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If you are providing webspace then not knowing or caring what is stored there is a defence (but is limited the minute we say "but if it's illegal you should have known")

But by indexing and then returning search results you are choosing and selecting - maybe being able to find "grot porn" or "that video of muslims being killed" is a public good (!) but if it is then I struggle to see how adverts and other minimisation schemes will not influence your decision to return it - the very act of making something findable is a curation decision - and curation implies responsibility.

Perhaps we will work around it by having google publish it algorithm for search results - but that gets gnarly fast.

In short I think webspace is like selling white banners and pens to a political rally - what people write on them is their business. But once you look at the banners and start to hand them out on street corners you are engaging in political speech - and worse speech someone else has written.

i used to work for Demon Internet and our big USP (so we thought) was free webspace (10MB!!). And if you published your work on there you then needed to go through various cycles to get someone to come and read it - but Google and facebook have a domain name based leverage going on that means putting my stuff on facebook makes it easier to be found by orders of magnitude - and that implies curation and promotion of speech.

In short - there is no "hands off approach" to free speech that is not hard disk space. And we and FAANG need to deal with the responsibility

Edit: if you have the right to say awful things, you don't necessarily have the right to have those things promoted and published by some of the largest companies on the planet - but if they choose to edit your speech they need to start obeying everyone's speech laws (globally impossible) - so perhaps they should be split into Elizabeth Warrens platforms - and that would presumably allow duckduckgo to run its requests across google hardware and indexes on a free competition basis....




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