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You're thinking about Section 230 wrong. Censorship is a government only thing. But even if we accept your definition of censorship, in google's case, there is no censorship taking place. Because google always lets every user know about every hit it found for their search at the very top of the first page of results. So if google knows about 1,690,000,000 instances of, say, "chocolate cake", it tells you that up front. Crucially, given enough time, google will always present to every user all 1,690,000,000 instances of which it is aware.

You are not required to present all of the information on your platform at once in order to be considered a platform. Indeed, it is generally accepted that platforms, by their very nature, are not able to do so.

I don't want to argue semantics, but even if we do, I would state that you are wrong. [1]

Censorship can come from anyone and anywhere. Especially when a private company like Google has more power that many governments in the world. Google could even be considered an un-elected government depending on how you look at it.

What they are doing by de-platforming people is censorship.

They offer no clue as to how their algorithm works or why some people get up on the list while others don't.

While they could theoretically show all 1,690,000,000 results, we know for a fact that just the first or second page at tops is what matters. So, in all practicality, the other results do not exist.

If the other results do not exist, then they are a publisher and should be treated as such since they pick the winners and losers.

If there's nothing wrong with what they are doing, what's the problem of calling then a publisher? Why not embrace it and take full responsibility?

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship

You seem to be suggesting that by curating the content on their platform, Google is losing (or should be losing) their section 230 protections. This is simply wrong.

If I have a blog, and I ban someone from commenting, I don't lose my 230 protections. Even though I've 'de-platformed' someone from my blog. Google is no different than a blog, just scaled up.

But the guy is even more wrong than that.

He is saying that any hit not on the first two pages of google's search results, doesn't exist, and is therefore being deplatformed?

That's a ludicrous position. Those hits do very much exist, and google will display to you each result in turn hoping you find something to click on. If his argument is taken at face value, the vast majority of hits, on every search term, for every user, is being deplatformed. That's just not the case. You can't really say you're being deplatformed, because you're not on the first page.

@bilbo0s I’m sorry. Let me be more specific.

When I refer to deplatforming I’m talking about users and opinions being banned from the plaftorms (YouTube, Twitter, FB, etc).

When I’m referring to search engine results what I’m saying is that Google is promoting a few selected sites over others based on a undisclosed criteria. The undisclosed criteria here is what makes a world of difference.

By not making it clear they are picking winners and that should not happen.

On my blog I'm free to delete any comment I like, and I'm not beholden to the government to explain why I did it. That's simply the Constitution at work. How big, in your opinion, does a publisher need to be in order for their First Amendment protections against forced speech to be stripped away?

Right, because your blog is tiny and meaningless. When you control the eyeballs of a country it is a different story.

Can you direct me to the clause in the Constitution that limits free speech rights if you attract a big enough audience?

Anti monopoly laws, would be one. You can say whatever you want, you'll just have your platform split in smaller pieces to avoid harming the average individual.

If you disclose the criteria, people game it. Any ‘objective’ scheme you come up with will be overrun by scammers in weeks without constant updates from google.

So the solution is to give all the power to one company and hope they do well by us?

Just because a problem is hard to solve it doesn’t mean that an authoritarian solution is acceptable.

Perhaps we should come up with a system where people are free to use whatever search engine they like, and the government can't tell you what search engine to use, and the government can't tell the search engines what to publish. It would be so much better than the current system where we're legally required to use Google.

Because Google, along with Facebook, control the advertising market. They integrate well together, but it presents a long term problem.

You forgot Amazon, but it sounds like we've moved the goalposts from free speech to fairness for advertisers now. That's an antitrust problem, not a free speech problem.

That's what I'm suggesting @mullingitover.

It seems like you don't agree. Maybe you could make the case about the reason you don't agree and we can go from there.

"Crucially, given enough time, google will always present to every user all 1,690,000,000 instances of which it is aware."

Just on a technical basis, no, it won't: https://www.google.com/search?q=testing&start=1090: "Sorry, Google does not serve more than 1000 results for any query. (You asked for results starting from 1090.)"

Arguments based on that are therefore void.

> Censorship is a government only thing

To nitpick: no it's not. Government censorship is worse than other forms because the state is an entrenched, nearly irreplaceable power structure with lots of inertia, but that doesn't mean non-state censorship is perfectly fine.

Any platform that curates content is censoring. Sometimes that's fine (illegal content), and sometimes it's just not acceptable.

I'll add that its also worse because of government monopoly on violence.

Though corporate lobbying can co-opt government violence, which creates many dangerous scenarios.

"I see you edited our software in violation of the DMCA, the police will arrive shortly"

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