If it’s not illegal to say it then it should be illegal to prevent it from being said

TRUMP WARNS FACEBOOKGOOGLETWITTER
BIAS, CENSORSHIP FIRESTORM

Trying to find a positive story about PDT that is a week old on Google is often impossible. Sometime Duck Duck Go will allow me to access what I know is there, but sometime not. Google is virtually a certainty to be a dry well. Saying things on Facebook and Twitter that offend the left can get you shut down. From the above story, taken from Drudge:

Trump: Facebook, Twitter, Google are ‘treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful’

  • Trump said in a tweet that Google’s search engine had “rigged” news story search results to show mostly “bad” stories about him and other conservatives. He later criticized Facebook and Twitter.
  • He says Google is prioritizing left-leaning outlets and warns that the situation “will be addressed.”
  • The president’s comments come a week before Google, Facebook and Twitter testify before Congress.
  • Larry Kudlow, Trump’s economic advisor, says the White House is “looking into” whether Google suppresses positive articles about the president.

News stories about Australia are usually findable since Google probably doesn’t care what we read. But they do care about what Americans read and prevent what they can from showing up in those narrow corridors inhabited by the wilfully ignorant. Try this story: China reportedly hacked Hillary Clinton’s home server and read all her emails, FBI agent Peter Strzok yawned. It begins:

This is from the Daily Caller because the mainstream media won’t pick up on it until they can figure out a way to say that China only did this at the behest of Russia and Trump.

Now simply routine for stories not to appear in the mainstream media and to disappear from various search engines in no time flat.

What to do is a hard issue since it is clear that an unbiased media would wipe the left out. The truth may set you free, but where will you find it if bias, distortion and fake news are your bread and butter?

AND NOW THIS: Facebook blocks ad for upcoming Diamond and Silk ‘Dummycrats’ movie ridiculing Pelosi, Waters.

FB&T must reckon they are beyond any chance of being made to play by the rules of being an open platform available to anyone. And they may be right, but they might also be wrong. They are certainly tempting fate.

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92 Responses to If it’s not illegal to say it then it should be illegal to prevent it from being said

  1. Bruce of Newcastle

    Google runs up the hammer and sickle flag:

    Google Responds To Trump, Says “Doesn’t Bias Search Results” (28 Aug)

    Google has now responded, claiming that the company doesn’t “bias” its results toward any political ideology and that “search is not used to set a political agenda.” Google also hedged by saying that it periodically issues “hundreds of improvements to our algorithms” to ensure they surface “high-quality content in response to users’ queries.” It was unclear if Google considers only liberal websites as “high quality content.”

    It was my first belly laugh of the morning. Their skewing against conservatives and climate sceptics is so obvious that you can verify this in seconds.

    Daniel Greenfield applies the boot:

    Google Rigging Search Results is a Fact (28 Aug)

    How biased is it? Anyone who looks at its news portal can easily spot that Google favors lefty outlets. It will push material from Splinter, The Root and The Intercept. I rarely see anything from the Daily Caller, Breitbart, Front Page, etc…

    That Google has decided to deny everything says it all. Eventually a judge is going to hammer them with the First Amendment. The fines are going to be stratospheric.

  2. Death Giraffe

    Free speech is the issue upon which all others hang.
    Without true free speech we cannot resolve anything intelligently.
    Lose free speech and there could be no way back from the abyss.

  3. Slim Cognito

    The problem is compounded by the fact that the vast majority of the population have little interest in politics or just get their info through soundbites and clickbait and therefore only know what is fed to them.

  4. Iampeter

    President of the United states is attacking the free speech of tech companies and conservatives supporting this think they are on the side of free speech.

    Wow you guys are just the worst.

    Even teenage SJW’s shouting down speakers they don’t agree with aren’t this confused about everything.

  5. tgs

    What Google, Facebook et al are doing is reprehensible but it is protected under the 1st Amendment. Having the federal government compel speech from a private party in the interests of fighting bias, however real that bias may or may not be, is a fast road to totalitarianism.

  6. Jo Smyth

    Before Trump was elected all the media outlets had a meeting with Obama and the plan to drown out conservative voices was put in place. Pres.Trump says he is going to do something about it and we hope
    he can but the proof is there that if Clinton had won the election, conservatism and free speech would well and truly have disappeared.

  7. Chris

    Peter, when your leftist goon smashes a pensioner with a half-brick for going to hear Pauline Hanson speak, and then extends the courtesy to twitter mobs hounding people out of jobs, showing up with bats and shields to hound people out of speaking in real life, then calling ‘ freedom of speech’ to DEFEND stopping anything but leftstream media coming in news searches is pretty fucking rich.
    The day is coming when this war on alternative ideas to Leftism goes hot. Murdering cops and wounding politicians was the start but the crazy in the media is going to bring it to Weathermen bombs and mob violence against us, and then there will be push-back.

  8. Iampeter

    Peter, when your leftist goon smashes a pensioner with a half-brick for going to hear Pauline Hanson speak

    So you just support the state doing the same thing?
    The fact that conservatives can’t see that they are the same as SJW’s is why you guys are so hopeless.

    The day is coming when this war on alternative ideas to Leftism goes hot.

    Sure but as the attack on the rights of tech companies demonstrates conservatives aren’t an alternative to the left.

    If there’s going to be any escalation of street violence it’ll just be progressive and conservative leftists fighting each other because that’s all fools with no rational arguments can do in the end.

    But at least progressives aren’t confused about the fact that they are leftists.

  9. struth

    It is to whether they are an information provider or a server, basically.

    These companies are not publishers and make sure everyone knows it, or they’d already have gone broke.
    This is exactly the same situation as Telstra disconnecting your phone because they don’t like what you said on it.

    Either Google and facebook et al are publishers or they are service conduits to those publishing.
    It’s interesting to note that when you upload a video they call it “publishing”

    So indeed you are the publisher.

    A Telco providing a service has no right to refuse service based on discrimination.
    The left play by this rule all the time, (bakers and cakes)
    Now if you want your cake and eat it too, lefties, let’s really live by freedom and choice of service.

    I will now not do business with any women, blackfellas, or lefties as is my prerogative.

    Now is there a law against it, or isn’t there?

  10. Behind Enemy Lines

    Anyone who says Google et al aren’t censoring is a liar and a fool. Although it’s very much a free speech issue, it’s not primarily about the First Amendment. It’s a question of whether the social media near-monopolies are to be treated under law as mere platforms, like the telephone companies, or as publishers in their own right. At present, the social media giants are having it both ways. They actively censor conservative voices, which negates the argument that the social media companies are platforms. Yet they remain free from the obligations and consequences (eg libel actions) of being publishers.

    All Trump’s administration needs to do is force them to choose a side and accept the responsibilities that come with it. Although, personally, I’d like to see Google and Facebook and Twitter (and the banks, and the credit card companies, and the payment processors, and anyone else with a de facto government-granted chokehold on commerce) given the AT&T treatment. That is, identified as common carriers and forced to serve anyone who’s behaving legally.

    Granted, that’s not ‘libertarian’. But in the US it’s the law, and I’d like to see the law enforced. By the government regulators with their deep pockets. Enforced with brutal vengeance on behalf of honest, law-abiding citizens who are getting screwed rotten by these bastards. And on behalf of the rest of us, who are up next unless something dramatic is done.

  11. AH

    Is there any proof that Google somehow favours certain views in its search results? Search rankings are based on algorithms that reflect the ‘relevance’ of search results to a given search query. The relevance is calculated primarily by calculating the number of links to a particular page and assessing the textual content of the linking page.

    If Google appears to be favouring certain views it may be that those view are more supported on the general internet.

  12. All Trump’s administration needs to do is force them to choose a side and accept the responsibilities that come with it.

    Congress should subpoena the code and algorithms from big tech and when it is proven they are censoring then retroactively declare that they are publishers from the date they began censoring and are open slather for law suits.

    Then sit back, watch them torn to shreds and the new services and platforms that arise would be too terrified to censor.

    No need for new legislation, just the Government intervening to uphold the current law.

  13. Behind Enemy Lines

    No need for new legislation, just the Government intervening to uphold the current law. –Mr Rusty

    PRECISELY.

  14. stackja

    I don’t believe the MSM on DT.

  15. Zatara

    What Google, Facebook et al are doing is reprehensible but it is protected under the 1st Amendment.

    Depends on what they decide they are. In US law the question is whether Facebook et al. are publishers or a neutral platform. Each have their own rights and responsibilities.

    Publishers make editorial decisions and can be held responsible for those decisions.

    Neutral platforms have the responsibility to be truly neutral. They have demonstrably failed to do so.

    Is Facebook a publisher? In public it says no, but in court it says yes

  16. Iampeter

    Google et al and private enterprise in general cannot censor you or violate the 1st amendment, only the government can do that.
    For example, the President of the United States “warning” tech companies about anything is an actual threat of censorship, a violation of the first amendment, along with an attack on property rights, freedom of association and individual rights in general.

    Too many people here are falling over each other advocating leftism without even realizing what they are saying.

    Classic Cat.

  17. Kneel

    “Is there any proof that Google somehow favours certain views in its search results?”

    Not sure if it was facechook, twatter, or gurgle that did it, but certainly one of them testified before the US congress that it was suppressing bad stories about HillBillary and suppressing good stories about Trump – so what more than an admission from their own mouths?

    Yes, someone needs to get them (google, twitter, facebook et al) to “nail their colours to the mast” as to what they actually ARE – that is, are they a publisher, in which case THEY are responsible for the content, or are they a carrier, in which case they cannot censor AT ALL (except as lawfully directed by the courts, of course). This would not even be hard. Two cases. First one, “You published a comment that is racist/offensive/whatever”. They will hide behind a common-carrier defense and once that is on record, the second case: “You censored my content!”. But the first MUST be on record and neither case can be settled out of court.
    Expensive, but do-able.

  18. Rohan

    AH
    #2804674, posted on August 29, 2018 at 11:29 am
    Is there any proof that Google somehow favours certain views in its search results? Search rankings are based on algorithms that reflect the ‘relevance’ of search results to a given search query. The relevance is calculated primarily by calculating the number of links to a particular page and assessing the textual content of the linking page.

    If Google appears to be favouring certain views it may be that those view are more supported on the general internet.

    The algorithms are supposed to find the most relevant and highest profile pages based on quality content. If that’s indeed true considering the number of positive stories about the Trump administration on non-MSM news sites, then googling a phrase like “good news trump” should show you 100 hits. Instead it brings up this.

    Google is a massive monolithic bullshit artist. Half of the first page of hits is about Trump attacking Google and social media. 50% of the content has nothing to do with the search term and everything about Trumps attack on Google. Massive own goal.

  19. Rohan

    The algorithms are supposed to find the most relevant and highest profile pages based on quality content.

    I should say the algorithms are supposed to find the most relevant and highest profile pages based on the quality of the content and its relevance to the keyword phrase used.

  20. Zatara

    Google et al and private enterprise in general cannot censor you or violate the 1st amendment, only the government can do that.

    Really? Tell that to the cake bakers convicted of violating the 1st amendment rights of gays.

  21. Tel

    That Google has decided to deny everything says it all. Eventually a judge is going to hammer them with the First Amendment. The fines are going to be stratospheric.

    I’m pretty sure that the First Amendment does not bind Google, and might point out that the employees who are doing this probably don’t care about fines because it isn’t their money.

    Google are probably in breach of various trade practices laws if someone can prove convincingly that their product is not what it claims to be (essentially breach of contract, you cannot legally sell something pretend it is one thing when it really is something else). Then again, their search engine is free so perhaps normal trade laws don’t apply.

  22. thefrolickingmole

    tgs
    #2804653, posted on August 29, 2018 at 10:54 am
    What Google, Facebook et al are doing is reprehensible but it is protected under the 1st Amendment
    .

    Read Struths reply.

    At the moment they claim they are merely platforms and not generally legally responsible for what other publish on them.
    Once the start actively curating they may (and im sure there will be a lot more cases testing this) they start becoming responsible for what they allow to be seen.

  23. Tel

    Really? Tell that to the cake bakers convicted of violating the 1st amendment rights of gays.

    The bakers attempted to use 1st amendment as their DEFENSE to prevent them being forced to write something they don’t agree with. You have it backwards.

  24. Tel

    Google is a massive monolithic bullshit artist.

    Obviously.

    But the question remains: [1] can you prove it to a legal standard? [2] is there any US law against being a monolithic bullshit artist?

  25. Behind Enemy Lines

    Iampeter

    #2804719, posted on August 29, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Google et al and private enterprise in general cannot censor you or violate the 1st amendment, only the government can do that.

    For example, the President of the United States “warning” tech companies about anything is an actual threat of censorship, a violation of the first amendment, along with an attack on property rights, freedom of association and individual rights in general.

    Too many people here are falling over each other advocating leftism without even realizing what they are saying.

    Even for a troll, your willful obtuseness is something to behold. And obviously not subject to correction. But I will point out, for the benefit of anyone who is actually interested in understanding the situation — rather than trying to Alinsky his way through this discussion — that neither you nor Google gets to have it both ways. Either they are in essence a common carrier, neutral as to users’ content, or else they are a publisher with the right to edit what is said on their platform and the responsibility for the legal consequences of it. At present, they escape regulation because they’re a ‘platform’, but they behave as a publisher when they censor users and distort the news. This contradiction cannot stand: cannot be allowed to stand, given the staggering power these social media companies now have. Until that question is resolved, bleating about Google’s supposed free speech rights is immaterial, and a distraction from the issue at hand. Mind you, some people clearly welcome the distraction. . . .

  26. Recently David Horowitz had his Patreon cancelled. Upon asking why, he was told by Patreon that Mastercard wanted his account cancelled. (It has been restored after 3 weeks of complaints by conservative supporters).
    Prager University, an on-line university has had many of its educational videos either banned or de-monetised.
    A conservative sheila (Candace Owens) recently re-tweeted an offensive tweet from a lefty to demonstrate twitter bias. Sure enough Candace was banned, but the original tweet was not.
    Google executives/engineers have been exposed on hidden camera admitting to bias against Trump supporters.
    Only 4 congressmen have been shadow-banned by Twitter. Guess what? All four are Republicans.
    The list of evidence of active censorship of conservatives is long and undeniable.

    This is not a freedom of speech issue. Trump has not censored anybody. People like IamfvckwitPeter are confusing the issue (duh!)
    Struth is 100% correct. Tech giants need to make a choice. Publisher or carrier. They’ve gotten away with being both because they have deep pockets and many politicians reside in those pockets.

    Conservatives are not asking for censorship, they are asking for free speech and they are fighting back instead of bending over and taking it.

  27. Tom

    You just knew Iampeter would be first in in line to offer his nubile arse to the child molesters of the fascist Big Tech left. Sad.

    Meanwhile, the idiots just picked a fight with Congress and the American President. That will end well.

  28. I’ve said it before (and Sinc disagrees), but Google, Facebook and Twitter should be treated either like common carriers ie telcos and come under the same rules, or then they have to come under the same rules as the media.

    They want it both ways but I don’t think that’s appropriate now, especially when they also want the government to bring back net neutrality to provide them protection. Unfortunately, they are in a monopoly position in their particular areas and need to come under some public rules/regulations.

  29. Macspee

    Google et al walk upon dubious ice that may yet crack if the Anti-Trust people think they abuse their virtual monopoly positions in the marketplace. Nothing to do with free speech.

  30. pete m

    Google is a publisher of a list of websites they determine best meet your search criteria.

    They publish this list which in effect ranks results in response to what they believe you are looking for.

    Whether it is free or not is irrelevant as they also publish ads you are forced to view to obtain their free service.

    A defamation action against google is continuing when they tried to strike it out on grounds they were not a publisher.

    I do not think, if it can be shown they have skewed results, to claim no bias impacts the ranking of their results. It is how results are ranked that goes to their publish8ng this list.

    I think they will find consumer law quite wide and will catch them out.

  31. Behind Enemy Lines

    Tel

    #2804741, posted on August 29, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    …Google are probably in breach of various trade practices laws if someone can prove convincingly that their product is not what it claims to be (essentially breach of contract, you cannot legally sell something pretend it is one thing when it really is something else). Then again, their search engine is free so perhaps normal trade laws don’t apply.

    Tel, there are a number of things to be done, all within the power of President Trump’s administration. Here are a few that are at the top of my mind.

    First, the Civil Rights Division in DOJ needs to hammer Google et al for conspiracy to deprive people of their civil rights.

    Second, under the precedent set by President Obama’s administration, the IRS needs to be set loose on their tax records. As with Australia, every person and organisation is unknowingly a tax criminal, just waiting for the investigation which will prove it.

    Third, Google Ads is a massive money spinner. The whole premise is that you pay them to display your (relevant) ads to people who are searching for (relevant) things on Google’s search engine. Now, if they’re deliberately skewing search results, then it won’t take a lawyer of exceptional brilliance to they’re defrauding meaningful numbers of Google Ads customers. Such a lawyer might be found in one of the government regulators.

    Fourth, the business has responsibilities to its shareholders. When it deliberately undermines the quality of its search engine — which is a critical part of its business model — then there is yet again a role for the regulator to step in to protect the shareholders.

    I could go on. The main point is that — however rotten it may be — the left has given all of these powers to government. Do I approve? NO. But so long as we have to suffer them, then I want to see them applied equally. All it takes now is the political will. Sure not everyone in DC has been bought off.

  32. Leo G

    A relevant background article first published in the Washington Post:
    Trump’s complaint: Here’s what we really know about Google’s mysterious search engine
    An interesting implication is that your browser’s set of cookies influences the rank of articles returned in a web engine search.

  33. John Brumble

    Iampeter has the usual leftist problem with not understanding the difference between censorship and violation of the US 1st ammendment. The fact that a non-government entity can’t violate US first amendment rights does not mean it cannot be considered to censor.

    And no one is saying Google can’t censor; they are saying they cannot censor AND hide behind the protection of being a common carrier.

  34. John Brumble

    And, no, don’t even bother trying to shoehorn some claim about how a short Twitter statement covers the entirety of any argument.

  35. tgs

    thefrolickingmole
    #2804742, posted on August 29, 2018 at 12:22 pm
    tgs
    #2804653, posted on August 29, 2018 at 10:54 am
    What Google, Facebook et al are doing is reprehensible but it is protected under the 1st Amendment.

    Read Struths reply.

    At the moment they claim they are merely platforms and not generally legally responsible for what other publish on them.
    Once the start actively curating they may (and im sure there will be a lot more cases testing this) they start becoming responsible for what they allow to be seen.

    You’re right, a bit more research on my part has brought to my attention the following from SCOTUS in Turner v FCC 1994:

    The First Amendment’s command that government not impede the freedom of speech does not disable the government from taking steps to ensure that private interests not restrict, through physical control of a critical pathway of communication, the free flow of information and ideas.

  36. Tim Neilson

    An interesting implication is that your browser’s set of cookies influences the rank of articles returned in a web engine search.

    They may say that, but then why do any of my searches almost always throw up [pun intended] a trillion or so ABC and Fairfax links before I can find something truthful?

    I read that someone googled an exact, and fairly long, quote from a Breitbart article, and got 22 middle class pinko links before the Breitbart article showed up.

  37. I read that someone googled an exact, and fairly long, quote from a Breitbart article, and got 22 middle class pinko links before the Breitbart article showed up.

    I do a lot of research for what I write and I often come up with exactly that problem. If I know something should be coming up, I use different search engines to try and find what I need. But even Bing is being quite selective nowadays. DuckDuckGo isn’t any better, as it just tends to aggregate search results from Google etc.

  38. AH

    Leo, yes, Google does return different results based on what it knows about you. Simple example is if you are in Australia you may get news items related to Australia. If it knows you have been searching for AFL it may associate a search for “Bombers” with the AFL team, rather than more common uses of that word.

    Rohan, the link to results for “good news trump” does show matching stories for me. It shows news articles with headlines “Trump accuses Google of burying good news on him” and “Trump claims Google is suppressing positive news about him”. It appears the search engine is providing relevant results. The first one actually has the words “good” and “news” right next to each other in its heading. The second one is using “positive” as a synonym for “good” and also finds it right next to “news”.

    How is the search engine supposed to know if you wanted to read some good news about Trump, or if you wanted to find an article covering Trump’s recent comments about suppression of good news?

    Based on that search, I see no evidence of bias in the results. Bias in the articles linked to sure, but they happened to be the most relevent results.

    Google doesn’t have the manpower to tweak the millions of difference search queries. Sometimes they have been known to degrade relevance for certain keywords for certain sites when they detect that advertisers have manipulated the algorithm, but it’s quite a step to go from that to suggesting that they deliberately present a skewed news perspective.

    If you argue Google should go against the prevailing trends in the main stream media and represent balanced views by performing some sort of affirmative action on pro-Trump results, I think that that would put them in dangerous territory. It’s better that they try to remain as an information retrieval service, with an algorithm based on relevance which doesn’t consider the political implications of people viewing certain content.

    As for Facebook, I have no doubt that they filter their activity feeds based on various notions of what sort of experience they want their users to have, and I seem to recall this has been admitted to, but that is a completely different sort of design to Google. Facebook gives rating to items within their system as to whether or not they should show up in people’s feeds, whereas Google tries to crawl every single website on the internet and classify them as per their relevance to keywords.

  39. Dr Fred Lenin

    Trump and his people have the measure of the conniving ,deceitful,lying elitist socialist fascists they wrack their tiny minds trying to destroy the Peoples Revolution Trump has inspired which is destroying the rotten corrupt edifice they have created . Every lying sneaky trick they pull the Trump people defeat . The roosssians the porn slut Managort ,Cohen , all pushed aside as lies .given a second term he will inflict such damage they willnever 9recover ,look at their media in ruins as people desert them in droves ,they daily commit suicide financially as ratings and revenue plunge another six years of Trump and the whole media scene will be totally changed .
    We however will still be stuck with the alpbc/ sbs aparat financed bt we taxpayers and beloved of our o e party state run bt the National Gangrene Laboral Party the Australian branch of the u.n.communist/ soros rony capitalist gang . Where oh where is our Donald Trump to save us from communist fascist opression ?

  40. Leo G

    It’s better that they try to remain as an information retrieval service, with an algorithm based on relevance which doesn’t consider the political implications of people viewing certain content.

    I don’t know enough about search engine algorithms to properly form a view about Trump’s claim of deliberate bias, but readily available information does suggest the possibility of systemic bias other than those you suggest.
    It’s clear that the web engine’s response to a frequently repeated request string is refined by the repetition. Is it also refined by the set of subsequent URLs requested from returned result strings? If so, then that would provide a mechanism for demographic bias.

  41. AH

    Leo, it’s quite possible they do that (increasing weighting for results that are clicked on), and this would bias the results towards the prevailing view of Google users, but that’s different to Google making a decision about what people should or shouldn’t see.

  42. Leo, it’s quite possible they do that (increasing weighting for results that are clicked on), and this would bias the results towards the prevailing view of Google users, but that’s different to Google making a decision about what people should or shouldn’t see.

    Google can quite easily remove from search results, or place them on page 100+, any commentary that’s in favour of Trump, especially sources known to be favourable to Trump or in any way of a conservative bent. YouTube can do much more by demonetising sites they deem unacceptable and hiding them from regular search views.

  43. Leo G

    … but that’s different to Google making a decision about what people should or shouldn’t see.

    Quite so. But it would be consistent with the anecdotal search-engine bias reported by many Trump partisans.

  44. Iampeter

    Google gets to have it both ways. Either they are in essence a common carrier, neutral as to users’ content, or else they are a publisher with the right to edit what is said on their platform and the responsibility for the legal consequences of it.

    Those of us who are right wing oppose these kinds of leftist regulations anyway, but again I repeat the basics, Google et al can not censor anyone only the government can do that.
    Tech companies kicking you off their platform for any reason, fair or unfair, are exercising their individual rights (like free speech, property rights, freedom of association, etc, take your pick).
    It can never and will never be censorship.

    Like most conservatives you simply don’t know what you’re saying and are advocating censorship and other rights violating leftist ideas without even realizing you are doing so.

    The level of total ignorance on the subject is breathtaking.

  45. Tel

    Tech companies kicking you off their platform for any reason, fair or unfair, are exercising their individual rights (like free speech, property rights, freedom of association, etc, take your pick).

    But that would imply that a business has no responsibility whatsoever to its customers, not even fitness for purpose or sticking with a deal. Does this apply in other parts of an economy? Let’s suppose I borrow money for a mortgage, I guess for any reason, fair or unfair, I can arbitrarily decide not to pay that back, same principle, agree?

  46. Chris

    Let’s suppose I borrow money for a mortgage, I guess for any reason, fair or unfair, I can arbitrarily decide not to pay that back, same principle, agree?

    Or more to the point, the bank within its terms decides to demand full repayment in 30 days because the responsible person read a block post you wrote in 1997 that backed a Clinton policy on gay marriage that is now politically verboten.

  47. Iampeter

    But that would imply that a business has no responsibility whatsoever to its customers, not even fitness for purpose or sticking with a deal. Does this apply in other parts of an economy? Let’s suppose I borrow money for a mortgage, I guess for any reason, fair or unfair, I can arbitrarily decide not to pay that back, same principle, agree?

    No, not the same principle because in your examples rights are being violated while Google biasing search algorithms or YouTube demonetizing someone for any reason are NOT rights violations.

    I’ve said it here before and it sadly needs repeating: politics is about rights.
    Until you understand what rights are and how they work, you will not understand politics.
    You have to walk before you can run.

    The problem is that there are no conservatives (not Mark Steyn, not Shapiro, not Bolt, not whoever…) that know anything about this as can be seen from their lack of content on the subject. So you can never learn anything about politics from reading conservatives.

    This is what I mean when I talk about the breathtaking ignorance on the subject of politics from conservatives. It can’t be overstated.

    You guys don’t understand even the basics and spend your time fighting for the very things you think you’re fighting against.

  48. Tel

    I’ve said it here before and it sadly needs repeating: politics is about rights.

    What right does a bank have to expect payments from anyone?

    Do I have that same right to expect payments from you?

  49. struth

    What a fuckwit you are Iampeter.

    I’ll type this slow for you.

    They must decide what they are.
    A carrier, or a publisher.
    If they feel like they need to censor what is said on their platform, then they obviously are publishers.
    And by god, the left wing and Islamic incitement to violence (which is illegal) which they allow would have them litigated out of existence in a second flat.
    But they are closing down conservative views that are not illegal to make.
    Therefore, they must declare what they are.
    The left get away with defamation and incitement to violence precisely because right wing people aren’t totalitarians.
    However, once youtube, google et al, act like editors, which they are quite within their rights to do,( I’ll type that again, slowly,) However if they want to act like editors which they are quite within their rights to do, then they are classifying their product as published by them, and subject to the same law as anyone else who publishes already is.
    If they want to be just a platform they can be that too.
    They just can’t be both when it suits.
    The internet is relatively new, but companies must still obey the Law, Iampeter.
    We conservatives understand the great benefit of the Rule of Law.
    You people who fear government, being anarchists, have one fucked up view about freedom, if you don’t think the rule of Law comes into it.

  50. Iampeter

    What right does a bank have to expect payments from anyone?

    Do I have that same right to expect payments from you?

    I hope you’re trolling.

    If you’re serious then the only thing I’m going to bother saying is THIS is what you need to figure out BEFORE you start posting on blogs that are meant to be about politics.

    It make absolutely no sense why you’d spend so much time discussing a subject matter you know absolutely nothing about.

    SMH.

  51. Iampeter

    They must decide what they are.
    A carrier, or a publisher.

    Why?
    To those of us who are right wing the function of government is to protect rights not enforce random regulations like this on private enterprise. Even asking this question makes you a leftist and not understanding the issue as it applies to rights, makes you a politically illiterate one to boot.
    Like I just posted to Tel, “it make absolutely no sense why you’d spend so much time discussing a subject matter you know absolutely nothing about.”

  52. Death Giraffe

    What a fuckwit you are Iampeter.

    I’ll type this slow for you.

    ..
    Don’t be silly.
    Soggy- arsed libertarian surrender fuckwits aren’t going to address the actual argument.

  53. thefrolickingmole

    tgs

    And on the other hand Ive seen a couple of refrences to cases which failed.
    As I mentioned, there will be many, many cases before this is resolved one way or another, Google can claim its acting like a responsible news editor refusing to publish a defamatory letter/article on its pages, but then they are sort of admitting to not being just a carrier which is where there current immunity from liability comes from.

    Way smarter people than us will spend lashings of money pushing this particular camel through the eye of that particular needle….

  54. Tel

    If you’re serious then the only thing I’m going to bother saying is THIS is what you need to figure out BEFORE you start posting on blogs that are meant to be about politics.

    If the answer is so incredibly simple, just explain it to me.

    Why do you feel that I have no right to demand payments from you, and yet a bank does have the right to demand that a debtor makes payments to the bank. Just say it out loud, where is the mysterious missing piece?

  55. Tel

    They must decide what they are.
    A carrier, or a publisher.

    That’s based on actual US law and not only does Iampeter not have any understanding of those laws, he also rejects the idea that any authority exists on that basis, so he isn’t interested. I’m trying to start him on far more fundamental concepts than that.

  56. Death Giraffe

    Publicly listed near monopolies colluding to interfere with democratic processes aren’t the same as private concerns.
    When you list on the stock exchange you agree to the rules such entities are bound by.
    No one forced them to do so.

  57. Iampeter reminds me of this character.

    “I am the only conservative in the village. All you others ain’t real conservatives.”

    Daffyd iampeter.

  58. Death Giraffe

    Tech companies should just shut up and bake conservatives a cake.

  59. A Lurker

    I am increasingly of the opinion that Iampeter is a parody account.

  60. stackja

    Voters can decide who to support. Come November.

  61. Sunni Bakchat

    54 Responses and counting. Ignorance abounds.
    The Social Media are hiding behind The Communications Decency act; which makes it very clear the first amendment doesn’t apply. For the record, i think the first amendment should apply.
    There’s an argument to say much of Social Media is inherently leftist in its cultural construction. It could perhaps be described as a digital accelerator for post-modernism. Should the right perhaps invent its political counterpart if it hasn’t already?

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230
    Subsection C, 2 (a) and (b).

  62. Sunni Bakchat

    …………and yes the act was legislated during the presidency of none other than Bill Clinton.

  63. Iampeter

    If the answer is so incredibly simple, just explain it to me.

    Do you also go on a blog about cars and demand explanations of what a car is? I mean its so simple why can’t they just explain it to you?

    If you can’t tell the difference between why “I have no right to demand payments from you, and yet a bank does have the right to demand that a debtor makes payments to the bank” then there’s nothing further to discuss. I can’t imagine why you would be on a political blog.

  64. Boambee John

    If Google appears to be favouring certain views it may be that those view are more supported on the general internet.

    Their ABC has admitted to paying Google to ensure that ABC items appear on the first page.

    Does this count as “favouring certain views”.

  65. cohenite

    I am still nonplussed by supposedly intelligent people saying stopping public access search engines from banning conservative information is like government banning anything. There is no compromise of a private right here; face chook, google etc facilitate access to the net; the net in the West is a public forum, face chook etc don’t charge but make their money through ads; should they be allowed to determine access by preferring political orientation? The answer must be no; and if they don’t comply sanctions should apply.

  66. According to IamPeter, an electricity company can just cut off your power because…….well because it has a right to. Hey, just generate your own…right?

    Look, these social media giants have been telling us for years that they are the modern and technological equivalents to public squares.
    Just like you can speak and associate in public squares freely (so long as you don’t break any laws), you can associate freely on these modern day public squares.

    But it hasn’t turned out that way. IN FACT these shenanigans DIDN’T EVEN EXIST BEFORE TRUMP ENTERED THE ELECTION RACE.
    This isn’t complicated especially if you use these social media platforms. CONSERVATIVES are being discriminated against.
    I am under a QFD ban on Twitter. After being on Facebook for over a year (for connecting with Vapers and Vaping suppliers) I joined a pro-Trump group and within 2 days my account was suspended.

    So this isn’t a question of whether certain groups are being censored at worst, or disadvantaged at best. That is a given, The question is whether these social media ‘PLATFORMS’ have a right to do what they are clearly doing.
    The answer to the above is also quite simple. If they consider themselves to be publishers, they can censor, disadvantage, kick-off customers to their hearts content, but then they must expose themselves to litigation. Some lawsuits will fail, some will succeed. The important thing is they MUST be exposed to this litigation just like any other publisher.
    If however, they consider themselves to be carriers, then they should not be exposed to litigation just like a phone carrier isn’t exposed to litigation for what one customer says to another over the phone, but they can’t selectively censor or disadvantage customers.

  67. Gary

    Death Giraffe
    #2804973, posted on August 29, 2018 at 5:03 pm
    Tech companies should just shut up and bake conservatives a cake.

    Cheeky!

  68. Tel

    Iampeter, it would have been quicker just to say “Agreements” rather than carry on finding ways to avoid saying it.

    Once you accept that people make agreements with each other, your “it’s about rights!” assertion makes a lot less sense.

  69. mh

    Iampeter’s political theory when applied to any scenario will always result in the same final outcome – Open Borders.

    A bit like government-funded climate modelling – oh look, global warming!

  70. Geriatric Mayfly

    Trump said in a tweet that Google’s search engine had “rigged” news story search results to show mostly “bad” stories about him and other conservatives.

    And out of which stable did Googles Guthrie emerge, to then run a conservative free zone known as the ABC? Looks like her selection panel had really done its homework.

  71. Iampeter

    Looks like conservatives do believe that they can force private businesses to bake cakes for their same sex weddings after all.

  72. Jannie

    This is what I mean when I talk about the breathtaking ignorance on the subject of politics from conservatives. It can’t be overstated.

    That sort of absence of self awareness verges on the psychopathic.

  73. pbw

    Six months ago, I searched for “watts up with that” in Google on Chrome on my Android phone. No results. Think about that. I tried Bing, and bingo.

  74. Colonel Crispin Berka, Kings' Fusiliers Corps.

    Sunni Bakchat seems correct about 47 U.S. Code § 230 (c) 2 (A), and it all comes down to those 3 words “or otherwise objectionable”. They can exclude any content they find objectionable even if the content is constitutionally protected.

    The idea that only the government can be guilty of censorship is ridiculous. You would have to believe that a fascist dictatorship can outsource all their censorship activities to a bunch of media companies and suddenly there would be “technically” no censorship occurring. No. When your rights are being restricted it is totally irrelevant who is doing the restriction, the fact is that the restriction is still occurring. In the USA their constitution does not grant people rights, it declares that everybody has these rights naturally, and it itemises specific prohibitions against infringing those natural rights.
    Private corporations can conduct censorship, but what Google is doing here is not an example of that.

    If your web host does not block your content from being accessed then no censorship has occurred. As long as someone with the right URL with network access to the host network can actually retrieve the content, the message has not been blocked. Being unable to find the URL because it isn’t in just one of several web indexes does not count as blocking the content.

    I suggest we are in this mess because people expect too much for free, don’t want to pay for social media and web search results, but then complain when they don’t get what they expect. We are very good at repeating maxims like “If you aren’t paying for the service then you are the product”, but we are not quite so good at understanding the full range of consequences implied by those same statements.
    There is no agreement between a content provider and Google about what they will or won’t do with the stuff they scraped off your web site. There no explicitly agreed expectation that has been broken.
    That is what should be fixed. And we should start paying for search results in microtransactions, preferably into cash pools run by anonymising services. They are less likely to screw you if you are a paying customer.

  75. Death Giraffe

    Looks like conservatives do believe that they can force private businesses to bake cakes for their same sex weddings after all

    ..
    I was having a dig at you.
    Went straight over your head.
    Like most of the content of this discussion.

  76. They must decide what they are.
    A carrier, or a publisher.
    If they feel like they need to censor what is said on their platform, then they obviously are publishers.

    A fine argument, struth, save for one small flaw: they are not censoring, outside what is required of them by the CDA. They are carriers.

    Their algorithms lift into prominence content that is credible and respected, because that approach has been wildly successful in the marketplace. Breitbart, to use one salient example, is neither of those things. It does not deserve to be treated as having the same credibility as the ABC. You will squeal and whine about this, but it is the truth.

    You and Trump are crying like schoolkids about how everyone is so unfair and the government should force people to treat you differently. It is pathetic special pleading.

  77. struth

    A fine argument, struth, save for one small flaw: they are not censoring, outside what is required of them by the CDA. They are carriers.

    As proved above.
    You’re lying.

  78. Crossie

    That Google has decided to deny everything says it all. Eventually a judge is going to hammer them with the First Amendment. The fines are going to be stratospheric.

    They already copped it in Europe but for not censoring as the Euros would like.

    Europe is in a slow motion slide into fascism and have a chance to stop but will they?

  79. Crossie

    Macspee
    #2804783, posted on August 29, 2018 at 12:44 pm
    Google et al walk upon dubious ice that may yet crack if the Anti-Trust people think they abuse their virtual monopoly positions in the marketplace. Nothing to do with free speech.

    Anti-Trust is the most likely way Trump’s Department of Justice will approach it if his tweets aren’t enough but only if Republicans win in the November midterm elections. If Democrats win they will destroy everything in sight to avenge Hillary’s loss and free speech will be a thing of the past. Just look at the antics of Antifa who are the left’s storm troopers.

  80. .

    I hope Trump does not try to water down the 1st amendment. The case law might exist, but it is not grounded in robust philosophy even if the precedent was there before.

    The tech companies should, however, play by a consistent set of rules – I’d love to see them held accountable for corporate fraud (FaceBook in a nutshell, numerous examples) and for allowing ISIS and so on to use their platform to spread propaganda (numerous examples).

    Invoking antitrust for example or deciding whose private property rights to curtail because you don’t like their exercise of free speech is a bad idea, one that can backfire very badly and it reeks of Marxism (re; “power imbalances”).

  81. Iampeter

    I was having a dig at you.
    Went straight over your head.
    Like most of the content of this discussion.

    By sarcastically posting what people here are actually seriously arguing?
    LOL.

  82. OldOzzie

    Social Media Versus The Constitution

    An ancient Latin saying goes: “Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi” (what is permissible for Jupiter, is not for an ox). It feels very much on topic when social media are concerned. And as the heat over their censorship is turned up, it may well be the decisive factor.

    Reuters reiterates today that on May 23, Manhattan US District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled that Donald Trump’ Twitter account is a public forum and blocking Twitter users for their views violates their right to free speech under the First Amendment. The same, says the ruling, applies to other government officials’ accounts.

    On August 10, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University sent the Justice Department a list of 41 accounts that remained blocked. Since, at least 20 have been unblocked. Interestingly, the same Justice Department has stated that the ruling was “fundamentally misconceived” arguing Trump’s account “belongs to Donald Trump in his personal capacity and is subject to his personal control, not the control of the government.”

    Potentially even more interesting is that “the Internet Association, a trade group that represents Twitter, Facebook Inc, Amazon.com, and Alphabet Inc, filed a brief in the case earlier this month that did not back Trump or the blocked users but urged the court to “limit its decision to the unique facts of this case so that its decision does not reach further than necessary or unintentionally disrupt the modern, innovative Internet.” “

    Yeah, they would like that, to make this about Trump only. But that would be strange, because the First Amendment doesn’t only apply to Trump (and/or government officials). It applies to everyone, including Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Alphabet. Or does it? Well, not according to the Internet Association:

    “Despite any First Amendment status that this court might find in the ‘interactive spaces’ associated with President Trump’s account, Twitter retains authority to revoke access to both his account and the account of any user seeking to comment on President Trump’s account.”

    Hmm. So Trump can’t block people from his own Twitter account, but Twitter can do whatever it wishes to that same account.

    The Internet Association members don’t appear to get it yet, but their opportunity windows are fast shuttering. There is no way for them to keep on doing what they have, as they have, for much longer. They’ve drawn the ire of Donald Trump, and though they may tend to focus more on denouncing him, they’d better pay attention.

    Because they don’t hold the cards. Or rather, they’ve been overplaying them. We know they’ve been meeting with the explicit goal of coming up with a general strategy for the November US mid-term elections. We also know they are left-leaning. And that they’ve banned and blocked many accounts.

    All it takes is for a judge or the president to label them a utility, and put them in the same legal frame as a phone company or broadcaster. Because if they can’t be objective, while they are the no. 1 source of news for many people, the potential influence of their secret algorithms and obvious political bias is just too great

    Trump can simply say: if my account must be open, let that be true for everybody else’s too. Forbid any and all banning and blocking unless and until a judge permits it on constitutional grounds, on a case by case basis.

    Judge Buchwald has opened that door by declaring Trump’s Twitter account a public forum. That speaks to the status of Twitter -and Facebook et al- in American society. She can’t take that back.

  83. Boambee John

    m0nty at 1258

    Their algorithms lift into prominence content that is credible and respected, because that approach has been wildly successful in the marketplace. Breitbart, to use one salient example, is neither of those things. It does not deserve to be treated as having the same credibility as the ABC.

    Ha ha ha ha ha.

    Stop it, reactionary lackey, my ribs are aching with laughter!

  84. Boambee John

    Their ABC pays to be lifted to the top!

    Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo Whiskey India Tango.

  85. Death Giraffe

    By sarcastically posting what people here are actually seriously arguing?
    LOL.

    ..
    Try arguing instead of giggling.

  86. Death Giraffe

    The bit that libertarians can never grasp is once the culture is gone, your high libertarian principles don’t farkin’ matter.

  87. Sunni Bakchat

    Thanks Colonel and OldOzzie. None of the discussed social media entities existed in 1996 when the CDA was enacted. That’s not to say Clinton and Reno didn’t see the potential benefits. The law needs updating.

  88. Iampeter

    Try arguing instead of giggling.

    I did. You didn’t understand the argument because you don’t know anything about politics and tried to make a joke instead but just ended up making a fool of yourself.

    I’d stop posting on political blogs if I were you, but this is the Cat and there are no shortage of fools here to keep amusing us.

  89. Death Giraffe

    I did
    ..

    No you didn’t.
    You ignored every argument put forth and spent the day making stupid smug comments like your last.
    Many commenters have made multiple arguments about this and you have dodged every single one and just kept repeating “Muh property rights”.
    Meanwhile, when there are genuine property rights issues conservatives care about, such as the shocking behaviour of councils, you have zero to say.
    Fake libertarian and obvious social justice ally.

  90. Iampeter

    Stop Giraffe, just stop.

    Why are you on a political blog. Yikes.

  91. Death Giraffe

    Still not making an argument.
    Scroll back through.
    There are lots of very good comments from regular commenters making arguments.
    None from you. You should be embarassed.

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