BB BBS and the repeal of 230

What will happen with this forum if 230 is repealed?
Has there been a discussion about this likely eventuality?
Could it be moved off US servers to keep it alive?


If Boing Boing becomes liable for posts made to the BBS, then the BBS will cease to exist. We will not be the only small forum to disappear should that come to pass.


This seems very unlikely to me, personally. But who knows.


This is crazy. What are they going to do next, hold the USPS liable for bait and switch ads in the local flyer? They can certainly make rule 230’s exceptions for deleting content less broad to keep from becoming editorial but eliminating it all together will destroy large swaths of the internet’s ecosystem. All web 2.0 will move to the dark web.


And make Google liable for the content of all gmails.


You would think that someome with some deep understanding of the issue would advise them but in my experience, this is rare.

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Once Trump’s Twitter account is gone, it’ll all fade away like a miracle.


One would have thought Oracle would have had intelligent minds, yet they are anti-section 230, when it makes no logical sense for company to want to increase liability for users posts…

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Twitter seems likely to find a way to make another exception to declare his Twitter account newsworthy and exempt from normal standards of behavior and accountability…


When you give the hyena the megaphone, all you ever hear henceforth is maniacal laughter.


Of course they are. Repealing section 230 without a replacement would guarantee online discourse could only occur in megacorps with the money to spend on content moderation and automated scanning.

Something that has become all too obvious in recent years with takedown requests is that even frivolous lawsuits without merit deeply, deeply harm small, independent providers.

Repealing 230 without a replacement guarantees that the twitters, facebooks and so on of the world will be the only places for online discourse in the US. And allows companies like Oracle to have a competitive advantage both from their sweeping data collection perspective and from their deep pockets perspective.


Indeed, Oracle are the kings of walled gardens.


No bueno:

… Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one. Joe Biden


Well, hopefully he holds a more nuanced opinion on that since Jan. Attack the centralization with traditional anti-trust tools.

I don’t know what to think of him. I was so focused on getting rid of Trump that I did not look very hard or very deeply into him. There was not that much probing of him and his policies by most of the press either so now I am left feeling like I jumped out of the fire into the frying pan. It definetly feels like an upgrade but feelings can be the enemy of logic at times. I guess we will see.


Since it seems like this has become a general Section 230 discussion topic, I’m just gonna put my thoughts down here.

I think that Section 230 provides important liability shields. I think that a repeal would be a disaster that is best avoided. But I also think that Big Tech has taken advantage of Section 230 to reap ludicrous profits off the back of lies and hate that’ve wrecked our democracy and shattered any semblance of shared reality that we have. Please hear me out on this.

Facebook is cozy with right-wingers and lets monsters like Steve Bannon off the hook even though anybody else would have had their account crushed to atoms and scattered to the winds. Section 230 protects Facebook from facing scrutiny for these intentionally inconsistent moderation decisions.

Reddit let r/The_Donald fester for years. It was literally impossible for Reddit to have not known the kinds of organizing and bullshit spreading that went on there. The users of that subreddit eventually organized and built out a website of their own. Then, when the subreddit became an unprofitable hollow shell, Reddit finally nuked it. They removed r/FatPeopleHate and other vile subreddits when they were active, but with this one they waited until all possible money was wrung out. They refused to use the power and freedom to moderate that 230 gives them to help protect their users and make their site a safer place. And then they have the fucking gall to help create an industry group that wants to defend Section 230 because, and I quote, “its members represent different corners of the Internet ecosystem, and rely heavily on Section 230 to act responsibly to protect users.” It’s a hypocritical crock of shit. They say they’re open to “a unified, comprehensive approach to reform”, but when Reddit, one of the biggest players in this group, spends years letting nazis have their own little playground, why should anybody trust them?

Twitter could have used its power with Section 230 to routinely remove Trump’s tweets and add fact-checks to anything that he tweeted, both while he was on his 2016 campaign trail and during his presidency when talk of how important fact-checking is became markedly prevalent. Instead, they sat around and twiddled their thumbs until the ass-end of his first term when they finally got on his case about mail-in ballots and the 2020 election, leaving him largely unchecked for 3.75 years and giving him a free soapbox to preach out his bile.

Section 230 deserves to be left as it is, mostly. Any real consequences for Big Tech, ranging from antitrust that breaks them up to privacy legislation & regulation that might force them to drop their algorithmic engagement-above-all-else business models, are welcome, but I feel wholly inadequate to truly punish these corporations for what they’ve done. People need expanded legal toolsets that allow Big Tech to be brought to court and for the assholes running them to face jail time when they moderate inconsistently on purpose for the sake of profit.


Why is this a surprise? Reddit’s track record here has been beyond abysmal for a decade. It has its own wikipedia article for chrissakes:

Although it has taken far, far too long for Reddit to drag itself along, progress is still progress … and in my book, all progress is welcome.

(Also every time I see the name Yishan Wong, I wince. He is a terrible person.)

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My issue with Reddit is that when it banned r/FatPeopleHate, r/****town and more, this was while those communities were active. With r/The_Donald, they waited years to act on something that was very clearly a problem, and only acted after the subreddit was no longer active and therefore no longer profitable, after they had mostly peaced out to another site.

Is “We only progress when a money well has run dry” a type of progress that you welcome? Because that’s what they did here.

Oh, and something I consider of note: In the section on r/The_Donald, there are cited instances of Reddit’s CEO making edits to other people’s published comments, which I’m pretty sure isn’t very Section 230 of him. Regardless of the contents of the posts and who’s making them, when upper-level staff on a site edits comments like that and it’s not for the purpose of moderation but rather to stir shit up, they’ve got a lot of work to do to prove that they actually care about Section 230.

In my book, when a company leaves a hate-filled subreddit up because it’s profitable and the CEO admits that he edited people’s posts himself (not for moderation, but rather for his own kicks) on that hate-filled subreddit, they don’t deserve to have their doing less than the bare minimum seen as “welcome”. This is especially true if they try and come to the Section 230 bargaining table as part of a coalition that claims that it’s all about responsibility and ensuring user safety.

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The bottom line is that the sites should not be held responsible for what the users post any more than the USPS is for the content of letters mailed or ISP’s for what their users do with their pipes. Where 230 runs afoul is in 230 ©2:

Section 230©(2) provides immunity from [civil liabilities for information service providers that remove or restrict content from their services they deem "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected

It’s the “or otherwise objectionable,” that allows for complete cover to abuse 230. I would remove that generality and leave the rest intact.

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