“So here’s a country we give billions of dollars to [Israel], and these people want to pass a law that says we can’t criticize a country that we give billions of dollars to. … If we let this go, we will become like Europe….”
Last December, Twitter purged numerous far-right, white-nationalist, and Holocaust-revisionist accounts as part of its updated “terms of service.” In February Jared Taylor, founder of the publication American Renaissance,sued Twitter for banning his account, claiming the censorship “violated civil rights and contract law.” Rather than discuss the matter, Twitter came out nasty, claiming Taylor’s suit violated its rights to free speech and was trying to intimidate the internet giant: this under California’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) law. Fortunately, California Judge Harold Kahn rejected Twitter’s claim of being frightened by Mr. Taylor and found that Taylor was fighting “a classic public-interest lawsuit.” Taylor’s suit will proceed.
A very important case.
We have been taught from childhood that the First Amendment has made America the “Land of Free Speech,” but the First Amendment protects Americans only from governmental censorship, not purges by the huge corporations. The dream of greater freedom for discussion and debate is evaporating as internet access has been concentrated in the hands of a few huge corporations; Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Amazon, E-Bay. No more do these giants talk of free speech; now the buzzword is “community standards” and the goal is to ban anything “controversial,” starting with unpopular political or historical beliefs.
Taylor sued Twitter based on its earlier free speech promises and Judge Kahn seemed sympathetic to the idea that Twitter had misled the public by saying its platform was open to everyone. Twitter at one point in the past described itself as the “free-speech wing of the free-speech party.” But breach of contract aside, our rights to internet access hang by a very thin thread. In this case it is a clause of the California Constitution, Article I, Section 2, which reads: “Every person may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of this right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberty of speech or press.”
In the case Robins v. Pruneyard Shopping Center, the Court held that public sidewalks at a shopping center were a valid locus for free speech, ranging from union pickets to voter-registration drives. Taylor v. Twitter would extend that theory to the Internet.
28:45 Twitter “should lose their safe harbor protections.”
Safe Harbor Protection – Website Liability
A “safe harbor” is defined as a harbor considered safe for a ship during a storm at sea, or any place or situation that offers refuge or protection. A safe harbor is also a provision of a statute or a regulation that specifies that certain conduct will be deemed not to violate a given rule. Websites that host content are always at risk of someone posting an image they don’t own, or music they haven’t licensed, or content they haven’t created. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) provides websites with protection from liability for material posted by their users. This protection is legally referred to as a safe harbor. (source)
YouTube Bans Firearms Demo Videos, Entering the Gun Control Debate
YouTube, a popular media site for firearms enthusiasts, this week quietly introduced tighter restrictions on videos involving weapons, becoming the latest battleground in the U.S. gun-control debate.
YouTube will ban videos that promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories, including bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic rifle to fire faster. Additionally, YouTube said it will prohibit videos with instructions on how to assemble firearms. The video site, owned by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, has faced intense criticism for hosting videos about guns, bombs and other deadly weapons. …
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry lobbying group, called YouTube’s new policy “worrisome.”
“We suspect it will be interpreted to block much more content than the stated goal of firearms and certain accessory sales,” the foundation said in a statement. “We see the real potential for the blocking of educational content that serves instructional, skill-building and even safety purposes. Much like Facebook, YouTube now acts as a virtual public square. The exercise of what amounts to censorship, then, can legitimately be viewed as the stifling of commercial free speech.”