Joe Biden

Joe Biden Wants To Destroy Free Speech on Social Media

Biden tells the New York Times he would revoke Section 230 protections and hold Facebook (and other sites) liable for their content.


In an interview with the New York Times' editorial board, former Vice President Joe Biden made his most stringent call yet for cracking down on free speech on the internet.

After being asked by the Times about previous comments Biden has made regarding Facebook's refusal to remove negative ads targeting his campaign, the Democratic front-runner attacked both the social media platform and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

"I've never been a fan of Facebook," Biden says. "I've never been a big Zuckerberg fan, I think he's a real problem."

Biden and Facebook have been feuding for months, as Reason has previously covered. In an October letter to Facebook, Biden's campaign called on the social media site to reject political ads containing "previously debunked content"—like a Trump campaign ad linking Biden and his son, Hunter, to corruption in Ukraine. Shortly afterwards, Zuckerberg said the company's policies were "grounded in Facebook's fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and the belief that, in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is."

That hasn't sat well with Biden. In a CNN town hall event in November, Biden said he would be willing to rewrite the rules for all online platforms in order to force social media companies to "be more socially conscious."

In this week's interview with the Times, Biden has gone a step further. Now he's calling for revoking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996—a snippet of federal law that's generally regarded as the internet's First Amendment, since it protects online platforms from being legally liable for content produced and posted by third parties.

"Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one. For Zuckerberg and other platforms," says Biden.

When the Times' Charlie Warzel points out that Section 230 is "pretty foundational" to the modern internet, Biden takes his personal disagreement with Zuckerberg and blows it up into a policy that would destroy free speech for all internet users.

"That's right. Exactly right. And it should be revoked. It should be revoked because it is not merely an internet company. It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false, and we should be setting standards not unlike the Europeans are doing relative to privacy," Biden says. "You guys still have editors. I'm sitting with them. Not a joke. There is no editorial impact at all on Facebook. None. None whatsoever. It's irresponsible. It's totally irresponsible."

Biden goes on to say that both Zuckerberg and Facebook should be held civilly liable for false information posted on the platform, and even leaves open the possibility that Zuckerberg could somehow be held criminally liable. All of this, Biden says, is because Facebook ran "Russian ads" during the last presidential campaign.

Those ads were comically bad and had a negligible impact on the outcome of the 2016 election. What would significantly impact the future of American democracy and society would be the elimination of Section 230 protections for the entire internet.

But if you look back at Biden's long political career, it's not too surprising that Biden is willing to take overly broad federal action that will surely have unintended consequences.

It's not that Biden has been an opponent of free speech in meatspace or online. (He even voted for the Communications Decency Act when it passed the Senate back in 1996.) But Biden has a long history of jumping aboard the political bandwagons created by moral panics, pushing policy to expand the government's power to deal with perceived threats.

As I detailed in a Reason feature last month, Biden was instrumental in passing a 1984 anti-drug law that effectively created the modern civil asset forfeiture system which has been regularly abused by law enforcement to seize cash, cars, homes, and other valuables from individuals who are often never charged with a crime. In 1986, Biden co-sponsored the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, spurred by a moral panic over several high-profile deaths caused by cocaine. The bill added more mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug crimes, including the provision requiring a five-year prison term for anyone convicted of possessing 5 grams of crack cocaine or 500 grams of powdered cocaine. That massive discrepancy "unjustly and disproportionately" penalized African Americans and poor communities, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a 2006 report on the law.

Later, he co-sponsored a 1988 law that bolstered prison sentences for drug possession crimes and established the Office of National Drug Control Policy, effectively creating an internal lobbying organization to defend the drug war against critics.

Most famously, Biden championed the 1994 crime bill and its harsh "three-strikes" rule, which imposed life sentences for anyone convicted of a violent felony if they had two prior offenses on their record—including drug crimes.

You see echoes of that same playbook in his attacks on social media companies. To Biden, sweeping penalties are the only way to stop what he sees as a crisis—consequences be damned.

To pass those crime bills, Biden worked closely with Republicans. Even in today's era of heightened partisanship, Biden touts his ability and history of working across the aisle as a chief virtue. So there is good reason to worry about a President Biden finding common cause with Republicans like Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) to repeal Section 230.

Decades later, it's now obvious that the anti-drug policies of the 1980s and 1990s have had disastrous consequences for many Americans—especially minorities, who have been particularly victimized by the arbitrary crack/powder distinction Biden once pushed—and have filled prisons with nonviolent offenders.

Revoking or rewriting Section 230 would be similarly bad. Free speech online has given voice to everyone and cracking down on that right, as with all forms of censorship, would most hurt those who have less political or social power.

But you can expect Biden to frame this as a commonsense solution that reasonable people on both sides of the aisle support. That's what he does, and that's why he's dangerous.

NEXT: Colorado Judge Rejects Petition for a Gun Confiscation Order Against a Police Officer

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  1. Biden's bashing Facebook, so his campaign doesn't have a presence there, right?

    1. Ehem, these are little matters that must not be discussed. One thing we can all agree about, however, is that Facebook should indeed be held criminally liable, especially if it allows its platform to be used by perpetrators of illegal "parody." Legislators should tighten the laws in this regard everywhere in America, building on the precedent established by our nation's leading criminal "satire" case. We would be happy to assist them with appropriate drafting efforts here at NYU. See the documentation at:

      1. Have you considered posting something else once in awhile?

        1. We've discussed expanding our campaign here at NYU, but we have three PhD candidates working on this topic--a remarkable manifestation of loyalty to our institution that came in the wake of the outrageous actions that were taken against the interests of Dr. Ronell, whose works all students are counseled and indeed in some instances required to cite--so for now our focus needs to remain steady.

        2. I assume this is parody. No one could be this stupid.

  2. Biden tells the New York Times he would revoke Section 230 protections and hold Facebook (and other sites) liable for their content.

    Dude’s angling for the libertarian vote.

    1. Koch / Reason libertarians should support any Democrat (except Gabbard) when the incumbent Republican is a white nationalist.


      1. This act is so tired that at this point I just gotta assume it’s Sevo.

        1. It's way overplayed.

          I actually agree with Biden on this, provided there's an initial finding in each case that the entities are acting as publishers, and not mere conduits of information. I'm surprised this is coming from Biden, as much water as Silicon Valley and the rest of Big Tech carry for the left.

          Does Biden really think repealing 230 would help him and his donors?!

          1. Being able to tell the difference between a platform and a publisher and knowing how Section 230 gives special protections to one but not the other certainty marks you as a true libertarian.


            1. That's not what 230 is about. 230 says nothing about platforms. While you sort of have a point it doesn't apply here at all because of how the law is written.

              Reason is a publisher. They hire staff, give them site credentials, and the content posted is by the owners. Unless FB, YT, Twitter etc are posting on company accounts they can't be liable for shit no matter how much they allow or remove.

              The publisher/platform argument doesn't apply in CDA 230 at all.

              "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."

              You physically post it?
              You're liable.

              Someone else posted it?
              You're not liable.

              You pick what gets posted by others?
              You're not liable.

              If they're not allowed to remove content at their discretion then any interactive internet property you may own will have to contain massive amounts of dick pics by law. While that is a world many of us have always dreamed of it is not something the government should require.

              1. "The publisher/platform argument doesn’t apply in CDA 230 at all."

                230 is being used to shield internet companies from the liability of a publisher even when they behave like one by curating speech according to their political preferences.

                It's arguable whether that's an appropriate interpretation of 230, but that's the way it is now.

                Without 230, the determination of the applicable liability standards, whether publisher or platform, to hold FB and Twitter to would go back to juries under pre-existing law, where it belongs.


                1. You just unknowingly shot down the reason to repeal 230: powerful government officials don't like what is being said about them, so want to silence and hurt the people because of their political preferences.

                  That both parties want to do this is scary as hell.

          2. Maybe I don't understand 230, but it seems to me that what is wanted is not its repeal but an effort to tell social media platforms that if they edit content outside of taking down the blatantly illegal, they lose its protections.

            If they act solely as bulletin boards, and only take down the illegal (as True Threats, copyright violations, and child exploitation) then they should enjoy immunity. If they go 'Woke' and filter according to vague 'hate speech' categories or other ideological filters, they have become creditors and can get sued.

            1. CDA 230 was written before FB was ever imagined so while it applies to FB it is outdated. As a result sites like FB are hiding behind it instead of adjusting their practices like they should have been doing.

              If you're a private company then you should always be able to choose what appears on your service. Period. If people don't like that then they can stop using it. We all may want the Ghostbusters to be dudes, but we don't own them so if someone wants to make them chicks they can. We can just not watch it. The only reason people are having this discussion is because they wired their lives to revolve around these companies so the thought of adjusting or refraining from their usage doesn't enter the mind. (That's fucking scary because it is the same thing addicts do.)

              When CDA 230 was written it was thought that there would be thousands of FB's, Twitters, and Youtubes. Because they are so massive they're somewhat operating like a media company, but they're not a media company so the media company laws do not apply. The publisher/platform idea is somewhat there, but it is irrelevant because of the law says nothing about that.

              They're claiming they can't moderate due to their size since it would be so expensive to do so. They should have thought of that because allowing anyone in the world to have a megaphone for free should be fucking expensive if you're the one providing it.

              They argue that this will destroy the internet as we know it. Well, the internet right now is pretty fucking shitty and it has only gotten worse and will continue to get worse. CDA 230 as it stands prevents any need to make improvements.

              1. The complaint on the right about FB is that they are engaged in political censorship.

                The complaint on the left is that they don't censor enough...

              2. allowing anyone in the world to have a megaphone for free should be fucking expensive if you’re the one providing it.

                Yes, government should be able to punish those who let people speak. Hooray.

        2. "This act is so tired that at this point I just gotta assume it’s Sevo."

          That says more about you than it does about me.

      2. Keep it coming!


    2. Hah. Nice one.

  3. "All of this, Biden says, is because Facebook ran 'Russian ads' during the last presidential campaign."

    Of course all serious libertarians value free speech. However, as a #ToughOnRussia left-libertarian, I put an even greater emphasis on the integrity of the American electoral system — specifically, its ability to withstand Russian cyberattacks. I agree with Biden here. We cannot allow Russia to pick our President this year like they did in 2016.


    1. But not too tough, because Trump, being literally Hitler, is obviously not a leader with whom one can side over Putin, who is literally not Hitler. And America, being the nation from whom all problems in the world stem, can obviously not be the aggrieved party in a dispute with any nation whose leader is literally not Hitler.

      Orange Man Bad.

    2. But the US is allowed to not only pick leaders of other countries, it also overthrows legally elected leaders it does not like and if that does not work, they send in the Marines on the pretext the country has gone commie.

      For as long as I can remember, the Russians were blamed for everything. Bad weather, tornadoes, in the US was blamed on Russian nuclear tests. It is a real stretch to say Russia elected Trump. The truth is, US elections have been questionable without the interference of any foreign power. Truman should have never been president, not even a senator. He was made a senator by means of vote rigging by crooked political machine, so was Johnson. The US electoral system is corrupted enough without the need of additional help of the Russians. And why is it Americans are always presented with the worse of two evils in presidential elections.

      Biden tried to introduce a facsimile of the homeland security act (US version of the secret police). It always failed to gain ground until 9-11. He is really a wolf in sheep's clothing.

      1. It’s a parody. Adjust your sarc meter.

    3. Propaganda does not constitute a cyber-attack.If the Russians had run the same ads in the NYT, you wouldn't call it a cyber-attack.

      Yes, real cyber-attacks need to be prevented. Facebook postings, even from Russians wanting to influence the election, are not something to worry about.

    4. Yes facebook and the US government for that matter should be tracking foreign trolling better. This isn't doing that.

  4. Just in case this guy becomes president, can somebody start working on articles of impeachment, like now?

    1. I'm sure both sides have the forms ready. They just have to fill in the blank space with a name.

      1. That's not going to work, they'll roll the whistleblower form back to what it was in the beginning of the summer so hearsay can't be used.

  5. "Destroy free speech on social media..."

    You know better than this.

    2011's Snyder v Phelps. Phelps won. Yet, I can't say "God Hates Fags" on social media without getting banned.

    Free speech on social media doesn't exist. Nor should it unless you own the site.

    Free speech on the internet exists. It's called buying your own site and exercising your 1A rights.

    Biden's technically making a smart move. It's the same thing Trump does. You go balls to the wall knowing you aren't going to get what you ask for, but you get a middle ground which is what you want. Meanwhile, those that conceded to you think they won.

    There is no law stating that phone or ISP companies need your name, DOB, SSN, etc. However, everyone who has a Verizon, AT&T, Cox, Comcast, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc account provides it.

    This was done in order for the companies to avoid regulation. When the cops come calling they hand it all over. Even burner phones today may be able to be purchased with cash, but the minutes needed to run it have to be set up online and paid for that way. They have your name and address from your credit card.

    Social media provided free, anonymous, and instantaneous megaphones to the world and connected them together and they didn't take the proper steps to keep their business running while avoiding regulation.

    You think ISP's or phone companies want to do all that shit? Requiring all of that information isn't saving them cash. Doing so to avoid regulation is allowing them to make a fortune.

    Want the freedoms of a telecom company?

    Act like one.

    1. “Free speech on the internet exists. It’s called buying your own site and exercising your 1A rights.”

      If everyone needs their own site in order to communicate freely, who are they communicating with?

      1. "If everyone needs their own site in order to communicate freely, who are they communicating with?"

        No great surprise; that's totally irrelevant.
        No one is censoring your speech, and you in particular, probably ought to be happy your dog listens to you. You're too much of a scumbag bigot for the rest of humanity.

        1. My speech has been censored plenty.

          It’s why you still believe your false narrative.

          If you could consider counter arguments, you might not be a bigot.

          Censorship is your last stand of bigotry.

          1. Sorry Sevo; Misek's dog doesn't even listen to him. Nor should it. Really, there is not a fucking thing this wacko could say that should be taken seriously.

      2. Christ, another "Just build your own internet if you don't like it guyz!" And your own payment processor. And your own pipe.

        Libertarians do not handle oligopoly well, and the whining about government interference when anyone mentions suing Twitter, Facebook, and Google Inc. for censoring on the basis of political viewpoint, just adds to the evidence proving such.

        The phone company doesn't censor my phone if I choose to make a call to connect with a non-left wing speaker. The power company doesn't unplug me when I use their utility to power my computer. Their services are provided independent of the content I create while using them. Section 230 was intended to provide telecommunication companies the same protection on the Internet, if they didn't censor content that wasn't illegal. Instead, they do just that, and a lot of you are only so happy to defend them.

        I've never understood it. They don't like libertarians either, despite so many IT guys having those views. They'll come for you next, after they get done marginalizing the right wing.

        1. The internet is the utility, like the telecom companies. The service sites are private property like your phone.

      3. At no point does your 1A rights guarantee you the right to be heard. If you make a website and someone goes to it then you're lucky because with so many people in the US why would anyone take the time to listen to you? If you have something important to say people may take notice. Having people take notice isn't your right.

        Social media's business plan was designed around tricking you into thinking you were special.

        The "build your own internet" adage does apply here because FB did just that and you're playing in their world while thinking you own it or have some right to it.

        Alex Jones was never censored. Infowars is still there. People just chose to not associate themselves with it. Claiming that youtube needs to host Infowars videos is like claiming that BET needs to show reruns of Full House. They don't.

      4. If everyone needs their own site in order to communicate freely, who are they communicating with?

        Each other. That is, those sites talk to each other and disseminate the information. That's how comments and discussion worked on the Internet before Twitter and corporate comment sections hijacked it in order to monetize it.

    2. Exactly! If they do not control the content, they deserve the immunity 230 provides. If they exercise any editorial control, they should become responsible for everything they chose not to remove.

      1. That's not how CDA 230 works. You have a point, but the law they're using doesn't work that way. For what you are saying to be a reality would mean 230 would have to be revoked or amended.

        Seeing as FB reaches more people than any publisher they shouldn't just be responsible for what they choose not to remove, but for what they choose to remove because it was posted in the first place with a wider reach than any traditional publisher.

        Lots of "shoulds", but in the end it doesn't matter because 230 frees them from liability period.

        1. No, that is kind of how it works: They're not a "publisher" of content somebody else originated and posted, and they're protected from civil liability for good faith moderation.

          The problem has been that, in practice, that requirement that the moderation be "in good faith" has never been enforced. So they've been able to politically curate content under the guise of engaging in moderation of objectionable content.

    3. "Free speech on the internet exists. It’s called buying your own site and exercising your 1A rights."

      Right, just like the old days when one had to buy a newspaper business, radio station, or TV channel in order to exercise 1A rights...

      1. This doesn't seem like an apt analogy.

    4. "Free speech on the internet exists. It’s called buying your own site and exercising your 1A rights."

      That's when the domain hosting site drops you, the financial services companies refuse to process payments to you, and then the DNS companies refuse to resolve your urls.

  6. Biden wants to get rid of 230 because the social media platforms are not suppressing speech enough. Especially speech critical of Biden.

    Democrats have been consistent that forms of speech attacking Democrats in elections are electorally unfair and therefore subject to law, somehow. It is quite a remarkable stance given the 1st Amendment

    1. Biden wants to get rid of 230 because the social media platforms are not suppressing speech enough.

      Yes. What's sad is that a lot of people on the right seem to think getting rid of Section 230 will lead to less suppression of speech.

      1. What's sadder is libertarians thinking providing extra legal protections to entities involved in suppressing viewpoints helps speech. Especially when said protections have been extended to cover the entities for contract violations with their users.

    2. See? And people say the Democrats have not principles!

    3. Thank you for the first serious, non-provocative, non-rabble rousing comment thread.

      I have serious doubts regarding the soundness of Biden's mind. I can't see anyone with a sound mind say on video he withheld US aid to Ukraine unless they fired the prosecutor investigating Burisma who was employing his son. There was a time when Democrats supported free speech. Now they want control of the media they don't control, and they'll use government power to get it in spite of the 1st amendment if they can.

      1. I can’t see anyone with a sound mind say on video he withheld US aid to Ukraine unless they fired the prosecutor investigating Burisma who was employing his son.

        So you're saying Biden *didn't* do this - even though he said he did - because his saying he did proves he's losing his mind?

        1. He’s a fool for accidentally telling the truth.

        2. No, he's saying Biden's mind is not sound because he did do this. That is, Biden's having made the comments publicly is evidence of his mental collapse.

  7. So both democrats and republicans hate Section 230. I can see some bipartisan shit down the way.

    1. Indeed. If there's one thing politicians can agree on, it's that the free flow of information is a bad and dangerous thing.

      1. We must have different views on what free flow means. Both government and corporations can help suppress speech.

      2. Section 230 allows corporations to censor with impunity and without liability.

        And that's what you're defending as "protecting free speech".

        That's the same kind of idiocy that tried to sell "net neutrality" as "regulation for the little guy", when it was a gigantic handout to corporate giants.

        1. Actually section 230 gives them less of an incentive for censoring speech, but they can censor with or without 230.

          Having 230 means they can afford to just concentrate on censoring speech they don't like, rather than spend all their time and energy censoring things that will get them sued.

        2. No, section 230, as enforced, allows them to censor with impunity. But that's only because the actual terms of Section 230 aren't being enforced.

          They've effectively read out of it the requirement that moderation be in good faith.

    2. 230 won't go anywhere. It will just wind up reading like:

      "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 as long as the provider or user [insert conditions here]"

      I would expect a requirement of user verification. That alone cuts out impersonation without a form of identity theft and VPN usage. You can still use a VPN, but if you want to post online expect sites to need to verify who you are. This could easily be done by linking an account to your ISP. (IP checks out with name and information provided) Better to get off computer and go outside though.

      1. So anonymous speech would not be allowed?

        1. That'd suck for the authors of the Federalist Papers.

    3. You can be fine with 230 and also see how blatantly various companies are abusing it to allow them to simultaneously claim protection from liability and imposing their own editorial control over content they falsely claim is protected free speech.

  8. It's not that Biden has been an opponent of free speech in meatspace or online. (He even voted for the Communications Decency Act . . .


    The Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) was the first notable attempt by the United States Congress to regulate pornographic material on the Internet.

    It *is* that he's been a long-time opponent of free speech. Maybe its just awkward wording but that paragraph gives the impression that you think his voting for the CDA was a pro-free speech thing.

    1. That was a tricky time because before CDA 230 people were afraid to remove content due to fear of lawsuits. This meant that the reviews of your grandma's cookbook online could have been swamped with 2 bored dudes posting nothing but links to pictures of giant black penises. CDA 230 allowed them to remove the content as well as be free of liability for the giant black penis pictures.

      In the end, CDA 230 said "Do what you want. If you didn't post it you're in the clear".

      Otherwise, the internet would have averaged in a giant black penis picture per every 3 minutes of usage regardless of where you went.

      1. Not that there's anything wrong with that

      2. Sure that was the intention. Now the big companies use it to remove viewpoints they disagree with. This includes violation of contracts such as YouTube still receiving money for video views but discontinuing revenue sharing.

        It is weird watching libertarians enjoy contract modifications by only one party. The Megan Murphy lawsuit is a grand example of this. Likewise the ToS clauses that force lawsuits to occur in silicon valley with friendly judges.

        1. If you don't like ToS changes (or as you call them, "contract modifications"), then don't accept them and move ship. Isn't that the libertarian way?

          1. So you're unable to read? Or just comprehend what you read? What part about changing contracts dont you understand? Twitter and facebook both advertised as content neutral free speech platforms. YouTube promised revenue sharing. They did this for years as people formed businesses and social groups around them. Then without discussion the groups changed the terms of the contract.

            Is that clear enough for you? If someone signed up today they'd have no room to argue. Many of the YouTube groups have been there for years to a decade.

            Is that clear enough for your feeble mind?

            1. That's the same as every 3rd party internet service going all the way back to eBay. People use another company to build their business, the other company makes adjustments, and then you have to adjust as well. That's the cost of using a 3rd party service.

              3rd party service don't want you?
              Then do it on your own.

              Can't do it on your own?
              Then your business plan sucks. That's what you get for not being born into a rich family. Your options are lottery, reincarnation, or maybe you are actually a rich person and your life as a struggling business owner has been a dream. You could wake up at any second.

            2. Twitter and facebook both advertised as content neutral free speech platforms.

              They never advertised themselves as that. That was an assumption made by the public when they first became available. And the first time someone made a stink about something posted on these platforms, yooinks! it was taken off - showing that they have no commitment to being content neutral.

              However, there are other content neutral platforms out there. You just have to spend a minute looking around. Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are not the only companies providing these respective services, they are just the most well known.

  9. Joe Biden steals speech why would he defend the freedom side?

    1. He learned the hard way the dangers of coming up with original life stories during his time as a Welsh coal miner.

  10. "Repealing Section 230 would -- in practical reality -- result in the single-greatest wave of censorship in the modern history of the United States. "

    Just a silly assertion.

    1. "single-greatest wave of censorship in the modern history of the United States."

      Yall write articles about "cancel culture"
      The single greatest wave of censorship is happening now, is on going, and is being done by the oligarchs you're slavishly devoted to

      1. Your betters know more than you, and cancelling the clingers and racists is quite acceptable. Your social media accounts will conform to the new order.

    2. It seems silly to you because as usual, your head is so far up Trump's ass you believe the only thing S230 repeal would result in is fewer Republicans getting their posts deleted.

      1. Hi jeff.

        You're still ignorant I see.

        Oddly only one side is arguing for extra protections for flavored groups here.

  11. I would like the NYT to release the verbatim transcript along with the recording of Brain-Damaged Biden. Brain-Damaged Biden cannot put together five sentences in anything remotely resembling a coherent fashion. Did anyone else watch his debate performance because that man in the debate don't sound like the quotes I read above. No way. The NYT edited those comments for sure.

    Unreason has Brain-Damaged Boehm. A perfect bookend.

  12. In a CNN town hall event in November, Biden said he would be willing to rewrite the rules for all online platforms in order to force social media companies to "be more socially conscious."

    That doesn't sound like a Marxist talking point at all. No!

    It's Dotard vs. Jotard.

  13. Screw Biden and authoritarians of every stripe.

    If you can’t abide allowing people to speak their minds, it means what they are saying is uncomfortably close to the truth. And if you think Facebook posts are full of offensive garbage, DON’T GO ON FACEBOOK! I detest Twitter because it’s full of the ravings of twits, and that’s why I refuse to use Twitter. It’s that simple.

    1. Ignoring social media does not mean that social media or its users will ignore you. It is a significant way that younger people share information and have their views formed.

      Don't bitch when said group of people organize via social media and agree to deprive you of XYZ freedom to satisfy the social crisis du jour. Or at least, don't bitch and expect anyone to hear you.

      1. I never said I ignore social media in general, just Twitter specifically. It seems to bring out the deepest levels of idiocy in its users.

        Sure, the Twitteratti might decide to come after me for ignoring and/or ridiculing them, but they are so stupid they’d likely trip all one themselves and fail.

        Two famous cases come to mind. They united to take down Dave Chappell for wrongthink and, more recently, Ricky Gervais for speaking truth to power. In both instances, they only succeeded in making their targets vastly more popular while exposing themselves as the fools that they are.

    2. And some built entire careers off Twitter and what they advertised their platforms to be. They've now bee kicked off after twitter modified their terms at will. Twitter still even makes money off them with their user data despite having booted the people off.

    3. Repealing Section 230 does not create a restriction on free speech.

      You are still responsible for your comments. If you libel someone, you can be hauled into court, Section 230 or not.

      Section 230 just carves out special liability exemptions for Facebook, Google, and a few others. It's a classical case of regulatory capture creating private near-monopolies.

      Section 230 needs to go.

      1. "You are still responsible for your comments. If you libel someone, you can be hauled into court, Section 230 or not."

        This is a good point and it shows a problem with the websites.

        Since the sites are protected while not being required to identify every user the responsibility for what you post and what they host isn't there. It creates a workaround for libel that the sites are providing. Phone companies avoided regulation in regards to this by identifying customers. They even went as far as making it nearly impossible to sign up for internet/phone with another identity. They claim it is for "credit checks" and they may do one, but you're not getting credit from them and people with horrible credit still get internet access and phone service. If you don't pay they just shut it off because you pay in advance for each month. It's done to identify you.

  14. No liking my FB posts is hate speech.

    1. Improper pronoun use is violence.

      1. Once again Reason describes an issue with blinders on and hopes the readers are wearing them as well. Social media sites are notorious for suspending and banning people who dare to break their speech rules whether they are actually spelled out or not for users. Often they arbitrarily ban a person just because a single employee made a decision on their own.
        The legislation at hand has nothing to do with free speech and everything to do with protecting massive companies that have taken control of speech and then decided who gets to speak. Thats bullshit.
        If you want those protections, you can't impose restrictions. Its an easy fix.

        1. The easier fix is you are liable for what is on the site that you own. They want to provide the megaphone? Cool. It's on them and the user that posted. Telecom companies created a lot of hurdles to prevent people from anonymously using their services and they weren't required to by law. Try signing up for a Verizon wireless account or broadband internet anonymously. Practices like that are the ones deserving of immunity.

        2. You just hit it out of the ball park...hey Reason how much is google or FB for Twitter donating to you these days? Cosmo Libertarians like Reason are always ready to rationalize the loss of our natural rights to be liked by the wokes..

          1. "to rationalize the loss of our natural rights"

            Yes. The natural right to have Facebook host what you want them to and for them to face some form of punishment if they decide not to.

            (Tech companies aren't the government. If you use them you do as they say. You have no rights on their sites as far as they're concerned and they're correct for thinking that)

            Most of the things 230 has provided us with are essentially as useful as Pokemon cards. Mild entertainment. Even user reviews are becoming worthless because for a small amount of money any company can hire a firm in India that will boost the reviews and manipulate public perception of your company/product.

            1. This argument sounded logical in 2004. The world has changed and being banned by massive platforms such as twitter, fb, google etc essentially remove you from the public debate. Purists who are still stuck on the idea that speech is free as long as the government isn't restricting it are simply out of touch with reality.

              1. Once upon a time we had libertarians commenting on this site.

                1. once upon a time Libertarians had one foot in common sense.
                  This is why i'm not an idealogue. I'm not trapped in some box I can't dare step out of. The world has changed and we have allowed a very few individuals take complete control of public discourse.
                  And "true" libertarians can only offer: "welp, start your own multi-billion dollar social network if you don't like it."
                  Really have you're finger on the pulse of the times.

              2. That would mean that before social media you were banned from the public debate and Americans were only able to enter that when social media came to be. Twitter is only a public debate if you personally recognize it as that. It's a private company. I'm not on social media and I'm not banned from the public debate. I have just as much ability to engage now as I did before social media.

                Go look at Twitter. If that's the public debate you want to be a part of then go for it. You've been tricked into thinking it is actually of some importance.

                Ask yourself something.

                When you post on twitter or here are you changing the world? Are you having an impact in any way that makes the world better? Aside from entering text are you really doing anything?


                You're not. You're being entertained and you've confused that with something else.

                Want to talk to your congressman or speak out to another politician? Send a certified letter. You can delete your twitter and be in the public debate.

                1. You do know about network externalities, right? The value of a network depends upon how many people are using it. So FB, YT, Twitter, etc., have a lot of power that isn’t easily solved by “start your own network.”

                  1. That's irrelevant. Free speech ends when you hand your speech over to another private entity. It's their speech at that point. That's what you do on social media. Ever notice how you can't purchase if you own it? Why do you think that is? It's not yours.

                    On your own network your speech is free. That's where your speech is protected. What if the government told you what you could or couldn't have on your own site. You'd be pissed and your free speech would be under attack.

                    People can't see it on your own network of just you?

                    Don't feel bad. You're just like everyone else now.

                    I'm here for ya, buddy.

                    1. This is hilarious.

                2. WTF are you talking about. ARe you that blind to what drives the public conversation these days?
                  This is why people who desperately try to be ideological Libertarians without considering reality will never gain traction in the US. Theory is more important than the truth.

  15. We can do without 230, and we can do without Facebook.

    This democracy worked perfectly fine before the internet came along.

    1. Since we have we had a "democracy"?

      1. That was supposed to be: "Since when have we had a "democracy"?

        1. The better question might be should we have a democracy? In a pure democracy, there is an absolute tyranny of the majority.

          Two wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for dinner is democracy.

          1. The term "democracy" is so confusing to people that it's best not to use it at all, since some people mean "majoritarianism" by it, while the original meaning is simply self-rule by the people, independent of the specific mechanisms.

            Both socialists and their opponents these days like to say that we're "not a democracy"; socialists like to say it because they want majoritarianism, and their opponents like to say it because they point to the US Constitution and say "see, not a democracy in sight".

            That's a dangerous game to play, however, because it makes opponents of socialism susceptible to the charge that they are "anti-democratic" (meaning, against any self-rule by the people, not just majoritarianism).

            So, yes, the US has been a "democracy", just not a "majoritarian democracy". Libertarians want "democracy" with very limited government powers. Socialists and social conservatives want "democracy" with strong, intrusive government. Almost nobody in the US these days is anti-democratic.

      2. The US has always had a democracy (=rule by the people, in some form).

        What the US hasn't had is majoritarian democracy, or direct democracy, or any of the other forms of democracy that socialists love.

  16. 2016 Left wing orthodoxy: using the boogeyman of cable/ISP companies (aka "big corporations") somehow achieving "monopoly power" and depriving individuals/groups of a platform on ideological grounds as the justification why the loss of "Net Neutrality" constituted an existential threat to civilization and our republic.

    2019 Left wing orthodoxy: insisting that the lack of government rules applicable to a handful of the world's largest corporations (who have held a monopolistic share of control over access to commercial and "monetized" online distribution of information since before 2016) which would require the denial of a platform to certain individuals/groups based on ideological criteria now constitutes a dire threat to civilization and our republic.

    How did so few of them notice the implications of this shift?

    1. It’s not a shift; they have been consistency pro-regulation the entire time.

      The other values are just red herrings.

  17. No one in their right mind thinks Facebook or Twitter have "freedom of speech." Anything outside of the permissible spectrum of "thought" (cf., Overton Window) is immediately memory-holed.

    Given that fact, Section 230 of the CDA DOES NOT APPLY to Facebook, Twitter, et. al. They are PUBLISHERS of content due to the fact the curate everything that is posted. It only takes a different "interpretation" to use what already stands against Silicone Valley (extra "e" deliberate).

    1. It doesn't matter how much you screech about it, the law is clear and they're not a publisher.

    2. They're not publishers, for fuck's sake. They're the electronic equivalent of a laundromat bulletin board. They're also private companies, so they get to take down or leave up whatever they want to. Of course they don't have "freedom of speech." That applies solely to the government. Taking down or refusing to post stuff they disagree with is "curating" in the same sense that refusing to post a lawn sign for a politician you hate is "curating."

  18. Joe Biden Wants To Destroy Free Speech on Social Media. Biden tells the New York Times he would revoke Section 230 protections and hold Facebook (and other sites) liable for their content.

    Eric: stop lying.

    Repealing Section 230 does not "destroy free speech on social media".

    1. It goes a long way toward that end.

      1. No, it absolutely does not.

        What repealing Section 230 would do is to make it economically less attractive to have public user comment sections on sites like Google, Twitter, NYT, Fox, and Facebook.

        That would be a good thing. These companies took over used to be open and distributed discussion forums that were not controlled by anybody; then they monetarized it and stuffed it full of ads, while simultaneously censoring based on their political and corporate interests.

        The sooner those big, corporate discussion sites die, the better for free speech.

  19. What a geezer.

  20. The CDA is premised on a number of findings and policy assertions, including user control and true diversity of political discourse.

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

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

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

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

    1. The law was intended to allow an interactive computer service to moderate freely without the fear of liability for what is posted. This means a website can choose to keep up a user's post that reads "I hate Jews" and remove another that reads "I love my grandma". If it's their site they can decide. The important part is that they can't get in trouble for the Jew post.

      1. The Corporate Profits Uber Alles crowd thinks CDA 230 was about letting computer services be free of legal restraint in their quest for profits, because for them, that's what everything is about.

        "Free" trade with Slave Emperor Xi, "free" immigration of human worker widgets to invade a country not free to defend itself, "free" control of political discourse w/o legal liability.

        But the clear purpose in the findings is to maximize *user* freedom and control, not *corporate* freedom and control.

  21. Gee, it’s almost like he spent eight years as part of an executive administration who made government censorship of the internet one of it’s chief agendas, to the point where they allowed terrorists to murder a bunch of people in an embassy so they could lie that it was causes by free speech on the internet.

    Well, whatever, Reason. At the rate and dishonest veracity with which you’re hitching onto the impeachment lie and “appease Iran at ALL COSTS!” game one is left to assume that the Dem field’s naked totalitarianism is what you aspire towards.

  22. Biden and Facebook have been feuding for months, as Reason has previously covered. In an October letter to Facebook, Biden's campaign called on the social media site to reject political ads containing "previously debunked content"—like a Trump campaign ad linking Biden and his son, Hunter, to corruption in Ukraine.

    Biden and his lackeys in the media cut and paste the "previously debunked" line into any story mentioning Hunter and Joe. But they never tell us when or by whom the debunking was achieved. Maybe Hunter will finally enlighten us when he testifies at the impeachment trial.

    1. Well, it is certainly literally true that Hunter Biden was "debunked" (i.e., lost his bunk).

    2. Hunter definitely had a no-show job for which he is unqualified. He confirmed as much himself. He also confirmed that the reason he got the job was his father's position in the US government.

      That much is certainly not "debunked". Definitely "bunked" i suppose.

      The only "debunking" I am aware of is that the Biden camp claims that the prosecutor did not have any open cases against Barisma.

      This is contradicted by both the original prosecutor (who says there were 2 open investigations) and the new prosecutor (who says he quickly completed the two "stagnant" investigations, resolving the matters with small fines).

      I am not sure if Hunter registered as a foreign lobbyist... but the only possible way you could avoid the label of "corruption" is if Hunter was simply acting as a paid lobbyist and the prosecutor was extorting Barisma using the two open investigations. Of course, that opens the question... was Hunter registered as a foreign lobbyist? Isn't that the trick they tried to use to entrap Papadopolous... having operatives for the FBI approach him about a job in London and then handing him a pile of cash on the way to the airport so they could meet him when he landed and charge him with crimes exactly like being an unregistered foreign lobbyist?

      So..... Debunked? Are we really going to use that word here at reason? I have yet to see anything that remotely dubunks that story. Even if the prosecutor was actually corrupt, Biden was still getting paid off by Burisma. That is without question. (so were several other politicians on that board)

  23. If the political ads Biden's bitching about included "previously debunked content" then he'd have a libel case. Why is he not suing? Because he doesn't have a case. In his world, being "more socially conscious" means sucking his dick more deferentially. And it's pretty damned rich for him to open his mouth about "privacy" when he's one of the biggest attention whores on the planet.

  24. I used to be on Reason's side on this topic until I saw Mr. Woke (Jack Dorsey) and his female "speech commissar" on Joe Rogan with Tim Poole.

    When Dorsey said Twitter was for free speech BUT his little woke chimed up and said certain groups had to be protected from "hate speech had to ask..isn't this discrimination according to the Civil Rights Act of 64? As a seller which is what Twitter is they can't decide who can use their platform based on political views...

    Yes I'm being a little snide as I don't think private firms have to do business with anyone they don't want to for any reason...but the law is the law.

    You also have this issue of how these "woke" firms like Google and FB and Twitter fund themselves..they have an almost unlimited funding from Wall Street which can borrow from the Fed as pretty much for free. This is really statism in the worst form. If you or I wanted to start FB or Twitter we never could get the capital we would need as a start up to take them on..simply put they have State sponsored funding..

    The last problem with these firms is their bias which is driven from the same funding channels..the hedge funds are mostly made up of left wing Ivy League types who then get their friends and relatives with the same background (again mostly NYC types who are very far left and not very diverse...certainly not many Catholics or Irish or Italian so to speak) gigs at these most are not engineers but liberal art majors they gravitate to "content management" and you get that female woke with Dorsey on Rogan who is saying some folks are more equal than others...its ok to attack a Catholic or Italian on Twitter but "protected groups" oh no! See What they did to the Covington Kids...

    The current SM firms are a threat to our liberty...Either they follow the Bill of Rights or they are broken up (which I would favor)..and lastly the Fed needs to shut down ridiculous helicopter money to hedge funds and banks...

    1. You seem to be making a public accommodation argument. That’s not a libertarian position.

      they have an almost unlimited funding from Wall Street which can borrow from the Fed as pretty much for free. This is really statism in the worst form.

      Only a problem if they are getting preferential treatment. I never heard that they were getting special rates.

  25. Joe Biden was one of the pushers behind Reagan-Bush economy-wrecking asset forfeiture prohibitionism beginning in 1987. Prohibitionism requires censorship (to protect "our" killers from exposure and retaliation). But also for the usual religious reasons every pious pseudoscience seeks to have men with guns kill a few miscreants to put the Fear a da Lawerd into those not yet shot, robbed or handcuffed. That and continued plans to make electricity unaffordable add up to a Herbert Hoover campaign.

  26. Biden appears to think the media should just be a propaganda arm and spout "the truth" as sanctioned by whatever party currently rules. It's amazing someone who serves that long could harbor such unamerican and unconstitutional ideas.

    Joe was the last chance for any democrat I'll vote for in 2020. But his promise to dismantle 2A and this kind of nonsense has made it all but impossible to vote for him. Can't say I'm a Trump fan but the devil you know ...

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  28. “Free speech on the internet exists. It’s called buying your own site and exercising your 1A rights.”

    At first I wasn’t even sure if the author was serious.

    Freedom of Speech isn’t just singing in the shower, it’s the freedom to communicate.

    If everyone is going to need their own site in order to communicate freely, nobody else can freely communicate with them.

    If you agree with that, you are against 1a.

    1. Are you saying that the 1A didn't exist before social media? Are you saying that before private companies came along and decided to create a system where you interact and they scrape your data for profits you weren't able to communicate?

      The 1A says that congress shall make no law stopping you from yapping. It doesn't say that you're to be provided with a service free of cost that you can use in an anonymous fashion to talk to other people on that platform.

      Congress can't make a law stating that facebook isn't allowed to start a website and write what they want. Congress can claim that since facebook owns the property and they are allowing others to write what they want that facebook should be liable for that content. In no way does that trample 1A rights. If facebook shuts off usage to its users those users can create their own website.

      1A does not equal algorithmic ability to be heard. If you want that then throw down some cash for advertising.

      When I was a kid social media did not exist. People were not using rocks as tools, displaying above average fears of fire, or being shot if they talked. Now that social media is around the only thing that has changed is everyone stares at a phone and they'll rationalize every reason as to why it is so imperative that they need to do so. They'll even claim the constitution.

      1. FB should not be liable for the blather you spout.

      2. I think you missed the point.

        This isn’t about charging for using a tool to communicate.

        It’s about government not only not protecting our free speech, but making laws that hold ALL the service providers of communication platforms liable for what people would freely say.

        They do this ONLY to stifle free speech in our current environment.

        1. Problem with that is that unless we have a law that frees them from liability you aren't posting shit on their sites. You'd have to get your own. You think they're going to take a risk on you or I?

          Since tech companies provide a tool that allows people to circumvent the laws and avoid facing liability then the only solution for them to continue existing is to obtain the same information your phone and ISP collect when opening an account. If they verify every user and agree to hand over any info when a warrant is provided then they should be able to remain free from liability. You can't hold a user liable when their IP and sign-in credentials lead to instant dead ends. Change that. That will solve 80% of the problems. Tech companies know people do this. They allow people to violate your rights and be free of any legal recourse.

          The same idiots that use FB or twitter now are going to hand over that info because they can't manage in their lives without those services.

          1. I think you missed the point that removing that liability in the law is section 230, which Biden wants to revoke.

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  31. Joe Biden Wants To Destroy Free Speech on Social Media

    True, if by "free speech" you mean "what SJWs working for an oligopoly think you should be allowed to say".

  32. It seems to me that a little malicious compliance is in order from Zuckerberg.

    As a private corporation he and the stakeholders in Facebook are allowed to make choices that are in their political well being. One of those things within their rights is to make a statement about those that would destroy their business model and harm freedom of speech on the internet.

    So all Zuck has to do is dictate that ANY politician that is in favor of eliminating Part 230, to be held to a higher standard of truth than other politicians, so that they may see the consequences of the law.

    So henceforth Facebook would eliminate any postings or advertisers that both spout a mistruth and favor eliminating part 230. Even if the mistruths are not intentional. Purge them. Repeated mistruth's get banned. News articles stating the mistruth without a bold faced correction, also get deleted.

    I have a feeling pretty near every politican in favor of killing free speech would get silenced on Facebook with a policy like this. And it would be Facebook's perogitive to do this.

    1. Brilliant idea! Attempt to demonstrate that FB isn't abusing Section 230 for censorship by censorship! So much winning!

  33. Joe Biden the Polonius of Democrat candidates.

  34. 1. Copy Republican economy-destroying asset forfeiture looting.
    2. Keep faking thermometer data as pretext to ban electricity
    3. Lose, while LP nets 7% of the vote.

    1. Glad to hear that Democrats are campaigning against asset forfeiture.

      Could you point me to a few who have made that an issue?


  35. Editor’s Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses… Read more

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  37. If someone doesn't like Facebook don't use it. It's simply a service from a private company.

  38. How five Biden family members got rich off his connections.

    This generalized Tammany Hall - style corruption is so pervasive and mundane in this country, especially in the democratic party, that we just sort of accept it and don’t talk about it. We shouldn’t accept it though and we should talk about it!

  39. "Free Speech on Social Media"

    He said, with straight face....


  40. The problem is that these entities decide what can and can’t appear on their sites. By not remaining neutral, they are taking responsibility for the content, no different from any other publisher that can be legally liable for the material they disseminate. If they want protection they need to stop deciding what can and can’t appear on their platforms. Otherwise they should be exactly as liable as a newspaper, television program, magazine, or any other “publisher.”

  41. A life-long resident of Athens, Georgia, Samuel E. Thomas is a 2010 graduate of the University of Georgia with a B.A. in Political Science. He is also a 2012 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law in Tuscaloosa. He was admitted to the practice of law in June of 2013. Samuel E. Thomas is a fourth-generation small business owner in the Athens, Georgia area. He is admitted to all State and Superior Courts throughout the state of Georgia along with the Georgia Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of Georgia. The Law Office of Samuel E. Thomas is a full-service family law firm in Athens Georgia...

  42. Just in case this guy becomes president, can somebody start working on articles of impeachment, like now?
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  43. Biden is just looking for a campaign donation.

  44. All of this, Biden says, is because Facebook ran "Russian ads" during the last presidential campaign.

    Just remember people, Section 230 was enacted to protect moderators and online forums from a flood of frivolous lawsuits. Because it is what it is and does what it does, now the frivolous attacks against Facebook have to come from our representatives.

  45. These sites can take a "media history" preservation stance and rank references accordingly by teaching their software to identify legal matters and label them as to whether their resolution has been logged, such as by a mediator or in a courtroom.

    FB (Messenger) already snatches a keyword that you type and makes a big deal out of it, opening up a framed-link, btw, in the conversation.

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