Section 230

Trump's 'Big Tech' Lawsuits Are Ludicrous

Market power does not make a private company the equivalent of a government agency.

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No one should be surprised that former President Donald Trump, who according to a USA Today analysis had filed 4,095 lawsuits over three decades by the beginning of his presidency in 2016, has filed a series of "class action" lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter, and Google.

He accuses these firms of violating the First Amendment because they suspended his and other conservatives' social-media accounts. Some politicians act on a set of principles and others go by whatever suits their interests at any given time. If you haven't figured out which category Trump falls into, you haven't been paying attention.

Trump's interest is to stay in the limelight, and pounding the "liberal big tech firms are censoring you" drum helps keep the GOP base energized. It's also a good way to keep the money flowing. Following his press conference announcing the suits, the former president reportedly sent out an email urging his followers to, "Please contribute IMMEDIATELY."

Instead of focusing on Trump's transparent motives, I'll consider the substance of the challenge. But as the Monty Python comedians would note, the Trump team's legal arguments are "wafer thin."

Trump and his allies are smart enough to know that these legal actions have the same chance of success—ballpark zero—as his myriad lawsuits attempting to overturn the presidential election results. For starters, the former president contends that because of their market power and the special privileges these companies receive from government that they are de facto "state actors."

By obliterating the distinction between private companies and the government, Trump can then do an end-run around the plain words of the U.S. Constitution and "force Big Tech to stop censoring the American people," as Trump explained in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. When he writes force, he means government will do the forcing—by meddling in the private decisions made by private actors working in private companies.

Trump's "living and breathing" view of the Constitution would allow the state to tell tech platforms what they may and may not publish. Market power does not make a private company the equivalent of a government agency. On a parallel note, Walmart is an enormous retailer, but we don't want some Bureau of Retail Sales deciding what it sells and where it locates.

The major social-media platforms have immense market share, but they are not actual monopolies because there are no restrictions on competitors entering the market. Just because Facebook is ubiquitous doesn't mean it will always be that way, as any MySpace aficionado will tell you.

Regarding those supposed special privileges, Trump and his allies argue that tech companies receive special protections from Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which exempts them from legal liability from the posts that individual commenters make.

That's a privilege, I suppose, much in the same way that forming an LLC shields all corporations from liability—or the way the feds shield religious institutions from taxes and various regulations. On a practical note, eliminating Section 230 will only cause tech companies to become more meddlesome (or refuse to moderate at all and turn their platforms into a cesspool), but that's an issue for another day.

"The fact that they benefit from a federal law does not transform someone into the federal government," Vanderbilt law school professor Brian Fitzpatrick told The Washington Post. "All of us benefit from laws at some point or another and that does not transform us into the federal government." That's exactly right.

Trump's other argument is, "Big Tech has been illegally deputized as the censorship arm of the U.S. government" because of lobbying efforts by federal agencies to push Facebook to remove posts they deem to be disinformation. That bothers me, but unless the feds use their coercive powers, that does not make Facebook an arm of the government.

Nevertheless, the lawsuits thrill many conservatives. One writer for The Federalist recently argued that, "(T)he market versus government dichotomy that undergirds Reaganite Republicanism is wholly incapable of answering the crises we face today."

Sorry, but I'm not willing to obliterate the bright line between private companies and the government simply because of a former president's hurt feelings. Fortunately, I suspect the courts aren't going to do so, either.

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  1. Donald Trump is ludicrous

    And so is anyone who pays attention to anything he says or does. He deserves to be swept into the dustbin of history.

    So why do liberal journalists fixate on his every move?

    1. Well, how about, simply because he’s a very SERIOUS threat to democracy? Only those who care more about POWER FOR ME AND MY TRIBE, than they do about democracy and political freedom, would blow off the threat of a Trumptatorshit-fit. Trampanzees gone apeshit early this year should clue us in! The threat is REAL! Read the below FACTS (not much-so an editorial) to understand why this is true!

      https://www.salon.com/2021/04/11/trumps-big-lie-and-hitlers-is-this-how-americas-slide-into-totalitarianism-begins/
      Trump’s Big Lie and Hitler’s: Is this how America’s slide into totalitarianism begins?

      1. Funny…. The totalitarian running around finding little Hitler’s everywhere except in the mirror.

        1. So… Ya gonna refute ANY of the NUMEROUS tell-tale FACTS listed in the article? Or are ya just gonna sling around some TOTALLY unfounded accusations without citations?

          1. Those “facts” were a hot garbage pile of gaslighting and lies.

            1. Do you recall the awesome enchanter named “Tim”, in “Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail”? The one who could “summon fire without flint or tinder”? Well, you remind me of Tim… You are an enchanter who can summon persuasion without facts or logic!

              So I discussed your awesome talents with some dear personal friends on the Reason staff… Accordingly…

              Reason staff has asked me to convey the following message to you:

              Hi Fantastically Talented Author:

              Obviously, you are a silver-tongued orator, and you also know how to translate your spectacular talents to the written word! We at Reason have need for writers like you, who have near-magical persuasive powers, without having to write at great, tedious length, or resorting to boring facts and citations.

              At Reason, we pay above-market-band salaries to permanent staff, or above-market-band per-word-based fees to freelancers, at your choice. To both permanent staff, and to free-lancers, we provide excellent health, dental, and vision benefits. We also provide FREE unlimited access to nubile young groupies, although we do firmly stipulate that persuasion, not coercion, MUST be applied when taking advantage of said nubile young groupies.

              Please send your resume, and another sample of your writings, along with your salary or fee demands, to ReasonNeedsBrilliantlyPersuasiveWriters@Reason.com .

              Thank You! -Reason Staff

              1. See, he’s all embarrassed for propaganda-posting so he starts spamming his ancient copypasta.

                When the stale Monty Python rant comes out, you know Melvin feels like he lost the argument.

                1. Wow, what literary talent and rapier wit! Let’s see if I can match or exceed it, with some OTHER brilliantly smart comments that I have created just now!

                  Fuck off, spaz!
                  You eat shit, you said so yourself!
                  You’re a racist Hitler-lover!
                  Take your meds!
                  That’s so retarded!
                  You’re a Marxist!
                  Your feet stink and you don’t love Trump!
                  Your source is leftist, so it must be false!
                  Trump rules and leftists drool!
                  You are SOOO icky-poo!
                  But Goo-Goo-Gah-Gah!

                  Wow, I am now 11 times as smart and original as you are!

                  1. Look at how mad he gets.
                    Now he lost the argument his only aim is to make the comments unreadable through long spam posts.

                    1. What do you expect from a shit-eater?

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      2. Throw whole “threat to democracy” bit gets so old. if everyone doesn’t want to do democracy, what are you supposed to do? Take a vote? And are they supposed to care?

        1. Argue against them for starters. 1-party rule has NEVER worked in the long run! It is nearly synonymous with authoritarianism! When our free speech in opposition to tyranny is significantly squelched by authoritarian Government Almighty… THEN it is time to water the tree of Liberty, with the blood of tyrants!

          I can still freely access ALL the lies that I can stand, from BOTH “R” and “D” parties, so that time, thank Government Almighty, is not here yet!

          1. Why argue with people who already took a vote and want to fuck you over anyway?

            1. I will admit that people will very, very rarely change their minds… “Confirmation bias” almost always has its way! Unless you’re married to the listener, other “blood” relative (or co-worker) spending endless hours together… And even THEN, as I have learned, chances are only SLIGHTLY less slim, that you can persuade them of anything!

              I write ’cause I like to write (for fun), am often bored, and hold out for that VANISHINGLY small hope of changing people’s minds.

              And you?

              1. You’re too retarded to educate yourself, how the hell are you going to educate others?

                Learn to think critically, Sqrsly. Stop automatically swallowing organizational gaslighting.

              2. I write because I enjoy it: expressing what’s in my mind. If someone agrees, great, but I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind.

                So let’s say you change someone’s mind: why is that good?

                1. If anyone can prevent Der TrumpfenFuhrer from replacing democracy… He who wins the most votes (discounting our screwed-up electoral college at least) wins, now. Der TrumpfenFuhrer (and allies) wants to replace this with “He who whines and cries, and makes up lies” the best, wins! He DOES want to run again! And there goes democracy, potentially! I once served in the armed forces to defend multi-party democracy (the best system known so far). I would do it again! This is a hill worth dying on!

                  1. Is Trump the only reason you want multi-democracy?

                    1. He doesn’t want anything. Sqrlsy is a shitty troll who purposefully tries to ruin conversations with shitposting, if he disagrees with them politically.

                  2. So if you would die for multi-party democracy, and a single party takes over the government, does that mean you’d become an insurrectionist then?

                    1. As long as the in-control party doesn’t outlaw the out-of-office party or parties (like wannabes as the Libertarian Party sad-to-say, is today), then we still have multi-party democracy for these purposes. Also sad to say, “de facto” (but not legally binding, rule-if-law) outlawing of other parties has happened in other nations. Iran for example… NONE of your out-of-power candidates can run, because of, um, their speeding tickets! Show me the man, I will show you the crime! In the USA, under the likes of Der TrumpfenFuhrer, “de facto” outlawing of Democrats for example, can simply be done by discarding all “D” votes as being fraudulent! I am sure I could think of a few other examples of “democracy” that is fake, not real…

                      Well anyway, ONE party can have near-total control, is OK by me, as long as the other party or parties have an honest chance at replacing them in the future!

                    2. But what if the party that has control happens to be the National Socialist Party?

                      You totes cool with waiting until democracy decides we don’t want to be run by Nazis?

                    3. Here is a longer “ode to multi-centrism” of mine… Not just political, but in other categories as well. “One hand clapping” doesn’t work nearly as well as two!

                      For all ideological hard-core warmongers everywhere…

                      So ye lust after the utter, eternal destruction of the “D” team, and the eternal victory of the “R” team? (The inverse kind of ideological idiot exists also, but not so much, on these pages).

                      “R” team likes to demonize “D” team? Biden is going to outlaw the internal combustion engine, tomorrow, to “Make American Green Again”? The NEW MAGA? Bullshit, demonizers!

                      “D” team likes to say that the next “R” POTUS (Alex Jones maybe?) will outlaw ALL abortion, and birth control? And turn ALL women into enslaved baby-making machines, because every sperm is sacred? Bullshit, demonizers!

                      All is for The Hive… The Tribe-Nation… Or, All is for the Individual, and you may NOT (of your own supposed “free will”) join a VOLUNTARY commune?! There can be NO compromise, traitors!!!

                      The males must UTTERLY DEFEAT the females, who must NEVER speak again!

                      Yin must smash Yang, till Yang exists no more!

                      Creation must smash destruction! NO eggs may be broken, for making omelets!

                      Life must rule over death, and NO ONE may die, to make room for the new living! No matter HOW old and decrepit they get! YOU MAY NOT DIE!!!

                      Do you ideological idiots NOT see that “R” v/s “D” falls into the same category? You would destroy it ALL (multi-party democracy, “balance”) in the name of your POWER PIG FANTASIES!!!

                      The ONLY way that ye will get your “ultimate victory” is in the DEATH OF IT ALL!!! The new POTUS, Alex Jones, will declare Nuclear War for the Ultimate Victory… And yin and yang, male and female, “D” and “R”, individual v/s tribe… they all ARE NO MORE!!!

                      Are you HAPPY now, ideological idiots and power-lusters?!!?

                    4. Sorry, I’m not reading gibberish.

                      Have a good day!

                    5. “You totes cool with waiting until democracy decides we don’t want to be run by Nazis?”

                      Yes, I am, if dealing with HYPOTHETICAL NAZIs who were willing to allow other parties to run against them (which of course the real NAZIs were NOT willing to do!). Voters can come to their senses after their stupid Government Almighty does stupid things. In THAT case, it beats the hell out of fighting a war! One-Party states are a different matter, sometimes, when they will listen to NOTHING but force!

                    6. “Sorry, I’m not reading gibberish.”

                      You know that it is gibberish without reading it? Have you been imbibing totally self-assured self-righteousness from the right-wing wing-nuts on these pages?

      3. spaz flag, and I’m sure there will be many. No one touches the asshole spastic for TDS!

      4. Trump’s Big Lie and Hitler’s: Is this how America’s slide into totalitarianism begins?

        Accusing opponents of “the Big Lie” and accusing opponents of an attack on parliament is indeed how Hitler came to power; of course, when you’re saying that, you are equating Biden with Hitler.

        Not surprising either, since Democrats also promised MMT, free college, government healthcare, government guarantees of jobs, etc., just like their ideological relatives in Germany.

    2. He’s a stand in for half the country.
      It’s just more practical to focus on one person.

      1. I think half is an over estimate. But that of course does say much good about the part of the country he is a stand in for.

        1. Actually it speaks volumes about how horrid the rest of you are. But your lack of self awareness parents you from seeing that.

        2. Half is an UNDERestimate.

          But the people in the cities are afraid of the BLM and Antifa Fascists, so they are keeping a lower profile, rather than drawing the focus of people who have become increasingly bold with their violence.

          I know people who are avoiding going into California cities, and when they have a compelling reason to go, they are armed when they do.

        3. Not a spaz, simply a fucking ignoramus.
          Fuck off and die M4e; make the world a better place.

    3. Good question. I guess it just like a car accident, people have to look.

      1. Have you bothered reading about Marx yet?

        1. Marx was against private ownership of the means of production (like web sites today, for example). That makes him just like the right-wing wing-nuts that want to revoke Section 230, and have Government Almighty be the arbi-TRAITORS of The Truth!

          1. What does a bill granting special government favors to a few private companies have to do with private ownership?

            1. Hey EvilBahnFuhrer… No matter HOW many times you tell your “Big Lie”, it is NOT true! You’re part of the mob, aren’t you, gangster? For a small fee, you tell small businesses that you will “protect” them… From you and your mob! Refute the below, ye greedy authoritarian who wants to shit all over the concept of private property!

              Look, I’ll make it pretty simple for simpletons. A prime argument of enemies of Section 230 is, since the government does such a HUGE favor for owners of web sites, by PROTECTING web site owners from being sued (in the courts of Government Almighty) as a “publisher”, then this is an unfair treatment of web site owners! Who SHOULD (lacking “unfair” section 230 provisions) be able to get SUED for the writings of OTHER PEOPLE! And punished by Government Almighty, for disobeying any and all decrees from Government Almighty’s courts, after getting sued!

              In a nutshell: Government Almighty should be able to boss around your uses of your web site, because, after all, Government Almighty is “protecting” you… From Government Almighty!!!

              Wow, just THINK of what we could do with this logic! Government Almighty is “protecting” you from getting sued in matters concerning who you chose to date or marry… In matters concerning what line of work you chose… What you eat and drink… What you read… What you think… Therefore, Government Almighty should be able to boss you around on ALL of these matters, and more! The only limits are the imaginations and power-lusts of politicians!

              1. What nonsense, 230 was so poorly written that it confers special privileges without actually protecting speech.
                In fact it does the opposite of protecting speech. It gives the government the ability to evade the First Amendment through shell-company alliances.

                Of course you know this, but are peddling your Big Lie because you’re evil.

                1. Right-wing wrong-nuts are STILL wrong, no matter HOW much Orange Dick that they suck!

                  1. assholic spaz

                  2. Right-wing wrong-nuts are STILL wrong

                    Yes, you are, SQRLSY!

                    no matter HOW much Orange Dick that they suck!

                    You’re a little ahead of your fellow brownshirts, SQRLSY; your fascist leader hasn’t called yet for the purging of homosexuals from the party.

              2. Hey EvilBahnFuhrer… No matter HOW many times you tell your “Big Lie”, it is NOT true!

                Goebbels couldn’t have said it any better than you!

          2. Section 230 is pure crony capitalism, a legal liability exemption for one industry and not others.

            Naturally, being shills for the ruling class, Reason cheers it on. Even creates a dedicated section in their site to cheer it on.

    4. >> Harpua

      saw them Wednesday in Arkansas. special as always.

    5. Trump is the best and last US president before el presidente and his banana republic commies took over.

      Lefties cant let Trump go because Trump is correct more than he is wrong. Also he showed that anyone who is not a commie can win an election against establishment traitors and set the democrat party back 40 years.

      1. Tech companies are not free market examples.

        They are creations of the state as public corporation and given certain protections for limited liability in exchange for certain concessions.

        Commies at unreason are too stupid to see this or refuse to admit it. The commie tech executives want the protections and no concessions. It doesnt work that way.

        Tech companies agreed to these concessions by taking the protections. They are free to refuse the concessions AND the portections.

  2. Let’s see: I blame Biden for the most recent assault on the first amendment. But then I can also blame Trump for the ridiculous lawsuits. And blame also can be placed on Hillary for her suit against Citizen’s United. Or Obama for trying to prosecute journalists under the Sedition Act. Then there is Bush to blame, for signing into law an election “reform” law which he publicly doubted at least some parts of which were unconstitutional. And of course, there is LBJ who threatened the licenses of radio stations who wouldn’t carry his political ads, and well, you get the drift. Nothing new here. What is the old saw about power corrupting?

    1. So true.

      1. both sides

      2. So full of shit.

    2. Corporations want the state created limited liability protections AND none of the concessions to maintain free speech for all.

      Companies are free to reject the limited liability AND concessions. They refuse to do it.

      1. Corporations, like all groups of individuals, are free to say, or not to say, what they want. This is true of mega-corporations, as well as the local PTA or Elks club. Unless one wishes to overturn Citizens United v FCC.

  3. You ignore the core point of the lawsuit until what is practically a footnote: Trump is alleging that multiple social media companies silenced his speech on the request and demand of the Democratic Party.

    This very month, Biden clearly and explicitly accused Google of murder for not censoring critics of his health department. There have been public threats of regulation and even personal prosecution of executives. How explicit do you believe a threat must be before it becomes coercion? That threshold to me was passed long ago.

    Finally, you ignore the core problem that social media companies form an oligopoly that clearly and explicitly coordinate in ways that would be clearly violations of anti-trust law in any other context, and they have used that power to shut down competition. Please see the systematic destruction of Parler by Google and Amazon last year. The only reason it survived was mass media coverage and a dedicated following. How much of a monopoly do you need until it becomes too much? For me, we’ve clearly passed any reasonable threshold.

    1. He doesn’t ignore that at all.

      If you feel the problem is that they’re too big then break them up via antitrust and foster competition. The answer isn’t to sue them and accuse them of violating first amendment rights because they wouldn’t let you use their private property to shout bullshit.

      1. Did you miss the part where the democrats have been using exactly that threat to gain their compliance?

        1. “Did you miss the part where the democrats have been using exactly that threat to gain their compliance?”

          He ‘missed it’ as a result of abysmal stupidity.

      2. It is not about their size. It is about the government coordinating their activities such that they are now doing the government’s work.

        The real answer of course is to break up the government. The stakes of “winning” the government are so big that every single question of our life has become a high stakes political gambit. I have to give a shit about what some school board in Kansas is doing because ultimately congress is going to pass a law on it tomorrow.

        1. “The real answer of course is to break up the government.”
          Nail, meet hammer.

      3. And this dipshit ignores it again

  4. Boy you’re gonna ruffle the feathers of the trump nuthuggers with this one though you’re of course right.

    1. OK jeffsarc whatever you say lard

      1. I think it’s Tony, so the correct appellation is actually “cocksucker”.

        1. Either way, they should all be mulched. Enough is enough.

    2. That includes Professor Volokh apparently because he has cited the case precedent against these companies that have admitted to collusion with government agencies.

      1. Apparently to raspberries, expecting media companies to not collude with political parties or silence voices from one side of the spectrum makes you a Trump supporter.

        1. According to Shitlunches, any wrongthink or deviation from the democrat narrative makes you a Trump supporter. Progs always think in terms of false binary choices. It’s part of their totalitarianism.

    3. Commie unreason staff get their feathers ruffled daily when is pointed out the have been sucking hillarys dick for years and now fully support the party of slavery, segregation, and the KKK.

    4. We’re gonna get a ton of TDS-addled assholes like you.

  5. You are a little late with this take.

    For some reason the white house already decided to go public with their connection to tech companies as directors of acceptable speech.

    Also, they all have taken positions that DNC proxies shall be the arbiters of truth in areas where the government is not the source of truth.

    This lawsuit comes down to one and only one thing…. Do they have an establish!ent court or not. They certainly should be able to get to discovery, if they have an honest broker on the bench…. And that is where the game lies.

    1. “They certainly should be able to get to discovery, if they have an honest broker on the bench…. And that is where the game lies.”

      This. As I said when Biden and Psaki came out and said the quiet part out loud, it seems pretty obvious that they’d already been saying those things in private. And I think it’s very telling that Reason isn’t interested in having any of that exposed.

      1. Cocktail party invites > 1A

  6. “‘One writer for The Federalist recently argued that, “(T)he market versus government dichotomy that undergirds Reaganite Republicanism is wholly incapable of answering the crises we face today.”‘

    I generally agree, a least in broad strokes, with much of what The Federalist publishes, but, Spencer Lindquist, the aforementioned writer, seems to be quite the idiot.

    1. Fascism (wedding corporations to government) makes private property capitalism in a tough spot.

      Anti-trust law was supposed to be a check on the kind of natural collusion money and power seek with each other. But corrupt enforcement of it leaves us fighting in ways seemingly at odds with private property rights.

  7. This kind of story is a good illustration of how the political parties in this country are only looking out for their own interests, never mind their high-minded rhetoric about “the people”.

    So now we have Republicans calling for Big Government to regulate private companies, and Democrats shrieking “They’re private companies!!! They can do anything they want!!!”

    1. The Republicans are asking to not extend extra legal protections to companies that choose to censor voices. However is the removal of an extra benefit a regulation? A company is free to choose whether they want to censor or receive extra protections.

      1. Modern libertarianism is all about cronyism for the proper cronies

    2. Don’t leave out the libertarians for fascism, they have something stupid and liberty destroying as well. Just talk to any of the writers here and you can see that.

      1. Theyre not libertarians that work at unreason. Theyre all commies or anarchists.

  8. writers who makes, $30k a year? waxing on how terrible it is to pick on trillion dollar companies run by amoral billionaires. who the feds already identified as working with them.

    end section 230, break up trillion dollar multinational corporations, sink social media companies that collude with governments to oppress people, and arrest their execs for treason.

  9. The Trump cult and the Elizabeth Warren crowd are both screaming to break up Big Tech.

    What sad company for each to be in.

    1. I know. Warren asking to regulate speech is exactly the same as those saying to extend 230 only to those who choose not to.

      Exactly the same.

      Man biden cultists are dumb.

      1. Many of them, inc,using Buttplug, like to fuck children too.

    2. turd lies. It’s what he does. He lies in every post such as this one.
      If turd includes numbers of any sort, they are either outright lies or cherry-picked to be worthless.
      turd lies; it’s what he does. Always.

  10. On a practical note, eliminating Section 230 will only cause tech companies to become more meddlesome (or refuse to moderate at all and turn their platforms into a cesspool)

    Interesting that you think that without moderation, without a central guiding hand, the internet will turn into a cesspool. So many dirty, stupid people with their stupid, dirty opinions, eh?

    1. No. That is not the argument being made. The argument is that if 230 protects companies from being liable for their users speech, then removing that protection means that they will censor MORE. If Reason could be held liable along with the commenter every time he mentioned woodchippers on the site, why would they allow such comments to stay?

      1. The protections you erect fear around already exist. Comments prior to 230 were not legally actionable to the company. Just like a billboard operator isnt responsible for the messaging on their billboards. This is straight fear mongering. 230 didn’t always exist. And if you are so fearful of the actions you say then extend it to all industry, not just one.

        The fact is 230 was stretched to also cover company curation or speech (twitters added commentary to posts) as well as violations of the terms of the ToS being violated by the company (Meagan Murphy lawsuit).

        All ending 230 does is allow suits against the actions the companies purposefully take.

        If say a guy at a computer repair shop is declared a hacker by Twitter, Twitter can be sued over the accusations (case still pending)

        If Twitter removes someone for some misinformation that is not, the person can sue for reputation all harm.

        Your fear mongering is a complete misrepresentation of what 230 does in action.

        1. “If say a guy at a computer repair shop is declared a hacker by Twitter, Twitter can be sued over the accusations (case still pending)”

          Cite?

          1. I think he’s referring to the guy that had Hunter’s laptop.

            1. Yeah that went sailing over my head.

      2. If I have a website and crowdsource the content, picking and choosing what stays (gets broadcast) and what goes (is removed), how am I any different than other publishers?

        1. And why aren’t actual billboard owners/operators afforded the same sort of liability shield for what appears on their “message systems?”

      3. Except Greenhut explicitly made the cesspool argument.

        I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider this place a cesspool, even with actual bigots like KAR and Misek posting.

        1. Plenty of other bigots post here, but most get a pass because they are mostly anti-religious bigots and they are not as over the top as KAR.

          This is the internet. Viewed in that context this place is not remotely a cesspool.

          1. I find it quite charming.

              1. i was going to make a similar point… the comments here are uncensored but [personal flame wars and obvious trolling aside] i find it the best comment section on news topics i’ve encountered so far. learn a lot, expand my vocabulary, see other sides of issues… lots of good mixed in with the intellectual and emotional detritus – and even some of that is at least amusing at times

      4. From a conversation I had with Reason directors, they wouldn’t even bother keeping the comments section. They’d just get rid of it.

        1. Lol, are you trying to hint you’re an employee?

          If an bureaucracy-fancying, censorious goon like you actually has an in with the Foundation, it suddenly explains a lot.

        2. That would be a very effective way of pruning page views [IMO].
          Plus, how would ending the protection change the way this site is administered… just don’t curate comments at all and have a free-for-all (the way it appears to be now) and not be responsible for comments. am i missing something?
          Or do they fear the anti libertarian groups would then frivolously sue them till it was no longer financially viable to operate?

  11. “Ludicrous”?

    I can only assume that this is another example of ENB writing the headlines again, but in case this is Greenhut’s actual position, let’s be very clear:

    Calling these arguments “ludicrous” is a cheap rhetorical trick designed to avoid really discussing the merits of the Trump team’s discussion. On a close analysis of the facts, Trump’s team may be wrong, but the argument that a private company could be carrying out the will of the government, and therefore might be a de facto government actor is not ludicrous on its face.

    In a fascist state, the means of production are owned by private individuals, but they are members of the ruling party, and so they coordinate closely with the government to enact the policies. If the Party decides that certain speech is disallowed, and private companies carry out this will be blocking it from print, of course it is government action. This is the text book definition of Fascism, and nobody would ever argue that once you move to fascism, totalitarian governments get a pass on this issue.

    So we know it is not absurd (Soave’s word in a previous article) or ludicrous (Greenhut’s) to argue that a private company could be acting as a ward of the state in a fascist system.

    But could it happen in a country that is not explicitly fascist? Do a search for “Was the Hollywood Black list Constitutional” and you will find many, many scholars arguing specifically that congress was threatening to break up and otherwise ruin Hollywood companies if they did not suppress the speech of communists. No law was written saying “Communist speech not allowed.” They just implied it, and Hollywood reacted by creating a privately managed black list. Again, reasonable people can argue whether this met the definition of Hollywood being a state actor here, but to try and steal a base with words like “absurd” and “Ludicrous” is not becoming of Reason.

    The government has very specifically said to companies like Facebook, Google and others, “You are huge platforms and we don’t like how you are managing the speech of your users” They have said that over, and over, and over again. They have hauled the leaders in front of congress, under oath, to testify here. They have very specifically fired warning shots by filing anti-trust suits against some of them. It is not absurd or ludicrous to think that there is a very CLEAR message being sent from the government: “Manage speech on your platform, or we will break you up”.

    1. This was a better analysis than the TDS article. The Hollywood black list is an interesting parallel to what’s happening today. Thanks.

      1. Communism was real, and communist spies in America were real (atomic secrets etc.). NO Hollywood actors or actresses, producers, or directors, had jobs even REMOTELY related to communist spying! This was all red-meat-for-the-troglodytes made-up bullshit, by Joe McCarthy etc. (Note, of the “R” party). The solution would have been for the private market to step up and make “better” movies, as desired by viewers, if they were sick and tired of HollyWeird propaganda (as I imagine I might have been).

        Today we have the “R” party once again cooking up total bullshit! Is there ANYONE in the USA who wants to “access” the lies of the former Trumptatorshit, and can NOT access these lies? If there is a DIRE need to access these lies, then PLEASE, be my guest, and fill the market need! Has ANYONE been jailed yet, for spreading Trump’s Big Lies? When THAT happens, THEN you have a real justification for whining and crying, crybabies!

        1. Oh please. Joe McCarthy had nothing to do with Hollywood. That was handled on a bipartisan basis in the House under HUAC. Crazy Joe went after communist infiltrators in Government until he imploded and run out of town on a rail. And ‘lies’ are protected speech if not found to incite and immediate and imminent riot or contain libel or slander. Grade : F

          1. McCarthy started the whole mess! He was “R” party!

            From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism

            Republicans tended to like what McCarthy was doing and Democrats did not, though McCarthy had significant support from traditional Democratic ethnic groups, especially Catholics, as well as many unskilled workers and small-business owners.

            1. But you’re McCarthy’s spiritual heir Sqrlsy. It’s why you fight for the right for the Democrats to censor actual Oxford University Virologists on Twitter.

              1. Hi MammaryBahnFuhrer!

                99.99% of the readers caught onto your non-stop lies, so you had to change your handle?

                PS, thanks for letting me live rent-free in your teeny-tiny so-called “brain”!

                1. Sorry Sqrlsy. Try harder. You can do it. Even with a smooth cerebellum like yours. You crazy, lying creep.

                  1. Right-wing wrong-nuts, please listen,
                    You don’t know, what you’re missin’!
                    Soaking in your Trump-delusions land,
                    Playing with your Trump-delusions gland,
                    Did yer Mamma ever tell you,
                    Smarter people can smell you,
                    And your lies, which betray you,
                    You reveal all to those who know,
                    Self-deluded ones, themselves, they blow!

                    1. Four flags for the spastic asshole!

            2. [SQRLSY:] McCarthy started the whole mess! He was “R” party! From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism

              From your very own link:

              What would become known as the McCarthy era began before McCarthy’s rise to national fame. Following the First Red Scare, President Harry S. Truman signed an executive order […]

              HUAC formed in 1938; McCarthy’s Senate committee formed in 1950 and didn’t head it until 1953. At that time, McCarthy went after Soviet spies and sympathizers in the US government, and we now know that his list contained many actual communists.

              In other words, SQRLSY, you are lying through your teeth.

        2. “Is there ANYONE in the USA who wants to ‘access’ the lies of the former Trumptatorshit, and can NOT access these lies?”

          Trump has his own social media site (which really undermines his lawsuit). Admittedly, not a successful or popular site yet, but whose fault is that.

          1. Have you guys figured out how to shut it down yet? Maybe make him build his own internet?

      2. For the sake of clarity, I do agree that anti-trust actions are sorely over-used, abused… Especially if used to try to “manage” the flow of information, to include lies. The antidote to lies is the truth, not Government Almighty punishment, of ANY sort!

        1. spaz gets one more!

        2. SQRLSY: we don’t care what a lying fascist like you “agrees” on.

  12. Market power does not make a private company the equivalent of a government agency.

    No, but working as agents for the government does.

    1. “No, but working as agents for the government does.”

      If a private person willingly supports a particular policy of the government, and makes public their support of that policy, are they also “agents of the government?”

      1. He answered that already.

        1. Then, if a person, working with their business partners, promotes a particular policy supported by whoever sits in the White House. through their company newsletter… are they, then, agents of the government? Can the government compel them to speak, or not speak? At what point does the government “step in” to save us?

          1. Ask the DNC – they know the procedure

            1. + And a whole bunch of Repubs aren’t exactly “immune” from that compulsion, either.

          2. There is a qualitative difference between a slippery slope and an overstretched analogy.

      2. Private persons join government agencies as employees and contractors all the time. Should they not be considered government agents when they get orders from other government agents to carry out government policy?

        1. “Should they not be considered government agents when they get orders from other government agents to carry out government policy?”

          I guess it depends on the policies in question…. and that depends on which party happens to be controlling the government. Most people who work for the government are like other working people — they have too much to lose personally to question too vociferously the efficacy of whatever policy comes down the line.

          This is why we need to shrink the federal government, and its number of employees, including those working for the States, but funded by the feds, by at least 75%.

      3. Yes, this point must be addressed. It wasn’t that long ago a common conservative complaint is that the management and employees of companies like Facebook were too liberal. Now, the claim is that companies like Facebook are being coerced; but can you be coerced if you are already inclined to help out the Democrats, anyway?

        1. Friendface was never too liberal.

          Lefties are not liberals and never have been for the constitution, protect rights, or natural rights.

          Lefties use the constitution and “rights” as a ruse to further tyranny. Abortion rights are used as a Political power agenda. If abortion rights were really valued by Lefties than all medical decision would be private and up to an individual. See vaccine mandates as a prime example why Lefties are liars and hypocrites on body control rights.

        2. Yes.

          This isn’t difficult.

          1. It is if you’re a simpleton like Dee.

  13. Greenhut should go talk with Professor Volokh who has cited multiple precedents about private companies being coerced by government and free speech.

    Their collusion with government regarding censorship actually does fall into a violation of individual rights based on current court precedent.

  14. It doesn’t appear to me that Trump’s position is being accurately represented here. Let’s look at the actual text of the Wall Street Journal article.

    “Big Tech and government agencies are actively coordinating to remove content from the platforms according to the guidance of agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Big Tech and traditional media entities formed the Trusted News Initiative, which essentially takes instructions from the CDC about what information they need to “combat.” The tech companies are doing the government’s bidding, colluding to censor unapproved ideas.

    This coercion and coordination is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has held that Congress can’t use private actors to achieve what the Constitution prohibits it from doing itself. In effect, Big Tech has been illegally deputized as the censorship arm of the U.S. government. This should alarm you no matter your political persuasion. It is unacceptable, unlawful and un-American.

    —-Donald J. Trump, July 8, 2021

    “Why I’m Suing Big Tech”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-j-trump-why-im-suing-big-tech-11625761897?

    Trump stated that because social media was using guidance from government agencies like the Center for Disease Control to decide what people can and can’t say, the government is effectively censoring speech that contradicts the government. Ten days after Trump published that article in the Journal, the White House Press Secretary publicly stated that the White House was referring specific posts and pages to Facebook for deletion and deplatforming because they contradicted the CDC. Later that day, President Biden himself confirmed that the White House was flagging posts and pages for Facebook to delete that contradicted the CDC–and alleged that Facebook was killing people.

    Using the coercive power of government to pressure Facebook into censoring posts and deplatforming people may be the worst real world example of a private company exercising its private property rights in the United States that I can think of at this point in time. There may have been some basis to question whether what Trump was saying was true about Americans not being able to contradict agencies like the CDC or the NIH back before the White House openly admitted to pressuring Facebook to censor our speech. Those questions went out the window when the White House confirmed that the allegations Trump made against them were even worse than he said.

    1. You left a dot unconnected: flagging may mean only suggesting, without any coercion. Of course, that’s a question that could be explored with evidence if the lawsuit makes it to court.

      1. OK, technically, you left a line segment unconnected, so two dots.

        1. Technically, you’re full of shit.

    2. Same reason police cant use nonpolice as their agents and then violate an Americans protected rights.

      If the state was allowed to do this, effectively the Constitution provides no protections from state tyranny. The state should be restrained from violating rights no matter what avenue/party it choses.

  15. Not enough on the ole resume to attract the attention of the New York times, Stevie?
    Let the Courts figure out the validity of the lawsuits.
    Facebook, Amazon and the rest of them put the bullseye on their back when they started carrying water for the DNC. Last year I was bombarded with ads for Biden and other Democrats, but when we tried to purchase ads for a local Republican candidate we were turned down. There’s no bias there, right, just like there’s no bias in your article.

    1. “Last year I was bombarded with ads for Biden and other Democrats, but when we tried to purchase ads for a local Republican candidate we were turned down.”

      LBJ threatened to revoke the licenses of those radio stations which refused to carry his political advertisements. Do we really want to return to that? Will we be better off with “compelled speech?”

      1. Totes best to protect the status quo at all costs and submit to totalitarianism (as long as it’s the left)

  16. “The major social-media platforms have immense market share, but they are not actual monopolies because there are no restrictions on competitors entering the market.”

    This is an interesting assertion for two reasons.

    1) Because you’re not a monopoly doesn’t mean you aren’t engaging in collusion, and colluding together–as if you were a monopoly–is also monopolistic behavior.

    While it’s possible that all the social media companies independently came to the same conclusions for the same reasons at the same time about deplatforming Trump, Parler, and many others, it sure looks like collusion. It looks like Big Tech was acting at the behest of government, too.

    2) You might not think Big Tech and the social media companies are a monopoly, but the FTC and the Justice Department are bringing antitrust actions against them for what they allege is monopolistic behavior anyway.

    Both Amazon and Facebook are fighting to have President Biden’s appointee to the FTC, Lina Khan, recused all the things she’s written about breaking up Amazon in the past, for instance.

    In fact, Lina Khan was the lead author on a report by the Democrats in the House (in October of 2020) that called for breaking up Facebook into smaller companies specifically because the lack of competition leads them to tolerate “misinformaiton” on their platform. Read it yourself:

    “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”.

    —-Lina Khan, et. al., page 14 of 450.

    https://judiciary.house.gov/uploadedfiles/competition_in_digital_markets.pdf

    Facebook and others are clearly being subjected to government intimidation, and are censoring people at the behest of government for fear that the FTC, the Justice Department, and the Democratic party (which virtually controls the entire federal government), will break their companies up into little pieces if they don’t censor and deplatform. And defending this censorship in terms of private companies exercising their rights is ludicrous.

    It’s very much like Hollywood studios succumbing to blacklists during the Red Scare. That wasn’t an example of private companies exercising their rights through freedom of association. That was an example of government intimidation and a horrific violation of the First Amendment. The government imposed the blacklist against the backdrop of antitrust investigations and threats of breaking up their companies, too.

    Someday, libertarians will look back at this era the same way we look back on the Red Scare, and they’ll be amazed that some people defended rank government intimidation of social media companies in terms of their private property rights and freedom of association.

    I’m willing to assume that these people are just horribly confused for the time being, but at some point, they really need to wake up and smell the coffee. The wood you’re carrying for those progressives is not meant to build protection for the private property rights of big tech companies. The wood you’re carrying for the progressives is meant to build a gallows from which they intend to hang our freedom of speech online. You’re not on the side of private property and free speech.

    1. “Facebook and others are clearly being subjected to government intimidation, and are censoring people at the behest of government for fear that the FTC, the Justice Department, and the Democratic party (which virtually controls the entire federal government), will break their companies up into little pieces if they don’t censor and deplatform.”

      If true, then maybe the “solution” is to breakup the FTC, and, by law, severely limit the reach of the Justice Department.

      1. And in the meantime?

        1. If the government is in the hands of one party in a two-party system, then start a third party. The only way to rein-in the government is to shrink its size by 75% or more. Is there a party which proposes that?

          Short-term? Start your own blog, news service, social media group, whatever. Hell, just do something — in most cases, that means working cooperatively, of course.

          (Note: it’s not going to go away easily, since the FTC, and all those alphabetized agencies are but a pawn of the “ruling party” — and it will always be such as long as we have Big Gov “protecting” us)

          But more government intrusion is not the answer — it’s the problem.

          1. Seeing the libertarians invade one of the two parties makes sense, too.

            New Hampshire may be pointing the way. The Majority Leader in the New Hampshire House of Representatives is a Free State Project guy. He made it there by helping to elect a slate of dozens of libertarians to the New Hampshire House. No, neither he nor the other members of his coalition are Libertarians. They’re Republicans. But so what? Who cares about the label when you can’t create a new law in New Hampshire unless someone who came there as part of the Free State project says it’s okay.

            Our system is dominated by two parties because of single member districts and the winner take all system. The path of least resistance in that system isn’t to defy the gameboard and create a viable third party. The path of least resistance is to infiltrate one of the two main parties. I suggest we focus our efforts on infiltrating the one that isn’t fundamentally hostile to capitalism, free speech, gun rights, and school choice.

            It seems to be working in New Hampshire.

            1. +

          2. “My solution is to jerk off in the corner while watching leftist totalitarianism take over”

    2. So the solution to government pressuring social media is to give the government more power over social media?

      1. I don’t understand where you’re getting that .

        I support Section 230.

        In what way am I advocating giving government more control over social media?

        1. Even if you didn’t support it, I fail to see how it’s repeal would mean more regulation.

          1. The question I’ve yet to see answered.

      2. Government exercises its control over social media via threats of anti-trust enforcement, threats of new taxes, threats of criminal liability, threats of securities/financial enforcement, and government contracts, among others.

        With that, government almost has complete control over content already. Unless you abolish most/all of those control mechanisms, that will continue.

        On the other hand, burdening tech companies with more regulations and scrutiny will make them less competitive without giving government control it doesn’t already have. Making big tech more susceptible to private lawsuits will make them less competitive. Tying them up in legal cases and bad press makes them less competitive.

        That’s why giving government more control over social media giants is actually one of the few feasible approaches to regaining free speech. Additional government regulations and control will not lead to more free speech on those big platforms, but they will harm their competitiveness and allow smaller companies to enter the market and compete.

        1. “That’s why giving government more control over social media giants is actually one of the few feasible approaches to regaining free speech.”

          And when the government decides to exercise its control over this comment platform, I guess their work will be done.

          When it comes to 1A rights, I am an anarchist. And I don’t apologize for it.

          1. It already is, you fucking idiot.

            1. You know, Nardz, once in a while I actually agree with some point you are making. I am sure this is true of others, as well. Silly responses like this tend to undermine your credibility. You are completely free to say whatever you like, including calling me a “fucking idiot.” It’s no skin off my hide. Just don’t expect me to take you seriously.

              1. Well, you certainly undermine your credibility by not bothering to read what you are responding to and making ridiculous claims that “when it comes to 1A rights, I am an anarchist”.

              2. Yes, calling you a fucking idiot was rude and should be reserved for more consistently idiotic posters.
                So: apologies.
                At the same time, your willful ignorance on the matter at hand and blind adherence to dogma is both frustrating and repetitive.
                The status quo is the left in control of all institutions coordinating to vilify and censor opposing voices via State coercion, mob pressure, and oligarchic collusion.
                You say you fear the government having (more) control over communication because it might lead to censorship?
                Well, the scenario you fear is the way it is now.
                What’s left to lose?

                1. Nardz:

                  Apology accepted. My “willful” ignorance is not “ignorance” at all. It’s a difference of opinion. I do not for one minute believe that putting “burdens” on a company to control their speech because they exercise what I believe is their first amendment rights is any solution to anything. But, even if such a scheme did work in somehow “moderating” speech, I don’t believe the government would waste anytime twisting it into a model to control speech they don’t like.

                  1. You’re ignoring what is actually happening right now, in reality.
                    What you fear would happen is now status quo.
                    If you’ve got other suggestions for feasible ways to combat leftist totalitarianism, I’m all ears.
                    I don’t trust Daddy Gov either.
                    But at this point, there’s really no reason to not try anything.

          2. And when the government decides to exercise its control over this comment platform, I guess their work will be done.

            Did you read anything I wrote? If the government wants to exercise control over Reason, it already can; additional regulations won’t give it any powers or control it doesn’t already have.

            What regulations aimed at big social media platforms would do is giving a fly-by-night operation like Reason a competitive advantage because they will hurt the big platforms more than they will hurt Reason.

            1. Yep. I read every word. Three times now, actually. And I don’t believe it’s the government’s role to favor one platform over another. It’s not the government’s role to pick winners and losers. We disagree on this. Quite a lot. And that’s okay.

              1. Yep. I read every word. Three times now, actually.

                Well, then let me highlight for you what you obviously missed three times:

                government almost has complete control over content already

                You are defending the status quo in which government controls big corporations, tells them what to do, and uses that to violate the Constitution.

                And I don’t believe it’s the government’s role to favor one platform over another.

                That’s exactly what you believe, since you are defending the status quo.

                1. Eliminating the FCC is not promoting the status quo.
                  Proposing that the federal government be slashed by 75% is not supporting the status quo.

                  Believing that a very small federal government, concentrated on protecting the rights of individuals instead of trying to solve social problems it cannot possibly “fix,” is not supporting the status quo.

                  Arguing that a federal government without the resources to try to control what happens in every household, business, and school (or website) in the country would be a wonderful thing, is not supporting the status quo.

                  My political philosophy is based on minarchism, which I am sure you have heard of — sometimes called “The Nightwatchman State,” I don’t know anything farther from the status quo.

                  1. My political philosophy is based on minarchism

                    Funny, so is mine.

                    If true, then maybe the “solution” is to breakup the FTC, and, by law, severely limit the reach of the Justice Department.

                    Making unrealistic proposals like that means that you are sabotaging the cause of minarchism; you are a useful idiot for authoritarians.

                  2. Your fantasies are great and all, but they don’t really have any bearing on the world as it is.

                    1. “Your fantasies are great and all, but they don’t really have any bearing on the world as it is.”

                      You may be correct about that, Nardz. But., as long as we have Big Government, and it keeps getting bigger, things will continue to get worse.

                      It will probably take at least a whole generation to just stem the growth of the federal government, and another to reverse it. But, one piece at a time, I think it can be done. Let’s start with the Department of Education, perhaps THE most perfect example of government interference. Almost nobody had ever heard of the DofE until Jimmy Carter “christened it.” It was formed in 1867, but relegated to “Office” status in 1868, and it’s purpose was simple — collect information on the state of education in the nation. Now it invades every house, every school, and every school-kid’s mind.

                      Just like the CDC and FCC, and many, if not all, “Departments,” they are now political tools used by whoever is in office. Some come complete with their own police forces.

                    2. My direct political activism is concentrate on the local level — I believe that is, long-term, the only real way to “win.” I support, financially, local politicians.

                      The socialists took over the Democratic Party in the ’30’s doing exactly that. So I help libertarians, and libertarian-leaning independents and Republicans, to get elected. I am not wealthy, but I do have a “War Chest.”

                      Our town council has but one Dem on it, and she isn’t too bad (she’s a retired engineer of some repute, and she handles the budget). Three are Repubs — sort of “old-school” Repubs (you know the type, pro-business and small government advocates) and one independent. I have only been here a couple of years, so I can’t take credit for what it looks like, but I hope to see the trend continue. And when I see a candidate for State representative I can stand. I will support them.

                    3. But., as long as we have Big Government, and it keeps getting bigger, things will continue to get worse. It will probably take at least a whole generation to just stem the growth of the federal government, and another to reverse it.

                      So you think of politics in terms of one parameter: the size of government. Then you divide changes in policies into “makes government bigger” and “makes government smaller”. That’s laughably reductive; you think like a progressive with their naive and reductive models of the world and human behavior.

                      It will probably take at least a whole generation to just stem the growth of the federal government, and another to reverse it

                      The growth of the federal government will probably never be stemmed, and people like you are just pouring gasoline on the fire.

                      Progressives keep using you to grow government by enlisting your support for policies that you erroneously believe advance liberty while actually just furthering the progressive and authoritarian agenda.

                      Viz your support for protecting corporate giants who are colluding with government from onerous regulations.

      3. The ‘solution’ would be to get TDS-addled assholes like you to fuck off and die.

  17. The writers at reason are either woefully ignorant, or partisan hacks engaging in a copious amounts of willful ignorance.

    1. Why not both?

  18. 4095 law suits and whats his win loose score thats the real question not the quantity. I’d also like to know what is the typical number of suites by any person or corporation that works in the billions of dollars. probably not much different.

    1. Let’s not go overboard. Trump is a deliberately controversial character who has engaged in deliberately controversial business endeavors. Most Notably, Trump University had been embroiled in legal controversy and lawsuits, and Trump himself seems to pride himself on being abrasive and making enemies.

      It’s normal for people of his wealth and business to have lawyers on retainer and get into legal battles. However, Trump is clearly subject to an outsized amount of litigation.

  19. > He accuses these firms of violating the First Amendment because they suspended his and other conservatives’ social-media accounts.

    “Congress shall make no law…”. Social media is NOT congress, is NOT the Federal government. The 14th amendment incorporated the bill of rights into the states, but again, social media is NOT state, county, or local government.

    Freedom of speech is a set of RESTRICTIONS ON GOVERNMENT. Facebook is not government, Twitter is not government, Google is not government.

    What the hell happened to conservatives over the past decade? They’re like a parody account of themselves or something. They’re complaining about their free speech rights at the same moment they’re demanding social media censor views they don’t like. Dennis Prager can’t stop talking about how YouTube is squelching his free speech, yet every other advert I see on YouTube is from PragerU talking about how YouTube is making Baby Dennis cry. I go to Facebook and I see conservative viewpoints all over the place. They aren’t being suppressed. Ditto for Twitter. Yet Josh Hawley can’t stop about how his speech is getting suppressed. WTF? He’s an idiot.

    Don’t advocate violence and insurrection, don’t post porn, and otherwise follow the rules, and you get to use the platform too.

    This sort of reminds me of how the Evangelical Right keeps claiming their are persecuted for their faith, while they actually have it better than any other group in all of human history.

    1. Freedom of speech is a set of RESTRICTIONS ON GOVERNMENT. Facebook is not government, Twitter is not government, Google is not government.

      But they are private companies acting on behalf of government and at the government’s direction.

      Would you be OK with Google sending all your private E-mails to the US government?

      Would you be OK with private security guards stopping you and searching you for no cause because the US government orders them to and protects them from prosecution?

      Well, Google, Amazon, and Facebook censoring you because the government tells them to is just as much a violation of the Constitution.

      The problem gets even worse because those companies have provided massive in-kind support to one of the two political parties.

    2. “Social media is NOT congress, is NOT the Federal government.”

      Your opinions don’t seem to reflect facts that have become apparent over–even the last couple of weeks.

      Are you or are you not aware that the White House has openly admitted to flagging posts for deletion and pages for deplatforming?

      Q And just — you went through kind of the topline details of this yesterday, but can you elaborate a little bit on the Facebook —

      MS. PSAKI: Sure.

      Q — the administration to Facebook flagging of disinformation. And there’s also some reporting that we’ve had that Facebook maybe hasn’t been as proactive as the White House would like it to be in response to some of the flagging. So, the process of how the flagging works, and then whether Facebook has been amenable to those requests.

      . . . .

      MS. PSAKI: You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others if you — for providing misinformation out there.

      Taking faster action against harmful posts. As you all know, information travels quite quickly. If it’s up there for days and days and days when people see it, you know, there’s — it’s hard to put that back in a box.

      And, of course, promoting quality information algorithms. I don’t know how they work, but they all do know how they work.

      . . . .

      Q Just to quickly follow up on the Facebook aspect of this: You said yesterday that 12 people were producing 65 percent of the misinformation on vaccines on social media platforms. Do you have a sense of who those people are? Are they bad actors like Russia?

      And Facebook responded yesterday after the press briefing. They say that they removed 18 million pieces of COVID misinformation; they’ve connected more than 2 billion people to reliable information. So does the White House find that sufficient?

      MS. PSAKI: Clearly not, because we’re talking about additional steps that should be taken. And frankly, information that media organizations could detr- — could decide whether you’re going to report on or not. I’m not talking just about the misinformation storyline; I’m talking about these individuals. I’m talking about, you know, how prevalent the spreading of this information is.

      —-Press Briefing, July 16, 2021

      https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2021/07/16/press-briefing-by-press-secretary-jen-psaki-july-16-2021/

      That is indefensible from a First Amendment perspective, and when Biden was asked about it, he tried to justify it by claiming that Facebook was killing people!

      When the Hollywood studios were blacklisting people for fear of the House Un-American Activities Committee and pending antitrust actions against them during the Red Scare, that was not an example of private property and freedom of association. That was a violation of the First Amendment.

      And when the Biden administration is taking all the steps it can to break up these companies–because they tolerate misinformation–and flagging specific posts and pages for deletion and deplatforming, that really is the government acting. Putin does the same thing to the press in Russia!

      You are not on the side of private property and free speech. I know you think you are, but you are not.

      1. You have not established that their “flagging” goes beyond suggestion; that is, you have not established that the Biden Administration is backing up the “flagging” with coercion.

        1. Damn you’re dense.

          1. White Mike defends date rapists because “it wasn’t demonstrated that she said no”

          2. “Damn you’re dense.”

            R Mac hasn’t taken enough “smart pills” from the bottom of the bunny cage, so this is the best “refutation” that R Mac can offer! MOAH “smart pills”, dummy, PLEASE!!!!

            1. assholic spaz flag!

        2. Google, Facebook, and Twitter have been publicly threatened for years by lawmakers and regulatory agencies. In addition, they have spent vast amounts of money to meet with lawmakers, which is two-way communications. And this didn’t start with Biden, it started under Obama.

    3. “…social media is NOT state, county, or local government.”

      Give the government a little more time, and a few more regulations, and social media will be indistinguishable from the “Stars and Stripes.”

      1. “I prefer they be indistinguishable from the global socialist party”

        1. Pretty much a non-sequitur. Try again? Don’t be bashful.

          1. It wasn’t though.

          2. They are, currently, indistinguishable from the global socialist party.

            1. Nardz: Thanks for the clarification. I see what you mean. In some ways, I agree with that assessment.

    4. What the hell happened to conservatives over the past decade? They’re like a parody account of themselves or something.

      When I’m driving I’ll catch a bit of Hannity or some other talk radio and what I hear is the same things the conservatives on this board say. I don’t know if the talk show hosts believe what they’re saying, but Ken and others obviously do. I remember the day I stopped listening. It was the day Trump got the party nomination. In one day all the hosts went from being objective and critical about all the candidates to treating Trump like a gift from God.

      That was when I realized they didn’t believe anything they were saying. They were just blatant shills for the Republican party, after advertising dollars, rating, and of course votes for you know who.

      So what happened to conservatives? That’s what happened. They went from principled people to a cult of personality with no principles whatsoever other than winning at any cost.

      1. So much projection

      2. Freedom-loving man, please listen,
        You don’t know, what you’re missin’!
        Soaking in your common-sense land,
        Playing with your common-sense gland,
        Did yer Mamma ever tell you,
        Foolish people can smell you,
        And your truths, which betray you,
        You reveal all to those who THINK that they know,
        Self-deluded ones, though, themselves, they blow!
        Beware of evil ones, with hearts and minds gone mad,
        See http://www.churchofsqrls.com/Do_Gooders_Bad/ !

        1. spaz the asshole gets another!

      3. In one day all the hosts went from being objective and critical about all the candidates to treating Trump like a gift from God.

        That’s simply not true. It took mainstream Republicans a couple of years to come around on Trump, and they did that not because they liked his personality, but for two simple reasons: (1) Trump policies were moderate Republican policies, and (2) the alternative was infinitely worse.

        They went from principled people to a cult of personality with no principles whatsoever other than winning at any cost.

        Oh, conservatives have had to give up many principles in order to fight the left. But there are a couple of principles conservatives and Republicans are unified around: unlike Democrats, conservatives are not socialists, conservatives are not racists, and conservatives are not totalitarians. That’s good enough for me.

      4. Actually, people like Rush and Hannity started simping for Trump as soon as he announced he was running in 2015. That was their departure from being GOP shills, since the establishment was for either Jeb(!) or Rubio at the time.

        Since you mentioned Hannity, I remember hearing him say on his radio show (probably) back in November 2004 that he views politics like a football game and he just wants to win. He’s been pretty honest about his lack of principles, for whatever it’s worth.

        1. Actually, people like Rush and Hannity started simping for Trump as soon as he announced he was running in 2015. That was their departure from being GOP shills, since the establishment was for either Jeb(!) or Rubio at the time.

          On the other hand, much of that establishment took several years after Trump’s election to start supporting him. And they started supporting him because, despite all his bluster, his policies were moderate and effective, and because the Democrats and progressives had become increasingly radical and insane.

        2. You, OTOH, show up here for the first time, make a claim absent any evidence at all, and we’re to accept you as other than the steaming pile of lefty shit you appear?
          Did your momma say you were smart? She lied.

    5. Except Meriadoc, the difference is that it’s at the behest of the government.

      It’s an anti-cheating rule. In short, the Feds can’t get around the first amendment by outsourcing the Ministry of Truth.

      Given that the Biden Administration has freely and openly admitted to doing just that in the past few weeks, I don’t know what else to say.

    6. Well said.

      1. Notice that Mike now responds to perhaps two or three commenters and Ken, of whom he is obviously jealous. As he should be of nearly everyone here outside of the two or three lefty shits whom he applauds.
        It’s hard being as stupid as Mike is; there is ample reason for his jealousy.

  20. Market power does not make a private company the equivalent of a government agency.

    Correct. But what does make a private company the equivalent of a government agency is when the government pressures/incentivizes it to do its bidding. And that’s what has happened with Google, Amazon, and Facebook.

    But, hey, according to the New Libertarianism, it’s apparently just fine if the US government evades constitutional restrictions by outsourcing them to private thugs.

    The day Reason closes shop will be a good day for libertarianism.

  21. Article reminds of those people who say the Bible is the literal word of God i.e. man walked with dinosaurs etc. Also posted on this site, is Dave Smith podcast about his wanting to run for POTUS as a libertarian and he makes more sense, ‘….”This administration has exposed the useful idiots who call themselves libertarians. Saying ‘it’s a private company’ for the last few years, ignoring what is obviously the biggest threat to liberty. They unwittingly support the largest government in human history.”….’

  22. “Market power does not make a private company the equivalent of a government agency.”

    No; but ‘Market power’ bowing down to Democratic Politicians orders does!!! Which is EXACTLY what happened. Newsworthy headlines being censored by the day here at Reason.

  23. Meanwhile a wedding cake baker cannot choose their customers….

    1. Sell your soul to the [WE] foundation; because you don’t own you, [WE] own you!!!

      1. How’s your USA 1-party state coming along, TJJ20666 Dicktatorbot? Which parties have you outlawed lately?

        https://reason.com/2021/01/18/carjacker-beaverton-mom-kid-waiting/#comment-8710844
        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. flag for the spastic!

    2. However, it is the consensus among us libertarians that the baker should be able to choose their customers, is it not? So, by the same argument, no private social media site should have to host speech they do not wish to host.

      1. Sad to say, real libertarians here are rather rare. We are being swamped by authoritarian Trumptatorshit worshippers! Sheer numbers don’t make them right; the numbers just make them right-wing wrong-nuts!

        1. And how many of us Trump fans are in favor of Congress *forcing* social media to host speech they don’t want to?

          1-in-10 sounds extremely lenient.

          How many of us are in favor of Congress not *controlling* social media like Democratic Politicians did during the election?

          (1) count for me.
          *ALL* Trump fans sounds about right.

          How many of us Trump fans are against a bipartisan support for fascism the Left has literally implemented??

          Everyone on this site sounds about right.

          ——————————
          But………….. SQRLSY speaks for all of us like Nazi’s do.

          1. Says Model TJJ20666 Dicktatorbot, which wants to PUNISH-PUNISH-PUNISH-PUNISH all who belong to the WRONG political party! Yet Model TJJ20666 Dicktatorbot will NOT even, EVER stoop so low, as to tell us mere peons, WHICH is the RIGHT “1-Party”, in the 1-party state of Model TJJ20666 Dicktatorbot!!!

            Go figure! I say “evil” explains it all! (I really don’t WANT to understand evil, because it seems to me, that evil is SOOOO utterly barren of logic or benevolence, that to understand evil, one has to BE evil, so, God, PLEASE protect me from EVER understanding Model TJJ20666 Dicktatorbot and other EVIL entities!)

            1. spaz gets 2!

      2. no private social media site should have to … “take threats from Democratic Politicians or any Federal Agency” to remove hosting they do not wish to remove.

        There; fixed that for you.

  24. As one who has taught Constitutional Law for more than 50 years, I can say that your opinion is more ludicrous than Donald Trump’s lawsuit. His suit’s chance of success is, of course, far from guaranteed, and space prevents me from submitting a 50-page brief, but there are several cases that suggest private action can become “state action” within the Constitution.

    You might read Marsh v. Alabama, where a privately-owned “company town” was held by the Supreme Court to have sufficient public attributes for the state action doctrine, and thus the First Amendment, to apply to its attempt to restrict speech by citizens.

    Or how about threats by government officials to prevent private companies from publishing certain subjects or remarks? We have had a lot of that lately, from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and other left-wingers. Bantam Books v. Sullivan (1963) held that compliance with a threat by public officials to take action can constitute “state action.” Similarly, Carlin Communications in the 9th Circuit (1987).

    Or, how about Congress authorizing a private party to suppress certain speech, and immunizing it from liability for doing so? In Brotherhood of Railway Porters the Supreme Court found “state action” in that situation, which is fairly close to what Congress did with sec. 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

    None of these arguments are guaranteed winners, of course. I have learned, long ago, never to bet money on what the Supreme Court might decide. But your comment that these arguments are “ludicrous” speaks more to your total lack of Constitutional understanding, or your susceptibility to Trump Derangement Syndrome, than to any other possible explanation.

    1. So do you suppress speakers at house parties in your house? Or, if a guest shows up and yells and loudly screams profanities at you and all of your guests, do you claim the right to kick the asshole OUT?

      Do you live by your principles on these matters, oh-so-learned fancy-pants lawyer? Or do only the non-learned peons have to accommodate all comers, on private properties, be they a web site or a house? Don we now our large egos, Don Large?

      1. If an uninvited guest shows up PACKING GOV-GUNS at your house and yells and loudly screams profanities at you and all of your friends, make’s substantial viable threats to burn the house down, do you willfully kick yourself and your friends OUT?

        … or just do exactly what the guest orders you to do??? Yet; realize you’ve been denied your own property by a hidden and armed ambush?

        That’s sounds a lot more like the REALITY of the situation than yours does. But since those threat letters from Democratic Politicians WAS sent; we’ll never know how private social media would’ve responded without them.

        Frankly; those upset about this shouldn’t be targeting private social media — they should be targeting the illegal acts of Democratic Politicians.

  25. “Trump’s other argument is, “Big Tech has been illegally deputized as the censorship arm of the U.S. government” because of lobbying efforts by federal agencies to push Facebook to remove posts they deem to be disinformation. That bothers me, but unless the feds use their coercive powers, that does not make Facebook an arm of the government.”

    That’s actually not a bad argument.

    Remember when if some government action even had a “chilling effect” on speech, it was a big no no? I do.

  26. It’s amazing how the party of “Signs, signs, everywhere a sign …” has become so tenderly concerned about private companies being sovereign.

    1. “private companies being sovereign” — undeniable evidence says otherwise… THAT is the problem spot.

  27. You can always tell who the Trump haters are at Reason. Tell me assholes, you want to move along with old Republican establishment? Do very little and hold shit as it is. They run up the debt and take care of their buddies and play the Christian right. You want to move along with the authoritarian left? Blacks don’t know how to get on the internet. White supremacy is the biggest problem in America. All for gun confiscation and would love to to limit speech in America. BOTH of the established part of the parties take care of the corporations FIRST. Trump was at least the first guy to come along totally from the outside and at least look at the government from a CEO perspective and is a man who I feel worked hard to try and get the government regulations down, bring troops home, protect the border, called out the totally corrupt media propaganda machine every day. Wtf? You have a better person than Trump to go into DC like a wrecking ball to shake the fucking shit up around there? That whole place, including the woke FBI, CIA, and DOJ needs a massive fucking enema. Name names please you fucktards who hate him. I can’t wait to hear your suggestions for a better president. Mother fuckers are burning buildings, American flags, running around screaming about total fucking bullshit, teaching kids to hate themselves and confusing the fuck out of them with gender questioning….come on, which way you want to go. I’m independent and as open as it gets but I can’t get anyone to give me a name for a better guy to help clean shit up right now.

    1. You don’t get 100% from me, but you’ve stated what the non-TDS-addled assholes here have been promoting for quite a while.
      Didn’t vote for him in either election (living in CA, my vote is irrelevant), and really didn’t like him at all until he started DOING THINGS, while the TDS-added asshole kept adolescent focus on what he said and his *personality!* (icky, right Brandy?).
      Best I hoped for was a non-port-capsized SCOTUS appointee. And then we got DeVos, and slowing or reversing regulations and tax cuts, and….
      And TDS addled assholes like Brandy still couldn’t get over their day-time soap-opera focus on his mean tweets.
      Perhaps one of these days, ignorant pieces of shit like that will learn the POTUS ain’t your daddy, but that idiocy is well ingrained in TDS-addled assholes like Brandy.

    2. “I can’t wait to hear your suggestions for a better president. “

      I have one. Sir Thomas esq.

      – he comes from a long honored lineage dating back to pre colonial times.

      – he is well tempered and accepting of others so long as the requisite sniffing and greetings occur.

      – he is faithful and loyal. Also good with children.

      – he is handsome and well spoken. You know exactly what he wants when he wants it.

      – a veteran of the squirrel wars of 2018 he protects and watches over his territory far better than any human made device.

      – he does not advocate for taxes, war, or any intervention upon your liberty.

      This is just a stock photo but this animal is a far better candidate for president.

      https://www.google.com/search?q=labrador+retriever&rlz=1C9BKJA_enUS708US708&hl=en-US&prmd=isnv&sxsrf=ALeKk03QilA3no2X2HD4nUv2jkY0YBjTTQ:1627847463796&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiZvs-uzJDyAhWkQzABHZScA6gQ_AUoAXoECAIQAQ&biw=1194&bih=715&dpr=2#imgrc=tWa-d66tir8uAM&imgdii=X360gnXzpiw5IM

  28. The lawsuits make perfect sense for Trump. It keeps him in the news. He doesn’t have to pay for it because of the suckers who sent him money to pay his legal fees. It keeps the big lie going.

    1. Or maybe it just makes perfect sense to keep the Federal Government Power Away from the Press and a lawsuit might make that happen.

      It would be a lot smarter and correct to just congressionally impeach all the Democratic Politicians that threatens the press or uses federal agencies to “witch-hunt” the press (i.e. IRS scandal) but not only are there too many criminal-fans in congress – the left would explode if their elected criminals were held responsible for their crimes.

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