🇺🇸 Sharing Without Caring
Plus, home prices are rising in this state as people flock south…
Good morning, and happy Friday! Thirteen years after it was flushed down a toilet, an anniversary gift was returned.
Plus, as existing home prices fell farther in April than they had in a decade, home prices are rising in this state, as people flock south…
Also, today’s partner, BetterHelp, believes that everyone deserves high-quality mental health support, regardless of their financial situation. Click here to learn more.
Today we’re taking a few polls of our own to make sure we continue to deliver the best newsletter possible. Let us know what you love and hate about the letter below.
Left: McCarthy's Lack of Experience a Handicap in Debt Talks Ferris, et al, Politico
Left: Censorship of 'Diversity' Is Tantrum Born of White Guilt Osamudia James, LA Times
Left: Biden's F-16 Flip-Flop for Ukraine Long Overdue Sébastien Roblin, MSNBC
Right: Hard Evidence FBI, CIA Interfered in 2016 and 2020 K.T. McFarland, FOX Business
Right: Media's Coverage of Debt-Limit Utterly Dishonest David Harsanyi, The Federalist
Right: The Dodgers Promote Anti-Catholicism National Review
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Debt Deal in Reach? Jan. 6 Sentence, Documents and DOJ
US: Biden, McCarthy appear near two-year deal on US debt ceiling as default looms (Reuters)
Tech: Elon Musk’s Neuralink Startup Receives FDA Approval For First In-Human Brain Chip Implant Clinical Study (Daily Wire)
US: Texas GOP lawmakers recommend impeaching AG Ken Paxton after years of scandal (AP)
US: The IRS Opened its Investigation into Reporter Matt Taibbi’s Taxes on Christmas Eve, the Same Day He Dropped Twitter Files #9 (American Greatness)
US: Oath Keepers founder sentenced to 18 years in Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy case (NBC News)
US: Trump staff moved documents at Mar-a-Lago day before DoJ visit, report says (The Independent)
World: Killer whales deliberately hitting boats off coast of Spain and Portugal (Sky News)
World: Why the Wagner boss is saying Russia could lose the war (The Hill)
Sharing Without Caring
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court declined to address Section 230 in handing down rulings in cases involving Google and Twitter. The clause provides immunity to online computer services regarding content generated by a third party.
Reporting from The Left: Supreme Court shields Twitter from liability for terror-related content and leaves Section 230 untouched Brian Fung, CNN
Reporting from The Right: Supreme Court rules for social media giants in cases over third-party content, declines to address Section 230 Brianna Herliihy et. al, Fox Business
From The Flag: Section 230 is highly controversial and many had hoped the nation’s highest court would address it, but now it remains in place — ahead of potential legislative reform in Congress. Part of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, the bill aimed to protect tech firms from lawsuits during the internet’s infancy, while encouraging them to remove harmful content. Here’s more from both sides.
SCOTUS Punts on Policing Tech Platforms
This is a blow to individuals who feel social media platforms should be held accountable for using software that amplifies harmful content.
Section 230 dates back to the internet’s earliest days, and a fear tech companies would be completely unwilling to remove harmful content.
The Supreme Court surprisingly showed restraint here and declined to hand down a decision that would have “broken” the internet.
Supreme Court hands tech companies a win, and not just about Section 230 Will Oremus, Washington Post: "In a pair of lawsuits targeting Twitter, Google and Facebook, the Supreme Court had its first chance to take on the 1996 law that helped give rise to social media. (But) the court decided the platforms didn’t need special protections to avoid liability for hosting terrorist content. ... (That's) a blow to the idea, gaining adherents in Congress and the White House, that today’s social media platforms ought to be held responsible when their software amplifies harmful content. The Supreme Court ruled that they should not, at least under US terrorism law. ... In both cases, the families of victims of ISIS terrorist attacks sued the tech giants for their role in distributing and profiting from ISIS content. The plaintiffs argued that the algorithms that recommend content on Twitter, Facebook and Google’s YouTube aided and abetted the group by actively promoting its content to users."
Why the Supreme Court tiptoeing past a key social media shield helps Big Tech Barbara Ortutay, Associated Press: "The measure’s history dates back to the 1950s, when bookstore owners were being held liable for selling books containing 'obscenity,' which is not protected by the First Amendment. One case eventually made it to the Supreme Court, which held that it created a 'chilling effect' to hold someone liable for someone else’s content. That meant plaintiffs had to prove that bookstore owners knew they were selling obscene books... Fast-forward a few decades to when the commercial internet was taking off with services like CompuServe and Prodigy. Both offered online forums, but CompuServe chose not to moderate its, while Prodigy, seeking a family-friendly image, did. CompuServe was sued over that, and the case was dismissed. Prodigy, however, got in trouble. The judge in their case ruled that 'they exercised editorial control' (author) Jeff Kosseff said. That didn’t sit well with politicians, who worried that outcome would discourage newly forming internet companies from moderating at all. And Section 230 was born."
One more opinion piece from the Left: The Supreme Court decides not to break the internet Ian Millhiser, Vox
Libertarians, Conservatives Are Relieved, but the Algorithm Question Remains
Civil libertarians are breathing a sigh of relief that Section 230 wasn’t overturned — but the issue is far from settled.
A key issue remains, which the court declined to address: do social media algorithms that “recommend” content make them liable?
If Section 230 had been overturned, Big Tech would have been even more incentivized to “censor” conservative content.
Section 230 Is Safe (for Now) After Supreme Court Rules on Google and Twitter Terrorism Cases Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason: "Advocates for free speech, an open internet, and sensible tech policy were anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court's decision... Now that ruling is here—and it's good news for civil libertarians concerned about Section 230's fate. ... In Gonzales v. Google, the family of a young American woman killed in an Islamic State group attack in Paris argued that YouTube and its parent company, Google, were guilty of aiding and abetting terrorists because YouTube allowed the posting of Islamic State group videos and sometimes recommended them. ... The Court also ruled (in) Twitter v. Taamneh, a similar case involving plaintiffs trying to hold Twitter liable for allegedly failing to adequately moderate Islamic State group content. ... That doesn't mean Section 230 is safe... With social media companies constantly in the hot seat these days, it's likely we'll see similar cases before the Supreme Court again in the future."
Landmark Supreme Court Rulings Safeguard the Internet’s Liability Shield Shane Tews and Glay Calvert, AEI: "Internet users and platforms alike can breathe a sigh of relief. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube all emerged victorious on May 18 when the US Supreme Court issued dual decisions in Twitter, Inc. v. Taamneh and Gonzalez v. Google, LCC. ... The Court, in preserving a robust internet, rebuffed the plaintiffs’ efforts in both cases to hold the platforms civilly liable for allegedly aiding and abetting terrorist attacks by hosting and algorithmically recommending ISIS-supportive content. In ruling in favor of the platforms, however, the Court declined to take on a key issue in Gonzalez: Whether Section 230 provides immunity for platforms when they use algorithms to suggest or recommend third-party content—not just host it. Reflecting the Court’s penchant for minimalism under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court didn’t need to address the Section 230 issue because it found that the underlying substantive theories of the plaintiffs in both cases were deficient."
One more opinion piece from the Right: SCOTUS Gets It Right on Section 230 Bobby Miller, National Review
Majority Say “False Info” Online Puts Democracy in Peril
Polling data suggests over three-quarters of all Americans feel the nation’s “democracy is at risk” without stronger regulation of “false information” online, per the Future of Tech commission.
Benenson Strategy Group conducted the survey on behalf of the commission and found a majority of respondents agree Big Tech needs to be “reined in,” including both Republicans and Democrats.
But when the poll dug deeper into specific aspects of regulation — including questions about Section 230 — that bipartisan consensus disappeared.
In March, we asked: “Should people be able to sue social media companies based on content shared by users?” — 53% said no, 47% said yes.
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Last day of Model T production at Ford, Bizzare Numbers, Munching on a Chicken Leg
Ford Assembly Line, 1913
On May 26, 1927, Henry Ford and his son Edsel drive the 15 millionth Model T Ford out of their factory, marking the famous automobile’s official last day of production.
Scientific American: These Are the Most Bizarre Numbers in the Universe
Alex Dalenberg: The Best Writing About Punctuation. Full Stop.
Today I Learned one of P.T. Barnum’s promotions featured a “6 Foot-Tall Man Eating Chicken,” which was actually a 6-foot-tall man munching on a chicken leg.