March 19, 2019
When I heard Congressman Devin Nunes was suing Twitter, I assumed it was over censorship.
Instead, he’s suing them for a goofy loophole reason that allows the New York Times to mock him and frame it as though he is suing them because people mock him.
To be clear, the argument is not that complicated: in theory, and probably legally, if Twitter bans people for political beliefs, they are no longer a neutral platform, and are instead a publisher, and thus are responsible for all content on the site, meaning that if a poster is defaming someone, they can be held legally accountable.
So he is suing them to pressure them on free speech. That is the purpose.
But because this is complicated to the sorts of people who watch CNN or read the NYT, these media kikes can claim that he is suing over “pointed criticism,” which just makes him look like a crybaby or so nuts he thinks he can stop randos on the internet from making fun of him.
Stung by obscene and pointed criticism, Representative Devin Nunes, a Republican from California, has sued Twitter and three users for defamation, claiming the users smeared him and the platform allowed it to happen because of a political agenda.
The complaint, which was filed in Henrico County Circuit Court in Virginia on Tuesday, seeks $250 million in damages. In making his case, Mr. Nunes, a loyal ally of President Trump and the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, repeated several common Republican complaints that Twitter has repeatedly denied: that it censors Republicans, “shadow bans” their accounts and actively helps their opponents.
Though absorbing criticism comes with the territory for politicians, the complaint described the objectionable tweets from the three users as something “that no human being should ever have to bear and suffer in their whole life.”
To make his case, he cited a wide variety of tweets that included accusations of criminal misconduct, crude jokes at his expense and relatively banal criticism. The complaint says the tweets “falsely stated” that Mr. Nunes had brought “shame” to his family and that he was voted “Most Likely to Commit Treason” in high school, and that one of them included a cartoon image of a sexual act with Mr. Trump and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. The complaint lists dozens of other tweets he found insulting.
Experts generally say the law protects large internet platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube from liability based on what their users publish. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act says they should not “be treated as the publisher or speaker” of the content — allowing the platforms to exist without having to preapprove every post for potential legal issues.
But the complaint by Mr. Nunes seeks to portray the tweets directed at him as evidence of larger efforts by Twitter to undermine Republicans — a frequent rallying cry of conservatives. Mr. Nunes was a key figure in the House’s Russia investigation, and a frequent target for critics who said he was abusing his authority by impeding investigations to protect Mr. Trump.
“As part of its agenda to squelch Nunes’ voice, cause him extreme pain and suffering, influence the 2018 Congressional election, and distract, intimidate and interfere with Nunes’ investigation into corruption and Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential Election, Twitter did absolutely nothing,” the complaint said.
Mr. Nunes repeated the debunked claim that the social network was “shadow banning” Republicans, including him. Shadow banning — the act of a platform allowing someone to post but not allowing others to see the post, effectively making them invisible — became a political catch phrase in July, when a Vice News article used the term to characterize a Twitter bug that was affecting some prominent conservatives.
In fact, the bug affected their accounts only briefly by not showing up on the network’s search results when a user searched for their names; the reach of their posts was unaffected. But the assertion was still used by many, including Mr. Trump, as evidence of bias against conservatives.
That is all fake news. The part about shadowbanning being a “bug” is just a lie. Twitter has admitted that they “rank content” based on what they think its relevancy is (they also rank what they find to be offensive). Which just means “shadowbanning” content that the company does not decide is relevant, which has been shown to be right-wing content. The company literally said “we’re not shadowbanning” and then described how they shadowban people.
The idea that Twitter has no bias was fully and brutally debunked during Tim Pool’s assault on @jack and his H1-B mommy on the Joe Rogan Show. Not that we don’t all know that from personal experience.
The stuff about the purpose of the lawsuit is also fake news, but it is not an outright lie. They are simply misconstruing what is going on, trying to make it like this is about Devin’s hurt feelings. They mention CDA Section 230, but they do not mention Nunes’ argument that they are no longer under this provision because of mass-bannings for political reasons (along with the shadowbanning thing).
This is really Nunes’ own fault. I haven’t sat down and read the lawsuit, but I’ve read enough articles about it to know that he didn’t do this correctly. At least not if the goal is to frame a public discussion. The court will obviously have to take into account what he is actually arguing. But the way our (((legal system))) works in this country, lawsuits work out a lot better when the public discussion around them is clearcut. And there is simply no way for what he has put together here to be clearcut in the media.
They are just going to keep saying he has hurt feelings. And Fox News isn’t going to be able to explain all of this anywhere even close to how well I just explained it. In fact, these people are just going to run with the same fake news story as NYT, and just say that it’s wrong for people to make fun of him, instead of even trying to explain what the case is actually about.
In the Fox News interview last night (at the top there) it was clear that Hannity didn’t understand what was going on, and Nunes himself didn’t do a very good job explaining it. At all.
If you see Sean Hannity making this face, you can be certain he doesn’t understand what is going on.
The message of the interview seemed to be “it’s against the First Amendment for people to make fun of me,” which is actually the pretty much the opposite of what the suit is about.
It’s a shame.