Clarence Thomas Declares War on Big Tech

Like a number of other modern conservatives, Thomas seems to think that Twitter and other tech companies are effectively censoring right-of-center views.


In 2003, Reason named Clarence Thomas one of the magazine's "35 Heroes of Freedom" because the Supreme Court justice had proven himself "a reliable defender of freedom of speech in such diverse contexts as advertising, broadcasting, and campaign contributions." Alas, Thomas' recent statements in support of greater government control over "digital platforms" such as Twitter and Facebook have somewhat tarnished his First Amendment bona fides.

In April, Thomas joined his fellow justices in ridding the Supreme Court of a lingering legal dispute over the propriety of then–President Donald Trump's decision to block various critics on Twitter. With Trump out of the Oval Office, the Court said in Biden v. Knight First Amendment Institute (formerly Trump v. Knight First Amendment Institute), the case was now moot.

Thomas agreed but did not let the matter rest there. In a solo concurrence, he lamented what he called the "unprecedented…concentrated control of so much speech in the hands of a few private parties." Yes, Trump prevented "several people from interacting with his messages," Thomas wrote. But Twitter "removed him from the entire platform, thus barring all Twitter users from interacting with his messages." For Thomas, the takeaway was as troubling as it was obvious. "As Twitter made clear," he wrote, "the right to cut off speech lies most powerfully in the hands of private digital platforms."

The justice then delivered what amounted to a regulatory call to arms against those platforms. "Part of the solution" to the "problem" of "private, concentrated control over online content and platforms available to the public," Thomas wrote, may be found in "two legal doctrines" that "limit the right of a private company to exclude."

The first doctrine, he explained, involved "common carriers," such as railroads and telegraphs, which have historically been required "to serve all comers." The second involved "places of public accommodation" or amusement, such as inns, restaurants, and theaters, which have generally been forbidden from denying service to certain categories of people. "The similarities between some digital platforms and common carriers or places of accommodation," Thomas wrote, "may give legislators strong arguments for similarly regulating digital platforms."

But these arguments may not be quite as strong as Thomas thinks. For one thing, today's social media enterprises neither look nor act much like traditional common carriers. Unlike a telegraph company, for instance, Twitter and Facebook not only move information from place to place but curate it and moderate it, resulting in all sorts of varied and even personalized user experiences. What is more, the platforms let users curate and moderate their own unique experiences, leading to a vast array of online associations and communities. All of which qualifies as expressive activity, which is shielded by the First Amendment.

Thomas' public accommodation theory also has its faults. To be sure, state and federal law do prohibit most businesses from refusing service based on a customer's race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or certain other legally protected categories. But it is not illegal (yet) to deny service based on a customer's comments about politics, which is what Thomas is ultimately objecting to here.

Like a number of other modern conservatives, Thomas seems to think that Twitter and other tech companies are effectively censoring right-of-center views. But Twitter is a private entity with First Amendment protections of its own and is thus under no obligation to share its soapbox. Thomas' approach, by contrast, would trespass the Constitution by forcing the company to play host to speech that it does not want to be associated with.

Thomas' arguments came about in a mooted case in which he wrote only for himself. Still, it would be a mistake to dismiss them as a fringe legal stance. The justice has a record of staking out lonely positions that later become entrenched in law. His critics underestimate him at their peril.

Take campaign finance. In McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003), Thomas wrote alone to fault his colleagues in the majority for largely approving the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which, among other things, banned corporate- and union-funded "electioneering communications" that mentioned a candidate by the name in the run-up to an election. Seven years later, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the Court cited Thomas' McConnell opinion while striking down the same "electioneering communications" ban. He knows a thing or two about playing the legal long game.

Thomas also wields considerable influence in the broader conservative world, where interested parties are no doubt paying close attention to the present case. In other words, get ready for a host of new laws and lawsuits that cite Thomas' words in support of greater regulatory crackdowns on tech companies.

And do not be surprised when federal judges start citing him too. As Jeff Kosseff, author of The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet (Cornell University Press), remarked on Twitter, "I do think that Thomas's statement increases the chances that at least two judges on a randomly chosen circuit court panel will rule in favor of must-carry rules for social media platforms." The legal conflict over government control of social media is just starting to heat up.

Thomas is surely correct about one thing. "We will soon have no choice," he wrote, "but to address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated, privately owned information infrastructure such as digital platforms." One way or another, Big Tech will eventually collide with government regulators at the Supreme Court.

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  1. On the other hand, to be sure:
    While the Supreme Court has referenced the “vast democratic forums of the Internet,” Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844, 868 (1997), has described the internet (including social media platforms such as Twitter) as one of “the most important places (in a spatial sense) for the exchange of views,” Packingham v. North Carolina, 137 S. Ct. 1730, 1735 (2017), and has analogized the internet to the “essential venues for public gatherings” of Case 1:17-cv-05205-NRB Document 72 Filed 05/23/18 Page 60 of 75 61 streets and parks, id., the lack of historical practice is dispositive, see Forbes, 523 U.S. at 678. Accordingly, we consider whether the interactive space is a designated public forum, with “governmental intent” serving as “the touchstone for determining whether a public forum has been created.” Gen. Media Commc’ns, Inc. v. Cohen, 131 F.3d 273, 279 (2d Cir. 1997). “Intent is not merely a matter of stated purpose. Indeed, it must be inferred from a number of objective factors, including: [the government’s] policy and past practice, as well as the nature of the property and its compatibility with expressive activity.” Paulsen v. County of Nassau, 925 F.2d 65, 69 (2d Cir. 1991) (citing Cornelius, 473 U.S. at 802-03). Here, these factors strongly support the conclusion that the interactive space is a designated public forum.

    1. Good post.

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        1. Justice Thomas suffered and survived high tech lynching almost 30 years ago. This man deserves his revenge.

    2. So - you cite a bunch of technology morons talking about parks and spaces and gathering places - which is BS marketing palaver of tech companies that gets adopted by judges who don't know how to use email - and that is the basis for pretending that the Internet is public parks and public land?

      Fucking conservatives. Total idiots

      1. Its sad you can't comprehend those words. But I'll simplify it for your dumb ass. These social media companies are common carriers because they use the same publicly funded transmission lines, infrastructure, land, right of ways, easements, and cables as telecommunications and utility companies.

        By that simple standard they are common carriers and should be subject to the same laws.

        Otherwise Facebook should just build its own fiber optic or cable lines the same way conservatives should make their own Facebook.

        1. These social media companies are common carriers because they use the same publicly funded transmission lines, infrastructure, land, right of ways, easements, and cables as telecommunications and utility companies.

          Because the data that makes up a social media platform is transmitted through fiber optic cables owned by companies that would qualify as common carriers, that makes them common carriers? Am I parsing your words correctly?

          1. And cars are roads!

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        2. See the article linked to way below re protocols (eg email) v platforms (eg Gmail).

          There is no point accepting 'conservative' framing of any of this because they are attempting to impose political/ideological glasses on the way technology issues are viewed. They do not know what they are talking about and this is the path to Lysenkoism (or for that matter the 'just the flu' shit that has proven that conservatives are simply incapable of seeing anything - anything at all - except through ideological blinders).

          1. I don't care about any of that. It's a non sequiter to my point that Facebook, Twitter, etc rely on publicly funded infrastructure and land the same way utilities and telecom companies do. That's what gives them common carrier status, and it's irrelevant to your link.

            1. Since Kinko's relies on publicly funded roads to have its supplies delivered, does that mean that it would have to print flyers for a Neo-nazi rally even if they didn't want to?

              Social media companies "rely on publicly funded infrastructure" only indirectly, like just about every other business.

            2. That retarded logic can be used to take away your guns if you bring them onto a publicly funded road. Is that what you want?

              1. Not what I want, but no different than what numerous leftist cities do regarding handguns.

              2. No need to refute the argument by trying to guess how it might negatively impact his preferences. The argument is retarded on its face.

            3. None of this should be.

              In the early 80s iirc, the left claimed malls, though private, were akin to modern public squares and streets, and hence they should be able to protest outside stores, and not be ejected.

              Now the sides have flipped.

              An asteroid can't destroy this planet soon enough.

      2. pretending that the Internet is public parks and public land

        Not necessarily individual platforms, but the internet? Yes. It totally is.

        Are you actually this dumb, or merely being dishonest again?

        1. Not necessarily individual platforms, but the internet? Yes. It totally is.

          The Internet has long since grown beyond the infrastructure set up to facilitate communication between government research facilities. (The ARPANET) The infrastructure of the internet has got to be almost entirely privately owned by now, with the U.S. government not even having any direct control over governing the protocols that allow it to function. ICANN and ITEF are the NGOs that do that work.

          1. And if the government wants to reclaim that as public land and infrastructure, then it needs to invest in keeping those protocols protocols. That doesn't mean controlling the protocols. It means ensuring that public transparent protocols don't deteriorate into proprietary standards (platforms) merely because of a vacuum in say W3C or because technology changes and creates the need for new standards.

            Protocols are the reason you can easily switch email providers from say Google/Yahoo to anybody - without losing the ability to use 'email' (not owned by Google but reasonably considered communications infrastructure now that is absolutely the modern equivalent of 'post office').

            1. You are saying here that email is infrastructure like the post office - but Facebook and Twitter are not?

              Is that what you're saying?

              1. Email IS like the 21st century post office. There is no restriction or proprietariness in sending email back forth between Google and Yahoo. That's because both of those are built on a standard email protocol. Or I assume it's standard - maybe there is some proprietary part of it for the intraGoogle email.

                That does NOT mean email is a govt monopoly. It is a standard - a protocol. I don't expect 'libertarian' R's to remotely understand this. They are all corrupt to their bones.

                1. Oh fuck off, you progtarded twat. There’s nothing to understand. You babble inconsistently and incoherently.

                  On the plus side, you’re at least less idiotic than SQRLSY. So don’t say i never said anything nice to you.

            2. Why would it be in there best interest without government involvement to go propriety? Strange to think that you'd believe gmail would devolve to only working with gmail.

    3. A disturbing trend has persisted as states report data on illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID-19; Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color {BIPOC} more detail ............MORE DETAIL.

  2. The staff is really going to the mattresses defending Big Tech's right to control speech despite its proven poor record of censoring facts in favor of Big Government (i.e. the Democrat controlled bureaucracy) narratives.

    1. To keep things in proper perspective, there is not one person on earth who needs to communicate their thoughts in little 280-character messages. Nobody, absolutely nobody, needs to tweet. Twitter is completely unnecessary fluff that the human race has done fine without for most of its history.

      1. And yet the owner declared it to be a 'basic human right.'

        1. Are you talking about Jack Dorsey? If he said that, he was engaging in hype.

          1. He said it yesterday dummy. In a thread you were in it was posted.

            1. The only person better at playing dumb than Jeff, is Dee.

              1. Anyone who still doubts White Mike is here for any other reason than to shill the Party's narrative, is not paying attention.

                Hey, since Stroozle turned out to be Sullum, do you guys think White Mike might be Boehm or something, instead of Dee? Same low-information, bien-pensant rhetoric from both.

                1. I definitely didn’t see Jacob being Strudel coming, so I’m not ruling anything out now.

                  1. Wait, is that a real thing? I don't get to hang out here much anymore.

                    1. Yeah, just saw your link to that in the CA AWB article.

                      Holy shit, I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone pwn themselves that hard.

      2. Same for autos, air conditioning, cel phones, cat scans, and modern dentistry.

        1. At least some fools claim all of these as human rights.

      3. No person on earth needs diamonds but we don't turn a blind eye to mines in Africa using child labor, sometimes by force, to mone for them and leave it to the marketplace to decide on those actions.

        Youre defending terrible behavior because you agree with the results. You aren't a libertarian. Liberty doesn't stop at government, but at any large nexus of power.

        Youre allowed to criticize censorship without calling for forced applications of speech.

        In this case youre free to remove legal liability protections for those who don't share basic values.

        But again, you're not a libertarian.

      4. Although I agree with that assessment BUT the bacon bits of reality that are sprinkled on top of that word salad (nonpejorative use of word salad here to keep the metaphor more consistent) make such a cavalier dismissal of concerns over Twitters bad faith operation more complicated.
        The reality is that the news media feeds off twitter like birds on a rhinos back. They use it to (at different stages) craft, substantiate, propagate their one sided narratives. So, while Twitter of itself is not necessary... it is becoming increasingly important to address its pernicious operation, use (by the media and govt), and ultimately its effect on (mis?)informing the public.
        Twitter is not necessary for average people but it is essential to the current narrative fixing that the media engages in.

        1. That’s a good point. The question then, for libertarians, is how to deal with that problem without bringing in government control, which would create much bigger problems.

          1. Poland found an interesting way to handle it. They made it illegal for social media companies to censor anything the government can't censor. So as long as it's legal to say it, it can be posted.

            1. I'm not sure that will pass first amendment muster.

              Why don't we just get rid of section 230? It conferred a benefit on the tech companies, supposedly in return for open discourse on the internet for the public. But we aren't getting our money's worth in the bargain, so let's rescind it.

              Or possibly reform section 230 with a safe harbor, so it's only available to companies that don't censor opposing political views and 'misinformation'. If a company shows it has the capacity to censor things it finds objectionable, then it doesn't need section 230.

              1. The Good Samaritan clause part of it anyway should definitely get the old heave-ho.

                The Democrats and Big Tech took the "otherwise objectionable" bit from "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable" and expanded it to everything.
                Suddenly Biden's emails, virologists discussion of Covid and election concerns were all of a sudden "otherwise objectionable".

                1. Wasn't that the result of the courts, in their usual fashion, looking for ways to stay out of an argument?
                  Mostly because the courts lean, heavily in the direction that the censorship is promoting.
                  The "in good faith" standard, that would apply to "otherwise objectionable" is something that a court could, easily rule upon, yet their consistent position is to avoid making any rulings, citing 230.
                  I wonder what would happen if FaceCrack, suddenly decided that statements like "you can choose your own gender" were objectionable, and in need of being censored.

          2. The Government created a special protection for Internet Search Providers. Section 230 declared that ISPs would not be responsible for the content flowing through their "pipes". Facebook, twitter and others are hiding behind section 230, pretending they are "pipelines". They shape content, they are publishers.

      5. Sure. But where are you drawing the line?

        Nobody *needs* to be able to email either. Or use a phone. Or have a blog. All those communication channels are a luxury - you have handwritten pamphlets and the USPS!

        1. Or hold a bank account or sell pillows.

        2. Unless it's a gay wedding blog or email invites. Those are sacred, bigot.

        3. Wait, are you trying to say you have some kind of a right to email, or a phone, or a blog?

      6. Sure not Twitter, but try to get a job without an email account.

        1. My argument about Twitter not being important only applies to Twitter specifically.

    2. Just like they're desperately trying to defend big government hero Fauci, trying to claim there's not enough hard evidence to say that he's a liar.

      Are there still people in denial that the Reason staff is a bunch of fugazi libertarian left liberals?

      1. It going to be funny watching, over the next couple months as the Biden administration is looking to ditch Fauci as he's become toxic with the Wuhan emails, as they change their stance on these issues.

    3. The entire basis of American Libertarianism is property rights, so yeah, I'd expect them to defend the right of twitter or facebook to run their business as they see fit as long as they do not infringe on the inherent rights of others. A tweet or facebook post is not an inherent right.

      Nobody likes you, no one wants to hear you, and that is your problem. If you think you have a right to the labor and resources of twitter, then you do not understand the fundamental basis of libertarianism.

        1. Stolen Valor is about as libertarian as Pol Pot.

          He constantly glosses over the fact that Big Tech censorship only ever benefits elected Democratic Party officials, and never the companies themselves, nor their shareholders.
          In fact the censorship has actually hurt the companies.

          Why the hell should a platform or their advertisers care if people are talking about Covid's origins, Hunter's laptop, or election integrity?
          They don't. Only the Democratic Party does. This is censorship that solely benefits elected officials. Nobody else.

          They're raping the first amendment, and DOL's lying about it because he's a paid shill.

      1. Yet you're a person who would defend the government making a bakery make a cake for a gay wedding.

        1. What happened to property rights there?

          1. Reason, at least, has a consistent stance on this issue.

          2. Where you invented a position for me?

        2. No, I wouldn't. I don't believe protected classes are good law, in general.

    4. Poor record? They actively shut down various people. Groups and topics that are unfavorable to the prog narrative. Notice how references to Hunter Biden’s laptop were regularly scrubbed from Facebook and Twitter prior to the election.

  3. Thomas only thinks big tech is censoring conservatives, because big tech says the censor conservative views

    1. "...because big tech says the censor conservative views"?

      Well, only because illiterates say the thought-controller incoherent news!

      1. Sqrlsy's big on censorship.

        1. It’s a shame he isn’t big on suicide.

  4. Wait I know; How about a "Peoples" law that forbids government from prohibiting/abridging the free freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievance??

    Oh wait; that's practically already been done... Now how to enforce that law and prosecute the Democratic Congressmen who willfully used their position of authority to break that EXACT law of the "People" by 'abridging' their freedom of speech including the very sitting US President.............................................................................................?

    The crime has already been committed; why does congressmen keep thinking 'more regulation' is going to fix an un-prosecuted crime? Oh yeah; I remember.. Because their law only applies to the "People" but the "People's" law over them apparently is a joke.

    1. Fundamental laws applied equally to everyone, and imposing limits on government power, are so 18th century. And probably racist, or something.

      1. Not probably, definitely racist according to the left

  5. Lying, threatening violence and generally being a psycho fascist will get you thrown out of most places.

    1. "Lying?" --- Lefty-Projection 100%
      600,000 votes 94% for Biden in a swing state that took almost a week to count while mail-in ballots got trucked in deserves skepticism and investigation...

      Is a lie??? Do tell; what else is a lie? The fact that CO2 emissions still hasn't destroyed the earth yet and plants actually *need* CO2? Or how about the fact that *printed* money doesn't create resources? Or how about the fact that the USA isn't based on Nazism (def; National Socialism)?

      Or best yet; burning books, censoring the president, censoring election fraud, dictating education isn't fascist?

      Here's an ounce of truth --
      Lefty-Indoctrination = How to project and how to pretend truth is a lie.

    2. You already embarrassed yourself enough with your power-leveling yesterday--don't compound it further with this Media Matters-tier silliness.

    3. "Lying, threatening violence and generally being a psycho fascist will get you thrown out of most places."

      Yes, this has just about always been true! Even in a TRUE public forum like politician meets public at town hall! Or even mere going ON too-too terribly LOOOOONG will get you shut down!

      And how often, really, has an internet forum moderator kicked a conservative off for conservative politely stating WHY he or she would like lower taxes, less abortions, or more private schools? V/S, as you say, being a psycho fascist, etc.?

      1. Why don't you start thinking American and USA instead of Nazism and find out!!! I'm here at reason because EVERY other Nazi 'comments' I've been blocked from for simply quoting the U.S. Constitution.

        You can play ignorant all you want -- Your ignorance doesn't constitute truth.

        1. Speaking of ignorance...

          Model TJJ2000 Dictatorbot believes that the USA already is (and should be) a 1-party dicktatorshit! That the USA HAS BEEN a 1-party dicktatorshit for some 200 years!!! There is NO point in trying to persuade the Model TJJ2000 Dicktatorbot of ANYTHING! Almost ALL of the circuits of the Model TJJ2000 Dicktatorbot have gone kaput, big-time!

          Model TJJ2000 Dicktatorbot is lusting after an UPGRADE to its rusting old body! Wants to be upgraded to Model TJJ20666 Dicktatorbot, and run for POTUS in 2024, with Alex Jones as the VEEP of Model TJJ20666 Dicktatorbot!!! Be ye WARNED!!! Model TJJ20666 Dicktatorbot will be well-nigh INDESTRUCTIBLE! (Unreachable by ANY logic or considerations for the freedoms of others, MOST certainly!)

          PLEASE do NOT enable the lusting of the rusting TJJ20000 Dictatorbot!!!

          1. 2 x Spaz Flag!

    4. But what if the professor has tenure?

      1. Tenure is a sweet gig if you can get it.

    5. Nobody cares what you think sad sack leftie shit.

    6. Stfu Jacob.

    7. Lying, threatening violence and generally being a psycho fascist will get you thrown out of most places.

      Really? But isn't that how you got your Reason gig?
      I mean those 200 pieces you wrote after November alone, prove that's not true.

    8. They don't quite get that. When you are terrible assholes, people will want to be rid of you. This is the current situation.

      This is not a persecution; maga idiots are not victims of a vast conspiracy. They are simply unlikable morons who broader society has no interest in engaging. And because the people who are successful and have built things using education, knowledge, and creativity (things maga idiots disdain) are not maga idiots, they choose to keep some of the particularly traitorous maga idiots off of their private property.

      Maga idiot, meet property rights. Now get the fuck off my lawn.

      1. The MAGA crowd understand property rights when it is the McCloskey’s front yard. Or a used car lot in Kenosha.

        That is, when the property rights are for someone on their team. It’s all about team, not principle.

      2. When you are terrible assholes political dissidents, people the Democrats will want to be rid of you.

        Fixed that for you, fascist.

      3. This is not true. There are plenty of terrible assholes that are still on Twitter and social media. All they have to do is be lefties.

        I'm not saying that I give a fuck about who is kicked off Twitter and Facebook. Those companies are free to do whatever they want. But your reasoning is not correct, and quite frankly, it's a stupid point.

        1. DOL knows it's a lie. Social media doesn't censor for "Lying, threatening violence and generally being a psycho fascist", they censor for telling uncomfortable truths that go against the progressive narrative, almost exclusively. DOL knows this but lies about it. The various legal remedies proposed may not be practical or desirable, but it is appropriate to call the various social media giants out for their lying and heavy handed, inconsistent and blatantly political censorship,

    9. You know this from personal experience don’t you?

    10. And yet the head's of states like China and North Korea are still on there.

    11. Then why aren’t democrats banned from everything? The behavior of which you speak is 99% democrat in origin. You people almost exclusively lie and censor as you have no facts or valid premise for much of anything.

    12. Tell that to the worthless kvnts hounding Ellie Kemper.

  6. "But Twitter is a private entity with First Amendment protections of its own and is thus under no obligation to share its soapbox."

    I agree in spirit but are they really though? They haven't been just a teeny bit nationalized via tax dollars- stimulus or worked with the CIA/FBI?

    1. "but are they really though?" -- THIS... Exactly where the ignorance lies that makes discussions on this subject so complicated.

      As soon as (still waiting) the news reliably reports the 'real' story that congressmen and bureaucracies have had their Nazi fingers in social media as reported in the few non-opinion news as well as direct names and statements - the discussion can be straight and honest.

    2. By that logic there isn't a single private enterprise in all of the United States. It's frightening how fast the right has shifted to full throated communism. There's no other way to describe it. If the state has final control over all action and there is no private sector how is that not communism?

      1. Why are you ignoring the public corporate influence? Is your claim there isn't s revolving door between silicon valley and the DNC? They don't work with america abd other countries to censor and parse narratives (China especially).

        Ignoring these facts just points to an acceptance of actual fascist type government overtures. Youre fine with government influencing a corporation to do things the government can not do on their own due to various constitutions.

        Federal government gives put a billion dollar contract and adds a little clause the company has to push diversity. The company adopts CRT style messaging to meet this influential contract clause. Is this a violation of 1a or not? The government isn't being explicit but using its massive wallet and power to modify national speech.

        Surely you have thought past 1a implications further than you have on this previous post.

        1. So citizens united levels of corporate influence is A-ok, but twitter exercising a ban on Trump is a 1A crisis.

          Just another day in la la land.

          1. So you're saying censorship is A-ok but censorship is A-ok?

          2. Did you just say that government influencing a company with tax payer dollars was the same as a corporation utilizing their free speech?

            You contradicted yourself above dummy.

            1. Huh? You are the one claiming a corporation exercising its free speech is criminal, but pumping money into politicans' coffers is cool. I do not maintain that money is speech, and I never have. Any contradiction is within your failure to comprehend.

              1. Anybody who thinks the government prohibiting publication of a documentary film within X number of days of an election is analogous to a major publishing platform shutting down the publishing or distribution of content within X days of an election should tread lightly about criticizing anyone else's comprehension, cytotoxic.

          3. You’re comparing a privately financed film about a political candidate to an international platform used by over a billion people?

      2. Greenwald has a bunch of tweets today regarding The Atlantic council and Silicon Valley censorship and how such things are funded by our government as well as other foreign governments

      3. Well, its *fascism*. The difference is communism *owns* everything. Fascism keeps ownership private but the government controls it.

    3. Let’s assume that is true. What argument follows from that? Is it a reason for the government to interfere even more with Twitter?

      1. I dont know why in every thread you have to be told this. End 230. Allow people like Meagan Murphy to sue over contracts. Force the companies into honest representation of their rules. Etc.

        But again, you enjoy the outcome currently because it shuts down speech you disagree with.

        1. "End 230", Commands Der JesseBahnFuhrer!


          The day after tomorrow, you get a jury summons. You will be asked to rule in the following case: A poster posted the following to social media: “Government Almighty LOVES US ALL, FAR more than we can EVER know!”

          This attracted protests from liberals, who thought that they may have detected hints of sarcasm, which was hurtful, and invalidated the personhoods of a few Sensitive Souls. It ALSO attracted protests from conservatives, who were miffed that this was a PARTIAL truth only (thereby being at least partially a lie), with the REAL, full TRUTH AND ONLY THE TRUTH being, “Government Almighty of Der TrumpfenFuhrer ONLY, LOVES US ALL, FAR more than we can EVER know! Thou shalt have NO Government Almighty without Der TrumpfenFuhrer, for Our TrumpfenFuhrer is a jealous Government Almighty!”

          Ministry of Truth, and Ministry of Hurt Baby Feelings, officials were consulted. Now there are charges!


          “Government Almighty LOVES US ALL”, true or false?

          “Government Almighty LOVES US ALL”, hurtful sarcasm or not?

          Will you be utterly delighted to serve on this jury? Keep in mind that OJ Simpson got an 11-month criminal trial! And a 4-month civil trial!

          1. Man,thick and fast

          2. LOL, JesseAz is a GNAT. I coined it, and I’m going to make up what the letters mean as I type this in my phone: Generally Non-contributing Adversarial Troll.

          3. A GNAT is someone who lurks around posting nasty little reply comments to someone who has muted them long ago.

            1. The White Mike
              October.22.2020 at 3:18 pm

              It means conservative and conservative-leaning libertarian, and I coined it.
              Is there a law in Canada that ordinary people aren’t allowed to coin acronyms. Here in the godamn USA we have freedom of speech.

              Now that we found out Stroozle's Sullum, which one are you? Boehm, ENB, Shikha's ghost?

            2. A GNAT is someone who lurks around posting nasty little reply comments to someone who has muted them long ago.

              You mean like when you replied to literally every person in this thread who you claimed to have muted weeks ago, sarcasmic?

          4. It does clearly show, though, that JesseAz and others aren’t here to have conversations. They are here to be a little mean girls club.

            1. Lol. Boy you look stupid. It wasn't a nasty reply. You just revel in so much ignorance that you take pride in it.

              3 posts to glorify your chosen stance of ignorance? Hilarious white Mike.

            2. And you're here to fifty-cent and troll, asshole. Why don't you examine yourself before whining about Jesse?

            3. Given the level of vitriol showcased by all of our resident leftists. We’re cruelly quite restrained and polite. At least in context.

            4. Here we see sarcasmic yet again accidentally out one of his sockpuppets by slipping into the same rhetorical tics he can't help himself from using all the time.

        2. You would still be able to do that with sec 230 in place... If the Gov wasn't covering for the progressive scumbags in big tech

          1. But they can't. Multiple lawsuits over ToS clauses have been struck down without actual jurisprudence under the guise of 230. 230 was never intended to cover violations of contract, yet that is now what we are dealing with.

            1. That's why I added if the Gov wasn't covering for them

      2. IMO, they are not acting in good faith by banning, censoring or "fact checking" in an attempt to actively influence an election.

        I would liken it to tax dollars to NPR or Planned Parenthood. NPR unabashedly socialist and Planned Parenthood funneling tax money back to the campaign coffers.

        1. We know that NPR gets government funding, and how much. We haven’t established that for Twitter, yet we are already going off on building arguments on a hypothetical as if it has been established.

          1. Wow. Mike doesn't think it has been established silicon valley gets federal dollars.

            1. Ignorance is her schtick.

            2. Shorter Jesse:

              "You didn't build that."

              1. Piss off Stolen Valor, you cheap troll.

                1. Lol. Ask him who makes the JSF. He still thinks he didnt say stupid shit there.

                  1. So pathetic. You notice how none of your little loser crew picks up on the jsf thing with you? It's because you look dumb as shit in it. I'll link the original again, along with the $4 billion (I can't recall how many billions exactly) Raytheon contract.

                    Or would you like to revisit the thread where i get vetted (twice) and you have a meltdown instead of apologizing for slandering a veteran for a couple years?

                    Or shall we revisit you talking up the kraken?

                    C'mon. I got all the hits.

                    1. That’s all questionable. Plus you’re frequently deceptive and extremely progressive. Pretty much a democrat shill.

                    2. Or would you like to revisit the thread where i get vetted (twice) and you have a meltdown instead of apologizing for slandering a veteran for a couple years?

                      Lol, you mean when your other sock Talcum X who claimed to have been a clandestine operator in Iraq when he would have been in his mid to late 40s based on other comments he made vouched for you that one time? Yeah by all means let's bring that up.

                      Your promised links are all missing by the way. Since they make you look so fucking good, I wonder why that is?

              2. You say really stupid things. Lol. I get it. You froth in ignorant rage because of how many times I point out the stupid things you say.

                Getting a billion dollar AWS contract is not the same as Obama claiming a moving company didn't build their business because of roads you ignorant fuck.

                1. Lol. Who's frothing? I'd guess the guy who is failing to make a rebuttal and name calling instead.

                  1. Not all of exercise your genteel restraint while calling for Apache attack helicopters to gun down our political enemies in the streets to prevent them from peaceably assembling.

            3. H02 is not wet.

    4. The distinction between private and public entities is a red herring. Realistically, they act in tandem. If government wants to do things that are prohibited to government, they have friends in the private sector who will be more than happy to handle it for them. And likewise, when private industry needs something that's generally prohibited to the private sector, they have friends in government to handle it for them. The distinction between them is solely administrative.

      The reality is, the country is run by an elite who have a variety of sticks, both public and private, to beat us with. Focusing on whether a particular stick is a public or private one is missing the point. It's another one of those libertarian subterfuges that's designed to keep you chasing your tail instead of confronting the villains.

      1. Well said.

  7. I too think Twitter et al own their platforms and can do whatever they want. But this quote is beyond disingenuous:

    But these arguments may not be quite as strong as Thomas thinks. For one thing, today's social media enterprises neither look nor act much like traditional common carriers. Unlike a telegraph company, for instance, Twitter and Facebook not only move information from place to place but curate it and moderate it, resulting in all sorts of varied and even personalized user experiences.

    No shit Sherlock! That difference, the moderating, is exactly what common carriers and public accommodations are forbidden from doing. You are bitching out of both sides of your mouth on this; either common carrier and public accommodation violate freedom of association, and should be discarded, or they trump freedom of association and should be extended to social media who have reached some critical threshold, as Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and all the others surely have.

    You either believe in private property and freedom of association for all, or you believe in government forcing common carrier and public accommodation status willy-nilly. Do bakers choose who they bake for, do florists choose who they sell to, do photographers choose their customers -- or does the government?

    1. Your next quote is just as blindly partisan:

      What is more, the platforms let users curate and moderate their own unique experiences, leading to a vast array of online associations and communities. All of which qualifies as expressive activity, which is shielded by the First Amendment.

      How is this any different from people choosing who they call on the phone, what books they buy and what web sites they visit, or where they travel and what hotels they stay in?

      Principles are simple things; that's what makes them principles. You berate Thomas for betraying private property, except you don't mind that same betrayal when it's already in place for phone companies and hotels. Just don't extend it to new private property, eh? And twist the principle even more when it involves bakers, florists, photographers, and other small fry.

      1. But Twitter is a private entity with First Amendment protections of its own and is thus under no obligation to share its soapbox.

        Tell me, Mr Clever Man, how this differs for mobile phone companies and hotels. More competition with them than Twitter or Facebook or AWS, yet they get the common carrier and public accommodation shackles, and Twitter and Facebook and AWS get to laugh in their faces.

      2. OK then, after all that, what is your "fix"?

        Summary of the conundrum: Government Almighty forces gay-wedding cake-baking, but doesn't force "proper" moderation of so-called "public forums" on the internet.

        (Leaving aside the impossibility of "properly" moderating so that ALL PARTIES are perfectly pleased!)

        Do you advocate (as I do) fixing it by getting RID of cake-baking laws and similar?

        Or do you advocate taking the cake-baking "fix" and porting it right on over to doing the same kinds of things when owners moderate their own web sites?

        By the way, if a Reason writer has ever come down on the side of Government Almighty forcing gay-cake-baking, I'd not sure if I recall such a thing. Please provide a link if you have one.

        1. Real simple: restore freedom of association. Dump affirmative action for the government-mandated bigotry it is.

        2. My primary rant in these comments was about the hypocrisy of wanting to preserve common carrier for mobile phone companies while denying it to Facebook and Twitter and Amazon and Google, when the mobile phone companies are far more competitive with each other than those four Big Tech companies. And throwing hotels into the mix as public accommodations is ludicrous; you'd have to look at mighty small towns to find any without hotel and motel competition.

          1. OK, cool, agreed, kudos all around... I had THOUGHT I recalled you as being a "real libertarian", and am glad to see that it continues to be true...

            Minimize Government Almighty, dammit!

    2. Twitter is this totally fully, weird, unnecessary to the human race social media site where people post 280-character messages.

      They don’t even have a “wall” to protect that idea. It would be fairly easy to launch a similar site. Nor do they have hat big a share of the public using their site on a regular basis.

      In light of that context, what credible argument can be made that they need to be designated as a common carrier.

      1. "Twitter is this totally fully, weird, unnecessary to the human race"

        So are you

        1. Twitter is only as based as Mike is.

          1. Biased, you mean.

            1. Yeah. Autocorrect got me.

      2. > It would be fairly easy to launch a similar site.

        Just ask the folks at Parler!

      3. You mean like Parler, you disengenuous shithead? The oligarchs got together and crushed it at The Party's behest.


    3. The principles you are espousing are logical and consistent. Therefore they don’t belong in a discussion about freedom of speech and association regarding the internet! /sarc

  8. But these arguments may not be quite as strong as Thomas thinks. For one thing, today's social media enterprises neither look nor act much like traditional common carriers. Unlike a telegraph company, for instance, Twitter and Facebook not only move information from place to place but curate it and moderate it

    So you are saying they aren't just neutral platforms? Then it certainly sounds like Section 230 protections shouldn't apply.

    To be sure, state and federal law do prohibit most businesses from refusing service based on a customer's race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or certain other legally protected categories. But it is not illegal (yet) to deny service based on a customer's comments about politics, which is what Thomas is ultimately objecting to here.

    The list of ever expanding protected categories is totally arbitrary. If religion is included, why not politics?

    1. "So you are saying they aren’t just neutral platforms? Then it certainly sounds like Section 230 protections shouldn’t apply."

      Strictly your arbitrary opinion. Section 230 says nothing along the lines of "thou shalt be neutral".

      It is YOUR web site, NOT that of Government Almighty! Section 230 allows YOU to moderate YOUR web site as you see fit! You may take down posts because of the religion, politics, hair color, species, skin color, body odor, or ANYTHING else that you care about! It is YOUR web site!

      "The list of ever expanding protected categories is totally arbitrary. If religion is included, why not politics?"

      With respect to employment matters etc., I agree with you. On Section 230 though? Ha! For ONE blessed instance, Government Almighty LIMITED its own powers, with a SIMPLE law! Let's KEEP it that way! For ONE reason why, "perfect moderation" (all things to all people) is NOT possible!

    2. So you are saying they aren’t just neutral platforms? Then it certainly sounds like Section 230 protections shouldn’t apply.
      There's no requirement in Section 230 that platforms be neutral. In fact, there are no requirements at all. Section 230 is not a liability shield, it's a liability assignment. It says that the liability for speech rests with the user that submitted it, not the platform that hosts it. It doesn't require that hosts display "balanced" content or put any requirements on them at all. If you want to ban everyone on your web forum whose username begins with a "J" you are free to do so. Likewise if you want to ban all the "lefty" opinions you want and create your pure right wing paradise, more power to you. It's your platform, your forum, you own it, it's yours. You can do what you want, or not do what you don't want to do. You can amplify the voices you like or silence the ones you don't at your whim. That is what freedom is.

      1. Good job n00bdragon! Kudos!

      2. If you are curating and managing the speech that appears your adopted liability, especially if, as an example, your moderation allows for defamatory speech but disallows for someone to defend themselves of that defamation.

        Youre advocating for a rule that allows a company to make actionable decisions that effect other areas of law and be free from consequence.

        And how do you even fathom to apply his something to something like an AWS server where the server itself does no speech whatsoever bit acts as a phone switch station.

        1. "And how do you even fathom to apply his something to something like an AWS server where the server itself does no speech whatsoever bit acts as a phone switch station."

          JesseBahnFuhrer climbs too bee a Eminent Legal Scholarshit and Philosophers Stoned, bit, JesseBahnFuhrer's lick off a complicit High School Degreed, note even note having a something to something like a complied picnic lunch, acts as a void of decipherable contentedness!

          1. I can see an argument for AWS being subject to some kind of common carrier law, but someone starts arguing that friggin’ Twitter needs to be a common carrier, that’s just absurd. Twitter is a somewhat annoying social media site that could completely disappear tomorrow with no deleterious effect on humanity.

            1. You seem oddly concerned with only one company. Is it because your arguments are so simplistic they fall apart if you expand past that?

            2. You know you've won the argument when the responses are about you, not what you said.

              1. Lol. Whatever you need to justify your non arguments. If you didnt notice he went after me first. Are you even capable of honest discussion at this point?

                1. He’s not. We all know this. Just like we know that he’s a broken down drunk.

              2. Did you get that from a fortune cookie or your mom?

              3. Rather ironic coming from a guy who literally responds to every single post in every single thread of people he has loudly and repeatedly claimed to have blocked/muted with whinging bullshit about how persecuted he is.

              4. So you and SQRLSY and Jeff lose all your arguments? Because none of you can help but make your arguments about posters and not what they post.

                Come on sarc!

      3. Also, of you truly believe as you do, why have section 230 in the first place? Let the courts handle the matter free of government protections for favored entities.

      4. It's not a requirement, but it was certainly the INTENT behind giving them those section 230 protections. Congress wanted to foster an environment of free speech, but the exact opposite is happening.

        1. But then someone must have realized they needed to respect the site owner’s first amendment rights, because the actual wording of Section 230 makes sure not to compel the sites to carry speech they do not want to carry.

          1. Ending 230 doesn't compel anybody to speak dumbass. It would open up liabilities so they could be sued like every industry can be over their actions.

      5. Freedom is cronyist government intervention?

      6. I think this would be true if social media, and the internet as a whole, wasn't delivered using the same publicly funded transmission lines, cables, land, right of ways, easements, and infrastructure as every other utility and telecom company that are common carriers for that very reason.

        If Facebook wants to ban every one they choose, then they should have to build their own transmission cables or satellites and get off publicly funded cable and fiber optic networks.

        1. This is literally the Obama "you didn't build that" argument. Because Facebook uses a publicly owned Internet, therefore they should be subject to every whim of the state?

          Do you drive on public roads? Does that mean you should have every right of yours subjected to the whim of the state?

          1. Are you this retarded lmao. While using those publicly funded roads, aka driving on them, YOU ARE SUBJECT TO THE RULES OF THE STATE WHICH ARE SUBJECT TO THE CONSTITUTION, Then you can leave public roads and enter private PROPERTY WHERE YOU ARE NO LONGER SUBJECT TO THE RULES OF STATE ROADS. While accessing Facebook through publicly funded transmission lines and Infrastructure you should be subject to the same state laws which must also be constitutionally viable, as on public roads and land. Aka the constitution stands and speech cannot be silenced except for very narrow circumstances.

            If Facebook wants to ban speech it should built its own transmission system. Our public one should be constitutionally protected, the way it already is with utilities and telecoms.

          2. Weird how you and DoL misunderstand the you didnt build that comment in exactly the same way.....

          3. Is this the new talking point?

            If so, it’s fucking retarded and quite clearly not the same thing.

        2. So you're claiming if you happen to use government funded infrastructure in your business (which is essentially everybody who drives to work on a road), the government then has the power to limit your inalienable rights? You're not a private company if you use the internet? You're not a private company if you use electricity? You're not a private company if you use the public sewage system?

          Does this also scale down to individuals? Can the government tell you who to associate with because they subsidized your internet?

          1. The government has the power to limit whatever the fuck.they feel like. Anyone who's opened a history book knows that simple fact.

      7. Which is to say, it's a liability shield.

        If you engage in all of the traditional functions of a publisher, just like you listed, well, it doesn't matter in the slightest, you're still not liable as a publisher, because Congress has given you a special-snowflake privilege as an "interactive computer service". Sure, if you behaved exactly like Twitter except you printed and distributed the messages you were sent on paper, or you read them out loud in the park, you'd be legally liable, but hey, you're displaying them on computer screens, so you're not.

      8. Arbiters Macht Freiheit.

      9. Section 230 is not a liability shield, it’s a liability assignment.

        If it's not a liability shield then why was it necessary in the first place? Could not the operators of these platforms have simply built that same liability assignment into their terms of service and operating agreements? Of course they could. And then when they violated their terms of service and operating agreements they could have faced lawsuits for their behavior. Section 230 prevents those lawsuits. That's it. That's literally all it does. A law that quashes lawsuits only for the operators of certain types of businesses is the very fucking definition of a liability shield you stupid, mendacious sack of shit.

    3. So you are saying they aren’t just neutral platforms? Then it certainly sounds like Section 230 protections shouldn’t apply.

      newsflash: Section 230 has nothing to do with "neutrality"

      1. Newsflash it does. You either remain neutral to moderation and editing (outside of speech that isn't constitionally protected based on current case law) and achieve platform status. Or you edit, moderate, or ban content for any reason other than the limited exceptions to free speech in case law, and you become a publisher. Publishers are not protected by 230. And it could be easily proven that Facebook and Twitter edit content. Even without banning people, I think it could simply be things like Twitter addint the "fact check" tags to peoples tweets about the lab leak theory last summer, which literally alters and modifies the actual pixels of the person's tweet. It's really no different than the new York times or some traditional media making up the last sentence of a politicians speech and printing it inside quotes like the politician actually said it. Sorta like the fake comments from trump they tried drumming up at the world War memorial that no one heard but were printed anyway.

        1. No it doesn't. Neutrality does not appear anywhere in Section 230.

          1. Sometimes rather than use a single word, many words will be used that describe the exact same concept. Good-faith moderation cannot be mutilated sufficiently to make it mean what modern social media companies are doing.

          2. It eminates from the penumbra

      2. Absolutely true. And exactly why Section 230 should be repealed.

        Common carriers have non-liability because they aren't allowed to engage in editorial functions. Entities that engage in editorial functions, on the other hand, are liable for the content they choose to amplify, whether a newspaper, broadcaster, person reading stuff out loud in a public park, or even a library . . . unless, for no rational reason, they're an "interactive computer service".

        It's time that "interactive computer services" lose their special privilege. Let each one choose whether it prefers to operate as a common carrier, a library (allowed to select what they carry, but not edit it), or a publisher -- and then hold it to the standards it chooses.

  9. If the government is so very concerned about private entities exercising their right to not associate, perhaps they should open their own online social media platform. Maybe.... FaceGov? Completely open and uncensored. Yeah, that's the ticket, because everybody trusts the government to be totally open and honest. I'd even bet Sleepy Joe could fund the start-up as "infrastructure."

    1. Yeah man, this! USA Government Almighty is now on the verge of declaring all of "outer space" (the entire universe as we know it, pretty much) as "infrastructure"!!! Spend MORE, take it ALL over!

      House bill would designate space as critical infrastructure
      by Jeff Foust — June 4, 2021

      1. Yeah, and I am sure that the other forty or so countries with satellites in orbit will happily agree to abide with the "regulations."

    2. Good point.

      Now, interesting question: would they sell ads like Facebook and Twitter?

      1. Facebook utilize internal data to help push Barack Obama 2008 campaign. Data that users did not authorize for that purpose. FB was protected for 230 and was able to give a friendly politician help without disclosure prior to the election.

        Last year zuck used his database to non uniformly distribute money to pay for better and more election officials to "get out the vote" in blue districts and not red districts, essentially ending non uniformity of state election procedures.

        You are fine with these companies being able to violate contracts for political purposes while claiming protection from discovery lawsuits or other lawsuits understand the guise of 230.

        Youre a partisan hack.

      2. I don't think that most folks would cotton to a tax-funded platform, so sure, sell ads. Set it up as a stand-alone non-profit, and go from there.

        (Note: I don't actually support the idea.)

        1. Yes, I realize you’re not saying you support the idea.

          I don’t either. Besides philosophical objections, there’s the practical problem that nobody would want to use it.

          1. +

    3. Say what you want about Ma Bell, you could make a fucking phone call without getting cut off because the phone company didn't like what you were saying.

  10. Go back before the internet. Suppose there were a small collection of private companies that each dominated 90+% of the newsprint paper, ink, typesetting machines, and ad agency businesses and all, in lock-step, refused to do business with conservative news organizations (or with any other business that was willing to sell to conservative news organizations). And then further suppose that the postal delivery service had truly been privatized and it also refused to deliver conservative publications.

    In such a scenario should the government adopt a completely hands-off approach in that situation on the grounds that these would all be private organizations, just like Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc?

    1. In such a scenario, as long as Government Almighty kept it's filthy mitts OFF of the free market, there would be a HUGE un-met need for conservative views in print! The void would first be filled, haltingly, by "samizdat" type products.

      If conservative readers snapped up all of those products (and paid well for them), these new publishers would rapidly get their hands on newsprint paper, ink, typesetting machines, etc. Problem solved! Government Almighty just stay OUT!

      1. For example, a hypothetical person, let’s make up a name (umm, “William F. Buckley”) could swoop in and start magazines and TV shows to cater to the unserviced conservative audience.

        1. Parler did just that. Then when they became a viable alternative for non progtards like you, they were deplatofrmed by Google and Apple, then shut off by Amazon. But I’m sure you don’t see how this is an issue since Parler goes against your far left narrative.

        2. William F Buckley did not start his magazine or TV show under the conditions stipulated in the post, which are a perfect mirror in the physical world of what's going on in the digital one. If the 2021 incarnation of William F Buckley decides he wants to tap into the unserviced market for conservative news and commentary he will need to build his own internet service provider, domain registrar, hosting provider, bank, payment processor, mobile OS and app store, web browser, and production studio. That's quite an undertaking when your competitors do not need to do any of those things. Particularly since things like ISPs, domain registrars, banks and payment processors are heavily regulated industries where it is quite literally not actually possible to "start your own" provider in any of those spaces.

      2. In such a scenario, as long as Government Almighty kept it’s filthy mitts OFF of the free market, there would be a HUGE un-met need for conservative views in print!

        Because of network effects, the barriers to entry in the Internet age are much greater than they would have been in the print era. Conservative alternatives to Facebook/Twitter essentially had to build an entire alternate ecosystem. They couldn't use major cloud-computing platforms and had to host their own servers (a major disadvantage in the 2020s). They couldn't use major security firms for preventing hacking, denial of service, and two-factor authentication, and the like. I suspect the task would be all-but-impossible if it weren't for the pre-existence of pariah service providers built for porn sites.

        Note: I am not a conservative, nor am I recommending any particular policy solution. But I am saying that this really is an historically unprecedented situation and that waving it all away with 'private companies, no worries' doesn't really cut it.

        1. Network effects for Facebook, yes.

          But Twitter? Twitter has no lock-in or wall to speak of.

          1. It's literally operated in the exact same was as Facebook you technologically illiterate twat. Account registration tied to your identity, connecting you to other users exclusively on the same platform.

    2. No - don't go back to before the Internet. Assume that the Internet actually is the technology in question in these cases.

      A better assumption would be - how about assuming that at least one Supreme Court justice actually knows what the Internet and technology IS. If we weren't so obsessed with abortion as the sole litmus test for determining the composition of the SC - for going on two generations now - maybe we would have gotten a judge who understands technology and could also thus understand civil liberties and constitutional issues that go way beyond Sec230.

      Thomas is a fucking idiot who is way outside his wheelhouse. for that matter, the entire SC has become a bunch of catatonic retards on all sorts of issues now because the Senate (another group of catatonic retards) does not actually know how to 'advise and consent'.

      1. The lawless, hubristic attempt by the Roe v Wade SCOTUS majority to federalize abortion policy and segregate it out of the realm of politics has corrupted the entire court system greatly, no question.

        However, you have no standing to call Thomas an idiot

        1. He is the one attempting to create a legislative/regulatory framework for a technology issue that he knows nothing about. I don't want to go so far as to assume that he doesn't know how to use email because he doesn't know where the stamp is supposed to go. But I suspect that is pretty close to his level of tech savvy.

          He knows he knows nothing about technology. Yet he feels obliged to come up with something here. Rather than even ask Socratic questions (an excellent approach for someone who is ignorant of the issue but required to be involved in its resolution as well).

          This is idiot territory.

          1. One wonders exactly how a supreme court justice would create a legislative or regulatory framework given the separation of powers in the federal government. But sure, Thomas is the idiot here, not the 9/11 Truther fruitcake who thinks judges write legislation.

          2. I will trust you are all too familiar with Idiot Territory. Your description of Thomas and his position proves that

    3. Yes. Because companies excluding large parts of the public creates a market opportunity for new competitors. No government intervention needed. No excuse to fluff up government budgets. No reason to give government another reason to kick down doors, issue fines, arrest people, or shoot them if they resist.

      1. No that is mere ideology and rhetoric. The market opportunity is created by someone believing that reversing the 'excluding large parts of the public' will result in a PROFIT.

        And while that scenario may well be true - it is only a scenario. The far more certain scenario is that a corporation (and yes it is a corporation that will do this) will define 'excluding large parts of the public' as 'property'. And thus will have government protect 'property' - to your loud approval.

      2. And we know this is bs by the way hosts like Amazon have booted sites they don't like from their services. Payment processors block funds from causes they don't like, etc.

        So to the point I keep making. If conservatives should make their own internet, apps, servers, hosts, etc...

        Then why shouldnt Facebook or Twitter have to make their own cable, fiber, satellite, whatever transmission lines? They use the same publicly funded lines and infrastructure as the utility and telecom companies to get their product to your house or device. And using publicly funded infrastructure is one of the main reasons utilities and telecom companies are considered common carriers.

        1. Then why shouldnt Facebook or Twitter have to make their own cable, fiber, satellite, whatever transmission lines?

          That's why we needed net neutrality or the entire internet was going to explode. Can you imagine the kind of dystopian world it would be if Netflix had to actually pay additional fees to the network operators of whose bandwidth they use 70%?

      3. "Because companies excluding large parts of the public creates a market opportunity for new competitors."

        Yes, there's a market opportunity, but the barriers to exploiting it and making a profit are huge. You need an entire parallel stack of technologies and companies to provide them. AND those companies have to likewise be willing to risk losing all business relationships with the dominant firms. In an industry where R&D costs are large and fixed while marginal production costs are low or zero, it is really hard to survive without scale as, say, a security company serving only a tiny niche of pariah customers. This situation just isn't like one restaurant discriminating so a new one opens down the street.

        1. “You need an entire parallel stack of technologies and companies to provide them.”

          You have just simultaneously described an obstacle and a tremendous opportunity to make tons of money.

          1. No, that's the point. There really *isn't* a good opportunity to make tons of money by offering high R&D cost services to a small number of niche customers who aren't in a position to pay multiples of the going rates of the big guys. It almost gets to the point of saying -- hey, build an alternative mobile OS to Android and iOS and then (and only then) will your prospective customers be able to consume your content. That is pretty much impossible. The current situation isn't quite that bad, but it's pretty bad. Being locked out of app stores, being banished from social media platforms, having your servers shut down by major cloud service providers, being rejected by payment processors, etc -- getting around that is a really tall, expensive hill to climb. There's no reason to expect big profits (or any profits) if you have eat all the extra expenses involved with all of that in running a publishing business (or any internet facing business).

            1. Well, first of all, you can reach people with a website. You don’t need an iOS nor Android app. Both major phone platforms have web browsers.

              1. Here cytotoxic nitpicks one minor caveat instead of addressing anything of substance in the entire post.

                Of course, since Google and Apple control all of the apps available on their platforms and their shitty browsers also censor websites, that's not the neat and tidy solution to this one infinitesimally small component of this gigantic set of problems anyway.

      4. In fact, this is exactly the type of thing that gave rise to Fox News in the 1990's. They saw a market opportunity that was unmet by the existing news channels at the time, and now look at where they are at. Cartels and monopolies just don't work out in a free market system.

        1. But it's not like Fox in the 90s. Imagine Fox News not only had to start a new cable news channel, but also start an entirely new cable company because all existing cable providers categorically refused to carry Fox News for political reasons. THAT is analogous to the situation. The conservative sites don't just have to compete toe-to-toe with others, they have to fight, and scramble, and pay extra just to acquire the basic services and infrastructure that the others rely upon.

          1. The issue with Amazon cloud is different.

            But all the social media stuff does have a W3C set of protocols - called ActivityPub. So it would be very easy to set up a social media cross-publishing setup for video, audio, blog, etc. the implementations really suck (protocols don't deliver a captive audience for advertisers to squeeze eyeballs) but its very easy to see how it would not only be set up but could hive off into very decentralized 'communities'.

            What it doesn't have is - the CUSTOMERS of Facebook/tweeter/etc. Which is of course exactly what your crowd wants to access for free.

            1. "Which is of course exactly what your crowd wants to access for free"

              Sigh. It's not my crowd, I'm not a conservative or Trump voter/supporter. And, as I've said, I'm not sure what -- if any -- legal remedies are appropriate at this point. But I am arguing this is a situation that we've never seen before and where the ordinary rules of competition aren't working. We've never had a coordinated (or at least aligned), intensely-politicized, full-court press by all the dominant players in an industry (an industry where there are a very few dominant corporations) -- have we?

            2. Well, actually, the eyeballs or users is what they want to access. The customers are their advertisers, which conservatives who want government enforced access don’t even acknowledge as interested parties in all this.

            3. But all the social media stuff does have a W3C set of protocols – called ActivityPub.

              There's also about 30 other protocols that are substantially better than ActivityPub. Federation doesn't solve even one fucking thing addressed in the post you replied to since you still have to self-host or find a friendly partner.

              "HURRRR DURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR you don't have to start your own internet because there are federated protocols that operate over the internet". It's like saying you don't have to worry about the fact that the toll road operator won't let you drive on his road because there are protocols for launching rockets into space.

              1. I agree that ActivityPub became a castrated set of protocols. For reasons that are easy to understand but not to put into a tweet-length comment.

                But what that means is - FIX the damn protocols from top to bottom. And keep them updated as technology changes. It's the perpetual challenge of the open-source model. And when it comes to 'technology' and 'interstate commerce', that's exactly the model that govt should be basing its activities on re technology infrastructure.

                Pirate Parties get it. R's, D's, libertarians, and you fascists don't. Nor does Clarence Thomas.

    4. Before we go down the rabbit hole with this analogy, have we established they have 90+ percent of any market? What market exactly?

      Also, they don’t control access to media sites at all. They control whether they publish URL references or not to media sites. Conservative media outlets are not blocked in any way.

      Also, how many ads do conservative media sites purchase from these companies? That would be the best way for conservative media companies to suddenly get more consideration from these ad-based companies.

      1. The only conservative media outlet I think I’ve seen ads from on major social media sites is the Epoch Times.

      2. "Before we go down the rabbit hole with this analogy, have we established they have 90+ percent of any market? What market exactly?"

        App Stores for example. The Apple and Google app stores are completely dominant. IPhone users cannot source apps from any other source (without 'jailbreaking' their phones which invalidates the warranty and is something only a tiny percentage of techie users would ever attempt). It's not quite a bad on Android, but still the vast majority have no idea how to 'accept apps from unknown sources' and would be frightened off from doing so for security fears. Effectively, an app banned from those two stores is invisible and inaccessible for the vast majority of users.

        1. But it is not necessary to have an app to stand up a social media website. Both major phone platforms provide web browsers.

          1. That's helpful. That way Google Safe Browsing can helpfully red flag the site and throw up a huge page-locking warning telling you that you are about to risk your life and limb by visiting sites that publish information they don't like.

      3. Also, how many ads do conservative media sites purchase from these companies? That would be the best way for conservative media companies to suddenly get more consideration from these ad-based companies.

        They probably would, except that these ad-based companies refuse to sell ads on conservative websites. You stupid cunt.

  11. So old Clarence is for a Fairness Doctrine set of regulations that benefit conservatives? Not surprised. He has always been a partisan hypocrite.

    1. Thomas has been right (as in historically and textually and logically correct) on Constitutional issues more often than any other justice. The regulations he favors would be non-partisan.

      I think he's wrong in this case, but he's never been a hypocrite.

  12. Thomas seems to think that Twitter and other tech companies are effectively deliberately censoring right-of-center views that reflect poorly on the Democratic Party.

    Censoring discussion of the contents of Hunter Biden's laptop during an election. Censoring scientists and citizens discussing the origins of Covid. Censoring citizens from discussing the legitimacy of one election that benefited the Democratic Party, while permitting the same accusations about those that didn't.

    None of these actions benefited Big Tech, they're operations or their shareholders. In fact they were hugely detrimental to their public images and purported purposes.
    The sole beneficiaries of these actions were elected Democratic Party officials, who were ordering these actions.

    What's happening here is probably the biggest First Amendment violation in American history.
    The "Muh pRivAtE company" argument is just an obvious red herring for the party shills to rally around.

    1. The desperation of HUNTER BIDEN'S LAPTOP! and CHINA FLU! and other stuff no one outside the wingnut sewing circle cares about is hilarious.


      1. What is it like to be so desperately ignorant?

      2. Wanted Board Director for International Energy Firm

        Previous experience not required,
        Highly placed government relative a plus.

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        Duties include not much of anything.
        Salary $80,000 a month (and that ain't rubles)

        Send Resume to

      3. Since you're a pedophile who has been banned from this site for posting child pornography it's unsurprising that selling your father's influence, smoking crack, fucking teenage prostitutes, and benefiting from secret service protection illegally doesn't offend you, anymore than the torture and murder of a faggot ambassador in the middle east did.

    2. That's not entirely true, Obama sheileded Google from anticompetitive lawsuits as a thanks for helping him get elected

      1. And idiots like white Mike think thisncollusion of government is the intention of 1a.

  13. "The first doctrine, he explained, involved "common carriers," such as railroads and telegraphs, which have historically been required "to serve all comers."

    Root might have fleshed this argument out a little better. I'm not saying I buy the argument or agree with it, but like a lot of rational libertarian capitalists, I can often make an argument I disagree with better than, say, progressives, who typically pick their side of an issue first and then look for reasons to support it afterwards. If they don't want Donald Trump on social media, somehow facts and logic that are inconsistent with that go out the window for them.

    The general idea of common carrier might be--imagine if there were only eight deep water ports in the United States: Baltimore, San Diego, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. Now imagine that all eight deep water ports are staffed by the same longshoremen's union--one that's affiliated with the UAW. Now imagine that Ford is in a labor dispute with the UAW and the longshoremen's union.

    Just because I'm no fan of unions doesn't mean the longshoremen and the auto workers don't have freedom of association and the right to form a union. And Ford doesn't have the right to force any particular longshoremen to load Ford's products on a ship bound for foreign markets. However, just because Ford doesn't have the right to use any particular port, doesn't mean they don't have a right to use some port somewhere.

    If the longshoremen's union (or the port operators) are colluding to prevent Ford from shipping their products through any port, then they are conspiring to deprive Ford of the right to ship their products outside the country. Seeing this argument come into play is less about monopolization and more about fighting collusion to deprive someone of their rights.

    The legitimate purpose of libertarian government is to protect our rights, and if the longshoremen's union or the port operators were colluding to deprive Ford of their rights, then libertarian government may have a legitimate function in protecting Ford's rights from that collusion.

    Donald Trump may not have a right to use any particular service over their objections, but he may have a right to use some service. The question, in the common carrier argument, is whether social media companies colluded or conspired to deprive Donald Trump of his ability to use any major social media platform.

    Do Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube (and add in any of the other social media platforms that banned Donald Trump) control some 90% of the social media activity at any given time? If so, then even a libertarian government may have a legitimate role in protecting Trump's right to use social media from conspiracy and collusion.

    1. Think of it this way: You don't have the right to drive any particular car, but you do have a right to buy a car and drive it. You don't have the right to fire any particular gun, but you do have the right to buy some gun somewhere. You don't have the right to live in any house you want, but you do have the right to buy and live in a house somewhere. If some people are colluding to refuse you the right to buy any car, own any gun, or live in any house, then the government may have a legitimate libertarian responsibility to protect your rights.

      And if Ford can still manage to export a few cars, despite the collusion, that doesn't mean their rights aren't still being violated through conspiracy or collusion.

      1. P.S. Is this the kind of argument you'd expect to see social justice warriors make in favor of forcing racists, homophobes, xenophobes, etc. to rent apartments to people they don't like--if the social justice warriors were rational and honest?


        But progressives don't care about reason or logic. They'll tear this same argument apart if they think it's pro-Trump in some way or does something else they don't like. They don't have any principles--not even when it comes to intellectual honesty. That's another reason why progressives are America's most horrible people.

      2. You don’t have the right to drive any particular car, but you do have a right to buy a car and drive it.

        No you don't. You have a right to attempt to buy a car by entering into an agreement with a willing seller. If you cannot find any willing seller willing to sell you a car at an agreed-upon price, then you don't nonetheless have the right to force anyone to sell you a car anyway.

        You are not entitled to a car. You are not entitled to a gun. You are not entitled to a house. You are not entitled to a Facebook account. You are not entitled to these things, Ken. And I thought you were a "libertarian capitalist". LOL

        1. You are taking his words out of context. He’d said that collusion should not be allowed to prevent you from attempting to enter into agreements.

    2. You are hinting at the concept of tortious interference where a 3rd party entity acts with their power to ruin contracts between 2 other actors.

      Now to take your example further.... the long shore men told people they would block all ports unless the public voted for X president and then followed through by only allowing goods to companies openly supporting X.

      That is the trajectory these companies are on.

      They act collusively to kill competition as well. Start your own Twitter! Sorry Gab and Parler. We are going to shut you dont through collusive means.

      It is amazing watching people support that behavior under a false guise of libertarianism.

    3. Fatal flaw in your analogy, Ken:

      Unlike deep water ports in the US, there is not a fixed number of entry points into the Internet. There are an uncountably many number of ways to access the Internet.

      1. there is not a fixed number of entry points into the Internet

        Yes, there are, you technologically illiterate fucking clown. The magic hole in your wall that the internet comes from is connected to a sophisticated hub of computers that provide a most assuredly finite number of entry points onto the network of networks using the TCP/IP stack to communicate.

    4. “ The question, in the common carrier argument, is whether social media companies colluded or conspired to deprive Donald Trump of his ability to use any major social media platform.”

      Fortunately, we have an answer to that question. They haven’t kept him off the Internet. He’s got his speech platform, and all he has to do is add comments and it’s a social media site:

  14. How private is a private company and their private decisions when company leaders are called in front of Congress and threatened with penalties if the company does not act in accordance with (partisan) government policy?

    1. +1

      We're not only talking about companies colluding to deprive someone like Trump of his right to use any major social media platform. We're also talking about this collusion being driven by threats from a one party government to break their companies up into little pieces if they don't deplatform "misinformation".

      1. And that short step from a bunch of activist congress members to company actions sure smells like government censorship to me.

        1. These politicians also collude woth colleges and activist groups (ironically many funded by federal government through things like lawsuit settlements) to pressure even more.

          It is open collusion.

      2. I also wonder how we can map this modern government-company collusion onto the established landscape in China.

      3. What you always leave out is that Facebook and others have been hauled in front of several Republican committees, too, not just Democratic. And despite your repetition of the assertion, we do not have a “one party government.”

        1. Look at how Big Tech behaved in 2017-19, when Republicans were in charge of the government. Did Big Tech behave as if they were cowering in fear of government action, and knuckling under to every one of Trump's demands, because they feared the state coming down hard on them? No.

          So this naive hypothesis that Big Tech is motivated by simple fear of government action fails to explain the available evidence.

          1. Correct, they are in open collusion with the Democratic Party, not "the government". Facebook put hundreds of their paid, full-time employees to work on the Obama campaign in both 2008 and 2012, constituting a direct in-kind contribution in violation of federal law. They have not done so with any Republican campaign, ever. It's hilarious that you think that's a more flattering portrait of MUH PRIVATE COMPANIES!

      4. "His right" ? ? ?

        Are you fucking serious? I mean I knew you were intellectually dishonest and bankrupt, but I thought you were trying to fool the rubes around here. Then you just come out and profess the existence of positive rights! What's next, healthcare for all?

        1. Yeah far be it from you or any of the other Koch-suckers to profess the existence of positive rights like, say, the right to sneak across the border illegally and stay permanently in the United States at the expense of the federal and state governments.

    2. A private carrier becomes a public utility when you have to use that private carrier in order to interact with the government. This does happen when you have to use fakebook as the only way to contact certain NGO’s that you need to work with to comply with certain government regulations.

      1. Example?

      2. "...government..."


        Lol. You know what the "n" in that acronym means?

        1. that you need to work with to comply with certain government regulations.

          Sometimes reading all the words in the sentence will provide context that brings clarity. Not in your case, of course, since you're a stupid piece of shit, but maybe one day.

    3. One might also mention the incestuous back and forth employment arrangements between tech executives, leftist politicians, and NGOs

    4. So, recall back in 2007-08 when gas prices were spiking in the country. The oil and gas company leaders were hauled in front of Congress and threatened with action if they didn't stop "price gouging".

      Did that action effectively nationalize the oil and gas industries?

      Should we treat every instance of Congress threatening a company (in the absence of formal legislation) to be "nationalizing" a company?

    5. The right answer here is that congress should not be able to call private companies in front of them for hearings and threaten them with penalties.

      If they broke the law, great, take them to court. But threatening with new law if they don't behave 'appropriately' (for whatever that means to the congress-critters in question) shouldn't be allowed.

  15. They're not private companies and they control and monopolize the market. They colluded to remove Parler while at the same time every one of them removed Trump. That is collusion and it violates anti trust among other laws. Sorry liberaltarians, but you're gonna lose this one.

    1. Yeah, Ashfak, I've been Ashfakked by Government Almighty PLENTY enough by now, thanks, may I please NOT have another?

      Section 230 is an all-too-rare beast, where Government Almighty limited its own powers! Need MORE of that around here, NOT less!

  16. Okay, Justice Thomas, now do cakes.

  17. And nothing from reason about countries colluding on a minimum income tax

    1. The first rule of global government club is that we do not talk about global government club.

    2. Enb had a one liner on it last week so white Mike will claim they talked about it.

  18. Stop accepting the framing of this as about 'platforms'. Platforms are the PROBLEM and they are what destroyed PROTOCOLS.

    Protocols not platforms a technological approach to free speech

    1. Isn’t DNS protocol, for example, pretty useless to someone if they cannot get their DNS entries listed on authoritative servers? So, there is a platform that naturally goes along with the protocol.

      1. Yes I would agree that those functions are the 'common carrier' parts of an Internet infrastructure. But if name authentication servers are a platform it can only be because someone got all corrupt and privatized public infrastructure.

        1. Although I don’t buy the common carrier arguments being made here for things like Twitter needing to be forced to be a common carrier, I do buy that common carrier type laws are probably needed at some of the lower levels of protocol / infrastructure / platform.

          1. Well of course, your fascist gods couldn't effectively practice their fascism if they didn't have unfettered access to the underlying TCP/IP stack. Let's not get crazy here. It's one thing to use collusion and your oligopoly market power to make sure that your competitors can't access domain registrars, internet service providers, hosting providers, payment processors, crowdfunding, banking, or enterprise software. Quite another to restrict the oligopolists' access to the common infrastructure they need to exercise that level of collusion.

          2. Actually I think protocols need to be thought of as infrastructure from top (cross-publishing API's, etc) to bottom (TCP/IP, etc). More even than infrastructure, it is a means by which 'interstate commerce' is dealt with in a world where commerce depends on the Internet.

            But you don't deal with infrastructure by passing laws. You do it by building roads. Or in this case, by ensuring that protocols themselves are transparent, open to all, kept up-to-date as technology changes, and where attempts to turn them into private property (to conflate protocol with platform) are resisted.

  19. Republicans just flipped McAllen Texas. Biden +17, 85% Hispanic.

    Apparently pandering to illegal immigrants and socialism doesn't win over Hispanic voters as well as racists think it does.

    1. Easy. They don’t view Trump as human.


    Brian Stelter's first question in his interview with WH press secretary Jen Psaki was "What does the press get wrong when covering Biden's agenda, when you watch the news, when you read the news, what do you think we get wrong?"

  21. Compelled speech is not free speech.

    1. And a one-party Democrat government forcing companies to deplatform people and censor their speech under threat of breaking them up under the guise of antitrust for "misinformation", etc. is a terrible example of social media companies exercising their free speech rights--quite the opposite of free speech, actually!

      When Russian media outlets self-censor and refuse to publish views that are critical of Vladimir Putin for fear of what he would do to their companies if they did, that isn't an excellent example of free speech either. That's an example of censorship, and I bet Putin calls it "misinformation" when they're criticizing his corruption, too.

      1. I see Republicans, not Democrats, threatening these companies.

        1. The House Democrats released a report to break up Big-Tech companies, on a company by company basis, in October of 2020. Here's a sample on why they plan to break up Facebook:

          “In the absence of competition, Facebook’s quality has deteriorated over time, resulting in worse privacy protections for its users and a dramatic rise in misinformation on its platform.”

          —-House Democrat plan to break up Big Tech companies, detailed on a company by company basis, from October of 2020

          Page 14 of 450

          Not only did Biden approve of this on the campaign trail, he appointed the lead author of that report, Lina Khan, to be commission at the FTC--the entity that is suing to break up Facebook in an ongoing antitrust case.

          After the results of the Georgia runoff elections became public in the wee hours of January 6, 2021, and the Democratic party and the U.S. government became one in the same, social media companies had no choice but to do whatever the Democrats wanted to Parler, Donald Trump, etc.

          Facebook suddenly changing its policy on allowing people to talk about the Wuhan lab leak as a possible origin of covid-19 coincided with Joe Biden officially ordering our intelligence services to investigate the possibility--and that's just the latest example of social media changing the rules to whatever the Democrats want them to be. Incidentally, Putin doesn't need to censor Russian media outlets on a story by story basis either. They just know to follow his lead--we were always at war with Eastasia!

          1. I still don't see a grand conspiracy or companies being directly ordered under threat of force to comply with government edicts. And as someone who has no use for Facebook or Twitter, I really don't care. If you don't like their policies, don't use their products.

            You like to talk about Flat Earthers.

            At this point it's the "Stop the steal" people who sound like flat earthers, not the other way around.

            1. "If you don’t like their policies, don’t use their products."

              You suggested that they were exercising their right to free speech, free association, and freedom of the press.

              But they're under threat of having their businesses broken up and no longer being free to make further acquisitions if they don't censor and deplatform others.

              Using the coercive power of government to force social media companies to shut down speech and deplatform people is a bullshit description of free speech.

              The government is threatening to break up Facebook, for instance, because they tolerate "misinformation" on their platform, and if you're defending Facebook's policies and actions as "free speech", under those circumstances, that's nothing but uninformed irrational horseshit.

              1. I'm not defending Facebook. I don't use it and I never will. Don't care.

                1. "Compelled speech is not free speech."


                  In the context of this thread, what was that supposed to mean?

                  Were you agreeing with me about the Democrats using rank intimidation and the coercive power of government to force private social media companies to deplatform and censor?

                  1. I'm not seeing all this force you're talking about. Just not seeing it. I see crybaby Republicans wanting to punish companies that that deplatform and censor them for saying some really stupid shit, but I don't see it coming from Democrats. Rather Republicans are doing it to themselves by clinging to the 'stop the steal' narrative and other nonsense.

                    1. "I’m not seeing all this force you’re talking about. Just not seeing it."

                      Yeah, suing to break companies up, against the will of management and the company's owners--because the company tolerates misinformation [speech]--isn't government coercion?!

                      That doesn't make any sense.

                      And seeing the social media companies do everything and anything the one-party, Democrat government says after January 6, when the results of the Georgia elections came in, makes all the sense in the world.

                    2. You seem to have blinders on one side.

                    3. "Everywhere I look I see exactly what I'm looking for!"

                      Yeah, we know that you child-fucking piece of shit.

            2. “I still don’t see a grand conspiracy or companies being directly ordered under threat of force to comply with government edicts.”

              Me, neither, but that’s not the point.

            3. Flat Earthers are all over social media. So are people openly hateful and calling for violent repression of whites. So are Ellie Kemper is KKK and Trump is Corrupt but Biden Isnt misinfo specialists. So are Jihadists. Way to make a point.

        2. Shh, it dirties Ken’s narrative if you acknowledge that big social media companies are pressured by Republicans, and foreign governments, and their advertisers.

          1. How many times has a social media outlet actually done anything that was requested by a Republican? How many times has Facebook put hundreds of its full-time employees to work on a Republican presidential campaign providing data, analysis, and access to backend databases in violation of campaign finance laws against in-kind contributions? If you guessed zero you'd be correct.

      2. Who is more likely to be flagged by a user? Conservative or liberal? Obviously the conservative because liberals get their emotional panties in a twist when they see something that offends them and want it gone. So absent any political bias or threats from politicians, conservative posts are going to be flagged more often and thus censored more often. It's really that simple.

        1. The bias of the entities in question becomes irrelevant when we're talking about the government threatening to break their companies up into little pieces and refusing to let them make any further acquisitions.

          IF IF IF JesseAZ is prone to taking down his progressive coworker's posts because he doesn't like progressive's positions being on the company's Slack app, that becomes irrelevant when the boss threatens to fire JesseAZ if he doesn't censor every post on the app that reflects progressive views.

          1. Empty threats are empty. I don't see government taking actual action against these companies. Not yet. Until then it's just bluster.

            1. What's empty about the antitrust cases that are advancing against Facebook and Google?

              1. I thought that had blown over. Guess not. I still don't see it as political being that it's coming from state AGs, not disgruntled federal Democrats.

                1. Right! Well why would you?

                  They just published a report detailing their plans to break them up, have cases advancing through both the Justice Department and the FTC to break them up, and elevated the person who wrote the report on breaking them up to be a commissioner at the FTC and oversee the antitrust case.

                  Why should they take the Biden, the House, and the Senate seriously, and Biden's appointees to Justice and the FTC seriously?

                  1. Hard to see things you don’t want to see.

        2. Yes, it's quite true that no-life Marxist 50 centers like you spend your entire day on social media flagging people saying literally anything that you disagree with. But that's also not how content moderation works on literally any social media platform. Literally. Not a single one. So while YOU are really that simple, content moderation is not.

      3. You have a very loose standard of what constitutes "coercion".

        If Senator Huffalumps says in a speech "I think Facebook should ban Donald Trump", is Senator Huffalumps now *coercing* Facebook to act on his behalf? It is absurd to think so. This is such a loose definition of "coercion" that every word uttered by any person in any position of power suddenly becomes a violation of the NAP.

        1. Is a cop car sitting on the side of the road making you slow down a form of coercion? Or is it just the prudent thing to do?

        2. If Senator Hufflepuff said, “Look how Facebook lets Trump say horrible things. We should break up their company”, that’s very different.

          1. How is it different? It is still just words from Senator Huffalumps. No formal government action.

            1. So why would it matter what Trump tweeted? Just words, no action.

            2. Well, one is obviously a threat, and the other isn’t.

              All words aren’t equal.

            3. Of course the Democrats who control both houses of congress and the presidency have a bill in committee and several investigations underway examining antitrust action against these companies, so your example is a non-sequitur. But yeah, other than that, really good points there chucklefuck.

        3. Brief reminder that cytotoxic here also said that mask mandates are not coercive, because you should have been wearing a mask anyway and if you would just wear the mask like you were told to the government wouldn't need to mandate their use and punish you with violence, jail time, and fines.

          That's because cytotoxic is a really, really, really stupid piece of shit bootlicking Marxist.

  22. Don't like what Twitter and Facebook are doing? Don't use them. That was easy.

    1. But they have real world implication where Twitter and Facebook mobs get people fired and destroy their lives.

      1. Did you just really say Facebook and Twitter get people fired??? You can't really believe that I hope. We could try and maybe not post everything on Facebook. You want to post your life on social media, it would be your fault for losing your job. It's really sad what people post on social media.
        I refuse to go back to Facebook or other sites.
        Plus everyone knows employers can use social media against you.

        1. A Mexican holing his had out a car window ended up being fired from his job because some retard took a photo of him put it on Twitter and said he was a white supremist. He didn't have a Twitter account, but a woke asshole did.

    2. You could use Parler.
      Oh wait, you can’t.

    3. You’re absolutely right.

      Let’s get the government out of big tech.

    4. You don't think you use twitter? Do you read the articles, especially ENB's? What do you think those posts with the little bluebird are?

    5. And of course I can also receive copies of all the data they have collected about me against my will without my permission through third parties and web trackers despite my not having an account and never having consented to their TOS and request that they delete it since it was obtained without permission, right? And when they collude to restrain trade when I try to start a competing web service, I can certainly sue them in court, right?

  23. "In fact, in the entire class of coronaviruses that includes CoV-2, the CGG-CGG combination has never been found naturally. That means the common method of viruses picking up new skills, called recombination, cannot operate here. A virus simply cannot pick up a sequence from another virus if that sequence isn’t present in any other virus.

    Although the double CGG is suppressed naturally, the opposite is true in laboratory work. The insertion sequence of choice is the double CGG. That’s because it is readily available and convenient, and scientists have a great deal of experience inserting it. An additional advantage of the double CGG sequence compared with the other 35 possible choices: It creates a useful beacon that permits the scientists to track the insertion in the laboratory.

    Now the damning fact. It was this exact sequence that appears in CoV-2. Proponents of zoonotic origin must explain why the novel coronavirus, when it mutated or recombined, happened to pick its least favorite combination, the double CGG. Why did it replicate the choice the lab’s gain-of-function researchers would have made?

    Yes, it could have happened randomly, through mutations. But do you believe that? At the minimum, this fact—that the coronavirus, with all its random possibilities, took the rare and unnatural combination used by human researchers—implies that the leading theory for the origin of the coronavirus must be laboratory escape.

    ----Steven Quay (Founder of Atossa Therapeutics) and Richard Muller (Former senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

    If there were 35 possible sequences at that site in covid-19's genetic code, and the one that's there couldn't have occurred through recombination with another virus, then not only does the natural occurrence origin theory depend on a mutation landing on a one in thirty-five chance, it also needs to land on the same gain of function sequence that is typically used by researchers when they use gain of function techniques to soup-up the virus. Oh, and the viruses needs to have mutated naturally into a sequence that has never been observed in nature.

    Use the Wayback Machine and read the whole article for yourself.

    Oh, and we've heard from intelligence sources that three researchers who were working on the project at the Wuhan Institute of Virology needed to be hospitalized for the flu in November of 2019, when covid-19 wasn't identified until December of 2019, and we've heard that one of their wives was among the very first people in Wuhan to be officially diagnosed with covid-19 and died of the virus.

    It's possible that three people working with souped-up, engineered viruses all got a really bad flu that required hospitalization at the same time--and it had nothing to do with the viruses they were working on or one of their wives being among the very first people diagnosed with covid-19. It really is possible!

    It's also possible that a genetic sequence that's never occurred naturally, as far as anyone can tell, just happened to mutate naturally on covid-19--and it was the same sequence researchers use as a marker when they add gain of function enhancements.

    Yes, it's possible.

    But when you start adding all of these improbabilities up, you start sounding like a Flat Earth Society member explaining all the crazy improbable stuff that would need to be true in order for the world to be flat--including how the Apollo moon landing was a hoax.

    1. So if you don't believe that the Democrats and the Chinese colluded to release a bioweapon in order to make Trump look bad and get Biden into the White House, you're may as well believe the world is flat. Got it.

      1. You've gone off the deep end.

        My contention is that financing this dangerous research in a Chinese lab with a terrible safety records was woefully incompetent, and Dr. Fauci should be forced to resign because his NIAID financed this research during his tenure--regardless regardless regardless of whether this was the actual origin of covid-19.

        At any rate, I didn't say anything about anybody releasing this virus intentionally. It all appears to be typical government incompetence all the way down. Why attribute to nefarious motives what might just as easily be explained by simple incompetence--especially when bureaucratic incompetence is the norm?

        My other point is that we shouldn't let government bureaucrats make choices on our behalf about whether we close our economy, whether they fund dangerous experiments in Chinese labs with a terrible safety record, or whether we should all be forced to wear masks and be vaccinated. All of this was true before the evidence of Fauci's incompetence and mendacities became public knowledge, and there's no reason why we shouldn't use it to drive the point home.

        After all, free minds and free markets was never about letting government bureaucrats inflict their choices on us using the coercive power of government, was it?

        1. "You’ve gone off the deep end."
          In case you haven't been paying attention, people actually are saying that.

          As for the rest of your post, I don't know who you're arguing against.

          1. "that" is referring to my snark. Just to clarify.

            1. "that" is the reality you are an insane piece of shit, screetch. Of course you're not as bad as fat jeff or faggot tony. But still.

          2. "So if you don’t believe that the Democrats and the Chinese colluded to release a bioweapon in order to make Trump look bad and get Biden into the White House, you’re may as well believe the world is flat. Got it.


            You do realize that we can see what you write?

            It wasn't something you just thought in your head. You said it out loud.

            And I responded. If you don't understand what I wrote, work on your reading comprehension.

            1. Not everything I post is to be taken seriously. You should be able to get that from my chosen handle.

              1. Right, you're just another uninformed idiot. Why would anyone take you seriously?

                That's what you want people to think?

                1. Apparently?

                2. Sarcasmic is the type of guy who eats cat litter. Pay him no mind.

                  1. Cat litter??? Couldn't come up with anything more witty?? I am so sorry for you

                    1. Who are you? Witless for the Prosecution? (that's how it's done)

      2. The world is flat and China flattened it.

        1. If you want to defend the bureaucracy, you should definitely start throwing shade on China, right about now.

          After all, if it wasn't for China, how would Fauci's NIAID know what to fund or whether the lab was safe?

          Didn't we talk the other day about how to American state department official sent cables back to Washington about the safety problems with the lead researcher and the lab? Didn't we talk about how the Wuhan Institute of Virology had failed Chinese safety inspections?

          Go ahead and blame it on China!

          Do you still think the 2016 presidential election was all Putin's doing, too?!

    2. This is the same type of argument that is made against evolution. "Do you REALLY believe that random chance could have produced a human being? REALLY?" Yes, over the course of millions of years and billions upon billions of random mutations and rare events propagating over an extremely long period of time. And viruses evolve rapidly over much shorter periods of time. And, quite frankly, a 1-in-35 chance of a mutation occurring is very GOOD from an evolutionary perspective.

      1. This is the same type of argument that is made against evolution.

        How much do you wanna bet that a good majority of those saying COVID didn't evolve, but was instead made by man, are creationists? It would make sense, wouldn't it? "Just like human beings, that couldn't have evolved! Must have been helped along by scientists!"

        And, quite frankly, a 1-in-35 chance of a mutation occurring is very GOOD from an evolutionary perspective.


        1. It's actually one in thirty six.

          And, no, it mutating into something that has never happened naturally before is not good odds--not when compared to researchers creating that very sequence on purpose, specifically because it's a tell-tale sign of their engineering.

          1. “And, no, it mutating into something that has never happened naturally before...”

            You’ve just described the entire biome of our planet.

            1. No.

            2. Never heard of Monsanto?

          2. All biodiversity is a result of mutations that never happened before.

            1. "All biodiversity is a result of mutations that never happened before."

              I think you may be confused about that.

              “In fact, in the entire class of coronaviruses that includes CoV-2, the CGG-CGG combination has never been found naturally. That means the common method of viruses picking up new skills, called recombination, cannot operate here. A virus simply cannot pick up a sequence from another virus if that sequence isn’t present in any other virus."


              My understanding is that while genetic drift makes a larger contribution to evolution than pure survival of the fittest, recombination happens with much greater frequency than mutation. A mutation that is particularly advantageous may have a more profound impact on a population than something from recombination, but recombination happens with much greater frequency.

              And what they're saying is that over billions of years, there don't appear to be any examples of that mutation from natural sources in viruses anywhere. If we're comparing the chances of something happening that there is no evidence of ever happening before to the chances of a researcher engineering it in a lab--just the way it's described in the funding application that Fauci's NIAID approved--well, there's really no contest.

              The whole point of the piece is that if it couldn't have happened with recombination and the chances of it happening by way of mutation are incredibly small, then it is unreasonable to pretend that covid-19 wasn't most likely engineered in a lab.

              You can either attack the facts in the premises or you can attack the logic.

              1. And what they’re saying is that over billions of years, there don’t appear to be any examples of that mutation from natural sources in viruses anywhere.

                That's not what the article says. The article says that it hasn't been *observed* in *coronaviruses* before, not that the CGG-CGG sequence doesn't occur anywhere in any virus.

                The whole point of the piece is that if it couldn’t have happened with recombination

                The piece does NOT say that. The piece says that it is a LOW PROBABILITY. Which it apparently is, if it hasn't yet been observed in coronaviruses before. But the fact that it is a low probability event doesn't mean that it COULDN'T have happened. That is the fundamental logic error that you are making here.

                1. The article says that it hasn’t been *observed* in *coronaviruses* before, not that the CGG-CGG sequence doesn’t occur anywhere in any virus.

                  Since SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus, that's kind of a relevant detail you dumbfuck.

                  But the fact that it is a low probability event doesn’t mean that it COULDN’T have happened.

                  No, it just means that the simpler, much more probable explanation is more likely to be correct. Using your idiotic logic, it would be perfectly reasonable for a physician to test a 35 year old adult male for progeria because they have a receding hairline.

              2. then it is unreasonable to pretend that covid-19 wasn’t most likely engineered in a lab.

                This is the arrogant hubris that leads people to deny evolution. They MUST postulate some deliberate, organizing force to explain the world, rather than the result of random chance over many billions and billions of events over a long period of time. If you actually understood how statistics and mutations work, you would not make that type of statement. They are both reasonable hypotheses.

                1. You don't understand jack shit, fatty. Literally you are the worst person anyone could turn to to find out facts, or explain science. That's because you accept the government line. You'd make a great goose stepping commie or fascist though.

                  1. Thank you once again for offering nothing of substance.

                    1. Pot, kettle. Kettle, pot.

              3. And, it all happened in the same town.

          3. it’s a tell-tale sign of their engineering.

            From the WSJ article:

            Although the double CGG is suppressed naturally, the opposite is true in laboratory work. The insertion sequence of choice is the double CGG. That’s because it is readily available and convenient, and scientists have a great deal of experience inserting it.

            There are only four DNA nucleotides. Scientists have a great deal of experience inserting ANY COMBINATION of the four nucleotides. One can credibly claim that inserting any combination of ACTG is a "tell tale sign of their engineering" because scientists are able to insert any combination in any order.

            And this is when the "engineered virus" hypothesis starts to sound like a conspiracy theory, when its advocates start substituting "could have happened" with "definitely did happen". So the combination of CGG-CGG *could be" evidence of human manipulation. But it does not mean that the presence of CGG-CGG is definite proof of human manipulation.

            It is like the "hacked voting machine" claim: That a voting machine *could have been* hacked (true) leads to the conclusion, in the minds of the conspiracy theorist, that the voting machine "definitely was* hacked (probably false).

            1. Conspiracy theories rest upon putting forth an idea and then switching the burden of proof.

              Prove the virus wasn't engineered! You can't do it! That means it was engineered!

              Prove the voting machines weren't hacked! You can't do it! That means they were hacked!

              Prove Biden didn't cause my mother's gout! You can't do it! That means he did!

              1. "Prove the virus wasn’t engineered! You can’t do it! That means it was engineered!"

                You're exposing yourself as an uninformed idiot and a liar.

                1. You do know my name is sarcasmic, right?

                  I've never pretended to be serious all the time. Quite the opposite.

                  So if you think that statement was meant seriously then you're either an idiot or a liar.

                  1. It's amazing how every single time you stick your foot directly in your mouth or tell blatant lies, even though you told with not a single hint of anything less than complete seriousness, you're suddenly just a sarcastic silly goose. Like that time when you spent 12 hours and 95 posts telling us you were leaving to and never coming back and then returned within a week.

              2. Prove the virus wasn’t engineered! You can’t do it! That means it was engineered!

                You should see a therapist about those voices in your head.

                1. You people really do NOT understand sarcasm, and making fun of the stupidity of others, by emulating said stupidity? No, I don't actually believe that this is true... The REAL, plain truth is, you are evil liars, PRETENDING to be that stupid!

                  If you want to work on your evil, and healing it, a good first step is understanding your ailment... I suggest this: M. Scott Peck, The People of the Lie,
                  People who are evil attack others instead of facing their own failures. Peck demonstrates the havoc these “people of the lie” work in the lives of those around them.

                2. Yeah, who here said anything like that?

                  1. Many-many conservatives have chuckled gleefully about Brian Sicknick (dead within 2 days of being bear-sprayed and assaulted at the insurrection by trumpanzees gone apeshit) being dead WITHOUT absolute proof that he was murdered! PROVES that he was NOT murdered! Oh bullshit! Sometimes we just don't know FOR SURE!

                    1. Still waiting for that coroner's report that came out 3 months ago, sarcasmic?

                    2. Coroner says evidence is not clear enough to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, to a jury, that Brian Sicknick was murdered. So that PROVES that he was NOT murdered, right, nitwit who knows everything for sure, in starkest blacks and whitest whites, only?

                      Oy Vey!

                    3. Oh Great Wise One...

                      OJ Simpson found innocent criminally for two murders. Found guilty civilly (different standards of judgment). Were his victims murdered, or not? Or were (and perhaps still are) they both killed and not-killed, like Schrodinger's cat?

                      PLEASE explain this to us, Oh Great, Towering Mental Giant!?!? PLEASE?!?!?

        2. Well what really undergirds creationism, besides the religious aspect, is a lack of understanding of how statistics works. If a certain event has a 99.99% chance of producing outcome A, and a 0.01% chance of producing outcome B, then it's a pretty safe bet that we will observe outcome A in any given event; however, if the event occurs, oh I don't know, 1 billion times, then that means outcome B will occur 100,000 times. Which is not nothing.

          Furthermore, if SARS-CoV-2 is naturally occurring, then we would expect that the mutation that led to this virus to be an extremely rare event, because if it were a common event, it would have already happened long ago! After all coronaviruses have been around for a very long time, and the most probable mutations have already all occurred.

          1. If it is a natural occurrence, then we should be able to identify the host animal.

            The analysis is not dependent on a single data point of evidence. It is how the known data points seem to fit together. The fact that a novel coronavirus first appears near a lab where gain of function research on coronaviruses is being done and the virus has a sequence commonly used in genetically engineering viruses is more than bit of a red flag. Not necessarily a smoking gun, but not something easily dismissed, either.

            1. In fact, in the entire class of coronaviruses that includes CoV-2, the CGG-CGG combination has never been found naturally. That means the common method of viruses picking up new skills, called recombination, cannot operate here. A virus simply cannot pick up a sequence from another virus if that sequence isn’t present in any other virus."

              For all we know, there has never been a virus with that feature in the natural world. Thinks of all the species of viruses, and all the mutations they've gone through over billions of years, and we haven't been able to find one.

              1. A virus simply cannot pick up a sequence from another virus if that sequence isn’t present in any other virus.

                There is no rule that says that a virus must only mutate by picking up DNA fragments from other viruses.

                Thinks of all the species of viruses, and all the mutations they’ve gone through over billions of years, and we haven’t been able to find one.

                Just because an event is *improbable* does not mean that the event is *impossible*. That is the entire basis of evolution, after all. IF it is a naturally occurring virus, then the mutation that led to SARS-CoV-2 would be expected to be a very rare event, otherwise, it likely would have already occurred before!

                1. It would be a rare event in humans. But the mutation would have needed to happen in at least one animal before it jumped to people IF zoonotic were true. And IF the mutation happened in one animal, and IF covid-19 is as highly transmisable as we think, then it would be highly likely there is an infected population of this animal in nature, and the virus would be almost identical to covid19. And more than the 96% similar that ratg13 is, the virus from the horseshoe bat's most closely related to covid-19.

                  Where is this animal population? Whether bat, pangolin, etc, it would be local to the wuhan area. Why haven't we found it 18 months in? It would even benefit China if they did.

              2. And for the billions of years we have been sequencing viruses we have never seen proline - proline sittin’ right next to one other. So all Corona viruses ought to be the same. Yet strangely they are not. Not even this one. How did that happen?

                Are they cis or trans?

                1. This isn't mathematics. The goal isn't an absolute proof.

                  This isn't a criminal trial. The standard isn't beyond a reasonable doubt.

                  If new data becomes available in the future, that contradicts our rational conclusions today, we'll need to revise or throw out those conclusions--but that doesn't mean we shouldn't formulate conclusions today based on whatever evidence is available.

                  Formulating rational conclusions based on the available evidence with an understanding that our conclusions could and should be dislodged tomorrow with new data that contradicts them is just the fundamental problems of science.

                  It doesn't mean our conclusions today are bad. That's just the nature of science.


                  Maybe you're immortal, Echospinner!

                  Just because no one has found an immortal man yet, doesn't mean there isn't one out there--or that you're not him. Still, given the available data, everyone in history that we're aware of has died of something eventually, and it's probably reasonable to conclude that you're not the exception to the rule--even if it's possible we could discover tomorrow that you're indestructible.

                  And maybe there's a coronavirus out there that's different from all the rest for purely natural reasons.

                  The theory that all men are mortal enjoys more certainty than the theory that there aren't any coronaviruses that evolved naturally with that sequence of genes, but, once again, we're not trying to prove that covid-19 was engineered in a lab with absolute certainty or beyond a reasonable doubt. We're not trying to make pronouncements that will survive any and all new data that may or may not become available in the future either.

                  We're forming a scientific consensus about the origin of covid-19, and the evidence that it was engineered in a lab in Wuhan seems to be stacking up higher and higher every day. Meanwhile, the probability that it occurred naturally seems to diminish as more and more evidence becomes available.

                  And the fact that the scientific consensus isn't absolutely 100% certain doesn't make it any different from any other scientific consensus. Some consensuses have more evidence to support them. Some less. If the available evidence suggests that covid-19 was probably engineered in a lab in Wuhan, then that's what the scientific consensus should be--despite the uncertainty.

                  At some point, there will be enough evidence to form a scientific consensus that the virus either probably was or probably wasn't engineered in a lab--and we may have reached that point already.

                  1. Whatever condemnations you have for incompetent bureaucrats should probably be well established before we reach that point. There isn't anything libertarian or capitalist about an incompetent government bureaucracy starting a pandemic that killed three million people or expert bureaucrats willfully destroying the nation's economy with lockdowns using the coercive power of government.

                    And I see no good reason to defend progressives or government bureaucrats from what's coming if the evidence supports the scientific consensus that covid-19 probably originated from research that was funded by Dr. Fauci's NIAID. Rather, I see plenty of good libertarian and capitalist reasons to use that consensus to drive the point home that neither these progressives nor the expert bureaucrats should be trusted to make our choices for us--about dangerous scientific research, about when and how to close our economy down, or about anything else.

                    Experts should inform our choices, but each of us should be free to make choices for ourselves.

          2. If a certain event has a 99.99% chance of producing outcome A, and a 0.01% chance of producing outcome B, then it’s a pretty safe bet that we will observe outcome A in any given event; however, if the event occurs, oh I don’t know, 1 billion times, then that means outcome B will occur 100,000 times. Which is not nothing.

            I know you attended special education classes in Toronto Ontario Canada where you live with your parents, cytotoxic, but the law of large numbers is taught in elementary mathematics in every school in America. That's probability, by the way, not statistics. It's also totally inadequate to describe abiogenesis or speciation, which is why strict Darwinian theory hasn't been a component of evolutionary biology for about a century and a half. Punctuated equilibrium is more promising than the 4th grade textbook images you saw of a dog slowly turning into a horse through 200 million years of random genetic drift in terms of explaining earth's biodiversity. It turns out that sometimes things are more complicated than you defeating strawmen in your head with vapid arguments based on your grade school comprehension of complex scientific subjects.

    3. Just noting that one of the authors of this article about cellular biology is a well known _climate_ scientist.

      1. The temerity of such a scientist to make commentary outside of their field of expertise. Now tell us how Anthony Fauci was qualified to ban ivermectin and hydroxychloroquin based on his extensive background as a clinician...

        1. Fauci didn’t ban those. That is an FDA decision.

  24. For some reason the black man is concerned about rich white guys censoring speech they don’t like.

  25. Am I supposed to feel bad for Facebook and Twitter here? They absolutely do censor viewpoints they disagree with. Fuck them all for being dishonest brokers. Facebook, Twitter, and the MSM. Their day of reckoning is coming, and I will cry no tears for them when it does.


    Duke Lacrosse was the beginning of sports journalism choosing agenda over facts.

  27. But these arguments may not be quite as strong as Thomas thinks. For one thing, today’s social media enterprises neither look nor act much like traditional common carriers. Unlike a telegraph company, for instance, Twitter and Facebook not only move information from place to place but curate it and moderate it, resulting in all sorts of varied and even personalized user experiences.

    That's the fucking complaint. If they acted like common carriers then there would be no need for any of this.

    We want them to *stop* curating.

  28. Big tech isn't a common carrier, but some are arguably publishers, which do not enjoy liability protection.

    An online cupcake business that puts up user reviews is not a publisher. If I give their chocolate cupcake one star and say "This thing tastes like chalk and Donald Trump is a Russian spy" Trump should not be able to sue the company for obvious reasons. Section 230 should protect these kinds of businesses.

    Twitter is not a business with a commenting tool. They recognize authorship and edit and promote certain point of view. If you have the blue check or is tagged as heads of state, your positions will be taken as official and are subjected to edits and warnings. There's a reason why no one cares about misinformation on disqus, and any disqus thread can devolve into 4chan level nonsense. This very site has spam bots linking to site where I can learn to be a millionaire working from home.

    I don't know why people here choose to be obtuse in fear of abandoning a certain position. Tweaking section 230 would be infinitely easier than reforming qualified immunity. Twitter doesn't have to give Alex Jones a platform, but once he signs in, certain consumer protection should be locked in. It's not our problem that they let everyone sign in for free.

    Otherwise, you're going to see primary channels of information discriminate and filter out vital information on their whim and we just shrug our shoulder and say "Oh wells they're private". That's insane and stupid. You might as well say newspapers should ignore certain info because that's technically not illegal and based on their private editorial standards.

    Why shouldn't I be able to sue youtube for politically biased censorship? If they targeted black creators for violations but ignore similar offense from white creators, we shouldn't be able to sue them?

  29. Pravda gets the good potatoes. According to the latest NYT (yep), the salaries at the ACLU are starting $400k and $650k direction after all the donations poured into the resistance and their censorship of non progressive speech. Useful idiots have a somewhat short life span.

  30. “But Twitter is a private entity”


    1. How so?

      1. It's a public company and censoring the public's political discourse is not in the interests of its shareholders. Nor is raping the term "or otherwise objectionable" in 230's Good Samaritan clause in the interest of its shareholders.

        The only possible beneficiaries of these actions are elected Democratic party officials.
        Those elected Democrats are ordering these companies to perform activities that are not in their interests. The is the greatest violation of the First Amendment in American history.

        This is a

    2. Twitter is a private entity, but so was Lester Maddox's chicken restaurant.

  31. This has nothing to do with either property rights or common carriers. The only question is whether or not the social media companies were acting in concert with government bureaucracies to promote the government view and suppress opposing views.

    There is considerable, albeit circumstantial, evidence of such concerted actions. Whatever position the CDC, NIH or Fauci took, social media promoted these views and suppressed opponents' views. This was despite the quality of the opponents arguments.

    The Lords of Bureaucracy say "Jump!" and the Servants of Social Media ask "How high?"

    The answer to this is to find real, hard evidence of a quid pro quo between the bureaucracies and social media. Then it is no longer private action but state action which is subject to the 1st Amendment.

    The idea of having a government agency control media access would be like hiring Jeffrey Epstein to be your babysitter.

    1. Why wasn't trump's government able to control facebook and twitter then?

      Don't tell me, deep state.

      And just because you say so, doesn't mean that twitter and facebook are, in fact, property and ownership in that property comes with all the usual rights inherent.

      1. Because a hostile FBI leadership and the Civil Service basically spent four years ignoring hamstringing and harassing the administration?

        Trump's mistake was not emulating Obama and firing everyone right off the bat.

        "Don’t tell me, deep state"

        If you don't believe in a deep state, then you don't believe in one of, if not the core principle of libertarianism. But of course you're here to shitpost, troll and shill for the Democratic Party, so go figure.

        1. REAL libertarians implicitly trust our sacred democratic institutions, like the venerable National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    2. The answer to this is to find real, hard evidence of a quid pro quo between the bureaucracies and social media.

      Yeah, if only we could get our hands on that sort of evidence.

  32. Free markets seem to have taken precedence over free minds at Reason of late.

    I don't begrudge its writers benefitting from better post-Trump funding, but It is scandalous that it should take a social conservative to take a stand against Ill-libertarian silicon valley acolytes of the cult of Woke trashing everything the First Amendment stands for.

    1. Koch reason liberaltarians just don't know when to quit. Maybe when the ants take over.

    2. You assholes have excused all manner of behavior on the premise that the private sector is free. You don’t get to start being a socialist now. It’s far too fucking stupid.

      1. This is where you're wrong. Because the private cake bakers, etc aren't taking grants and funding from the fed gov or selling public stock. Social media companies do.

        It's not about private vs public. It's about private vs public FUNDING.

  33. Looks like Damon didn't read Robby Soave's article about Big Tech banning "misinformation." Oh well, foolish consistency, right?

  34. "Right of center" identifies Damon as a mindless Kleptocracy fan hostile to libertarian freedom and resentful of our spoiler vote clout. Long Dong has joined the Landover Baptists' War on Women as a replacement for Nixon's boy Rehnquist. Anyone eager to quicken another Darkening where superstitious aggression replaces respect for individual rights pretty much _has_ to turn against reason, logic and electricity in the same kind of package deal that prompts looters to divide suckers into LeftandRight while ignoring the LP.

    1. But what about Comstalk and the Corn Laws? How do they come into play? Do you think Nixon and Kissinger are behind it all?

      1. Hanky quite literally froze the 1970s in time and still firmly believes himself to live there. The unfortunate thing is he was totally historically illiterate even 50 years ago. He's like a communist party time capsule.

    2. Also;

      "Long Dong has joined the Landover Baptists’ War on Women as a replacement for Nixon’s boy Rehnquist"

      Do you guys think that Hank even knows?

  35. Commies at unreason hate the constitution but try to hide behind its protections when the Lefties are trying to destroy America.

    Companies are subject to regulation because the constitution does not protect them or grant rights to them like individuals get. (Assistance of counsel or right to bail).

    Civil war 2.0 aint working out well for Lefties just like democrats lost civil war 1.0

    1. You will die for a cause that simply isn’t real. You’ve been had. People are just people.

      I suppose I hope you figure that out before the US Armed Forces obliterate your face, but I can only care so much.

      1. Poor lefties. They are so scared that the jig is up on communism in America.

  36. Lol

    Piss off a Libertarian in 4 words or less.
    Okay, what's being referenced by all the age of consent/pedophilia/child porn comments? Is it the view that the state shouldn't have the power to set an age or are there weird shenanigans afoot?

  37. Privacy, Tech Policy, and Two Sorts of Libertarian

    When it comes to tech policy, then, we will remain at an impasse until our fundamental divides over political ends can be laid out and resolved. Part of the confusion is that the national freedom caucus or libertarian-leaning coalition that so loudly objected to the Patriot Act and similar security state antics in the past has broken apart faced with what are functionally DARPA projects turned into public utilities disguised as private companies. Based on the state of debate, the disguise is very good.

    The folk libertarian—or pioneer American? Perhaps just call her the populist—worries that she might be prevented from living a good life by powers arranged against her; there are ends to which her freedom is aimed, such as a family and health and religious practice, and freedom is that which permits, supports, and protects them. As if by instinct she knows the regime, or the man, is more than badges, guns, and written laws—in a world of cybernetics, distributed command and control, the borders between official agencies, NGOs, and multinationals are as porous as the nation’s. Her fear of tyranny does not distinguish between public and private, government and business, and so the populist makes a virtue of what some would call ideological inconsistency, for she will happily try to use local and national, corporate and political power alike to counter whatever she sees as an attack on a life worth living.

    Meanwhile, the elite libertarian of think tanks and industry astroturf, the ideological liberal—because she believes in freedom as an end in itself, and has made a binary distinction between the public and the private—sputters at the populist’s lack of principles. The free man is to this sort of libertarian what the monarch is to the monarchist. The libertarian believes in the free man as a matter of faith, seeks to emulate him in her pursuit of self-actualization, but she is not free, fulfilling fundamental human ends without regard for all the controls and influences that condition everyone else’s existence, and that is why she is a libertarian. In all her multiplication of choices, in all her deference to the supposed aggregate choices of others revealed by a supposedly free market (never free enough, however—epicycles abound), and her refusal to see power’s increasing indistinction, she condemns the common person, especially the populist, her folksy fellow “libertarian,” to be cut off more and more from the sort of freedom that leads to a life, public and private, worth living.

    1. Thanks for the post. Pretty well describes how the elite "libertarians" have redefined the commonly held definition.

  38. Fuck Clarence Thomas the shitbrain. Fuck Donald Trump the insane clown fire.

    These people want things that are oppressive because they are ridiculous morons indulging in propaganda-fueled culture war. The world is at the mercy of a severely mentally ill man’s delusions of fucknuttery.

    You’re all too fucking stupid to have any principles, so you should stop dabbling in the practice, shut the fuck up, and never vote again.

    1. Awwww look, Tony the AIDS riddled faggot is having a fact-free stream of consciousness temper tantrum and corpse-fucking a dead thread. Don't forget to laugh at Tony the AIDS riddled faggot.

      1. Tony is an Internet troll.
        A an troll is:
        The ‘Dark Triad’ of personality traits is characterized by psychopathy (continuous anti-social behavior, impulsivity, selfishness, callous and unemotional traits and remorselessness), Machiavellianism (manipulation and exploitation of others, an absence of morality, unemotional callousness, and a higher level of self-interest) and Narcissism (by grandiosity, pride, egotism, and a lack of empathy). Adding sadism (cruel or demeaning behavior to others, or intentionally inflicts psychological pain or suffering on others in order to assert power and dominance or for pleasure and enjoyment).
        Tony is a very injured sick individual. He needs your pity. He needs professional help. He needs prayers for his healing.

        1. I have narcissism and Machiavellianism, but I am dedicated to using those powers for good.

          Call it a hobby, but it's better than yours.

    2. The world is at the mercy of a severely mentally ill man’s delusions of fucknuttery.
      But enough about Joe Biden.

  39. We are arguing over whether a corporation has rights.

    Corporations are 'Things', just like a car, lawnmower, or kitchen table are things. No one argues that those things have rights.

    Corporations are Things, that are are creations of government and as such they can be controlled, destroyed, or altered by government.

    Setting aside theoretical arguments over whether some future Artificial Being or Intelligence may have rights, as of now only People have rights.

    We already control how other Things behave towards their product (Livestock, food, liquor, dangerous materials) and customers (warranties, safety of goods sold, honesty in advertising and contract). So controlling how Things like FaceBook, Twitter, et al., behave towards their product (subscribers and users) or customers (advertisers) is a legitimate action of government.

    If they were trying to control the individual speech of Zuckerberg, Dorsey, et al., that would be different. But that is not what is happening.

    We have been down this road before in the arguments over other Things (publishers, newspapers, etc) and rights. We determined that those Things are 'The Press" and are covered under the First Amendment Freedom of the Press, in order to allow for the dissemination of Free Speech.

    But these Things that are The Press are also liable for what they publish so far as slander, liable, and falsehoods are concerned, and therein lies a difference. Facebook and Twitter are NOT held liable for what they publish, if what they are doing is publishing.

    I contend that once they started editing, censoring, curating, or adding their own statements to the posts of users they became The Press and should be held liable. The fact they are an entirely electronic platform should make no difference between them and the New York Times simply because the NYT also has a hardcopy print version.

    So if they want to have Freedom of the Press they must also accept the same responsibilities others in that category have.

    OR, if they do not want to be policing their millions of users every word and sentence, they need to become another category of Thing that we call a Common Carrier. This is a Thing, also a creation of government, that has been created to allow free transmission of goods (UPS, FedEX) or speech (telephone service), without holding the thing liable what is carried (anthrax, bombs) or spoken (criminal conspiracies, blackmail threats).

    These Things that have arisen as Corporations need to decide if they want to be publishers and enjoy the benefits *and responsibilities* of publishers, or be Common Carriers and exist to facilitate others published speech.

    1. Well said.

  40. Twitter and other tech companies are effectively censoring right-of-center views.

    They are censoring views that Twitter and other tech companies have identified as right-of-center, but those views, had Reason been paying attention since, oh, 2014 are all over the map in some cases, and are merely going against a corporate, establishment narrative, which has a left wing bias.

    But let's keep griping about the "conservative backlash" while almost all of the biggest tech platforms are run from a few square miles in California and thus have a very monolithic view of the world, and have literally (not figuratively, but literally) declared themselves Omnipotent.

  41. Are you people fucking retarded?

    But these arguments may not be quite as strong as Thomas thinks. For one thing, today's social media enterprises neither look nor act much like traditional common carriers. Unlike a telegraph company, for instance, Twitter and Facebook not only move information from place to place but curate it and moderate it, resulting in all sorts of varied and even personalized user experiences.

    The entire goddamned point is that they AREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE DOING THIS to any content that they, themselves have not created in their capacity as a platform.

    Because they're not publishers or editors or anything like that. Who the hell would use social media if part of the terms of service said that they could edit your words at will?

    They're assuming a power they deny having to get you to post things,

    And this--

    What is more, the platforms let users curate and moderate their own unique experiences, leading to a vast array of online associations and communities. All of which qualifies as expressive activity, which is shielded by the First Amendment.

    Do you think phone companies curated and moderated people's phone calls? Or maybe telecommunications users curated and moderated their own unique experiences, leading to a vast array of associations and communities.

    Could you people BE stupider?

    All Thomas, and the rest of sane people want, is for the damned phone compamies to stop monitoring everyone's calls, and screwing with what they say--like they promised when everyone signed up.

    What you asswipes appear to want is rules you can use as weapons against anyone who disagrees.

    The wording isn't really important anymore, is it?

    The whole point is that everyone should just do as you say and stop complaining about it.

  42. Van Morrison wonders Why Are You On Facebook?

    Why are you on Facebook? (Doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo)
    Why do you need second-hand friends? (Doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo)
    Why do you really care who's trending? (Doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo)
    Or is there something you're defending? (Doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo)
    Get a life, is it that empty and sad? (Doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo)
    Or are you after something you can't have? (Doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo)
    You kiss the girls and run away (doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo)
    Now you won't come out to play (doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo)

  43. Author has it entirely backwards. Clarence Thomas was lamenting restrictions on free speech and violation of 1st Amendment rights by tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter. It is true they are private companies and normally not subject to 1st Amendment constraints, but they do not own the internet, a platform which serves as a public forum. These companies have been given immense power over what speech occurs in this public forum. They are like a private company granted a platform in the public square and have enlarged that platform to not allow other viewpoints to be voiced in the public square where they built their platform. They can choose to take their business off the internet, but they choose not to do this as they would lose money and would lose control over the public square which they effectively control.

  44. Anyone with an IQ above that of a ground squirrel knows that censorship is taking place.

    Some people figure that censorship is good, so long as it is their opponents who are the victims.

  45. *...Thomas seems to think that Twitter and other tech companies are effectively censoring right-of-center views...*

    Don't be an asshole, you know that's true. Thomas' dicta, like any other justice's, are closer to legal ruminations than researched legal theory. You also know this. This is a performative essay trying to appeal to progressives, but they are hopelessly in love with censoring opinions that differ from their own. You're wasting your time and column space, the problem is not some judges thoughts about online censorship, the problem is the massive censorship of conservative or merely counter-mainstream thought that is occurring on social media.

  46. Thanks for the best article.

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