"Dance Like Nobody's Watching. Tweet Like It's Going to Be Read Aloud at Your Trial"

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Excellent advice from Bill Dyer.

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  1. Social media, like hard drugs should be made illegal.

    Its creating, or revealing, dangerous mental illnesses and objectively harming or enabling harm to society.

    1. Social media, like hard drugs should be made illegal.

      A little hard to parse that, but if you are saying that social media should be as illegal as hard drugs, I agree: both should be entirely legal for consenting adults. Neither is anybody else’s business.

      1. Wtf, now I love multi-national corporations interfering with our elections!

        1. If only there were some choice that could be made to not rely on a platform and infrastructure you do not have any control over.

          Unless you want to argue twitter is a monopoly. Do you want to do that? Because if you want to tighten up antitrust rules so that twitter falls under them, that would be fine by me.

          1. We actually agree on something…..

            And how is Twatter or Farcebook any different from Ma Bell?
            And that got broken up 40 years ago, as did Standard Oil before it.

            1. It’s pretty different – under current antitrust rules. Required infrastructure versus one application among many without even a particularly dominant market share.

              But I will not weep for twitter if we beef up our antitrust laws to include it!

              1. Not so on required infrastructure.

                Remember that SPRINT was the Southern Pacific Railroad Internal NeTwork — its infrastructure was the lines that ran along all of its tracks (and the microwave installations that were starting to replace them). SPRINT initially was the railroad selling excess capacity in its network. And MCI was often referred to as “the law firm with a microwave dish on the roof” — MCI won the SCOTUS case that required Ma Bell to permit private equipment be connected to its network if it met specs.

                And there were (and still are) a lot of private local telephone companies in rural areas.

                1. Sure – it’s not even clear AT&T would have been found in violation.
                  They settled before we could find out.

                  But their monopoly was vastly more clear than Twitter’s, whose market share is hard to define, and whose behavior is less clearly anti-competitive.

                  Do I think Twitter is too big? I do. But I think that about many, many corporations. After too big to fail there should have been some government-mediated carnage of megacorps.
                  But there has not been. And while both parties are more captured by business than I’d like, guess which one defanged the DoJ’s antitrust branch, and which one still touts itself as pro business.

                  BTW you want to cut businesses down to size, look into unionization. Giving Silicon Valley employees some say in how they are treated would probably prevent at least some of the corporate excesses we see.

                  1. No. When they are able to decide — nationally — that certain things won’t be allowed to be said in a certain type of forum and it serves to [revent even the POTUS (regardless of who he/she/it is) from saying it, that is the monopoly of a means of interstate communication.

                    1. That’s ridiculous, as expected from such nakedly outcome-oriented reasoning.
                      ‘A certain type of forum’ is way insufficiently specified. As written it could mean literally any forum at all.

                      I put up a soapbox, I guess I’m a monopoly.

                      To be less silly and outcome oriented, the key is the ubiquity and market dominance of said forum.
                      Which means standard antitrust can and should apply, albeit with a narrower definition of market than currently.

                    2. If you had national power to kick people off soapboxes, then you would have a monopoly.

                    3. Twitter does not have that power; just their own soap box.

                    4. You assume that Twitter counts as an entire forum. It does not. Twitter is a single app with plenty of competitors. The only quasi-monopoly power held by Twitter is what it gains from the Network Effect.

                      Network effects are insufficient to trigger monopolist restrictions. Just ask MySpace how permanent network effects are.

                    5. Rossami – good analysis.

                      Are you arguing network effects cannot be anticompetitive? Hard to argue there’s a healthy competitive market in social media platforms.
                      Polish and marginal changes don’t cut it – what you need to break into the space is a completely new paradigm. At which point you sell to one of the megacorps because the new paradigm is a different enough market that’s not anticompetitive.

                      To be clear, I’m in ought-land, not is-land. Market theory here, which I suspect you’re at least somewhat more equipped than I am.

                    6. Good afternoon, Sarcastr0. Yes, I am arging that network effect alone cannot be anti-competitive. Network effect is merely an expression of consumer preferences. One of the things we prefer is ease in working with others. But we consumers are fickle and can change our minds for any reason or none. We have complete power over the transaction, whether we choose to exercise it or not.

                      That’s not to say that taking on Twitter would be easy. The network effect is real. But it’s no harder than taking on Ford just because their F150 design is really popular. Being rewarded with market share by voluntary customer choices is not and cannot be anti-competitive.

                      Or maybe the QWERTY keyboard is a better example because it’s also a network effect. The QWERTY layout is not anti-competitive merely because lots of other people already know and use it or because that history of use makes change-over costs high. Anti-competitive requires affirmatively doing something harmful to the market. QWERTY is attractive to you because it is popular with others, not because it’s doing anything wrong. Even though QWERTY has near absolute market dominance, it’s not anti-competitive.

                      This remains true even if a subset of us think that Twitter is an awful product that demeans civil discourse or that the QWERTY keyboard is an archaic holdover from a time when intentionally slowing down typists was a good thing.

                    7. OK. So you’d need something like, say, twitter leveraging it’s network effect to give itself free advertising for some other product, or to prevent discussions of some competitor from showing up in posts.

                      I can see how it’d be impossible to find a regulatory difference between a network effect and consumer choice. But if all Querty keyboards were proprietary and made/licensed by a single company, they’d have a monopoly, right?

                      I never took antitrust, and I do not regret it. But to a layperson, it is counterintuitive what counts as too big.

      2. You always reply. Can’t recall you being first.
        What is being monopolized, economically?

        1. This was meant for Sarcastr0.
          Too many lines.
          Too many bourbons.
          Be well.

          1. Chick Corea was first. These folks built on that. What are yo building?
            You can find part 2 on your own.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acpyrOr2izE

        2. Hey jst.

          I’d say we need to uncouple the analysis from the digital advertising market.

          But what percentage of Americans have and use twitter? At some point that ubiquity will distort the ‘market’ for eyeballs, even if the advertising taking place is small.

    2. I more fear the control that a few companies increasingly have over communication. AND their ability to police it for political content — the media may have “beeped” a few words Nixon said (e.g. “damn” — it was a more innocent era) but they didn’t censor him.

    3. “Social media, like hard drugs should be made illegal.”

      Censorship-loving, prudish, authoritarian, white nationalist clingers are among my favorite culture war casualties.

      1. This clown right here has zero self awareness.

    4. New social media, especially Twitter is a plague on society. Every ‘feature’ from the character limit, Likes, to Retweets, to hashtags, to especially the centralized control and manipulation by Dorky et al are designed to encourage mindless group think. At least Farcebook for all its faults mostly vacuums up data and doesn’t actively make society worse to such a degree. Historians will look back the death of old social media ie the decentralized forums and chatrooms for the new centralized social media platforms as one of the worst changes of the internet. And places such as Twitter as one of the worst things to come out of this.

  2. Typical lawyer advice. Add suspicion and unnatural caution to all our activities no matter how personal or private.

    1. You do realize we are talking about Twitter. Where the inanities are being broadcast to millions who might be interested. If it’s “personal or private,” maybe you should not be putting it on Twitter.

    2. The scary thing about our increasingly digital forms of communication is that they *never* disappear. A love letter written 40 years ago exists only if the recipient kept it, an analog phone call exists only in that person’s memory.

      That’s not true of digital data — there are so *many* copies of it that you need to presume that it’s never really going to disappear. It remains on your computer even after you erase it, it remains in archival log files and then there is whatever the NSA is doing.

      Justice Kavanaugh had paper calendars from the 1980s — a future nominee will be dealing with gigabytes of archival data that probably is already being maliciously kept by partisan activists on both sides of the spectrum.

      Regardless of what one thinks of either man, both Jerry Falwell Jr. and Al Franken were undone by an intemperate photograph taken as a “joke.” (Personally, I think Franken was worse because the woman was asleep — Fallwell involved a pregnant woman unable to fasten her shorts over her baby bulge.)

      But it’s on twitter: https://twitter.com/RobDownenChron/status/1290134409757130754/photo/1

      My point: 40 years ago, that would have been an analog snapshot that might have (maybe) wound up in a photo album or pinned to someone’s bulletin board. But now the whole world has it, and will 40 years from now as well….

      1. So maybe the rules of discretion and decency should apply.

  3. A great example of this advice comes in the recent S.D.N.Y. decision Hughes v. Benjamin. One of the parties was seriously out there Tweeting and commenting loudly on their on-going case! She eventually had to pay atty’s fees for the other party.

  4. Dance like nobody’s watching.

    ‘Cause they’re not.

    They’re all staring at their phones.

  5. What about posting on the VC?

    1. Post like Leonard Leo is watching.

      1. I know I always comment like George $oros is watching. His checks put me through law school!

        1. Soros pays me to monitor this blog.

          1. I don’t think AK is joking here…

          2. Huh. I always thought you were Soros!

            1. Soros pays me for reverse-agit prop….

            2. Soros is smarter than AK.

  6. Or just don’t do social media especially Twitter. The platform is the definition of an echo chamber. Instead put down the phone and take a nice long walk.

    1. ‘I don’t even own a television’ for the new age!

      1. I gave away my television 5 years ago and don’t regret it.

  7. The Vegas motto is advertising; ‘social media’ is the real deal.
    What happens on the web, stays on the web – forever.

    1. Unless you post something on Facebook or another social media platform that they want to delete. Then it disappears pretty quickly…

      1. Does it though?

        I’m not so sure they aren’t keeping a copy for “later.”

        1. Anyone can keep a copy for later.

          1. How about copies of posts to the original (and by far the best!) VC, do they exist anywhere? It was my impression that those electrons were let go and returned to their previous state of random, purposeless agitation subject only to the relevant laws of physics.

            1. I’v turned some of them up via google searches; I believe the archive is still around.

              1. Some copies will also have been swept up by The Wayback Machine. Some will have been kept by the original authors. Others snapshotted by interested readers.

                The point is that we don’t and can’t know whether or where those copies exist even if the original source was taken down. And unlike paper copies, the cost to over-retain is negligible.

            2. Here is a link to Jan 2004. There is a link on the side to other months. That doesn’t work for me, quite possibly because I have javascript turned off. I just change the YYYY/MM as needed.

  8. I used to be on Twitter and Facebook. I quit both of them out of both privacy concerns and because they were massive time wasters. And I don’t miss them. My social media advice is to get off and stay off.

    1. Never Twitter.

      Facebook’s useful for family photos and/or events. Not politics.

      1. No!

        Farcebook data mines — and you are giving up too much of your family’s privacy. My sister’s Farcebook usage was quite helpful to some nut who was (is) stalking me….

  9. Dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, and…

  10. “Tweet Like It’s Going to Be Read Aloud at Your Trial”
    Haha in the case of Trump this will actually be true

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