Berg & Lane v Porter

The Deep State is on the march and have been filling Christian Porter’s mind with silliness.

“My own view is that online platforms, so far as reasonably possible, should be held to essentially the same standards as other publishers,” he said.

“The playing field between digital platforms and mainstream media is completely uneven.”

My RMIT colleagues Chris Berg and Aaron Lane explain the difference between the media and social media today in the SMH:

It makes sense that newspapers and broadcasters are liable for what they publish. They actively commission and produce the content that appears on their services. They read it, edit it, arrange and curate it. They pay for it. Newspapers and broadcasters have not only an editorial voice, but complete editorial control. Indeed, it is this close supervision of what they publish that gives them strength in the marketplace of ideas.

Social media platforms do nothing of the sort. Not only do they not commission the content that appears on our newsfeeds (let alone read, factcheck, or edit that content), they don’t typically confirm that their users are even real people – not, say, bots or foreign impersonators. They merely provide a platform for us to communicate with each other. Social media has facilitated a massive, global conversation. But it has no editorial voice.

As I have argued social media is part of the great conversation of humanity – traditional media is not.

Chris and Aaron have to explain some basics to the Minister.

Even if the Attorney-General’s proposal was a good idea in principle, this policy would be particularly devastating for the conservative movement that supports his government. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a legislative proposal that would more effectively, and immediately, cut down the Australian conservative movement online.

After all, what side of politics benefits most from the political diversity and openness of the modern internet? What side of politics has relied most on the internet’s ability to bypass traditional media gateways? It is difficult to imagine the conservative political surge in recent years without social media – without Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and all those podcast platforms.

… not to mention Catallaxy.

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87 Responses to Berg & Lane v Porter

  1. Boambee John

    Ministers need to understand a fundamental truth.

    Departments should not decide policy (unless the departmental secretaries and senior executive service members put themselves up for election). Ministers’ departments are there to implement policy, which has been decided by politicians. There is a hint as to who decides policy in the word “POLIticians”.

    Far too many are, as Hacker was warned in one episode, “house trained”. If they are just mouthpieces for their Deep State departments, they are not value for money.

  2. Chris M

    They merely provide a platform for us to communicate with each other.

    So why do they censor? Censoring (like Facebook / YouTube blocking and suppressing specific viewpoints) makes them publishers and therefore liable to regulation as a publisher. Can’t have it both ways.

  3. Angus Black

    I do not think it is true that “social media has no editorial voice”. What is true is that social media chooses not to exercise a meaningful editorial voice. I imagine this if an economic decision, but nonetheless it is both a conscious decision and an editorial voice (publish anything, I don’t care).

    It is also not the case that social media publishers do not commission (etc) the material that they publish. Of course they do – it’s their business, if there were no content, there’d be no advertising, etc etc. Once again, they can and, from time to time, do exercise editorial curation. It is an economic decision to take the least care and action they think they can get away with. That is not the same thing as “having no editorial voice” – choosing to do nothing is still a “choice”. Some social media platforms are more clearly propaganda vectors than are others and, I’d argue, more clearly publishers…but only more clearly.

    Finally, social media do not merely provide a communication channel for the people of the world. They also provide and enable an essentially permanent and public ally accessible archive of that communication. If that isn’t the definition of publication, I’m not sure what is.

  4. John Constantine

    Just last night, a cat poster boasted how excited he was about setting his family defamation lawyer loose to collect sarah hanson-young style payouts from people that offended him, on behalf of lawfare and the revolution.

  5. Arv

    But it has no editorial voice.

    What planet are you living on Sinc, have you not seen the degradation of right-wing social media through deplatforming and thoughtcrime censorship? Social media companies are becoming very adept at inserting “editorial voice” through this method, in exactly the same way as the ABC maintains its “balance” while using coverage selection as a primary means to exercise its ideological bent.

    I offer no comment on the best way to deal with this or whether we should try to deal with it, but this argument is bogus. The pure libertarian position is becoming harder to maintain as reality expresses its vote, unfortunately.

  6. Garry Bickerdike

    Social media companies use algorithms, and adjust them continually, to manipulate and censure every thing that is published on their sites. Me thinks the global conversation you’re talking about is more than one sided.

  7. areff

    All valid points, but not quite the full picture. When Twitter declares itself more than a carriage service by policing what people can and can’t post because the latter “violates community standards” it declares it is just that: a community. If my local my local mayor and council declare murder lawful in Hobsons Bay, they’ll be called to account by higher authorities. Same thing.

  8. struth

    This is just government desperate to control the net.

    It is a simple case of two evils.
    One is facebook and google closing down right wing comment on their sites, etc, and the other is government intervention as to what can be said.

    You do not have to use facebook.
    You do not have to use twitter.
    The market will eventually respond with right wing sites, or those that allow comment by right wingers.

    The lesser evil is to keep all governments completely out of this.

  9. C.L.

    I noticed this last week.
    It seemed like Porter was offering up social media policing to placate conventional media using a hoary old “level playing field” trope.
    The left has always wanted to prosecute people on social media because it’s now the only ‘platform’ where they’re remorselessly ridiculed and held to ruthless account.
    So what do the Liberals do? What they always do.

  10. struth

    The newspapers that have gone all left wing are failing and Outsiders is now gaining a massive audience for example.

    We must fight like hell to keep the government away from the internet, as their rules will be applied like the foreign interest bill was applied only to CPAC.
    Meanwhile the Chinese own the Australian parliament.
    So effectively you are allowing the Chinese to censor the internet.

  11. Tim Neilson

    I’m with Chris and areff on this.

    Twitter, Facebook and Google want the immunity of a “common carrier” combined with the editorial control of a publisher, and they can’t have it both ways.

    The mere fact that their editorial control isn’t always as overt as traditional media is beside the point. (Anyway, does anyone really think that ABC /Fairfax management exercise serious control over the content they spew out?)

    If they choose to censor some things and publish others they should be liable for what they publish.
    That in itself wouldn’t stop them continuing to destroy traditional media.

    But if they don’t want to be liable for what they pick and choose to publish they should genuinely refrain from censoring (except perhaps on grounds of actual criminality like incitement to violence – but that would require a huge change in their attitude to woke activists).

  12. Tom

    Not only do they not commission the content that appears on our newsfeeds (let alone read, factcheck, or edit that content), they don’t typically confirm that their users are even real people – not, say, bots or foreign impersonators. They merely provide a platform for us to communicate with each other.

    If you’ve fallen for that nonsense, Sinc, you’re a naive idiot like Berg and Lane.

    Social media platforms are publishers that censor and restrict access to their sites. The fact that they can’t be sued over the content they publish is one of the great confidence tricks of the early 21st century.

    I am 100% behind the regulation of social media sites as media publishers. They don’t deserve the massive free kick they’ve been gifted as a result of indecision about the role of new technology and secrecy about how they censor content.

  13. Up The Workers!

    The Left supports free speech…so long as it all behaves like the traffic in a one-way street.

  14. Porter is a eunuch

    Porter is dumber than a bag of hair. Also a coward and a cuck.

  15. Iampeter

    This is a great post and something we haven’t seen at the Cat in a long time. Sadly most at the Cat don’t disagree with the leftist position that platforms should be treated as publishers.

    The Deep State is on the march and have been filling Christian Porter’s mind with silliness.

    This “silliness” has also been expressed by Steve Kates, Rafe and the overwhelming majority of posters at the Cat.

    I believe it was Ben Shapiro that first cooked this line of thinking up and briefed Ted Cruz before he lambasted Zuckerberg.

    Basically in the name of “free speech” conservatives are trying to force tech companies to host content they don’t want to, thereby actually violating free speech. And property rights and freedom of association and just individual rights in general.

    The left has always wanted to prosecute people on social media because it’s now the only ‘platform’ where they’re remorselessly ridiculed and held to ruthless account.

    Yes, if by “the left” you also mean the conservative movement who have led the way on regulating tech companies because “publishers.”

  16. Sinclair Davidson

    Hmmmmmmm. Gentlepeople – how long do you think the Cat comment threads are going to remain open if Porter has his way?

    If you’ll can’t see sense, at least think of your self-interest.

  17. struth

    Twitter, Facebook and Google want the immunity of a “common carrier” combined with the editorial control of a publisher, and they can’t have it both ways.

    I totally agree, except the only people that are going to regulate them is the government.
    How do you think that’s going to go.

    If we had true freedom of speech our newspapers themselves would only be sue-able for liable and defamation.
    Instead, they have let government regulate them and now want the same for their opposition on the net.

    A publisher should only be liable for slander/defamation as it is with unpublished speech.
    I would love to see these guys having to play by the same rules as other publishers but in reality, if government does this we can kiss our arses goodbye.
    Two wrongs don’t make it right.
    New social media will eventually open up.
    Hundreds of thousands around Australia have tuned off the ABC and the likes of free to air morning shows.

    We state that we believe in markets and in this instance, although I’d love to see them playing by the same rules, as the are acting like publishers now, giving power to government to do it, is going to be more detrimental to free speech.

  18. C.L.

    I am 100% behind the regulation of social media sites as media publishers.

    Then you won’t mind financing Sinclair when he’s sued for the defamations posted here by commenters on an hourly basis.

  19. Suggest to Porter that his fame and wealth will increase if he lobbies for a change to the constitution:

    “Parliaments shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”

  20. struth

    Then you won’t mind financing Sinclair when he’s sued for the defamations posted here by commenters on an hourly basis.

    In reality, this is how it would work, unfortunately, Sinclair would be sued, his site closed down and google and facebook will continue on their merry way banning conservative “hate speech” as they will continue to call it.

  21. stackja

    “Has the cat got your tongue?“

    Cat got your tongue? Origin: The English Navy used to use a whip called “Cat-o’-nine-tails” for flogging. The pain was so severe that it caused the victim to stay quiet for a long time. Another possible source could be from ancient Egypt, where liars’ and blasphemers’ tongues were cut out and fed to the cats.

  22. struth

    I’m running short of time here Incoherent rambler.
    What number is that in the constitution?

    That’s the American one isn’t it?

  23. Herodotus

    Some more editorial control of trolls would be welcome here.

  24. struth, US 1st amendment, enforced by the second amendment.

  25. Perfidious Albino

    So long as there continue to be minimal impediments to establishing alternative digital ‘speakers corner’ that’s fine. The market dominance of the incumbent global platforms is a massive competitive advantage in the meantime though.

  26. Tim Neilson

    Basically in the name of “free speech” conservatives are trying to force tech companies to host content they don’t want to, thereby actually violating free speech.

    Once again Iamashiteater shows a total lack of comprehension.

    We’re not proposing that they be forced to do anything.

    They can continue to ban and block to their hearts’ content. We’re 100% behind their total freedom to ban and block whatever they like, if they choose to do that. It’s just that if they choose to do that they should have exactly the same liability for what they choose to publish as any other publisher.

  27. Bela Bartok

    I agree with Arv and some others here. The quote:

    Social media has facilitated a massive, global conversation. But it has no editorial voice.

    is simply, demonstrably false.
    Twitter is going gangbusters editing out conservative voices, since it realised conservatives were using Twitter as a communication platform.
    This government is disgraceful: the difference between it and Shorten’s policies are negligible: attacking the ‘older generation’ for daring to live in their own homes, and wanting to punish them, and now this attempt at censoring the internet – which would only backfire on the conservatives (as pointed out above)… are they stupid?

  28. Hmmmmmmm. Gentlepeople – how long do you think the Cat comment threads are going to remain open if Porter has his way?

    As long as you want it to stay open, as long as you manage it properly. It might even force some posters to ponder what they post. As long as you are seen to be managing defamatory comment, you have nothing to fear.

  29. Bruce of Newcastle

    There’s an interesting tension going on here.

    The Left would just love to shut down fora like the Cat and other such blogs, so that the inconvenient truth doesn’t get heard. But at the same time the proprietors of most of the software platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and etc are lefty elites who donate to lefty causes.

    So while you’d normally expect a strong leftist government, as Shorten’s would’ve been, would push such legislation it is also likely they wouldn’t want to financially damage their allies and donors.

    I suppose the problem with wet Libs is they don’t see the platform owners as allies (since they aren’t) and do see the chiding from the right as a threat. And that chiding overwhelmingly comes from social media since the MSM is as much as 96% in the hands of leftist journalists.

    The sooner that wet Turnbull faction Libs are booted, over to the ALP and Greens where they belong, the better.

  30. Chris M

    how long do you think the Cat comment threads are going to remain open if Porter has his way?

    So your concern should be directed towards censorship Sinc.

    No-one can blame the owner of the soapbox random speakers are standing on…. up to the point the soapbox owner takes an active role in who can stand on the box, who can talk or interject and pushing those off he doesn’t agree with. Then it is an organised event.

  31. Tom

    Hmmmmmmm. Gentlepeople – how long do you think the Cat comment threads are going to remain open if Porter has his way?

    Nothing needs to change, Sinc. You would continue exercise your discretion as publisher of Catallaxyfiles.com, censoring content as you do now (in a light-handed way). You would continue to discourage gratuitous libel – as you do now.

    The only flashpoint would be if the government tried to curtail the use of pseudonyms by commenters – which applies to all media websites, not just the Cat. That won’t happen because it’s a privacy issue.

    I believe the Cat is already a media publisher subject to Australian libel law and it could be shut down by leftwing lawfare. That also applies to any site that that doesn’t have the financial resources to fight the fascist left’s attempts to shut down free speech in this country.

  32. Cynic of Ayr

    Jeez, Sinc, what part of this bit doesn’t leap out at you and smack you in the face?
    Newspapers and broadcasters have not only an editorial voice, but complete editorial control. Indeed, it is this close supervision of what they publish that gives them strength in the marketplace of ideas.
    Social media platforms do nothing of the sort.

    Facebook and Twitter do have complete editorial control. Be too conservative and you’re out. No ifs, buts or explanations. Many, many examples abound.
    They do choose what is published! They look at every single post, either manually or flagged by bots, and then choose – publish or not.

    To say Facebook and Twitter are merely platforms that all and sundry freely use is a lie, and I’m amazed you fall for it.

    If one thinks about it a bit, a purpose of Cats, Pundit and a myriad of other blogs, is to battle Facebook and Twitter, attempt to correct them and fight them, because many times, only posts that are against our obvious principals, are published by them.

  33. sabena

    On the issue of whether they simply provide a platform there is this story in Instapundit:-
    BECAUSE OF COURSE: Journalist Andy Ngo Confronts Chelsea Clinton With Facts About Transgender Violence. Twitter Suspends Him.
    As others have noted,these sites do not simply provide a platform.

  34. Elderly White Man From Skipton

    Interesting that Trump, who is often seen to be a challenge of the Deep State, is in fact its most radical proponent:
    “Judge Jackson rejected the Trump administration’s sweeping claim that top presidential advisers are absolutely immune from being compelled to talk about their official duties — meaning they do not even have to show up in response to a subpoena.

    Citing Congress’s constitutional power to investigate suspected abuses of power within the government, Judge Jackson wrote that the Trump administration’s “claim to unreviewable absolute testimonial immunity on separation-of-powers grounds — essentially, that the Constitution’s scheme countenances unassailable executive branch authority — is baseless, and as such, cannot be sustained.”
    Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/25/us/politics/mcgahn-testimony-ruling.html?te=1&nl=impeachment-briefing&emc=edit_ib_20191126?campaign_id=140&instance_id=14100&segment_id=19097&user_id=8aede7ca1ea7cf037f169a8238f6d64e&regi_id=7613717220191126

  35. Iampeter

    They can continue to ban and block to their hearts’ content. We’re 100% behind their total freedom to ban and block whatever they like, if they choose to do that. It’s just that if they choose to do that they should have exactly the same liability for what they choose to publish as any other publisher.

    Everyone knows what you’re trying to do. The strategy of leftist and unprincipled conservatives, like Shapiro and everyone playing the platforms are publishers word games, is very clear.
    You want tech companies regulated without having to call for that openly.
    That would make it too hard for conservatives to evade how left wing and out of ideas you are.
    Instead you try to have your cake and eat it too. You don’t claim to want to regulate them, you just want them to be held legally liable for things they are not liable for.

    The only question is, who do you think this pathetic hair splitting is fooling?

  36. BorisG

    Cynic, I don’t think you can equate Facebook and Twitter. twitter agreed to vet ads. Facebook refused.

  37. Tim Neilson

    You don’t claim to want to regulate them,

    Well, I suppose that laws against murder or armed robbery could be described as “regulating” people, so I don’t have a psychotically deranged monomanic Pavlovian negative reaction against the mere label “regulation”.

    But that wasn’t what I was commenting about.

    I merely pointed out your stupid conceited falsehood in claiming that people are arguing for tech companies to be “forced” to publish anything.
    Expecting people to take responsibility for the consequences of their choices isn’t “forcing” them to make one choice rather than another.

    you just want them to be held legally liable for things they are not liable for.

    If you want to abolish the law of defamation, and criminal responsibility for inciting violence etc., you’re at liberty to advocate for those changes to the law.

    If you’re suggesting that no publisher should ever have liability for those things, you’re at liberty to advocate for those changes to the law.

    If you’re suggesting that of all those people who choose what to publish and what not to, some should be subject to such liabilities, but others shouldn’t, you’re at liberty to advocate for the current legal fiction (that Facebook, Twitter and Google aren’t publishers) to be maintained.

    But the mere fact that some of us believe that laws should be applied consistently rather than selectively is hardly “leftist”.

  38. BorisG

    Anyway, does anyone really think that ABC /Fairfax management exercise serious control over the content they spew out?)

    Yes I do.

  39. BorisG

    Hmmmmmmm. Gentlepeople – how long do you think the Cat comment threads are going to remain open if Porter has his way?

    If you’ll can’t see sense, at least think of your self-interest.

    indeed. Seems like people want to cut down the tree they are sitting on.

  40. Iampeter

    Well, I suppose that laws against murder or armed robbery could be described as “regulating” people, so I don’t have a psychotically deranged monomanic Pavlovian negative reaction against the mere label “regulation”.

    No they can’t be described as “regulating people.” Acts like murder and robbery are rights violations which is the reason they are rightly illegal. You’re politically illiterate. You don’t know why we have laws in the first place and how to tell right wing from left wing laws apart.

    I merely pointed out your stupid conceited falsehood in claiming that people are arguing for tech companies to be “forced” to publish anything.

    That’s not a falsehood. Many conservatives are calling for tech companies to be regulated like utilities, or broken up because they are monopolies, or threatening them with charges of fraud and anti-trust lawsuits, etc. These range from people like Ted Cruz, to publications like the National Review.
    The more cunning conservatives are playing the word games with the whole platform vs publisher nonsense.
    There’s no falsehood on my part. Just slimy evasion and total lack of knowledge on yours. As usual.

    If you want to abolish the law of defamation, and criminal responsibility for inciting violence etc., you’re at liberty to advocate for those changes to the law.

    Nope, no such thing was suggested. People are just not liable for things because you disagree with them.

    But the mere fact that some of us believe that laws should be applied consistently rather than selectively is hardly “leftist”.

    Whether one wants laws applied consistently or not is not what determines where you sit politically. In any case, you don’t want laws applied consistently, you’re trying to single out a particular industry because you disagree with their politics and all because of your leftist belief that you’re entitled to other peoples property.

    Doesn’t get anymore left wing than today’s conservatives. Except the rest of the left isn’t this confused about everything.

  41. Tim Neilson

    Acts like murder and robbery are rights violations which is the reason they are rightly illegal.
    So why is it a problem to insist that tech companies be liable for choosing to publish incitement to violence?

    I said I merely pointed out your stupid conceited falsehood in claiming that people are arguing for tech companies to be “forced” to publish anything.

    You said That’s not a falsehood. Many conservatives are calling for tech companies to be regulated like utilities, or broken up because they are monopolies, or threatening them with charges of fraud and anti-trust lawsuits, etc.

    Poor old irrational Iamashiteater. None of the things you’ve cited are people arguing to “force” tech company’s to publish things they don’t want to.

    Nope, no such thing was suggested. People are just not liable for things because you disagree with them.

    Poor old Iamashiteater, unable to follow a basic logical analysis. Fine, you don’t want to abolish them. Do you want to make all publishers exempt from them or do you want the laws to be applied selectively?

    In any case, you don’t want laws applied consistently, you’re trying to single out a particular industry because you disagree with their politics

    Bullshit. Far from wanting to single them out I want them to be treated exactly the same as anyone else. You really are incapable of understanding simple reality.

  42. Roger

    “The playing field between digital platforms and mainstream media is completely uneven.”

    Apples are not oranges, Mr. Porter.

  43. Iampeter

    So why is it a problem to insist that tech companies be liable for choosing to publish incitement to violence?

    Because tech companies aren’t publishing anything.

    None of the things you’ve cited are people arguing to “force” tech company’s to publish things they don’t want to.

    Then why are they calling for regulating tech?
    In any case, these positions make conservatives anti-capitalist and completely left wing which is the point.

    Do you want to make all publishers exempt from them or do you want the laws to be applied selectively?

    If you can prove someone is liable for damages then you should sue them.
    The problem for conservative leftists is that tech companies are NOT liable for what people do on their platforms. So they are trying to find ways around this.

    Far from wanting to single them out I want them to be treated exactly the same as anyone else.

    Like anyone else who? Who else is held liable for things they aren’t liable for? What “laws” are you calling to be applied equally?

  44. Kneel

    “But the mere fact that some of us believe that laws should be applied consistently rather than selectively is hardly “leftist”.”

    Just so.
    Repeating – with attribution – what others say does not, in and of itself, make you liable for that speech. However, if you decide what to publish and what to suppress, then you are liable.
    Is Australia Post liable for the content of your correspondence? No, because they don’t read it and decide whether or not to forward it to the receiver, they just forward it. Ditto Telstra re phone call contents. Ditto ISPs re web content – if you perform a service for all and sundry with no “we won’t let you say that on our system” then you are a carrier and immune from prosecution based on the content of what you carry. Once you prevent even one customer from saying what they want to say because you don’t like it, then you are no longer a carrier and have become a publisher – and are therefore liable for the content.
    This is true for all traditional forms of communication – mail, phone, newspapers etc. Even newer forms like radio, TV, email and web sites/blogs.
    There is no reason to make the big social media platforms an exception in this regard – in fact, it’s rather left wing to suggest that these platforms are somehow “special” in this regard. They are not.
    I would have thought that those who want reduced govt regulation (I’m looking at you, Iampeter) would support simple rules that all must obey and only very few, if any, exceptions – things like incitement to violence, pedos etc. The same exceptions for everyone, mind.
    As it currently stands, in the US at least if not here too, is that FaceChook, Twatter et al can and do block content they deem “against community standards” – standards they themselves create, not standards imposed on them by govt. And yet they can’t be sued because of the content. Why not? They decide who and what gets blocked, and the flip side is who and what gets published. Therefore, they are not common carriers, but publishers.
    Why the free pass?
    What makes them the exception?
    Why is it acceptable for Facebook to block references to other social media platforms like Open Minds just because they don’t use the same “community standards”? This is entrenching themselves as the monopoly supplier of web-based social media – their customers can’t even notify their friends they’ve moved to a different supplier and advise where to find them at their new “home”! That is the equivalent of Telstra refusing to connect your phone call to Optus – outrageous and completely unacceptable if you are truly a common carrier.

  45. Kneel

    “Then why are they calling for regulating tech?”
    FFS, they aren’t.
    They are calling for THE SAME RULES TO APPLY TO ALL.
    They are calling for the ridiculous exception given to the “platforms” to be removed and to let them face the same rules and consequences as any other media or communications business. I would have thought you would support this, but apparently you are so pathetically hopeless that you can’t see what’s right in front of you!
    A publisher EDITS.
    A carrier does NOT EDIT.
    Platforms can edit or not, it’s up to them. If they edit, they are treated as publishers. If they do not edit, they are treated as carriers. Simple. It involves LESS regulation, not more. It involves a level playing field for ALL, not an exception for the mega corps that are “social media” and have the pollies in their pocket the same as traditional media, simply because of their reach.

  46. The Beer Whisperer

    This is an issue of law, or more precisely, common law.

    This needs to be challenged in court under current laws (or lack thereof). Any legislation that places the public service as arbiters is essentially tyranny by law. Only common law and resulting precedents can provide true justice. A simple demonstration of censorship by the service provider makes them liable to legal challenge in any instance of enabling libel. They don’t need to be a “publisher”, they only need to have demonstrated censorship.

  47. Iampeter

    FFS, they aren’t.
    They are calling for THE SAME RULES TO APPLY TO ALL.

    Except we’re talking about conservatives that ARE calling for tech to be regulated, like Cruz, National Review, etc. Not the ones merely calling for them to be treated like publishers, which is just a roundabout way of doing the same thing anyway.

    However, if you decide what to publish and what to suppress, then you are liable.

    Except “publish” doesn’t mean whatever you want it to mean so you can have a position.
    Being a publisher is a specific action. Tech companies choosing which content to host is not publishing. Neither is you choosing who you do business with. Or who you advertise with or don’t. Or who the cake baker sells the cake to. Etc. People going about their business, exercising their freedoms, are not therefore publishers, suddenly liable for things other people do.

    The way conservatives are trying to use the term “publishing” in order to advance their leftist agenda would mean everyone is a publisher.

  48. Tom

    Tech companies choosing which content to host is not publishing.

    Bullshit.

    And, if you weren’t a simpleton, you know it was bullshit.

  49. Tim Neilson

    Because tech companies aren’t publishing anything.

    See Kneel’s post at 1.45 pm.

    Tech companies routinely select what to permit and what to block on their sites, just as editors etc. decide what to print and what not to print.
    Once they start to select, they’re a “publisher” in the relevant sense.

    Then why are they calling for regulating tech?

    Poor old Iamashiteater. You started with the stupid conceited falsehood that people were calling for tech companies to be “forced” to publish things they don’t want to. I pointed out that none of your supposed examples were actually people wanting to “force” them to publish anything.
    You can’t deny that, so you try for a stupid baseless speculation about people’s motives.

    The problem for conservative leftists is that tech companies are NOT liable for what people do on their platforms.

    As a matter of current law that’s right – but it’s a selective specific exemption not applicable to anyone else, and all we’re calling for is for the specific exemption for them to be removed so they will be subject to exactly the same rules as everyone else.
    If you’ve got a problem with people being treated equally under the law then that’s your opinion, but don’t try to justify it with stupid conceited falsehoods about alleged calls for tech co’s to be “forced” to publish.

    Like anyone else who? Who else is held liable for things they aren’t liable for? What “laws” are you calling to be applied equally?

    Defamation. Incitement to criminal acts. No specific exemptions for anyone – just apply all those laws equally to everyone.

  50. Tim Neilson

    Being a publisher is a specific action. Tech companies choosing which content to host is not publishing.

    Yes it is.

    The way conservatives are trying to use the term “publishing” in order to advance their leftist agenda would mean everyone is a publisher.

    That is a strong candidate for the stupidest comment ever made.

    Is the shoeshine man outside 101 Collins Street a “publisher” if he chooses not to shine someone’s shoes?
    Of course not.
    Publishing is about using facilities to disseminate content, where the publisher chooses what content to disseminate and what not to.
    Which is exactly what the tech co’s are doing.
    And no-one is arguing that they shouldn’t. They’re arguing only that the specific exemption now given to tech co’s should be revoked so that defamation and criminal incitement laws can be applied to tech co’s in exactly the same way as they apply to anyone else. (Including, e.g., that shining shoes won’t generally give rise to liability for defamation or criminal incitement.)

  51. Iampeter

    Tech companies routinely select what to permit and what to block on their sites, just as editors etc. decide what to print and what not to print.
    Once they start to select, they’re a “publisher” in the relevant sense.

    Then EVERYONE is. Everyone chooses who they do business with every day.

    Defamation. Incitement to criminal acts. No specific exemptions for anyone – just apply all those laws equally to everyone.

    They ARE applied equally.
    What you want is for tech companies to be sued for things they aren’t liable for. You don’t want the laws to be applied equally.

    You want this because you are a censorious leftist that wants to punish private enterprise over political disagreements.

  52. JC

    Plodes

    It’s not as easy as you think. As bad as Alex Jones is, the telephone company has not closed down his teloc service because it disagrees with his views.

    These tech firms are also afforded patent and copyright protection. In addition, they cannot be sued for defamation etc for anything carried on their sites because of legislation that was passed to protect them.

    The trouble with you is that you’re a leftist and hasn’t considered these protections by the state. You simply would like to see rightwing views choked out of public discourse.

    Lastly, there is an implied contract with these tech firms with everyone who has signed up to them.

    This doesn’t mean I agree or disagree with booting people, however it is far more complex than what a leftist like you has considered.

  53. Iampeter

    It’s not as easy as you think. As bad as Alex Jones is, the telephone company has not closed down his teloc service because it disagrees with his views.

    But those of us who are actually right wing would support their right to do so if they did.

    Those of us who are actually right wing know that you don’t have a right to other peoples property or services.

    We also know that someone kicking you off their property doesn’t make them “publishers.”

    This doesn’t mean I agree or disagree with booting people, however it is far more complex than what a leftist like you has considered.

    I am clearly not a leftist and this issue is very, very simple.

  54. Given that Catallaxy Files is a venue where numerous authors post stories and the like, I believe that it might well be considered a publisher. I can’t find the reference, but I recall that a few years ago there was something put out that distinguished publishers from simple bloggers, with one aspect being the size of the readership. The latter figure wasn’t all that large.

  55. Sinclair Davidson

    The Fink wanted to define bloggers as people with fewer than 15000 hits per year. We get that every day.

  56. JC

    Plodes. Of course you’re a leftist. When you take all those things into account.

    1. The patent protections

    2. Copyright protections

    3. Protections against libel and defamation

    4. potentially very serious breaches of contract

    When you take all these things into consideration and you still believe there is an unequivocal right to ban people because of their views, then you are clearly a leftist. It’s very problematic.

    If the techs weren’t afforded all these protections then you would have an unambiguous case, but you don’t. You don’t mind all these state protections, which therefore makes you a hard leftist. Not just an ordinary run of the mill one.

  57. struth

    Look , in a just world, the people saying once they edit what is being published on their sites, they are publishers, are correct.
    And it is true that with rule of law , facebook and twitter are publishing, once they edit it.
    One law for all.
    They should be made to play by the rules.

    However, can we push that theoretic and very just thinking aside for a second.

    How do you think letting government make laws that say USA based or anywhere OS based companies must by open to being sued for their content?
    When it is on line, how do you think that would work out for the right?

    Remember, Sinclair has pulled out Bird and many others and banned some on his blog.
    That makes him a publisher?
    And those that say if you are doing nothing wrong you’ll have nothing to worry about are being as naïve as bat shit.
    The left is absolutely insane about closing down an opposition and silencing it.
    They’ll work this law with a fever pitch of insanity we’ve yet to witness, and the law won’t be fair and reasonable.

    What may be morally right and where we expect all to be treated equally under the law, well sorry, those days are long past.
    This will only be used against the right as so plainly evident in the CPAC case.
    And the liberal government brought in that law as well.

    For as long as we can, we must keep the internet free of government, and they are already into it, as the rule of law, administered by criminals, is no rule of law.
    How do you think the government and the courts are going to act toward Sinclair, after ten lefties, or maybe only one, make complaints?

  58. Iampeter

    Plodes. Of course you’re a leftist. When you take all those things into account.
    1. The patent protections
    2. Copyright protections
    3. Protections against libel and defamation
    4. potentially very serious breaches of contract
    When you take all these things into consideration and you still believe there is an unequivocal right to ban people because of their views, then you are clearly a leftist. It’s very problematic.

    None of that makes anyone leftist. Don’t know why you’d be taking any of those points into consideration.

    Leftists are collectivists. Leftists oppose individual rights, like property rights. Leftists are those that cannot state unequivocally that tech companies have the right to host whatever content they want.

  59. Tim Neilson

    But those of us who are actually right wing would support their right to do so if they did.

    Of course we would. Absolutely. But we’d expect, then, that they wouldn’t have a special exemption from defamation laws and criminal incitement laws in respect of what they did choose to permit to be transmitted on their network.

    Then EVERYONE is. Everyone chooses who they do business with every day.

    Sorry Iamashiteater. A shoeshiner is not a “publisher” just because they may or may not refuse a customer. If somehow shining shoes or not shining shoes incited violence I’d expect a shoeshiner to be liable under the incitement laws. But as a practical reality that doesn’t happen.
    But when someone’s business model is disseminating content, and they choose what content to transmit and what not to transmit, they shouldn’t get a special exemption from the laws.

    They ARE applied equally.

    No they are not. There are special exemptions for the tech co’s. If you’re so confident that they aren’t defaming people or inciting violence, why don’t you support revoking their specific exemptions and allow the law to apply to them the same way as it does to everyone else.
    We’re not asking for special laws making tech co’s liable, we’re asking that they not have special exemptions from the normal operation of the laws.
    Are you really so stupid that you can’t grasp that?

    Those of us who are actually right wing know that you don’t have a right to other peoples property or services.

    We’re not suggesting that they do. We’re 100% behind the right of tech co’s to ban and block. We just think that they should have the same responsibility for the consequences of their actions as everyone else.
    Seriously Iamashiteater, what’s wrong with saying that the defamation laws and incitement laws either apply or don’t to a tech co, without tech co’s having a special exemption from those laws?

    We also know that someone kicking you off their property doesn’t make them “publishers.”

    If the Guardian editors refuse to publish opinion pieces by me, are they “publishers”?

  60. Tim Neilson

    JC is absolutely right.

    Iamashiteater is actually a hardline government interventionist demanding government intervention to select who gets special exemptions from defamation and incitement laws, rather than just allowing those laws to apply or not to everyone equally.

  61. JC

    None of that makes anyone leftist.

    Of fucking course they do, you nimbus.

    Don’t know why you’d be taking any of those points into consideration.

    I guess it’s not obvious to you because you’re a leftist. Those are all forms of statist support.

    Leftists are collectivists. Leftists oppose individual rights, like property rights. Leftists are those that cannot state unequivocally that tech companies have the right to host whatever content they want.

    Collectivism requires state support and state threats of violence for those not falling in line. Leftism is statism and by you not showing any concerns about this shows you’re a leftist. A hardcore one.

  62. The BigBlueCat

    But those of us who are actually right wing would support their right to do so if they did.

    Those of us who are actually right wing know that you don’t have a right to other peoples property or services.

    We also know that someone kicking you off their property doesn’t make them “publishers.”

    I guess if Sinc decided to turf you out of the Cat, you would completely understand. OK then.

  63. Iampeter

    Of course we would. Absolutely. But we’d expect, then, that they wouldn’t have a special exemption from defamation laws and criminal incitement laws in respect of what they did choose to permit to be transmitted on their network.

    No one suggests they would. They just wouldn’t be “publishers” because they are exercising their rights.

    There are special exemptions for the tech co’s.

    I keep asking what these exemptions are?

    We’re 100% behind the right of tech co’s to ban and block.

    Well, aside from the many conservative senators and publications that have outright called for tech companies to be broken up, regulated, charged with anti-trust, etc.

    If the Guardian editors refuse to publish opinion pieces by me, are they “publishers”?

    They are publishers because they are in the business of publishing. It’s not dependent on whether or not they publish you.

    I guess it’s not obvious to you because you’re a leftist. Those are all forms of statist support.

    What are? Contract laws? Copyright laws?

    Collectivism requires state support and state threats of violence for those not falling in line.

    Yes like threatening tech companies with breakup, regulation, charges of anti-trust, treating tech like publishers, etc.

  64. Iampeter

    JC is absolutely right.

    Iamashiteater is actually a hardline government interventionist demanding government intervention to select who gets special exemptions from defamation and incitement laws, rather than just allowing those laws to apply or not to everyone equally.

    This is the exact opposite of the content in this thread.

    I’m the one arguing for tech companies to be free to host whatever they want.
    JC, yourself and the other leftists here are the ones advocating for tech companies to be regulated, by calling for them to be treated like “publishers,” in disregard for their property rights.

    As usual we have a comment thread on the Cat with nothing but leftists calling for statism and somehow concluding they are fighting the left.

  65. JC

    I’m not calling for that at all, Plodes. Read what I said instead of hallucinating what you think I said. I argued the situation is more ambiguous than the simplistic, low wattage way you describe stuff.

    Despite the many protections afforded these large firms, you ignore them and accuse others of being leftist. In fact , it’s you who is a very hard leftist. Hardcore.

  66. EvilElvis

    Hmmmmmmm. Gentlepeople – how long do you think the Cat comment threads are going to remain open if Porter has his way?

    If you’ll can’t see sense, at least think of your self-interest.

    Watch the Truman Show ending, Since. People move on and get a life. Now, how would your site go without the comments threads? Self interest?

  67. Kneel

    “I’m the one arguing for tech companies to be free to host whatever they want.”

    Go back and read again – most, if not all, are saying they can host whatever they want. Certainly I am.

    “JC, yourself and the other leftists here are the ones advocating for tech companies to be regulated, by calling for them to be treated like “publishers,” in disregard for their property rights.”

    They can do whatever they like with their property – ban me, you or Donald Trump, only allow leftist views, only allow rightist views, whatever. I don’t care. Go and read my post again. You can’t sue Telstra for libel because I called you a twonk on the phone. If I call you a twonk in a letter to a newspaper and they publish that letter, then they could be sued for libel. Why is that? Because the newspaper doesn’t print everything they get sent, just what they feel is representatve, or whatever other criteria they choose. Telstra, on the other hand – providing they are providing your service of course – can’t refuse to connect your call based on what you have, will or might say during the call, or whom you want to speak to (financial considerations such as cost of the call etc notwithstanding). Or rather, if they did, then they’d be liable for everything anyone says during a phone call.
    What does Facebook do? They say “free for ALL”, trying to sound like they are equivilent to a carrier like Telstra, but in reality, they “de-platform” people whose opinions they dislike.
    I have no problem with them doing so – it’s their choice.
    But they need to face up to the consequences of their choices, and not say “but we’re speshul!” – they aren’t.
    By supporting their privileged position, where they are the ONLY ones who can censor and NOT be liable for content, you are suggesting that they are somehow privileged because – why? Why exactly should they be able to do what no-one else can? Why should they not face the same consequences for their choices as everyone else? Why is Sinclair open to libel actions because of what I say here, but if I write the same content on Facebook, Facebook gets a free pass and has no risk of prosecution? <crickets>

  68. 2dogs

    1. Move the social graph into the public domain. In the process, this will make content hosting separate from content presentation.
    2. Content hosters will ensure that their hosted content is correctly tagged. Most will do this by having the content maker propose tags, with algorithmic checks to monitor compliance. They may be held to account for the accuracy of tags.
    3. Content presenters may filter on tags. They can be held to account for their decisions in this regard.

  69. BorisG

    Guys i think it is far less important who is called a leftist. It is much more important to rebuff all the attacks on what remains of free speech.

    If you agree that tech companies should be liable to the same laws as publishers, you are pretty much advocating the end of blogging etc as we know it. As flawed a platform as it is, you are pretty much advocating removal of the very right that you are exercising while writing these comments.

  70. Crossie

    Meanwhile the Chinese own the Australian parliament.
    So effectively you are allowing the Chinese to censor the internet.

    The social media companies were there ahead of the Australian parliament, Twitter, Facebook and Google we’re just too happy to help the Chinese government censor its people that they rolled it out all over the world.

    Billionaires, or more accurately the obscenely rich and powerful, are doing what they have always done. They are treating everyone else as serfs, showing them who’s the boss. I feudal times they were the only ones who were educated and had the means of communication. The priestly caste helped them with it. Today the priestly caste are the Silicon Valley technicians and programmers – the geeks and nerds.

  71. BorisG

    The idea that Australian parliament or tech companies are owned by China is preposterous. Google in particular preferred to withdraw from China rather than comply with their restrictions.

    All this information about XJ, HK protests etc comes by means of tech companies.

  72. Iampeter

    Go back and read again – most, if not all, are saying they can host whatever they want. Certainly I am.

    Then you wouldn’t be arguing with me so this isn’t true and it’s not honest.
    Most, if not all, want tech companies to be regulated for disagreeing with them politically but don’t want to admit it because then they can’t pretend they’re not leftists.
    So most, if not all, are playing word games instead. I’m just not letting you get away with it.

    By supporting their privileged position, where they are the ONLY ones who can censor and NOT be liable for content, you are suggesting that they are somehow privileged because – why?

    No one is saying anything like this. Tech companies can’t censor anyone. They are exercising their free speech and property rights by picking and choosing. There’s no privileged status.

    can’t refuse to connect your call based on what you have, will or might say during the call, or whom you want to speak to

    But they should be able to refuse service unless you’re a socialist who thinks people are entitled to the products of others by right. Also, that’s not the reason they can’t be sued. They can’t be sued because they aren’t liable for what you say on the phone. It has nothing to do with whether they provide a service or not.

    Why is Sinclair open to libel actions because of what I say here, but if I write the same content on Facebook, Facebook gets a free pass and has no risk of prosecution?

    Same reason “you can’t sue Telstra for libel because I called you a twonk on the phone.” They aren’t liable.

  73. Tim Neilson

    Iampeter
    #3246022, posted on November 27, 2019 at 6:30 am

    One more time.

    Telco’s are not liable for the content of phone calls they transmit – correct.

    Telco’s could if they wish refuse to transmit certain calls – correct.

    But those two things are, or at least should be, mutually exclusive. They either have no liability, or they pick and choose what they transmit.
    They can’t, or at least shouldn’t, have both, because if they choose what they transmit or don’t transmit they should become liable for the consequences of their choices – same as anyone else would be.
    That’s the whole point of “common carrier” rules.

    Let’s take an example. Suppose someone wants to put up a billboard inciting violence, and I sell them a licence to put it up on my property. I can’t then disclaim responsibility for the billboard by claiming I’m “not a publisher”. I’ve chosen to facilitate the incitement to violence rather than choosing not to facilitate it.

    Telco’s and tech co’s are, or should be, no different, except if they freely adopt limitations on their liberty to pick and choose in return for the immunity.

    BTW you asked about examples of the immunity – check the definition of “subordinate distributor” in Victoria’s defamation laws and see if you can guess which bit was carefully crafted to make sure it shelters the tech co’s.

  74. Tim Neilson

    Incidentally, if it’s as obvious as Iamashiteater claims it is that telco’s and tech co’s can’t be liable in defamation for what they transmit, why does there need to be an exemption for them in the defamation laws?

    Presumably every single person involved in the defamation law reforms of 15 years ago, including the Attorney General and Parliamentary Counsel and all the defamation law experts who were consulted, were ignorant of defamation law and should have taken the wise guidance of the incomparable Iamashiteater.

  75. Kneel

    “Then you wouldn’t be arguing with me so this isn’t true and it’s not honest.”

    Heh. So because YOU misunderstand or fail to read what I write, and just argue anyway, that makes ME dishonest, does it? The posts are there – go read them, anyone can.

    Why is Sinclair open to libel actions because of what I say here, but if I write the same content on Facebook, Facebook gets a free pass and has no risk of prosecution?

    Same reason “you can’t sue Telstra for libel because I called you a twonk on the phone.” They aren’t liable.”

    This is totally non-responsive to the question – FMD, you even quoted the question, yet the answer is non-responsive. It’s like I asked “What’s your favourite colour?” and you answered “I like squares”. Hello? Is there an intelligent creature in there?

    In any case, the law says differently – the law say that Sinclair CAN be sued and facebook CAN’T.
    You can rabbit on about what “should be” til the cows come home, but what “is” is what we have to deal with and indeed, even what the conversation is about.

    So how about you answer the question, hmm?
    Why the difference between the Cat and Facebook?
    NEITHER transmits everything everyone says – unlike Telstra and Aus Post, the content is examined and if it is not of the “approved” variety – approval from said company, not imposed by govt – it is not published.
    So why should Facebook get a free pass, yet Sinclair shouldn’t?
    And if you think (as you should) that they should be treated the same, then surely any conservative worthy of the name would suggest the answer is to remove the “speshul” status of facebook, right? That is, simplify the tortuous down a bit, make it the same for everyone.
    Which is what I suggest, and what you say is somehow special regulation of “platforms” – despite the fact I am saying they should have their special status removed.

    Oh, and by the way, if you care to check, putting up a web page, whether it’s a blog or simply a static page is deemed as “publishing”. Last time I checked, both the Cat and Facebook both use web browsers as the way to access the content – so there is NO difference there.

  76. Iampeter

    That’s the whole point of “common carrier” rules.

    Sigh. If you don’t oppose common carrier rules and think they should be applied to Facebook, Twitter, etc, then you DO support regulating tech companies like utilities.
    That’s the end of that talking point from you all at least.

    Let’s take an example. Suppose someone wants to put up a billboard inciting violence, and I sell them a licence to put it up on my property. I can’t then disclaim responsibility for the billboard by claiming I’m “not a publisher”.

    And no one suggests you could. What IS being suggested is that you couldn’t hold someone like the billboard manufacturer responsible for what someone published on one of their billboards.
    Nor does the billboard manufacturer magically become a “publisher” and become liable simply because they pick and choose who they sell billboards to.
    Likewise, tech companies are not responsible for what you you publish on their platforms. Nor do tech companies become publishers and become liable simply because they pick and choose who they provide platforms to.

  77. Iampeter

    Heh. So because YOU misunderstand or fail to read what I write, and just argue anyway, that makes ME dishonest, does it? The posts are there – go read them, anyone can.

    It’s really simple. I’m arguing from the pro-capitalist, tech-companies-should-be-free-from-regulation-for-any-reason position. You and the others here are arguing AGAINST me.
    You are also being vague and dishonest in order to not concede that you have taken up the left wing position.
    And because this is the Cat, an incredibly low intelligence is also a factor.
    In other words, you have no clue what’s going on, what you’re saying, aren’t prepared to engage in good faith, but in true Cat fashion aren’t going to let that stop you from blundering ahead and beclowning yourself anyway.

    This is totally non-responsive to the question – FMD, you even quoted the question, yet the answer is non-responsive. It’s like I asked “What’s your favourite colour?” and you answered “I like squares”. Hello? Is there an intelligent creature in there?

    Wow. You need a large dose of self awareness and to take it down a couple of notches. I’m humoring you but if you’re going to be projecting your own glaring deficiencies onto me then I won’t bother.

    So how about you answer the question, hmm?
    Why the difference between the Cat and Facebook?

    Let me try again:
    Sinclair, like anyone, may be liable for what he says and does. This includes anywhere he might say or do something, including the Cat, Facebook, etc.
    But Facebook cannot be liable for what Sinclair says and does regardless of where he does it. That’s the difference. That’s why it’s the exact same reason you couldn’t sue Telstra for someone defaming you over the phone.

    Nor does Facebook suddenly acquire liability for what Sinclair says and does just because they are picking and choosing who they allow on their platform.
    Just like Telstra wouldn’t if they got to pick and choose who they provided services to.

    This is just a non-sequitur from hopeless, left wing and all round politically illiterate conservatives, because they are not honest to enough to put forward their actual position, which is that they want to regulate tech for political reasons, because conservatives are just leftists anyway.

  78. Tim Neilson
    #3246201, posted on November 27, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Incidentally, if it’s as obvious as Iamashiteater claims it is that telco’s and tech co’s can’t be liable in defamation for what they transmit, why does there need to be an exemption for them in the defamation laws?

    LOL

    I am shit for brains just dodged this question.

  79. Iampeter

    LOL
    I am shit for brains just dodged this question.

    This post is an example of YOU dodging what’s being said in this thread.

    Just another brilliant contribution from one of the Cat’s deep thinkers…

  80. Kneel

    “But Facebook cannot be liable for what Sinclair says and does regardless of where he does it. That’s the difference. That’s why it’s the exact same reason you couldn’t sue Telstra for someone defaming you over the phone.”

    That turns out not to be the case – in the case of the Cat, Sinclair is potentially liable for what any comment contains, regardless of who posted it. This may be silly, and you may not agree with it, but that is the way things are. In the case of Facebook, they are indeed exempt. See? There’s a difference – even you can see that, surely. That is the difference that I am talking about. Why does Facebook get this exemption while the Cat does not? Why can Facebook say “We didn’t say that, we just printed what Peter wrote” and there is no problem, but if Sinclair used the same excuse, that would not be a legal excuse. Again, not talking about how things SHOULD BE but how they ARE.

    “Nor does Facebook suddenly acquire liability for what Sinclair says and does just because they are picking and choosing who they allow on their platform.
    Just like Telstra wouldn’t if they got to pick and choose who they provided services to.”

    That also turns out not to be the case. If Telstra refuses to connect my calls to Sinclair, but allows me to connect to, say, Bill Shorten, then they have acted contrary to the law regarding their exemption, and so they WOULD be liable because they are no longer acting as a common carrier.

    It’s simple, really, but you don’t seem to get the difference between Optus refusing to provide a phone service to me (which they are within their rights to do, unlike Telstra, which is why I swapped to them for this example), and Optus providing me a phone service, but limiting who I can call or what I can say during the call.
    The first is service/no service – don’t want to do business with me, that’s fine, don’t.
    The second is limiting my free speech rights – I didn’t ask them to provide a “safe space” phone where I won’t get to hear from people they don’t approve of, I asked them for a phone line.
    Do you get it yet?

    Now, the Cat is a “filtered” service – Sinclair can ban people, edit their posts, whatever he wants to do. So he, like a newspaper, is liable for what is published.
    But Facebook/Twitter are also “filtering” – people who breach “community standards” get de-platformed. Hell, some users have been de-platformed despite not breaching the published standard.
    Telstra, Optus et al get the exemption because they don’t filter based on content.
    Facebook and the Cat both filter based on content.
    One is exempt, the other is not.
    This is beyond just silly – it’s a freaking joke! One rule for the plebs (the Cat), a different rule for our Fearless Leaders (Facebook) – even though both are doing the very same thing! That’s not right. That’s what I want to change – I want the pathetic exemption removed. If Facebook want the exemption, then they can stop being a publisher and become a carrier.

    It’s like being a bank, right? They all bitch about the rules and how it impacts their profits and blah blah. They are happy to get the guarentee, they don’t want that to go away, it’s their “edge” over a non-bank finance company, innit? But they don’t want the restrictions that come with the name. Tough – want the benefits, pay the price. Ditto Facebook – want common carrier exemptions, then be a common carrier and stop being a publisher. Simples.

  81. Iampeter

    That turns out not to be the case – in the case of the Cat, Sinclair is potentially liable for what any comment contains, regardless of who posted it. This may be silly, and you may not agree with it, but that is the way things are.

    Yes I know that’s how it is and it’s how it should be. I’m not arguing against this.
    I’m just saying that the Cat’s ISP, for example, cannot be held liable for what Sinclair or anyone posts at the Cat. Nor does the Car’s ISP become a “publisher” because they choose who they do business with.
    Likewise, Facebook cannot be held liable for what people post on the platform it provides.
    There are no exemption here. There just isn’t any liability and it’s not clear what you don’t understand about this.

    If Telstra refuses to connect my calls to Sinclair, but allows me to connect to, say, Bill Shorten, then they have acted contrary to the law regarding their exemption, and so they WOULD be liable because they are no longer acting as a common carrier.

    Even if Telstra was not a common carrier they would not be liable for what you say on the phone anyway.

    The first is service/no service – don’t want to do business with me, that’s fine, don’t.
    The second is limiting my free speech rights

    The second is not limiting your free speech rights. Free speech can only be limited by the government. You don’t have a right to a telephone service. In any case, this has nothing to do with liability either.

    But Facebook/Twitter are also “filtering” – people who breach “community standards” get de-platformed.

    Which does not make them liable for anything people do on their platforms. It’s not relevant.
    As has already been explained to Tim, if you choose to publish something defamatory on the billboard, the billboard manufacturer is not liable. Nor do they become liable because they pick and choose who they sell billboards to. That’s a non-sequitur.

    Ditto Facebook – want common carrier exemptions, then be a common carrier and stop being a publisher. Simples.

    Facebook is not a publisher for reasons explained in numerous posts including this one. Facebook does not publish anything. It’s users are the publishers and are themselves liable for what they publish. Facebook choosing who they host does not change this.
    There are no common carrier exemptions. Common carrier laws just violate property rights. They don’t protect businesses from anything. You’re just making random assertions and ignoring what’s being said.

    You need to learn how liability works. You also need to learn how rights work. You also need to learn the difference between government action and private action. You need to learn what property rights are and you need to learn what “free speech” actually means.

  82. Kneel

    “Yes I know that’s how it is and it’s how it should be. I’m not arguing against this.”

    Really? So you understand that what you and I and everyone else posts here is included as Sinclair’s responsibility?

    “I’m just saying that the Cat’s ISP, for example, cannot be held liable for what Sinclair or anyone posts at the Cat. Nor does the Car’s [sic] ISP become a “publisher” because they choose who they do business with.
    Likewise, Facebook cannot be held liable for what people post on the platform it provides.”

    The Cat’s ISP is not liable because they don’t control the content, Sinclair does. Who controls Facebook content – oh yeah, it’s Facebook.
    It doesn’t matter who owns the resources used, it matters who controls the content you clueless twonk! This means, if I get a web page from my ISP, they are not responsible for the content and are therefore not liable for what I control. Their own page is under their control and they can’t claim immunity for what they say just because they are a carrier. What is so hard to understand here?

    “There are no exemption here. There just isn’t any liability and it’s not clear what you don’t understand about this.”

    Really? Then why is Sinclair responsible for what I post here, yet Facebook is not responsible for anything anyone posts on its site?

    “Facebook is not a publisher…”
    They are if they are controlling the content – and they self-admittedly are. They freaking brag about doing it! How can anyone suggest otherwise?

    ” It’s users are the publishers and are themselves liable for what they publish.”
    Really? Then it’s not the newspaper that is the publisher, it’s the author; it’s not Sinclair that’s responsible for what you write here, it’s you. As you have already conceded, that is not the case!

    “You need to learn…”

    What you need to learn is that actions have consequences. Facebook can do whatever they like, I don’t give a rats arse because I don’t and won’t use it. But when they act in whatever way they see fit, there are consequences to the choices they make – legal as well as social and financial. They aren’t special in any way shape or form – other than their sheer reach.

    What I need to remind myself is that that Iampeter is a lefttard fuckwit trying to use Alinski’s rules to destroy the Cat, and stop responding to its mindless stupidity.

  83. Iampeter
    #3246891, posted on November 28, 2019 at 9:33 am

    LOL
    I am shit for brains just dodged this question.

    This post is an example of YOU dodging what’s being said in this thread.

    Just another brilliant contribution from one of the Cat’s deep thinkers…

    LOL

    You coward and mental midget.

    You ALWAYS dodge questions.

    You never, ever make a simple policy prescription.

    All you do is blather on about you’re more of a capitalist than anyone else because you oppose X, without having a blithering idea that X only exists because of regulation Y, which you just ignore or hand wave away because of further ignorance of what property rights actually exist.

    I’ll take a lecture from a clueless kid whose political party can fit in a midget’s phone box, never.

    I’ll give you a hint, imbecile: the government doles out telecomms. property rights. It’s not like land, dummy. Is that right? No. Have you ever addressed this? No, you just have a go at people that want leftist tech giants to play by the rules.

    It’s not that simple to to just shout “I like the free market”. We don’t have a free market.

    Shut up and pay attention.

    The government (US government) regulates payment processors. This is how everything gets controlled. This is how free speech platforms get fucked over.

    I don’t believe the government should get involved. The market is coming up with things like Duck Duck Go, Brave (see the brave attention token, BAT), BTC and so on.

    Do you also understand that crypto currency has had banks attack it with government complicity last year, with full spectrum, full frontal atttacks from major retail and merchant banks?

    Wanting FB to play by the same rules as everyone else isn’t ideal. It is about not being beaten up by your political opponents.

    Philosophy is easy when you pretend there are no moral dilemmas.

  84. Iampeter

    Really? So you understand that what you and I and everyone else posts here is included as Sinclair’s responsibility?

    Yea it might. That’s what “liable” means.

    The Cat’s ISP is not liable because they don’t control the content, Sinclair does. Who controls Facebook content – oh yeah, it’s Facebook.

    No they don’t. The people who post on Facebook control the content. Facebook just determines who they allow to post.

    Then it’s not the newspaper that is the publisher, it’s the author; it’s not Sinclair that’s responsible for what you write here, it’s you.

    It’s not about who the publisher is. It’s about who is liable.
    People who actively solicit, pay for and publish content, may be liable for it. This applies to MORE than just literal publishers.
    People who just provide a platform for that activity are not liable for what that content might be.
    Nor do they magically become “publishers” or liable because they choose who they want to provide a platform for.
    This has to be like the fifth time I’ve repeated this point and you keep asking again.

    Really? Then why is Sinclair responsible for what I post here, yet Facebook is not responsible for anything anyone posts on its site?

    Literally this question has been explained in numerous posts now (for example, #3247055 and #3246397 and this one too).
    It’s very basic and you either simply aren’t getting it or are being dishonest all thread like the others.

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