Hanlon’s Razor and Why It Is Being Violated

Russell Michaels

Russell Michaels

Russell is inside his own mind, a comfortable yet silly place. He is also on Twitter.

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123 Responses

  1. Avatar Damon
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    “Want less 5-4 decisions? Write better laws. The judicial branch is not supposed to be the release valve for badly and/or hastily written laws.” There are two problems. 1) bad worded laws, 2) A SC WILLING to decide what the laws actually means rather than kicking it back to the Congress. “Yes, Yes I know the law as written says that speeding on a federal highway more than 5 mph greater than the speed limit is a crime punishable by execution, but Congress wrote that. Case dismissed.” As long as the SC is willing to interpret the laws Congress wrote, Congress will write crappy laws.

    I posted this somewhere else too. Twitter and FB are private companies, but they are, in a sense, monopolies. All that internet consolidation? Remember that? There is nothing wrong with Congress looking into changing the law to reflect past changes in the marketplace. I’m not saying that Section 230 needs to go, but I could use a look see for “adjustments”–you know…if Congress ever decided to actually pass a clear law.

    Also, this is why you have all those administration officials and lawyers now…dealing vague laws congress passes that the fed departments then get to decided what that law actually “means”.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Damon
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      I think the issue in this matter is that A) the law is pretty clear and B) folks are misrepresenting it regardless.

      I don’t hear folks saying, “Section 230 has failed us and we need new legislation.” They’re saying, “Section 230 says X” when in reality, Section 230 often clearly and obviously says the opposite of X.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Kazzy
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        Agreed. I’m not hung up on Section 230 has to go or change, I’m saying that the things have changed and a re-evaluation of the current laws is warranted, whether it’s a change in 230 or an additional section or some edits, or an entire new law.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Damon
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          I don’t know enough about all the matters to agree or disagree with that. But the folks talking about 230 right now aren’t saying it is a bad law. They are saying it is a good law because it grants the government X powers. Only… it doesn’t grant any of those powers.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      That was a helpful post.

      I know that *I* thought that section 230 means that if Twitter takes down tweets that defame Jane but don’t take down posts that defame John then John can sue Twitter.

      If that is not true, then I have been misled.

      That said, if Twitter wants to argue that it has the power to moderate when it deletes tweets about Jane but argues that it can’t be expected to moderate when John gives them a call, there’s going to be bad blood on John’s part.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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        Bad blood, indeed. Though, we don’t want the government taking action to avoid bad blood.

        And let’s not pretend all that bad blood is on one side. “The Squad” were upset that Twitter took action against Tweets wishing ill health/death on Trump but no action on Tweets wishing death on them.

        ETA: Twitter carries water for exactly one entity: Twitter.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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          There was a weird situation a while back where the Chinese government was working with Youtube to squelch a particular position. Basically, a ton of comments got deleted because of this. Here’s Palmer Luckey:

          YouTube has deleted every comment I ever made about the Wumao (五毛), an internet propaganda division of the Chinese Communist Party. Who at Google decided to censor American comments on American videos hosted in America by an American platform that is already banned in China?— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) May 26, 2020

          https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

          I expressed discomfort with this sort of thing and was told that private companies can do whatever they want.

          We’re in the process of abandoning Enlightenment Principles.

          It strikes me that we’re going to remember, good and hard, why we fought to enact them in the first place and why striving for them and failing is better than wholeheartedly embracing a (theoretically) non-hypocritical censoriousness.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jaybird
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        I heartily support anyone who chooses to boycott Twitter. I guess this is as good a reason as any.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      Hobby Lobby determined that corporations are entitled to enforce their religious beliefs. Here, Twitter decided they were not going to bear false witness against their neighbor.Report

  2. Avatar Nevermoor
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    Getting the Ukraine facts backwards costs this past whatever credibility it might have otherwise had.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Nevermoor
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      That’s only because you haven’t seen the contents of Donald Trump Jr’s laptop, which I have after finding it in the dumpster in the alley behind my apartment.

      Man, you should see the awful stuff on there!

      I would turn it over to the authorities, but I’m shopping it around for a publishing deal first.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Nevermoor
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      What facts did he get wrong?Report

      • Avatar Brent F in reply to Aaron David
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        At a most basic level this:

        Shokin was not fired at the urging of Biden for prosecuting Burisma for his own purposes. Shokin was fired at the urging of Biden and the EU/USA in general for not prosecuting Burisma with any effect.

        This is well known and well trod ground when we collectively went over this in 2019.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Brent F
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          And that is absolutely ridiculous. Never before in history has there been international pressure to fire a prosecutor who was investigating an oil company for corruption. Never. How would such a consensus even form? Heck, what would happen is that governments would get even more prosecutors to investigate in parallel.

          The trouble is that the EU people who jumped on board with Biden were also making big bucks off Burisma’s corruption, or were influenced by former politicians who were.

          But suppose what Biden and Hillary’s defenders claim was true. So the prosecutor gets fired. After that, was there finally a successful prosecution of Burisma for corruption, which should be the logical outcome if those claims were true? No there was not. The investigations were dropped and Burisma went back to business as usual, paying wads of cash to Hunter and Joe Biden and laundering their money through a hedge fund whose largest stockholder was Obama’s national security advisor.Report

        • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Brent F
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          Is the dress white or blue?

          In other words, you are seeing an action through a lens, while I am seeing the same action through a different lens. We see the same thing, but have different interpretations of it.Report

          • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to Aaron David
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            Nope. Biden was there to execute offical US policy, with broad international support AND the support if the anti-corruption folks in country. Calling that corrupt is a fever dream.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Nevermoor
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              Um, no. The official US policy was to protect Hunter and Joe Biden, who were being paid millions by Burisma, which was run by a Ukrainian mobster. They told the other European countries to get on board with them in stopping the prosecution of Burisma, and Burisma paid Joe Biden a ton of money to pressure the Ukrainian President to fire the prosecutor, which Joe bragged about after the fact.

              However, a more interesting piece of bribery has just come to light via Hunter Biden’s business partner, who gave Brietbart access to his Gmail account and written permission to use everything in it.

              One of those e-mail chains has the details on how the wife of Moscow’s mayor paid Hunter millions to move and launder funds in the US to avoidance sanctions. Devon Archer claims their firm received $200M – from the Russian oligarchs.Report

            • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Nevermoor
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              Sure, he can say that.

              Doesn’t make it true.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    Originalism means taking the law as it is written and not rewriting it on a modern political whim.

    Originalism means that a judge rationalizes the decision she was going to make anyway with the word “originalism”. For instance, when the words

    The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    are interpreted as meaning

    The Court will decide whether Congress has the power to enforce this article and they don’t.

    Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Schilling
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      Pretending that the writers of the Constitution and previous Congress’s drafters intended their words to be limited to only the meanings they had at the moment they were drafted is itself arbitrary.

      Was it a drafting error that the Constitution and various laws are loaded with vague terms like “reasonable” or “undue burden”?
      Why didn’t they make these terms specific, unless it was to leave room for changing definitions in later generations?Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Mike Schilling
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      What should we call it when someone assumes malice on the basis of political disagreement? This is a step below Hanlon’s Razor. Time and time again, people make this accusation against originalists and fail to back it up convincingly.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Pinky
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        What should we call it when malice is the basis of political agreement? You seem to forget that many of us on the left have been called traitors because we disagree on policy with the President and his cultists.Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to Philip H
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          Who hasn’t?Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to Philip H
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          I hope I wasn’t too flippant with that comment, but seriously, do you think that insults only flow one way? Aside from being called every “ist” in the book, conservatives are regularly called greedy, stupid, un-American, et cetera. Even your comment here: do you really think that our political disagreement is based on malice? I assume that either we have different visions for the country, or we see different means of attaining a shared vision. I also think some of the comments on this thread have been lazy, but I’m not going to attribute that to malice.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky
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        The burden goes the other way. Originalists claim to have special virtues they have never demonstrated.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Mike Schilling
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      The term “by appropriate legislation” isn’t just there for decorative purposes. It’s not a blank check to give Congress the power to do anything it wants. Determining what is appropriate legislation for the purpose and what is an overreach is something that rightly falls to the courts.Report

  4. Avatar gregiank
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    Is it a violation of Hanlon’s Razor to point out that the burisma deal has been investigated quite a bit already and nothing criminal was found. Hmm. I’m sure though it’s complete malice with forethought that Rudy has been working with a Ukrainian identified as a russian intelligence agent by the US Treasury Dept to get info. Also that it was reported months ago that russians hacked a lot of info out of ukraine and have been slowly releasing. Rudy himself “defended” his info gathering by saying it’s only “50/50” that Derkach, his Ukie, contact is a russian intell officer. It is probobly just stupidity the entire falconer story about getting the laptop. That is too dumb for malice.

    I think you have the Streisand Effect wrong. What is happening here is some people are furious a shady story maligning the son of a prez candidate ISN’T getting more more attention. Even if there is nothing there repub’s want their sleazy poo cannon to be getting all the attention. Pix of hunter doing drugs: gotta get that on prime time. Are the emails stolen, modified, mean anything; heck with that we need all the prime times for that. All malice there.

    This is a straight up attempt at a October Surprise with help from Russia. Heck Bannon, currently under indictment, and Rudy are teasing that they have more shite to dump. The WH has admitted they have known about this coming for weeks. It isn’t a news story it’s malicious campaign attack so i get why Repub’s are pissed and feel wronged that it isn’t getting all the free media attention they demand.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to gregiank
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      Ron Johnson explicitly said he was hoping his nothing burger of a report would influence people to vote Republican. That it appears to have failed says way more about the tactic then anything else.Report

  5. Avatar Michael Cain
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    Also, this is why you have all those administration officials and lawyers now…dealing vague laws congress passes that the fed departments then get to decided what that law actually “means”.

    I am generally inclined towards the position that neither Congress nor state legislatures should routinely throw legislative responsibility over the fence to the executive branch and the courts. OTOH, I appreciate that neither Congress nor the state legislatures are qualified to decide what level of tetrafluoroethylene release into the atmosphere is safe. Legislators in general are disinclined to have the kind of massive permanent staffs that would be needed to oversee the rule writing. The voters generally support the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts; someone has to maintain the detailed data on how much of what can be released.

    130 years ago all three branches of the federal government agreed the country couldn’t be governed using the original model. The choices were, roughly, create a fourth branch by consensus or call a convention and redo the whole thing. Congress, the Executive, and the Supreme Court agreed on the former. No fair suggesting they were wrong without proposing a workable alternative.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Michael Cain
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      Well, if you are referring to the federal bureaucracy as that fourth branch – since we all work for the President in the Executive Branch I’m not sure we are really an independent branch of government.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Philip H
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        I’m thinking about the independent agencies who have limited scope and exist solely at the pleasure of Congress (who created them) versus the executive departments, and who are often directed by a board/commission/something of people who serve their appointed term regardless of changes in administration.

        Mostly organizations created under the public policy theory of “It was simpler and cheaper to have one organization that did both rule-making and rule-enforcing than to have two organizations, one under Congress for rule-making and one under the executive for rule-enforcing.”

        These days I tend to think about FERC, which I have long perceived as being anti-renewables and anti-western states.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird
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    The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin got suspended for pulling it out during a conference call. That’s the backstory to this.

    Anyway, this tweet gives perspective:

    think toobin, rather than zoom, should be liable for the D? Then you get why S230 matters.— Shoshana Weissmann, Sloth Committee Chair 🦥 (@senatorshoshana) October 19, 2020

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsReport

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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      To be fair to everyone, had I been asked by my employer to engage in a mock drill of election night handicapping, I too would have made a hand jerking motion.

      Jeffrey just carried the joke a little too far.Report

  7. Avatar greginak
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    JFC Now some conservatives are pushing child porn sleaze against Hunter. This is absolutely the scummiest slime job ever.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to greginak
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      they can’t win on ideas. they don’t have any. And too late for them they have woken up to realize the millionaires tax cuts and culture war SCOTUS appointments won’t save their bacon. Somewhere north of 28 Million Americans have already voted – which is 22% of total turnout in 2016. They are potentially on the cusp of a party ending historic loss – all due to hitching their wagons to a power drunk narcissist.

      And they know they won’t be in power to deal with the fall out when all these conspiracies fall apart.

      They are cornered and desperate.

      Not unlike the President.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H
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        The subject has come up of some sort of truth and reconciliation commission, or some type of investigative hearing where all of the malefactors of this stuff need to answer for their actions.

        We can’t- our democracy and republic can’t- afford to “look forward not back” or let bygones be bygones.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to greginak
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      Except that numerous reporters have seen the videos and describe them as “horrifying.” It’s also highly likely that it was the sole reason the repair technician turned over the laptop to the FBI. The singular reason any repair technician or film processing technician calls the FBI is when they find child porn. Laptop repair guys don’t pour through your e-mails hunting for evidence of wire transfers to guys with unpronounceable names, but they do flag the FBI when they see stuff like that. In fact, given the circumstances of this case, it’s would be unlikely for the laptop NOT to have child porn on it because the repair guy wouldn’t have had any reason to contact the FBI.

      However, that’s just Hunter being Hunter. For gosh sakes, the man smokes crack and banged his brother’s wife. Perhaps the real question is whether Hunter got that way because he was also sexually abused as a child, probably by a close family member or family friend based on statistics on offenders. Hmm…. I wonder if anyone in Hunter’s family is known for getting awfully touchy feely with little kids?

      Anyway, the Ukrainian government says it also grabbed one of Hunter’s laptops. He’s been linked to some kind of sex-slave operation in Eastern Europe, which gets into ties with Ukraine, Russia, and perhaps various mobsters over there.

      However, although that might get a bunch of people sent to prison, the more damning evidence from the CCP laptops and other documents will likely show that Joe was basically letting himself be bribed and blackmailed into giving China anything they wanted, such as the South China Sea and the ability to freely steel all our technology, intellectual property, and jobs.

      It’s already far worse than the false accusations hurled at Trump that led to impeachment. It’s also probably not coincidental that Nancy launched impeachment the day after Hunter’s laptop was turned over the FBI. We’re still waiting to get an answer out of FBI director Wray on whether the FBI suppressed and withheld the exculpatory evidence on Hunter’s laptop during the entire impeachment farce. There may be quite a few more FBI people heading to prison.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to George Turner
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        It’s indeed a good thing OT isn’t liable for this.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Schilling
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          The trouble is, is all apparently true. We’re about to get an avalanche of information about it all, as the dominoes fall and people flip to save their own hides, and the question is whether the media can sufficiently suppress it and keep voters in a bubble of ignorance.

          Interestingly, Anna Makanju, the head of Facebook’s “election integrity program”, which determines what you are allowed to see and say, was Joe Biden’s senior advisor on Ukraine. So don’t worry. You will be protected from truth by all means necessary, just like the masses in the old Soviet Union.Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
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            We’re about to get an avalanche of information about it all, as the dominoes fall and people flip to save their own hides, and the question is whether the media can sufficiently suppress it and keep voters in a bubble of ignorance.

            Just like John Durham’s indictments are coming any day now?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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              This is one of those things where the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

              I am 100% down with the idea that there is institutional corruption and much of the highest levels of government is running a grift. Sure.

              There is a point at which you’d think that *SOME* of the stuff would leak through. Maybe the Maxwell trial will have interesting things happen…Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Jaybird
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                I’ve worked with some folks in those highest levels regularly. Some of them are likely doing things they should be thrown in jail for. Many are not. Of the 2 million or so federal civil servants, 4,000 or so are political appointees (1,200 requiring Senate Confirmation). So about 0.2% of the federal government. Which means that most governmental business is not done by people with perverse incentives or political agendas. Sure, we civil servants do a lot of things people don’t like, and we do things some politicians don’t want us to do (though they never get around to changing the laws requiring us to do those things).

                The reason you don’t see that stuff leaking is that doing something someone doesn’t like isn’t corruption. And these days, when actual corruption is found (and usually by internal Inspector General investigations FWIW), it generates little media buzz and zero prosecution by the DoJ.

                Recent Congressional investigations bear this out. There were 10 investigations into the Benghazi attacks, at a wasteful cost of millions of dollars. Those investigations featured 11 hours of testimony by Sec. Clinton. Not a single referral was made for prosecution, but it sure made and still makes a sweeping indictment of her and her allies (including VP Biden). Likewise, the DoJ – under a Trump appointed U.S. Attorney – just closed an investigation into the unmasking of General Flynn. No referrals for prosecution. Sen. Johnson and Sen. Grassley spent months looking into Hunter Biden’s alleged corruption regarding Burisma, and their initial report paints a picture – long known and previously reported by the media – of relationships that appeared to be conflicts of interest but in fact aren’t illegal. All of which points to the fact that what appears to conservatives to be corruption (or at least useful political smears) isn’t. There’s a legislative remedy for that, but no one seems to avail themselves of that.

                And yes, the Maxwell trial could make interesting things happen, especially since Mr. Trump was a long time friend and party associate of Mr. Epstien.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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                The problem with Epstein bringing down Trump is that he might bring down people on Team Good with him.

                So either Epstein is a nothingburger or the Clinton Foundation is still pretty useful.

                That’s the only reason that I can come up with for there not being more enthusiasm to pull on that particular thread.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                I am amused by this notion that there is some sort of “secret corruption” going on, like some deep dark secret that if known, would shatter everyone’s perception of the world.

                Really? Reeeely?

                I mean, suppose I alleged that a cabal of rich guys picked up the phone and ordered the Us Senators about like lackeys, and the Senator cringingly obeyed.

                Well, this isn’t some deep conspiracy, it was reported on the teevee news.

                Suppose I alleged that the President called a foreign government and said if you help me get re-elected, I will give yu billions of taxpayer dollars?
                Another fringe conspiracy theory?
                Nope! It was reported on, and a central feature of the impeachment.
                Or that the President has deliberately steered millions of taxpayer dollars to his personal account, or appointed incompetent cronies to top government positions.
                All reported, all calmly accepted.

                Or if I accused all the top defense contractors of deliberately defrauding the government to the tune of billions of dollars.
                Again, a widely reported fact, that no one disputes.

                So what is the fascination with “secret” corruption?

                If the American public shrugs off all this that is done openly, what could possibly be revealed that would be worse?Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Philip H
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                “Sen. Johnson and Sen. Grassley spent months looking into Hunter Biden’s alleged corruption regarding Burisma, and their initial report paints a picture – long known and previously reported by the media – of relationships that appeared to be conflicts of interest but in fact aren’t illegal.”

                Sometimes what matters is the bucket you put it in.

                I believe your argument (mostly) that the Hunter Biden thing isn’t (probably) prosecutable corruption.

                Now. Put it in the “Inequality Bucket” and see how the story plays.

                And here I’m talking about the Non-Prosecutorial No-Corruption story that Grassley approved.

                As far as I can tell the internet is mostly a mechanism to put stories into the bucket *I* want, not the bucket other people want.

                That said, my personal take is that Biden pere & fils corruption is exactly the right level of corruption we want in government. So tolerating this level of inequality and corruption leaves me unmoved by the ‘scandal’ but then I’m the sort of person Sens. Grassley and Johnson hope receive the message.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
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                “the right level of corruption” is a tough sell during a time of purity.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
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                Tougher than inequality, privilege and exposure of our Meritocracy as systemically anti-merticoratic?

                I dunno… I’d 100% shift into the not ‘technically’ prosecutable corruption bucket every opportunity I get.

                Its likely a gift that folks like Trump, Giuliani and the RNC are too dumb to frame it any other way than “lock them up”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
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                It’s not tougher than “it’s Russian disinformation, I can’t believe that you’re sharing something that is obviously completely untrue and slanderous”.

                (Followed a few months later by “are you still talking about that?”)Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
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                Yeah, that’s the best bucket of all… but since Senators Johnson and Grassley have provided us with information on the matter, do we not have ‘unbiased’ facts about his tenure, pay, duties and qualifications… I mean, we’re not suggesting that the son of a sitting VP *wasn’t* given a position on a board for company in an industry in which he has no experience (yes, yes, he was advising them on important ‘business process’ objectives) shadily run – this we all admit – by people we call ‘oligarchs’ in a place called Ukraine… the language of which Mr. Biden does not speak? Just that we can’t prosecute him for that.

                Some of that must be in the Grassley/Johnson report, no?

                But then, I’m fine with fathers maximizing their networks to make opportunities available to their progeny… like, we should encourage thick communities and networks and families and opportunities… build privilege at all levels.

                But perhaps this runs beyond what reasonable limits we’d place on that? Or against the narrative I’m trying to sell in my campaign? Or can we do anything at all as long as we can’t be prosecuted for it? It’s all so confusing what is permissible and what isn’t.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Marchmaine
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                Grassley and Johnson didn’t have the tens of thousands of Hunter’s e-mails that explain how all the bribery and kickback schemes worked, along with details of the transactions. The “quid” and the “quo”. In part this was because corrupt agents at the FBI were hiding the evidence.

                All that just changed, and what was “suspicious activity” is now a big giant pile of felonies that directly implicate Joe Biden.

                So far the press has been going to the mat to discredit the evidence, claiming it was Russian disinformation, even though the Biden campaign hasn’t even denied that the laptop is Hunter’s, or that he dropped it off, or that Hunter’s lawyer didn’t try to retrieve the laptop, or that the-mails aren’t authentic.

                They detail things that are far, far worse than anything that Donald Trump was even accused of during his impeachment hearings.

                The Constitution says “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High crimes and Misdemeanors.”

                Nancy didn’t even add bribery as one of the charges, not because bribery isn’t an impeachable offense, but because she couldn’t even make up any evidence of it. If they’d have found that Trump took even $1, they’d have gone ahead on that charge.

                The e-mails show Joe Biden taking millions to do his official duties, and in at least one case extorting a government – because people were giving him money. That is bribery, just like the transactions that have landed many an Illinois governor in prison.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to George Turner
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                Honestly George, if you didn’t exist we’d have to invent you.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Marchmaine
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                You might have to, but I’d see no reason to do so.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Philip H
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                Hey, I’m happy to keep you guys at least somewhat connected to reality. 🙂

                I love it so much that the Ukrainians don’t even have to pay me for this. ^_^

                Now if I were a big Team Blue supporter, several things would concern me. One is that the people I vote into high office seem to do pretty nefarious things for cash – from corrupt oil companies, from totalitarian governments, apparently from anyone who has lots of money.

                Heck, how could you trust these people to implement the policies you believe in when, say, the Koch Brothers or Haliburton are paying them to do the opposite?

                Why, you might get actual policies (as opposed to campaign rhetoric) that look suspiciously like what the Democrat policies always turn out to be, benefitting Wall Street hedge-fund managers, big oil companies (who make profit when oil supplies are low and prices are high, not the opposite), and foreign kleptocrats.

                Perhaps just as bad is what happens when these bribery schemes blow up in their faces a few weeks before the election and Republicans get elected in huge numbers. Hey, you got screwed, and all your dreams got destroyed, but Joe and Hunter Biden, and their enablers, got millions more to blow on booze, coke and young Asian girls! Go team blue!

                There has been a line of thought for a long time now that there’s a rot at the top of the Democrat party, with corrupt little cliques like the one around Hillary. The observation is that a fish rots from its head down, and perhaps the first step would be cutting off the head, because the same corrupt people and their same corrupt enablers keep re-appearing, over and over.

                They’ve got their fingers every pie, and keep ruining elections by putting horribly flawed candidates at the top of the ticket. And when they do get elected, they just end up doing whatever the Wall Street managers and oil barons pay them to do. They’re laughing all the way to the bank, raking it in while the rubes and party riff raff whine and moan about whatever Facebook and Twitter tells them to whine and moan about.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                “Maxwell trial?” You don’t expect her to be murdered before then?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                Hey, she hasn’t been granted bail.

                It’s easy to get depressed and then kill oneself when the cameras malfunction under those circumstances.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to greginak
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      I am getting a good hint of how desperate die-hard partisans can be. I will tell you that much.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Saul Degraw
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        says:

        You haven’t seen how people act when they realize how insanely corrupt the ruling class and various government ministries are. King Louis XIV found out about that the hard way. We’re already past the point where Joe Biden simply can’t be allowed to go anywhere except federal prison.

        Top Democrat officials (and possibly Mitt Romney, whose son was also involved with Burisma) were stealing hundreds of millions of dollars for themselves, and the top people at the FBI and CIA were in on it, essentially running a protection racket. Nancy and Chuck Schumer held an impeachment farce to try and cover it up. It is by a factor of the largest political scandal in US history.Report

  8. Avatar Koz
    Ignored
    says:

    I wish I could say something good about this post, but at least as it pertains to the title thesis the pickings are pretty slim. On that score, the OP is wrong and banal.

    “While I personally dislike what Twitter does every so often, it is a private company that is allowed to have whatever policy it wants as long as it isn’t breaking the law.”

    Well yeah. When Sen Hawley passes whatever he intends, what Twitter and Facebook did to the NYPost Burisma corruption story is going to be illegal, that’s the point, obv. And on that score, Sen Hawley is right. What they did ought to be illegal. It ought to be illegal precisely because it violates our expectations of the free and open internet, which has been clearly heading for the worse for the last say, 5-10 years.

    Section 230 is not holy writ. More specifically, the terms of Section 230 are not holy writ. Section 230 is intended to create a safe harbor for internet entrepreneurs to be immune from certain kinds of liability, if certain obligations are met. Well, the particular obligations codified by Section 230 are no longer working for us, as seen by by the examples of the NYPost and a thousand other things. Therefore, Section 230 ought to be updated to require considerations of access and the like in order to move the internet towards a free medium and away from being walled gardens owned by tech oligarchs with substantial commercial interests in collaboration with icky regimes and the worst of American identity politics.

    And it’s not just Sen Hawley either. I’m pretty sure Liz Warren has a set of beefs with American tech that substantially overlaps Hawley and others on the Right, so at least to some extent it’s not a partisan cause.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Koz
      Ignored
      says:

      What big tech is doing is eerily similar to a call I listened to (but can’t find at the moment) from a Southern governor. He was telling another official to disconnect the phones of uppity black people, arguing that all them marches and protests were bein’ coodrinated by them calling each other, and if their telephones got cut off, thing would calm down and all those civil rights protests would stop.

      The official at the other end of the line explained that the FCC was not going to allow the phone company to cut off people’s telephone service as long as they paid their bill.

      The motivation is the same; to break up networks of people that the powers-that-be don’t like, reasoning that public discourse and societal forces should be reigned in for everybody’s own good. The governor failed in his salutary attempt to protect the public from uppity people like Martin Luther King, because US communications laws and regulations just didn’t allow Ma Bell to behave like Facebook and Twitter do now.Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to Koz
      Ignored
      says:

      You’re conflating two separate things here and neither of them have anything to do with 230. I strongly suggest the Ken White post linked to by Oscar above.

      All 230 does is shield ISPs from liability for content published by third parties. It doesn’t grant them walled gardens nor does it set any terms by which they must exercise in content gatekeeping. Issue 1 is a problem of late stage capitalism and maybe anti-trust issues. Issue 2 is a problem of corporate spinelessness in the face of (mostly dumb) activist pressure, who in fairness, are also engaged in free exercise of their rights.

      The focus here is on twitter and facebook but the beneficiaries of 230 include all of your big internet service providers. Take it away and you have the potential for lawsuits against domain providers, cable companies, server and system operations vendors for content they have no real way to police. The end result of that is either no more ISPs or they all flee to some island somewhere because the business model is untenable. That or maybe they become subsumed by the United States government. If you think twitter is a bad censor wait until you meet the NSA.

      This does not mean there is no issue here. Maybe the tech companies do need to be broken up. But that is a completely separate issue. We should all be thankful that this was done the way it was in 1996. Otherwise we might not have the internet at all as we know it and if we did it most certainly would not be dominated by the United States the way it has been.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to InMD
        Ignored
        says:

        Right, the ‘danger’ of 230 is that it opens these companies up to becoming publicly regulated utilities. They can’t be sued for access, but then access become the thing they provide, and the access passes from private to public good… and therefore subject to regulations that vitiate any private TOS.

        Hawley *wants* 230 and campaigning against it is why we live in an idiocracy.Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine
          Ignored
          says:

          Indeed. That and also President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert CamachoReport

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to InMD
            Ignored
            says:

            I suppose it’s possible that Hawley is brandishing 230 as a weapon to force these providers to ‘voluntarily’ treat themselves as a public access platform; but the problem with that is twofold:
            1. The internet doesn’t do nuance… the threat becomes the victory condition.
            2. Victory, in this case, destroys the thing it looks to preserve.
            3. Bonus: In negotiating terms: The stick is too big*

            *This happens a lot to me… customers say I’d better give them a great price because they can solve their problem for free… the issue is that I can’t possibly beat free so I tell them that’s good news, they should definitely solve their problem for free. Godspeed. Then, of course, they tell me what their really problem is and why the free solution won’t fix it… then I ask if ‘that’ problem is worth $XX… if the answer is still no… then I wish them well, shake hands a part as friends. If the answer is yes… then their ‘stick’ was too big to beat me with… and they received no negotiating advantage. You need to beat me with a stick that’s the right size and believable.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine
              Ignored
              says:

              I interpret his position as coming from ignorance of both the law and the technology. And that’s what gets to the irony. The real incentive he would be creating is for ISPs to err on the side of eliminating content. You can’t get sued for what you don’t publish. And the only entities with any hope of trying to comply (they will still fail) are the big entrenched ones that are the source of the consternation to begin with. There will be no new platforms and the path will be paved to making the big ones public utlities. And what would those public utilities be permitted to publish? Edward Snowden?

              But as the OP implies maybe that really is the point.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Marchmaine
              Ignored
              says:

              or maybe he’s genuinely concerned that Facebook and Twitter have become a de facto duopoly of public discussion, and he feels they need to start acting less like Just Some Dude’s Website and more like a national-level industry.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to Marchmaine
              Ignored
              says:

              To be fair, I’m not completely understanding this line comments by you and Inmd (and Duck). But my instinct is to think this train of thought is wrong, especially the part about “too big a stick”, etc.

              First of all, the OP is clear in its imputation of bad faith to Josh Hawley. It’s less clear about exactly what Sen Hawley has done to merit the accusation. We get that he is in some way hostile to Section 230, but there’s no quotes, no reference to a bill or hearings (except the ACB hearings), nothing.

              And related to that, it confuses or glides over 230 in terms of its frame of reference. That’s one thing I was trying to get in my earlier comment. Ie, the OP wants to think, wants us to think that 230 is central in the whole thing. But is it, or is it ancillary?

              We’ve seen this issue before with SESTA/FOSTA, Backpage and the like. It’s fair to say that SESTA/FOSTA are not primarily about 230. But, the safe harbor provisions of 230 essentially would have nullified SESTA/FOSTA had they remained in force. So SESTA/FOSTA created a carveout, where 230 is no longer in force of the scope of SESTA/FOSTA.

              SESTA/FOSTA is law now, and it didn’t change the free internet. It wasn’t “too big a stick” for backpage. (Parenthetically and IIRC, backpage and its people were not hit by SESTA/FOSTA. Backpage was charged at the end of a longrunning DOJ investigation under statutes that predate SESTA/FOSTA. But it was largely the same advocates and the same movement which got the ball over the line for SESTA/FOSTA also hit backpage. And also parenthetically, SESTA/FOSTA predates the election of Josh Hawley to the Senate.)

              The rest of the internet has adapted to SESTA/FOSTA decently well enough. I think it’s fair to say 230 was ancillary to the whole thing. The central frame of reference was the policy considerations around sex trafficking and sex work, whatever you happen to think about them.

              I’d also be very wary about investing too much any “too big a stick” train of thought for myself or anybody I cared about. I suspect that when push comes to shove, there are going to be some software developers, product managers and internet execs who are going to go to jail for it, and deserve to. Given the culture at many of these firms, they are not going to accept that they are in real peril until it’s too late to prevent it.

              For me at least, the real solution involves guarantees of access and service. We can view this as anti-trust, regulation of public utilities, both, or something entirely new. I assume this is largely Sen Hawley’s motivation as well, though tbh I don’t really know for sure. My own idea is a digital/internet Glass-Steagall divide where you can provide logistics or curation with respect to a particular service but not both. 230 is in there is well, but it’s not necessarily the main ingredient.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                SESTA is a carve-out to 230.

                Basically it says you are protected under 230, except for participation in SESTA activities for which 230 provides no specific protection.

                Go ahead… start carving. What things can 230 *not* protect you from (I assume the law already prohibits material participation in illegal activities a’la Silk Road).

                As to Hawley’s exact intentions/strategy/tactics? Perhaps you are right… I only have his public utterances that he’s going to pull 230 from these platforms. As of now the *actual* bill he’s introducing pulls 230 from “[platforms] that display manipulative, behavioral ads or provide data to be used for them.”

                And his own website further observes with regards this episode of Twitter: “Senator Hawley has been a leading critic of Section 230’s protection of Big Tech firms and recently called for Twitter to lose immunity if it chooses to editorialize on political speech.”

                I think we might(?) agree that possibly one could clarify that in order to claim 230 protections, one cannot start to edit end-user-content, unless it censors according to these new 230 provisions for Platform Censoring (i.e. not the whims of a TOS).

                Which would be Regulations strengthening 230… so not SESTA and not pulling 230.Report

              • Avatar Koz in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                Ok, I think a lot of this turns on some specifics about Sen Hawley’s intentions and capabilities. And nobody (here) has done a good job of elaborating exactly what those are. You’ve come the closest in the latest comment.

                Though, if you’re correct there, then I think the “too big a stick” argument falls pretty clearly. That is, twitter and the like will pretty quickly and clearly stop user editorial censorship if that will cost them protections under 230.

                Or, the threat being the victory condition is a feature, not a bug, and is probably why Sen Hawley is going down that particular road, if in fact he is. If he got a bill through Congress to criminalize twitter and put Jack Dorsey in jail, twitter might be able to use quirks and delays in criminal procedure to continue its prior practices. But if, on the other hand, twitter is threatened with losing its 230 protection, it almost certainly will come into compliance right away. Its own general counsel and investors will insist upon it.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to InMD
        Ignored
        says:

        “[T]he beneficiaries of 230 include all of your big internet service providers.”

        Yes, and “all of your big internet service providers” don’t inspect the packets they send and make editorial decisions about whether the NY Post is Possibly Fake News.Report

  9. Avatar Kristin Devine
    Ignored
    says:

    Interesting! Thank you for writing!Report

  10. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    I wish this post had explained why S.230 was not being violated by Twitter’s actions. Instead the writer just gives us “Section 230! DISCUSSION. OVER.”

    Like, the argument always goes that Twitter can’t possibly monitor every message looking for objectionable content, and therefore they have to have legal protections against users posting objectionable content. And with the Hunter Biden thing it turns out that, um, actually Twitter can monitor every message sent on their platform, including DMs? And measures users developed to avoid this monitoring were added to the proscription list, meaning there was a team actively watching this and updating the monitor system in real time? Which kinda makes it look like Twitter could do this thing that everyone says they can’t do?Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      You’re applying deductive reasoning about a particular event to reach a broader conclusion that is wrong. What we’re seeing is a narrow, reactive clean up, not a proactive system overhaul.

      So yes, they can target a specific piece of content like the NYPost story and do a passable job of limiting circulation. It does not follow that they can comply with a comprehensive regulatory regime that requires them to make millions, maybe billions, of judgment calls in tiny time frames with enormous stakes if they get it wrong.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to InMD
        Ignored
        says:

        “What we’re seeing is a narrow, reactive clean up, not a proactive system overhaul.”

        What we’re seeing is a direct refutation of the claim that Twitter Can’t Possibly Monitor Everything On Their Site. That claim is the foundation of arguments, like yours and the OP’s, that Twitter is a Provider and not a Publisher and that therefore it’s protected by CDA S.230.

        “It does not follow that they can comply with a comprehensive regulatory regime that requires them to make millions, maybe billions, of judgment calls in tiny time frames with enormous stakes if they get it wrong.”

        You’re right, that would be difficult! What if, instead, they stopped doing Editorial Moderation (what they did with the NY Post story, that is.) It’s already well-established in this country that businesses aren’t allowed to pick and choose who they do business with; there are requirements, established by both legislation and court precedent, that if you’re a public space then you have to let people use it equally. What if Twitter and Facebook have stopped being Just Websites and are now The Mall?Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          Malls and businesses can refuse to allow some things in their establishments. It’s always been that way.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to greginak
            Ignored
            says:

            A mall is actually a pretty good metaphor.

            Malls have a long case history of what they can or can’t allow or prohibit. And unsurprisingly, the case law is complicated, essentially saying that malls are sorta kinda private but not really in all aspects. Except sometimes.

            The idea that social media platforms are entirely private so they can do ANYTHING they want, versus being public property where ANYTHING GOES misses the fact that we have long had examples of semiprivate areas where there is a complicated patchwork of regulations.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to greginak
            Ignored
            says:

            lol

            Pruneyard v. Robbins

            that was an easy oneReport

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
              Ignored
              says:

              The argument given me recently was that Pruneyard doesn’t apply and, besides, it was poorly reasoned.

              Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “It’s relevant, but it was a poorly reasoned decision at the time, it’s been criticized and narrowed over the years, courts haven’t applied it to the internet, and doing so would be very, very bad for our First Amendment protections.”

                So…entirely possible, is what I’m hearing.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I am no fan of Stare Decisis but having justices argue “yay, we win!” and then a few years later argue “oh, that precedent doesn’t apply anymore… it was poorly reasoned… so… yay! We win!” is a good way to undercut the courts.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to DensityDuck
              Ignored
              says:

              It is entirely uncontroversial that businesses can not allow some behaviors on their premises. Even malls can say some things are off limits.

              I know everybody is a supreme court expert now but listing a ruling really does not an argument make.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                There was a supreme court case that said that it is controversial that businesses disallow certain speech behaviors on their premises. There are, apparently, some things that even malls can’t say are off limits.

                And saying “well, that decision was made and is the established precedent and applies here” is an argument that, at least, picks up the burden of proof in the first place thus forcing the people to choose a different counterargument than “citing a case doesn’t make an argument by itself”.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                And again it is uncontroversial that businesses can not allow certain behaviors. If you think there is some way to spin that into what you want then have fun but it’s still silly.

                Of course citing a case doesn’t make a case unless that case is close to or exactly the same as the original ruling. There are always specfics and caveats and many ruling are narrow.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Sure, but what was uncontroversial today was held as controversial in Pruneyard and, wouldn’t you know it, the Supreme Court found for Free Speech in the Public Square instead of for The Corporation.

                Which, lemme tell ya, has echoes here.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Pruneyard held only that if a state wanted to pass a law requiring mall owners to permit leafletting and other free speech activity on their property, nothing in the US Constitution — including the First Amendment rights of mall owners — stood in the way. (Whether Hobby Lobby has called Pruneyard into question is a fascinating issue I leave to the reader.) Pruneyard did not do away with previous case law denying that the First Amendment gave leafletters, et al., any right to engage in such activity on private property over the owner’s objection and in defiance of state property law.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Does California’s State Constitution’s affirmative right to free speech apply?

                I mean, I’m reading the wikipedia page and everything and I’m not seeing the part where they didn’t find for the students.

                I’m only seeing the part where they did.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Who said they didn’t find for the students? They did, though I mis-spoke when I referred to state law generally rather than the state constitution specifically. The point remains that it was a pure question of state law, and the Court rejected the mall owners’ argument that requiring them to permit leafletters, etc., on their property did not violate the mall owners’ property rights (which were a question of state, not federal, law) or their own First Amendment rights not to be associated with others’ speech. (This point may not survive Hobby Lobby, but I make no predictions.)
                That said, Pruneyard doesn’t advance the ball on any proposed revisions of Sec. 230.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                My take on the issue isn’t that there are proposed revisions of Sec 230 in the pipeline. I can’t imagine one that would get through both the House and the Senate.

                It’s that the argument is that the question of whether a private company can provide a public square arena and then start censoring within it.

                It’s not “the law needs to be changed!” but “I thought this was settled back in 1980.”Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                What was settled back in 1980 was that it’s a matter of state law, not the First Amendment — though, as I said, Hobby Lobby may have changed things.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                What state is Twitter in?

                (I know their HQ is in San Francisco.)Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          Your first paragraph is just wrong on the technology and also on their ability to be a profitable company. It hasn’t proven anything remotely close to that.

          There may well be something to your second point. But if that’s the case the solution is not editorial decision making (which that would be) it’s breaking up the monopolies to ensure a single entity’s decisions don’t carry unreasonable weight. 230 is completely consistent with that. The fact that we have it is a major reason that everyone knows about this story (including the responses) despite twitter and facebook’s attempts to suppress it.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to InMD
            Ignored
            says:

            The claim was “Twitter can’t possibly monitor their whole site“, and there wasn’t qualification on that. If you want to walk that claim back now, go for it, but the strength of that claim’s support for S.230 protection rapidly diminishes as it becomes less of a Fact Of Reality and more of a special-case situation with carve-outs for this-and-that.

            “if that’s the case the solution is not editorial decision making (which that would be) it’s breaking up the monopolies to ensure a single entity’s decisions don’t carry unreasonable weight. ”

            see this is interesting because I actually agree with you that Twitter is too big to moderate every single thing anyone posts and still function in the way it’s intended, but my solution is “stop trying” and your solution is to Judge Greene the place.

            and also you keep saying “Twitter would have to shut down, Twitter would have to shut down” like that’s such a bad thing? In the 1980s you had to stay upwind of the Delaware River if you didn’t want to get skin cancer, these days you can eat the fish you catch from it, and that’s not because anyone was worried about EPA regulations forcing plastics factories to shut down.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to DensityDuck
              Ignored
              says:

              I guess if ‘can monitor their whole site’ includes doing a really bad job of it until they go out of business trying then sure. But that isn’t a real answer for twitter or any of the other tech businesses that are ISPs under the statute.

              And I don’t care about twitter specifically, I care about the ability to build platforms, which was my original point. All section 230 says is that the platform isn’t liable for the torts of the content poster. It isn’t the problem and is in fact a load bearing column of the internet as we know it. I’m open to ideas on dealing with the power of big monopolistic tech companies. Changing 230 is the wrong way to do it.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          It’s already well-established in this country that businesses aren’t allowed to pick and choose who they do business with

          There are specific protected classes. You can kick someone in Klan robes the hell out. Or someone not wearing a mask. Similarly, can a website censor a non-fact-checked, quite possibly libelous post until and unless it’s been demonstrated to be credible? I don’t see why not.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      This one was easy. The Post was the only rag raggy enough to print it, so just filter on that URL.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Schilling
        Ignored
        says:

        The House Judiciary Committee posted the New York Post story, just for all the people who couldn’t read the story because of the Stasi-style information black out, similar to how the truth was suppressed in the Soviet Bloc. There are things about top party officials that the workers simply can’t be allowed to know.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          No, they didn’t. Stop lying.

          https://judiciary.house.gov/Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          So, you could go directly to the Post website, or search for it, or find the link on numerous right-wing sites, and that’s a total new blackout?

          You’re not even trying any more.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Schilling
            Ignored
            says:

            Oh, the post story is old news at this point. Yesterday’s revelations were that Hunter couldn’t stop getting naked with his 14-year old niece, and other young girls he was face-timing with. He was complaining to someone that his therapist was telling him that his dead-brother’s ex-wife (who he was banging) was complaining about him walking around naked in front of the young girls while smoking a crack pipe, and that she didn’t feel he was safe around the kids.

            I got to see that text exchange. 🙂

            And confirming this basic narrative is that the FBI agent who signed for the drive, a signature I’ve seen, was FBI Special Agent Joshua Wilson. His name was also on the subpoena for the repair man. Special Agent Joshua Wilson has spent his entire time at the FBI serving in the Violent Crimes Against Children unit. The FBI says “Joshua currently serves as the Coordinator of the FBI’s national Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) Team at FBI Headquarters.”

            So that’s who took possession of Hunter Biden’s laptop. For the same Reason, Rudy Giuliani and Bernard Kerik, who was New York’s police commissioner, turned their drive over to the Delaware State Police – for sexual crimes against minors.

            And we haven’t even got to the things Hunter was doing with underage Asian girls, which was described as “torture”.

            But don’t worry, you can watch CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC all day long and never hear a word about it, except that it’s all Russian misinformation.Report

  11. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    Incidentally, what Twitter *should* have done was just delete the posts entirely. By permitting them to go through in part (keeping the post but blocking the link) or by adding their own opinions, they’re subject to action under the roommates.com decision.Report

  12. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    I think the claim that social media platforms can’t possibly monitor what goes on them is farfetched, since their entire business model is built on the fact that yes, they can and do monitor every keystroke, every click, so as to find marketing opportunities.

    When you type “double stuff Oreos” the algorithm understands what that is, what it means and has all sorts of responses to it.
    When you type “Senator So & So is taking bribes” it could just as easily respond.

    But that’s really the problem isn’t it? It isn’t that they “can’t” so much as what happens when they do?

    Everyone is aware of that Wired article from 2010 or so? Where they discussed how the NSA installed surveillance taps on every single telecom switch in the country, and their use of a special software that can literally scan every single email, tweet, text message and comment to search for keywords and associations.

    So far this surveillance has been invisible to most of us; we don’t see people getting snatched off the streets based on something they typed on Reddit.

    But we have had cases where low level drug arrests happen, where the info seems like it only could have come from sources unavailable to local police.

    All in all, the suppressing of slander or libel is so easily abused, I think its worth reserving it for the court system where it can be done transparently and with safeguards rather than algorithms driven by agendas outside of the public view.Report

  13. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    Facebook and Twitter decided to put a thumb on the scale and restrict access to the New York Post’s reporting

    Where “reporting” means being handed the story by Rudy Giuliani, as the only “news” outlet that he was sure would print it with no fact checking. The Post even had to forge the name of one of their reporters on the byline, since none would authorize having to have their name on it.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mike Schilling
      Ignored
      says:

      The e-mails are verified. The FBI has a copy of the drive and is now looking at it. The FBI has said the drive is real, it was dropped off by Hunter Biden (he signed the receipt), and it is not any kind of “disinformation campaign”. Then there is the other laptop in Ukraine, and three Chinese laptops, and Hunter Biden’s business partner’s Gmail account. All are pointing to the same thing. Joe Biden was taking huge bribes from Ukrainian, Russian, and Chinese officials and businesses. He’d been doing it for decades. It’s how he turned his whole family into multi-millionaires.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        The only comments the FBI has made publicly about this are that its not getting involved in political activities, and won’t brief Congress on any of this unless and until it develops actionable intelligence.

        Sometimes you need to keep a bit more of your powder dry there skippy – our willingness to believe you is almost nonexistent these days.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Mike Schilling
      Ignored
      says:

      The Post also had to hire a couple of Hannity’s former producers to write the thing. Because, you know, Hannity does sensationalist BS very well.Report

  14. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    Another thing worth mentioning here is that people will tell us that copyright law has to change to reflect the modern reality of how people use and share and disseminate media works on the internet and that legislation has to change to reflect the times, and then they’ll also tell us that CDA S.230 is set in stone and can’t ever be modified and that we absolutely MUST trim our sails as a society to the prevailing winds of that legislation no matter what we might think about the behaviors it allows by corporate entities, etc.etc.Report

  15. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    Something I recently found while diving the archives:
    https://twitter.com/vogon/status/1029777233802448897Report

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