The DOJ proposes new legislation that would hold Facebook, Google and Twitter liable for...

nanoguy

Posts: 486   +7
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The DOJ today revealed its proposal to modify the Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, part of which gives tech giants that own social platforms the ability to moderate content they deem "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable." It also protects website owners from lawsuits over that same content.

The move is meant to push Congress to adopt new legislation that could hold companies like Twitter, Facebook, Google, and others liable for a wide variety of harmful user-generated content. Social giants like Facebook argue that it's not their responsibility to be the arbiters of truth or police content that could otherwise pass as the voice of the less privileged.

The new bill is called "Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act," and it would essentially force companies to exercise a "duty of good faith" if they want to receive the same protections of Section 230 they've been enjoying for decades. Failing that, they could be fined more than $5,000 per affected user, which can quickly add up when you have billions of users posting content that routinely goes viral.

Interestingly, the legislation will only apply to services that have more than 30 million monthly users in the US or 300 million monthly users worldwide, as well as more than $1.5 billion in global revenue, which is to say that it won't apply to smaller companies. The thinking is that small companies don't have the financial and legal muscle to defend themselves against meritless lawsuits while they're trying to grow their user base.

Senator Hawley, one of the key people who sponsored the bill, said in a statement that "for too long, Big Tech companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook have used their power to silence political speech from conservatives without any recourse for users. Section 230 has been stretched and rewritten by courts to give these companies outlandish power over speech without accountability. Congress should act to ensure bad actors are not given a free pass to censor and silence their opponents."

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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,078   +5,438
I can hear the screams of 1st amendment rights but let's not forget these are private companies that freely allow a free for all on their sites. They have the money, power, and capability to prevent it but they choose to allow the almighty dollar to rule, therefore they should have those dollars placed "in jeopardy" because of the actions. "Profit" is not protected by the 1st amendment .....
 

PurpleYoda

Posts: 104   +61
Not sure how they imagine that to be executed? AI would have to be trained to understand context and act accordingly as I cannot imagine humans moderating millions of posts made each day..
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 1,869   +2,193
I can hear the screams of 1st amendment rights but let's not forget these are private companies that freely allow a free for all on their sites. They have the money, power, and capability to prevent it but they choose to allow the almighty dollar to rule, therefore they should have those dollars placed "in jeopardy" because of the actions. "Profit" is not protected by the 1st amendment .....
I've never agreed with the "well they're private so no 1st amendment" argument. Laws dont just magically dissapear because you are a private company. No more so then google could say that no black people were allowed to use their platform because "muh private enterprise". If you have a platform that you police the content that can be published, you are a publisher, not a platform, and should be subject to the same regulations as any other publication. The likes of facebook and google have been skirting that law for too long.

These companies absolutely do NOT allow a free for all. If they did they would not be in this situation. These companies have been censoring opinions and policing comments they dont like and groups they dont like to chase that almighty dollar, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. If you want only certian opinions, you are a publisher, and will be held and regulated as such, if you want 230A protection, stop turning your comments into echo chambers, lets opinions be heard.
Not sure how they imagine that to be executed? AI would have to be trained to understand context and act accordingly as I cannot imagine humans moderating millions of posts made each day..
That's the point. These platforms are WAY too big to manage even with machine learning and human oversight. They decided to play with fire by policing what opinions and people were allowed on their platform and now they are being burned by it. If they had just let their communities grow organically this never would have happened, but the spat between Jack and Trump was going to lead to this eventually. Trying to censor one side of an argument has become an open secret.

I think this will be a good thing though. The internet has become WAY too centralized, with power and opinions resting in the hands of a few. You could break up google/facebook, but that would only be a temp fix. This kind of law would be a permanent fix, one that limits howpowerful any one internet company can be before being forced to police their content, and allow smaller sites with alternate opinions to grow without being snuffed out. (case in point, youtube channels of news sources being demonetized and de-prioritized despite massive views because they say "coronavirus" or "china", and alternative platforms like vimeo and bitchute videos de-prioritized compared totheir youtube alternatives)
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,243   +3,335
I've never agreed with the "well they're private so no 1st amendment" argument. Laws dont just magically dissapear because you are a private company. No more so then google could say that no black people were allowed to use their platform because "muh private enterprise". If you have a platform that you police the content that can be published, you are a publisher, not a platform, and should be subject to the same regulations as any other publication. The likes of facebook and google have been skirting that law for too long.
Congress shall make no law - https://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment1.html
These companies absolutely do NOT allow a free for all. If they did they would not be in this situation.
IMO, if they did, they would be even more worthless than they already are.
These companies have been censoring opinions and policing comments they dont like and groups they dont like to chase that almighty dollar, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. If you want only certian opinions, you are a publisher, and will be held and regulated as such, if you want 230A protection, stop turning your comments into echo chambers, lets opinions be heard.
You will have to wade your way through these yourself, but if you do, you will see that 1st amendment rights as decided by SCOTUS absolutely do not involve being able to say anything and everything you want. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_...eme_Court_cases_involving_the_First_Amendment

As such, the companies are well within the law as decided by SCOTUS to remove any post that is in conflict with the SCOTUS established precedent.

It could also be argued that preventing such companies from removing posts that are objectionable to them is a violation of 1st amendment rights.

If there is a law passed, it will go through the courts and will likely rise to SCOTUS - just like 45's EO - which many law experts see as unconstitutional.

That's the point. These platforms are WAY too big to manage even with machine learning and human oversight. They decided to play with fire by policing what opinions and people were allowed on their platform and now they are being burned by it. If they had just let their communities grow organically this never would have happened, but the spat between Jack and Trump was going to lead to this eventually. Trying to censor one side of an argument has become an open secret.

I think this will be a good thing though. The internet has become WAY too centralized, with power and opinions resting in the hands of a few. You could break up google/facebook, but that would only be a temp fix. This kind of law would be a permanent fix, one that limits howpowerful any one internet company can be before being forced to police their content, and allow smaller sites with alternate opinions to grow without being snuffed out. (case in point, youtube channels of news sources being demonetized and de-prioritized despite massive views because they say "coronavirus" or "china", and alternative platforms like vimeo and bitchute videos de-prioritized compared totheir youtube alternatives)
IMO, these arguments about them being too big are another issue - there are hearings going on right now, WRT big tech monopolies, in congress. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/10/con...-antitrust-behavior-among-digital-giants.html
 
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psycros

Posts: 3,127   +3,227
"Social giants like Facebook argue that it's not their responsibility to be the arbiters of truth or police content that could otherwise pass as the voice of the less privileged."

But that's exactly what they've been doing. Its not just comments, either - Google is outright filtering search results that criticize BLM, ANTIFA or related groups right now. I was skeptical when I first saw people talking about this but its undeniably happening - you have to get very creative with your search strings to get any returns that aren't in full support of this movement (and that includes the murder, looting, etc). Even the very few hits you'll get will typically be at least a year old or more. Test it out yourself..its unbelievable.
 
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Theinsanegamer

Posts: 1,869   +2,193
IMO, if they did, they would be even more worthless than they already are.
Any site that creates echo chambers is utterly worthless. If you have no dissenting opinions all you do is screech increasingly inane things into the void. Real conversations and resolutions to issues, whether personal, societal, cultural, economical, ece cannot be had without both sides of a situation being able to voice their views.
Congress shall make no law - https://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment1.html

You will have to wade your way through these yourself, but if you do, you will see that 1st amendment rights as decided by SCOTUS absolutely do not involve being able to say anything and everything you want. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_...eme_Court_cases_involving_the_First_Amendment

As such, the companies are well within the law as decided by SCOTUS to remove any post that is in conflict with the SCOTUS established precedent.

If there is a law passed, it will go through the courts and will likely rise to SCOTUS - just like 45's EO - which many law experts see as unconstitutional.


IMO, these arguments about them being too big are another issue - there are hearings going on right now, WRT big tech monopolies, in congress. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/10/con...-antitrust-behavior-among-digital-giants.html
Section 230a allows for safe harbor protections for sites that are platforms for users, but not for publishers that moderate what they publish. By moderating content on their platform sites like google and facebook are actively working as publishers while claiming platform safe harbor protection. This is a very obvious bending of the law.

This is what the DoJ is trying to fix. If you want safe harbor, you cant moderate all the content on your platform while claiming you do not moderate. If it isnt illegal content (I.E. someone with a conservative opinion or controversial opinion) and you moderate that comment on a platform like facebook or twitter, you are actively moderating what can be published, and should no longer be considered a platform.
It could also be argued that preventing such companies from removing posts that are objectionable to them is a violation of 1st amendment rights.
So is their platform subject to free speech or not? You cant have it both ways. If forcing a site to retain a comment violates the 1st amendment, then said site forcibly removing that comment is ALSO a violation of 1st amendment rights.
 

Angga B

Posts: 64   +58
Anyone who defended them is only because they are on the ruling side of this global cultural war. It never occured to them that if the tide turn it will be soon them being the receiving the end of the censure stick.
Oh yeah, the tide always turn, you'll know it if you are not illiterate. And it is turning now.

Still want to bet your chances?
 
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p51d007

Posts: 2,417   +1,686
It's a private company. As much as I don't like censorship, it isn't the government censoring people as much as it is a private company. Now, on the other hand, considering the penetration apps like facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube and the like have, allowing one form of "speech" over another make them appear biased. I guess the argument could be made if you don't like the way some company does business, don't use it and create your own competition. (which if it gains speed, will be gobbled up by the twitter/facebook/instagram/youtube types anyway) LOL.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,243   +3,335
Any site that creates echo chambers is utterly worthless. If you have no dissenting opinions all you do is screech increasingly inane things into the void. Real conversations and resolutions to issues, whether personal, societal, cultural, economical, ece cannot be had without both sides of a situation being able to voice their views.
As I see it, "social" sites are already echo chambers and are already full of screeching birds; whether they are moderated or not, they will still be full of screeching birds. I have no use for social sites even if they do not unlawful content.

IMO, nothing meaningful will come from a social media site. Take, for instance, the Arab Spring a few years back. It was supposedly inspired by Tweeter then crushed by the Egyptian government shortly thereafter, and the ironic thing about it, to me anyway, is that Egyptian government was brought into power by the Arab Spring.

To me, social sites are not a forum for meaningful change.
Section 230a allows for safe harbor protections for sites that are platforms for users, but not for publishers that moderate what they publish. By moderating content on their platform sites like google and facebook are actively working as publishers while claiming platform safe harbor protection. This is a very obvious bending of the law.


This is what the DoJ is trying to fix. If you want safe harbor, you cant moderate all the content on your platform while claiming you do not moderate. If it isnt illegal content (I.E. someone with a conservative opinion or controversial opinion) and you moderate that comment on a platform like facebook or twitter, you are actively moderating what can be published, and should no longer be considered a platform.
Things like inciting violence have been ruled by SCOTUS to be outside of the bounds of the 1st amendment. If posts by extremists, for example, contain anything that a particular social media site's lawyers conclude could fall in that category, those same sites would be wise to remove such posts unless they are willing to face a criminal lawsuit for aiding and abetting terrorists. It is that simple. In instances like this, they are not moderating "lawful" content; what they are moderating is unlawful content.


So is their platform subject to free speech or not? You cant have it both ways. If forcing a site to retain a comment violates the 1st amendment, then said site forcibly removing that comment is ALSO a violation of 1st amendment rights.
When removing content falls under the umbrella of removing unlawful content, it is not a violation of the 1st amendment in any fashion.

Again, in first amendment cases decided by SCOTUS, precedent has been set. Simply put, as I said before, the first amendment does not give anyone the right to say anything and everything the like, and on any site, if posts are unlawful according to established precedent, sites are well within lawful bounds to remove them.

So if DOJ wants to immunize social sites from lawsuits because of moderated lawful content, then I can just hear how the volume will be turned up by those claiming first amendment violations although those same voices will not be able to sue. To me, this seems like a redundant action by DOJ since there are already plenty of 1st amendment cases where SCOTUS has weighed in. It will be interesting to see how this turns out, and I imagine it will be decided by SCOTUS.
 
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Evernessince

Posts: 5,081   +5,316
I've never agreed with the "well they're private so no 1st amendment" argument. Laws dont just magically dissapear because you are a private company. No more so then google could say that no black people were allowed to use their platform because "muh private enterprise". If you have a platform that you police the content that can be published, you are a publisher, not a platform, and should be subject to the same regulations as any other publication. The likes of facebook and google have been skirting that law for too long.
You don't seem to understand that trying to apply the first amendment to every private entity would greatly damage free enterprise in the united states. Imagine being a company and not being able to fire employees for trash talking your business? Imagine them publicly releasing your trade secrets but that qualifying as free speech. Even the federal government has exceptions to the 1st amendment. Laws are nuanced.

These companies absolutely do NOT allow a free for all. If they did they would not be in this situation. These companies have been censoring opinions and policing comments they dont like and groups they dont like to chase that almighty dollar, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. If you want only certian opinions, you are a publisher, and will be held and regulated as such, if you want 230A protection, stop turning your comments into echo chambers, lets opinions be heard.
/facepalm

Realize that the CDA REQUIRES these companies to moderate their content with their own set of guideline in order to qualify for platform protections.

"If you want only certian opinions"

No, that's the literal definition of a platform lol.

That's the point. These platforms are WAY too big to manage even with machine learning and human oversight. They decided to play with fire by policing what opinions and people were allowed on their platform and now they are being burned by it. If they had just let their communities grow organically this never would have happened, but the spat between Jack and Trump was going to lead to this eventually. Trying to censor one side of an argument has become an open secret.
Grow organically is an interesting term. If I let my apple trees grow without my interference, they will develop nothing but a few low quality fruit, infested with bugs. For an internet platform, grow organically means ruled by extremists and trolls. Heck, even 4chan had / has moderators. Think about that.

I think this will be a good thing though. The internet has become WAY too centralized, with power and opinions resting in the hands of a few. You could break up google/facebook, but that would only be a temp fix. This kind of law would be a permanent fix, one that limits howpowerful any one internet company can be before being forced to police their content, and allow smaller sites with alternate opinions to grow without being snuffed out. (case in point, youtube channels of news sources being demonetized and de-prioritized despite massive views because they say "coronavirus" or "china", and alternative platforms like vimeo and bitchute videos de-prioritized compared totheir youtube alternatives)
This potential law is mostly irrelevant to where the power rests. It is not a fix nor a solution. If the law is as vague as it's written in this article, it seems more likely to be used as a political tool for whatever administration is in power at the time. I can see companies reducing the amount of user generated content and it's entirely possible some will simply stop altogether. I guess the republican platform of free enterprise only applies when they sending the RNC checks.
 
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quadibloc

Posts: 165   +97
But what actions are they taking that are in any way wrong or objectionable? Being vigilant in censoring hate speech on their platforms isn't wrong, and if that disproportionately impacts conservatives, well, they only have themselves to blame.
 

Bp968

Posts: 131   +88
Any site that creates echo chambers is utterly worthless. If you have no dissenting opinions all you do is screech increasingly inane things into the void. Real conversations and resolutions to issues, whether personal, societal, cultural, economical, ece cannot be had without both sides of a situation being able to voice their views.

Section 230a allows for safe harbor protections for sites that are platforms for users, but not for publishers that moderate what they publish. By moderating content on their platform sites like google and facebook are actively working as publishers while claiming platform safe harbor protection. This is a very obvious bending of the law.

This is what the DoJ is trying to fix. If you want safe harbor, you cant moderate all the content on your platform while claiming you do not moderate. If it isnt illegal content (I.E. someone with a conservative opinion or controversial opinion) and you moderate that comment on a platform like facebook or twitter, you are actively moderating what can be published, and should no longer be considered a platform.

So is their platform subject to free speech or not? You cant have it both ways. If forcing a site to retain a comment violates the 1st amendment, then said site forcibly removing that comment is ALSO a violation of 1st amendment rights.
No one is willing to debate an issue amymore. I think the problem is the vast majority of the population has no skill or abilities at debate and pre-social media simply wouldn't have participated. But now in the social media world they can slap their (often poorly thought out) views to all their friends and then either not engage at all, screech and scream and dive 100% into emotional name calling if someone debates them, or flat censors opposing views and filter what they see and what can be said on any of their links thus creating an echo chamber.

What blows my mind is the massive flip the democratic party has done. It wasn't that long ago that the democratic party was described as "liberal" yet that term absolutely no longer fits. Illiberal is possibly a better term. They have zero interest in allowing dissenting opinions or views and go all in on crushing anything that doesn't fit the worldview they have. Contrast this with the democratic party of the 60s and 70s that fought for (to the supreme court!) expansive first admendment rights. Then they discovered Marxism and decided the best speech to protect was speech they agreed with and expansive "free speech" was just too uncomfortable.

Overall ive seen a significant drop in posted content from a large section of my conservative friends on social media the past 2 months now, especially the employed ones or ones running a business. For them its simply not worth risking their livelihood to doxing and personal attacks from those who are unable to stomach any opposing (or even simply nuanced views). Someone I know was even doxxed for *not* posting anything (the whole new "silence is violence" insanity). The truely insane part is she almost totally agreed with the side who doxxed her, she just hadn't said it quickly enough or loudly enough.

I feel strongly that the internet has made society a better place, that it's led to an amazing amount of improvement in society. But I don't feel like social media has nearly the positive benefits, and I feel more like its a cancer on society that is threatening to grow much *much* worse than it already is. Its an almost perfect tool for feeding humanity's lynch mob mentality and I feel like it will only get worse.