Free Speech

Facebook "Removing Content Containing the Phrase 'Stop the Steal'"

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From an official Facebook post:

We began preparing for Inauguration Day last year. But our planning took on new urgency after last week's violence in Washington, D.C., and we are treating the next two weeks as a major civic event. We're taking additional steps and using the same teams and technologies we used during the general election to stop misinformation and content that could incite further violence during these next few weeks.

We are now removing content containing the phrase "stop the steal" under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram. We removed the original Stop the Steal group in November and have continued to remove Pages, groups and events that violate any of our policies, including calls for violence. We've been allowing robust conversations related to the election outcome and that will continue. But with continued attempts to organize events against the outcome of the US presidential election that can lead to violence, and use of the term by those involved in Wednesday's violence in DC, we're taking this additional step in the lead up to the inauguration. It may take some time to scale up our enforcement of this new step but we have already removed a significant number of posts….

There's nothing illegal about Facebook doing this. But there seems every likelihood that there will be much more happening along these lines. And, with the Parler story, we see that major tech players are going to try to blacklist any new platforms that fail to comply with the tech players' speech restriction demands.

As I mention in my N.Y. Times piece,

In general, it's good for private businesses to be able to decide how to use their property. And trying to create laws constraining those decisions may well do more harm than good — always a danger with even the best-intentioned of new laws. Yet both liberals and conservatives should appreciate the perils of power, especially the power of enormous companies that have few competitors and huge influence over political life.

NEXT: "Trump Was Kicked Off Twitter. Who’s Next?"

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  1. “We’re not a publisher, we’re a platform.”

    Sure. Go pull my other leg, it has bells on it.

    1. My friend’s billboard company isn’t a publisher because it doesn’t put up ads for titty bars or Klan rallies.

      Conservative whining and principle pretzeling over this is really something. The real and only consistent principle, I guess, is that conditions must be favorable to winning power, period.

      1. My friend’s billboard company isn’t a publisher because it doesn’t put up ads for titty bars or Klan rallies.

        Nor did your friend’s billboard company present itself as a freely-accessible, worldwide public forum for discussion. If this is the best analogy you have, maybe it’s time to take a hard look at your position.

        The real and only consistent principle, I guess, is that conditions must be favorable to winning power, period.

        Um, check your other foot for that shoe. That’s precisely why we’re having this conversation.

        1. My friend’s company’s motto is ‘Express yourself!’ But that doesn’t mean he suddenly becomes a publisher when he decides there are some expressions he won’t enable with his product.

          “That’s precisely why we’re having this conversation.”

          No, see, since you have winning power first and foremost on your mind you can’t even imagine that others might have some other motive, such as wanting to combat disinformation, or incitement, or whatever, for what they do. All you can think of (much like the Chomsky-ites who wailed after Citizens United that now the playing field was forever fatally unfair) is that this seems to disadvantage your side and/or cult leader.

          1. No, see, since you have winning power first and foremost on your mind [rhetoric trimmed]

            And yet you’re the one incessantly bringing it up. I gather in this new enlightened era, projection is suddenly now cool again as well?

            1. Incessantly? I brought it up once in this conversation and then once in reply to you doing so.

      2. re: “My friend’s billboard company isn’t a publisher…”

        Actually, it is. From the perspective of the First Amendment, your friend’s billboard company is no different than Penguin Press or any other traditional publisher of books, pamphlets or newspapers.

        1. By the way, your willful ignorance of the fights we made in the 60s and 70s to combat censorship and your willing rush to do the same now that your side is in power is truly disturbing. Your claims of “fighting disinformation” are as hollow as the claims we faced back then.

          1. You’re quite confused. My friend’s company, and social media apps, are publishers in the 1st Amendment sense that the expressions they engage in are protected *from government punishment.* They are free under the 1st Amendment to not engage in expression as well. That’s what all those cases in the 60’s and 70’s were about. Volokh concedes this when he says there is no *legal* issue here, just (channeling Chomsky) a ‘social’ one about ‘corporate power’

            1. Oh, I’m not confused at all but you seem to be. Nobody is saying that your billboard company, Penguin Press or Facebook can be punished by the government for their censorship. Trolls like Feinstein and Hawley are trying to make it so they can be punished but they can’t yet.

              But private censorship is still censorship and must be denounced loudly whenever it occurs. It was wrong when it was done against liberals in the 60s and it’s wrong when it’s done against conservatives now. And the excuses (such as fighting “disinformation”) are identical. Again, your ignorance of history is appalling.

              1. As a publisher, it’s actually more a matter of the billboard company being able to be punished for failure to censor certain categories of content, I would think.

              2. First, the excuses are certainly not the same. Second, if you weren’t talking about legality then why invoke the 1st Amendment? Third, it’s silly to say private censorship is wrong, especially in this context. I guess you think it’s wrong that your favorite network pulled a show you liked (censorship!).

                1. Either I’m showing my age or you are. Either way, your ignorance of history is inexcusable. The excuses are identical.

      3. Queen, the test of how committed you are to our liberty as protected by the bill of rights is how those protections extend to people who are unpopular and those we disagree with.

        You’re wetting your pants because you’re so excited that your opponents are being silenced. You give zero shits about liberty.

        You should go post on Jacobin where the tyrants are. More your cup of tea.

        1. “how those protections extend to people who are unpopular and those we disagree with”

          The Ballad Of Artie Ray

      4. My friend’s billboard company isn’t a publisher because it doesn’t put up ads for titty bars or Klan rallies.

        Nor does it enjoy absolute protection from libel suits….

      5. QA,
        It seem the given the ubiquitous character of FB and Twitter, that these platforms both function as and have become “common carriers” and should be subject to the same legal restrictions and limitations as other common carriers or utilities.
        You analogy is entirely inapplicable to such mega “social media.”

        1. 1. Are libertarians ok with common carrier regulation now?
          2. The idea behind common carrier regulation was that if denied service a great burden was done to the potential user (see MLK’s discussion of weary travelers being turned away by hotels). What burden do you get if you can’t use FB or Twitter (neither of which I’ve ever used in my life)? They don’t seem very analogous.

        2. Ubiquity is not what you need to be a common carrier – necessity is.

          Neither twitter of Facebook are life necessities. As such, even my liberal self would have an issue with such heavy-handed regulation and loss of rights on those companies.

          I’m all for breaking them up, though! Though they are also not monopolies in the strict sense of the term – got schooled on that some months ago right on this website.

      6. Conservative whining and principle pretzeling over this is really something. The real and only consistent principle

        That’s pretty funny coming from the same group that’s always whining about how evil big corporations are and how they are too powerful and have too much influence in U.S. politics…unless they use that power and influence in ways that benefit your side, then they’re totally cool.

  2. “But with continued attempts to organize events against the outcome of the US presidential election that can lead to violence, and use of the term by those involved in Wednesday’s violence in DC, we’re taking this additional step in the lead up to the inauguration.”

    “We will also other terms promoted by violent people, such as ‘BLM,’ ‘antifa,’ ‘no justice no peace,’ and ‘justice for George Floyd.'”

    OK, just kidding about that.

    1. “also *block* other terms”

    2. Not to mention Russia Collusion, Children in Cages and the endless scams promoted by liberals and progressives for the last 5 years.

  3. I support de-platforming Trump, but this seems a bit much.

    1. Funny how that works. You support constraining people and ideas you don’t like, but when that same action by those same authorities constrain people and ideas you favor, suddenly they are doing it wrong.

      1. Jason said nothing about constraining other people. You’re projecting. (Now, maybe he actually does want to do this. But my point is that nothing in his post actually says what you seem to imagine.)

        I don’t love the idea of censoring even delusional assholes like Trump. Even dangerous awful evil not-so-good people like Trump. But if I understand correctly what Facebook is doing; if I make a post like, “Can you believe those morons chanting “Stop the Steal!”, then my post will be blocked, right? And your counter-post of, “I think people should have the right to chant ‘Stop the Steal!’ as part of a peaceful protest.” would also be blocked. I hope I’m wrong about this…it would be massively overbroad. Just like censoring teenagers’ online searches for “breasts” would prevent researching breast cancer.

        1. It actually did.

          Back in the 1990s, America OnLine (AOL) banned the word “breast” much to the chagrin of women who wanted to research and/or discuss breast cancer. And grandmothers who wanted to share recipes which included chicken breast.

          AOL was embarrassed. Unlike Farcebook, AOL was small enough to be embarrassed…

          And Farcebook will probably put you into Farcebook Jail as well — I got put there over a year ago and eliminated my account instead.

          1. Only Boomers use Facebook today. All the Zoomers use TikTok and Millennial liberals use Reddit.

        2. re: “Jason said nothing about constraining other people.”

          Jason said “I support de-platforming Trump”. ‘De-platforming’ certainly seems to be a form of constraint. And, assuming that Jason is not Trump in disguise, Trump would be an example of ‘other people’. So how, precisely, was Jason not talking about constraining other people?

          Censorship is wrong, even when it’s against trolls like RAK or, yes, President Trump.

      2. The “stop the steal” movement is itself a lie brought to life by Trump’s narcissism and lies, and is therefore not an idea which I favor.

        Thus your entire remark is completely and utterly wrong.

        Funny how that works.

        1. No more a lie than “hands up, don’t shoot”.

          The left has based whole movements on utter lies, so what’s different about Trump. Is only the left allowed to lie?

          1. The difference is that we just had a violent mob storm the capitol and threaten democracy itself as a result of Trump’s lies. At this point, continuing to platform Trump is the functional equivalent of platforming Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis during the Civil War.

            1. Are you insane???

              Trump is a General in the Army of Northern Virginia???

              1. He just incited an insurrection. As the Constitution defines treason, he’s at least bumping up against that line if he hasn’t actually crossed it.

                1. If you’re going to say he incited an insurrection, how many Democrats incited riots last year?

                2. If Trump incited the riot at the Capitol, then every organizer of every BLM protest in the summer needs to be prosecuted or held liable for the Burning and Looting Mobs that followed the protests and the dozens of deaths that they caused, and the tens of thousands of small business ruined, mostly owned by the same minorities that progressives claim to care about.

            2. How the hell is that a difference? “Hands up, don’t shoot” was a lie that has had cities burn. And it never got blocked. Even though it was proven a lie in court almost immediately.

              1. You just keep going with your what aboutism and false moral equivalencies. We just had a violent mob pose an existential threat to democracy itself. They brought with them the tools to take hostages. Internet chatter indicates they’re planning more of the same on Inauguration Day. At this point, we’re on the brink of a full blown civil war. You don’t have to be a huge fan of how BLM and Antifa were handled — and I’m not — to recognize that this current, immediate threat is the one that needs to be dealt with.

                1. You’re just scaremongering at this point.

                  1. You know, a year ago I posted in the comments section of this very forum that the nightmare scenario was that Trump would lose the election and tell his heavily armed followers to take up arms and resist by force. At the time, I was basically laughed off the comments section and told that I was delusional, that if Trump lost he would graciously leave the stage.

                    Well, now that Trump did tell his heavily armed followers to march on the capitol and armed insurrection is looking more and more likely — in other words, what I predicted here a year ago — I’m no more interested in your claims that I’m scaremongering than I am in your whataboutism. Maybe January 20 is peaceful and goes off without a hitch; at this point we can’t count on it and need to take steps to maintain order.

                    1. Well, now that Trump did tell his heavily armed followers to march on the capitol and armed insurrection is looking more and more likely

                      I can’t decide if your overactive imagination or your propensity to mindlessly regurgitate headlines is controlling here. In any event, see you back here in a week or so.

                    2. “and tell his heavily armed followers to take up arms and resist by force.”

                      Ooohhh. I must have missed the part where the evil Trump followers were taking their AR-15s and mowing down the brave defenders of liberty with gunfire.

                      Seriously, it was just a protest that got a little out of hand. No gunfire (except for the Capital Police, of course). An under-prepared police force, and unlocked doors.

                    3. No, not “just” a protest that got a little out of hand. Two things were going on at the same time.

                      On the one hand you had a protest that got a little out of hand.

                      On the other, you had a very small number of bad actors using the out of hand protest as cover for dirty deeds. Bombs left at both DNC and RNC offices, for instance.

                      The bad actors weren’t incited by Trump, (Why would he want the RNC headquarters bombed?) and they certainly weren’t set off by his speech, because they had planned in advance for violence.

                    4. “Seriously, it was just a protest that got a little out of hand. No gunfire (except for the Capital Police, of course). An under-prepared police force, and unlocked doors.”

                      And windows made of glass. If they really wanted to keep people out, they’d have put bars on those.

                    5. “Why would he want the RNC headquarters bombed?”

                      Because they didn’t deliver him a victory back in November. That’s why he tanked their chances to win the Georgia Senate seats, after all.

                2. Cities burning and $2 billion in property damage last year, and NOW you’re concerned?

                  Has it occurred you you that it might not have come to this if we hadn’t been watching the left get away with similar stuff for years?

                  Eventually people get tired of losing, and copy what works, even if it is horrible.

                  1. I was concerned then too. But the past can’t be undone. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do what we can to protect the future.

                  2. “Eventually people get tired of losing, and copy what works, even if it is horrible.”

                    The party of personal responsibility, folks!

                    1. When we warn you that protesting in the middle of the freeway is a bad idea, it’s a warning, not a threat.

                      Pay attention next time.

                    2. When they promise us that the next election will be the most corrupt election in history, that’s not a prediction, it’s a promise! And don’t forget it!

                  3. “Has it occurred you you that it might not have come to this if we hadn’t been watching the left get away with similar stuff for years?”

                    Yeah. Who can forget that time that Democrats stormed the capitol to protest losing the Presidency to GW Bush? They freely roamed the halls of the Supreme Court building, looking to express their rage at having the election stolen from them. (And their conspiracy theory held together a bit better)

                    1. Who can forget the time the Democrats stormed the white house and caused such a furor that the secret service evacuated the president for fear that at any moment things could go sideways and the mob would breach them?

                      Or the time when riots happened all over the country on inauguration day, or on election night 2016. Let’s not forget the time when entire city blocks were taken over by a group of armed separatists, shall we? Then, can we talk about the time when a Trump supporter was murdered in the streets? And then of course the lives and businesses ruined over a false narrative that police are systemically racist and that black people need to fear walking down the street.

                      It took MONTHS for most Democrats to denounce the violence, violence that they blamed on Trump for no good reason mind you, because they thought it would help them politically.

                      So you are basically saying that watching years of violent riots and protests get praised in the media with the main result being BLM getting streets and plazas named after them in the cities they themselves burned might not have hat even the slightest effect?

                      That is asinine on its face.

                3. We just had a violent mob pose an existential threat to democracy itself.

                  Pitch-perfect, yet fact-free. Pretty good for this early in the morning.

                  They brought with them the tools to take hostages.

                  Ah, I see the narrative is being sculpted already. Yesterday’s “they had zip ties in their pockets” apparently sounded too lame and opportunistic to generate the requisite outrage.

                  1. What do you think those zip ties were for? They had some sticks to be bundled?

                  2. I object to the violent mob characterization, because what you had was a large number of peaceful people, some of them real idiots, and a tiny minority who planned violence and came ready for it.

                    Zip tie guy, for instance. These aren’t normal zip ties. They’re flex cuffs. They absolutely ARE the sort of thing you’d bring if you meant to take hostages.

                    So, yeah, there absolutely were some very bad actors present, and it looks like they weren’t all Antifa moles, either. Every movement of any size has its violent fringe. If you’re holding a protest, you have to be ready to deal with your own fringe. The people who organized that DC protest weren’t. Idiots.

                    1. Oh, just one guy? THAT’s what people have spun into they royal “they”? Good grief.

                    2. See, this is the tell that you’re being dishonest, because you’ve no doubt seen many other examples of bad actors acting badly at the coup attempt, and your eliding them here is…telling.

                    3. Eliding what? Brett just presented the so-far-uncontested fact that this “they came to take hostages” rhetoric is being spun around a single individual.

                      If you have information that it was a larger, coordinated group, let’s see that. Otherwise, stuff like that just goes in the “mostly peaceful” pigeonhole that y’all so graciously carved out over the summer.

                    4. Violence was all over the place at the attempted coup. Cops were beaten (one to death), offices were broken into and ransacked, etc., You just want to minimize this because it was done in the name of your Cult leader.

                    5. Collective chanting of “Hang Mike Pence.”

                      It’s one verb followed by a proper noun. I can imagine how difficult that must be for you to interpret correctly.

                      Unfortunately for you, you’re completely irrelevant to society as it moves forward.

                    6. Collective chanting of “Hang Mike Pence.”

                      1. Sorry, that goes to “they came to take hostages” exactly how? I’ve mentioned time and time again the value of laying off the sauce early in the day. It makes it a lot easier to focus.
                      2. Accommodating your “look — a squirrel!” routine for a moment, please provide your principled distinction between that and the fine people that put the Trump mannequin in the mock guillotine in front of the White House while Trump was giving a speech there. This will be fun.

                    7. You just want to minimize this

                      Not at all. I just want the same standard of reporting and accounting as we just experienced with the nightly city torchings, cold-blooded murders of civilians and police alike, and actual armed occupations for the past year across the country, rather than the reflexive reach for the most extreme, prejudicial, wide-eyed exaggerated language possible for this particular event to support the already-tired choreography you folks are acting out to try to justify the coming era of overreach.

                      Hey, a guy can dream.

                    8. ” Brett just presented the so-far-uncontested fact that this “they came to take hostages” rhetoric is being spun around a single individual.”

                      Don’t put that in my mouth. “At least” one individual. He’s an existence proof, not proof of the extent of it. I doubt that he also planted the bombs at the RNC and DNC headquarters, so there were certainly more than one in on this.

                      All the violence that took place could have been executed by as few as two or three people, more likely a half dozen. But one couldn’t have pulled it all off, and it was obviously coordinated. The crowd entering the building was probably arranged as cover, they had the barricades down by the time Trump’s marchers arrived.

                      There was a plan there, but it wasn’t Trump’s, and didn’t have anything to do with his speech at the event.

                    9. I don’t think BLM and what happened at the capitol are factually analogous anyway. The capitol was an attempt to overturn the results of a democratic election, and thus a threat to the institutions of democracy itself. As bad as the BLM rioting was, it wasn’t directed to trying to overturn democracy.

                      So I would say the difference between the two is roughly comparable to the difference between a boy slapping his sister and a boy slapping his mother. Both are totally unacceptable and should result in harsh sanctions. But the attack on the mother is worse, because it’s an attack on the basic family institution itself.

                    10. “I don’t think BLM and what happened at the capitol are factually analogous anyway.”
                      You don’t see the obvious analogy of “we want our guy to stay President even though he lost the election” to “we think police should try to avoid killing unarmed black people”.
                      but obviously both ideas are revolutionary.

                    11. LOL Brian, you schmuck.

                      You’re disputing that more than one person was interested in taking hostages, yet you acknowledge that many more than one person was interested in executing the Vice President. Do you think the VP would have willingly walked to a tree from which to be hanged?

                      If you’d like to dispute that executing someone via hanging doesn’t involve taking them as a hostage first, then which of those actions is more extreme, and therefore is likely to have less support than the other?

                      In either scenario, you lose. As usual.

                      Maybe you should take your own advice. Making yourself look like more of a fool isn’t a solid strategic choice.

                    12. yet you acknowledge that many more than one person was interested in executing the Vice President.

                      And there’s your classic (feigned?) reading incomprehension at work, JC. Drink!

                    13. ” I’ve mentioned time and time again the value of laying off the sauce early in the day. It makes it a lot easier to focus.”

                      This thread demonstrates your ability to focus, then?

                    14. I’d pity you, Brian, if you were but worth the emotional effort to care.

                      I correctly stated that many people were chanting “Hang Mike Pence.”

                      You did not dispute this, and in fact responded to it. Since you did not dispute it (good on you to actually not try to lie about facts for once), then you by implication agree with it.

                      If you were only half as clever as you seem to think you are, you’d have cured cancer and invented viable interstellar travel by now. Instead all you offer is deflection and projection. How very sad your life must be.

                    15. I correctly stated that many people were chanting “Hang Mike Pence.”

                      By cracky, you did. But then you incorrectly stated (unless you’ve been hiding your telepathic powers from us all) that those same people were all “interested in executing the Vice President.” Sadly, the only universe in which the first inescapably leads to the second is the one you’ve conjured up in your clearly addled brain.

                      Keep on being you.

                4. Without dismissing the value of 536 lives, and at the risk of some schmuck thinking I am proposing it — and I am *not* — one could assassinate the entire Congress and Pence to without threatening our government because we have “continuity of government” plans. They are highly classified, but after September 11th when losing all 545 Congresscritters was a very real possibility, the government created a continuity plan to survive this.

                  We survived the assassination of four different Presidents. We survived the First Civil War and other traumas. We survived this by the strength of our institutions and our principles. Freedom of speech is at the heart of what it is to be an American and the greater threat is a hysterical response to what was a minor incident.

                  After all, there was once an incident when five Congressmen were shot on the floor of the House, one nearly killed. That was a tad more serious. Bombs have actually gone “bang” inside the building three times, and we don’t know how many times the authorities have quietly prevented this from happening.

                  Yet you want to destroy the country because of some petty vandalism?

                  Germany’s Angela Merkel, no fan of Trump, has a more important point: Twatter has eliminated the right of ALL world leaders to speak freely.

                  1. This is extra-crunchy nutty hyperbole. No rights have been squelched at all, no country is being destroyed. We live in one of the most free countries in the most free time in history. The President can’t use a handful of social media apps that I’ve never used in my life and you’re literally weeping here about the end of time. It’s amazing how that man has so many not just conned but in actual, passionate love with him.

                  2. If you need Twitter to “speak freely”, then Twitter should be a human right granted to all people, and not a private company that is free to ban people, moderate posts, and so-on.

                    For that matter, if you need Twitter to “speak freely”, what were we all doing prior to 2006 (when Twitter was founded)?

                    Which is to say… that’s an idiot claim, and you’re an idiot if you believe it.

                  3. ” We survived this by the strength of our institutions and our principles. ”

                    Exactly why we’ll survive your lot of buffoons. Now that we’ve re-established the notion that if you lose the election, you lose power.

                5. Ah whataboutism, my favorite Neologism. A bullshit word that is used most often by leftists or leftist wannabes in order to avoid holding themselves to the same standards that they hold their opponents to while feeling morally and intellectually superior.

                6. <blockquote< We just had a violent mob pose an existential threat to democracy itself.

                  Riiight. Because the clowns who stormed the Capitol, even if they’d been successful in occupying the building, would have had no effect on the process of counting the electoral votes, other than forcing the delay and possibly the relocation of the count, and reducing the number of Republicans supporting the vote challenges.

              2. How is it a lie? Police have certainly shot and otherwise killed unarmed people, many who were not resisting in any meaningful way.

                On the other hand, there was no ‘stolen’ election. It’s a dumb fantasy riling up yokels.

                1. If the election wasn’t stolen, it was so badly f**ked up that it lacks credibility for that reason alone.

                  1. No, you and for that matter Trump just are incredibly ignorant about elections. The complaints have been absurd to anyone who pays even scant attention to how they work and have worked for decades. Trump complaining about late reported results is as dumb as a non-soccer fan complaining about goals scored in extra time. Cities always report late (they kind of have a lot of people in them) and they always go Democratic.

                    1. Four cities all stopping counting at the same time — which has never been done before? Interesting things being caught on security cameras that folk didn’t know about?

                      At best, this was not an above-board election — and 1960 was rigged as well.

                    2. “Interesting things”
                      You got nothing, it’s apparent.

                  2. “If the election wasn’t stolen, it was so badly f**ked up that it lacks credibility for that reason alone.”

                    You lack credibility.

                2. It was literally a lie in the sense that the guy it’s said about, Michael Brown, had his arms down and was charging the cop when he was shot. Witnesses and forensics prove it.

                  Sure, cops have doubtless, on rare occasions, shot unarmed, innocent people. I could give you some examples myself.

                  But BLM always goes for the guys where it’s a fake narrative, because they’re not trying to fix a problem, they’re stirring things up to have a fight. And real cases of that happening wouldn’t result in a fight.

                  1. While he still managed to smear the Ferguson PD as being racist, even Eric Holder agreed that Michael Brown was a legitimate self-defense shooting.

                    Eric Holder…

                  2. It’s not said just about that guy.

                    1. But they don’t wanna try to excuse murdering Breonna Taylor, because that one’s tougher. She was threatening a cop by being awake in her own home in the middle of the night.

                3. Police have certainly shot and otherwise killed unarmed people, many who were not resisting in any meaningful way.

                  No fair changing the subject to talk about Ashli Babbitt.

            3. “the functional equivalent of platforming Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis during the Civil War”
              That is a vast exaggeration.
              BTW, although everyone can acknowledge at the action at the Capitol was a riot the news media have just adopted the presumption that it was an insurrection in the full legal sense of that word, no attaching the word “alleged” as in “riot and alleged insurrection.” Hard to believe that is not just playing politics by the news media, especially when criminal charges may be brought against Mr. Trump.

              1. They said they were there to keep the Congress from accepting the EC results, and they temporarily managed to do it. That’s insurrection, not alleged insurrection.

        2. Jason, I agree with you that the election wasn’t stolen. But those who say it was may not be lying; i.e., they may not be telling a deliberate falsehood. Trump himself may really believe that the election was stolen; he’s not that bright, and he listens to a lot of wacko people because he’s gotten rid of the ones who are willing to tell him the truth. And his supporters have read a lot of material that I find unpersuasive, and many of them honestly believe (wrongly) that the election was stolen. They should not be censored for advocating that view. Censorship of ideas is an extremely dangerous idea; that’s why we have the First Amendment. If they propose to use violence to stop the so-called steal that’s another matter.

      3. His hatred made Jason stupid.

        1. What did it for you?

    2. “I support de-platforming Trump, but this seems a bit much.”

      So what would be “too much” in your estimation?

  4. Uh, conspiracy by “big tech” is an anti-trust and civil rights violation. Of course since the communists now control the white house and congress, we may have to wait until 2022 to do anything about it.

    1. I’ve heard Trump called a lot of things. But I’ve never heard him be called a Communist before. Are you sure you’re not confusing Communist and Fascist?

      1. Leonid Brezhnev, who led (ran) the USSR 1964-1982, was a fascist. And Nazi stood for “National Socialist” which is what we called the Nazis during WW-II. (See the West VA v Barnette decision.)

        The two terms are not mutually exclusive.

        1. But a bunch of snowflakes told me that fascism was a far-right political philosophy! They saw it on Wikipedia, how could that be wrong?

          1. They told you correctly, a little education would teach you that fascism can be found in many economic forms but what’s consistent about it are right wing ideas of militarism, nationalism, chauvinism, etc.,

            1. Leonid Brezhnev, who led (ran) the USSR 1964-1982, was a fascist. And Nazi stood for “National Socialist” which is what we called the Nazis during WW-II. (See the West VA v Barnette decision.)

              Fascism is independent of right or left ideology.

              1. Your comment is, predictably, entirely non-responsive to mine.

                The Nazis called themselves socialists, but that’s because given the seeming collapse of capitalism nearly every serious party in Germany at the time was wrapping themselves in socialism. The Nazis were also very plain that they were to the right of the Communists and other socialist parties active at the time. There’s a reason why right-wing anti-communists around the world gave some support to fascists in various countries, because they knew the fascists hated and fought with communists and left socialists. And, as I noted, what all fascists had in common were traditionally right wing values such as militarism, chauvinism, nationalism, etc.,

                1. That’s bullshit. Italy was communist when Mussolini and Giovanni Gentile introduced a nationalist twist on their communist government, dubbed Fascism. Fascism and Nazism were left wing movements.

                  1. Uh, oh. Another revisionist finds that his political faction has some unwelcome history. Better just use the failure-proof argument, “NUH-UH, they were on YOUR side!”

                  2. Mussolini was an ardent anti-communist. And, as I’ve explained and you, of course, fail to address, what all the varieties of Fascism had in common were right wing attributes like nationalism, militarism, chauvinism, etc.,.

                    1. Nationalism is a right-wing attribute? So people like Cavour, Garibaldi, William Tell, Andreas Hofer, Kossuth, Nasser, Sun Yat Sen, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, and the leaders of the Scottish Nationalist Party are/were right-wingers? You learn something new every day.

                2. QA,
                  To the contrary it is on point.

                  1. Or would be, if there was a point.

                3. Some of the National Socialist’s social-economic policies:
                  Strong capital controls on banks
                  Legal limits on profit margins
                  Requiring companies to hire works as directed by the government
                  Preventing workers from being fired without government approval
                  Laws preventing transfer of wealth to outside of Germany
                  Requiring wages be linked to corporate revenue
                  Large increases in minimum wage
                  Mandatory public schooling of party-written doctine
                  Placing government officials on to management boards of corporations
                  Seizing industries entirely, placing them in government hands

                  And all that before 1936.
                  It’s almost as if the National Socialists were competing with the International Socialists and had a very similar platform.

                  Too bad we have so many people like this one that just repeat the USSR propaganda.

            2. QA,
              there have been and are many left wing fascists in the usual name-calling sense of the word. The word has been transformed into an mere anodyne epithet that has little to do with the political idea of Mussolini and his antecedents.

              1. The actual fascist movements in history, under Franco, Hitler, Mussolini, etc., all prized similar right wing values.

          2. “But a bunch of snowflakes told me that fascism was a far-right political philosophy!”

            Just because it’s true is not reason to accept it!

        2. “Leonid Brezhnev, who led (ran) the USSR 1964-1982, was a fascist.”

          the head of an allegedly socialist union of republics is an odd place to find a fascist.

          both the Commies and the Nazis prefer a totalitarian state, where der Trumpfenfuhrer can do no wrong. Maybe that’s what’s got you confused this time.

      2. Extremely dumb comment by santamonica811

        1. Ooh…harsh burn, dude.

  5. Exactly how should liberals and conservatives appreciate such power?

    1. As he kind of concedes Volokh suddenly finds himself seeing the values that animated the anti-Citizens United decision now that it seems that corporate power might not be just his side’s friend. Funny how that works.

      1. That is not what Volokh is saying.

        1. It’s exactly what he’s saying (appreciate corporate power).

  6. The conservatives in this country need to be (metaphorically) beat into the ground until there is no bad faith left in them. As long as it takes, whatever it takes.

    1. Oh yeah, that’s always worked in the past. Just beat down the minorities until they go away.

      1. Well, 80 years ago, there was this man who had a “final solution” — although a lot of that had started here with the eugenics movement 20 years before that.

        1. Your Fuhrer was neither the first nor the last person to misunderstand eugenics.

  7. in the 1970s, private clubs were required to allow women as members because the clubs provided important business opportunities and were considered public accomodations. For similar reasons, the Yankees were required to allow a female sportswriter into the clubhouse.

    The social media platforms have become the 21st century of the public square. they should not be able to to ban speech they disagree with.
    I guess the leadership didnt learn Voltaire in collegef

    1. They don’t care about any of that. They care about vengeance.

      1. They can’t possibly have good faith concerns about disinformation, I mean, they disagree with Ben on something so obviously they’re up to some conspiratorial evil. Ben just wants an end to all the enmity, you see, it’s just all those evil people that won’t give it to him 🙂

        1. No, they can’t have “good faith concerns about disinformation”. Or more precisely, they may have those concerns but they may not act on them if they want to be the new “public square”.

          The answer to ‘bad speech’ is ‘more speech’, not less. If you think there is disinformation out there, say so and prove your case. Censorship just makes martyrs and enemies. It convinces no one of your position.

          1. ” Or more precisely, they may have those concerns but they may not act on them if they want to be the new “public square”.”

            Oh, yes they can, as even Volkoh concedes.

            “The answer to ‘bad speech’ is ‘more speech’, not less. ”

            This is ultimately an empirical claim, one I imagine, say, many of the victims of the Rwandan massacre (instigated by a radio station) would likely find wanting.

            1. No, they can’t. Private platforms may legally censor but at that point they are no longer part of the public square.

              Your distortion of the Rwandan massacre is disturbing. Yes, it was instigated by a radio station broadcast. No, censoring that broadcast would not have prevented the massacre. Having channels to speak out against the broadcast, however, might have.

              1. Same thing here. If the authorities *really* have reason to believe that the scary stuff they allege being proposed actually is, the WORST thing to do was taking them off Twatter and Farcebook because the rest of us would have responded “are you out of your minds — NO” — feedback they are not going to get in their echo chambers on the dark web.

                “In general, the military and police don’t plan to shoot anyone until one of the rioters fires, but there could be exceptions.”

                Ummm…. Excuse me, WTF?!?

                https://www.huffpost.com/entry/democrats-briefed-plot-overthrow-government_n_5ffd29a4c5b691806c4bf199

                Sunday, Bloody Sunday comes to mind — and that worked out ever so well for everyone involved, including the British Army…

              2. ” Private platforms may legally censor but at that point they are no longer part of the public square.”

                That’s not only a silly word game, it’s also incorrect (for example, many self-censoring groups are part of the public square, indeed nearly all those in the public square are so!).

                1. Come on, QA. At least try to come up with a logical argument. What Facebook and Twitter are doing is very emphatically not self-censorship.

                  1. ” What Facebook and Twitter are doing is very emphatically not self-censorship.”

                    They’re REQUIRING self-censorship, for people who want to use their stuff. To people who don’t want to use their stuff, they’re doing precisely nothing.

          2. “The answer to ‘bad speech’ is ‘more speech’, not less. If you think there is disinformation out there, say so and prove your case.”

            This proves ineffective against people who reject reality in favor of fantasy conspiracy theories.

            1. Censorship is equally ineffective against that population.

              1. You make your choices and see where the chips fall. Twitter chose to try to preserve their own capacity for future income, like a corporation would be expected to.
                Ditto the PGA. Imagine them not wanting their championship tournament to be associated with the most famous golf cheat of our time.

                1. So by that logic, the baker who refused to serve gays was in the right. So were the restaurants that refused to serve blacks back in the 1950s. They made their choices and were willing to see where their chips fell.

                  Are you intellectually consistent, James? If Twitter has an independent right to choose who they associate with and to ban accounts on the basis of politics, then why shouldn’t bakers and hoteliers have the same right on the basis of other characteristics?

                  1. “Are you intellectually consistent, James?”
                    *snerk*

                  2. 2. There is no federal public accommodation law.

                    1. Even if there were, insurrectionist is not a protected class.

                    1. Saying “Stop the Steal” is not insurrection.

                    2. Actually, James, I’m pretty sure you are wrong on both counts. The ADA is just one example of a federal “public accommodation” law (though they do not all use that specific wording). And political affiliation is a protected class in many states. “Insurrectionist” is at best a not-yet-proven allegation that, by the way, misses the point of my comment entirely.

        2. They love disinformation when it helps their side.

          1. who, exactly, is “they”? Trump is a singular, not a plural. Or were you referring to the clan?

    2. I guess the leadership didnt learn Voltaire in collegef

      Or spelling and punctuation…. Extra points for the ‘I’m going to make a big twist on Voltaire and then mock people for not knowing/getting Voltaire.’

      1. Can you say “line noise”?

    3. Roberts v. United States Jaycees (overruling a fraternal organization’s challenge to a state antidiscrimination law that required such organization to admit women as members on the same basis as men) was actually decided in 1984.

    4. “The social media platforms have become the 21st century of the public square. they should not be able to to ban speech they disagree with.”

      Interesting “conservative” position to stake out. Government control of private property.

      1. It is not really a conservative position, it is a realization of what “common carrier” means in the digital age.

        1. No, it’s not really a conservative position, except that it is coming from Conservatives. Because their rock-hard ideology melts like snowflakes in Mississippi when it works against them.

  8. LOLZ bUiLd Ur oWn PlatFoRm was the constant refrain as they banned and kicked us off. But as soon as we did this they immediately launched attacks our new platforms both through hacking attacks and by conspiring together and with higher level platforms to deplatform our platforms platform. When we got around that they conspired further with global financial services to cut us off and always are behind the scenes trying to get whatever laws they can to ban us or make it as difficult to survive as possible..

    So when it comes time for the left to be deplatformed in the upcoming left v left civil war will the losing side LOLZ BuILd tHeIr OwN internet backbone and global financial infrastructure?

    1. Build your own platform was the principle libertarian response. Many on the left have decried Big Tech’s influence and want to regulate the crap out of it. It’s in line with standard leftist thinking about corporate power in general. What’s change is that the Whiner-in Chief has spread his victimization mindset to conservatives and now many libertarians too and they’ve suddenly ‘saw the light’ about corporate power now that their one true interest, having power (and for the more cultish among them having this particular Whiner in power), seems the least bit threatened by it.

      1. Build your own platform was a reasonable response until it was proven that they wouldn’t let you.

        1. Yes, a page from the Trump manual.
          Blame your failures on a vast conspiracy against you.

          1. Since, after all, it can’t just be that you’re bad at operating a business, can it?

          2. They literally get credit card companies to refuse your money, and that’s not a conspiracy?

            1. Build your own credit card/payment processing company, if you don’t like the choices of the ones that already exist. The child pornographers managed to do it.

              No, no we don’t want to do that… it’s too hard. Instead, let us use stuff that belongs to other people the way WE see fit.

  9. Alexey Navalny (poisoned opposition politician in Russia) had a reasonable take on the risks of such censorship: https://twitter.com/navalny/status/1347969772177264644.

    On the business side, the move by Amazon sends a clear signal to all medium sized businesses (who have little real negotiating power) that they must tow the line, or their critical services can and will be taken down (contract be damned).

    1. They must toe the line. Toe it, put their toes on the line.

      1. My apologies … I guess I don’t tow the line with spelling either.

    2. Parlar has a rich woman behind it, and has filed an anti-trust suit. This is not over yet.

      1. You know us libs will just take over Parlar too, right (just like those libs from Cali moving to Texas!)?

        You guys can’t run and can’t hide.

        Oh, and the “rich woman” thing – well guess what, she’ll want to get richer and remain rich and will become just another leftist corporation you fear.

        1. Rich and dumb. Hired a sole practitioner to file an antitrust complaint against Amazon. With injunction request.

          1. Any port in a storm…

            1. Even a deluded, disaffected dullard can find and engage a competent lawyer if she has inherited great wealth.

              She (1) wanted to engage inadequate legal help (essentially every sole practitioner would be inadequate in this context); (2) is too stupid to function; or (3) could not find a competent lawyer — of all the lawyers in the Federalist Society, the Republican National Lawyers Association, the Stormfront Legal Division, etc. — willing to sign such a complaint.

            2. Maybe she’s hoping for a Kraken?

              1. I expect the full-time attention of the Kraken-wranglers to be devoted to fee petitions, disbarment proceedings, censures, civil liability, and the like for quite some time.

                Q: How many Federalist-Republican-clinger-Trump-Heritage lawyers does it take to leave a single mark on Marc Elias and the Democratic Mainstreamers?

                A: So far, no one can know.

          2. That was kind of the point of intimidating her law firm into dropping her, and scaring others out of working for her.

            1. Which is why I think lawyers should be prohibited from dropping clients. MDs are….

              1. More restrictions on freedom, wow, you’ve got a big barrel of them, don’t ya?

                1. The price of being a monopoly via regulation is that you are a regulated monopoly.

                  Now if we instead let anyone and everyone practice law, you’d have a point.

                  1. ” What Facebook and Twitter are doing is very emphatically not self-censorship.”

                    Which lawyer is it who has the monopoly? Rudy? Sydney?

                    1. Dammit! Cut & paste error. The quoted text should be “The price of being a monopoly”

              2. “Which is why I think”

                LIE!

        2. You know us libs will just take over Parlar too, right (just like those libs from Cali moving to Texas!)?

          You guys can’t run and can’t hide.

          I love it when you Progressives get so excited that you slip and confess your real intentions. You are all Kirkland on the inside. You demand tolerance from others, but have none of your own. You embrace the tyranny of Democracy as a feature and not a bug.

          Freedom of speech and education are the libertarian way to an informed and enlightened society. Progressives have seized control of those in an effort to subjugate the rising generations in the ignorance of their youth.

  10. What if criticism of the Dredd Scott decision was censored by big plantations….omg……see how the jews work. Not a single jew at Parler.

    1. Guys like you give anti-Semitism a bad name.

      1. Come on, Cal, I almost always smile or laugh at Russian troll Pavel’s posts. They’re so dumb, they’re funny. Much better than actual antisemitism, which is usually awful and upsetting.

        1. Only a real Jew like Pavel could be so devious.

          1. Sasha Cohen? (Borat)

  11. How much spurious junk must a nation swallow before folks begin to ask themselves whether speech and press fundamentals on the internet are out of whack? For a very long time, pre-internet, there was broad recognition that a healthy information ecosystem required publishing diversity and profusion. That meant publishers and editors espousing a nearly infinite range of opinions, supported institutionally by a myriad of private businesses, spread throughout the nation.

    The internet—and to a greater extent, an ill-considered law intended to encourage internet use (Section 230)—laid waste to that previously stable publishing regime. The unhappy result is evident, not only online everywhere, but also in distortions felt in the nation’s civic life and political life.

    It is past time to reconsider. Dominant internet publishers are too large, too empowered, too capable of wielding influence politically. Their unprecedented market power over advertising sales has deprived legacy publishers of revenue which had long supported news gathering throughout the nation. The public life of the nation has suffered accordingly. Internet giants have done little or nothing to replace that loss.

    Worse, key features of Section 230 loosed a malign flood of previously unpublishable swill. That flood now threatens to drown the few remnants of trustworthy publishing which diminished ad sales have not already starved to death.

    It is time for a root and branch review, with an eye to at least 7 key points:

    1. Restoration and encouragement of publishing diversity and profusion is the only safe harbor for press freedom. Achieving that should be the guiding principle of public policy with regard to the internet.

    2. There must be no place for government censorship of 1A protected speech on the internet.

    3. Publishing without editing is at once a menace to the quality of published content, and a stimulus for business models which foster unwanted giantism among internet publishers (which then tend toward ad sales monopolies).

    4. Restoration of shared liability—with publishers held civilly liable for defamation along with their contributors—is the only practical means to prevent libels before they happen, and thus do their full damage prior to any prospect of correction. In the aggregate, that prior prevention was an enormous public benefit, far more valuable to the nation than all the compensatory or punitive damages awarded under civil defamation law.

    5. The same mechanism needed to prevent defamation—editing prior to publishing instead of correcting after publishing—encourages similarly great improvements to publishing quality, even in areas where defamation is not an issue. Thus, a practical requirement for editing to prevent publisher liability for libel, will also notably diminish the tide of swill.

    6. Algorithms designed to assess user preferences for particular kinds of content—and thus to exclude or de-emphasize for a particular user competing content—need searching examination. An effort should be made to assess legally whether those can be excluded, restricted, or inconvenienced, without unreasonably burdening press freedom.

    7. Ways will have to be found, and can be found, to assure that reforms along the lines outlined above will not too heavily burden access to the internet for contributors who are not trained as editors or publishers. People will still require internet access who may lack expertise needed to edit their own work to assure compliance with defamation law. Institutional or legal means to assure their needs are met will be an essential part of the mix.

    1. “Dominant internet publishers are too large, too empowered, too capable of wielding influence politically.”

      If only they were treated like publishers, then we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation.

      There will always be space for people to have and share “bad” thoughts, and plenty of people to fill those spaces. See porn.

      Either allow people to post anything that is legally protected and enjoy the immunity of being a platform, or decide to act as a publisher and clearly state what views are acceptable on your corner of the web, and leave other providers to decide what views are acceptable on theirs.

      1. Vinni, your suggestion is indefensible that a business may practice publishing as its principal activity, but nevertheless remain free to decide at pleasure whether or not to accept responsibilities which go with being a publisher. The notion is a red herring that internet publishers can somehow become not-publishers by being called, “platforms.”

        Probably no set of characteristics can be defined which covers every publisher, and excludes every non-publisher. But there is one set of 3 publishing characteristics so broadly shared, and so integral to operating a publishing business, that you can reasonably say that any business which checks all 3 must indeed be a publisher:

        1. A publisher assembles an audience;

        2. A publisher attracts contributors;

        3. A publisher monetizes that combination by selling advertising to businesses which want to communicate with the audience.

        Business which do those things are publishers, no matter what anyone calls them.

        Every publishing business, whether on the internet, or using any other medium, should be subject to the same responsibilities, and should get 1A protection according to the publishing activities it practices. Every person should enjoy a 1A-protected right to use or access the full range of publishing activities.

        One thing no publisher should be licensed to do is to libel with impunity. Libel is not protected speech. To prevent a de facto license to libel it is necessary to require that all publishers share with their contributors civil liability, but not criminal liability, for defamation.

        That shared liability has a practical effect which a publisher can ignore only at its peril. It requires that publishers read everything they publish prior to publishing it, for the purpose of excluding potentially defamatory allegations of fact, which could prove damaging and thus legally perilous to the publisher.

        It is that requirement, to read before publishing, that long held in check any tendency toward giantism or monopolization in the publishing business—until Section 230 struck the requirement down in the case of internet publishers. That is why internet publishers, but not others, have grown to become grotesquely large and disproportionately influential—capable of inflicting burdens on would-be contributors almost equivalent to the burdens of actual government censorship. No such tendency toward extreme consolidation, nor any outlandish capability to effect censorship by private prerogative, has been seen among legacy publishers. The difference has been Section 230.

        Legacy publishers do not enjoy Section 230’s immunity from editing, and that holds their business models in check. For them—but not for internet giants—business growth requires proportionate growth in editorial costs, because editorial-side costs must rise in rough proportion to advertising sales. For internet giants, Section 230 enabled a complete break of that onerous linkage, with advertising sales free to grow without limit, while editorial-side cost increases trailed far behind. It is that unearned and arbitrarily bestowed business advantage which enabled internet publishers to ravage the nation’s publishing ecosystem, and strip the nation’s public life of most of the private news gathering capacity which it formerly relied upon.

        Correcting that unearned business advantage is the key to making internet publishers behave and function in public in a responsible way. Internet publishers, like all others, should be subject to the practical requirement to read everything before publishing it, and to exclude libel. To do that, it is necessary once again to make internet publishers share liability for defamation with their contributors, just as legacy publishers have had to do all along.

        Repeal of Section 230 is the key to addressing your concerns. With that market-distorting monstrosity out of the way, the publishing ecosystem will fairly promptly return to its previous state of diversity and profusion among publishing businesses, all competing for both contributors and revenue on a level playing field. Because internet distribution enjoys enormous economic advantages compared to ink-on-paper, or even broadcast, a level business playing field should enable a greater flowering of public access to opinion forums and news sources than is available now, or than was ever seen before.

        Along the way, repeal of Section 230 will stanch increasing political pressure to regulate by actual government censorship internet publishing giantism, and its baleful empowerment of a few publishing players to control published opinion. That tendency toward government censorship—which now extends to congress and across the political spectrum—points toward a catastrophic loss of press freedom if permitted to develop further—just as internet giantism does likewise, but maybe less accountably. Both tendencies need to be stopped, but will not be if internet giants continue to fuel justifiable-looking demands for government intervention.

        It is a two-pronged problem, with both prongs growing more threatening continuously. Repeal Section 230. It is what got the nation into this mess.

        1. Another day, another misguided rant from Mr. Lathrop attacking Section 230.

          1. Another no-particulars reply from Pollock. I wish I could keep him around, to boost morale. He makes it look like my arguments are unanswerable.

            1. You make it look like your arguments are stupid.

              1. Q.E.D.

                Engage, shut up, or look empty.

        2. “Vinni, your suggestion is indefensible that a business may practice publishing as its principal activity, but nevertheless remain free to decide at pleasure whether or not to accept responsibilities which go with being a publisher. The notion is a red herring that internet publishers can somehow become not-publishers by being called, “platforms.” ”

          No, I said “act like a publisher, get treated like a publisher” or “act like a platform, get treated like a platform”.

          They can choose to be a publisher, publish only what they will accept liability for, and clearly state their policy. Or they can be a platform that has no liability for what the user’s publish, and act only as required by the law (ie, properly adjudicated take down notices, or other clearly illegal, unprotected speech).

          1. Would Barnes and Noble be held liable for selling a book that was determined to be libelous (do bookstores still sell American Sniper)? (Honest questions, I’m not sure) That seems to be the closest analog to Twitter/Facebook.

      2. Exactly, and if you want to be a publisher, accept responsibility for what you publish.

    2. “For a very long time, pre-internet, there was broad recognition that a healthy information ecosystem required publishing diversity and profusion.”

      Indeed, for several decades, the FCC used to enforce something called the “Fairness Doctrine” which limited partisanship in broadcast media. Reagan decided to get rid of it, because the Conservatives were dominating the emerging field of AM Talk Radio, and they didn’t want that particular media to have to be fair. Around the same time, young, smart people began building the modern commercial Internet with no hint of a “Fairness Doctrine”. Surprise! Young and smart people do not lean Republican. WAAA! No fair! the Not Republicans built something and won’t let Republicans play with it!

      1. The fairness doctrine exampled publishing diversity and profusion in its least-robust form; it was a little too much like government speech control besides.

        Press freedom requires diverse and profuse publishing businesses nationwide, with sound business plans, and free market resources which support them. Independent publishing relies on independent publishing businesses. Government free speech policy must pay particular attention not only to 1A press freedom issues, and to the law of publishing, but also to the effects of its policies on workable publishing business models.

        Lately, that last has been too much neglected. Mismanaged, actually. That’s a big part of why the internet is a terrible news source, and why almost no one knows what to believe about politics.

        1. “The fairness doctrine […] was a little too much like government speech control besides.

          The broadcast media use a public resource for which they require a license.

          The main reason the Internet is a terrible news source is that it offers access to many, many bad news sources. The problem isn’t a lack of independent sources, but rather an excess. This has allowed people to select news sources not based on objectivity and accuracy, but on whether or not the source agrees with the consumer.

  12. Hang your own communications lines!

    1. That’s a problem because municipalities don’t want all kinds of poles and wires everywhere — otherwise that would have happened during the dot-com bubble.

      1. Actually the reason internet providers have monopoly power is because municipalities choose charge prohibitively high prices for the rights of way, setting up a barrier to entry and de facto government-enabled monopolies.

        1. It isn’t even that — they (or the state) grant a single franchise to a telephone company and a single franchise to a CATV company — to the exclusion of all others. The only reason both exist is that it precludes the era of digital data.

        2. “Actually the reason internet providers have monopoly power is because municipalities choose charge prohibitively high prices for the rights of way”

          No, it was because the telecommunications companies didn’t like it when the city of Portland, OR forced them to open their cable plant to competing ISPs, so they got Congress to prohibit them from doing that any more in the Telecommunications Act.

    2. Plenty of communication lines are existent just not utilized. My favorite is the back-fence. Then there is the pew, and the bar stool … USPS still delivers albeit slowly. **Hand deliver manuscript.**

      1. When Western Union sent its last telegram in 2006, I was surprised to learn that one could still send one.

        But the bars have been shut down for Covid…

        1. No, they just close earlier. It’s not anybody’s fault that you’re drinking along but your own.

  13. Seems to me that deplatforming Trump, Parler, and others is a violation of their pledges to support diversity. In my mind (IANAL), anything said by company officials or people themselves is meant to be taken as official company policy which customers can depend on. Throwing customers under the bus like this, contrary to all their public statements, strikes me (IANAL) as perjury, and possibly contract violations, regardless of what the fine print says; IOW, their official statements have to be considered as part of their contract.

    I realize this is now how our legal system works.

    1. Artie Ray Lee Wayne Jim-Bob Kirkland

      Sl_ck-j_w

      C_p succ_r

      The Volokh Conspiracy is concerned.

    2. Nah, there are still plenty of right wing bigots still on there. Just not the ones promoting a coup.

      1. And all the lefty mostly peaceful insurrections this summer?

        1. “And all the lefty mostly peaceful insurrections this summer?”

          Never quite managed to reach the capitol’s doorstep.

        2. The ones Trump had removed so he could take his photo at a church that didn’t want him there?

          1. Yes, that was bad. And not a reaction to the protestors per se. Had Trump not been planning (or spontaneously decided) to visit the church, the outcome would likely have been much different.

            Plenty of people have condemned those actions as well. Even without the constant lies about what actually happened.

    3. Courts have ruled that college catalogues are enforceable contracts…

    4. YANAL, so you should avoid making statements about law. Especially, you should avoid making OBVIOUSLY FALSE statements about law.

  14. They are large enough to have become utilities. They should have utility government regulations, limits on censorship, and on profits.

    1. Not limits on profits but limits on prices, i.e. share of ad revenue.
      That’s what’s killing newspapers…

      Remember that utilities are limited by price, profit only comes in as an aspect of allowable price.

  15. Could we please Stop the Steal….of our individual liberties?

    1. You never had an individual liberty to use Facebook’s computers in ways they prohibited, so it can’t be stolen from you.

  16. Prof. Volokh,

    You identified an issue (some would call it a problem), concerning the First Amendment, but I don’t see you offering any ideas or solutions.

    Aren’t you a leading 1A scholar?

    One political maneuver is to bring an issue up for a vote to force members to make a choice.

    So what’s your choice going to be?

    Fealty to 1A and Citizens, or turn your back on everything you’ve worked for?

    1. apedad….Does Citizens United really apply here? I thought that case was about corporate contributions to political campaigns, and it was a free speech issue. Am I missing something (not being facetious, just asking the question).

      1. Prof. Volokh brought it up in his NYT article.

        He agreed with Citizens and states that corporations are just a group of people.

        But now he’s forgetting his own statement, “Yet Citizens United was just about whether corporations could spend money to convey their views. Now we have a few huge corporations actually blocking someone’s ability to convey his views.”

        Why can’t a corporation (or a person like you or I !!!), block another person’s views – within their own establishment?

        You can certainly, legally (and with vigor), kick me out of your house if you don’t like my speech.

        So why can’t a corp do that?

        Also it is fun to note the flip-flop (on both sides) about Citizens.

        1. This remains in the context of corporations fearful of section 230 changes if they don’t censor as master desires.

          They are not doing this of their own free will.

          1. Well since the “masters” are corporate stakeholders, (employees, management, consumers, stockholders, vendors, advertisers, industry critics, special interest groups, etc., each with various degrees of power and/or influence), I’m not seeing a problem.

            This is the same whether it’s Facebook or McDonalds or Macys.

          2. “This remains in the context of corporations fearful of section 230 changes if they don’t censor as master desires.”

            Remember when Republicans believed that magic “market forces” automatically fixed any problems with corporate management?
            Or when they believed that private property could be used as the owner saw fit?

        2. apedad,
          Ask yourself why the phone companies were not allowed to disconnect their politically disfavored.

          1. You’re not equating AT+T/Bell with Facebook, are you?!?

            Because that would be really dumb.

          2. “Ask yourself why the phone companies were not allowed to disconnect their politically disfavored.”

            They ARE allowed to disconnect people who use their “unlimited” connection more than the company wants them to. The technical term is “traffic shaping”.

            1. Disconnect them? By throttling their data speeds, for only as long as is necessary.

              Or disconnect them. Totally the same…?

      2. “I thought that case was about corporate contributions to political campaigns,”

        Nope. It was a case about advertising for an indie documentary critical of a candidate. If that’s going to be a “corporate contribution to a political campaign”, a lot of newspapers running editorials are going to be in trouble.

    2. The customary choice here is to engage in repeated viewpoint-controlled censorship favoring conservatives and to object regularly to perceived restrictions of expression that disfavor conservatives.

  17. As I’ve said before, I do not think that social media companies should have both the full editorial rights of private publishers and the freedom from liability and other legal checks that comes with being a mere technology platform.

    They cannot and should not be allowed to have both. Either they should be treated and regulated as private publishers with full liability, or they should be treated and regulated as public utilities with significant public oversight.

    I recognize they are a new phenomenon which may well require a new regulatory category. In my view, treating them as something closer to a public utility is the better course. They operate in practice more like a telecom service than a private publisher.

    1. That’s not quite right.

      They do not have “full editorial rights,” although I am unclear what you mean by this.

      To the extent that they are exercising their own speech, they are not liable.

      To the extent that they are publishing someone else’s speech, they are not liable for the content of the speech that they are publishing. They can “curate” it in certain ways (remove content that violates the TOS, edit it to fit the web site or platform parameters, etc.), but they aren’t exercising traditional editorial functions.

      If we repeal 230, then we would likely see less free speech, not more, on the internet. The simple reason is that the carriers would then be liable for publishing the speech of people like Dr. Ed. Know what I mean? Given that, who would want to allow … you know … that guy to comment on their platform?

      1. Argh! Stupid inability to edit-

        “To the extent that they are exercising their own speech, they are not liable.”

        They are liable. If they are speaking as themselves, they are liable. They aren’t liable as for the content of other’s speech.

      2. loki13, exactly whom have I libeled, and when?

        Remember that “libel” does not mean “I vehemently disagree with.”

        1. Well, Dr. Ed, you are a know fabulist. That’s kind of your thing! Even your ardent supporters (like Ohio Bob) can, at best, muster the “broken clock” defense for you.

          I’ll leave it to other people to come through your posts. But hey- if you’re comfortable with your knowledge of the law, and that you’ve never uttered a falsity against a person, corporation, product, etc, and that platforms would be comfortable accepting liability for …. you … more power to you! I admire that type of confidence. It might indicate a certain lack of self-awareness, but perhaps reflection just isn’t your thing. ????

          1. Offending you is not libel.
            Being wrong is not libel.
            Making stuff up is not libel.

            Libel has a fairly specific legal definition, although I’d also maintain that I don’t do the above, either.

            Although perhaps stating that I libel others, absent any evidence that I ever have, might itself defame me?

            1. “Libel has a fairly specific legal definition”

              Really? Oh, boy! I had no idea! I mean … that’s weird.

              It has a legal meaning? Like … different than just chattin’ and stuff.

              Huh. Well, you know that given my total lack of knowledge, I come here to learn all my legal learnin’s from the likes of Dr. Ed, knower of legal-type stuff!

              I appreciate you Ed-splainin’ that to me. As always, you put a twinkle in my eyes. 🙂

            2. “Making stuff up is not libel.”

              Making stuff up is part of libel. That’s why you can defend your libel lawsuit by proving that what you said is actually, objectively true.

              “Although perhaps stating that I libel others, absent any evidence that I ever have, might itself defame me?”

              If opinions could be libel, maybe.

    2. “As I’ve said before, I do not think that social media companies should have both the full editorial rights of private publishers and the freedom from liability and other legal checks that comes with being a mere technology platform.”

      Step out of your right-wing bubble into the fresh air of the real world, and rejoice in knowing that out here, nobody has “full editorial rights” and “freedom from liability”.

  18. StaRT yOur OWn sERviCe.

    That’s a nice service you’ve got there, it would be a shame if anything happened to it.

    The left isn’t even bothering to hide it anymore. Is it too late?}

  19. It’s fascinating to see that there are now two camps of Republicans/Trumpists; those who have become aware of the reality of what is around them, and choose to jump out of the pot of boiling water. And those who are content to stay in it, yelling at the people outside that the water is, in fact, quite nice and any stories about hot water are just some sort of Antifa propaganda.

    Sure. It is entirely possible that there is a “monopoly” and “collusion” of everyone from Liz Cheney to Big Tech to the PGA Tour to JPMorgan to Coca Cola to Chris Christie to Hallmark to … oh, so many …. got together and decided to screw Trump.

    Or maybe this is the final act in the natural revulsion that the body politic feel, and this is, at long last, the antibodies kicking in? There is always a point; with McCarthy, it was going after the Army (not a great idea given the number of people who recently served in WW2). With Trumpists, it was aiding and abetting the crazies and the denial of reality that led to one of the most shameful moments in our nation’s recent history; something to which many of the commenters here still can’t quite comprehend.

    Personally, I fully back a 1/6 Commission so that we can make sure that the various events that led to this are not repeated, and provide recommendations moving forward.

    Hope everyone is staying safe and happy. PS- Ohio State got rightfully blown out. Now that’s something we can all support!

    1. There is only one camp of Democrats now, though — the one that has joined with the Chinese Communist Party in single-party propaganda efforts, kangaroo courts, and doublespeak. The rest of the free world watches in grief as Democrats strangle American democracy.

      1. Sure!

        That sounds totally reasonable, and not at all like something a crazy person would say.

        So, what is your position on contrails?

          1. I appreciate the non-sequitur!

            Tell me, are you getting paid by the word or the comment? Because if you’re not, might I suggest a more edifying hobby?

            1. “are you getting paid by the word”

              Quite an attack coming from you. No self awareness at all.

              1. Hey Bob!

                Still hungover from watching THE Ohio State University get pummeled.

                Look at the bright side … as long as you keep your nom de plume, The Ohio State University’s football team can only be the second-most embarrassing thing to come out of Ohio. 🙂

      2. ” The rest of the free world watches in grief as Democrats strangle !American democracy.”

        Uh-oh! Somebody’s got their parties confused!

    2. My friends in OH are pissed, and hung over. 😉

      1. My sympathies! There is nothing more brutal than having your team get destroyed like that.

        However, as a hater of THE Ohio State University (ahem), I was satisfied.

        Now we just need some teams to stop the abomination that is the yearly Alabama/Clemson/OSU coronation.

        1. I had no dog in that….blowout. 🙂

    3. “Sure. It is entirely possible that there is a “monopoly” and “collusion” of everyone from Liz Cheney to Big Tech to the PGA Tour to JPMorgan to Coca Cola to Chris Christie to Hallmark to … oh, so many …. got together and decided to screw Trump.”

      Yep, the RINO wing of the GOP….

    4. Loki,
      When will you ever learn? It is THE Ohio State.

      1. You know, I often mix up the various pretentions of land-grant state universities that attempt to claim fame off of the toil of “student” athletes.

        Eh, who am I kidding on my high horse. I watch college football.

    5. ” It is entirely possible that there is a “monopoly” and “collusion” of everyone from Liz Cheney to Big Tech to the PGA Tour to JPMorgan to Coca Cola to Chris Christie to Hallmark to … oh, so many …. got together and decided to screw Trump.”

      Why wouldn’t the PGA Tour want to associate their championship, with well known golf cheat, Donald Trump?

  20. By the way, for the Bretts out there (there must be fraud, of some kind) or for Commenter_XY (why not just have a commission, because smoke!), I suggest reading this most recent article.

    https://reason.com/2021/01/10/trumps-lawyers-surrender-in-georgia-despite-giulianis-conclusive-proof-of-election-fraud/

    It’s the same story, repeated again. When presented an opportunity to take their claims (their Kraken, their evidence) to court, to a trial, to actually have evidence adjudicated under oath … the Trump Team dismisses all the claims.

    Bonus fun: in the notices dismissing the actions, the attorneys attempt to allege that there was an out of court agreement. There wasn’t.

    It’s the same BS, over and over again. It’s almost like they are lying all the time and hoping that if they flood the zone with enough lies, you assume that there must be something there. Weird, huh?

    PS- Saban passed Bryant for national championships. HISTORY!

    1. You are making a very bad call, loki13. If you think that 50MM+ people will just go quietly into the night, you are badly mistaken. The question is not whether these people will be heard, it is only a question of how they will be heard. Do you not see that they will make themselves heard?

      Speak to, and address their concerns. Do not dismiss them with contempt.

      1. No. You misunderstand where the emphasis should be.

        I keep repeating this to you. Treating them with contempt is to continue to lie to them. What you what is the height of contempt.

        What needs to be done is to have a 1/6 commission. The mandate will include the months leading up to 1/6, including the pressure exerted by the Administration to overturn the election and the lies that were broadcast to the American people.

        So the truth will be out. The concerns will be addressed, not by chasing Phantasmagoric Krakens, but by giving people a timeline of the distribution of lies, and why they were told.

        That is treating people with respect.

        1. Do both: Look at the election, and the aftermath. We absolutely should.

          1. I’m not trying to be mean here, but you read the article, right? This is one of so, so many. At what point does someone say “enough” when it comes to the election? How many stupid videos have to be explained? How many times do people have to explain to Brett what election law is? How many times do the exact same lies have to be patiently addressed, over and over and over again.

            I heard a great story on This American Life the other day. It was a local GOP official explaining, in detail, exactly what happened with regard to one of the many lies going around. It was the Shiawasee County clerk, and it was one of the many “138,000 votes mysteriously appeared for Biden!” lies. Anyway, they had the local GOP official explain, in painstaking detail, both why this was false … and … this is even better … how it was a deliberate lie (people switched the images to make it look like the votes appeared for Biden, when, in fact, the votes disappeared for Biden!).

            So what happened when this was explained to a dedicated Trumpist? Nothing. They refused to believe the actual evidence. Even when it was explained. Even with the testimony of the GOP official. Even though the lie was obvious (they switched the images). The Tunmpist still asserted that (A) the numbers were still changed, somehow, somewhere, and (B) that there were just too many other issues.

            It. Doesn’t. Matter.

            The only way to deal with this is a systemic, good-faith, effort to expose the campaign of lies and deception. At some point, people (not all, but a good portion) will understand that they’ve been lied to. We have already begun to see this. It’s time to bring in the sunlight completely.

            1. loki13, I have read the article, and I also see what is happening around the country. More to the point, I see what is happening at the state legislative level. It is not good. The proverbial battle lines are being drawn. To say that I am uneasy is an understatement. My wife, an immigrant to this country, is more blunt: Communist ideas and practices are being put into place, and this country is being systematically destroyed. I left my country because of that to come here and be free. You (America) have betrayed your ideals. Harsh words, but an accurate assessment.

              We agree on the need for sunlight. Where we appear to part ways is I that believe we bring in the sunshine everywhere (before and after the election); you apparently do not.

              1. No.

                Where I disagree is pretty simple- there has already been a great deal of sunlight on the election.

                Have you really paid attention? Do you know what measures were put in place since 2000? Since 2016? Did you read any of the reports? Do you deal with any of the state election officials that have death threats for just doing their jobs?

                Or are just going to keep on repeating the nuttery without any foundation? I’m serious.

                The evidence is all there. It’s just some people refuse to accept it. Look what you just did; when the point gets hammered home again, you repeat an anecdote about worrying that the country is going commie … because what the heck does that have to do with the elections?

                But sure. I want a commission to expose the lies. Guess what- if they aren’t lies, that will be exposed. Good? But the problem isn’t the election. It’s the lies. And the troubling problems with our norms and our institutions.

                1. ” are just going to keep on repeating the nuttery without any foundation? I’m serious.”

                  Bet on the repetition.

            2. Haven’t I said that some of it was nonsense? Just not all of it.

              I don’t want unelected officials and judges up and changing election rules to no longer follow the statutes.

              I don’t want absentee ballots being sent out en mass to names on registration lists that are known not to be kept up to date.

              I don’t want to be told, “You can’t have observers here, this isn’t a “polling place”, we’re just letting people vote here.” Or be told that the law is satisfied if the observers are in the same basket ball court sized room, but not close enough to see what is going on.

              I don’t want to be told that “Yup, there’s a signature there!” is signature verification.

              I don’t want to be embarrassed discussing our elections when talking with people in third world countries that run tighter elections.

              1. “I don’t want unelected officials and judges up and changing election rules to no longer follow the statutes.”

                I do, if it’s necessary to follow the Constitution.

              2. “I don’t want to be embarrassed discussing our elections when talking with people in third world countries that run tighter elections.”

                Their dictators are effective, and make sure the votes come out the right way. Our would be dictator is ineffective, and accidentally found out what the majority of the voters think about him. This can be fixed by removing the twit from office.

            3. “The only way to deal with this is a systemic, good-faith, effort to expose the campaign of lies and deception. At some point, people (not all, but a good portion) will understand that they’ve been lied to.”

              The Trumpistas are resistant to good-faith efforts to expose lies and corruption. They’d rather believe that a vast conspiracy stands in their way than accept that they backed a loser.

          2. What in the election needs to be looked at? As Mitt Romney said:

            The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth. That is the burden, and the duty, of leadership. The truth is that President-elect Biden won this election. President Trump lost. Scores of courts, the President’s own Attorney General, and state election officials both Republican and Democrat have reached this unequivocal decision.

      2. Stop pretending that they haven’t been ‘heard.’

        They had a GOP-controlled House, Senate, and Presidency – the latter two persisted through the end of Trump’s disastrous term.

        They don’t deserve to be ‘more heard’ because they’ve decided to resist democracy’s results with violence and lies. They deserve to be relegated back to the underside of bridges from whence they came.

      3. “Speak to, and address their concerns. Do not dismiss them with contempt.”

        When a child throws a tantrum, you do NOT deal with it by humoring the brat. This only encourages more and bigger tantrums. Treat them like the child they are.

        1. Treating adults as children isn’t contempt?

          1. Treating children like children isn’t contempt.

            Treating adults who insist on acting like children also isn’t contempt. Grow the fuck up.

      4. “If you think that 50MM+ people will just go quietly into the night”

        Once they’ve announced their rejection of reality, who cares where they go?

  21. Red scare becomes orange scare. The left was never really against blacklisting, they just didn’t want it used against their communist friends. Now that they control communications platforms, they love blacklisting and censorship.

    They show no decency, no limits, no guiding principles except their hatred of Americans who are not like them.

    1. Man it must suck to be you.

      1. No, it’s pretty good.

        1. Man, it must be pretty good to live a life in such total denial of reality.

            1. Yeah, I AM right again. How about that?

    2. That makes total sense!

      People that are outraged … the RINO/Libertarian/Corporation alliance … are just haters who hate America.

      It has nothing to do with a desire to see normal politic life restored. NOSIREE BOB! Just unthinking hatred of Real Murikans!

      We would have gotten away with it too, if not for Ben and that Scooby Doo!

      1. People who express hatred of Americans are people who hate Americans. It’s not a complicated idea.

        Leftists express their hatred of Americans who are not like them every day.

        1. Your insight and perspicacity knows no bounds! I shiver in anticipation at your continued adventures in exposing the dark underbelly of Leftists, RINOS, Corporations, Libertarians, and other people who just haven’t understood what it is like to be a REEL MURIKAN like you.

          I can feel the love that you have for people Ben. I feel that love. Share it! Share that love!

        2. “Leftists express their hatred of Americans who are not like them every day.”

          I don’t think all those Trumpistas are going to like being called “leftists”.

            1. Watch it . . . Prof. Volokh has his civility standards.

              At least, sometimes.

              1. He uses the letters “G”, “F”, and “Y” to express that I have turned out to be correct again.
                It’s our little code.

      2. Also, didn’t you promise to fuck off and stop replying to me the other day? You couldn’t keep a promise even for 3 days.

        1. You know what- you’re right! I totally forgot. I remembered it was as a different person.

          It was reciprocal, remember?

          Take care!

      3. ” unthinking hatred of Real Murikans!”

        Maybe they should have thought of that before they decided to attack the real capitol of real America.

    3. Ben et al.
      You really have to cut the crap about Communist friends. If what you’re talking about is the authoritarian left, that is a different thing. As Lenin described in “Materialism and Empero-criticism” what we see in the US is “infantile leftism.” It was an affliction of the Trotskyites that was forcefully suppressed by Stalinist right-wing opportunism, or if you prefer Russian Fascism.
      It is not by accident that the only immigrant group that voted in the majority for Trump in 2016 were from Soviet Russia. But that is not to say that the present Demo-leftists are Communists. That is simply a perversion of both language and history even though it is the use of language in the class warfare.

      1. “It is not by accident that the only immigrant group that voted in the majority for Trump in 2016 were from Soviet Russia.”

        Not an accident. Not while Putin still poisons emigrants who don’t do what he wanted them to do.

    4. “They show no decency, no limits, no guiding principles except their hatred of Americans who are not like them.”

      Joining your team in this.

      ” The left was never really against blacklisting, they just didn’t want it used against their communist friends. Now that they control communications platforms, they love blacklisting and censorship.”
      Like your guys were against blacklisting and censorship when they were doing the blacklisting and censoring
      back in the olden times 100 years ago, there were enough newspapers for every ethnic or political group in the city to have their own. Over time, media consolidation took out most of the smaller newspapers, leaving the editorial page editors to try to find a balance that appealed to all their readers, or at least, didn’t piss them off.
      Meanwhile, Americans changed their habits, and started getting their news from broadcast media instead of print. Thanks to the Telecommunications Act of 1934, however, broadcasters were forced to use their broadcast licenses in the public interest, which meant that they shied away from controversial subjects and avoided issuing opinions, to which people could object and, at least theoretically, for which the FCC could deny their license renewal application. A broadcast license was money, baby, so you were VERY careful not to do anything that could put it in danger. Later, the preference changed to getting one’s news from a cable station, which did not have to fear broadcast license non-renewal.

  22. Liberals used to detest things like book burning. Now they are gleefully chucking them into the virtual fires.

    1. They aren’t “liberal” any more. They’re closer to fascists:

      “a system of government led by a dictator who typically rules by forcefully and often violently suppressing opposition and criticism, controlling all industry and commerce, and promoting nationalism and often racism.”

      Let’s see:

      government: check
      dictator: not for everything yet. For covid, yes.
      forceful and violent: Antifa is not everywhere yet, no. They’re working on it.
      controlling industry and commerce: check
      promoting nationalism: not for the US
      often racism: they hate people who aren’t like them exactly the same way racists do. Check.

      They’re on their way to full fascism but they aren’t all the way there yet. They won’t make it all the way because they don’t like America so they’ll never be nationalists.

      1. Globalists are nationalists loyal to another entity.

        1. It’s just a dictionary. No reason to bend definitions too much. They can be a new category that’s not exactly like fascists but similar.

          Meanwhile, are these leftist quasi-fascists “liberal”? Let’s see:
          “1. willing to respect or accept behavior or opinions different from one’s own; open to new ideas.
          2.
          relating to or denoting a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise.”

          willing to accept differences: no
          open to ideas: no
          promotes individual rights: no. Grievance groups, government, unions, power. Never individuals.
          civil liberties: Not free speech. Not religious freedom. Not gun rights. Not freedom of association. Not freedom of movement during covid. No.
          democracy: in name only. In practice sometimes.
          free enterprise: No.

          They are in no way “liberal”.

          1. Funny you should attack their respect (or alleged lack thereof) for freedom of association, as you attack their freedom to associate as they choose to.

              1. Yep, right again. so much winning!

    2. “Liberals used to detest things like book burning. Now they are gleefully chucking them into the virtual fires.”

      Says the guy trying to figure out how to light a fire.

      1. I didn’t start the fire, its been burning since the worlds been turning…

        1. So you can’t light fires. It’s not like it’s important or anything, King Louie.

  23. The time to start treating these people as common carriers was yesterday.

    1. when should we have started treating you as a carrier?

  24. This reminds me of the Chinese government’s attempt to block keywords. Some people do find their way around. One technique is similar to leetspeak; where we would change “Steal” to “5teal” they change a Chinese character to an innocent homophone or to an emoji with similar pronunciation. But online (not on the street in Hong Kong) that’s an arms race, not a victory. The enemy is not too stupid to know what is going on and is not incapable of banning each new form as it is recognized.

    1. “One technique is similar to leetspeak; where we would change ‘Steal’ to ‘5teal'”.
      In leetspeak, “Steal” is rendered as “5t34l”. The problem you’ll face opposing the tech companies is the same one you’ll face opposing the Chicoms, you have to be smarter than they are for your secret code to work. How likely is it that nobody at any of the big tech companies has any experience with leetspeak?

      1. As I wrote, it’s an arms race. You have to keep moving to stay ahead of the censors. Remember, the first line censors are computers. They do what they are told. If you tell them “block the exact text ‘stop the steal'” that’s all they will do. Facebook can use AI to sweep more broadly, but when they accidentally block some cat pictures they’re going to catch hell. Like law enforcement in general Facebook may choose to go after conspicuous violations and some select people they dislike, without trying to stop all (thought)crime.

        1. Nah, you use a picture of the phrase. FB bans pictures using a hash table, not OCR.

          The fun thing is if we could get the details of their hashing algorithm, then we could post pictures of “Stop the steal!” that would result in hash map collisions with popular left-wing memes. How I would love to have those details, the possible mischief is amazing.

          1. Machine learning is also vulnerable to attacks. Somebody showed a few years back how putting a little sticker on a stop sign caused an image classification algorithm to see it as a speed limit sign. Not every image recognition neural network will be fooled by that specific attack. But given a network, there is likely to be such an attack.

          2. “The fun thing is if we could get the details of their hashing algorithm”

            The fun thing is if you had the skill to utilize such details, you’d also likely have the skills to build your own platform and run it as you see fit.

        2. “As I wrote, it’s an arms race. ”

          And as I wrote, you have to be smarter than the other side. So you will get a bunch of fail, and whine about how you’re being oppressed.

  25. Perhaps my conservative friends will reconsider the antitrust law legacy of Robert Bork and support a return to antitrust law as it existed before his publication of the Antitrust Paradox. Recall that the rationale for the antitrust laws as understood at the time of their enactment was as much the danger to self government posed by monopolists as the danger to allocative efficiency.

    1. Anti-trust law is intended to be deployed against trusts, and for some reason, few Republicans seem to want to cheer for it.

  26. Let’s see what happens during baseball season, when coaches find their Facebook posts being deleted for urging their infielders and catchers to stop the stealing of bases by their opponents. Ought to be fun.

    1. So they’re using Facebook to coach players now? What a wonderful way to welcome a new millennium. Have the Astros figured out a way to steal the signals yet?

      1. High schools are…

        1. High schools are having their signs stolen by the ‘stros?

  27. “we see that major tech players are going to try to blacklist any new platforms that fail to comply with the tech players’ speech restriction demands.”

    If you don’t like the tech players’ speech restriction demands, don’t use their stuff. Solves that problem straight away.

  28. Lathering the rubes
    Lathering the rubes
    Conspirators, good clingers,
    Lathering their rubes

    1. Geeze, give your overly tired brain a rest

  29. Meanwhile, here’s a Good Leftist executive discussing sending children to re-education camps and how happy he is when red staters die of Covid:

    https://www.projectveritas.com/news/pbs-principal-counsel-lays-out-violent-radical-agenda-says-americans-are-f/

    Remember they’re The Good Guys.

    1. You know he’s a capital-L Leftist because Ben is never wrong about this sort of thing…

        1. Yep, I’m right again… thanks for pointing it out.

  30. It’s always been a truism that Republicans must have a 5% margin to win to overcome the advantage the Democrats get from having the media as a full time free campaign team. It’s a miracle Republicans ever win the presidency. Bush and Trump won by the slimist margins. But hey, the media companies are private businesses so it’s ok. The social media companies are just wanting to get in on the the action on deciding what you get to hear and not hear. The MSM never gives out misinformation.

    1. It was the media. Now it’s the media, and the social media, and the search engines, and the web hosting services. Oh and all of Wall Street, the banks, and F500 companies. And don’t forget the voter fraud.

      1. Odd how “the media” keep helping the D’s, when so many parts of it are owned by R’s. Same for Wall Street, banks and F500 companies. And don’t forget voter fraud. All that pretend fraud just gets some people all riled up over nothing.

    2. ” Bush and Trump won by the slimist margins.”

      Presumably you’re pointing out that they both LOST the popular vote, and only pulled out a win because the EC works to disenfranchise some voters.

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