Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Breitbart Editor barred by Twitter for Leslie Jones attacks
A solution to the problem if "internet trolls" may be found in Chinese tort law - which is especially sensitive to defamation attacks on one's good name, etc.
The Times reports that
Leslie Jones, Star of ‘Ghostbusters,’ has Become a Target of Online Trolls. Twitter has been used to send her pornography, pictures of apes, and other insults. As a result Twitter has banned Milo Yiannopoulis, a right wing gay activist, Trump supporter, and Bretibart tech editor. Jonathan Turley worries that this is an attack on free speech. Twitter, in his view is the new Hyde Park speakers corner, where anyone is free to rant. He acknowledges that he has a loosely enforced civility policy on his site.
Thanks to the 1996 Communications Decency Act Twitter is entirely free of liability for slander, fraud, misrepresentation on its service- unless the speech is the company's own. Then it may be held liable as would any speaker. The Act's Section 230 safe harbor provision encourages sites to have their own editing/filtration policies, while protecting network service providers from liability for negligence in their management of their sites.
In my opinion it is just fine for network service providers, bloggers, and newspapers to adopt rules and exercise editorial control. Turley argues that allowing such speech helps us to identify and combat hateful speech. But there is another model - the notice and takedown provision in Article 36 of the Tort Code of - the People's Republic of China. It won't surprise you that the Chinese are particularly sensitive to insult and other offenses to "face" . - GWC