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Fri May 13, 2022, 04:37 PM

A court just blew up internet law because it thinks YouTube isn't a website




https://www.theverge.com/2022/5/13/23068423/fifth-circuit-texas-social-media-law-ruling-first-amendment-section-230

Yesterday the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decided in favor of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a lawsuit over HB 20, a bizarre law effectively banning many apps and websites from moderating posts by Texas residents. The court granted Paxton a stay on an earlier ruling to block the law, letting HB 20 go into effect immediately while the rest of the case proceeds. The decision was handed down without explanation. But court-watchers weren’t necessarily surprised because it followed an equally bizarre hearing earlier this week — one that should alarm almost anyone who runs a website. And without intervention from another court, it’s going to put social networks that operate in Texas at legal risk.

HB 20, to recap a little, bans social media platforms from removing, downranking, demonetizing, or otherwise “discriminat[ing] against” content based on “the viewpoint of the user or another person.” It applies to any “internet website or application” that hits 50 million monthly active users and “enables users to communicate with other users,” with exceptions for internet service providers and media sites. Social networks also aren’t allowed to ban users based on their location in Texas, a provision clearly meant to stop sites from simply pulling out of the state — which might be the simplest solution for many of them.

This is all happening because a judge doesn’t believe YouTube is a website.

The Monday hearing put Paxton and a NetChoice attorney in front of Fifth Circuit judges Leslie Southwick (who voted against the majority), Andrew Oldham, and Edith Jones. Things were dicey from the beginning. Paxton argued that social media companies should be treated as common carriers because of their market power, which would require them to treat all content neutrally the way that phone companies do, something no established law comes even close to requiring. In fact, thanks to a Republican repeal of net neutrality laws, even internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon aren’t common carriers.

The panel, however, seemed sympathetic to Paxton’s reasoning. Judge Oldham professed to be shocked (shocked!) at learning that a private company like Twitter could ban categories of speech like pro-LGBT comments. “That’s extraordinary,” Oldham said. “Its future ownership — it could just decide that we, the modern public square of Twitter ... we will have no pro-LGBT speech.” He then ran through an extended analogy in which Verizon listened to every phone call and cut off any pro-LGBT conversation, ignoring interjections that Twitter simply isn’t a common carrier and the comparison doesn’t apply.

*snip*


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Reply A court just blew up internet law because it thinks YouTube isn't a website (Original post)
Nevilledog May 13 OP
TheRealNorth May 13 #1
awesomerwb1 May 13 #2
In It to Win It May 13 #3
Runningdawg May 13 #4
Srkdqltr May 13 #5
Nevilledog May 13 #6
Srkdqltr May 13 #7
localroger May 13 #8

Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 04:52 PM

1. That's some fuzzy ass logic?

Why is a company prohibited from NOT operating in a state if the state enacts laws about regulations that it doesn't want to follow.

Plus, this seems an awful like legislating from the bench by saying social media companies should have to follow the same rules as telecoms.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 04:59 PM

2. The internet

"It's a series of tubes!"

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 05:07 PM

3. The fifth circuit takes every opportunity in every case to say "Fuck it all. LETS BE LEGENDS"

The fifth circuit is ridiculous 😤

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 05:11 PM

4. Everyday reality comes closer to the movie Idiocracy with Dominionists leading the way.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 05:12 PM

5. Is it possible to ban something like that in one state? Can that actually work?

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Response to Srkdqltr (Reply #5)

Fri May 13, 2022, 05:12 PM

6. We're about to find out

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Response to Nevilledog (Reply #6)

Fri May 13, 2022, 05:17 PM

7. How fun. Not

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 09:06 PM

8. Cleanest response from YT and any other site is malicious compliance

This law applies to any site operating in Texas? So don't operate in Texas. Use the usual geolocation tools to make a good-faith effort to prevent people within the borders of Texas from using your site AT ALL. (Although it's impossible for this to be 100% effective due to VPN's, database errors, and whatnot, it's pretty much globally regarded as compliance with the directive to not operate within a geographic region.) Then see how much the citizens of TX like their spiffy new law.

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