Freedom of expression, not just free speech the legal concept, should be a societal goal. Google has every right, legally, to delete this stuff. However, in an ideal world, they'd do no such thing and would let people judge based on the merits of the message.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd like to work towards that ideal world.
Maybe the solution is enabling people to realistically host content themselves, on their own property, and just ensuring the ISP is nothing but a dumb pipe? Maybe the solution is distributed content and P2P networks?
Either way, the continued aggressive censorship by Google, while their legal right, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. They can do it, but I don't have to like it.
That said, if anyone can think of something that I can do to help, I'm all ears.
Robin Hanson calls it "free hearing". The branding could be improved but the argument is exactly right.
We shouldn't even hide behind commentary and journalism. The source bin Laden videos should be available for us to judge. Removing them is not an act against the terrorists but against the public.
One nitpick: it's no minor matter to Ms. O'Brien that she be able to complete her big project, and the keep the tools for doing others in future.
My more important point is that is the common case: our own freedom is important morally, but materially we benefit most from other people's freedom. Web pioneer firms are actually good examples here: they were free to build technologies that are handy for you and me even though that exposed knowledge some people would have wanted stifled.
The value of "free hearing" as a consequence of "free speech" is just one case of this and I am happy enough if the newly coined term makes the situation clearer.
[Disclaimer: I work for Google, but am obviously speaking here only for myself and not the company. Nor do I know anything about what the company plans to do about this case.]
"Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it." - MT
Centralized (state and/or corporate) control over information is itself an incredible asset to bad actors. Goebbels et al..
But it gets even worse when you look at lobbyists paid by corporations.
In the long run, Google will have to be split up into smaller pieces. You can't control this evil - and greedy -corporation otherwise anymore.
Indeed, though you'll notice that ever since the gory coverage of Vietnam the mainstream media censors war to a much higher degree because they learned TV audiences find the true images of war to be unbearable. Public support for war drops sharply when they see the mangled dead bodies of their own soldiers while they eat their TV dinners.
"Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America - not on the battlefields of Vietnam."
Once upon a Time you could mostly trust the news but these days we have "no spin zones" which are in fact entirely spin. You can no longer sit back and consume news, to get the real facts requires a great deal of effort and attention which is exhausting.
Head to your local library and hit the archives. From yellow journalism to papers owned by political parties, bias and dishonesty has always been a problem.
Of course, data scientists have their political opinions as well. As do journalists deciding which data to publicize.
The period probably began with Lippmann's Public Opinion, though it was coverage of the Second World War that probably marked the start of the true peak. By 1980, something was already decidedly off.
I'm reading Robert McChesney who does a very good job of recapping the history in Communication Revolution.
Could we trust them or did we simply not have the means to fact check them and communicate the errors? Awful current affairs programs were around before the web and they were reporting some pretty dubious "facts" back then. Tabloids have been around for 100 years, maybe more.
Because of that, media was regulated differently. A more diverse body of media (pre-media for profit news and consolidation) as well as the fairness doctrine and a non-profit public service expectation were all strong norms and law in play.
Technical limits forced all of us, including the media, to take it more seriously.
Yes, we could trust them more than we could now, but also yes, we could not check so easily too.
Choosing what is important to include or what not to include is dangerous.
In many cases it's not possible for all individuals to understand because it would very time consuming and one may not have the training to do so either. So we need the help of journalists and agencies to make sense of the world.
I agree that the availability of sources where it is reasonable, should be made to the public. But that is also not always possible, since it may, in some cases, expose the sources to danger.
A consequence of this is that since we rely on intermediaries to simplify information for us, we are vulnerable to malicious propaganda conveyed by agents disguising themselves as trusted authorities.
I would love it if it were easier for the common person to host their own stuff. Between all the concerns involved (security, hardware, demand, etc.) I'm not sure how feasible it is. I've given it a lot of thought, and have slowly unwound my custom tech setups - from domains, to emails, to hardware. Mostly for the "bus" factor. When my dad died, my mom let his computer sit untouched for years. At some point I transferred the files on it to my computer so they wouldn't disappear forever. But still, a decade later, and it's just sitting there. She never bothers to turn it on.
I have a family, and my wife is not technical in the slightest. If I were to be gone tomorrow, there's no way she would have a clue as to what to do. My #1 barometer for everything I use in life is how easy it is for her to use things.
It's interesting to me how temporary and inaccessible our digital lives actually are.
The problem is dependence on huge monolithic tech platforms, such that we feel that the societal value of free expression is threatened by the standard forms moderation that we had accepted as normal for most of the history of the internet.
Now, the ability to moderate carries a significant amount of power in a way that didn't use to be the case. And some people, looking over the available options and the effort required to pursue them, would now prefer to resign themselves to permanent dependence on huge monolithic platforms and just focus on making sure those platforms are not engaging in moderation.
But this is hugely problematic for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that moderation at least sometimes offers a genuine good to users because toxic, manipulative, illegal behaviors that undermine the platform are removed. There's a "societal value" in having flourishing discourse that isn't compromised by the toxicity that would naturally occur without moderation. And there is good reason to not want to make that sacrifice.
Either side offers a distasteful sacrifice. So maybe the answer is to try and bypass the dilemma by making non-centralized communication more accessible, so that people like your wife (or my mom, or my dad's entire side of the family) don't have to make that kind of choice.
The USPS has a similar monopoly to YouTube, but they're obliged to transport any printed material that is legal. There's no hidden algorithm that shreds letters containing the wrong keywords. There's no team of Indian outsourcers searching your mail for content that breaches an arbitrary set of rules. Nobody but a court can prohibit you from using their service.
I think we collectively need to decide whether social media services are publishers or common carriers. The present ambiguity over their status gives them an unreasonable degree of power with unreasonably little responsibility.
No, the USPS has a legally-protected monopoly, where alternative services are prohibited from competing with certain core functions.
Alternative web video distribution services are not prohibited, and there are several that specialize in content that is unwelcome on YouTube.
> The present ambiguity over their status
What ambiguity? They are active distribution agents (neither publishers nor common carriers, in that regard, though they are often also publishers, more like bookstores).
It only seems “ambiguous” when framed with a false dichotomy.
Yet, even though they have many of the legal protections of being a pseudo common carrier, they have none of the obligations, such as the obligation to treat all content equally.
For example, it is illegal for your phone provider to eaves drop on your conversations and censor your phone conversations.
But it is NOT illegal for facebook to do the same thing. Why are they treated differently?
Taking that as unvarnished truth , for the sake of argument, that's not at all an ambiguity, it's a crystal clear status.
> Yet, even though they have many of the legal protections of being a pseudo common carrier, they have none of the obligations, such as the obligation to treat all content equally.
Again, taking that as true for the sake of argument, its not an ambiguity, but a crystal clear status.
Its a conflict with the false dichotomy of the idea that the only two roles in information dissemination are fully-liable non-neutral publisher and fully-immunized neutral common carrier. That model isn't true offline, and it's not true online.
 Which it isn't, because while the CDA and DMCA (and others) provide some limited/conditional protection, they are not a total bar to liability; but the still the status is not ambiguous, merely distinct.
I see no reason why 1:many platforms shouldn't have the same protections as a 1:1 platform.
It is in the public interest to prohibit moderation by 1:1 common carriers. It is not in the public interest to prohibit moderation by '1:many common carriers'. But by virtue of being 'simple' carriers, they should both be free from liability for the content.
Note, however, I don't think it is very good to have these companies moderating themselves, but it's better than nothing at the moment. I'd propose legislating the scope of the moderation according to standards set by some internationally recognized ethics committee (not a government decreed scope, they are likely just as biased as a company).
Alternatively, platforms could offer something like a complex filter system that allows users to implement their own moderation policies. But this would increase the burden (costs) of the provider.
There are tons of protections, already in place, on large networks.
If the price was reasonable people would go for it, as long as setup and maintenance is transparent (that's what the company's services help you achieve).
If the networks were federated .. like e.g. Mastodon ...
And then we come to hosting which is a gray zone in most retail contracts actually offering usable upload mostly because of bandwidth concerns and do we really trust the likes of Comcast not to play dirty when put under external pressure in regards to unpopular speech.
I saw it with my mother going through photos she took on her digital camera, she's a slave to the software that came with the camera and the features it provides. She doesn't access the file, she goes through a UI to view the images and manipulate them. If she wants to post them to facebook she does that through the UI. When the camera dies and is replaced she has to relearn a different software package whereas if she'd managed her files through explorer like we probably do then the knowledge would be transferable.
Unless we start teaching computer fundamentals better and expect people to apply that knowledge to do things then we are sliding head first into the world of digital serfdom.
Power users are being wrestled to the floor by locking bootloaders, not releasing source code and banning apps from the popular web stores. Eventually, they get fed up and just join the normal consumers using 3rd party web-apps with biased features.
It's true that the process of setting up and managing websites can be daunting. Even using shared hosting, let alone on a VPS. And then there's the additional complexity of HTTPS, which is now pretty much the norm (even when not really needed, with no account creation or payment processing).
Using Micah Lee's OnionShare, one can easily create Tor onion sites. They can be transient (for file-sharing) or persistent. It's based on his txtorcon library, specifically TCPHiddenServiceEndpoint.
That still might be a little intimidating, but hey.
And people don't even need Tor to access it. When high security isn't necessary, it's fine to publish Tor2web links, such as https://m_facebookcorewwwi.onion.link/
I make sure to mention this to all concerned parties every couple of years so that everyone is clear on the matter. This doesn't include online services (email, etc), but it's enough for me.
"LBRY is a free, open, and community-run digital marketplace.
You own your data. You control the network. Indeed, you are the network.
Hollywood films, college lessons, amazing streamers and more are on the first media network ruled by you."
While correct currently, that isn't going to continue much longer. These abusive tech giants are about to start getting regulated left and right. You can practically hear the political machine awakening. Google's ability to freely control what is or isn't allowed on their platforms, will be replaced by government determined rules. That process has already started, it's a constant discussion in DC now on both sides of the political aisle. The Democrats and Republicans are both increasingly interested in regulating Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc. Within the next few years they'll also pass laws governing tighter advertising rules for the platforms (or all sites in general); which is what the Russia-Facebook headline propaganda is all about delivering.
There's no scenario where these companies make it another five years without government regulators beginning the process of restraining their behavior.
Ten years ago I would have been upset about the government proceeding toward regulation of companies like Google. Now I can't help but think no other company deserves it more, given the increasing abuse of monopoly power that Google is guilty of. Their hubris has become extreme. They better double down on their buying of politicians in DC, I mean, lobbying.
Decentralized hosting is the only plausible solution.
It's so odd that the left who are so up in arms about 'fascism', white supremacists, trump etc, are the very people being violent, suppressing free speech, and behaving like fascists. It's especially a shame to see it so prevalent in Hollywood and Silicon Valley which should be bastions of freedom and expression.
> Hollywood and Silicon Valley which should be bastions of freedom and expression.
It's funny you mention this: anyone who supported "not Her" during the election was silenced and ridiculed at every turn.
For what it's worth, this is mildly achievable, but I doubt there's much of a market for it. It's (usually) not hard to convert one's internet connection to some sort of business-class connection, get a static ip, and have port 80/443 unblocked, (I've done it). Mind you, there's costs associated with all that.
Then you have to setup and maintain a web server. Plenty of HN folks can do that on their distro of choice, but it's definitely a technical feat. I bet folks have tried to make a one-click install style thing before. I bet one even exists today, but I couldn't tell you what it is.
Then there's maintenance on said server...
Ultimately, people use 3rd parties because its a significantly lower barrier to entry in monetary cost, time, and complexity.
I won't speak to Google's actions here, but no one has yet proven out your proposed solution. I'd love it if we could.
Decentralized websites that are hosted by your users. Can be accessed over ZeroNet or without using a proxy.
I would definitely subscribe to occam's razor here. Rather than explicit censorship, this is probably something that just got snagged in the net of Google's semi-automated content moderation process, which is probably overzealous in combating #extremism. Having no human channel to contact doesn't help either.
I really can't trust that they are benevolent or incompetent.
I'm actually not sure what is worse.
Indiscriminately punishing a small number of people for legitimate speech is at least as chilling as going after specific viewpoints -- any speech can get you banned, apparently.
edit: /implemented by/the implementers of
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly from the standpoint of anyone building a system to moderate content, you have the human toll: most of the content the humans are reviewing is going to be highly objectionable to most humans, by definition. Expecting humans to review this content day in, day out and not have it take a psychological toll is not realistic; you can find interviews with people who have done this work for various companies, and the tales of their burnout.
(This is not meant to defend Google or condone what the reporter is going through, etc, just to point out that "make humans review everything" is not a slam-dunk answer.)
Is the appeal process automated? If there is no way to circumvent an automated process then it has to work 100% correctly, 99% is simply not acceptable.
You already live in this world.
Who cares if Goolge won't host these videos on youtube? I don't understand why this matters. There are millions of other video upload sites, all of which are extremely easy to find and use. There are literally too many open source options for sharing files to count, and many of them are even usable by non-technical folk. Millions of people shared videos online for at least a good decade before youtube became popular.
Maintain a local copy of everything you put on the cloud.
I know... We all hate Nazis. I get it. I don't like them and, being not white, they definitely don't like me. But, they are the current good example of what happens when the controllers decide you can no longer share your legal content.
I don't know what the solution is, but I want a world where even the deplorable are able to express their thoughts and feelings. I want a world where we aren't cowards and trying to force conformity. I want a world where even the worst of us can express themselves, using the same tools as others, so long as it is legal content.
Yes, speech must have restrictions. However, we already know what those restrictions are. I guess I'm just a hopeless idealist.
Just as then you don't have to advocate free speech because you are a communist, now you don't have to advocate it because you are a Nazi. You advocate it to protect against authoritarianism.
A survey of young people really disturbs me. Some 40% don't believe we should have the right to free speech. I'll be damned if I know how to fix this. I see the same sentiments expressed by some people here.
Credible threats, slander, and libel are already illegal - as are a few others, such as divulging classified information. Speech needs all the protection it can get and, unfortunately, that means defending speech I don't particularly care for and people who would legitimately harm me if given the chance.
Speech we agree with doesn't need protection, nobody wants to silence it. However, that's subject to change based on the whims of society and the government. I guess I've become an extremist, even though I'm pretty sure I haven't changed. I just love free speech.
I agree with you. If you dont believe in free speech for those you disagree with, then you don't believe in free speech at all.
The White Nationalists tell me they'd kick me out of the country, which is funny because I'm mostly Native American. The others (I don't have a name for them) tell me that I don't even have a right to support their right to free expression. I'd rather be told that I'm hated then be told I have no right to speak.
Really, I think we can pretty much all agree that the Internet is largely a basic human right. With that, so shouldn't other protections apply. I think it's probably going to take regulation to get beyond this. I'm kind of hoping it's sensible regulation but it seems destined to happen eventually.
Do you have a link to this?
In a way, speech is already a very effective democratic institution. The more decentralized and the more participants, the more democratic. But if this voice is transferred from the people to the gov, the more power is handed from the people to the elites, and most likely the faster we will devolve into authoritarianism.
While I appreciate your view
I don't know where you live or who you are and I bet there is a group of people out there that hates you, and you would have a different view on freedom to publish the on google / Facebook when they target you
Unfortunately here it's clear that life is far from perfect, but the moral question to ask is how can we make the best of it for all people? Should we ban everything because a few die: cars, sugar--what about swimming pools? Back flips? You see, I don't think this argument you made logically leads us to a very good world. Government can't protect us from everything. At some point we have to rely on faith in humanity. Not to mention with every power handed over from the people is given into the hands of government's propensity for corruption...
So while I don't approve of every group that will use free speech same as I dont use marijuana or have a swimming pool, but I don't think it's a legitimate role of government to regulate any of that.
In other words, I think more people will suffer w/o free speech than w/ it, but no solution will be perfect.
Ok, however your second paragrapah is really concerning me.
Yes, but we (speaking as a person, not a representative of any company) don't have to supply them with a platform to spread their hate and we don't have to sit idly by while they do it.
> Yes, speech must have restrictions. However, we already know what those restrictions are
Do we? What are they?
I'm not defending google. I'm pointing out that using google is a choice, a choice with lots of alternatives.
Google's choice not to host certain things is itself a speech act. Don't try to police Google's speech. Instead, make sure there are plenty of alternatives to Google for the people who Google doesn't want to host.
If there's no alternative to google, then google's policing becomes a problem. THAT is why it's important that governments not censor speech -- you don't have alternative choices for government. And THAT is why privately owned censor-happy monopolies of the press are just as huge a threat to free speech as governments.
But -- and this is my point -- there are a near infinite number of alternatives to google. Google does not have a monopoly of the press.
If someone believes they can't speak freely because youtube won't host your videos, then that incorrect belief is a huge problem. A much larger problem than youtube choosing not to host their videos.
2. Regardless, the solution is to become less dependent on corporate-owned ad-distribution networks for finding information. And help others do the same.
Modifying corporate behavior to match your preferences will never be a sufficient replacement for an informed, inquisitive, and self-sufficient populace. So focus on solving the latter problem instead of complaining about the first.
I think some people are reading my comments as a defense of Google. But I'm not defending google. I'm pointing out that the tools you need to get out from under Google already exist and are available today, as long as you want to speak (as opposed to e.g. make money from advertising).
If you use google services, you're making a choice. A choice with lots of alternatives. Telling people otherwise does google a huge favor.
The only reason that you want to post on Youtube, other than any other sites is that you want to make make money out of it.
You can't really maintain a local copy of a "control of @gmail.com" domain to be able for people to continue sending you messages.
What I said about video sites applies equally well to email. You don't even have to host your own; just choose a provider you trust. (If you disabuse yourself of the attitude that you shouldn't have to pay for email, there are more decent options than I could possibly hope to count.)
The "dependence" on Google for hosting videos and email accounts is entirely self-imposed. Honestly, if you want to fight Google's "monopoly", the only effective way is to point out the obvious fact that there are perfectly good alternatives.
First, gmail then tends to screw you on deliverability for using an unknown source - and since everyone else uses gmail, you're still at Google's mercy when trying to communicate.
And second... that's our solution? Anyone who isn't capable of hosting their own email doesn't get to trust their access to their records? At a certain point we need to acknowledge that the company-centric structure is going to define tech for 98% of people, and that this will affect even the 2% who can step outside those bounds.
I'd feel better about Google if they offered a hard guarantee that any takedown would be done with notice to allow file recovery, and offered an easy, useful "export all my crap" feature for all users, takedown or not. (I'm aware that the recovery window is probably illegal at the moment.) I'd also like things better if they shelled out on some actual human reviewers and offered real support when they screw up.
What I actually want in the long run is for someone to offer decentralized, private hosting, or else build a tool to make self-hosting comparably easy to getting other email. As a stopgap, encrypted hosting would stop this sort of intrusion, but again hits legal takedown issues. "Click some buttons, pay $30, get privately-hosted email with no overseer" is my ideal endgame here.
I also don't see what the ISO has to do with it in this case, the authors gripe is with YouTube. Regardless of their ISP, this could have happened with YouTube.
If you want to share politically sensitive content, I think it's fair to say that YouTube isn't your friend.
Regarding solutions, there are plenty of solutions for sharing video that will never result in content being taken down. thesr methods don't offer the same visibility or discovery that YouTube does, which is why they're not as popular.
If you want to provide a censorship free place to host content, you better be prepared to fight a very difficult fight. Where do you stand on copyrighted content, on illegal material (some of which may be legal in some countries but not others), distasteful or offensive material?
But this is not the issue in this case; neither are ISIS propaganda videos.
This here is corporate and state-controlled censorship that has no legal basis at all whatsoever aimed at controlling research. That is MUCH worse than propaganda by others.
> Where do you stand on copyrighted content, on illegal
> material (some of which may be legal in some countries
> but not others), distasteful or offensive material?
Again - how does your comment relate to censoring research or information that the US government arbitrarily considers "illegal"?
> If you want to share politically sensitive content,
> I think it's fair to say that YouTube isn't your friend.
Google runs Youtube. So, Google is not your friend. I agree with this.
There isn't anything in this world that is not political. Everything is to a varying degree.
Not everything is, should be, or needs to be political.
I mean, part of a journalist's trade is to reach out as many people as they possibly can. Taking stuff down goes in the opposite direction to that.
One does not get to "Organize the World's Information" and do so without exemplary intellectual honesty and regard to morality.
Zero Net does that:
A surprising relatively recent project that is much more usable than Tor onions or Freenet project. All content is hosted in a P2P fashion, you seed all the contents you have visited. If enough people visit your content, you won't need to host it.
So, I write. I write these comments, I promote these ideals. They were pretty common ideals, not that long ago. I try to explain why and see if I can understand the responses.
I'm kinda happy with the way this thread has turned out. I've done this before. This one has seen lots of support and has some great ideas and thoughts. It's much easier when the subject is not a Nazi, but the principles are exactly the same.
I used to blog about politics, policy (election integrity). Even scored some minor policy victories.
Like with indie bands, the challenge is having access to an audience, rising about the noise, finding your tribe (and them finding you). Posting on someone else's site sucks. Groveling, genuflecting to get some consideration (front page!). No different than the gatekeeping role newspapers played.
I strongly support going the solo route. But it's a lot of work. Maybe even 80%. And I sucked at it. And the self-promotion efforts takes time away from all the other activities (research, FOIA requests, writing, speaking, lobbying).
Saving democracy doesn't pay very well. I marvel, applaud the indie bands, err, solo bloggers that somehow keep it up for years, decades.
Trump's FTC largely disagree with you
You might want to read my whole post, maybe the whole thread.
We regulate companies, trying to prevent them from doing things that we deem harmful to people or the society as a whole.
I've seen a ton of people on here (not you; in general) argue that e.g. that Christian homophobe baker has to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, or that the Hobby Lobby company has to provide access to contraceptives under ACA.
So why can't we have legislation and regulations to force "social" networks (of a certain size, maybe) to host content that their operators don't like but is still lawful and legal?
Or they'll always limit their userbase to be below the regulated size. If we're lucky they might opt for federation like email, so that it doesn't break up the ability to reach others easily on other servers.
Decentralized hosting is the best solution.
The existing right to refuse service is currently only limited by very few laws, like discrimination law and some utility regulations. Taking away the right to refuse service will not work well at all
I'm not sure what the solution is, but this situation is not acceptable to me.
So... ZeroNet? https://zeronet.io
Obviously, there should be a place, similar in price and ease as YouTube to where she can host such things, but YouTube is not the place. Ideally the new system will be set up to weed through what makes sense and what doesn't.
What prevents the user from selecting a different video and who is the arbiter of 'what makes sense and what doesn't?'
I suppose those can be rhetorical questions, if you want. To be clear, I suspect I hold very extreme views on the concept of free speech, at least from your perspective. Lest you read too much into that, the speech I'm defending sometimes comes from people who would harm me simply by virtue of my not being white.
In this case, the lady is a journalist. Her reporting included extremist videos. You're saying YouTube is not the place to share investigative journalism because it's highly destructive hate speech.
Youtube has rules about the content they are willing to host and she knowingly violated those rules. Who she is any why she did it shouldn't come into it.
No, it shouldn't matter who she is. It matters that the rules are Wrong.
And no, I'm very much okay with the Muslim posts. In fact, I've watched many of them. The ISIS recruitment videos are well made and have pretty catchy songs.
Alexa O'Brien has a Youtube account with many hours of video.
She also has a google account, drive, etc.
Some of her videos contained material that Google (being Google), didn't like.
Despite the fact that it was all very important journalism, Google arbitrarily decided it was #extremism, therefore #banned.
I would say that 5 years ago I would have been shocked and outraged, but lately I just absolutely am not surprised by Google anymore.
I hope Alexa kept local copies but I'm imagining maybe she didn't. At the very least she is losing all of the views and PR associated with her channel.
If you do have local copies, please try to publish elsewhere!
Google is on a crusade to demonitize any video it doesn't like, so it can keep dwindling ad money flowing to only the people it chooses.
Good luck, how can we help??
What power to we have?
Change our perspective.
These online services which area now beginning to dip their toes into censorship / advertiser-hedged editorializing, are not to be seen as reliable ubiquitous platforms existing for the convenience of all. As much as they perhaps want to be seen as such, their actions belie this.
They are closed niches with particular stances, and their loyalty is never to us, despite marketing.
And we can treat them as such, we will be okay.
Backup your things. Use multiple providers. Use multiple accounts, a burner account for content against their editorial stance, and a longer lived account for other things. Run your own services. If you despise this state of affairs so greatly, form your own business services, and ape to take some of their market.
Tl;dr they are not our friends. Stop expecting them to not betray us, expect betrayal, and keep them at an appropriate distance.
Don't complain. Just start doing it if you want to protect yourself against it. I think github and npm can be included in this.
To upgrade from gmail, you don't even to jump directly to self-hosting. There are pay-to-use email-providers, who treat you like the customer, not the product. Similar services exist for video, etc.
Actually, speaking of that,the new backup and sync automatically uploads photos and backs up USB drives -> what if some of the automatic content it uploads violates their TOS (e.g. an investigative journalists photos from a war zone)
It is extremism. What makes a difference is the people's intention of uploading it. But it is not clearly to me, whether it makes a difference or not, if that video's targeting audience see this video and use it as an inspiration to commit terrorism.
> Google is on a crusade to demonitize any video it doesn't like
I am going to be a devil's advocate, make money out of a platform is not freedom of speech, or freedom of expression. That is why I cringed every time when some Youtuber acts like cry baby that certain video is demonetize crying no freedom of speech while that video is not blocked and had a million views.
it all depends on how much freedom you can stand, me, I want everyone to have freedom to express their views regardless how abhorrent I find them (not saying anything about the person in the article) and no politician or large business should have the ability to stop it. if anything we have a safer society because people have an outlet and also the more dangerous self identify.
What this argument comes down to is "How dare Google pull this video posted by a nice white woman who clearly should be allowed to post it, can't they see she isn't one of those nasty brown people who clearly shouldn't?"
However, what I think Google is attempting to do here, is prevent "ISIS beheads infidels, join now, link in description".
Obviously they are failing miserably at that, and there might even be something sinister going on.
But, that is how I would distinguish between journalist and devout terrorist.
Completely agree (free market), however were it my website, I would make an effort to distinguish between journalism/commentary and actual propoganda.
>They want to be vaguely family-safe.
I agree they are trying, but look at Pewdiepie's video regarding Elsa/Disney videos where the actors were pissing on each other.
These videos were NOT demonitized, and were marked family friendly. Why would Youtube permit and promote this content, but ban others?
>anyone can upload and monetize
In the past this was absolutely true. Now videos are being demonetized and DMCAd and censored left right and center. Not even really hyperbole.
My opinion is that Youtube is hooking up the studios and corporate interests on the site with each passing day.
Every indie creator that is making the really cutting edge content that is merely vaguely inflammatory is being pinched hard, while the corporate studios are getting a pass.
Thank you for your comments :)
Always better to self-host and backup/distribute via the cloud as a secondary method. Easier said than done though.
People really should stop ignoring the TOS.
The only way to deal with this is right regulation to make such terms illegal or forcibly breaking up such monopolies.
Or running a cheap or free equivalent service by a big carrier, but government whatever is being ignored as a solution and nobody else has the clout to challenge Alphabet.
Not by much, once you understand the consequences.
This person asks that she "demands answers."
Since when are beggars choosers? Google is free. Did we really expect a different behavior from them?
Boggles my mind how people keep thinking Google is this benevolent entity hovering over us. It's a company, with balance sheets. Nothing more.
I love how Google handles their customers. They just block/remove without any warning, don't respond when asked and reinstate if they have to without any apology or explanation.
Example queries I've had poor luck with recently:
TVN_DELETEITEM recursive (count how many first-page results contain TVN_DELETEITEM)
ITU T.800 (count how many are about T.800 and not E.800 or P.800 or X.800 or...)
Edit: So someone missed the joke. If the Google removed an article, you couldn't Google it.
Anyway, I finally found something after searching a bit.
the most disturbing part of the experience was what came next: Somehow, very quickly, search results stopped showing the original story at all. As I recall it—and although it has been six years, this episode was seared into my memory—a cached version remained shortly after the post was unpublished, but it was soon scrubbed from Google search results.
If Google started censoring certain political ideas or certain people, there is zero recourse. There are zero ramifications, unless I am already someone important and powerful.
A whole lot of our lives is controlled by unaccountable, powerful entities that could legally ruin your life because it is their platform. But apparently nobody cares about that because "freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences".
My adwords account has been locked for 15 years despite my repeated appeals (they seem to let me appeal about once every five years).
I have no idea why it's locked and no one will tell me nor fix it.
So I have a separate adwords account which annoyingly I cannot tie to my primary gmail account because apparently at some point after it was locked they got tied together.
Despite claims in this thread that Google likes to do things without due process and clear guidelines, the reality is that something like an account deletion is both pretty rare and not done lightly (you'll see that in some of the language in support articles and T&Cs related to this course of action). Product managers and engineers put a lot of thought into how to identify accounts that only exist to provide content that break TOS vs a case like this.
In this case, it's not clear if it's the YouTube account or the Google account that has been flagged for deletion (support articles suggest there is a distinction). Either way, support articles indicate that rationale for the action taken would have been provided to the user.
With regard the "how to escalate?" issue: The company still struggles with corner cases like this. When you're building systems that cater for billion+ users, you have to look at systematic ways to deal with incoming requests such that the set of requests that need human intervention is as small as possible (assuming you don't want a company with millions of employees). At the end of the day, it's a balancing act and I personally feel that Google's approach is sane. Unfortunately that means a small number of users do get a bad experience.
Disclaimer: I worked at Google for over a decade. I am aware of some of the process and legality decisions that go into how these type of things are structured internally. I did not work in the area of abuse or policy.
We've heard a number of stories like this of people who have their youtube videos flagged for various reasons. The lived experience of people who go through it sounds hellish. Their entire digital life on google is suspended and held to ransom by some completely opaque, inscrutable, byzantine process that is not accountable to anyone. There is no real way to appeal, and once deleted there may or may not be any way to recover lost data or have emails sent to your old address forwarded to another account.
If your account was suspended, would you really trust that the knowledge base answers are correct? If you're wrong you'd have no account, no access to your own email address, no power, and no way of contacting anyone at google to help.
If my account was suspended by a machine and couldn't get in touch with a human to help fix it, there's no way I'd continue to trust google's automated processes to get everything figured out. Not when so much is at stake. As someone who's worked at google for over a decade if something happened to your account, you'd be fine - you'd be able to contact someone and get it fixed. But without that recourse, scared paranoia seems pretty reasonable.
Maybe part of the lesson here is that it's simply impossible to scale to a billion+ users.
Thanks for your comment.
I would like to hear from people who work from Google right now. The policies and priorities have changed. Their approaches have changed. It has changed since many people have worked there. I very much doubt anyone from youtube will speak up here, even with a throwaway.
This is not a corner case. Being able to appeal and escalate that appeal are the only possible way to have any semblance of due process.
With 99.9% confidence, I'm saying an algorithm. It isn't unusual for a company to automatically delete accounts that seriously breach their ToCs; the unique problem with Google is that their ecosystem is so large and pervasive.
It is sad to see how far they have fallen.
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14998429 "Youtube AI deletes war crime evidence as 'extremist material'"
As for my opinion I think this is horrendous, that Stallman is right and that Google and it’s staff should be ashamed at this attempt to destroy deep and important journalistic work. It’s hardly like it’s not in character.
I will now attempt to not use Google services which is going to be a challenge.
Your only chance will be getting the account unsuspended before the timer runs out.
Has anyone mentioned this to Facebook? I think they hold quite a lot of information about me, and because I don't have an account, I presumably can't access it.
If Google deactivates accounts then Google loses data. In big data it's best practice to keep everything, discard nothing. Government loses an opportunity for surveillance which could potentially be important. Why would we for example shut down White Supremacist accounts when doing so removes the possibility of keeping tabs on them. It makes them quieter, has a chilling effect and their activities go underground. Where's the benefit in that? By closing "bad" accounts like Right Wing white supremacy groups the public never sees their material which unless you happen to be one of them always discredits them. Censoring these unpopular groups only protects them from discrediting themselves from the larger public and we lose valuable clues or evidence in the event someone is plotting a crime or has already committed a crime.
In this particular story involving Manning, Google shutting down an account with information critical of the government makes Google and the government look bad. It does more harm to their public image than good. This material has already been available for a very long time and nothing new is learned. Why bother to censor? Neither Google nor the government stand to gain anything and only open themselves up to lose.
For all the censorship Google or the government engages in, in practice nothing of substance is ever covered up anyway.
We have a Finnish, for-Finns-only nonprofit community that hosts email, ssh, www, you name it that I subscribed to for €40/y and I'm planning to move all of my gmail business over there. It's easy because I've had my domain for years now and it has been redirecting mail to my gmail.
And I already moved my github pages over. (Github is also having fits for wrongthinkers.)
If/Until the culture changes the best practical advice is to make sure that those few entities are distanced from your message that they won't be pressured to take it down.
However barrier of entry there is still a bit high and they're still vulnerable to attacks, hosts don't want anything to do with them either.
Not free; but you definitely get what you pay for.
Posteo - https://posteo.de/en
Both paid but they are very cheap and don't advertise to you.
Kolab is run by the founder of the European Free Software Foundation, with all that connotates.
Posteo is a German provider, aiming to be totally green and offering at-rest and in-transit PGP encryption and a host of other security and privacy features.
That will be very very interesting...
Where would one host "news" or data that most platforms aren't eager to support for one reason or another? Where do you publish an article critical of the state in countries where the media is state-owned, or critical of corporations that sponsor the media outlets?
This bias problem might be one of the most tricky things for mankind to solve, even though it would seem it should turn out to be equally important for anybody regardless of one's position at either end of whatever spectrum.
HDD is Cheap, SoC is Cheap, We are only lacking the software to have a Personal Cloud where your Photo, Video, Email, or other Files are Stored on BOTH the cloud AND your Home Mini Server. I paid a small fees to have the data on cloud for being accessible and as backup. I was rather hoping Apple could do that with Time Capsule. Since OSX Server already caches your iCloud Files. But I guess most company are too deep rooted into this recurring "Subscription" model they dont actually want you to own anything.
1) migrate videos to LiveLeak.com
2) migrate email services somewhere else.
i don't have a specific recommendation, perhaps some other HNer would proffer a solid choice
This kind of content will require its own network not reliant or subject to the whims of business interests or the rules of any single nation. Infact it's essential this content is not located on platforms offered by increasingly compromised and arbitrary SV companies prone to lip service to free speech when convenient.
There is enough funding in the world to create this than rely on companies like Google and the content should simply move from youtube.
However, for cases like these, where you have videos that are probably outside of the terms & conditions of Google, you should be hosting those on your own servers that you purchase the bandwidth for, not relying on a 3rd party to host.
Yes, Google has mutiple defacto monopolies that are very, very concerning. But one can still self-host on the Internet, and this person should have done that. She has her own domain, so she could have had the video on her own server.
It is easier and cheaper than ever to set up your own web hosting and host this stuff outside of a walled garden where it won't violate a TOS. Google accounts are for storing personal files in the cloud, not publishing important documents to the public.
I'm really tired of google's lies, politics, actions and ethos that they push by forcing.
Lies lies just like facebook and twitter. Same for me.
I know it's convenient to upload stuff to YT but there are other services up there who won't be as arbitrary as YT
That would put an end to most of our current problems with massive institutions like this.
It's a wonderful opportunity to stop using Google-related products and feed more evilness into Google.
IMO google is going too far, but I'd bet thats an automated system and this article will get enough press to stop it.
I post a YouTube video big G doesn't like, then they close my whole Google account. So now my Android phone, all my contacts, call history, purchased apps + music, etc, are now gone? And my nest thermostat resets to factory defaults? And all my AdWords campaigns for my small sole proprietorship. And...so on.
Funny how that never comes up on these threads. I get it you can't discredit your employer. Even at Google.
Googlers do read a lot of hackerne.ws articles and will flag cases like this internally for review where appropriate. :)