I ‘didn’t call for Chinese-style internet censorship’


I spend a lot of time and effort in the law school to encourage the free exchange of ideas and to ensure that unpopular speakers have a platform. I don’t believe I have ever advocated censorship of anything or anyone.

I was surprised (and initially amused) when I read Jonathan Turley. it fills me up with “call[ing] I claimed to be part of a group of “professors, writers, and editors” who were “against China-style Internet censorship” and “against free speech.”not only to free speech, but also to long-term damage [to our] professions”. To support this claim, Turley quoted this sentence from a passage with Andrew Woods Atlantic In 2020: “China was largely right and the US was largely wrong.” I wouldn’t normally respond to misinterpretation or misrepresentation of my work – it happens. But then I discovered Turley had at least one 20 times– in writings, op-eds, and an article — claimed that I “call[] for Chinese-style censorship”.

If you read the Atlantic piece, which Turley didn’t link to, you’ll see that neither the sentence nor the article calls for Chinese-style internet censorship. But when some conservative commentators interpreted the article along Turley’s lines in 2020, Woods and I quickly wrote a follow-up. part about Legislation Emphasizing that we “do not remotely support Chinese-style surveillance and censorship, or argue that the United States should adopt China’s practices.” (It seems absurd to repeat these words.)

The Atlantic article was about the rise and rise of digital harms, private and public regulation of those harms, and predicted that the general trend of increased regulation of these harms, especially by government, will not abate anytime soon. From the perspective of the 1990s, China was largely right and the United States largely wrong about the existence of such harms and the need to address them through public or private means, albeit in pursuit of very different values. ends in two systems. (One window into the possibility of government involvement in the problem can be seen in the broad efforts conservative justices, judges, commentators, and legislators(many of whom are libertarians- regulating or approving the regulation of social media platforms through antitrust, Section 230, common carrier theories, etc.) to ensure that they “correctly” monitor speech.)

I’m not going to repeat what I said in the Atlantic or after Legislation-Anyone who is interested can read those pieces to see if Turley has expressed my thoughts correctly. But I want to set the record straight about some of Turley’s camp claims—sort of related to the Atlantic article—about my actions and beliefs. In addition, “do not call[ing] According to China-style censorship of the Internet, “I’m not”against free speech“; It is not me rush[ked] on violation of freedom of speech” On Elon Musk’s Twitter; I didn’t have it reflected the challenge” due to European Digital Services Act censorship; It is not me part of an alliance of academics, writers and activists demanding everything from censorship to imprisonment and blacklisting.“; I didn’t have it”the cross[ed] The Rubicon from free speech to censorship models“; It is not me “It pushes for more censorship and speech control”; I’m sure the Biden administration wasn’t.draw” my work the efforts of his jawbone, which I oppose; and I’m not part “A strong movement on the left to regulate and censor the internet.”

Let me be clear: Elon Musk’s learned platform speech is a very difficult challenge. Platforms haven’t done a great job of defining proper speech rules—if there is such a thing. And even assuming the federal government acts in accordance with the First Amendment, it is unlikely to do much better. However, the current regulation has created a number of serious social harms, including harms to America’s culture of free speech. I haven’t seen a working solution to this basic puzzle, and I don’t have one. Woods and I will have more to say about these difficult topics in our book about the naivety and failure of the American Internet project of the 1990s and the tragic trade-offs that digital networks have made for fundamental American values. More to come.



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