October 28, 2015

"With 'free' services, you are the product": Censorship, the internet -- and why fighting back works

Laura Rosen CohenRebel Blogger

I am a free speech absolutist. Free speech, however, does not protect criminality, or threats of violence.

Threats of violence must be taken seriously and prosecuted by law enforcement.

That's why -- like The Rebel -- I'm watching the case of "Israel vs Facebook" very closely.

There's no reason why companies such as Twitter or Facebook should be protected from legal actions when clear and present threats are being uploaded and circulated on their networks. As private companies, they can decide who is allowed to have an account or not, but they have a responsibility to existing criminal laws regarding threats of violence against general or specific targets.

What people have to remember is that with "free" services, YOU are the product.

If you choose to use a "free" service, the actual cost is that you are the product and your information and marketability are the ways in which they make money (in addition to ads, of course). Duh. If you don't care about that, do feel free to use various "free" platforms. Nobody is forcing you to stay on these social networks or free e-mail services.

(Again, this is why conservatives do not need any more stupid web sites, as Kathy Shaidle always points out. We need web infrastructure and our own social media tools precisely to avoid the leftist monopolies currently controlling social media networks.)

Whether free or paid service, for profit or not-for-profit, no individual and no company can, or should be exempt from being sued or for being prosecuted for threatening violence or providing web space that hosts threats of violence. And no, I'm not referring to "offending" people. I don't care who is offended about what. Threats are something different, there is a criminal code for threats.

Of course, I'm no lawyer, just an interested observer, but it certainly seems to me that a case could legitimately be made that the proprietors of web real estate where threats of violence are hosted and widely disseminated, could be held criminally liable as accessories.

This case will be a very interesting one to watch, even if the net result is "only" that social network companies are forced to publish and uphold much more stringent and universally-applied policies regarding threats of violence and not be allowed to rely on mealy-mouthed "community standards" policies to get out of taking responsibility for hosted content.

Certainly conservatives, and conservative bloggers and writers in particular have been financially and legally liable and punished for far more benign content hitherto.

Perhaps this lawsuit has a chance of obliterating the obvious double standard, or at least, making it much more difficult, if not impossible for leftist-controlled social media giants to get away with turning a blind eye to clear incitement of the murder of Jews in particular and consistently turning a blind eye to the ever-growing encroachment of professional/Hollywood quality terrorist propaganda, the networking and recruitment activities of anti-Western forces on social media real estate.


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commented 2015-12-23 01:56:33 -0500
The Left like to spew; Free Speech isn’t free of consequences. Ok, good, glad to hear it, Your Honour . . . . .
Of course, I don’t agree with that saying, because if Free Speech has consequences then it isn’t free is it, but hey, I’ll play along. I’m not much good at being a hypocrite, but I’ll give it a go this one time LOL!
commented 2015-11-02 23:36:37 -0500
I can foresee a virtual branch of the law relating to occupier’s liability extending to free social media service providers like facebook, twitter, instagram, etc.
commented 2015-10-28 16:55:32 -0400
Jason Bertucci well put, sad how there are double standards and hypocrisy on this issue. And on both sides, but the left has taken it to a new level.
commented 2015-10-28 14:03:53 -0400
I am also a free speech absolutist and in Canada that is a threatened species. Many on the left, and to be fair, some on the right, want to control the content of speech. Or in the case of the media want free speech for themselves but not the rest of us. I hate the ridiculous fire in the theatre argument, because the elemental factor in that case is not speech, but mischief. Threats and incitement to violence I understand should not be tolerated. The sad thing is the way defamation law is written and abused in this country, we are not free in our speech.
commented 2015-10-28 10:49:23 -0400
You are not a free speech absolutist!