Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

“Terrorism lawsuits threaten lawful speech”

A “string of civil lawsuits intended to pin liability on online platforms for allegedly providing material support to terrorists” has mostly fared poorly in court, with Section 230 providing a bulwark against liability in most cases, “but some of these cases are on appeal and plaintiffs have filed several new ones. If these suits are successful, they could be detrimental for the Internet: platforms would have little choice to become much more restrictive in what sorts of speech they allow.” In particular, “if online platforms no longer have Section 230 immunity for hosting content even remotely related to terrorism, those forums and services will take aggressive action to screen their users, review and censor content, and potentially prohibit anonymous speech.” [Aaron Mackey, Electronic Frontier Foundation; examples here (Facebook), here (Twitter), here, here (San Bernardino: Facebook, Google, Twitter), here (attacks in Paris and Brussels, Twitter), here (Orlando), here (Facebook), here (Twitter), etc. ]

Free speech and social media moderation

“Big internet platforms for speech are privately owned, but those who would pressure private firms to restrict speech are often the same people who would substantially restrict the rights of people to speak. John Samples and Emily Ekins discuss how Americans think about free speech today and ways to defend it in the modern age.” [Cato Daily Podcast with Caleb Brown]

More: John Samples on Facebook moderation policies; Matthew Feeney, “Keep Government Away From Twitter.” And if Congress abrogates the liability protections of Section 230, as some conservatives urge, one predictable consequence will be that more conservatives will wind up getting purged from social media [Elizabeth Nolan Brown]

Free speech roundup

Free speech roundup

  • Senators have big plans for government regulation of social media but U.S. Constitution keeps getting in way [John Samples, Cato; David McCabe, Axios, earlier] “Censorship breeds censorship envy, and that’s true of private suppression by massively influential platforms such as Facebook as well as of governmental censorship.” [John Samples, Eugene Volokh]
  • Is it lawful for a state lawmaker to block someone on Twitter who’s publicly discussed ways of murdering him? [Dorit Reiss, PrawfsBlawg, earlier]
  • European Parliament delays adopting online copyright directive that critics said would result in Internet content filtering and royalties for linking [Thomas McMullan/Alphr, BBC earlier]
  • Is the ACLU OK with French catcalling law? [Robby Soave] With using government to keep the wrong sorts of people from owning radio outlets? [Scott Shackford, related]
  • Federalist Society telecast on Ninth Circuit decision on Idaho “ag-gag” law with UCLA lawprof Eugene Volokh and Andrew Varcoe of Boyden Gray & Associates;
  • “Arrests for offensive Facebook and Twitter posts soar in London” [Sadie Levy Gale, Independent] Downhill in Denmark: “How the Right Abandoned Free Speech in Europe” [Cato podcast and Reason interview with Jacob Mchangama]

State of the Union address 2018 live-tweets

I live-tweeted President Trump’s address last night (text) and here are some highlights:

More on family leave here.

German social media law: early takedowns spur outcry

“A new law meant to curtail hate speech on social media in Germany is stifling free speech and making martyrs out of anti-immigrant politicians whose posts are deleted, the top-selling Bild newspaper said on Thursday” under the headline “Please spare us the thought police!” [Michelle Martin, Thomson Reuters] In one probably intended effect of the draconian law — drafted by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats — Twitter moved to take down some pronouncements by politicians from the nationalist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party. But the NetzDG enactment, as it is known, has quickly had a number of less expected applications, including the blockage of a satirical publication that had mimicked the tone of an AfD leader, and even the deletion of a years-earlier tweet by Justice Minister Heiko Maas, a champion of the law, in which he had called an author an “idiot.” [Reuters; AFP/The National; DW; Tim Cushing/TechDirt; earlier here, here, here, here, and here]

Free speech roundup

  • “I believe in the First Amendment” and FCC has no authority to revoke licenses over newscast content, says commission chairman Ajit Pai [Jacob Sullum/Reason, earlier]
  • She stoops to censor: British Crown and her Wiltshire police are not amused by your tweets [Andrew Stuttaford, BBC via Helen Pluckrose on Twitter; earlier here, here, here, here, here, here, etc.] Hate speech laws will in practice be used by the politically powerful against dissenters and radicals, part 761 [Guardian on case of woman questioned by detectives over banner denouncing conservative ruling party in Northern Ireland]
  • “Congress members threaten Twitter with regulation if it doesn’t suppress ‘racially divisive communications’ and ‘anti-American sentiments” [Eugene Volokh on bill introduced by Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.)]
  • On the old “shouting fire in a crowded theater” trope, read this whole thread and then you won’t have to catch up later [Popehat on Twitter] Neither “extremist” speech nor “fake news” can be defined and identified closely enough for regulation to work [Cato Daily Podcast with Flemming Rose and Caleb Brown]
  • Encyclopedia of Libertarianism article on freedom of speech is by Alan Charles Kors;
  • “Screen Actors Guild Tells Court There’s Nothing Unconstitutional About Curbing IMDB’s Publication Of Facts” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt; earlier here and here]