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August 17, 2018

True Con Corporate Class Silent on Censorship of PragerU and the MasterCard-Ordered Banning of Robert Spencer from Patreon

We just discovered that we are being heavily censored and shadow banned on @facebook. At least two of our video posts were removed last night for "hate speech" and our last 10 posts have reached 0 of our 3 million followers. More info and screenshots coming soon. STAY TUNED!

-- @PragerU

PragerU has updated that while previously-censored videos are still censored (FaceBook censors a lot of PragerU videos -- including ones simply condemning censorship), new videos are no longer being automatically banned.

For now.

For those amused at Milo and Alex Jones, how do you feel about PragerU being blacklisted?

Still funny?

You consider yourself above these people. Your enemies don't. In fact, you're more dangerous because your "hate" is respectable.

-- @MelissaTweets

Tim Pool did a video, linked here and embedded below, discussing the matter of MasterCard forcing Patreon to ban Robert Spencer's account. Patreon is not at fault here -- they wrote to Spencer in an apologetic tone letting him know that, by contract, they had to obey MasterCard (who processes the payments or something), and MasterCard had ordered them to terminate Spencer's account.

Tim Pool wonders who pressured MasterCard to do this -- was a leftist "anti-Islamophobia" group, or perhaps an Islamic nation in which MasterCard does business?

Is MasterCard now censoring American citizens in order to curry favor with foreign potentates? If so, don't corporate-but-supposedly-super-patriotic fake conservatives have a duty to find out what MasterCard did this, on whose orders? And maybe even consider -- gasp! -- a regulation that financial companies doing business in America can't deny American citizens services just because a foreigner demands it?

But they won't, because most of the Republican Party and FakeNews Conservative Media is bought off by mega-corporations and act as their mob lawyers and PR agents at every turn.

Are any of our alleged tribunes going to exercise their investigatory powers to ask MasterCard, under oath, why they tortiously interfered with a business relationship between Robert Spencer and Patreon?

Or is MasterCard's cash just too long, fat, and green?

Meanwhile, while the idiot FakeNews Conservatives continue to insist that "Private Business social media companies can do anything they want," that's not true -- at least, they can't do anything they want without serious legal jeopardy.

As Lee Smith again reminds us, social media companies only have a special exemption to the normal laws about liability for libel, conspiracy, facilitating the sale of contraband, etc., that most publications are subject to only because it is assumed that they are not acting as editorial overseeers of the content, picking and choosing what gets put into print.

If a newspaper publishes a defamatory letter to the editor, that newspaper is liable for that defamation. The newspaper picks and chooses what to print, after all; it is responsible for trumpeting that libel out to thousands.

But if libel is published on a social media, the social media company is not legally responsible for it by a special exception of the law.

But that law requires that the social media company act as a neutral platform and not act as newspaper would, exercising editorial judgment about what news is fit to print.

Newcomers like Facebook and Google had a huge advantage over the prestige press. Not only did they not have to pay their content providers, they were also exempt from press liabilities and responsibilities. Tech-optimists like Ron Wyden, then-congressman from Oregon and now senator, wrote it into the law.

According to section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

The point of the Wyden amendment was to protect providers from being sued every time someone objected to a post. Otherwise, they feared, America's great internet adventure would be strangled in its crib.

But when a social media company does begin picking and choosing what it permits to be published on its platform, it does in fact become a publisher like any other, legally responsible for what appears on it.

And yet our bought-off Republican representatives -- some doubt on that last part -- don't make an issue of this, by and large. There are noble exceptions -- Rep. Matt Gaetz bangs this drum, and Senator Cruz questioned tech executives closely on whether they were in fact now "publishers" given that they're exercising a publishers' right to select what's fit for their brand -- but most of them just take that sweet, sweet corporate cash and let tech giants take our rights away, one shadowban at a time.

I guess when the tech oligarchs take away our right to free speech completely, the Corporate Cons can pat themselves on the back while saying, "Well, at least it wasn't the government that stripped conservatives of the right to speak freely. At least we know that this repudiation of Americans' most fundamental right was done 'the right way' -- by private companies, acting with, admittedly, the blessing of the federal government which is ignoring its own rules in order to permit these megacorporations to do all this."

I thought the TruCons believed in the Rule of Law -- they claim as much every single day as they preen their dirty wings.

And yet the law says that a social media company is only immune from responsibility for a third-party's postings if it is a neutral platform and not a publisher making editorial judgments about what speakers are allowed to enter and what speakers aren't.

They seem to be ignoring that part of the law for the benefit of their Corporate Very Good Friends, as usual. The ones, of course, who subsidize them and gift them with nice travel opportunities.

Am I supposed to be heartened that my censors will be corporate rather than governmental?

As was said during the arguments over the Constitution and the need to limit legislators' power, "We didn't trade one tyrant a thousand miles away for 435 tyrants closer to home." (Or something like that.)

And I don't really see how I'm benefiting by exchanging one possible censor -- the government -- for ten or fifteen trillion-dollar tech and financial services giants.

More on this point from Instapundit.

Snark At the "Private Businesses Can Do Anything" Corporate PR Agents:

They keep saying "Don't like it? Then build your own."

And then people do that.

And then these megacorporations collude and conspire to shut down those as well.

Robert Spencer Used to Blog at HotAir: Commenters reminded me of this. You'd think Hot Air would at least publicize this on behalf of an alumnus.

Whatever. We're on our own.

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posted by Ace of Spades at 05:28 PM

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