1/ Democrats want to stop websites from spreading hate speech, misinformation, etc

But this bill would do the opposite; it would do exactly what the Trump administration wanted—because @EnergyCommerce Dems still don't understand how #Section230 works
2/ The bill would expose many websites to liability, both civil and criminal, for making recommendations. States will enforce existing laws & write new ones, and we'll spend years litigating them under the First Amendment

But that's not all the bill does...
3/ The bill turns off (c)(1) protections "with respect to information" subject to a "personalized recommendation"

Thus, a website could be sued both for recommending content and also for trying to stop its spread once it's been "recommended" by automated, algorithmic processes
4/ This can't possibly be what the bill's Dem authors intended—because it's precisely what the Trump administration wanted

Republicans understood that (c)(1) is what protects content moderation in nearly all lawsuits. Dems *still* don't get it.
5/ MAGA Republicans want to limit (c)(1)'s application because they want to deter moderation (because they claim they're being "censored"). They've proposed countless ways of doing that, and forcing websites to rely on (c)(2)(A)'s much weaker shield
6/ Dems are now proposing exactly the same thing—presumably because they just don't understand that (c)(1) is the key part of #Section230 that allows websites to moderate content without fear of having to litigate expensive lawsuits
7/ (c)(1) makes it easy for a website to win a motion to dismiss: it need only show that it was not responsible for developing content. Moderating content has long been understood as a core editorial function, since Zeran (4th Cir. 1997)
8/ (c)(2)(A) isn't so easy to use. A site must show it acted "in good faith"—a question of fact that many judges will insist on deferring to a motion for summary judgment. Plaintiffs will get to engage in discovery over that question.
9/ Multiply those costs by the number of suits, and you get the death by ten thousand duck-bites warned about in Roommates (9th Cir. 2008)

Anyone aggrieved by *not* having their content "recommended" (eg, shadow-banned) could sue and the sheer expense would discourage moderation
10/ In short, Republicans have long aimed to amend #Section230 to enable Strategic Lawsuits Against Moderation (SLAMs)

This new Democratic bill would do the same

Who would benefit? Those who use the Internet to spread hate speech and lies about elections, COVID, etc
11/ This should be obvious to anyone who knows anything about #Section230

That the people who drafted this bill failed to see this perverse result makes clear that they simply don't understand how the law works

But then, basically no one (in any position of power) does either🤦‍♂️
12/ Lots more to say about this, much of which @DaphneK lays out in this thread:

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Berin Szóka 🌐

Berin Szóka 🌐 Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @BerinSzoka

14 May
1/ There's nothing "conservative" (or constitutional) about the MAGA Fairness Doctrine for the Internet

They're recycling 1960s left's “media access theory”

Me in the WSJ: wsj.com/articles/sen-j…
2/ The First Amendment doesn't give you a right to speak on someone else's property. It actually guarantees *their* right to tell you to take a hike, no matter now "unfair" that might be

Because the 1A is a shield against government meddling in media, not a sword
3/ No, we cant just extend "net neutrality" to social media, because social media have always offered an inherently edited service
Read 8 tweets
21 Apr
Livetweeting this hearing on app store competition

The central premise, that app stores have "gatekeeper" control, is greatly exaggerated, if not wrong
Klobuchar emphasizes that Apple won't allow sideloading of apps onto iOS photos (as Google does)

But Apple has, since 2018, allowed progressive web apps (PWAs) to run in the Safari mobile browser

And PWAs are increasingly able to duplicate the functionality of "native" apps
PWAs have some significant advantages over native apps (found in app stores): notably, you can build the same app to run on all major web browsers (except Firefox), so you don't have to build separate Android and iOS versions
Read 32 tweets
21 Apr
Just tuned in to @LinaMKhan's confirmation hearing. Of course, Wicker focuses on whether social media can be treated as common carriers, citing Justice Thomas

Apples & oranges: Lina's paper was about *economic* regulation of Amazon, not content moderation, protected by the 1A
Unfortunately, she didn't make that distinction clear, just saying that we need to be "a bit market specific"

I debunk Thomas's opinion here (with @corbinkbarthold) lawfareblog.com/justice-thomas…
And I explain the line between regulating economic conduct (what Dems are focused on) and regulating editorial judgments (what Republicans are focused on here:
Read 9 tweets
19 Apr
Republicans have relentlessly attacked "Big Tech" companies for "censoring" conservatives

Under pressure, Apple has caved, reinstating the #Parler app even though, for example, openly Nazi content is still readily available on the site. And that's just the tip of the iceberg...
It's hard to know what's really on Parler because the site doesn't allow full text search: unlike on Facebook or Twitter, you can only search for user names and hashtags

Even before the January 6 insurrection, Parler censored certain hashtags, like the N-Word
This was the bare minimum of what it took to create the veneer of respectability required to pretend that the site wasn't the cesspool of hate speech that it actually is

Parler seems to have expanded the list of banned hashtags to include other code words (eg "skittles"=Muslims)
Read 21 tweets
19 Apr
Hawley's bill would force Amazon to spin off its Web Services division

He doesn't even allege any economic harms flowing from owning both a marketplace and a hosting service

Obviously, he's trying to punish Amazon for booting Parler after the January 6 insurrection
Hawley isn't subtle about the motive for the bill: he's trying to use #antitrust law to retaliate against a private company for exercising editorial judgment in a way that Hawley doesn't like Image
The bill's text isn't out yet, but "online hosting services" may well cover other Internet infrastructure, including hosting domain names & "hosting" apps in the Play store

If so, the bill would punish Google, too
Read 7 tweets
30 Mar
At noon, Prof. Hamburger will repeat his nonsense claims that the First Amendment is a sword by which government can force private websites to host speech they find reprehensible.
His Fairness Doctrine for the Internet is the opposite of what the right has argued for decades, as @AriCohn and I explained here

Read 28 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!