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i. e. : People who are exercising their right to free speech.



'Right to free speech' does not exist outside the government. It never has, unless there's an amendment to the first amendment that no one is telling us about..


When people talk about free speech outside of government affairs, they are generally referring to an idealized universal human right or ideal, rather* than the US constitutional right.


> an idealized universal human right or ideal

There is no such thing. Implementing/requiring 'free speech' for consumers of a service (e.g. facebook) means that now suddenly the service and its employees lose their right to free speech. If the service's management wants to be biased towards one political 'party', they have a right to do that, but if they suddenly are forced to be unbiased then they have effectively lost that right. See how you cannot have 'universal free speech'?


This is a nonsensical interpretation of free speech. Censoring someone is not an exercise in the censorers free speech. Free speech is a negative right, meaning for it to exist others must not stop you from speaking.

In your argument, whoever has power would just censor whatever they don't like and claim they're exercising their free speech. You're literally arguing that censorship is free speech. Straight out of a totalitarian play book.


whoever has power would just censor whatever they don't like and claim they're exercising their free speech.

Have you ever heard someone claim "freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences"? [1]

Seems like an increasingly popular mechanism to publicly litigate the affair in public, muzzle someone from the comparative out-group while insulating themselves from all consequences one might faces themselves from their own petard.

I'll admit there's probably some merit to it-if you applied enough context and nuance to it. Problem is the types of people I observe online deploying this conceit very rarely do so in good faith and rarer still express any willingness to appreciate context or nuance.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/01/10/when-satire...


Indeed.

As you say, there is merit to the argument. Social censure is often the appropriate response to repugnant ideas. I wouldn't invite an extremist to a party, for instance, but I wouldn't, and shouldn't, seek to ban them from speaking in public.

And again, as you said, these argument are almost always used in bad faith. There is a breed of political extremism, popular in our industry, that is very against free speech and they have turned these bits of tortured logic into memes (in the cultural sense). The problem I personally have with it is the two-faced misrepresentation. Attempting to avoid outright saying they don't believe in free-speech, while at the same time advocating censoring any speech that doesn't conform to their ideas. While there's still an argument to be made against it, I at least respect the logical consistency of those saying "A private platform can censor political speech their leaders disagree with if they want to".


You can believe in free speech while advocating for moderation. There has been many attempts over the past few years to turn the free-speech argument into one against moderation, because in order to moderate a platform it necessitates censoring opinions.

A lot of these arguments remind me a lot of the days when I used to play Garry's Mod. Where people claim admin abuse, censorship etc for being banned or told to go away as a result of ruining the game for other people.


Agreed, and if I came off as arguing otherwise I misspoke. What you can't be is for free speech and for "moderation" of only speech you disagree with, which is simply bias censorship and what is often happening.


The flaw with that is moderators and companies have to make a determination for speech they disagree with. Not all sites ban people in the same way for violent threats, and similarly all sites view inflammatory or derogatory speech in different ways.

At some point in the equation there will be a value judgment made in terms of what breaks the rules. People banned by that moment will cite censorship and demand to be heard (see: the various subreddits banned by Reddit) while people wanting that content removed will celebrate. Making the argument into one purely about censorship ends up removing the nuance and reasoning for why someone was banned, which is why when people talk about conservative voices being banned by twitter, they often ignore the damage and harm Alex Jones for example has been responsible for to many families involved in school shootings or the various conspiracies he peddles.


You can believe in free speech while advocating for moderation.

Absolutely.

Yet it feels lately though the loudest voices that are getting the most attention are the ones pushing for the most...(searches for his words carefully)...aggrandizing forms of responding to disagreeable speech, and, when called on it-retreat back to very supercilious, academically-loaded terminology and tactics for why you're wrong and they're right.

Then there's those people out there saying we need to be punching Nazi's but I aint touching that one with a ten-foot pole.

because in order to moderate a platform it necessitates censoring opinions.

This though, I'm not so sure about. I've never been fond of the trend of de-platforming disagreeable viewpoints or speech that aren't directly advocating and instructing 'imminent lawless action' as a certain high court puts it.


Censoring someone on your private property is absolutely an exercise of your free speech. If someone plants a political sign on my lawn without my consent, I have the right to remove it because I have the free speech right to decide what political messages get broadcast from my personal property. The counterfactual notion you are suggesting, where everyone has the right to plant lawn signs on my property without my consent, is a violation of my free speech rights, not an enshrinement of theirs.

> Free speech is a negative right, meaning for it to exist others must not stop you from speaking.

Free speech exists when no one can stop you speaking on a platform that you own (servers, printing presses), or whose owners consent to publish your speech. You don't have a free speech right to compel third parties to use their platforms for your own speech.


Every time I see someone have to mention this, (because I always thought that distinction should be painfully obvious) I wonder a little more if it's a notion that's being slowly but deliberately assasinated; live and in living color before our very eyes.

Granted I'm looking at this from a perspective of plurality versus absolute speech but speech is certainly one of the (many) ingredients in this philosophical recipe.


There is no idealized universal human right to be free from the social or economic consequences of your speech. People have the right to refuse to be friends with or do business with e.g. those who openly identify as Nazis. It's not a violation of the latter's human rights to boycott them.


Incorrect. See Marsh v Alabama


Incorrect. In that case, the company was the government for the town, thus they were held accountable to the first amendment.


Have you read the decision? That is an odd way to frame it...a corporation cannot ‘be the government’, and there is nothing in that decision that says they were. The more applicable passage would be:

“The more an owner, for his advantage, opens up his property for use by the public in general, the more do his rights become circumscribed by the statutory and constitutional rights of those who use it.”


Repeating what I said in an earlier comment....they were able to grow to the size they have become because they are exempted from liable laws under safe harbor. The argument for that was that they were neutral platforms. They no longer are so they either need to remove the protections or be subject to the first amendment but they should not be able to have it both ways.....and I don't think there is case law to back this one way or the other yet...


> they were able to grow to the size they have become because they are exempted from liable laws under safe harbor

This was not a selective protection. When the government grants limited resources like electromagnetic spectrum and right of way, they're not directly making a monopoly, but the FCC does then claim right to regulate speech.

In the interest of fairness, the FCC classed telecommunication service providers as common carriers; thus authorizing FCC to pass net neutrality protections which require equal prioritization of internet traffic. (No blocking, No throttling, No paid prioritization). The current administration doesn't feel that that's fair, and so they've moved to dismantle said "burdensome regulations".

The current administration is now apparently attempting to argue that information service providers - which are all equally granted safe harbor and obligated to comply with DMCA - have no right to take down abuse and harassment because anti-trust monopoly therefore Freedom of Speech doesn't apply to these corporation persons.

Selective bias, indeed! Broadcast TV and Radio are subject to different rules than Cable (non-broadcast) TV.

Other regimes have attempted to argue that the government has the right to dictate the media as well.

Taking down abuse and harassment is necessary and well within the rights of a person and a corporation in the United States. Taking down certain content is now legally required within 24 hours of notice from the government in the EU.

Where is the line between a media conglomerate that produces news entertainment and an information service provider? If there is none, and the government has the right to regulate "equal time" on non-granted-spectrum media outlets, future administrations could force ConservativeNewsOutletZ and LiberalNewsOutletZ to carry specific non-emergency content, to host abusive and offense rhetoric, and to be sued for being forced to do so because no safe harbor.

Can anyone find the story of how the GOP strongarmed and intimidated Facebook into "equal time" (and then we were all shoved full of apparently Russian conservative "fake news" propaganda) before the most recent election where the GOP won older radio, TV, and print voters and young people didn't vote because it appeared to be unnecessary?

Meanwhile, the current administration rolled back the "burdensome regulation" that was to prevent ISPs from selling complete internet usage history; regardless of age.


Maybe there's an exercise that would be helpful for understanding the "corporate media filter" and the "social media filter"?

You, having no money -- while watching corporate profits soar and income inequality grow to unprecedented heights -- will choose to take a job that requires you to judge whether thousands of reported pieces of content a day are abusive, harassing, making specific threats, inciting specific destructive acts, recruiting for hate groups, depicting abuse; or just good 'ol political disagreement over issues, values, and the appropriate role of the punishing and/or nurturing state. You will do this for weeks or months, because that's your best option, because nobody else is standing in the mirror behind these people who haven't learned to respectfully disagree over facts and data (evidence).

Next, you will plan segments of content time interspersed with ads paid for by people who are trying to sell their products, grow their businesses, and reach people. You will use a limited amount of our limited electromagnetic spectrum which the government has sold your corporate overlords for a limited period of time, contingent upon your adherence to specific and subjective standards of decency as codified in the stated regulations.

In both cases, your objective is to maximize profit for shareholders.

Your target audiences may vary from undefined (everyone watching), to people who only want to review fun things that they agree with in their safe little microcosm of the world, to people who know how to find statistics like corporate profits, personal savings rate, infant morality, healthcare costs per capita, and other Indicators identified as relevant to the Targets and Goals found in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals Indicators).

Do you control what the audience shares?


All of the companies in question have received literally billions of USD in support in one form or another, given explicitly to them. see https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/jul/02/us-cities-and...

Facebook was started in part, with an investment from the US govt, CIA's In-Q-Tel. Keyhole, now part of Google Earth, also received investment from In-Q-Tel.

Should govt involvement in the economy, trigger laws meant to protect the people from govt interference such as preventing free speech? That is what I am getting at...


Unless the terms of the investment specifically state that the private entity becomes subject to those laws, I would say no, but it is a valid question to ask.


Free speech works both ways - you have a right to say whatever you want, and everybody else has a right to tell you to STFU. Being silenced by anybody other than the government is just other people exercising their right to free speech.

Your right to free speech does to convey a responsibility for me to amplify your voice.


The idea that we should hand over the power for policing what speech is "allowed" to giant global corporations is naive and silly.


the idea that giant global corporations should be required to broadcast whatever you say is naive and silly. They aren't policing what speech is allowed, anybody is allowed to say anything they want to. They're policing what speech they choose to promote.

without facebook or twitter, i don't have the ability to reach an audience of tens or hundreds of thousands. with facebook or twitter, i do. that means that when twitter shares my speech with tens of thousands of people, they're promoting my idea to a larger audience than i would ever have without them. it's ridiculous that they would be required to promote what i have to say. if they choose to not have me on their platform, i can still reach whatever natural audience i can reach without them. they haven't silenced me in any way. Twitter is not a human right.




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