Parler Shutdown In Latest Attack on Free Speech On The Internet

Recently, millions of supporters of Twitter reportedly left that company due to its continued censoring of viewpoints and the permanent banning of President Donald Trump.  Many went to the more open forum offered by Parler — making it the number one item on Apple’s App store.  Apple, Google, and other companies then moved to cut off Parler, which has now been shutdown. In so doing, these companies eliminate any alternative to their own controlled platforms. It is a major threat to free speech. Yet, the silence of academic and many free speech advocates is striking and chilling.

Apple issued a statement that “We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity.”  So Parler can operate only if Apple and Google are satisfied that it is engaging in the same controversial policies of censorship.  Parler is based on the original concept of the Internet as an open forum for free speech.

I admittedly know little about Parler, but it does not matter beyond the fact that this is an alternative forum for free speech. I am an unabashed Internet originalist. I have long opposed the calls for censorship under the pretense of creating “an honest Internet.”  We have have been discussing how writerseditorscommentators, and academics have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including President-elect Joe Biden and his key advisers. The erosion of free speech has been radically accelerated by the Big Tech and social media companies. The level of censorship and viewpoint regulation has raised questions of a new type of state media where companies advance an ideological agenda with political allies.

As I have previously written, we are witnessing the death of free speech on the Internet.  What is particularly concerning is the common evasion used by academics and reporters that this is not really a free speech issue because these are private companies. The First Amendment is designed to address government restrictions on free speech. As a private entity, Twitter is not the subject of that amendment. However, private companies can still destroy free speech through private censorship. It is called the “Little Brother problem.” President Trump can be chastised for converting a “Little Brother” into a “Big Brother” problem. However, that does alter the fundamental threat to free speech.  This is the denial of free speech, a principle that goes beyond the First Amendment. Indeed, some of us view free speech as a human right.

Consider racial or gender discrimination. It would be wrong regardless if federal law only banned such discrimination by the government. The same is true for free speech. The First Amendment is limited to government censorship, but free speech is not limited in the same way. Those of us who believe in free speech as a human right believe that it is morally wrong to deny it as either a private or governmental entity.  That does not mean that there are not differences between governmental and private actions. For example, companies may control free speech in the workplaces. They have a recognized right of free speech. However, the social media companies were created as forums for speech.  Indeed, they sought immunity on the false claim that they were not making editorial decisions or engaging viewpoint regulation.  No one is saying that these companies are breaking the law in denying free speech. We are saying that they are denying free speech as companies offering speech platforms.

If Pelosi demanded that Verizon or Sprint interrupt calls to stop people saying false or misleading things, the public would be outraged. Twitter serves the same communicative function between consenting parties; it simply allows thousands of people to participate in such digital exchanges. Those people do not sign up to exchange thoughts only to have Dorsey or some other internet overlord monitor their conversations and “protect” them from errant or harmful thoughts.

Much of our free speech today occurs on private sites like Twitter and Facebook. The Democrats want private companies to censor or label statements deemed misleading. Such a system would evade First Amendment conflict but it would have an even greater likely impact on free speech than direct government monitoring.

302 thoughts on “Parler Shutdown In Latest Attack on Free Speech On The Internet”

  1. This was happening 10+ years ago, it could’ve been nipped in the bud then. Nobody cared. Obama didn’t care to the point that he had Google setting up shop inside the White House in his last term. People that were watching their tech portfolios more than they were watching these companies’ actual behavior and ethos or lusting for ‘likes’ against reason are as much to blame for getting us here as anyone. It’s not too late though; these companies would evaporate if their users left en masse. Your loyalty is all that enables them, and they know it: it’s why they fight so hard to placate and pander, ethics be damned, if not law altogether, just as the DNC does.

    1. “these companies would evaporate if their users left en masse.”

      Your wise counsel will be ignored as quickly as the attention span of a goldfish.

      https://web.archive.org/web/20150528104801/http://advertising.microsoft.com/en/wwdocs/user/display/cl/researchreport/31966/en/Microsoft-Attention-Spans-Infograph.pdf

      “According to Microsoft Canada, the average human attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds. In 2013, it was eight seconds.
      And we did it to ourselves. The short attention span is the fault of man-made machines … technology!”

  2. From an optimist. It’s highly likely that the internet will NEVER be a safe place to exercise legal First Amendment speech and association. It’s bad for national security also, dangerous individuals will go silent underground. Facebook and other companies may be harming themselves.

    Most internet records, of all of us, is usually archived anywhere from 8 years to forever. In other words any perceived “crisis” in any 8+ year period waives any constitutional protections. For example: if you are a Trump supporter, after this week, authorities will likely be reading your Facebook posts back to 2013 or earlier, even though only 12 months may be required for a constitutional investigation. The 8 year minimum may well be obsolete by now, the goal is to keep internet records forever – from birth to death. When a crisis happens, Congress and even some judges throw out the U.S. Constitution as a restraint on executive power. The U.S. Constitution is a wartime governing charter and designed for insurrection as well.

    The second main problem is that most government-censors appear to have contempt for their own constitutional oath of office (Title 18 US Code 3331 and Article VI of the US Constitution). In other words most censors are “unconstitutional-authoritarians” so even if you are exercising legal First Amendment exercises, they don’t believe in the First Amendment (which they swore an oath to uphold).

    These censors don’t view “subversive” individuals as subversive to the “constitutional rule of law” (the proper legal definition) but view enemies through the eyes of an “unconstitutional authoritarian”. The American oath of office only defines “domestic enemies to the U.S. Constitution” not to the nation directly or the American people directly. That’s why some (not all) police and national security officials view legal peaceful protestors as enemies and subversives to be discredited and disrupted, even for exercising legal proper and patriotic First Amendment activity. Government censors may need education in American Civics more than our school children.

    It’s unlikely the internet will ever be safe for First Amendment exercises and the U.S. Constitution will never restrain J. Edgar Hoover style subversion.

  3. Parler was using AWS (Amazon Web Services) to store user data and operate the service. But that ended last night when Amazon terminated its agreement with Parler. The Parler service is now down and will be offline for the foreseeable future. Parler CEO John Matze said that the company is having problems locating another Cloud company to host its service. Parler can learn from Gab, which is another conservative social network. Rather than relying on Cloud service providers, Gab uses its own web servers. While expensive, and at times inefficient, Gab has exclusive control over its “electronic printing press.” If Parler ever wants to operate again, it will need to do so using its own resources.

    1. And GAB is significantly more extreme than Parler.

      All this is doing is driving the right to a silo that is even further to the right.

      This is stupid in so many ways.

      It will drive a CONSERVATIVE movement to get behind P2P services and my guess is eventually crypto currencies too.

      All that is great. But it will further bifurcate society, and it will empower extremists on both sides.

      The BEST for the “common good” is for all of us to share the same social media platforms, where there is little censorship and no political censorship.

      It is good for the left to hear the arguments of the right and visa versa. Sharing a common platform reduces the power of extremist voices.

      Actual incitement to violence is a crime – it is and should be enforced by law enforcement.

      You will not see DOJ coming after Trump (or anyone else) for incitement – for the simple reason – they did not.

      But Hey – if you want the country to be even more divided – the left should keep this up.

  4. The President and his supporters were using Facebook, Twitter, and Parler (hosted on Amazon servers) to post vile, hateful, and were literally planning violent insurrection. It is the right of those companies not to have that shit on their platforms. Also, 99% of the right wingers can still post on FB and Twitter, they just blocked their leaders. You have a right to free speech, but you don’t have a right to force others to carry your message for you.

      1. I agree that violent left wing speech could also be taken down at the discretion of the platforms. But I still want the shirt.

        1. NO!!!!

          If speech actually constitutes “incitement to violence” – that is the actual responsibility of government to prosecute.

          That is incredibly hard to do – for very good reason.

          “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”
          [Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)]”
          ― Louis Brandeis

          You are truly ignorant of the importance of free speech.

          1. I am not ignorant at all, but private companies have a right to decline to host material that violates their standards.

    1. MollyG: If the rules are consistently enforced I don’t think anyone would have a problem with some of these social media bans of people who violate the Terms of Service.

      I agree that anyone posting violent content or calling for violence may be (and perhaps should be) banned from any / all platforms, but the problem is the lack of consistency.

      Now we have companies that run virtual monopolies on our speech platforms universally deciding to deplatform a competitor because the competitor allows content they don’t like. This is an extremely chilling development that should frighten everyone because it exposes just how vulnerable our free speech rights are.

      Last, the list of conservative grievances against these tech companies is long and growing every day, starting with inconsistent enforcement against conservatives, and ending with the absurd “labeling” of content by these platforms to ostensibly “protect” other users from engaging with and consuming the content in their own way.

      It’s frankly disgusting and if you’re not outraged, then just imagine some combination of Koch brothers and other eccentric billionaire conservatives banding together and buying out Twitter, Facebook, Google and Apple, and then being forced to watch as they begin labeling controversial content from progressives that they didn’t agree with or didn’t like, and finally starting kicking progressives off those platforms.

      I don’t think you’d see the world through the same lens you see it through now.

      1. “If the rules are consistently enforced I don’t think anyone would have a problem with some of these social media bans of people who violate the Terms of Service.”

        No!!!

        The Terms of service get changed all the time.

        When these platforms – especially Twitter started they SOLD themselves to people as free speech platforms.
        They are free to enforce their original terms of service. Otherwise they are in breach of contract.

        “I agree that anyone posting violent content or calling for violence may be (and perhaps should be) banned from any / all platforms, but the problem is the lack of consistency.”
        No!!!!

        We have laws regarding violent speech. We do not want third parties deciding.

        “Now we have companies that run virtual monopolies on our speech platforms universally deciding to deplatform a competitor because the competitor allows content they don’t like. This is an extremely chilling development that should frighten everyone because it exposes just how vulnerable our free speech rights are.”

        I am honestly far less concerned about this. It is a stupid move on the part of the left – it makes them look even more authoritarian and dangerous. It will anger not only Trump supporters but many in the center and even some on the left.

        It will drive the ascendance of platforms where this is not possible.

        If you are a business – do you trust AWS now ? If your Business depends on AWS – you have just been told you can be shutdown if you offend the corporate overlords at Amazon. We have seen the left attempt to shutdown businesses before – AOC was named emoployee of the month by Goya because her efforts to boycott them boosted their business. But what If Amazon shut down a business that some on the left did not like ? We are each free to boycott whoever we please. We are not free to cut off others from services they want. You get to make choices for YOU, not everyone else.

        There are several important issues here.

        The first is this makes the left look dangerous and desperate.

        The left claims to be democratic – but clearly they do not trust the people

        Why did senators and representative flee the capital last week ?

        The people outside were their constituents ?

        Why were there baricades ? Why weren;t protestors allowed into the US capital ? Why werent they allowed to meet with their senators and representatives ?

        It was a capital policemen who shot a protestor – not the other way arround.

        We had 9 months of left wing violence looting and arson, and not a single protestor was shot by police.
        Yet in one Day in one small Trump protest – the police shot a Trump protestor.

        The point is that it is absolutely true that our government is terrified of Trump and his supporters.

        That speaks to how out of touch the left – and even many republicans are.

        The left is not behaving as if they legitimately won a fair democratic election.

        They are behaving like the seized power through force and they are terified that the prols will come after them with pitchforks if they do not silence them quickly.

        1. John say,

          “ No!!!

          The Terms of service get changed all the time.”

          There’s a problem with that argument. Every time they change it they post it to everyone using their service and again seek their users agreement by clearly stating that changes or new terms have been added. The user is given the choice to agree to the changes or not. Most people ignorantly or simply click the “I Agree” button without ever reading any of the changes.

          They could be agreeing to giving up their right to free speech if it was on the agreement.

          1. There is a problem with that argument – you can not change a contract unilaterally.
            Nor can you coerce agreement.

            If you make a promise you are obligated to keep it.

            BTW this issue is being/been litigated with Patreon – and they lost.
            Patreon users are subject to the TOS at the time they signed up.
            Subsequent changes apply only to new users.

        2. John say,

          “ When these platforms – especially Twitter started they SOLD themselves to people as free speech platforms.
          They are free to enforce their original terms of service. Otherwise they are in breach of contract.”

          Again your reasoning is deeply flawed. It is irrelevant whether they sold themselves as free speech platforms. They are not government agencies. Period, full stop.

          Their original terms of service are SUPERCEDED by the changes they have every right to make. Everyone who uses their platforms AGREE to every new set of terms and conditions they change. Nobody forces them to agree.

          Once anyone clicks on the “I AGREE” button they are legally giving away certain rights and privileges. The majority of people don’t bother to read these legal agreements.

          They include such terms as giving up the right to have your complaints in court in favor of arbitration. Free speech can be censored by these companies. It’s an unfortunate fact.

          Just because they have a sloppy record of enforcing their policies doesn’t mean they are suddenly null and void. They have discretion on how they enforce their policies. Why? Because people keep agreeing to those terms every time they click on “I AGREE” button.

          1. “Again your reasoning is deeply flawed.”
            The logic problems are YOURS.

            There are two independent issues – the restrictions that Government may impose on expression.
            When government grants an actual privilege – such as protection from defamation to a non-government actor, that actor becomes bound by accepting the priviledge to the same constraints as the government. The DMCA specifically requires those protected from defamation claims to be a “Neutral Public Platform” – that is precisely the same legal standard for censorhip is the government is subject to.
            Personally I would eliminate defamation protection entirely and let businesses do as they wish.
            But that is not the law we have. Regardless, those entities that seek protection from defamation suits do so voluntarily – Google can choose not to avail itself of section 230 protections – and thereby free itself from the NPP requirement.
            Regardless, those provisions of the DMCA are essentially a contract offered by government – choose protection and conform to NPP censorship.

            That is ONE argument.

            The SECOND argument is that as with all businesses – you cannot disclaim the promises you make to secure an agreement.
            Social Media companies are bound to the promises they made to their users when they signed up.
            Twitter as an example specifically promised to be the free speech site of the internet.
            These companies can change their TOS – but those changes only apply to later members.
            You can not change a contract unilaterally in mid stream. Nor can you midstream demand assent to a new contract.
            You are bound to the original contract.

            This is serious and Patreon has a huge legal problem because of their original terms of service – which courts have found binding on Patreon for all users who joined prior to the change.

            “It is irrelevant whether they sold themselves as free speech platforms.”
            Nope it is an offer that is inherently part of the contract.

            “They are not government agencies. Period, full stop.”
            Actually no. When a private entity receives a government benefit the government can condition that benefit – section 230 is condidtioned on being an NPP, Separately when a private entity accepts some protections from government – they bevome an agent of government.

            OOPS.

            “Their original terms of service are SUPERCEDED by the changes they have every right to make. Everyone who uses their platforms AGREE to every new set of terms and conditions they change. Nobody forces them to agree.”
            Actually they are forced. You can not continue to use the service under the original terms – that itself is a breach of contract.

            If I rent to a tenant I can not say to that tenant – I am requiring you to sign a new lease or move out.

            “Once anyone clicks on the “I AGREE” button they are legally giving away certain rights and privileges. The majority of people don’t bother to read these legal agreements.”
            Coerced agreements are not binding. You can not force breach a contract in order to change it.

            “They include such terms as giving up the right to have your complaints in court in favor of arbitration. Free speech can be censored by these companies. It’s an unfortunate fact.”

            I would strongly suggest looking at the Patreaon case that is currently proceeding – you are flat out wrong on the law.

            “They have discretion on how they enforce their policies.”
            Absolutely. But they are bound to the contract they made with you to choose their service.

            “Why? Because people keep agreeing to those terms every time they click on “I AGREE” button.”
            That would only be true if they had the choice of saying “NO” and continuing under the old terms.

            You seem clueless about contract law.

            I was actually in the middle of a lawsuit over pretty much this issue.

            I put out an RFP, and a vendor responded to that RFP – which specified some terms.
            Several times during the nogitation of the subsequent contract the sales rep responded to queries by me that the aggreement reflected a specific important term in the RFP. The Vendor placed the equipment with use for a month, then brought a contract which I signed without reading because the sales rep assured me it met the RFP terms. I had lots of documentation of the sales reps assurances.

            Three months into the contract I discover the actual contract is NOT what was represented – I cancel, the Vendor sues for breach.
            I counter sue for damages for reliance on the vendors representation.
            Ultimately both lawsuits died. I was told by my lawyers – the vendor would almost certainly win his breach of contract claim.
            But I would almost certainly win my damages claim.

            If you make an offer to get someone to contract with you that offer is binding whether it is written int he contract or not.
            There are ways to disclaim it, but they are not trivial. Regardless, you can not void a contract merely by offering another and demanding assent.

            This is a legal forum, you should know some contract law.

    2. “to post vile, hateful, and were literally planning violent insurrection”

      Ever heard of Antifa, Molly?

      Not only is Antifa “vile and hateful”, it spent most of 2020 actively engaged in “violent insurrection”.

      Are you really this stupid? Or are you pretending to be this stupid?

      1. Yes, they are really that stupid.

        We have produced a generation that is completely devoid of any enlightement education.

        That has not heard of the Magna Carte, that has not read Locke or Mill. That is clueless about the founding of this country.

        The modern left is NOT the left that demanded free speech on campus in the 60’s.

        they are the progeny of boshevicks and moaists.

    3. “The President and his supporters were using Facebook, Twitter, and Parler (hosted on Amazon servers) to post vile, hateful, and were literally planning violent insurrection. ”

      If as you say violent insurection was being plotted – then DOJ can investigate and prosecute that.

      You know that will not happen – because it did not occur.

      As to vile hateful speech – what do you think your posts are ?

      It is crystal clear you hare Trump and his supporters ? Isn’t that vile and hateful ? Why aren;t you being banned ?

      Because your posts are protected free speech – as are those of Trump and his supporters.

      I am not all that concerned about the actions of Google and FaceBook and Apple and Amazon.

      Those will only be effective in the short run. Big Tech has pretty much driven the political right into the intenet freedom camp.

      “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”
      James Gilmore – one of the creators of the internet.

      These actions will be BREIFLY disruptive to the right – but in the long run they harm the left and big tech far more.

      The concurrent actions of all the tech giants look incredibly like monopolistic coordination. Even if government does not act – you have terrified lots of people.

      If Amazon can shutdown Parler – what about all the other businesses that use AWS ? Why should any of those trust that Amazon will not in the future take a disliking to them.

      I would note that the left claims that Bakers must make cakes for gay people.
      Then doesn’t Amazon have to provide web services to Conservatives ?

      How is that different ?

      I do not much care about this – not because I have no problem with censorship – but because it will not work.
      Worse for the left – it is an act of despiration.

      You are behaving as I Trump DID win the election, and you stole it and you are afraid you are doing to get caught.

      You are behaving like cornered dangerous crooks. Not the legitimate winners of an election.

      You are harming yourself and your own credibility

      “It is the right of those companies not to have that shit on their platforms.”
      But I thought that christian bakers HAD to make cakes that expressed gay messages ?

      “Also, 99% of the right wingers can still post on FB and Twitter, they just blocked their leaders.”

      First they came for the leaders, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a leader.

      Then they came for the trump supporters, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a trump supporter.

      Then they came for the republicans, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a republican.

      Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

      “You have a right to free speech, but you don’t have a right to force others to carry your message for you.”

      All true. Now – do you think that you are going to succeed more than temporarily ?

      Gab is still up and running and you can not take it down – but even if you succeed, the next thing will be a P2P based social media.
      And Big Tech and Government should be terrified of that – you can not control it – no nation can control it.

      I am not mostly concerned about the stupid actions of those on the left.
      They are self destructive.

      But I will note it makes you look, small dangerous, anxious and terrified of Trump – and his supporters.

      It looks as if YOU do not really belive that you won the election.
      It looks as if YOU beleive you can only win through fraud, intimidation and censorship.

      1. “If as you say violent insurection was being plotted – then DOJ can investigate and prosecute that. You know that will not happen – because it did not occur.”

        The DOJ is already arresting insurrectionists from Tuesday. You can see some listed here –
        https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/pr

      2. John say,

        “ I would note that the left claims that Bakers must make cakes for gay people.
        Then doesn’t Amazon have to provide web services to Conservatives ?

        How is that different ?”

        It’s very different. First of all bakers are a business open to the public. The claim was that a baker shouldn’t have to bake a cake for a gay couple because of their sincere religious beliefs. Bakers don’t require you to agree to a long legal document stating terms and conditions in order to do business with them. If they don’t want to violate their sincere religious beliefs they could do so provided they make it clear to the general public. Either by posting it on a window or clearly mention it on their business website. If no anti-discrimination laws are in effect that specifically bar such discrimination then they are perfectly within their right to refuse. A notice would give would be gay customers a clear choice not the shop there.

        Amazon and others require that you agree to their terms and conditions prior to using their services. This if their version of posting a notice on the window. Conservatives, like everyone else, AGREED to their terms and conditions when they signed on to use their services be it a platform or a medium where they can create their own platforms.

        The difference is the voluntary agreement to abide by their terms and conditions. The first amendment doesn’t protect you when you willingly agree to limit your rights.

        It’s no different than when you give up your right to remain silent or consent to a search once you say yes.

        1. “First of all bakers are a business open to the public.”
          So is Amazon – I can buy Web Services from Amazon.

          “The claim was that a baker shouldn’t have to bake a cake for a gay couple because of their sincere religious beliefs.”
          No that was not the claim. You can check out the case if you wish.

          Regardless, The argument of the left is the baker must provide services.

          There are numerous errors of both law and principle in your post.

          But my argument is that you – the left, are hypocritical.

          What YOU argue for is a hodgepodge that has no actual unifying principle – it is essentially discrimination is OK except when we say it is not. Freedom to act as you wish is OK – except when we say it is not.

          I personally do not have a problem with Amazon refusing to provide services to Parler.
          I expect that Amazon is likely to lose a breach of contract lawsuit.
          It is even arguable that the DMCA S230 protects Parler from Amazon.
          But that is a side issue.

          Amazon has just made it clear to businesses that they are prepared to shut their customers down abruptly for arbitrary reasons.

          If I own a resturant why would I use AWS ? If I do Amazon could shut me down without warning if some GenXer ar Amazon was offended. Or mistaken.

          Business rests on Trust. Jeff Bezos should know that. One of the great factors in the success of internet businesses has been figuring out how to trust someone you are doing business with that you have never met and will never meet.
          Government laws can not create trust.

          Trust is the core of both business and government.
          I will not do business with those I do not trust – contracts can not protect you from those who will not follow them.
          Courts are an expensive remedy that can never truly correct a failed tryst.

          Government exists solely at the trust of citizens.
          When government goes lawless in an election it undermines its own legitimacy.

          You are entirely clueless about Trust.

          You can not make people or govenrment trustworthy by passing laws.

    4. There was nothing that occured in the Capital last week that did not occur 2 years ago during the Kavanaugh hearings EXCEPT:

      Capital police did not murder any left wing nuts.
      The left wing nuts in 2018 actually managed to get into the offices and Senators and intimidate them.

      It is called petitioning government. You do it AT THE CAPITAL – not with molitov cocktails in Macy’s.

      “Ignorant Republicans Riot And Don’t Even Get Any Big-Screen TVs”

      1. Oh, and, as I recall, no one died, as a result — at least no one that we know of:

        Capitol attack: the five people who died

        Officer Brian Sicknick, 42, was reportedly struck in head during Wednesday’s riot, while four Trump supporters also died

        https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/08/capitol-attack-police-officer-five-deaths

        And there’s also the case of the other officer who committed suicide over the weekend.

        But, yeah, other than that — just like 2018 and the K. hearings.

      2. John say, “There was nothing that occured in the Capital last week that did not occur 2 years ago during the Kavanaugh hearings EXCEPT:

        Capital police did not murder any left wing nuts.
        The left wing nuts in 2018 actually managed to get into the offices and Senators and intimidate them.

        It is called petitioning government. You do it AT THE CAPITAL – not with molitov cocktails in Macy’s. ”

        Incorrect, that’s a false equivalency. Protesting the Kavanaugh hearings did not involve destruction of property or mass disruption. Your comparison’s are ridiculously laughable.

        1. “Incorrect, that’s a false equivalency. Protesting the Kavanaugh hearings did not involve destruction of property or mass disruption.”
          False.

          The capital was open – as it normally is during the Kavanaugh protests. Protestors were free like any other day when ordinary citizens can enter the capital, the hearing rooms, the gfalleries and visit congresmen’s offices.

          But People who support Trump are viewed by left wing nuts as so dangerous that they locked the capital down.
          Our Senators and representatives are not affraid to be alone with crazed harpies, but they are terrified to rub elbows with normal working class adults.

          No one would have had to break into the capital had it been opened to the public – which it has been for every single other ptotest I am aware of.

          The capital remained open when Antifa and BLM were burning and looting in washington.

          Grow up – there is a constitutional right to:

          Assembly,
          Petition the government
          Free speech.

          YOU unconstitutionally restrained ALL of those

          Of course you should expect protestors to break down doors to excercise their rights.

          The “destruction of property” – was almost entirely limited to regaining access to the public portions of the capital. That includes access to representatives offices.

          Yes the Kavanaugh protests did involve mass disruption – ALL protests involve mass disruption – GET OVER IT.

          The explicit intent of the Kavanaugh protestors was disruption – and they accomplished that.
          I personally think Kavanaugh was not a good choice.
          At the same time the personal attacks on Kavanaugh were wrong.
          But they were completely legitimate excercises of the first amendment.

          If the protestors disrupted congress – so be it. It is OUR congress – left and right. We are allowed to be pissed with our congress critters.
          We are allowed to yell at them, shout at them, make demands of them – all of which the Kavanaugh protestors actually did.
          All of which congress and the capital police unconstitutionally thwarted leading to a small amount of violence and property destruction.

          I will further warn you – that this is getting worse not better, and it is entirely driven from the left.

          Californians are seeking to recall Gov. Newsome – people are angry with government – left and right and in the middle they are angry.
          And what are we hearing from Democrats – that this is a copup that must be thwarted. I though the democrats beleived in elections – why is seeking a recall election a coup ?

          Alas, alas for you hypocrites that you be.

          The FBI is warning state capitals across the country to lock down.

          If our government needs to lock its doors to the people to feel safe – the problem is government not the people.

          You do not seem to grasp that.

          The Black Panthers went to the capital in Sacremento in the 60’s with guns in a non-violent protest – no one was hurt.

          Lockdown protestors – many with guns went to state capitals throughout the country in May.

          There was no violence.

          Kavanaugh harpies ran amuck in the capital in 2018 – there was little violence.

          What all 3 of these have in common is that in each of these events the capitals remained open to the public and protestors were allowed to protest.

          Yet working class people are so scarry to those of you on the left you can not tolerate their presense.
          Hod forbid you should have to rub elbows with someone who uses their hands to earn a living.
          Who actually has a family to raise.
          Who is more concerned about whether their son can get a job then what cloths they wear or what pronouns they choose.

          Trump is actually wrong in his claim that these people are not what his movement is about.

          The people at the capital are the tip of the spear. They are where much of the country is going if you keep up this nonsense.

          You do not stop this by trying to shut people up – that will only make this worse.

          If you want people to trust election results – run elections according tot he law and constitutions.
          If you do not like the election laws and constitutions of your state – legitimately change the law and constitution.
          Not by executive or judicial fiat but by following the legitimate process for doing so.

          When you pretend that the law is whatever you want it to be, you destroy trust in government.
          When government is not trusted it is not legitimate.

          You do not understand that you are making this worse.

        2. “Your comparison’s are ridiculously laughable.”

          Yes. But he’s the guy with all the answers — answers that are usually over 1000 words.

  5. The difference between a banana republic dictator and the democratic leftist putting the thumb of tyranny on their opposition? 400 million guns. Keep going down the path of tyranny with 10’s of millions of Americans out of work and a dysfunctional government allocating vaccines in short supply while allowing pharmaceutical firms to sell their vaccines overseas first? In the words of Kurt Russell’s Wyatt Earp, “Hell is coming……”.

    1. Guns are the language the Trump enabling right wing. “Do what I say or I will kill you.”, Terrorists and traitors. It’s all about threatening and bullying. They want control and they are willing to get with a gun. They are no different from any other violent criminal. I’m sick of the excuses. They aren’t patriots….not even close.

      God Bless the USA. We need it.

      1. “Do what I say or I will kill you.”, Terrorists and traitors. It’s all about threatening and bullying.”

        Antifa much?

        “Burn it Down”, much?

        Even worse, they have actively engaged in terroristic and traitorous acts, not just speech.

        So it appears that you either have a severe case of cognitive dissonance, or you’re purposefully lying by omission.

      2. “Justice” Holmes ignores that a significant portion of gun buyers in the last year were not “right wing.” Get out of your silo.

    2. You’re not wrong, but this is the kind of content that would get you banned from a wide range of social media sites. Just imagine the number of people who would flag your comment and accuse you have trying to incite an armed rebellion because you mention firearms and angry Americans in the same post.

  6. I think we all look forward to Professor Turley hopping lithely off his fainting couch to once again defend Donald Trump in an impeachment hearing! Inviting a coup is well within Trump’s power, Jon will claim. On the other hand, companies noticing that the coup was planned on Parler and further prep for “Coup 2: This time its personal” were underway, is no reason for those companies to ask Parler to do anything which stops illegality!

    No, Turley, champion of bs talk radio takes (who knows Parler is not “censored”) will be there to improve his brand, while the democracy and civility he drones about disingenuously withers under his marketing scheme. America is not worse because insurrectionists can’t post murder plots to Parler and it’s not worse because this feckless prima Donna wants to champion an idea in the abstract. It’s worse because people like Turley try to portray coup plotters as innocents.

  7. To all of you whining about free speech being destroyed, threatened, attacked, etc.

    Turley is a constitutional scholar who apparently doesn’t understand the fundamentals of what it’s about.

    The first amendment is about protecting people FROM the federal government. It also protects states from the federal government.

    Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. ARE NOT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. None are obligated to carry anything they offer. Nobody forces them to.

    Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. cannot violate your first amendment rights because they are not prohibited from censorship or banning people from their platforms. They are private companies. None of them are obligated to carry the president’s message at all. Every single person has signed an agreement with those companies the moment they clicked on “ I Agree”. That’s agreeing to following THEIR RULES. If you violate them you get censored or kicked out. The first amendment doesn’t protect you from that at all.

    Turley frames this as if those companies are violating the constitution when in fact the constitution doesn’t apply to them and that’s when you take a narrow reading of the amendment like many conservatives prefer. No federalist would be able to say these companies are required to adhere to the first amendment.

    1. Svelaz; I don’t think Turley wrote this screed. It is not academically written. He makes no mention of speech which incites violence. He makes no mention of the fact that Parler violated its contract with Apple, etc., to filter violent speech. Parler DID in fact filter content- apparently it removed Lin Wood’s call to execute Pence! Nor does Turley EVER mention where to draw the line. One would think that his absolutist position would allow the freedom to publish child pornography and step-by-step instructions on how to build an IED.

      1. “One would think that his absolutist position would allow the freedom to publish child pornography”

        Speaking of which.

        Have you seen the Hunter Biden photos recovered from his laptop?

        That is the son of the man you just voted for to be Commander in Chief?!

      2. Jeffrey Silberman, That is the point of Turley’s columns. He likes to complain, but skimps on important details that put things into context. Only because it will support his view despite the nagging details that punch holes in his arguments.

        1. “That is the point of Turley’s columns. He likes to complain, but skimps on important details that put things into context. ”

          Details are important – Turley is good at them – you are clueless.

          “Only because it will support his view despite the nagging details that punch holes in his arguments.”
          Look in the mirror.

    2. Sevy:

      “Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. ARE NOT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. None are obligated to carry anything they offer. Nobody forces them to.”
      **********************
      No they’re just in collusion with them to dominate. Does this really have to be explained to you? Are you that ignorant of history? Have you ever seen a railroad or wondered why Standard Oil is no more? Do you understand the policy implications and necessity of regulating some industry?
      Guess not.

      1. Mespo,

        This isn’t some conspiracy to control the public. What I find so funny is that every one complaining has AGREED to waive their rights once they have agreed to the terms and conditions in order to use their platforms. Nobody forced anyone to use them. Every person has willingly agreed to THEIR terms. You can’t really wrap your mind around that idea because, like many who agree, they mindlessly hit that “I agree” button without ever thinking nor caring about what you just did.

        You’re essentially complaining about them doing something YOU agreed to when you signed up. You want them regulated because you were too lazy or stupid to read thru their terms and conditions. It’s as simple as that.

        1. “You’re essentially complaining about them doing something YOU agreed to when you signed up. You want them regulated . . .”

          I don’t want Facebook, Twitter, et al. regulated. And it’s wrong to punish them via antitrust. But the issue here is not what an individual has agreed to. The problem with those companies does not involve choice. The problem, and source of anger, is a fact — that they do not apply their “standards” consistently. When you boot Trump, et al., but host dictators and violent anarchists (and their enablers), you have *no standards*. It’s not their words. It’s their actions — which amount to: “We don’t like you, so you’re gone. We like you, so you can stay.”

          It’s their legal right to take arbitrary and capricious actions. But at least be honest about it. Don’t hide behind the skirt of “standards.” It’s their pretense that’s so galling.

          1. Sam, at issue I think is not a judgement on who users of these platforms are, but what they post there and how they use them. Judging who the users are would be what you are objecting to, though the presence there of dictators is the extreme which proves you are wrong. There are plenty of conservatives still posting regularly on Twitter, so clearly it the usage, not the user being screened.

            1. JF, distinctions without meaningful differences.

              There is almost no speech that is subject to criminal penalites and very little that can be constrained at all by government.

              Absolutely individuals and businesses are free to do more.
              But that is very very very rarely wise.

              I do support breach of contract claims – by SM users and by companies like Parler.

              I do not know if Parler will get their TRO – that bar is high. But it is near certain they will win the case and the damages are likely to be very high.

              There is also an issue which you and others have raised regarding TOS terms.

              Like it or not, these can not be changed based on coercive accept or be denied service popups.
              Modifying a contract requires mutual consent – without that the original contract remains in force.

              But the ultiumate remedy to all of this is to move away from untrustworthy services.

              There are already P2P equivalents for YouTube – a P2P service can not be taken down by some tech giant.
              It probably can not be taken down by government.

              I would further note that Big Tech’s history of censorship is quite sordid.

              China would not have control of its people in the way they do, but for the complicity of big tech.
              All we are seeing is the same idiocy these companies were complicit with in totalitarian regimes moving to the US and implimented based on Big Tech’s whims not those of authoritarian governments.

              Frankly the entire Internet can be run using completely P2P services. That would almost completely remove it from the control of Tech or Govenrments.

              We can have P2P name services. P2P email,. P2P cloud services, P2P social media.

              “If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”

              ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

          2. Mostly I agree with you.

            I do not want these companies regulated.

            I do not want Federal anti-trust actions.

            I have no problems with Parler’s lawsuit.

            Amazon breached its contract.
            Further there appears to be evidence that other Tech Giants – and particularly Twitter colluded.
            That is tortuous interferance in contract.

            Nor do I have a problem with Twitter, FB, … users filing breach of contract claims against those entities.
            Contra the left you can not change your TOS to get out of the contract you originally agreed to.

            All of these tech giants expressly promised to be free speech platforms.
            They did so to users, and they did so to government.

            I separately beleive S230 should be repealed.

            If it is not then the courts must subject those companies it applies to, to the same Neutral Public Platform requirements that apply to government. Regardless, Government can not arbitrarily grant protection to companies with nothing in return.

            But it is not legal efforts that will ultimately matter the most. It is our response.

            After the Parlor incident – there is no way I will trust Amazon or any other Big Tech company to host anything for my businesses.
            Some time ago I started to reduce my dependence on Google.

            We do not have to go cold turkey and terminate all amazon. Apple, Google, FaceBook, Twitter, …. services.

            All that is needed is to work toward reducing their use.

            The shareholders of Tech Giants are not going to eat a 2% loss in revenue to support leftist Wokism.
            These are businesses first.

        2. “This isn’t some conspiracy to control the public.”
          Of course it is – it is a pretty much open conspiracy.
          This is not even slightly secret.
          Twitter – you etc. wish to silence those you do not agree with.

          There is not some great debate over that.

          It is absolutely crystal clear it is a conspiracry to control the public.

          The questions are whether it is a legal conspiracy, and whether it is moral.

          The latter question is trivial – NO!

          The former is more complex.

          What SM is doing – Out government is not permitted to do.

          I would also note – you would be really pissed if you phone carrier started listening to your calls and cancelled your service based on what you said.
          You would be really pissed if your email provider started monitoring your emails and cancelled your service based on that you said.
          As I stated – this is clearly immoral.

          There is a presumption one that is part of the DMCA to these services that they are not responsible for your communications and in return for that protection from responsibility they can not censor your speech.

          “What I find so funny is that every one complaining has AGREED to waive their rights”

          Nope – when I created my twitter accound Twitter told me that they were providing me the free space place on the internet.
          That offer is part of a binding contract. That can only be modified by mutual aggreement
          Click to accept TOS’s are not a binding mutual agreement – unless the original contract applies if i do not agree.

          “once they have agreed to the terms and conditions in order to use their platforms.”

          If you send your car for repairs and the service center fixes the car, and then provides you with a new contract to sign that superceeds your repair agreement and refuses to give you your car back until you agree – that is not legally binding.

          “Nobody forced anyone to use them. Every person has willingly agreed to THEIR terms.”
          No we all agreed willingly to what we were originally offered. Coerced agreement is not willing.
          The choice of unilaterally modifed terms or cancellation is neither moral, nor usually legal.

          “You can’t really wrap your mind around that idea because, like many who agree, they mindlessly hit that “I agree” button without ever thinking nor caring about what you just did.”
          It is not a question of wrapping one’s mind arround it. Twitter in particular litterally sold itself as a free speech platform.
          It is called fraud when you lie to someone to get them to contract with you for something different than you were promised.

        3. I would specifically note you are way off base on the Amazon/Parler matter.

          Parler is claiming breach of contract – and Amazon clearly breached. They were required to give 30 days notice to terminate the contract even for cause. They did not. Further there is no claim of actually illegal speech by Amazon. Further it is clear that Amazon’s application of its terms is politically inconsistent. Amazon provides services to Twitter, and there were far more egregious remarks on Twitter that were left up longer. This is unarguably an effort to use monopoly power to thwart free speech.

          Next there is a claim of toruous interference in contract against Twitter. There is some evidence that Twitter and Amazon conspired to disadvantage a competor – that is illegal.

          Finally there is a broader monopoly conspiracy charge. This was clearly a coordinated effort by all of Big Tech.

          I am not sure Parler will get its TRO – that is a much harder case to make.

          But they are highly likely to prevail in a trial.

    3. https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/395/444/

      Trump’s speech may be politically displeasing to you but it was not criminal speech, not even close

      Nor was it responsible for the unforeseeable criminal acts of people that obviously planned mischief in advance

      That said, you have your impeachment, and if you want to waste Biden’s first weeks with a show trial that has no remedy at the end, feel free

      It would be stupid posturing, but Pelosi thinks that’s a winning strategy it seems

      Sal Sar

  8. Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi, co-founder of The Pirate Bay:
    “The pirate bay, the most censored website in the world, started by kids, run by people with problems with alcohol, drugs and money, still is up after almost 2 decades. Parlor and gab etc have all the money around but no skills or mindset. Embarrassing. The most ironic thing is that TPBs enemies include not just the US government but also many European and the Russian one. Compared to gab/parlor which is supported by the current president of the US and probably liked by the Russian one too. … In all honesty, the reason we did TPB was to bring freedom and take back control from a centralised system. The reason that Gab et al will fail is because they’re just whining b1tches that have only one ideology: egotism. Sharing is caring y’all.”

  9. It sounds like groups were actively planning violent attacks using the Parler app and Parler was failing to police them. Correct me if I’m wrong. If I open my building to the klan and neonazis to regularly convene and they successfully plan a strike on govt buildings, I’ve got some liability there. If I continue to allow them in without taking action, I should not expect that the governments hands are tied due to the 1st amendment. Not all speech is protected. If parler had become a hub for child pornography it would have rightfully been shutdown. Far right extremist groups were flocking there to coordinate attacks on the Capitol and other government buildings to disrupt the inauguration. If they took no action and Apple and Google didn’t remove them, they themselves could face liability. It would seem unfairly restrictive on their businesses to expect they should go down with the ship because they have a social media app creator who fails to police her content, in violation of their own policies. They have a right to remove Parler.

      1. If ISIS were using Twitter to plan, schedule, and stage an attack and were already using it for their next attack and Twitter did nothing or seemed incapable of responding effectively then by all means remove them. I don’t think that’s been the case.

        Parler is about 2 years old and employs 30 people. I don’t think they even have the capability to police their content unlike Twitter which has 4600 employees and a track record of about 15 years

  10. Well: we need to talk about what these internet platforms and the IT almighty barons behind them are actually doing. Looks to me like they are engaged in collusion and they are doing this not only behind closed doors but overtly, in our faces, parading and flaunting their power to abuse Americans and crush companies they compete with expecting no consequences for their evil actions. This is not only about free speech but about free commerce which reminds me there is something out there called the Sherman Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Clayton Anti Trust Act. So, Jonathan: like Linda Richman used to say on SNL: “I’ll give you a topic: discuss!”

  11. This effort will work no better than the “fairness doctrine”. Censorship of content won’t work, whether the government does it or the Tech giants pressured to do it. But the REAL danger is this: the distribution of devices CAN be controlled. If they can’t block the content, they may try to make us so frightened of “dangerous” free speech that we will let them take the internet away from us. The”woke” regulators would like nothing better than that – while making sure to “protect” the rest of us from whatever THEY choose to hear, that they want to keep secret.

  12. The solution to the outrageous behaviors of the Hard-Left thugocracies running Twitter, Google, Facebook, et al. is for Congress to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. That’s the ill-considered law that gives Dorsey, Zuckerberg & Co. their monopoly power. Take that away from them, and they will sober up in about a nanosecond. The anti-Trump garbage they’re underwriting will vaporize.

  13. “Nobody’s right if everyone is wrong” lyrics from Buffalo Springfield seems appropriate. You don’t fight Madison’s “tyranny of the majority” by countering with more unconstitutional tyranny. You defeat tyranny be restoring the “constitutional rule of law”.

  14. What is the OVERALL IMPLICATIONS and legal effects of this???

    When the BIG TECH COMPANIES behave like this—because they can, because they are operating in a system that was SET UP for this, just like our 2020 Election, and nobody at the AG’s Office cares… and nobody of import in the legal system cares because the foxes are now about to control the hen house. What do we do?

    1. Private companies get to control who uses their facilities. It’s funny to see the small government crowd demand government t deal with private companies.

        1. Mespo, “They’re about as “private” as the electric company which is totally regulated” No they are not. Internet companies are though. There’s a difference.

          1. Most of your arguments are wrong.

            But I am actually close to a free market purist.

            I think that Amazon is likely to lose in the Parler lawsuit, but Parler is unlikely to get its TRO.

            That said – I do not care much. Amazon and big tech have done themselves an enormous amount of damage.
            Purportedly the top selling book on Amazon right now is 1984.

            Big Tech picked a stupid time to behave stupidly.

            Some punishment will be swift.
            Some will take time.

            But Big Tech will be punished.

            I expect we will see a Peer2Peer Social media in a year or less.
            I also suspect that Amazon’s AWS services are going to be in far less demand.

            I certainly will no longer consider Google, Apple, Amazon for any critical business needs.

            As you said – people are not FORCED.

            I am not forced. I will only do business with Amazon, Apple, Google, …. where I have no risk, Where I do not care if they cut me off without warning.

            But I would further note that My Laisez Faire approach is not shared by the EU as an example.

            While many world governments seek to censor – that does not mean they want private monopolies to censor on their own.

            The EU as an example wants control of speech. They do not what Amazon controlling THEIR speech.

      1. its funny to see Democrats and liberals defend billionaires and the biggest corporations on Earth

        Sal Sar

  15. Let’s protect free speech on this Turley blog.
    But ban Trump from commenting. Why? Because we have to avoid puking early in the a.m. and Trump’s comments here would make us puke.

  16. Most everyone has a “Gutenberg press” in their hand or in their home.

    Speak Truth and forward it to 25 people, who, if they like what you say, very well may forward it on to 25 more people. To whom are you connected by 7 degrees?

  17. Correlate this to having the New York Times removing printed copies of the newspaper from Harlem.

    1. Turley says ” . . .the social media companies were created as forums for speech.” Not true. They were created to make money. They are privately owned, by owners who have every right to determine who says what on their platforms.

      1. One problem there. They are getting special treatment from the government to avoid prosecution of things posted on their sites. They are supposed to be operating as a “platform” and not as journalists. Journalists can be sued over content. Currently these tech companies through their agreement to act as a platform cannot be sued for content.

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