Censorship: Kiwi Farms Josh on Section 230 CDA, Cryptocurrency, MATCH Secret Credit Card Banking Blacklists
grarpamp at gmail.com
Sun Apr 11 10:17:13 PDT 2021
"I am seeking legal advice regarding 8 different European
countries regarding the viability of foreign markets for
hosting the forum. -- KiwiFarms"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfBorgoYQa4 MATCH Secret Credit Blacklist
Section 230 Isn't The Problem, Payment Networks Are
Authored by 'Josh' via MadAtTheInternet.com
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is one of the most
important pieces of legislation in American history. Passed into law
in 1996, it has overseen the entirety of the consumer Internet’s
development. Its premise is simple: Internet service providers and
platform operators are not responsible for civil damages that result
from user-generated content that they host or manage. These
protections are why the United States is the first choice for hosting
any digital service. Without them, the entire world would suffer a
less free Internet.
I have operated a controversial website called the Kiwi Farms for 8
years and was featured in ZeroHedge in 2019 after telling New Zealand
police I would not be surrendering my user’s information to them. My
website thrives and doubles in size each year, primarily thanks to
Section 230. I can allow my users to say almost anything they want
without having to worry about being sued for what they say. Without
these essential protections, I would not be able to host in the United
Unfortunately, Section 230 has been defamed as the reason Facebook,
Twitter, Google, et al behave the way they do. This is not true.
These businesses censor because they have personal motivations to do
so. More importantly, they have financial motivations to do so.
I hope to convince a reasonable person that:
Payment networks must be regulated to give fair access.
Section 230 is essential and modifying it harms online speech.
Big tech does not need Section 230, but you do.
You should learn how to use cryptocurrencies right now.
The payment networks are more powerful than big tech.
Without the consent of all four major payment networks to stay in
business, even mighty tech giants are vulnerable to lose billions of
dollars in revenue. The various agreements enforced by the four major
payment networks (MasterCard, Visa, Amex, and Discover) impose rules
that any business wanting to exist in the digital economy must obey.
Not all these rules are written.
The big payment networks like to stay out of the public eye. They
avoid attention by using blacklists which they claim only banks can
add to, but which they manage and share. You also never deal with the
payment network directly. An eCommerce site passes your credit card
information to a “payment gateway”, which is plugged into a “payment
processor”, and that payment processor handles communications with the
payment networks. Each of these are usually different companies. When
you get banned from processing payments, you are told so by your
payment gateway or payment processor, but the decision can come from
much higher up. If it were, you’d be lucky to find out.
Consider a company like Patreon. They are an online crowdfunding
service which handles donations from many supporters to many online
content creators. Patreon has its own rules, uses Stripe as a payment
gateway and payment processor, agrees to Stripe’s terms of service,
and then Stripe coordinates with all major payment networks which each
have their own set of agreements. That means every creator on Patreon
must obey six different sets of rules. If the gateway were its own
company, it would be seven. It is no wonder so many people get banned,
as only the most tepid and inoffensive content creators could hope to
meet so many different standards!
Patreon must keep Stripe happy to stay in business, and Stripe must
keep all four payment networks happy to stay in business. If any one
of MasterCard, Visa, Amex, or Discover pass a rule, then it affects
the entire downstream ecosystem. If Discover (5% of the market) says
an industry or behavior is prohibited, then Stripe must enforce that
rule on all the merchants on their service (even merchants who do not
process Discover). If Discover were to cut ties with Stripe, then
Stripe would lose at least 5% of their transactions over night and any
merchants who do want to process Discover cards. That is a large and
dramatic blow to any company operating on small margins.
I do not claim it is MasterCard’s fault that Twitter banned Trump. I
am sure Twitter makes many stupid decisions all on its own. The
problem is that these rules—how they are enforced, the secrecy in
which they are enforced, and unappealable finality of these
decisions—stifle competition. Startups like Gab quickly find
themselves told they are not allowed to make money. This problem has
never existed before on the scale that it does now.
This phenomenon transcends the type of startup. All alt-tech is
trodden upon equally. Patreon competitor New Project 2 was first
banned from a payment processor at the demand of Discover, then after
finding a new payment processor was put on MATCH (the MasterCard
blocklist), prohibiting the company from ever finding another payment
processor. If Dick Masterson (the owner of NP2) made a new company to
try and get around MATCH for the purpose of continuing NP2, he would
very likely find his person on that blocklist directly, ending all his
businesses at once.
These blocklists, and the risk management factors which decide who
goes on them, are “trade secrets” and you cannot even sue to figure
out why you were added to them. New Project 2 was blacklisted for
“Violation of Standards”, which prohibits it from even using so-called
high-risk processors. Nobody knows what “Violation of Standards”
means. Dick only found some details of New Project 2’s blacklisting
because he called the banks and annoyed the right people for days
until they reluctantly admitted who was actually at fault. Payment
networks claim they do not add merchants to the blacklists, and that
only partner banks can, but they will call these banks and tell them
to do it on their behalf, and the banks are not in any position to
PayPal has not been mentioned so far, but rest assured they are one of
the most egregious and will drop you first. BitChute, a video
platform competing with YouTube, was banned from PayPal. ZeroHedge
itself is banned from using PayPal. To this day, because of my
association with the Kiwi Farms, I cannot use the Uber app to get a
taxi because Uber uses PayPal to process credit cards and I am banned
Before we regulate the Internet, why don’t we try to regulate the
Give the market a fair chance at competing with tech giants by
enforcing fair access to credit and debit card processing!
The Office of the Comptroller of Currency proposed new regulation
which would require banks (and the services they run, including
payment networks) to stop industry blacklisting and require specific
examples of risk to ban a merchant from processing cards. It was
called Fair Access to Financial Services (OCC-2020-0042-0001).
These “fair access” rules were finalized on January 14th, 2021. They
were set to take effect on April 1st. Placing this on April Fool’s
Day was a bit too prescient, because the Chairman immediately resigned
after passing this rule, and the fair access rule was formally put on
an indefinite pause on January 28th, 2021 – one week after Biden
This rule was politicized as a way for Republicans to force poor,
innocent multinational trillion dollar banking institutions to do
business with ‘evil’ industries like oil drilling and the NRA. The
Chairman of the OCC made note that it should be an act of congress to
regulate those industries, not unilaterally enforced by nameless risk
management committees behind closed doors.
It is unlikely that payment network regulation will find bipartisan
support. The payment networks do a good job of picking their targets.
Controversial but left-leaning organizations like Nation of Islam
appear to have no issue processing cards, despite their virulent
antisemitism rivaling anything found on Gab. Perhaps if Planned
Parenthood suddenly needed cash upfront to perform abortions things
would change. Until then, free speech will be clustered alongside
weapons and Alaskan oil prospecting as an industry that is safe to
punch down at.
So, if bankers are above regulation for now, why not regulate social media?
We have already amended Section 230 and it sucked.
There are holes poked into Section 230 protections already. When
Section 230 was first passed in 1996, Congress effectively legalized
piracy. Platforms were immunized even from copyright infringement
damages. So, if pirates could stay anonymous, there was no one to sue
for distributing copies of movies.
To patch the piracy loophole, in 1998, we passed the DMCA. This act
created the process for the copyright takedown system that is infamous
on websites like YouTube. Rights Holders can now take down
copyrighted content and sue the services directly if they refuse to
comply. Unfortunately, the process created is so sloppy and awful it
is a continuous nightmare for a host like me (and everyone on YouTube)
to deal with.
For one, there is no recourse for flagrant or malicious DMCA
takedowns. There is no requirement that the person sending the DMCA
prove they own the copyright, to have a copyright ID, to be an
attorney, or anything to that effect. I routinely receive copyright
complaints that I must take seriously for content they don’t even own.
OnlyFans (a Grand Cayman company) makes it clear in their Terms of
Service that they do not own the content they host. Despite that,
OnlyFans routinely sends me DMCA takedown notices for their 3rd party
content through a man out of California who is not an attorney. This
is a total farce, and there is nothing I can do. I still must reply
with a counter notice, but they never take it to court and I never
even hear back. I have no legal recourse against this abuse.
This will be everything online if further loopholes were carved into
Section 230. Imagine if defamation was handled the same way the
copyright system is. Random trolls could issue takedowns for your
Tweets and Facebook posts. You would have to send a legal counter
notice with your real name and address to the troll to reinstate your
messages. There would be no validations in place. Your speech would
be at the mercy of the whims of insane people online.
In this environment where platforms could be held liable for things
said on their websites, only the richest of them could afford
survival. I am currently dealing with two lawsuits. They are
completely baseless, insane ramblings from insane people, but they
will still cost a lot of money to deal with. There is no way to get
fees from them because they have nothing to take. Without Section 230,
I would lose a layer of protection enabling me to deal with these
lawsuits for much less than it would if we had to take it to trial.
It would destroy the site, especially since I cannot charge cards
normally to generate consistent revenue to fund my defenses with.
President Trump and people in general seem desperate just for revenge.
The rabble directed towards Section 230 is out of anger. “If only
this blow were delivered and 230 were repealed,” they think, “Twitter
would be plunged into financial ruin overnight.” Maybe a Samson
Option is what we need?
Unfortunately, it is not so simple. Twitter would adapt and become
more censorious to reduce its civil liabilities. All US search
engines would have their results curated by anyone willing to complain
about defamation—including, and perhaps especially, by public figures
with something to hide. The smaller and less profitable sites hosted
out of the US (Gab, Parler, 4chan, 8kun, Kiwi Farms, Encyclopedia
Dramatica, thousands of small, federated services and communities)
would either be destroyed outright, forced go private, or driven out
of the United States. It would be a total disaster for the little
Jack Posobiec made a comment recently that Justice Clarence Thomas had
ruled Section 230 was unconstitutional. This is not true. The
opinion he cited as ‘sauce’ was not case law, but rather an opinion in
the strictest sense. Thomas did not even claim Section 230 was
unconstitutional. This misinformation was seen hundreds of thousands
of times and further defamed the public perception of a law we rely on
to even conduct these conversations about Section 230 online.
So, if we can’t regulate the banks and Section 230 is actually good,
what can we do?
What Clarence Thomas actually suggested was that we might have to
regulate the supermassive tech companies as ‘common carriers’ or
utilities. Regulating only the largest social media networks could
work. You can either be a monopoly, or you can be unregulated, you
cannot be both. I maintain that regulating payment networks first
would be ideal, but that will not happen.
There is some hope that FedNow, an atrociously named US answer to
SEPA, could offer some relief to this payment network bottleneck on
speech. I am not optimistic for it, but it is good for more people to
know it is supposedly in development.
Cryptocurrencies bypass the payment network bottleneck now.
The more people who know how to transact in cryptocurrency, the freer
the Internet will be. Sites like buybitcoinworldwide.com (not an
affiliate url) contain simple guides on how to get into the ecosystem
regardless of your country. You do not have to invest any money in.
Just learn how crypto works, how to get it, and how to send it. That
knowledge cannot be taken away from you—and it might prove useful,
sooner rather than later.
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