet another of Lindsey Graham's flying circuses, with lots of grandstanding and misleading nonsense about 230, but after (as everyone knew going in) there wasn't enough agreement on just how to destroy Section 230, Graham withdrew the bill entirely:

This was all for show. He knew he was going to withdraw it, but wanted to get some extra attention and air time before he did.

And, apparently, he's decided that attacking Section 230 is good for business, so now he's back yet again with a new bill, which is basically a ticking time bomb for Section 230. If it became law, the bill would create a sunset for 230, saying that it goes away if there's no reform of the law by January 1, 2023.

Almost everything Graham says in his announcement about the bill is wrong or misleading. It's pretty stunning in just how wrong it is.

“The time has come for these largely unregulated Big Tech giants to either be broken up, regulated, or subject to litigation for their actions,” said Graham. “It’s time we put the Section 230 protections these companies enjoy on the clock.”

Except that Section 230 would basically do the opposite of what he claims here. Without 230 the biggest internet companies would survive, it's their smaller competitors that would face crushing liability. So, rather than breaking up "big tech giants" this move would strengthen any dominance they had. It also wouldn't lead to any "regulation," because taking away 230 doesn't magically increase government oversight of their businesses. Finally, they are already subject to litigation for their actions. 230 says that they're not subject to litigation for others' actions. That's the whole basis of the law.

You'd think that Senator Graham would know this by now. We've only told him exactly that a dozen times or more.

Graham noted that Section 230 was created in 1996, as a part of the Communications Decency Act, to allow then-fledgling social media companies to grow without fear of lawsuits. Those days have long since passed, as these companies are some of the most powerful in the history of the world.

This is also wrong. Section 230 was originally put in place in response to two particular lawsuits -- both involving very large companies. Cubby v. CompuServe, and Stratton Oakmont v. Prodigy. CompuServe was owned by accounting giant H&R Block, while Prodigy was created as a joint venture between CBS and IBM. This was not about protecting "fledgling" social media companies. Those companies were, along with AOL, considered the "Big Three" internet companies in the 1990s.

Section 230 was put in place because of the questionable ruling in the Prodigy case, and the recognition (by Chris Cox and Ron Wyden) that on the internet, it would be good if different services could make different decisions on how they moderate, in order to create a wide diversity of spaces in which people could communicate. They realized (correctly) that with the threat of litigation hanging over services, they wouldn't provide such spaces. That has not changed. That remains absolutely the same.

“These companies have an enormous impact on the day-to-day lives of the American people and enjoy protections other industries do not have,” continued Graham. “Both Democrats and Republicans agree: the time has come for Section 230 to be reformed or eliminated.

It is also wrong to say no other companies have these protections. Every website and every user of every website also gets these protections. I don't know why this myth keeps popping up that this is some special gift "only" for big tech, but it's an out and out lie. And yes, Republicans and Democrats are all saying that 230 needs reform or elimination, but hilariously, they say so for opposite reasons. Republicans like Graham want to force sites to host hate speech and conspiracy theories, while Democrats want sites to be quicker to take down speech of lying political hucksters, like Lindsey Graham.

“My legislation will repeal Section 230 on January 1, 2023, unless Congress acts sooner. Congress will have two years to find an acceptable alternative or allow the legal liability protections to go away,” concluded Graham. “I’m hopeful that there will be bipartisan support for this approach.”

This... makes no sense. If Congress actually wants to reform or repeal Section 230 (as stupid and counterproductive as that would be), then why do they need this? If they don't... then why do they need this ticking time bomb? It literally makes no sense at all.

It is, in classic Lindsey Graham fashion, utter performative nonsense.

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Filed Under: congress, intermediary liability, lindsey graham, section 230, sunset clause


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Lars Yump, former Scandahoovian parachutist, 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:24am

    You fail to grasp essentials and yet argue on.

    I still am perplexed at why so many politicians hate Section 230.

    BECAUSE MERE HOSTS USURPING THE POWER OF PERSONS PUBLISHING EVEN THOUGH IMMUNIZED IS NOT WITHIN THE SCOPE OF AMERICAN LAW.

    Section 230 is intended to make EVERY person a Publisher, NOT for mega-corporations to control ALL speech!

    There. Simple and direct as I can, Maz, at top of my bent.

    If you don't grasp that, it's because don't want to. You keep talking only benefits without ever mentioning the CONTROL that mere hosts are taking. -- You pooh-pooh it even while pointing it up as good! Doesn't exist. No evidence. "Conservatives" are just plain nuts. It's ridiculous.

    And so on. Right here, you "hide" all viewpoints that you disagree, lying that it's "the community" without an Adming. THAT'S not within Section 230. YOU make yourself the Publisher of all comments, then. -- That's the argument in other words, don't just GAINSAY. You're trying to stop all argument, which again isn't the American way.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:32am

      Section 230 protects Mastodon instances run within the United States. Yes or no: Should the law force those instances, which are far more likely than not to be owned by “actual persons”, to host all speech that the Supreme Court has deemed legally protected?

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

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 1:21pm

      Re: You fail to grasp essentials and yet argue on.

      "BECAUSE MERE HOSTS USURPING THE POWER OF PERSONS PUBLISHING EVEN THOUGH IMMUNIZED IS NOT WITHIN THE SCOPE OF AMERICAN LAW."

      And every newspaper with an editorial section would deem this abit on the WRONG side. And the news paper has the power NOT to print your comments.
      The main part of the internet tends to be Faster, more discussion on any and every part of a comment.

      Its like reading the First script of a book, and getting comments and critique, on your Book to straighten and get to the next rewrite of the book. then after about 4-5 tries, you finally get to the Whole story, and can publish it for hte world.
      The problem tends to be, you Cant Force anyone to read it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2020 @ 4:06pm

      Re: You fail to grasp essentials and yet argue on.

      🥱

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 4:14pm

      Re: You fail to grasp essentials and yet argue on.

      BECAUSE MERE HOSTS USURPING THE POWER OF PERSONS PUBLISHING EVEN THOUGH IMMUNIZED IS NOT WITHIN THE SCOPE OF AMERICAN LAW.

      Section 230 is intended to make EVERY person a Publisher, NOT for mega-corporations to control ALL speech!

      1. That was the intent of §230.

      2. Mega-corporations only control which speech appears on the platforms they own.

      Right here, you "hide" all viewpoints that you disagree, lying that it's "the community" without an Adming. THAT'S not within Section 230.

      Yes, it is. §230 specifically allows the provider of an ICS to provide tools for users to remove content.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Koby (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:35am

    Deadline

    This... makes no sense. If Congress actually wants to reform or repeal Section 230 (as stupid and counterproductive as that would be), then why do they need this? If they don't... then why do they need this ticking time bomb? It literally makes no sense at all.

    It seems that congress only acts nowadays if it is up against some kind of deadline. Otherwise, rest assured, nothing will happen. Congress may want to reform section 230, but it lacks the motivation to take a vote that makes a final decision as to what exactly will be reformed. By breaking it up into smaller steps, this makes progress toward reform that can perhaps be agreed upon. It's a clever concept to get the ball rolling.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:39am

      No reform of Section 230 comes without disagreement. Reform of any kind would cede control of social media to entrenched major players, as any change to the liability protections afforded to all services by Section 230 would hurt smaller services (e.g., Mastodon instances) far more than it would hurt those major players (e.g., Facebook, Google, Twitter). 230 as it stands is fine; calls to reform it are driven by assholes who think Twitter should be forced to host speech by conservatives regardless of its content.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2020 @ 12:58pm

        Re:

        Not to mention, some of that inflammatory speech would be the first to go.

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

      • icon
        crade (profile), 17 Dec 2020 @ 8:56am

        Re:

        There are actually a bunch of varying calls to reform it, but there are two types. People who think there is a problem and have no understanding of what causes but have been tricked into thinking section 230 reform will magic wand it for them and people who are doing the tricking

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2020 @ 12:17pm

      Re: Deadline

      What should section 230 be reformed, because the only direction it can be reformed in is to make companies responsible for what their users post. Any reform will make the Internet a worse place, and if the right get their way, a hare filled place by forcing the publication of 'political discussion'.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        icon
        Koby (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 1:19pm

        Re: Re: Deadline

        Any reform will make the Internet a worse place, and if the right get their way, a hare filled place by forcing the publication of 'political discussion'.

        A number of people on the left are also beginning to see section 230 as a threat to free speech, and are starting to back reforms. Their approach as to what they would like to see changed is different, but the goal of both sides is beginning to merge: don't allow corporate monopolies to be the determiners of what speech is and is not permissible.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2020 @ 1:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: Deadline

          don't allow corporate monopolies to be the determiners of what speech is and is not permissible.

          Well, let's say the current orange POTUS wants to put his money where his big fat fucking mouth is....why is that shit-gibbon still on Twitter feeding into that monopoly? Same for that fembot Lindsey...

          They can all just, you know, fuck off to Parler or somewhere else where they feel respected.

          Why is that always the solution you offer for people you don't like, but not an option when you're faced with the same choice? I mean no one's forcing you whiny bastards to use "corporate monopolized media."

          If it's so bad, why don't you just not go somewhere else?

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 2:09pm

          Yes or no, Koby: 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?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2020 @ 2:26pm

          Re: Re: Re: Deadline

          don't allow corporate monopolies to be the determiners of what speech is and is not permissible.

          Do you really want to turn the whole Internet into 8kun, or the source of government approved speech? Those are the possible outcome if you prevent site owners moderating as they see fit.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2020 @ 2:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Deadline

            Do you really want to turn the whole Internet into 8kun

            Probably - what he doesn't realize is that if Facebook and Twitter turn into 8kun, the only people that will use the service are other people like them.

            They'll lose their audience and come up with something else to claim persecution for.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 18 Dec 2020 @ 8:20am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Deadline

              They'll lose their audience and

              If people will not stay to listen to them,are they an audience?

              Those who complain that they are being censored want to be able to force people to listen to them so that they can be forcibly converted to their point of view.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:42pm

          Re: Re: Re: Deadline

          "don't allow corporate monopolies to be the determiners of what speech is and is not permissible"

          Please explain why in your fever dream version of reality you think that any corporation is controlling speech not on their own property. Then, explain why people should not have control over their own property.

          "Go be an idiot elsewhere" does not stop you being an idiot elsewhere, and you have no right to co-opt private property just because you prefer being an idiot on a nicer spot.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2020 @ 12:09am

        Re: Re: Deadline

        forcing the publication of 'political discussion'.

        More like use the threat of government led litigation to force compliance with their world views and opinions.

        Keep in mind, most of the targeted sites have binding arbitration clauses in their ToS. Even if the site was on the government's naughty list, most of it's users would be powerless to do anything to "uphold the law" by filling lawsuits in the courts.

        Although, I'm sure just like any other form of government persecution, the judges would "allow" (*Thanks for the corrupt courts McConnell) the use of the courts if the lawsuit in question was in lock step with the current party in power.

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

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 1:25pm

      Re: Deadline

      Here is the fun part.
      They will seem to Adapt it, then add more to it, then after everyone has "FIXED" it condemn it and find it unconstitutional. AFTER the fact that they messed the whole thing up.
      They have done it before, and will again.
      The Big part is NOT letting them touch it in the first place, and that is the fight going on.

      Go look what happened to Obama care a few years back, they made a change to it, that made Part of it unconstitutional, Which could make it ALL be erased.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:35am

    Because Graham expects Moscow mitch to tie up any proposed legislation, the result being 230 dies.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:43am

      Re:

      Mitch and Lindsey are in a competition to see who can out-stupid the other. SpaceX should offer them the chance to co-pilot any one of those otherwise unmanned vehicles and forget to program in a return-to-Earth sequence.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2020 @ 3:29am

        Re: Re:

        Nah, not otherwise unmanned. Ship needs a Captain. Trump issuing orders from the Command Bathtub seems about right.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Lief Blower, 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:39am

    No, only HOSTS are immunized. Publishers are still liable!

    Every website and every user of every website also gets these protections.

    The Person Publishing even on an immunized HOST is STILL liable. Is that not true?

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Lief Blower, 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:39am

      Re: No, only HOSTS are immunized. Publishers are still liable!

      What protection are you trying to claim users have? You say are still subject to "moderation" of all even if okay by Common Law and Brandenburg?

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

      • icon
        bhull242 (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 5:01pm

        Re: Re: No, only HOSTS are immunized. Publishers are still liabl

        What protection are you trying to claim users have?

        Users are protected from liability for things published by other users. In fact, they receive all the same §230 protections that ICS providers receive, really.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:43am

      Yes, the person who posted their speech is responsible (i.e., liable) for that speech. Neither the service (for hosting it) or other users (for either quoting it or boosting it) are liable for the speech of a third party.

      The same protections exist in meatspace, too. A library can’t be held legally liable for the content of a book that contains defamatory statements. A newspaper can’t be held liable for a defamatory statement written on one copy of a newspaper by a third party who bought that copy and left it where anyone could see the statement.

      What makes this idea so controversial that you want 230 repealed?

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Lief Blower, 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:47am

        Re:

        A library can’t be held legally liable for the content of a book that contains defamatory statements.

        Again, I don't necessarily disagree with THAT aspect of S230.

        You and Maz, though, believe that MERE HOSTS are still Publishers. They're NOT. They're mechanism, like a physical printer. And they're stifling those who wish to Publish.

        HOSTS are playing Censoring Library (up to Royal Keeper of the Morals), NOT the even-handed ones that you try to portray.

        Reality versus Techdirt, yet again.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:55am

          You and Maz, though, believe that MERE HOSTS are still Publishers. They're NOT. They're mechanism, like a physical printer. And they're stifling those who wish to Publish.

          No one has the right to use private property owned by someone else. You don’t have a right to make a newspaper printer run through your fanzine about whatever politician whose ass you love to kiss. I don’t have a right to make Techdirt host my comments. And neither of us have a right to force Twitter into hosting our speech.

          Section 230 doesn’t make a distinction between “publisher” and “platform”. Section 230 doesn’t say a platform loses liability protections if it moderates speech — hell, that’s what 230 was enacted to prevent. And Section 230 doesn’t say a service like Twitter must host all legally protected speech — the good, the bad, the ugly, and the speech even you think should be moderated even though it’s legally protected — “or else”. Twitter has every right to delete posts with, and kick people who post, speech Twitter considers “unacceptable”. What makes you think they shouldn’t?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2020 @ 12:23am

            Re:

            No one has the right to use private property owned by someone else. You don’t have a right to make a newspaper printer run through your fanzine about whatever politician whose ass you love to kiss. I don’t have a right to make Techdirt host my comments. And neither of us have a right to force Twitter into hosting our speech.

            No, but similar rights do exist for Common Carriers. Which would be a far better solution here, than attempting to throw network providers under a bus by making them liable for the behavior of others.

            Before someone says we don't pay to use a site: We all pay the fee for the use of most sites through the advertising, and data collection that they perform for the purpose of generating profits. That data wouldn't exist without the users and is only useful / profitable because the data is about them on an individual level, which other companies are willing to pay for. As such each user does "pay a fee" for their use of most sites.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2020 @ 1:34am

              Re: Re:

              An ISP is a common carrier, while despite their sizes, Facebook and Twitter are more like pubs and clubs. It would be a disaster for social media sites, as it would be for pubs and clubs, if they were forced to allow anybody in, as the rowdy element would drive away a large part of the clientele.

              I presume you select the pubs and cafes and resturanrts you use at least in part on the clientele that frequent them, yet you want to remove this ability for the equivalent online places.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 17 Dec 2020 @ 1:59am

              Re: Re:

              "Which would be a far better solution here"

              It really, really wouldn't. How do you determine who the common carriers are? How do you treat them differently to their many competitors? How do you deal with market pressures that makes the leading companies in a field different over time? The top tech companies are almost completely different to what they were a decade ago, some of them didn't even exist back then, or were tiny compared to their competitors.

              "As such each user does "pay a fee" for their use of most sites."

              So? If you don't like that you have the option of not using them. If you do use them, why does the fact that you pay them make any difference to the fact that they are able to control their own property? How does that differ from any other service you use that isn't a common carrier?

              Also, "most sites"? Are you saying that most of the internet should suddenly become common carriers? How the hell would that work?

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

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Dec 2020 @ 1:37pm

              similar rights do exist for Common Carriers

              …which is more an argument for network neutrality and less an argument for forcing your speech onto Twitter or Facebook against the wishes of those who run those sites.

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

        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 4:58pm

          Re: Re:

          “A library can’t be held legally liable for the content of a book that contains defamatory statements.”

          Again, I don't necessarily disagree with THAT aspect of S230.

          Okay, well libraries (at least private ones) are also not legally liable for removing certain books from the shelves and refusing to lend them, either, nor for refusing to stock those books in the first place. Nor are they liable for putting books in different sections based on their content and whether or not they believe it’s appropriate for certain readers. That’s part of the other aspect of §230. (The other part is giving users the tools to do moderation themselves, but it’s difficult to fit that into the analogy, and if you agree with the rest of §230, this part basically follows as a logical addition.)

          You and Maz, though, believe that MERE HOSTS are still Publishers. They're NOT. They're mechanism, like a physical printer. And they're stifling those who wish to Publish.

          Actually, they’re more like a printing house, which—by the way—have the right to make decisions on what they’re willing to print, or the owner of a billboard that they rent out, who has the same rights, or, as mentioned, a library (same). But even if you were right (which you’re not), that could only possibly be relevant to whether or not the 1A comes into play. It’s completely and utterly irrelevant to the questions of property rights and §230. But, again, you’re wrong, and these ICS providers are the ones publishing your content, which makes them publishers, and even if they weren’t considered publishers, removing speech from a place you own is itself protected by the 1A.

          HOSTS are playing Censoring Library (up to Royal Keeper of the Morals), NOT the even-handed ones that you try to portray.

          1. You haven’t provided sufficient evidence that they are not even-handed.

          2. Again, nothing in §230, the 1A, or property rights require even-handedness by anyone other than the government, which private corporations are not. Private corporations still get the protections from those laws whether or not they discriminate against certain legal content or viewpoints, and they still get the protections from those laws to engage in such discrimination. Furthermore, unless they have a contract that explicitly says otherwise, no US law bans or limits the rights of private corporations or human persons to engage in viewpoint discrimination on their property, nor could their be under, once again, the 1A and basic property rights.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Lief Blower, 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:43am

      Re: No, only HOSTS are immunized. Publishers are still liable!

      By strange NON-coincidence, prior browser session stopped working after the one comment in this Maz piece. This happens often (as does trouble getting in, never come out of the alleged Moderation), and yet no one else ever reports such!

      Techdirt does viewpoint discrimination, just HIDES it.

      That's on top of Editorial control of adding a warning and requiring a click to see my comments -- which makes Techdirt the Publisher, another point of contention.

      Techdirt, as I've long written, is a nice micro-cosm of all that's wrong with teh internets.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:49am

        Techdirt does viewpoint discrimination

        So what? Techdirt is a privately owned blog; it isn’t bound by the First Amendment. Techdirt admins can discriminate against any viewpoint they want — even mine, if they so wish.

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

      • icon
        Bloof (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 1:23pm

        Re: Re: No, only HOSTS are immunized. Publishers are still liabl

        Viewpoint discrimination... 'MOOOOOM TECHDIRT'S USERS WON'T LET PEOPLE SEE ME SAY STUPID THINGS.'

        i love how conservatives are completely fine with discriminating with people based on wealth, political party, age, race, state, sexuality and their religion if they're not christian, are more than happy to spout lie after lie after lie to try to bring facts in line with their feelings, but hold them to account for that in even the most milquetoast of ways and you've gone too far, YOU'RE the real villain.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Dec 2020 @ 6:44am

          Re: Re: Re: No, only HOSTS are immunized. Publishers are still l

          "...i love how conservatives are completely fine with discriminating with people based on wealth, political party, age, race, state, sexuality and their religion if they're not christian"

          But...God hates those people, so it's perfectly fine to agree with him...right?

          "...but hold them to account for that in even the most milquetoast of ways and you've gone too far, YOU'RE the real villain."

          Well, d'uh. If you somehow don't agree with them you obviously don't agree with God and if you don't agree with God...you're probably part of that satanic pedo pizza parlor ring to start with. That sho'nuff do sound like a villain to me!

          /s in case this wasn't as blisteringly obvious as it really, really ought to be...

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

      • icon
        bhull242 (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 4:36pm

        Re: Re: No, only HOSTS are immunized. Publishers are still liabl

        By strange NON-coincidence, prior browser session stopped working after the one comment in this Maz piece. This happens often […], and yet no one else ever reports such!

        That tells me that you have a shitty browser, low-end computer, or bad internet connection. The fact is that there is no way for a website to stop a browser session from working on purpose for only certain users based solely on viewpoint. If you’re the only one who has this problem, then it’s far more likely that there’s something wrong on your end than that you’re being targeted.

        […](as does trouble getting in, never come out of the alleged Moderation)[…]

        That’s because rather than being patient and waiting for your comments to work their way through moderation, you just spam the same thing over and over again until one of them finally makes it through. Once that happens, there is 0 reason to remove your duplicate posts from the filter as they would add nothing you haven’t already said to the thread. This has been explained to you in the past. Whether or not you believe that is not our problem.

        Look, just wait awhile to see if your comment ever makes it through before trying again. That’s what the rest of us do on the odd occasion that one of our posts gets stuck in the filter, and it generally works out fine.

        Techdirt does viewpoint discrimination, just HIDES it.

        Assuming without conceding that’s true, it’s irrelevant. Neither the 1A, §230, nor property rights (all of which are what protect ICS providers from liability for third-party content and moderation decisions) do not in any way prevent providers from engaging in viewpoint discrimination.

        That's on top of Editorial control of adding a warning and requiring a click to see my comments -- which makes Techdirt the Publisher, another point of contention.

        Actually, it’s not. §230 protections don’t go away just because the ICS provider is also a publisher. On the contrary, it explicitly says that the provider is not liable as a publisher of third-party content, and that moderation decisions and/or the provision of tools for users to make moderation decisions neither remove those protections nor make the provider liable for those decisions/tools.

        That’s where the contention is: if an ICS provider acts as a publisher of third-party content, does that remove §230 protections? A plain reading of the law and just about every non-overturned court decision on §230 say no, it does not.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:44pm

        Re: Re: No, only HOSTS are immunized. Publishers are still liabl

        "By strange NON-coincidence, prior browser session stopped working after the one comment in this Maz piece."

        Sounds like you need to spend less time installing random malware in a pathetic attempt to bypass the correctly working spam filter, and more time learning how to use your computer.

        "Techdirt does viewpoint discrimination, just HIDES it."

        Which is their right under the First Amendment.

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

      • icon
        techflaws (profile), 17 Dec 2020 @ 8:39am

        Re: Re: No, only HOSTS are immunized. Publishers are still liabl

        Techdirt, as I've long written, is a nice micro-cosm of all that's
        wrong with teh internets.

        Said the clueless asshat totally oblvious to the point he was actually making.

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 5:12pm

      Re: No, only HOSTS are immunized. Publishers are still liable!

      A person posting something on an immunized service/platform is liable for what they post, but not for content posted by other users, nor for moderation decisions they make on the service/platform.

      For example, someone who posts a video on YouTube is not liable for comments posted by others on their video (or some other video) or for the content of videos created and posted by someone else, and unless they’re acting as part of the government, they can also make whatever moderation decisions they want. Similarly, people who post comments on a video are not liable for the content of comments posted by other users or for the video they commented on, nor are they liable for flagging comments or videos to be removed. That said, in both cases, the user is liable for any video or comment that they themselves post or were directly involved in creating.

      The same things apply to the providers of the ICS being used with the exact same limitations. They are liable for content that they themselves create or are directly involved in creating, but not for content created entirely by users or other third parties, and they are not liable for removing or hiding content they or their users deem objectionable, nor for providing tools to users to do the same thing.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Lief Blower, 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:40am

    MERE HOSTS are not to retain ability of PUBLISHER!

    S230 is to remove the liability from MERE HOSTS (generally okay with everyone!), not to make them a new category of Immune Publisher.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:44am

      An interactive web service is not immune from liability for speech if the people operating that service help publish legally actionable speech. Backpage got in trouble for exactly that reason. For what reason should Twitter be held liable if someone says something defamatory without Twitter admins having played a role in, or knowing about beforehand, the publishing of that speech?

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Lief Blower, 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:50am

        Re: Nice, diversion, A. Stephen Stone. Here's my answer:

        For what reason should Twitter be held liable if someone says something defamatory without Twitter admins having played a role in, or knowing about beforehand, the publishing of that speech?

        No, only HOSTS are immunized. Publishers are still liable!

        Every website and every user of every website also gets these protections.

        The Person Publishing even on an immunized HOST is STILL liable. Is that not true? What protection are you trying to claim users have? You say are still subject to "moderation" of all even if okay by Common Law and Brandenburg?

        MERE HOSTS are not to retain ability of PUBLISHER!

        S230 is to remove the liability from MERE HOSTS (generally okay with everyone!), not to make them a new category of Immune Publisher.

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

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 12:04pm

          No, only HOSTS are immunized. Publishers are still liable!

          The law makes no such distinction.

          The Person Publishing even on an immunized HOST is STILL liable. Is that not true?

          It is true. That’s how it should be — the person who said the defamatory thing, and not the tool used to spread that speech, is held liable for their speech.

          What protection are you trying to claim users have?

          I’m quoting your speech in my own comment. Should I be held legally liable for defamation if I quote something you say that is later ruled defamatory? (Section 230 says “no”, by the way.)

          You say are still subject to "moderation" of all even if okay by Common Law and Brandenburg?

          You said speech that is considered “unacceptable” in certain contexts, even if the law says it is protected speech, should be moderated. Do you now believe the government shouldn’t compel Twitter to host all speech that the Supreme Court says is legally protected?

          S230 is to remove the liability from MERE HOSTS (generally okay with everyone!)

          No. No, it is not okay with everyone. Removing liability from “hosts” would end in services such as Twitter either refusing to host third party speech altogether, overmoderating third party speech, or refusing to moderate speech altogether — all to avoid legal liability for third party speech.

          Techdirt would end up doing the same. So would Mastodon instances operating in the United States. So would Soundcloud, DeviantArt, 4chan, and every other interactive web service that accepts third party speech.

          If you think (incorrectly, might I add) that Twitter is playing censor now, wait until they refuse to let third party speech go through because they want to make sure it won’t land them in legal jeopardy. You want to complain about how certain people are being “silenced” by Twitter — but what will you do when people really do get silenced because no interactive web service will host their speech out of fear of a lawsuit?

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

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 12:44pm

            'Get rid of that bridge!' 'Wait, where'd the bridge I need go?'

            You want to complain about how certain people are being “silenced” by Twitter — but what will you do when people really do get silenced because no interactive web service will host their speech out of fear of a lawsuit?

            That's got to be the best/most hypocritical part of Woody of all people arguing against 230, in that the same person who is perpetually throwing a tantrum because their comments are regularly caught in the spam filter is supporting something that would prevent them from posting anonymously on TD or elsewhere, assuming they were allowed to post at all.

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

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 18 Dec 2020 @ 7:06am

              Re: 'Get rid of that bridge!' 'Wait, where'd the bridge I need g

              "...the same person who is perpetually throwing a tantrum because their comments are regularly caught in the spam filter is supporting something that would prevent them from posting anonymously on TD or elsewhere..."

              Oh, he'd be happy enough. After all, not only would it mean everyone else would have to post on...eh...europe-based webpages...he himself would have a whole new set of reasons to be upset. Although he'd either have to vent that new grievance on the european servers or resort to screaming through a bullhorn about how he'd been silenced. Probably in a MacDonald's parking lot so he could complain about being thrown out of a "public" place.

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

        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 5:30pm

          Re: Re: Nice, diversion, A. Stephen Stone. Here's my answer:

          No, only HOSTS are immunized. Publishers are still liable!

          That’s not what §230 says. It says that ICS providers (including but not limited to hosts) are protected from being held liable as publishers of third-party content created or published using the ICS. It doesn’t say that the ICS providers are only immune from liability for third-party content if they are not publishers, nor does it say that they aren’t publishers; they just can’t be held liable as a publisher.

          The Person Publishing even on an immunized HOST is STILL liable. Is that not true? What protection are you trying to claim users have?

          They are still liable for content that they produced, but not for content produced by another person “publishing” on the same “immunized host”. They are also not liable for reporting content as objectionable. Basically, it works the same as it does for the “host” or other ICS provider.

          Whether you are a provider or user of an ICS, §230 protects you from liability from content produced by someone else and not you along with moderation decisions/tools made by you or someone else, but you are liable for content you yourself have produced.

          You say are still subject to "moderation" of all even if okay by Common Law and Brandenburg?

          Yes, both the provider and the user are legally allowed to moderate even perfectly legal and lawful speech as they see fit.

          MERE HOSTS are not to retain ability of PUBLISHER!

          Nothing in the law says otherwise. On the contrary, §230 says that ICS providers are able to do whatever they want and they won’t be liable for moderation decisions or tools, nor are they to be held liable as publisher of third-party-produced content.

          S230 is to remove the liability from MERE HOSTS (generally okay with everyone!), not to make them a new category of Immune Publisher.

          Again, §230 explicitly says otherwise, so you are just flat-out wrong. Though, really, §230 just codifies the immunities and powers already possessed by real-world, physical publishers, libraries, bookstores, etc., so in that sense, you’re right in that it doesn’t make them a new category of immune publisher.

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

  • icon
    Improbus (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 11:45am

    You Know What Is Sad?

    South Carolina for re-electing this contemptible person.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 12:07pm

    'Oh no, please don't throw us into that briar patch.'

    Ignoring for a moment the hatred for the first amendment and property rights on display by anti-230 people the ultimate irony of course is that in their zeal to attack 230 the examples they pull out are the very platforms that will benefit from gutting or killing 230.

    Those 'tech giants' might have to deal with some extra legal issues should 230 be killed off but their competitors will be absolutely devastated if not forced to shut down, such that the very tech companies being held up as the Big Bads that 'Need To Be Taken Down!' will only have their power consolidated and grown.

    I could but wish that I had 'enemies' like that as I'd never have to worry about money or power for the rest of my life, secure in the knowledge that in their attempt to 'get' me they'd be handing me both on a silver platter.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 16 Dec 2020 @ 12:33pm

    Follow the money

    Larry Ellison donated $250,000 to a super-PAC supporting Lindsey Graham. Oracle wants section 230 gone. $250k is what it costs to buy Lindsey Graham, apparently.

    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 Dec 2020 @ 1:08pm

      Re: Follow the money

      It's only a matter of time before 230 gets removed, sadly, depending on these two things.

      1. How much pressure Ron Wyden can take before he caves in. (Doubtful)

      2. How many smaller companies join the Anti-230 crowd.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2020 @ 1:29pm

    We have section 230 in real life, no one sues the phone company when someone makes a threatening phone call, no one sues ford because a bank robber drives a car,
    no one sues the post office if someone uses a letter to commit fraud .
    maybe politicans do not like facebook or google because they might be perceived as liberal or non political and they do not pay lobbists to help write the law like certain telecom companys .
    the problem is section 230 protects millions of websites and small forums and allows ordinary people to communicate and discuss politics and random subjects .
    the rich and the one per cent will always have ways to make their views known .
    the politicans who want to ban section 230 are either stupid or else
    they have scant regard for free speech

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2020 @ 4:09pm

      Re:

      We also have the first amendment which is why 230 stood in court to begin with “the part that survived”

      So they can go get a finger.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2020 @ 4:21pm

        Re: Re:

        The first amendment will allow sites to win cases, but it will cost them vastly more than if they can get cases dismissed via section 230, unless of course they are made explicitly responsible for what appears on the site. In the latter case most if not all will refuse all direct user postings, and a few will allow letters via the editor.

        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 Dec 2020 @ 3:39pm

    I know you won't believe that you censoring me is turning Washington aganist you, but it is.

    You caught the attention of the wrong people for your side anyway. You may even be the tipping point that destroys 230.

    You see, it's not the "actions of others" when a website doesn't remove defamatory material. It's distributor liability.

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

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 6:11pm

      Re:

      [Asserts facts not in evidence]

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 6:18pm

      'Oh yeah, well my dad can beat up your dad!'

      Aww, however did I miss this dishonest passive aggressive comment, it's downright adorable how you think making vague threats and insinuations about how TD will get theirs if they keep allowing people to flag your comments, and how there's definitely defamation somewhere on the site that'll put them on the hook is going to result in anything other than laughter.

      The veiled threat is a non-starter other than for chuckles, but if you want to claim defamation I believe the term is 'put up or shut up'. Manage that and then people might be willing to take you somewhat more seriously.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2020 @ 8:31pm

      Re:

      You caught the attention of the wrong people for your side anyway.

      Oh hi, John Smith. Wasn't the nuking of the site supposed to be fulfilled by Shiva Ayyadurai? And happen last year? What've you been doing since then, kissing the toes of Hollywood execs? How'd that progress go, all of nowhere?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2020 @ 1:54am

      Re

      Oh don’t worry if they take it away all of you will censored so it won’t mattered and nothing will really change you just will have a lot more company lol

      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 Dec 2020 @ 4:33pm

    This site claims to be truly independent but it takes money through its "Copia Institute" from companies it covers. Total conflict of interest and likely violation of the California Business and Professional Code for false advertising.

    They should make these financial ties more clear before a major network journalist does it for them.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 5:39pm

      I 100% believe you’re someone imporant, Mr. Boneparte~.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 6:07pm

      Re:

      I do so love it when someone thinks they've got a 'gotcha' moment by bringing up Copia, always worth a chuckle.

      Yes, some of the people who run TD are also involved in Copia, but as far as I can tell that's a separate thing from Techdirt other than some occasional cross-posting and as a quick search will show any sponsorship of Copia does not seem to shield the companies in question from being torn into if/when they screw up so if sponsorship is supposed to result in glowing articles it doesn't seem to be doing a very good job of it.

      But hey, if you think you've found a smoking gun by all means go to the relevant authorities and tell them all about it, I'm sure they'll be super interested.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2020 @ 9:37pm

        Re: Re:

        I'm still waiting on him to have his revenge on us because someone called him an old, impotent fuckwit...

        Actually I wonder if he's heard that Richard Liebowitz is barred from enforcing copyright. I was missing his teeth-clenched outrage from when Strike 3 got nailed in the courtroom for relying on IP address evidence.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2020 @ 8:32pm

      Re:

      They should make these financial ties more clear before a major network journalist does it for them.

      Honey, the MPAA literally paid Jim Hood to fuck over Google and nobody batted an eyelid, thanks to the amount of cocks you managed to suck. I don't think anyone is going to be this hot and bothered over a website you regularly denigrate for being too small.

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 6:08pm

    Even if the "fledgling" bit weren't a deliberate false narrative, it's still massivly ignorant of Graham to act as though are aren't or will not still be small new startups that rely on CDA 230 to not be strangled in the crib.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 6:12pm

      Re:

      I'm not willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in assuming that it's ignorance, I suspect rather that that omission is due to deliberate dishonesty as it's one thing to claim that going after 230 will really stick it to the Dreaded Google, another thing entirely to acknowledge that gutting the law will kill off and/or prevent the growth of countless smaller platforms and startups as that's quite a bit harder to defend and doesn't allow for the same emotional manipulation.

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

  • icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 8:12pm

    - The Late Reply -

    Let us think for a moment on last century's media paradigm:

    A first-class lane for content "streamed" in full-color to the home--cable tv
    and a second-class lane for people to use to contact their equals and "betters"--telephone.

    Now, contrast with the internet: Everybody has a voice.

    Any citizen can speak out on any available platform and be seen by very nearly the entirely world. Or at least, a majority of our countrymen.

    In this context, let us ask again, why would politicians (or those behind them) want to put an end to Section 230 for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?

    To quote Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: "To understand the object of an obscure plot, observe its consequences and ask who might have intended them."

    In my opinion, somebody is playing a long game in an attempt to return to the status quo of the few having the power to broadcast, and the many having only what little they are allowed.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Dec 2020 @ 9:12pm

      Re: - The Late Reply -

      I regret that I have but one insightful vote to give for this comment and have already used this months' first word credit.

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

  • icon
    crade (profile), 17 Dec 2020 @ 9:08am

    We all need to fight for more government regulation of the internet so republicans should fight for more gov't regulation by umm... getting rid of this regulation

    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, 17 Dec 2020 @ 12:24pm

      Re:

      Actually, it's the precise opposite, crade.

      Graham and other free speech advocates (actual ones, not fake ones like Techdirt) are saying this:

      "Big business, stop censoring people because you dislike their political viewpoints. If you don't, we will ruin you."

      In other words: "Kids, play nice. Bullies, stop picking on those less powerful than you. Otherwise we'll kick you off the playground".

      AKA: anti-American, anti-White Leftists are why we can't have nice things.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Dec 2020 @ 1:35pm

        Graham and other free speech advocates (actual ones, not fake ones like Techdirt) are saying this:

        "Big business, stop censoring people because you dislike their political viewpoints. If you don't, we will ruin you."

        Three things.

        1. Twitter can’t censor anyone because it can’t stop people from posting content outside of Twitter (and the same applies to Facebook, Google, etc.);

        2. Twitter and its ilk have every right to engage in “viewpoint discrimination” by way of deciding what they consider “acceptable speech” on their private property; and…

        3. If they don’t have the right to decide what speech they will and will not allow on their private property, neither should you or any other owner of private property.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2020 @ 1:36pm

        Re: Re:

        Graham and other free speech advocates (actual ones, not fake ones like Techdirt) are saying this:

        "Big business, stop censoring people because you dislike their political viewpoints. If you don't, we will ruin you."

        Why does government get to tell privately owned businesses what they can or can't allow on their service?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2020 @ 4:36pm

        Re: Re:

        Bullies, stop picking on those less powerful than you.

        Have you been... paying attention at all too what's been happening in the US political arena, Hamilton?

        You don't have a right to tell others not to be bullies. You guys held the reins of power for four years and have proven yourselves to be terrible at taking your own advice, especially that spicy footnote about bullying.

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

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 17 Dec 2020 @ 8:11pm

        Re: Re:

        In the real world: Fascists like Graham hate the fact that the First Amendment gives Americans the right to kick them to the curb, and want to corrupt CDA 230 as an end-run around the Constitution.

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


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