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[flagged] 'Parler Has a Right to Exist,' Says Vitalik Buterin. Can Ethereum Help? (decrypt.co)
36 points by euphemized 15 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 47 comments



> Can Ethereum Help?

Of course not. No amount of blockchain magic can obviate the need for physical infrastructure to host a large web service.

(No, "it'll be distributed" or "it'll be on the blockchain" aren't viable solutions.)


I'm not an Ethereum expert, but I don't think it's typical blockchain stuff. TBH I find Ethereum extremely confusing, but it seems to bill itself more as "distributed compute units" instead.


It's still a blockchain, just a more complicated one. The "distributed compute" capabilities of Ethereum are entirely a property of its consensus algorithm; as such, they're extremely limited, and cannot interact with external entities or store significant amounts of data.


Parler most certainly does have a right to exist.

And companies have a right to not associate with a platform that incites violence and foments activity against the very constitution it appeals to.


You can be sure that any companies that host user-published content today are looking closely at the response to Parler, and are probably accelerating plans to get off of AWS. What happens when the Eye of Sauron turns to you and declares that you don't do enough to moderate?


For what it's worth, the terms of use of AWS require you to moderate content:

> You are responsible for End Users’ use of Your Content and the Service Offerings. You will ensure that all End Users comply with your obligations under this Agreement and that the terms of your agreement with each End User are consistent with this Agreement. If you become aware of any violation of your obligations under this Agreement caused by an End User, you will immediately suspend access to Your Content and the Service Offerings by such End User.

(https://aws.amazon.com/agreement/, §4.5).

According to AWS's reply brief in the lawsuit with Parler (https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.wawd.294664...):

> During one of the calls, Parler’s CEO reported that Parler had a backlog of 26,000 reports of content that violated its community standards and remained on its service.

This isn't something that popped up out of the blue; this was something that AWS was concerned about for a while (several months), and communicated with Parler about for a while. Given an existing backlog of unhandled reports, and the prospect of a rapid growth in new content that would presumably generate even more complaints, AWS did not believe that Parler could fulfill its contractual obligation to moderate with volunteers and terminated its service.


Per Parler’s CEO, banks and payment vendors, law firms, text and mail services also cancelled on them. That’s why there’s talk of alternative currency, because otherwise AWS or not, when you don’t have a relationship with a bank or payment vendors, you’ve just turned into a financially conspicuous lemonade stand.

There is no one ring to rule them all. If it were just AWS, then the conversation would turn to switching to Azure.


And nothing of value was lost.

Won't even be a blip on AWS's radar. Aside from rightwingers self hosting, nothing will really change in an impactful way.

Eye of sauron? Dramatic, much? It's not hard: Don't host incitement of violence, i.e. Incitement to Imminent Lawless Action. It's not hard. But for these radical right wingers, it apparently is. Sad.


Of course it has a right to exist, just like the rest of the internet that's not on Apple/Google/Amazon


Exactly. There's nothing stopping Parler from just like.. setting up their own servers. This whole "We can't let the tech giants control speech this way" is pure nonsense until ISPs start blocking such internet traffic.


Bingo. Except there is something stopping them: money and regulation.

Amazon allows you to scale globally with a button click and a pinky swear. Rolling out their own shit would be an Elon-level undertaking which the Parler folks clearly had no interest in. Whatever batshit lawyers told them their backup plan for WORLD PEACE would somehow fly (on the back of fuuuucking AMAZON) should be disbarred for malpractice.


I'm glad I'm not alone and crazy in this thought.


I can't agree that it has a right to exist but absolutely people who want it to exist have the right to work to make that happen. Just as others have the right not to participate.


They have the right to speak hate, of course. But no private company is obligated help build the soapbox to shout it from.


And the private companies who want to help them spew hate and bile should have the right to do so.

Especially good if I can know who they are so to avoid giving them my custom.


We're never gonna get anywhere unless we come to terms with the fact that some things do not have a right to exist. Parler itself can exist, but some of the content on it cannot because it is straight up illegal (plots of murder for example). There are tons of examples of things that society has decided cannot exist, this isn't new, Parler seems to think it is though.


But that can be said of any platform. Plus of murder, as in your example, have happened in Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.


Well of course, but as a percentage of the content posted on other platforms it isn't even close. You can't just dismiss this on that argument, "it depends" is a thing and it is real


Prosecute the offenders, then.


Yes, please, do that or at least moderate the content. It didn't happen, there are consequences. Imagine a site that regularly ignored content posted that was illegal, and you just sit back and say "prosecute them then"... but they never do. What happens next in your world?


> plots of murder for example

Parler claims to moderate such illegal speech. I'm curious if anyone here has evidence that, when brought to moderator's attention, Parler has opted not to delete such content?



Correct.


Please provide your source and also a counter source showing that other social networks act appropriately without fail 100% of the time.


There's a dream of crypto not just being about currency but also distributed servers, or even MMORPGs (akin to Ready Player One), that are fully open source and decentralized -- enabled by technologies like Ethereum contracts or Hedera Hashgraph gossip protocol. I wonder what the first example with wide usage will be.


Parler (a social network or publication platform) has the right to exist. Parler (a platform to publish hate and to make threats of violence without consequence) does NOT have a right to exist.


Hate speech is actually protected speech under the 1st Amendment, meaning you have every right as a US citizen to speak and publish hate. True threats, on the other hand, do not have the benefit of 1st Amendment protection. Then again, Parler claims that such speech is removed via moderation. Do we have evidence that Parler has chosen not to moderate such speech?


Parler has to find a private company willing to accept money to build and maintain a soapbox for you to speak that hate from. AWS is not obligated to that. The speech is free, the soapbox is not (unless it is not privately owned). "Do we have evidence" - seems the answer is "yes", have you read the AWS letter?


Ah! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction! From said letter:

> Over the past several weeks, we’ve reported 98 examples to Parler of posts that clearly encourage and incite violence.

> ...

> This is further demonstrated by the fact that you still have not taken down much of the content that we’ve sent you.


And that sums up the whole point. Even if we succumb to the idea of Parler being protected by the 1st Amendment, some one must still be will to provide the infrastructure.

These companies have simply exercised their own rights. There could be an argument about monopolies, or their rights to censorship, but to say this is about 1st Amendment rights is rather distracting.


https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.wawd.294664... has some damning things to say about Parler's moderation approach.


In the brief AWS references some messages and claims they are illegal but it is likely none would pass the Brandenburg test so all would be likely protected speech.

For example: “We need to act like our forefathers did Kill [Black and Jewish people] all Leave no victims or survivors.”

Is very similar to the speech that caused the Brandenburg case. AWS also claims the messages are harmful and thus violate their acceptable use policy and I think AWS has a much stronger argument here. However, AWS hasn’t really clarified what harmful means in their policy at least in terms of speech. Harmful can be interpreted quite widely and Parker could argue this interpretation doesn’t make sense and the implied interpretation is harmful illegal content. For example a AWS hosting a business competing against another business is harmful to that other business.


But "Hang Mike Pence" trending in Twitter is OK. Amazon should ban Twitter as well.


I'm sorry, The Internet still isn't a public resource, but we're supposed to pretend that cloud computing is? Quite literally: "I have the the right to run My software on Someone Else's Computer."


Associating Ethereum to Parler "domestic terrorist platform" is genius. Regulators are watching.


It’s so cool to see all of the crypto dudes swarming to defend a now proven fascist with no appreciation for democracy, its institutions, free speech, and the rule of law.

We should see this coming given that their business model is built on money laundering and earnings from international crime. What did we expect from them.


>a now proven fascist with no appreciation for democracy, its institutions, free speech, and the rule of law.

Who are you referencing here?


The straw man, of course!

I mean sure, I happen to agree with what I believe to be whatever1's attitude to the Person Not Named, but what whatever1 wrote has nothing to do with the topic under discussion.


Yeah yeah everyone is a facist and nazi. We get it. Yawn.


Nah just Trump. He also managed to ruin the lives of many people who believed his crap while he ran away to hide. Typical fascist.


> He also managed to ruin the lives of many people ^ this part. The sad thing for me is that is we set all this technology stuff and free speech issues that we all go around in circles about.... Trump did poison the critical thinking skills of many people with straight up lies and gaslighting. Ultimately that is the part I am most depressed about in all this.


They'll admit it if you speak to them, in a round about way. At this point you're either anti-fascist or not.


“Right to exist” talk sounds like socialism. It’s a free market. Find someone who wants to host your app. Pay them. There is no problem.


Yea, "right to exist" is too black & white. That is a bad term to use. I agree that free speech can exist, but if it is so unpopular that no one wants to help you get your hate speech out there, well that is your problem to find a solution to.


There are websites that sell illegal drugs. If those sites can find web hosting, so can a website that promotes hate speech. Actually, such sites probably already exist. Lots of them. It’s just that Parler became too popular for its own good.


Wouldn't the same apply to health care? I would imagine the common stance would in fact be the exact opposite of this here.

I think as a whole we need to agree that things are black and white and in fact grey. This, healthcare, and other topics are much more nuanced than pointing fingers at one side or the other.


Healthcare is a human right (Hello, Europe calling!). Parler is social networking app. Those two things hardly have anything in common.




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