Free Speech

Democrats Join Trump in Seeking Balance by Policing Speech

The constitutional amendment they support, like the president’s plan to regulate social media, trusts the government to moderate our political debate.

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Donald Trump wants to regulate social media, while Democrats want to regulate political spending. Both are prepared to sacrifice freedom of speech on the altar of fairness, balance, and equality.

The president's plan for fighting anti-conservative bias on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook is still in flux. But it reportedly includes siccing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on companies that are deemed to be removing content for political or ideological reasons.

According to a summary of a proposed executive order obtained by CNN, one possible approach involves reinterpreting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects "interactive computer service providers" from liability for state crimes and many kinds of torts based on content produced by others. Section 230, which has been crucial to the development of the internet as we know it, also shields websites from liability for "any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable."

Those two provisions are supposed to protect online forums, including all manner of blogs, vendors, review sites, and news outlets as well as the major social media platforms, from potentially crippling lawsuits triggered either by their failure to remove all arguably illegal posts or by their decisions to remove content they view as problematic. The idea is to give websites the freedom to exercise some editorial discretion without requiring them to exert comprehensive control over user-produced content, which would be fatal to social media in their current form.

The proposed executive order, CNN reports, would ask the FCC to "find that social media sites do not qualify for the good-faith immunity if they remove or suppress content" and "the decision is proven to be evidence of anticompetitive, unfair or deceptive practices." The FTC, meanwhile, would "work with the FCC to develop a report investigating how tech companies curate their platforms and whether they do so in neutral ways."

Removing Section 230 protection from platforms that bureaucrats consider biased, a policy similar to one proposed by Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.), would be counterproductive, since it would encourage them to suppress a lot more content, as well as shortsighted. As Wayne Crews, vice president for policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, observes, "tomorrow's Speech Police are not going to think political neutrality or criteria for a certification of objectivity mean what Trump (or Hawley) thinks they mean."

While Trump is using the language of free speech to support a policy that would undermine it, Senate Democrats are taking a more direct approach, unanimously backing a constitutional amendment that would authorize "reasonable" limits on election-related spending. The Supreme Court has categorically rejected such limits, noting that they "place substantial and direct restrictions on the ability of candidates, citizens, and associations to engage in protected political expression, restrictions that the First Amendment cannot tolerate."

The answer, Democrats think, is to amend the First Amendment. "Every American deserves to have an equal voice at the ballot box, regardless of the size of their bank account," says Sen. Tom Carper (D–Del.).

Democrats, in other words, want to mute some voices so that others may be heard, an idea that is plainly inconsistent with freedom of speech and freedom of the press. When the government dictates how much money you can spend to praise or criticize politicians, it is directly restricting your First Amendment rights.

While Trump's assault on the First Amendment is less blatant, it will lead either to a kind of compelled speech, forcing private companies to host content they would otherwise remove, or to a much less freewheeling internet where liability concerns stifle self-expression. And unlike the Democrats' speech-curtailing constitutional amendment, Trump's policy may actually come to pass, providing a real-life lesson in what happens when the government tries to act as a debate moderator.

© Copyright 2019 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. So Jacob is equating undoing the first amendment with removing excess legal protections under 230. Totes equal.

    1. That’s right. Gotta keep that narrative going, eh? The thought that a person is responsible only for one’s own speech is deemed now to be an “excess legal protection”. That is how the censors on the right are framing their plans to modify/revoke Section 230 – not as an attempt at government censorship, or even Hawley’s plan of censorship-via-extortion, but merely as removing an “excess legal protection” that is portrayed as unearned, possibly corruptly so.

      The Jesses out there don’t really want to admit how much they have in common with the censors on the left.

      1. The thought that a person is responsible only for one’s own speech is deemed now to be an “excess legal protection”.

        If you knowingly and deliberately disseminate libelous speech by someone else, of course you should be legally liable.

        But I agree with you on one thing: Section 230 should go in its entirety. Hopefully, Congress will act.

      2. The point is, if you are a passive conduit for others’ speech, (Think the phone company.) then it IS other people’s speech, and you aren’t responsible for it. You can plot plot crimes, commit fraud, threaten people over the phone, and the phone company isn’t responsible, because it isn’t their content, it’s yours, and they don’t exercise any control over the content.

        But, if you exercise an editorial function, (Think a newspaper’s “letters to the editor”, where the paper selects which letters will appear, and frequently alters their content before publishing them.) then you make the content your own for liability purposes.

        Section 230 seeks to permit online services like FaceBook to be treated as passive conduits while exercising limited editorial functions: Good faith moderation of “offensive” content, where a list of types of offensive content is provided to specify what the term means. “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable”

        So long as FaceBook is engaged in good faith moderation, they can’t be held (civilly) responsible for objectionable content, or honest mistakes in removing content.

        The issue here is that sites like FaceBook are actually engaged in bad faith moderation, claiming to be deleting objectionable content, while leaving it up if they like the politics behind it, (Antifa can threaten violence without getting banned.) or fraudulently claiming violations where they don’t like the politics behind non-objectionable content. (Taking down a Prager video about the 10 commandments because mentioning “murder” is ‘violent’.)

        Again, “objectionable” is defined in the statute by a list of examples, so the catch all phrase at the end of the list must be interpreted to mean objectionable things of the same general nature.

        All Trump is proposing to do is enforce that “good faith” language. Which doesn’t imply government banning, just that FaceBook or Twitter could lose their shield against civil litigation based on moderation decisions if their decisions are found to have been in bad faith.

        1. Brett….I think you nailed this one, in your description of the problem, and the analogy of the phone company.

          Where it becomes an issue is moderation. I suppose I have a problem with determining ‘good faith’ and ‘bad faith’ moderation. Perhaps the answer is this: If you do any moderation of any kind, you become liable.

          I realize that would open the floodgates to a sewer of virulent posting. But at least we could see them, and identify them. That is half the battle, knowing who these people are. Yes, we would see/hear a lot more from some truly demented individuals.

          If I have to make a choice, I would rather err on the side of NO viewpoint discrimination of any kind, as opposed to censorship of some objectionable views.

          1. I think it’s a question of degree; Any moderation at all is going to have marginal cases, and some degree of bias is basically unavoidable. So a certain degree of allowance for mistakes is necessary.

            But FaceBook and Twitter are not, presently, moderating with care to minimize mistakes. They’re treating Section 230 as a license to moderate in any way they please, so long as they make a “magic words” reference to the content being somehow objectionable.

            I belong to a private FB group, a bunch of old fogies discussing politics amongst ourselves, and keeping our public posting restricted to innocuous stuff like the latest loaf of bread we baked. We got a notice from FB stating that the posts within our private group were going to be subject to moderation going forward, even if there were no complaints! This isn’t being done to prevent people from being exposed to content they find objectionable. It’s being done to keep people from using FB to discuss viewpoints FB’s management disagrees with!

            They feel safe doing this because the good faith language in Section 230 isn’t presently being enforced AT ALL. I think we can see what happens as a result of actually enforcing it, before we totally give up on Section 230, though; As a parent, I do appreciate a certain degree of moderation of content my kid might see.

            I’m reasonable, I know mistakes will happen. But what we’re seeing now isn’t mistakes, it’s deliberate abuse.

          2. ” Perhaps the answer is this: If you do any moderation of any kind, you become liable.”

            That would seem to be the approach most amenable to a libertarian perspective. The only time they should get involved is when they become aware of actual criminal activity. But I can also see some limited exceptions for restricting access to minors, and any actions occurring beyond our borders.

            The example I would consider is someone posting a video to Youtube demonstrating how to build your own shotgun using parts from Home Depot. Here in the US (unless you are an otherwise prohibited person) that is completely legal. So Youtube (if they wish to have liability protection as a carrier service) has no business restricting the video. With the possible exceptions of an age restriction for minors and the restricting of access in places (e.g. Canada) where such activity might actually be a criminal act.

            1. Youtube is NOT a common carrier, nor should it be treated as one. No Internet platform is a “common carrier”. It’s the Internet itself which is the common carrier medium.

              Youtube is more like a private library of videos. If they don’t want to host videos of how to build guns, even if it’s legal, they shouldn’t be forced to do so. NO private library, either in virtual space or in meat space, should be FORCED to carry material that they don’t wish to.

              1. No one should be forced to read your psychotic impotence, but here we are

                1. You can always stop reading and posting here, so nobody is forcing you.

                  This is so painfully obvious that I only mention it as a segue to suggest that you do exactly that. You’re easily the dumbest poster here. Every time you attempt snark, wit, sarcasm, humor, or criticism, it comes off as pathetically retarded. Here is an excellent example.

                  1. Pretty piss poor attempt there, marshaul.
                    Maybe stick to Vox or WaPo.
                    Reason certainly won’t miss your posts, which I’ve never seen contain cogent analysis, ideas, or anything approaching insight.
                    So you can fuck off, and enjoy your all-consuming resentment

                    1. Nah, I think I’ll stick around to remind you what a retard you are.

              2. So, then full liability for whatever appears on their site.

                Fair enough.

                1. Should a private library be held responsible for the contents of the books in its collection? No? Okay, so Youtube shouldn’t be held to that standard either.

                  1. Publishers are routinely held liable for what they allow to appear within their catalog.

                    1. And BTW you twit, Youtube is not a ‘private library’ of videos. It is a private business in the business of making those videos available to the public.

                      AKA, it’s a publisher of videos.

                    2. It is a private business in the business of making those videos available to the public.

                      AKA, it’s a publisher of videos.

                      So how does the description “a private business in the business of making those videos available to the public” NOT apply to a private library?

                      I get it, you are trying to force the square peg of “Youtube” into the round hole of “publisher” so that you can use publisher law against them. It’s not because you really think they are publishers, but because you want to force them to submit to state power by any means necessary.

                    3. “Civil trials decided by jury are State tyranny!”
                      -chemjeff

                    4. “So how does the description “a private business in the business of making those videos available to the public” NOT apply to a private library?”

                      You keep saying ‘private library’ as if it has some meaning or bearing on this discussion.

                      Youtube is a publisher, you can call it a library all you want, but what they do is certainly not private.

                    5. Nota bene: when “by any means necessary” does come into play against progressivism, chemjeff would be wise to stay hidden in his closet

                    6. Youtube is “private” in the sense that it is privately owned, not that its collection is not available to the public.

                      Youtube is a publisher

                      No it is not. Youtube is more like a library. Even that isn’t a great analogy, but it is a better one than publisher. Youtube hosts content, but does not have an ownership stake in the content itself as a typical publisher would. Youtube does not pre-approve content before its presentation, unlike with traditional publishing which is first filtered through an editor before the content is reproduced. Finally, Youtube does not pay content creators *for the content itself*, such as with royalties, the way a traditional publisher would.

                    7. PedoJeff, it seems the best way to refute you is to let you keep talking.

                      Youtube displays videos on their site in order to attract viewers, they also display advertising on that site to generate revenue, they often share that revenue with the actual creators of those videos.

                      That’s the textbook definition of publishing.

                      And they have have ultimate control over everything that appears on their site.

                    8. Youtube displays videos on their site in order to attract viewers, they also display advertising on that site to generate revenue, they often share that revenue with the actual creators of those videos.

                      That’s the textbook definition of publishing.

                      That’s funny, because by this “textbook definition”, it also includes LIBRARIES. Are libraries publishers too by your definition?

                      Any definition of “publisher” that includes libraries is an inaccurate definition.

                      And fuck you for your “pedo” nonsense. Do you realize what an offensive slur that is?

                    9. Ok jeff, van you cite the last time a library was sued, or protected from suit, for hosting a defamatory book?

                    10. YouTube is no more a publisher than a soapbox is in a public area.

                      Free speech requires that soapbox just as it does keeping censorship away from the internet.

                      “where a list of types of offensive content is provided to specify what the term means. “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable”

                      That is a hell of a long list much of which violates the intent of free speech.

                    11. The argument that YouTube is a publisher is circular.

                      If you allow them to censor, they are a publisher and must continue censoring.

          3. “Where it becomes an issue is moderation. I suppose I have a problem with determining ‘good faith’ and ‘bad faith’ moderation. Perhaps the answer is this: If you do any moderation of any kind, you become liable.”
            Yes.
            The phone company analog is appropriate; you can say anything you please into the phone.
            I do not trust the government to enforce ‘good faith’ anymore than I trust that mythical SJW ‘editor’ at FB to do the same.

            1. Well, yes, and that’s a problem with Section 230 as written. Because I didn’t invent that “good faith” requirement, Congress wrote it into the law.

              1. Yes, 230 is a legislative creation. Congress declaring control over certain forms of communication. Yet somehow any alteration of that law is an affront to free speech.

        2. OMG! A private entity indulges in biased speech!

          We much implore the government to stomp this out, starting with Reason comments!

          1. We’re not asking the government to stamp it out. We’re just suggesting that the government stop extending it special protection beyond the terms of the law.

            1. Add Earth Skeptic to the list of those to whom this has been clearly explained.

              Sullum has been on that list for a long time, not that he’d ever acknowledge it.

          2. The problem isn’t that they “engage in biased speech”, the problem is that this particular industry sector lobbied for, and received, an exemption from liability and lawsuits that no other publisher enjoys.

            1. this particular industry sector lobbied for, and received, an exemption from liability and lawsuits that no other publisher enjoys.

              That is historically not true. Section 230 came about when the commercial Internet was very young, before Google and Facebook and Twitter even existed. The proximate origin of Section 230 was to overturn a bad court decision which declared all Internet platforms to be publishers akin to newspapers. Not from some corrupt lobbying effort. That is just right-wing narrative pushing.

              1. That is historically not true. Section 230 came about when the commercial Internet was very young, before Google and Facebook and Twitter even existed

                I said “this particular industry sector lobbied for, and received, an exemption from liability”, not “Google, Facebook and Twitter lobbied for…”.

                Reading! At a fourth grade level! You should try it some time!

        3. “Again, “objectionable” is defined in the statute by a list of examples, so the catch all phrase at the end of the list must be interpreted to mean objectionable things of the same general nature.”

          This is not true. You can go back and look at the original wording and wranglings from the bill’s sponsors. They wanted to allow ideological sites to be exempted from libel, etc.

          Before people on the right get all worked up about 230, they should really consider the end game here. Today, conservatives, libertarians and whoever else has the ability to go startup a conservative leaning bulletin board. If they want to be restrictive and keep the likes of Buttplug out of that forum they can. If they want to start, say, a religious bulletin board to discuss the bible, and ban Atheist trolls from shitting on their discussions, they can do so. Section 230 allows them to be protected from libel and other lawsuits for the content of their subscribers. But these changes to require ideologically neutral policing mean that there is no place safe from trolls on either side of an ideological divide to invade their areas of discussion.

          1. The current crowd has decided to sacrifice principles in favor of perceived short-term electoral gains.

            1. It’s pretty fucking hilarious that you’re complaining about MUH PRINCIPLES in this context.

              Tech companies are some of the most unprincipled entities in the country. They’re “libertarian” only when it’s convenient for them to act in that way. Their boards and workforce are overwhelmingly progressive in their politics, and they have the money and media reach to influence national policies.

              “Principles” don’t mean shit when your enemy has none themselves and will exploit the weaknesses in those principles to manipulate and destroy you without a second thought.

              1. “Their boards and workforce are overwhelmingly progressive in their politics, and they have the money and media reach to influence national policies.”

                If you would stop and think for a moment, you would realize just how absolutely progressive this line of thinking is. For fucks sake, this is basically the entire thesis of Pickety’s “Capital in the 20th century” which is being used to call for wealth taxes. The notion is that because some company/person has enough money they can forever lock down the market.

                However, we see that when a market is open and free, it is always open for disruption. The same “Too Big to be Beaten” arguments were being made about Blockbuster in the 90’s. They essentially dominated the video rental scene, and were heavily moderating the content that they would allow to be rented in their stores. Liberals were infuriated by the family values “Blockbuster Cuts” and were calling on anti-trust investigations. And only 10 years later, they were ruined by netflix and redbox and other startups.

                A mere 20 years ago, Yahoo was the dominant party, then google came along. Then social media arose, and google could never really get into that game aside from YouTube.

                Market disruption takes time, but will stop dead if you start getting the government involved. Any attempts to regulate these companies will merely make it harder for disruptive startups to gain traction. Don’t give liberals what they want.

                1. If you would stop and think for a moment, you would realize just how absolutely progressive this line of thinking is

                  “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Rent-Seeking”

                2. Liberals were infuriated by the family values “Blockbuster Cuts” and were calling on anti-trust investigations.

                  This is complete bullshit. Blockbuster never created “family values” videos. They simply refused to carry X-rated or NC-17 videos at all.

                  You’re thinking of Family Video, and they never had anywhere close to the reach that Blockbuster did in their heyday, although they’re still operating. Liberals treated Family Video like a joke, and anti-monopoly accusations against Blockbuster centered entirely around their efforts to control as much of the video industry as possible, not because they didn’t have a section for videos such as “Cougar Chicks Like Big Dicks 12”.

                  1. No Blockbuster deliberately told film producers that even if they distributed R-rated films, they would apply their own judgement. The net result is that many R-rated films had scenes edited out in blockbuster tapes, specifically so that it would pass Blockbuster’s review teams. When I was in high school, there was a cottage industry of people putting out “newsletters” describing the differences between theatrical releases and “Blockbuster Cuts”.

                    Mind you, I am not saying this was wrong. Many people in the left of center, indie community were saying it was wrong. And they were saying that because Blockbuster was a near monopoly in many cities, they were a de facto national censorship board. However in a free market, this worked itself out- Blockbuster’s business model could not maintain its dominance on distribution and they ultimately failed. Had they been regulated, there is no doubt that in 2010, we’d be having the same arguments about Blockbuster v Netflix that we today are having about Cab Companies v Uber.

                    1. No Blockbuster deliberately told film producers that even if they distributed R-rated films, they would apply their own judgement.

                      Proof? I rented plenty of Skinemax-type flicks from them in high school that had all the good stuff included. Hell, they didn’t even ask for my ID.

                      The problem was that you and your friends were stupid teenagers, and and like most stupid teenagers, you confused the R-rated versions of movies with the Unrated versions. Blockbuster never carried unrated versions. Paul Verhoeven had to specifically create an R-rated version of Showgirls so Blockbuster would distribute it for rental. They never carried the NC-17 version that was in theaters.

                      Also, that doesn’t have anything to do with what you were claiming, which was that the left targeted Blockbuster for anti-trust specifically because they were supposedly creating “family values” versions of naughty movies.

                3. we see that when a market is open and free, it is always open for disruption.

                  Only the reverse is actually true. When a market is being disrupted, then it is free to competition. Otherwise, it is a different market structure. There is no such thing outside futurology as ‘open to disruption’. It is either being disrupted or it is not. And there is no fundamental reason other than hope to believe that a different market structure reverts to a free competitive market by default/inevitability.

                  And use the correct terms. ‘Disruption’ means excess profits are being competed away. Excess means profits that are a result of controlling the market itself rather than controlling one’s own production.

                  Twenty years ago no one was a dominant producer re Internet ads because there were no excess profits. Companies were valuing themselves and being valued by VC’s on the basis of ‘eyeballs’ as if that would lead to excess profits. That just means there was a dominant delusion not a dominated market.

              2. Tech companies are some of the most unprincipled entities in the country.

                You may be right. Nevertheless I support private property rights despite the despicable nature of some of the private property owners out there.

                I don’t support private property rights for tech companies because I think they are libertarian ideologues. I support private property rights for all people even if they’re not libertarians.

                Can you say the same about your support of rights for people that you disagree with?

                1. Your claimed support for private property rights is another self-lie.
                  It is amazing how much your instincts can’t stand yourself

                  1. Your claimed support for private property rights is another self-lie.

                    Huh. So I don’t really support private property rights? You know this how – because you’ve read my mind? Or because that is what you imagine my position to be in your head?

                    Maybe I’m not the psychotic one around here.

                    1. It’s your posts.
                      For instance, you don’t think people who post content, aka their property, on social media sites should have any right to protect against, or seek damages for, violations of said property in front of a jury/court.

                    2. Holy shit, Nardz is retarded. Every time I think we’ve reached maximum retard, he posts again.

                    3. For instance, you don’t think people who post content, aka their property, on social media sites should have any right to protect against, or seek damages for, violations of said property in front of a jury/court.

                      That’s not true, and it’s been explained to you multiple times before. It is because you don’t view me as a person, but as a caricature. But I will try again, in a vain hope that you will see reason:

                      If Alice posts something defamatory against Bob on Twitter, then I fully support Bob’s right to sue Alice for defamation. I do not support Bob’s “right” to sue TWITTER for defamation, because Twitter didn’t allegedly defame Bob, Alice did.

                    4. As usual, marshaul has nothing to say.

                      “If Alice posts something defamatory against Bob on Twitter, then I fully support Bob’s right to sue Alice for defamation. I do not support Bob’s “right” to sue TWITTER for defamation, because Twitter didn’t allegedly defame Bob, Alice did.”

                      Bit of a non sequitur, but we’ll address it.
                      It seems chemjeff thinks he has no right to sue Penguin if they put out Tulpa’s best selling book: “How Chemjeff Raped More Children Than Epstein and All the Noble Savages of Guatemala Combined” (I’m assuming the title alleges something that is actually untrue…) or the NYT for printing and distributing Last of the Shitlord’s scathing op-ed: “chemjeff is a child rapist and I’ve seen him forcibly penetrate multiple toddlers” or Starbucks for not taking fliers off their windows/bulletin board that have a picture of him beneath a header reading: “this guy, chemjeff, has and will rape children if he’s not killed”.
                      If you do feelz that way, chemjeff, then you’d at least be consistent.
                      Somehow I think that’s not going to be the case…

                    5. Book PUBLISHERS are responsible for their content, yes. I have never claimed otherwise.

                      But, if a newspaper publishes a defamatory article, and a library purchases a copy of that newspaper for its collection, then the LIBRARY is not responsible for defamation. The article’s author, and possibly the newspaper itself is. Not the LIBRARY. Get the difference now?

                      Once again, you want to hold people responsible for words that are not their own. Not out of any principle, but because you want to stick it to Big Tech for short-term electoral gain, and be damned with the long-term consequences.

                    6. And fuck you for your constant defamation of me.

                    7. Well, what do you expect from someone who is literally retarded and yet still bothers to have opinions.

                2. Can you say the same about your support of rights for people that you disagree with?

                  No, Black Kettle, I don’t support people who exploit loopholes in supposed rights to suppress the actual rights of others.

                  1. I know, right? People who exercise their rights that produce results that you don’t like, that’s called “exploiting a loophole in supposed rights”.

                    Kinda like the “gun show loophole” that Team Blue is always braying on about.

                    1. Just because you’re the let’s bitch doesn’t mean everyone else has to be.

              3. “Tech companies are some of the most unprincipled entities in the country.”

                Tough shit.

                1. “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Rent-Seeking”

            2. We consistently uphold our opposition to regulatory capture.

              1. Calling CDA 230 “regulatory capture” or “excess legal protections” is just the right-wing manner of framing the narrative in support of censorship, without actually saying the word ‘censorship’.

                It is like how gun control advocates call their proposals “common sense gun safety”, because they want to support gun confiscation without actually saying the words ‘gun confiscation’.

                It’s nothing more than a dishonest re-framing of the issue that’s pushed by demagogues on the right who don’t really give a damn about principles like free speech, they only want short-term electoral victory at any cost, and if it means destroying the hated tech companies in the process, well so much the better.

                1. There aren’t any mirrors in your home, are there

                  1. Nor in yours, because a single glance would reveal your down syndrome. Retard.

                    1. “down syndrome”

                      Is that where someone can’t stop looking at the ground?
                      How embarassing!

                    2. I would expect a person with down syndrome to be confused by the lack of a capital ‘D’. It’s OK, you were born this way.

                2. Calling CDA 230 “regulatory capture” or “excess legal protections” is just the right-wing manner of framing the narrative in support of censorship, without actually saying the word ‘censorship’.

                  Tell me: what is being “censored” if Section 230 is abolished?

                  Calling Section 230 “censorship” is just a dishonest, left-wing manner of framing the narrative in favor of regulatory capture.

          2. “Today, conservatives, libertarians and whoever else has the ability to go startup a conservative leaning bulletin board. ”

            And, get treated like GAB.

            Look, there probably wouldn’t be as big a fuss about the left’s platforms, if they were actually allowing the right to have platforms of their own. But every time, every damn time, somebody tries to create a right-wing forum that isn’t censored to the left’s liking, it gets the GAB treatment. Can’t get hosting services, can’t get financial services, gets chased into the dark web.

            “Deplatforming” doesn’t mean you get kicked off a particular platform, it means you’re not allowed to HAVE a platform. Not even your own.

            1. Look, there probably wouldn’t be as big a fuss about the left’s platforms, if they were actually allowing the right to have platforms of their own. But every time, every damn time, somebody tries to create a right-wing forum that isn’t censored to the left’s liking, it gets the GAB treatment. Can’t get hosting services, can’t get financial services, gets chased into the dark web.

              That’s the whole point that dogmatists like chemjeff deliberately ignore, because it fucks up their MUH PRINSSAPULS narrative. This isn’t like a cake shop where there’s literally another shop 2 miles down the road that you can go to if the first one won’t serve you. It’s a deliberate, targeted, collaborative effort by the mass media, Big Tech, banks, and web platforms to stifle anyone who doesn’t meet the current conventionally-accepted definitions of social progressivism. Trump gets away with it for now because of his political position, but I guarantee that once he’s out of office, Twitter will almost immediately ban his account.

              I keep saying that Sarah Jeong was hired by the NYT for the very explicit reason that she literally wrote the book on how these mainstream corporate entities can justify censoring anyone they wish. Idiots like chemjeff actually believe that as long as they play the role of Black Kettle and profess loyalty to the mainstream consensus, there won’t be a progressive version of John Chivington or George Custer riding over the ridge to wipe them out.

              1. Well, if you all would stop your paranoid hyperventilating, maybe we could have a productive discussion on the matter.

                Instead, we’re all treated to the absurd idea that “if Twitter censors Nazis, next, they’re going to censor all discussion about tax cuts!” There is no basis in fact for this type of slippery slope thinking.

                If you take a look at every instance that a person was banned from social media allegedly for having right-wing views, I guarantee, 90+% of the time, it will be because the person was an asshole who also happened to be a right-winger. The person was banned for being an asshole who was also a conservative, not for being a conservative per se. But the victimhood complex is so strong on the right, they view e.g. Milo getting banned as being equivalent to some Anti-Right-Wing Jihad on the part of Big Tech.

                Bringing up Gab is a poor example – not only did they not even censor genuinely violent content, but the owner himself posts anti-Semitic crap.

                1. You’re an asshole, therefore it is correct that your existence be terminated.
                  Sure, let’s play by those rules.

                  1. Funny how you regard getting banned from Twitter to be equivalent to having “your existence be terminated”.

                    Actually, not funny.

                    1. When Palin’s Buttplug is banned from Reason for posting child porn instructions, Palin’s Buttplug has been terminated.
                      When a bank closes PB’s account, PB’s account has been terminated.
                      When chemjeff is fired from his job for extraordinary incompetence, chemjeff is terminated.
                      When chemjeff is shot and killed by the father of one of the children he’s raped, chemjeff is terminated.
                      Enjoy

                    2. Fuck you and your defamatory crap.

                      Being banned from a social media platform is not equivalent to losing one’s life.

                      Get some perspective, and get a grip.

                2. GAB is an excellent example: They had nasty content because they, as a matter of principle, didn’t censor anybody.

                  It’s inevitable, if you defend freedom of association, that you’re going to be defending Nazis marching in Skokie. So that attack is always available to use against any platform that doesn’t censor.

                  The left doesn’t want any platforms, anywhere, run by anybody, to not censor things the left disagrees with. They want comprehensive censorship, not just control of their own platforms. And they’re going to great lengths to accomplish it.

                  1. But in the case of Gab, it wasn’t just that the owner was defending freedom of association for Nazis, he was actually participating in the offensive content himself.

                    The left doesn’t want any platforms, anywhere, blah blah blah

                    I don’t care if that is what “the left” believes. I don’t support that either. What I support is private property rights for individuals and companies to decide what type of content they want on their platforms.

                    So, what inevitably happens, when common ordinary people exercise their common ordinary rights, the results are common and ordinary. Meaning, that mainstream platforms catering to a mainstream audience will exercise their rights to provide an environment that is suitable for that mainstream type of environment. No Nazis, no edgy crap, no downright offensive crap, but simple bland mass market consumer friendly stuff. That is what the mass market Internet platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, are providing. Their understanding of what constitutes “mainstream” is skewed for sure, and their algorithms are faulty at best, but that’s the basic idea.

                    Should Nazis be censored by the state? No.
                    Should Nazis be entitled to a platform alongside mainstream views? No.
                    Will people who hold views far outside of the mainstream, have a more difficult time getting their views out there, than those who hold views closer to the mainstream? Yes. That is what it means to be “not mainstream”. That is not limited to Internet platforms, that has been the case throughout all of history. Unless you want to have some government rule which forces “equal time for Nazis”, then I don’t see anything that can OR SHOULD be done about this. Because what constitutes “mainstream” is largely dictated by the cultural understanding of acceptable norms and standards in society. There will always be some set of norms and standards, these cannot be legislated away.

                    1. Chemjeff obedient Gazi

                    2. “But in the case of Gab, it wasn’t just that the owner was defending freedom of association for Nazis, he was actually participating in the offensive content himself.”

                      So. Freaking. What.

                      If I had to chose between a platform run by a literal Nazi who strangely enough refuses to censor anything., and a platform run by ‘progressives’ who consider the politics of half the country too offensive to be permitted a voice, I’m going to pick the Nazi, because in that comparison, he manages to be the good guy.

                    3. But in the case of Gab, it wasn’t just that the owner was defending freedom of association for Nazis, he was actually participating in the offensive content himself.

                      Which is irrelevant if you actually support the principle of private property rights as you portray it.

                3. Well, if you all would stop your paranoid hyperventilating, maybe we could have a productive discussion on the matter.

                  Yeah, targeted deplatforming by unaccountable megacorp tech companies is nothing to be concerned about.

            2. Look Brett, only Lefties are supposed to have a voice.

              How else are they going to lie and get away with it, if every time they lie, some asshole brings up some video from 20 years ago where they said some other lie?

              Lefties, like the Propagandists that they are, want to be the Gatekeepers to all information.

              1. If the free market is censoring Nazis without government impetus, then it is working correctly. It’s not the fault of decent people that you choose to associate with aberrant, abhorrent, and un-American views.

                The principle of free speech applies to government. It does not require everyday folks to tolerate Nazi trash.

                1. Everyday folks, or they corporations they control.

                2. IT ISN’T A FREE MARKET.

                  In a free market, GAB wouldn’t have been forced into the dark web by a conspiracy of businesses getting together to cut it off from ordinary IT and financial services.

                  It isn’t a free market anymore if you try to compete with McDonald, and find nobody will sell you hamburger, and the electric company shuts off the power to your restaurants.

                  One of the things I eventually realized was just a bit too simplistic about normal libertarian thinking, was the failure to realize that private sector conspiracies could be as destructive to liberty as government.

                  1. I addressed your rubbish “conspiracy” argument elsewhere. Suffice it to say it’s utterly idiotic.

        4. The point is, if you are a passive conduit for others’ speech, (Think the phone company.) then it IS other people’s speech, and you aren’t responsible for it. You can plot plot crimes, commit fraud, threaten people over the phone, and the phone company isn’t responsible, because it isn’t their content, it’s yours, and they don’t exercise any control over the content.

          But, if you exercise an editorial function, (Think a newspaper’s “letters to the editor”, where the paper selects which letters will appear, and frequently alters their content before publishing them.) then you make the content your own for liability purposes.

          Online platforms are neither like a phone company nor like a newspaper. A better analogy is to that of a private library or bookstore.

          A library may exercise discretion over which books to carry in its collection, without therefore becoming responsible for every word in every book in its collection, because the words were neither written nor edited by the librarians themselves. This is different than a letter to the editor, where the editor has the power and authority to actually edit the content of letters that it receives.

          A private library or bookstore is not beholden to be “neutral” with respect to the books that it carries. There is no problem whatsoever with a library/bookstore catering to left-wing radicals, right-wing radicals, history buffs, travel guides, crocheting, what have you. The owners may even choose to curate their selection “in bad faith” (i.e., no UFO books because that’s baloney!) and they still suddenly don’t become liable for the words in the books in the bookstore.

          The issue here is that sites like FaceBook are actually engaged in bad faith moderation

          “Good faith” and “bad faith” has never meant with regards to the politics of the content being moderated. Section 230 permits left-wing forums to ban all right-wing content, and vice-versa, which is the way it ought to be! It means that if the moderators make a decent effort to try, they shouldn’t be held liable for the one or two cases that slip through. The phrase “otherwise objectionable” is there because what constitutes “objectionable” material is inherently in the eye of the beholder. It isn’t because Congress wanted platforms to only moderate filthy words.

          just that FaceBook or Twitter could lose their shield against civil litigation based on moderation decisions if their decisions are found to have been in bad faith.

          It is because both Team Red and Team Blue have axes to grind against Big Tech and are using Section 230 as their current vehicle to go against their tribal enemies.

          1. ^^This.

            Chemjeff, I disagree with a lot of your values since I come from a right background, but posts like this are what evolved my thinking on the matter. I still feel that leftist-run sites like Twitter and Facebook are bad news, but I have come to realize that weaponizing the government in this way is only going to make them stronger- when their people are in power again. Twitter and Facebook would pay a price in the market for becoming ideologically censorious- but only in a freer market.

            1. How is allowing private parties to take companies to court and have a jury decide the merits of their complaint “weaponizing government”?

                1. Also, shut up, retard. You have nothing to contribute. It is beyond your capability.

          2. Online platforms are neither like a phone company nor like a newspaper. A better analogy is to that of a private library or bookstore.

            Therefore, by your own analysis, the institutions most analogous to Internet providers like Google and Facebook have operated without problems for centuries without Section 230 protection. QED.

            1. Except, back in the 1990’s, a terrible court decision DID declare online platforms to be publishers like newspapers. The point of Section 230 is to reverse that decision.

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

              1. That’s right, but that doesn’t mean they arrived at the right answer.

                None of which changes that Trump isn’t proposing to violate Section 230, he’s instead proposing to enforce an actual clause of the law.

                1. Reality isn’t something chemjeff tolerates

                  1. You mean like the “reality” of “chemjeff doesn’t support private property rights” when I am the most consistent defender of them around here, and it’s YOU who want to effectively nationalize social media for the sake of short-term electoral victory of the right?

                    God you really are a pathetic soul.

                    1. And you’re “the smart guy in the room”
                      Saying “I support private property rights” is pretty meaningless when you follow that up with contradictory arguments.

                    2. Saying “I support private property rights” is pretty meaningless when you follow that up with contradictory arguments.

                      Like what?

                      Give an ACTUAL ARGUMENT that I’ve made which supposedly is contradictory of private property rights. Not some imaginary strawman argument from the caricature in your head.

                  2. Not being a retard isn’t something your brain tolerates either.

                    1. Did you think about this sentence before you wrote it?
                      Of course not. Silly question.

                    2. It’s not surprising that a retard is confused by double negatives.

              2. Except, back in the 1990’s, a terrible court decision DID declare online platforms to be publishers like newspapers.

                So, in summary, whether they are publishers (according to the courts), or bookstores/libraries (according to you), none of those institutions have or need Section 230 protection.

                I.e., so far, you have not been able to come up with any argument why these companies require Section 230 protection.

    2. You need to learn to read.

      Just because all words are made from the same alphabet does not make them equal. Some mean different things.

      You can’t go by the number of letters in words, or the average height in each word.

      You have to actually understand words, especially in the context of other words.

      You fail.

        1. Not as stunning as the extent of your retardedness.

          1. You’ve got remarkably little material

            1. You’re worth no better.

    3. Balance, you see. the Ds are finally catching up to the bad orange man who thinks that blocking Mitch McConnell live streaming his own lynching and not blocking any proggy who wants to wood chipper Nick Sandman is unfair editorializing. They merely want to change the Constitution to ban books and movies, “hate speech” like ‘misgenndering’ someone, and throw climate denialists in jail. Totes catching up.

  2. Holy crap, that’s your analysis?

    First, the Democrats are not joining Trump in seeking to police speech. They are well into a multi-year push on that front. Hell, even if you discard all the attempts to get Limbaugh and Hannity muzzled through resurrecting the fairness doctrine, you’ve still got the well-coordinated push into policing “fake news” that was spearheaded by the Obama administration and associated “grass roots” organizations.

    Remember how they got everyone all worked up about fake news stories and then started pushing for “truth commissions” to stop people from spreading false reports? Remember how they came up with the idea of using non-partisan fact checkers to do that? (And remember how those same “grass roots” organizations were the ones who created the supposedly non-partisan fact check organizations?)

    Remember the last 3-4 years at all? How Facebook created a truth panel to decide which stories they would allow to be covered on their system? Remember how that non-partisan group included some of the most extreme progressives they could find? and remember how people on the right started complaining about shadow bans?

    None of that ringing a bell at all?

    How about when Alphabet (google) chairman Eric Schmidt formed “The Groundwork” specifically to help Democrats win elections? Remember how he touted its ability to tie in directly to the back end architecture of social media and search companies?

    Really? Trump is the guy who invented policing speech. And now those weak-willed democrats are joining him in calling for this?

    Do people really have some sort of short term memory condition? How can you not remember anything beyond the last 2 weeks?

    1. I’ll start by saying that I agree Trump’s plan here will have some awful consequences, even if well intentioned. Now, the both sides-ism is ridiculous. The democrats are trying to police speech to prevent people from speaking and thinking anything they dislike. A few republicans, including the president, are trying to figure out a way to prevent major platforms from limiting speech. Sure, they are doing it in a self-serving manner since the speech being limited by these companies is typically right-wing/conservative.
      The two things are not equal. The government stepping in on either is not ideal. But it is one thing to assert your side should be able to express itself on major platforms and another to say the opposition isn’t allowed to do so.

      1. But it is one thing to assert your side should be able to express itself on major platforms by force and another to say the opposition isn’t allowed to do so by force.

        See to me and my thinking they are completely equal not on perhaps the points but by which they mean to achieve their goals. And for me to agree to the use force, the problem needs to exceed Internet Flame War aka Culture War level. So yeah both sides are fucking retard. Hilary didn’t lose because of Russian memes and I can find any conservative voice on the internet any day of the week.

        1. And obviously I retarded at HTTML. Goddammit Congress just do the job laid out to you by the constitution – there is enough for you do there – and cut fucking spending.

          1. You know, I would love to know the html to ‘underline’ something. 🙂

              1. Yeah, they don’t have the underline html working right now.

    2. The last time that the Democrats tried to pass this amendment in four years ago the consensus by the writers here was that they did not really mean it to pass so it should not really count against them. Also, it was not like they were attempting to curtail really important speech rights, like burning flags.

      1. “… the consensus by the writers here was that they did not really mean it to pass so it should not really count against them.”

        The Reason rope-a-dope is never ending.

    3. It’s hard to decide with each column if Sullum is more dishonest or stupid.

      1. Sullum is both.

  3. As to the merits:

    If you are at all worried about the things that make us have campaign finance laws – thing like big money in elections, the ability of the little guy to get his message out, really any of the stuff at all that the left continually goes on about… then this should concern you even more.

    The internet – and specifically search and social media – is the primary way we communicate these days. And those top tier providers have been coopted by one political party. They have been pretty open about seeking ways to ensure that only “approved” information gets through – and only from approved sources.

    So for some reason Chuck Schumer is super worried about some little production company making a political movie and releasing it around election time – so much so that he wants to base supreme court nominations on Citizens United opposition and he even supports amending the constitution on that front… But you are a conspiracy theorist if you are worried about the main information channel in the country being actively censored for political content?

    Why do you suppose people like Schumer and Pelosi are up in arms about Citizens United (which allows small groups to band together and produce political messages), but are not worried at all about a consortium of the top internet companies deciding together who they’ll allow to access their platforms – and making those decisions in a clearly politically driven manner?

    The people who are being silenced (or who are watching people adjacent to them on the political spectrum being silenced) start squealing… and that’s when the libertarians jump in? Our position is to say “How dare you complain about having your viewpoint silenced in the public square!”?

    And of course the Democrats jumped on board as soon as they saw the republicans start acting all statist and calling for regulation… they’d love nothing more than to make sure they have those levers in their own hands, rather than being under the thumb of their supposed allies in Silicon Valley.

    The only thing everyone seems to agree on here is that controlling what is allowed on these top tier internet platforms is a very powerful thing. Well, everyone except Reason.

    1. Cyto…let me ask you this: If these social media companies stated that they would not do any moderation of any kind, would this address your concerns?

      In other words, everyone with every viewpoint is in. No exclusions.

      What do you think?

      1. It would address my concerns, anyway.

        1. Mine too, Brett. The current situation we have is schizophrenic. To be fair to the social media companies, they are twisting in the wind (in some respects), because there are no clear, hard and fast rules.

          At least with ‘no’ moderation, there is a hard and fast rule. Everyone can easily understand it. I’d rather have transparency, even in the face of being exposed to raw filth that I detest….than the current opacity, based on viewpoint discrimination.

          1. To what extent a site moderates its content should be as close to completely within their control as possible[1]. If someone wants to start up a conservative twitter alternative and ban liberal talking points they should be allowed to do it. If someone wants to start up a forum that moderates for only SJW BS, they should be allowed to do it.

            The problem we have today is that Twitter, YouTube and other media platforms got to their position by insisting that they were an open platform. This widened their potential market to include pretty much everybody. And they prospered.

            These companies are a problem today for a few reasons. First and foremost, everyone is running to government trying to legislate content moderation. These companies are trying to get in front of that by being more active in moderation. Second, the market for capital has changed since these companies were founded. Legislation has made it much, much harder for a startup to independently raise capital and compete with the big boys, and so the common pattern is for a company to generate enough success then stall out its growth until it has been acquired by one of the existing players.

            Yeah Liberals have gone crazy now that they see Conservatives have become adept at using social media as they did in the previous decades. Especially those in the big companies are aghast that the no-moderation strategy they championed are now helping more than leftists. The solution to those leftists is to expose them for abandoning their principles and to see the companies fall to upstarts that do a better job of meeting consumers’ needs. But that cannot happen if the government starts getting into the content regulation game. We should be peeling back the regulations that burden startups, not adding another set.

            [1] For right or wrong, there will always be requirements to avoid child pornography and other “beyond the pale” illegal stuff.

            1. The parallels to Rearden Steel in Atlas Shrugged are pretty striking.

              Here, we have a product (amazing new steel alloy / amazing communications tech) that have revolutionized an industry, everybody wants to be a part of it, but then along comes the government declaring “well, you’ve been TOO successful, it’s time to regulate you to oblivion – for the ‘public good’, of course”.

              Get your government hands off my tech.

              1. None of these companies invented the technologies that made them big.

          2. If you want no moderation, go spend an hour looking through archives of 8chan and 4chans pol boards, or any of their most shit stained boards. Thats with moderation too, albeit almost nonexistent. Go spend an hour there, and come back and tell me you want that but with less moderation all over the internet or social media platforms. Not arguing for anything, but no moderation would lead us to a cess pool that no one but people who are surrounded by piss bottles wants. Ill wait while you read that and then tell me thats the answer to our problems

            1. The great thing is that the *Chans exist in this market and serve the minority of people who get off on that sort of thing. Those will disappear as soon as legislators start creating legal definitions of “hate Speech” and “Trolling”. Even this site will be in trouble, and the likely response on sites like Reason (where their main business is articles, not comment forums) will be to remove comments all together. Again, this type of legislation will make Twitter and FaceBook stronger, and less vulnerable to upstart competition.

              But back to the *Chans, they are a perfect example of why you need to let moderation sit largely in the control of the operating company. I don’t want anything to do with those sites. I also dislike facebook for its policies and the general population posting. I like Reason. So reason gets my “forum” business.

              The LAST thing I want is for Reason, 4Chan and Facebook to all have the same, government imposed, moderation policies. It creates an incentive for companies to lobby rather than innovate. And it removes my ability to select the discussion forums that I want.

              1. ” Those will disappear as soon as”

                The Chans *existed* in this market. Past tense. They’re being shut down, and not by legislation, but by businesses conspiring together to control who’s allowed to run a platform. If they don’t want you running one, you you’ll get kicked off one hosting company after another, you’ll find you can’t process financial transactions, you’ll stop showing up in search results, your url will stop resolving into an IP address.

                We’re pretending the problem is government censorship, but that’s not the problem. The problem is private conspiracies to censor.

                1. Okay, so let’s construct the analogy corresponding to meatspace.

                  Suppose I’m a Nazi and I want to hold my Nazi meetings at a hotel conference room. Should the hotel management have the right to refuse my request? Yes or no? If yes, then that is no different than a hosting company refusing to host a site for online Nazi meetings.

                  Suppose I’m a Nazi and I want to open a checking account in the name of American Nazis at the local bank. Should the local bank have the right to refuse to open this account, because they don’t want to be associated with American Nazis? Yes or no? If yes, then that is no different than a financial company refusing to do the same for online Nazis.

                2. That and government requires that people properly identify themselves with opening bank accounts and certain platforms and limits what kind of new platforms can be started.

                  For example, the Chan supporters cannot simply start their own internet to protect their speech.

                  This makes it easier for established crony Capitalist platforms to de-platform dissenters.

                3. It’s not a “conspiracy”, it’s the widespread (read: nearly universal) belief that Nazi views are intolerable in private fora (we are forced to tolerate them in public fora in the furtherance of free speech).

                  This is what spontaneous collective action looks like, and if you find yourself the subject of nearly unanimous approbation, I would suggest their either you are the problem, or this is no longer your country.

                  Everyone pretends that gun content is the problem, but Forgotten Weapons is still going strong. At no point has this sort of content been “censored”.

                  What we’re really talking about is Nazi content, and I don’t give a fuck if every private entity in the world prohibits Nazi content from their platforms. Nazi ideology is as un-American (not to mention morally reprehensible) as you can get.

                  1. “If we didn’t have the [Nazis], we’d have to invent them”

                    1. I honestly don’t know why you bother pretending (aside from being an actual retard). Seriously, everyone knows what this is about. Your denials are fucking pointless, because the only people who will pretend to believe them are your echo chamber.

                      You might as well own it.

                  2. Spontaneous collective action is never that complete. The relevant term is “conspiracy in restraint of trade.”

            2. Goo….Reason states they do no moderation. It seems to work here.

              My point: Any moderation of any kind will discriminate in some way. So why have that? Age filters so little 3-year old Johnny doesn’t see porn seem Ok to me. Viewpoint moderation….nope.

              1. It works here because this site is irrelevant and you have only a small committed user base. There was 500 comments on an article here pretty much between 2 posters. Theres what, like 15 of you who post here? Imagine 200,000 people using your comment section at once with no moderation. Youre all probably educated boomers, not the people we need to be worrying about in this issue. Calling for no moderation across all the internet is retarded

                1. Hahaha.

                  Clearly Goobutter doesn’t understand what really takes place here and that he’s advocating restrictions on what made the internet one of the best inventions in human history.

      2. They would still need 18 and over filters

        1. Need? Not necessarily. But I would be willing to accept that the application of an ‘adult’ filter could form the basis for certain sorts of liability protection. E.g. if you have such a filter on your service then you cannot be sued by little Timmy’s parents because they caught him accessing objectionable materials (of whatever sort – sex, violence, socialism, etc.)

      3. Yep.
        Anything goes.
        We’re all about freedom and liberty, right?

        1. Your ‘free mind’ is only free to peruse what your betters think best for you.

          1. Chemjeff approves rev arty telling him what he can and can’t think

            1. Stop lying, retard.

        2. Anything goes ON YOUR OWN PROPERTY.

          You do NOT have the right to dictate to everyone else what they must or must not permit on their own property.

          It is ANTI-LIBERTY to try to dictate to everyone what they do with their property. But hey I’m the one who doesn’t support property rights, huh?

          1. Anything goes ON YOUR OWN PROPERTY.

            If you believe that, you obviously have never owned property in the US.

            You do NOT have the right to dictate to everyone else what they must or must not permit on their own property.

            The local, state, and federal governments do this all the time.

            But, hey, Chemjeff wants to start the libertarian revolution by giving a bunch of illiberal billionaires hell-bent on corrupting the US political process special and unique protection from lawsuits! Because that’s the kind of libertarian he is, always watching out for the billionaires, while the rest of us continue to be enslaved.

      4. We get by without moderation here.

        Huffpo had loads of moderation and was still a pit of despair.

        There are methods of handling it though. Particularly for some place like facebook – which is based on trust and relationships – it should be really easy. Slashdot brought us user moderation and metamoderation back in the late 90’s. It works fine. Facebook could have done this with 100x more sophistication.

        But that wasn’t the point, was it. The progressive activists weren’t worried about what they were going to see. They were worried about keeping other people from seeing stuff.

        That’s the whole problem here. If Facebook, Google et. al. had just told the far left to pound sand when they started demanding political censorship, we wouldn’t have this problem.

        We’d still have trouble because of people living in a bubble of self selected choir preaching. But we wouldn’t have “We need the government to force them not to suppress people who agree with us because they are afraid of people who disagree with us who are willing to use mob rule”.

        So there ya go…. return to users self-moderating and quit trying to be the arbiters of truth. I can figure out whether Milo or Shapiro are worth listening to or ignore them all on my own, thanks.

        1. Facebook never needed the moderation, because you don’t have to follow anybody on Facebook if you don’t want to. You can block people, you can join private groups. The only stuff on Facebook you’re exposed to without volunteering for it is the stuff Facebook is shoving in your face for advertising revenue.

          Sure, there were porn stars on Facebook, making money off their pages. Sure, there were people whose politics even I find sketchy. So what? I didn’t have to have them on my timeline.

          Facebook was doing just fine with minimal moderation, actually complying with Section 230 in good faith. Until the deplatforming movement got to them, and they decided they were in a position of power, and ought to abuse that power.

          But the more we learn about Facebook, the more obvious it becomes that abusing power was always their business model. It just wasn’t so obvious until they decided to start taking their profit in political influence instead of money.

          1. Excellent point Brett.

            Lack of moderation is what got FaceFriend all the users that it had at its pinnacle.

    2. Gee, what did we do in the dark ages before Facebook?

      I remember–we had those newspaper things with words printed on dead trees. Thank god we also had those strict government mandates that required newspapers to print everything that anybody proposed, with bureaucrats to ensure equal political content.

      1. Earth….Maybe you should take a gander at the Lamb’s Chapel SCOTUS decision. The ruling there has applicability here.

      2. This is basically what it boils down to: the internet has given Nazi trash a voice for the first time since their kind was resoundingly defeated by a coalition of all the decent peoples of the world.

        Now, that same Nazi trash is whining that decent folks are tired of listening to Nazis’ vitriolic insecurity and have started pulling the plug on it within their private platforms.

        Tough fucking shit. The Nazis can still protest publicly. It’s not our fault if every time they do so it backfires because decent people are repelled by indecency.

        1. Boooring.

          Time to switch up socks, eunuch

          1. Haha, when you don’t have an argument, just call someone a “sock”, as if that’s an argument.

            News flash: I’ve been posting here way longer than you have, and I’m nobody’s sock (nor is anybody mine). That whole game is for retards, which is no doubt why you play.

              1. this marshaul troll still cannot get over Hillary losing so badly in 2016.

  4. Very well said, in my point of view. Trump Trying hard, which I strongly believe.

  5. The Senate Democrats are also threatening the independence of the Supreme Court.

    1. Yeah, that was pretty amazing: “Refuse to take cases where you might rule in a way we don’t like, or else.”

      What they’re doing right now is setting the groundwork for Court packing as soon as they’re in a position to do it, on the basis that any decisions made by a Supreme court they didn’t like are fundamentally illegitimate.

      1. The Democrats seem bound and determined to break the system of checks and balances in federalism because they are not now serving their purposes, and they do not care to be subtle about it anymore.

        1. Lefties are talking about so intensely because they are super desperate to stem the tide of Trump and the rollback of Lefty policy.

          It’s likely no Democrats will ever be President nor the Party of slavery ever completely control the federal government again.

        2. I’ve said this before: If you know any game theory, the Republicans are playing the repeated game, they understand themselves to be in a system where sometimes they’re going to win, sometimes they’re going to lose.

          But the Democrats aren’t playing that game. They’re working towards a day when they can say, “Game over, we won.”. When democracy arrives at its destination, and you get off.

          So the Republicans are reluctant to set precedents the Democrats could use against them. But the Democrats have no similar reluctance, because once they get back in power, they don’t plan on ever letting it go again.

          They really thought that, in 2016, they’d arrived at that day: They were going to take both chambers and the presidency, and Republicans would never be in power again. They thought that Bush had been the last Republican President, EVER.

          Now their frustration over that has driven them mad, and they’re not even playing a long term strategy to get back to “game over”. They’re planning to go full totalitarian the moment they’re back in power, to make sure nothing like 2016 can ever happen again.

          1. They’re planning to go full totalitarian the moment they’re back in power

            You know how stupid certain Democrats sound when they basically say Republicans are no different than Nazis?

            That’s how you sound right now, in reverse.

            1. Lick them boots, bitch

              1. What I would expect from a guy who mocks principles and sees only power as the end goal.

                1. I think you’ve confused the definition of “principles” for that of “dogma”, then added feels and psychosis to it

              2. Suck that cock, retard.

                1. I bet that slur really ruffled some feathers in grade school

                  1. It appears to be ruffling yours, based on your need to respond literally every single time I use it.

                    No doubt it’s because the truth hurts.

                    1. Whatever gets you through the day, kid

                    2. poor marshaul still cannot get Hillary’s dick out of his mouth to speak in complete sentences.

            2. I’m basing that on what they’re actually SAYING. Micky Rat’s link to various Democratic members of Congress outright threatening to pack the Court when they’re back in power, if it doesn’t rule the way they want.

              1. In support of this nutty stance:

                Most DNC presidential candidates support packing the supreme court to get political decisions they agree with.

                Most DNC candidates support a constitutional amendment allowing them the power of banning political speech by disfavored groups.

                Most of the new group of Democrats in congress are on board with the position that “hate speech is not free speech”, and are fine with censoring and even jailing people based on disfavored speech. Compounding this is the moving definition of “hate speech”. It started somewhere near “kill the jews” and has evolved to include “I support the republican nominee”.

                The left and members of congress are on board with pressing companies to stop doing business with their political opponents. This includes places like Facebook, etc. But it also includes banks, telecom companies, real estate companies, even restaurants.

                The left (in the person of President Obama and his administration) have actually used the power of government to enforce this sort of exorcism from society through Operation Choke Point. They actually threatened abusive regulatory activity if banks did business with perfectly legal businesses that the administration didn’t like. Things like gun stores, check cashing stores, porn producers, strippers, etc.

                The list is long, but that should be enough to provide perspective.

          2. Luckily, it’s unlikely that Democrats will ever be in full power again.

            1. Unlikely? It’s damned near certain, given enough time. Could even happen as soon as 2021.

              1. I agree with you but I will give them 1-2% chance to not disappear from national political power.

                I think this hyper-desperation by Lefties means that they know it too.

  6. Donald Trump wants to regulate social media, while Democrats want to regulate political spending.

    I will translate Jacob Sollum’s lies:

    Donald Trump wants Lefties held accountable for the lies they spew and the harm they do to people and America.

    Democrats want to tyrannically control everything as they are at the very worst Socialists but some are Communists.

    1. So better we have government monitoring and management of private speech?

      1. Nope. Open up FB, Google, Twatter to lawsuits for Libel.

        1. Because they hosted a post by some moron that you don’t like?

          1. “that you don’t like” =/= libel.

            Words have meaning, try to keep up.

          2. Either everyone can say whatever they want or they can’t.

            Since your Team Blue does not want everyone to say what they want, I guess we will never have free speech.

            1. Not being on the “side” of you retards does not equate to being on the side of Team Blue.

              Team Blue are also retards. Incompetent retards, I might add.

            2. poor marshaul troll.

  7. Regulating one aspect of social media and telling the social media companies to live by their stated terms of service is totally the same thing as passing a constitutional amendment that takes away all free speech rights beyond the individual.

    If assholes like Sullumn didn’t have lies and false equivalence, they wouldn’t have anything at all. This is not to say that it is unreasonable to disagree with either proposal. It is not. What is unreasonable is pretending they are in anyway comparable.

    1. It seems to cause psychological pain to criticize the Democrat’s bad behavior on civil rights issues without throwing in some “both sides” example to apologize for the presumption.

    2. Legislatively created corporate safe harbors are totes the same as individual rights.

  8. Let’s try another analogy.

    I own a retail business on Main Street. In my entryway, I install a bulletin board, with a written invitation for the public to post whatever they like, but with an admonition to “keep it civil”. Somebody thumb-tacks an actual bag of dog shit with a picture of the mayor attached. I take it down.

    Should I now be liable for all other content?

    1. Should I now be liable for all other content?

      You may already be held liable for the content of that bulletin board; it doesn’t matter whether you exercise editorial control over it or just ignore it. That’s because you don’t operate under Section 230 protection, only companies like Google do.

      We could (and probably should) strike Section 230 altogether. But Congress is offering a compromise saying that you get a choice to operate under Section 230 if you comply with a simple set of rules, or alternatively operate like any other private business. The ultimate arbiter of this will be the courts. I don’t see what problem you have with any of this or where you see censorship.

      1. It is censorship by extortion. “Play by our rules, and we’ll leave you alone.”

        1. Typical PedoJeffy strawman.

          It’s actually “play by these rules and you’ll get special protections that all the others do not”

          Do it your own way and live with this thing we call civil law, same as all the others.

          1. So “special protections” now, in the minds of people like ThomasD, is “not being held liable for someone else’s words”. Gee, how special for not holding me responsible for something I didn’t do! That’s a “special privilege” now!

            That is the extortionate part of Hawley’s proposal. Submit to the government’s bidding of the “correct” way to moderate, or be held responsible for the speech of others. It is censorship via extortion and it is disgusting. And the only way the Hawleyites can even begin to sell such a proposal is to reframe CDA 230 as “special protections”, “excess protections”, “regulatory capture”, in essence to try to justify censorship without actually using the word censorship.

            And fuck you with your “pedo” nonsense.

            1. So if Tulpa prints up a flyer that says “chemjeff aka [insert chemjeff’s real name] raped [specifically named ten year old]” and sends me a pdf, which I then print hundreds of copies of and tape up all around your hometown and workplace, then you should only be able to sue Tulpa, but not me?
              Otherwise it’s censorship, right?

              1. If you read Tulpa’s flier, knew it to be false, yet published it anyway knowing in advance that it was false, then yes you should be liable along with Tulpa for defamation.

                But here is a modification of your hypothetical situation that is closer to reality when it comes to online platforms. Suppose Tulpa sends you this flier, he instructs you to post it all over town, but you are blind and cannot read the words that the flier contains. But you post them anyway. When informed that the fliers are defamatory, you immediately remove them all.

                You had no knowledge aforehand of what the flyers contained.
                What, if any, liability should you have in this case?

                1. So “muh private library” is bullshit then?

                2. So, both Nardz and PedoJeffy routinely write up fliers and send them to me. I carefully vet PedoJeffy’s (because I wouldn’t want to do anything illegal or immoral, especially involving minors or juvenile farm animals) before posting them, but I slap up Nardz without a moments consideration.

                  And that makes me liable for what PedoJeff says, but not what Nardz says in his?

                  Man, that’s a winning argument.

                  1. You are a complete asshat deliberately defaming me and not arguing in good faith.

                    I never said that Youtube or any online platform was EXACTLY like a library. Youtube is not a library. They are not a publisher. They are not a completely open platform. They are none of these things. A library is a closer ANALOGY than any of your analogies. You understand the concept of analogy, don’t you?

                    Once again, all you care about is shoving the square peg of Youtube into the round hole of publisher so you can sue them into oblivion using publishing law because you perceive them to be your enemy. That is what all of this nonsense boils down to.

                    The point here, is that when it comes to traditional publishers, there is an intermediate step between the creation of the work and the dissemination of the work. Let’s call this intermediate step “an editor”. The editor typically has some power to ALTER or EDIT the work product before it is disseminated. This step is absent in the case of a library, which is one reason why libraries are not considered publishers. This step is ALSO absent in the case of Youtube. Youtube does not edit the content of videos before they are disseminated on their platform. AFAIK Youtube doesn’t even know what’s in the videos before they are disseminated. They only take down videos after the fact, if someone reports a video for some reason.

                    Once you start to argue that libraries should be sued for libel if they display a newspaper that has defamatory content, then I’ll take your argument seriously.

                    But in the mean time, keep your grubby authoritarian hands off my tech.

                3. But he isn’t blind, because he refused to put up a flier saying OBL is a Guatemalan Intel officer….

        2. It is censorship by extortion. “Play by our rules, and we’ll leave you alone.”

          And by “extortion” you mean that they are liable for civil penalties within the limits of corporate liability, just like 99.999999% of all other corporations, publishers, and businesses.

          Either extend Section 230 to all businesses or strike it.

    2. Horrible try.

    3. Earth….kind of a bad analogy. Wouldn’t there be a property issue in your example? 🙂

    4. “Should I now be liable for all other content?”

      Now???

      You probably already are.

      If a vandal – against your will and against your property – spray paints libelous statements on the side of your building and you do not make any attempt to remove or disclaim them you can be liable.

  9. War is peace. Slavery is freedom. Ensuring the freespeech of citizens is “censorship of corporations”.

    Our society has pitted the freespeech of citizens against corporations, and Silicon Valley and the mainstream media have reason.com as an ally.

    Guaranteeing freespeech, by criminalizing speech which violates NAP, is lawful.

    Either social media purveys crime speech, or it can’t censor. Platform and Publisher are mutually exclusive.

    As the social media giants are censoring some (conservatives) it is morally liable as a Publisher. The stance they are taking makes them culpable for the speechcrimes of their users.

    They are violating NAP. Their allies frame this as a question of how a platform relates to freespeech. You’re only a platform if you don’t censor. The phone company doesn’t regulate their customers at the level of discussion content. Phone services are a platform.

    TLDR; Social media giants are violating NAP, as they host criminal speech as a publishing censor. Refusing to censor subjective content is the only way to avoid culpability for the (objectively criminal) content of your users.

    1. You keep citing the NAP, but your reasoning appears to be based entirely on Section 230, with the references to the NAP being entirely spurious and irrelevant.

      1. The term platform appears nowhere in Section 230.

        1. Nor is it in any of the standard formulations of the NAP.

          Your point?

  10. “The constitutional amendment they support, like the president’s plan to regulate social media, trusts the government to moderate our political debate.”

    Well, there goes everyone’s free speech right in the toilet.
    Happy now all you democratic and republican fascist pigs out there?
    What are you going to take next?
    Our testicles?

  11. When will Reason cut the crap and rename the publication, “BOTH SIDES!!1!”?

  12. I am struggling to see the points both sides are making on section 230. Aside from ISP’s I believe it should be removed. The ISP’s just allow us access to the internet. They don’t own the websites. The website owners (facebook, instagram, twitter, youtube, etc are all websites) should be liable for what is put on their platforms. Making them liable will make them block access to users they don’t approve, but this is not a free speech issue. Reviewing all posts may be costly and time consuming. Other companies have to do that with the products they make and if they fail to do so they face liability. Why doesn’t an internet company have to do that? The US public are free to create their own websites. It’s very cheap and easy. They will be held liable for what they put on those websites. As it now stands someone can hop behind a VPN, post whatever they want, someone else can facilitate it, and continue to make profit while being totally free of any consequences. They know this as well. There is no law stating that these internet companies have to have any form of data retention. So, a site owner can be free of liability while fully knowing those that post on their site are doing things that are not at all permissible. When someone buys a domain, pays for hosting, etc then they leave a paper trail.
    Back in the day I didn’t need twitter or facebook to learn when a car show was coming to town. I went to websites and checked. We have apps that monitor our steps. We can have apps that monitor car show websites. Social media may have been built with the best intentions, but it allows a fast-lane for those with horrible intentions.
    Let’s get honest. Was my comment even necessary? Are comment sections needed?
    No.
    If you want to post videos of your viewpoints online then buy a domain, host the videos yourself, and pay for advertising. If youtube is open to liability for what someone posts then your speech isn’t being infringed upon. It just means you don’t want to host your own website for whatever reason and are blaming the person fronting all the costs.
    “Hey, let’s allow the world to say things using our platform and then complain about abuse, misinformation, and crazy people!” What did you think was going to happen?

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