I devote a great deal of time and effort at my law school to promoting the free exchange of ideas and ensuring that unpopular speakers have a platform. I don’t believe I ever advocated censorship of anything or anyone.
So I was surprised (and, at first, amused) to read Jonathan Turley charge me with “call[ing] for Chinese-style internet censorship”, and claiming that I was part of a group of “teachers, writers and editors” who were “against freedom of expression” and “cause lasting damage not only to freedom of expression, but [to our] the professions.” In support of this claim, Turley quoted this sentence from an article with Andrew Woods in the Atlantic in 2020: “China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong”. Normally I wouldn’t react to a misinterpretation or misrepresentation of my work – it happens. But then I found out that Turley had at least 20 times—in the posts, editorials and an article – claimed that I was “calling for Chinese-style censorship.
If you read the Atlantic article, which Turley does not link to, you will see that neither the sentence nor the article calls for Chinese-style internet censorship. But when some conservative commentators nevertheless interpreted the article in the direction of Turley in 2020, Woods and I quickly wrote a follow-up room on Right to emphasize that we “do not remotely endorse Chinese-style surveillance and censorship, nor do we argue that the United States should adopt China’s practices.” (It seems absurd to have to repeat these words.)
The Atlantic article talked about the rise and rise of digital harm and the private and public regulation of that harm, and it predicted that the general trend of increased regulation of that harm, particularly by government, would not subside anytime soon. From the perspective of the 1990s, he argued, China was largely right, and the United States largely wrong, about the existence of such damage and the need to remedy it, through public means. or private, although pursuing very different values and objectives. terminates in both systems. (A window into the likelihood of greater government involvement in the issue can be seen in the efforts made by conservative judges, judges, commentators, and legislators– many of whom are libertarians – to regulate or approve the regulation of social media platforms via antitrust, section 230, common carrier theories, etc., to ensure they monitor the discourse of “good manner.)
I’m not going to question what I said in the Atlantic or on Right– anyone interested can read these articles to see if Turley has accurately represented my point of view. But I want to correct the record regarding some of Turley’s campier claims – somehow related to the Atlantic article – about my actions and beliefs. In addition to not “calling[ing] for Chinese-style internet censorship, “I’m not”against freedom of expression”; I’m not “panic[ked] on the bursting freedom of expression” on Elon Musk’s Twitter; I do not have “echo the callfor censorship of the EU Digital Services Act; I’m not is part of an “alliance of scholars, writers and activists calling for everything from censorship to incarceration to blacklisting”; I do not have “to cross[ed] the Rubicon of free speech to models of censorship”; I’m not “Push for greater censorship and speech controls”; I am convinced that the Biden administration was notdraw on“my work in his efforts jaws, which I oppose; and I’m not part of “a strong movement on the left to regulate and censor the Internet.”
With that out of the way, let me state the obvious: Platform discourse, as Elon Musk learns, is an extremely difficult problem. The platforms haven’t done a great job of determining the right rules of speech – assuming there is such a thing. And the federal government is highly unlikely to do any better, even assuming it acts in accordance with the First Amendment. Yet the current arrangement has produced an enormous variety of serious social harm, including damage to America’s culture of free speech. I haven’t seen a viable solution to this fundamental conundrum, and I don’t. Woods and I will have much more to say on these difficult topics in a book we are writing about the naivety and failure of the American Internet project of the 1990s, and the tragic compromises that digital networks pose to core American values. More soon.
#didnt #call #Chinesestyle #internet #censorship