Craig Peterson here. I was on with Chris Ryan on NH Today. We talked about Online censorship and the flurry of de-platforming that is going and the effects it is having and will have on our society.  We also discussed if removing Section 230 protections for these Internet publishers will make it better or worse.   Here we go with Chris. 

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– CraigPeterson.com


Automated Machine Generated Transcript:

Craig Peterson: [00:00:00] Hey, good morning, everybody. Craig Peterson here, I was on with Chris this morning and I think was very interesting because I was able to explain section two 30 of the communications decency act. I know there is a lot of confusion out there, particularly among some of the people who are more towards the right, but it’s all the way across the board.

What’s censorship? When is it legal? How about libelous content? How does this all work? Would things actually be better or worse, if we got rid of section two 30? So here we go with Chris

Chris Ryan: [00:00:37] NH today, I am Chris Ryan appreciate you joining us for the program. Craig Peterson hosts tech talk. He joins us here each Monday on New Hampshire today.

Obviously. A lot to talk about with tech and censorship, after what happened this past weekend. Joining us right now on the program is Craig Peterson.

Craig, how are you?

Craig Peterson: [00:00:53] Hey, good morning. I’m not sure if you would have noticed what was going on with censorship. It’s been quiet, frankly.

Yeah. Really heard anything about it. It’s been really, as you mentioned in the backdrop of what’s taken place. I think a significant figure was dropped from social media this past weekend. I can’t remember who quite offhand. In regards to that, I’m interested in your thoughts. Because to me, whenever we use any of these platforms for free, whether it’s Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or whatever the case may be TikTok.

We, in my view, are utilizing a product and there are individuals that can make a determination as to whether we get to use that or not. I, whenever I use this or I’m always thinking about what is their model and how do they make money off of this?  We have a very good idea as to how that takes place.

What are your thoughts? Do you view a large tech company, such as a Twitter or a Facebook, differently than another media platform, such as iHeart, or the New York Times, or other entities that long have established gatekeepers who determine content? Who is on the air? Who is not on the air? What gets discussed? What doesn’t get discussed? To me, there’s this false notion that Twitter or Facebook is different than that and that there is as a first amendment, right, because you’re getting to say whatever you want and putting it out there. That when that gets stopped all of a sudden, the first amendment jumps in.

Of course, to start this whole thing out, we are the product. If you’re using something for free, like you’re using Facebook or Twitter or whatever it might be, they’re making money off of gathering your information and selling your information, right?

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And when you start talking about the next step here. Which is okay who’s censoring? What’s going on? What rights do we have? What rights do they have? The bottom line is there, there’s always censoring. There always has been censoring. There’s a huge difference between these online companies and your regular media companies.

That comes from, what there’s been a lot of talk about over the last few weeks, which is section two. 30 of the communications decency act. These companies, specifically the Twitters and the Facebooks of the world, have been granted immunity from lawsuits where people are saying I was defamed.

If you are a newspaper, if you Chris on the radio, say something that you don’t have any real backing on, you don’t add the word alleged or alleged depending on how you want to pronounce it, to something that you’re talking about. There’s some personal liability. There’s a liability against the radio stations, et cetera, et cetera.

Then there’s the opinion pieces and various other things. So, this is really rather convoluted. 

Although you have the first amendment yeah.

Chris Ryan: [00:03:45] When you’re making the argument in regards to section two 30, you’re making the argument for not you specifically, I’m talking about you in general. I’m sure you’re making an argument for more censorship. One in which I think it was worth listening to and worth discussing because very often individuals are defamed on social media.

There’s it’s basically social media to a large degree has become, as I mentioned, you’re spying on yourself. You’re putting your true thoughts out there. The conversation that maybe would just take place with you and a couple of friends at the bar. Then all of a sudden is up on social media.

You’re talking about coworkers, you’re talking about other people, at times, and you’re going after those people and saying things that are inflammatory, in my view by instituting two 30, that increases the censorship. In some circumstances that might be something that makes sense.

Craig Peterson: [00:04:34] You’re right. Chris getting rid of two 30 does change the whole conversation about this.  Now if without section two 30, and I think this is a mistake that many conservatives and libertarians even have been making, if you get rid of section two 30, now you will have more censorship.

Chris Ryan: [00:04:54] Yeah.

Craig Peterson: [00:04:54] Now without two 30, there is no wall between these big tech companies and lawsuits that are going to come their way. So they’re going to say, okay we’re going to tighten it up even more. So I’m not sure why people are thinking that get rid of section two 30 is somehow going to allow more free speech, it’s not.

It gets back to these platforms again. Where are you talking? What are you doing? What rights do you have?  Frankly, the rights that you have to say things are based on the platform. What the platform says. For instance, we have Parler, which was a complete free for all.

Pretty much anybody could say pretty much anything on this app and website. Google and Apple both removed it because of their standards. The restrictions they put in place. Amazon removed them and have removed some of these others.

So now the Parler is scrambling to try and find all kinds of new services. They’re going to have to rewrite some of their software. This is going to be a big hit on them. There are other more diverse social media platforms that are out there, like Mastodon that people will be moving to.

Some of these conversations are going to move to the dark web. They’re going to be even harder to find than they are right now, which goes again, back to something I’ve been saying for a long time, I’d rather know somebody is a real racist or is an actual fascist, et cetera, et cetera. The way I know that is because they’re in the town square, marching around in a bearskin hat on with horns, whatever that was. We know what they’re saying. We know where they’re coming from versus having them all hiding everywhere. But, Chris, it goes right back to, again, your point.

This is, these are platforms. They are owned by businesses. They grant you certain abilities, I wouldn’t even say. If you go beyond those, they have every right to knock you off.

Chris Ryan: [00:06:56] Yeah. Two things off of that. One – I feel that if these conversations are taking place in public, A, as you mentioned, who’s who, I think that’s a good thing in a lot of ways.

B, it’s also easier for law enforcement to track what’s taking place. People may think that things are safe and the FBI and other entities may be able to work behind the scenes to figure out what’s going on. The conversations are happening, on the dark web and individuals are gathering and, setting things to come into fruition things may not be as safe from a law enforcement perspective. 

The other thing on two 30. Is that we as broadcasters or media individuals self-censor and are also censored, but litigation is such a significant determinant in what people do. Whether it’s from a medical perspective, whether it’s from a broadcasting perspective and just the sheer threat of potential litigation would change the way that Facebook and Twitter operate in an incredible way.

In my view that the censorship that we’re seeing now would be nothing as compared to what would take place in an environment where two 30 was taken away.

Justin McIssac: [00:08:06] How many libelous things I’d say if I couldn’t get sued. Just about Chris, forget about everybody else, or slanderous, however, that works.

Chris Ryan: [00:08:13] Well as we well know, since I am. Public figure and a celebrity. Pretty much people can say whatever they want. So, Justin, you’re free to go wherever you want.

Justin McIssac: [00:08:20] Let me make a list here. I’m going to get back to you.

Chris Ryan: [00:08:22] Go ahead, Craig.

Craig Peterson: [00:08:25] Yeah, we’re looking at something that’s very difficult to remember.

Everyone self-censors. Every news organization self-censors. You decide what’s worth talking about on your radio show and that is a form of censorship. So it’s been with us forever. It’ll always be with us. Some of the things that happened that were printed in newspapers back near the founding of this country were absolutely incredibly libelous.

This is normal. It goes back and forth. Let’s not totally freak out about this. Frankly, if you want to say something, maybe you should start your own little newspaper or this day and age a website or an app.   You are going to be throttled. It just doesn’t matter. It throttled by people who just don’t care what you have to say, all the way through these platforms.

Chris Ryan: [00:09:16] Craig, always appreciate you joining us for the program. We shall chat again next week.

Craig Peterson: [00:09:20] All right. Take care of Chris.

Chris Ryan: [00:09:21] All right. That is Craig Peterson. You hear him on Saturday at 11:30 AM with Tech Talk replayed on Sundays on news radio, 610 and 96.7. I am Chris Ryan, Chuck Zada from the financial exchanges is next.

Craig Peterson: [00:09:32] Of course, right after I recorded this, I had a coughing fit. So thank goodness I was off the air at that point. All right, everybody, take care. We’ll be back tomorrow.


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