Patterico's Pontifications

1/17/2021

Constitutional Vanguard Newsletter: Repeal Section 230!!!1!!!1!*

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:42 pm



If you’re not signed up for my newsletter, the Constitutional Vanguard (it’s free, you know!), then you’ll have to click here for my Sunday afternoon thoughts on why we should repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. (Spoiler alert: I’m kidding. Sort of.) There is a bonus digression about why Josh Hawley is a fraud, but you’ll have to sign up or click through for that. This excerpt is the intro to the argument about why repealing Section 230 might be a good idea after all:

You may have noticed that 2020 was kind of a bad year. Not only was there a worldwide pandemic that so far has cost us over two million lives across the globe, but at the same time, people seem to have gone crazy in large numbers. First we had (in addition to many peaceful protests) many violent riots over the death of George Floyd during the summer — riots which in some places have not yet calmed down. Again: while most of the protesting was indeed peaceful, a notable subset of “protests” were what Big Media likes to call “mostly peaceful” — in other words, what normal people call incredibly violent. A police station was burned to the ground in Minneapolis. So-called “autonomous zones” of anarchy were carved out in cities like Portland, with the tacit approval of city leadership, and people were murdered inside them. And then, as if to assure us that 2021 will be no better, we had the aforementioned spectacle of an utterly insane horde of thousands of maniacs at the Capitol less than two weeks ago. When is the last time we saw so much mental illness on open display in one twelve-month span of time?

I’m sure this is not a tremendously original thought, but my own personal theory is that social media lies at the heart of this insanity.

If we can kill social media by repealing the one law that makes it possible, maybe that’s a good idea!!!1!

Read the whole thing here. And don’t forget to sign up at the same link!

73 Responses to “Constitutional Vanguard Newsletter: Repeal Section 230!!!1!!!1!*”

  1. My tentative plan is to make this a regular Sunday afternoon thing. I think a lot of people are like me and like a routine, and enjoy having a predictable recurring schedule to things like podcasts and newsletters. And while publishing the first one on a Sunday afternoon was kind of happenstance, I like the time slot for a lot of reasons. It gives me the weekend to come up with something if I haven’t already. Also, I think newsletter people view Sundays as a terrible day to send out a mass email, which means nobody else really does it — leaving that undesirable time slot wide open for yours truly! So that is the tentative plan for now. Like anything, it is subject to change.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  2. I support this plan of your wholeheartedly.

    And I have utterly no idea what to do about “The Shallows” asked of social media.

    https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127370598

    Then I get to thinking about Eric Hoffer’s 1951 book.

    https://www.xeniagazette.com/opinion/49720/are-we-seeing-a-true-believer-phenomenon

    It deeply worries me.

    Simon Jester (72e89c)

  3. I should compile a “What They’re Saying” page:

    “fuck you take me off you ignorant self righteous bastard” — C.E.W.

    “Piss right off!” — B.F.

    “Delete me from your mailing list, You globalist hack” — J.S.T.

    All actual quotes.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  4. History rhymes; revisit the history of– and those responsible for the demise of– the Fairness Doctrine.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  5. Patterico, I have a theory in the classroom and my lab: 10-80-10.

    10% of students will excel no matter what I do.
    10% of students will crash and burn no matter what I do.

    This is because both groups have very little to do with me, or what I do. It’s all external.

    80% of the students I can help, or reach, or mentor.

    Yet we seem to place all of our attention on the two 10% groupings, where nothing we do really matters all that much, and tend to ignore the 80% where we can have an impact.

    The same this is true on the Internet. 10% are haters, always looking for fights. 10% are trolls, trying to score points.

    80% are quiet, and they are the ones you can reach.

    I recently watched the series “Ted Lasso,” on the recommendation of some trusted friends. Turns out I want to be Ted Lasso when I grow up. You might enjoy the show, which is surprisingly uplifting.

    Simon Jester (72e89c)

  6. “ Is there so much racism that literally every cop is out there actively looking for black folks to murder?”

    I don’t think anyone on the left believes this.

    nate (1f1d55)

  7. nate,

    Here are a couple of tweets that don’t precisely allege that, but seem rooted in a similar mindset. Both are from people I follow on Twitter and like, so I am not nutpicking.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  8. I have often replied to those who say that Russia illegally influenced the 2016 election with “why is that wrong, but it’s OK when a corporation does it?” I see no difference really between Russia or China or Israel or Suriname weighing in on our elections, and the NY Times, Facebook or Apple doing so. Sure some of those corporations are nominally “American” but not wholly, and they have a number of interests that align with people outside the US, and may not be in the interests of Americans in general.

    And I’ll bet you diamonds to donuts that the NY Times, Facebook and Apple have more influence than Russia.

    That being said, the argument that Section 230 precludes those corporations from having or showing opinions, or attempting to bias what is posted through selective deletion has nothing to do with Section 230. It is perfectly fine to call them on it, to point out their hypocrisy and hidden interests, but what they are doing is not illegal.

    Nor do I think it should be, as much as I dislike their preening rationalizations.

    What should be illegal, and what actually IS illegal, is when they behave as monopolies to shut down the possibility of others communicating. That doesn’t really happen with Facebook, Apple or the NY Times, but Amazon Web Services may be another matter, as they have repeatedly killed off smaller corporate speakers by denying them access to the internet through their control of large parts of the marketplace, coupled with proprietary interfaces that make moving elsewhere extremely costly. Or at least that has been alleged. If true, there is a problem with private powers blocking public speech through monopoly control.

    But that has nothing to do with Section 230.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  9. Black people in California are stopped far more often by police

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/02/

    For the city of San Diego, the 2018 data showed that black people accounted for 19% of all stops by the San Diego police last year even though only 6% of the city’s population is black.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  10. What is painfully obvious though, is that even sites that get rid of the truly obnoxious (e.g. scatological screeds full of racial epithets and the like) need protection for posts where the truthiness of their comments cannot be determined. Is it libel to say that “Joe Douchebag of 123 Anystreet is a bank robber”? How is a site to know? Get rid of any statement that might be libelous? That’s a lot of work and probably is harmful to open communications. So, Section 230, irrespective of what editing the site may do simply because they don’t enjoy seeing certain words.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  11. I have been in a situation where I believe it would have happened much differently had I been black. I don’t look at that as white privilege as much as I see it as a failure to extend civil respect to all persons equally. And I also know why that is.

    To me, white privilege is to expect uncommon tolerance from authority because you are white. There’s a video somewhere of a phalanx of cops pushing back a crowd of BLM protesters, and some old white guy walks up to one of the cops and gets in his face, wagging is finger. He is stunned when he, too, is pushed back. THAT is white privilege. or at least its expectation.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  12. Black people in California are stopped far more often by police

    In the early 2000s, a study in New Jersey was commissioned to respond to the high number of black folks getting tickets on the New Jersey turnpike. Turned out the study showed they were speeding more.

    Two years ago, when the Justice Department forced New Jersey officials to adopt new policies to discourage racial profiling by state troopers, it also told the state to study the driving habits of black and white motorists on the New Jersey Turnpike.

    The task was complicated, but the reason for it was simple: numerous studies have shown that police officers in New Jersey and elsewhere stop black and Hispanic drivers for speeding more often than they stop whites. What is less certain is why — how much of that disparity is because of racial profiling and how much, if any, is attributable to differences in driving behavior, which have never been adequately documented.

    . . . .

    The study involved photographing tens of thousands of drivers on the turnpike last spring while clocking speed with a radar gun. It found that black drivers sped much more than other drivers, according to three people who have reviewed the unreleased report. The racial gap was far wider than officials had expected and, in the politically charged controversies over profiling, the data could be used by defenders of the state police to argue that one reason black drivers are stopped more often than whites is that they are more likely to speed.

    Naturally the people who expected the study to bolster their arguments about racial profiling went into a tizzy and said the results had to be wrong. But it has not been debunked, to my knowledge.

    And anyway, this is different from someone saying if you’re black, you reasonably have a “constant concern something will pop up in your mirror one day and asphyxiate you” or saying that a dude who struggled with cops and reached into his car against police orders would have been shot even if he didn’t do any of that. Such comments suggest cops are out to murder black people just for the heck of it and/or simply because they are black — a point of view I find utterly absurd.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  13. The only argument I will make, as a Devil’s Advocate kind of thing, about 2020 voter fraud is this:

    1) While mass conspiracies cannot be hidden, individual efforts do not have to be coordinated if they are in a set of like-minded people.

    2) County employees tend to be left-of-center in their county.

    3) Even people who normally might never countenance voting fraud might reconsider when it comes to NOT re-electing Donald Trump.

    4) At the end of the day on election night, there was a widespread feeling that Trump might win. This had his supporters jubulent and his detractors sh1tting bricks.

    5) There were almost 30 million more votes in 2020 than in 2016 (155M vs 128M votes). Most of them absentee votes counted after the fact.

    This is the kind of thing that can fuel rumor, false claims and conspiracy theories in general. Tens of millions of people believe these claims, and many believed them before Trump talked them up. I think we are stuck with this, just as we were stuck with the millions who never accepted W in 2000.

    I hope they will get over it, but condescension, ridicule and calling them idiots does not seem to be the best way to accomplish that.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  14. I suspect that driving alone in a car is more likely to result in speeding that driving with others in the car.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  15. Naturally the people who expected the study to bolster their arguments about racial profiling went into a tizzy and said the results had to be wrong.

    I’m actually surprised they went that route instead of saying “Of course black motorists go faster. They know they have less time to enjoy their lives due to racist cops killing them so they need to get places faster.”

    JohnnyAgreeable (c49787)

  16. Pat, I don’t think either of those comes close to supporting your statement I took issue with.

    I DO think they support what you said the left thinks a few sentences before, which is a sentiment I think does exist.

    nate (1f1d55)

  17. Try this, nate.

    DRJ (aede82)

  18. In all the talk around 230 I’ve noticed two things. I’ve never seen an actual defense of it other than it’s the only thing that allows online social media and getting rid of a regulation that creates a niche for online social media is the heavy hand of the government.

    The focus is instead usually on the people wanting to repeal it.

    frosty (fc141b)

  19. Section 230 allows this comment page to exist. Consider Patterico’s reaction to becoming liable for anything that a commenter posted. It would be a lot like your own would be.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  20. Again DRJ, that doesn’t at all support Pat’s statement I highlighted.

    It does support that black people don’t trust the police, generally, to treat them as well as they treat white people.

    But that’s a much tamer statement.

    nate (1f1d55)

  21. I enjoyed your newsletter, Patterico. You’re an informative writer.

    I also agree with Sen. Sasse in his comments on the current controversy.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/01/conspiracy-theories-will-doom-republican-party/617707/

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  22. Your deserve our thanks, Patterico, for providing this forum, an oasis of sanity. Not being a social-media type of guy (I do have Facebook and Linkedin accounts which I rarely even look at, much less post on), my tendency has been toward indifference to such platforms. But recently–and especially since Jan. 6–the downsides of social media seem glaring. I weary of the caterwauling about “censorship” or “free speech.” Twitter is not a public utility. No one has to have an account on it. I don’t, and I manage perfectly fine without one. It speaks volumes that such a garbage medium would be Trump’s favorite.
    But I’m moving beyond indifference to social media. People have always created alternate realities, and the world has never lacked conspiracy theories, but social media allow for their dissemination on a scale that was previously impossible, and have incredible mob-fueling potential. I confess that I’m not very legally literate, and have not considered all the implications of Section 230. I look forward to Patterico and others enlightening me on its ramifications.

    Roger (782680)

  23. @Patterico: Please continue this newsletter and of course, link it back to this blog. I find your commentary on topics like these fascinating.

    I’m all in favor of section 230, as it’s NOT the reason why Big Tech has so much power.

    I don’t really have any idea how to reign in bad actors in Big Techs, outside of breaking up the companies. There’s an argument that there’s too much vertical integration in these companies (particularly Google and Amazon). Although, not sure how you’d “breakup” a company like Twitter or Facebook.

    I recently watched the series “Ted Lasso,” on the recommendation of some trusted friends. Turns out I want to be Ted Lasso when I grow up. You might enjoy the show, which is surprisingly uplifting.

    Simon Jester (72e89c) — 1/17/2021 @ 2:15 pm

    Seriously, ya’ll need to see this. Ted Lasso is really like “Chicken Soup for the Soul” kind of series. FYI, season 2 is currently in production!

    whembly (fcc090)

  24. Pat says all of that, much of it quite fair, and then retweets this with little to no sense of irony:

    “Fred, IQ 912
    @LesserFrederick
    ·
    12h
    Thank you to everyone who considered Qanon a harmless hobby that might juice the base, and dismissed the fascist infiltration of the military and law enforcement that has been going on for years. If only a million people had warned you.”

    Denouncing Qanon in one breath and then talking about the FASCIST CONSPIRACY IN POLICE DEPARTMENTS is like a symmetrically self-discrediting statement. “YOUR conspiracies are discredited, MINE are completely true via repetition!”

    ANYBODY using the term ‘fascist infiltration’ wrt police and law enforcement is pushing a line that usually ends with ‘screw the middle-class proles and the police who protect them, if they wanted security they should have hired personal security guards whose politics and prejudices I can vet, like me and my friends. Defund all police and police unions!’

    Just like a ‘BLM’ on a sign means ‘white neighborhood’, ‘fascist infiltrator’ means ‘resentful upper-class Democrat hates it when police protect the rights of lower and middle-class people whose politics they hate.’

    GreaterFrederick (20a095)

  25. Turned out the study showed they were speeding more.

    Unfortunately, to say that is universally interpreted as racist (and wrong, both morally and factually) so it can’t be acknowledged. Whites, or police can be accused of doing bad things, though so prejudice is used to explain all statistical disparities.

    Of course the main reason is differential association, and it cross references with some other things, like illegitimacy.

    You could split both blacks and whites into subgroups and discover even greater statistical disparities, but they don’t investigate further.

    Sammy Finkelman (dcc9ca)

  26. Kevin M (ab1c11) — 1/17/2021 @ 10:24 pm

    In the article it mentions:

    Twitter is not liable for every tweet that appears on Twitter. They are liable only for the content they themselves create. And this is no different from the principles by which newspapers operate.

    Newspapers are not covered by 230. The article doesn’t make it clear whether this is because of 230 but presumably “the principles” are not 230. I’m not sure why this same logic wouldn’t apply to this blog. If you aren’t covered by 230 you wouldn’t be impacted by it’s repeal.

    I’ve also seen a number of options for changes to 230 and the response is generally some version of how it will kill this type of internet content simply stated as a given.

    frosty (fc141b)

  27. GreaterFrederick (20a095) — 1/18/2021 @ 7:24 am

    I think you’re reading too much into a re-tweet. I don’t think it’s fair to say Pat is agreeing with everything in every retweet, especially something like that.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  28. mate,

    I think you disagree with the bolded portion of this statement:

    “Is there racism in this country? Of course there is. Is there so much racism that literally every cop is out there actively looking for black folks to murder? Of course not — but avid consumers of lefty social media will often tell you otherwise.

    I agree with you that many of the quotes demonstrate how fearful the black community is of the police but I think quotes like the following regarding how police officers think (at my link) go further:

    Or maybe he just left the house saying that, ‘Today is going to be the end for one of these Black people.’ That’s what it feels like. That’s what it feels like. It just hurts. It hurts.”

    And this (emphasis added):

    James mentioned the video of a 10-year-old Black child, Elijah Pierre-Louis, hiding behind a car in his driveway when a police car drove down his street. The video went viral in June as an example of the pervasive fear that police presence causes in the Black community.

    “The kid was in his [driveway] shooting baskets,” James said. “And as soon as the damn cop was about to ride by, the kid walked behind his dad’s truck and waited for the cop to go by. That s— is sad. No kid should have to feel that threatened that he has to hide at his own house. That is sad, but I know what he’s going through because I was one of those kids when I lived in the projects. When we saw a cop rolling, we went behind a brick wall and waited for it to roll out. And if we saw the cops lights come on, we ran … even if we didn’t do nothing wrong.

    “Because we were just scared. It’s tough.”

    He says some people fear all police, whether they know them or not, and the clear implication is they fear the police will kill them.

    DRJ (aede82)

  29. All the people who told Trump to get rid of Section 230 surely know what the result would be – an end to publishing by individuals on Twitter and Facebook, combined perhaps with alternative sites that never moderated anything at all, and sites based in foreign countries that practiced censorship acccording to the rules of the regime.

    I think ultimately. this could be part of a plan by regimes, such as that of Russia and China, to stifle the circulation of criticism of therir governments, and the publication of human rights violations, and ultimately, prevent sanctions or boycotts or even color revolutions.

    They want to get rid of the open Internet, just like they got rid of unsolicited email around 15 years ago, by promoting spam and forcing U.S. technology companies to devise methods of eliminating spam, which programmers in the PRC were not capable of doing themselves.

    ALL of the anti-spam software writers circa 2005 and 2006 were doing the work of the People’s Republic of China. It’s a shame not so many people saw that.

    Yes, I think the purpose of spam was censorship. Because people were emailing, without prior contact, to accounts inside China, and Putin wanted this to be prevented as well. So he got everybody to come out against unsolicited email by providing several different types of bad examples of it.

    I don’t think Antifa was responsible for the assault on the Capitol; indeed it has been said that an organization such as Antifa doesn’t even exist, and that’s probably true; but both Antifa and QAnon – and some of the pro-Trump groups involved in the riot – could have been created by Russian intelligence.

    (China might want to do that, but doesn’t know how.)

    Sammy Finkelman (dcc9ca)

  30. Sammy Finkelman (dcc9ca) — 1/18/2021 @ 7:48 am

    This is just a variation of my point in @26. Just because some people may have a goal different from mine doesn’t mean 230 should be left as is. There are a number of rational and reasoned complaints against 230 and there are a variety of ways to improve the situation. Arguing ad hominem against some of the people involved doesn’t undermine any of the other sides actual arguments.

    frosty (fc141b)

  31. I like the new longer articles. Any discussions of what section 230 actually does or does not do are helpful to raising the quality of discourse. I continue to be disappointed with Cruz and Hawley….and their failure to be honest…and their willingness to play to the least common denominator. I always viewed Cruz as extremely self interested….but the last four years has shown that he lacks a certain moral courage….or clarity. He’s leading in the wrong direction.

    I also applaud the comments about social media….and that we really do need to address not just the addictive and obsessive compulsive nature of it, but what it is doing to us as social animals. It seems that a lot of social media interaction is about venting….for example, letting the left/right have it . So much of the experience is then dealing with other people’s stress and anxiety…or dealing with individuals whose sole point is to elevate stress by intentionally pushing buttons….for fun (DudeAbides was the epitome of it). So much of the back and forth is just not how adults genuinely interact in person…or at least when they have the choice. Could you imagine having someone act like happyfeet every time you’re aound them in person….curious performance art quickly loses its appeal (hey but YMMV). We don’t just project out…like I’m doing here…but actually want to connect with others, find common agreement, laugh, listen and learn, and dissipate stress…..all in good faith. Social media is changing us…and in a lot of ways, not for the better….

    AJ_Liberty (a4ff25)

  32. I think the social media companies could take a more active role in commenting on what people say on their boards. It would go along way to eliminating the problems. This avoids overreaching and forces them to ty yo maintain credibility. If they are regularly wrong they just won’t have credibility.

    I read an article that may explain why Trump was kicked entirely off Twitter. It sounds like it wasn’t exactly what Trump was saying after his account was restored – it was how his words were being interpreted on Parler. (But they were still too afraid of words.)

    Sammy Finkelman (dcc9ca)

  33. 30. frosty (fc141b) — 1/18/2021 @ 8:13 am

    Arguing ad hominem against some of the people involved doesn’t undermine any of the other sides actual arguments.

    It means people have to be very careful about what they change so that it doesn’t play into somebody’s hands.

    Sammy Finkelman (dcc9ca)

  34. Although, not sure how you’d “breakup” a company like Twitter or Facebook.

    You don’t need to. But you DO need to prevent a monopoly, or a few companies from working in lockstep, to prevent competitors from rising. While I am not a Parler fan, I am a marketplace fan, and I am upset that the Apple/Google duopoly blocked the distribution of the Parler app (which in itself was inoffensive).

    I am also concerned that, given the proprietary software models used by AWS, Azure and other cloud providers, that they can turn off a customer’s account abruptly leaving them no alternative access to their Internet customers. Given the relative scale of AWS, Microsoft, etc, anyone wishing to use cloud services must accept their contract terms, which appear to leave them at the mercy of the cloud company’s termination clauses.

    Were I to attempt to construct an anti-trust remedy, I would consider requiring Apple & Google to divest themselves of their stores, allowing multiple sources to sell apps that operate on their platforms.

    I would also want Amazon to divest AWS, Microsoft to divest Azure and similarly for other horizontally or vertically structured combines. Microsoft, with its integrated OS and software suites extending clear to the home user is potentially the most dangerous. Alternatively, an industry-standard cloud interface, allowing portability of sites, would suffice but I doubt that is commercially possible given each company’s desire to leverage their other assets. I would also break Alphabet’s conglomeration along the internal seams that already exist.

    But — given an open internet and robust competition, there is no reason to dismember Facebook or Twitter.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  35. Sammy Finkelman (dcc9ca) — 1/18/2021 @ 7:48 am

    it has been said that an organization such as Antifa doesn’t even exist, and that’s probably true;

    It’s been said but it’s not true. This article refers to meeting a secret group but provides very little information beyond that. It does acknowledge that they share common beliefs, goals, and tactics. This argues that because they don’t maintain membership lists or organize like other groups they aren’t an “organization” but it does admit that there are Antifa groups.

    That they are organized as a loose collection of affiliated groups doesn’t mean they don’t exist, that they aren’t organized at all, or that the local groups don’t coordinate. That they don’t have a top down hierarchy doesn’t mean they aren’t an organization. It just means they aren’t the same type of organization as The Boy Scouts.

    frosty (f27e97)

  36. The Section 230 “debate” is as phony as the butt-gerbil who started it back in 2018, namely Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz (R-Trump’s behind), and no serious person should take it seriously.

    nk (1d9030)

  37. All the people who told Trump to get rid of Section 230 surely know what the result would be – an end to publishing by individuals on Twitter and Facebook, combined perhaps with alternative sites that never moderated anything at all, and sites based in foreign countries that practiced censorship acccording to the rules of the regime.

    Section 230’s absence would make a site’s owner responsible for all content on their site, regardless of its source. It has nothing to do with whether the site is moderated. If you still leave some actionable material on site, and possibly if it takes you “too long” (as determined by a jury) to take it down, the site’s owner can be held responsible for any damages.

    Nor would “I had no idea that wasn’t true” or even “I had no idea that was said maliciously” be a defense.

    Anyone want to run a site with 3rd party content under those conditions? I sure wouldn’t.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  38. Sammy Finkelman (dcc9ca) — 1/18/2021 @ 8:48 am

    If they are regularly wrong they just won’t have credibility.

    They routinely take action against speech that isn’t calls for violence citing rules against violence while refusing to take down other calls for violence. They don’t have any credibility.

    But I don’t see why they need to maintain their credibility. The tech companies have shown an ability to act as a oligopoly to limit competition and they’re protected from liability by government regulation.

    frosty (f27e97)

  39. DRJ, yes many black people fear all police. That isn’t something I’m contesting.

    But it’s not because they believe “literally every cop is out there actively looking for black folks to murder”.

    That’s not a belief anyone has.

    What is more common is “Some police are racist, and it’s an interaction it is wise to ignore.”

    It’s actually a similar feeling that say, a 50 year old wealthy white woman might have walking alone by the projects at night. Is there a feeling that everyone who lives there will rob her? No. But she probably knows that there is more crime than other places and it’s a situation she has (reasonable) fear and would like to avoid. She’d probably also love to see a world in which that isn’t the case. The equivalent statement here would be that “literally every person in the projects is a criminal out there actively looking for people to mug,” which is similarly an unfair characterization of the situation.

    nate (1f1d55)

  40. Oops: “wise to avoid” not “wise to ignore”

    nate (1f1d55)

  41. Kevin M (ab1c11) — 1/18/2021 @ 9:15 am

    Section 230’s absence

    There are a range of other options besides remove 230 and do nothing.

    frosty (f27e97)

  42. nk, the Section 230 misunderstanding goes back WAYYYY before Ted Cruz.

    When the CDA was being passed it was said that Section 230 made it unnecessary for a site owner to moderate content (true) and this quickly mutated to being protected only if you don’t moderate content (false). This then became internet folk wisdom and popped up everywhere. If you read something 10 different places in a Google search, you may believe it is true. Wikipedia’s entry has probably said this at times.

    Cruz should know better of course. From what I hear, he can read law.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  43. There are a range of other options besides remove 230 and do nothing.

    Sure. You can, for example, insert the folk understanding into the law. But the push has been to repeal it. Period. To say that you could do a range of things is fine, but that isn’t what was proposed.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  44. What I have a problem with is not taking down calls to violence, but when they take down “falsehoods.” That gets to viewpoint censorship without any effort at all. When the ones who invariably edit, label or delete content being inexperienced in the world and of an idealistic mindset, the moderated viewpoints are not hard to guess.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  45. But, I am convinced, viewpoint censorship by a private company in a competitive environment is a defect that the customer will attempt to avoid. The problem comes when the environment is not competitive. That can be addressed separately, so that customer choice is preserved.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  46. All of this.

    Please read this, as this is the most succinct article I’ve read in quite time…

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/01/a-final-assessment-of-the-trump-presidency-and-the-path-forward/?utm_source=recirc-desktop&utm_medium=homepage&utm_campaign=river&utm_content=featured-content-trending&utm_term=first

    I particularly appreciate the author’s attempt to address the various factions within the GOP party.

    whembly (fcc090)

  47. GreaterFrederick (20a095) — 1/18/2021 @ 7:24 am

    The phrase “fascist infiltration of the military and law enforcement” doesn’t sound the same as “the fascist conspiracy in police departments,” which suggests that sizeable factions (at least) within police departments are engaged in sinister plotting. “Infiltration” sounds like something that Elizabeth Neumann (formerly of DHS) has spoken of: individuals from the radical right or the white supremacist movement going into the military or LE to get skills they can use for a political agenda. That might describe some of the police officers found to have aided or participated in the Capitol insurrection.

    Radegunda (bd00e5)

  48. Kevin M (ab1c11) — 1/18/2021 @ 9:25 am

    If my only option is repeal or keep then it’s repeal, folk understanding or not.

    frosty (fc141b)

  49. I think you’re reading too much into a re-tweet. I don’t think it’s fair to say Pat is agreeing with everything in every retweet, especially something like that.

    I don’t recall retweeting that and was surprised to see I had. I think it was a mistake. I don’t really believe it and I have undone it.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  50. He says some people fear all police, whether they know them or not, and the clear implication is they fear the police will kill them.

    Yesterday I talked to a lady who lives in Brooklyn. There is a persistent problem homeless guy there (Asian, as it happens) and neighbors are generally in agreement that you can’t call the cops on the guy because they might kill him, because that’s how cops are. I found it ironic because around the house I had been saying the same things I said in the newsletter and my daughter had taken the nate position and said “nobody thinks that, dad.” This lady told me her neighbors definitely do think that.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  51. The equivalent statement here would be that “literally every person in the projects is a criminal out there actively looking for people to mug,” which is similarly an unfair characterization of the situation.

    You don’t think white supremacists think that?

    The question is not whether it is accurate. The whole point is people *believing* exaggerated views of reality based on their information diet.

    I just gave you an example of a lady who says her neighbors won’t call the cops on a homeless guy because they think the cops will come kill him.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  52. Newspapers are not covered by 230

    frosty,

    Newspapers are protected by Section 230, a point I explicitly make in the piece.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  53. For newspapers, Twitter, and me, the question is whether I am creating my own content or moderating others’. Am I putting it up? Or are they?

    Newspapers have comment sections. They are definitely protected.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  54. Patterico (115b1f) — 1/18/2021 @ 10:41 am

    . There is a persistent problem homeless guy there (Asian, as it happens) and neighbors are generally in agreement that you can’t call the cops on the guy because they might kill him, because that’s how cops are.

    That’s probably a genuine problem, but only with emotionally disturbed people, and it may also be different from one police force to another. Chicago is probably much worse than most places.

    I found it ironic because around the house I had been saying the same things I said in the newsletter and my daughter had taken the nate position and said “nobody thinks that, dad.” This lady told me her neighbors definitely do think that.

    But they may think so for the wrong reasons.

    It’s probably almost entirely limited to emotionally disturbed people. Even George Floyd was emotionally disturbed. He was not going to be taken into that car and be taken to a police station. (could it be because the mother of his child would discover he was seeing someone else?)

    Sammy Finkelman (dcc9ca)

  55. 52. Patterico (115b1f) — 1/18/2021 @ 10:50 am

    Newspapers are protected by Section 230, a point I explicitly make in the piece.

    I don’t think it was very explicit.

    Newspapers are affected because they often have online versions of articles with moderated comment sections.

    Sammy Finkelman (dcc9ca)

  56. Pat,

    To the homeless example: again I don’t think it supports your earlier statement and I think “they think they will come kill him” again goes too far. Instead I would say it suggest they believe that any time the police are called there is a chance that it escalates into a situation where someone is killed (and I agree). This is most likely not even a belief that the police hate homeless (or Asian) people, just that if many police officers feels threatened they are willing to use deadly force to make sure they are safe (I agree, and understand why they would!) combined with the unpredictability of dealing with a homeless person, compounded by a possible lack of training around how to deal with mental health issues creates a situation that has risks of the homeless person dying.

    Could they be misweighing the magnitude of the risk? Of course. But let’s at least get in the right universe of where these people in Brooklyn, LeBron James, etc are coming from.

    They aren’t akin to the white supremacist you want to compare them to. They are comparable to the non-white supremacist 50 year old white woman I used in my example.

    nate (1f1d55)

  57. Newspapers are protected by Section 230, a point I explicitly make in the piece.

    I don’t think it was very explicit.

    I do:

    Twitter is not liable for every tweet that appears on Twitter. They are liable only for the content they themselves create. And this is no different from the principles by which newspapers operate. Moderating content does not make you a “publisher” whether you are a social media company or a newspaper or anyone else.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  58. And that’s after I quoted a tweet from Justin Amash which said:

    “But editorializing is what publishers do, like the New York Times and the Washington Post. Your company is treated very differently from publishers, as you know.”

    False. If NYT and WP moderate content, they’re not liable. If Twitter creates content, it’s liable for the content.

    I think I was pretty clear, Sammy.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  59. Instead I would say it suggest they believe that any time the police are called there is a chance that it escalates into a situation where someone is killed (and I agree)

    I wish that is what he thinks but what LeBron said is police officers may leave their houses thinking, “Today is going to be the end for one of these Black people.” That is very different than believing the day might go different than one expects. That is saying a police officer expects to kill a black person.

    DRJ (aede82)

  60. And that is being charitable. He could be saying police officers leave home intending to kill a black person.

    DRJ (aede82)

  61. Such comments suggest cops are out to murder black people just for the heck of it and/or simply because they are black — a point of view I find utterly absurd.

    There are 700k cops in the US. I’d be shocked if none of them looks for an excuse to shoot black men, others white men, and others still, a myriad other possible targets of their demented psyches. Are they more than an unavoidably small minority of their respective departments? I don’t know. For purposes of this discussion the question is, is there an overall racial skew to their targets? I don’t know that either. I’ve seen statistics that say yes, others that say no, and I haven’t done the deep dive necessary to reach my own conclusions.

    But there’s a separate, equally important question: Irrespective of the accuracy of anyone’s perception, is it reasonable for African-Americans to believe themselves singled out and targeted by cops? And the answer is, of course it is. In addition to the fact that they may be right, racial targeting was indisputably pervasive recently enough that they’d be crazy to be unbiased by it. It would be a serious evolutionary defect not to doubt that 400 years of murderous oppression disappeared virtually overnight with the passage of a few laws.

    lurker (59504c)

  62. Patterico (115b1f) — 1/18/2021 @ 2:07 pm

    I think I was pretty clear, Sammy

    I think you didn’t distinguish between a newspaper, which in the normal sense of the word is printed on paper – and which is responsible for the contents of the “Letter to the Editor” page – and a newspaper company, which might have a webpage where readers could leave comments without them going first through an editor.

    Sammy Finkelman (dcc9ca)

  63. Occasionally had dinner party and cocktail chats w/colleagues at CBS/NY and up in Hollywood about “social media platforms’ and their ultimate fate. We’d always focus on how history more of less rhymes; their growth pattern and development is similar [albeit on a larger scale] to what we called the ‘wild west days’ of early commercial radio development. Back in the pre-FCC days, pretty much anybody could raise an antenna and w/t right equipment, broadcast [ham or otherwise] content freely to anybody within the footprint w/a receiver. Sometimes it was just a few miles–sometimes further- limited only by the available technology and terrain. [My own grandparent was an avid ham radio operator in that pre-FCC era.] The suits at corporate believed social media platforms would inevitably shake out into a few strong platforms and morph into ‘channel carriers’ – assigned to establish protocols and regulated as networks [for example, Twitter on The Microsoft Network; others on the Apple Network; the Facebook Network; the Alphabet Network’ etc.] Sites or “channels” if you like, ‘licensed’ via the assigned carrier in compliance w/FCC standards and practices; a ‘fairness doctrine’ etc. ‘Course the matrix is a lot more complex now w/literally tens of thousands of sites to categorize, license and assign, but what exists now won’t last much longer as we know it. Some kind of regulation is coming for the big ‘establishment’ guys based stateside– and as w/early radio, they end up doing it to themselves as self-regulation just doesn’t work well.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  64. I saw this Ron Desantis thing over the weekend, and I read his speech and listened to it as well, and I can’t figure out if he actually thinks Florida has some sort of magic laws that would regulate free speech differently than the United States, or he’s just showboating to put his claim in with the Cruz/Hawley MAGA catfight.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (1367c0)

  65. Welcome back mccartyism. My pillow guy is the latest for the black list! Remember when all muslims are terrorists and put on no fly list. What goes around comes around!

    asset (305a97)

  66. Rdio all in shows have a 7 ir 115 second tape delay (or quick cutoff) and usually have call screening, They don;t have Section 230/

    Sammy Finkelman (dcc9ca)

  67. he’s just showboating to put his claim in with the Cruz/Hawley MAGA catfight.

    Yes.

    nk (1d9030)

  68. Barron’s has an article today on Section 230 and the problems with repeal. They quote Chris Cox who coauthored the section with Ron Wyden (D-OR).

    Cox has noted that before Section 230 New York state courts developed the theory that internet platforms had no liability for illegal user content—unless they moderated the content. “Only if a platform made no effort to enforce rules of online behavior would it be excused from liability for its users’ illegal content,” Cox wrote in August.

    “This created a perverse incentive. To avoid open-ended liability, internet platforms would need to adopt what the New York Supreme Court called the ‘anything goes’ model for user-created content.”

    Section 230 ultimately gave internet platforms the freedom to moderate that content. Twenty-five years later, it’s unclear how courts would rule absent Section 230, but it’s conceivable they would take a different approach—finding internet platforms liable regardless of whether they tried to moderate. In that scenario, repealing Section 230 would lead to heavy censorship, the opposite of what many 230 critics seem to want.

    https://www.barrons.com/articles/section-230-repeal-could-destroy-the-internet-51610756633?siteid=yhoof2

    So, while there is nothing in the CDA about having to be a neutral public forum to achieve the immunities of Section 230, the status quo ante was that you were responsible for all content you allowed to remain on site, except that in NY you were only responsible if you moderated content.

    So, in NY one refrained from any censorship and were required to leave posts of the most disgusting content (and there is always someone who views that a challenge). Elsewhere, heavy censorship of anything even potentially actionable, or blocking all 3rd party content, was required. And on the internet you were exposed in both jurisdictions. The only safe choice would be no 3rd party content, which is hardly what many proponents of repeal want.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  69. “but both Antifa and QAnon – and some of the pro-Trump groups involved in the riot – could have been created by Russian intelligence.”

    ‘created by Russian intelligence’ is always several orders of magnitude less likely than ‘created and sheperded by US political activists, intelligence operatives, corporate lobbyists, Party agents, and various bored forum administrators for controlling political conversation in directions they want and getting the power of the US Government to advance their own political interests at home and abroad’

    While it’s an outside possibility that Russian intelligence may have created some, advancing it seriously typically reveals either a staggering lack of experience or an even more staggering amount of willfully wishful thinking. “This COULD be Russia!” is the lefty version of “Trump could STILL win!” Search for horses, not zebras.

    “The phrase “fascist infiltration of the military and law enforcement” doesn’t sound the same as “the fascist conspiracy in police departments,” which suggests that sizeable factions (at least) within police departments are engaged in sinister plotting. “Infiltration” sounds like something that Elizabeth Neumann (formerly of DHS) has spoken of: individuals from the radical right or the white supremacist movement going into the military or LE to get skills they can use for a political agenda. That might describe some of the police officers found to have aided or participated in the Capitol insurrection.”

    No, no no. Elizabeth Neumann didn’t write that, and her words were not in his mouth. ‘Fascist infiltration‘ does NOT typically imply ‘getting skills they can use later,’ it implies ‘getting your people in there to take over the departments from the inside and push their fascist agenda.’ And ‘might describe’ is a gigantic stretch-no evidence has so far been presented that those they caught were much more than pugnacious LARPERS of all ages looking to LARP in a historical context. Cops and soldiers will gladly push copaganda about fake ‘kidnapping plots’ to justify their jobs too.

    And the evidence so far hasn’t borne out any ‘Insurrection’ description. The Capitol Carnivale was just that-a smaller bunch of troublemakers (paid and unpaid,) agitators, cranks, and revelers taking advantage of the big crowds and popular opinion against Congress to make their own trouble for the sake of the ultimate photo op.

    This whole line of reasoning is an endless procession of HOOFPRINTS…IT MUST BE THE NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN BUT CONSTANTLY PROMISED NAZI ZEBRAS!

    Zebra Expert (0be07f)

  70. ‘created by Russian intelligence’ is always several orders of magnitude less likely than

    Nah

    You just don’t want to admit what you really are

    Dustin (4237e0)

  71. QAnon and antifa are kind of in line with long term Russian disinformation and propaganda – QAnon because of its pushing the meme of widespread politically connected pedophilia, to which was added the glorification of Donald Trump – and Antifa, for its focus on the danger of “fascism” This is a Russian meme going back over 80 years. The name “fascist” is applied to anything.

    I wouldn’t think a Russian was writing the QAnon messages – it requires too great a knowledge of English and Americana, but he could have been directing it.

    There is one problem – with QAnon, Donald Trump was always about to triumph over evildoers, which, if you think about it, meant nobody needed to do anything besides wait!

    And it was so absurd a QAnon adherent could not convince anyone of anything.

    So that would make it sound like QAnon wanted a Democrat to win in 2020.

    If we ever find out who was writing it, it’ll become clear – we’ll know that the identification is right when it is right, because it will all make sense.

    Of course there’s always the theory that what Putin wanted was to divide America.

    Sammy Finkelman (dcc9ca)

  72. The Substack post was linked at Hot Air. Congratulations!

    DRJ (aede82)

  73. “Of course there’s always the theory that what Putin wanted was to divide America.”

    You could increase your level of factual discourse immesurably by replacing every instance of ‘Putin’ with ‘the Democratic Socialists of America’, i.e.:

    1.the biggest USSR fanboys and students of its history, as their Twitter history, podcast recommendations, and merchandise could have told you.

    2. the ones with the free time, money, and motivation to inform and make war on any rising stars in the middle class, whose typical conservatives they consider their competition for status and money.

    3.The particular nexus of rich/unattractive/mediocre/collegiate society that almost all leftist movements start in.

    4. The ones usually already related to those in power within the current Democrat party, (de blasio’s daughter picked up in antifa sweeps) who thus grew up knowing a thing or two about how these movements were orchestrated and controlled in the past.

    5. The safest people to pay off with dark corporate money-related directly to those in power, no prospects for most outside politics!

    6. The people who already know how to infiltrate and PR-pressure large corporations outside of simple things like ‘my dad’s a politician.’ Many leveraged nepotistic careers and make-work jobs for power!

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find a few DSA fabulists among those who posted QAnon fantasies, any more than I’d be surprised to find out that the most extreme member of any right-wing militia was the FBI informant trying to make his numbers by foiling a ‘suspected plot’. Your fellow Americans will co-opt, undermine, redirect, radicalize, and sell out movements they don’t like for money, power, or a sense of moral righteousness.

    China and Russia probably helped or even had their agents fund some of them directly, but the notion that they had to be the primary ones responsible for such nefariously sociopathic behavior is terribly naive. 400k in Facebook ads is value peanuts next to ‘I know people on the moderation team at Google who’ll make sure my group is protected from any purges’

    DSA Failson (e6cd9a)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.3222 secs.