This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
The message boards have been upgraded. Please log in to your existing account by clicking here. It will ask twice, so that it can properly update your password and login information. If it has trouble recognizing your password, click the 'Forgot your password?' link to reset it with a new password sent to your email address on file.
The RPGPundit's Own Forum Rules
This part of the site is controlled by the RPGPundit. This is where he discusses topics that he finds interesting. You may post here, but understand that there are limits. The RPGPundit can shut down any thread, topic of discussion, or user in a thread at his pleasure. This part of the site is essentially his house, so keep that in mind. Note that this is the only part of the site where political discussion is permitted, but is regulated by the RPGPundit.

Author Topic: What to do about social media corporations?  (Read 1987 times)

jhkim

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8667
    • View Profile
What to do about social media corporations?
« on: January 13, 2021, 04:23:51 PM »
This was a side topic in the political debate, which I thought maybe should be its own topic. Trump had vetoed the defense spending bill to demand that it overturn the Section 230 protection that social media corporations get. In general, the problem is that social media corporations have far too much control over the public debate than many people are comfortable with, but also, many people don't like the idea of regulating them to substitute government control.

From the other thread:

No, online platforms should NOT be responsible for anything anyone posts in their site, and they are NOT good at detecting and shutting down copyrighted material precisely because they consistently shut down fair-use of music and other media. It is not the role of tech companies (or of self-entitled users within their platforms going after people they personally don't like) to make legal determinations about ANYTHING. They're not lawyers, they're not legal scholars or judges or law enforcement and have NO role in the government or legal procedures. These are NOT functions that fall within the purview of fucking monopolistic tech giants. It is not their job and they are not properly equipped to determine whether or not a supposed "tHrEaT oF vIolEnCe" or any other questionable post is legally actionable material. That is the job of the FBI, or equivalent agencies when it comes to users outside of the US. It's supposed to be THEM who make that determination, not our self-appointed tech overlords. That is why section 230 exists, and their insistence on stepping beyond their bounds is precisely why we're on this mess.
What do you think about Trump's calls to remove Section 230 protections for social media?

https://techcrunch.com/2020/12/23/trump-ndaa-veto-section-230/

I'm not sure exactly where I stand on how to reform Section 230, but I do think that it is *not* simply the purview of the FBI and police to handle all lawbreaking. Citizens have a responsibility to report crime and not participate in it.

For example, someone tells me a slanderous rumor about someone else - I then write it up and send it to a newspaper, which prints it. I think both I and the newspaper have some responsibility here - both legally and ethically. Just mindlessly repeating what one is told is wrong. People should be responsible for what they say and publish. That is a standard that newspapers are held to, but social media companies get a special legal loophole.

That said, I'm not eager for social media companies to be the determiners of truth. *If* we give them a legal loophole to avoid responsibility, though, then there need to be strings attached that make the social media more functionally public and allowing of free speech.

To explain a little more about the "public" thing -- I've used the analogy of making a town newspaper to today. In the past, if one had a printing press, one could stand on the street beside the newsstand, and have similar visibility to the main newspaper. However, on the Internet, there is essentially no public space - no public visibility. Visibility depends on private companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter linking to you. If they refuse to post links to you - then no one can find your site.

I'll try to address other points in following posts.

Daztur

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1326
    • View Profile
Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2021, 11:05:57 PM »
Economically it comes down to network effects: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_effect

Even if you hate Facebook and love another site you're going to get a lot more benefit out of using Facebook simply because more people use Facebook. This means that monopolies are a lot stronger with social media than with other stuff. Monopolies or oligopolies are market failures and often call for government intervention.

What could be useful could be a sort of newsreader program for social media that could load posts from your various social media accounts into one feed, that way if people get banned from one service and move to another your newsreader program would just switch over to them without you having to change much.
 

EOTB

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1166
    • View Profile
Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2021, 11:30:49 PM »
Protection under policy 230 comes through use of a standard TOS provided within the policy, which may not be modified/customized in any way

The TOS prevents interfering with speech on the platform by its owners or staff unless speech exceeds the limits on speech as set in court precedent, or as otherwise directed by a court in specific circumstances.  (Along with other TOS provisions covering other aspects)

Companies desiring greater control over what appears on their platform do not receive liability protection, but they are free to act as social media companies are acting currently
A framework for generating local politics

https://mewe.com/join/osric A MeWe OSRIC group - find an online game; share a monster, class, or spell; give input on what you'd like for new OSRIC products.  Just don't 1) talk religion/politics, or 2) be a Richard

myleftnut

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • m
  • Posts: 175
    • View Profile
Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2021, 12:47:21 AM »
What we should do?  Break them up as monopolies


What we will do?  Cry and whine while they gain more power. 

Ratman_tf

  • Alt-Reich Shitlord
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5983
    • View Profile
Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2021, 12:53:53 AM »
What we should do?  Break them up as monopolies


What we will do?  Cry and whine while they gain more power.

Yep. I hate to go meta on the thread, but I think it's too late.
The notion of an exclusionary and hostile RPG community is a fever dream of zealots who view all social dynamics through a narrow keyhole of structural oppression.
-Haffrung

oggsmash

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1259
    • View Profile
Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2021, 12:58:36 AM »
  Well, there are ALOT of town newspapers that are owned by just a couple media companies these days.  I think the end is there must be some sort of restrictions on any monopolies. The main reason is you end up with corporations that have way to much influence on people, and basically own the government.  It seems we are headed towards a cyberpunk dystopia.

  Project Mayhem seems like the only solution likely to do anything to shake the chokehold of big tech.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2021, 01:00:56 AM by oggsmash »

EOTB

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1166
    • View Profile
Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2021, 01:29:11 AM »
Repeal the 1996 law allowing consolidation of media, which was previously restricted
A framework for generating local politics

https://mewe.com/join/osric A MeWe OSRIC group - find an online game; share a monster, class, or spell; give input on what you'd like for new OSRIC products.  Just don't 1) talk religion/politics, or 2) be a Richard

Ghostmaker

  • Chlorine trifluoride
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1161
    • View Profile
Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2021, 08:16:01 AM »
Protection under policy 230 comes through use of a standard TOS provided within the policy, which may not be modified/customized in any way

The TOS prevents interfering with speech on the platform by its owners or staff unless speech exceeds the limits on speech as set in court precedent, or as otherwise directed by a court in specific circumstances.  (Along with other TOS provisions covering other aspects)

Companies desiring greater control over what appears on their platform do not receive liability protection, but they are free to act as social media companies are acting currently
The problem is enforcement. There doesn't seem to be any mechanism to bring companies to heel for trying to hide behind Section 230 protections when they clearly don't abide by the strictures.

I absolutely loathe the idea of more regulation, but holy shit, after watching Parler get completely pulverized by that coordinated attack, it's clear this is getting out of control.

moonsweeper

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 684
    • View Profile
Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2021, 09:07:44 AM »
Repeal the 1996 law allowing consolidation of media, which was previously restricted

I don't know if even that would help at this point.


I absolutely loathe the idea of more regulation, but holy shit, after watching Parler get completely pulverized by that coordinated attack, it's clear this is getting out of control.

One positive (if you want to call it that) is that they can't hide their true nature after crossing the moral event horizon.
"I have a very hard time taking seriously someone who has the time and resources to protest capitalism, while walking around in Nike shoes and drinking Starbucks, while filming it on their iPhone."  --  Alderaan Crumbs

"Just, can you make it The Ramones at least? I only listen to Abba when I want to fuck a stripper." -- Jeff37923

"Government is the only entity that relies on its failures to justify the expansion of its powers." -- David Freiheit (Viva Frei)

KingCheops

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • K
  • Posts: 968
    • View Profile
Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2021, 10:50:32 AM »
Well the problem circles back around to the issue that the American system has been thoroughly infiltrated and broken.  An impartial Judiciary was supposed to keep the Legislative and Executive branches in check and supposed to curb these sorts of things.  They've been captured by corporations and side with their masters against the people and constitution when the corporations are blatantly abusing the rights and protections of the people.

If you could reasonably expect to have your 1st amendment rights protected by a judge in a case against Twitter then no reform of 230 would be needed.  But Twitter just kills you with its megabucks in a giant PR smear, erasing your ability to interface with modern society, and intimidating/disbarring any lawyer that dares to represent you.  If any of that fails they just shop around for a judge they've purchased.

It'll be interesting to see what happens after the oligarchs get overthrown -- tyranny or a return to republic?

jhkim

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8667
    • View Profile
Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2021, 01:56:58 PM »
Well the problem circles back around to the issue that the American system has been thoroughly infiltrated and broken.  An impartial Judiciary was supposed to keep the Legislative and Executive branches in check and supposed to curb these sorts of things.  They've been captured by corporations and side with their masters against the people and constitution when the corporations are blatantly abusing the rights and protections of the people.

If you could reasonably expect to have your 1st amendment rights protected by a judge in a case against Twitter then no reform of 230 would be needed.  But Twitter just kills you with its megabucks in a giant PR smear, erasing your ability to interface with modern society, and intimidating/disbarring any lawyer that dares to represent you.  If any of that fails they just shop around for a judge they've purchased.

I don't think the problem is the judges. The problem is the current law. Under the law, a social media website is a privately-owned service -- no different than this forum. If Pundit wants to ban me or delete my posts, the law supports him. It's his site, and I can't successfully sue him for violating my First Amendment rights if he bans me. It's the same with Twitter. It's a private site, and people can't demand the right to post there - any more than I can post signs on your lawn.

If we want to change that, we have to reform the law in Congress.


Repeal the 1996 law allowing consolidation of media, which was previously restricted

I guess you're talking about the Telecommunications Act of 1996? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_Act_of_1996

That had a huge number of changes - many of them considered beneficial to competition, though overall some think it was harmful. However, simply disallowing mergers only slows down the trend towards monopolies, it doesn't stop it. If smaller companies are less successful, then the larger companies will just slowly push them out of the market by spending rather than acquiring them. In any case, the 1996 law mostly only applies to television - and the topic is social media.

I think there are changes that can be made to streamline regulations in a way that favors small companies, but it is tricky.

jhkim

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8667
    • View Profile
Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2021, 02:52:22 PM »
I'm pulling from the other thread to reply here where it's more on topic.

Yes. The Ron Paul ban is bullshit.

In the long run any of that broad deplatforming will survive scrutiny in the courts.

As I noted on this thread, under current law, private providers like Twitter and Facebook aren't legally required to accept everyone. It's their private site, and no one has a First Amendment right to post on their private site - just as they don't have a right to walk into Fox News studios and get on television.

I would lean towards removing Section 230 protection *unless* the provider abides by some sort of free speech provisions similar to what is allowed on public streets. (It's still valid to block or ban based on incitement, obscenity, or possibly other behavior that could get someone kicked off a city street.)

Incidentally, Ron Paul's Facebook seems to be working currently - he just posted, https://www.facebook.com/ronpaul


Shasarak

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2570
    • View Profile
Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2021, 02:57:26 PM »
Well the problem circles back around to the issue that the American system has been thoroughly infiltrated and broken.  An impartial Judiciary was supposed to keep the Legislative and Executive branches in check and supposed to curb these sorts of things.  They've been captured by corporations and side with their masters against the people and constitution when the corporations are blatantly abusing the rights and protections of the people.

If you could reasonably expect to have your 1st amendment rights protected by a judge in a case against Twitter then no reform of 230 would be needed.  But Twitter just kills you with its megabucks in a giant PR smear, erasing your ability to interface with modern society, and intimidating/disbarring any lawyer that dares to represent you.  If any of that fails they just shop around for a judge they've purchased.

I don't think the problem is the judges. The problem is the current law. Under the law, a social media website is a privately-owned service -- no different than this forum. If Pundit wants to ban me or delete my posts, the law supports him. It's his site, and I can't successfully sue him for violating my First Amendment rights if he bans me. It's the same with Twitter. It's a private site, and people can't demand the right to post there - any more than I can post signs on your lawn.

If we want to change that, we have to reform the law in Congress.

From what I have heard from Robert Barnes, the problem is the judges in that they are refusing to enforce any of the existing laws in regard to internet companies.

People like Facebook and Twitter are able to get away with things that legacy media like the New York times is not able to.  They are able to make defamatory statements and policies that would get any other company sued.

How is that not a problem with judges.
"There can be no middle ground with bigots. Bigots want to deny the rights and livelihood of people different from them. They want them to cease existing, either by going underground or by murdering them. There is no "let's meet in the middle" with that. To suggest there can be is ignorance" RPGNet

BoxCrayonTales

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • B
  • Posts: 1742
    • View Profile
Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2021, 03:04:10 PM »
How is that not a problem with judges.

The answer is simple. Because the tech giants are currently working in favor of the Democrats, they get a free pass because the Democrats (like all politicians and rich people in general) operate on the logic of "rules for thee but not for me."

That's why we get shit like Chinese govt accounts claiming the Uyghur genocide is feminist and Islamic extremists calling for the destruction of the Israeli state being left alone, while J.K. Rowling gets rape and death threats for saying that womyn and men are biologically different.

Shasarak

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2570
    • View Profile
Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2021, 03:06:51 PM »
How is that not a problem with judges.

The answer is simple. Because the tech giants are currently working in favor of the Democrats, they get a free pass because the Democrats (like all politicians and rich people in general) operate on the logic of "rules for thee but not for me."

That's why we get shit like Chinese govt accounts claiming the Uyghur genocide is feminist and Islamic extremists calling for the destruction of the Israeli state being left alone, while J.K. Rowling gets rape and death threats for saying that womyn and men are biologically different.

It seems to be bipartisan, the Supreme Court has shut down several prominent cases.
"There can be no middle ground with bigots. Bigots want to deny the rights and livelihood of people different from them. They want them to cease existing, either by going underground or by murdering them. There is no "let's meet in the middle" with that. To suggest there can be is ignorance" RPGNet