Donald Trump

Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden vs. Twitter vs. Facebook

Thank god for the First Amendment and the feuds among powerful politicians and platforms that will keep free speech alive.

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After Twitter annotated his comments about mail-in voting and fraud, President Donald Trump responded yesterday with an "Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship." As with many official announcements, the headline is misleading: The order is in fact about creating, not preventing, online censorship. It reads in part:

Online platforms are engaging in selective censorship that is harming our national discourse. Tens of thousands of Americans have reported, among other troubling behaviors, online platforms "flagging" content as inappropriate, even though it does not violate any stated terms of service; making unannounced and unexplained changes to company policies that have the effect of disfavoring certain viewpoints; and deleting content and entire accounts with no warning, no rationale, and no recourse.

We'll get to some technical details in a moment. But the first thing to note is that this can all be true and still be perfectly legal. That's a feature, not a bug, of online discourse.

When it comes to the immediate cause of action, Twitter didn't delete or ban the president's message but instead flagged it with a fact-check message. Twitter had announced earlier in the month it would label tweets it thought were misleading or wrong about the novel coronavirus and other topics. Labeling the president's tweet in this way was clearly a middle-finger gesture to the president, less because of the specific content in a given tweet and more because of who the author is and the overtly political nature of the speech. (Even in private contexts, political speech has always been the most-protected sort of expression.)

Today, the service went a step further with a presidential tweet about the violence and looting that broke out Minneapolis during a demonstration against the police killing of George Floyd. "These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen," wrote Trump. "Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!" Twitter determined that that message violates its rules "about glorifying violence," and so it asks users to click through if they want to see the tweet. Again, that's not censorship in any meaningful sense of the term, but it's a huge F.U. to the president.

Trump's executive order is part of an ongoing battle he's waging against Section 230 of the Communciations Decency Act (CDA), described by Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown as a "1990s statute stipulating that online platforms and publishers are not to be treated as the speaker of user-generated content (i.e., if I defame someone on Facebook, Facebook isn't on the hook for defamation)." Sometimes called "the 26 words that created the internet," Section 230 is widely credited as the basis for much of what happens online. Without the law, the threat of being sued would squelch speech; it makes room for everything from Facebook to Twitter to Yelp to Reason comment threads. At the same time, Section 230 doesn't categorically prevent people from suing platforms or individual speakers for defamatory comments and content. Reason and specific commenters can be sued for online content, just as they can be for meatspace writings or utterances. Importantly, Section 230 allows platforms and services to moderate some user-generated material while leaving other stuff alone. That can be frustrating if you're on the losing end of an action, which includes "demonetizing" certain types of videos on YouTube.

Trump and his allies, such as Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.), aren't the only ones attacking Section 230. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has pronounced that "Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one. For Zuckerberg and other platforms….It should be revoked because it is not merely an internet company. It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false." Biden is joined in such condemnations by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has consistently called for ending existing Section 230 protections and recently railed against Facebook as "a hate-for-profit machine that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracy theorists—to talk about how social media platforms should essentially allow politicians to lie without consequences. This is eroding our democracy."

She's wrong about that: Creating a space where citizens and politicians can more easily exchange views, no matter how bilious or wrong, is enacting democracy, not eroding it.

The good news is that Trump's executive order is essentially worthless as policy. "Legal experts said they were doubtful the move would have any practical effect on the tech giants," reports NPR. "Legal observers described the action as 'political theater,' arguing that the order does not change existing federal law and will have no bearing on federal courts."

The bad news is that the president and other politicians are constantly attacking freedom of expression. The Trumps and Bidens and Hawleys and Warrens of the world may come at the platforms from different angles and for ostensibly different reasons, but the threat is effectively the same: Protect and promote the sort of speech I like or else.

As a private company, Twitter has the right to ban whomever it wants and to flag or even delete whatever content it cares to. The last thing anyone who cares about free speech should want is for social media platforms to become regulated as common carriers or broadcast networks, subject to endless governmental and regulatory oversight.

Users should employ the strategies of exit, voice, and loyalty, complaining about policies they find dumb and forever being ready to vote with their feet. To my mind, Twitter's ban on political advertising is stupid, arbitrary, and bad for the country and the world. But I also don't like what it has done with Tweetdeck, my preferred way of accessing the site. I stick with it because on balance I find it a useful way of gathering and sharing news, views, and opinions. In the current controversy, Facebook is taking a different path, with its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying his service won't seek to be "arbiters of truth." Zuckerberg told CNBC yesterday:

I don't think that Facebook or internet platforms in general should be arbiters of truth….Political speech is one of the most sensitive parts in a democracy, and people should be able to see what politicians say.

Over the past few years, Zuckerberg and Facebook have ping-ponged back and forth on this large topic, coming to its current defense of free speech after politicians such as Sen. Warren called for breaking up the company. Facebook does use fact-checkers and flags content it finds questionable. It also has a ban on calls to violence and postings it claims will lead to voter suppression. But in the current fight over political threats to free speech and its role in arbitrating disputes, Facebook's position is clear and, I think, clearly preferable to Twitter's.

Indeed, what exactly has been gained by Twitter's actions over the last few days? Nothing substantive, that's for sure. Per the Streisand Effect, it almost certainly brought more attention to the president's rantings and ravings. Maybe Twitter's higher-ups feel better about themselves.

There is a better way. Zuckerberg again:

There are clear lines that map to specific harms and damage that can be done where we take down the content….But overall, including compared to some of the other companies, we try to be more on the side of giving people a voice and free expression.

Exactly how long Zuckerberg and Facebook will hold this position is unclear. Facebook, after all, is a business, not a think tank or political action group. But for the time being, it's doing the right thing by trusting individual users to post and read content. So much of politics, especially around the First Amendment, is just windbaggery and theater, sea lions chest-bumping one another while making lots of noise before collapsing and going back to sleep on the beach. Believing in people and helping them become critical consumers of media and all sources of information is not simply the clearest way forward; it's the only way.

NEXT: Trump's Illegal, Impossible Plan to Teach Twitter a Lesson

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  1. If Twitter believed it’s own press they would have shut down many accounts left wing actively promoting violence. They have not. They are a left leaning political organization now. They are a content publisher actively editing and deleting content they don’t like.

    1. But, even if you are correct (I don’t “do”Twitter), it is their prerogative to do so.

      1. Yes it is.
        I just don’t see why they enjoy cronyist protections that other publishers and private individuals don’t have

        1. I think you do see why they enjoy those protections.

          1. True.
            Should’ve added a “should” there

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        2. As far as I can tell, there are no “protections” they have which I, or, for that matter, you, don’t also have. We are both fully free to start our own social media companies. As far as “cronyism,” well, that is a different matter. To my “outsider” view, Trump is the best thing that ever happened to Twitter. I mean, what company wouldn’t want the President using their platform for communicating to the public? I suspect his stock portfolio includes Twitter — I mean, the guy isn’t stupid.

        3. “I just don’t see why they enjoy cronyist protections that other publishers and private individuals don’t have”

          Every single publisher with a comment section enjoys exactly these same protections. Reason cannot be held accountable for Buttplug posting child porn links (assuming they moderate for that in good faith) just the same as Twitter. The fact that Twitter emphasizes user generated content in its business model more than Reason is immaterial. When it comes to User Generated Content, they have the exact same protections.

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      2. This presumes the current state has nothing to do witb appeasing the left, who started the section 230 threats, and threw in “we might break you up since you have so much power over discourse.”

        It’s called regulation by raised eyebrow. Doing something the government has no dirrct control over? Well, there’s plenty of other stuff to hurt them with using a facetious cover story.

        I’m glad people are on board that what Trump is threatening is wrong. I just wish you all weren’t cheering on the Democratic candidates last fall when they did it.

      3. Any platform which governs or effects content is not a pipeline but a newspaper.

    2. “They are a content publisher actively editing and deleting content they don’t like.”

      As noted in the article, so is Reason. Should Reason be held liable for what you say in the comments? Because that is what people are trying to do. The reason Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are lined up along side you is that they want the government to be able to force Reason to delete your comment if it is “false”. And if Reason *Doesn’t* “fact check” you into oblivion, Reason can be held liable for your lies.

      Twitter can be held liable for specific speech. If they libel the president, he can sue them. Of course, if what Twitter did with its “Fact Check” was in any way libelous, every single opinion column in America would be libelous.

      As Nick notes above, Twitter has moved into full on partisan bullshit. They are no different than Democratic Underground at this point. So do what everyone else does: tell them to fuck off and go somewhere else!

      1. Babylon Bee has a funny ‘Fake News’ item yesterday stating that Trump is moving to MySpace. Something like this can actually work, with the nation not only not taking the other side seriously, but not even knowing what they are saying.

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      2. Trump’s executive order is part of an ongoing battle he’s waging against Section 230 of the Communciations Decency Act (CDA), described by Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown as a “1990s statute stipulating that online platforms and publishers are not to be treated as the speaker of user-generated content

        True. But the flag and any note added by Twitter is NOT user-generated content, and thus Twitter has become a publisher and should be subject to all legal attacks Trump can muster.

      3. “s noted in the article, so is Reason. Should Reason be held liable for what you say in the comments?”

        Do they routinely stifle comments in the section for being of a view they dislike?

      4. “Should Reason be held liable for what you say in the comments?”

        Yes. The sooner the better.

        That will of course result in the closure of is sorry comment section and return the internet to it’s pretty section 230 days, which would be a good thing for free speech and the nation.

  2. “Facebook…its current defense of free speech”

    Which includes setting up an oversight board to monitor the company’s censorship:

    https://reason.com/2020/05/06/new-facebook-oversight-board-will-handle-tricky-moderation-but-will-it-value-free-speech/

    This board includes law profs from all over the world, and some ex-politicians and ex-bureaucrats. As if they want the prestige and expertise in place of being able to assure governments that stuff those governments doesn’t like will be banned.

    1. This is the natural consequence of dragging the leaders of these sites in front of Congress. They very quickly realize that they are going to be regulated, and they start doing everything necessary to shape that regulation.

      Senator Warren rakes YouTube over the coals for allowing “Hate Speech” and “Conspiracy Theories” to be spread on the platform, and here we are less than a year later: YouTube is removing content that disagrees with the CDC and other state health departments.

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  3. “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” wrote Trump.

    IIRC, “thug” is now RACIST. Yet, Twitter permits it.

    1. It’s funny how “thug” has supposedly become a dogwhistle for “black,” considering it has its roots in Hindi and ultimately Sanskrit.

      1. See, Swastika

  4. Anyone who has ever has kids knows that telling kids not to read or view content only fuels their curiosity and makes them all the more determined to lay their hands on said content. Hiding Trump’s tweets behind a grey box is only going to do the same thing. From that standpoint, one could be forgiven for asking whether Twitter isn’t in fact (inadvertently, because leftists have no understanding of strategy or tactics) making an in-kind donation to the Trump campaign. How very generous of them.

  5. >>Facebook, after all, is a business, not a think tank or political action group.

    Fuckerberg believes he is all that and more.

  6. “Thank God for the first amendment…”

    But I thought the first amendment isn’t enough for internet behemoths? That they need an extra one specific to them?

    1. Hey what? Donna Brazile told everyone on Fox’s “The Five” that the First amendment doesn’t cover lies. I guess it only covers views approved by the DNC. Why didn’t the Founders more clearly spell that out Ms. Brazile?

  7. Question for the resident lawyers: media organizations can be reprimanded or fined by the FCC for broadcast obscenities. In the clip of the CNN reporter getting arrested, the word “fuck” can be seen scrawled on the wall in the background — and not just for a moment, either. Are there any potential ramifications to the network for failing to blur it out, or do the regulations only apply to the spoken word?

    1. My understanding is that this is specific to the main networks, based on their use of “Public” spectrum to broadcast. This is why HBO and other cable channels can show stuff like the Sopranos or Game of Thrones, but CBS cannot.

      1. Ah, so it doesn’t apply to CNN because they broadcast by cable?

        1. That is my understanding.

  8. I’m not buying Zuck’s rhetoric here. I get that the political parties are going to be playing this game of trying to control who says what on these platforms and realistically, there will not be a point in my lifetime when we’re not having an argument about these platforms and who gets to say what political speech. However, the behavior of the company clearly runs counter to his quote here.

    Right now, I’m actually far more concerned that the social media companies are suppressing anything that goes against WHO and CDC information on COVID. Both red and blue Governors have shutdown their entire economies based on these organizations bad and dishonest information. There is no consensus on any of the information going around. That would be both impossible and unscientific considering the time it takes to responsibly study any disease. Even knowing this, they are taking down any thing that runs counter to the information being pushed by these unelected bureaucracies even when well reasoned, documented and argued by credentialed experts who in many cases don’t seem to have a political agenda that runs counter to the organizations.

    What I’m getting at is that I’m far less concerned about them censoring individual’s broad political opinions (though it’s still important) and far more concerned that they are willing to silence legitimate, information based scientific arguments on behalf of government agencies who are pushing policies that could not be more aggressively counter anti-freedom and individual sovereignty if they tried.

    1. The two problems are two sides of the same coin. If you have freedom of speech and freedom of association, then you are going to have a world where a private platform might turn partisan. If you are going to regulate it so that doesn’t happen, then you are going to codify “facts” and “truth” into the government, and you are going to have private companies enforcing the government’s will.

      1. You say might and I say inevitably. These companies are far too influential for the political parties to ever stop cat fighting over. I don’t want these companies to be go unregulated to prevent whoever controls them from being able to codify truth. That is also inevitable. I want to prevent regulatory capture. If the government uses regulation to enshrine Twitter and Facebook as de facto monopolies, there’s no escape. Ideally we would just move to each new social network every time a new one pops up to make sure no one has as much power as those two companies do right now. Until someone really figures out an open-source social network platform, but I don’t think anyone is even close to solving that problem.

        1. I am in total agreement. It is no coincidence that the Left’s interest in policing content began when Trump out did them at the social media game. And it is no coincidence that the leftist members of these platforms agreed, and that now the Right is jumping in to police it the other way.

          The stakes are high, and the GOP is actually playing into the hand of leftists if they keep trying to bring the government to bare on these platforms. The leftists got control of the surveillance state, and they will have control of these platforms too.

          1. You get it. Regulating these things will only end up serving the left in the long run. Once there’s any concession about whether or not they should be, it’s all going to end up going in one direction. State power.

  9. If you declare that you are merely a bulletin board and not a content provider, then be one. Do not censor anyone, except for the things like direct threats of violence that are not covered by the First Amendment. Choosing to censor the Right, or merely to do so randomly, moves the company squarely into the content provider category.

    1. “If you declare that you are merely a bulletin board and not a content provider, then be one. ”

      Why can’t it be both? This site has a comments section, as well as writing articles. If they are libelous in an article, they can be held accountable. If someone in the comments is libelous, Reason cannot be held liable.

      And why would you want an internet where every forum is politically neutral? Isn’t there room on the internet to have chat rooms dedicated to specific topics and with heavy moderation? If I create a forum for discussion of libertarian ideals, do I have to accept Socialist and Nazi posts if I want to avoid liability for user generated content?

      Twitter, YouTube and Facebook all got where they were by claiming to be un-biased and welcoming to all viewpoints. That was a market differentiator, not a legal requirement. If they will not uphold this feature, then it is up to the users to decide whether or not they want to continue that relationship.

      1. //Twitter, YouTube and Facebook all got where they were by claiming to be un-biased and welcoming to all viewpoints. That was a market differentiator, not a legal requirement.//

        But they were also given legal protections based on those same claims of being neutral platforms.

        The government giveth, and the government taketh.

        1. Nope, you’re wrong. Read it:

          https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230

          1. Wrong about what, dumbass? I dare you to try to spell it out with even a semblance of coherence, you broken bitch.

            Better yet, why don’t you turn off your computer, take a piece of paper, a pencil, write down your theory, and then go fuck yourself.

          2. “But they were also given legal protections based on those same claims of being neutral platforms. ”

            That doesn’t appear in the law at all. Dumbass.

            1. Because laws are routinely drafted to include deliberative history and every competing policy consideration that led to the enactment of the legislation.

              Get the fuck out of here already, you salty bitch.

            2. It was drafted as a result of a SCOTUS ruling the prior year about liability under existing law you fucking idiot, to explicitly lay out the intent for the Internet which had yet to be addressed.

              Just stop posting the lies. Plenty of people here are capable of expressing their opinion that 230 should be revoked without resorting to lying.

  10. //The bad news is that the president and other politicians are constantly attacking freedom of expression. The Trumps and Bidens and Hawleys and Warrens of the world may come at the platforms from different angles and for ostensibly different reasons, but the threat is effectively the same: Protect and promote the sort of speech I like or else.//

    This is a disingenuous comparison. One side of the equation (Democrats) want to have Twitter affirmatively ban/censor/manipulate third-party speech. The other side (Republicans) want Twitter **not** to ban/censor/manipulate third-party speech.

    How is this at all the same?

    1. It’s not, and neither is removing special legal exemptions the same as regulation.
      But orangemanbad

      1. Orange Man bad?!? He BAD, all right! He SOOO BAD, He be GOOD! He be GREAT! He Make America Great Again!

        We KNOW He can Make America Great Again, because, as a bad-ass businessman, He Made Himself and His Family Great Again! He Pussy Grabber in Chief!

        See The Atlantic article by using the below search-string in quotes:
        “The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet” or this one…

        https://reason.com/2019/09/02/republicans-choose-trumpism-over-property-rights-and-the-rule-of-law/

        He pussy-grab His creditors in 7 bankruptcies, His illegal sub-human workers ripped off of pay on His building projects, and His “students” in His fake Get-Rich-like-Me realty schools, and so on. So, He has a GREAT record of ripping others off! So SURELY He can rip off other nations, other ethnic groups, etc., in trade wars and border wars, for the benefit of ALL of us!!!

        All Hail to THE Pussy Grabber in Chief!!!

        Most of all, HAIL the Chief, for having revoked karma! What comes around, will no longer go around!!! The Donald has figured out that all of the un-Americans are SOOO stupid, that we can pussy-grab them all day, every day, and they will NEVER think of pussy-grabbing us right back!

        Orange Man Bad-Ass Pussy-Grabber all right!

        We CAN grab all the pussy, all the time, and NONE will be smart enough to EVER grab our pussies right back!

        These voters simply cannot or will not recognize the central illusion of politics… You can pussy-grab all of the people some of the time, and you can pussy-grab some of the people all of the time, but you cannot pussy-grab all of the people all of the time! Sooner or later, karma catches up, and the others will pussy-grab you right back!

        1. What’s wrong with you, Hihn?

        2. I have a brain that works, THAT is what is “wrong” with me!

          Now refute a damned thing that I said above? You can NOT do it, because I am CORRECT! Spineless nitwit!

          We CAN grab all the pussy, all the time, and NONE will be smart enough to EVER grab our pussies right back!

          Sarcasm, nitwit! You REALLY believe the above statement?

          1. I believe you are very seriously mentally ill.

          2. Chickenshit defenseless Gasbag Blowhard retires from the intellectual boxing ring… Because Gasbag Blowhard HAS no defenses!

            1. Like I said, very seriously mentally ill.

            2. See? You THOUGHT you could pussy-grab me and win the argument, and I TOTALLY snatched your twat right back! Pussy-grabbing does NOT work, because the other party CAN snatch your snatch right back, as I just did!

              1. You are a pussy, I’ll give you that.

        3. I didn’t care who the president pussy-grabbed when it was Clinton, and I don’t care when it is Trump or Biden. The president is not the moral leader of the nation, he’s an administrator with a big job to do; psychopathy and hubris are part of the job description.

          What I care about is actual policies. And we get two choices: Biden vs Trump. Nothing Biden wants to do makes my life better. In fact, nothing Biden wants to do makes anybody’s life better as far as I can tell.

  11. FYTW works for Trump as well as Twitter. And it works as well for the rioters in Minneapolis as the Minneapolis PD and the city officials.

    Funny that I’m right now watching a press conference where the officials are pleading with the rioters to back off and give them a chance to address the issues the rioters are rioting about, with no excuses or explanations or even seemingly any awareness that all this shit could have been said and done last week or last month or last year or 20 years ago – and yet nothing gets done until somebody lit a fire under their ass.

    Now, I’m not enough of an anarchist to believe the rioters should get off scot-free, I firmly believe every last one of them should be identified, given an 18-month paid vacation while their cases are investigated and then fired with only a few chances to appeal their convictions and only a 65% chance that they will be able to get big fat checks in reparations for being fired. Because that’s how the system works for people who break the law, right?

    How long have we been complaining about the cops and the politicians and the politically connected being beneficiaries of a two-tiered system of justice where the rules only applied to the little people? How long have we been petitioning the government for redress of grievances and where has it gotten us? Now you start tearing shit up, threatening people with bodily harm, suddenly it gets their attention. Have we all learned a valuable lesson here?

      1. Get real. The racist in chief, Obama, has been out of office for 3 years.

    1. Policing is a local issue. Cities like Minneapolis, NYC, LA, SF, Chicago, and Detroit demonstrate how things work in states and cities run by Democrats.

      As a voter, I couldn’t care less what happens in those cities; those voters made their beds and now they need to lie in them. I just don’t want it to spread to my city via the federal government.

      1. You don’t get the rules.

        If the problem occurs under Republicans, it’s the Republicans’ fault.

        If it occurs under Democrats, it is AMERICA’S fault.

  12. Reason continues to justify the TechBros attempt to control the civic space of the 21st century.

    Barr was right. Social media has essentially run a bait and switch with 230. “We’re not publishers, we’re, in effect, common carriers, so we need protection from liability for content that appears on our platform in order to encourage free expression beyond traditional media. So then when the free expression that appeared on their platforms drew consumers and sucked up all of media’s advertising lifeblood (GOOG and FB have 75%+ of all digital advertising revenue), they’re now saying, “just kidding, we’re really publishers after all and want to censor all this free expression we used to destroy our competitors with. And we’ll get these sucker libertarians to defend us because we’re ‘private’ companies) and ‘contracts and EULA.’ bullshit. And we’ll get them to argue that the 1st Amendment applies only to the government; oh, and that censorship is actually free speech.”

    The reason libertarians are circling the drain these days is because they’ve forgotten what the ‘liberty” in their name means.

    It doesn’t mean arguing that it’s just hunky dory that SJWs in Silicon Valley can shape the public mind, and that private Stasi and Ministry of Truths aren’t abominations, but “legal” and protected. Libertarian should mean standing up for human rights. And recognizing that Human rights are inborn, not granted by the Constitution or states – and that anyone trying to curtail those rights should be resisted. That includes the TechBros.

    But TDS has taken victims everywhere. Lanny would be appalled.

    1. Excellent post.

  13. Theres the concept of free speech, as it relates to the first amendment, where the government cannot regulate what you say. Then there is the broader concept of free speech where you don’t censor speech just because you don’t like what the speaker is saying. I think twitter is right here legally speaking but they still are still are authoritarian assholes that are censoring wrong think.

    Remember that the political party that is defending twitter in this instance is the same political party that will force you to bake gay cakes. I don’t think for a second that the left is actually for free speech and their argument is essentially that they have the right to censor. That just means they dont think the government should get involved in certain business decisions. But i’m extremely confused about the people arguing that the right to censor wrong think are some kind of champions of free speech. They are just censoring assholes that happen to be right at this moment because they are not doing the censoring through the government.

  14. Expecting internet platforms to to be the arbiter of truth is ridiculous.
    Scary though that attacks on section 230 are coming from both sides of the aisle.

    1. Amen!

      I can just see it right now… Lawsuits over “Government Almighty LOVES us all”… True? Or false? It all depends on which political party you belong to! I (for one) do NOT want to serve on THAT jury!!

    2. Scary though that attacks on section 230 are coming from both sides of the aisle.

      Section 230 is a crony capitalist handout that has allowed big corporations to monopolize the Internet.

      The sooner Section 230 goes, the better for free speech and a free society. It will still take years to bleed Google and Facebook dry and return to some state of normality.

    3. Twitter’s flags are NOT ‘user generated content,’ and are thus not protected by 230. And by extension, nothing on Twitter is protected. Trump is justified in attacking them, but he should sic the DoJ on them.

  15. Sometimes called “the 26 words that created the internet,” Section 230 is widely credited as the basis for much of what happens online. Without the law, the threat of being sued would squelch speech;

    Before Section 230, we had distributed systems like USENET and IRC. After Section 230, those declined and we got Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, and comment sections like this crappy one. We also got permanent searchable, public archives.

    I think Section 230 should be called “the law that allowed a few giant corporations to monopolize the Internet”.

  16. “The bad news is that the president and other politicians are constantly attacking freedom of expression. ”

    That’s some complete bullshit. The President wanting his tweets to go out uncensored, is not an attack on freedom of expression. Sure, it may be legal for twitter to discriminate, but that doesn’t people complaining about the discrimination are “Attacking freedom of expression.”

  17. Freedom of expression is at an all time high, and anyone’s ability to control it is at an all time low. Compare to 70 years ago, all we had was TV news, Magazines and Newspapers. Look at comments vs a letter to the Editor. Of course, with an immensely greater quantity of expression, you have a lot of low quality content. Look, we’ve got MSNBC, Fox, NewsMax, REASON; sometimes they are lucky and something of theirs makes it to DRUDGE or GOOGLE NEWS.

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  20. Twitter’s flags are NOT ‘user generated content,’ and are thus not protected by 230. And by extension, nothing on Twitter is protected. Trump is justified in attacking them, but he should sic the DoJ on them. https://femaledognamess.weebly.com/blog/is-unique-female-dog-names-the-most-trending-thing-now

  21. But, even if you are correct (I don’t “do”Twitter), it is their prerogative to do so. https://dogfemalenames.wordpress.com/2020/05/18/the-ultimate-revelation-of-unique-female-dog-names/

  22. Before Section 230, we had distributed systems like USENET and IRC. After Section 230, those declined and we got Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, and comment sections like this crappy one. We also got permanent searchable, public archives.

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  23. This is not a complicated issue, so let’s not pretend that there is some way for Twitter to be both a hands-off host and a curator of content at the same time. Not only can’t they be, but by moderating Trump and not the numerous other users who say things far more legally questionable, they haven’t even attempted to do what they pretend to be doing. Trump and Barr are spot on here.

  24. Well, that actually is less clear then “shall not be infringed”, and we know what ‘common sense’ looks like now. Attitude Status for Boys

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  26. If Twitter believed it’s own press they would have shut down many accounts left-wing actively promoting violence. They have not. They are a left-leaning political organization now. They are a content publisher actively editing and deleting content they don’t like.

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  28. Mark Zuckerberg did mention that Facebook does use fact-checkers and flags content it finds questionable.. electrician cedar park tx

  29. It’s called regulation by raised eyebrow. Doing something the government has no direct control over?

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