Section 4 - A Platform whose primary function is the transfer, processing, exchange, management, and/or handling of currency, shall, at all times, be considered, operate, and conduct business without bias as a Detached Party.
If a Platform is a bank, crowdfunding site, payment processor, currency exchange or any other organization that handles money, you are a Detached Party. If your business is to allow End Users to send or receive money, then removing their ability to process money for ideological reasons is an unmitigated act of tyranny.
We’ve seen a lot of Platforms lose their ability to do business simply because one person at a credit card processing company didn’t like that those Platforms didn’t prevent End Users with specific ideas from earning money on the Platform. Even though neither the Platform nor End Users were breaking any laws. This is tyranny because they are actively removing the right of people their right to earn a living simply because they thought differently than the tyrant.
I was very intentional in leaving out language that allows financial based Platforms to be closed forums because their job is to handle money. If the End Users are not committing financial fraud, then the Platform should not have the right to refuse service.
Section 3 - A Platform whose primary function is communication between End Users, via text, audio, video, images and/or any combination thereof, shall, at all times, be considered and designated an open forum unless specifically declared in the terms of service, conditions, rules, and/or codes of conduct, either at inception or after 90 days notice to all End Users. Furthermore, a Platform which has not declared itself to be a closed forum shall, at all times, be considered, operate, and conduct business without bias as a Detached Party.
This section is, at least in part, to differentiate social media sites from Platforms such as MMORPGs (for example). An MMORPG can be a Detached Party, but still have a blanket ban on political discussion because the game’s primary purpose is not End Users communicating with each other, but rather End Users interacting with the content created by the platform. Any communication between End Users is a secondary purpose of the functionality in the game, if for no other reason than, the communication is intended to be about the game being played.
A forum that states that you can talk about anything is also going to be different than a forum that has designated itself to be, for example, pro-puppy exclusively. The pro-puppy forum has declared, either at inception or after a change to their terms of service, that discussing pro-puppy points is the sole purpose of the forum, that gives them justification to ban people who come in and talk about how much they hate puppies. They knew the rules in the beginning, so they know they’re not allowed to talk about their hate of puppies there. I don’t want to prevent people from being allowed to create their own private spaces if they choose. You can exclude people, you just have to be open about it.
I also wanted to include any blog, video, audio, photo, text or any other kind of social media Platform. If you are posting videos, you are an End User communicating with other End Users unless the Platform is the only entity who can see your video. The same goes with audio, pictures, text, etc. Even if it isn’t your intention to communicate with other End Users, by posting content on a publicly available site, you are distributing it in a manner that communicates the information to other End Users. If anyone is capable of being an End User on the Platform, and any End User is capable of posting content on that site (without having been previously banned), and any End User is capable of consuming content posted on the Platform by other End Users (again, without having been previously banned), then that qualifies as communication between End Users. That also means that if any of those mentioned actions is the primary purpose of the Platform, then it falls under this section.
Finally, and this is the most important part of this section, if a Platform that falls under this section does not openly declare itself to be a closed forum, it is, by default, an open forum (or public forum). That is, it’s a public space.
Section 2 - A Platform shall be considered ideologically, politically, religiously, philosophically and in all other ways neutral, and therefore considered, operate, and conduct business without bias as a Detached Party, except when declaring any form of bias upon inception or after 90 days notice to End Users.
This is mostly about disclosure. If you, as a Platform, haven’t stated that you have a bias on a subject, then you can’t treat someone in a biased manner. If End User A says, “I hate End User B” and gets punished for it, then End User B should also be punished for saying “I hate End User A” in the event they say it.
The 90 day declaration is in there to allow End Users to plan for the change from no bias to bias. That is, if the End User has time to know that the rules are changing, they have time to change to follow the new rules. A Platform who changes the rules without notifying their End Users in advance is acting in an unreasonable manner. We’ve seen this before where a Platform says “As of today, Content X is no longer allowed” followed by punitive action against End Users who had, up until that point, been following the rules. The End Users punished had no warning of the change in advance and had no time to adapt and become compliant with the new rules
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