Social Media

As Twitter Sex Trafficking Case Proceeds, Platforms Face an Impossible Dilemma

A federal judge says an anti-porn group's suit against Twitter can move forward, in a case that could portend a dangerous expansion of how courts define "sex trafficking."

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A federal lawsuit accusing Twitter of sex trafficking can move forward, says District Judge Joseph C. Spero, in a decision that could portend a dangerous expansion of how courts define "sex trafficking."

The case is one of the first to invoke the controversial 2018 Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which made it a federal crime to host digital content that facilitates prostitution. The legislation also tweaked Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects digital entities like Twitter from being held liable for everything that users post.

The case—filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California—was brought by two teenagers and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), a conservative activist group, formerly known as Morality in Media, that also opposes Netflix, Amazon, and Cosmopolitan magazine. Spero's August 19 decision hints at what similar sex trafficking claims against social media companies may look like in a world where Section 230 isn't an obstacle.

It's a worrying vision.

"We're starting to see…what the actual impact of [FOSTA] is going to be, and are courts going to interpret it kind of in a more broad or a more narrow manner," says Caitlin Vogus, deputy director of the Free Expression Project at Center for Democracy & Technology. "Here is an example of a court interpreting it more broadly, and that raises a lot of concerns for the impact that it might have on platforms when they're making decisions about how to respond to all speech on their platforms going forward."

Exploitation Creep

Traditionally, the crime of sex trafficking must involve "commercial sex acts"—a.k.a. prostitution—and there must be minors involved or an element of force, threatened force, fraud, or coercion. In short, someone must pay someone else (or give them something of value) in a quid pro quo that involves an attempted or completed nonconsensual sex act.

In the case against Twitter, the plaintiffs suggest that soliciting a sex video from someone under age 18 amounts to sex trafficking. Unwittingly providing a platform for a third party to post or link to that video makes one part of a sex trafficking enterprise, they argue. Thus, Twitter is allegedly guilty of participating in a sex trafficking venture by temporarily and unknowingly hosting links to a pornographic video featuring two teenagers.

Several years ago, the teens—who were 13 or 14 years old at the time—recorded themselves engaging in sexual activity and used Snapchat to share these videos with a third party initially believed to be a peer. The recipient turned out to be an adult, who allegedly blackmailed one of the teens (John Doe #1) into providing additional sexual content. Doe #1 blocked the Snapchat predator, and "communications ceased."

The perpetrator could have been held individually responsible, since blackmail and soliciting obscenity from minors are both crimes. Instead, NCOSE is going after a bigger, richer, and much more high-profile target—albeit one much less culpable for criminal activity.

At some point, a compilation of the videos was posted elsewhere online. In 2019, Doe #1 discovered that two Twitter accounts had shared links to it. Doe—and then his mom, separately—reported these to Twitter and were told Twitter would look into it. Twitter also advised that they report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and to law enforcement, their complaint says. Later, Twitter responded to one of Doe's messages saying "no action will be taken at this time. … If the content is hosted on a third-party website, you'll need to contact that website's support team to report it." Meanwhile, Doe's mom had reached out to a Department of Homeland Security agent, who reached out to Twitter.

Nine days after Doe #1 first made contact, the tweets were deleted and the accounts that shared them suspended.

About a year later, Doe sued Twitter, accusing it of direct sex trafficking, benefiting from participation in a sex trafficking venture, receipt and distribution of child pornography, negligence, and violation of California's product liability law.

What happened was clearly wrong, but it's hard to see how it qualifies as sex trafficking. Yes, minors were involved, but no one paid them for sex, nor did they (or some third-party trafficker) get something of value for sending or posting the videos. But it's crucial to NCOSE's case that what happened be labeled as illegal commercial sexual activity and not some other criminal offense—otherwise, FOSTA wouldn't apply. And if FOSTA doesn't apply, then Section 230 does.

Section 230 says that for certain liability purposes—civil lawsuits, state (but not federal) criminal charges—computer service providers shouldn't be treated as the speaker or publisher of user-generated content. If I defame you on Facebook, it's me, not Facebook, who's legally culpable. If I meet a Match.com date who assaults me, the assailant is guilty, not Match. And so on. But FOSTA exempted many claims involving illegal commercial sex from this rubric. Now, if someone deemed guilty of sex trafficking is found to have used a platform to meet or market a victim, that platform isn't automatically shielded from various legal liabilities.

"Due largely to FOSTA, civil sex trafficking claims can now be brought against online platforms that had no direct involvement with the sex trafficking venture or the victims," says First Amendment attorney Lawrence Walters, head of the Walters Law Group.

Twitter's Defense

Twitter argues that FOSTA's exception to Section 230 protection was meant to apply only to "openly malicious actors" who "were deliberately and knowingly assisting and profiting from reprehensible crimes." Congress didn't mean "for online platforms like Twitter that proactively act against such activity to be sued for their inadvertent failure to remove content," it suggests in a motion to dismiss.

The Does' lawsuit "lacks any facts showing that Twitter affirmatively participated in any kind of venture with the Perpetrators, let alone a sex trafficking venture," the company argues. The suit doesn't put forth "any facts establishing that Twitter knew that Plaintiffs were victims of sex trafficking or that the Videos were evidence of this crime," nor does it "allege any connection between the Perpetrators and Twitter or that Twitter received any benefits because of the Videos."

What's more, "Twitter did remove the Videos and suspend the accounts that had posted them." It's just that "given the sheer volume of Tweets posted every day on Twitter's platform (hundreds of millions of Tweets posted by over 190 million daily users), it is simply not possible for Twitter—or the individuals who enforce its Rules and policies—to find and remove all offending content immediately or accurately in all cases."

Evidence of things like affirmative participation and malicious intent would make sense as requirements for sex trafficking liability. But contrary to Twitter's claims, that's not what FOSTA's creators and supporters were going for.

A pre-FOSTA law—the 2015 SAVE Act—had already made knowingly advertising a sex trafficking victim a crime. It went unused. What many people pushing FOSTA as a followup wanted was a law that could target platforms for incidentally hosting content that facilitated certain harms or sex work more broadly.

The number-one argument for FOSTA was that it would bring down Backpage.com—a platform which did not affirmatively and maliciously participate in sex trafficking and, in fact, took copious steps to prevent advertisements by minors. The Department of Justice commended the company's CEO for these efforts, and federal prosecutors stressed in internal memos that the website was doing more than any other adult ad platform to combat child sex trafficking while still permitting posts by adult sex workers. (This is also Twitter's policy.)

FOSTA was passed to punish sites like Backpage—and, thus, sites like Twitter. While lawmakers liked to talk a good game about it only targeting malicious actors, FOSTA was always constructed to allow its use against entities that tried to prevent illegal content but simply didn't do it perfectly (which basically means any platform that features substantial amounts of user-posted content). And the goal of NCOSE and many FOSTA supporters was always to make anything less than the immediate takedown of any sexualized content a risky proposition.

Twitter's defense seems on more solid ground when it points out that federal laws against sex trafficking simply don't seem to apply here. The law (Section 1591 of federal criminal code) requires a guilty party to take action toward a person (or to benefit from participation in a venture which did so) while knowing or—except in the case of advertising—acting "in reckless disregard of the fact" that force, threats of force, fraud, or coercion "will be used to cause the person to engage in a commercial sex act, or that the person has not attained the age of 18 years and will be caused to engage in a commercial sex act."

No one in this case provided, obtained, or maintained a person, merely videos. Arguing that a video counts as a person is a "novel" and unsupported interpretation, Twitter argues.

Furthermore, no one engaged in prostitution or anything that might be deemed commercial sex, nor would these videos cause them to do so in the future. Twitter couldn't have facilitated a commercial sex act, because there was none.

The only allegation of financial benefit is the suit's claim that Twitter attracted ad revenue and users by featuring minors having sex—which would require believing that mainstream advertisers really want their material alongside child porn, and that Twitter caters to this. But even if you accept that stretch of logic, there was no underlying sex trafficking from which Twitter could benefit.

How Much Web Platforms Must Know

Alas, the court was not entirely persuaded by such arguments. While agreeing with Twitter that the company did not directly engage in sex trafficking, Judge Spero thinks there may be sufficient evidence to establish that sex trafficking took place and Twitter benefited from it.

Refreshingly, the judge rejects the direct sex trafficking claim, finding persuasive Twitter's argument that you can't be guilty of sex trafficking a video. "The more difficult issue is…whether Twitter is immune from liability under Section 230 on [a] claim" of beneficiary liability, he writes. This requires determining what level of knowledge of wrongdoing—called mens rea—Twitter must have to be liable.

"There was a lot of debate over the mens rea requirement" in FOSTA, says Jennifer Huddleston, director of technology and innovation policy at the think tank American Action Forum. "One of the concerns that was expressed was that [FOSTA could] be used to reach companies that might've been trying to prevent this and had something fall through."

In the 2020 case Doe v. Kik Interactive, Inc., brought against the messaging app Kik, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida held that for digital platforms, "a finding of actual knowledge and overt participation in a venture of sexual trafficking is required to defeat [Section 230] immunity."

But Judge Spero disagrees, concluding instead that civil claims are "not subject to the more stringent requirements that apply to criminal violations" and, thus, no actual knowledge is required of Twitter and platforms like it.

"Ultimately, this issue may need to be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court," says Walters. "But for now the scope of potential liability depends on whether a court will follow the Twitter decision or the Kik decision."

As to whether "Twitter participated in a 'venture'" and whether "Twitter received a benefit from the sex trafficking venture and that the benefit motivated its conduct," the judge concludes that the Does and NCOSE have at least provided enough allegations to suggest the answer to these questions could be yes.

Spero makes some questionable determinations to get here. For instance, he suggests that a large number of retweets of the tweet sharing the video somehow accrues a benefit to Twitter, when by most evidence Twitter wants to be rid of illegal content.

Spero says it's hard to square Twitter's claim that it had no knowledge of sex trafficking with "allegations that they alerted Twitter that the Videos were created under threat." But teens being bullied into sexting doesn't automatically equal criminal sex trafficking.

Perhaps most amazingly, the judge lends credence to the suit's claim that the word "twinks"—used in one tweet sharing Doe's video—refers to children, and therefore should have alerted Twitter that the content featured minors. Twink is commonly used in the gay community to refer to young adult men of a certain build and look. (This is a common problem in studies, hearings, and cases about sex trafficking. With Backpage, for instance, lawmakers time and again insisted that words commonly used in ads by adult sex workers were actually code words for minors, then condemned Backpage based on their own faulty understanding of a community's lingo.)

Ultimately, the judge rejected most of the lawsuit's claims against Twitter but will let one claim move forward.

Moving Forward

The judge's decision doesn't necessarily mean that Spero agrees that Twitter is guilty of benefiting from sex trafficking, just that there is sufficient evidence not to totally dismiss the possibility. It's now up to NCOSE lawyers to prove that Twitter purposely "permits large amounts of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation material on its platform" and that it attracts users and ad revenue because of it.

But the fact that the case is going forward at all demonstrates how FOSTA has tipped the scales.

"Twitter must now bear the burdens of discovery, pretrial preparation, and trial since FOSTA eliminated the immunity that online service providers previously relied upon to quickly dismiss these claims," says Walters.

"If a type of speech does not get Section 230 protection, it does not automatically mean that the company will be found liable," says Huddleston. But "Section 230 is incredibly valuable because the farther along in litigation a case goes, even if you're ultimately vindicated in the courts, the more costly the litigation gets. And particularly for startups and midsize companies, that cost and the incentives involved can have an impact on decisions to carry user-generated content."

By Spero's logic, "pretty much any site that's being used by sex traffickers is going to be at risk," notes Vogus. "The way the court interpreted what it means to be in a common venture with sex traffickers" means people bringing a lawsuit "just have to show…that there is sex trafficking happening on the platform."

And sex trafficking has been stretched to encompass any manner of things involving sexual activity, including consensual sexual activity between adults and—as in this ruling—videos minors take of themselves.

Platforms looking at this decision might reasonably decide to take down any content with sexual overtones that gets reported.

"If somebody reports content to you that is actually something like a sex education video, or adult consensual sexual content, that you might say it's too risky for me to leave this up on the chance that it could be actually content that violates the statute," says Vogus. "They'll just err on the side of taking all the content down. And so a lot of content that is not illegal, that is perfectly legitimate, that might be even in the public interest to remain online, will get swept down instead because there'll be a fear of civil liability."

For sex workers, such results could be especially devastating. "Twitter is truly the last resource that most sex workers have. It's how we stay connected to our fan base and without it, it would push us further into the outskirts of the internet," sex worker Envy Us told Vice recently. "Which is where organizations like NCOSE want us."

Platforms could also go the other way, considering that what may damn Twitter is having not taken down the content once it was reported.

"Another direction that maybe a platform looking at this could go would be to say, OK, to reduce my risk of liability, what I'm actually going to do is make it really difficult for people to report content to me," says Vogus.  "Because that way we can kind of try to purposely blind ourselves to these things and then no court would be able to say that we had knowledge of it."

Bad actions did occur here. But we already had laws against those acts. This new approach means that any platform where bad actors post—no matter how briefly and furtively—could be liable for heinous crimes they know nothing about.

"There have been a lot of concerns about whether or not [FOSTA is] actually targeting the bad actors," says Huddleston. "Even if you really want to go after the underlying crime and after the bad actors, we've seen a lot of cases brought against other parties."

Critics of the judge's decision and the NCOSE lawsuit are not arguing that Twitter should host links to teens having sex, or that such videos should be freely available online. The question is whether it makes sense to treat platforms that inadvertently and temporarily facilitate access to such content as sex traffickers. Is that proportionate to their culpability? Will it make platforms more or less likely to respond appropriately to such content in the future? Will it make finding and punishing the perpetrators of such content easier or more difficult? What unintended consequences might such a system perpetuate?

NEXT: California's Land-use Reforms Promote Freedom and Property Rights

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  1. Twitter is a propaganda arm of the DNC. Fuck them.

    1. Not withstanding the lack of value in Twitter, It is still a very bad precedent, that will have wide consequences.

      Reason could be sued for spb’s link to child pornography.

      1. If Twitter can nuke every conservative thought within minutes of it being posted, it can do the same for child porn and sex trafficking.

        That is does not tells me that the Twitterati are cool with child porn and sex trafficking. Most of the elites are, in my view.

        1. +14 flights to Little St. James.

        2. “If Twitter can nuke every conservative thought within minutes of it being posted”

          It literally doesn’t. Stop being a drama queen.

      2. They *could* be sued for your post about suing them for spb’s link to child pornography. Of course, they *could* be sued for publishing it in the print edition too. I doubt targeted laws against either one would’ve stopped Preet. ‘Loser pays’ *might* help. Would still prefer that to develop organically through the courts or by popular vote rather than passed down by edict and left in place by a 99% repeal but all of the above is preferrable to the current status quo.

  2. ALL social media platforms are simply that, platforms for people in society to speak freely in the town square of the 21st century.

    They should be sued no more that city hall should be sued when people demonstrate exercising 1a.

    If someone speaking breaks the law, just like a looter at a protest, that one person should be punished, not city hall and not the social speaking platform.

    1. Unless feet are on a desk at a protest, in which case any trespassers should be shot onsite. And the sign says you gotta have a COVID passport to get inside. Ugh.

      1. What you did there, I saw it.

    2. ALL social media platforms are simply that, platforms for people in society to speak freely in the town square of the 21st century.

      LOL

    3. What a dumbass.

    4. They should be sued no more that city hall should be sued when people demonstrate exercising 1a.

      So, several times a year?

      1. Yep. Like viewpoint discrimination never ever occurs.

    5. Does anyone deny that social media is the town square of the 21st century?

      1. It’s much more similar to the proverbial vomitorium than any sort of a town square.

        1. Because you don’t like what is said doesn’t make it less than a town square.

          1. That particular town square should be nuked from orbit.

            1. You sound like a dimestore fascist.

              1. Says the deluded asshole who thinks that the holocaust is fiction!

                Heil Miserable Misek!

                1. I refute what I deny. Neither you nor anyone else has ever refuted my statements.

                  You bigot, deny what you can’t refute.

                  1. Miserable Misek, NO ONE anywhere can refute the paranoid and evil beliefs of those who can NOT be persuaded! Good luck with your paranoia, which apparently you are determined to allow to destroy-ya! Paranoia will destroy-ya, ya know!

                    (All of the history books, films, written records, and personal testimonies are all out to GET ya, right? Besides your illusions of powerful “secret knowledge”, what are these lies buying for you anyway?)

                    1. That’s never stopped me from refuting you.

                      I don’t need or expect you to become rational before or after I refute what you say.

                      Like now.

                    2. Miserable Misek just proved that it is, indeed, Miserable Misek!

                      Miserable Misek, if you ever evolve the vaguest hint of an open mind, read this book in order to attain further healing of your brokenness.

                      Evil fuckheads who can NOT be bothered to give ONE hoot in Hell, about loving other people, can NOT find it in themselves, to love themselves even the TINY little bit that it takes… To protect themselves… From themselves!
                      To wrap your mind around this, start here… M. Scott Peck, the People of the Lie, https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0684848597/reasonmagazinea-20/

                      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. He presents, from vivid incidents encountered in his psychiatric practice, examples of evil in everyday life.

                    3. Why should I read a book about you?

                      You deny but have NEVER refuted my statements.

                      You are a liar.

                    4. When you go postal on us, Miserable Misek, don’t say that no one ever warned you! I’m warning you now, that your detachment from reality, sanity, truth, justice, and benevolence is a hazard, not only to others, but to yourself! Try to get a GRIP! Paranoia is NOT your friend! Never has been, never will be!

                    5. The day that I can’t refute what I deny.

                      The day that I can’t provide evidence of logic and science for what I say is true.

                      That will be the day I recognize that I’m being irrational.

                      For me, that day hasn’t arrived. Cite your proof of you believe otherwise.

                      For you, that day came long ago.

                      Take your own advice. It applies to you.

      2. More like the underpass where folks tag.

        1. You reap what you sow.

          Make yourself at home.

          1. Exactly. Why I avoid underpasses and social media.

            1. This is social media.

              Do you know what underpasses are?

      3. Its a private company, they own the domain, the servers, the manpower to make them work, etc. No one else should have any right to dictate who hosts what on their servers. I don’t understand how people keep saying this stupid shit, that these sites are somehow a “town square”. Fucking bullshit, just like reason’s comments section here isn’t a town square, it’s hosted on their servers, and they can remove content here as they please, and that’s the libertarian stance on property rights, as it should be.

        1. Private companies can’t violate our inalienable rights that can’t be given or taken away or sold.

          There is no private place in this nation where we do not have the right to life.

          In places where people are invited to speak, like every social media platform, everyone has the right not to be censored. If they break the law, only then can they be punished.

          That’s what it means to have an inalienable right. If you disagree, fuck off to a shithole nation where there are none.

        2. The Supreme Court has already ruled that you’re wrong.

          There is a very interesting supreme court case that deals with the rights of a company that owns a town square to limit speech. Marsh vs Alabama. The ruling was that a company that owned a company town could not limit speech in that town. Here is a link to the ruling.

          http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/326/501

          “ The more an owner, for his advantage, opens up his property for use by the public in general, the more do his rights become circumscribed by the statutory and constitutional rights of those who use it.”

          In other words, we carry our rights onto private property and everywhere we go.

          If you run a business which is open for the general public, you are obliged to respect ALL their human rights.

          1. Collectivized rights are not the same as individual rights. To spot the difference ask: At whose expense?

            1. Inalienable rights belong to the holder.

              They cannot be given or taken away, not bought or sold.

              What is a “collectivized” right?

  3. The legislation also tweaked Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects digital entities like Twitter from being held liable for everything that users post.

    Why, it’s almost like Section 230 was just a lynchpin or fulcrum to regulate free speech. Huh. With names and titles like “Communications Decency Act” and “Protection For ‘Good Samaritan’ Blocking and Screening of Offensive Material”, what abjectly retarded bitches could not have foreseen that the law, passed by Congress, would be used to block offensive material?

    1. Hypothetical Section 444 says “thou shalt not be able to get sued in the courts of Government Almighty, for a murder that someone else, absolutely clearly not you, committed.”

      Power pigs who do not like YOU, decide to fuck around with Section 444, and add, “Except if we don’t like you, and someone committed murder on or near your property, then we can charge YOU”. (Even if you did NOTHING to facilitate said murder, except maybe failure to post armed guards around your property 24-7, and THEN you’ll be held liable for any bad acts of the armed guards!)).

      Now let’s all blame Section 444 for blessing murder! And replace Section 444 with some unwieldy complicated clusterfuck, while dreaming that MY tribe can use it (Section 444 replacement) to whack YOUR tribe! And YOUR tribe will NEVER think of using it to whack MY tribe right back! Because MY form of totalitarian clusterfuck is FINALLY going to work just right! And just for rightists!

      1. Say “abjectly retarded bitches” and SQRLSY One appears!

      2. It’s such a great analogy because it cuts so close to reality and isn’t at all a drooling fucking retard take based on a piss poor reductio ad absurdum

        Now let’s all blame Section 444 for blessing murder! And replace Section 444 with some unwieldy complicated clusterfuck

        Or, and see if you can wrap your alcohol-rotted child molesting brain around this one sarcasmic, you could scrap hypothetical Section 444 and the law would remain exactly as it has been for 233 years because it turns out you didn’t actually need to pass a special law to exempt certain privileged corporations from vicarious liability for murder in the first place.

        It’s a good thing you’re as stupid as you are mentally ill.

        1. “…a special law to exempt certain privileged corporations from vicarious liability…”

          Tell me how section 230 does anything special for anyone?
          It is a plain and simple law with no special carve-outs for anyone!
          Would YOU like to be sued for what I have written?

          https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200531/23325444617/hello-youve-been-referred-here-because-youre-wrong-about-section-230-communications-decency-act.shtml

          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. Tell me how section 230 does anything special for anyone?

            Fine. Section 230 doesn’t do anything special for anyone. Repeal a useless law.

            1. Section 230 keeps me from being punished for the writings of others! It keeps Government Almighty SMALL! Let’s get SMALL, Government Almighty! And let’s keep Section 230!

              1. Section 230 keeps me from being punished for the writings of others!

                Then why did you have to ask if it does anything special for anyone?

                1. Learn to read, moron!

                  Because Rolando SNOT-off asserted that Section 230 does special things for special people (or special corporations)! Snotty Snot-Off has NOT returned here to show us why or how Section 230 does special things for special people! Can YOU do that? In an HONEST way?

                  1. “Protection For ‘Good Samaritan’ Blocking and Screening of Offensive Material”

                    1. So how does that apply to some people and not to others? To some corporations and not to others?

                      And… If you owned a web site, would you rather be allowed to mind your own business… Which includes control of which kinds of posts you will allow to remain up, on YOUR web site… Or would you MUCH rather have to hire an army of lawyers, to keep you in “compliance” with a TON of complicated mandates from Government Almighty micro-managing Superior Snotty (SS) ones?

                    2. So how does that apply to some people and not to others? To some corporations and not to others?

                      “Section 230 doesn’t do anything special for gun manufacturers…”

                      Go unfuck yourself.

            2. https://www.npr.org/2021/09/03/1033950752/remington-subpoenas-the-school-records-of-children-slain-at-sandy-hook

              From above…

              “In July, Remington offered a $33 million settlement. The plaintiffs have yet to respond to the offer, the Post says.”

              Remington is being held responsible for the doings of a gone-bonkers user of its product… Classic “Punish Party A for the doings of Party B”. This injustice being applied to guns isn’t enough for you? Now you want to add MORE of this crap, to words as well as guns?

              1. So you’re saying Section 230 doesn’t do anything special for gun manufacturers?

                1. Asshole lawyers are suing “deep pockets” at Remington, shitting all over our 2-A rights. Apparently YOU (asshole!) want them (asshole lawyers) to do the EXACT same thing with our 1-A rights! Do away with Section 230, and watch “free” postings (as right here and now on these pages) go away, or cost $35 per word, to cover all the FUCKING GREEDY LAWYERS!!!

                  BTW, are YOU perhaps a FUCKING GREEDY LAWYER? Is THAT your ax to grind here?

                  1. I didn’t say they should or shouldn’t be sued one way or the other. I simply asked if Section 230 doesn’t do anything special for gun manufacturers.

                    1. Section 230 doesn’t do anything special for gun manufacturers… Or for ANYONE else, in terms of “special favors for special people”! It is one simple set of laws that applies to EVERYONE equally!

                      This is the GIANT Big Lie that gets repeated here in these comments ALL of the time… “special favors for special people”, my ass! And you challenge the liars here, and they can NEVER explain how these “special favors for special folks” are codified in these laws! All we have is “voices in their heads”!

    2. That’s why the law was invalidated in its entirety with the sole exception of section 230. A fact that libertarians conveniently forget when it’s time to see how much corporate dick they can stuff down their gullets.

    3. SHUT UP ITS THE FIRST AMENDMENT OF THE INTERWEBZ!

    4. “what abjectly retarded bitches could not have foreseen that the law, passed by Congress, would be used to block offensive material?”

      Wait, are you saying “the internet’s First Amendment” isn’t actually anything like the First Amendment????

      Shocking.

      1. I suppose you’ll find the following to be shocking as well?

        Both the 1st Amendment and Section 230 LIMIT the powers of Government Almighty!

        (I know that is hard to swallow for those who LOVE to whack off their “punishment boners” to punishing-punishing-PUNISHING “Party A” for the writings of “Party B”… But… Tough titties! Ye of the YUUUUGE punishment boners… Learn what “justice” means!)

        1. Section 230 only “limits” the power of government insofar as it creates a license for some state approved actors.

          You could say the exact same thing about the Controlled Substance Act.

      2. “Congress shall make no law abridging the rights of the government to protect Good Samaritans from blocking offensive material.”

        The reason you don’t remember SCOTUS striking down 99.9% of the 1A to leave the rest is because trolls successfully sued to have it erased from the internet.

  4. National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), a conservative activist group

    You misspelled puritanical.

    This, combined with ENB’s lack of any reference to the heartbeat requirement of TX SB 8 in yesterday’s Roundup have been really eye opening to me as to her willingness to use deceptive language to promote a narrative.

    I don’t care if the group refers to themselves as conservative. The information presented clearly portrays the group as authoritarian. Conflating the two is a deliberate choice by the author.

    This is the equivalent of referring to NAMBLA as a “libertarian activist group” in an effort to defame libertarian ideals by associating them with sex with minors. I am sure there are some members of NAMBLA that identify as libertarian. But, while what NAMBLA advocates is technically a relaxation of government dictated morality and an expansion of freedom, their goals are incompatible with the rights of people too young to provide informed consent.

    1. If standing up for inalienable constitutional rights and opposing behaviour that violates them is “authoritarian”, then HELL YES, patriots are authoritarian.

    2. This is the equivalent of referring to NAMBLA as a “libertarian activist group” in an effort to defame libertarian ideals by associating them with sex with minors.

      To be fair, there is literally nothing about NAMBLA that any libertarian disagrees with, particularly the Koch-sucking variety. Reason has been pushing apologetics for pedophiles since its inception.

      1. That was the strategy used by the shrill, victim-role-playing NAMBLA conservative who infiltrated the board of The Intellectual Activist in order to spray venom at the LP. Dr. Petr Beckmann and most other educated members of the TIA Editorial board promptly resigned and the newsletter folded. Thanks to that brilliant strategy–and Southpark–ten times as many people know what NAMBLA is supposed to mean than what TIA once stood for.

    3. “…their goals are incompatible with the rights of people too young to provide informed consent.”

      As is the pro-abortion crowd.

  5. Definition: “sex trafficking”; having sex in a moving, land based, motorized vehicle.

    1. Sex traffic controller

  6. So it took the kid’s family a full year to find a sleezeball lawyer with a reasonable contingency fee schedule?

  7. This, much like the Backpage debacle, should have been immediately shot down on first amendment grounds. No special exceptions required.

  8. Or, just legalize hookers already.

    I find it ridiculous Twitter and FB can blast conservative wrongthink off the map within minutes, yet struggle to deplatform kiddie porn and the Taliban for weeks or months. That said, what the users post is just that, what the users, not the company, posted.

    But crazed zealots of any stripes use whatever is on hand… Cautionary tale for the filibuster, etc.

    1. That said, what the users post is just that, what the users, not the company, posted.

      Unless, of course, you share a mind with SQRLSY One. Then:

      the property owners (the web site owners) should decide!

      “Website owners = property owners” – SQRLSY One

      1. I don’t think there’s any more room upstairs for SQRLSY to share space.

  9. The platforms enthusiastucally censor badthinkers who might disagree with government pronouncements on vaccination, face masks and election integrity. So why should they mind censoring people who might be sex trafficers?

    1. Reason once again demonstrating that their sort of libertarianism is only concerned with ensuring their preferred outcomes, not anything based in actual principles.

  10. It’s too easy here to accidentally flag somebody’s post when scrolling on a small screen.

  11. Anti-porn uprisings and crackdowns always lead to the proliferation of dirtier, filthier, more disgusting pornography. Bring it on, Ladies, make your fuss!

    1. Haha asshole Mike uses rolling stone as a source. Wow what a maroon.

      1. Man that “update” sure sucked the wind out of their sails.

        Layer and layers of fact checkers.

    2. You poor, sad little troll.

  12. Per the article, Twitter knew there was CP at the links in question that were tweeted and not only refused to take the tweets linking to the CP down but sent a message to the kid in question that they would not do so and the situation only changed when HomeSec got involved. Failing to see where the problem is with the lawsuit.

  13. Just make Twitter and all social media companies for adults only..that would get kids off their fing iPhones and socializing normally..

    Twitter is a piece of shit run by far left NYC ivy league bolshevik types anyway…I hope they are sued and little Jack is forced to come back from his private island in the Pacific and walk around LA w/o a mask..ha ha

  14. Laws against production and trade among adults increase prices by roughly a factor of four. Prohibition did this for the Glucose Trust owned by Rockefeller. Breweries and distilleries were eliminated as competitors, and minors immediately began rowing cases of beer across from Canada–until The Crash, Depression and Repeal. The economic laws are just as inexorable in the service sector. If you want to attract minors into sex work, prohibiting adults entices minors to exploit their qualified immunity from some prosecution. They who pass such laws are the economic pimps, procurers and enablers.

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