February 5, 2016

"It’s one thing to say you won’t accept a beheading video on a site... But once you get beyond something that clear, how do you define terrorist content?"

Said Faiza Patel of the Liberty and National Security Program at NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, quoted in the NYT article "Twitter Steps Up Efforts to Thwart Terrorists’ Tweets" (which reports that Twitter has closed down 125,000 Twitter accounts since mid-2015).

26 comments:

madAsHell said...

"I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that."

- Justice Potter Stewart

You could substitute terror for porno in the statement, and it would still ring true.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

madAsHell said...

You could substitute terror for porno in the statement, and it would still ring true.

"hard-core terrorgraphy" doesn't really have the same ring to it.

Bob Ellison said...

Can't Twitter, helpless institution that it is, just say, well, we'll shut down whatever we damn well please?

They seem to think they're some kind of a journalistic enterprise, which would seem to require other rules, like pretending to let people post whatever they want.

But they're not, not any more than the New York Times.

Bob Ellison said...

Hey! Congress should start Twitter.gov!

Then we could really argue about censorship. There would be some trademark complaints, though.

Bob Ellison said...

Or is Twitter a common carrier? It seems more like a contract carrier. Maybe there will be a giant, multi-carrier lawsuit about this soon. Twitter and FaceBook...

n.n said...
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n.n said...
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n.n said...

The difference between soft and hardcore pornography is emphasis. The latter focuses on function over form, detail over impression, quantity over quality. Hardcore pornography engages in technical characterization of its objective (e.g. "fetus") that debases it through dissociation, or reduces its objective to an assembly of soulless components (e.g. "clump of cells") that individually have greater value than the whole. The publication of hardcore pornography can serve to expose, cause, and suppress cognitive dissonance.

Laura said...

Tell them to go ask GoFundMe how to handle First Amendment issues.

mccullough said...

A lot of it would depend on the person/group putting out the tweet. Context matters. A threat from ISIS or an ISIS backer is close enough to a true threat. A Michigan fan saying we are going to crush Ohio State on Saturday is not making a true threat or advocating terrorism.

Bob Ellison said...

Can't...Twitter...just...stand...up on its two tiny balls and say what it wants to say?

CWJ said...

madAsHell,

Both Patel's observation and your analogy are right on point. Bob Ellison's first comment seems the most workable solution, but Twitter would have to take a stand and not pretend it was anything other than it's own case by case judgement. IOW, they'd have to own it, and for all I know some judge(s) or bureaucrat(s) would find that illegal.

I should hope Justice Stewart would find "snuff" to be hard core pornography 100% of the time.

mccullough said...

At what point would the cost of monitoring and removing various Twitter or Facebook pages (already adding to the costs of complying with government requests for information about FB and Twitter users) be too much to keep the site running.

Birkel said...

...he asked without question mark...

cubanbob said...

Twitter should just go by the Supreme Court's definition of they know it when they see it.

coupe said...

I would go one step farther and ban Democrats, as they are all enablers of terrorism. Kerry recently paid them 1.7 billion for a lousy five hostages. Obama traded five terrorists for a coward.

rhhardin said...

Don't you try to analyze me with your disheveled, bohemian, "my socks don't match, therefore I have insight to all things" whacko mindset. There are no psychoanalytical shortcuts into my pants, okay?

Julianne Moore, Laws of Attraction

FullMoon said...

Perfect! Just saw a headline,"Bush's torture photos released after twelve years"
Gonna pale in comparison to what has been available on net in that time.

Fernandinande said...

FullMoon said...
Perfect! Just saw a headline,"Bush's torture photos released after twelve years"


They're pretty boring, like pics of someone who's been digging weeds.

walter said...

When Kerry can dismiss "Death to America" as social banter, these things become hard to define.

David Begley said...

MadasHell nailed it. If Potter Stewart were still alive he'd have to learn Farsi, Arabic, etc to figure out the terror content.

Howard Nelson said...

Terrorist content -- words, gestures, and/or illustrations of cruelty to sentient beings.

David said...

It's like porn was back when we used to care about porn. "I know it when I see it."

mikee said...

I have a question: Why does the region containing ISIS still have operable electricity, cell phone and internet service?

Howard Nelson said...

Mikee, excellent question. Maybe our allies track ISIS communications/planning by monitoring the limited cellphone and internet usage. Loss of electric power would be catastrophic for the millions? of Syrian civilians still living there. Otherwise, follow the money; who's profiting from the continuing existence of electric power and electronic communications.

mikee said...

I'd think that if you found an ISIS communications hub, you'd bomb it within minutes. Or if you determined the ID of an ISIS propagandist, you'd bomb him within minutes. Or if you determined the location of ISIS planning, you'd bomb it within minutes.

What am I missing here? Or are we pretending to fight them, while actually just watching them?