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The true scale of financial sextortion, Supreme Court ruling and Bluesky bust-up

The week in content moderation - edition #253

Hello and welcome to Everything in Moderation's Week in Review, your in-depth guide to the policies, products, platforms and people shaping the future of online speech and the internet. It's written by me, Ben Whitelaw and supported by members like you.

One Supreme Court case down, two more to go (at least at the time of writing). And, somewhat shockingly, it wasn't the worst case scenario. Which feels like all we can hope for at the moment. More on that below.

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I’m going away for a few days next week so there won’t be a Week in Review or an episode of Ctrl-Alt-Speech next Friday. Alice and T&S Insider will be in your inbox on Monday as usual and I'll return refreshed the following week.

Here's everything in moderation from the last seven days — BW

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New and emerging internet policy and online speech regulation

The Supreme Court finally ruled on Murthy v. Missouri — the case that tried to prove that government officials coerced platforms to remove speech — and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Justices, who voted 6-3, noted that the evidence suggested that “platforms had independent incentives to moderate content and often exercised their own judgment” and that “the plaintiffs must show that the third party platforms “will likely react in predictable ways” to the defendants’ conduct”, which it did not. That’s likely to be tested in future cases.

There's been lots of reaction and commentary including:

  • Cornell’s James Grimmelmann calling the decision “a sensible response to a difficult question”.
  • Renee DiResta, formerly of Stanford Internet Observatory, reflecting that it was "affirming to see SCOTUS prioritize facts over vibes".
  • My Ctrl-Alt-Speech co-host Mike Masnick noting that “the Court recognized this case for what it was: utter fucking nonsense".
  • Andrew Weissman from NYU School of Law, writing over at Just Security, was less positive and said the decision was “no means a reason to rejoice for the rule of law and common sense.”

Not all is rosy in the EU, where it was revealed this week that just one platform that isn't a Very Large Online Platform (VLOP) has submitted statements of reason to the DSA Transparency Database. The admission, by EU official Thierry Breton (EiM #213) in response to parliamentary questioning, marks a blow to the credibility of the DSA, which mandated that all platforms submit notices as of 17 February of this year. Euronews has more details.

Who wins the transparency database gold star/teacher's pet? Latvian e-commerce company Joom with 3k reports and counting (still more than Bumble and Zalando).

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