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14 years ago @ McInblog - Feature Request: Comp... · 0 replies · +1 points

Seems a lot like trying to push a square peg through a round hole.

At some point people are going to realize that Twitter's service is really flawed in a LOT of ways. They have shown that having publicly accessible broadcasts of short information is useful. All the hash tags, @replies, multiple logins, 140 character limits, etc. are really workarounds for flaws in the architecture.

What really needs to happen is for someone to start a better service and tie people's twitter accounts in to it to make for an easy transition.

14 years ago @ THE CUBAN REVOLUTION - Open Letter To Faceboo... · 0 replies · +1 points

I'm not a lawyer, so any legal opinion in this comment is strictly my interpretation and should not be construed as advice, and I probably have many legal facts wrong.

Hate speech is illegal and should be stopped. Facebook (FB) has to do what it can to prevent crimes from occurring. It violates their terms of service and at some point knowingly ignoring it becomes supporting illegal activities. It appears that to date FB has taken the approach that if something is illegal in one country that they block it there, and if it is widely illegal they take it down completely.

While it seems clear that there is a lot of anti-Semitism involved with holocaust denial, I'm not sure I agree that it couldn't be done without hate speech. That would make it not illegal, but offensive to a large number of people. I think having FB shut down offensive content is a much harder line to draw for a number of reasons.

Since we started with legal issues, I'll bring them up again. There are protections provided by the law for common carriers. The are protected from the actions of their users, because they don't make any attempt to control the content. This was originally aimed at telephone companies, to protect them from their users doing illegal things on the phone, but has been interpreted broadly to cover internet companies as well. It the the protection ISPs and YouTube uses for copyrighted material, for example. It seems that as soon as FB starts removing offensive, but not illegal content they open themselves up to losing that common carrier status.

Once they start removing offensive content, they need to start doing it throughout their site. There's nothing stopping the users from creating new accounts, so this game of cat and mouse will consume a significant amount of resources by FB.

If they lose common carrier status they also become liable for copyright infringement issues. The DMCA gives common carriers easy ways of dealing with infringement rather than being treated like their are infringing themselves. That means even more effort checking content to see if it is legal.

The next problem is that by removing content that isn't illegal they open themselves up to civil lawsuits. The users who own the content can pretty easily make a claim that removing their content wasn't "fair." They'll be able to point to other content that wasn't removed as evidence.

Finally you run in to the question of what's offensive? What else should FB remove other than holocaust denial sites? What populations need to be offended for the pages to be removed? I'm not sure FB can or should be the arbiter of what is or is not offensive. I'm not arguing free speech or censorship. You are right that these only apply to governments. FB can do whatever they want with their service. I'm just not sure that having them decide what can or can't be included is a good idea.

I'll list a few grey areas that are tough. Pornography comes up regularly. Our country can't define it and leaves it to local enforcement. The Maplethorp exhibits are a perfect example. What about discussions of hacking? For example, modifying video equipment/software to allow fair use of content? Instructions on how to pick locks?

Facebook's approach of waiting for a complaint with legal implications and then handling it seems like the only feasible way for them to proceed. It also avoids the problem of them having to decide what's offensive and what isn't.