Free Speech

Tulsi Gabbard's $50 Million Lawsuit Against Google Is Another Attack on Online Free Speech

The presidential hopeful alleges the company violated her First Amendment rights when it suspended her campaign advertising site for 6 hours.

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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii) took a cue from conservative conspiracists Thursday, when the congresswoman and Democratic presidential hopeful sued Google for $50 million and accused the company of violating her right to free speech. The suit, filed in a federal court in Los Angeles, argues that Google infringed on the First Amendment when it suspended her campaign advertising site for six hours, briefly impeding her ability to raise money right after a well-received debate performance.

Many people on the right have recently made social media companies Public Enemy No. 1, claiming that they discriminate against conservative points of view. Ironically, Gabbard's suit throws some cold water on the accusations coming from her Republican counterparts, casting doubt on the idea that Google and its subsidiaries are systematically ostracizing Wrongthink along party lines.

"Google's discriminatory actions against my campaign are reflective of how dangerous their complete dominance over internet search is, and how the increasing dominance of big tech companies over our public discourse threatens our core American values," Gabbard said in a statement. "This is a threat to free speech, fair elections, and to our democracy, and I intend to fight back on behalf of all Americans."

Similar contentions were most recently placed under the spotlight during a Senate hearing last week on Google censorship. Dennis Prager, the conservative radio host and the hearing's star witness, lamented YouTube's decision to restrict about 20 percent of his videos, meaning they are invisible to the 1.5 percent of viewers who opt not to see mature content. Prager claimed that YouTube—a Google subsidiary—had targeted his video-making nonprofit PragerU because of a corporate bias against conservatives, notwithstanding the fact that the tech giant restricts much larger portions of content from various liberal organizations.

"I promise you, one day you will say, first they came after conservatives, and I said nothing," said Prager, referencing Martin Niemöller's famous poem. "And then they came after me—and there was no one left to speak up for me." It's a puzzling claim, considering that the remaining 98.5 percent of YouTube's 1.3 billion users can still engage with all of his videos.

Although Gabbard and Prager's recent gripes center on Google, the social media sphere in general has been a rife target for censorship claims. In a similar hearing in April, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R–Tenn.) said that social media was the new "town square"—one that requires a sheriff (see: the federal government) for proper policing. She cited Twitter's brief removal of her Senate campaign announcement video in 2017; although it was reinstated soon after, she chalked the debacle up to anti-conservative bias in big tech.

In another sign that this isn't a Republican-specific phenomenon, a near-identical scenario struck Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) on Facebook. The platform recently removed an ad for Warren's presidential campaign for violating its terms of service.

While conservatives seem to be somewhat unified in their skepticism of social media, Democrats as a whole will likely be harder to convince, as many have spent ample amounts of time refuting such claims from the right. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D–Hawaii), for one, said in last week's tech hearing that the bias bickering is "baseless."

Many of these companies have been obnoxiously opaque about their business practices, leaving users to play guessing games about why certain bits of content have been removed. That lack of transparency, and their sometimes over-aggressive content regulation, has opened a wide gate for complainers to make assumptions about what's going on. Hence the charges of politically motivated bias.

Gabbard likely stands no chance in court. But, if anything, her lawsuit provides an excellent example of the perpetual misunderstanding surrounding what constitutes protected speech, and what does not. While the First Amendment certainly shields Gabbard, Prager, and everyone else from government censorship or retaliation based on words alone, it does not mean Google, Facebook, or Twitter cannot remove content. They are private companies, and, as such, they can choose to disassociate if something doesn't align with their values—an argument that, until recently, resonated with conservatives.

Google denies any such bias. "In this case, our system triggered a suspension and the account was reinstated shortly thereafter," Jose Castanada tells The New York Times, explaining that an automated system works to prevent potential fraud by flagging accounts with large spending changes. "We are proud to offer ad products that help campaigns connect directly with voters, and we do so without bias toward any party or political ideology."

If her suit is any proof, that answer did not satisfy Gabbard, who has now joined hands with her conservative colleagues in decrying tech "censorship." Who said bipartisanship was dead?

NEXT: D.C. Metro Spent $500,000 Maintaining a Self-Cleaning Toilet That Hasn't Flushed Since 2017

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195 responses to “Tulsi Gabbard's $50 Million Lawsuit Against Google Is Another Attack on Online Free Speech

  1. “Gabbard likely stands no chance in court. But, if anything, her lawsuit provides an excellent example of the perpetual misunderstanding surrounding what constitutes protected speech, and what does not. While the First Amendment certainly shields Gabbard, Prager, and everyone else from government censorship or retaliation based on words alone, it does not mean Google, Facebook, or Twitter cannot remove content. They are private companies, and, as such, can choose not to publish something if it doesn’t align with their values”

    I believe this is not true, or at least, not as cut and dried as you make it look. The fact that there are many arcane rules regarding elections and ads is not really given enough weight in your assessment.

    1. “Gabbard’s suit throws some cold water on the accusations coming from her Republican counterparts,”

      Not really. Gabbard is a centrist.

      1. His point is retarded. She’s hated by the donor class for advocating anti-trust or whatever; and she’s hated by the blue hairs for something to do with Russia and homos.

        1. How are her claims retarded? She has documented proof her paid for ads (under contract) were treated differently. What clause under the ad agreement gives google carte blanche to change contract terms at whim? If the terms exist this is exactly the type of clauses courts strike down.

          1. Drugs are bad.

            1. Thanks mr. Rodgers. Thought you were dead.

          2. Do you suppose there’s no language in the contract that reads (something) like:

            Google, at its sole discretion, may implement fraud prevention measures that may block or delay fulfillment of orders.

            or something broader?

            I’ve not read the contract that Google enters into with advertisers, but if they didn’t include such language, their legal staff should be given cardboard boxes to pack and carry out their personal belongings under the gaze of armed security.

            A six hour delay would be nothing in the usual world of ads. Ad campaigns are not usually “impulse” buys based on breaking events. If Gabbard’s purchase pattern changed significantly in a few minutes it would not be unreasonable for an automated system to block it and have humans review the situation. Perhaps she substantially increased her buys and, perhaps, from an area (based on IP address) that she had not previously made buys from (perhaps she was at the debate site where she had never been before and had previously purchased ads from one or two other locations).

            This seems likely no different than when you attempt to make a large credit card charge for merchandise from a vendor (perhaps an Apple store buying ten high end iPhones and associated bling) and you’ve never made a charge before from that area or anywhere nearby. I’ve had credit card companies block charges – true, five to ten minutes w/customer support resolves it if necessary (although I usually just use another card which doesn’t trigger an exception). I’ve never sued the credit card issuer in these cases and I’ll bet the “fine print” in our contract gives them the right to do this w/o compensating me in any way.

            1. “Do you suppose”

              When your entire post is speculation about what the contract does and doesn’t allow, the text wall isn’t necessary. Just say “Hurrr durrrr” and then openly speculate stupidly.

            2. Generally those clauses become void when there is disparate action by the company, and apparently Gabbard has enough data showing different treatment. That alone is enough. Clauses excusing one side of culpability in contracts are generally not upheld in contract claim lawsuit.

              For example, you can’t add a clause saying you are not culpable of any action in a contract and expect it to be upheld.

        2. She’s hated by the establishment for being non-interventionist.

          1. The only anti war candidate. Tusli Gabbard may not win but at least if she gets in the next set of debates the idiotic never ending wars will get some TV time . That subject will not get any tv time from the MSM. Almost 5 trillion spent on war from 2000. The Warmongers are making a few very rich and the rest of us poorer or dead. The DNC requires 130,000 donors so even a $1 donation gets here in the next debate.https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=tulsi%20gabbard%20for%20president%202020&epa=SERP_TAB

    2. Reason doesn’t know what contract law is. They ignored the dismissal of Meagan Murphys contract claims under 230 after claiming it only covered libel. Reason is pro corporate legal protections now it seems.

      1. Someone is getting what they pay for.

      2. They have been for 10 years.

        Corporations over individuals. Under the guise of “private company”. Ignoring all government ties to major corps.

        What reason really is is fascist. Full stop.

    3. By suspending her account, albeit briefly, Google interfered with Presidential election process.This suspension restricted her ability to communicate with potential voters and to raise money, which put her at a disadvantage against the other candidates.

      If social media can silence candidates they don’t like, that’s interfering with the election process. There may be other platforms, but none have the reach of Google, Facebook and Twitter.

      Considering how obsessed the left has been with Russian interference in the 2016 election you’d think they’d be outraged at this.

      1. It really is a matter of platform vs. publisher.

        Platforms that interfere by asserting editorial control cease to be platforms and become online publishers.

    4. As mentioned by another comment above, private companies owe ZERO to those they choose not let comment. Would the dolts in our government (all of them, pretty much) okay allowing American Nazi groups to put any comment they wanted on a Holocaust website? Just a few whiners want to use the power of the feds to get what they can’t get legally or morally. If Dennis Prager wants to enlighten the world, let him start his own website, which, by the way, a child of 10 could do unassisted.

      1. “Would the dolts in our government (all of them, pretty much) okay allowing American Nazi groups to put any comment they wanted on a Holocaust website?”

        Why wouldn’t they be? Why should only the people you agree with be allowed to express themselves? Being a Nazi isn’t illegal, nor is espousing Nazi beliefs. Sorry but there is no right to not be offended.

      2. A holocaust website isn’t a platform that advertised and grew based on the publicized policy of free speech. Google, Facebook, and other platforms came to dominance due to the factors outlined. YouTube especially grew by promising creators a cut of the profits, and now have changed those terms including retroactive changes.

        There seems to be a lot of ignorance on the issues involved here.

  2. If they choose not to publish content that doesn’t align with their values then their publishers and they should lose their Section 230 protections.

    1. Gabby’s case is worse. It is regarding paid for ad placement.

    2. These are the facts as I know them, someone correct me if I’m wrong. She had by far the most Google searches after the debates of anyone on Google by at least 10 fold, and this is world wide, and stayed by Google the day after the debate. Then Google did not allow the people that searched her to go to her web site for very unclear reasons. I think they should pay at least 50M for once again messing with our election system. Left or Right it’s not alright. They are there to provide access to web sites, not to decide what we can and cannot see, with obvious exceptions, but clearly not the ability to access a normal politician’s official web site. Unbelievable behavior by Google, and they should get way more than a slap on the wrist.

      1. She once said something that wasn’t pro-LGBTQ+ enough.

        1. Meh. There’s not as much money in the social justice movement as there is in the MIC. It’s most likely because she doesn’t want any more wars.

      2. How did Google prevent people from going to Gabbard’s web site? I don’t see that claim anywhere in the filing and don’t see how Google could prevent it — my internet traffic doesn’t go through Google.

        Sure, they might not get a “promoted paid search result” at the top of their Google search result, but if I were looking specifically for her web site, I’m pretty sure I could quickly craft a simple search that would get an organic, unpaid, link to her site within the top ten results.

        And, there’s Bing, DuckDuckGo and others I could try.

        1. Good comment, BadLib. And even if Google wouldn’t allow Gabbard’s web site be listed, who cares when there are at LEAST another five search engines that would do so.

    3. They aren’t “publishing content”, they are selling paid political ads. You cannot turn down ads from candidates you don’t like if you are going to sell them to their opponents

      1. Turning down certain ads is exerting editorial control over what appears on your service – that makes them publishers.

  3. Imagine thinking it’s perfectly legal to suspend a service exactly when the customer needs it the most.

    1. Yes, I can’t wait until some “platform” decides to suspend paid-for campaign ad buys ‘temporarily’ from Halloween til mid-November 2020

  4. First useful thing a Democrat has done in decades.

    1. Obama loosened travel restrictions to Cuba. The one thing I agreed with him on.

  5. “They are private companies, and, as such, they can choose to disassociate if something doesn’t align with their values”

    Tell that to bakers in Colorado.
    Tell that to the Little Sisters of the Poor.

    1. No, it is a childish and vacuous statement. Platforms that SELL POLITICAL ADS must do so in a non-discriminatory matter. Ds can buy ads on Fox and Sinclair radio stations, Rs can buy ads on MSNBC and, anywhere else. Anyone who wants to be seen by flight attendants buying a latte can buy ads on CNN.

      1. “Anyone who wants to be seen by flight attendants buying a latte can buy ads on CNN.”
        Now that’s just funny, I don’t care who you are.

        1. I’m here all week

      2. Nash Tiger: Baloney. Should a TV channel which is exclusively for gay people be forced to sell ads for homophobic groups? Should a Jewish owned firm be required to sell ad space to the American Nazi group? What rot you excrete.

        1. It’s the law, cletus

  6. Look at reason defending giant corporations being granted legal immunity over others. How quaint.

    Cant wait for baby jeff to come in and prove how fucking stupid he is again. Maybe this time I’ll link to Hawleys bill to prove baby Jeffrey didnt read it. The 11 pages in 24 font is probably too much for him. If only it was about wizards like Harry Potter.

    1. “Look at reason defending giant corporations”

      This is a mis-characterization. It’s high tech that Reason is defending, as they’ve always done. Reason still may picture Silicon Valley as it was in the 70s, when there was a disruptive hippy libertarian spirit ruling the place and giant corporations were few on the ground.

      1. Maybe. I thought it was still that way into the early 90s, but what do I know. Either way, Reason has lost its… gravitas? Compass?

      2. That may be an accurate representation of their editorial thought process. But this stuff is, standing one year away from 2020, no longer high tech. It’s standard issue tech, like a USA Today ad from 1988.

        Or a leather jacket circa 1978.

      3. Okay, so I have agreed with both alphabet soup and Mtrueman today. Next it will be Tony and ChemJeff. We truly are living in the end times. ????
        Sorry, but well said trueman.

    2. No no, keep sucking Hawley’s dick, Censor Jesse. You really have some nerve coming to a libertarian site and supporting state censorship, even if it is Hawley’s version of censorship via extortion.

      1. Every time you post, it just makes you look worse

      2. Lol. I called it retard Jeff still hasnt read an 11 page 24 font bill.

        God you’re a joke baby Jeffrey. please post the line from the bill that grants government censorship rights baby jeffrey. I want to force you to read it

        1. It is censorship via extortion.

          Paragraphs (1) and (2) [of CDA 230] shall not apply in the case of a covered company unless the company has in effect an immunity certification from the Federal Trade Commission (referred to in this paragraph as the ‘Commission’) under subparagraph (B) that the company does not moderate information provided by other information content providers in a manner that is biased against a political party, political candidate, or political viewpoint.

          So a company would have to beg for permission in front of the FTC in order to not be held liable for the speech of others. His bill would effectively put the FTC in charge of a company’s moderation decisions. That is why I refer to it as censorship via extortion. It would only be an illusion that the company themselves remain in control over their moderation policy. In reality the FTC would be the ones in charge.

  7. Oh, the usual “BUT MUH PRIVATE PLATFORMS”.

    Then, no doubt, demands that the protections they get for claiming to be platforms never go away, even if they violate the obligations. Because THIS…THIS is the good kind of crony capitalism.

    “Similar contentions were most recently placed under the spotlight during a Senate hearing last week on Google censorship. Dennis Prager, the conservative radio host and the hearing’s star witness, lamented YouTube’s decision to restrict about 20 percent of his videos, meaning they are invisible to the 1.5 percent of viewers who opt not to see mature content. Prager claimed that YouTube—a Google subsidiary—had targeted his video-making nonprofit PragerU because of a corporate bias against conservatives, notwithstanding the fact that the tech giant restricts much larger portions of content from various liberal organizations.”

    Anybody else remember when this site was going apeshit because Gary Johnson wasn’t put on stage for the Trump/Hillary debates? Man, times have CHANGED.

    1. Reasons new libertarian stance is some censorship is okay. I’m sure this wont increase ever…

      1. Censorship is okay as long as giant tech companies are doing it.

        1. It is amusing searching reason say losing extra legal protections is censorship while actually censoring people is not.

          1. Bingo

          2. “extra legal protections” lol
            That is how you dishonestly frame the argument.
            Not holding some tech company liable for what OTHER PEOPLE say on their platforms is not some “extra legal protection”. It is the PROPER legal protection for ANYONE. I am not held liable for the crimes of my neighbor, and nor should anyone else be held liable. Ideally we wouldn’t even NEED a Section 230 because it should simply be understood that I and I alone am responsible for my speech, not Reason, not some other third party, but me. And that doesn’t matter if the speech is electronic or not.

            You’re carrying water for censorious authoritarians by dishonestly framing the issue in terms of “special legal protections”.

            1. Which they explicitly are, otherwise a law wouldn’t be needed to distinguish them from other publishers

              1. They’re not publishers. The law was passed because a court, back in the early days of the commercial Internet, got it wrong. Please, educate yourself.

                https://www.eff.org/issues/cda230

                1. NO, the court didn’t get it wrong. If you have control over the content of your platform, you are a publisher. They changed the law because the court got it right and they felt that the tech companies needed special protection to continue to be in business. That protection was given to them on the assumption that they would not act like publishers and engage in arbitrary censorship of their users.

                  1. If you have control over the content of your platform, you are a publisher.

                    So libraries are publishers now? Interesting.

                    That protection was given to them on the assumption that they would not act like publishers and engage in arbitrary censorship of their users.

                    That is completely untrue. CDA 230 has no requirement that censorship on private platforms be “neutral” or “fair”.

                    Please, John, educate yourself on what the law actually says instead of just regurgitating Team Red talking points.

                    1. Can you argue what people actually saying? John is stating that by activist censoring content the platforms disagree with that they no longer are simply hosting material but actively editing it, thus they have become editors and could be considered publishers. The knee jerk response that section 230 protects them as simply host sites is questionable once the began to actively promote some material over others based upon ideological lines. Now the question becomes can YouTube Google etc be completely beyond legal culpability once the begin to actively curate material. This isn’t nearly as clear cut as you maintain. That also doesn’t mean the solution is some form of internet fairness act. It is much more complicated then simple free speech and private companies, because section 230 does give them specific protections other types of similar businesses do not automatically receive. This may be overall a good thing but it doesn’t make it any less true.

                    2. Can you argue what people actually saying? John is stating that by activist censoring content the platforms disagree with that they no longer are simply hosting material but actively editing it, thus they have become editors and could be considered publishers.

                      I reject John’s premise entirely. Deleting tweets does not automatically turn Twitter into a publisher, for the same reason that a library removing a book from its collection does not automatically turn the library into a publisher.

                      Twitter removing a tweet from its platform is analogous to a library removing a book from its collection. In both cases, the tweet/book was written by someone else, not by Twitter or the library. In neither case is Twitter/a librarian actually modifying the content of the tweet/book. And in neither case should Twitter/the library now be regarded as “publishers” for making this type of decision.

                      IF Twitter were *modifying the contents* of tweets, then you’d have a point. But they’re not.

                    3. Simply because you reject it doesn’t give you the right to misrepresent it. This seems to be a common tactic or yours. It also seems as if you have a superiority complex, that you reject any bodies else’s arguments and belittle them or misrepresent them. Your library analogy is incomplete, because first libraries are not protected. Of my public library refuses to carry a book for a political reason I can sue them (and likely win on 1A grounds). Secondly, libraries usually only remove books because of poor circulation or because of limited space and funds. None of these apply to the IT giants. The problem is that most people feel they have little recourse when dealing with these entities, who also seem to be coordinating, and have high market capture (in part because of regulatory capture). At some point section 230 protections cannot be used as cover for all nefarious actions. The removal of the chance at litigation while also allowing coordination of deplatforming and promotion of favored viewpoints while also having enough power to bring about regulatory capture is problematic at best. Trying to compare a group of private businesses to a public institution using a tortured analogy isn’t a strong argument in your favor.

                    4. Fucking hilarious. I already posted the ACLU using libraries for not holding certain books in a previous thread. Jeffrey, you’re fucking dumb.

                  2. What did I misrepresent? John claimed: “If you have control over the content of your platform, you are a publisher.” And that’s just not true – I brought up libraries as an example. What do you expect me to do, argue with John on the basis of a false premise?

                    Of my public library refuses to carry a book for a political reason I can sue them (and likely win on 1A grounds).

                    Public is the key word here. That is the only reason why any lawsuit of that nature might win on 1A grounds.

                    Secondly, libraries usually only remove books because of poor circulation or because of limited space and funds.

                    Libraries also remove books based on outrage from patrons.
                    http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics
                    Librarians also choose which books to add to the collection and which books not to add. They can’t host every single book by every single author. If a library chooses not to “host” a particular author’s book, is that censorship?

                    1. Libraries remove books because of outrage, but generally to avoid lawsuits. They also can be sued if they are banning books based upon political affiliation. As for removing books based upon patron outrage, that is less common.
                      You did misrepresent since you are stating it’s not true based upon your understanding and not based upon facts. Further,this isn’t what you argued, you mentioned section 230 and that it doesn’t require neutrality, which wasn’t what he stated. In his opinion, the fact that they are actively censoring certain content has moved them beyond platforms into the real of publisher.
                      Yes librarians choose which books to add, although again this is usually done based upon best seller lists (popularity as I mentioned) and they have limited budget and space, which I also mentioned.
                      As for my statement about the 1A, I never stated if you can or cannot sue private organizations based upon 1A violations, I was pointing out that comparing a public institution, like a library, to a private company is stupid. I can sue a public entity that violates the 1A. I can’t sue a private organization. Additionally, because of section 230, my chances of suing tech companies for anything but blatant contract breach is severely limited. They can actively censor content but cannot be held liable for content the approve (by not removing it, they tacitly approve it). So, they basically get their cake and get to eat it to.

                    2. And libraries are being sued you fucking moron.

                    3. Libraries remove books because of outrage

                      Thank you for agreeing with me.

                      They also can be sued if they are banning books based upon political affiliation.

                      Only successfully if they are PUBLIC libraries. And the only reason the suit would be successful would revolve around the PUBLIC nature of the library.

                      I was pointing out that comparing a public institution, like a library, to a private company is stupid.

                      That isn’t what I was doing. I never claimed the library had to be public. There are private libraries after all. More to the point, I was referring more to the *concept* of a library rather than to any concrete individual example of one.

                      (by not removing it, they tacitly approve it)

                      Not true. Simple example:
                      Twitter User Alice writes “I support Bernie”
                      Twitter User Bob writes “I support Trump”
                      Twitter User Charlie writes “I support killing the Jews”
                      Twitter bans Charlie for his anti-Semitic statements. Does that mean Twitter management supports Alice’s and Bob’s statements? Does Twitter support Bernie? Trump? Which one?

                    4. And libraries are being sued

                      Show me a PRIVATE library that has been successfully sued on 1A censorship grounds.

                      The libraries that have been sued on the basis of 1A censorship grounds have been because they were **PUBLIC** libraries, not because they were libraries per se.

                    5. Yes there are some private libraries but the majority are public. Since you didn’t differentiate it is natural a person would go with the most common version most people are familiar with. Your referral to private libraries, especially after I specified above public libraries and you even bolded public in one of your response, means thar your bringing private libraries up as some form of gotcha is goal post moving. Additionally, it is condescending to start a reply with “Thank you for agreeing with me.” Additionally, by selectively quoting part of the response you are deliberately misrepresenting what I said. You additionally did not address any of my points. Your example of the removal of Anti-Semetic comments is so hyperbolic that it barely qualifies as a cognitive point. Hyperbole like that is not effective in making your case. Since we are talking about specifically removing content created by someone because of that person’s political views, and which little evidence exists in many cases of the level of hatred you used, your statement is non-sequitor. Was anything Gabbard stated anywhere near that level of deplorable speech?

                    6. Yes there are some private libraries but the majority are public. Since you didn’t differentiate it is natural a person would go with the most common version most people are familiar with.

                      Translation: You misread my comment and now want to blame me for your lack of reading comprehension.

                      Your referral to private libraries, especially after I specified above public libraries and you even bolded public in one of your response, means thar your bringing private libraries up as some form of gotcha is goal post moving.

                      No, this is actually you trying to put words in my mouth.

                      Additionally, it is condescending to start a reply with “Thank you for agreeing with me.”

                      Well in the part that I quoted, you were agreeing with me, or so I thought.

                      Additionally, by selectively quoting part of the response you are deliberately misrepresenting what I said. You additionally did not address any of my points.

                      The rest of your points were based on the faulty assumption that I meant specifically public libraries, when I did not.

                      Your example of the removal of Anti-Semetic comments is so hyperbolic that it barely qualifies as a cognitive point. Hyperbole like that is not effective in making your case.

                      It is called an illustrative example to prove a point.

                      I also note that you used the excuse of ‘hyperbole’ to avoid addressing the question I asked.

                      Oh and if you think there aren’t actual people on Twitter who want to kill the Jews, you’re mistaken.

                      Since we are talking about specifically removing content created by someone because of that person’s political views, and which little evidence exists in many cases of the level of hatred you used, your statement is non-sequitor. Was anything Gabbard stated anywhere near that level of deplorable speech?

                      No and I didn’t say that it was. I’m making a separate point – that just because a platform removes one item of content, it does not necessarily constitute endorsement of all of the remaining content.

              2. Don’t bother Jeff with facts and logic. It is just not what he does. Braindead talking points are his move.

            2. Jesus christ you’re a fucking idiot. Your claim is now 230 isnt needed? Then why are you defending it you retarded moron?

    2. If you would have told me 3 years ago that I would respect a Democrat Senator from Hawaii a hell of a lot more than the staff of Reason Magazine….

      1. Lol. I almost posted this. After rogan (she seemed sane) and this, she seems kind of palatable for a democrat.

      2. No joke. While I dislike some of her policies (reparations? Fucking seriously?) I could vote for her in that field of lunatics.

        Let’s do a search for Johnson debates here at Reason.com.

        ADDENDA: Related content from the Reason archive, in revrse chronological order: * With Mitch Daniels Republicanism on the outs, Mitch Daniels Cozies up to Gary Johnson * Gary Johnson Now Needs 42% in Final Poll to Qualify for Debates * Johnson/Weld to Debate Commission: Let Down Your 15% Threshold Just This Once * Gary Johnson and Bill Weld Shift Focus to Answering Questions Outside of Debates * Mitt Romney Wants to See Gary Johnson and William Weld on the Debate Stage * Military Members Are Into Gary Johnson, But NBC Won’t Let Him Near Tonight’s Forum * The Worst Two-Party Tweet About Gary Johnson and Jill Stein You’ll Read This Month * Growing Media Chorus Says Presidential Debates Are ‘Rigged’ * Presidential Debate Commission Criteria Is Both Good News and Bad News for Gary Johnson * Johnson/Weld SuperPAC Threatens the Commission on Presidential Debates Over their Tax Exempt Status * Judge Quashes Gary Johnson/Jill Stein Debate Lawsuit

        Johnson Sues Again To Get Into Debates
        He says he qualifies when polled one-on-one, as are Mitt and Barry

        REASON STAFF | OCTOBER 19, 2012

        Yesterday the Gary Johnson campaign filed its latest attempt to sue his way into the presidential debates.

        Johnson/Weld to Debate Commission: Let Down Your 15% Threshold Just This Once
        Libertarian candidates promise that if allowed to debate Sept. 26, they will earn their way thereafter

        MATT WELCH | SEPTEMBER 14, 2016

        Johnson/Weld campaignLibertarian Party presidential nominees Gary Johnson and William Weld took out a full-page ad in today’s New York Times, addressing an open letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), the bipartisan if technically nonpartisan outfit that is scheduled to announce the Sept. 26 debate participants as soon as tomorrow (though likely a few days after).

        Gary Johnson Pitches Inclusion in Debates
        Open letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates suggests giving voters an actual choice isn’t a bad thing”

        Yeah, big tech shutting down opinions = bad. Johnson not being in a debate = huge problem.

        1. Gabbard is the least retarded of the Dem clown car, and that’s a shamefully low bar to clear.

  8. Lesseeeee … Presidential salary is $400K/year, right? Times 8 years, $3.2M. Add interest, call it $3.5M.

    She must be expecting to rake in $46.5M in graft while President, no?

    1. So you’re saying you dont know how much presidential campaigns spend and how much Democrats claimed trump got in free advertising.

      It’s okay to admit you’re stupid. If you took even a second to read even the summaries of the complaint her issue is lost exposure from the ads, equivalent costs, not future salary. But that would take a minute to try to research the issue. You dont have time for that with all the shiny things to look at.

    2. Fuck off Hihn

      1. Geez John, if you’re going to parrot people, at least put some sparkle into it.

        That’s pathetic.

        1. I broke you.

      2. Dude, Dumbfuck Hihnsano’s posts are crushingly obvious, because he’s incapable of overcoming his poasting tics no matter which sockpuppet he tries to use.

        1. Dude’s not tinfoil hat wearing crazy enough to be Hihn.

          1. I think it was a joke – like when John posted about trying “a marijuana”… and the Dickless Squad flipped out thinking they had caught him

  9. When is reason going to cover MSNBC adding a CGI pimple to Tulsi’s face during the debate? It’s obvious the corporate left is closing ranks in lock-step because she’s the only credibly anti-war candidate and they want to scuttle her campaign. I’m not saying bring the guns of state in to run these companies instead, but we should be talking about and shaming shameful behavior instead of defending it as legal. Lots of wrong things are legal, and libertarians in particular want lots of more wrong things to be legal, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call it out as wrong!

    1. They also shut down the microphones of Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson.

    2. Anyone who still believes that the DNC primaries are an election rather than a selection process, after the shitshow in 2016 where they were shown to be actively undermining Sanders, is a fucking moron.

      All you have to do is watch MSNBC, ABC, CBS, or CNN to figure out who the Most Favored Candidates are, because these people and the DNC are completely incestuous with each other about jobs and marriages.

  10. And she’s fighting back on behalf of all Americans. I can’t wait for my check for 25¢ when she wins.

    1. The stupid train is chugging along. Please post another comment to keep the streak alive.

      1. You beat me to it.

        1. Oh. You’re pee wee Herman’s sock. Explains the child porn.

          1. And …. you’re the child?

            1. God I hope not. Baby Jeffrey should be by shortly for your pleasure.

  11. Many people on the right have recently made social media companies Public Enemy No. 1, claiming that they discriminate against conservative points of view. Ironically, Gabbard’s suit throws some cold water on the accusations coming from her Republican counterparts, casting doubt on the idea that Google and its subsidiaries are systematically ostracizing Wrongthink along party lines.

    Putting aside the merits of the lawsuit…

    No, Gabbard’s suit does NOT throw cold water on the accusations coming from her Republican counterparts. I’m not sure what part of the culture Billy Binion is watching, but I’ve been following this rather lively online debate very closely, and while yes, Republicans are worried about their views being suppressed, people on ALL SIDES of the political spectrum who appear to sit outside a very narrow band of acceptable center-left politics have been complaining about this. This includes rather far-left progressives who have become increasingly concerned about the “gatekeeper” aspect of both media and Big Tech.

    I could link half a dozen sites and youtube channels indicating exactly this, but, you know, moderation hell.

    1. To wit, I was watching one of my favorite left-progressives, Jimmy Dore covering a sponsored live interview with Bernie Sanders by the Washington Post. Robert Costa of the WaPo was conducting the interview and threw a quote that Bernie Sanders had given on Busing. Sanders listened to the quote and then said to Costa “and what was the rest of it– read the rest of it.” Costa fidgeted in his seat and said, “This is all I have”.

      One of the panelists on Jimmy Dore’s show said, “You know how bad the media’s gotten when you find yourself cheering for a politician over a journalist”.

      Trust me, this ain’t a Republican thing, it’s an everyone who’s not a Clinton Democrat thing.

      1. Sanders listened to the quote and then said to Costa “and what was the rest of it– read the rest of it.” Costa fidgeted in his seat and said, “This is all I have”.

        Imagine being so exceptionally, blatantly loathsome and deceitful that you make a certified nutcase and Soviet sympathizer like Bernie seem sympathetic.

      2. I mostly agree, except the Clinton Democrats are the Democrat “moderates”. Bill Clinton would not win this year’s D nomination, because not woke enough. The Democrats have been completely taken over by the far, far, far left.
        The correct phrasing is “Trust me, this ain’t a Republican thing, it’s an everyone who’s not a full fledged communist thing.”

        1. That’s what I was thinking too. I wasn’t aware of “far left progressives” complaining about access to their brands because I assumed that their coverage was nauseatingly over done.

          On the other hand, the grievance narrative is at the heart of their entire ideology, so complaining is what they do.

          EVERYTHING IS SO TERRIBLE AND UNFAIR!!!!!

          – any dem/2020

          Haha

          1. ” I wasn’t aware of “far left progressives” complaining about access to their brands because I assumed that their coverage was nauseatingly over done.”

            I can see how people would tend to assume that. Mainly because almost all assumptions are the quickest, easiest, and laziest form of thinking. We all do it, it’s in our nature, and most of the time it gets us by just fine.

            But sometimes it doesn’t, and this is one of those times. Not just because it’s an error, but also because the people who want to maintain control are depending on us making this one.

            No, the threat and actual suppression is being directed at everyone outside a certain acceptable spectrum of thought, and with almost no consideration of who, what, or where it is coming from, because it’s largely a reflex (as lazy as any assumption) coming from the establishment.

            It’s what any establishment does.

    2. Billy is the extra chromosome love child of Ilya somin and shika.

      1. So… he’s got 49?

  12. If you want some outside-the-beltway criticism of the downfall of Big Tech (in this case, Youtube), here’s a gaming channel with some very pointed commentary on the direction platforms like Youtube are taking when it comes to dicking around with their algorithm, plus some links to a sharp eye who actually did some data analysis of how google pushes content.

    Again, I’m not calling for a legislative solution– or making a comment on the merits of Gabbard’s lawsuit, but this isn’t just a “republican” problem.

    If you want my opinion, I do believe this will take care of itself, it’s just going to take some time and some time before the market is disrupted, leaving a lot of executives in the unemployment line– where they belong.

    1. Seriously, watch the video I linked. It’s very informative.

      1. I was told that there would be no homework.

        1. I give you the cliff notes to the cliff notes below.

    2. To beat the dead horse here, the Youtuber above draws a link to the changes in Google and its ancillary services such as Youtube (in particular) to the removal of two things from their conduct code which had the original Google motto “don’t be evil”. That phrase (don’t be evil) was removed from the conduct code. In addition to that removal another subtle change was made. I quote:

      Yes, it’s about providing our users unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that we can.”

      The emphasis is mine, and the part in italics was removed from Google’s mission statement in the code of conduct. The suggestion (which I tend to agree with) marked the early change in Google from becoming a “tech company” to a media firm instead of a tech and information curation company.

      1. Hard to square “don’t be evil” with “getting in bed with the Chinese Communist Party” much less anything else.

        Reason standing up for the ‘rights’ of any person or organization so willing to engage in blatant and massive suppression of human rights is both nauseating and revealing.

  13. “While the First Amendment certainly shields Gabbard, Prager, and everyone else from government censorship or retaliation based on words alone, it does not mean Google, Facebook, or Twitter cannot remove content. They are private companies, and, as such, they can choose to disassociate if something doesn’t align with their values—an argument that, until recently, resonated with conservatives.”

    The interesting aspect of this, to me, is that social justice warriors are throwing their own legitimate basis for discriminating against hate speech, etc. under the bus when they mock the argument that private property means we can censor what we want. Yes, you can kick people off of your private property for saying things you don’t like! For a movement that’s all about stopping people from saying things people don’t like, you’d think the social justice warriors would be all about private property, but noooOooo.

    At some point, you start to question how invested they really are in their outrage. They’re the same way on global warming. If saving the world from global warming means squeezing off socialism and turning to capitalist solutions, they’d rather the earth were burned to a crisp–then they’re more invested in socialism than they are in combating global warming. It’s the same sort of thing here: If they’d rather not shut up the racists, homophobes, and xenophobes if doing so means invoking and respecting property rights–then they’re more invested in socialism, again, than they are in tolerance.

    I’m starting to detect a pattern.

    1. P.S. Private property is also the ultimate solution to conservation.

    2. On a related tangent, if I were s invested in the crisis of global warming as the alarmists want everyone to believe, I’d embrace nuclear power yesterday. Even if I believed its radiation was inherently evil and there was real risk of accidents killing millions, that’s still better than global warming reaching some mystical tipping point.

      Seems proof enough that they don’t believe in themselves.

      1. Burning natural gas emits about 40% less CO2 than coal for the same amount of energy–and yet they oppose fracking.

      2. That, and the fact that the true believers among our elected officials would have to be slashing staff, salaries and all government expenses to funnel the funds to the very salvation of humanity if they really believed that things are as dire as they claim.

        Maybe AOC will use that $3B that NY didn’t have to “give” to Amazon in furtherance of a solution to rising sea levels.

        Haha. Don’t hold your breath.

      3. Wow, I actually agree with you on something. Nuclear (and replacing coal with natural gas) are the best answer for climate change.

    3. I remember when congresswoman cowboy hat was tailing against people who criticized Congress. Forcing private tech companies to de-platform them was precisely how she intended to “solve the problem”

      The left has no concept of civil liberties

    4. ” Yes, you can kick people off of your private property for saying things you don’t like! ”

      No, you must bake their cake.

  14. There’s a very good reason that the companies don’t make their algorithms public … there are too many people with the desire and ability to game the system if they know exactly how to get higher rankings. Google does it’s best to make that hard to do. People use Google because they get the links that answer their query best. Best as defined by the user staying on the linked page long enough to prove by usage that it is, indeed, what they were looking for. Back when everyone with two brain cells to rub together could use all sorts of black hat techniques to get up high in the rankings in order to get people to a place that would try to sell them anything and everything or even a place that was the opposite of what they were actually looking for.

    The reason Google is the dominant search engine is that they did the best job, by far and away, of curbing that sort of gaming the system. People are happier with the results they get using Google, so they use Google more. There’s nothing suspicious about it.

    1. We found Google’s PR rep.

    2. I only use Google about half the time now, because it doesn’t give me the results I want and is clearly putting its thumb on the scale on real trending results. What you’re describing is Google 15 years ago. Not Google today.

      1. I have found every search engine to be grossly inferior to google until Duck Duck Go. I really can’t tell the difference between it and google and have stopped using google as a result. But Bing and the rest of them are pathetic compared to Google.

      2. The other day I was searching for contemporaneous reporting on Obama’s Iran deals (both the $150 million planeload of foreign currencies and the much larger release of sanctions monies.)

        Thumb on the scale doesn’t begin to describe what Google offered compared to other search engines.

        1. Could you describe how you searched Google, and with what options, and what precisely your results were like, so that others can try to duplicate what you observed?

          1. Pedojeffy you have repeatedly demonstrated that you are nothing other than a mendacious twat.

            I have zero interest in entertaining your silly gotcha games.

            Go fuck yourself.

            1. Translation: ThomasD doesn’t know how to really use Google and cries “bias! bias!” when he doesn’t get the results that he wants.

            2. And screw you for insinuating that I”m some sort of pedophile. That is a horrible slander that you should be ashamed of yourself for making.

    3. You are way better at this than OBL.

    4. Google at one time did provide okay queries, but I have increasingly begun to use Bing and Ducksuckgo for anything outside the SJW positions. For example, today I was searching for a specific situation I knew had occured in regards to abortion and city/states trying to force Catholic hospitals to provide services. Google first and second page only showed pro-choice/planned Parenthood results. Ducksuckgo provided multiple news stories from multiple different sources on the subject.

  15. Ironically, Gabbard’s suit throws some cold water on the accusations coming from her Republican counterparts, casting doubt on the idea that Google and its subsidiaries are systematically ostracizing Wrongthink along party lines.</

    Except, of course, for the glaringly obvious fact that Gabbard is arguably the most conservative Democrat running for president, and the only one that I, personally might consider voting for. The progs hate her even if she doesn’t have a (R) after her name.
    (Who was the general last time who didn’t make it past the first Dem debate because he wasn’t insane enough?)

    1. Gabbard is by far the least interventionist and the most at odds with the Democratic establishment.

      1. What she says and what she would do are two different things. Just look at Obama.

        1. The rather large difference being is that she isn’t an inherently corrupt chi-town politico who never did anything else of note.

  16. This. Once upon a time, in a universe far far away, I did Search Engine Optimization work. I’d figure out how to game the results, and after a month Google would change their algorithm, and my first page results would become 6th page results. It’s definitely an arms race.

  17. “Gabbard likely stands no chance in court.”

    Perhaps not but, if Google or some of its employees are really trying to rig elections, they will be more careful in the future. If it’s a small number of employees doing so, against Google’s policies, they could be fired.

    Gabbard is a so-called ‘liberal’ on every issue. She is singled out because she is anti-war – the only such Democrat.

    1. If you look at the video I linked to above, it apparently isn’t against their policies. It has become their policy.

    2. Why is Reason afraid of these types of lawsuits? From a libertarian point of view, seeking damages from a private company you feel wronged you is far more desirable then trying to pass a law regulating the company.

  18. I’m sorry, but you have giant corporations stifiling speech to support certain candidates, we have a problem.

    Furthermore, there have been regulations for decades that anyone who accepts political advertisements has to accept them from all sides. This is one of the earliest campaign finance laws in existence, as it prevents media companies from effectively banning certain candidates. Therefore, while I question the first amendment language, she is correct that Google violated the law here.

  19. $8,333,333 an hour? She doesn’t raise that much in a good month.

  20. Warren SHOULD be banned from social media. I wouldn’t sell ads to someone who wanted to carve up my business.

  21. I don’t understand how this is a threat to free speech.

    If they’re in breach of contract, her lawsuit is on good grounds and it has nothing to do with free speech: it means they violated their own rules and are being held financially responsible for it. If they haven’t breached a contract, there’s no civil liability here and it’s just a frivolous lawsuit.

    See, the reason I have problems with Google, Twitter et all deciding to censor is NOT because I think they should be forced to host speech they don’t like. It’s that they’re manipulating things by altering their terms of service and retroactively issuing punishments and that’s unethical. You can’t alter a contract punish behavior ex-post facto.

    1. Also, and this is slightly OT since it’s about Twitter specifically, but hear me out. You have to choose one of these two positions.

      A) Twitter is, de facto, a public square. This means that Trump is not allowed to block people because it’s denying them access to the President and his method of communication. This also means that Twitter can’t permanently ban people-because it denies them access to the public square and to the President-without solid legal grounds.

      B) Twitter is a private enterprise. They can kick people out at any time for any reason, they don’t have to offer justification. Also, President Trump, and members of Congress, are allowed to block people they want to block as long as they’re following Twitter’s terms of service.

      Pick one. Twitter, you see, would like to have it both ways: They’d like to make it illegal for Trump to block people, because they don’t want people getting Trump’s tweets from anywhere but Twitter exclusively, but they’d also like to freely ban people without having to jump through legal hoops.

      1. Still wondering why Trump doesn’t post on something like Gab or Parler instead.

        1. Ockham’s razor.

          Because he’s Donald Trump, and that is exactly the sort of thing Donald Trump would do. He knows he is not exactly welcome, but he also knows they can’t really do anything about it.

          He’s on Twitter much the same way he is in the White House.

    2. If they’re in breach of contract, her lawsuit is on good grounds and it has nothing to do with free speech: it means they violated their own rules and are being held financially responsible for it. If they haven’t breached a contract, there’s no civil liability here and it’s just a frivolous lawsuit.

      This is right. It’s not a free speech issue, it’s a contract enforcement issue.

      1. Yup.

        I can agree with an establishment’s rights to throw people off their property if they don’t want them there. But if someone paid you to host an event at your facilities and booked them, and then you show up on the day of and they’re banning entry and not letting anyone in, you should absolutely sue them for redress.

        It’s not free speech to back out of a freely-entered agreement after the fact.

        1. Each one of these companies set up a TOS with certain rights. For example youtube got creators on its platform by promising them ad revenue. Reversing course including retro active penalties is a contract clause issue. The creators only God paid by a subset of creators for various ads and promotions on the search algorithms. Many creators have never paid for ads. They have just as much right on contract claims as those who paid for ads.

      2. Which california dismissed contract claims for Meagan Murphy under 230 you fucking moron. We discussed this and you used Tech Dirt for your dismissal. You continually refuse to use primary sources because you’re an idiot. Read the judges dismissal on her claims fucktard. Now you’re claiming gabbi has a contract claim? While you finally got to the right stance this is what you were told last week.

        Read hawleys 11 page 24 font bill yet? Or still struggling to finish Harry Potter first?

        1. How many sources of any type have you cited in this discussion here, exactly?

          A contract to purchase ads is different than a TOS. Stop trying to claim that all contracts are the same.

  22. The lady isn’t denying anyones right to free speech. She is exercising her right to hold a corporate entity accountable for it’s actions. It can say and do what it wants and she has the right call them out about it. We just went through an election process where the DNC rigged their own primary and where corporate media during the Republican primary spent 50 minutes out of every hour praising Trump and then after he won the primary spent 60 minutes out of every hour running him down. I guess it is ok with Author of this post for Corporate America to deceive the American public as long as they are backing his candidate.

  23. They are private companies, and, as such, they can choose to disassociate if something doesn’t align with their values—an argument that, until recently, resonated with conservatives.

    Given how much power government has over these companies, given how much government support they receive, and given the amount of regulatory capture they have achieved, they really aren’t “private companies”.

    1. So all companies are de facto “public companies” then, since all companies suffer under the burden of regulation, and all companies receive benefits from the government, to one extent or another.

      Interesting hypothesis, Bernie.

      1. Actually, the argument can be made. But the answer then is less goverernment and regulations. Public accommodation laws, laws that require private adoption agencies to adopt to certain protected classes etc are based upon this idea, that if they receive government funding they should be considered less than private. The problem is that government and private companies are too intertwined. It becomes even more complicated with the recent Court decision banning Trump from blocking people. If it is private, then they can’t require even the President to not block people but if it is public then they can’t block anyone. It can’t be both.

        1. But the answer then is less goverernment and regulations.

          I AGREE.

          Faux ‘libertarians’ like JW here will try to argue “well, every company is basically a public company, so therefore I get to inflict my will on them via democracy”. Screw that noise.

          1. Since he said nothing of the sort in his post yours is a straw man.

            1. Just ask JW where he stands on the whole “repeal Section 230” thing.

              1. Since he did not say that, mentioning it was non-sequitor to the current discussion.

              2. Keeping 230 is more government dipshit. You’re keeping a regulation on the books. How fucking stupid are you?!?

                1. Keeping laws against murder is also “more government” as well, but that type of government is what it’s supposed to do – protect our rights. Section 230 prevents liability for a person’s speech to be placed where it doesn’t belong, which would have been the case due to a court ruling in 1995.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratton_Oakmont,_Inc._v._Prodigy_Services_Co.

                  Section 230 says that the person responsible for defamatory speech is the speaker and only the speaker, and not the platform on which it was hosted. It clarifies the proper extent of those rights.

                  1. But once again you avoid the point that only internet platforms have this protection. No other form of media gets that level of protection. It is a question of why they receive protections against liable that no one else enjoys. This is a form of specialized regulations that benefits one industry, and specifically at this point in time, a certain set if powerful companies. I want to know why internet providers are safe from liability others are not?

          2. You agree by keeping section 230 and not allowing its removal… holy shit you’re dumb. You are literally not agreeing with him fucktard.

  24. “Private corporation” is an oxymoron. All corporations are established and exist solely by the power of the state. As such they are merely extensions of government power and we are precisely talking about government censorship.
    I can’t understand why libertarians don’t make this obvious connection.

    1. Libertarians do. Those that speak for us are corporatists.

      Individual freedom comes second to crony capitalism.

      What Twitter, Google, et al are doing is the definition of crony capitalism. And this is the exact reason most people do not trust libertarians. Take over the world and leave you alone? Bullshit.

      1. What Twitter, Google, et al are doing is the definition of crony capitalism.

        Because you’ve bought into the lie that Section 230 is some sort of “special privilege”. It is not. Section 230 represents the ORDINARY and NORMAL protection that ANYONE ought to have concerning speech – that only the speaker of problematic speech is responsible for the contents of that speech, NOT the platform that hosts the speech.

        If you go to a Bernie Sanders rally and scream out “Elizabeth Warren eats puppies!”, then it is YOU who are responsible for the contents of that speech, not Bernie. That is what Section 230 protects.

        1. Except it is special treatment since section 230 only applies to internet operators. It doesn’t apply to book publishers, or newspaper publishers. It doesn’t apply to magazine, television or radio. It is a carve out for a specific industry. This does make it a special treatment. Why is that so hard for you to grasp?

          1. Because hes a dishonest fuck whose entire technical education is from Tech Dirt and ratical.org. It’s pretty hilarious.

            1. You are doing nothing but carrying water for Senator Hawley’s Internet Censorship bill. It’s disgusting really.

          2. Except it is special treatment since section 230 only applies to internet operators.

            Because Section 230 was in response to a court decision which ALSO dealt with only Internet operators.

            My complaint with Jesse’s characterization of Section 230 is that he and others want to try to frame it as some sort of corrupt cronyist gift to Big Tech, and that repealing Section 230 would be to remove the corrupt nature of the deal. That is not true. Section 230 places the responsibility for a person’s speech where it belongs – on the speakers – and not where it doesn’t belong, which is on the platform itself, as it would be IF every platform were treated like a publisher.

            1. So the court case only dealt with internet platforms, in response a law was passed given them protections other media don’t receive. Other media sources, however, have also been liable for the speech of outside authors, contributors, even occasionally letters to the editors: in 2007 a Virginia newspaper was held liable for $75,000 for a letter to the editor it published. So, rather you like it or not, this is a special law that allows protections that other media entities don’t. As a result, and an overbroad interpretation by some courts, the average user has few recourses when they are discriminated against, e.g. demonetized or blocked.

        2. Jeff. You’re doubling down on your retard thesis time and time again. Of course it is a special privilege you fucking idiot. That’s why it is written into regulations.

        3. Look baby Jeffrey, try to use some logic. If it is not a special privilege there is no reason for it to be on the books. As you are defending it, it is proving you’re just an illogical dumbfuck.

          1. Section 230 is on the books because, back in the early days of the commercial Internet, a court ruled that all Internet platforms are equivalent to publishers if they do any content moderation whatsoever, even in an uncontroversial nature such as banning porn or spam. Section 230 was a response to that (IMO incorrect) court decision. In an ideal world it wouldn’t even be necessary, because OBVIOUSLY, the person responsible for my own speech is ME – no one else. Not Reason, not Twitter, not Facebook, me. But because this court in 1995 didn’t understand the Internet and applied the wrong standard to it, Section 230 was created in order to fix this incorrect decision and therefore to apply the SAME standard to the Internet that what already exists for non-electronic platforms.

            If you don’t believe me, read about it yourself:

            https://www.eff.org/issues/cda230

            1. Or they applied the same standards that were applied to other media.

  25. How about we agree that what Google, YouTube etc does is distasteful, while being legal? That a modern version of the fairness doctorine is q bad idea? That the biggest problem is regulatory capture that has made it much more difficult for people to start up alternatives? That regulatory capture should be resisted at every step? And that proof has emerged for many years that a number of Silicon Valley tech companies (and Portland and Seattle) have actively sought to hinder the free expression of conservatives in their employment and have tried to freeze them out of the industry all together? This is distasteful at best. Calling out Google etc doesn’t mean one has to want government intervention (other than destroying regulatory capture) but maybe we should speak out about it on principle? And stop pretending the problem doesn’t exist.

    1. I completely agree with this statement. (Well, a minor quibble with “actively sought to hinder the free expression of conservatives”, because I’m not so sure that’s the case. But the rest is spot on.)

      I don’t think ANYONE is saying “there’s no problem here”. I do think that there are a fair number of people who are trying to represent the ACTUAL nature of the problem, and not get sucked into hyperbolic self-serving descriptions from tribalists. For example, if a conservative asshole is banned from Twitter, it is FAR more likely that he/she was banned for being an asshole, and not for being a conservative per se.

      1. Several former Google employees have come forward with eyewitness reports and even internal memos that suggest it is very much the case.

        1. Could you provide some references for that?

          1. Are you accusing me of lying? Because that is the message you send Everytime you start asking for references to anything that runs counter to your narrative. It is tiresome and I’ve already pointed out it is disingenuous and a form of logical fallacy in itself. I am not making some outrageous claim, nor something out of the ordinary, therefore, providing references is generally not considered necessary under normal debate protocols. You also did it to ThomasD above when he provided an anecdote of his experience using Google to search for a certain subject. Your reply insinuated that he was lying. You then for up in arms when he insulted you back and smugly declared the reason he didn’t provide, on demand, the information you demanded was because he was making it up. You are not clever, in fact everyone here sees through your peurile sophistry. No, I will not provide references because you aren’t asking in good faith, but rather you are asking because you are sophomoric and an ideologue. You hold yourself as better than those who disagree with you. You have an overinflated sense of self worth and righteousness that would shame even the most devout, better than thou, church gossip. It is impossible to have anything resembling a mature, in depth discussion with you because you are so egotistical and narrow minded (yes you are extremely narrow minded). You also rarely have any original thought, and are boringly predictable.

            1. Well, you certainly got very defensive very fast.

              Here’s what I think. I think there are plenty of people around here who are more interested in pushing narratives than in telling the complete truth, or in being fair-minded. I think there are plenty of people here who genuinely don’t care about truth or facts, all they care about are “fake but accurate” narratives that, if believed widely enough, will result in their tribe winning and the other tribes losing. I think many modern conservatives in particular have a type of victim complex that causes them to view every action that may impact them in a negative way as instead some coordinated, deliberate, oppressive act meant to intentionally silence them into submission.

              So when I read a statement like yours, such as “a number of Silicon Valley tech companies … have actively sought to hinder the free expression of conservatives in their employment and have tried to freeze them out of the industry all together,” I have grown to be somewhat skeptical of these claims. It MAY be completely true; OR, it MAY be simply otherwise innocuous acts that are instead perceived and interpreted through the lens of this conservative victim complex. OR, the truth might be somewhere in between.

              I don’t KNOW what the truth is here, and I honestly would like to find out. I did some cursory searching and I couldn’t find what you were referring to – unless you’re referring to what happened to James Damore. Is that what you’re referring to specifically? Because it more sounded like you were referring to a more general trend, not just one specific episode.

              And get off your own high horse for a moment, and realize that we are all a bunch of strangers here, that I am no more obligated to accept your statements at face value than you are of mine.

              And for the record, I don’t think you are lying, and I don’t think ThomasD is lying. I do think it is *possible* that both you and he are interpreting your observations honestly, but incorrectly. That is the reason why I want to try to duplicate ThomasD’s results so that I can try to observe what he did and therefore try to understand the result. That is why I asked you for a citation to something that backs up your claim. If I think you’re just lying, I will say so, I won’t be coy by asking for references.

              1. See you accuse me of getting defensive fast, i.e. a personal attack. Then go on about how so many people- who I notice you pointed out one specific group that you have went out of your way to villianize- “there are plenty of people here who genuinely don’t care about truth or facts, all they care about are “fake but accurate” narratives that, if believed widely enough, will result in their tribe winning and the other tribes losing.”
                So basically you did insinuate we may be lying. You did a cursory search? Really? And I’m on my high horse. You who just spent a paragraph demonizing an entire political movement, and suggested that I may be incorrect in my interpretation? This would suggest that you believe you have better insight then me. It would also suggest you are not being completely honest in your stated reasons for asking for references. You can’t state in one paragraph many people lie then in the next try and walk this back by stating you are just trying to gain information and therefore you aren’t implying we may lying. The two statements are contradictory. Please stop with you sad attempt at condescension. It is pretty fucking transparent.
                Just as an aside. I went on Ducksuckgo and found multiple lawsuits, including a class action lawsuit against Google for discrimination against white and Asian males, those with conservative political beliefs etc. I also found stories about FB employees releasing confidential company memos that seem to support that the company is specifically filtering conservative views. This was in a matter of three minutes and two closely related search phrases.

                1. Yes, you may be lying. You may not be. I’m not obliged to accept your words at face value. You don’t trust me; why should I trust you? I would like to determine for myself what the truth is. That is why I ask for references. And so, allegedly, you went and got references and yet you won’t post them here and then you get all outraged over a claim that you may be lying. Huh.

                  “I am holding the proof in my hands but I refuse to show you, how dare you accuse me of making things up!”

                2. Oh and by the way. Your initial claim was that

                  “And that proof has emerged for many years that a number of Silicon Valley tech companies (and Portland and Seattle) have actively sought to hinder the free expression of conservatives in their employment and have tried to freeze them out of the industry all together”

                  A lawsuit is not proof, it is a claim of misbehavior.

                  So, where is the PROOF?

                  Is this the “PROOF” regarding the Facebook allegations that you made?

                  https://gizmodo.com/former-facebook-workers-we-routinely-suppressed-conser-1775461006

                  I mean, I don’t know if it is or not, since you won’t share your own sources. So if it’s not this, then please share with us all what it really is.

                  1. I provided enough evidence for you to find it in your own. A lawsuit is proof that some feel that they were discriminated against in employment because of their political leanings. Additionally, the story you just linked to also supports my initial claim. So you were able to find it without providing exact links. As for the idea that I am withholding the references, that is bullshit. It is common practice not to provide full references but instead to provide enough information for those interested to do their own research. In academic circles, during debates you are not required to provide APA style citations. I gave you the search engine and references the results. That in and of itself should be enough for you to do your own search. The fact that you state your desire is to do your own research but you seem incapable unless spoon fed it doesn’t support your request is as benign as you claim. Especially as you were able to find at least one of the stories I referenced. You also dismissed some of the stories I referenced and then you tried a gotcha partial quote. This demonstrates to me that you are not interested in learning but rather in discrediting anyone and everyone who has the audacity to disagree with your noble, impeccable cause.
                    Additionally, no one asked you to accept their word at face value, but requesting citations (and the way you phrase it is less an honest request and more a condescending demand) is not considered seemly in honest debate. Especially when the claim is not extraordinary.

                    1. So you don’t provide references because I didn’t ask you nice enough. Got it. How lame.

                      No one asked for APA style citations or dissertations. A link would have been helpful though.

                      A lawsuit is proof that some feel that they were discriminated against in employment because of their political leanings.

                      This is what’s known as “shifting the goalposts”. Oh I have no doubt that some people FEEL like Google is discriminating against them. But YOUR claim is:

                      “And that proof has emerged for many years that a number of Silicon Valley tech companies (and Portland and Seattle) have actively sought to hinder the free expression of conservatives in their employment and have tried to freeze them out of the industry all together”

                      This isn’t about FEELINGS, this is a declarative statement of fact, which you have not proved.

                      Additionally, the story you just linked to also supports my initial claim.

                      Even in the story that *I* linked, it doesn’t allege that it’s official Facebook company policy to suppress conservative voices.

                      The fact that you state your desire is to do your own research but you seem incapable unless spoon fed it doesn’t support your request is as benign as you claim. Especially as you were able to find at least one of the stories I referenced.

                      We have no way of knowing if the link I gave was one of the stories that you (allegedly) found, because you refused to provide your own references. How convenient of you to use my own research as a weapon against me.

                      So when I ask for references, then I’m supposedly accusing you of being a liar.

                      And when I do get my own references, then this is supposedly proof of my ill intent, and used as weapons against me.

                      Either way, it’s damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

                      Maybe I’m not the one who is being dishonest here.

                      You also dismissed some of the stories I referenced

                      I didn’t dismiss any of the stories that you reference, BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T REFERENCE ANY STORIES AT ALL. There were no references.

                      and then you tried a gotcha partial quote.

                      That supposedly “gotcha” quote is the entire substance of the disagreement. The alert reader will note that this was the ONLY PART of your original comment that I disagreed with, I agreed with the rest, and this has now turned into a multi-post flame war.

                      I don’t think you did any research whatsoever. I think you simply accept as common knowledge that Big Tech is deliberately and purposefully suppressing conservative viewpoints because they are conservative. And then you get huffy when anyone challenges this “obviously correct” statement. I think the one here who really thinks they are so enlightened that they are above criticism, is you.

            2. It isnt even just sophistry anymore. He has shown clearly in this thread that he has never taken even a basic course in logic. At this point he is just posting his first impression of any subject and then various fallacies to defend them.

              The fact that he refuses to read a very short bill he is constantly attacking is just further proof he isnt interested in an honest argument.

              1. Oh I’ve read it. I even commented on it above.
                You are the one who stays in a right-wing bubble all day. It’s kinda sad.

                1. You love to denigrate those who disagree with as living “in a right wing bubble”. It doesn’t demonstrate empathy, it doesn’t demonstrate humbleness and it certainly doesn’t demonstrate open mindedness. It is a phrase used specifically to dismiss the thoughts of those who disagree with your ideology. It demonstrates someone who is a zealot. And no,there is nothing more bible about a Libertarian partisan then a Democratic partisan or Republican partisan. Partisans are partisans, and all guilty of tribalism. Group think, no matter what the groups beliefs are, is always dangerous and undesirable.

                  1. You love to denigrate those who disagree with as living “in a right wing bubble”.

                    No, just Jesse. Because he does. Virtually all of his citations (when he does bother to give anyway) come from right-wing sources.

  26. A friend once pointed out that there seems to be a bigger correlation on people being taken down on Anti-War Views than Political Alignment.

    Seeing that Tulsi is opening Anti-War, it’s something to think about

  27. […] Reason says Tulsi Gabard’s lawsuit against Google for silencing her is an attack against onlin… […]

  28. Yeah um.. who’s writing your headlines? The lawsuit cannot by any definition inhibit free speech (and certainly not even after a favorable verdict!)

  29. >McJackboot(tm) crushes windpipe…
    >at least it’s not gubberment!
    In point of fact it is government. Government subsidy built these tech oligarchs. They are overt allies of a certain faction of government. That faction of government seeks to destroy liberty and reduce us under absolute despotism.

    If for no other reason than rational self interest, you would think the authors for a libertarian opinion magazine would recognize that giving Marxists carte blanche to use our social infrastructure to destroy our society isn’t the best idea.

  30. The juxtaposition of Tulsi Gabbard and Gary Johnson couldn’t better expose Reason’s complete lack of principles and unscrupulous shiftiness on this, or really any, issue.

    Gary Johnson was *the* anti-war candidate. Sure, his interpretations of the 1A fell a little on the ‘bake the cake’ side of the equation, but the key is that he was anti-war!

    Tulsi Gabbard is *the* anti-war candidate this time around. Now, she’s a little on the ‘People should be able to sue the media for breach of contract.’ side of the equation and that’s clearly more important than the fact that she’s anti-war.

    I’d say Reason ‘PrinciPals over Princples’ Magazine, but that implies that Reason has any principles at all and that Bill Weld was a real pal.

  31. Here is the question we have to ask about the tech companies right now. Are they publishers or speech platforms? Right now they are claiming the latter, but are acting like a the former.

    It is easy to say in general private companies can do what they want. But… what do we say when three companies seem to have a massive control over the national conversation?

    There are no easy answers.

    1. “But… what do we say when three companies seem to have a massive control over the national conversation? ”

      Say ‘please.’

  32. When did Reason become a pro-corporate rag that loves censorship? Title is exactly the opposite of the truth.

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