A transparent appeals process staffed by humans who can at least deliver a rationale, including what rule you broke, should be required by law. There's irreparable reputational damage associated with an algorithm libelously labeling something "extremist content" that isn't.
Distributed hosting of static content is a sorta-solved problem. But curating, linking and discoverability (which require mutating content) is a lot harder due to the trust anchor problem.
BitChute is a peer to peer content sharing platform.
Our mission is to put people and free speech first.
It is free to join, create and upload your own content to share with others.
I hope they make it.
That makes it tricky to for solutions that "put people and free speech first" to succeed, because they've basically painted a giant target on themselves, and it easily makes even a lot of people that sympathise in principle worried about the bits and pieces that steps over their personal line.
Figuring out a reasonable solution to this, I think, will be essential to get more widespread adoptions of platforms like these.
The only reasonable solution is to host everything, modulo requirements by law, and give users the tools to locally filter out content en masse.
In a decentralized system you also skip the law requirements since you cannot enforce multiple incompatible jurisdictions at the platform level, individual users will be responsible for enforcing it on their own nodes, similar how all you can do when accidentally encountering child porn is to clear your cache.
> In a decentralized system you also skip the law requirements since you cannot enforce multiple incompatible jurisdictions at the platform level, individual users will be responsible for enforcing it on their own nodes, similar how all you can do when accidentally encountering child porn is to clear your cache.
But that's the thing: You don't skip it. You spread it to every user. They both have to deal with whether or not they are willing to host the material and whether or not it is even legal for them.
How many of us sympathise with the idea of running a Tor exit node, for example, but avoid it because we're worried about the consequences?
These platforms will always struggle with this unless they provide ways for people to feel secure that the content that is hosted on their machines is content they don't find too offensive, and/or that traffic that transit their networks is not content they find too offensive.
Consider e.g. darknet efforts like cjdns which are basically worthless because their solution to this was to require people find "neighbours" they can convince to let them connect. Which basically opens the door to campaigns to have groups you disapprove of disconnected by harassing their neighbours and their neighbours neighbours, just the same as you can go to network providers on the "open" internet.
Secondly, there are several tiers of content. a) stuff that is illegal to host b) stuff that is not illegal but that you find so objectionable that you don't even want to host it c) stuff that you don't like but doesn't bother you too much d) stuff you actually want to look at.
I posit that a) and b) are fairly small fractions and the self-selection mechanism of "things that I looked at" will reduce that fraction even further.
And even if you are on a network where you randomly host content you never looked at encryption can provide you some peace of mind (of the obliviousness kind) because you cannot possibly know or expected to know what content you're hosting. Add onion routing and the person who hosts something can't even be identified. If Viewer A requests something (blinded) through Relay B from Hoster C then B cannot know what they're forwarding and C cannot know what they're hosting. If neither you nor others can know what flows through or is stored on your node it would be difficult to mount pressure against anyone to disconnect.
For the illegal content, especially in oppressive environments, you could install a Voluntary Compliance(tm) government blocklist on public-facing nodes and still opt to run an internal node in your network that uses encrypted connections to retrieve things hosted in other countries you're not supposed to see.
Anyway, back to filtering for decentralized content hosting. I think once you have a network it is a matter of managing expectations. You can't make content magically disappear. Platforms like youtube, twitter, facebook etc. have raised the false expectation that you can actually make things go away by appealing to The Authority and it will be forever gone. In reality things continue to exist, they just move into some more remote corners of the net. Once expectations become more aligned with reality again and people know they can only avoid looking at content but not make it non-existent things boil down to being able to filter things out at the local level.
I think you misunderstand the objection. Yes, encryption can mean you cannot be persecuted for "hosting"/"transmitting" some objectionable stuff, since you can prove that you had no idea (at least that's the theory).
However some want to be able to "vote with their wallets" (well "vote with their bandwidth"). They don't want to assist in the transmission of some content, they want that content to be hard to find, and slow and unreliable. They have the right to freedom of association and don't want to associate with those groups. Encryption cannot guaranatee that I won't help transmit $CONTENT.
I'm aware of that, but they you suffer the problem of people wanting deniability.
> Secondly, there are several tiers of content. a) stuff that is illegal to host b) stuff that is not illegal but that you find so objectionable that you don't even want to host it c) stuff that you don't like but doesn't bother you too much d) stuff you actually want to look at. I posit that a) and b) are fairly small fractions and the self-selection mechanism of "things that I looked at" will reduce that fraction even further.
That's true, but those sets pretty much only need to be non-zero for it to threaten peoples willingness to use such a network.
Further, unless there is stuff in a), and stuff that fall into b) for other people that you want to look at, such a network has little value to most of us, even though we might recognise that it is good if such a network exists for the sake of others.
This creates very little incentive for most to actively support such systems unless such systems also deals with content that we are likely to worry about hosting/transmitting.
> For the illegal content, especially in oppressive environments, you could install a Voluntary Compliance(tm) government blocklist on public-facing nodes and still opt to run an internal node in your network that uses encrypted connections to retrieve things hosted in other countries you're not supposed to see.
That's an interesting thought. Turning the tables, and saying "just tell us what to block". That's the type of ideas that I think it is necessary to explore. It needs to be extremely trouble-free to run these types of things, because to most the tangible value of accessing censored content is small, and the intangible value of supporting liberty is too intangible for most.
> Anyway, back to filtering for decentralized content hosting. I think once you have a network it is a matter of managing expectations. You can't make content magically disappear. Platforms like youtube, twitter, facebook etc. have raised the false expectation that you can actually make things go away by appealing to The Authority and it will be forever gone. In reality things continue to exist, they just move into some more remote corners of the net. Once expectations become more aligned with reality again and people know they can only avoid looking at content but not make it non-existent things boil down to being able to filter things out at the local level.
This, on the other hand, I fear is a generational thing. As in, I think it will take at least a generation or two, probably more. The web has been around for a generation now, and in many respects the expectations have gone the other way - people have increasingly come to be aware of censorship as something possible, and are largely not aware of the extent of the darker corners of the net.
Centralisation and monitoring appears to be of little concern to most regular people. People increasingly opt for renting access to content collection where there is no guarantee content will stay around instead of ensuring they own a copy, and so keep making themselves more vulnerable, because to most censorship is something that happens to other people.
And this both means that most people see little reason to care about a fix to this problem and have an attitude that give them little reason to be supportive of a decentralised solution that suddenly raises new issues to them.
Note that I strongly believe we need to work on decentralised solutions. But I worry that no such solution will gain much traction unless we deal with the above issues in ways that removes the friction for people of worrying about legality and morality, and that provides very tangible benefits that gives them a reason to want it even if they don't perceive a strong need on their own.
E.g. Bittorrent gained the traction it has in two ways: through copyright infringement and separately by promising a lower cost way of distributing large legitimate content fast enough. We need that kind of thinking for other types of decentralised content: At least one major feature that is morally inoffensive and legal that attracts people who don't care if Facebook tracks them or Youtube bans a video or ten, to build the userbase where sufficient pools of people can form for various type of content to be maintained in a decentralised but "filtered" manner. Not least because a lot of moral concerns disappear when people feel they have a justification for ignoring them ("it's not that bad, and I need X")
I genuinely believe that getting this type of thing to succeed is more about hacking human psychology than about technical solutions.
Maybe it needs a two-pronged attack - e.g. part of the problem is that the net is very much hubs and spokes, so capacity very much favours centralisation. Maybe what we need is to work on hardware/software that makes meshes more practical - at least on a local basis. Even if you explicitly throw overboard "blind" connection sharing, perhaps you could sell people on boxes that shares their connections in ways that explicitly allows tracking (so they can reliably pass the blame for abuse) to increase reliability and speed, coupled with content-addressed caching on a neighbourhood basis.
Imagine routers that establish VPN to endpoints and bonds your connection with your neighbours, and establishes a local content cache of whitelisted non-offensive sites (to prevent a risk of leaking site preferences in what would likely be tiny little pools).
Give people a reason to talk up solutions that flattens the hub/spoke, and use that as a springboard to start to make decentralisation of the actual hosting more attractive.
> How many of us sympathise with the idea of running a Tor exit node, for example, but avoid it because we're worried about the consequences?
Tor isn't the best example, because exits don't cache anything. So mainly, exit operators get complaints. And the exit IPs end up on block lists. Operators don't typically get prosecuted. Maybe they get raided, however, so it's prudent to run exit relays on hosted servers.
Freenet is the better example. The basic design has nodes relaying stuff for other nodes. In an extremely obscure and randomized way. Also, keys are needed to access stored material.
However, nodes see IPs of all their peers. Investigators have used modified clients to identify nodes that handle illegal material. So users get busted. There is "plausible deniability". But it's not so plausible when prosecutors have experts that bullshit juries. So users typically plea bargain. Or, if they use encrypted storage, they get pressed for passwords. Like that guy in Philadelphia.
Same goes for freenet and the like.
The first includes both legal and moral considerations, the second only moral ones.
My consideration of whether to share, part of the time, some slice of my home Internet connection bandwidth as a Tor exit node is almost entirely a legal one (I admit that time/effort may play a role too). I'd consider the moral aspect too, but I wouldn't have to think long to decide that (for me personally) the trade-offs are worth it (I could explain why and how, but I don't want to derail the discussion in that direction).
In fact I'd argue this goes for anyone, in some sense. Even if their underlying reasons align with the legal considerations (and thus not run one), it's a moral judgement. (in the worst case, there exist people who equate moral judgement with legality)
I don’t think that’s always the mindset. Isn’t it reasonable for people to have the mindset of “I want to go to sites that don’t have content that I find objectionable”? This way websites can decide which group of people they want to cater to.
the thing is law requirements do not generally allow you just to clear your cache of the offending content, the company is not allowed to show it.
Channels aren't open to everyone, so it looks like they have manually allowed that?
Plus the discovery component is still hosted on websites subject to the networking effect.
I love the idea but one problem: who pays for it? It's a special case of the co-operative vs corporation problem. Without an individual's starting capital, how do you get off the ground?
>There's irreparable reputational damage associated with an algorithm libelously labeling something "extremist content" that isn't.
The damage is definitely repairable. You admit the algorithm is flawed and you tolerate exceptions to it.
The issue isn't AI vs human, it's transparent vs opaque.
Perhaps the Graph should be public domain. Perhaps too we are heading towards a world where reputation and legal identity are subject to casual destruction but there's no real barrier to starting over, much like when you die in a videogame.
The fact is that there is always a human in the loop. Without human supervision these algorithms deliver a small but significant portion of incredibly stupid results. So an actual human has to sit down, analyze these results one by one and decide what to do (in some cases just hardcoding the "correct" answer). The general public must be educated about this stuff so that responsibility is not muddled.
Incidentally, this also explains why there is zero interest in making rulebooks available, conscise, searchable, etc. All of these would improve fairness, but rulebooks are actually an instrument of power, not of fairness, so existing power structures will typically oppose any such changes.
It's not like the AI has absolute idea of what is 'extremist' content, it's just enforcing someone idea of what it is. AI is trained on data, and whoever labeled that data is the person/s who are winning here.
Nobody is taking away your freedom of speech by deleting your video.
Nobody is mandated to provide you with a vehicle or medium for your speech.
Are you sure you are sold on right outcome of the baker/LGBT wedding-cake case? How about a pharmacist not telling correct/all options based on their theology?
How about a publicly traded corporation? Do they have a mandate to treat people equally? If they are picking a political viewpoint and removing customers because of it, what makes you think that their hiring practices are fair?
Google has a religion now, it has been baptized in the religion of intolerant left. Google is now theocratic, it will not allow blasphemous talk that challenges its religion.
Google claimed to champion Net-Neutrality, don't open the packet, they said to the ISPs. They want to resist opening of TCP/IP packet but when it comes to content of the videos, they want to play God. TCP/IP packet or Video, let the legal system take its course, let authorities tell you to ban something, don't play God on the platform that is valuable because of the sum number of people on it. YouTube is a social network, its value comes from people participating in it, treat the people equally and be an neutral steward of the platform technology, don't push ideology. Anyway, Google has damaged its image too much now. It will never be seen with same affection again, at least not by me.
The training parameters of that "AI" were set by a human too. Someone said to it "here are a bunch of videos that I PERSONALLY THINK are to be banned, learn from that".
Bureaucratic hell, as defined by Harry Harrison in the Stainless Steel Rat series, is the definition of humans as automata.
Nothing major online happens by accident.
The thing is, people only tend to notice it when it affects them personally (either they are the victim of the algorithm, or someone they know/like/support is). The world has long worked on irrational biases, which now are being used as the training data for decision-making systems which are subsequently declared to be "objective" because people believe an algorithm can't be biased. And increasingly, the mark of privilege is having access to a system -- applications, interviews, customer service, even courts -- which will use human judgment instead of an unreviewable algorithm.
For more on the topic I suggest the book Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'Neil.
That means that it needs to be done by an entity outside of Google itself, and not in any way associated with or influenced by Google.
-They enjoy a de facto monopoly and are protected by the extreme cost, risk and time involved in building competing services.
-Finally, they have a potential for abuse (say, with selective censorship or politically biased algorithms) that could essentially curb the Constitutional rights of individuals
If these points sound familiar it's because they're frequently used when arguing for the nationalization of a private company. Since I think that's (currently) out of reach, I believe regulating Facebook, Google, et al as public utilities to be the next best thing.
Some people really do have a naïve trust in government. Free markets are the answer. Who has actually made a legitimate attempt to compete with Google or Facebook? What VCs are investing in Facebook alternatives?
MySpace was unstoppable – until it wasn’t. Yahoo owned search – until it didn’t. Perhaps there ought to be more bold entrepreneurship rather than calls for regulation.
Sounds to me that people are ok with just giving up and giving Facebook the win.
Don’t like Facebook’s dominance? Then challenge it. Don’t cop out and just let the government take control.
History is littered with great companies toppled by better ideas and execution.
It's naive to think that any one form of human organization, be it governmental or corporate, is somehow less corruptible than another. You're right to be on your guard against governmental abuses, but don't take your eye off the other balls in play.
History is littered with great companies toppled by better ideas and execution.
What we've seen lately are instances where one company topples another and proceeds to commit the same abuses, only more effectively and at wider scale. When Facebook replaced MySpace, were its users really that much better off? Which company had fewer rules and enforced fewer content guidelines? When one company dominates the market and locks it up with network effects, what incentive does that leave them to play well with others?
You don't think any organizations have ever been any more corruptible than any other organizations?
None of these organizations should have been trusted implicitly to do the right thing for society at large. The burden of proof rests decisively with those who want us to believe that Google and Facebook are somehow different.
Are you really claiming that very government that tries to regulate corporations is going to wind up like China?
You know there are lots of governments around the world that regulate corporations, and most aren't anything like China.
"Some people really do have a naïve trust in government. Free markets are the answer."
Some people really do have a naive trust in free markets.
What are you actually proposing?
I'm with you. I don't want that, but at some point I expect to lose the argument. Google will cut their own throats with their smug "We investigated our decision and found it to be correct" pronunciations.
The fact is, any sufficiently dominant corporation is indistinguishable from a government. The more a company like Google behaves like a bureaucratically-hidebound public utility, the harder it will be to argue that it shouldn't be regulated like one.
An alternative is to classify Google as a common carrier, exempting them from the DMCA, but preventing them from censoring or even throttling traffic, however given their business model is around sponsorship, it is unclear how to also protect the advertisers' interests. Trying to get government shackles onto Google simply seems too tricky;
It seems much easier to simply run Google with tax dollars and no advertising.
Google and Facebook combined have a total market cap (sum of all shares) is around 1.2 trillion dollars, which would represent only a 5% increase in tax revenue for America to simply buy all the shares.
However, the Government doesn't need to turn a profit: Google and Facebook combined spend only around $200 million dollars per year on R&D and operating expenses, which would be a rounding error on the tax budget.
I for one would welcome my files being hosted by the government if we lived in a world where democracy isn't more utopian than flying pink unicorns; as a citizen I would have a slight chance of being respected and listened to because I'd be a part of that, albeit a very small one, whilst with a company you have zero chances unless you're a stock holder or work there in some high rank. That's something to keep in mind next time they want to brainwash people about how good is privatization of public property.
We're slowly but steadily going towards a future where governments will first be owned by corporations, then will cease to exist or be relegated to a purely PR role (think about the royal families in nations still having them). That will likely mark the start of the worst period humanity will ever live in.
Let us simply label Google (search, yt, news) and FB as utilities and regulate them too.