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June 25, 2019

AmGreatness: To Hell With David French and the Other Corporate Cucks, Josh Hawley Is Right About Big Tech


David French and his fellow peacetime conservatives are at it again, wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth as U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) takes a run at curtailing the immense power of Big Tech.

As French channels Neville Chamberlain, the fact is that unless the tech companies are forcefully confronted, now, in the immediate, our self-governing republic will be over in less than a generation and we will be ruled by a tech oligarchy.

French and his types sputter that this is outrageous, that government shouldn't be involved in curtailing the harmful behavior of private companies. First, we would do well to remember that roughly 20 years ago, Washington, D.C. created this problem by carving out the Section 230 exemption for neutral platforms online. Only a fool would think that the tech companies are neutral platforms today. They have, by their own distinct decisions, become publishers and telecommunications companies: if you are making publishing decisions, if you are deploying broadband, if you are creating and streaming live content, you are a publisher or a telecommunications company, and sometimes both.

As these companies have changed of their own volition, Washington, D.C. has continued to live under the happy fiction that they are still nothing more than neutral platforms. What do policymakers not understand? Why are they so blind? Perhaps re-election campaign money, perhaps organizations like National Review being bought off by tech company donations--who can really say? There are all sorts of reasons why we're in defiance of common sense, but it doesnít remove the fact that we are.

Ask yourselves why these companies get to play by one set of rules while publishers and telecommunications companies are forced to play by others? They are in fact the same, though now the tech companies dwarf many of their fellow publishers and telecommunications companies yet still get to play by rules that favor them. This is in defiance of free-market principles: government isnít supposed to pick winners and losers. It is supposed to create a fair playing field for everyone to compete according to the same rules and regulations so that the consumer benefits. Instead, we see it creating rigged games that allow monopolies to develop.

Tim Pool made an interesting point.

Only a speaker or publisher of claimed defamatory content can be sued.

Not being a speaker or publisher of a defamatory statement gives you total immunity from suit. You're just a guy, you had nothing to do with the tort alleged.

Section 230 specifically says that "neutral content platforms" shall not be deemed to be the "speaker or publisher" of a claimed defamatory statement made by a third party using their service -- hence, the complete immunity from suit. You can't be sued for something someone else said, obviously.

Now newspapers can be sued for the defamatory remarks of, say, an interview subject. They are publishers of that defamatory statement -- they chose to publish it. The interview subject made the statement, but then they chose to publish it themselves, becoming another "speaker" of the defamation.

Now, "neutral content platforms" are never considered "speakers" of third-party defamations (or any third-party crime involving speech, such as offering to sell contraband or conspiring to commit a crime). But a newspaper or media company --or this blog -- could be.

The corporate cucks claim that you cannot put restrictions on Google, Facebook, or Twitter as regards their right to censor opinions they disagree with because that constitutes "compelled speech." You're compelling them to speak things they do not believe, the cucks' argument goes.

But... section 230 states that, as a legal matter, they are not considered the "speakers" of any statement made on their "neutral content platforms."

So which is it? Are they the speakers of these words -- in which case, like a newspaper or tv station, they'd have every right to exercise editorial judgment and decide what they wish their company to say -- or are they not the speakers of these words, which is their claim whenever someone tries to sue them?

As it stands, they are speakers when it comes to their power to block people from speaking on their platforms -- and thus can indulge in the vice of censorship -- but not speakers when it comes to people suing them for what other people said on their platforms.

Choose one or the other: Either you are a speaker of other people's words or you're not. You can't forever choose one and then the other when it's in your interest to have the Clown Nose On or the Clown Nose Off.

Also, note that these platforms are quick to ban groups like the Proud Boys even though the Proud Boys aren't hate groups routinely engaged in violence, and yet rarely ban Antifa groups, which are hate groups that routinely use these platforms to target people for violence, and to coordinate violence.

Why should Google and FaceBook and Twitter have the cover of section 230 when it's quite clear they are affirmatively bending their own rules to allow violent domestic terrorist groups to plot and scheme using their platform? They've demonstrated both the capability and desire to ban political groups for far less than what Antifa does; if they're permitting antifa to remain, why should they not be parties to a lawsuit that targets antifa for its violence? They have chosen to continue offering their services to known law-breakers, for purposes of law-breaking.

Having put in place a draconian and expensive system for banning some speakers -- can any of these companies say "We just don't have the money or staff to ban criminal speech"?

If you have the time and personnel to ban Crowder, you have the time and personnel to ban Antifa. And if you choose not to -- then you are liable for their crimes.

If Google and Facebook and Twitter want to ban Crowder or Carl Benjamin, they say "We're speakers, to deny our right to censor is to force us to utter speech we disagree with!"

But try to sue them for knowingly and willfully acting as a plotting tool for antifa, and they say, "But we're not speakers! We can't be sued for others' speech?"

Here's the algorithm:

If someone is complaining of your censorship:

1) Claim that you are effectively the speaker of statements made on your site, and say you have First Amendment right to not be compelled to be the speaker of things you disagree with.

But if someone sues because you did not delete and ban conspirators, contraband-sellers, and defamers:

2) Claim that you are legally not the speaker of those statements, thanks to the Community Decency Act, section 230.

So a publisher has the right to not print people's speech if they don't like it, or find it objectionable, but they also have the responsibility of checking to see if all statements published by them are legal and true, and may face legal suit (or possibly even criminal prosecution) if they're not.

But when it comes to Tech Monopoly Publishers -- they have the right to censor, but none of the responsibility to patrol for legality and accuracy, on pain of legal consequence, that publishers do.

Meanwhile, while acting like publishers in all relevant ways.

Does anyone see the problem here? Or are a lot of Cuckservatives and Ruling Caste Republicans just paid a lot of money by corporations not to see the problem?

This is just one of the incongruities that arises when a company is permitted to claim one status -- "We're speakers and you can't compel us to permit speech we disagree with!" -- for one set of circumstances but invoke an entirely contradictory status -- "We're not speakers at all!" -- for others.

It's time to resolve this.

These companies are in fact media companies -- the largest and most profitable in the world. Google makes NBC look like a corner shop.

And if they themselves are going to willingly, knowingly abandon their positions as "non-speakers" -- as bona fide neutral content platforms -- then they should join the rest of the media in being potential liable for defamation or conspiracies to commit violence that they permit their platforms to be used for.

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posted by Ace of Spades at 03:48 PM

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