Section 230

Josh Hawley Introduces Bill to Put Washington In Charge of Internet Speech

Hawley is selling it as a way to fight tech-company "bias" against Republicans. Don't believe him.

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Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) is introducing legislation to clamp down on free expression online, under the pretense of fighting tech-company "bias" against Republicans.

Hawley's solution is to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a measure that prevents individual users of internet platforms and the companies that run them from being treated as legally indistinguishable from one another. Without it, digital companies and the users of their products (i.e., all of us) could be sued in civil court or subject to state criminal prosecution over content and messages created and published by others.

State attorneys general have been howling about Section 230 for more than a decade because it means that only the federal government can criminally prosecute internet intermediaries. Thus, state prosecutors don't have the opportunity to seize assets and bring in big financial settlements themselves.

As attorney general of Missouri, Hawley joined in the tradition of Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris when she was attorney general of California, and the top cops from many other states, in begging Congress to amend Section 230. The first time around, back in 2013, the excuse attorneys general used was "child sex trafficking," falsely insisting that Section 230 stopped knowing perpetrators of this horrific crime from being brought to justice.* (In fact, nothing in Section 230 has ever prevented the Department of Justice from enforcing federal criminal laws, including laws against forced or underage prostitution.)

When that proved a successful ruseresulting in the 2018 passage of FOSTA, which both amended Section 230 and made facilitating prostitution a federal crime—politicians were emboldened in their power grab for online speech. Now, national and state leaders are insisting that Section 230 must be destroyed in order to fight "foreign influence" in our elections, the manipulated videos known as "deepfakes," fentanyl trafficking, gun violence, and an array of other (sometimes real, sometimes imaginary) problems.

For some Republican leaderschief among them Hawley—this has led to the truly Orwellian tack of trying to convince conservative internet users that taking away protection for online speech will somehow allow them to speak more freely. That's the nonsensical proposition at the heart of Hawley's new legislation, misleadingly called the "Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act."

The measure would give the government control over online speech by denying Section 230 protections to platforms that don't hand over an array of private intellectual property and satisfactorily prove to a bunch of partisan political appointees that they are operating in a "politically neutral" manner. Essentially, Hawley wants to revive the old Fairness Doctrinea policy that was roundly denounced by conservatives for its chilling effect on free speech and its propensity to further marginalize non-mainstream voicesand apply this cursed policy paradigm to anything online.

Under Hawley's bill, companies would be required to reapply with the Federal Trade Commission every two years for this political favora situation that would mean companies having "to constantly curry favor with the administration," as Mapbox policy head Tom Lee noted on Twitter. Hawley's proposal would also require tech companies to discipline or fire any employee who made a content moderation decision that bureaucrats deem to be in violation of online-speech neutrality principles.

With stakes like these, the only viable path for tech companies would be to censor vastly more political speech, not less.

"Today I've introduced legislation to end Big Tech's biggest sweetheart deal from government," Hawley tweeted Wednesday morning. "No more government protection for Big Tech's political censorship."

Censorship would be universally worse without Section 230 and, as someone who studied law, Hawley should know this. But it doesn't matter what he knows about Section 230, it matters what the masses know about Section 230which was basically zilch, until recently. That's what makes it easy for folks like Hawley, Harris, and the rest of the bipartisan chorus calling for 230's demise to manipulate their base into buying that it's about "bias" or "sex trafficking" or "gun violence" or any other number of hated things.

But no matter how many culture war red flags Hawley and company raise, their solutions all come down to the same thing: letting folks in Washington have more say over what can be said on the internet, and using tweaks to Section 230 to do it. When Democrats and Republicans professing diametrically opposed goals settle on the same solution, it's a good clue that politicians aren't telling their constituents the truth.

* CLARIFICATION: The original version of this passage implied that Hawley and Harris were attorneys general at the same time. They did not overlap and Hawley was not a signatory to the 2013 letter from the attorneys general to Congress about 230.

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233 responses to “Josh Hawley Introduces Bill to Put Washington In Charge of Internet Speech

  1. Based in part on the magnificent job done the the postal service and the VA medical staff, I totally agree with this approach.
    In addition, the feds should be the sole source of any and all political statements.

    1. All the law actually does is provide 230 protections only to those who are content neutral. They’d have to open their censor lists to auditors if they wish to remain under 230. ENB grossly mislead with this story.

      1. Not really.

        1. Yes really.

        2. Care to expound on the ignorance? Companies are free to censor to their hearts content still. They just wont get extra legal protections if they do the horror.

  2. Prediction: Everyone will soon be using the dark web.

    1. They’ll just make the whole thing illegal and come to your door to arrest you after your ISP reports you for accessing it.

      1. “They’ll just make the whole thing illegal and come to your door to arrest you after your ISP reports you for accessing it.”

        How? People don’t access the dark web with Google, they use Tor, which is designed to prevent your ISP, or anyone, from knowing what you’re doing on the internet.

        Plus First Amendment.

  3. As any good libertarian will tell you, free market paradise requires a necessary period of despotism.

    1. Care to back up your bullshit? Didn’t think so.

      1. A lot of libertarians here readily voice their support for google & facebook to be able to deplatform, shadow ban and outright ban public figures on the right. They’re probably okay with MasterCard, Visa, Paypal, etc. banning people from using the monetary system too. Sure, they voice it as being against anyone doing anything to stop private enterprise’s right to police speech via access to their products, but that is just tacit acceptance that a small group of individuals living in California should get to tell us what info can be consumed and broadcast.

        Total and complete devotion to private enterprise via the NAP is the principle I guess.

        1. That’s a whole lot of stupid. If MasterCard, Visa, and Paypal want to fuck themselves over like that, then why do you care? This is a problem easily corrected in a healthy marketplace and the probability of ALL credit cards following suit is in the ‘never in a million years’ category . Not everything needs government intervention. Sounds like you need a libertarian 101 class and maybe a some cheese to go with your whine.

          1. I understand in your libertarian dream world, a set of public figures getting banned from the monetary system would get met with a whole new monetary system springing up from the ground and valiantly slaying the corrupt old system via the naturally occuring capitalist market forces. I used to believe that’s how things worked too, when I used to be libertarian.

            Now, I understand that the real world doesn’t work that way. You can have 1 million regular viewers, get banned on patreon, visa and mastercard for political speech, and despite your viewer’s protests, nothing will happen. Your voice gets silenced, and the resulting economic situation will beat you into silence.

            You sound like you need to live in the real world, and stop viewing life solely through the lens of your Austrian microeconomics 101 course. Life doesn’t work that way. Nothing is going to displace Visa, MasterCard, Amex, etc. in the near future, and certainly not over the banning of grassroots public figures. Instead, those who have been banned will remain banned and you’ve probably never heard about a single one of them, and now you never will, but you’re okay with that.

            1. Libertarian utopians are no less delusional than their Leftist and socialist counterparts, they believe that their perfect world can come about simply by wanting it strongly enough. They disregard basic human nature and ignore anything that contradicts their belief in the perfectability of people that would bring about the perfect libertarian world.

              1. “Libertarian utopians are no less delusional than their Leftist and socialist counterparts, they believe that their perfect world can come about simply by wanting it strongly enough. They disregard basic human nature and ignore anything that contradicts their belief in the perfectability of people that would bring about the perfect libertarian world.”

                So you would call a fictitious scenario that would likely be easily solved by the free market (and more than likely never to occur in the first place) by nearly anyone with two brain cells to rub together a libertarian utopia?

                1. You said easily again. Go look at the market penetration and capital for the companies mentioned. They can easily wall off 1% of users in an anti monopolist attack in some subject. I remember when libertarians weren’t economically illiterate.

                  1. And I remember when libertarians believed in private property rights and freedom to associate with whomever you chose. You dipshits want everyone to bake you a cake..at the point of a gun if necessary.

                    1. Libertarians still acknowledge monopolistic entities can exist and are actually for controls to stop that type of control you naive dummy.

                    2. “MasterCard, Visa, and Paypal” don’t qualify as a monopoly in anybody’s world except yours.

                    3. Excuse me, what?

                      No libertarians are not ok with antitrust laws. Do a little research on Dominic Armentano and look at what he says about antitrust laws and libertarianism.

            2. The shorter version of this is

              “People are using their own property in a way I disapprove of so someone should make them do things my way”

              Which is the refrain of every leftist everywhere.

              Some libertarians may not care if you get banned from Twitter. Some do. What distinguishes libertarians from you and your progressive clones is that our first impulse is not to run to daddy gubmint to fix it for us.

              Personally I am fairly disgusted by the behavior of facebook et al. My solution is I very deliberately do not use their services. If the neanderthal conservative base decided to do the same they would bleed and they would have to react.

              But no instead you channel your inner progressive and assume a government gun is the answer to every trivial life inconvenience. You hate progressives because they are an organic mirror on your own bullshit. It’s also why they hate you.

              1. You do know that Facebook does more than just a single website, correct? That they are vultures practicing anti capitalist methods to buy and kill competition right?

                1. “That they are vultures practicing anti capitalist methods to buy and kill competition right?”

                  That is how capitalism works….although you usually buy competition to make your business stronger (which is what FB primarily does) and not kill it. You are free to build an alternative to facebook…and somebody will eventually do it, and probably sooner than later. For sure, it won’t be you because that will require hard work and would prevent you from whining about how unfair you, and people that think like you, are being treated.

                  1. Wait… you really dont understand the issue of anti capitalist practices based on monopolies. Certain monopolies are fine, when they arent anti competitive. You really are ignorant or naive.

                    Do you really not understand what anti competitive actions are and how they harm liberty?

                    1. Monopolies might be anti-free trade but the action of acquiring, taking-over, or ruining other businesses is pure capitalism and necessary for capitalism to work properly. Claiming facebook is a monopoly is far from clear. It’s business is advertising and it hardly has a monopoly on that.

                    2. Evidently, you don’t believe in liberty as you are suggesting that the liberty of the
                      monopoly owners be exchanged for your own selfish desires you have the audacity of calling rights.

            3. “I understand in your libertarian dream world, a set of public figures getting banned from the monetary system would get met with a whole new monetary system springing up from the ground and valiantly slaying the corrupt old system via the naturally occuring capitalist market forces.”

              You accuse me of living in a dream world by using an example of something that has never happened. Stick to reality, it’s a much safer place for you.

              1. You aren’t in a dream world, you’re just ignorant.

                1. That was convincing. Ignorant of what? That in your delusional world all the major credit card companies are suddenly going to decide not to extend their services to people that have certain political ideas? Maybe when you extract your head from your ass you’ll realize how absurd this is……but probably not.

            4. Austrian economics doesn’t seem to work because the government is so embedded in everything, meaning that we don’t and havn’t had for a very long time anything close to an Austrian system. Of course the indoctrinated mushballs take this to mean that the free market has just failed us, when in fact we havn’t had a free market at all. But this is too complicated for those so eager to use the power of force to solve every problem that pops into their head.

              At the end of the day, even if a truly free market seems unattainable, libertarians need to recognize the value of their principles. The idea of “liberty or death” is really a moral argument, not a pragmatic one. No matter the inconvenience, people (and that does include big business owners line zuckerberg) have rights that no power on earth can ever justly take.

              So yeah, even though the utopia of freedom is as distant as ever, the morality of freedom is always at hand.

              Facebook can be as stupid as they please. The same goes for MasterCard and Visa and any other business, company, or organization of free individuals.

              Freedom ain’t free, but it is the moral option.

  4. As stupid and self-serving as this is, the tech companies have brought it upon themselves by trying to be politically correct in all ways to all parties. Ban one vile-but-legal extremist in the name of social justice or political correctness, and the other side howls for their turn. Ban someone on the other side for them, and back and forth you go, and pretty soon everybody and their dog is howling for everybody else’s (and their dogs’) blood.

    If the damned fool tech companies had stuck to only banning what was legally ordered by a court, they wouldn’t be in this mess.

    I remember when google and Amazon suddenly freaked out over guns, and stopped carrying any ads for guns or gun accessories, in spite of the fact that none of those companies were selling guns over the internet. I even emailed them, telling them they had just started down a slippery slope, but of course that was a waste of time, since guns are icky.

    1. Employee Lawsuit Reveals Google as Intolerant Race Cult

      Quotes (but read the whole article and linked complaint):
      Google engineer James Damore’s class action complaint describes a creepy cult-like orthodoxy at Google, where dissent is smashed, and the color of your skin is far more important than the content of your character. Reading the complaint is a deep dive into wicked, racial groupthink, and a frightening reminder that it really can happen here. At Google, it does.

      This article cannot possibly capture all of the rancid, racialist, thuggish things going on at Google, so I’d urge you to take time to read the whole complaint. It’s like reading Solzhenitsyn’s travel log from Ekibastuze. It reveals nothing short of the psychologies of totalitarianism in their timeless forms. The purges. The moral relativism. The threats. The lists of enemies. The upside-down world of the wicked justifying their wickedness.

      1. The Long March through the Institutions trampled through google.

        The Left plays relentless in group preference and out group attack.

        Will the Right ever fight back?

        1. Not if the “libertarians” here have their way, they won’t be sbke to because “muh private proppity”.

          1. Sbke=able, wish I could edit these

            1. “Sbke=able, wish I could edit these”

              You’d still be babbling about nothing worth reading.

    2. You make the mistake of thinking that the tech companies dont want to be regulated.

      When you get as big as they are, regulation is GOOD for your company because it stifles competition. You can pay to meet regulations, start ups cant.

      Libertarians are defending section 230 while ignoring the very unlibertarian blanket immunity that it gives against civil action. Why cant a jury of peers determine if someone was defrauded or injured by these companies?

      I find it funny how all of these so called libertarians keep coming down on the side of massive companies that are in bed with government and political parties over the consumer and smaller producers.

      You dont have principles, you have a very one dimensional view of liberty and a gigantic ego because you think applying the NAP to everything in a vacuum makes you intelligent.

      1. It doesn’t give “blanket immunity against civil action”
        It just mean they can’t be sued for stuff that OTHER PEOPLE do.
        I website shoudl not be liable for the content of its users.

        1. And that would be great, if the website also didn’t engage in censorship of viewpoints it disagreed with.

          Google and Facebook and Twitter are trying to have it both ways…they want the freedom from liability of a public forum, so they can’t be sued for what other people produce. But they want to censor viewpoints they disagree with (mostly conservative), while leaving other often more vile and violent content in place that they often agree with.

          Either everyone gets to post their opinions because it’s a public forum or Google and Twitter are liable for the content they allow on their site because it’s private enterprise. They don’t get to pick and choose which protections apply.

  5. (R) is (D). (D) is (R). Josh Hawley is a tyrant.

    1. You fucktards can never just call out Republicans alone when they are the ones doing evil shit.

      1. Yeah, because Democrats don’t want to destroy Section 230 for their own reasons. Oh wait, they do, and you are full of shit again.

        1. I suppose I’m gonna be forced to educate myself about this particular right-wing meme now.

          Do you have any idea how much time I spend keeping up with you people and your silly paranoias?

          1. Maybe you should stop?

          2. Tony still believes the internet died when net neutrality ended.

      2. Both are vile, but most libertarians consider themselvea to be more aligned with a ‘right wing philosophy.’ But, if it pleaaes you so, yes, Republicans are shitbags a good portion of the time.

        1. But if they are ever the ones being shitbags, we have to be sure to whatabout Democrats too, because that’s what free-thinking nonpartisan libertarians do.

          1. >>>whatabout Democrats too

            not what i said. it’s okay you don’t get me.

      3. fucktard is always funny.

    2. Did you read the actual proposal? It is pretty damn minimal. Just says no 230 benefits if you choose to hide platform ban lists. There is no issue here. 230 is a government benefit. These come with stipulations all the time. Companies can continue with censor lists to their hearts content if they want, just no 230 protections.

  6. This is a very uninformed or else intentionally misleading statement: “Without it, digital companies and the users of their products (i.e., all of us) could be sued in civil court or subject to state criminal prosecution over content and messages created and published by others.”

    What do you mean, “and the users of their products (i.e. all of us)”? The CDA does no such thing. It gives safe harbor to the platforms FROM use by all of us. That protection depends on their neutrality. But it does NOT protect us from being accountable for our own use of their platforms.

    1. “That protection depends on their neutrality.”
      No it doesn’t. That is the opposite of reality. The protection explicitly applies whether they are “neutral” or not. That was the whole point of Section 230.

      1. Sorry, their neutrality as defined between “publisher” and “platform”. Their 230 protection should evaporate as soon as they add an editorial basis. THAT’S the auspices under which Hawley should attack.

        Regardless, section 230 doesn’t protect you against me filing a libel action against you for having defamed me on a digital platform.

        1. Sorry, their neutrality as defined between “publisher” and “platform”
          No it isn’t. Section 230 explicitly says they can make moderating decisions, aka censorship, and they don’t lose the protection. By definition that means they aren’t neutral. If they had to be neutral, they couldn’t moderate AT ALL. The bill literally says its purpose is to allow them to moderate and still not be liable. So I didn’t defame you, because your words were demonstrably false. Seriously, read the law before you spout ignorant bullshit.

          1. You are also obviously a troll, because I didn’t defame you in any way. Disagreeing with you is not defamation under any standard.

            1. Go away, annoying new guy who can’t read.

        2. If I did libel you, then it wouldn’t stop you from suing me. I never said it would. Unlike you, I know how the law works.

          1. Valkanis, what would stop him would be the inability to find a lawyer. Section 230 bars him from suing the publisher, which probably has enough skin in the game to make it worth suing. But Section 230 limits him to suing you. Even if you are a normal middle-income sort of guy, you probably aren’t the kind of target a lawyer needs to justify that kind of suit. That is why traditional defamation law makes publishers joint defendants with their contributors.

            So the practical effect of Section 230 has been to legalize defamation on the internet. And if a publisher isn’t reading everything it publishes to prevent defamation, then every other kind of crap goes unread too, and is guaranteed to be published, whether copyright violations, Nigerian scams, scurrilous personal attacks on non-public figures, election interference, or what have you. But that kind of stuff almost never gets past private editors, if they are reading everything.

            Completely abolishing Section 230, and going back to private editing is the only way to fix this problem without full-on government censorship. Government censorship is the worst possible outcome. Abolish Section 230. Don’t tinker with it to enable censorship, which is what Hawley wants. Abolish it completely, and return to private editing.

            1. “But Section 230 limits him to suing you.”

              Yeah, and that’s a good thing.

              “So the practical effect of Section 230 has been to legalize defamation on the internet.”

              Even if that’s true, it’s better than allowing people to sue someone who didn’t commit the defamation.

              “And if a publisher isn’t reading everything it publishes to prevent defamation, then every other kind of crap goes unread too, and is guaranteed to be published”

              There are these things called automatic spam filters. They’re not perfect, but they do a pretty decent job.

              “But that kind of stuff almost never gets past private editors, if they are reading everything.”

              The big internet platforms could not possibly manually moderate everything.

              “Completely abolishing Section 230, and going back to private editing is the only way to fix this problem without full-on government censorship.”

              Then you would just have a different problem. The biggest wealthiest platforms would be the only ones able to take on the liability of moderating. Everyone else would either turn off user generated content entirely (such as this comment section) or not moderate it at all, in which case it would be overrun by spam and trolls. Is that the internet you want?

        3. NOTHING about CDA230 requires sites to be neutral.
          The ENTIRE point of CDA230 was to allow sites to moderate.

      2. The protection explicitly applies whether they are “neutral” or not. That was the whole point of Section 230.

        No it’s not. Or, if it is, it’s exceedingly poorly written towards that aim and is actually more in line with Hawley’s proposal. The text specifically talks about diversity in political discourse and makes no mention of neutrality or partisanship. You might reason a meaning where they could be more favorably onloading some political views relative to others, but deplatforming any view only decreases diversity.

        Even at that, Congress shall make no law determining what constitutes neutral or balanced speech as it would require them to compel association, silence free speech, or both.

        1. There is no part of section 230 that makes its protections conditional on the service provider being politically neutral.

      3. “The protection explicitly applies whether they are “neutral” or not.”

        The clear intent of the CDA was to give Big Tech common carrier liability protection only *because* they were acting as common carriers, but the law was written/interpreted to give it *regardless* of behavior.

        The CDA is premised on a number of findings and policy assertions, including user control and true diversity of political discourse.
        https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230

        (2) These services offer users a great degree of control over the information that they receive, as well as the potential for even greater control in the future as technology develops.
        (3) The Internet and other interactive computer services offer a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity.

        (3) to encourage the development of technologies which maximize user control over what information is received by individuals, families, and schools who use the Internet and other interactive computer services;

        What exactly a finding or policy means in its implications to enforcement of the law is unknown to me. I would assume it delimits applicability of the law, as otherwise it’s superfluous to the legal interpretation of the statute. Maybe. Maybe not.

        But what’s clear is that the intent of the law assumes user control of content on a forum, not a publisher of curated ideas.

  7. Someone get a copy of Amendment 1 to Hawley, stat!

    1. So he can see that ’96 Communications Decency Act, which has largely been struck down and from which section 230 is notoriously exempted wholly violates ‘Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech,’?

      1. The parts of the CDA that regulated speech were properly voided. Section 230 in no way regulates speech, and is thus a valid law. Private companies /= the government.

        1. The parts of the CDA that regulated speech were properly voided.

          So, to be clear, Congress passed a law that regulated speech and section 230 was a part of that law?

          Private companies /= the government.

          (c) Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material

          Who’s protecting whom? If a business’ continued existence is ensured solely by government protection how are they not highly analogous if not the same entity? At the very least, how does the very proposition not intrinsically offend libertarian sensibilities?

          Keep talking. Eventually, I’m sure you’ll convince me that the CDA was a mistake in its entirety and that the current and ongoing issues with content on the internet are largely caused by its remnants. Er… the opposite of it. You’ll convince me of the opposite of that completely reasonable and accurate claim, whatever the opposite of that is.

        2. What other websites do you pretend to be a lawyer on, Valkanis?
          Cause maybe you should fuck off back there.

    2. Some of you need to read the proposal…

  8. Small problem, ENB.

    We’re being fucked REGARDLESS.

    Why should we give a shit if others get fucked now? Screw em.

    “Someone get a copy of Amendment 1 to Hawley, stat!”

    That they cannot even abide by the rules THEY design will be hard for them to explain. And, if Trump cannot ban Twitter trolls from bugging him because it impacts their ability to redress their government, the argument can be made it applies to EVERYBODY Twitter banned.

    After all, Twitter permitted Trump to ban folks (he didn’t code that piece of software) and it did not stand up to laughable judicial tyranny.

    1. “the argument can be made it applies to EVERYBODY Twitter banned.”
      No it can’t, at all. Not even a little bit. The other people banned are not elected representatives. And that decision is probably wrong in the first place, but it has nothing to do with Section 230 of the CDA.

      Your entire comment makes no sense. It is a huge problem, for the reasons listed in the article.

      1. If Trump is unable to block Twitter trolls because it limits their access to petition the President…you SERIOUSLY think that an argument cannot be made that banning somebody from Twitter does not do the exact same thing?

        1. Yes.

          Private action vs. government action.

  9. What could possibly go wrong?

  10. Tighten up 230 protections and, should this bankrupt YouTube or Twitter, then whomever replaces them will learn “It is best to not filter ANYTHING”. They cannot choose “We will filter EVERYTHING” or they will not have a company in the first place.

    Demanding legal protections for bad businesses seems unlibertarian to me.

    1. This.

      These entities profit from the protections of a vast safe harbor created by prior legislation. The idea that additional legislation clarifying their responsibilities within that harbor is somehow an affront to liberty is laughable.

      ENB, I do not believe you either.

      1. The protections of the safe harbor weren’t created by the previous legislation. The legislation was simply explicitly overruling a previous terrible legal ruling which falsely stated the legal principle of liability. Without 230 the person responsible for defamatory content is still the person who created it. In a free press the government can not give disseminators of information “responsibilities,” so yeah, it is an affront to liberty.

        1. Without 230 the person responsible for defamatory content is still the person who created it.

          So section 230 is redundant.

          In a free press the government can not give disseminators of information “responsibilities,” so yeah, it is an affront to liberty.

          The government isn’t giving them responsibilities it’s offering explicitly greater protections and asking for information/requesting responsibilities. This alone is above and beyond the rights enjoyed by individuals and other businesses who’s liability is afforded *no* protections at any exchange or cost.

          It’s an affront to liberty to have a Constitution that says “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom speech” and then have a law, made and passed by Congress, that prioritizes the free speech of platforms above that of individuals.

          1. “It’s an affront to liberty to have a Constitution that says “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom speech” and then have a law, made and passed by Congress, that prioritizes the free speech of platforms above that of individuals”

            So should a bar or restrauant be not allowed to kick someone out for being an asshole because otherwise would infringe on their freedom of speech? Why should a site be FORCED to host speech they disagree with?

            “The government isn’t giving them responsibilities it’s offering explicitly greater protections and asking for information/requesting responsibilities. This alone is above and beyond the rights enjoyed by individuals and other businesses who’s liability is afforded *no* protections at any exchange or cost.”
            False, I shout a bunch of defamatory comments in a bar, that bar won’t be liable.

        2. In a free press the government can not give disseminators of information “responsibilities,” so yeah, it is an affront to liberty.

          Valkanis, that is mistaken, except maybe in a utopian imaginary way. The law of press freedom has explicitly excluded defamation since forever. It goes unprotected. And publishers who publish defamation are liable. And that is all to the good.

          In fact, liability for defamation is not a restriction on press freedom, but instead one of the principle foundation stones under it. Without that liability in place, it would hard-to-impossible to convince the public to say anything, except, “If this is press freedom, I want no part of it.” And the whole enterprise would crumble for want of political support.

    2. What legal cause of action do you have against YouTube or Twitter for not hosting your content? Why right do you have to force them to let you use their platform? You apparently are a socialist.

      1. They have “protections” because they are a “platform”.

        Cell phone providers are platforms. They are not liable, in any way, if somebody plans a murder on their devices because they do not censor content.

        Should they do so, they become publishers, stuck with the same liabilities publishers have. As Tucker Carlson has pointed out, FNC doesn’t have those protections.

        1. There is no equivalence, damikesc. Cell phone providers don’t build audiences, and monetize them through the sale of advertising. It is those activities which largely define a publisher. Section 230 was enacted to suspend liability for internet publishers, after one of them was accurately adjudged a publisher, and lost a suit over it.

          Calling a publisher a “platform” is not helpful if the purpose in doing it is to obscure meaningful differences. It is that intentionally-created confusion which has everyone in such a tangle now.

          1. Umm, cell phone providers most assuredly DO sell your information for advertising. CPNI is a real thing.

            “Section 230 was enacted to suspend liability for internet publishers, after one of them was accurately adjudged a publisher, and lost a suit over it.”

            And they are doing the same thing now.

            If you’re willing to censor content, then by default, you approve anything you leave up.

            1. damikesc, you are straining at gnats. And CPNI purchases by would-be advertisers are not publishing, they are data sales to would-be advertisers.

            2. “If you’re willing to censor content, then by default, you approve anything you leave up.”

              Contradicting that notion is exactly why section 230 was created. Congress wanted to allow moderation of some content without incurring liability for not moderating other content.

      2. You’re right, our laws clearly need to be updated to deal with this situation and grant access to these platforms for all to be able to participate in public debate and converse with our elected officials. The fact these rights don’t exist is clearly an issue.

      3. And you’re an asshole.
        Go the fuck away.

      4. Whose fucktard sock is this. Noth pplatforms cultivated users based on terms of services. These terms are changed and enforced arbitrarily. They have claim. And since you seem like a really stupid pretend lawyer, clauses that say terms are adjustable at any time for one party are not enforceable.

  11. So we’re fighting over whether bureaucrats in D.C. or bureaucrats in California get to regulate my speech?

    Fun stuff. I think it would be more productive to focus on the fact that 2 companies (google & facebook) control virtually all of the advertising market, which is what is causing the free speech issues in the first place.

    1. FYI, you don’t have to do business with Google or Amazon if you don’t like them.

      And the right to free speech is a protection against government censorship. It doesn’t guarantee you access to someone else’s platform.

      1. The problem is if someone posts a known falsehood to Google or Amazon and they knowingly/selectively distribute it, I should have access to remuneration for the damage caused by their participation in the distribution. No different than if a newspaper went to print or a TV station went to air with the same information. This had been readily handled in the courts for decades and the idea that some sort of new protection was needed, from Congress, in ’96 is idiocy.

        1. access to remuneration

          And access does not mean right of claim or acquisition. A judge is still free to say “Google couldn’t have known about your insignificant problem.” and dismiss. The issue is that Congress has, in the name of free speech, preemptively stated that Google’s protections automatically supersede my own.

          1. Your comments make no sense. The person who created and posted the falsehood is responsible, and no one else. It isn’t a protection for Google, because they would never be liable. No, it isn’t the same as a newspaper or TV station.

            1. It isn’t a protection for Google, because they would never be liable.

              Never? Even if they paid someone to post the falsehood? Even if the person posting the falsehood was their own employee?

              If so, you’d better quit wasting time here and get in touch with Zuckerberg to let him know that even if he absolutely knew that Russians were spreading disinformation on his platform FB could never be held liable.

              No, it isn’t the same as a newspaper or TV station.

              Because ink? Copper wire? Radio waves? Electrons?

              1. Because stupid; that’s easy to see.

            2. Valkanis, are you distinguishing Google from internet publishers generally? Because if you are not, then your argument is impossible to follow. So what distinctions make Google not a publisher?

      2. If you want to be seen and have your online business grow, you must do business with Google or Facebook. If you don’t, you will have a hell of a time getting the word out that your business exists.

        As far as public debate and speech goes, its exists almost entirely online via a handful of platforms. I think it’s time to consider revising the idea that 1st amendment protections should extend to online platforms. I think that argument could very well be a valid one and that we should guarantee access from now on.

      3. Same Google who runs microphones on products for your children that they said they did not do…but turned out to be lying?

        Or who allows you to “opt out” info gathering on their phones…except they STILL gather the data regardless?

    2. This bill doesnt regulate anything. It just says what you have to do to get extra benefits in 230 protections.

  12. Hawley sucks. Reason ‘Wet roads cause rain.’ Magazine is every bit as bad.

    1. The measure would give the government control over online speech by denying Section 230 protections

      Not giving is stealing and denying protections is oppression.

      Tony has become Reason, they have become him.

      1. And companies that did not attempt to censor anyone would not run afoul of this proposed legislation.

        Yet, somehow that is a problem for ENB…

        1. This is about as bad as the time she defended a thief caught in the act, a retard that repeatedly raped infirm elderly women, and a crazy lady who murdered her own child because the DA was a creepy adulterer who didn’t commit a crime.

        2. You mean denying freedom of the press is a problem for her? Yes, and it should be. If you are serious you are extremely delusional. You have no right to not be “censored” by a private company. Take your socialist garbage somewhere else.

          1. You have no right to not be “censored” by a private company.

            A private company has no preemptive right not to be sued in civil court and Congress cannot make a law doing so on the basis of speech, free or otherwise. Shove your ill-considered, disingenuous, libertine, nanny-state socialism up your ass.

            1. Your statement makes no sense at all. They do have a preemptive right to not be sued for content they are not responsible, in the same way I couldn’t sue you for something that my coworker said. It isn’t in any way disingenuous or socialist. It amazes me how peoples’ brains work sometimes.

              1. They do have a preemptive right to not be sued for content they are not responsible

                No they don’t. It would violate the 1A. A judge can decide they don’t own the content or aren’t responsible for the content that they do own but Congress can’t preemptively say they aren’t responsible for any and all content they may or may not own now and forever.

                in the same way I couldn’t sue you for something that my coworker said.

                Except that you can sue me. It can get thrown out without a hearing and even with a hearing won’t necessarily be decided in your favor but you can absolutely sue me for something your coworker said. Especially if your co-worker said that they heard it from me, in which case it’s actually wise to sue us both.

                It amazes me how peoples’ brains work sometimes.

                I suspect large swaths of reality are constantly amazing you.

                1. And what if the coworker printed flyers publicizing the defamatory message? What if he printed them up, or copied them, using office property?
                  You bet your ass his employer is getting sued.
                  It might be enough that he had the conversation on company property, or had business cards on him.
                  Legally, these can all be construed as endorsement from the guy’s employer.

                  Publishers and broadcasters are held liable for the statements under their banner because they choose between piece A, B, C, etc. They are explicitly endorsing whichever piece(s) they choose by publishing it at the exclusion of others.
                  If Google, Facebook, Twitter ban anybody, they are explicitly endorsing all those not banned.
                  The platform has acted as a publisher by selectively hosting/publishing.
                  Their decision to selectively publish/host conveys responsibility on them, which comes with consequences.
                  The above “platforms” all behave as publishers, but Daddy Gov shields them from the consequences of irresponsibility.

                  1. It’s not, to my mind and I think some others, that they, a private company, shouldn’t have the option to deplatform and censor at their discretion, it’s that
                    the decision to do so should carry the consequences faced by everybody else – that is, liability for defamation based on the content being published by them.

                    The issue isn’t so much censor bias as illegitimate in and of itself, it’s that the bias is evidence of, itself is, selective editing. Thus, any defamatory speech is explicitly not only enabled but also endorsed.

                    Were they to go with the other option, not censor any legal communication/content, their lack of responsibility for defamation is evident and appropriate.

                    Right now – thanks to Daddy Gov – they get to have their cake and eat it too.

                    1. This.

                      I’m not sure what people are missing with this argument.

                      There is nothing libertarian about government granted immunity on civil action. In fact, it completely undermines the ideology. If we want a libertarian world where citizens rather than government deals with recourse, civil courts are absolutely necessary.

                      I get that what replaces it could be worse, but pretending like sec 230 is great from a libertarian perspective is fucking stupid.

                    2. “Thus, any defamatory speech is explicitly not only enabled but also endorsed.”

                      No, because whether something is defamation is not necessarily clear until after a court has ruled on it.

                      “Were they to go with the other option, not censor any legal communication/content”

                      you would have a hard time finding anything useful among all the spam and trolls. Not to mention situations like the NAACP being unable to delete trolling from the KKK on their site without facing liability.

              2. “Your statement makes no sense at all. They do have a preemptive right to not be sued for content they are not responsible, in the same way I couldn’t sue you for something that my coworker said.”

                If he printed up what your co-worker said and it posted all over town…you would have an action against him.

          2. A fucktars, google and Facebook can censor away all they want, they just wont get benefits under the bill. Stop saying you’re a lawyer shitbag.

      2. Not giving is stealing and denying protections is oppression.

        Not even denying; limiting protections is oppression. Courts can still broadly consider exempting providers on a case-by-case basis and Congress can still provide protections on a more narrow basis (which it shouldn’t be able to do at all).

        The idea that section 230 is the only thing that prevents providers and users/content generators from being distinguished legally is false and claiming as much is a flat out lie.

  13. Also, I get the feeling that ENB is only giving us one side of a very complicated issue. I don’t trust ENB’s friends to regulate my speech any more than I trust the government, but it seems ENB is assuring me that tech employee in California has my best interests at heart.

    1. Paraphrasing an old trope:

      It should be noted that no ethically-trained software engineer would ever consent to write a CensorConservatives procedure. Basic professional ethics would instead require him to write a CensorSpeech procedure, to which Conservatives could be given as a parameter. – Nathaniel Borenstein

    2. ENB’s friends aren’t the government, they can regulate your speech however they want. They don’t have to give a single shit about your best interest. If you don’t like it, don’t use their product. That is how a free society works. Your comment is utter bullshit; the “issue” isn’t complicated at all, because it doesn’t exist.

      1. When people like Sargon of Akkad are getting removed from the public debates via algorithms and barred from payment processors because of their political speech, we have a problem. I don’t buy into your libertarian distopia.

  14. Act like an editor, get treated like a publisher.

    The horror.

    The horror.

    1. Publishers can “censor” all they want, so your comment makes no sense. The bill is about the government regulating the content of private entities, which it can’t do, whether they are a publisher or an editor or anything else, other than legally proscribed content such as defamation.

      1. Christ you’re a fucking idiot.
        go back to Slate where the other idiots are debating.

      2. Yes, and they can also be sued for what they publish.

        “other than legally proscribed content such as defamation.”

        Which online forums are given special protections against unlike everywhere else.

        You continue to make no sense. This bill isn’t about the government regulating. This bill is about the government not granting special protections. I know that Reason hates accountability and growing up is hard, but that’s all that this does.

    2. Take down a comment because it’s child porn, you’re now an editor and publisher.

      1. No, that is a specious analogy.

        Knowledge of criminal activity is the difference. The same would apply to other platforms where they became aware of ongoing wire fraud and took steps to stop it.

  15. By the way, this isn’t just a Republican issue, there are a lot of progressives on the net who want to start treating the big tech companies as publishers instead of platforms, ’cause it ain’t just alt-right Nazis getting deplatformed and demonetized. It’s definitely a bad solution and you don’t EVER want to let the government in the door, but right now it’s a fairly bipartisan issue– at least at the grass roots level.

    1. By the way, this isn’t just a Republican issue, there are a lot of progressives on the net who want to start treating the big tech companies as publishers instead of platforms, ’cause it ain’t just alt-right Nazis getting deplatformed and demonetized.

      There are loads of non-partisans as well. When you set phasers to stun anybody with a swastika, the phasers don’t distinguish between Nazi skinheads and WWII historians.

      1. And somehow those phasers keep on hitting people on the center left pushing back against the far left. How convenient. But we don’t have a problem. ITS NOT A PROBLEM GUYS. NOTHING TO SEE HERE. Just private enterprise slowly tightening its grip around your throat, thats all.

    2. But it isn’t an “issue”, because they are a private company. End of story.

        1. What does that even mean? Did I ever once say that the government can force people to make cakes? Nope, instead I have only said the opposite. Any decision that implies otherwise is blatantly false, and besides, anti-discrimination laws, even under the insane progressive standard, do not apply to political belief, so that is not relevant whatsoever.
          Not -1.

          1. It means I agree with you, private company, they can do what the fuck they want. Which means we remove the gay wedding cake from the table.

          2. Perhaps you didn’t read my whole message:

            It’s definitely a bad solution and you don’t EVER want to let the government in the door, but right now it’s a fairly bipartisan issue– at least at the grass roots level.

            It’s ok though, most people don’t even read the articles.

      1. Its. Just. That. Simple! No thought involved. Thanks for clearing that up, Valkanis, I’m 100% convinced.

        That’s sarcasm btw – just trying to do it while California still allows us to.

  16. All proposed government solutions to problems start with giving government more power. Stupid people support giving government more power to solve problems because stupid people fail to understand that government considers them to be the problem.

    1. Like all the Trumpfans commenting on this post.

      1. Valkanis
        June.19.2019 at 3:44 pm

        I’m a huge Trumpfan.

        Huh. Awful presumptuous of you to announce that given how lukewarm or ambivalent many of us are to the guy, but I never would’ve guessed that about you, and Reason published it so it must be true.

      2. Isn’t it a shame that those afflicted with TDS make everything about their disability?
        Grow up, and fuck off.

      3. Just because someone disagrees with you does not mean they like Trump. This is stupid.

        1. Yes it does, Nazi McNazi face.

      4. Did Mother Jones ban your drivel, Valkanis?
        Is VOX closed down permanently.
        Did Slate shadow-b an you.
        Because Reason didn’t put out a call for MOAR RETARDS.

  17. […] so, Hawley’s legislation has already drawn some criticism from the right. In a statement, Americans for Prosperity Policy Analyst Billy […]

  18. The correct answer is civil suits against platforms and supporting platforms that respect speech. Govt is rarely the answer and it’s typically for Constitutionally enumerated powers that, while inefficient due to the nature of govt, are better made accountable to the people than to private entities, like our military.

    1. CDA Section 230 grants Big Tech an exemption from publishing law so they can’t be sued in civil suits for what they publish on their platforms.

      That’s the whole point.

  19. […] so, Hawley’s legislation has already drawn some criticism from the right. In a statement, Americans for Prosperity Policy Analyst Billy Easley said, […]

    1. AKA the Chamber of Commerce

  20. “Hawley’s solution is to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a measure that prevents individual users of internet platforms and the companies that run them from being treated as legally indistinguishable from one another. ”

    Notice the nonsensical verbal diarrhea. Really, I’m legally indistinguishable from Twitter if I use Twitter? I hope that works at their bank.

    “Without it, digital companies and the users of their products (i.e., all of us) could be sued in civil court or subject to state criminal prosecution over content and messages created and published by others.”

    If Big Tech exerts editorial control, they are acting as publishers, and should be treated as such. This is a finding of fact to be made by a jury.

    If Reason actually believed in Free Markets instead of Corporate Profits, they wouldn’t be in favor of crony capitalist legislation to carve out a special legal exemption from publishing liability law for Big Tech.

    It’s almost like they don’t believe in free markets at all, and it’s really just all about Corporate Profits Uber Alles!

    1. Principals not principles

    2. This isn’t about rewarding corporate friends. This is about the libertine moment where no one is responsible for anything (unless I don’t like them). Recall, this is the same writer who claimed that we need to publicly fund abortions because that’s cheaper than paying out welfare to poor kids/families.

      The stupid, it burns.

      1. ecall, this is the same writer who claimed that we need to publicly fund abortions because that’s cheaper than paying out welfare to poor kids/families.

        ENB logic: “The state has already amputated one of your balls, why in the world would you now object to the state amputating the other one as well?”

      2. “This isn’t about rewarding corporate friends.”

        Probably not.

        But if Reason wasn’t getting all that ‘free’ hosting on youtube I’d be less likely to suspect ulterior motives.

  21. […] Hawley wants to revive the old Fairness Doctrine,” writes Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason, a “truly Orwellian tack of trying to convince conservative internet users that taking […]

  22. […] Hawley desires to revive the outdated Equity Doctrine,” writes Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Purpose, a “actually Orwellian tack of making an attempt to persuade conservative web […]

  23. […] Hawley wants to revive the old Fairness Doctrine,” writes Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason, a “truly Orwellian tack of trying to convince conservative internet users that taking […]

  24. […] Hawley wants to revive the old Fairness Doctrine,” writes Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason, a “truly Orwellian tack of trying to convince conservative internet users that […]

  25. […] Hawley wants to revive the old Fairness Doctrine,” writes Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason, a “truly Orwellian tack of trying to convince conservative internet users that taking […]

  26. God these comments are depressing.

  27. […] Hawley wants to revive the old Fairness Doctrine,” writes Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason, a “truly Orwellian tack of trying to convince conservative internet users that taking […]

  28. What a brilliant attempt at obfuscation and propaganda, ENB, without any actual rational discussion.

    As far as I can tell, Hawley wants to revoke safe harbor provisions for Internet services when they are not content neutral. That’s a reasonable thing to do. Personally, I would prefer to remove safe harbor provisions altogether and hold Internet services liable for any and all content published on their platforms, with an exemption only for ISPs (companies that transmit but don’t store or publish).

    Would the effect be that companies like Google censor more? You bet! But the even bigger effect would be that companies like Google couldn’t operate at all anymore at the current scale, and they would instead be replaced by millions of individually owned and operated servers with no censorship.

    But, of course, that’s not what ENB wants. ENB wants a world in which a few big tech monopolies control everything and can censor with impunity due to regulatory capture, and she has the gall to call that situation “free speech”.

    1. #LibertariansForCronyCapitalistLegalExemptions

    2. Brown’s initial premise as stated in the title – that this law would “put Washington In Charge of Internet Speech” elides the rather obvious fact that, in passing the CDA, Congress already declared themselves to be the arbiters of internet speech.

  29. […] so, Hawley’s legislation has already drawn some criticism from the right. In a statement, Americans for Prosperity Policy Analyst Billy Easley said, […]

  30. […] so, Hawley’s legislation has already drawn some criticism from the right. In a statement, Americans for Prosperity Policy Analyst Billy Easley said, […]

  31. […] so, Hawley’s legislation has already drawn some criticism from the right. In a statement, Americans for Prosperity Policy Analyst Billy Easley said, […]

  32. Without it [Section 230], digital companies and the users of their products (i.e., all of us) could be sued in civil court or subject to state criminal prosecution over content and messages created and published by others.

    That mischaracterizes. Even without Section 230, there is no liability for one commenter on an internet platform if a different commenter commits, for instance, defamation, or any other offense.

  33. […] against new measure to make the internet “politically neutral.” New legislation proposed by freshman Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.) on Wednesday is getting roundly panned by both his Republican and Democrat colleagues. That […]

  34. […] against new measure to make the internet “politically neutral.” New legislation proposed by freshman Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.) on Wednesday is getting roundly panned by both his Republican and Democrat colleagues. That […]

  35. As described, Hawley’s proposed bill is atrocious. There can be no justification for letting government review speech content, to decide whether it has been properly moderated. I say this as a steady advocate of repeal of Section 230.

    Where I differ, is that my advocacy is to keep government out of every content-affecting role. Instead, repeal Section 230 unconditionally, and return to internet publishers the same responsibility which still applies to ink-on-paper publishers—to read everything before publishing it, and be subject to private defamation claims in civil courts if you slip up.

    That would turn content decisions entirely over to private editors, and keep government out of the picture—an objective which, as Hawley’s proposal shows, is getting more urgent by the day. Don’t tinker with Section 230 to give government a bigger role. Repeal Section 230, to give government no role.

    1. Where I differ, is that my advocacy is to keep government out of every content-affecting role. Instead, repeal Section 230 unconditionally, and return to internet publishers the same responsibility which still applies to ink-on-paper publishers

      I agree in principle. However, a full repeal is politically impossible because Facebook, Google, Twitter, and many other online media know it would destroy their business model. That’s no accident either: the way freedom of speech will be restored is not by forcing Facebook and Google to stop doing evil, but rather by free market competition.

      Hawley’s proposal, on the other hand, has a chance of passing, since both the left and the right may be on board with it. Strategically, getting a cumbersome federal review board into Google’s and Facebook’s hair is a big step forward because it makes the desired outcome, namely that they abandon their regulatory capture and face market competition, much more likely. After that, the remnants of Section 230 can die a quiet death in obscurity, along with llama poop legislation.

      1. J W, you sound like a sensible person, but not a publisher. Section 230 is what enabled that business model, and thus enabled the practical monopolization of the internet ad sales market by the internet giants exploiting network effects.

        Without Section 230, the competition you posit would well up from below, as you suggest. With Section 230, what competition there still is below is destined to shrink, fade, and disappear. You can be sure of that because you can see it happening now. Even the conspicuous survivors, such as the NYT, are already trying to fight back by more-and-more tailoring their content to match internet norms dictated by the giants. That is not a good thing.

        So even if getting rid of Section 230 were not imperative to prevent increasing calls for government censorship, it would still be imperative to do it to restore healthy diversity to the publishing ecology of the nation.

        1. Section 230 has absolutely nothing to do with google and friends eating the old media market.

          1. Thanks, Skippy, but your are full of beans. As you would know if you knew anything about the practical economics of ink-on-paper publishing. Which your remark shows with certainty, you do not.

        2. J W, you sound like a sensible person, but not a publisher. Section 230 is what enabled that business model, and thus enabled the practical monopolization of the internet ad sales market by the internet giants exploiting network effects.

          I agree, I’ve been saying the same thing.

          So even if getting rid of Section 230 were not imperative to prevent increasing calls for government censorship, it would still be imperative to do it to restore healthy diversity to the publishing ecology of the nation.

          You sound like a sensible businessman, but perhaps a little out of touch with politics. Getting rid of Section 230 is not in the cards right now. The choice right now is between (A) leaving Section 230 as is and (B) replacing Section 230 that forces companies like Google to make a choice: (1) operate as if Section 230 didn’t exist, or (2) accept onerous regulation and scrutiny.

          I think (B) is a better choice than (A). You take what you can get politically.

          1. You take what you can get politically.

            You are endorsing government censorship on the internet. If they give you free poison, do you eat it?

            1. Taking tax cuts isn’t an endorsement of taxes.

              Insisting that tax laws, drug laws, and immigration laws be enforced isn’t an endorsement of tax laws, drug laws, and immigration law.

              Being a political realist and insisting that a progressive welfare state live up at least to its own rules isn’t an “endorsement”.

    2. So you want anyone that can’t employ full-time moderators should shutter their comment sections.

      Interesting idea.

      1. No, they only risk liability WHEN they moderate. But you’re easily confused when censorship is at risk.

        1. SOSTA.

          Not moderating at all is not an option.

      2. Escher, if I understand you, you seem to premise your remark on present conditions—as if market conditions created by Section 230 would continue even after Section 230 were gone. Imagine instead the publishing universe that thrived nationwide prior to the internet, with thousands of successful publishers of various sizes and market specializations, all employing private editors to read everything.

        Now imagine that former situation improved by the more-favorable economics enabled by getting rid of the 40% – 70% of operating costs that previously were sunk into ink, paper and distribution. Consider that at the moment of its maximum success, the LA Times printed and distributed a Sunday edition with an aggregate weight greater than a WW II destroyer. And the LAT did that week after week—while publishing numerous other editions every day. And even with those gigantic costs, the LA Times was reading everything that went into the paper.

        Give some thought to the publishing potential which getting rid of costs like those would create in a non-monopolized market. I don’t think just paying folks to read the comments would seem so expensive. Many more publishers than before would be able to employ editors. And thus would-be contributors would find an enlarged market for their writing.

        Would some would-be contributors be frozen out. Of course. But at least they would have an easier time going it on their own than in the old ink-on-paper days, because their costs would be almost non-existent.

        1. Would some would-be contributors be frozen out. Of course.

          So you agree with me.

          1. Escher, freedom of the press does not confer a right to be published. It never has, and it never can. So no, I don’t agree with you.

            A guy who can manage a wheelbarrow could maybe learn to work a high-rise construction crane, but until he does learn it, you can’t let him on the crane. It’s utopian (and reckless) to think otherwise.

            At present, internet publishing is a bunch of high-rise cranes with too many wheelbarrow jockeys among the operators. Government censorship of internet publishing is just one among many kinds of catastrophes those guys are capable of delivering. It’s reckless to endorse government censorship. And it’s damn surprising to have to say so to so many self-described libertarians.

      3. Or don’t censor them at all.

        Again, if you don’t censor at all, you’re not, by any definition, a publisher. You’d be, purely, a platform.

        1. If you don’t censor at all, and publish advertising, you are a publisher.

          If you don’t censor at all, and publish a defamation authored by one of your contributors, you are a publisher with a liability problem—except for the special immunity which Section 230 may extend to you, and not to your ink-on-paper competitor.

        2. Or don’t censor them at all.

          SOSTA.

        3. That distinction is a line politicians arbitrarily made up. What about some company that decides to be both. This comment section, for example, is on a website that publishes the opinions of its reason foundation writers, but it is not (judging from some of the idiotic comments I’ve seen) censored. They act as a platform for all the crazy ranters to vent their rage on. It’s a publication and platform all in one, like many, many other things.

  36. […] against new measure to make the internet “politically neutral.” New legislation proposed by freshman Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.) on Wednesday is getting roundly panned by both his Republican and Democrat colleagues. That […]

  37. I assume, naturally, there will be exceptions for actual politicians and the like.

    After all, suing the GOP for not running an unbiased message board would probably be too silly even for these folks.

    1. If they defame then they are exposed like anyone else. Instead there will be enforcement exceptions for “homophobia” and other “hate speech” because reasons.

      1. You’re a stupid poopy head.

        There, per what y’all want, Reason is now liable for defamation of NotAnotherSkippy.

        1. Truth is an affirmative defense.

  38. […] blowback against new measure to make the internet “politically neutral.” New legislation proposed by freshman Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.) on Wednesday is getting roundly panned by both his Republican and Democrat colleagues. That […]

  39. […] against new measure to make the internet “politically neutral.” New legislation proposed by freshman Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.) on Wednesday is getting roundly panned by both his Republican and Democrat colleagues. That […]

  40. “Hawley is selling it as a way to fight tech-company “bias” against Republicans. Don’t believe him.”

    And why should we not be biased against republicans?

    1. ENB is doing what’s known as “concern trolling”.

      She’s saying “I hate Republicans, and I don’t want X to happen. But if I were a Republican, I wouldn’t do X because it is against Republican interests.”

  41. The FAANG’s are cash cows, and at all levels of government AG’s are salivating at the thought of big settlements a la ‘Big Tobacco’.

  42. […] against new measure to make the internet “politically neutral.” New legislation proposed by freshman Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.) on Wednesday is getting roundly panned by both his Republican and Democrat colleagues. That […]

  43. […] and he wants to put Washington in charge.   David French at NRO and Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason do a good job of explaining why Josh has a particularly foolish bill.  Of course you should real […]

  44. […] more, Cathy Gellis, Joshua Wright thread, Eric Goldman, Raffi Malkonian on retroactivity and more, Elizabeth Nolan Brown/Reason] Related: Daphne Keller (“Build Your Own Intermediary Liability Law: A Kit for Policy Wonks […]

  45. […] abandon their free speech cards when they calculate it serves them. (See the conservative fight to regulate online speech.) But this case isn’t nearly as cut and dry as Oberlin students have […]

  46. […] abandon their free speech cards when they calculate it serves them. (See the conservative fight to regulate online speech.) But this case isn’t nearly as cut and dry as Oberlin students have […]

  47. […] abandon their free speech cards when they calculate it serves them. (See the conservative fight to regulate online speech.) But this case isn’t nearly as cut and dry as Oberlin students have […]

  48. […] abandon their free speech cards when they calculate it serves them. (See the conservative fight to regulate online speech.) But this case isn’t nearly as cut and dry as Oberlin students have […]

  49. […] abandon their free speech cards when they calculate it serves them. (See the conservative fight to regulate online speech.) But this case isn’t nearly as cut and dry as Oberlin students have […]

  50. […] naturally, whined that the bill put Washington in charge of Internet speech. And the Washington Examiner claimed it would lead to […]

  51. […] hoping no one tells Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) about […]

  52. […] hoping no one tells Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) about […]

  53. […] hoping no one tells Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) about […]

  54. […] hoping no one tells Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) about […]

  55. […] if on cue, Hawley last week introduced a bill to revoke current protections afforded to large internet companies by Section 230, which […]

  56. […] if on cue, Hawley last week introduced a bill to revoke current protections afforded to large internet companies by Section 230, which […]

  57. […] if on cue, Hawley last week introduced a bill to revoke current protections afforded to large internet companies by Section 230, which […]

  58. […] in conspiracy theories and outright racism. Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) has taken the lead by introducing a bill to amend Section 230 under the pretense of fighting tech companies’ supposed […]

  59. […] in conspiracy theories and outright racism. Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) has taken the lead by introducing a bill to amend Section 230 under the pretense of fighting tech companies’ supposed […]

  60. […] in conspiracy theories and outright racism. Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) has taken the lead by introducing a bill to amend Section 230 under the pretense of fighting tech companies’ supposed […]

  61. […] in conspiracy theories and outright racism. Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) has taken the lead by introducing a bill to amend Section 230 under the pretense of fighting tech companies’ supposed […]

  62. […] whole thing has been pushing social media regulation and free speech crackdowns based on his belief that a few big online companies have shown bias […]

  63. […] whole thing has been pushing social media regulation and free speech crackdowns based on his belief that a few big online companies have shown bias […]

  64. […] More criticism of Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R–Mo.) supremely silly social-media bill: […]

  65. […] More criticism of Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R–Mo.) supremely silly social-media bill: […]

  66. […] More criticism of Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R–Mo.) supremely silly social-media bill: […]

  67. […] two weeks ago, freshman Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) introduced legislation that would effectively give the federal government control over large swaths of internet content. […]

  68. […] two weeks ago, freshman Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) introduced legislation that would effectively give the federal government control over large swaths of internet content. […]

  69. […] editorial National Review article by David French 6/20/19 NMSU Reporter article 6/20/19 Reason article 6/19/19 Slate article 6/19/19 Techdirt article 6/19/19 The Argus Press article (CTA statement) […]

  70. […] Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) introduced a bill in June that would require the tech behemoths to verify their political neutrality with the Federal Trade Commission every two years. If they failed to do so, they would lose […]

  71. […] Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) introduced a bill in June that would require the tech behemoths to verify their political neutrality with the Federal Trade Commission every two years. If they failed to do so, they would lose […]

  72. […] Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) introduced a bill in June that would require the tech behemoths to verify their political neutrality with the Federal Trade Commission every two years. If they failed to do so, they would lose […]

  73. […] Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) introduced a bill in June that would require the tech behemoths to verify their political neutrality with the Federal Trade Commission every two years. If they failed to do so, they would lose […]

  74. […] Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) introduced a bill in June that would require the tech behemoths to verify their political neutrality with the Federal Trade Commission every two years. If they failed to do so, they would lose […]

  75. […] premise of the so-called Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act, which Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced last month, is therefore fundamentally mistaken. The bill, which Trump calls “very […]

  76. […] premise of the so-called Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act, which Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced last month, is therefore fundamentally mistaken. The bill, which Trump calls “very […]

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