All-In with Chamath, Jason, Sacks & Friedberg

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E10: Twitter & Facebook botch censorship (again), the publisher vs. distributor debate & more

by Jason Calacanis
October 16th 2020
Hey, everybody. Hey, everybody, Welcome. Besties are back. Besties or back? It's another all in podcast dropping it to you unexpectedly because there's just so much news. There's too much prize best iPod, but dropping a bestie, it's not a code 30 13. We're not dropping and the Snickers bars today. Just dropping a bestie. Oh, no, he's got a megaphone. A to e, especially. Oh, wait a new allow in terms of people needing to be Oh, by the way, try months Saxes Agent Ondas, chief of staff called me. He felt like he only got 62 percent of the minutes in the last versus the rest of us. And so I'm dealing with his agent a little

bit. It's like the debates where they count the number of minutes and interviewed Daniel Daniel grinding you for more manual describing i e for quality over quantity. Absolutely. Okay, well, this week's gonna B e mean what a complete disaster of a weak eyes. There's no other way to explain. What is that such A Every day is a dumpster fire. It's a huge So here we are. We're three weeks out from the election, and somebody's emails have a Democrats. Emails have been leaked again. Potentially. But last time, uh, we had an investigation by the FBI, and then that might have infected impacted the election. This time we have, ah, whole different brouhaha. Apparently Hunter Biden, who loves to smoke crack and has a serious drug problem

this'd is, You know, he's a seriously obviously troubled individual. Um, but he brought three laptops to get them fixed and never picked them up, according to this story in The New York Post. So the New York Post runs a story with an author who is kind of unknown. Um, and this these laptops were somehow the hard drives me, he never picked them up. That's a little suspicious. The hard drives wind up with really Rudy Giuliani and the FBI. Anyway, what they say is that Hunter Biden, which we kind of know is a grifter who traded on his last name to get big consulting deals. I don't know what board anybody here has been on that pays 50,000 month, but it's obviously gnarly stuff, but the the fallout from it was the big story. I went to tweet the story, and it wouldn't let me tweet. The story s o The literal New York Post was banned by Twitter at the same time Facebook put a warning on it. So let's just

put it out there. You know, Saks, your guys losing pretty badly in this election, and so we'll go to our token GOP here. What do you think is this? Let's let's take this in two parts one. What do you What do you think? The chances that this is fake news or riel news or something in between. And then let's get into Twitter's insane decision to block the euro. Yeah, I mean so first. So I I think this whole thing is a tragedy of errors on the part of sort of everyone involved. I think the New York Post story stinks. I don't think it it meets sort of standards of journalistic integrity. We can talk about that. But then I think you know, Twitter and Facebook overreacted, and I think that the story was well in the process of being debunked by the Internet, and it was like Twitter and Facebook didn't trust that process toe happen. And so they intervened. And now I think there's gonna be a third mistake, which is that conservatives are

looking to repeal Section 2 30. We should talk about that. And so each one. There's been a cascade of disasters that have led to this this dumpster fire. But starting with the story, it is it is, um, very suspicious. First of all, these disclosures about 100 Biden's personal life, they didn't have to go there was completely gratuitous to the article. It was sleazy. And then, of course, this story about how the hard drive ends up with the reporters makes no sense. Even today, Giuliani was making up new explanations for how it got there. Um is now being widely speculated that this was the that the content came from the result of a hack. Um, maybe involving foreign actors, that this whole idea that it came from this sort of hard drive that he left it a repair shop and forgot to pick up. I mean, so that that's now, you know, I think that would have been the story today if it weren't for Facebook and Twitter making censorship the story. And then the final thing is

, you know, this story wasn't smoking gun to begin with I mean, the worst thing it showed was that there was a single email between Brisman executive and Joe Biden, and the buying campaign is denied that that job I never met with the sky. And so it wasn't ever the smoking gun and bond that makes it all the mawr apparent. Why Facebook and Twitter sort of overreacted. It was almost like they were trying to over protect their candidate. That's the thing that obviously looks crazy like they now have given the GOP the right the extreme right, the belief that the technology companies are now on the side of the left, whereas last time they were on the side of the right, I think right Facebook was on the side of the right. Last time Social Matthew worked at Facebook famously for many years. What are your thoughts? Well, Jack came out last night and basically said that the reason that they that they shut down distribution

was that it came from hacking and docks ing or some. I think that was basically the combination. A combination on Ben Facebook today came out and said, you know, before we could take it down, it had been distributed or red 300,000 times. Um, I mean, look, if we just take a step back and think about what's happening here, there are Mawr and Mawr and Mawr examples that are telling, I think all of us what we kind of already knew, which is that this fig leaf that the online Internet companies have used to shield themselves from any responsibility. Those days are probably numbered because now, exactly as David said, what you have is the left and the right looking to repeal Section 2 30 so and by the way, two days ago, I think it was Clarence Thomas basically put out the entire road map of how to repeal it. And if you assume that Amy Coney Barrett gets, you know, put into the high court in a matter of days or whatever, Um

, it's on Lee a matter of time until the right cases thoughtfully prepared along those guard rails that Clarence Thomas defined and it'll get, you know, fast tracked through to the Supreme Court. But if I was a betting man, which I am, I think that Section 2 30 is their days are numbered and Facebook, Twitter, Google all these companies air going to have to look mawr like newspapers and television stations. Okay, So before we go to your friedberg, I'm just gonna read what Section 2 30 is. Uh, this is part of, um ah law, basically designed to protect common carriers Web host er's of legal claims that come from hosting third party information. Here's what it reads. No provider. A user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider, eso. What this basically means is, if you put a block post up and people comment

on it, you're not responsible for their comments. Or if you're medium and you host the Blawg, you're not responsible for the comments of that person. Is that person that makes complete logical sense. The entire Internet was based off of this, that platforms are not responsible for what people contribute to those platforms. That's how publishing works. Now look at the Internet paper, but again, let's build on this. When that law was originally written, we had no conception off social distribution and algorithmic feeds that basically pumped content and increase the volume on those things. So what you have now is really no different than if, you know, you created a show on Netflix or HBO or CBS and put it out there. If that stuff contained, you know something that was really offensive, those companies are on the hook. Did they make it? No. Did they distribute it? Yes, and it's the But here's the difference. It's the Catholics, but it's the active act of distributing it. You cannot look at these companies and say they are

basically holding their hands back. They have written active code, and there is technical procedures that they are in control of that air, both the amplifier and the kill switch. But isn't this a bad analogy? Netflix. Shouldn't it the analogy, Be the person who makes film stock where the person who makes the camera where the person who develops the film, not the person who distributes because that a limited amount of shows on Netflix you can police all of you can't police everything written? Netflix is making editorial decisions about which shows to publish, just like you know, a magazine makes editorial decisions about which articles to publish. They are clearly publishers. Um, but the Communications Dcx Section 2 30. The original distinction. I mean, if you want to think about like an offline terms for a second you've got, you've got this idea of publishers and distributors, right? That's a fundamental dichotomy. A magazine would be a publisher. The new stand on which it appears, is a distributor. It shouldn't be liable if there's if

there's, ah, libelous article contained in that magazine, you shouldn't be able to sue every single news stand in the country that made that magazine available for sale. That was that the original offline law that was then kind of poured it over into section 2 30. It made a lot of sense without this. I mean, I think it was a really visionary provisioned. It was passed in 1996. Without that, every time that somebody sends an email, uh that, you know, potentially created a legal issue. You know, Gmail could have been liable. Freeburg is it? What's the right analogy when people post to the Internet is that is the analogy of paper or film stock? Is it the newsstand, or is it the publisher so remember, like what sex is pointing out is this was passed in 1996. So think back to 1996 when you would, um, create some content right in the term around that time with user generated content. Right? You guys remember this like the early days. It was like the big, sweet ugc ugc

. And it was like the big sweeping trend was like, Oh, my God, all this content is being created by the users. We don't have to go find content creators to create. You know, a reason for other consumers to want to come to our websites so users could create content. You know, blogger was an early kind of user generated content service. You could create a block post, you could post it and people would show up. The problem with blogger or the challenge was distribution or syndication, right? How do I now have posted my content? How doe I as that content creator, get people to read my content and you have to send people like a link to a website. I will link to a web page and you click on that link and then you could read it. Whatcha meth is pointing out? Is that today Twitter and Facebook make a choice about and YouTube make a choice about what content to show. And so you know, I think the analogy in the offline sense via the algorithm is what you're saying. To be clear the algorithm and you know, YouTube realized that if they showed you videos that they think that you'll click on will keep you on YouTube longer and make more money from ads so it keeps the cycle going. And

so they optimize con. And it turns out that the content that you need to optimize for, to get people to keep clicking is content that is somewhat activating to be a middle on your brain. It's like stuff that makes you angry or makes you super pleasured, not just boring, ordinary stuff. And so this sort of content, which the New York Post sells a lot of, um, is the sort of stuff that rises to the top of those algorithms naturally because of the way they operate Now. If a magazine stand were to put those newspaper is using the offline analogy on the front of their magazine stand and told people walking down the street. Hey, you guys should check these out. You know, top of the news is Hunter Biden spoken crack with a hooker. People would, you know, probably stop, but I think the question is, should they be liable now? E think 2000 the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed, and that act basically created a process by which folks who felt like it was related to copyright. But I think the analogy similar. If you thought that your content was copyrighted and was being put up falsely or put up without your permission

, you could make a claim to one of those platforms to get your content pulled down. And I think the question is, is there some sort of analogy around liable content or false or misleading content that maybe this evolves into law where there is a process by which platforms can kind of be challenged on what they're showing, much like they are with the D. M. C. A takedown notices. So the problem. The problem comes back to the code. If you explicitly write code that fundamentally makes it murky, whether U R. The publisher or the distributor, I think that you have to basically take the approach that you are both and then you should be subject to the laws of both. If, for example, Twitter did not have any algorithmic redistribution amplification, there were the only way you could get content was in a really time feed. That was everything that your friends posted and they stayed silent. You could make a very credible claim that they are a publisher

and not a distributed, which, by the way, is the way it originally worked. And it was why they were falling behind Facebook, as you well know, because you worked on the you can't you cannot claim you're you're not a distributor. When you literally have a bunch of people that sit beside you writing code that decides what is important and what is not. You can debate. You could debate which signals they decide to use, but it is their choice well, but But But if the signals are are the user's own clicks, then I would argue that still this user generated content. No, no, it is a It is a signal, David, but that's not the only signal. For example, I could tell you very clearly that we would choose a priority stuff that we knew you would click on. It wasn't necessarily the most heavily clicked we could make things that were lightly clicked. Mawr clicked. We could make things that worm or click less quick. But my point is there are people inside the bowels of these companies that are deciding what you and your Children see. And to the extent that that's okay, that's okay. Wait, wait. Maybe we've actually solve this problem

Sacks in that. If we said if you deploy an algorithm that is not disclosing how this is going, then you are, ergo a publisher. And if you are just showing it reverse chronological our Chronos. We used to call back in the day with the newest thing up top. That would be just s. So maybe we should be not getting rid of 2. 30. We should be talking to these politicians about algorithms equal publisher. So the publisher of the New York Post is the same as the algorithm. I like this as a better framework. Yeah, so? So Senator Tom Cotton, you know who's a Republican? He tweeted in response to the New York Post censorship. Look, if you guys are gonna act like publishers, we're gonna treat you like publishers so that that's not modifying Section 2 30. That's just saying you're not gonna qualify for section 2 30 protection anymore. If you're gonna make all these editorial decisions, I would argue that these decisions they're making about censoring specific articles And by the way, it's a total double standard because, you know, when

when Trump's tax returns came out the week or two ago, where was the censorship of that? That was, Wasn't that hacked material? I mean, that was material that found its way to The New York Times without Trump's consent, By the way. So where the Pentagon papers? I mean, you cannot apply the standard. This this idea that we're gonna prohibit links to articles. But you're proving the point these people are. No, no, I don't. Well, well, hold on. I'm saying. I'm saying if they make editorial decisions, their publishers, I think there's a way for them to employ speech, neutral rules and remain distributors. So I would be I would have a little bit of an issue with you. I would say the reason why they're gonna fall into this trap becoming publishers because of their own desire to censor their own biases. They can. I don't think that's what it is. I think it's purely market cap driven. If you go from an algorithmic feed to a reverse chronological feed on Lee, I can tell you what will happen in my opinion, which is that the revenue monetization on a

page per impression basis will go off by 90%. 90% for sure people wouldn't. That is the only reason why these guys won't switch, because they know that for every billion dollars they make today, it would go to 100 million in a reverse chronological feed because you would not be able to place ads in any coherent, valuable way, there would be zero click throughs and the ads would be just worthless. Otherwise, they should do it. Now. If you could keep all the revenue and you could be reverse chronological right and have the same market cap, just do it and be under safe harbor so that you're not attacked every day. How fun is it to be sitting there and being attacked every single day by both sides by all the and by all the libertarians in the middle? The reason they don't do it is because of money. Let's just be honest. That's the only reason they don't do it. That's all Market cap driven. Maybe they should go back to this kind of the straight reverse chron feed. And maybe you're right that the album. I mean, I think you probably are right that the algorithms, um are make the situation worse because

they kind of trapped people in these bubbles of like reinforcement. And they just keeping fed more ideological purity and definitely fueling the polarization of society. So I'm not trying toe defend e mean. I think maybe you have a point that we should get rid of these algorithms. But But just to think about like the publisher aspect of it going back to the newsstand example, let's say that the guy who works at the newsstand noses customers and pulls aside every month the magazines that he knows that his clientele once and in fact sometimes he even makes recommendations knowing that Oh, okay. You know, Thomas likes, you know, these three magazines. Here's a new one. Maybe he'll like this and he pulls aside for you. That would not subject him to publish reliability, even though he's doing some curation, he's not involved in the content. Curation. I would argue that if the algorithms proceed in a speech neutral way, which is just to say they're gonna look at your clicks and then based on your own revealed preferences suggest other things for you to look at. I

don't think that makes you a publisher necessarily. And I think it was. But if you if you do, if you do, put your finger. If these engineers they're putting their thumb on the scale and and and pushing the algorithm towards certain specific kinds of content that may cross over No, no, no, no, you're being You're being too specific and it's it's not that extreme. And it's not as simple as you're saying. The reality is there are incredibly intricate models on a per person basis that these companies use to figure out what you're likely going to click on, not what you should not what is exposed to you, not what you shouldn't but what you likely will. And that's part of a much broader maximization function that includes revenue as a huge driver s o. The reality is that these guys are making publishing decisions and right, you are right, David, that you know the law back in the day. It didn't scale to the newspaper owner. But you know what? In 17 96 you know, color people were 3/5 of a human, and we figured out a way to change the law. So I'm pretty sure we can change the law here

, too. And I think what's going to happen is you should be allowed to be algorithmic. But then you should live and die by the same rules as everybody else. Otherwise, that is, what's really anticompetitive is to essentially lie your way to a market advantage. That isn't true. Just because people don't understand what an algorithm is. That's not sufficient to me. But they're not actually in the content creation business, right? And so what's the What's the definition of the term publisher in that context? Because in all other cases, publishers pay for and guide and direct tutorial creation of content versus being a kind of discriminatory function of that context, Here's the problem. Let's take, for example, instagram reels. Can you manipulate content through rials? Yes, Now, as the person that provides that tool to create content that theoretically could be violating other people's copyright or, you know, offensive

or wrong or whatever. And then you yourself distributed to other people knowingly. The reality is that the laws need toe address in a mature way. The reality of what is happening today versus trying to harken back to the 18 sixties and the 19 thirties because things were just different and we're smart enough is humans to figure out these nuances and that sometimes we start with good intentions and the laws just need to change. Well, I, ironically, to mature, making a point that Clarence Thomas made Justice Thomas made in his filing recent filing, where he said that that if you are acting as both a publisher and distributor, you need to be subject to publish reliability, which means peeling back section 2 30 moreover, you may not even be the primary creator of the content. If you're merely a secondary creator, if you're someone who has a hand in the content, um, then you are at your creator. You're a publisher, and therefore you should lose

Section 2 30 protection. That is basically what he said. If you if your argument is that the algorithms make you a content creator effectively. And the tools, algorithms and tools. Well, the other thing is, you know what you have, because you also have monetization, right? But there's monetization involved in the YouTube. Uh, they're helping you Having a serious conversation, Jason, Let's not Let's not often that, uh, no, but Jamaat I mean, this goes back to the politics, makes strange bedfellows point. I mean, I think a lot of the conservatives are actually making the point you're making, which is that these social media sites are involved in publishing. I don't want these guys involved in any of this shit because I don't trust them to be neutral over long periods of time. So do you trust their decision to pull down Q and non groups zero, just like just like it took. It took years for us to figure out that Holocaust denial

was wrong. Anti vax was marginal. Kunin was crazy. Like wearing masks was a good idea, right? I mean, I don't want these people in charge of any of this stuff, and to the extent that they are, I want them to be liable and culpable to defend their decisions. So your ideal nonprofit social media service would be a chronological feed of any content anyone wants to publish that anyone can browse. That's not what I'm saying, David. What I'm saying is that you have to be able to live with the risk that comes with, you know, playing in the big league and wanting to be a 500 plus billion dollar company. There is a liability that comes with that, and you need to own it and live up to the responsibility of what it means. Otherwise, you don't get the free option. What if they didn't take a hand in it? And they follow the dig the Reddit model and it's just up voting that decides what content rises to the top. Expect that I suspect that so red, it has a just a different problem, which is the sort of like, you know, a decency problem and

in a different class of law, who are we to judge decency, right? I mean, like in the vein of like, editorial is, um like they're taking no hand in what content rises to the top. They didn't ban certain topics, so they did recently, but like Like assume they didn't write and it was just purely, like up voted consumer, not algorithmic. It's very hard to pin e. I think it's very hard to e think it's very hard to pin a Section 2 30 claim on Reddit as easy as it is YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. And so if YouTube reverted to just Hey, what people are watching right now rises to the top, and that was the only thing that drove the algorithm. You would feel more comfortable with YouTube not being. It's not comfortable. This is what I'm saying. It's It's what I know. All I want to know is, what am I getting when I go here and if what I'm getting is a subjective function where they are maximizing revenue, which means that I can't necessarily trust the content I get as long as I know that, and as long as there is recourse for me, I'm very fine to use YouTube

and Twitter and Facebook. What I think is unfair is to not know that there is a subjective function. Confuse it with an objective function. Go on with your life, end up in the state that we're in now where nobody is happy and everybody is throwing barbs and you have no solution. Maybe I just want to be stimulated. Like I remember the day when I would go to Facebook and Twitter, and it was boring as hell. It's like just fucking random shit that people like. Here's a picture. Show me the best shit. You know, like like now I go to Facebook and I'm like, fucking addicted because it's showing me this. And there's like shit that I've been buying online and the ads keep popping up. And I'm like, Oh, this is awesome And I keep buying more stuff. I think all of that is good, but I It's all it all should be done eyes wide open, where, in thes corner cases, the people that feel like some sort of right or privilege or has been violated or some overstepping has occurred. They should have some legal recourse, and they should be there should be on the record, a mechanism to descend big. You ate all. Wait, hold on. Let me just ask this one question. David, would

this be alleviated if the algorithm was less of a black box? If we could just say, Hey, we need these algorithms to be so that's not a solution. And then what is this? And I want to hear David about then also labeling because Facebook labeled stuff. And if labeling stuff Hey, this is disputed from a third party that feels to me like that would have been a better solution in the twitters case. All right, let me make it in here. So I half agree with Thomas. Okay, So that the half I agree with is I don't want any of these people meaning that social media sites making editorial decisions about what I see censoring what I could look at. I don't trust them. I don't want that kind of power residing in really to people's hands. Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey. I don't I don't trust them, and I don't want them to have that kind of power. But where I disagree is if you repeal section two third, you're gonna make this situation infinitely worse. Because Section two, what is the response to these companies gonna be? Corporate risk aversion is going to cause

them toe. Wanna hire hundreds of low level employees basically millennials to sit there making judgments about what content might be defamatory might cause a lawsuit. They're going to be taking down content all over the place. And you know what will happen to be a worse world. You know what will happen. Those companies will lose, users lose engagement, and new things will spring up in its place around these laws that work, how are they? How are they lose audience? And I think what happened is you have a torrent of lawsuits any time somebody has a potential lawsuit based on, you know, I don't think of like trying to police speech at a dinner party like our job never existed, a scale that just at the scale, I don't think the goal is to work backwards from how do we preserve a trillion dollars a market cap? So what if that's what happened? That's what I don't think that's what we're doing. I So for me, I'm trying to work back from how do we preserve the open Internet? But I think this is exactly what it's saying, which is Here's a clearer delineation in 2020

knowing what we know, you know, person entrepreneur who goes toe y Combinator or the launch to build the next great company here. These rules pick your poison, and some will choose to be just the publisher. Some will probably create forms of distribution we can't even think of. Some will choose to straddle the line. They'll have different risk spectrums that they live on. And that's exactly how the free markets work today. Yeah, maybe the only like disagreement here is that I think that code can be written in algorithms, could be written in a speech neutral way so that the distributors don't cross over the line to becoming publishers. I fully agree with you that these sites should not be publishers. The reason why the New York Post should be plastic and off they should be platforms. And they crossed the line. I would say that this this New York Post story is that the reason why people up in arms about it is because what Twitter and Facebook have done is basically said they're going to sit in judgment of the media industry. And if publisher like the

New York Post puts out a story that doesn't meet the standards of Twitter and Facebook, they're going to censor them. That is a sweeping assertion of power picking and choosing who they don't want to give distribution to weigh all. We all agree on that piece. They should not be the arbiter, that that is what is triggering. But that is what is triggering the conservatives in particular, but everybody but especially conservatives, to say they want to repeal section 2 30 nobody. My point is nobody is safe. It's less about. I actually think that there's a nuance point to this, which is it's less about what they think is legit or not as much as what they think is important or not. They chose to make this an important article. They chose to kind of intervene in this particular case when every day there are going to be hundreds of other articles that are gonna be actively shared on these platforms that are by those same standards, false with some degree of equivalency, false and should be on the platform. On it is the simple choice that they chose an article to exclude, regardless

of the reason in the background, because there are many articles like it that aren't being excluded on that alone speaks to the hole in the system as as kind of Saxon. Well, it is because is because they have too much power and they're unaware of their own biases. They can't see this action for what it so clearly waas. It was a knee jerk reaction on the part of employees a Twitter and Facebook toe to protect the Biden campaign from a story that they didn't like. I mean, because if they don't apply these standards evenly, they would have block the trump tax returns for the same reason. By the way, you say tells about to block you so he could keep the bite and campaign strong and not have your I would say I've been red pilled. Actually, the last 24 hours have been red Pilling for May. I gotta say, David, I agree with you because like I thought, I thought that both things were crossing the line like meaning. Either you publish them both or you censor them both, and there are very legitimate reasons where you could be on either side. But to choose one and not do the other it

just again. It creates for me uncertainty. And I don't like uncertainty, and I really don't like the idea that some nameless, faceless person in one of these organizations is all of a sudden going to decide for me knowledge information that just a journalistic standard becomes a slippery slope to nowhere, right? Like at that point, you're like, What is true? What is not true? What is opinion? What is not opinion? What is? You know, how do I validate whether this fucking laptop came from this guy or this guy or this guy? It's a slippery How are you ever going to resolve that? Across billions of articles today, Standards would be through the answer. Yeah. New York has lower Sanders, right? And so let's let's look at how slippery the slope has become. Just a week ago, I mean, literally a week ago, Mark Zuckerberg put out a statement explaining why Facebook was gonna censor censor Holocaust denial. Why he really went out on a limb, David. Well, e, I don't know about my point. You're missing my point. My point is, he actually put out a multi

paragraph, well reasoned statement. Your three paragraphs about the Holocaust is bad. Wow. Congrats. You know what? I'm trying. You're not listening. My point. My point is that he took it seriously that he was going to sense or something. And I think, you know, people could come down. You could be like a Skokie a c l u liberal and oppose it. Or, you know, you could say, Look, common sense dictates that you would You would censor this, but he felt the need to justify it with, you know, like a long post, how and then one week later, we already done the slippery slope to the point where you know, Facebook's justification for censoring this article was a tweet by Andy Stone. You know, like that was it. It was a tweet. That was the only explanation they gave. By the way, one of the reporters pointed out that if you were going to announce a new policy, you probably wouldn't want it done by a guy who's been a lifelong Democratic operative. You know, this was just so and so It just shows that once you start down the slope of censoring things, it becomes so easy to keep doing it Mawr and Mawr

. And and this is why I think these guys air really in hot water. Whatever. Whatever You know, whatever controversy there was about Section 2 30 before and there was already a lot of rumblings in D. C about modifying this. They have made things 10 times worse. I mean, as someone who is actually a defender of section 2 30 I wish Dorsey and Zuckerberg weren't making these blunders, but I think they're going to ruin the open Internet for everyone. Super blundered. I'll tell you, wasn't even bigger blunder for or unequal blunder for me last night. I don't know if you guys had this experience, but I was trying to figure out what the consensus view on the bite hunter Biden story was. And I went to Rachel mad Oh, and the last word and Anderson Cooper. And there was a media blackout last night. I couldn't find one left leaning or CNN. If that is even in the center, I don't think that the center anymore than the left. I couldn't find one person talking about buying. I was like, Alright, let me just see if I tune into Fox News and Fox News was on Lee discussing the

biting story. And so this now felt like wow, not only if you were one of these. You know, folks on the left who is in their filter bubble on Twitter and Facebook, they're not going to see that story. And then if they tuned into Rachel Mato or to Anderson Cooper or you go to The New York Times, it's not there either. And then Drudge didn't have it for a day. You're you're bringing up something so important. So think about what you're really talking about, Jason. There was a first order reaction that was misplaced and not rooted in anything that was really scalable or justifiable. Then everybody has to deal with the 2nd and 3rd order reactions. The left leaning media outlets circle the wagons. The right leaning media outlets are are up in arms. Nobody is happy. Both look like they're misleading. And then now, if you're a person in the middle, for example, what was what was frustrating for me yesterday was it took me five or six clicks and hunting and pecking to find out what the hell is actually going on here. Why is everybody

going crazy? But that bothered me. You know, uh and so I just think like again. It used to be very simple to define what a publisher was and what a distributor was in a world without code without machine learning without a I without all of these things I think those lines or bird, we have Thio rewrite the laws I think you should be able to choose. And then I think if you're trying to do both, by the way, the businesses that successfully do both will have the best market caps. But if you're trying to do both, you have to live and die by the sword. Yeah, it would be interesting also if I don't know if you guys have done this but I switched my twitter to being reverse chronological, which you can do in the top right hand corner of the app or on your desktop, because I just like to see the most recent stuff first. But then sometimes I do miss something that's trending whatever, but I just prefer that because I have a smaller follower list now. Um, but Friedberg your point, you kind of like the algorithm telling you what to watch. So ah, potential solution

here. I think I like it rationally. By the way, I'm just saying, like as a human humans like it. I like it like I like to be stimulated with titillating information and, you know, interesting things that, for whatever reason, I'm gonna you know, click on again. You like that experience tapping down the road? All of my point is all humans are activated, and the algorithms, the way they're written they designed activate you and keep you engaged. And activation naturally leads to these, uh, dynamic feedback loops where I'm gonna get the same sort of stuff over and over again. That identifies activates me because I clicked on it. And therefore, I'm gonna, you know, continue to firm up my my opinions and my beliefs in that area. But I think going the stuff that I don't believe showing the stuff that's anti so because I was science guy showing the stuff that's anti science, showing the stuff that's bullshit that I consider bullshit. I'm not gonna read it anymore. So if I'm reading just random blurting by random people in reverse chronological order, it is a completely uncompelling platform to me, and I will stop using it. And that leads that the kind of the you know, Jamaat's point, which is that the ultimate incentive

. The mechanism by which these platforms stay alive is the capitalist incentive, which is, you know, how do you drive revenue and therefore, how do you drive engagement? And and that's give consumers what they want. That's what consumers want. All right, let's let's give sax his victory lap. He predicted last time that, uh, there was a possibility that Trump would come out of this like Superman and would do a huge victory lap. And sure enough, he considered putting a Superman outfit on under his suit, and he did a victory lap literally around the hospital. Uh, putting the Secret Service at risk, I guess, um and then did a Mussolini like salute from everybody from the top of the White House. I mean, you nailed it. So you get out. It was very old douche. A douche douche. It was. It was It was very predictable. It was. The media was making it sound like Trump was on his deathbed, you know, because the presumption is always that the

administration's hiding something. He must be much sicker than he's letting on. If he says he's not that sick, it must be really bad on dso for days and days. They were talking about how Trump was, you know, potentially had this fatal condition and by the way he deserved it, you know, is a moral failing. He was negligent. And so it it's not unlike really what the right was doing constantly accusing Biden of senility, you know? And then Biden went into that debate and then blew away expectations. Um and so the same thing here, you know, the media set up Trump to kind of exceed expectations. But But I do think, you know, it is, um, noteworthy that Trump Waas cured so quickly with the use of these, you know, clonal antibody that we talked about last time. And we talked about it on the show two weeks ago. And it was a combination, I guess, of Regeneron and remedies severe. And the guy was out of there in, like, a couple of days. So, you know, it's it's like the media doesn't want to admit anything that is potentially

helpful to trump. But you have to say that at this point we have very effective treatments for co vid. They may not be completely distributed yet. Trump obviously had access to them that the rest of us don't have. But it feels to me like we are really winding down on the whole the whole covert thing. And I asked a question, is it has Have they published the blow by blow Ticktock of exactly what he got when, um, no, they haven't. Right. I would love I would love to have that because Americans deserve Yeah, they know they know what his dosage was. And they said what? They he got it on the rendez severe. He got several doses. It said what days he got the antibody treatment. I just wanna print that out and keep it as a folded in my pocket, just in case Wake if we get sick. Yeah, well, the question is gonna get it. But you could be getting into that, right? Like, um, I think people love, um, anecdote. It's very hard for people toe Find

emotion and find belief and statistics. And, you know, if you look at the statistics on Kobe, did you know you go to the hospital 80% chance you're coming out and you know the average stay for someone that goes in a lot of people are going to the ER and they're getting pushed back out because they're not severe enough. And I think the anecdote is everyone that gets Koven dies. The statistics show that that's not true. And you know whether or not Trump got exceptional treatment, he certainly did. Um, it's very hard to Saxes point for the storytelling that has kind of been used to keep people at home and and manage kind of create this. This expectation of severity of this crisis, etcetera. It's very hard for people to kind of then say Hey, like, you know, he's got a 97% chance of making it through this and he'll be 1990% chance will be out of the hospital in three days When it happened, it was a shocking moment on but really hit that narrative upside down, right, like it was just like, Well, can we can we show that there was a tweet recently providing the statistics on what the rial infection

fatality rate was for co vid? Um, it's about half a percent 0.4, and that's across, you know, the whole spectrum. But like in in anyone under 75 years old, you've got the number right back. Right? But it's here. Let me pull it up. So on Wait, I think Bill Gurley first tweeted it and then I re tweeted. I have far was like 0.1 if you're young and it goes all the way up to, like 0.4 If you were above 75 way Yeah, it was I thought the fr was a lot less your that I f r is also distorted. You know, based on this zero prevalence study that was just published, you can take that number that's published and divided by about three. 3 to 5. Get the true I fr Because not everyone that's Head Cove it has is registering as a positive infection because they had Koven got over it. So there was a paper published in, uh, in jam a few weeks ago where they took dialysis patients and they measured and they get

blood from these dialysis stations and they measured covert antibodies in these stations. And they showed that in the Northeast, 30% of people 27 point something percent of people have already had cove it. It's an incredible fact on in the west, the number is close in Western states. They've kind of got it all written up in this paper, and they did a great job with paper. It's about 3% but in aggregate, across the United States's. This was a few weeks ago, so nowadays it was a 10.5% I think so. It's probably closer to 12% now, people. I've already had Kobe, and so then if you assume that number, right, I mean, that's 30 million people. And now you look at how many people have died. We haven't gotten the death strong, right? Because everyone that's died from cove it we've recorded that debt. We know that it could be a little inflated, right? People who died with Covidien it from Cove it conservative. And it's right, right? I mean, if I look in the United States, 217,000 cases, but the real cases is 30 million, 30 million. And that's where you that's where you end up with this, like, you know, adjusted

. I fr true. I f r off. Yeah, like very very 0.1% 0.7% 4.7%. Sorry. Um, by the way, my my tweets aren't loading right now. So I think Trump just odd took the ticktock decree and he just crossed that tick tock and put Twitter and he just shut Twitter down. What? What? What is the ticktock thing done? Yeah, who knows? That was, like, three weeks ago. It doesn't matter anymore. Trim off. Was there a second debate? There's tonight there's going to be two town halls. Um, Trump refused to do a zoom with or, you know, a zoom debate. I'm talking about the power of zoom, a virtual debate he wouldn't dio obsessively because he's not good when he's not interrupting somebody would be my take on it. So then he went to NBC, which he made $400 million I guess from The Apprentice

. An NBC let him take a time slot directly opposite Biden tonight to do his own town hall. So they didn't even stagger it. Which NBC, which is responsible for saving Trump, is getting absolutely demolished by their own actors and show runners on Twitter. So I think NBC is gonna come out swinging tonight in this town hall to try to, you know, take down Trump as maybe their penance that's my prediction for it. But how do you watch Biden if Biden is up against Trump like that? That's like watching paint dry versus watching like, you know, some maniac running down Market Street with a samurai sword on meth. I'll be I won't be watching either. I cannot wait for this election to be over. How many days? Until November 3rd were, like 18 and wake up 18 days? My gosh, 18. Let us just get this over with. Yeah, I know we're all sick of it. I do feel like I mean, it's the polls are now showing that Biden is up by as much as 17

. I mean, things have really continue toe break his way, I think, to your point, Jason, about trumping more watchable. I think that's sort of Trump's problem is he just can't help making himself the center of the news cycle every single day. And to the extent the election is a referendum on Trump, I think he's gonna get repudiated. If the election were more of a contest and people would weigh Bidens, you know, positions as well. I think Trump would have a better shot because I think he does have some. Biden does have some weaknesses, but the whole reason why Biden's basement strategy has been working so far is because Trump just messed up all the oxygen and he's making it a referendum on him, which I think he'll lose if he keeps doing it that way. You know what they say. Sex. What got you here will not get you there. What got him into his office was the ability to take up the entire media channel during the Republican runoff and just be able to demolish everything was entertaining. I wanted to actually exhausting. It's now exhausting

. I want to change topics. I would like to ask David to explain his tweet related to Prop. 13 for 15. Yeah, yeah. So So I saw that that Mark Zuckerberg had contributed $11 million to try and convince the people of California to vote for this prop. 15, which is the largest property tax increase in California history. What it does is it chips away a prop 13 by moving, um, commercial property out of of of Prop. 13, and it would then taxes on what's called fair market value, as opposed to the cost basis of the property. He would have a lot of unfair consequences for property owners who've owned there, there commercial property for a long time. You know, if you're a small business and you've owned your your store whatever for 2030 years, all of a sudden you're gonna get your taxes gonna get reassessed at the new fair

market value. Um, but, you know, I just think there's the larger prize, though, is that the California unions, the government workers unions, want to chip away at Prop. 13. This is the first salvo first going to strip out commercial property eventually. Wanna They want to basically repeal all of Prop 13. And I just think it's like, so misguided for billionaires to be using their wealth in this way because Prop. 13 is really the shield of the middle class in California. And it's kind of no wonder that, frankly, like tech belt wealth, ISS so increasingly despised in this country because technology is air funding such stupid causes. To explain this to people who don't know in California. If you bought your house in 1970 for $50,000 the 1% tax you pay on it is $500. That house might be worth five million today if it wasn Atherton. And so you're still paying what would have been a $50,000 tax bill

is a $500 tax bill. So they're starting with commercial spaces. No backwards, and you can pass it off to your kids at that cost basis. S. So this is why you have to old people living in a five bedroom it catch the rate increase of the tax increase every year there's there. You didn't you didn't have Prop 13. No, hold on. If you didn't have probably just explain to people if you didn't have proper 13. Anybody who owned whose own their house for, say, 20 years would have a massive tax bill all of a sudden and probably would have to sell their house. Just about anybody who's middle class, who's been in California for more than a decade or two probably could no longer afford to live in their house. But the reality is people are mortgaging that asset sacks thio access capital that they're using and investing in different things, whether it's Zatz fueling the economy, right? So I mean the Libertarian point of view might be less taxes is good, because in this particular case, that building can still be used by that

resident, uh, to buy stuff. They can take a mortgage out, and they could go spend that money versus having that money eaten up by property taxes. Which just goes well, Yeah, So I understand that if you were to design the like, perfect tax policy, it wouldn't look like Prop. 13 or, you know, or, you know, maybe Prop 15 in a vacuum. If you're just like a policy wonk trying design the ideal tax policy, it might look more like that. But the real problem in California were not in undertaxed state. It's a massively tax state, and and there's never enough. You know, the beast always wants mawr. And so what I would say is, Look, if you want to reform Prop 13, do it is part of a grand bargain that creates real structural form in the state of California. What I mean by structural form, you gotta look at well who controls the system, and it's really the government employee unions who blocked all structural reform and who keep eating up a bigger and bigger portion of the state budget. Eso We've talked about this on previous pods that

the police unions block any kind of police reform. Um, you know, the prison unions block prison reform. You've got the teachers unions blocking education reform in school choice. If you want to talk about systemic problems in California looking, who runs the system, it's thes these gigantic unions and a bigger and bigger portion of the budget keeps going to them every year. They're breaking the bank, Um, and by the way, it doesn't get us more cops on the beat. It doesn't get us more teachers in the classroom. What it's buying is lots and lots more of administration, along with a bunch of pension fraud. And so what I would do is, I would say, Look, we need some structural reforms here. We need some caps on the rate of growth in spending. We need some pension reforms in exchange for that as part of a grand bargain, you might get some reforms to prop 13, but just to give away one of the only cards we have in negotiating with these powerful special interests for no reason, I just think It's dumb, you know? Do you think that was tricked or what do you think? I think he's probably got Look, I don't

really know, but I don't have anything and suck. And I've defended him on this podcast a lot, basically on on the speech issue. But I think what it is, he's got some foundation, and he's got some pointy headed policy wonks sitting there trying to analyze what the perfect tax policy is. And it probably looks more like fair market value than, like cost basis. And they're not thinking about the larger political, uh, sort of ramifications. Which is we. The private sector is being squeezed mawr arm or by these public employee unions, and we do need structural reform. And we can't just give up one of the only cards we have, which would be, you know, trading reform on Prop. 13 and suck doesn't already commercial real estate. Yeah, well, even if I would venture to guess that maybe sacs does I don't know. I mean e I do. But let me explain that this doesn't affect me because my cost basis is fresh. Yeah, all the all the commercial real estate that I've bought in California has been the last few years is probably

underwater. I mean, it's certainly not about my cost basis. Um, so it doesn't affect me. It affects the little guy. It affects the small business who's owned their property for 10 or 20 years. And again, I'm not arguing that we confront with better tax system. But what I'm saying is the bigger, more pressing need a structural reform. E totally agree. The bloated monster of socialism is coming for us, and it starts with the unions and it evolves and it's just average salary. I don't know if you saw this go viral in the last couple weeks on Twitter Uh, average average salary in San Francisco, $170,000 a city Tech Workers City employees of city employees. I sounded like 100 70,000 with the average salary. I was like, Wow, check people are doing good was like No, no, no, That's the city employees 19,000 administrative employees in the city of San Francisco city of 800,000 people, 800,000. So one of the $14 billion budget the state of California is converting the entire middle class into government workers because if you're a small business

owner, you're getting squeezed by more more taxes. You're getting driven out of the state. People leaving the state now exceeds people immigrating into the state. So the private sector middle class is leaving and this public sector so the public sector, middle class of government workers is being created. And like I mentioned, it's not getting us more cops on the beat is not getting more teachers in the classroom. What is getting is a giant number of overpaid administrators and bureaucrats. That is the big structural problem. The, you know, private sector unions, Avery different. You see when when a private sector union goes to negotiate, they go negotiate against ownership or management. There's someone to oppose their unreasonable demands. Not all their demands unreasonable, just the most unreasonable demands, but it with the public sector unions. They're negotiating against the politicians, and they're the largest contributors to those politicians. And so there's no one and the politicians need them for their votes right there, like they're going to deliver whatever number of police officers exactly the unions feed the politicians, the politicians feed the unions. That is the structural. Um, that is a structural problem

. And these unions, three unions will never be a piece. You could never buy them off. It's why democracy always ends in in the state like it's It's just an inevitable outcome. E had no idea about any of this until I'm glad I asked you about that tweet. That's really I actually learned. Ah, lot just in that last little bit. I have one other thing I want to ask you guys about, Which is the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings. Whether you guys have watched, um, and what you guys think on Bond, I don't know whether these air just cherry picked clips or whether she's playing dumb or I I really don't want to judge because I want to know more. But I just want to know what you guys think up going into this. Um, you know, the I'll say something about climate change because, look, I spent a lot of time looking at data and research on climate change and certainly feel strongly that there's a human caused function of global warming

that that that we're actively kind of experiencing. But I think everyone kind of assumes you have to take that as truth. I think one of the key points of science is you have to recognize your ignorance, and you have to recognize that science is, you know, kind of an evolving process of discovery and understanding. I don't and she's getting a lot of heat for what she said about I'm not a scientist. I don't know how to opine on climate change, and I heard that and actually gave me a bit of pause it like this. This is exactly you know what I would expect someone who's thoughtful to say, Not someone that trying to act ignorant and play with, Right? Um, she didn't say I don't think climate change is being caused by humans, and I think, like everyone kind of wants to jump on her and every it's like become religion. I I want to point out that climate change has become as politicized and as dogmatic as all these other topics we talked about. And we all kind of assumed that if you do or don't believe in climate change, your left or right, you're evil. You're good, Um, and I think like it's very easy to kind of just

go into here those hearings and assume that, but I wouldn't say that her answer unnecessarily made me think that she is ignoring facts and ignoring the truth. I think you know, she's kind of pointing out that this is a process of science and there's a lot of discovery underway, so I don't know. I mean, that was one point, that controversial point that I thought I should may, Um because I am a believer. I do think that climate change is real. I do think the data and science supports it, but I do appreciate that someone recognizes that they have the skills. The few just assume what the what the media tells them. Toe believe Yeah, the few, the few clips that I saw the confirmation hearing my take away was basically, you know, any candidate on the left of the right comes in extremely well coached, and they're taught basically how to evade meaning. There's a go to answer Amy Coney barrettes go to answer was, um listen, as a judge, I'd have to, you know, here, that case on the record, I can't opine on something hypothetically, you know, she had this very well rehearsed answer and a lot of the answers to the questions from the left where that, um and you know

, the questions on the right were mawr softball ish. Um, so I couldn't really get a sense of it. Now, the thing that I take kind of ah, lot of comfort in is that, you know, when we saw John Roberts get confirmed to the court, um, it was supposed to be 54 conservative with John Roberts. And basically, what we learned was now John Robertson, you know, some critical decisions he is willing to basically, you know, make sure that things don't change that much. Um, including Obamacare. Yeah, exactly. You don't You don't know exactly how they're going to vote on these issues. You really don't? Roberts was the deciding vote in upholding Obamacare. Gorsuch, uh, extended gay rights well beyond anything Anthony Kennedy ever did. That was a big surprise. And so we don't really know exactly how she's gonna vote. The reason why Amy Coney Barrett rocket to the top of Trump's list, quite frankly, is because of how Dianne Feinstein treated her three years ago in the last confirmation hearings. What she is she where Feinstein

attacked her. Catholicism's it was. It was so ham handed. It was so poorly done that it made Barrett a hero instantly on the right, and it rocketed to the top of this list. But we don't know how she's gonna vote based on her Catholicism's you know, which is important, isn't it, David? Because the lifetime appointment means they like tenure. They can go with what they think is right, so that that is kind of a good feature of the Supreme Court. Do you think there should be, like a term? Well, I I think it's a little crazy that decisions as important as you know, the right toe choice or something like that hangs on whether an 89 year old cancer victim can hold on for three more months. You know, it seems very arbitrary to me, and therefore these Supreme Court battles become very, um, heated and toxic. And there's been a recent proposal by Democrats that that I would support, which basically says, Listen, we should have an

18 year term for Supreme Court justice. That's long enough, and each president you get two nominees like one in the first year, and then one of the third year. And so you basically have one justice rolling off every two years and one coming on. And so you have nine justices and so every two years adds up to 18 years, that proposal makes a ton of sense to me and on DSO, you know, you know that when you vote for a president, they're gonna get to stream court picks that feels less chaotic than this. That would be it would be a much That's a great That's a greater Yeah, that's a great idea. I think that's a fabulous idea. I took solace in the fact that when they asked her the, uh, what's protected in the First Amendment, she couldn't name all five things that I could e. I was like, What about protest? Did you miss that one? And I thought that was like a I mean, it's a gotcha moment, obviously on. It's not easy to be under that kind of scrutiny, and obviously she justice Jake how well, I just thought that was like It's also, like, pretty interesting i e

. They are dangerous people. E think they invented the word unconfirmable. You got a right to have your own pistola, but you shouldn't have a shotgun. Boys free free burgers has a hard stop. The three, uh, the The fact that you left that protesters, everything I do think, Let's let's just end on the election on our little handicapping of what's gonna happen and getting out of this mess. I do think one of the stories coming out of this is going to be female voters. I have the sense and, you know, it's anecdotal that Trump has just alienated and pissed off so many women and that the threat of the Supreme Court thing and with RGB dying, uh, this has made women feel so under appreciated and attacked, especially with Trump. Um ah, you know, in terms of how he treats women and things he says about

women. And then you had Thekla instant interruption by pence of the moderator and Kamala Like, I think all of this is gonna add up when we do the postmortem on this. Losing all these women as voters is gonna be and and as well as the black vote on people of color, this is gonna be, ah, big part of it. So I think that Trump's gonna lose and it's gonna be a landslide. What a roundabout way to say the same thing you've been saying for four months. Way he's disrespected women. I don't know. Listen, I I don't know. I think Biden is on the path to an enormous victory right now. Well, that's what the polls. That's what the polls say certainly is that it looks like a buying landslide. I, um and I guess that makes sense. I think Trump's running out of time to change the polls every day that goes by. He's basically got, like, 19 outs where 18 days. He's got 18 outs every day. That goes by where he isn't able to move the poll number. He loses

an out right? And so we're gonna get closer. Election Day is only gonna like a three out or something. Eso Yeah, I mean, look, obviously understand the polls. I still somehow think I know it sounds kind of weird, but I'm just not sure Americans are ready for this. Reality should end. I mean, we know it's jumped the shark. Okay, But the Kardashians, the Kardashians, lasted for 19 seasons. I just don't know if America is ready for the Trump reality show on E Think. Part of the appeal of Trump last time around was the the message of change. And he's not delivering a message of change anymore. And I think that's where he's kind of lost the narrative and the excitement of building a wall and changing everything and draining the swamp like he's just, like keep draining the swamp or keep building the wall. And people don't love that. He's also he also, I think, is coming across as not being. He's looking weak by not being willing to be challenged, and that came across clearly in that today. Last time around, he got on stage and he just knocked

everyone down. But by not letting bite and talk by not kind of engaging on any of the topics he looks just, uh, he looks like he just doesn't wanna have a shot at it, and it just comes across as bad. So I don't know. These are all contributing factors. I think what's going on? Chances of a pardon by Pence. He resigned. He pardons himself pence, 000 You won't resign. Well, we wouldn't see that unless he lost the election during the lame duck during the lame duck period. If he lost maybe 20% 20%. Because at that point, you got nothing to lose, right? E. I think it's I think it's like, uh, I think it's 50 50. He just goes for the full family. Pardon? Uh, let me Oh, I love you guys. And hopefully we'll have Ah, bestie poker soon. Uh, by

E10: Twitter & Facebook botch censorship (again), the publisher vs. distributor debate & more
E10: Twitter & Facebook botch censorship (again), the publisher vs. distributor debate & more
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