Patterico's Pontifications

7/15/2021

So Is Big Tech a Neutral Party or a Partner of Big Government?

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:22 pm



[guest post by JVW]

At National Review Online, Phillip Klein sees a problem for the argument that Facebook, Twitter, Google/YouTube, etc. are just private companies who reach their own independent conclusions on what user-posted content is acceptable and unacceptable, and that government interference (and, by inference, political ideology) does not come into play:

During the Thursday press briefing, [White House Press Secretary Jen] Psaki said regarding COVID-19 messaging that “we’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”

[. . . ]

Psaki’s comment adds a new layer to the debate [as to whether Big Tech companies are truly independent of government influence]. Even if it may not matter legally, if Facebook is colluding with the government to suppress speech, it becomes much harder rhetorically to hide behind the “we’re a private company” defense. My guess is that Psaki’s comments will nudge more conservatives closer to the MAGA position of going after Big Tech if they were not already there.

In a more sane world, even progressives who are concerned about the intersection of Big Business and Big Government might be alarmed at this sort of collusion. But maybe since it benefits the agenda of a Democrat Administration they see it as a necessary evil to advance their goals. But woe unto them if the populists get tired of being dictated to by New York, Austin, Seattle, and Silicon Valley.

– JVW

86 Responses to “So Is Big Tech a Neutral Party or a Partner of Big Government?”

  1. That should satisfy my monthly quota for posts here.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  2. I think this part is correct

    The issue has pit MAGA-friendly conservatives, who are eager to wield government power to get the outcomes they want, and traditional small-government conservatives, who are reticent to target private companies for making decisions about how they run their businesses.

    If the White House is using government powers (and that hasn’t been proven yet) to force FB to say what the White House wants that needs to stop /now/.

    That’s the answer. Not “sweet. Now we can force them to do what we want with their property.”

    Time123 (f78123)

  3. So Is Big Tech a Neutral Party or a Partner of Big Government?

    That’s an interesting question- for it’s quite likely a great deal of benevolent ‘Big Tech’ ops on behalf of government -successes, failures and ongoing research- is unknown to the public. Or those observed in the skies labelled as UAPs/UFOs.

    Accordingly, ‘So Is The Military Industrial Complex a Neutral Party or a Partner of Big Government?’

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  4. Americans deserve to know to what extent the federal government works with social media companies. Is there any quid pro quo? The First Amendment exists to keep the government from controlling what Americans hear. Free societies counter misinformation with information, not bans.

    https://twitter.com/justinamash/status/1415790383339122690?s=21

    Time123 (f78123)

  5. This is medical speech – life and death matters – which they think makes a difference.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  6. This is complicated.

    As a techie, my first question is “what does ‘flagging problematic posts’ mean?” There’s some way *anyone* can report allegedly problematic posts. Are they doing that? Or are they calling some special hotline that’s only available to them because they’re the White House?

    How can we know the difference?

    If they’re just using the public interface, no harm no foul. Anyone can do this, and ideally it should be anonymized by the time anyone looks at it.

    If they’re calling a special hotline that’s only available to them, it’s *likely* a problem. But even then we all agree, I think, that when the WH leaned on the mainstream press to not report details of troop movements — using moral persuasion, rather than the threat of legal action — it was fine, because it saved lives in wartime. So maybe it’s not; it depends a lot on the *specific details* of the interaction.

    That said, the real problem is a combination of the fact that FB is functionally a public square without any reasonable enforcement of public square rules and the fact that social media magnifies the effect of angry reactive rants while diminishing the effect of thoughtful analysis.

    There are no easy solutions to this problem.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  7. If the White House is using government powers (and that hasn’t been proven yet) to force FB to say what the White House wants that needs to stop /now/.

    I think it’s more than that though, Time123. The question here is do the Big Tech companies regularly collude on these issues with government, and if so, do they tend to collude only with one branch of government (the White House), and if so, do they only collude when the party that receives the bulk of Big Tech’s political donations is in power? To phrase it differently, are there people are Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc. who are picking up the phone and springing into action when Congressional Republicans or Ron DeSantis or Greg Abbott have their offices call to complain about misleading posts? I don’t think the White House is using the power of government to compel Big Tech to do anything; I think that Big Tech is happily acquiescing to the White House’s requests because (1) they are ideologically-oriented in the same direction and (2) they are purchasing insurance against anti-capitalist elements within that party.

    I am one of the free market folks who is starting to believe that if Big Tech is cuddling up to favored political interests in the interest of suppressing debate, they are painting a huge target on their backs and better not bitch and moan if the other side takes target practice (metaphorically speaking, of course).

    JVW (ee64e4)

  8. Always nice to hear from you, aphrael. I hope things are well with you. And I agree with the gist of your sentiments, but I would bet dollars against dimes that the White House does have a special hotline to these companies that isn’t available to any one else. The sheer number of Obama Administration alumni who went to work for these companies suggests that there are plenty of informal channels the White House can tap even if an official one doesn’t exist.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  9. Sure, but that feels like ordinary corruption: when you have friends highly placed in a company you can call them and ask for favors. Is it worse when the company is FB than when it is Texaco, or GM, or GE, or Citibank?

    And assuming we all agree this is bad, how can it be stopped?

    aphrael (4c4719)

  10. If the government is flagging Facebook posts the way the lovely Miss Psaki has stated, that would make Facebook a quasi-government organization. How, then, can Facebook ban Donald Trump?

    The libertarian, but not Libertarian, Dana (405d48)

  11. JVW, part of what you said is easy to respond to. If they’re taking actions as insurance against anti-capitalist elements in the Democrat party we need to limit the power of government to make that unnecessary.

    The rest I need to think on. If the owners of FB legitimately want to take action to stop the spread of /whatever/ and is welcoming the help I don’t know if there’s a problem on their part. Their competition might feel otherwise if they think this gives FB an edge over them. But I think there’s more to you comment to consider.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  12. Dana – that’s not what it means to be a quasi-governmental organization, legally speaking.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  13. @10, that’s wrong in several ways. The easiest one is that they banned Trump when he still controlled the write house.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  14. joe answers when fb calls.

    mg (8cbc69)

  15. @6. Thing is, ‘Big Tech’ encompasses more than colorful and noisy social media platforms. There’s certainly black ops ‘Big Tech’ projects at work for national security purposes which can be seen as either benevolent or threatening, depending on your POV. Which sort of nixes any ‘neutral’ stance but brings into play friend of big government– or foe for the masses.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  16. Back in the Gilded Age, the important industries in America were owned and controlled by a few corporations. These corporations also has some synergies among themselves that enhanced their profitability and control. Interlocking Boards of Directors were not uncommon and strategies were shared. But they were all private companies. What could be wrong with that?

    Eventually they were broken up so that no one company could control a business sector.

    Now, we are back here again. It’s not whether the companies are private, or whether they are in cahoots with government — they are in cahoots with themselves and they will help each other out at times. Amazon defends Twitter from a competitor, Facebook defends their Chinese friends. They will work with big government when it suits them, and not when it doesn’t.

    The real question is whether this serves the customer, whose choices are very limited. It’s easy to say “Go start your own Facebook” but not so easy to do. Especially when Facebook seems intent on buying out all potential competition (again, good for them, but not for the customer).

    We may not have interlocking Directors, but we do have interlocking Terms of Service which limit what one can do on the Internet as much as if there was cabal of censors.

    I have no idea how you attack this, and I have no doubt that the Democrats would LIKE Big Tech to be their proxy, but it really needs to change. FIrst step: break AWS off from Amazon; I think that Bezos sees that coming, BTW.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  17. I am intrigued by Professor Volokh’s position that 47 USC 230 does not protect companies that censor things that were not subjects of the old CDA that only section 230 survives.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  18. The easiest one is that they banned Trump when he still controlled the white house.

    Well, to be fair, it was after any legal proceeding could be started and have effect.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  19. Kevin M – breaking AWS off from Amazon and probably also breaking Amazon Basics off from Amazon (to differentiate the marketplace arm of Amazon from the supplier arm of Amazon).

    FB is much harder.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  20. Kevin @16, that’s the best argument yet, and the one the anti-trust cases are based on.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  21. @18, yes, but you can’t argue “the White House made them” when they took that action while Trump ran the White House.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  22. Is it worse when the company is FB than when it is Texaco, or GM, or GE, or Citibank?

    If they were using Texaco or GM or GE to make a political power play — for instance, telling them to deny some services to U.S. citizens customers for whose views the White House holds disdain — then I would think that would be a huge problem.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  23. Now, we are back here again.

    Reaganomics.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  24. The real question is whether this serves the customer, whose choices are very limited.

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 7/15/2021 @ 5:30 pm

    First, when talking about Big Tech, I dispute the use of the word “customer” — except, obviously, in the case of Amazon. Customers buy things. You can have a Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter account for free. You may be a user, but that does not make you a customer.

    Second, there are plenty of social media sites and apps. There are plenty of sites that offer streaming video. And there are plenty of e-tailers. Granted, choices with the reach and convenience of the above sites are in thin supply. But no one is forcing you to use them. Use others. Or don’t use any at all.

    It’s easy to say “Go start your own Facebook” but not so easy to do.

    That’s not an argument for government regulation of Facebook. Just like it wouldn’t have been an argument for Facebook to push for government regulation of MySpace. Or Google to push for Ask Jeeves to be taken down a peg.

    Especially when Facebook seems intent on buying out all potential competition

    So start your own Facebook. Then don’t sell.

    Problem. Solved.

    Demosthenes (8d845f)

  25. > So start your own Facebook.

    that is … not as easy a task as you think it is. The software behind Facebook and other big tech operations are mind bogglingly complex, and incredibly expensive to reproduce. Plus if there aren’t already people to talk to, people won’t come.

    If you’ve got a billion dollars to throw at the problem, maybe you can succeed. But otherwise? Good luck.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  26. that is … not as easy a task as you think it is.

    aphrael (4c4719) — 7/15/2021 @ 9:03 pm

    You…really don’t know how “easy a task” I think it would be. In fact, I think it would be quite hard. Certainly impossible, for someone like me.

    Just like if I lived in 1920, I couldn’t have built a business to challenge Sears.

    Just like if I lived in 1975, I couldn’t have built a business to challenge IBM.

    Just like if I lived in 2000, I couldn’t have built a business to challenge Blockbuster.

    But other people could. And other people did. And those seemingly indomitable fixtures of the American economy made management mistakes, and saw technological developments render key parts of their business model obsolete, and their corporate structures got too bloated. And now, they are either a shadow of what they once were, or else basically nonexistent.

    The same can happen to Amazon, or Facebook, or Twitter, or YouTube. And if history is any indication, it will happen to at least one of them, probably to most of them. Maybe to all of them.

    Demosthenes (8d845f)

  27. FATY (Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and YouTube) has become too large and controlling. I would rather see FATY broken up a la AT&T than do away with Section 230.

    norcal (25df9b)

  28. You know, it strikes me — and maybe this is unfair— that at least some of the people currently unhappy about, say, Facebook’s domination of the “social media site” sector were, twenty years ago, grousing about Blockbuster’s high rental prices and late fees. And if someone pointed out that you could rent from the mom-n-pop video store down the street, they’d say it just wasn’t as good…not enough copies of new movies. And if you told them to start their own competitor, they’d have said Blockbuster was just too big, and “they’ll be around forever.” Or something like that.

    Today, I can subscribe to hundreds of streaming services that will let me watch anything in their library for no additional charge. Should I not want to do that, quite a few services will let me rent movies on an individual basis, right from my couch. If that’s too expensive, I can rent relatively new movies for even cheaper prices at multiple Redbox locations within a three-minute drive. And, of course, there are still lots of places to buy used movies, both physical stores and e-tailers.

    Can’t remember the last time I went to a Blockbuster. Maybe I should go to one, just for old time’s sake. Let’s see. Where is the nearest location?

    [tappity tap tap tap]

    Oh. Oregon?

    Never mind. No amount of nostalgia is worth THAT trip.

    Demosthenes (8d845f)

  29. Never mind. No amount of nostalgia is worth THAT trip.

    Demosthenes (8d845f) — 7/15/2021 @ 10:03 pm

    I hear that Bend is beautiful.

    norcal (25df9b)

  30. How much influence does this have on elections? How much does it have on stifling new tech?

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  31. It iisn;t only BIG TECH that does or did censoring. It was also security filters

    Three years ago I discovered that Jewish World Review was blocked by the Brooklyn Public Library’s security software, and nobody, including the owner of the web site could find out why.

    (The website collected a lot of commentary)

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  32. 26.

    Just like if I lived in 1975, I couldn’t have built a business to challenge IBM

    And Apple could have gone out of business, if it hadn’t been for….

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Second_Coming_of_Steve_Jobs

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  33. Big tech is not a neutral party. Big tech cares first and foremost about:

    1. profit
    2. politics

    Unfortunately for all Americans – and for people across the globe who use Big Tech services, especially China – this means that Big Tech will always put making money over doing the right thing, or at the minimum, staying neutral. So when China asks Google to wipe any mention of Tiananmen Square from Google searches, Google abides. Because Google doesn’t want to lose all that business in China.

    As for the second, as long as your politics are perfectly aligned with Jack Dorsey, or Mark Zuckerberg, etc., then you have nothing to worry about. Big Tech will be the champion of everything you hold dear (unless it conflicts with #1) and you can tell all the whiners that if they don’t like it, they can create their own Google or Facebook.

    Hoi Polloi (ade50d)

  34. But other people could. And other people did.

    Because ‘other people’ steal.

    Apple and Steve Jobs Steal From Xerox To Battle Big Brother IBM

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/gilpress/2017/01/15/steve-jobs-steals-from-xerox-to-battle-big-brother-ibm/

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  35. The question under anti-trust law isn’t “bigness” or “influence.” Anti-trust cases are judged as to whether the conduct harms consumer welfare. Under the consumer welfare standard, big is OK, so long as no consumers are harmed. It would be hard to prove consumers are harmed when FATY (and Google) provide so many free services. That is why the FTC and the states lost their initial case against Facebook last month before it got started.

    Rip Murdock (0aa613)

  36. Hoi, I think you’re mostly right, but I think FaceTwitter legitimately felt that kicking Trump off in January was the right thing to do. Even if I accept their arguments about the danger of his lies that moment has passed and I think the should let him back on; subject to his compliance with their terms of service.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  37. Demosthenes, great comments.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  38. If Section 230 was created to give a safe space to Internet communications companies, and it was, and they wouldn’t survive without it, and I’ve been told repeatedly they wouldn’t, they aren’t a neutral party. They can’t afford to be.

    Given the obvious political utility of things like Google/Twitter/FB, the parties will also want to exert influence over them.

    They’re also clearly not acting as a neutral party in the literal sense. Either you agree with them because they are acting consistent with your interests or you don’t for the same reason.

    frosty (f27e97)

  39. Rip Murdock (0aa613) — 7/16/2021 @ 9:10 am

    It would be hard to prove consumers are harmed when FATY (and Google) provide so many free services.

    This may be the standard for “harm” as a replacement for “monetary damages”. But this is an incomplete understanding of the word “free”. Those services aren’t free in the sense of “have no cost” or in the more general sense of economic value.

    frosty (f27e97)

  40. The same can happen to Amazon, or Facebook, or Twitter, or YouTube. And if history is any indication, it will happen to at least one of them, probably to most of them. Maybe to all of them.

    Demosthenes (8d845f) — 7/15/2021 @ 9:24 pm

    We will most likely be having the same discussion about their replacements.

    Hoi Polloi (ade50d)

  41. Frosty, there was never any requirement that companies be politically neutral. Even the people who complain that tech is on liberal aren’t advocating viewpoint neutrality. They’re advocating better treatment for their side. Viewpoint neutrality wouldn’t mean that conservatives are treated better. It would mean that communists, NAMBLA and he clain are treated better.

    The answer i advocate is due process with strong protections for people to use their property as they see fit within the free market and make the exceptions rare specific.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  42. Time123 (9f42ee) — 7/16/2021 @ 9:12 am

    Hoi, I think you’re mostly right, but I think FaceTwitter legitimately felt that kicking Trump off in January was the right thing to do. Even if I accept their arguments about the danger of his lies that moment has passed and I think the should let him back on; subject to his compliance with their terms of service.

    The problem is that there are lies, or at least dubious statements about word, about the effect, which happens now a lot on the left.

    One of these dubious statements was that Trump, in his speech at the Ellipse on January 6, had incited members of the crowd to storm the Capitol. (they weren’t by and large the same people. Has any one of them noticed that this was planned weeks in advance and that that is what the FBI is investigating? How long will anyone be able to maintain both claims?)

    There was some mild danger from Trump’s tweets after January 6. The possible danger that existed from Trump’s tweets was not the tweets themselves, but the exegesis they were being subjected to. For instance his tweet that he would not attend the inauguration was being used as a call to disrupt it and more.

    But that moment has passed in any case.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  43. What the bigness does is limit the kind of software available – and they sometimes force people to buy new equipment because they stop supporting old versions.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  44. You know, it strikes me — and maybe this is unfair— that at least some of the people currently unhappy about, say, Facebook’s domination of the “social media site” sector were, twenty years ago, grousing about Blockbuster’s high rental prices and late fees. And if someone pointed out that you could rent from the mom-n-pop video store down the street, they’d say it just wasn’t as good…not enough copies of new movies.

    It’s a fair point, but not totally apt. I never rented from Blockbuster because I had two excellent independent video stores in my neighborhood. Now you might be tempted to claim that’s because I live in the Los Angeles area, so naturally thee will be great independent video stores, but we had great non-chain video stores when I lived in New England and in Colorado too.

    Big Tech’s analogy to Blockbuster would be more along the lines of if Blockbuster had simply gone to those mom-and-pop stores and said, “Hey, it would be a shame if we were to open a franchise one block over from you. Why don’t you just sell your store to us?” And then, to try to make it look like they aren’t trying to force out the competition, they would make a generous offer for the business so that mom and pop walked away without feeling completely bullied, could open up an ice cream store, and still have tucked away a tidy profit from the sale. In a way that’s capitalism, but in another way that is really problematic to stifle innovation and competition.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  45. that is … not as easy a task as you think it is. The software behind Facebook and other big tech operations are mind bogglingly complex, and incredibly expensive to reproduce. Plus if there aren’t already people to talk to, people won’t come.

    Yes, exactly. And just as soon as you try to start your own Facebook, you will find yourself buried by patent infringement lawsuits from Facebook’s lawyers. Sure, you can spend tens of millions of dollars and fight them all off, but you had better hope you have some really patient investors.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  46. @28 bob dole’s campaign floundered cuz blockbuster refused to stock his campaign videos

    i read that on facebook somewhere but the link got deleted

    then there’s morton’s domination of salt….

    it’s just like that

    and bin laden

    JF (e1156d)

  47. FIrst step: break AWS off from Amazon; I think that Bezos sees that coming, BTW.

    I have no idea how splitting off AWS would be good for consumers, except as a way of punishing Bezos. AWS already competes against Microsoft, Google, Oracle, and IBM in the cloud.

    Rip Murdock (0aa613)

  48. Rip Murdock (0aa613) — 7/16/2021 @ 9:10 am

    It would be hard to prove consumers are harmed when FATY (and Google) provide so many free services.

    This may be the standard for “harm” as a replacement for “monetary damages”. But this is an incomplete understanding of the word “free”. Those services aren’t free in the sense of “have no cost” or in the more general sense of economic value.

    frosty (f27e97) — 7/16/2021 @ 9:44 am

    That’s true, but the law (which is what we are talking about when discuss the relationship between government and business) doesn’t care about social impacts. If it did, then we enter realm of left wing “disparate impact” analysis.

    Rip Murdock (0aa613)


  49. You know, it strikes me — and maybe this is unfair— that at least some of the people currently unhappy about, say, Facebook’s domination of the “social media site” sector were, twenty years ago, grousing about Blockbuster’s high rental prices and late fees.

    Suppose that blockbuster was buying up all the better independent stores? Would that make a difference? Because that is what Facebook is doing with any social media that gets too close. They bought out WhatsApp lest they leverage their group chat to group web pages. Good for the founders of WhatsApp, but not necessarily for the consumer.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  50. it’s comical to see a free market case being made for fb and t when their success and domination is directly tied to government interference in the free market via section 230

    JF (e1156d)

  51. I have no idea how splitting off AWS would be good for consumers

    It is a founding principle of anti-trust that vertical integration is a problem. Amazon’s web costs are not visible and certainly not subject to the same prices, terms and conditions that any other web vendor must meet.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  52. A couple of thoughts. Every announcement from the Office of the Former President gets picked up and tweeted by any number of reporters, staff, or political consultants. It certainly does not mean everyone who wants to see it will see it. Certainly it reduces the “intimacy” of feeling like you are hearing from the man directly, but it does not cut out twitter as a means for team Trump to communicate. Further, nothing stops Trump from communicating more directly through surrogates…like family, friends, or aids. So in such an unusual case of a high-profile official, it’s not clear what the ban exactly accomplishes. It has imposed layers and thereby decreased volume…but factoring in all other ways that Trump can get messages out (and being no big fan of twitter myself)….it’s hard to get overly excited.

    On the other hand….to my astonishment….post Jan 6, Trump remains the de facto head of the GOP….with wide and persistent support. And even if much of it is of speculative value, hearing what Trump thinks is then automatically relevant….both for those that love him and those that hate him. Personally I think it tends to retard political dialogue…and reduces it to the least common denominator of personality fetishism….but have things improved much in that regards post 1/6? If so, not much. Maybe it would be easier to ultimately shake Trump by giving him the rope of Twitter? Ehhh, right now Twitter is giving Trump “a cause” and creating some legal drama….I would unfortunately side with letting him back on….and hope over-exposure does its thing….

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  53. Many keep talking about Facebook – I’m afraid that is both antiquated and quaint. Facebook is antiquated in a sense that many youngsters these days simply don’t use it. And quaint because one of the most likely replacements – TikTok – is foreign-owned and in the pocket of Chinese intelligence.

    Good luck trying to get TikTok to be a neutral party or be a partner of big government.

    Hoi Polloi (ade50d)

  54. it’s comical to see a free market case being made for fb and t when their success and domination is directly tied to government interference in the free market via section 230

    You probably want to go look at section 230 and what it actually says. Volokh summarizes:

    The statute immunizes computer services for “action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict … availability of material that the provider … considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected”

    So, if they pull down someone’s bestiality photos, that someone cannot sue them for it. The question, though, is whether it protects the provider for pulling down content outside of the original “decency” standards that the (unconstitutional) CDA enacted. Section 230 was separated out to stand alone, but what does “or otherwise objectionable” mean here? It is being used as if it was unrealted to the CDA’s limited scope. Is it? Does it cover politics?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  55. Good luck trying to get TikTok to be a … partner of big government.

    Oh, it is. Just not ours.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  56. Kevin, I would argue that it’s up to the provider to determine if the picture of Sonic the hedgehog having sex with Donald Trump is political or not and let them decide if they want to leave it up to take it down.

    Also, I’m not sure how granting Patterico liability projection from being sued for things I say in this comment section is free market interference. Not every government action is an interference in market dynamics.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  57. @53 what has benefitted fb and t is not immunity for pulling down content

    it’s immunity for failing to pull down content, for which 230 has been their shield

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/5/18/21262248/supreme-court-rejects-stuart-force-facebook-section-230-lawsuit-algorithms

    JF (e1156d)

  58. OT- speaking of ‘Big Tech’ – 52 years ago this morning, July 16, 1969, when America truly was great, we threw a 36 story building into the sky:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sEK2Ur2bwI

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  59. it’s comical to see a free market case being made for fb and t when their success and domination is directly tied to government interference in the free market via section 230

    All websites that allow content not posted by the operator (including PP) are protected from being sued based on that content. Repealing 230 will result in either more individuals being banned, websites not accepting outside content, or just completely shutting down.

    Rip Murdock (0aa613)

  60. Also, I’m not sure how granting Patterico liability projection from being sued for things I say in this comment section is free market interference. Not every government action is an interference in market dynamics.

    That was JF’s argument, not mine.

    I have utterly no issue with immunizing the host for what commenters say. The portion of Section 230 that immunizes them for what they CENSOR “in good faith” is also not, in itself, interference in any business market.

    But there is some question as to what extent censorship is covered by this protection. The CDA did not cover politics at all, so when a subsection of it is construed to do so it may be fairly shaky ground.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  61. it’s immunity for failing to pull down content, for which 230 has been their shield

    Without that shield there IS NO market. Also no rule of law, as everything becomes open to debate and lawsuit. Since the CDA was blocked by the Court, no government rules can guide the providers; they only have their own standards to enforce. Saying that they cannot be second-guessed by later courts is not shielding them FROM the marketplace. Instead it allows them to function.

    This really isn’t about marketplaces, actually. It’s about speech and who controls it. The immunity against being sued for stuff it leaves up allows it to leave up items that others might question, and avoids the heckler’s veto.

    The real issue is what they choose to take down. Does 23 protect them there? For kiddie porn, certainly. For opinions about the world? Maybe not.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  62. *230

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  63. The real issue is what they choose to take down. Does 23 protect them there? For kiddie porn, certainly. For opinions about the world? Maybe not.

    1. There’s room for legitimate discussion about where that line is.
    2. There are ton’s of people who will try to sh1tpost just for the lolz
    3. There are plenty of pedantic people who will try to find exactly where that line is.
    4. There are people with views about the world that lots of people just don’t want to talk to. Check out the comments at any far right / far left site. If your business is making a place where people can communicate you’re going to need to do something about he signal to noise ratio.

    Look at what happened to gettr. Their whole idea was to be ‘uncensored’ and I think they made it a day before they had to start banning people.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  64. Time, there is a legal issue.

    Section 230 was part of a law requiring providers to police content for smut. Most of the law was struck down, but section 230, which gave providers immunities for taking down things they thought the smut rules covered, remained. Where that law speaks of “etc” items, is that “etc” limited by the scope of the CDA (i.e. smut) or does it magically broaden to politics?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  65. Now, if a state were to pass a law saying that Facebook could not take down smut, Section 230 would probably override that law.

    But suppose the state said that censoring political views was illegal, or simply barred discrimination due to political belief. Would section 230 pertain? Or would someone so discriminated against have standing to sue, at least in state court?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  66. There are ton’s of people who will try to sh1tpost just for the lolz

    Some here, matter of fact.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  67. Kevin, i have a better understanding of the argument you’ve been making. thank you. I don’t have an opinion about the legal question. Well I do, but since I’m not a lawyer it isn’t a well informed one.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  68. The link to Volokh above is interesting.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  69. @61 there were discussion boards in the pre-1995 dark ages

    there was a market and would be still, so to claim otherwise is ridiculous

    it would likely be smaller, and maybe we’d be deprived of chrissy teigen’s take on who should off themselves

    JF (e1156d)

  70. OT– Surveillence ‘Bi Tech’ at work… and why we should never bring back lynching…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBrzgP6KG2s

    … and why a rope should just be tied around the balls instead then attach to a weather balloon so pricks like this can be painfully castrated in the sky and then fall to Earth from 20,000 feet and die.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  71. ^Bi = Big

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  72. But suppose the state said that censoring political views was illegal, or simply barred discrimination due to political belief. Would section 230 pertain? Or would someone so discriminated against have standing to sue, at least in state court?

    Asked and answered.

    Rip Murdock (0aa613)

  73. Time123 (9f42ee) — 7/16/2021 @ 9:50 am

    there was never any requirement that companies be politically neutral

    The question of the post is:

    So Is Big Tech a Neutral Party or a Partner of Big Government?

    My answer to the question was they aren’t neutral and they are a partner of big government. Everything else in your comment is about something else.

    frosty (f27e97)

  74. you’re right. I should have paid better attention to the context of your comment. Sorry for the mistake.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  75. JF (e1156d) — 7/16/2021 @ 12:40 pm

    @61 there were discussion boards in the pre-1995 dark ages

    Going all the way back to maybe 1979. Or earloer.

    http://www.bowdoin.edu/~samato/IRA/reviews/issues/dec95/deja.html

    Currently the site indexes several months’ postings, evidently since its start date in early 1995. The plan is to keep a rolling year of postings in each newsgroup once a year’s news has accumulated.

    Google has made old usenet messages harder and harder to find

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  76. Biden’s thoughts on FB:

    “They’re killing people,” he told reporters in response to a question about Facebook. “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people.”

    Their response:

    Facebook this week said it has taken down more than 18 million pieces of Covid-related misinformation, removed numerous accounts and promoted trustworthy information about vaccinations. On Friday, the platform fired back against the president’s claim that it’s killing people.

    Translation: Biden: Do something about the information we don’t like. FB: We’re doing it as fast as we can.

    frosty (f27e97)

  77. 7Biden’s thoughts on FB:

    “They’re killing people,” he told reporters in response to a question about Facebook. “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people.”

    [ ] Brain-damaged

    [ ] Brain-dead

    Choose.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  78. Biden’s statement is a horrible exaggeration and unworthy of the office. Conflating speech with action is typical of the left and pro-censorship. It would have taken just a few more words to make it a reasonable statement.

    Time123 (b0317d)

  79. If Trump had made the same statement people would say it was proof of his fascist tendencies and he must be impeached and removed. Funny how that only applies when you don’t like the person and want them removed BAMN.

    NJRob (fb2b5a)

  80. You really do view everything through a Persecution complex

    Time123 (b0317d)

  81. Just called em like I see em. Balls and strikes. You might try it sometimes instead of playing the waffle game.

    NJRob (70b1f5)

  82. But that wasn’t way you saw. That was a fantasy about what would happen if it was your team. 😀

    Time123 (b0317d)

  83. Not my team. Just reality. Sometimes you need to see that.

    NJRob (5e25be)

  84. I saw Biden say something stupid. Then I saw you come in and whine that ppl would have been meaner to Trump if he said it.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  85. Which now that I think about it, it’s weird. Instead of talking about the many ways his statement was stupid and counter to our values now we’re talking about Trump.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  86. Yep. Now review your previous remarks through the years. You are welcome for this opportunity for self-reflection.

    NJRob (eb56c3)


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