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Free Minds & Free Markets

Social Media Giants Shouldn't Be Arbiters of Appropriate Speech

It's implausible to imagine a future in which liberal activists don't demand that right-of-center groups be de-platformed.

Of course, Facebook, YouTube, and other media are free to ban conspiracy-mongers such as Alex Jones from their platforms. They have a right to dictate the contours of permissible speech on their sites and to enforce those standards dutifully or hypocritically or ideologically, using any method they see fit. No one seriously disputes this.

Twitter also has a right, as a private entity, to take a stand and, as the company's CEO, Jack Dorsey explains it, dispassionately allow free exchanges of ideas—even the ugly ones Jones' Infowars offers—as long as users don't break the company's rules. Yet here we are, watching a number of journalists—supposed sentinels of free expression—demanding that billionaire CEOs start policing speech that makes them uncomfortable.

Jones, who has made numerous hateful and reckless remarks, should make any reasonable person uncomfortable. In this regard, though, he's certainly not alone. And if Facebook is now guaranteeing a platform free of unpleasant voices who break its vague terms of service, the company has lots of work ahead.

To some extent, I can understand how frustrating it is watching a bigoted conspiracy theorist who has destroyed lives be provided a voice on a large media platform. After all, I've been trying to ignore Al Sharpton's cable show for years. Yet if I were running a social media platform, I'd like to think I would allow nearly anyone—minus those who threaten violence or otherwise break the law—speak. It's not as if users wouldn't possess a block button. I can't recall a single time, in my decade using social media, that I opened an Infowars link. I doubt most of you have, either. Even if you did, you wouldn't melt. They're just words.

And though the ejection of Jones isn't the end of the world and it doesn't necessarily portend a mass expulsion of less extreme voices, let's stop acting as if conservatives are foolish for harboring some concerns about the incrementalist goals of would-be liberal censors.

Every day, contemporary liberals run around accusing Donald Trump supporters of being in league with white supremacists and social conservatives of being unrepentant bigots. Republicans are regularly charged with propagating fascist views or attempting to murder Americans.

It's implausible to imagine a future in which liberal activists don't demand that Republican groups be de-platformed. We already see liberal groups targeting advertisers of popular conservative radio hosts and trying to have the National Rifle Association, an organization regularly compared to terrorists, thrown off platforms on moral grounds. The slippery slope already exists.

Take a recent video from the liberal Vox, which ostensibly explores the "tough debate (about) censorship and free speech on the internet." "It's not just Alex Jones," says Vox. Among some of the offensive (in reality, some of it is merely provocative) comments on immigration and Islam offered by, as Vox labels them, "YouTube's most extreme creators," we see Turning Point USA's Candace Owens saying, "News flash: Everybody hates feminism."

You may find her remark tendentious or simplistic, but under no reasonable interpretation can it be described as "extreme." Yet conflating partisan Republican positions with hate speech or intolerable ideas has been a long-standing strategy on the left in its efforts to stigmatize views. It's liberals who often make little distinction between Infowars and mainstream conservatives. And it's conservatives who need to worry.

People struggle—or, more likely, pretend to struggle—to make a distinction between defending the value of free expression and defending those who use it. Arguing that it's preferable to err on the side of more speech on a giant user-generated website doesn't make you an ally of Jones any more than defending the right of The New York Times' editorial board to hire Sarah Jeong makes you a small-minded racist. What it may mean, though, is that you're more troubled by the prospect of authoritarian ideologues who believe that speech is tantamount to terrorism attempting to dictate what our discourse looks like than you are about some media-generated panic about Jones.

Now, it's true that if you don't like the standards that social media sites have instituted or you don't like the users who populate the place, you're free to leave and find another outlet to amplify your thoughts. There's no God-given right to be on Facebook or Twitter. But once social media sites take on the responsibility of policing speech, they are transforming themselves into adjudicators of what ideas are tolerable on purportedly open platforms.

That's a precarious position moving forward. Infowars was an easy target. Others will surely be more complicated.

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  • TLBD||

    I think that libertarians are missing that there is a transaction taking place when people use these "free" platforms.

    You are trading your data for the use of their platform.

    Sure, they are free to negotiate beforehand the terms, but what they are doing, between their user agreements AND their public statements amounts to fraud.

    I'm not for regulating them, but I'd like to see their asses kicked in civil court.

  • Jerryskids||

    ^^^This^^^

    They have a right to dictate the contours of permissible speech on their sites and to enforce those standards dutifully or hypocritically or ideologically, using any method they see fit. No one seriously disputes this.

    No, they don't have the right to "dictate" the terms and conditions, and they can't enforce the terms and conditions "using any methods they see fit", there's contract law to consider. Sure, there's probably something in the fine print somewhere just as there is with your credit card and bank and cell phone user agreements that they can change the terms and conditions any time they want*, but there has to be fair notice. If Alex Jones has been on the platform all along, what's he done different to get kicked off? Did he get any kind of official notice that they were changing their standards and his previous stuff wasn't going to make the cut?

    *I've long questioned why those sorts of contracts are enforceable given the presumption of "informed consent" that precludes minors and crazy people from entering into contracts. Nobody reads the fine print because everybody knows there's crap in there nobody but a good contract lawyer can possibly understand. When the banks and credit card companies are deliberately writing contracts they know damn well the average person can't possibly understand, is there really any "informed consent"?

  • Rich||

    When the banks and credit card companies are deliberately writing contracts they know damn well the average person can't possibly understand, is there really any "informed consent"?

    It's outrageous. The banks and credit card companies should be required to write their rules as simply and clearly as the government does.

  • Quixote||

    The average person also can't possibly understand subtle forms of irony or inappropriately deadpan mimicry. Given these considerations, social media giants should also ban not only fake news, but any kind of "parody," ridicule or trolling that crosses the line between civil discourse and any kind of "speech" that we really don't like. See the documentation of our nation's leading criminal "satire" case at:

    https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  • Happy Chandler||

    You can read the terms. It says they are the sole arbiter of the rules. It says they may take action. Not shall.

    They wrote the rules. Their lawyers are better educated than Reason commenters.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    As you personally demonstrate.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Go read the terms. Feel free to quote any section that gives you any recourse other than FYTW.

    If you think all the lawyers that the richest companies in world history can buy left a hole, I'd be impressed.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I believe the term of art is "unresponsive."

  • TLBD||

    Within reason. And I think there is plenty of precedent for that.

    Theft by deception and securing a contract by deception are instances where a contract is voidable.

    I think it would be hard to find anyone that feels these tech companies haven't been deceptive in almost everything they have done.

    Libertarians seem to want to ignore fraud because it makes things not so black and white, but it is something that needs to be fully addressed if we ever want libertarianism to succeed. In fact, as Bastiat pointed out, Freud is more dangerous to liberty than even force.

  • TLBD||

    Fraud not Freud.

  • Oli||

    Freud as well.

  • Flinch||

    Standards... what standards? Most TOS are so opaque that nailing jello to the wall begins to look feasible. Social media policies are pretty much crafted so that they can mean whatever they want them to mean on a minute by minute basis if that suited them which guarantees selective enforcement. Whether anyone likes or doesn't like the policies of a site they use is irrelevant to: the user does not have access to it, if there ever is a search for true meaning. Read away... and be astounded that you wasted an hour of your time when any decision comes down fraudulently labeled as "community standards" - you and I didn't write that gibberish: only the companies designated SJW shall render its meaning. There was a term of ancient civilization that fits nicely for mumbo/jumbo specialists: they were called oracles.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    I'm not for regulating them, but I'd like to see their asses kicked in civil court.

    These tech corps have far too much money and many resources to be hurt by civil lawsuits, even if some Peter Thiel-type sugar daddy emerged to fund the lawsuits.

    If a corporation becomes so big that it starts acting like a quasi-government entity, that's precisely the situation that calls for government regulation.

  • Happy Chandler||

    "We don't like the results of the marketplace. We need government to save us by regulating speech."

    Libertarians in 2018.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So you now admit that what passes for libertarianism around here is just democratic retreads? Good to know.

  • JesseAz||

    You continue your race to be the most ignorant person on the boards, congrats Chandler. If you notice most on here discuss the laws that give platforms immunity. They are free to trade their legal protections for editorial content like every other editorial entity. I'm sorry you're too fucking dumb to understand this.

  • Happy Chandler||

    That hasn't been the case for 22 years. If that was true, we wouldn't have an internet.

    Go look at Blumenthal v. Drudge, AOL. AOL made a deal to publish Drudge. Picked, curated, paid. They still got protection.

    Dunning Krueger is very strong here. The more insults and swears in a teaspoons, the more uninformed.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Dunning Krueger is very strong here

    You should charge an admission fee for that amount of projection.

  • JesseAz||

    The fact you bring up drudge which is nothing more than a link aggregator... Wow. Drudge isn't a platform. He doesn't allow random users to post links.. stop proving my insults if you're offended by them.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Look at the case. I'm not talking about Drudge, he was the source. He libeled, he apologized.

    But, AOL was a platform. They did not allow anyone to post links, but they republished Drudge. They were sued for republishing. The lawsuit was dismissed under Section 230.
    http://www.techlawjournal.com/internet/80424.htm

    There is no requirement that the material is not curated. There is no requirement that it be even handed. The only requirement is that the words come from someone else.

  • Flinch||

    It's interesting the judge wanted to side with Blumenthal - I'm guessing he did not do that because [unlike some] he cared about decisions not getting overturned. My take on that is care for his reputation trumped his love of free speech, and fell into a good decision backwards.
    We are indeed on much safer ground every time we can settle our own affairs.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    "Tribalism is okay when we do it."

    Progressives forever.

  • Happy Chandler||

    The free market is bad when I don't like the response.

    Libertarians!

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    "Crony capitalism is the free market"

    Progressives!

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    BTW, thanks for giving us the justification to shut down CNN.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    If a corporation becomes so big that it starts acting like a quasi-government entity, that's precisely the situation that calls for government regulation.

    Just like every progressive who demands government regulation of "Big Oil", etc.

  • Qsl||

    One of the tactics I've mulled over in dealing with behemoths is essentially death by a thousand cuts where the defense costs more than any possible gain.

    Millions of small claims cases made against Google and the like become prohibitively expensive if you have to run attorneys to and fro to defend against $500 judgements. And then there are community guidelines that can be enforced by each municipality. Two can play at that game.

    And there is also all the bad PR should any of these cases succeed. Google will literally be begging for federal oversight to avoid the tyranny of a million little fiefdoms and the compliance costs for each.

    I am leery of government regulation, and especially calls for increased regulation when other methods (including but not limited to other platforms competing) have yet to be fully realized.

    However, I'm all for OM and testing the limits of asymmetrical warfare. The ones with the biggest targets on their backs usually loose.

  • Happy Chandler||

    It doesn't cost a lot to send a form letter to the judge. The filing fees are way more.

    It's more likely that Google would get their court costs covered for malicious lawsuit than being hurt at all. Not to mention filing fees. Who'd pay the millions of dollars in filing fees, only to be liable for anti-SLAPP costs?

  • JFree||

    Google will literally be begging for federal oversight to avoid the tyranny of a million little fiefdoms and the compliance costs for each.

    The problem is - they will get that protection. And they can pick the venue where they want that protection to ensure they can control the outcomes - eliminate natl oversight - go WTO; eliminate state/local - go federal; eliminate local - go state. That isn't an overhead that any smaller entity can afford - and not even contracted specialist providers (say law firms that specialize in venue shopping) are gonna do much for the smaller entities

    Like you - I'd much prefer some asymmetrical warfare here. But I think the odds of success for that are magnitudes less in business than they are in actual warfare.

  • dchang0||

    I oppose government regulation of these big tech companies, but I strongly support the removal of preferential treatment by the gov't towards them.

    For instance, Google visited Obama's White House on average just over once a week during his Presidency.

    Would a smaller search engine have gotten to do so? This is clearly preferential treatment. Google, in effect, got far more representation than the typical American citizen or voter.

    And what could Google have been lobbying for except gov't picking them as a winner over their competitors as losers? Even if that was not their direct intent, it is an unavoidable byproduct of their getting preferential treatment.

    That's a good starting alternative to regulation; the gov't should start treating Google the exact same as it would any of its smaller competitors, and Google's power would drop as its access to gov't power drops.

  • Mark22||

    These tech corps have far too much money and many resources to be hurt by civil lawsuits

    That's not the problem. The problem is that they are shielded from many types of lawsuits.

  • Kazinski||

    There is a simple solution. The DMCA, and the Stored Communications Decency act provide immunity from civil action to Facebook, Google, Twitter, et Al that allows their whole business model to work. That's what gives them immunity from any thing libelous or obscene that anyone posts on their platforms.

    Congress should rewrite those grants of immunity and make it conditional on allowing free speech. And giving users a right of action when they feel their free speech rights are abridged.

    What Congress can give they can take away, if they want to.

  • JFree||

    I'd like to see their asses kicked in civil court.

    I'd prefer to see them gutted like a rancid pig by market competition. Unfortunately, the Internet - in combo with the carry-over of the ad-based model to that space - has turned out to be very anti-competitive and anti-entrepreneurial. Yeah - it doesn't cost anything to put speech/press online. But it never cost anything to write a diary either.

    The difference is there used to be multiple levels of being able to reach out to an audience - and none of them depended on the others. go local - use these channels. Go regional - use those. Go global - well not so much then but those global entities (like say Coca Cola) had plenty of ways to combine every/any channel they wanted. Now everything by default has to go global - which massively favors the big/established - or those who want to play the VC/IPO/hypergrowth game. If you wanna go local or start small - its more expensive per unit - and you now have to comply with the global entity that allows that now so far more limited now too. IOW - fuggedaboudit.

    Something went seriously wrong with Web 2.0 And I'm not sure it can be corrected or competed away now.

  • Mark22||

    Sure, they are free to negotiate beforehand the terms, but what they are doing, between their user agreements AND their public statements amounts to fraud.

    Fraud? In what sense? Everything they do seems to conform to their user agreements.

    I'm not for regulating them, but I'd like to see their asses kicked in civil court.

    These platforms are already regulated, and that's the problem: net neutrality has pretty much created these behemoths, and safe harbor protects them from most lawsuits.

  • DajjaI||

    My friend was suspended on twitter for explaining pinkwashing, which is how the Zionists cynically exploit gay rights to justify the occupation. He said that "Gays are welcome in Israel as long as they are willing to shoot Arab kids" and blammo he was suspended. At first he thought it was the Zionists but then various reports came trickling in of suspensions resulting from a declaration of the form "Group X wants to kill Group Y". It can pretty much be anything, whether liberal or conservative. So they seem to be pretty even handed, much to my - er his - surprise. Furthermore, the algorithms (or modbots) are completely unable to distinguish literal from satirical or even instructive tweets. Quite a conundrum, because you can't even describe what happened.

    It would be so helpful if someone somewhere would post examples of things that gets you banned. First of all so you don't fall into the trap, but secondly so we can recognize it and respond to it when it happens and hopefully get the people the help and direction they need.

    But yes - libs definitely want to get the conservatives like Owens and Shapiro banned. That is their goal, and yes this is the first step.

  • JesseAz||

    Your friend is a fucking idiot.

  • ||

    I second that. Idiot.

  • Happy Chandler||

    I only dispute that it was a friend. Sort of like the Canadian girlfriend I had in Jr. High.

  • Flinch||

    Pinkwashing? Man, that' some odd headspace but maybe there's hope: sounds like something the PLO or the Muslim Brotherhood invented to agitate their minions and was ready for the dustbin the moment it was concocted. If he was banned for exposing it as propaganda, that probably makes sense [sadly]: progs are holding hands with the arab street on balance this decade and seem prepared to continue doing so. As always, context matters.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    I can't stand the suspense any longer, so I must ask: did Jones actually say bigoted stuff on his show? I think I saw one video, where he talked about the attack at Boston Marathon. He may have made fun of those two brothers, but I doubt many would defend them. In any case, he blamed the FBI for ignoring warnings they received about those two. He also maintained that there were some kind of black ops government agents present who did nothing to help and seemed aware the attack was going to be carried out. I think it was a variation of the old conspiracy theory that FDR knew Pearl Harbor was going to be attacked but did nothing for political purposes.

    Now all of that may be over the top, but unless mistrusting government is now hate speech, I don't see that qualifies as hateful. But maybe Jones had many other instances of insulting various groups and I just never heard them.

  • vek||

    No, no, no, no, no!

    He is NOT a bigot or racist. That shit is all just smear campaign shit. He DOES support enforcing immigration laws. He DOES support checking Muslim immigrants from sketchy countries really thoroughly. But he himself married a Jewish woman, his kids are half Jewish, half his staff is Jewish, and he has hired a ton of black, Mexican, etc people for both on and off air over the years.

    It is literally just insane progs yelling "Racist!!!!!!!!!!" about him like they do with everybody.

  • Iheartskeet||

    I'll take your word for it on him not being racist, but he IS crazy af

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Sorry to inform Zuckerberg et. al., but being "crazy af" doesn't qualify as racist or bigoted.

    Anyone remember the "Ancient Aliens" dude who explains how the Egyptian pyramids were built by UFOs? Pretty sure his videos are available. So is videos from that guy that mainstains NASA is hiding photos of the dark side of the moon because there is a secret Nazi base up there. And then there's that British former sports reporter who says the British Royal family are all shapeshifter aliens. All those people are crazy af and still given a platform.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Just to clarify...I am personally fine with any and all crazy people having a platform, nor do I equate crazy with racist, and lastly I find the hypocrisy about it all appalling and disgraceful.

  • Happy Chandler||

    And Facebook can feel free to say FYTW. If they think hosting Jones is against their business interest, that's their decision.

    You're free to use another platform.

  • Thomas O.||

    All I can say is, I have a number of friends and family on FB who routinely post pro-Trump articles and right-wing memes. If Facebook keeps going after the right-wingers and deleting accounts because of supposed "hate speech", they may end up with a bigger backlash than they thought.

  • Happy Chandler||

    That's their decision. I think far more people will be happy to not have Alex Jones around than will leave because of him.

    They aren't going after right wing accounts. They are going after ones that harass people and use bigoted terms.

  • JesseAz||

    Unless you're a leftist bigot. It's like you are incapable of understanding the issue. See Farrakhan for a glaring example. Bigot, anti Jew conspiracies, etc.

  • Happy Chandler||

    I'd have no problem with him being banned. Which platform has he posted these things? Give links, and I'll report them.

  • vek||

    They are targeting right wing accounts Chandler, you fucking idiot. It's painfully clear that only speech on one side of the political isle is offensive, hateful etc...

    Despite that that is completely not true. Racist shit against whites? Totally cool bro!

    Not even racist, but perhaps not flattering facts about any brown group? RACIST AND EVIL, BAN THEM NOW!

    Just being in favor of enforcing current immigration law is seen as racist, which is insane.

  • Mark22||

    I'll take your word for it on him not being racist, but he IS crazy af

    Who knows. It could be performance art. Is Pussy Riot crazy? Is George Carlin crazy? Is Andres Serrano crazy? How about Richard Serra? Vitto Acconci? Adrian Parsons?

    How about Bernie Sanders, whose professed ideology killed a hundred million people? How about BLM members and Jeong, many of whom regularly express their hate for white people?

  • vek||

    Yeah, he's totally not a racist. Crazy AF for sure. But as mentioned no crazier than the Ancient Aliens guy, or Art Bell from Coast To Coast AM was, or anything else.

    This is politically motivated through and through. Anybody who can't see that is a fool. The fact that ANTIFA and left wing extremists are basically completely untouched should prove that to anybody who can't read between the lines.

  • vek||

    But actually it's not the crazy stuff he says that has them worried... It's the fact that 90% of the stuff that comes out of his mouth is SUPER on point conservative/libertarian leaning stuff. He has a "flair" to the way he rants about this stuff, which has made him huge. He does get off into crazy stuff 10% of the time, but the other 90% it's just typical right leaning talking points done in a highly energetic way. That's what scares them.

  • perlchpr||

    But he himself married a Jewish woman, his kids are half Jewish

    Technically, if his wife is Jewish, his kids are all Jewish. Not genetically, obviously, but that's what happens when the same damned term is used to describe an ethnicity, a culture, and a religion intermixably.

  • Drave Robber||

    Technically, his mother-in-law being Jewish would be enough for his kids to be (potentially) Jewish.

  • JFree||

    Or at least neurotic.

  • vek||

    I know what you mean ;) With Jews they consider the "Jewishness" to go down the female line, versus in most cultures ethnicity goes down the male line if anything.

    Him being a Christian, and I believe his ex-wife being one too, I would imagine they're more working with the blood angle of it all versus religious. :)

    Point merely being that he isn't a Nazi! Nazis don't typically marry Jew broads and stuff, and then hire tons of Jews/blacks/Mexicans/etc. Which simply shows how unhinged the media is to call him a racist. You could call him a "hard core right winger," because he is pretty hard core about a lot of stuff... But not racist.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    I can't stand the suspense any longer, so I must ask: did Jones actually say bigoted stuff on his show?

    As far as I know, his only crime is being an asshole.

    I'll just point out the same thing I said the other day--this is related in nature to the NYT hiring Sarah Jeong for her editorial staff. Her "Internet of Garbage" booklet is a how-to guide for how to get away with censoring wrongthink. Her stance is that non-leftist opinions should be treated like "garbage" or spam. Once this paradigm is accepted, it's easy to justify actions that range from shadowbanning individuals so that their posts effectively never see the light of day, to outright collusion in banning someone like what happened to Jones. Either way, your voice is effectively silenced. And when objections to this clear assault on free speech are made, the immediate rejoinder is "It's a private business, they don't have to let you use it!" "He can still print flyers and staple them to lampposts!"

    One need look no further than the "MUH PRINCIPLES" clique of libertarians on this board echoing these arguments to show how ingrained they've become. These idiots don't see that these giant global tech corporations are acting like a quasi-government entity, and not a benevolent one at that. The fact that we have Congressmen openly trying to get "hate speech" banned on university campuses is simply the next logical step towards the left's efforts to make wrongthink an actual crime.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    I suspect you're largely correct with that assessment. Seems to me, however, that by doing this, these platforms run a serious risk of becoming irrelevant and losing more and more audience. That's what happened to the nightly network news, and more recently started happening to the cable news channels too.

    It's the free market at work, I think. As it stands, Facebook took a lot of flack for the Cambridge Media data sharing stuff last election (even though it was hardly a new thing). Now this move might well hurt them further. It's already getting to the point that lots of people I know who used to post on FB every day now post only a few times per year. I'm sure lots of people are closing accounts or just not bothering at all. But that's okay, Mark. You do you. You won't be the first MC Hammer-style rags-to-riches-back-to-rags clelebrity.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    This is a information consolidator website. InfoWars is at the bottom.
    RonPaulNews

  • ||

    No and Harsanyl should have provided evidence for it.

  • Flinch||

    I decided to listen this week on account of all the flap, and so far my take is that Jones is primarily a trigger artist that dabbles in ex-post facto self aggrandizement. If the sunset became a controversy tonight, he would pop out tomorrow and say "I told you..." or "I knew this would happen". He does stuff that nobody would have dreamed of complaining about in the 70s or 80s - like Burka Barbie. If that was done on SNL during Belushi's day, it would be called a "classic" by the same meatheads recoiling in "horror" for their SJW friends perfunctory feedback today. To that end, they deserve to be triggered. The fact a rank amateur is doing it to them is priceless.

  • buybuydandavis||

    " They have a right to dictate the contours of permissible speech on their sites and to enforce those standards dutifully or hypocritically or ideologically, using any method they see fit. No one seriously disputes this."

    Plenty of people dispute this.

    Internet companies were given a special legal carve out, with the legal privileges of publishers to control content but only the liability of a common carrier that must take all comers.

    That discrepancy should be rectified, one way or another.

    They have a right to be publishers *and be legally treated as publishers*. They don't have a right to the special carve out they've been receiving. It should be rescinded immediately.

  • Kivlor||

    God, we couldn't get a paragraph into this article without a bunch of ridiculous nonsense. "No one seriously disputes this." Um, actually, a lot of people do. You just live in a bubble, or are intentionally ignoring your detractors so you can eliminate voices you think are evil. Not only is it up for debate due to the publisher vs common carrier issue, but every one of these companies is headquartered in California, where they actually have banned this kind of activity. In fact, Jared Taylor is currently suing Twitter over banning him, and the judge seems quite inclined to support his case.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    These tech corps define themselves as either "platforms" or "content providers" depending on the circumstances.

  • Flinch||

    Of course: they [social media companies] want to be in charge, but then blame the user if anything blows up. They tell the user effectively "your content is yours" in one section, then elsewhere in policy eviscerate that notion nine ways til sunday so they can perform at will. It's a kaleidoscope of bullshit and misrepresentation on all fronts. When they want to deflect, they are a "platform". When they want to assert control, they are a "provider". More court decisions are likely to ring their bell for this, and possibly soon.

  • Happy Chandler||

    The keyword is seriously. The Reason commenter take on the law is pretty much opposite the text and legislative history of the law, and would face a very quick summary judgement in court.

    The CDA was expressly passed so that internet platforms could moderate and not be held liable for everything written. Google Blumenthal v Drudge, AOL.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Which is why the more recent decisions have rejected immunity. So about that whole stare decisis thing...

  • JesseAz||

    Once you start editing content you are not a platform. This isn't hard Chandler. Yet it seems you are unable to grasp it.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Then how does any site on the Internet survive?

    That's literally the opposite of the law. As evidence, I show every site on the Internet not losing lawsuits.

    The law says if it's not your words, you're not liable. Start, finish.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Bollea v. Gawker.

  • NashTiger||

    You might want to explain that to Backpage, Craigslist, Theeroticreview, etc

  • Happy Chandler||

    1) Bollea v. Gawker was an article written by Gawker. Therefore they are responsible. No relation to Section 230.
    2) Backpage/Craigslist etc. is related to a special exception for sex work.

    Neither has anything to do with the issue here.

  • Kivlor||

    Indeed, the keyword is "seriously". And there are some serious arguments being advanced in court as we speak. Like I said, the suit by Taylor/American Renaissance against Twitter is going forward.

    From the judge:
    "harder to imagine a clearer public interest lawsuit"
    "[the lawsuit] covers precisely the allegations in the 1st & 2nd causes of actions for violations under the California Constitution."
    "There is well pleaded allegations of unlawful and fraudulent conduct"

    He even goes on to describe Twitter's contract as unconscionable.

  • Happy Chandler||

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/.....d-accounts

    The free speech argument was thrown out. It basically is an advertising complaint saying that Twitter can't say they are for free speech.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    But he said Taylor properly supported his allegations that Twitter's policy of suspending accounts, in the judge's words, "at any time, for any reason or for no reason" may be unconscionable and that the company calling itself a platform devoted to free speech may be misleading and therefore fraudulent.

    Which doesn't change the fact that the case is proceeding. So where's the summary judgement? Nice Motte and Bailey though.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Losing summary judgement doesn't mean he's likely to win, nor that any win would stand under appeal.

    But, libertarians cheering California's lawsuits in the public interest laws, that's special! When the market works against you, sue! LIBERTY!!!

  • Kivlor||

    The only free speech argument thrown out, as far as I can tell by reading the actual court doc is Twitter's "but I can censor anything I want b/c free speech." Maybe I missed it. mind giving me a page?

  • Flinch||

    I dispute it too. When offering free accounts for public postings, a company has erected an electronic town square which is to say... they are a public accomodation. [At least attitudinally speaking, whatever the law says]. If they want to be a club, or have a contract based fee for service subscription, then that puts some meat on the bone. For a club, members should have rights to review/change rules which would look much more like "community standards" than the vaporware policies in place today.

  • Rockabilly||

    Fuck ANTIFA.

    They're fucking cowards with their fucking masks and their fucking communist flags and their fucking bats and their fucking chains.

    Fuck every last one of the fucking communist cowards who the fucking NY Times adores.

    Fuck you ass hole ass hats ANTIFA and Fuck You NY Times. Where is Saddam's WMD? You fuckheads said he had WMDs where the fuck are they?

  • JesseAz||

    So you're saying give antifa a chance?

  • Rich||

    Jones, who has made numerous hateful and reckless remarks, should make any reasonable person uncomfortable.

    Why? Did you mean to write "any unreasonable person"?

  • JesseAz||

    Words are scary to cosmopolitan libertarians. Probably from being around so many frightful liberals. I don't get it. But it seems common.

    Each one of the reason writers pretending to be pro free speech has to inject some type of value signal like you showed. It's weird. It's not enough to say "I don't agree w Infowars," they have to say everyone doesn't agree. It's jist strange.

  • General_Tso||

    And say it in every paragraph at least once.

  • Flinch||

    Read between the lines: it's survival, which is slightly ugly. Writers working in the spheres touching journalism would like to be able to write for the publications kept under fascist lockdown [maybe]. It's far from purist, but is that craven? Well, fire up the bbq and see if pride will get you through the week. Your stomach will call you a liar.
    Personally, anything that smacks of an "everybody knows ___" argument gets my immediate dismissal. Websters does not accept circular definitions and we should not accept empty logic or vague assertions on a pedestal. I'm seeing it a bit too much lately here at Reason and... it's disappointing. Saying "me too" like a parrot is how the republicans helped congress dive towards single digit approval territory I note. It's not something to emulate, as the moment the nodding approval of the Washington Post arrives [for example], there's almost nothing left of value to ponder.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    I'm sorry, but if you don't think Alex Jones' Sandy Hook Trutherism to be disgusting and reprehensible, then there's something wrong with you, and I don't think you would be a "reasonable person".

  • JesseAz||

    Again, how is it less immoral than saying the nra is directly responsible or wants to murder children?

  • vek||

    I am so sick and tired of you idiots at Reason using MSM made up smear campaign shit against Jones. That is all shit made up about him.

    He is NOT a bigot or racist. He DOES support enforcing immigration laws. He DOES support checking Muslim immigrants from sketchy countries really thoroughly. But he himself married a Jewish woman, his kids are half Jewish, half his staff is Jewish, and he has hired a ton of black, Mexican, etc people for both on and off air over the years. This is why actual white nationalists hate him and think he is a Zionist shill! LOL

    It is literally just insane progs yelling "Racist!!!!!!!!!!" about him like they do with everybody.

    Anybody who has ever listened to his show knows he is not a racist, he's a total civic nationalist. The fact that you writers are so stupid and ill informed on the subject is ridiculous. You're literally just parroting left wing propaganda as if it were the Gospel... Not that you don't do that on a lot of things.

    AJ has said plenty of crazy shit, and dumb shit, but I am sick of hearing he is a racist. It's just total bullshit. You people are pathetic for not knowing this. Keep in mind AJ probably has 1000 times the reach Reason does, so maybe you should know what you're talking about when trashing an organization a lot larger than your own?

  • vek||

    AND Anybody who thinks that has anything to do with Alex Jones being racist, OR a conspiracy theorist is an idiot.

    This is a test run to see if they can remove a HUGE right wing voice and get away with it. They've been banning smaller right leaning people probably by the 10s or 100s of thousands since the election, but they never took anybody HUGE down. AJ is HUGE. Like I said he's way bigger than Reason could ever dream of being.

    In short, Reason, if they can get away with un-personing him... You're definitely toast if and when the proggies decide you're no longer a useful idiot for pushing half the same views they have, because you're against high taxes and in favor of guns or whatever.

    People need to fight back against this shit, otherwise it's going to get 1 million times worse.

  • sarcasmic||

    I listened to his show a few times. Never heard anything that made me think he's racist. Xenophobic, yes. Economicus ignoramicus, yes. Conspiracy theorist who will believe most anything no matter how stupid it is, yes. But not racist.

  • Drave Robber||

    Never came across as xenophobic to me, but then, I belong to a 'wrong' sort of hoi xenoi (Eastern European).

  • ||

    I've been listening to him on and off since the 1990s. Not a racist.

    Again, that's an unacceptable assertion by the author without any citation to back it up.

    Farrakhan though IS a racist and he remains on their platforms AFAIK.

    That's why they're despicable assholes all of them. LinkedIn, Disqus, Apple, Google, Twitter, youtube and Facebook. Pure disingenuous assholes.

  • Flinch||

    Here's a thought in keeping with caveat emptor: if it's free, it's shit.

  • vek||

    Xenophobic within reason maybe?

    He doesn't think all people from the Middle East are terrorists... Merely that there is a 1 million percent higher chance that a Saudi immigrant will blow something up versus a Japanese immigrant... Which is factually correct. So to say we should maybe do extra thorough checks on people from sketchy areas... Not exactly crazy if you ask me. But I'm a realist and a pragmatist, and not a purist utopian libertarian sooo...

    But yeah, he's not racist. He is wacky about a lot of stuff. I'm glad I've listened to him here and there over the years, because he has turned me on to a lot of crazy, BUT TRUE, shit that I research on my own. He's really good at making a mountain out of a mole hill, but sometimes the mole hill is interesting enough all on its own.

  • Kivlor||

    At some point, do "journalists" have a duty to do basic research on a subject before smearing someone in an attempt to destroy their reputation? I think they should. Maybe it is time to do what Trump suggested, and stop giving corporations like Reason special privileges above the common citizen, permitting them the unfettered "right" to slander and libel. I could be sued for this shit. They should be touchable too.

  • JesseAz||

    Not opinion journalists. Which jownall journalists are. Can't think of any real journalists except for a handful. Acosta corrupting even the press pool was the final straw. We are now in the selfie journo era. It's about the journo not the facts.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Journalists have no special libel protections. Anybody can call anyone else a racist. It's an opinion, not a provable fact.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    LEAVE ALEX JONES ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    You misspelled Jeong.

  • Kivlor||

    Jones isn't important to me chemjeff. But I do have a problem with people running around screaming "Racist Nazi Scum" and even printing it as verifiable fact when there is no evidence of it. that is an attempt to ruin someone and silence them. Its ugly, nasty, petty and should be beneath Reason.

    Then they retreat like the cowards they are to "hey that is an editorial. I can slander and libel anyone I want because reasons.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Actually, that was Jones' defense. He said he was a performance artist.
    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us.....st-n747491

    I don't think anyone accused Jones of being a Nazi. I don't think really people have really said that he's a racist. He's said bigoted things, however.

    I know nobody has ever claimed to be have written an editorial to avoid libel charges, because that's not even a thing. Who claimed to be writing an editorial for any reason?

    You throw out a lot of "they they they" but never say WHO.

  • vek||

    "Said bigoted things"

    Sooo is stating FACTS that are not favorable to a certain group bigoted? Even if they're true? Like am I a bigot for saying that black males are only about 6% of the population, but commit 50% of murders, so we need to figure out some way to deal with that shit?

    Is that racist? Because that's basically what Jones has done. He's pointed out unpleasant facts on some stuff, then said we need to figure out how to deal with it, generally while going out of his way to point out it's not ALL Muslims or ALL Mexicans or whatever the particular topic was. He's a total cuck, but he's a cuck who can still see problems exist within certain groups that don't exist for other groups. Like Japanese immigrants don't go around blowing shit up. Ya know?

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    So, Alex Jones can't be a racist because other racists don't think he is racist enough. Is that your argument?

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    And Reason should absolutely go to the mat to defend Alex Jones' free speech rights, as they have done.

    But Reason is under no obligation to defend Alex Jones the person, or any other particular individual for that matter.

  • JesseAz||

    If you believe he is racist, posit your examples that lead to that belief.

  • sarcasmic||

    As someone who has no use for Facebook or Twitter, I really don't give a shit.

  • The Last American Hero||

    You might when the CIO of Twitter is appointed by President Harris to head the FCC, reinstate Net Net Neutrality, and start banning sites like this one because they don't back her policies.

  • KevinP||

    You may be uninterested in the left, but the left is very much interested in you.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The central problem here is a lack of price signals from consumers on a "free" platform. Because consumers aren't paying, their voices aren't being heard through price signals.

    These "free" services on social media are actually being paid for by advertisers, so the platform is driven by the concerns of advertisers. Is Alex Jones on broadcast television or commercial radio? If the answer is no, it's because he would have a hard time attracting advertisers to pay for his program. Social Media is a collection of advertising platforms. It doesn't surprise me that they don't want to associate with Alex Jones for the same reasons that their advertisers don't want to be associated with him.

    When I was a kid, you couldn't hear TSOL's Code Blue ("I wanna fuck the dead"), Suicidal Tendencies I Saw You Mommy and Your Mommy is Dead, or The Misfits' Die, Die My Darling on broadcast radio. The bands had to make their money selling music and tickets directly to fans without the benefit of platforms supported by commercial advertising. If you wanted to be on broadcast radio supported by advertising, you had to write songs with less controversial lyrics--like The Eagles or Boston.

    Alex Jones is like The Misfits. It's amazing that he was ever on an advertising supported platform in the first place.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Incidentally, this is why I hope Steemit is wildly successful.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steemit

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it's basically a social media platform that rewards content creators with cryptocurrency for their content. The amount of currency a content creator earns depend on how many people consume and like your content.

    In short, the price signals are coming from consumers rather than advertisers.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Where does the money come from?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    What a strange question for a socialist to ask.

  • Happy Chandler||

    I'm not a socialist. Just trying to understand the business model. As far as I can tell, it's a scheme to takeVC money and distribute it.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I'm not a socialist.

    Facts not in evidence.

  • JesseAz||

    All socialist are idiots. Happy is an idiot. Doesn't mean he's a socialist. But he probably is just has a different word for it like they are apt to do.

  • vek||

    Well, I never would have expected you to be a punk fan! Code Blue is my favorite song about necrophilia ever! I got to see them live several years ago. Sweet show!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I am just waiting for NeutralBook and Barkker and Boogaloo to replace Facebook, Twitter, and Google.

    Maybe then, we can just enjoy internet services that work without all the SJW bullshit.

  • Rich||

    Maybe, until some congresscreature discovers them.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Yet somehow they don't succeed in the marketplace. Must be a conspiracy! Better get the government to fix it. For liberty.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Is that you Sen. Warner(D) or Murphy(D)?

    Hate speech isn't real speech, right?

  • Happy Chandler||

    I'm not a Democrat. Trying to make excuses for the free market?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    No, you're a democratic socialist. The sriracha makes it better.

  • Happy Chandler||

    And you're an agent of DPRK.
    Prove me wrong.

  • The Last American Hero||

    DPRK doesn't have internet.

  • JD3||

    "And though the ejection of Jones isn't the end of the world and it doesn't necessarily portend a mass expulsion of less extreme voices..."

    Sure it doesn't.
    It's just a one-time thing, you know.

  • ||

    I hope Alex Jones sues their asses off.

    I hope they all collapse. Fuck 'em. Scary shit they do.

    Never mind companies like Facebook essentially harvest private data and sell it. Connecting humanity my ass. It's your DNA they want.

    Sadly, whenever this comes up in a discussion too many people shrug and say they don't care. It's asinine. No wonder punks like Zuckerberg have a thousand mile smug stare. They know most people are aloof if not idiotic about their own rights.

  • TxJack 112||

    They have a right to ban such speech as long as they apply the standards fairly. The problem is they are not applying these standards fairly because groups such as Antifa and the Nation of Islam which also have statements of hate, calls for inciting violence and insane conspiracy theories based on bigotry remain on social media. The only site being banned are right wing sites labeled as "hate speech" yet left wing sites using the EXACT SAME LANGUAGE are acceptable.

  • ||

    The Russia story - pimped by outlets like MSNBC and Maddow - in my view is the single biggest and most dangerous conspiracy out there.

    And it's from the....progressive left.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Nope, they have the right to ban any language that it's not in their business interest to host. You don't like it? Use another product.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    This brings back a fond memory of the time I wore my Church of G shirt. It says, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," on the front with the quote attributed to Jesus of Nazareth. The back says, "Fuck You Bitch," with the quote attributed to G. A lady took offense to it, and consequently, the head of the group told me to either leave or change my shirt. I tried to explain the logic of the quote and why it's not "violent speech" but he got upset and screamed, "This is my house! This is my house!" I had to be like, "Calm down, pastor. I'll go home."

  • NashTiger||

    I'm sure you thought this was hilarious

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    More like Suckerberg and Dorkey...am I right?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    TxJack, they have a right to ban any speech they want to, fairly or unfairly, arbitrarily or capriciously. That right is specifically enumerated. It's called freedom of the press. It's in the 1A. These companies are private publishers, all of them. They can't be compelled to publish specific speech if they don't want to do it.

    The fairness problem is real, however. Because of the internet, for the first time in history, a few publishers have amassed sufficient audience to largely monopolize advertising sales. That disables would-be rivals. Reduce the scope of the internet giants, and there would be room for competitors to take them on, and re-establish the publishing diversity which prevailed pre-internet.

    The present situation was built in consequence of a Congressional blunder: Section 230. That enabled today's internet giantism, because it freed publishers from their previous obligation to read what they publish. That empowered the business model of scooping up all the content, and selling all the ads there are. Get rid of Section 230, and that goes away.

    The question now is whether conservatives have principle enough to get rid of Section 230. Probably not now. Conservatives still yearn for weaponized speech, and no liability. Without Section 230, they can't have that. Maybe later. After conservatives are more thoroughly and aggressively screened, they may start to see virtue in going back to traditional publishing norms. It would be a conservative thing to do.

  • Happy Chandler||

    The Internet lowered the barrier to entry more than any invention before. There were usually a max of 2 or 3 newspapers per city, and it was quite expensive to get out of city newspapers. There were 3 TV networks.

    Now there are untold thousands of news sources. Each of them can get advertisers however they want. You don't need to use Google or Facebook for advertising. You can build your own. You can use your show to hawk snake oil, like Alex Jones does.

    The Internet has democratized things. Before the Internet, Alex Jones would never have 1% of what he does.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Actually, news sources are on the decline. The notion that every keyboard jockey on the internet adds to the sum of news is foolishness. Almost none of them do. They add opinion. Expressing opinions is good, but there is no need to have Section 230 to make it happen. Opinion is safe against charges of defamation.

    News gathering costs money. And the best of it has to be done collaboratively. So far, no business model for accomplishing that on the internet has been discovered. It's beginning to look hopeless. The best anyone has come up with is to tap philanthropists willing to support news gathering. That will not prove sustainable.

    I usually comment on the Volokh Conspiracy because it is one of the very few internet forums which actually breaks some news, and seriously considers even more of it. I think the VC model might be tweaked by a manager interested in prioritizing news over advocacy, to create a viable business model for news on the internet. I wish someone would do it. I suspect there is money to be made. But that effort would be far more likely to succeed without the baleful monopolistic effect of Section 230 on internet add sales.

    By the way, 1 or 2 daily newspapers times every community of 100,000 or so—plus additional single papers in almost every community larger than 5,000—added up to many multiples of the number of actual news gatherers now active nationwide on the internet. Mostly, it's aggregation sites parasitizing the weakened newspaper remnant.

  • JFree||

    News gathering costs money. And the best of it has to be done collaboratively. So far, no business model for accomplishing that on the internet has been discovered. Mostly, it's aggregation sites parasitizing the weakened newspaper remnant.

    News gathering - and the business model for news - happens at the same level that the object of that news exists/operates. 'the local' ceased to be important in our actual lives quite a long time ago. I think you're underestimating how much of the pre-net news was really just aggregation - from AP, PR newswires, etc on the content side - and placement of national ads, etc on the revenue side.

    This has been happening ever since Edward Bernays and the Creel Commission and the Lippmann-Dewey debates. News media went along with the engineering of mass consent - but in so doing lost their understanding of what they can uniquely provide - local news. Internet is just a far cheaper way to engineer mass consent.

    The only solution is for news gatherers to make 'the local' matter again - and to COMPETE with that top-down mass consent model.

  • JFree||

    One way of making the local matter or of 'fixing' the news gathering model would be to massively decentralize the fed govt. Not reduce it per se (that's ideology) but decentralize it organizationally. Take the depts out of DC/burbs - and spread them around the country. That eliminates the long-standing oligopoly control of 'news investigation of fed' (which is naturally a natl level interest) by WaPo/NYT/AP which is what feeds the net aggregators cheaply. The oligops are overwhelmed by all the stuff in DC now anyway which is one reason they limit their investigations (same as Congress) and thus why there's an eyeball market for obvious linkbait/fake/trolling/wastemytime/agitprop stuff.

    That org change would create a news vacuum - which can only be filled by local news gathering, cooperating/syndicating across local entities, and presenting/opining the big picture view to that natl eyeball while opining local impact to local eyeballs. Whether that sort of org change actually results in more investigation - idk. It may be that the current generation of news gatherers and wannabes has completely bought into the engineering of mass consent

  • flyfishnevada||

    "Even if you did, you wouldn't melt. They're just words."

    Unfortunately, progressive SJW's don't believe that or at least pretend not to. It's what much of their movement is based upon, what they teach and the standard they all want us to live by. Words hurt and those that they don't agree with shouldn't just be censored...they shouldn't exist at all.

    And it's not banning idiots like Alex Jones that bugs me. That is their right. It's the hypocrisy of pretending they value free speech and diversity of views when what they really mean is they only value the views they agree with and tolerate those they are indifferent too.

  • Rob Misek||

    That "our brothers died for free speech" narrative has served its purpose..

    The elite have used their unholy hordes of money to control the narrative on EVERY platform.

    Hell you can't squeeze one out without big brother.

    If you envy everything they have, capitalist, then embrace only their politically correct speech.

    Socialists are already doing it.

    The problem is son, that you've taken your eye off the ball.

    Demand truth. Criminalize lying.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Luckily, you don't have to criminalize lying. And it's a really bad idea, which should never be tried. Not worth considering.

    What you do have to do is allow civil liability to make publishers vulnerable for defamation—which is a smallish subset of lying. To defend themselves, publishers have to learn to distinguish facts from opinions, and be careful about the facts. That means they have to read everything they publish. If they are doing that anyway, because they must, then it becomes natural and easy for them to use publication of the truth as a basis for competition. Publishers who do better at that thrive, others decline.

    That model was active for more than a century in this nation, and made news publishing an ornament of American civilization. Section 230, passed by Congress, killed that model, by freeing would-be monopolists from the burden of reading what they publish. It would be wise to repeal Section 230, and start over, this time taking advantage of the economies enabled by electronic publishing.

  • Rob Misek||

    Lying enables every corruption and benefits only the corrupt.

    Justice is based on "the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth". Lying is a crime in court already because it interferes with justice.

    Today, for the first time in earths history, we have te technology to effortlessly record everything we witness.

    We should have a right to record everything we witness everywhere we go and coupling that with criminalizing lying would all but guarantee the elimination of the behaviour.

    Police are dabbling with obsolete body camera technology in a desperate effort to regain public trust.

    Knowing this, why do you advocate the right to lie?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    I don't advocate a right to lie. I advocate not letting the government call the truth a lie, and suppressing the truth. That is the certain result of criminalizing lying.

  • Rob Misek||

    What makes you believe your last statement to be true?

    That would only happen if nobody, including yourself, had the balls to speak truth to power.

  • Happy Chandler||

    This would be like opening the printing presses up for liability, or the newstands. Or even the paper deliverers. It's nonsensical and would destroy the Internet.

    By this standard, Facebook would have to personally review and approve every message before it went out.

  • Rob Misek||

    Why do you think someone else should be held responsible for what you say in public?

    Do you really think you're anonymous?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Happy, yes! You grasp the concept! But, no! You seem not to understand. We are talking about publishing here, not speech. They are not the same.

    You apparently think a regime based on reading everything would in some way be crippling to speech, or to a free press. Please consider. For more than a century, the very rule you object to has been in place with regard to legacy publishers. They were, (and remain, by the way) liable for every word they publish, regardless of whether it comes in the form of a report they author, a letter, a comment on an op ed page, or a paid advertisement. So they have to read everything, and judge which things among them are potentially defamatory. Publishers did that right now, this morning, before they put the paper edition of the New York Times on the presses.

    The obligation to do that not only did not cripple speech and press freedom, it improved it. Enormously. It made it possible to create a body of speech which was actually useful to the nation, and to every citizen. It has never been perfect. Biases abound, mostly with regard to what gets covered. And not everyone gets to play—at least not at every publication.

    But everyone is as free to publish using a traditional press as they are to comment on the internet. That's as good as it can get, without degrading free speech to the point of uselessness—until it becomes impossible to defend, because too many people hate it, and can't see the point of defending shit.

  • Rob Misek||

    Publishing, with the author's authorization, is the author's responsibility.

    Only without is not.

  • Karl B.||

    How many of these situations have to happen before a critical mass of people start moving to alternative decentralized social media platforms like diaspora?

  • Rob Misek||

    The opportunities to utilize the greatest communication technology in earths history are being systematically eliminated by those whose continued corruption requires control of the narrative.

    The issue is that "free speech" is necessary in public.

    It's not free speech when people are excluded from speaking in areas that the public speaks.

    Anyone providing such a public speaking area should be legally bound to providing a free speech environment.

  • Nuwanda||

    Every day, contemporary liberals run around accusing Donald Trump supporters of being in league with white supremacists and social conservatives of being unrepentant bigots. Republicans are regularly charged with propagating fascist views or attempting to murder Americans.

    Every day, open borders libertarians run around accusing fellow libertarians of being in league with white supremacists and of being unrepentant bigots. These fellow libertarians are regularly charged with being anti-immigrant or hating those seeking a better life.

  • onebornfree||

    "Of course, Facebook, YouTube, and other media are free to ban conspiracy-mongers such as Alex Jones from their platforms. "

    Sure, if you are naive enough to believe that these tech co.s acted of their own, free, volition, and have not already been threatened with regulation by you know who.

    Do you really believe that this affair does not go back as far as, and as deep as, at the very least, Obama [and DNC cohorts] and probably goes far, far deeper?

    Even if these co.s _were_ fully private , are you really naive enough to believe that in this world, they would be allowed by the government to continue to host content that exposes the governments agenda, when it is people like Jones who most likely contributed to Trump's election victory ? Have you heard of Operation Mockingbird?

    Fact: all corporations are "legal" creatures of government. Governments allow them to exist, and protect them- FOR A PRICE! And what do you think that price might be?

    Fact: Facebook, Google/YouTube were initially funded by the CIA- FOR A PRICE! What do you think that price might be? Huh?

    Sure, Jones can move to other, maybe decentralized video platforms , but as far as I can see, he has been deplatformed at Facebook et al on the strength of absolute LIES about what he did , did not say about certain issues.

    Regards, Onebornfree. http://onebornfree-mythbusters.blogspot.com/

  • onebornfree||

    [continued]:

    "..in the world of online censorship by tech giants, no due process exists. You're banned without explanation… you cannot face your accusers… you cannot present evidence in your defense… and no evidence even needs to be cited against you. You can be de-platformed, censored, smeared, slandered and have your entire reputation and business utterly destroyed based entirely on rumors and lies backed up by extreme censorship to silence your dissent.

    This is the reality of the internet censorship we all face today...........":

    ARTICLE QUOTE LINK: Reason site says :"Your comment contains a word that is too long (50 characters)" , and I do not know how to embed links here via the title of the article, and so to read the entire Mike Adams Natural News article search [Google , or Duckduckgo etc.]:

    "The censorship racket EXPLAINED: No due process, no evidence, no defense",

    ......or just go to the Natural News site: https://www.naturalnews.com/ . The article appeared 08/0818

    Regards, onebornfree:

  • Rob Misek||

    Put a couple of spaces in the link people can find them

  • edrebber||

    All media is scripted entertainment. It's preposterous to hold specific entertainment to a subjective standard of truth and reality and give others a pass. Media should survive based on advertising or merchandise revenue, not censorship or a wealthy benefactor.

  • ancestrialLocke||

    The manor in which Alex Jones was removed was unfair because they didn't even bother to tell him what content was not permissible so that he could simply not say such things in the future. They just said he violated the rules but don't tell him the evidence that they used to come to a decision. They don't even tell him specific videos that did so that he could come back and make a correction if he chose to. They just told him to get out without any justification and if he wanted to go to court youtube will have to provide the evidence that they used to determine he violated the contract he signed with them. I think any lawyer in the world would love to take his case and sue the shit out of youtube for possible violation of a contract.

  • Uncle Jay||

    Social media giants can censor any speech they want.
    Its their sites.
    But don't hand us all this bullshit about how they're all in favor free speech.

  • Mark22||

    What meaningless drivel.

    How about an analysis from a libertarian perspective?

    How about analyzing how Google and Facebook became so dominant and whether, gosh, government policies might have brought us to this point in the first place?

    How about pointing out the core legal issue that's at stake here, namely that government exempts these platforms from legal liability because they claim that they aren't controlling their content?

  • Cory Crockett||

    This is something I have personally experienced: Upon joining, I was eventually [digitally] approached by the Head Of Disqus, & basically told that ranting is prohibited. For the sake of civility, I (uncharacteristically) complied. Also, I was additionally told (in essence) that free speech is not applicable to that platform). It should be noted that i, unjustly, was kicked off of Reddit for the exact same reason.

  • Cory Crockett||

    Of They weren't a bunch of Leftists-hacks: I'd contact the ACLU.

  • Cory Crockett||

    If They weren't a bunch of Leftists-hacks: I'd contact the ACLU.

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