What do you think of the BigTech Crackdown

Oh!

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Since this discussion turned into free speech thing I'll just leave this one here:
Section 5 was amended in 2013. And rightly so.

Not to say that I necessarily disagree with anything there from Rowan Atkinson, but I'll point you to this:


In any case, there is a notable distinction to be made here: Amazon and Google are not the Government, and they are not even British registered companies. I am unsure of the video's relevance to subject at hand.
 
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davert

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Re Rowan Atkinson: it’s key to distinguish between what AWS acted on—death threats, demands for murder, incitement to riot, basically the whole Nazi thing—and, as Rowan says, the outlawing of insults. These were not insults. These were incitement to violence, which is illegal in every country in the world.

I might add that those who protest the “crackdowns on free speech” most are also most likely to crack down on free speech, e.g. this incident:

 

Nev_Dull

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Re Rowan Atkinson: it’s key to distinguish between what AWS acted on—death threats, demands for murder, incitement to riot, basically the whole Nazi thing—and, as Rowan says, the outlawing of insults. These were not insults. These were incitement to violence, which is illegal in every country in the world.
This is a key distinction. Some of the content reported on Parler was very much illegal. There's another distinction that Oh! points out above: "Amazon and Google are not the Government". So the question becomes, was AWS right to act as the self-assigned arbiter of social ethics or should they have reported the content and let government authorities enforce the law?
 

davert

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For the record, I recall there being two defenses against legal consequences for speech (in slander and libel cases):
1) You are telling the truth
2) You did not know you were lying
3) You were lying but without malicious intent (e.g. sarcasm and comedy)
4) (And this relatively recent, and much-abused) The person being lied about is a public figure

Don't ask me why #4 is even in there.

Political speech typically is defended more than commercial speech. This is a distinction which I think came about in the early 20th century, as drug companies selling, in essence, poisons and addictive drugs as cold remedies and such started to get regulated. In the last 30 years or so, commercial speech has started to rise to the level of political speech for general purposes, though not in specific areas such as, well, drugs. Drug companies aren't allowed to lie, though I am sure sooner or later one of them will say they are.

Again, you really have to go back in time to the 1700s to see why the first amendment was created. Then look back in American history and you see things like people being arrested for reciting the Declaration of Independence in public places (look up Wobblies and “free speech fights”). The Wobblies reacted by packing local prisons—shipping in hundreds of people to get arrested. Those people were brave or nuts, because they also got the crap beaten out of them by the police.

Then again we have the 1950s, when people were blacklisted and/or fired from their jobs simply because they went on a date with someone suspected to be a communist. Eventually, that faded away, it probably seemed pretty silly in the 1960s!

Our free speech is a recent invention, not dating to the signing of the Constitution or creation of the First Amendment. I would argue we did not have meaningful free speech in the US until the late 1960s/early 1970s. But that's kind of besides the point. What we have never had, and no country has ever had, is anyone’s right to incite violence or make death threats which can be reasonably construed as serious. That has always been a limit.

No freedom in the US or anywhere else is absolute. There are always exceptions, because, pragmatically, there must be. You can't let murderers in prison carry guns. You can't let Nazis or whomever get together in public and plot the death of a governor or the Vice President. It just won’t work.
 

Wes of StarArmy

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For too long social media has been letting users go nuts - section 230 has been a double edged sword because it both protects us as forum owners from being responsible for whatever malicious users post on our sites, but it is also written in such a way that forums are discouraged from active moderation so they have less liability. Combined with businesses being, well, businesses, and trying to be as financially efficient as possible (e.g. hiring as few moderators as possible) has resulted in most large sites becoming cesspools where the loudest and most extreme voices drown out the voices of reason and civility. With Russian troll farms, paid astroturfers, conspiracy groups, and other politically-motivated parties in the mix trying to influence elections, and plenty of just generally ignorant people suddenly reading your local news's comment sections make you want to get on a spaceship and find a new planet. Small forums with active moderators who can encourage good interaction and a sense of community will ALWAYS be better than mega-platforms where semi-anonymous people shout at each other.

I think the best points I've seen in this thread:
  • Private companies must set policies that protect themselves from legal risk (e.g. no violence, threats, etc) so they don't end up in court.
  • They can set whatever other terms they want (subject to the law), for example Verizon can (and did) say no XXX pics on Tumblr anymore and can cut you off if don't. Most of these sites have a TOU that says basically "if we feel like it's shady you're gone."
  • Our sites got to be mindful of our providers' policies (e.g. if the webhost says no adult material, don't host it!)
    • Webhost
    • DNS Registrar
    • Cloudflare or cache provider
    • SMS/Email
    • Ad networks (Google adsense definitely has opinions on non-family-friendly content!)
  • Cutting off forums' services for allowing blatant violent/terroristic threats for months is not unreasonable, especially since the forum owners were given reasonable chances to solve the issue on their own first
  • For those of us who don't have members posting questionable stuff this is a non-issue
Finally, people have been begging Twitter and other social media sites to ban violence-promoters for years and they don't because they're too busy chasing money. It's about freaking time they did something right. But I expect that it'll be business as usual again soon because if you're a giant like Twitter or Google it's always been about profit (at least since your IPO) and always will be.
 
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davert

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Wes... good summaries.

I do not think 230 was well thought out when it was created, but that's not really a surprise.
 

Wes of StarArmy

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Wes... good summaries.

I do not think 230 was well thought out when it was created, but that's not really a surprise.
Perhaps, and I think it was probably supported by those who it benefited (think lobbyists from tech companies). But without it, most of the internet couldn't exist. Imagine if Youtube had been able to be sued everytime some random user uploaded a clip from a DVD. Imagine if someone posted an ISIS video attachment on your forum and you got charged with terrorism simply because you owned the site. The safe harbor is critical for any site that allows users to participate. Without it most of the web might be static pages.
 
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mysiteguy

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Wes... good summaries.

I do not think 230 was well thought out when it was created, but that's not really a surprise.

All things considered, given that it's survived for 24 years with most of it very applicable to today when it was written in 1996 before mega social media existed, I think they did okay.
 
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Oh!

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All things considered, given that it's survived for 24 years with most of it very applicable to today when it was written in 1996 before mega social media existed, I think they did okay.
Agreed. I would go further: I find it surprising, even astonishing, that it has stood the test of time so well, crafted as it was, only when the Internet was beginning to take off. And in any case, the CDA has evolved at the edges through case law and from one primary legislation amendment (sex trafficking, if memory serves).
 

Oh!

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Wes... good summaries.

I do not think 230 was well thought out when it was created, but that's not really a surprise.
I don't know about that. Seems to have worked out very well, all things considered. I am not sure what large changes could be made to the legislation without there being some very negative consequences upon how much of the Internet operates.
 

Oh!

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4) (And this relatively recent, and much-abused) The person being lied about is a public figure

Don't ask me why #4 is even in there.
I think it is there because if it were not, it would too much curtail discussion, critiques and simple narrative about people in the news. You can still be sued* for slandering/libeling public figures, but they must demonstrate malicious intent (it is not enough to be simply wrong). It is imperfect, but I'd be hard pressed to think of better, simple distinction or line in the sand.

* I am talking about the US here. It is, for example, far easier for public figures to sue for slander/libel in the UK - hence, libel tourism:

 

mysiteguy

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Agreed. I would go further: I find it surprising, even astonishing, that it has stood the test of time so well, crafted as it was, only when the Internet was beginning to take off. And in any case, the CDA has evolved at the edges through case law and from one primary legislation amendment (sex trafficking, if memory serves).

And this brings up why I don't want to see it changed....

The US internet tax exemption when it was in the process of being lifted, the big players such as Amazon poured countless millions into lobbying for it when they realized that they could actually use it to their advantage. Smaller players couldn't easily afford and implement taxation that covered thousands of different rates across the states, counties and cities.

If any serious movement starts to change this particular law takes place, I have every reason to believe eventually the big players will swoop in with their lobbyist to make the changes to their advantage, and to the disadvantage of smaller players.
 

Nev_Dull

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  • Private companies must set policies that protect themselves from legal risk (e.g. no violence, threats, etc) so they don't end up in court.
  • They can set whatever other terms they want (subject to the law), for example Verizon can (and did) say no XXX pics on Tumblr anymore and can cut you off if don't. Most of these sites have a TOU that says basically "if we feel like it's shady you're gone."
  • Our sites got to be mindful of our providers' policies (e.g. if the webhost says no adult material, don't host it!)
This is the crux of the issue with a situation like Parler and Amazon. Parler wasn't removed because law enforcement found their content in violation of any laws, they were removed because of arbitrary policies put in place by Amazon. Amazon has a right to set whatever policies it likes, however no corporate policy can supersede the law.

If a site like Parler is protected from liability for its content by section 230, how then can Amazon penalize the site for that same content? Invoking 230 doesn't work, as Amazon isn't the content host, merely the upstream service provider. So the issue for Parler and indeed all forums and sites that rely on user-generated content, is who is in charge? From what I understand, the purpose of section 230 was to protect sites from being influenced by threats of legal action. Yet if upstream providers can determine what is or isn't acceptable on a site, then 230 is an ineffective and useless law.
 

Tracy Perry

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Seems like you bought the propaganda on how Freedom of Speech isn't really a right. That's all very new "thinking", but nothing to do with the intentions or beliefs of the Founders who were very explicit in their definition of that Fundamental Right.
Here is that "fundamental right"
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

See, it doesn't prohibit the citizen (which includes a NGO) from prohibiting it. The GOVERNMENT cannot prohibit it (that's the read that the CONGRESS part entails is the understanding of it being governmental in nature).
Classic case, you can shout all the profanities, inanities you want from the sidewalk. But if you come into my home (a forum) and then go out on the balcony (a thread) and attempt to do the same thing I have EVERY right to shut you down and boot you out.
Same process applies to a business. You can say whatever you want on the sidewalk in front of it, but you come inside, you agree to a socially acceptable behavior (TOS). If you fail to follow that socially acceptable behavior (which can change depending on the whims of the business) then you can be booted back to said sidewalk to continue your behavior there (or elsewhere) - IE, the case of Parler & Amazon.
Let's take it a step farther. I own a patch of land that I allow folks to come in on the weekend and have an open air market for a small fee. One of my rules is that you can't sell drug related items, items that support racism or illegal activities. You come in and set up a head shop there and are also selling the anarchists cookbook and have posters that support the overthrow of our government and murder of its politicians. I have every right to remove you from my premises (again, like Amazon did with Parler).
 
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JQP

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Relevant survey. The link doesn't have any information on the survey, so don't bother clicking.

But I have questions:
Held accountable by whom?
How would they be held accountable?
Who decides what's opinion, disinformation, misinformation or just clickbait?
How would sites adequately block it and what would be considered adequate?
Would this apply to sites like 4kun or the comments on InfoWars or the Epoch Times?
I assume general population, but who was surveyed?
Were there previous questions that might have influenced the answers or might provide background?

74%!

 

Pete

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You mean big corporations act like big corporations to weed out the little guy in an otherwise unregulated landscape? Shocking.

It's almost like if you give the big players the freedom to be big players, they'll go all protectionist on you.
 

Wes of StarArmy

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That's not news, that's just parroting Parler playing the victim. The fact that it had been already under FBI scrutiny doesn't invalidate the fact that they were still hosting tons of illegal content with completely inadequate moderation and actively refused to remove illegal content that Cloudflare and Amazon had been asking them for more than a month to remove. The article pushes the bull**** theory that the larger tech companies were just stamping out competition but in reality Parler was a customer they tried to reason with and Parler thought it could basically do whatever it wanted until it got the boot and now it wants to claim foul play.
 

Defiant America

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That's not news, that's just parroting Parler playing the victim. The fact that it had been already under FBI scrutiny doesn't invalidate the fact that they were still hosting tons of illegal content with completely inadequate moderation and actively refused to remove illegal content that Cloudflare and Amazon had been asking them for more than a month to remove. The article pushes the bull**** theory that the larger tech companies were just stamping out competition but in reality Parler was a customer they tried to reason with and Parler thought it could basically do whatever it wanted until it got the boot and now it wants to claim foul play.
Sure, I believe what Amazon and Clouflare says. :ROFLMAO:
 
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