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Twitter and Facebook Remove Trump Video, Claiming COVID “Misinformation” Violations

Twitter and Facebook Remove Trump Video, Claiming COVID “Misinformation” Violations

They’re publishers and they should be treated as such.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IOxu6dDJ14

Facebook and Twitter have both removed videos of a Trump appearance on the cable show Fox and Friends, for what they claim is a violation of their “misinformation” policies. The posts removed were made by Trump himself and it’s not yet clear whether the two platforms have taken any action against posts shared by other users.

Fox News explains:

Facebook and Twitter are both taking action after a video shared by President Trump they say contains misinformation about the coronavirus.

“This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation,” Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois told Fox News in a statement.

In the removed video, the president told Fox & Friends that schools should remain open.

“My view is that schools should be open,” Trump said. “If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely — but almost immune from this disease.”

He added that children have “much stronger immune systems” and “just don’t have a problem.”

According to Facebook, this is the first time the social media platform has taken down a post from the president regarding misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.

It was not immediately clear if all posts containing the video have been removed.

The icing on the cake comes from Twitter, who has hired as their Communications spox, Kamala Harris’ former Press Secretary. I’m sure he’s totally unbiased and neutral when it comes to these things.

https://twitter.com/NickPacilio/status/1291160646231392261?s=20

Really though:

https://twitter.com/dangainor/status/1291320998671810560?s=20

https://twitter.com/IPOT1776/status/1291274502202986496?s=20

This is a problem. A major problem. It has been for a long time, but there is no longer any denying that major tech platforms are attempting to edge their way into the ultimate arbiters of “valid” or “right” information. They’re no longer platforms. They’re publishers and they should be treated as such.

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Comments

SpaceInvader | August 6, 2020 at 5:17 pm

According to AARP we are supposed to only believe blue check marked people on Twitter along with factcheck.org and the Washington Post.

Doctors Facebook and Twitter are sure the science has already spoken against HDC.

sashaandhisrussianself | August 6, 2020 at 5:29 pm

I’ve been livid about this all day, because what Trump is essentially true based on the standards set by the social media giants. Consider the following statement: “Vaccinations make children immune to diseases like measles.” I doubt there’s a social media company in the world that would censor that statement, and I doubt that even well-informed health experts would balk at that kind of a statement. But vaccines have failure rates between 1%-5%. What about the more qualified statement “kids are almost immune from COVID.” That statement is qualified by the word “almost,” acknowledging the fact that there are some cases of kids getting sick while testing positive for COVID. But at what rate? One of these fact checking places evaluating Trump’s statement wrote that 240,000 children in the US have tested positive for COVID, 300 have developed the severe immune response that characterizes the only negative consequence of covid infection for children, and 6 children total have tragically died while testing positive for COVID. 300/240,000 is less than 1%. If the MMR vaccine makes your kid immune to measles with a failure rate between 1-5% then surely the fact that less than 1% of children getting sick with COVID means that they are “immune” – in the colloquial sense – from COVID.

And plenty of other statements with less factual support are made in the press, much less on social media, all the time! Regularly you will hear activists go unchallenged on places like NPR when they say that “there is an epidemic of violence against black trans women” when the murder rate for black trans women is less than the murder rate for the population as a whole (and much much less than the murder of black people with Y chromosomes!!!). There is the widespread misinformation that undergirds the Black Lives Matter Movement – that black men are at higher risk of deadly violence at the hands of the police. And of course, facebook and twitter allow certain demographic groups to spread vicious lies about Jewish people on a daily basis.

These people have created a Ministry of Truth – one that is unelected, unaccountable, and actively distorts reality for political purposes. It’s truly maddening.

HQC I assume you mean

Trump needs to leave twitter and go to Gab or such, he is Twitter…
It would destroy them and that’s what must happen

They’re no longer platforms. They’re publishers and they should be treated as such.

This is a legal blog. Why is the basic law governing the Internet so difficult for people to understand?

(c) Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material
(1) Treatment of publisher or speaker

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

(2) Civil liability

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of –

(A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected; or

(B) any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph (1).[1]

Eliminate the s.230(c) protections and free speech on the Internet dies immediately, including this blog.

    Close The Fed in reply to daniel_ream. | August 6, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    I don’t agree with the disdain for the blog readers, but agree with Daniel’s evaluation of the effect of elimination of Sec. 230.

    There’s more than one way to bake a potato, if you want to cut these tech companies down at the knees.

    Anti-trust (can’t believe I’m writing that).

    But if you REALLY want to hit them where it hurts, Congress would pass legislation creating a framework for Terms of Service that would diminish their ability to deplatform and shadowban, etc., without appeals and COMPLETE TRANSPARENCY.

    Also, I have long thought that the use of a user’s data should be criminalized. Make people pay, and then when the company fails in providing the consideration bargained for, make them liable for treble or greater damages.

    So many ways to bake a potato. Must be hundreds of them.

      Anti-trust is, and has been, the law of the land. It was used to break up Ma Bell, which (if I’m not mistaken) was the most recent really large anti-trust action undertaken by the US government. Why should we shy away from using existing law to achieve our ends? The Socialist-Democrats/Socialists/Communists never view lawfare with trepidation, they embrace it.

    randian in reply to daniel_ream. | August 6, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    Get rid of the “otherwise objectionable” clause.

      BierceAmbrose in reply to randian. | August 7, 2020 at 6:18 pm

      Yep.

      You wanna be a platform, with immunity, block this, that or the other as *mandated categories.* Like things that are already crimes.

    felixrigidus in reply to daniel_ream. | August 7, 2020 at 8:04 am

    It is “good samaritan” protection, and protects “good faith” censorship.
    What Twitter and Facebook are doing is clearly not in “good faith”, partly because they advertise as platforms championing free speech and thus at least borderline fraud.
    Also, the fact that the technology landscape has dramatically changed and Twitter and Facebook actually can and do monitor everything posted via algorithms and make editorial decisions to censor certain content, not in specific cases somebody brought to their attention but wholesale and sua sponte might call into question whether any tweet or Facebook post truly is “information provided by another information content provider” or rather published by that content provider and Twitter or Facebook respectively.

    It is a mystery how you think free speech would die on the internet if Twitter and Facebook cannot continue their blatant interference and propaganda attempts to influence elections (violations of campaign contributions laws should be under investigation right now as well). After all, “another information content provider” is liable right now, and yet people have their own blogs.

    Of course, as we all can see, abusive lawfare more and more democrats engage in is endangering all rights protected by the constitution. But abuse of the law and process by the enemies of rights is not a good argument against the law itself. It only shows that it is time to make lawfare practitioners personally liable because clearly wasting taxpayer money is not something they see as something to be avoided at all.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to daniel_ream. | August 7, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

    So, they could have left Trump’s stuff up there with no liability? Maybe do that: more free speech.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to daniel_ream. | August 7, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    “(A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected;”

    Funny, I don’t see “untrue” or “misleading” on that list of stuff it’s OK to censor.(*)

    (*) I use the term advisedly. So say: “only government can censor.” Go ahead, make my day.(**)

    (**) Was that a threat, or an analogy? The fictional character held a fictional gun when he said that. Well, both, but also *not a threat of violence.* It’s the interwebz: we can’t transmit actual physical malficia digitally. It is, however, a threat, by analogy, exactly of consequences: make that ridiculous claim, and it’ll get fisked.

      randian in reply to BierceAmbrose. | August 7, 2020 at 10:24 pm

      The fig leaf Twitter, Facebook, and Google are using to censor is the “otherwise objectionable” clause. It means whatever a platform want it to means, and essentially means that section 230 grants unlimited immunity.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to daniel_ream. | August 7, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    “Eliminate the s.230(c) protections and free speech on the Internet dies immediately, including this blog.”

    Who said eliminate s.230(c) protections?

    A flaming hot take with that many straw men will cause global warmigng

    BierceAmbrose in reply to daniel_ream. | August 7, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    “This is a legal blog.”

    No, it’s not. This is a public interest blog / publisher, founded n hosted by a law professor who is also a lawyer.

    “Why is the basic law governing the Internet so difficult for people to understand?”

    The law is there for lay people’s benefit (meaning us), to their (meaning our) understanding and in the end to support their (meaning our) aims. It’s a choice, and we can change it if we like.

    What’s enforced is a choice, and changes; interpretation is a choice, and changes; law can be changed if we don’t like what it’s doing for us; law is often changed when enterprising actors do something we didn’t mean with the law as written. So, what do we want to do, here?

    The questions around platforms managing other people’s content and access are interpretation in terms of at least:

    – Does limiting liability for what others say on a “platform” indemnify the host from what they say? (I’d go with “no.” and “If the law as written says otherwise, change the law.”)

    – Does content-based restriction of material and access constitute “publishing.” (I’d go with “yes.” You need carve-outs for types of content that can be restricted without liability *because* restriction is an act of publishing(*), for which the publisher would otherwise be liable. If publishers weren’t liable for what they publish, you’d need no section 230.)

    – Where’s the “We don’t think it’s true?” clause in 230?

    – Do we maybe want to make content-based blocking of material from “platforms” count as editorial? How about when the “blocking” points to policies that refer to the content itself: the blocking becomes editorial? If we want to be certain TwitBook can do what they just did without liability, we need another carve-out in 230, I think.

    – “Otherwise objectionable” is pretty broad and vague. That’s a really good example of bad law. How about someone commenting on Twitter that “Twitter sux?” Twitter can find that “objectionable” by whatever criteria they like — Hurt their little feewings? Might ding the stock price? Maybe we don’t want to indemnify communication platforms for that? I myself find what FacEr did with this objectionable, their dissembling more so, and their policies even worse. Please block themselves.

    – “Good faith?” Not sure we want to be holding these platforms to a “good faith” on anything.

    (*) There’s precedents on this. Not being a law blog; this not being a brief, I don’t need to read in the footnotes. But, somebody wants to talk legal, there’s plenty of search tools for finding material on record.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to daniel_ream. | August 7, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    “Eliminate the s.230(c) protections and free speech on the Internet dies immediately, including this blog.”

    You mean to mean “touch 230 any way at all, and…” That’s just crap more ways than I can count.

    To start with, there’d be no need for any safe harbor if the CDA and similar were written more tightly.

Dantzig93101 | August 6, 2020 at 5:54 pm

Once again, I find myself wishing (almost) that President Trump were as bad as they say he is. If he were, then Jack and Twitter would not be a problem — one way or another.

I’m not worried about Twitter and Facebook censoring Trump’s tweets and interviews etc. Every time they do that, it gives Trump additional publicity, and everyone finds alternate sources to find out what he said.

I’m worried that Twitter and Facebook are also censoring everyone else with conservative or less-than-PC opinions. Those are people who are silenced and we never hear about. How many millions of tweets and posts have been killed by partisans like Pacilio, and because of their censorship, no one has ever seen them?

Twitter and Facebook have each developed a Ministry of Truth that decides what political narrative is acceptable, and screens tweets and posts for any deviant thoughts. This is not hard to do, if you have a computer scan for posts that mention key words like “virus” and politicians’ names. Then their fact checkers, apparently all ex-Democratic campaign workers (or maybe still campaigning), can check and delete anything that doesn’t conform to the narrative.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to OldProf2. | August 6, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    Both censor to promote their political agenda,specifically in ways to make it look like there is more support for their agenda.

    I have seen this type of thing, young punk wildly successful successful companies who think that their shit doesn’t stink and that they are invincible.

    4fun in reply to OldProf2. | August 6, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    This is the truth. They are shutting down conservative opinions and interfering in the election. They should be investigated by the FEC, fined a couple billion dollars for in kind political donations.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to OldProf2. | August 7, 2020 at 12:40 am

    Thyme two miss spell real nus….

    Edward in reply to OldProf2. | August 7, 2020 at 9:20 am

    If “everyone” found alternate venues for every time they censor conservative thought, and particularly the President, neither facebook nor twitter would be as dominant as they are currently.

I’m beginning to wonder if they wouldn’t actually prefer to be treated as publishers.

Exactly as predicted.

They’re getting bolder and bolder because they KNOW the RINOs aren’t going to do jack shit about it.

nobody is forced to use these services. they are not public companies. they can do whatever they want. there is nothing that forces anyone to sign up. if you aren’t happy about how they run their companies GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! why is this so difficult to understand?

    Close The Fed in reply to [email protected]. | August 6, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    This is your typical macro libertarian here.

    On the upper echelon, private enterprise can do whatever they want.

    But the libertarians are never interested in micro libertarianism, because really it’s just too damned hard.

    The business licenses/ building permits/etc etc etc keep getting harder and harder to obtain, take longer, cost more, but the big guys have the skids greased for them.

    I would have respect for someone that tried to make life FREER for Average Americans. I have no respect for people that encourage and edorse a failure of consideration (the legal term) by big companies, and call that “freedom.”

    It would be far better for Congress to legislate, than to allow judges to come up with some jerry rigged common law solution.

    Common law solutions make true the saying, “Hard cases make bad law.”

    Close The Fed in reply to [email protected]. | August 6, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    And education: the teachers’ unions have a lock on government education pre-k through 12, but no libertarian has put himself on the line to break that lock and give Americans freedom for their kids to go to school wherever the parents want them to go.

    Please, spare me the “private business” schlock.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to [email protected]. | August 7, 2020 at 12:36 am

    They are Facists……

    felixrigidus in reply to [email protected]. | August 7, 2020 at 8:13 am

    So [email protected] thinks private companies can engage in targeted murder, after all to quote you “they can do whatever they want”.
    Does that also apply to drug dealers?
    And “shadow banning” precisely intends to remove any benefit (the reach of your tweet) in a way the user does not see and therefore cannot react.
    At this point in time your argument is either dishonest or stupid. Although, it could be both, come to think of it.

A great many do not understand how science works, how skepticism is an integral part of science which mandates open discussion, how little is really known /understood about COVID-19, etc. What Twitter and Facebook are doing with this policy is declaring themselves to be the final arbiter in science declaring what is fact and what is not while ignoring the reality of scientific research. This is nothing short of their version of Lysenkoism and it will end badly for them for while they condemn so many others for lying by the mere act of disagreeing with them, they themselves are the greater and worse liar.

BierceAmbrose | August 7, 2020 at 6:57 pm

Do we require attribution of affiliations for commenting on the interwebz? Should we?

Myself, when I see obfuscations allways drifting in one direction, I’m inclined to infer an agenda; a paid one.

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