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Subj: It's all about Section 230, my friend.
Posted: Wed Jan 12, 2022 at 11:18:11 pm EST (Viewed 273 times)
Reply Subj: Re: I agree with this, so long as private companies don't become monopolies.
Posted: Wed Jan 12, 2022 at 10:16:31 pm EST (Viewed 273 times)
While it is a very bad comparison of enforcing antitrust to the military or roads, since they are funded by the government and what you suggest is allowing more competition in the private sector... I agree.
LGDB: Yeah that's fair, I was sort of making to two distinct points here, but it was confusing to compress them into one sentence. One is that we should enforce antitrust laws to prevent any given sector in the market from being captured by specific actors. In addition, I would argue that social media generally should be thought of as a public utility. If we did that, antitrust laws need not come into it, because it's not a market that then would be dominated by one private monopoly with zero democratic control or oversight. Yet another way to formulate this is if Twitter or Facebook are going to act as monopolies (virtual or more literal, natural or not) then they need to be subsumed under the public utility model so they can be subjected to democratic controls, or they need to be broken up by beefing up our antitrust laws and enforcing them ardently.
It is just that the second half makes it sound like you want to nationalize it, and the first foster private competition.
LGDB: Yeah, I added confusing by combining these. I might more clearly phrase it, if we're going to have social media be a privatized space, we should certainly enforce antitrust laws (and expand them) such that private billionaires and such aren't ultimately and unaccountably permitted to decide who gets access. I would prefer it be nationalized, and I think a practical approach given the system we have the public utility model would be sufficient here; so either state-owned and managed or heavily stipulated by the state, i.e. price controls, heavily regulated, insurance of universal or nearly universal accessibility, and so on.
The big problem with internet businesses is that they did most of their growth as a industry under the Clinton and Bush administration. Both of whom were fairly corporate friendly in the long run.
LGDB: yeah but I'd argue one, in sheerly economic terms this growth hasn't been even somewhat equitable. And more to the point, while that's clearly in the company's interest it isn't in society best interest.
As I previously stated, the government cannot force anyone to say or publish anything, that is called compelled speech. It is a First Amendment violation.
LGDB: Okay, so this is key: these media company's are platforms, not publishers... especially according to them. The fact that they're platforms and not publishers is why they're protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency act. It's what among other things gives them protections from being sued for things like defamation and slander and so on, which a publisher would be liable for. They're not responsible for the content that their users share. Basically you can go either way with it here, platform or publisher, their are arguments for both, but their protection by Section 230 is basically mutually exclusive from the the beneficial implications of publication. In other words, legally speaking, their being "forced" to platform someone isn't akin to a publishing house being compelled to publish something.
However, the monolithic nature organizations like Twitter and Facebook could mean that enforcing anti-trust laws is preserving their Free Speech from outside influence
LGDB: no I think that antitrust has virtually nothing to do with what who they do or don't platform. It's concerned with their monopolization or undue influence on the market. Twitter or Facebook could both be platforming everyone under the sun, but could still run afoul of antitrust laws. The reason they're relevant here is because of general access. If there were dozens of Twitters out there, then no one company would have the capacity to completely deny someone from reasonable access to social media. And it's interesting to wonder if even under a competitive market, if people could still be excluded from social media in a way that was unfair censorship or even unconstitutional. But I think for most practical purposes the two wouldn't be as consistently at odds or in principle a jeopardy to the social condition of freedom of speech. You can imagine just as easily that if their were only one book publisher in the entire country who was unilaterally decided who could or couldn't publish, the concern for the freedom of speech would be glaringly present, even that publisher couldn't be Constitutionally forced to publish something. This situation would be such that this publisher would be immediately attract the attention of antitrust enforcement. That publisher's unilateral control over who is able to publish would be a ready-made flagrant and demonstrable example of the consequences of not breaking up such a monopoly.
You may recall, I talked about the difference between legal and societal free speech, how something can be legal but suppressed by views of individuals.
LGDB: Yeah and I think this is an important distinction to make. But in this case, I think the more immediate distinction is between platforming and publishing. Again, they keeping in mind the context, that these companies can't in a consistent legal framework argue that the can't be made to platform people like Trump because they're publishers, but they can't be sued for what they publish because they're only platformers.
I am all for boycotts of Twitter an Facebook, since these changes are legal, but I do not agree with them. This could render that unnecessary. Break it apart and everyone can have their own set standards, determine d be personal philosophy, or the market.
LGDB: I'm not sure what's you're saying here. I think perhaps I'm getting lost in what "it" and "them" refers to in a few places. Can you explain this to me?
---the late great Donald Blake
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