Reason Roundup

Facebook Supported 'Sex Trafficking' Law FOSTA to Cozy Up to Republican Critics: Reason Roundup

Plus: Trump endorses sentencing reform and Bitcoin's value continues to fall.

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Omar Marques/ZUMA Press/Newscom

How Facebook sold out sex workers and free speech. I can't think of a better way to put it than Gizmodo does: "Facebook has been exposed as utter garbage yet again." A new investigation from The New York Times reveals how the company responded to controversies over Russian influence and user-data privacy with "an aggressive lobbying campaign" against rivals and critics.

Getting the most attention is the fact that Facebook hired Definers Public Affairs to spread George Soros conspiracy theories, tarnish protesters' credibility, and defame critics as anti-Semitic. But the Times also reveals that Facebook chose to support FOSTA (and its Senate counterpart, SESTA)—legislation that guts a fundamental protection for digital publishers and platforms, and makes prostitution advertising a federal crime—not as a matter of principle but as a political tactic to tar opponents and cozy up to Congressional critics.

Politicians deceptively publicized FOSTA as the only way to stop rampant online marketplaces for child prostitution. Opponents, they lied, were putting abstract free-speech ideals above innocents trapped in sexual slavery. It was all bullshit, but the press ate up the easy framing—Free Speech/Big Tech vs. Sex-Trafficked Kids/The Good Guys in Government. (The Times still describes the bill, erroneously, as one that "made internet companies responsible for sex trafficking ads on their sites.")

And so Facebook stood athwart "Big Tech" and with the right side of the establishment power-grubbing consensus, as Twitter, Google, and other major tech companies and digital platforms opposed the bills for the sham and harbinger of internet destruction that they were.

SESTA "was championed by Senator John Thune, a Republican of South Dakota who had pummeled Facebook over accusations that it censored conservative content, and Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat and senior commerce committee member who was a frequent critic of Facebook," the Times notes.

For Facebook, supporting the bill and all its horrible outcomes for sex workers and free speech was a matter of chummying up to Republicans who accused it of censoring conservatives:

Facebook broke ranks with other tech companies, hoping the move would help repair relations on both sides of the aisle, said two congressional staffers and three tech industry officials.

When the bill came to a vote in the House in February, Ms. Sandberg offered public support online, urging Congress to "make sure we pass meaningful and strong legislation to stop sex trafficking."

The version of the bill known as FOSTA passed in March; President Donald Trump signed it in May. Since then, there's been an endless string of stories about how the new law is endangering sex workers and harming their livelihood, chilling and censoring all sorts of legal speech, and actually making it harder for police to find forced and underage prostitution victims and punish perpetrators.

A lawsuit challenging FOSTA was rejected in September by a federal district court in D.C. The plaintiffs, including the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, SWOP Behind Bars head Alex Andrews, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, are appealing the decision.

Woodhull announced last Friday that it had filed an initial statement with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (the court on which Trump just nominated Neomi Rao to replace Brett Kavanaugh).

FREE MINDS

FIRST STEP Act gets Trump's support. On Wednesday, the president "endorsed what could be the most significant rewrite of federal prison and sentencing laws in more than a decade," reports Reason's C.J. Ciaramella.

"I'm thrilled to announce my support for this bipartisan bill that will make our communities safer and give second chances," Trump said. "We're all better off when former inmates can reenter society as law-abiding, productive citizens."

FREE MARKETS

Bitcoin continues to fall. "On Wednesday morning it was more than $6,200—now it's at $5,573," reports Fast Company. "This over 10% drop is the lowest price the cryptocurrency has seen in over a year. Other currencies fell, too. Coindesk reports that, in total, the entire cryptocurrency market lost $24 billion in the past 24 hours."

QUICK HITS

• "It's hard to conjure a more counterproductive approach to intersectional feminism than for one white woman to shout insults at other white women based on the results of a single Senate race fought between two men," writes Conor Friedersdorf. And yet

• Lawyer Michael Avenatti was arrested yesterday on suspicion of domestic abuse.

• Against Paypal's "corporate censorship."

• Smart devices ranked by creepiness.

• Government gone wild:

• Protecting and serving:

NEXT: Police Thought Dad Leaving the Mall With His Daughter Was a Kidnapper

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  1. Smart devices ranked by creepiness.

    The one that has the cult following might should be first.

    1. Hello.

  2. “I’m thrilled to announce my support for this bipartisan bill that will make our communities safer and give second chances,” Trump said. “We’re all better off when former inmates can reenter society as law-abiding, productive citizens.”

    His most inflammatory tweet yet.

  3. Imam of Peace
    When you are civilized, you will be acknowledged and recognized. Look at them, they are also brown, have beards and wear Turbans. The difference is that Hindus don’t want to destroy the USA and kill its citizens in exchange for 72 imaginary virgins.

    1. I love that guy.

    2. how soon to the Rushdie’ing?

  4. That time an officer arrested newlyweds for having ecstasy but it was actually vitamins. Oh, and they were in jail for two weeks. AND one missed his United States naturalization ceremony and the other lost her job. https://t.co/L3FHqwbzt9 @InsiderAdv @Marc_Hyden #gapol #CJreform
    ? R Street Institute (@RSI) November 15, 2018

    I’m sure that shoddy work delayed his Policeman of the Month award for a couple weeks.

  5. What a nice early dose of “global warming” today, with freezing temperatures and snowstorms all over America.

    We should probably get used to it too, because with sunspots and solar activity at their lowest levels in a long time, it’s quite likely to be a long, brutal, cold winter.

    1. The oceans are aggressively swallowing all the global heating causing the land to freeze. Try to keep up with the latest theories.

      1. So climate change is changing?

        WHO KNEW?!

    2. My F-150 is now causing the sun spots to go away? Sorry guys – my bad.

  6. …the entire cryptocurrency market lost $24 billion in the past 24 hours.

    Fortunately that’s not real money.

    1. It probably fell between the crypto-couch cushions.

    2. Spent it all at the cryptocasino and the cryptobordello.

    3. shhh. have it all on thumb drive.

  7. Green party campaign: “Municipalities to seize homes to give them to the refugees”
    Maybe I would not have paid attention to this modest little petition if it weren’t for that wording in it makes it go shivers down with his back. “Before the money set aside for this purpose (i.e. to provide housing for refugees, my note.) SHOULD municipalities be able to evacuate people who have large properties. couple where the kids left home, or partner where the partner has a home elsewhere. We must help the new arrivals with dignified housing. “

    1. Slogan: You don’t have to live like a refugee when you can live in someone else’s house instead

      1. If that’s what Tom Petty meant, that’s what he would have written.

  8. It was all bullshit, but the press ate up the easy framing…

    Look, if the lawmakers weren’t going to read the bill they were passing, why should journalists bother?

  9. For Facebook, supporting the bill and all its horrible outcomes for sex workers and free speech was a matter of chummying up to Republicans who accused it of censoring conservatives…

    There was, of course, another way for the company to go, but that would have caused hurt feelings among employees.

  10. D.C. Council votes to decriminalize Metro fare evasion
    The D.C. Council voted Tuesday to decriminalize Metro fare evasion in the District, citing concerns over soaring enforcement levels and disproportionate enforcement against African Americans.

    1. I’m sure that having a two-tiered “only whitey pays” fare system will do wonders for their budget.

    2. So, either a black-majority municipal government has a habit of hiring white racist cops, or there are more black fare-evaders than white ones. I guess a third alternative is that the white fare-evaders are cleverer than the blacks ones when it comes to evading the police.

      1. How racist is that?

      2. New movie name “white people can jump over turnstiles”

        1. can’t not can

  11. “On Wednesday morning it was more than $6,200?now it’s at $5,573,”

    A drop of $5573 more should get it near its correct price.

    1. Its valuable but most of the old timer buyers sold off. It would seem that the new buyers were trying to get an inflated price that even newer buyers would not pay, so the price dropped. North Korea was also involved to skew the market. NK evidently mines Bitcoin like crazy.

      A Bitcoin is probably not actually worth more than a few thousands dollars. Most people use fraction of a Bitcoin anyway.

  12. David Hogg DESTROYS gun fetishist arguments!

    Imagine saying the only way to stop shark attacks is with more sharks.

    When Democrats control the House next session, they’ll pass common sense gun safety legislation. True, the Senate might not do the same and Drumpf might not sign it even if they did. But voters pay attention to these things. It will be clear which party cares about protecting Americans, and which is under the control of the terrorist organization called the NRA.

    #LibertariansForGunSense
    #LibertariansAgainstTheNRA

    1. Imagine saying the only way to stop shark attacks is with more sharks.

      It’s easy if you try.

      1. I imagine sharks with lasers attached to their heads would do well against the attacking sharks.

        1. ill-tempered.

      2. Sharknado control is the ONLY option.

      3. no but you can stop a shark attack with a gun

        1. Additionally, the bigger and more easily reloaded rounds the gun has the better chances it will kill a shark.

          Its like the morons that dont take guns into national forests but take bear spray. You have to shoot a bear dead as a gunshot into the ground might scare it off. If it doesn’t you will be glad to have more bullets to keep the bear from mauling you to death.

          1. *dont have to shoot a bear dead…

    2. 4Channers transform David Hogg into gun-loving “Daisy” to own the libs, and everyone is confused, including them
      The reason Daisy looks so familiar? Because this imaginary girlfriend is nothing more than a gender-swapped version of Parkland survivor and gun control advocate David Hogg, a figure almost universally loathed on the right.

      Daisy was born last week after one inventive 4Chan anon thought to run some pictures of David Hogg through FaceApp’s female filter, transforming him instantly into a more-than-passable young woman ? and a rather attractive one at that.

      Other 4Chan anons went to work at once, photoshopping Daisy’s new face onto the bodies of bikini models, porn stars, and, in one case, Nancy Pelosi. Many anons can’t quite decide whether to mock David as Daisy, or whack off to her. For others. the decision hasn’t been hard, because something else has been.

      1. My brain hurts, after following that link. 4 stars, would go again.

      2. I always though David Hogg was Rachal Maddows more effeminate brother

      3. I know it’s supposed to be a den of misogyny and hate, but 4channers always seem to be having so much damn fun with everything. There’s a real ebullience to everything they do.

        When you go to Democratic Underground, or most of reddit, tumblr and twitter, or any other leftist boards, they seem so uptight, preachy, judgemental, angry and sour. Their meme’s are almost always based on stereotypes instead of observation, and usually unfunny.

        Why can’t the left meme?

  13. Fuck the Facebook coming straight from the underground. Young hooker got it bad because she advertised online.

  14. federal researchers experimented with tattoo recognition technology they used images taken from inmates without consent. This time they also used images from unsuspecting Flickr users.

    I should think those Flickr users would be flattered to know their tattoos are widely appreciated.

    Also, tattoo recognition technology is a nice band name.

  15. From Conor Fridersdork’s article:

    “Some conservatives insist that performative, hyperbolic white-woman bashing is broadly representative of the Democratic Party and the political left. It is not. This rhetorical mode is widely seen as wrongheaded. In my experience, it elicits eye-rolling from most residents of deep-blue neighborhoods and from most Democrats in all racial groups. It is the work of a tiny, largely white, mostly privileged vanguard.”

    If it’s a “vanguard,” it doesn’t have to represent a majority. A vanguard is a self-appointed elite which acts on behalf of Teh People. Many self-professed vanguards have managed to acquire lots of power despite the “eye-rolling” of others.

    Though I’m sure the vanguard is really scared of the “eye-rolling,” behind closed doors, which their behavior elicits.

    1. Where da white women at?

  16. *gargles coffee*

    Good Roundup this morning. Pissing on Facederp and bad legislation at the same time.

  17. Chinese Telecoms Giant ZTE is Helping Venezuela Build a System That Monitors Citizen Behavior Through a New Identification Card
    There, at the headquarters of Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corp, they learned how China, using smart cards, was developing a system that would help Beijing track social, political and economic behavior. Using vast databases to store information gathered with the card’s use, a government could monitor everything from a citizen’s personal finances to medical history and voting activity. “What we saw in China changed everything,” said the member of the Venezuelan delegation, technical advisor Anthony Daquin. His initial amazement, he said, gradually turned to fear that such a system could lead to abuses of privacy by Venezuela’s government. “They were looking to have citizen control.”

    The following year, when he raised concerns with Venezuelan officials, Daquin told Reuters, he was detained, beaten and extorted by intelligence agents. They knocked several teeth out with a handgun and accused him of treasonous behavior, Daquin said, prompting him to flee the country.

    1. Its always nice to see Socialists working together to make a better World so Sarcasmic can trade with them.

  18. Some progressives are blaming a single demographic group for a string of losses in the midterm elections?but that distorts the actual results.

    Yeah, it’s the fault of those white women who don’t like the progressive agendas that progressives lost some races – clearly they should have been voting with their vaginas rather then their heads or hearts.

    Shorter: they lost some races because they demonized race. The people being dissed surely should have ignored that.

    /sarc

  19. Some conservatives insist that performative, hyperbolic white-woman bashing is broadly representative of the Democratic Party and the political left. It is not. This rhetorical mode is widely seen as wrongheaded. In my experience, it elicits eye-rolling from most residents of deep-blue neighborhoods and from most Democrats in all racial groups. It is the work of a tiny, largely white, mostly privileged vanguard.

    Well, in MY experience, the black women I know — and I know quite a few, what with having a black fiancee — have openly bashed white women for voting for Republicans in my earshot, wondering what was wrong with them.

  20. Bitcoin continues to fall. “On Wednesday morning it was more than $6,200?now it’s at $5,573,” reports Fast Company. “This over 10% drop is the lowest price the cryptocurrency has seen in over a year. Other currencies fell, too. Coindesk reports that, in total, the entire cryptocurrency market lost $24 billion in the past 24 hours.”

    I made a killing buying under $100 and selling high and plan to do it again.

    I still wont give Reason one red cent until they clean up their act.

  21. USA to return 3 Balangiga Bells

    That racist Trump and his cabinet cronies are at it again. Repairing USA foreign relations over past deeds.

    Obama will have to tell Michelle to keep her Ben Wa Balls a deep state secret.

  22. And so Facebook stood athwart “Big Tech” and with the right side of the establishment power-grubbing consensus, as Twitter, Google, and other major tech companies and digital platforms opposed the bills for the sham and harbinger of internet destruction that they were.

    Facebook (Zuckerberg) spends a lot of time cozying up with people in power.

    1. This is no surprise once you remember that Zuckerberg is a very powerful individual himself.

      1. It’s clear to me where he’d much rather be. Running a billion dollar corporation is nice, but man that legislative gig is where the real power is.

      2. only because it is permitted.

  23. chummying up to Republicans

    … yep, of course the republicans are the ones constantly screaming “FOR THE CHIDELRUNS!!!!”

  24. Report: Florida Dem Organizer Called Voters to Fix Rejected Mail-In Ballots after Election Day

    http://www.nationalreview.com/…..ction-day/

    The report comes after the Department of State revealed that it discovered election officials in four counties, included the embattled Democratic stronghold of Broward, illegally changed the date on mail-in-ballot-correction forms, granting voters more time to fix their rejected absentee ballots than is allowed by law.

    “Altering a form in a manner that provides the incorrect date for a voter to cure a defect . . . imposes a burden on the voter significant enough to frustrate the voter’s ability to vote,” Florida Department of State interim general counsel Bradley McVay wrote in a letter sent to federal prosecutors on November 9 and released publicly on Tuesday.

    Update:Have now heard audio of a @FlaDems volunteer in Palm Beach County calling voter who needed to fix mail ballot. Message clear that call came during recount, which is after they can be fixed

    “we are now doing a recount, so we want to make sure you let your vote be counted”

  25. When people are asked to use gut instinct to stop real but rare horrors, relying on racial stereotypes and other biases tends to rule.

    Is that why the cops pulled a gun on my friend the day I moved him and his babby mamma into my town. It’s strange how one of the other regulars at the Wellness Center died of a drug overdoes latter that night in the Wellness Center bathroom.

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