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Ben Sasse Asked Mark Zuckerberg Whether He Defines Hate Speech Like College Students Do

"You used language of safety and protection earlier. We see this happening on college campuses all across the country."

ZuckerbergJeff Malet Photography/NewscomOne of the most interesting moments of yesterday's Senate committee hearings on Facebook privacy issues came when Sen. Ben Sasse (R–Neb.) asked Mark Zuckerberg to define hate speech.*

Zuckerberg immediately suggested violent speech as a category of content that would always be impermissible on Facebook. But Sasse cut him off. Everybody agrees about violent speech, he said. What about "psychological" harm?

Here's a transcript of the exchange, with especially noteworthy sentences bolded:

Sasse: I think regulation over time will have a hard challenge. You're a private company so you can make policies that may be less than First Amendment full-spirit embracing, in my view. But I worry about that. I worry about a world where when you go from violent groups to hate speech in a hurry. In one of your responses to one of the opening questions, you may decide or Facebook may decide it needs to police a whole bunch of speech that I think America might be better off not having policed by one company that has a really big and powerful platform. Can you define hate speech?

Zuckerberg: Senator, I think that this is a really hard question. And I think that's one of the reasons that we struggle with it. There are certain definitions that we have around calling for violence.

Sasse: Let's just agree on that. If someone is calling for violence, that shouldn't be there. I'm worried about the psychological categories around speech. You used language of safety and protection earlier. We see this happening on college campuses all across the country. It's dangerous. Forty percent of Americans under age 35 tell pollsters they think the First Amendment is dangerous because you might use your freedom to say something that hurts someone else's feelings. Guess what? There are some really passionately held views about the abortion issue on this panel today. Can you imagine a world where you might decide that pro-lifers are prohibited from speaking about their abortion views on your platform?

Zuckerberg: I certainly would not want that to be the case.

Sasse: But it might really be unsettling to people who have had an abortion to have an open debate about that.

Zuck: It might be, but I don't think that that would fit any of the definitions of what we have. But I do generally agree with the point that you're making, which is that as we are able to technologically shift toward especially having AI proactively look at content, I think that that's going to create massive questions for society about what kinds of obligations we want to require companies to fulfill and I do think that that's a question that we need to struggle with as a country. Because I know other countries are, and they are putting laws in place, and America needs to figure out a set of principles that we want American companies to operate under.

Sasse: I wouldn't want you to leave here today thinking there's a unified view in the Congress that you should be moving toward policing more and more speech. I think violence has no place no your platform, sex traffickers and human traffickers have no place on your platform. But vigorous debates, adults need to engage in vigorous debates.

I'm not sure precisely which poll Sasse was referencing, but 53 percent of students told the Knight Foundation that diversity and inclusion were more important than free speech. YouGov found that 58 percent of students supported banning intolerant and offensive ideas—and half of all students who correctly said that hate speech is currently protected by the First Amendment nevertheless opined that it should not be. Current students were more likely than other groups to say offensive speech should be restricted, according to the Cato Institute, and New Criterion found that 21 percent of people 30 and younger thought the First Amendment was outdated and should be changed. (72 percent said faculty members who make offensive statements should be disciplined.) The data are clearly in line with Sasse's assertion: A significant percentage of young people are suspicious of the First Amendment, define hate speech broadly, and prioritize comfort and safety over free speech.

Sasse was also correct to note that Facebook is a private company, and is therefore not bound to adhere to the First Amendment. Zuckerberg would be within his rights to create a platform where speech is regulated more strictly than it would be on a public university campus. Zuckerberg, to his credit, maintained that he does not wish to banish uncomfortable conversations from Facebook, though he conceded that the company may not always do a good job differentiating uncomfortable speech from so-called hate speech. That job is only going to get more difficult.

Correction: This post initially misidentified Sasse's state.

Photo Credit: Jeff Malet Photography/Newscom

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  • Tony||

    Am I the only one who finds this entire exercise a sad attempt by Congress to outsource its own responsibilities to a private company's CEO?

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    And what, pray tell, are these 'responsibilities' you allude to, Tony, considering that the underlying theme of the piece above is about ***Free Speech***?

    I havw to wonder what exactly went through your gawddamned mind when you wrote that.

  • Microaggressor||

    Russian fever dreams, most likely.

  • Quixote||

    To begin with, clearly we need legislation that will oblige all American citizens to prove their identity when signing up with any social media, exactly as in China. Responsibility comes with an identity. The problems with the Internet began when websites allowed the use of pseudonymous speech; from there it moved to "satire," and then it ended up in rank criminality. Surely no one here would dare to defend the "First Amendment dissent" of a single, isolated judge in our nation's leading criminal "parody" case? See the documentation at:

    https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com

  • DenverJ||

    I must admit, you are getting better at shoehorning in your cause into unrelated discussions.

  • Árboles de la Barranca||

    - Rocinante (real name) is a neigh-sayer.

  • Tony||

    A libertarian impulse, in fact. I have every reason in the world to be angry at Facebook. Not only did it steal the election from my preferred candidate, it's a repository of infinite human narcissism and terribleness.

    But Zuck's job is to make himself money. If (and that's an "if") we need to regulate what his company does, that's the job of Congress. I honestly don't get the media vilification of the company's boss for not self-regulating. He's not running a social justice charity.

  • Just Say'n||

    "Not only did it steal the election from my preferred candidate, it's a repository of infinite human narcissism and terribleness."

    You were so close to making sense. So damn close.

  • Tony||

    So the reason you don't want to admit what legitimate federal investigators have long established is what? You think Trump is that good a president?

  • Just Say'n||

    Yes, federal investigators have established that votes switched because of a $100,000 Facebook ad campaign that disparaged both Clinton and Trump. You are very sane.

  • Tony||

    Believe whatever you want. He's your orange catastrophe to defend, not mine.

  • Just Say'n||

    Yes. Noting that trust fund Tony is insane to believe that any part of this fake Facebook scandal had any impact on the last election is definitely defending Trump. This whole Congressional hearing is occurring because people like you are perpetually butt hurt about the last election.

    Get. Over. It.

  • Tony||

    By get over it what do you mean? Don't talk about the treasonous corruption that informed the last election? Or maybe you mean don't criticize the current president at all?

  • Brian||

    Could you please find a way to criticize Trump that doesn't always revolve into a conspiracy theory which begs for tyranny as a solution?

  • Tony||

    The difference between me and the Pizzagate crowd is that our conspiracy theories are backed up by legitimate federal investigations.

  • Brian||

    "Investigate" doesn't mean "confirm every fantasy wet dream conspiracy theory I have without evidence."

  • Tony||

    We shall see won't we.

  • Brian||

    No, actually, what I said is true always.

    You don't get this "evidence" stuff.

  • Tony||

    Please don't insult both of our intelligence by playing the "Mueller hasn't revealed all his findings yet, thus there are no findings" card.

  • Brian||

    As long as you don't give me the "A Russian said something that someone heard, so Facebook ruined the election" card.

  • damikesc||

    The difference between me and the Pizzagate crowd is that our conspiracy theories are backed up by legitimate federal investigations.

    Where?

    Mueller has given up on collusion completely (he never really tried, honestly --- he is just phishing). The House has already wrapped up its investigation and found nothing. The Senate has found nothing,

    There isn't a single investigation even hinting at what your conspiring about.

  • Tony||

    I'm not hinting about anything. I'm saying exactly what happened. Whether any crimes were committed by the Trump campaign in the process is the question.

  • damikesc||

    I'm not hinting about anything. I'm saying exactly what happened. Whether any crimes were committed by the Trump campaign in the process is the question.

    So, you're on board with somebody being investigated deeply to see if they have actually committed a crime?

    Because Mueller, technically, should have only been appointed if there was specific evidence of a crime being committed.

    But you advocate endless, no-expense fishing expeditions...but only if you dislike the target.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Tony's and his fellow bugmen will always have trouble coming to grips with the fact that their party nominated a drunk, braying, collapsing-in-80-degree-weather harpy for President, whose socially inept campaign team stupidly thought that they could take the upper Midwest for granted and ignored the drunk, braying, collapsing-in-80-degree-weather harpy's two-time Presidential-election-winning and far more charismatic husband when he said they needed to do so.

    So they blamed the Russians for her and her team's ineptitude and always will, because they think real life should reflect one of their stupid teevee shows.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""So they blamed the Russians for her and her team's ineptitude and always will,""

    While completely ignoring that the FBI and intel agencies have said that the Russian effort did not change the vote counts.

    Sure people can say stupid things, and other people can believe them and go to the polls with that stupid belief. That's been true of every election ever held. There is ZERO evidence so far that Russians modified the vote count where peoples' votes where changed to give Trump the win.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Six figures spent on Facebook obviously outdoes a billion dollars spent everywhere else.

  • Tony||

    There's an easy way to disprove the rather incredible claim that Facebook propaganda had 0 impact on the election. Just get you to talk about Hillary Clinton a little bit. I have a nice catalogue of all the Russian propaganda talking points that you idiots bought. Just regurgitate one of them and then you'll prove yourself wrong.

  • Brian||

    You don't really get how evidence works, so you?

  • Tony||

    I get how pathetic Republican nutlicking works. I've seen more of it on nonpartisan freethinking Reason today than the goddamn Drudge Report.

  • Brian||

    Good idea: let's talk about something else.

  • Microaggressor||

    "Any skepticism of Democrat talking points and conspiracy theories is nothing more than Republican nutlicking. You're with us or against us."

    -Tony, paraphrased

  • operagost||

    I'm not sure why I have to point out the false dilemma here: denying that a Russian Facebook campaign invalidated an election is not the same as "Republican nutlicking". I didn't even vote for Trump, but I understand that.

  • Microaggressor||

    "Any and all evidence of wrongdoing by Hillary is Russian propaganda, and therefore wrong."

    -Tony, paraphrased

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    "Any and all evidence of wrongdoing by Hillary is Russian propaganda, and therefore wrong."

    -Tony, paraphrased

    More generally:

    "Anytime we lose, it was because of something someone else did rather than anything we did or failed to do."

    -Democrats, paraphrased

    Shit, at least the Republicans will admit that McCain and Romney ran bad campaigns and weren't ideal candidates.

  • Tony||

    If people felt Hillary was a terrible candidate, then she was. That's how subjective judgments like that work. The problem is a lot of the reasons people give for thinking that were supplied to them by Russian computer nerds. We can hold multiple facts in our brains at once, can't we?

  • Don't look at me.||

    You seem to have no problem holding onto multiple delusions.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""The problem is a lot of the reasons people give for thinking that were supplied to them by Russian computer nerds."'

    People that already hated Clinton and were not going to vote for Clinton may have clicked like on some of those stupid memes. But if you think someone said, wait, I'm changing my vote to Trump because the devil is saying Clinton is evil, you are fooling yourself. Or fake sex video or pizzagate for that matter. It was stupid media fodder.

  • Tony||

    It's a rather ambitious claim to say that messaging matters to absolutely no extent. I think more than a few butthurt Bernie bros and Steiniacts bought the Russian stuff and could easily have swung those few thousand votes.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    I think more than a few butthurt Bernie bros and Steiniacts bought the Russian stuff

    That's because you and your stupid social class think teevee shows are like real life and that what's portrayed there is what actually happens.

    Turn off the Shonda Rimes/Law and Order/Netflix bullshit and get outside for a while.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""It's a rather ambitious claim to say that messaging matters to absolutely no extent.""

    Regardless. The internet has brought the world and it's opinions around us in a way that didn't exist before. If you posted a message about Britex or a foreign election on facebook and you actually changed the mind of someone else in the world. Did you tamper with the election to change the outcome of the vote?

  • Zeb||

    a few butthurt Bernie bros and Steiniacts bought the Russian stuff

    Which Russian stuff? And, rather importantly I think, was the "Russian stuff" true?

    Further, what law did these Russian nerds break? Everything I've heard that supposedly happened seems pretty clearly protected by the 1st amendment.

  • damikesc||

    Hillary and her husband didn't take incredibly lucrative speaking gigs for years before the election and, well, the cost of them dropped immensely right afterwards?

    Bill spoke in Russia fairly routinely. But not since 2015. Odd.

    Hillary engaged in the most blatantly corrupt type of mishandling of classified info that anybody can honestly imagine. The Rosenbergs were more careful with classified info than Hillary. Ed Snowden was dramatically more careful.

    Hillary openly disliked --- still does so, also --- a massive swath of the electorate.

    And you think it took RUSSIANS to defeat her?

    Fuck. you are an idiot.

  • Tony||

    Every former politician who's worth anything gives speeches. This is exactly the time of meaningless crap that we had to deal with. What an innocent time. Remember when private email accounts were also the worse crime ever?

    It's also cute if you think Trump actually likes the rabble who attend his rallies.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    It's also cute if you think Trump actually likes the rabble who attend his rallies

    Whether he actually likes them is immaterial. Hillary made the mistake of pointing out that she hates people who don't kiss her ass.

  • damikesc||

    Every former politician who's worth anything gives speeches.

    Not to that magnitude, no. And especially not when their spouse, for years of that time, WAS THE SECRETARY OF STATE. The period, mind you, where the cost for his international speeches really shot up.

    Remember when private email accounts were also the worse crime ever?

    OK, so you're too stupid to understand the email issue. Got it.

    Hint: Referring to a private email SERVER as "private accounts" indicates she used something similar to Google. Anybody claiming that is too stupid to take seriously on much of anything.

  • Tony||

    No it's really really cute that after everything that's happened in the Trump administration you still think that was a big deal. Man, does FOX News pickle brains.

  • damikesc||

    No it's really really cute that after everything that's happened in the Trump administration you still think that was a big deal.

    I think it's cute that you do not find it cute that the FBI allowed a "person of interest" to remain as Hillary's lawyer during their investigation.

    I'd go into more, but you aren't smart enough to understand more.

  • arbe59||

    The irony that, while the Russians didn't cost the Democrats the 2016 election, by giving them a false narrative to hang their ego on, it's likely to cost them 2020.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    The problem is a lot of the reasons people give for thinking that were supplied to them by Russian computer nerds.

    Yeah, Hillary just sprang forth, fully formed out of the blue, as a candidate with no track record to speak of. It's not like she hadn't been in the national political eye for over 20 years or anything.

    I think the problem you're having trouble coming to grips with is the fact that Hillary lost precisely because she was so well-known, and people long ago made up their mind as to whether they wanted her in or not. The fact that she and her idiot team ignored campaigning in states that had voted Democrat since the Soviet Union was still in existence, and tried to run up the score in urbanite bug hives, never enters your thought process because it might mean accepting that such a smart woman isn't all that smart.

    And let's get real--that you think the loss of upper Midwest states was mostly the result of "Russian computer nerds" shows that the intellectual sophistication and critical thinking skills of the left is mostly LARPing.

  • Tony||

    Your position necessitates the claim that messaging has no effect. It is also yet another defense of the useless pimple in the White House.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Your position necessitates the claim that messaging has no effect

    Your position necessitates the claim that the messaging is the only thing that did.

  • Brian||

    There's something incredibly stupid about the same people who whine about citizens United, believing that a few dozen trolls with Facebook post just dictated the outcome of an election.

  • Zeb||

    Your position necessitates the claim that messaging has no effect.

    No, it really doesn't. It likely had some effect on someone. But you can't and never will be able to control "messaging". Anyone can publicize any message they want any time. Yeah, maybe Russian trolls had some influence on someone. But there were probably some Norwegian trolls that convinced someone to vote for Hillary somewhere too. You can't just take one thing like Russians doing whatever they are supposed to have done and declare that it had influence while ignoring the practically infinite other influences coming from every direction all the time.

    You seem to want the question to be "did Russians have any influence whatsoever on the election?". But that's silly. Everything has some influence on everything else. It's not meaningful unless you can show that the influence was significant and somehow illegal.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    If there's one thing I can't stand, it's narcissism.

  • John C. Randolph||

    steal the election from my preferred candidate,

    So, facebook convinced Hillary to go with the "snotty, arrogant, power-grubbing bitch" theme? Who knew?

    -jcr

  • Tony||

    No, sexism was baked into the cake already, making the job easier.

  • damikesc||

    I love the "It was sexism" complaint.

    Can you provide us your opinion of Sarah Palin? She was attacked in far more sexist terms than Hillary ever was.

  • Tony||

    No, it's just that you only cared about sexism when it was directed at her.

  • damikesc||

    Given that Hillary isn't attacked for being a woman but, instead, a corrupt, miserable, and unlikeable politician. Things that were known long before 2016. Even Obama noticed that she wasn't that likeable.

    Then again, Democrats think Joe Biden is a serious guy, so maybe the whole lot of them are just idiots.

  • ||

    No, sexism was baked into the cake already, making the job easier.

    So do you think Trump came off as less of a snotty, arrogant, power-grubbing cock or that he's generally a less snotty, arrogant, power-grubbing cock and the DNC/Clinton campaign generally failed to sufficiently portray him as such?

  • Tony||

    I think he obviously got away with a lot more personality issues.

  • ||

    So the DNC/Clinton campaign failed to convince the public that Trump is a snotty, arrogant, power-grubbing cock.

    Can't say I disagree.

  • Zeb||

    So the DNC/Clinton campaign failed to convince the public that Trump is a snotty, arrogant, power-grubbing cock.

    Or the people who voted for Trump don't really care that that is what he is. He did a pretty good job of making that case himself.

  • Lucius Fergeson||

    Clinton insulted half of his constituency by calling them deplorable, literally just the exact same thing Romney did in 2012 with his 47% remarks. The only difference is that Romney got put in his place rightly when that shit happened. Clinton, on the other hand, was lauded by her fans and the media for being unempathetic to her own fucking base and unironically insulting them (while expecting them to vote for her mind you). That screams narcissism, not unlike Trump, who expresses it differently but still has the same disorder. Frankly, she's just as stupid and narcissistic as Trump is, just for that comment alone. That's not even mentioning her poorly managed campaign of not actually talking about issues for the whole duration of the election season. Even Trump, with his crazy, non-workable ideas about immigration and trade, had some semblance of a plan compared to Hillary, who's platform was just "Vote for me. I may be George W. Bush 2.0, but I have a vagina. It's fine"

  • Tony||

    Hillary's big problem as a politician is telling the truth too bluntly, I totally agree.

  • ChuckNorrisBeardFist||

    Hahaha, stop I can't breath...she tells the truth..hahahaha

    Tony, was Hillary's private emails server a crime? Does it violate Federal Law? Yes or no. Binary chose.

    Trump is crude and liberals hate him for that.

    Some big hits

    HILLARY CLINTON Says she "never received nor sent any material that was marked classified" on her private email server while secretary of state.

  • John C. Randolph||

    "Telling the truth".

    Tony, I'm quite sure you have no idea what that phrase means.

    -jcr

  • John C. Randolph||

    Tony, if I were a sexist, then I would consider Hillary typical of half of the people on the planet. If my outlook were that bleak, I'd have moved to a desert island decades ago.

    -jcr

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Did Facebook steal the 2012 election from Romney?

  • Zeb||

    Of course not. It was Obama's election. Taking it from Romney is just giving Obama his due.

  • Tony||

    I think we were still in the binders era then.

  • damikesc||

    Tony, explain what, PRECISELY, was bad about the binders comment?

    He said he was trying to hire more women. I thought, you know, you approved that.

    But it is good to see the media managed to outdo their asinine "WHAT ABOUT YOUR GAFFES?" bullshit they pulled in 2012.

  • Tony||

    Its only relevance to me is that it's funny. You guys don't get to whine about irrelevant crap damaging a candidate what with your incessant decades-long nonsense about the Clintons.

  • Brian||

    You mean criminal activity backed up by investigations, right?

  • damikesc||

    You mean criminal activity backed up by investigations, right?

    No, THAT was a witch hunt, obviously. Ken Starr was so mean when compared to good ol' Mueller.

    A real investigation involves multiple raids of people who have not refused to do much of anything and taking files that are not related to the alleged crime.

  • Flinch||

    No, fakebook didn't steal it: the GOP consultancy class did with their bad theories. Obama could not have hired better people to bury his "opposition" and probably didn't need to bother with mapping the entirety of fb users mining for morons. I hope the next dimwit subjected to 'bell curve' presentations of those consultants remembers this: it can be skewed and distorted. If this were not true, dems would not be so heavily invested in their culture pollution schemes.

  • Brandybuck||

    ""Not only did it steal the election from my preferred candidate...""

    You keep telling yourself. Keep telling yourself. Hillary lost because she ran a terrible campaign. She lost because she never got around to campaigning in swing states. She lost because she couldn't get Democrats out to the polls. She lost because she phoned in her campaign. She had had everything going for her, from the backing of the majority party, to a voter demographic that shifted from old and rural to young and urban, and even a rubber stamp by the media and Hollywood. And she was running against a buffon. For fuck's sake, she even managed to bring in the popular vote! But she failed her civics lessons and forgot that there was this thing called the Electoral College, and simply neglected to campaign in swing states to swing voters. But don't let facts get in the way of a good Russian conspiracy theory.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Hillary Clinton has proven to be the kind of person that will enter into a contest with you, then blame the rules which she new beforehand as the reason she lost. That says a lot in and of itself.

  • damikesc||

    Yeah, she did that in 2008 with Obama, didn't she?

    Mind you, I agree that superdelegates were bullshit, but they were a known thing well before the primary.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    She had had everything going for her, from the backing of the majority party

    Hell, it was more than just the backing--Donna Brazille spilled the beans that Hillary outright owned it, lock, stock, and barrel.

  • Flinch||

    Indeed. I was shocked to learn one of Donna Brazile's complaints was that... she could not direct spending of money she helped raise on account of side deals signed off on by the corporation. Leave it to lawyers to out-crook the crooks. This setup was a long time in the making, and the death of Ron Brown [followed by his lawyer] likely figures more than we are able to measure.

  • DaveT1000||

    Agreed that Hillary ran a terrible campaign and it's astounding that people like Tony, and Hillary herself, can't understand it.

    Let's look at just one aspect of that: she ran a campaign heavy on identity politics and managed to lose her own specific identity group (white women) by 9 points per CNN exit polling (52% Trump to 43% Clinton). Her recent explanation in India was enlightening, but not in at all in the way that she intended, when she attributed that to women being pressured to vote in a certain way by the men in their lives. Hardly surprising that she'd turn off some number of women, or screw up her campaign strategy, if her real viewpoint is that she's essentially entitled to their votes but for the nefarious influence of men around them.

    Let's also look at her track record in political campaigns. She was elected twice to the U.S. Senate in a largely Democratic state, and she might not have won the first election in 2000 but for Giuliani not running due to his health and marital infidelity. In that 2000 election against Lazio, she ran about 5 points behind Gore's showing in New York in the presidential election. She started out as the favorite for the nomination in 2008, and then lost to Obama. She struggled to put away Bernie Sanders, of all people, in the 2016 primaries. And then she lost to Trump. Overall, she has a pretty long track record of mediocre at best performance in actually winning elections.

  • Agammamon||

    You constantly vilify companies for not self-regulating. Hell, your whole schtick is that we *need* that regulation because evil companies won't self-regulate because they're evil.

    Now you're saying they aren't evil, just self-interested? Is this your 'road to Damascus' moment? Is this the key to an epiphany.

    Because the only thing left is for you to internalize the idea that *no one in the government is any different*.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Not sure how you conflate libertarian with regulation.

    And if you knew anything about regulations, you'd know that often the companies sat by proposing roles, and then Congress doubles down on them.

    It's pretty clear less than a dozen senators know how the Facebooks work. I'd they do decide to regulate, I'd hope like hell they get some industry help to understand the basics.

  • Zeb||

    More like congress trying to get a CEO to do what they would like to do but are constitutionally constrained from doing.

  • tlapp||

    Not sure why the government is even involved. If people care about privacy don't used Facebook or put very limited information on it. Years ago I checked it out and said no way will I put all this information out to the public. Lots of puzzled looks from friends and family until now.

  • Tony||

    Yeah, I wasn't comfortable sharing those things with my dearest friends and family, let alone advertisers and Russians.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|4.11.18 @ 12:48PM|#
    "Yeah, I wasn't comfortable sharing those things with my dearest friends and family, let alone advertisers and Russians."

    Disregarding your paranoia about the russkis, get off of Facebook.
    Problem solved.

  • SKR||

    Most of the information at issue in the CA fiasco is widely available already if you have a bank account, credit cards, media subscriptions, registered to vote, etc. You should see the info that data analysis companies provide to campaigns.

  • Agammamon||

    What's funny? Third Party Doctrine says the government gets to take all this info basically at will and will use it to lock you in a cage.

    But when its shared with another private group everyone freaks out.

  • Flinch||

    You may be missing the bigger picture, Tony. When a committee lobs softballs at somebody not under oath, they are normally establishing some alternative narrative [needing foundation] but sometimes it's a one off special operation. In this case, it may be the latter, and this trial run is to see if Zuck can walk the coals and not have his pants catch fire. What am I saying? This is an acid test for a potential future presidential candidate designed to gift name recognition in the political arena should he pass this test. Do I think he has a chance in hell in 2024? No, but democrats have a horrifyingly blank dance card at the moment, and are grasping at straws everywhere. Warren cannot win more than 9 states, and democrats will audition sterno huffing cucks scraped off 7th avenue if the present condition continues.

  • Hackmaschine Mutter||

    One misconception is that the First Amendment limits both public and private actors. Under the state action doctrine, the First Amendment limits only public actors. Another misconception is that many people don't realize that the First Amendment protects a great deal of obnoxious, offensive, or repugnant speech. Justice Brennan once referred to this as a "bedrock principle" of the First Amendment. Snowflakes be damned.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    One misconception is that the First Amendment limits both public and private actors.


    Well, some understand it enough to make perfunctory calls for banning hate speech under the argument that the law doesn't protect it.

  • DajjaI||

    Students are being trained to identify every comment they disagree with as 'hate speech' and self-righteously demand that Facebook remove it (instead of confronting it themselves) and pat themselves on the back for a job well done and then go out and party. (Not unlike the Reason commentariat.)

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I wouldn't want you to leave here today thinking there's a unified view in the Congress that you should be moving toward policing more and more speech.

    "I figured it should be the one with the capacity for abstract thought. But if that ain't the consensus view, then hell, let's put it to a vote."

  • LynchPin1477||

    Good on Sasse. More people need to say these things.

    One quibble with something Zuckerberg said, though it's hardly unique to him

    I think that that's going to create massive questions for society

    I hate all this about how "society" or "America" or "we" need to decide something, or have a conversation, or whatever. I wish people would be clear and would either say "a set of norms are going to emerge in our culture and people need to choose to be proactive if they want to influence where that goes, or "people in power need to decide".

  • Alcibiades||

    Agree, there's no more idiotic and absurd notion that "we need to have a "national conversation" on whatever the issue de jour is.

  • Old Smokin' Egg||

    Indeed. "We need to have a conversation on X" generally means "People who disagree with me on X need to listen respectfully to my opinions on it, and not to try to refute me since they obviously haven't got a leg to stand on."

    I'd be much more impressed by the nationalconversationistas if they could pass an ideological Turing test: if they could write a defense of the other side's position that would read as though written in earnest by someone of their own intelligence and educational level.

  • DaveT1000||

    Yes, Amy Wax is just the latest example of what someone gets for engaging in a "conversation" about race or other contentious topics by questioning the standard views of hyphenated studies departments.

  • Alcibiades||

    Wonder how the school walkout pro-life protests went today and how much media coverage they will get?

  • Just Say'n||

    I wonder if the Libertarian Party tweeted support for the protesters like they did the gun march?

  • Alcibiades||

    I'm guessing that's a "no".

  • Just Say'n||

    Obviously the answer to both questions is "no".

  • Just Say'n||

    The Libertarian Party would endorse 'hate speech laws' (which, I really don't think is that crazy to believe they would end up doing, considering Johnson's 'creative' positions last election) before they would ever voice support for any pro-life measure

  • Alcibiades||

    The LP needs to get its act together. Scenes from that last convention more closely resembled some freak show cable tv channel than a political meeting.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I don't have a Twitter

  • Rhywun||

    A significant percentage of young people are suspicious of the First Amendment, define hate speech broadly, and prioritize comfort and safety over free speech.

    Young people are probably 90% Democrats and the party has been propagandizing about "hate speech" for a couple decades now. It's all part of the playbook.

  • Will Nonya||

    People don't fear losing the freedom of speech when they're convinced that their preferred views could never be censored and that it will always be 'bad' people who are prevented from sharing prescribed views.

    Even in the age of trump people fail to comprehend how powers granted to government its and others can be used in ways they nebber thought possible in the 'land of the free'.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Moral of the story: children are dumb. Why we're spending so much time asking their opinions and broadcasting them is anyone's guess. I think Robbie and his cohort are doing this in an attempt to link the children's naive world view with the professors'. But that attempt fails when you look at how steadfast most universities are at protecting speech and the right to engage in intellectual discourse. Even when the content of the speech riles up conservatives to the point where they call for a professor's dismissal -- universities generally still defend it.

  • Zeb||

    A lot of these "children" are like 30. And the language of college SJW activists is creeping more and more into normal people's language. It's disturbing and worth noticing, I think.

    It's a good thing we have the 1st amendment and that it has mostly been respected. But it's just some words on paper and free speech has to be valued by society if we are going to keep it.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    omg I'm triggered by Zeb's harsh words. I don't feel safe posting here anymore.

    Reason, please restrict Zeb's access to this site so I can safely comment.

    Thank you.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Your hatred of Zeb makes feel uncomfortable, and we need to have a conversation about restricting your speech.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    A lot of these "children" are like 30.

    I don't think this is true. The protagonist in most of these stories is some kid. The evil villain who stops them from transforming their ideas into policy is usually much older.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Age is just a number. In a different context, we used to say "some people have 30 years' experience, others have one year's experience 30 times". The same might be said for maturation.

  • Christophe||

    We only can dismiss children's dumbness if we actually think they'll outgrow their views before they outnumber the rest of us.

    Considering that their view is widespread amongst Europeans of all ages, I'm not so sure.

  • Flinch||

    I have good news: eurosocialism cannot do anything but fail here. That won't stop the left from trying but here's why: nobody is going to underwrite our military security to free up the cash here like we did for them post ww2 Europe. A chorus of crickets awaits...

  • Agammamon||

    But that attempt fails when you look at how steadfast most universities are at protecting speech and the right to engage in intellectual discourse.

    Well, except when it comes to climate change. And abortion. And virtues of the free market and the vices of command economies. And race. And gender.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    And the rights of visiting conservative speakers...

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    You made that up. Especially the part about the free market, where you'll find no greater ally than in university economics departments.

    Again, you guys are conflating academic policies and the protests by students (AGAINST THE ACADEMIC POLICIES). Please take note that in most of the stories in the "College PC" section, a professor or administrator is the target of the protest. For example, when I go to the top of the page and click "College PC", the first four stories after this one are all about college administrators and professors who are in trouble because a student is angry at them.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Moral of the story: children are dumb. Why we're spending so much time asking their opinions and broadcasting them is anyone's guess.

    We could say the same with respect to half-educated, economically inadequate, gullible, intolerant, superstitious people who stuck with declining towns and dying industries against all evidence, and now blame their largely self-inflicted problems on others, claim to be "forgotten," and demand a bailout from their betters.

  • epsilon given||

    You're just jealous because the Democrats are losing their base -- after all those years of listening to Democrat lies, they finally decided to throw their lot in with Republicans.

  • DajjaI||

    Facebook has given us the unprecedented ability to battle hate speech, incitement, bullying and fake news from the comfort and safety of our own living rooms. Yet instead of seizing the opportunity with excitement and glee, we are bashing facebook for not doing enough to help the vulnerable victims and blaming them for any injustice including its negligent failure to protect us from our own credulity and perfidy.

  • Zeb||

    That's the thing. How fucking dumb do they think people are?

    You will not find anyone who will say that ads on facebook changed their minds on how to vote in 2016. But lots who seem to think that everyone else is so stupid and gullible that shit like that actually matters.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I've come to realize that that deep-seated misanthropy is actually the driving force behind almost all populist calls for government to do anything.

  • Zeb||

    I've been seeing that for some time. People think everyone else is stupid or evil and can't be trusted. I try to tell people that you'd better hope that's not true, because the alternative is authoritarian tyranny and we're fucked whoever gets elected and whatever laws are passed.

    Of course everyone isn't intelligent and well informed either. An IQ below 100 isn't all that bright and that's half the population. But most people can still navigate the world and make up their own minds regardless of the activities of some Russian trolls.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It's not thoughtful misanthropy, either. It's mostly not based on any well-considered beliefs about human nature, aside from maybe some vague revenant cultural assumptions regarding Original Sin. It's more lazy than anything (and Dunbar's Number probably plays a role).

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Well, yeah. The American voters expressed their opinion of Hillary in no uncertain terms in 2012, rejecting her in favor of a callow man of no accomplishments (other than being kindasorta black). Hillary could have done a Nixon, pulled back, retrenched in the party and redeveloped her base. But she did not. She stuck with what she had and the odd notion that somehow it was her turn. My wife virulently despises Trump (I'm more in the bemused distaste camp) but even she stated more than once that Hillary could win if only she would work as hard as The Donald. She never did.

    Hillary lost because she did not deserve to win, and Trump out-campaigned her, just as he did his 17 GOP primary opponents. And the Dems have learned so well that now, in the #MeToo era, they want to put up a doddering old man who has made a career out of fondling women openly at every opportunity.

    The Chinese curse is fulfilled: we do indeed live in interesting times

  • Alcibiades||

    Mark Zuckerberg should do a Larry Flynt for any interesting information others may have on Congress critters. Fair play after all.

  • Agammamon||

    So, basically ask his own staff for his own company's held data on them?

    Because I'm willing to bet that 4/5ths of the men and at least 3/5 of the women in Congress have used Facebook messenger to proposition some hot 20-something that they, like, sort of know.

  • The Metonymy||

    I just want Zuckerberg to bake whatever meme I want.

  • Tony||

    Barefoot and pregnant, I suppose.

  • The Metonymy||

    Nope, just held to the same standard as other businesses. If a baker has to make a cake that offends his beliefs, then Mark Zuckerberg has to host memes that offend his beliefs.

  • Joe_JP||

    Sen. Ben Sasse can ask the question to his own colleagues since the Senate itself has rules regarding proper debate as was seen when Sen. Elizabeth Warren was silenced for criticizing Jeff Sessions too strongly. But, even if one thinks they went too far there regarding her "hate speech," there is sense in having time, place and manner rules there.

    The same applies on a platform like Facebook, which is not primarily in place to be a sharp debating society. Like anything else, the rules can be applied too strongly there, but as Ben Sasse notes, Facebook is a private institution so has more power there to follow the general wishes -- even if they are wrong-minded -- of their users on this subject. The users here are often minors and those who primarily use Facebook to share photos or various other low volume things.

    OTOH, the reach of Facebook includes "hate speech" that meets most people's definitions, including of the sort that involves promoting violence against minorities.

  • Rich||

    the sort that involves promoting violence against minorities.

    How about the sort that involves "I would never use speech that involves promoting violence against minorities, but ...."?

  • damikesc||

    A society that abhors free speech will not long have a government that will protect it. We are getting quite deep into the society giving up on free speech. The media has all but done so for anybody but themselves.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    I have said and say again: the answer to speech is speech. And the answer to incursion on our precious natural rights and freedoms is eternal vigilance. Someone expresses an idea you don't like? Attack the idea, not the person's right to express it in the public square

  • damikesc||

    OTOH, the reach of Facebook includes "hate speech" that meets most people's definitions, including of the sort that involves promoting violence against minorities.

    Why should only minorities be protected?

    If somebody in UT said "I'm gonna go kill me some whiteys", that'd be peachy?

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    "Why should only minorities be protected?"

    You dare question the patronizing underpinnings of modern liberal thought? To the woodshed with you

  • Benitacanova||

    They can have all my data in exchange for a total censorship of zuckerberg's face.

  • leninsmummy||

    Prioritizing safety and comfort over freedom is what they've been taught their whole lives. Not surprised. Isn't that what every socialist issue is about?

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Isn't that what most of the conservative war on terror/drugs/muslims is about?

  • No Longer Amused||

    Zuckerberg lies poorly

  • vek||

    And this is why everybody should just go over to Gab.ai instead. I don't give two shits about social media, but Gab is completely uncensored beyond what is absolutely required by law in the USA. You can say whatever offensive thing you want. That is their business model, so odds are they will never leave that behind even if it grows pretty big. A lot of conservatives that are getting booted off of other platforms are on there, as well as Alt Right types and whatever. There are even a few crazy libs to poke fun at!

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