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Free Speech & Cancel Culture

2022: April-June

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Contrarian views...

Florida's new law banning the censorship of right leaning views on social media is declare unconstitutional

Link Here25th May 2022
Full story: Internet Censorship in US...Left leaning media companies cancel the right
The US state of Florida responded to social media's silencing of Donald Trump by enacting a new law to ban social media from censoring users for political reasons. The law was challenged in the courts and it has now been judged to be mostly unconstitutional.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Florida's social media regulation law is unconstitutional.

The Appeals Court ruled against most of the provisions in Florida's social media regulation law. However, it said some of the provisions, including one that requires platforms to allow banned individuals to access their data for at least 60 days, were constitutional.

The ruling said that the law violated social media companies' First Amendment rights:

We conclude that social media platforms' content-moderation activities -- permitting, removing, prioritizing, and deprioritizing users and posts -- constitute 'speech' within the meaning of the First Amendment.

Most notably, the court rejected the argument that social media companies should be defined as common carriers, saying:

Neither law nor logic recognizes government authority to strip an entity of its First Amendment rights merely by labeling it a common carrier.

Earlier this month, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed a similar law in Texas to be enforced. The Texas law prohibits social media companies from censoring content or banning users based on political viewpoints. Tech companies have appealed the ruling by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and have submitted the ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to support their case.



Protesting against censorship...

Trevor Phillips calls out the BBC for censoring Bob Dylan's protest song, Hurricane

Link Here8th May 2022
Trevor Phillips has attacked the BBC for censoring the word 'nigger' in Bob Dylan's anti-racism protest song Hurricane .

The former race equality chief said it was incredibly patronising of the BBC to let black artists on urban radio station 1Xtra use the word, but then censor other musicians. He described the decision of Radio 6 Music bosses to edit out a line of the Dylan song featuring the word as absurd and insulting.

Bob Dylan's anti-racism protest song Hurricane is about the boxer Rubin Carter, who was wrongly convicted of murder. It had the line:

And for the black folks he was just a crazy nigger

removed when it was broadcast on Tom Robinson's 6 Music show, Now Playing, on April 24. T

A listener pointed out that the song itself was an impassioned anti-racist account of a notorious miscarriage of justice and that the line you fellows deleted is very much a key moment in the story. Phillips appeared on a Radio 4 show to discuss the issue and was scathing about the way the BBC had behaved. He told the programme:

Bob Dylan has used that word for a particular reason in one of his most powerful pieces of work --which by the way is a profoundly anti-racist piece of work and for somebody, who frankly shouldn't be there to judge a genius, to tell me I'm too fragile to listen to what Bob Dylan has done with his work of art -- I think this is both absurd and insulting and actually not what the BBC is there to do.



Offsite Article: Politicians, Prohibitionists And Porn: A Bad Combination...

Link Here 30th April 2022
Let's not allow outrage at inappropriate workplace behaviour by an MP to further embolden the moralising opportunists.

See article from



EFF to European Court: No Intermediary Liability for Social Media Users...

Don't hold ordinary social media users responsible for other users responses

Link Here 27th April 2022
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law

Courts and legislatures around the globe are hotly debating to what degree online intermediaries--the chain of entities that facilitate or support speech on the internet--are liable for the content they help publish. One thing they should not be doing is holding social media users legally responsible for comments posted by others to their social media feeds, EFF and Media Defence told the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

Before the court is the case Sanchez v. France , in which a politician argued that his right to freedom of expression was violated when he was subjected to a criminal fine for not promptly deleting hateful comments posted on the "wall" of his Facebook account by others. The ECtHR's Chamber, a judicial body that hears most of its cases, found there was no violation of freedom of expression, extending its rules for online intermediaries to social media users. The politician is seeking review of this decision by ECtHR's Grand Chamber, which only hears its most serious cases.

EFF and Media Defence, in an amicus brief submitted to the Grand Chamber, asked it to revisit the Chamber's expansive interpretation of how intermediary liability rules should apply to social media users. Imposing liability on them for third-party content will discourage social media users, especially journalists, human rights defenders, civil society actors, and political figures, from using social media platforms, as they are often targeted by governments seeking to suppress speech. Subjecting these users to liability would make them vulnerable to coordinated attacks on their sites and pages meant to trigger liability and removal of speech, we told the court.

Further, ECtHR's current case law does not support and should not apply to social media users who act as intermediaries, we said. The ECtHR laid out its intermediary liability rules in Delfi A.S. v. Estonia , which concerned the failure of a commercial news media organization to monitor and promptly delete "clearly unlawful" comments online. The ECtHR rules consider whether the third-party commenters can be identified, and whether they have any control over their comments once they submit them.

In stark contrast, Sanchez concerns the liability of an individual internet user engaged in non-commercial activity. The politician was charged with incitement to hatred or violence against a group of people or an individual on account of their religion based on comments others posted on his Facebook wall. The people who posted the comments were convicted of the same criminal offence, and one of them later deleted the allegedly unlawful comments.

What's more, the decision about what online content is "clearly unlawful" is not always straightforward, and generally courts are best placed to assess the lawfulness of the online content. While social media users may be held responsible for failing or refusing to comply with a court order compelling them to remove or block information, they should not be required to monitor content on their accounts to avoid liability, nor should they be held liable simply when they get notified of allegedly unlawful speech on their social media feeds by any method other than a court order. Imposing liability on an individual user, without a court order, to remove the allegedly unlawful content in question will be disproportionate, we argued.

Finally, the Grand Chamber should decide whether imposing criminal liability for third party content violates the right to freedom of expression, given the peculiar circumstances in this case. Both the applicant and the commenters were convicted of the same offence a decade ago. EFF and Media Defence asked the Grand Chamber to assess the quality of the decades-old laws--one dating back to 1881--under which the politician was convicted, saying criminal laws should be adapted to meet new circumstances, but these changes must be precise and unambiguous to enable someone to foresee what conduct would violate the law.

Subjecting social media users to criminal responsibility for third-party content will lead to over-censorship and prior restraint. The Grand Chamber should limit online intermediary liability, and not chill social media users' right to free expression and access to information online.

You can read our amicus brief here:



Electrifying social media...

New Twitter owner, Elon Musk outlines moves to enhance freedom of speech

Link Here26th April 2022
Full story: Twitter Censorship...Twitter offers country by country take downs
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has agreed terms to buy teh social media platform Twitter. He has outlined a change of direction from the usual social media censorship saying that he favours a more free speech approach. He explained:

Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated. I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.

Musk has made free speech the main focal point of his Twitter takeover bid. In his initial offer, Musk described free speech as a societal imperative for a functioning democracy and said Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company because it won't serve this societal imperative in its current form.

In interviews, Musk has hinted that some of the Twitter changes he wants to make include having timeouts instead of permanent bans, making the boosting and suppression of tweets transparent to users, and open-sourcing the algorithm. He's also vowed to defeat the spam bots or die trying! He said furerth:

My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization. I don't care about the economics at all.

I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.



Offsite Article: Concerned hosts...

Link Here26th April 2022
Full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach
YouTube is emailing users to say members of the community are 'concerned' about their comments. By Tom Parker

See article from



Commented: Ashes of free speech...

Overreaction to bad taste joke over Grenfell fire sees man given suspended jail sentence

Link Here22nd April 2022
Full story: Lap Dancing in Bedfordshire...Nutters get wound up in Ampthill
A man who made a video of a model of Grenfell Tower being burned and said That's what happens when you don't pay the rent has ended up with a suspended jail sentence.

Paul Bussetti pleaded guilty to one count of sending a grossly offensive video when he appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court Chief magistrate Paul Goldspring said he was 'horrified' when he saw the film, and sentenced Bussetti to 10 weeks in jail, suspended for two years. He said:

It was disgusting, it was disrespectful, it was abhorrent and it was - by the nature of the charge - grossly offensive.

What struck me was not one person at that party seemed remotely upset or outraged or embarrassed by the racist remarks.

Bussetti was previously found not guilty after a two-day trial but the acquittal was quashed by the High Court.

He filmed the footage at an annual bonfire party hosted by a friend in November 2018. He didn't post the video himself but shared it in WhatsApp groups.


Offsite Comment: The Grenfell effigy and the fall of liberal Britain

See article from by Tom Slater

In 21st-century Britain, offensive jokes can land you in prison.

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