January 14, 2021

"The ability of companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google to control what people see online is so potent, it is the subject of antitrust hearings...."

"But the decision by Amazon to push Parler off its dominant cloud-computing service illustrates just how powerful its content-moderation capabilities are as well.... [T]he companies that provide the technical infrastructure that powers websites and services where people express opinions have vast power as well, though they rarely use it. They include little-known companies that register website domains for customers; so-called content delivery networks, which can boost the speed at which webpages load; and Internet service providers, which connect homes and businesses to the Web.... [Amazon's] Amazon Web Services is the dominant provider of cloud infrastructure services, which let customers rent data storage and processing capabilities over the Web instead of running their own data centers.... [AWS's] Trust & Safety team, which has fewer than 100 workers, acts only on complaints received. In its reply to Parler’s suit, Amazon said it received reports in mid-November that the social network was 'hosting content threatening violence.'... It accused Amazon of conspiring with Twitter to take the smaller competitor offline just as it was significantly gaining users in the wake of Twitter permanently banning Trump.... 'Without AWS, Parler is finished as it has no way to get online.'" 


Here's the top-rated comment at WaPo: "If you support a baker choosing to not selling a wedding cake to a same-sex couple, then it follows you must support a company choosing not to do business with a customer that behaves in a manner contrary to the company's known parameters. As the same-sex couple was told, go find someone else to bake your cake. Parler should do the same. If they can't, perhaps it's the 'cake' they are trying to bake."

IN THE COMMENTS: MayBee takes on the cake analogy:
Parler was already on AWS. 

So the baker (aside from scale, monopoly considerations, and anti trust issues) situation would have to be more like: 

The gay couple hired the baker, paid the baker, and then on the day of the wedding the baker refused to deliver the cake. The baker, however, delivered a lot of cakes to your ex-boyfriends wedding on the same day. And then the baker announced you were dangerous.

132 comments:

The Crack Emcee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laslo Spatula said...

The Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post tells us that Jeff Bezos-owned Amazon has done nothing wrong.

Cool shit like this can happen when you're a billionaire.

I am Laslo.

Mr Wibble said...

It's not the same. Amazon is one of three bakers in 500 miles, all of whom are extended family, and who refuse to bake the cake. And their brother in law refuses to sell you an oven. And their sister at the grocery store refuses to sell you flour. And the bank cuts off your credit card...

David Begley said...

Nothing bad will happen to AMZN just like Durham will do nothing. Hunter skates. The CCP will pay no price for the Wuhan virus.

We are totally and completely fucked.

Mark said...

Another post full of whataboutism and false equivalence. Oh goody.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Alexis, bake me a cake."

I am Laslo.

Darrell said...

Big Tech is not the controlling power, so powerful that even the Democrat Leftist dare not cross them. They can destroy President Biden in days, same as they destroyed Trump. And Biden and the Left have more secrets to keep hidden. You think that all that cloud data has not been catalogued? You will see no efforts to harness Big Tech.

The Crack Emcee said...

"If you support a baker choosing to not selling a wedding cake to a same-sex couple,..."

I showed you, this whole same-sex nonsense is based on a lie: The Democrat Party turned Harvey Milk - a creepy Peoples Temple member who did horrible things - into a saint.

"Upon closer inspection, it is clear that Harvey Milk was a strong advocate for Peoples Temple and Jim Jones during his political career, including the tumultuous year leading up to the Jonestown tragedy. Milk spoke at the Temple often, wrote personal letters to Jim Jones, contacted other elected officials on the Temple’s behalf, and used space in his weekly column to support the works of the Temple, even after the negative New West article went to press. Milk appeared in the pages of the Peoples Forum, the Temple newspaper, and received over fifty letters of sympathy from the residents of Jonestown when his lover, Jack Lira, killed himself in September 1978.

It is readily apparent from the letters and historical memorabilia that Milk and the Temple enjoyed a mutually supportive relationship until their concurrent deaths. Why then is the relationship such a secret, even taboo to discuss? The only biography of Milk to date, The Mayor of Castro Street, by Randy Shilts, downplays the Milk/Temple relationship, even going so far as to paint Milk as one of the countless people who cruelly ridiculed and ostracized the surviving Temple members and their supporters. Like most historians, Shilts opted for an image of an expedient politician, instead of truthfully portraying how Milk worked with Peoples Temple until the end of his life."


If they can't begin their debate honestly, then I don't have to respect them.

The Crack Emcee said...

"If you support a baker choosing to not selling a wedding cake to a same-sex couple, who ran with the lie after Harvey Milk got 900 blacks killed,..."

Sally327 said...

I wonder if Amazon is going to run into problems given the content of the various items it sells on its site. I know it has run into issues with books that support rape and pedophilia being made available and I suppose one could find lots of books, movies, music that promote and incite violence being sold at Amazon.

I thought the gay cake case was a free exercise case. I am not sure I see the relevance to the Parler/Amazon dispute. Is Bezos claiming Parler users are forcing him to violate his religious beliefs?

0_0 said...

That baker is not a monopoly.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

If it was really hard to find a baker to write whatever a gay couple wanted (or a Satanic couple? or a racist couple?), then I guess for U.S. courts it might become a matter of what is a "due burden" on the liberty the Supreme Court has recognized--the right of gays to marry. What is seldom mentioned is that the baker may have two kinds of First Amendment rights--speech and exercise of religion.

The internet is more like the first generation of phone lines. Let us say to oversimplify that all those lines, at great expense for the day, were installed by one company or three companies. If they start banning access for kids who are not cool, is it adequate to say: if you are rude, you might just have to go back to not having a telephone?

Obviously progressives want to leave the impression that are going after Nazis and advocates of violence. They tend not to mention that they want to control debate on climate, trans and gender issues, and anything to do with race.

Jamie said...

The "cake" they are trying to bake. Right.

The baker decided to limit his business's reach by allowing his strongly held personal opinion to dictate that some people, requiring certain specific things of him, would not be his customers. Parler is doing the opposite - saying, instead, that they don't allow their personal opinions to dictate who their customers can be, that they believe their personal opinions to be irrelevant to their business. Each of these is a valid choice for a business to make - but they are NOT the same.

The leftist world has decided that they want everyone to behave like the baker - except that they want the "strongly held personal opinions" that dictate people's behavior to be theirs.

The Crack Emcee said...

0_0 said...

"That baker is not a monopoly."

But Jim Jones and Harvey Milk were for those blacks - and gays don't care, except as a way to capitalize on it - as The Democrat Party is trying to do now.

Bob Boyd said...

If you support a baker choosing to not selling a wedding cake to a same-sex couple, then it follows you must support a company choosing not to do business with a customer that behaves in a manner contrary to the company's known parameters.

And if you support requiring that baker not to discriminate?

Chris said...

Yet, if you supported the government forcing the baker to bake the cake, then in turn you must support the government forcing corporations to abide by the first amendment.

You don't like it?
Just make your own app they say.
You don't like it?
Just build your own web hosting service.
You don't like it?
Just build your own server farm.
You don't like it?
Just build your own infrastructure from the ground up.
You don't like it?
Just build your own powerplant.

It goes on and on....

Conservachusetts said...

That is a terrible example in that top rated comment. I am sure that a bakery rental business would be more than happy to rent ovens to people for the purpose of making cakes with any kind of decoration. The question at hand was if an artist should be forced to create a design against their conscience.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Well said, Jamie.

Matt Sablan said...

Facebook uses Amazon Web Services.

Facebook still has Antifa and punch a Nazi style groups.

This isn't about violence or threats of violence.

MayBee said...

Parler was already on AWS.
So the baker (aside from scale, monopoly considerations, and anti trust issues) situation would have to be more like:
The gay couple hired the baker, paid the baker, and then on the day of the wedding the baker refused to deliver the cake. The baker, however, delivered a lot of cakes to your ex-boyfriends wedding on the same day. And then the baker announced you were dangerous.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Recently-uncovered research refutes the supposition that Jones ordered Dan White to execute Milk and Moscone; to the contrary, if there were any connection between the City Hall murders and Peoples Temple, it would clearly have been because Milk and Moscone were too closely tied to Jones and the Temple."

How does the scam that gays pulled on the world - over the bodies of 900 blacks - compare to Al Sharpton and Tawana Brawley in viciousness and deception?

Matt Sablan said...

"The baker decided to limit his business's reach by allowing his strongly held personal opinion to dictate that some people, requiring certain specific things of him, would not be his customers. "

-- That's incorrect; he would happily sell them any off-the-shelf item they wanted. He was electing not to enter into a special contract with them that was above and beyond being a customer, which included being forced to say certain things.

MayBee said...

But people who make the "baker" comment seem to want people to have no choice at all, don't they?
For Amazon not to throw a disliked service off the cloud, every last human has to have no choice in what they are willing to do.

Gahrie said...

If you support a baker choosing to not selling a wedding cake to a same-sex couple, then it follows you must support a company choosing not to do business with a customer that behaves in a manner contrary to the company's known parameters. As the same-sex couple was told, go find someone else to bake your cake. Parler should do the same. If they can't, perhaps it's the 'cake' they are trying to bake."

Did somebody forget that government ordered the baker to bake the cake?

The solution is to declare Facebook and Twitter to be public utilities and to regulate them the way we regulate power, water and trash services.

Iman said...

Crack, I remember ALL of that People’s Temple, Bay Area political incest. I remember the revelations New West ran that exposed all of this and I recall November of 1978 being one hellacious month.

Gahrie said...

How does the scam that gays pulled on the world - over the bodies of 900 blacks - compare to Al Sharpton and Tawana Brawley in viciousness and deception?

Unlike Al Sharpton, I don't know anybody who defends Jim Jones.

stevew said...

The baking and hosting situations are not the same.

AWS's behavior toward Parler is bad business. AWS is doing this to protect itself from something, but what?

MayBee said...

The internet is more like the first generation of phone lines. Let us say to oversimplify that all those lines, at great expense for the day, were installed by one company or three companies. If they start banning access for kids who are not cool, is it adequate to say: if you are rude, you might just have to go back to not having a telephone?

That's the thing. Bell Telephone *was* broken up because it was a monopoly. It wasn't even that long ago! And yet, when they were a monopoly, they still didn't refuse phone service to people they deemed to have the wrong opinion. They didn't cut off Al Capone's phone service.

Matt Sablan said...

(Actually, Facebook and Twitter may no longer use AWS, as those numbers were from 2020. But, while they DID use AWS, no attempt to stop the promotion of violence occurred.)

Temujin said...

If all of the bakers in America refused to serve gay people, you can bet there would be a howl not heard since Donald Trump used the word 'pussy'. And rightfully so. All of the infrastructure for the internet and social media is owned by one group. And they are given protection to do their dirty work by an abuse and misuse of US laws. Laws that were put into place at the birth of the internet. Now, all these years later, there is so much abuse, it has created a monopolistic control over the entire USA- our economy, our speech, our thoughts, what is allowed-or not- for news. It has created a major disruption. Not just for us, but for the entire world.

That we're even tiptoeing around this is preposterous. If ever there was a time for redressing laws, examining and taking anti-trust action, we've passed it. It's time for action now to change how this is operated. Yes, others can work on establishing their own platforms. But not if they cannot get loans because banks are held hostage by Amazon or Google. Not if vendors are afraid to work with them because of threats by Google, Amazon, or Apple. Not if their own lawyers have been threatened into submission by Facebook, Amazon, or Google.

There has never been a more clear case for the Government to step in and break this up. But, that said, Joe Biden is filling his adminstration with a combination of former Big Tech executives and people who have been on the payroll of the CCP. It'll be two years before anything is even mentioned. And in the next two years, those of us who want to speak freely may find ourselves losing credit cards, getting refused hotel rooms, getting kicked off of airplanes, or refused entry into Universities (an actual good thing, as it turns out).

If nothing is done through government, there will be peasants with torches at some point. It's not the route anyone would want to see, but if literally half the nation is suppressed, what do you think the outcome will be?

And shame on those on the Left who find it so hard to stand up for individual liberty and freedom of speech, access to freedom. Everything else they say rings hollow by their obvious glee for this. Frauds and preeners- all of them.

MayBee said...

Finally, these were not AWS's "known parameters". AWS has a contract with the CIA for heaven's sake. They aren't against hosting questionable content.

Mr Wibble said...

That's incorrect; he would happily sell them any off-the-shelf item they wanted. He was electing not to enter into a special contract with them that was above and beyond being a customer, which included being forced to say certain things.

And he also refused to create Halloween themed items as well, so this wasn't just a one-off decision, he had a history of running his business according to certain religious principles.

Winnie said...

I thought the baker lost his case. I must not have followed that very closely.

Matt Sablan said...

The baker won his case at the Supreme Court: "In a 7–2 decision, the Court ruled on narrow grounds that the Commission did not employ religious neutrality, violating Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips' rights to free exercise, and reversed the Commission's decision. The Court did not rule on the broader intersection of anti-discrimination laws, free exercise of religion, and freedom of speech, due to the complications of the Commission's lack of religious neutrality. (from Wiki)"

However, a different lawyer continued the campaign of harassment against the baker. I don't believe the legal cases revolving around that have been resolved. The state did stop suing the baker, probably because the case was on its way to the Supreme Court, and they didn't want to get slapped down again.

Owen said...

Mr. Wibble @ 6:23: Exactly. Nice analogy, and gets right to the heart of it: guts the deceptive bullshit from the “commenter.”

I have to wonder if Bezos has WaPo keep a stable of “commenters” (perhaps with pre-cooked messages to shape reader perception? No, that would be wrong).

Jeff Brokaw said...

Again, as I commented on a different thread last night, the obscure and opaque nature of technology and how it works has outpaced the ability to understand it and the problems it introduces, in about 98% of the population.

Anyone who understands software and hardware, from an inside the business perspective, would agree.

There’s an old joke in the IT world about explaining how a particular product or solution works, where you start to explain it and then reach a point where the really innovative (and possibly hard to understand at first) part is, and just say “it’s FM”.

What’s FM, they say. “F*cking magic”.

Technology itself is FM to 98% of the world.

Matt Sablan said...

"I have to wonder if Bezos has WaPo keep a stable of “commenters” (perhaps with pre-cooked messages to shape reader perception? No, that would be wrong)."

-- It's not that hard for them to figure out what their readers will post and promote. It's much easier to just let their readership act as they will then engage in some sockpuppetry.

Bob Boyd said...

If one company, Big Ingredients, controlled almost all the flour, eggs, sugar and what not in the world and they wouldn't sell those goods to users who were reported to their Trust and Safety Team for expressing opinions or supporting candidates that Big Ingredients arbitrarily declared unacceptable, would we put up with that?

And suppose another company, Big Cake, which owned almost all the bakeries, declared that they too would police the opinions and political activities of their customers using largely the same guidelines and largely benefitting the same politicians as Big Ingredients.
Now suppose a small bakery operator started to compete with that company by offering baked goods to anyone period. Suppose Small Cake quickly became popular because it turned out a lot of the world's hopeless, whining carbohydrate addicts didn't like having their opinions policed. Then suddenly, after the politicians it supports brandished a carrot and a stick, Big Ingredients found a reason to cut off the supply of flour, eggs and sugar to the upstart bakery. Would we put up with that?

Lewis Wetzel said...

"The solution is to declare Facebook and Twitter to be public utilities and to regulate them the way we regulate power, water and trash services."

Power, water, and trash are commodity services. Facebook is not a commodity service. Twitter is (or could be).

The Crack Emcee said...

Gahrie said...

"Unlike Al Sharpton, I don't know anybody who defends Jim Jones."

Sure they do, every time they speak of Harvey Milk, and same sex marriage, and all the rest that flowed from it.

Bob Boyd said...

I think the trash company should have to pay me for my trash because where would they be without it?

boatbuilder said...

Trump has been the strongest and loudest proponent of removing the Section 230 immunity for tech utilities which behave like advocates.
They seek to cut him off, and destroy any vehicle he might have to speak.
Coincidence ? I think not.

Bob Boyd said...

Us garbage producers need to organize.

Jeff Brokaw said...

This “go build it yourself” argument is flawed in several ways but taken to its extreme - as we watch all around us in real time — it amounts to building an entire independent and separate civilization.

This from the people who preach tolerance and diversity in all things, under penalty of law.

I wonder how many of them have figured out how stupid they all look from a distance. Self-awareness is not their thing, really.

David Foster said...

The analogy with the bakery is not a good one. A small local individually-owned business, for which many alternatives exist, is not the same as a global corporation with a near-monoploy position owing to its scale and critical mass. Businesses of the latter type are more like railroads than they are like bakeries, and railroads have long been considered Common Carriers.

Bob Boyd said...

We bag that shit up. We haul it out to the curb. It's a lot of work. Why are we not being fairly compensated?

Bob Boyd said...

This is bullshit! Who's with me?

Gahrie said...

This “go build it yourself” argument is flawed in several ways but taken to its extreme - as we watch all around us in real time — it amounts to building an entire independent and separate civilization.

The thing is, some of us would be perfectly willing to do, just like our ancestors did. There are two problems however:

1)There is no where to emigrate to at this time.

2) Once we did, the Leftist parasites would follow and fuck things up again. (Just like they're doing now after fucking up California, they're moving to red states to fuck them up.)

3) Faster Jeff and Elon. Faster.

Jamie said...

Having just bagged up and hauled out the garbage - again, second time this week - I'm with you, Bob! Garbage producers of the world, unite!

Jamie said...

some people, requiring certain specific things of him, would not be his customers. "

-- That's incorrect; he would happily sell them any off-the-shelf item they wanted.


Yes, the baker made a business decision potentially to alienate some customers by denying his work to them in very specific instances on the basis of his religious convictions. I believe his case was properly decided.

My points were, first, this is not that case - even insofar as the Left is a religion (which it certainly acts like). And second, the WaPo commenter created a different analogy from the one he thought he was creating; he didn't see that he and his side represent the baker (in his own worldview in which the baker is the bad guy).

Patrick Henry was right! said...

Can't argue with that level of stupid.

Kai Akker said...

Bob Boyd +10. Me, man, I'm wit youse!

This is a good discussion to read. Big Tech is really provoking angst.

"It's worth asking where Donald Trump would be today had Twitter, Facebook and other elite tech creations not been around in 2016." Bezos, Zuckerberg, Pinchai and Cook "know better than anyone that power in the commercial space is a highly ephemeral concept...." Think MySpace, Blackberry, AOL and Yahoo.

The Nick Saban syndrome guarantees that those at the top will be replaced.

Excellent piece by John Tammy, which is the source of the above.

https://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2021/01/14/in_the_world_of_business_unimaginable_power_doesnt_exist_656263.html

The marketplace does the job. It has always done the job. It will do the job again this time. Those who advocate nationalizing, regulating, or otherwise expropriating the business of those they don't like are no better than the other totalitarians madly on the loose these days, most notably in the Democrat Party.

Those anti-market, anti-competitive policies for "fixing" the situation are what you hear when a trend has reached an extreme. It would be momentarily satisfying to throw a spanner in the works, but the solutions of real people working hard over a long period to improve themselves in the marketplace will be much, much better.

Matt Sablan said...

Real people working in the marketplace just got utterly destroyed by the monopolies. Maybe Parler will pull out an expensive legal victory, but I'm not positive they will, and even if they do, all it proves is you better be able to not just make something that people want, but be able to legally defend it against monopolies with deep pockets and an army of lawyers.

That second part? That's not "the market working."

Bob Boyd said...

Abre los ojos, Kai Akker.

Bob Boyd said...

be able to legally defend it against monopolies with deep pockets and an army of lawyers.

and Congress and now the Administration. And the control of information.

GDI said...

Censorship = "Healthy Conversation"

The Crack Emcee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Crack Emcee said...

It's been over 60 years, since the '60s started, but the left's no smarter, since then.

Owen said...

Matt Sablan @ 7:48: Amen. We like to think of the “market” as a playing field. I think it is more like a feudal countryside, with rival warlords and castles and liege-men. In between the warring castles is open ground occupied by serfs who know nothing and want only to be left alone; who pray they won’t be trampled and burned out in a raid or their grain confiscated by the lord to whom they belong.

When you get monopolists, that’s how it looks. Remember “robber barons,” when antitrust law arose to check the Titans of steel, oil and railways?

Kai Akker said...

Amazon has done itself incalculable harm by its action with Parler. Who wants to sign up for AWS now?

No one. Many will have to. But the search for a better replacement just got jolted up several notches. And there will be one.

mandrewa said...

"This “go build it yourself” argument is flawed in several ways but taken to its extreme - as we watch all around us in real time — it amounts to building an entire independent and separate civilization.

"This from the people who preach tolerance and diversity in all things, under penalty of law.

"I wonder how many of them have figured out how stupid they all look from a distance. Self-awareness is not their thing, really."


And there is another sense in which the 'go build it yourself' argument is so absurdly wrong.

We did build it! We, that is the people that the left names right-wing, are the people that built the internet. We are the people that designed and built the microcomputers. We are the people that did almost all of the work at the foundation that makes these computers and cell phones and internet that you are using right now possible.

Now that's a statistical statement. Maybe it's only 90% true, because people didn't come with political labels on their foreheads back then. But I was there for part of it and I saw a predominately right-wing community both in person and online.

Silicon Valley has changed. It's been forty years. And a lot of the employees and management at these companies aren't really tech people any more. There are something else. And how this group has gotten control of things is probably something we really to understand.

But I think it's just a reflection of the control of the universities by the left.

wendybar said...

There were bakers in Oregon who were forced to close down because they lost their case and had to pay the people who sued them $135,000. The Supreme court kicked it back to the state court for review. Sweet Melissa was the name of the bakery. They were one of the first in the long line of cancellations by the left.....

rehajm said...

It's another cherry picked, hypocritical argument from the left. Goya, Chik-fil-A, Your T1 WiFi (the company that blocked facebook and Twitter)...

...the best example making the rounds...

Twitter Public Policy @Policy Jan 12

Ahead of the Ugandan election, we're hearing reports that Internet service providers are being ordered to block social media and messaging apps.

We strongly condemn internet shutdowns – they are hugely harmful, violate basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet.


If you don't like it, start your own Uganda.

daskol said...

The US tech giants just invited every enterprising justice minister and prosecutor in Europe to fuck with them. The big question I have is when to sell.

Unknown said...

"The solution is to declare Facebook and Twitter to be public utilities and to regulate them the way we regulate power, water and trash services."

What they should do is break up the monopolies. Strip Instagram from Facebook. Strip youtube from Google. Strip AWS from Amazon.

I do not think turning Google or Facebook into NPR solves the problem. You know what I mean? Liberals would love to "create jobs" by paying people to spend all day censoring Facebook and Google. Liberals are fucking insane, and apparently they've completely abandoned free speech (not to mention the equal protection clause).

Split up these monopolies. You can find lots of support on the left for that. And I think a lot of people on the right are up for that as well.

Narayanan said...

I am not able to figure out the parallelism in the analogy by the top rated comment.

who is the baker; what/where is the cake; who is the cake buyer;

daskol said...

It was big news that Parler's data was released, and I'm sure examples of ugliness will surface soon. But these silly tech companies arguing that shutting down Parler was about preventing violence are going to look really clumsy over the next several weeks as it's made clear to all who are interested that FB and twitter were the main platforms used to organize protests at the Capital and, well, everywhere else. I'd like to think they'll be hoist with their own petard, but consequences aren't follow action in a very predictable way these days.

Matt Sablan said...

"It was big news that Parler's data was released, and I'm sure examples of ugliness will surface soon."

-- What? How can it possibly be released, since social media and the news media all agreed they can't report on hacked/illegally/inappropriately leaked material, like with Hunter Biden's laptop. It should be impossible to find a host or home for this information since, uniformly, across the government, media, and social media landscapes, hacked material isn't allowed to be discussed.

Mr Wibble said...

Split up these monopolies. You can find lots of support on the left for that. And I think a lot of people on the right are up for that as well.

Split them up. Treat hosts like landlords and say that you can't kick someone off of your server without 30 days notice and that you have to return all the user's data to them.

Unknown said...

Cake shops are networks?

How about if the cake shop cancelled your credit card and bank account along with refusing to bake your cake ?

Either they curate content and are liable or they are a common carrier.

The tech jerks want their cake and eat it too.

Bob Boyd said...

But the search for a better replacement just got jolted up several notches. And there will be one.

Until Amazon buys it.

mockturtle said...

Any merit to the most 'popular comment' is destroyed by the magnitude of Big Tech contrasted with that of a neighborhood bakery. While we can all live without cakes, we have been forced [yes, forced] to rely on the internet for daily business and social transactions.

I'm Not Sure said...

"This “go build it yourself” argument is flawed in several ways...

This from the people who preach "You didn't build that."

Owen said...

mandrewa @ 8:18: “... And a lot of the employees and management at these companies aren't really tech people any more. There are something else. And how this group has gotten control of things is probably something we really to understand.

But I think it's just a reflection of the control of the universities by the left.”

Word. I am reading James Lindsay’s “Cynical Theories” which shows very clearly how the Long March has progressed from the Frankfurt School and the Deconstructionists and the academic onanism of Foucault and Derrida, through the Critical Studies of the 80’s and beyond, into the fully weaponized and politically deadly form of Social Justice Studies. Until the universities are rebuilt, probably from the ground up, the workforce they supply will continue to behave the way we see Silicon Valley and “woke Corporate America” behaving today.

Well worth reading.

Unknown said...

Religious convictions are (sometimes, needs facts in evidence) 'strongly held personal beliefs,' and are protected by the Constitution. 'Strongly held personal beliefs' are not necessarily religious beliefs and (when they are not religious beliefs) are not protected by the Constitution. Couldn't be any more straightforward.

tim maguire said...

"If you support a baker choosing to not selling a wedding cake to a same-sex couple, then it follows you must support a company choosing not to do business with a customer that behaves in a manner contrary to the company's known parameters.

Says the person who thinks the baker should be forced to bake that cake. The opportunistic self-serving "logic" is so cute.

tim maguire said...

Mr Wibble said...
It's not the same. Amazon is one of three bakers in 500 miles,


Indeed. It is not the same at all on many levels. But my favorite part of this is the "hypocrisy for me, but not for thee" aspect of it. And it being the top-rated comment--well, that's a popular sentiment on the left.

rhhardin said...

Bad and perverse comment - Masterpiece Bakery isn't a monopoly, and Amazon is a monopoly. That's the whole basis for legistaion to make monopoly businesses (whether by state or private violence) serve all comers at a fair price.

rehajm said...

...BP, Hobby Lobby, GM, Foxconn, Nestle, Salvation Army, NRA...

unknown said...

Amazon isn't a monopoly, but the cake store also isn't turning around and baking cakes for other gay weddings, they are clearly not going to bake cakes for any gay weddings. Amazon is hosting other sites that incite violence to one degree or other.

Big Mike said...

“If you support a baker choosing to not selling a wedding cake to a same-sex couple, then it follows you must support a company choosing not to do business with a customer that behaves in a manner contrary to the company's known parameters. As the same-sex couple was told, go find someone else to bake your cake. Parler should do the same. If they can't, perhaps it's the 'cake' they are trying to bake."

One case was violation of an individual’s religious rights, the other is conspiracy in restraint of trade. Even a retired law professor should be able to grasp the difference. That said, I think Parler really should build its own mass storage. I’m perfectly certain that Amazon knows how to break into its own cloud, and does so all the time in defiance of its privacy agreements. Ask pretty, young Hollywood starlets about storing nude and topless pictures on the Amazon cloud.

mdg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg The Class Traitor said...

1: They got that entirely backwards:

If you support demands that any backers must bake a cake for any customer, no matter how offensive they find the message, then you can not support any internet company kicking off any user, no matter how offensive they find the user's message.

2: The defense of the baker rested on the undisputed fact that there were multiple other bakers who would be happy to provide that cake. Network effects and monopoly power mean that there's no other "bakers" here

3: The baker did not refuse to sell anything to a gay couple. They simply refused to bake that particular cake. So that analogy would allow Twitter to take down individual messages. Twitter banning Trump, or anyone else, is equivalent to a store refusing service to a black man because he's black, or a gay man because he's gay

If you want ANY "anti-discrimination" laws to survive, then what they tech companies are doing is out of bounds

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Mark said...
Another post full of whataboutism and false equivalence. Oh goody

"Whataboutism": the demand that people act in a principled manner, rather than in a "whose ox gets gored" manner.

The fact that the Left uses "whataboutism" as a defense of their actions shows just how intellectually and morally putrid the Left is. It is essentially the statement

"How dare you try to hold us consistent to our claimed principles! You should know that we have no principles, we just have a lust for power!"

The fact that they're willing to make this a mainstay argument for their wretched behavior really is telling

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Mark said...
Another post full of whataboutism and false equivalence. Oh goody

It must suck being as stupid as Mark. Since all the false equivalence weighs against the Left in this case, as I detailed two posts up

Witness said...

From Amazon's response to the lawsuit:

That evening, Parler’s CEO posted that “[w]e should be operational within less then [sic] 12 hours of downtime after Amazon abruptly pulls our access.” Doran Decl. Ex. K. He also posted that Parler had “prepared for events like this by never relying on amazons [sic] proprietary infrastructure and building bare metal products.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Strip AWS from Amazon.

According to Forbes AWS was providing 78% of Amazon's profit in 2018.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2020/01/06/how-much-of-amazons-73-billion-aws-profit-will-rivals-win/?sh=4f7e94085bcd

Right now Amazon is the biggest player in cloud computing, but other companies are getting into the business. Nonetheless, I think Amazon's actions are reprehensible. And in the long run harmful to the company. Startups are going to be thinking very hard about whether they want to use AWS if there is a risk Bezos might kick them off of it because he disagrees with them. Or, more importantly, they might compete with a company that Bezos favors.

Witness said...

It's here if anyone's interested: https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.wawd.294664/gov.uscourts.wawd.294664.10.0_1.pdf

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I’m perfectly certain that Amazon knows how to break into its own cloud

I don't think "break into" is the correct term. If I was storing anything sensitive there I would encrypt the data before placing it into the cloud and the keys would stay off of it.

chuck said...

Viva analyses the suit here.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Lewis Wetzel said...
"The solution is to declare Facebook and Twitter to be public utilities and to regulate them the way we regulate power, water and trash services."

Power, water, and trash are commodity services. Facebook is not a commodity service. Twitter is (or could be).


1: It's "utilities", not "commodities"

2: Monopoly telephone shrive was a utility. That means it's perfectly reasonable to treat any other monopoly communications service as a utility.

3: WE don't have to treat them as a utility. We don't have to regulate them. And we shouldn't.

4: Those monopolies are currently receiving a significant benefit from the Federal government: protections from the laws that every other publisher has to follow.

Amazon refused to sell AWS services to Parler because Amazon is a publisher that has decided they don't want to publish some of the comments on Parler. That is perfectly fine. That is their right as a publisher.

It is my right as an American citizen to sue Amazon for any personally libelous comment published on anything running on AWS. It is my right as a copyright owner to sue Amazon for any violations of my copyright that is carried on anything running on AWS. It is my right as an American citizen to call out Amazon for anything published or done by anyone on AWS.

Because by asserting their right to shut down Parler for Parler carrying comments that Amazon does not like, Amazon has assumed responsibility for anything and everything that happens on AWS.

Has someone hacked you from an AWS instance? It's Amazon's fault. Sue them.

No Section 230 protection for Amazon, because they're a publisher, not a service.

Same for Twitter, same for Facebook. They want to be publishers? Awesome! That's their right.

They just have to be liable for whatever they publish. Just like every other publisher.

They can't stay in business while following the law? Then, like Napster, they need to be sued out of business.

Michael K said...

Technology itself is FM to 98% of the world.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke

And, "Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced."
Arthur C. Clarke

Sam L. said...

I despise, detest, and totally distrust the WaPoo. The NYT, too.

Bob Boyd said...

"We are all sick with the same disease, which is being pumped through our veins by the agents of a monopolistic oligarchy—whether they present themselves as the owners of large technology companies, or as the professional classes that are dependent on those companies for their declining wealth and status, or as identity politics campaigners, or security bureaucrats. The places where these vectors converge make up the new ideology, which is regulated by machines; the places outside this discourse are figured as threats, and made to disappear from screens and search results, using the same technologies that they use in China. The absence of a discrete ruling party apparatus either makes this new system weaker or stronger than the Chinese system. Again, I am happy to leave that question to the theorists. What I am gesturing toward is the totalizing push, the constraints on thinking and speaking, the uglification of everything, the all-around tightening of the noose."

Read the whole, wonderfully well-written thing here:
https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/arts-letters/articles/america-year-zero

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Anyone who understands software and hardware, from an inside the business perspective, would agree.

Yep, a couple of years ago a friend of my wife couldn't get her iphone to connect to her wifi. It had worked before, and she could get it to connect to the wifi at our house, but it wouldn't work at her's. I went over to look at it. Her laptop and tablet connected to her wifi but not her iphone. She had already tried rebooting the iphone and I looked at its settings and they seemed fine, and my phone could connect, so I suggested rebooting the WAP/router. She didn't think that made any sense, everything else could connect except the iphone, so the issue had to be there. Nonetheless, I rebooted the WAP/router and it fixed her problem. She was kind of upset, not at me but at technology in general, and wanted to know why only the iphone couldn't connect. I told her I didn't know and would never know. In order to find out I would have to have a recording of the memory in the WAP/router before I rebooted it and the source code for the relevant smart phone software and the WAP/router. And a few days or weeks and even then, I might not figure out what particular software bug caused the issue. We were all going to have to accept as FM.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Anyway, I've actually been studying to take the certified AWS Solutions Architect test because everything is moving to cloud computing/virtual machines/containers/and even more IT jargon. Even companies that are staying off of public clouds are using the same tools to create private ones. One of the things Amazon stresses is the cost savings, which are considerable. You can spin up more servers as needed depending on the work load and reduce them when they are not needed, dynamically. You only pay for the cpu cycles you use (and bandwidth and storage.) Their infrastructure allows people all over the world to access your app with minimal latency and allows you to set up for failover to another availability zone which means disaster recovery is built in. A start up can't afford to not be in the cloud because if they aren't then their competitor who is in the cloud has a lot more working capital and can move a lot more quickly. Somebody familiar with AWS could create a VPC connected to the Internet in a few minutes to hours depending on how complex the design is. Much faster than waiting for actual servers to show up.

Douglas B. Levene said...

Following is my comment To that same Washington Post article. Nobody there has even attempted to respond to it:
“For years, leftists and Democrats have responded to conservative complaints about censorship on Twitter, Facebook , YouTube, etc., by saying, ‘They’re private companies. They can do what they want. If you don’t like it, start up a competitor. ‘ Well, that’s what the libertarians behind Parler did. They started a competitor, which was the most down-loaded app in the US as of a few days ago. And what was the result? In one day, the tech monopolists killed it, acting together and after consultations with their allies in the Democratic Party, with cheering from the leftist media like the Post. So I guess all that b.s. about ‘go start your own competitor’ was just b.s. after all.” I guess the lefties don’t have a response.

loudogblog said...

The problem with the "cake baker" analogy is that the internet has become, for all intents and purposes, a utility that is necessary for daily life. It's not uncommon for a power company, at the request of the courts and law enforcement, to turn off the electricity to a building if there is illegal activity happening there. But imagine if they started turning off power to buildings because the owners were espousing wild conspiracy theories or unpopular political opinions.

Lea S. said...

Eric Weinstein had a good response to the "but they're a private company" argument:

Level 0: This is an attack on free speech in the public square.

Level 1 rejection: This is not the public square but a matter of for profit companies and the freedom to do what they please.

Level 2: Level 1 only works if there is a public sector of the internet for all to use.

Mark said...

Here's the top-rated comment at WaPo:

The commentariat at Washington Post is as dim and radical and irrational as Post staffers.

More the fool the person who pays any attention to them.

Mark said...

Freedom of association isn't the issue.

Monopoly and using the unequal power of a corporation to crush and stifle competition is the issue.

Static Ping said...

There is a cartoon I saw that went through all the "if you don't like X, then make your own." It logically ends with "then make your own country."

I suspect the cartoon character has a better grasp of what that entails than the majority of the Washington Post community.

Oh well.

Some Seppo said...

Hands up don't bake!

Tina Trent said...

So what, if anything, are you going to do about it?

DavidUW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DavidUW said...

No.
The baker refuses a commission to create a cake.

The baker was perfectly willing to sell a premade (using his labor still) cake.

AWS is selling a pre-made service. There is no new creative demand here or specialized service.
Then on top of it, it organized a boycott of the potential customer. so that no other bakery would provide a pre-made cake.

That's the analogy.

Temujin said...

The Crack Emcee said, "It's been over 60 years, since the '60s started, but the left's no smarter, since then."

Agreed. But I'm not sure any of us are. I feel like I've been fighting the same fight forever.

Also- great points about Harvey Milk and the almost God-like place he has on the left. It's insane. They love their myths far more than truth.

Jamie said...

by asserting their right to shut down Parler for Parler carrying comments that Amazon does not like,

Yesterday I was reading - possibly in the comments to another Althouse post; I love this commentariat! - a quote from AWS's Terms of Service that, if I'm not mistaken, included a clause (being applied here, I imagine, if I'm remembering it correctly) stating that AWS hosting could be withdrawn because of an objection of a third party, also hosted on AWS, to the "offending" entity. In other words, "Hey, I've got no problem with you using my stuff, but my girlfriend wants you gone. Sorry, man. You know how it is." Plausible (?) deniability.

Am I remembering that right?

daskol said...

Word. I am reading James Lindsay’s “Cynical Theories”

He has a way with words, right? If you're willing to wade into the muck, his Conceptual James twitter account is one of the best.

The Crack Emcee said...

Temujin said...

The Crack Emcee said, "It's been over 60 years, since the '60s started, but the left's no smarter, since then."

Agreed. But I'm not sure any of us are. I feel like I've been fighting the same fight forever.


I know, right?

Also- great points about Harvey Milk and the almost God-like place he has on the left. It's insane. They love their myths far more than truth.

Thanks for proving it's not falling on deaf ears.

Jamie said...

They love their myths far more than truth.

I'd say, a la the old Protein Wisdom (that was a great blog, very sorry it's gone), that they dwell so stubbornly in a po-mo world that they don't recognize that there's a difference between myths and truth. Or, put another (pop culture) way, "I reject your reality and substitute my own!"

daskol said...

On the one, the Parler CEO needs to go around reassuring people that he can get Parler back up, and relatively soon. OTOH, the success of his lawsuit against the big tech monopolists depends on their having more than merely inconvenienced him. I see that Amazon's lawyers are already using some of the Parler CEO's words against him in their response. Sadly, Parler is probably worth a lot more as a vehicle to sue the shit out of big tech at this point than as a product-platform for microblogging. If Parler succeeds in getting back online quickly, they hurt their chances of winning the lawsuit, but delays will dilute the brand and cost the momentum they and other alternative platforms are seeing right now. A real 21st century conundrum, but I think Parler will go with the lawsuit over the platform. We won't see Parler back online for a while.

daskol said...

That very fast-talking Canadian lawyer someone linked, Viva Frei, predicts Amazon will reinstate Parler at least temporarily.

daskol said...

He's insufficiently cynical about the courage and independence of our courts.

n.n said...

The baker sold the cake, but did not endorse the union. Also, there were reasonably accessible alternatives that could match the service and product. Speaking of unions, whatever happened to calls for separation of "Church" and State? #Judgment #Labels #SpecialPeculiarRelativisticReligion

n.n said...

Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post... Cool shit like this can happen when you're a billionaire.

Weren't their private estates occupied by protesters? Then, shortly thereafter, his wife donated several billion to the diversity racket, specifically Some, Select Black Lives Matter, and, not coincidentally, he donated several billion to climate (Green) causes.

n.n said...

Harvey Milk and the almost God-like place he has on the left. It's insane. They love their myths far more than truth.

Their ostensibly "secular" religions, notably the Pro-Choice selective, opportunistic, relativistic ("ethical"), politically congruent ("=") quasi-religion, is preached by mortal gods and goddesses who are infamous for exploiting liberal license to play semantic games, normalize conceptual corruption, indulge in conflation of logical domains, and generally for speaking truth to facts.

n.n said...

Monopoly and using the unequal power of a corporation to crush and stifle competition is the issue.

Single/central/monopolistic solutions are good for sustaining progressive corruption, and progressive prices, too.

Leland said...

Props on an excellent front paging, MayBee.

I've been thinking of the whole gay marriage and cake stuff since my daughter got married in May of last year. I can't say nobody is having weddings, because I went to three last year. But none were allowed in a church, and all were either held in either a private residence or miles outside the nearest town. Cakes were made by private individuals. If you want to get married, the best most people can do in covid lockdown is to get a government approved and signed marriage certificate in front of a few witnesses, which is pretty much my idea of a civil union.

@daskol 12:20p, I agree with that analysis. Gab proves that Parler can go elsewhere, but the existence of Gab frees Parler to pursue the lawsuit. There is one other thing for Parler, and that's the sudden cartel behavior of Apple, Google, and Amazon, which doesn't require Parler to find another web services. It is a bit more than coincidence that all took similar action to block Parler from the marketplace within a 48 hour period citing similar claims that don't seem all that impressive.

98 posts supposedly citing violence. Parler was much smaller than Twitter, but only 98 posts over weeks? Althouse will get more than 98 troll comments in any given day, sometimes in just one comment section.

This is like the Russian ad buy in 2017 that supposedly proved Trump colluded with Trump. $100,000 was spent by one Russian company, in a billion dollar Presidential campaign season, for 3,000 ads, most of which supported BLM. Yet that was the hard evidence that Russia was interfering in US elections for the benefit of Trump.

gadfly said...

MayBee was wrong in concocting the cake baker/gay marriage scenario comparison to the AWS/Parler contract.

AWS gave notice of discontinuing data service to Parler after Apple and Google Play booted the social network for lack of content moderation. Under standard contract terms, losing these these vital third-party links impaired Amazon's ability to support Parler and that was sufficient reason to cancel. No first amendment freedom is at issue here - just a business contract routinely signed by all AWS users.

Clyde said...

As I saw elsewhere, the Woolworth's lunch counter was also privately owned.

mockturtle said...

Can't speak to what others will do but I'm cutting ties to Amazon. It's not only possible to order items from the manufacturer but they often arrive quicker. I shall also use an alternate credit card instead of my usual Amazon Chase.

My kindle is an issue and, though I have hundreds of books on two devices, they can be snatched from my devices whenever Amazon sees fit. I now regret giving alway most of my hard copies when I moved. Apparently, '1984' is currently unavailable for kindle until June. I already have Orwell's novels on my kindle but who knows for how long?

JaimeRoberto said...

"Today, Amazon announced that Twitter has signed a multi-year agreement with AWS to run its real-time timelines. It's a major win for Amazon's cloud arm." From TechCrunch dated Dec 15, 2020.

I wonder if that has anything to do with AWS kicking a Twitter competitor off its platform.




NMObjectivist said...

The cake issue is different for the following reason. Governments have chosen to give special protection to certain classes of people. Those include race, gender sexual orientation. Who gets special protection is a value judgement made by government. It’s a benefit to some and a trap for others. Chose your elected officials wisely. 

wholelottasplainin' said...

IIRC that baker was practicing "content moderation" by refusing to design a cake with gay slogans and imagery that he said violated his religious beliefs.

And the Supremes backed him up.

No?

cubanbob said...

gadfly said...
MayBee was wrong in concocting the cake baker/gay marriage scenario comparison to the AWS/Parler contract.

AWS gave notice of discontinuing data service to Parler after Apple and Google Play booted the social network for lack of content moderation. Under standard contract terms, losing these these vital third-party links impaired Amazon's ability to support Parler and that was sufficient reason to cancel. No first amendment freedom is at issue here - just a business contract routinely signed by all AWS users."

Amazon sells the Turner Diaries and Mein Kampf. So much for the content moderation argument. As for the third-party links that smacks of restraint of trade and lanham act violations.

cubanbob said...

gadfly said...
MayBee was wrong in concocting the cake baker/gay marriage scenario comparison to the AWS/Parler contract.

AWS gave notice of discontinuing data service to Parler after Apple and Google Play booted the social network for lack of content moderation. Under standard contract terms, losing these these vital third-party links impaired Amazon's ability to support Parler and that was sufficient reason to cancel. No first amendment freedom is at issue here - just a business contract routinely signed by all AWS users."

Amazon sells the Turner Diaries and Mein Kampf. So much for the content moderation argument. As for the third-party links that smacks of restraint of trade and lanham act violations.

Readering said...

I have not seen report of the oral argument in Parler v AWS TRO application, but per docket judge took matter under submission, ie did not rule from bench.

Leland said...

Under standard contract terms, losing these these vital third-party links impaired Amazon's ability to support Parler - Written by an idiot as a comment on a blog that is successful without an app on Android or Apple.

Parler was accessible by any browser up to the moment AWS turned off their servers. They weren’t dependent on an anchor store bringing in foot traffic at the mall. And they were paying their bills. Go back to your journolist and come up with a half intelligent talking point.

Caligula said...

I tend to see Facebook and Twitter as analogous to common carriers, who don't get to pick and choose whose goods they'll carry but are required to serve all.

AWS and other hosting services are perhaps more like landlord. And although landlords can pick and choose their tenants to some extent, there are so many varieties of anti-discrimination laws that apply that in practice (at least the large, corporate) landlords will accept 'most anyone who can show they have the means to pay and who haven't acquired a history of trashing apartments or eviction.

Of course, if they are common carriers then they can't be held liable for what is said on their platforms. But if they can boot you off according to their (deliberately vague and ambiguous) terms of service then it's hard to see why they should not be held liable if/when their platforms are used for unlawful purposes.

ken in tx said...

In the Philippines, the trash collector DID pay for our trash. It wasn't much so we let the house girl keep the money.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

mockturtle said...
My kindle is an issue and, though I have hundreds of books on two devices, they can be snatched from my devices whenever Amazon sees fit. I now regret giving alway most of my hard copies when I moved. Apparently, '1984' is currently unavailable for kindle until June. I already have Orwell's novels on my kindle but who knows for how long?

You can save a copy of all your Kindle books where Amazon can't get to them

You can strip the encryption off. All that is detailed in multiple places on the internet.

At that point, you have mobi files which can be read by a multiplicity of apps. Just get the Kinder reader app on you computer, and download all your books there