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Facebook blocks Pulitzer-winning reporter over Malta government exposé (theguardian.com)
159 points by a_w on May 19, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 35 comments

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the real issue here is that in 2017 (and beyond), the only way/place that you will be able to reach an audience is via these walled-gardens known as Facebook/Twitter/etc.

This is the same company that fought against US legislature (SOPA or whatever it was called) but created its own non-neutral internet.org for the third-world.

The only race that these giant advertising media/companies are in is the race for: total-observation

and unlike the evil government from 1984 , these leech-like data-harvesting entities are celebrated by their peers for re-inventing MySpace and IRC over and over again.

Hasn't it always been like this though apart from a brief window in maybe the 00's? Prior to blogging taking off you needed money and real world marketing to reach an audience through books/magazines/newspapers/music/film. The owner of the garden has just changed (and it's less restrictive than Wallmart ever was.

'Messages' are ultimately at the mercy of the medium. Having the medium owned by one corporation, even if it's not abused right now, strikes me as worse than having a sizable of 'elite' companies, each with their own (often explicit) biases, competing for attention.

Whether the latter is worse than a gaggle of bloggers trampling all over the plants, I'm not so sure anymore. But either option still seems better than a handful of corporations owning the garden.

I guess looking to the future there could be issues but as FB/Twitter/Tumblr rely on lots of people posting I don't see it as a likely eventuality as it's not in their best interests to severely restrict content. So for now I would argue it's still much better than in the past but I agree that might not always be the case.

>This is the same company that fought against US legislature (SOPA or whatever it was called) but created its own non-neutral internet.org for the third-world.

They choose to provide some websites for free to the third world while leaving open the option to buy the full web if they choose too. How is that evil?

An ISP chooses to provide you with access to some websites but if you want to pay more to get the full access you can.

How is that evil?

Your counter example is missing the word free

An ISP chooses to provide you with FREE access to some websites but if you want to pay more to get the full access you can.

Facebook is doing this for free for the poor and privileged people in the West are complaining because it threatens their ideologues about free internet all the time no matter what.

A constrained internet doesn't threaten my ideologies.

It threatens its users ability to understand and interact with the rest of the world.

Facebook isn't doing internet.org for "the poor". It's doing it for itself, to get them to click on ads, and model their behavior, in a higher-walled garden than almost any we've ever seen (except maybe the Great Firewall, itself) and which they control.

So, sure. I personally repudiate the notion of "evil" as just so much post-modernist, perspective-based narrative bullshit; I completely agree with you that internet.org isn't that. But it's certainly not a philanthropic venture, by any stretch of the imagination. It serves Facebook's ends first, and its users distantly second.

>Facebook isn't doing internet.org for "the poor". It's doing it for itself, to get them to click on ads,

I highly doubt that there is much marketing dollars to be spent selling to the poorest third of the world population.

The walled garden includes facebook because naturally its founder considers it an essential service. It also provides job search and informational resources. This is not a bad thing and it does not preclude these people paying for full internet if they choose to. But, while they don't have the funds and resources to do that, thank goodness Zuckerberg is making some essential websites available.

The poorest population is relatively shrinking in the developing world they are the customers of the future.

Having an entire generation growing up under the brand of a corporation is effectively priceless.

Free is irrelevant because you can argue that a service provider sets the fees and the service.

Nothing says that internet service providers have to offers you unrestricted, unlimited and fair access to the internet; if you read carefully not even your contract.

I am in depression so sometimes I get very cynical and very sick I go on FB to vent. I wrote multiple status posts the other day, some mentioning suicidal tenancy. In one of the posts I said I hate my life, my life suck. Well, the next day FB deleted that particular post, but left the rest untouched despite the survivors clearly are more serious mentioning suicide. I don't mind they deleted it I was going to anyway, but it's odd they would consider my own cynical comment about my life being suck as a violation of their community rule, but the rest aren't.

It sounds like you are going through a very difficult time. I hope you can get help soon. In case you get down again, below is the website and phone number for the suicide prevention hotline:


Thank you. I have been struggling with this for a few months now. I have had multiple depressions in the past. I am better, with family.

It's excellent you're feeling better, but depression with suicidal ideation is unfortunately a medical problem that doesn't go away on its own. Please consider seeking professional help right away — the sooner the better, because it will be much more difficult to motivate yourself to get help if and when the badness returns.

Yes I do but I am actually scared to tell them. Because my last therapist said in his practice he has to report it which means I have to go back to hospital. Last time I went (well back in Feb) I was admitted under voluntary terms and while the place isn't bad it did feel like a jail because I would miss being out there hearing people on the street. I probably should write a blog post when I recover...

Not saying you are lying but if that's true there is a serious flaw in this algorithm: https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/01/facebook-brings-suicide-pr...

I am not sure if someone on my friend list reported it, but yeah the rest really didn't get flagged. In multiple posts I mentioned the word suicide and the sentiment (with some good NLP) it should score a high depress/sad sentiment. BUT, my account was signed out!

One other interesting factor is a friend commented on the flagged status post with the suicide prevention hotline number. I don't know if that added any weigh to the overall decision making.

A friend posted screenshots from the movie Spotlight, before the credits the list of churches and it got deleted for hurting religious sentiments. He tried to fight it but didn't win. The caption was just "something needs to be done about this"

Note that the posts in question where in Maltese and were shared about 1000 times. So it's most probably just local mods team collaborating with Maltese government.

Does that make it any better?


Would you please not troll like this here?


Like every newspaper ever?

Or every business?

Most of your recent comments seem to have been been downvoted. Time for some self-reflection, maybe?

The fact that other people don't like what you have to say means that you have to reflect on what you're saying? Maybe, but that only applies if you're seeking for approval. Many people are not, they want to communicate their thoughts, feelings and ideas regardless of whether some people with more than 500 points click the little downward-pointing triangle. And I think that's a better way to comment, rather than self-censure based on what a certain group of people like or don't like.

You're not communicating if people reflexively downvote you.

I'm used to expressing unpopular sentiments in many circumstances, but at some point if you want to communicate rather than troll you need to try to at least adapt the style to the medium.

Case in point, calling The Guardian "socialist" here will offend both a lot of Guardian readers and a lot of socialists (many of whom read the Guardian, but still don't find it remotely socialist), and yet it serves no purpose in the comment. It ends up drawing attention away from the point he tried to make (poorly).

> You're not communicating if people reflexively downvote you.

I don't really understand this; most likely I think that you are communicating, and people don't like what they're reading. Sure, posts that don't communicate are downvoted, but so are posts that do communicate. I haven't actually read the comment we're talking about, because I can't, but my point of contention is that receiving downvotes should be considered as some sacred message to re-think your life. It shouldn't, it just shows that an elite group of HN users have decided they don't like what you're saying. It might be for good reasons or bad reasons.

In the past I have tried to reach out to HN's medium, writing posts I think are thought out, non-attackative, presenting an interesting viewpoint etc. only to have them downvoted 2 or 3 times, and I suspect it's because I espouse a particular political viewpoint, even when on topic. Some other of my comments have been upvoted, with much the same content.

I have discovered that it's very hard to predict if your comment will be upvoted or downvoted, so I stopped caring so much. It's clear that the HN mods or perhaps PG himself want to manipulate people into espousing points that everyone else likes, even going so far as to gray out comments to make them harder to read, of course so that people won't want to read them.

I found that I was being stopped from posting things I thought were interesting or perhaps controversial, and instead I was searching for things that would get me upvotes. This is in stark contrast to the old style imageboards, in which everyone's post is given an equal footing.

Downvoting is a dirty little system, and it's one of the things keeping me from posting more on this site, which is filled with relatively intelligent discussion on all sorts of topics.

And do not start me talking about how the HN moderators have decided that sometimes "You're submitting too fast, please slow down" when I want to post something in quick succession (about twice per hour even). It makes it impossible for me to have discussions here with this. I don't know if it affects other people (I suspect it does not), but it's so frustrating. Sometimes I have to collate two or three posts into one to avoid being prevented from posting. Reddit doesn't do that, the imageboards don't do that, in fact almost no other forum does this.

For the occasional downvote, yes, I agree. If the downvoting gets systematic, it is a sign that people downvote without even bothering to pay attention, in which case continuing in the same vein defeats the purpose vs. learning to communicate in a vein more suitable to where you are communicating.

I agree with not caring if every comment is upvoted, and not panic if you get some downvotes, but often it is a matter of learning to conform just a little bit to the style of the given forum.

It does not have to mean moderating your opinions much, but much more often moderating their form. E.g. I'm politically far to the left of most HN'ers, yet I have written comments here quoting Marx that get upvoted. I similarly see plenty of right wing comments too that get upvoted. But HN will be brutal with "dumbed down" or inflammatory political comments.

I've quoted Engels in one comment and my final score on that comment was -3. I used the same quote somewhere else and the score was 10. Could this be attributed to whether I'm posting in the appropriate thread, or is it that leftists are more interested in certain threads or subthreads? I don't know, but it's frustrating that I get downvoted in one place and upvoted in another, for essentially the same message.

I try not to make my comments dumbed down; recently I was have a discussion about the theory of surplus value, and I wasn't downvoted there, but somewhere else I talked about wage slavery in a similar way and I was downvoted there. Both times I tried to support what I was saying with quotations and reasoned arguments. So I don't know if downvoting is an effective way of helping to enforce a particular standard of comments; as on Reddit, I think it's more likely to be used just to downvote what people don't like, and that applies to propertarians too or any position that's unorthodox.

Good thing not everyone can just downvote.

I don't know exactly how it works with the voting and all here. My own comments get downvotes sometimes, but its either because I wrote it in a way that was to open for interpetation or too vague.

> means that you have to reflect on what you're saying?

No, it means you might want to reflect on how you're saying it.

In this case you're probably right but having most or even all of your recent comments downvoted doesn't mean much. For instance nickpsecurity could post anything at all and you can expect it to be downvoted.

I'm not seeing any gray here https://news.ycombinator.com/threads?id=nickpsecurity

Maybe the hive mind is not that aggressive after all?

It usually corrects itself after a while, HN is 'self repairing'.

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