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[liberationtech] liberationtech Digest, Vol 115, Issue 3

Catherine Fitzpatrick catfitz at verizon.net
Wed Aug 1 17:19:44 PDT 2012


One shouldn't have to be literalist about the obvious *intent* of rules like this. They exist to prevent harassment, not to be 

literalized to death. Twitter shouldn't be party to a lynch mob -- that's what this was, and that's what so many things on
Twitter are these days, like the massive hate-ins over Chik-fil-A. 


And BTW, this illustrates a problem with all social media platforms. They are all businesses, not civic institutions, and that's ok.
They are not bound by the First Amendment, but are practicing it themselves when they decide what kind of expression they
want on their servers, and which kind of other business partners they want. That's all fine. That's what free enterprise and a 

liberal democracy is all about. This idea that corporate responsibility involves parroting the kind of progressive expression 

that you want has no validity in First Amendment jurisprudence.  It doesn't. Corporations get to express what they like and
police expression as they wish and fortunately, we have a choice. If the state backed them or there were only state 

corporations, we could rightly object, but they are private companies so we have no grounds for objection.


Once again, for all those clutching their pearls about it, if you don't like Twitter's policies and uneven enforcement of their
policies, which is common to all these big social media services, then you go to another one or you start your own. I'm for
a free market in social media services with a range of toleration up to First Amendment level. Then you get what you get.
It's either 4chan or Youtube comments or getting a net-nanny warning in your face on Facebook for using the word 

"breast" or typing too many messages at once. That's life in the big city of social media. The endless fretting about this
and admonishing of these companies is really out of place, and takes away time and effort from the real victims of
free speech violations in countries like Russia or Uzbekistan or Syria or Sudan. 


Have Dave Winer make a darknet and then see who shows up. Or I hear Anonymous is making some kind of 

social network.
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