First Amendment

YouTube Is Not the Government

Conservatives who argue that the video platform is constrained by the First Amendment are forsaking their constitutional principles.

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Dennis Prager may or may not have a legitimate beef with YouTube, which he says has been restricting access to videos produced by his nonprofit organization, Prager University, because of its conservative perspective. But one thing is clear: YouTube is not violating the First Amendment, and the political commentator's claims to the contrary are anything but conservative.

During a hearing last week before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the two members of the three-judge panel who spoke were understandably skeptical of PragerU's argument that YouTube's decisions about which videos should be accessible in "restricted" mode implicate the First Amendment. The reason for that skepticism is obvious: The First Amendment is a constraint on government, not on private publishers, no matter how successful or influential they are.

"If your representations are correct, it seems deeply disturbing that they've put your stuff in the restricted area," said Judge Jay Bybee, a George W. Bush appointee. "I'm not sure that creates a First Amendment issue."

Judge M. Margaret McKeown, a Clinton appointee, seemed equally unimpressed by PragerU's argument. YouTube is "a public forum in a colloquial sense," she said. "But does that necessarily mean that they're a First Amendment public forum?"

It does not, since a "public forum" in the constitutional sense requires government action, as U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh recognized last year when she dismissed PragerU's lawsuit against YouTube and Google, which owns the video platform. Just as Prager's organization, notwithstanding its name, is not really a university, the fact that YouTube promotes itself as a viewpoint-neutral platform for a wide variety of perspectives does not make it a "public forum" under the First Amendment.

Koh rejected PragerU's reliance on Marsh v. Alabama, a 1946 case in which the Supreme Court held that Chickasaw, a Mobile suburb owned and controlled by the Gulf Shipbuilding Corporation, violated the First Amendment when it banned Jehovah's Witnesses from distributing religious literature on a sidewalk near the post office. That decision hinged on the fact that Gulf Shipbuilding was acting in all respects like a local government, performing functions that ordinarily would be reserved to the state.

"Unlike the private corporation in Marsh," Koh observed, "Defendants do not own all the property and control all aspects and municipal functions of an entire town. Far from it, Defendants merely regulate content that is uploaded on a video-sharing website that they created as part of a private enterprise."

PragerU's lawyer, Peter Obstler, nevertheless urged the 9th Circuit to accept the analogy. YouTube is "not just a company town," he said. "They're arguably a company country and maybe a company world force."

In the end, however, Obstler's argument came down to YouTube's self-presentation. If YouTube admits that political considerations influence its filtering decisions, he said, "the problem goes away."

Google's lawyer, Brian Willen, noted that "the First Amendment isn't a switch that gets turned on or off based on how a private business describes itself." And if PragerU's position were accepted, he said, the result would be a "much more clamped-down and closed internet," since platforms like YouTube would have "powerful incentives" to abandon any aspiration to ideological neutrality.

Presumably that is not an outcome PragerU would welcome. But at least as troubling as the practical implications of the organization's argument is its result-oriented approach to constitutional interpretation—the sort of loosey-goosey reasoning that conservatives like Dennis Prager have long condemned when it's employed by advocates on the left.

Prager frivolously argues that the Constitution guarantees his right to post videos on YouTube without restrictions based on the company's (admittedly vague) notions of propriety. Where does that leave him when people with different priorities frivolously argue that the Constitution guarantees, say, a right to taxpayer-subsidized abortions?

Conservatives may be tempted to embrace Prager's argument in the hope of a short-term victory for their side. But they should first reflect on the long-term costs of forsaking their constitutional principles.

© Copyright 2019 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. You know else thought YouTube was the government?

    1. Uncle Joe Goebbels?

        1. Creepy find, thanks. I twice checked out Mein Kampf from the library when I was a kid; the language is so repetitive that I never got far before resorting to skimming. That pamphlet reminds me of it.

    2. “YouTube Is Not the Government”

      It’s big enough and influential enough that it might as well be.

    3. It’s big enough and influential enough that it might as well be.

      https://fifacoinsus.com

    4. The democrat party

    5. “You know else thought YouTube was the government?”

      The same fellow who thought Prager University was a University?

      1. Weak attempt at wit from a weak minded progtard.

        1. Whadja spect? I graduated from a weak minded University.

  2. One thing is for certain: any legitimacy autocratic corporations are given by the government should be eliminated. No privileges and no handouts.

    1. What privileges or handouts is YouTube getting from the government? Also shouldn’t privileges and handouts be eliminated for any and all corporations regardless of political bent?

      1. What privileges or handouts is YouTube getting from the government?

        Section 230

        Also shouldn’t privileges and handouts be eliminated for any and all corporations regardless of political bent?

        Yes, see above.

        1. Ah yes, that well-known privilege of [checks notes] not being punished by the government for something someone else said on the internet.

          1. Yet, oddly, their brick and mortar competitors do get punished for what other people say on their media.

            1. their brick and mortar competitors do get punished for what other people say on their media.

              Examples? Has the NYT been sued for comments users post in their paper?

              1. No, because the NYT would refuse to print letters or ads that would get them sued or that violated copyrights. Internet publishers like YouTube are protected from liability from such legal trouble as long as they try their best to follow a few rules. The idea that such protection makes them a kind of virtual public space is not so far-fetched.

                1. So it sounds like what you’re saying is that the only things that you see in the print version of the NYT are things that the publishers deliberately put there since there is literally no way for you or I to put something into the NYT, right?

                  Which is different from YouTube in that you or I can put things on YouTube without anyone from YouTube participating in any way.

                  The only real analogy you could draw with print media like the NYT would be to point out that if I buy a copy of the NYT and write “YOU SUCK” in sharpie at the top and then drop it off at my neighbor’s house, should my neighbor be allowed to sue the NYT?

                  1. you or I can put things on YouTube without anyone from YouTube participating in any way.

                    Which, as I said, makes YouTube arguably a virtual public space. I’m not saying I agree that argument should win in court, only that it is plausible.

                    1. +1,000!

          2. Ah yes, that well-known privilege of [checks notes] not being punished by the government for something someone else said on the internet.

            It’s cute that you brought notes like a big boy, but whatever notes you’re checking, you might want to update them with at least some information about section 230 and the 1A. Also, maybe find a better note taker; neither the 1A nor section 230 is so big as to require extensive notes to summarize.

            Section 230 doesn’t protect anyone from the government. The 1A does that. Section 230 protects the interactive computer service providers from other people and, per your second “question” why should *just* interactive computer service providers *alone* get such a protection?

            1. hy should *just* interactive computer service providers *alone* get such a protection?

              Because it’s a law about hosting online content:

              “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”

              I agree that this protection should be extended to any media that the provider doesn’t have complete control over. Can you think of any examples other than “interactive computer services?”

  3. Whiny Conservative snowflakes make me happy!

    1. Some conservatives are just repurposing all those Lefty tears from the Hag losing.

      I have barrels of those salty tears from you guys.

      1. Just wait until November 2020, there’ll be a flood of leftist tears.

        1. OMG, it will be glorious!

          It is hilarious that most average Lefties are in denial about the reality that Trump will be reelected. The tears are always more salty this way.

          1. There will be screaming and punching of “nazis”.

            1. I predict there will be many of us anti-Antifa returning fire to defend ourselves. The Lefties just have no clue what Civil War 2.0 will do to their Socialist cause.

              1. And I predict that you will continue talking tough online and cower at the slightest hint of danger as you have done so your entire sad life.

                1. Rick off James. Any of us here could beat your bitch ass. With you being the one to snivel, and cower, and beg. It wouldn’t take being tough either. Just not a soyboy bitch, like you.

                  1. Even soy boys know that real men don’t feel compelled to prove to others how tough they are. I’ve met too many geriatric boomers who think that their military service as stateside sentries and ridiculous gun collections are proof that they are warriors to know a cowardly talker when I hear one.

      2. Your jump to judgment is so precious and predictable. One thing is for sure, I know I can sleep at night knowing I did not contribute to filling up those barrels of yours!

        1. You are right now. Hahaha. Your little passive aggressive crying fill my tear barrels one tear at a time just the same as massive Hag losing tears filled my tear barrels.

          1. Just out of curiosity, what is your first language?

  4. Fine if YouTube is a publisher it shouldn’t be protected from libel.

    1. +10

    2. As I understand it, the implication is only that if YouTube curates then they are liable for illegal content. In terms of hosting only the content they want, that would still be their right. Publishers may choose what they publish.

      1. YouTube does curate, especially in their news feed.

        Also youtube is still beholden to contract law which assholes like Sullum fail to recognize. Name one other major corporation that is allowed to change terms of agreements at whim and utilize ambiguous Ill defined clauses as a catch all to basically do what they want.

        1. “Ill defined clauses”? YouTube’s terms of service are very explicit in saying they will do whatever they fucking please with your content.

      2. “Publishers may choose what they publish.”

        And if what they publish is slanderous, they can be penalized for doing so.

      3. Sec. 230 explicitly allows internet sites to moderate and even censor.

      4. As I understand it, the implication is only that if YouTube curates then they are liable for illegal content.

        This is exactly backwards. Prior to section 230, courts could (and did) find one publisher/administrator not liable because they didn’t moderate and another liable because they did. This was seen as legally incongruous, a threat to internet publishing, and was considered at least in part to be contributing to the cesspool that was the internet. Section 230 was written into the CDA and makes the publisher/purveyor immune to prosecution whether they moderate or not.

        1. So long as they did so in good faith. Never forget that particular clause.

          For criminal purposes, they are not the publisher regardless, so long as they don’t originate the content. For civil purposes, they are protected only so long as the moderation is in good faith.

          1. So long as they did so in good faith. Never forget that particular clause.

            It’s not clear to whom the good faith is owed and what does/does not constitute good faith. IMO, it’s (yet another) sign of a poorly-written law. We may agree what constitutes a good faith or bad faith effort, but Congress isn’t and shouldn’t be in the business of determining motive or mens rea (a priori).

            For criminal purposes, they are not the publisher regardless, so long as they don’t originate the content.

            This is true regardless of section 230. Section 230 explicitly states that it doesn’t change underlying criminal (and other) law.

    3. if YouTube is a publisher it shouldn’t be protected from libel.

      Or copyright violations.

  5. Conservatives who argue that the video platform is constrained by the First Amendment are forsaking their constitutional principles.

    Nope, they are not; they simply disagree with your analysis of the situation.

    1. I’m all for constitutional principles as long as they apply equally to everyone. They don’t.

      It went all the way to SCOTUS to decide whether you must bake that cake.

      1. The old Eileen Barton (would) song would have to be completely rewritten nowadays.

  6. We’re all socialists now. And as stakeholders in the collective, we demand an equal voice. Why should the so-called “owners” and “managers” of Youtube get to decide which voices should be heard and which should be silenced? So very undemocratic. The people have spoken and they deserve to get what they demand, good and hard. It’s too late to be complaining about the rules you yourself made now that you’re having them shoved up your ass.

    1. At least you’re willing to admit that “conservatives” are just flat-out collectivists now.

      1. Jerryskids doesnt speak for us all.

        Some non-Lefties just form volunteer associations of people. Like the United States of America.

  7. I surf for the old stuff on you tube.

    While it is still there, Ron burgundy never heard this, some poet wrote a song. The times they are a-changin’.

    Can’t get a good live recording but if anyone wants to hear it.

    “Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the land
    And don’t criticize
    What you can’t understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is rapidly agin’
    Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin’”

    Best of luck kiddos.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=90WD_ats6eE

    1. And you don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.

      1. +
        also claimed, in some circles, as the very first rap song.

        1. I support that claim.

          I also believe that “A Desultory Philippic” by Simon and Garfunkel is also rap.

        2. If not, this song was less than two years later:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-lJZiqZaGA

  8. YouTube is a California enterprise. Under Pruneyard Shopping Center V. Robins (1980), the California Constitution’s affirmative freedom of speech requires that private operators of a public platform cannot police the freedom of expression that is my right under Article 1 of the Constitution of California.

    1. +100

      Sullum is only okay with Rule of Law when it helps his cause.

      1. You’re projecting.

        1. You’re whining.

    2. Pruneyard is Prager’s best free speech argument, even if it’s not a First Amendment argument, but that should probably be limited to people in California. If Goggle can work differently in China, certainly they can partition off California as well.

  9. “Conservatives who argue that the video platform is constrained by the First Amendment are forsaking their constitutional principles.”

    @Reason which strongly argues for limited coercive monopoly states is forsaking its claimed principle of belief in a free market – not to mention the basic libertarian concept of freedom of association.

  10. Except, from what I understand, PragerU’s argument is breach of contract (remember when a contract was legally binding?) and the freedom of speech angle is more a spirit of the law consideration rather than their the basis of the case they are making.

    1. From Prager’s website (emphasis added):

      Prager University (PragerU) has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to stop Google and YouTube from unlawfully censoring its educational videos and discriminating against its right to freedom of speech.
      Prager added, “They are engaging in an arbitrary and capricious use of their ‘restricted mode’ and ‘demonetization’ to restrict non-left political thought. Their censorship is profoundly damaging because Google and YouTube own and control the largest forum for public participation in video-based speech in not only California, but the United States, and the world.”
      They have represented that their platforms and services are intended to effectuate the exercise of free speech among the public.
      “This is speech discrimination plain and simple, censorship based entirely on unspecified ideological objection to the message or on the perceived identity and political viewpoint of the speaker,” said former California Governor Pete Wilson of Browne George Ross.
      “This is not a left/right issue. It is a free speech issue, which is why prominent liberals, such as Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, are supporting our lawsuit,” Prager concluded.

      1. Reason doesn’t seem to let me post the link.

        I should have included:
        “and breaches the warranty of good faith and fair dealing implied in Google and YouTube’s own Terms of Use and ‘Community Guidelines.’”

        The words good faith and implied make it seem like Plager isn’t claiming direct breach of contract.

        1. The words “good faith” are found in Section 230, where the safe harbor against civil lawsuits is only available if moderation is done “in good faith”.

          1. This isn’t a Section 230 issue at all. Prager isn’t claiming that he was defamed on a platform and trying to hold them accountable. He’s claiming censorship.

            1. No, they’re not claiming they’ve been defamed, though I think they could make that case, given the way some of their videos are being tossed in the same category as porn and snuff films.

              But Youtube absolutely is claiming the shelter of Section 230, and that could imply that they have assumed a legal obligation to comply with its terms.

              1. They have complied with its terms. It doesn’t require them to be “neutral.”

                That’s a fiction invented by fake conservatives attempting to bully them and other media sites from removing rightwing speech they find objectionable or violates their ToS.

                1. Fuck off, slaver. Your speech is objectionable therefore should be squashed.

                2. It doesn’t require them to be “neutral.”

                  You’re absolutely right. The whole act is/was a prima facia violation of the 1A without regard to one’s political views.

                  The funny thing is that it was written by hyper-puritans looking to clean up the internet, purge it of what the ‘moral majority’ at the time deemed wrongthink, and you people cling to it despite it’s abject failure on all fronts *except* violating the 1A.

                3. It requires them to moderate in good faith, if they moderate at all.

                  Declaring political content you don’t agree with to be porn is not “in good faith.”

            2. PragerU brings this lawsuit to stop Google/YouTube from unlawfully censoring its educational videos and discriminating against its right to freedom of speech solely because of PragerU’s political identity and viewpoint as a non-profit that espouses conservative views on current and historical events.

              Google/YouTube’s use of restricted mode filtering to silence PragerU violates its fundamental First Amendment rights under both the California and United States Constitutions, constitutes unlawful discrimination under California law, is a misleading and unfair business practice, and breaches the warranty of good faith and fair dealing implied in Google/YouTube’s Terms of Use, including their guidelines and policies for restricted access filtering of video content

              Leo’s wrong…again

              1. What does that have to do with breach of contract? Which was the point of Mickey’s original post on this thread.

                1. Prager U started under the guise they would split profits based on views of their videos. YouTube arbitrarily changed the rules and now Prager U is on restricted and seeing none of those funds. This is literally a contract issue.

                  1. Leo is spinning out of control and just blatantly refusing to read the Complaint (That I posted to compensate for his html ignorance).

            3. 230 was what the judge in the Meagan murphy lawsuit utilized to quickly strike down her terms of service claims, ie contractual.

              Why are you so pro censorship leo?

              1. I’m not pro censorship. I wish Google didn’t take any videos off of Youtube.

                But I’m also pro-property rights. Your right to not be censored isn’t above the rights of Google to do as they wish with their property, namely the Youtube brand.

                I wouldn’t expect JessAz.com to be forced to host liberal content.

                1. Yes. Nobody expects the Liberal Inquisition. If they can’t force a conservative site to host prog content they can collude with others (Paypal, Master Card) to eliminate his payment options. Big Tech is Standard Oil.

        2. PragerU from a layman’s perspective appear to be claiming that the Terms of Service and Community Guidelines are part of contract and Alphabet claiming their platforms are intended to effectuate free speech implies a binding promise of viewpoint neutrality rather than promotion of certain viewpoints and suppression of others.

          What you quoted demonstrates that PragerU is claiming Alphabet is violating its contract with its content creators.

          1. Maybe, but the courts didn’t seem to see it that way.

            If Prager has a claim at breach of contract then I’d like to hear that without involving 1A. Maybe he’ll file a legal brief on that point alone so that we can hear his particular claims.

            1. The court. It has been one. Meagan Murphy is the only one to have her ToS claims struck down under 230.

            2. Again, Alphabet promoting its platforms as forums for free speech appears to be one of the implicit contract terms PragerU is claiming they are violating. They are not really severable.

            3. “…and breaches the warranty of good faith and fair dealing implied in Google/YouTube’s Terms of Use, including their guidelines and policies for restricted access filtering of video content”.

              Poor Leo.

              All dressed up and nobody to believe his lies.

              1. Implied. Haha. If you’re hanging your case on the implications of a contract. Well, good luck.

                1. Poor Leo does not know what an “Implied Warranty” is either.

                  “Implied” does not mean what YOU think it does.

                  As I said, you don’t admit when you’re wrong, so we have fun blasting you for it.

      2. You realize that briefs often utilize multiple arguments, not just a single one. They have been fairly consistent in their allusions to free speech are more in spirit than legal.

        1. For Sullum to claim that a 1st Amendment appeal constitutes their primary argument is a malicious misrepresentation or extraordinarily shallow analysis.

          1. It’s not just Sullum. The court said the same thing.

            The brief is littered with references to first amendment violations. It’s hard to avoid it.

            In my skimming, I found only one claim of an “implied” violation of ToS. Feel free to post your deeper analysis of the brief. Quotes would be nice.

            1. What you quoted at 8:11 am is proof enough if you bother to comprehend what the language used there means.

            2. I posted it above and Leo refuses to read it, acknowledge it, or admit that he is a lying piece of shit.

      3. As T. Busse has already pointed out, there’s a very good chance that if Prager is actually making a free speech claim it is based on the California constitution rather than the First Amendment.

        1. As is typical with a complaint involving complex, Prager is throwing the kitchen sink at Google. Their First Cause of Action is for violations of the “California Constitution Article I, section 2” and their Third Cause of Action is for violations of the “California Unruh Civil Rights Act.” But they do include a stand-alone claim for violations of the “First Amendment of the United States Constitution and/or 42 U.S.C. § 1983.” They also include deceptive business practices claims under federal and state law.

          Their breach of contract claim is based on the breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing inherent in every contract. Essentially they are arguing that Google did not exercise the discretion provided by the contract in accordance with the reasonable expectations of the parties. There is no mention of Section 230 in their breach of contract cause of action.

          The First Amendment claim is almost certainly to be a loser, but given the breadth of the complaint it seems silly to get too worked up over it.

      1. Here’s the Complaint Leo.

      2. demonetization

        It’s funny that they keep using this word. Normally, only a government or a bank can demonetize something and the Google/Alphabet/YouTube keep using it really is better described as theft. Especially if they continue to advertise and profit off a video that’s been “demonetized”.

  11. You know who also is not the government
    Wedding cake bakers and photographers.

    But but that’s different somehow

    1. +100

      I am glad that there are still enough commenters on here to make sure reason staff does not get away with that hypocritical bullshit.

      1. Did I miss an article where Reason was in favor of forcing Masterpiece to bake a cake?

        1. HAhahahahahahaha.

          You miss a bunch of things.

          Go back up a few and see how you misstated the legal claims by PragerU and will never admit you did so.

          1. Why don’t you spare us the trouble of reading the full brief and state the relevant parts with respect to terms of service? I had trouble finding them among all the first amendment claims.

            Also, it seems your Tulpa persona is creeping into your LC handle.

            1. Tony, is that you?

            2. Hahaha. You won’t read the Complaint?

              Oh Leo.

              It’s right up there on the comments: “…and fair dealing implied in Google/YouTube’s Terms of Use, including their guidelines and policies for restricted access filtering of video content”.

          2. Please link to the Reason article that says Masterpiece should be forced to bake a cake. All of their coverage I read about that case said the exact opposite.

            1. -1000

        2. You missed the bake that cake stories that claim the issue is somehow “ nuanced”.

          It’s not. Baking a custom wedding cake or photographing an event is not public accommodation.

          Let me fix it for or you. Did the liberal rock stars who refused to perform a thing the inauguration have the the right of refusal ?

        3. Did I miss an article where Reason was in favor of forcing Masterpiece to bake a cake?

          It what their real position is. All the articles saying the contrary are just to provide cover.

          1. #MemoryHole

    2. That is because the civil lawsuits against bakers and wedding photographers claim that such service providers have no right to refuse a contract for gay weddings not that they are required to live up to the contracts they had already entered into.

      1. And why do they have no right to refuse to enter into a contract?
        Since when don’t they have that right.

    3. “You know who also is not the government
      Wedding cake bakers and photographers.

      But but that’s different somehow”

      Fun fact. Prager included a cause of action under the very same statute that a gay person would use to sue a bakery for refusing to bake a cake for his wedding. Neither Prager nor the gay person would need the party they are suing to be the government to prevail.

  12. Someone just needs to start an alternative to YouTube. I avoid it, and anything to do with Google like the plague. Evil company.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. If you’re concerned with the way they moderate content, then simply don’t support them. In the case of Twitter, I’ve said multiple times that Trump could bring a competitor out of obscurity by simply switching platforms.

      1. Why do you blindly believe this stops at just YouTube? This is happening on hosting services, domain providers, advertising agencies, payment services, etc. This isnt just one website but a coordinated attack on a viewpoint. Even the non centralized servers hosting Minds is under attack with leftists trying to force all service hosts for the bit chain type service to removed Gab and Minds from all servers at once in order to take them down.

        On this issue you seem blindly naive.

        1. I don’t, and never claimed it did.

        2. So what is your proposed solution, Jesse?

          The government should force Youtube to host everyone’s videos?
          The government should force Visa to do business with everyone?
          The government should force domain providers to do business with everyone?

          1. It is the same progressive mindset that took over America in the late 1800s to early 1900s Progressive Era.
            Both parties and their supporters in that era openly supported massive government interventions in all aspects of the private citizens life.
            The Tucker Carlsons and the Steven Bannons and their supporters are just the latest group of statists masquerading as limited government proponents.

            1. Your links fell off.

    2. And an alternative to all the financial and IT services companies which will cooperate to suppress that alternative, of course.

      That’s the problem here: You can’t just go out and create a new platform, because the same people who are censoring the old platforms are conspiring to prevent new platforms that don’t censor from being created.

      1. There is a strange and purposeful naivete some have here that this simply stops at youtube despite the evidence of obama using pressure on banks and service providers to try to do things like stop gun sales.

        1. Its not naivete. Government is not able to stop guns and dissenting speech, so Lefties will use government to force and/or reward companies that do.

        2. Amazon had axed Wikileaks from its servers.
          The announcement came from Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Lieberman said in a statement that Amazon’s “decision to cut off Wikileaks now is the right decision and should set the standard for other companies Wikileaks is using to distribute its illegally seized material.”

          Committee staff had seen news reports yesterday that Wikileaks was being hosted on Amazon’s servers, a committee spokeswoman told TPM. The service, we should note, is self-serve; as with services like YouTube, the company does not screen or pre-approve the content posted on its servers.

          Staffers then, according to the spokeswoman, Leslie Phillips, called Amazon to ask about it, and left questions with a press secretary including, “Are there plans to take the site down?”

          Amazon called them back this morning to say they had kicked Wikileaks off, Phillips said. Amazon said the site had violated unspecified terms of use.

      2. +10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

        Alphabet has contracts with the US government. No crony capitalism there, no sir! Google will absolutely not use their connections to government to keep new platforms from operating.

        Oh wait… that is exactly what they are doing.

    3. Agreed.
      Simply start an all conservative platform.

      1. Got a multinational bank in your back pocket for when the Team Blue fascists get your ability to process credit card transactions denied?

        Didn’t think so. You lose.

        1. So what is your solution?
          Government forces every company to do business with everyone?
          Every business is forced to do business with Nazis and Communists even if they don’t want to?
          “Bake that cake!”

          1. Government forces every company to do business with everyone?

            Yes, I think by now we’ve realized that freedom of association for companies is bad for social stability. This is very good reason for the government to step in and say “okay everyone, you have to play nicely with each other regardless of sexual preference, political opinions, race, religion, etc.”

            Quite literally, bake the cake.

          2. Frankly, I’m ok with going the opposite direction: to forbid government from telling companies who we can and cannot do business with.

            But how many people here are ok with businesses telling blacks and gays that they aren’t welcome? That they could be denied services at restaurants and hotels, among other things? If we lived in a world without Jim Crow laws, this wouldn’t be a problem: gays and blacks would just go down the street and find a bigot who happens to be just down enough on his luck that he’s willing to ignore his bigotry just long enough to take the customer’s money for services rendered.

            But we don’t live in that kind of political environment. We live in an environment where the government forces people to associate. I see no reason why the government, forcing bigots to provide business, can’t force people bigoted against conservatism to still provide services to conservatives.

            Perhaps we could make exceptions for religious beliefs, but then, how many liberal CEOs are discriminating against conservative causes because of religious belief?

        2. So throwing more government at the issues is your default position.
          How is that any different than the left?

          Why debate exhaustively with Libertarians on a Libertarian website?
          Why not go to Breitbart?

          1. How is that any different than the left?

            Maybe the left isn’t wrong on everything.

          2. Tiny and limited government enforcing contract rights and constitutional rights is partly what Libertarianism is about.

            1. No Shit.
              What you are promoting is far from tiny and limited.

              1. The courts are not tiny and limited?

                Hmm… I forgot, you’re a moron.

                1. Says the guy who continuously posts advocating big government policies.

      2. Agreed.
        Simply start an all conservative platform.

        While certainly part of the solution, I don’t want a hyper-conservative mega-corporation immune to prosecution whimsically violating their TOS.

        I don’t care what you do or what you say, but when it comes to contracts do as you say and say as you do.

    4. Why? The same bunch would collude with PayPal, Visa and Mastercard to refuse payment options to an alternative site.

    5. Someone just needs to start an alternative to YouTube. I avoid it, and anything to do with Google like the plague. Evil company.

      This doesn’t solve the problem. See above, section 230 is content neutral. If a conservative website accepted content, published it as viewpoint neutral, and then turned around and demonetized videos according to shady or unknown algorithms the problem would still be the same.

      The issue isn’t that YouTube isn’t viewpoint neutral, it’s that YouTube is *both* printer and publisher *and* biased. Other publishers, Reason among them, freely publish partisan news. What they don’t do is accept articles with views they don’t like, publish/”monetize” them, and then cut the writers out of their cut because they don’t like their views (and then turn around and claim section 230 protections when their offensive content gets them in trouble).

      1. The issue isn’t that YouTube isn’t viewpoint neutral, it’s that YouTube is *both* printer and publisher *and* biased. Other publishers, Reason among them, freely publish partisan news. What they don’t do is accept articles with views they don’t like, publish/”monetize” them, and then cut the writers out of their cut because they don’t like their views (and then turn around and claim section 230 protections when their offensive content gets them in trouble).

        A damn good point.

  13. YouTube is a great publisher and there should not be any restriction on it.
    تلفن گویا

  14. Conservatives … are forsaking their constitutional principles.

    Conservatives never care about the constitution when it gets in the way of something they want to do. (One of the many similarities between conservatives and liberals)

  15. “not on private publishers,”

    Sooo, not a platform?

    I agree this isn’t a 1A issue. Youtube didn’t erase their videos. But they play games with them. They restrict and demonetize and then you have to ask for a manual review and – hello there! – back on but with much less views and hence less money.

    In the streets we call this a ‘dick move’ and they absolutely do engage in it particularly against, let’s just say, content with views that go against ‘The Narrative’. Everyone knows Youtube and Google are run by woke-progressives who do want to be political. So let’s cut the crap on that just like how MSM pretends they’re no ‘liberal’.

    Problem is even content that is not remotely controversial or political get ensnared in their games.

    Social media are run by illiberal, illiterate, faux-virtuous jerk offs.

    A class action suit not focused on the 1A may be a better route? I’m no lawyer so I wouldn’t know under what strategy this would be successful. If at all.

      1. There you go.

        They’re messing with people’s livelihoods and that is unacceptable.

        I do hope social media gets their comeuppance because it’s not right. Conspiracy theorists, racists, progressives, conservatives, Goths, gamers, cat videos – whatever and etc.- all have a place in this world to speak and express themselves. Youtube should just let the market determine what will be and not be. Now they’re entangled in a mess they should have wisely avoided and not sure if they ca extricate itself from it.

        We either hang together in defense of free expression or we hang separately one by one.

        Bah. What do I know?

        1. It’s why I want to see a right wing government fuck social media hard as humanly possible. I’m done playing the games.

  16. One of the things sane people do, is to notice when their principles collide with the real world. Libertarians have to grasp the reality: When companies get big enough, and/or cooperate to that end, they can be as coercive as government. It’s a painful realization: People are perfectly capable of organizing to violate rights outside of government.

    1. I can tell you that you’re not going to like a world where private institutions can be determined public fora where all speech must be allowed.

      Sometimes we have to look past the immediate issue at hand to the much worse unintended consequences down the road. Consistently following our principles allow us to more easily do this, at least in my mind.

      1. I’ve been quite explicit about what I want: For platforms to either comply with the terms of Section 230, or be denied its protection. I just want them to make the choice the law actually demands of them, rather than getting to have it both ways.

        I would take it that, if Youtube changed their TOS to explicitly state that they were only open to left-wing politics, their moderating on that basis would no longer be bad faith. The bad faith consists of their claim to be moderating on the basis of the criteria listed in Section 230, while actually doing so on the basis of political viewpoint.

        There should be room for sites that chose one side of that, or the other. Sites that come right out and say that they discriminate on the basis of politics, and are permitted to do so, and sites that say they don’t, and aren’t permitted to do so.

        The problem is that they’re getting away with lying about what they’re doing.

        1. I don’t disagree that Google is lying when they claim that they aren’t discriminating based on political beliefs. It’s pretty clear that they are. But I still believe that, while not ideal, it’s certainly within their rights to do so.

          As to Section 230, I’ll stand by my claim earlier. The unintended consequences of stripping it (by unelected FCC bureaucrats nonetheless) will lead to a much less free internet.

          1. It will not harm us on the Right any more than it already is…so why should I give a fuck?

            1. ^ I’m pretty much right here. The only people really benefiting from 230 are your political enemies and huge multinational corporations staffed with your political enemies. I’m willing to give up whatever slim benefits I’m currently getting just to fuck with Google.

              I honestly don’t really give a shit anymore.

              1. Newspapers, radio, and tv Propagandists having been hiding behind avoiding liability for decades.

                Start a slanted public outlet- who cares.

                Start an outlet where you invite people to contribute 99.9% of your content, publicly say that you are neutral, and then attack political opponents- you might get sued.

            2. Burn the mother down!

          2. They’re constitutionally entitled to discriminate. They aren’t constitutionally entitled to discriminate AND claim statutory privileges which are explicitly conditioned on their not doing so.

            And, much less free than an internet where the near monopoly providers conspire to deplatform anybody whose politics they don’t like? And if you try to set up an alternate platform it gets denied financial and IT services, like Gab was?

            Let’s be clear about this: Deplatforming has just begun. A year from now it’s going to be much, much worse than today. The platforms like Google and Twitter are going all in on political discrimination, in order to elect an administration which will retroactively bless their actions.

            1. +100

            2. Election 2020 is just starting. Companies that support Lefties will do everything they can to prevent Trump support.

              While this is certainly their right to do so, these companies want protection from Americans.

              Watch some non-profits be the worst. They agreed to a tax-free status in return for not doing certain political actions and they will break that agreement.

              1. Yeah! Imagine if churches could use this technique to hide behind tax-free status while becoming de facto super PACs and instructing their attendees to vote a certain way or go to hell?

                …oh wait

                1. But enough about the university system

            3. And, much less free than an internet where the near monopoly providers conspire to deplatform anybody whose politics they don’t like? And if you try to set up an alternate platform it gets denied financial and IT services, like Gab was?

              Exactly. We don’t have a free internet now, so we might as well fuck with everyone by supporting the repeal of 230. Burn it down.

            4. “They aren’t constitutionally entitled to discriminate AND claim statutory privileges which are explicitly conditioned on their not doing so.”

              Section 230 is not, and never has been, explicitly conditioned on a website not discriminating.

              1. It’s explicitly conditioned on the moderation being “in good faith”. Which engaging in political censorship while pretending you’re taking down harassing and obscene content is not.

                If they want to come out in public and state that their policy is to discriminate on the basis of politics, they can then make a case that engaging in that discrimination isn’t bad faith. So long as they’re pretending to be politically neutral, they’re in bad faith territory.

      2. They arent arguing public forum, they are asking for neutral application of the rules. Notice they arent going after than knitting site. That site was up front and honest.

        1. They were up front about what they were doing, but not why – the site owner came out as trans.

          from Federalist

          1. Lefties are forcing average Americans to pick a side. Average conservative Americans are Legion compared to Lefties.

      3. Maybe but those aliens in Avatar deserved their fate.

      4. I can tell you that you’re not going to like a world where private institutions can be determined public fora where all speech must be allowed.

        You can’t scare me, I listen to NPR. This is a false, false dichotomy. There are public fora hosted by private institutions all over the place. The key difference is that the private institution can’t host the public fora, collect the profits, “demonetize” any/all speakers, and then claim to have zero liability for any results of the speakers/speech.

        Humankind got along for millenia in much tougher conditions without a section 230 or a YouTube or whatever those two things engender to the internet. I’m pretty sure we’ll all survive the hardship of an internet sans Google/YouTube.

    2. People are perfectly capable of organizing to violate rights outside of government.

      I don’t think I’ve ever met an (online) libertarian honest or experienced enough to admit this.

      1. It’s why Libertarianism cannot work.

        Groups of people will happily screw with the “other”. Government does it easier…but companies are quite capable. And get the same small incestuous group of people moving between companies and institutions and you have blatant collusion which, of course, Reason has no issue with.

    3. When companies get big enough, and/or cooperate to that end, they can be as coercive as government.

      If that is your sincerely held position, then I expect you to apply it consistently, and not just when it comes to social media.

      But if you did that, you’d find yourself in agreement with a lot of left-libertarian and outright leftist positions as well, and I doubt you would do that.

      1. Just because you agree with someone that a problem exists does not mean you agree with their proposed solutions to the problem.

        1. But it does suggest that you ought to have SOME proposed solution to the problem.

          A private business denies service to gays. Is that an act of coercion? If yes, what ought to be done?

          A private business forces its employees to act and dress in a particular manner as a condition of employment. Is that an act of coercion? If yes, what ought to be done?

          A private business, as a local near-monopoly in the labor market, pays its employees a pittance wage, expecting the government to pick up the balance for the employees’ living expenses. Is that an act of coercion? If yes, what ought to be done?

          1. Agreeing with someone that a problem exists does not “suggest that you ought to have SOME proposed solution to the problem.”

            Neither does disagreeing with a proposed solution. People can still say “I don’t like that solution and I’ll fight against it” without proposing any solution of their own. Libertarians do that all the time.

            1. Yeah it’s kinda what I thought.
              The crowd who now realizes “OMG private companies can be just as coercive as government!” is only selectively applying that “principle” to companies that are perceived to be hurting Team Red.

              But suddenly, when it comes to companies that force their employees to submit to a particular code of conduct, *even when off the clock*, as a condition of employment – which has been going on since forever – then it’s “whoa whoa let’s not get too hasty here”.

              1. People are coercive. Sometimes the solution is the free market. Sometimes it’s government regulation. I don’t really care as long as the outcome is better than the alternative.

              2. These are the same people that durung the W Bush years were ALL ABOUT “corporations and CEOs can do no wrong and we should do anything we can to let them arrange the world as they see fit cause they are the glorious ‘job creators'”. Back when you were “un-American” if you complained about anything any corporation did. Back when pointing out that offshore sweatshops got you called a tree-hugging liberal that loved Al Qaeda by people like lovecon. Now all the lovecons in the world are suddenly into whining about the results of offshoring, the rise of the robots and the fact that the those tactics cut both ways.

                Remember when they all defended super PACS as free speech? OOPS.

          2. “A private business denies service to gays. Is that an act of coercion? ”

            To be clear: If a florist “refuses to do business with gays”, (I know of none that do this.) that’s fine. If a florist conspires with other businesses to run out of town any other florist who wants to do business with gays, that’s NOT fine.

            It’s the conspiracy to prevent any alternatives from being available that is the problem.

            The problem with the deplatforming movement is that the people in the movement don’t just want to not provide a platform themselves. They want to see to it that NOBODY is permitted to provide a platform to these viewpoints they don’t like.

            1. +100

            2. Even after having worked in the cryptocurrency space, I can’t help but think that cryptocurrency is a solution looking for a problem, and can’t help but wonder if it will collapse on itself because of that.

              Having said that, I can’t help but notice a couple of problems on the horizon. One such problem? The fact that Gab can’t get any funding because big platforms are refusing to do business with them. Cryptocurrencies are certainly a way to get around that….

    4. Big companies can be plenty coercive, but they can never be as coercive as government. Do you see why?

      I don’t trust big companies. I don’t trust concentration of authority of any kind. But of all concentrations of authority, I trust government least.

      1. In some cases, big companies become the government. Didn’t a certain set of banana companies do that? I think we still buy our produce from these companies today.

  17. Would they censor a video of a cake being baked?
    That seems to be the heart of the matter.

  18. Are you people fucking retarded?

    Google’s lawyer, Brian Willen, noted that “the First Amendment isn’t a switch that gets turned on or off based on how a private business describes itself.” And if PragerU’s position were accepted, he said, the result would be a “much more clamped-down and closed internet,” since platforms like YouTube would have “powerful incentives” to abandon any aspiration to ideological neutrality.

    The only reason we’re having this conversation AT ALL is because Google, YouTube, Twitter, Patreon, Facebook, Pay pal, Mastercard, and countless other have already abandoned any aspiration to ideological neutrality–but they still want the perks that go along with that aspiration.

    And they still want to be able to lure people in to make money for them with promises that they aspire to ideological neutrality–i.e. they still pretend to be supporters of free speech.

    1. Agreed completely. Fuck Google and Twitter and Facebook with a rusty chainsaw.

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    1. First compliment for Reason in months!

      1. Well, who do you think controls all these spambots?

        1. +10

  20. 1A Coverage: YouTube is not the Government
    2A Coverage: Walmart is not the Government

    The so-called “conservative” movement is losing ground every day in the arena of ideas, so they cry for the government to step in and save them. Just take the L and re-commit yourselves to actual principles instead of clinging to your culture war bullshit. It’s all over but the crying.

    1. …or decide that the Constitution is a dead letter and deal with the problems in a less polite manner…

    2. The more Lefties post nonsense like this, the more you know…that Lefties know…America is not going Socialist like they want.

    3. With regard to the 1st, it’s more complicated than what you are making it out to be. Youtube claims to be a neutral political space, but is acting otherwise, arguably against both its contractual obligations and the obligations set in Section 230.

      As for the 2nd, I don’t recall any conservatives calling for government to force Walmart to carry guns and ammo, or to allow concealed carry permit holders to carry their weapons. I *do* hear conservatives questioning whether they could continue to shop there as a result of this decision. And I, for one, think it’s a *very* stupid decision to forbid the very people who *aren’t* the problem — and, to a certain extent, the *solution* — of the issue of mass shootings.

      How many mass shooters go out to get a concealed carry permit so they could legally carry the weapon they are about to illegally use to illegally murder people? Probably not that many, if I would hazard a guess, before looking at the stats first….

  21. Far too many “libertarians” act as though the censorious Left is not a threat to liberty.

    1. Far too many “conservatives” want the government to forcefully prop up their increasingly irrelevant culture war obsessions.

      1. Far too many idiots think false choices are rational arguments.

    2. We know. Our options are limited if you want to maintain a free country.

      For now, it’s clear the Democrat Party is dying so that will slow down Socialists a bit. Trump being reelected for 4 more years will too.

      Hopefully by 2024, Lefties will have moved to Canada or started Civil War 2.0 so we can just get back to Constitutional principles.

  22. Repealing Section 230 would mean that every comment on every Internet form or every social media platform would be treated as if it were printed in a newspaper. Which means that the forum itself would be liable for potentially defamatory comments made by its users. What this would inevitably lead to, is forums shutting down their comment forums, because very few would be willing to take the risk of being liable for the comments of trolls on their forums spewing crap. Instead of leading to a more free Internet, Section 230 would lead to a more curated Internet, with only approved opinions being allowed to be published AT ALL. You complain about Youtube censoring conservatives – but what if there was no Youtube at all, nor any Youtube-like services, because no one was willing to take the risk of hosting a forum where trolls and Nazis could spew potentially defamatory speech, and therefore be on the hook for that speech?

    Repealing Section 230 would mean going back to the days of the Big Three networks, but within a digital landscape, where only the opinions of the gatekeeper institutions were permitted to be published, because those were the ones that were the most insulated from risk.

    I doubt that’s really what you all want, but that is what you will get if you proceed down this path.

    1. *Instead of leading to a more free Internet, *repealing* Section 230 would lead to a more curated Internet

    2. Doesn’t sound that different from what we have now. I say lets see where repealing 230 leads and course correct if things go wrong.

      1. So you think “Youtube demonetizes 1.5% of PragerU’s videos” and “Youtube completely shuts down” to be basically the same thing?

        1. I haven’t really looked into the PragerU controversy. I don’t care about the censorship debate anymore. The fact is that as long as youtube is run on ads, they won’t be able to host conservative content for long. A lot of that kind of content doesn’t even get recommended to me anymore – its mostly CNN, Fox News, etc. that the algorithm suggests to me for news, even though I never watch any of those channels. It doesn’t really matter anyway.

          I’m more interested in getting rid of 230 because I think contracts should be enforceable and one party should not have unilateral control and ability to punish the other party for violating a term ex-post facto.

          1. Let me guess, you watch YouTube videos dealing with politics? So the algorithmic suggestions you are getting are – guess what – news channels that discuss politics. There is a good chance that any politics junkie will watch either Fox News or CNN (or both). It’s one of the more risk-averse recommendations that the YouTube algorithm can make.

            You can have enforceable contracts without getting rid of Section 230.

            1. I used to, but I never watched the big channels. They’re the only channels suggested because the world we live in now is not too different than what it would be like without 230. So honestly there’s no reason for 230 anymore unless you’re a big fan of special privileges for corporations. I think we should get rid of it (and by extension forums, YouTube, etc.) we should probably shut it down. Humans can’t handle most of this communication anyway. The only real threat from 230 is it’s destruction of a portion of contract enforcement.

              Unfortunately we can’t have enforceable contracts with 230 still around. Murphy showed us this.

          2. Look at Pedo Jeffy trying to justify Google algorithms.

            One step is to never have Google logins. Everything you do on Google will be jumbled because its anonymous.

            Also if Rick Santorum problem is any indication that using other links besides CNN, NPR, WaPo, and other Propaganda outlets can move them below other websites.

      2. “See where it goes”? You’re talking about giving the government the power to punish platforms for the behavior of their users. Expansion of government power only ever “goes” in one direction. If we give them the power it’ll never be relinquished.

        1. I know, right? These are the people who hate Big Tech so much that they don’t mind an authoritarian government stomping all over them. Kinda like how the Left views health insurance companies. Emotion over reason.

          1. What’s the big deal? We’re already being stomped on by authoritarian corporations. All this does is take away their special privileges to break contracts.

            1. Do you really think there is an equivalence between powerful corporations and powerful government?

              I totally get that we all wish YouTube and Google behaved better, but the only solution being bandied about here is way, way worse than the problem.

              1. Do you really think there is an equivalence between powerful corporations and powerful government?

                I sure do, they work hand-in-hand.

              2. And you’re telling us that you think there’s an equivalence between juries and powerful government?

        2. Yeah l think we should give it a shot. It’s a good idea

    3. Sounds rough.

      I should care…why?

      1. Did you like the era of journalism when the only news you received was the news that gatekeepers like CBS and NY Times told you?

        1. Those outlets used to be decent before all of this so, what’s the big deal?

        2. I get that from YT now. i’m not seeing the negatives for ME. That big tech actively and consistently downplays conservative media et al is not news.

    4. The relevant part of Section 230 reads,

      “(c) Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material
      (1) Treatment of publisher or speaker
      No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.
      (2) Civil liabilityNo provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—
      (A) 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, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected; or
      (B) any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph (1).”

      (C)(1) is fine, it’s what enabled the internet to blossom.
      (C)(2)(A) was intended to allow platforms to do limited removal of offensive content without losing the protection of being treated as neutral conduits.

      The problem is, I think entirely, that the “good faith” part of (C)(2)(A) is not being given effect. It’s being treated as though it read, ” 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, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected; ”

      That’s not what was enacted.

      1. It’s not so much that the law is that poorly written. It’s that courts are horribly misreading it, in both letter and intent.

        But, since courts have been given multiple opportunities to correct their error, and have thus far failed to do so, then the only proper solution is to re-write the law. Or, if that is not feasible, then get rid of it in toto.

        The prospect of that outcome should cause reasonable people to come to some sort of less extreme solution.

        But right now it’s ‘my way or the highway’ for those whose preferred outcome is extant.

        1. Exactly. But I can understand Democrats resisting any change here, they’re winning under the current rules, and that’s everything to them.

  23. In a sufficiently private society, where engaging with private entities is necessary to be a part of society, and said private entity is the largest and most influential by leaps and bounds, how is it NOT the government just because it can technically fail? The government can technically fail too.

    1. Because YouTube can’t throw you in a cage for violating one of its rules.

      1. YT already has been throwing people in cages for violating its rules. If YT doesn’t approve, you don’t get to partake in societal discourse. Go to the other mainstream platforms until they inevitably cage you too, then go to Gab/Minds/Bitchute/alt media and have fun being irrelevant.

        1. Dude being excluded from “societal discourse” is not even close to the same thing as being fucking arrested. Stop pretending not to recognize the difference between state-sanctioned use of force and private, peaceful cultural filters.

          1. Both are removal from society. There is nothing remotely peaceful about a private entity enforcing its policies when it affects society at that level of influence. That is quite literally how a government is formed in the first place. Just because the YT police don’t no knock your home and murder you doesn’t mean they aren’t exerting the same level of influence as a government.

            1. No, having a video taken off YouTube is not “removal from society.” You can turn off the fucking computer and go take a walk outside. You can go buy groceries or watch a ballgame or whatever the hell else. You can set up a site on the darkweb and say anything you want.

              The “level of influence” given to a government ultimately boils down to the legal right to imprison you, and then shoot and kill you if you try to leave. Stop pretending like being prevented by a private company from posting your shitty rants on a specific internet site is anything close to equivalent.

              1. I also agree that suppressing dissenting viewpoints on a mass scale is really good for society in the long run. Even better if we can collude to make sure people who express those viewpoints can’t get on the other major platforms – Facebook and Twitter. Superior if we can on-board Visa and MasterCard to bar the deplorables from being able to participate.

                Since its private, its cool. Since it doesn’t involve guns, its cool.

              2. Keep pretending that YT is just a video hosting site.

                If the government suppresses my speech, I can still go underground to speak. That doesn’t mean my rights haven’t been violated. This is no different. YT is acting as an internet government.

            2. “Both are removal from society.

              Bull
              .
              .
              .
              shit.

          2. ^this.

            the commentariat here has lost their minds.

            1. You’re right. Lefties have lost their minds.

              Libertarians support Rule of Law and everyone playing by the same basic groundrules.

          3. Historically, being excluded from “societal discourse” is the first step to being rendered an unperson, and ending up dead. Once you’re excluded, you can’t persuade people you’re being treated badly, because you can’t talk to them.

            1. Stop pointing this out, its ruining the libertarian talking points!

            2. Scarlet Letter anyone?

              Banishment used to be considered a death sentence. Other clans would likely not take you in, so you lived on your own or died in the wild.

        2. YT does not have the authority to throw you in jail.

          If YT doesn’t approve, you don’t get to partake in societal discourse.

          Wait, if YT pulls down your video, it has silenced you completely? Huh.

          then go to Gab/Minds/Bitchute/alt media and have fun being irrelevant.

          So speakers have not just a right to speak, but a right to be “relevant”?

          1. Yes, if you can’t appear on YT, you’re silenced. It’s quite literally definitional. If this wasn’t the case, alternative platforms would be popular too. They also wouldn’t be targeted by deplatform-oriented payment processors and web hosting services for daring to host YT-silenced speakers.

            You don’t have a right to relevancy, but just like all other 1A extensions (right to organize, right to actually speak words aloud, etc) you have to be able to publish on YT to speak online in 2019. The answer to YT censorship is to bend YT, not 1A.

            I wonder what you think of trust busting in general.

            1. if you can’t appear on YT, you’re silenced.

              That’s like saying “if you can’t eat at McDonald’s, you starve”.

              1. If you can’t do business with payment processors and banks because someone misrepresented your political beliefs to get them to refuse doing business with you, you very well might starve.

                Fuck freedom of association for corporations. Bake the cake, imo.

                1. “If you can’t do business with payment processors and banks because someone misrepresented your political beliefs to get them to refuse doing business with you, you very well might starve.”

                  I do not use YT and have zero problems with either of those issues. You are lying or bullshitting.

              2. If McDonalds was the only food source and you couldn’t eat without the help of others, sure.

            2. you have to be able to publish on YT to speak online in 2019.

              We are speaking online *right now* and we’re not on YouTube.

              1. Exactly my point. I’m talking to the same ~50 people who comment here regularly. Not the hundreds of millions who browse YT. I’m not speaking to them at all, just like how a tyrannical government that censors me stops me from speaking to the general public but not to myself.

                1. “Exactly my point.”

                  In which case, you are full of shit.
                  There are literally thousands of places to post whatever you please.

            3. Lefties want non-Lefties to protect them via free speech/press ground rules (The US Constitution and American sense of open discourse).

              Not so the other way around.

      2. It’s amazing to me that people are pretending not to see this distinction. Just constant bad-faith arguments.

        1. Eh it’s a bad faith argument not to recognize that corporations use economic pressures to coerce people into doing things they don’t want to do.

          1. Who doesn’t recognize that? The question is whether the state should forcefully intervene.

            Amazon uses economic pressure to “coerce” people into working for less money than they’d choose in an ideal world. Does that mean we should empower the government to enforce a $15 (or $25, or $50) per hour minimum wage?

            Real-world constraints on one’s behaviors and choices are not the same thing as state-sanctioned use of force.

            1. Real-world constraints on one’s behaviors and choices are not the same thing as state-sanctioned use of force.

              How is “state-sanctioned use of force” not “real-world?”

              1. Don’t be pedantic. I’m talking about the difference between negative freedoms and positive freedoms. We have a moral right to make our own private decisions without being subjected to government force. We don’t have a moral right to earn a certain arbitrary amount of money, or to have our opinions broadcasted on a certain arbitrary channel or website.

                1. I see these lines as much more blurry than you do. But then again, I’m also not a libertarian so that is to be expected. I’m for formally getting rid of freedom of association for corporations. In other words, I think YouTube should be forced to keep their doors open to all people for all non-illegal content. Bake the cake.

                  1. So is there any limit to that? Should Fox News be forced to promote progressive/socialist/libertarian/whatever ideas? Should the bakers be forced to make a cake with a swastika on it?

                    1. Should Fox News be forced to promote progressive/socialist/libertarian/whatever ideas?

                      Na, neither even host user-generated content. But if they have comment sections, sure.

                      Should the bakers be forced to make a cake with a swastika on it?

                      We gotta be equal, so yeah I suppose so.

                  2. One way is to remove the some of the legal protections of corporations.

                    If you want to have the same freedom of speech/press as individuals, operate a partnership or single proprietorship. Once you ask government for permission to have limited liability (Incorporation), you lose your right to defame people with impunity.

                    1. Seems like a fair compromise.

                2. Is said “platform” not supposed to have clear and understandable rules as to what is and what is not allowed?

                  1. YouTube does have terms of service, obviously:
                    https://www.youtube.com/static?template=terms

                    “YouTube may, in its sole discretion, modify or revise these Terms of Service and policies at any time, and you agree to be bound by such modifications or revisions. Nothing in these Terms of Service shall be deemed to confer any third-party rights or benefits”

                    If you don’t like that, don’t use the site. This is pretty straightforward stuff.

                    1. Contracts that demand one party can change the terms without the other party agreeing, are void.

                      Its why companies must give you notice and an opt out.

                    2. Yeah unfortunately 230 allows them to change the contract unilaterally and then punish users for violations ex-post facto.

                      The punishment is a problem, full stop.

                      The changing unilaterally would not be as much of an issue if there was recourse. If YouTube breaks the contract by changing it, you ought to be able to retrieve all your personal data from its servers immediately and YouTube should lose any and all right to use your data, since that’s what you paid in order to use the service.

                    3. IANAL, but in all seriousness, from what little I learned about contract law, aren’t agreements like this unenforceable because the terms are vague, there isn’t consideration when you have sole discretion, and the potential changes could technically include illegal acts?

                    4. “Contracts that demand one party can change the terms without the other party agreeing, are void.”

                      Bullshit. ‘Take it or leave it’ are perfectly valid contract terms. Don’t like it? Fuck off.

                    5. “Bulls***. ‘Take it or leave it’ are perfectly valid contract terms. Don’t like it? F*** off.”

                      Do you by any chance have some cites of cases in contract law that confirm that this is indeed the case? It’s my understanding that software “licenses” in general haven’t been tested all that much in court, and that it’s still an open question as to whether they are even enforceable.

                      Contracts are deemed unenforceable all the time, and it’s in no small part because of shenanigans like this. Contracts that give one side most of the power, and the other side little opportunity to negotiate or have any sort of recourse, are particularly susceptible to being declared unenforceable.

          2. “Eh it’s a bad faith argument not to recognize that corporations use economic pressures to coerce people into doing things they don’t want to do.”

            Are you stupid or full of shit?
            Look up “coercion”, and fuck off, slaver.

      3. Repealing 230 won’t result in you being thrown in prison.

  24. the unholy alliance between left and right to control online content is going to be the death of us.

    1. It’s definitely an unholy alliance, but I think it’ll ultimately fail no matter what direction it comes from. The basic human need for freedom and the constantly-evolving technologies of worldwide communication mean that any effort to tamp down speech is just a game of whack-a-mole. People will be hurt in the process unfortunately, but in the end the censors will not prevail.

    2. Net neutrality’s demise was also the death of the internet.

      1. And what was my single biggest reason to oppose net neutrality?

        Big Tech firms were gung-ho FOR it.

        If they support it, it is likely a bad policy.

        1. this is childish level of reasoning

          1. Sometimes childish levels of reasoning can be surprisingly effective.

        2. +100

          If Lefties like it, Its bad for Americans in the end.

        3. “Net Neutrality” had very little to do with neutrality and a whole lot to do with preventing price/cost transparency.

          Content producers were all for it because they wanted the free ride.

    3. It’s not an alliance, as much as it is an outright purchase by a select number of media corporations.

      Section 230 is a problem, but the entire CDA is an even bigger problem. The media consolidations that followed shortly after it’s passage presaged much of these problems. PragerU isn’t being supressed so much because it is conservative, but because it is real competition for eyeballs. Left wing websites not directly affiliated with the big boys are being suppressed too. They just don’t have as big a potential audience as Prager, so don’t get as much attention.

      If they were the ones being denied access to a larger audience I suspect at least some of the critical authors here would be much more understanding of the issues involved.

      But, it’s principals, not principles at Reason in the Age of Trump.

      1. The Propaganda must be on point and uninterrupted.

        It makes sense that large conglomerate media outlets want to control the message without little websites drawing interested viewers.

        People dont understand that the effort to remove Trump is just getting started. First Lefties need to pick their champion then the Propaganda machine will seek to destroy everything and everyone supporting Trump.

        It’s why Civil War 2.0 might start after Trump is reelected. The Lefties will have put everything they could think of into removing Trump and failed. Revolutionary violence against innocents will be their Plan B.

        1. Literally 75% of this dude’s posts end up at “Civil War 2.0.” God you must be be boring in real life. Just start your spree already and quit talking about it. I can just imagine you leaning against your truck at the TA with your pearl-handled .45 side-eyeing everyone not wearing a Trump hat and trying to decide if “this is it right here, this is how it starts…”

          1. I, for one, don’t have a truck, and I’m not spending time leaning against it with a pearl-handled .45 eyeing people with or without Trump hats … but I can’t help but wonder just how close we are co Civil War 2.0 ourselves.

            And no, I don’t believe it will be started by people like loveconstitution1789. I expect it to be started by “Anti” Fa, or by the kinds of people who shot Scalise and shot at other Republicans. At some point, “Anti” Fa (and other people who think war and violence is a dial that you twist up and down, like volume) is going to dial up the volume of violence too loud and too fast, and the people whose idea of war and violence is simply “On” and “Off” are finally going to switch it “On”.

            The fact is, those kinds of people don’t *want* to switch war to “On” but we *also* see four options for addressing our grievances: The Soap Box, the Ballot Box, the Jury Box, and the Ammo Box. Youtube is trying to take away our Soap Box, and that, in turn, affects the Ballot Box. You can only erode the first three boxes so much before you get to the point where Ammo Box seems like the only valid option….

            So why don’t we just chill, let conservatives have their voices, and tone down the “Anti” Fa violence, so that it doesn’t come down to Civil War 2.0?

            1. “Let conservatives have their voices”

              Yeah it’s not like conservative voices have dominated talk radio for decades or anything. I can’t believe cable TV won’t allow people like Hannity, all of Fox, , Carlson and others to speak. I can’t believe all the brilliant conservative minds have developed so many successful online platforms that the government just shut down.

              What the F am I supposed to do about “Antifa” I’m certainly not a member and I certainly don’t know anyone who is….that is all you talk about is Antifa. As though they are everywhere, in all things, with George Soros and Hillary just steps behind mind controlling everyone with chemtrails.. It’s 300 kids. Do you think Bin Laden is gonna pop out of a bush in your home town too?

      2. What you’re saying is that this is also an anti-trust issue. We have an oligopoly on our hands.

        1. Absolutely. And I’m not alone in making this point…

          Although the authors here at Reason are doing their studious best to avoid the issue.

          1. ThomasD
            September.4.2019 at 4:12 pm
            “Absolutely. And I’m not alone in making this point… ”

            No, you’re not alone; stupidity has few limits.
            Fuck off, slaver.

  25. And this is why section 230 should be removed. It would solve all of these problems. Yeah, one’s ability to post on the internet will be on their own site, but do we need platforms free from liability to post on? That creates a mess and as it now stands a site can livestream suicides or mass shootings and not be held liable. A site can be used for defamation and not be held liable. People are using them as tools for such.

    1. But, but… Section 230 can’t be removed! Big Democrat donors rely on it in order to be able to maintain their monopolies! Democrats have three primary constituents: billionaires, lawyers, and the indigent. If they lose the billionaires, where would they be?

  26. Entities who control the fora where speech now occurs (internet speech is controlled by a very few entities) are for all intents and purposes “governmental” or “quasi-governmental.” As a libertarian, I have no problem making them follow the constitutional rules.

    1. “Entities who control the fora where speech now occurs (internet speech is controlled by a very few entities) are for all intents and purposes “governmental” or “quasi-governmental.””

      You are full of shit.
      Idiotic claims are not arguments, and bullshit like that in support of government intervention is laughable from someone claiming to be ‘libertarian’.
      You’re a slaver. Fuck off.

  27. youtube is owned by google. a privately held, but publicly ‘traded’ company. not a ‘public utility’ in the classic, big gov’t sense.
    as much as people who decry government control of hobby lobby and birth control would favor it – google, fakebook, twatturd and all the others don’t need gov’t regulation. people with morals and spines need to reject their platforms (many substitutes available, even real person to person voice phone calls – GASP!) before they favor government regulation. because if they come for google today, what’s to stop them from coming for JoDon Bubba’s Gator Wranglin’ tomorrow?

    1. “…as much as people who decry government control of hobby lobby and birth control would favor it – google, fakebook, twatturd and all the others don’t need gov’t regulation. people with morals and spines need to reject their platforms (many substitutes available, even real person to person voice phone calls – GASP!) before they favor government regulation. because if they come for google today, what’s to stop them from coming for JoDon Bubba’s Gator Wranglin’ tomorrow?”

      Exactly. The screams for government involvement from those who claim to have libertarian values is truly amazing.

      1. My god, you Libertarians are such sheep.
        Nothing but dogma and narrative.
        The movement against section 230 is literally to get government less involved.
        230 is direct intervention by government. That is the status quo.

  28. I agree that YouTube / Google are not the government and their censorship and anti-Semitism are not First Amendment violations. My problem is that we are paying for their services with our privacy and preferences and they break that agreement when they have political quarrels. It’s one thing to say, “I won’t bake you a cake.” It’s quite different to say, “I won’t bake you a cake but I’m still taking your money.”

    1. “It’s one thing to say, “I won’t bake you a cake.” It’s quite different to say, “I won’t bake you a cake but I’m still taking your money.””

      What did you pay either of them?

      1. A creator “pays” Youtube by providing videos that Youtube can then use to deliver ads — either before, during or after the video is played (and often all three). The typical user who watches said videos “pays” with their time, by sitting through the ads in order to get to the content they want.

        If Youtube still advertises using user content, but refuse to provide a portion of those proceeds to the creators of that content, then I see no reason why that creator *shouldn’t* be disgruntled.

      2. Ok, sevo.
        Differentiate between data and currency.
        We’ll wait

  29. Yes it is right youtube and google is not government but these companies have more influence power. Visit logicaltax for gst registration online

  30. Youtube has much influence over the Viewers. Apply for E visa to India

  31. I can’t wait for the class action lawsuits against Youtube for false advertising by all those 13-year-olds clicking on PragerU videos expecting porn or snuff videos, but instead are treated to a dry video about the subtleties of Korean politics.

    Seriously, Youtube may or may not have the right to do this. But why are they even *fighting* this particular battle, when there are so many snuff videos, porn, and videos filled with hate and villainy that wouldn’t be *nearly* so controversial to demonetize or even outright remove?

    1. I should add that Youtube is playing with fire by doing this. Sure, if we’re all pure in principle (as libertarians tend to be), we don’t want the government interfering with private businesses. But we’re also aware that, with enough abuse, even some of the most principled among us sometimes decide that their principles may be wrong, and it’s time to bring in the big guns, and actually do something to fix the problem, even if it means getting government involved.

      And this, in turn, will often create more problems than it solves — and in the meantime, the company in question gets regulation that they didn’t want to be subjected to, all because they decided to favor one position (in this case, the censoring of views they don’t like) over another position that has strong favorability among the general American public (namely, that if you have a political opinion expressed in a tasteful way, you should be free to share it).

      Should Youtube be free to censor any video for any reason? Yes, it’s their platform. *Should* Youtube do this, though? Absolutely not: *particularly* since they want to be considered a neutral platform where people can come and exchange ideas.

      Frankly, I don’t want to see government come and regulate things, even though I can’t help but think that Youtube, Facebook, et al will deserve it if it comes down to that. I would rather see Youtube, Facebook, et al die a fiery market death, and be replaced by entities that *will* respect the free speech of individuals, conservative or otherwise.

      But either way, the end result can’t be good for Youtube: they either face regulation, or they face becoming obscure. (And yes, while it seems like they’ll forever be a big presence, it won’t be the first time a major internet or other presence collapsed unexpectedly overnight when something better came along.)

      And that’s perhaps the biggest problem I have with articles like this as they appear on Reason. They always emphasize that companies have every right to censor speech they don’t like. They never have a paragraph that says “But free speech is sacrosanct in America. Any platform that pushes against free speech deserves to be eaten alive by 1000 piranhic competitors who that smell blood in the water. Youtube should reform its ways before this happens — or worse, before enough American people decided to try to regulate the problem away, because that *never* ends well, either.”

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