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View Poll Results: Should Section 230 be Repealed / Amended?
Section 230 must be completely repealed! 1 2.44%
Section 230 should be amended! 6 14.63%
Section 230 ought to stay as it is! 27 65.85%
I have no opinion on this matter 2 4.88%
Section X 5 12.20%
Voters: 41. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 28th December 2020, 07:47 PM   #1
angrysoba
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Repeal Section 230! Uhhh...why?

Okay, so this seems to be a big thing political issue right now.

Essentially, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is, according to Wikipedia:

Quote:
Section 230(c)(2) provides immunity from civil liabilities for information service providers that remove or restrict content from their services they deem "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected", as long as they act "in good faith" in this action.
My take is that content providers such as You Tube, Twitter, Facebook and regular blogs (and maybe even this forum - although it may fall outside of US jurisdiction) can operate as they do because if someone puts something libellous on those platforms, the providers cannot be sued for it.

The caveats are to do with "in good faith". Presumably if they encouraged illegal or slanderous content to be uploaded, they would be in breach, but for some people, it seems they believe Section 230 means those platforms have NO RIGHT to restrict any content that is being uploaded.

On the right, people like Donald Trump and Lindsay Graham seem to have a problem with Section 230 because they see it as allowing the platforms to restrict content how they like and that editorial decisisons such as banning crazy loons from posting, is against the spirit of the law. (I have heard right-wing acquaintances actually argue that banning Alex Jones is illegal!)

On the left, some people seem to argue that Section 230 gives platforms too much leeway to do nothing about hate speech etc...

There also seems to be some anti-trust issues that some argue allow the platforms to curate the limits of acceptable speech however they want it, and given some platforms dominance, that arguably puts too much power in the hands of a few businesses.

Personally, I am of the opinion that it should stay as it is. But let's have a heated debate...
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Old 28th December 2020, 08:02 PM   #2
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It's a no-win situation.

Without 230, private providers would simply shut out anyone the least bit controversial, or indeed anyone they didn't like the look/sound of anyway. They are there to get advertising clicks, not deal with stupid lawsuits about who got bent about someone saying something picky about them. They consider it's their platform, their money, and they are going to conduct their own business how they want to. They want nothing to distract from that, really. So any potential offenders will get short shrift pronto.

With 230, you get the likes of Trump who does regularly get bent out of shape about stuff said about him, and wants to take it out on the messenger, and whines like a little bitch when he can't. But at least the online businesses are protected to some extent from frivolous lawsuits, while keeping policing to reasonable community standards.

There is no half way between these extremes. And you can't please everyone. And you will never please Trump. I don't think he understands that with 230 gone, his Twitter account will be shut down instantly. NOBODY wants to risk being sued over what he says. Trump just wants to sue somebody, ANYBODY, who says bad stuff about him.
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Old 28th December 2020, 08:05 PM   #3
angrysoba
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
It's a no-win situation.

Without 230, private providers would simply shut out anyone the least bit controversial, or indeed anyone they didn't like the look/sound of anyway. They are there to get advertising clicks, not deal with stupid lawsuits about who got bent about someone saying something picky about them. They consider it's their platform, their money, and they are going to conduct their own business how they want to. They want nothing to distract from that, really. So any potential offenders will get short shrift pronto.

With 230, you get the likes of Trump who does regularly get bent out of shape about stuff said about him, and wants to take it out on the messenger, and whines like a little bitch when he can't. But at least the online businesses are protected to some extent from frivolous lawsuits, while keeping policing to reasonable community standards.

There is no half way between these extremes. And you can't please everyone. And you will never please Trump. I don't think he understands that with 230 gone, his Twitter account will be shut down instantly. NOBODY wants to risk being sued over what he says. Trump just wants to sue somebody, ANYBODY, who says bad stuff about him.
This is the thing. Many of the groups who complain about 230 would just be zapped immediately from pretty much all social media.

I don't get this scorched earth policy of theirs.

ETA: Would we just see social media moving their business abroad where they can't be touched by US jurisdiction?
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)

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Old 28th December 2020, 08:11 PM   #4
Norman Alexander
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
This is the thing. Many of the groups who complain about 230 would just be zapped immediately from pretty much all social media.

I don't get this scorched earth policy of theirs.

ETA: Would we just see social media moving their business abroad where they can't be touched by US jurisdiction?
That's the thing. They seem to think that with 230 gone, the complete social media scene will be open green fields where they can exercise their free speech unimpeded. The reality will be the total opposite. But then again, when has reality ever intruded on the brains of Trumpistas!
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Old 28th December 2020, 08:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
This is the thing. Many of the groups who complain about 230 would just be zapped immediately from pretty much all social media.
Oh come on! It's not like the face-eating leopards are going to eat my face...
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Old 28th December 2020, 08:20 PM   #6
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I think private companies should be able to regulate the content of their websites however they feel free from liability. And if you want a media site that allows you to post the content you want in a way you want to, find one or make one yourself.

And Trumpisms obsession with 230 is over political speech, and I don’t feel that companies should be forced to maintain a web space where user content is forced to be bias free or the appearance of bias free moderation should be a priority unless they want it to. If Facebook wants to have a liberal slant, not that I remotely believe they do, because they feel the market will respond better to that, they should be able to. If they want to scrub content in a completely arbitrary set of rules, it’s their web space and software. And a right wing social media site can step in and fill the market void.

And that’s what happened, they abandoned Twitter and Facebook or whatever they were on for Parler, a right wing oriented social media site that caters to that audience. This is a problem that the free market is pretty well equipped to deal with and already has
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Old 28th December 2020, 08:23 PM   #7
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Trump's against it, that says a lot. I'm for it.

I did look at it and don't see anything that supposedly protects the platform owners in any corrupt way. Seems like realistic legislation, surprisingly.
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Old 28th December 2020, 10:45 PM   #8
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I've wondered, since T got hashtagged and lost his **** over 230, if without it sites like parler, OANN, Newsmax etc. wouldn't actually be the first ones sued into oblivion.
There's more to 230 than just the oft-quoted sections I'm sure, so I can't say. Just wondering.
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Old 28th December 2020, 10:58 PM   #9
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Repeal it an have the platform providers purge every mentioning of Trump from their sites.
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So what are you going to do about it, huh?
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What would Plato do?
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Old 28th December 2020, 11:36 PM   #10
Minoosh
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Originally Posted by dirtywick View Post
I think private companies should be able to regulate the content of their websites however they feel free from liability.
In addition they have their terms and conditions. You want an account, you have to "sign" a waiver agreeing that you won't sue the company over decisions to flag or take down content. Doesn't that take care of the alleged problem?
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Old 28th December 2020, 11:56 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Repeal it an have the platform providers purge every mentioning of Trump from their sites.
I don't believe the law (section 230) prevents any platform from doing that. It's why Trump wants it repealed.
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Old 29th December 2020, 04:12 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I don't believe the law (section 230) prevents any platform from doing that. It's why Trump wants it repealed.
1) He wants it repealed so he can sue anyone who says nasty stuff about him, or prevents him saying clearly actionable crap about others.

2) It gets repealed, and no US service provider will want to take the chance of this happening to them, as they will have no effective protection.

3) So any even close to objectionable content hosted on US services will be purged. And anything that might trigger such content by way of responses will be firmly stopped. Result: anything Trump-related (and Alt Right, Proud Boys, etc.) will be stamped out.

4) And yes, so will goodwill movements like #metoo and #BLM. Again, the US-based services companies will be taking zero chances with controversy.

5) Offshore service providers for this content will flourish. They can tell US-based legislators to go suck a big one.

6) All the major content providers such as Facebook and Google will move offshore out of reach of the US laws, and no longer be headquartered in the USA. This is hardly surprising, and they have already planned for this contingency years ago if not having done this already. Probable alternate locations? India, Russia and China.

7) Network life hardly changes. But network commerce is reduced in the USA and boosted in the main MAGA-hostile countries.

Awesome result for one triggered orange toddler's little hissy fit.
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Old 29th December 2020, 04:30 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I don't believe the law (section 230) prevents any platform from doing that. It's why Trump wants it repealed.
And he's stupid enough to think that, if a law doesn't prevent it, repealing that law will prevent it.

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Old 29th December 2020, 08:54 AM   #14
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Instead of repealing Section 230, Congress should take up a national anti SLAPP law. In addition to keeping protections of platforms in place, we should actively discourage law suits intended to stifle free speech. Anti-SLAPP laws allow for a defendant to file a motion to dismiss early in the suit if it is related speech about a matter of public concern.

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Old 29th December 2020, 10:36 AM   #15
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Wouldn't its repeal mean someone (Trump) could sue this site for the things we've said about him?
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Old 29th December 2020, 01:41 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Wouldn't its repeal mean someone (Trump) could sue this site for the things we've said about him?
Assuming the post was defamatory, yes. This would cause this site (along with Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to clamp down really hard on what people are allowed to say on their platform.
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Old 29th December 2020, 01:50 PM   #17
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If this was the death of FB, Twitter etc. I'm not sure I'd care.
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Old 29th December 2020, 03:10 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
If this was the death of FB, Twitter etc. I'm not sure I'd care.
I would care. That would put news sources into fewer and fewer hands.
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Old 29th December 2020, 03:31 PM   #19
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I own an online forum that has a large number of members. Repealing 230 mean my forum gets shut down permanently. While I make some money in advertising and donations it wouldn't even come close to covering legal expenses if someone sued me for something one of my members posted. I imagine lots of other online forums will shut down as well (maybe even this one) for that very reason.
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Old 29th December 2020, 04:30 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
If this was the death of FB, Twitter etc. I'm not sure I'd care.
And this forum. If, say, Logger has hurt feelings he can sue Icerat. Probably wouldn't win, but is it worth the hassle?

Originally Posted by ToddH View Post
I own an online forum that has a large number of members. Repealing 230 mean my forum gets shut down permanently. While I make some money in advertising and donations it wouldn't even come close to covering legal expenses if someone sued me for something one of my members posted. I imagine lots of other online forums will shut down as well (maybe even this one) for that very reason.
Precisely.
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Old 29th December 2020, 04:42 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I would care. That would put news sources into fewer and fewer hands.
Yeah, but it would slow down the spread of disinformation.

In any event, I don't think it will happen.

Does Trump even realize how much Twitter enabled him? His head would have exploded if he hadn't had that outlet.
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Old 29th December 2020, 04:44 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
And this forum. If, say, Logger has hurt feelings he can sue Icerat. Probably wouldn't win, but is it worth the hassle?


Precisely.
Just so it is clear. With section 230 in place logger could sue you for something you posted here, he could not sue icerat, if it wasn’t in place logger could sue you and icerat.

Section 230 doesn’t protect anyone from being sued for what they post using services such as FB and ISF.

ETA: And the reason it has got Trump’s goat is that it was originally passed because the argument that the ISPs and other service providers like AOL (yes it’s that old) should be treated like a communications carrier like the post and the telephone system so weren’t responsible for what users posted was struggling because the services were moderating/editing/censoring what users could post. People argued that made them more like the broadcast Tv networks or newspapers. Section 230 sheltered them from that argument.

The reason the idiot wants to get rid of it is because he thinks the services will just allow anything and everything to be posted without editing or marking his tweets as “this is another lie”.

It’s purely aimed at his Tweets being edited, he doesn’t give not one whit nor iota about any other consequences.
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Old 29th December 2020, 05:04 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
And this forum. If, say, Logger has hurt feelings he can sue Icerat. Probably wouldn't win, but is it worth the hassle?
I'd be surprised if a similar clause wasn't already in the terms and conditions: "By accepting these terms I agree not to sue ISF over posted comments, or to hold ISF liable if my content is moderated in accordance with forum rules."

When my newspaper enabled online comments I was horrified over the hate speech, disinformation and cruelty that dominated the contents. The decision was made to moderate as lightly as possible because we deliberately did not want to "own" the comment on our own website. Outright incitements to violence might be removed but precious little else. I kept wondering if the Internet would outgrow any of this but I'm not sure it has.

When Twitter started running disclaimers: re: Trump's blathering about mail-in vote fraud, or refusing to carry links to the New York Post when the Biden laptop "story" broke, I did wonder at why they were drawing the line there. Once you start doing that with political commentary you are "owning" content to a certain extent. How much worse could it have been if Twitter had just allowed the material to run without comment? There is just a little bit of a hint there about wanting to have it both ways: Open discourse, but only to a point.
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Old 29th December 2020, 05:17 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post

ETA: And the reason it has got Trump’s goat is that it was originally passed because the argument that the ISPs and other service providers like AOL (yes it’s that old) should be treated like a communications carrier like the post and the telephone system so weren’t responsible for what users posted was struggling because the services were moderating/editing/censoring what users could post. People argued that made them more like the broadcast Tv networks or newspapers. Section 230 sheltered them from that argument.

The reason the idiot wants to get rid of it is because he thinks the services will just allow anything and everything to be posted without editing or marking his tweets as “this is another lie”.

It’s purely aimed at his Tweets being edited, he doesn’t give not one whit nor iota about any other consequences.
Yeah, although it is not just Trump. Another one is Ted Cruz who somehow believes that Section 230 means that social media must be neutral and must not make any decisions regarding monetization or removing content.

In his mind, You Tube were wrong to demonetize a video in which Steven Crowder made homophobic taunts to a Vox journalist. According to him, You Tube had some kind of obligation to let all of Crowder's content stand (and not because he approves of homophobic taunts, of course. Heavens no! Ted Cruz? Support homophobia!?)

So, the next step is some tricky legal thinking of Ted Cruz's.

Step 1: Repeal Section 230
Step 2: ?????
Step 3: Profit!

If you are wondering what step 2 is, the answer is Ted Cruz is a moron.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 29th December 2020, 05:22 PM   #25
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Actually, maybe I am getting some of my cases mixed up. Anyway, more on legal superbrain Ted Cruz and his fight against Section 230 here.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 29th December 2020, 06:28 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Yeah, but it would slow down the spread of disinformation.....
I'm not so sure about that. It might slow down the chance of people getting together with like-minded people.

But as for spreading it, the right-wing blogosphere, Sinclair, Rupert Murdoch and on and on spread BS far and wide 24/7.
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Old 29th December 2020, 07:02 PM   #27
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So now it has become a big political football...

Quote:
On Tuesday night, McConnell introduced a new bill tying increased stimulus payments to a full repeal of Section 230, according to bill text obtained by The Verge. The bill comes amid new momentum for direct $2000 stimulus payments, and increasing pressure on party leaders to appease President Trump’s escalating demands.

Democratic party leaders criticized the inclusion of Section 230 repeal as an effort to scuttle stimulus talks. “Senator McConnell knows how to make $2,000 survival checks reality and he knows how to kill them,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement Tuesday. “Will Senate Republicans go along with Sen. McConnell’s cynical gambit or will they push him to give a vote on the standalone [bill]?”
Link
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 29th December 2020, 09:16 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
So now it has become a big political football...



Link
Yeah, I wondered if some kind of grand bargain was in the works.

But McConnell probably knows full well what an absolute can of worms the repeal of "Section 230" would be. Maybe he figures it is worth it for short-term political optics, but a lot of thinking has gone in to policies keeping the Internet more or less unregulated.

Though I see the argument for why it should remain that way, I'm also not so sure I like the free-for-all that Facebook, Twitter etc. benefit from. They make money off the ability to spread disinformation.

I do know, though, that tying these 2 things together in a Covid-19 relief package is poor policy.
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Old 7th February 2021, 06:24 AM   #29
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So now there has been proposed legislation to reform Section 230.

Link
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"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 7th February 2021, 06:52 AM   #30
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Sorry, but the tech companies are trying to have it both ways. They originally said they should have immunity because they shouldn't be responsible for moderating the comments and statements of their users. This is a reasonable argument; back when Screw Loose Change was getting hundreds of comments a day, I would have shut the comments down before trying to moderate them.

However, the tech companies are no longer taking a hands-off approach to moderation, and therefore they no longer need the shield.
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Old 7th February 2021, 07:33 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Sorry, but the tech companies are trying to have it both ways. They originally said they should have immunity because they shouldn't be responsible for moderating the comments and statements of their users. This is a reasonable argument; back when Screw Loose Change was getting hundreds of comments a day, I would have shut the comments down before trying to moderate them.

However, the tech companies are no longer taking a hands-off approach to moderation, and therefore they no longer need the shield.
When you consider that 720,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every day, how exactly do you expect them to be able to moderate that?
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Old 7th February 2021, 11:51 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
When you consider that 720,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every day, how exactly do you expect them to be able to moderate that?
The same way they do now, wait for someone to complain and then remove the offending video.
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Old 7th February 2021, 12:06 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by I Am The Scum View Post
Assuming the post was defamatory, yes. This would cause this site (along with Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to clamp down really hard on what people are allowed to say on their platform.
I just note that a post wouldn't have to be provably defamatory. It might even be indisputably true. You can sue anybody for anything, and you can hurt somebody a lot by tying them up in lawsuits, even if they would ultimately win at a trial. That was a routine Trump tactic against his contractors.

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Old 7th February 2021, 12:40 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Sorry, but the tech companies are trying to have it both ways. They originally said they should have immunity because they shouldn't be responsible for moderating the comments and statements of their users. This is a reasonable argument; back when Screw Loose Change was getting hundreds of comments a day, I would have shut the comments down before trying to moderate them.

However, the tech companies are no longer taking a hands-off approach to moderation, and therefore they no longer need the shield.
Nope they were doing that years ago when it was first passed which is why it was passed in the first place.

There has been no change.
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Old 7th February 2021, 12:44 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
I just note that a post wouldn't have to be provably defamatory. It might even be indisputably true. You can sue anybody for anything, and you can hurt somebody a lot by tying them up in lawsuits, even if they would ultimately win at a trial. That was a routine Trump tactic against his contractors.
Despite it being in place the former owner of this forum was sued as were some of us members. Yes it had no merit but the JREF had to get their legal bod involved to get it seen to.
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Old 7th February 2021, 03:08 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
The same way they do now, wait for someone to complain and then remove the offending video.
Except that with a repel of 230 this wouldn't be the case as instead of complaining about the content and asking for it to be removed, the offended party could simply sue.
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Old 7th February 2021, 03:18 PM   #37
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I don't think the repeal is the result of any deep thought.

Trump felt victimized by social media fact checks and wanted to lash out by hurting them.

Then all the trump supporters who are blindly faithful and slightly smarter than him started constructing post-hoc justifications of how it somehow makes sense.

It's just another instance of his bleach drinking thing. Rambling old man babbles and his sycophants scramble to try to make it make sense.
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Old 7th February 2021, 03:31 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Sorry, but the tech companies are trying to have it both ways. They originally said they should have immunity because they shouldn't be responsible for moderating the comments and statements of their users. This is a reasonable argument; back when Screw Loose Change was getting hundreds of comments a day, I would have shut the comments down before trying to moderate them.

However, the tech companies are no longer taking a hands-off approach to moderation, and therefore they no longer need the shield.
The task of moderating comments is even more difficult now than when you were receiving most of the comments on your blog.

There is nothing unreasonable or contradictory about:
1.) There is too much content to moderate exhaustively.
2.) We will make the best effort to remove content that violates our terms of services and/or is illegal and/or we consider to be dangerous.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 7th February 2021, 03:34 PM   #39
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Ken White / Popehat has a good discussion of Section 230 here and discusses some of the right-wing arguments and why they fail.
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"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 7th February 2021, 03:44 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
The same way they do now, wait for someone to complain and then remove the offending video.
No, what would happen is that anyone and everyone with access to a lawyer will be bombarding You Tube every day saying they want all videos critical of their products to be taken down as being slanderous. If someone says, "Oh sure, Apple say they are eco-friendly that's why they took out the charger but basically it's just their way to save money." Apple complains, YouTube doesn't feel like fighting it in court so takes down the channel.

Same with any company, politician, public figure.

Companies less well-healed than You Tube will be even more averse to risking lawsuits.

It's one thing to fight legal challenges on behalf of your own video content, but another thing to fight on behalf of someone else's video content.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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