The Remedy to Online Censorship: Repeal Section 230, Justice Clarence Thomas weighs in on ‘Big Tech’
American posters on social media, like Twitter and Facebook, are reeling from watching the back and forth between the Trump administration and the corporate directors of what is known as “big tech”, technology companies who limit the reach of content with which they disagree.
According to Supreme court Justice Clarence Thomas, “many courts have construed the law broadly to confer sweeping immunity on some of the largest companies in the world.”
In a statement issued in response to a petition for writ of certiorari, Justice Thomas argued that Section 230 declares that social media platforms are not “publishers,” which means that they cannot be held liable for content posted by their users. Some industry analysts have suggested that platforms should be responsible for certain content on their platform, and for the censorship of content from their platforms, an act that makes them a publisher instead of a platform.
Enacted at the dawn of the dot-com era, §230 contains two subsections that protect computer service providers from some civil and criminal claims. The first is definitional. It states, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” §230(c)(1). This provision ensures that a company (like an e-mail provider) can host and transmit thirdparty content without subjecting itself to the liability that sometimes attaches to the publisher or speaker of unlawful content.
Justice Thomas went on to argue that many courts around the nation have construed the law too broadly, offering liability protection to some of the most powerful companies in the world.
On Wednesday the Press Secretary for President Donald J. Trump was banned on Twitter for retweeting an article critical of Joe and Hunter Biden, being a high profile banning, but just another banning amid hundreds of other bannings for reposting the same New York Post content.
I wrote about Twitter censoring even President Trump himself, by adding content to his posts on ballots, banning people who he has reposted, and forcing the removal of tweets altogether that was critical of his opponent Joe Biden, leading people to wonder why Twitter is permitted to interfere with communications like that.
Trump, on Tuesday, retweeted a post that contained a link to one of my articles on Seal Team 6, and the original poster was suspended from Twitter, and the article was censored on Facebook, and today I have been suspended on Twitter.
A major player is now weighing in on the controversy, a Supreme Court Justice, Clarance Thomas has gone on the record about the mistreatment of Americans.
Senator Josh Hawley has written about Section 230 as well:
“I have said over and over that #Section230 must be changed to allow American citizens to challenge #BigTech censorship. I have gone to the Senate floor to try to pass legislation to do it. Today I call on my Republican colleagues to join me. Now is the time for action,” Hawley wrote.
Gregg Jarrett also wrote about section 230:
Tom Ciccotta for Breitbart reported on Thomas’ comments:
“Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas argued that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) is applied too broadly to social media companies in a recent letter. The law, which was passed at the beginning of the dot-com era, allows internet companies to avoid liability for content that has been posted by users on their platform. According to Thomas, “many courts have construed the law broadly to confer sweeping immunity on some of the largest companies in the world.”
Trump has repealing section 230 on his mind.
From the CNBC article:
Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday limited the distribution of a New York Post story that claims to show “smoking gun” emails related to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son.
“While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners,” tweeted Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook. “In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.”
The unverified story alleges then-Vice President Biden’s son Hunter Biden attempted to introduce to a top executive at a Ukrainian company Hunter Biden worked for to his father.
Andrew Bates, spokesman for the Biden campaign, responded to the New York Post’s story in a statement:
“Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as ‘not legitimate’ and political by a GOP colleague have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing. Trump Administration officials have attested to these facts under oath,” Bates said.
As far as “unverified” goes, it is interesting the scrutiny known sources get for social medial posts, after a total lack of scrutiny to get FISA warrants to spy on the President of the United States. We have a problem that needs to be addressed.
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