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Taxing TV and phone is like taxing internet connectivity. While a bit odd, this is perfectly fine. The reason for this is that it does not discriminate content, but only care about the utility itself.

Taxing social media is like taxing you for saying or hearing a specific word or sentence on the phone, or every time a certain show is broadcast on the TV.

This is absurd, and a violation of free speech, as it discriminates content. It is an attempt to control information exchange by discouraging it. The ulterior motive is usually manipulation of the citizens to keep them in line in absurd regimes, and/or to avoid the outside becoming aware of their internal issues.

Separately, these idiocies implemented by people that do not understand how the internet works undermines fundamental security aspects by being incompatible with proper cryptographic security measures. You cannot, for example, serve a portal instead of a properly configured HTTPS site without your browser noticing, so HTTPS needs to be blocked first.

Taxing TV and phone is like taxing internet connectivity.

Is it? Then why do you pay taxes to use VOIP? Is internet not a carrier, while TV & phone are services?

I don't quite know about any VoIP taxes, but I am quite certain that no place puts taxes on the VoIP traffic itself over internet as a carrier.

Services purchased that use the internet as a carrier may be taxed as any other financial transaction, but in that case, the internet itself is still a neutral medium that does not discriminate traffic. Being non-discriminatory does not mean that you cannot pay Netflix a monthly fee, with VAT and other applicable taxes, to give you an account.

Ah, all of the VoIP fees are just fees for gaining access to the PSTN network from the outside (not necessarily through the VoIP). All of the taxes relate to any use of telephone services.

Thus, it's just the price of the service your are purchasing, none being related to how it is delivered.

VOIP fees are not taxes - merely upfront fee for an agreed upon add-on service.

Beer is taxed differently than bread, and that's fine.

It would be more absurd if different brands of beer were taxed differently.

I don't think it's going to work out well given the lack of standardized information floating around, but the impetus is does not have to be entirely unreasonable, even if in this situation it probably is.

It is important to understand where the internet fits in this metaphor.

That different services cost different things with different taxes is not a problem.

However, with a beer analogy, it would be a special tax on transportation of beer (including bringing it home from the store), which seem a lot less sensible than just pricing beer and bread differently.

After all, the internet is an information transport, and it was a tax on using the internet for certain things (social media).

If they are taxing on the IP level or packet level, then yes, you could make this argument.

But if they are taxing on the service level, ie FB or What's App, then no, it's just information they are taxing. They could feasibly just use 'packets' or 'IP' as a crude measure of that service.

> Taxing social media is like taxing you for saying or hearing a specific word or sentence on the phone, or every time a certain show is broadcast on the TV. This is absurd, and a violation of free speech.

Is it? After the shenanigans that have been uncovered with recent elections (specifically referring to the US and Britain, I’m sure there are others) is ‘free speach’ really anthing that is being defended by opposing this tax?

Just because the U.S. and Britain fails to care about free speech and human rights doesn't mean that the battle is not worth fighting.

This tax is in direct opposition to free speech, so opposing it defends free speech. It is, however, only a single battle in a very long war.

But the companies hit own the forums, and don’t support free speech. I agree that it’s a potentially slippery slope for regulation, but it’s not currently an area where free speech is tolerated. Just yesterday Zuckerberg was apologising for censoring inappropriately. I don’t have a strong view either way, I’m just not convinced that the ‘free speech’ aspect is as direct as you state.


No one cares about the hit Facebook takes from having social media blocked. In fact, I'd rather have them crash and burn.

The problem is that the citizens get access to all social media taken away through taxes that most would avoid. Social media is also Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Snapchat, WeChat, Weibo, QQ, ...

It is not suddenly okay to block free speech by limiting/removing access to social media, just because one of these social media are known to censor content in other ways. One crime does not justify the next.

> every time a certain show is broadcast on the TV.

It seems like an obvious thing to tax the airing of a show on TV. I'm in favor of the taxation of every 30 minute slot on TV and Cable.

This maybe makes sense to me because I'm a natural person (i.e. not a corporation), so everything I receive or produce or give away is taxed.

Ah, but then you're back at general taxation of a utility, not discriminatory taxation of certain content. I disagree wholeheartedly that it would make sense to have a government tax on TV slots, but it does not manipulate information exchange in any way.

Taxing social media would be more akin to placing a tax on documentaries, or all content containing a narrative by Morgan Freeman.

Since this tax is on the user’s end, this would be more like a tax on watching documentaries, and then scrambling to control all DVD players and such to ensure they report your viewing.

That's what I meant, although I failed to be explicit about it.

Although, the enforcement would be on delivery for social media (i.e. ISP reports social media traffic), so cable TV that detects if your TV is on during documentary broadcasts would maybe be a better analogy.

> I'm a natural person (i.e. not a corporation), so everything I receive or produce or give away is taxed.

This sounds like a dystopian nightmare. Where do you live?

Well, with income tax and VAT, you end up paying tax of everything both ways. Private transactions are commonly exempt, but they commonly have a limit in size before that becomes taxed income or require a company to be registered that takes care of VAT.

Most things in America that you can buy are taxed on the sale, and any money (or the monetary value of assets) you receive is taxed as income. If you produce anything, you're usually hit with licensing fees of some sort. I laughed out loud that you called out my description of this system a "dystopian nightmare".

Anywhere with an income tax + sales tax?

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