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Facebook users in Romania see content related to street protests reviewed (business-review.eu)
828 points by dcro on Nov 27, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 349 comments



I'm a Romanian and I can confirm that posts and accounts have been blocked, probably because of being reported by the other side.

On the other hand, folks, this is a little reminder that censorship is a doubly edged knife ;-) So next time you call for censoring "fake news", think again, because it's not you who will benefit from it.

A couple of years back I was enthusiastic about the rise of social media for informing and coordinating citizens to fight injustice. Now that I'm older and wiser, I can tell you that no evolution or revolution can happen because of Facebook, only regression. Facebook is poison.


>A couple of years back I was enthusiastic about the rise of social media for informing and coordinating citizens to fight injustice. Now that I'm older and wiser, I can tell you that no evolution or revolution can happen because of Facebook, only regression. Facebook is poison.

I'll add to that. The internet is a great tool for coordinating citizens, spreading information, and fighting injustice. Having facebook, or any similar monolithic capitalist behemoth, in charge of controlling the flow of that information, is a BIG regression.

The internet was going to be great. How did it come to this :(


Without Capitalism we wouldn’t have anything like Facebook or Twitter. These services don’t control ‘the’ flow of information, they are entirely additive to what we had before. Arguing that we have worse options for communication now is bizarre.

So what is the non capitalist alternative? State controlled social media services? Really? That would be a better option in Romania right now?

Facebook is far from perfect, I barely use it at all because it winds me up, but it’s a fantastic Communications platform. And of course they shouldn’t be interfering like this, but it looks like they’ve been manipulated by people flagging content rather than deliberately taking a political stance. I’m sorry but this anti capitalism whining, without offering even a hint of what you think might work better, really winds me up. It’s just populist posturing.


> These services don’t control ‘the’ flow of information, they are entirely additive to what we had before.

They very much do control the flow by "personalizing" the content people see and don't see based on how likely somebody is to click something for ad-revenue. That's the direct result of the "capitalist nature" of these platforms; If they can't monetize it, it's of no interest to them, so they try to capitalize on everything, even on users biases.

Surfacing news about how refugees are not raping everything in sight won't do much for a user who has a very clear anti-refugee bias, such a user won't be very likely to click such news as such they won't be surfaced to the user. But if you surface news about how Germany is supposedly on the brink of collapse because refugees are roaming free as raping herds, to that very same user, then you will most likely just have generated ad-revenue.

This doesn't just extend to what kind of news get surfaced, but through the whole system: Suggestions for friends, groups, and whatnot all take into account the individual users known "leanings", in essence creating echo chambers where only people of similar views interact with each other. While at the same time blending out any alternative/controversial view (for that group) by not even surfacing them to in the very first place, as they won't be very likely to click on them and as such less chance for ad-revenue.

That's why so many people are so utterly convinced of their positions: Their social media feeds give them constant reinforcement for their position by only surfacing news, people, and organization who share these position.

Eli Pariser's book "The Filter Bubble" has some very good (and scary) insights into this dynamic.


> Surfacing news about how refugees are not raping everything in sight won't do much for a user who has a very clear anti-refugee bias, such a user won't be very likely to click such news as such they won't be surfaced to the user. But if you surface news about how Germany is supposedly on the brink of collapse because refugees are roaming free as raping herds, to that very same user, then you will most likely just have generated ad-revenue.

It's strange how you - out of all possible kinds of stories that might go viral on social media - choose to evoke a charicature of the mass influx of "refugees" into Germany and its consequences on public order and on the safety of women in public places. This is strange because your view seems to be that a benevolent govenment can protect hapless citizens from fake news stories by censoring social media. However, in the aftermath of New Year's Eve 2015-2016 exactly the opposite happened.

When more than 1200 women got sexually assaulted during one night, on one city square in Cologne [1], not a single newpaper or TV channel dared to break the news in the following 4 days. It was only very reluctantly - when the outrage on social media became too big to ignore - that they started covering it.

Thanks to this coverage it became gradually clear that similar incidents had happened all over Germany that night, and also in other European countries.

It also became clear that the Cologne police was understaffed at that time as many officers were diverted to Bavaria [2] to help manage the influx of a million [3] largely undocumented foreigners into the country. This created a de facto lawlessness in the streets of Cologne that allowed groups of muslim males on New Year's Eve to subject Western women to the same Quran/Hadith-inspired misogyny and violence [4] [5] [6] as women in Muslim countries [7].

Without the unregulated social media (and in spite of its many well-known flaws) the German general public would never have been made aware of these events and of the initial cover-up by the government. On June 30 2017, slyly planned on the same day as the gay marriage bill (which got all the attention that day) [8], the German parliament approved a bill to censor "hate speech" and "fake news" on the internet. [9]

So today it is very well possible that news about another "Cologne-scale" event would never bubble up into public knowledge because now social media are censored just as thoroughly as regular media.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year%27s_Eve_sexual_assaul...

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/06/tensions-rise-...

[3] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/05/04...

[4] https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/women-worth-l...

[5] https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/rape-adultery...

[6] https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/muhammad/rape.aspx

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_sexual_assault_in_Egypt

[8] http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2017/06/world/germany-sam...

[9] https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jun/30/germany-approv...


> It's strange how you - out of all possible kinds of stories that might go viral on social media - choose to evoke a charicature of the mass influx of "refugees" into Germany and its consequences on public order and on the safety of women in public places.

How is that "strange"? I chose that example on purpose because it's as relevant as it's ever gonna be and it's exactly with that topic where these dynamics have become especially bad if not straight up dangerous. At this point, some people are living pretty much in alternative realities.

> This is strange because your view seems to be that a benevolent govenment can protect hapless citizens from fake news stories by censoring social media.

I didn't make any statements along those lines, at all. So please don't try to strawman me just for the sake of derailing this discussion into "Germany is actually on the brink of collapse!". Just taking a look at one of your "sources" (religionofpeace.com, really?) speaks bounds and volumes where you are coming from and what you are trying to do here.

I could now spend time and effort trying to explain to you what actually happened New Year`s Eve in Cologne, how foreign outlets mistranslated the numbers of attendees at the Domplatte with the number of perpetrators. How New Years Eve is pretty much always chaos on the brink of anarchy (the combination of alcohol and fireworks tends to do that), how the term "Taharrush" didn`t even exist prior to 2016, as it`s a made-up term resulting from a word-to-word translation from German to Arabic of the term "Gruppenvergewaltigung" by the BND, and not some "cultural thing that every Arab speaker knows because group raping is just a normal thing over there".

If you'd actually read your own sources, like number 7 about the Mass sexual assaults in Egypt, you'd realize this was a tactic employed by the Egyptian state/government to intimidate protesters and not something that's "just a cultural thing of Muslims".

How the vast majority of these "sexual assaults" had actually been cases of petty theft, where the "sexual advances" are only used to mask the perp stealing the victim's belongings and not actual rapes.

I could explain to you how it`s always the "bad headlines" that spread around, but never reports when it turns out that said headlines had been completely made up, as those never penetrate into the echo chambers as they'd contradict the established narrative of said echo chamber. Like it happened in Frankfurt last New Years Eve [0].

This goes on and on, to "community maps" [1] supposedly listing crimes by refugee but when actually looking through the pins you realize quickly: Many pins are duplicates, many cases don't have anything to do with refugees at all, it's all just there to create and support a narrative in a "shoveling bullshit" way.

By now it's become literally impossible to Google any unbiased news about any of this as the searches are dominated by the same few headlines spread across hundreds of blogs repeating the same tired narratives.

But you made up your mind about the situation already, it won't matter what I say or link here, nothing is gonna change your mind because disregarding me is as easy as claiming that every MSM has "bias" or how the "benevolent Governments" are in on it and now censor all the social media everywhere, hiding all these refugee crimes for their secret agenda of "replacing white people" or whatever.

Tbh I'm simply tired of it all, the hate, the lies, the lies for the sake of creating hate and violence. I wish there'd be an easy solution to any of this, but contrary to some populist claims, there ain't.

[0] https://www.thelocal.de/20170214/mass-sexual-assaults-by-ref...

[1] https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1_rNT3k2ZXB-f9z-2nS...


> At this point, some people are living pretty much in alternative realities.

So true.

> So please don't try to strawman me just for the sake of derailing this discussion into "Germany is actually on the brink of collapse!".

The phrase you put in quotes are your literal words in your post. I never claimed such a thing. It's the strawman you make of legitimate criticism on indiscriminate mass immigration.

> Just taking a look at one of your "sources" (religionofpeace.com, really?) speaks bounds and volumes where you are coming from and what you are trying to do here.

What's wrong with that source? And I'm asking this honestly. You are shooting the messenger here, because thereligionofpeace.com does nothing but quoting the Quran & the Hadith extensively. You can look up these quotes in the islamic scriptures themselves, they are all very real. The only thing the website does is calling out the lies of political leaders, journalists and academics that keep on claiming the Quran is about love & peace.

In northern Uganda there was a guy called Joseph Kony who started his own religion [1]. He gathered a militia and they went off raiding villages, killing the parents in every household and brainwashing the boys into becoming child soldiers. The girls were held as sex slaves. Exactly the same method was used by the prophet Muhammed and his men. This is not some secret double life of his, but is extensively described and glorified in the Quran & the Hadith. [2]

You will not find one Western intellectual who will vow for the peaceful nature of Konyism. Islam on the other hand is seen as some kind of cultural enrichment for the West. The reasons for this form of mass delusion are complicated, and are sometimes grouped under the unwieldy umbrella term "cultural marxism" [3]. Many defenders of Islam have also painted themselves into a corner, entangled as they are in the failed narratives of their initial optimism.

> I could now spend time and effort trying to explain to you what actually happened New Year`s Eve in Cologne, how foreign outlets mistranslated the numbers of attendees at the Domplatte with the number of perpetrators.

Of course some media outlets will misrepresent the events. It has always been like that. But it is also completely besides the point. I like to stay with the Wikipedia account of the events, which is partly based on the findings of an NRW parliamentary enquiry.

> How New Years Eve is pretty much always chaos on the brink of anarchy (the combination of alcohol and fireworks tends to do that),

This is a very ostrich way of downplaying what actually happened. No, alcohol and fireworks don't tend to trigger groups of European men into mobbing women stepping off a train and sexually assaulting them. That has never been the normal way to deal with each other over here. Not on New Year's Eve nor during any other time of the year. This is the kind of behaviour we see during war. And now we see it again in our cities and on music festivals where mobs of muslim men display this behaviour [4] [5] . But most journalists and most politicians are too strung-up with political correctness to be able to face that reality.

> If you'd actually read your own sources, like number 7 about the Mass sexual assaults in Egypt,

I did, actually.

> you'd realize this was a tactic employed by the Egyptian state/government to intimidate protesters

That wild claim is nowhere supported by the source ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_sexual_assault_in_Egypt ). You seem to make this up on the spot. Can you give a citation?

> and not something that's "just a cultural thing of Muslims".

In the West we live in a time of #metoo outrage and manspreading anxiety [6], but at the same time it's still fashionable to look away from the misogyny of the Islam ideology. This is tragically delusional, and reached a climax of absurdity during the Woman's March in Washington [7], when half a million of America's progressives and feminists marched behind a woman who went several times on record in favour of introducing Sharia law into their country. [8]

> How the vast majority of these "sexual assaults" had actually been cases of petty theft, where the "sexual advances" are only used to mask the perp stealing the victim's belongings and not actual rapes.

So if the woman gets robbed in the process we should ignore the sexual assault?

> I could explain to you how it`s always the "bad headlines" that spread around, but never reports when it turns out that said headlines had been completely made up, as those never penetrate into the echo chambers as they'd contradict the established narrative of said echo chamber. Like it happened in Frankfurt last New Years Eve [0].

> This goes on and on, to "community maps" [1] supposedly listing crimes by refugee but when actually looking through the pins you realize quickly: Many pins are duplicates, many cases don't have anything to do with refugees at all, it's all just there to create and support a narrative in a "shoveling bullshit" way.

The existence of fake news doesn't invalidate the fact there's a real problem here.

> But you made up your mind about the situation already, it won't matter what I say or link here, nothing is gonna change your mind because disregarding me is as easy as claiming that every MSM has "bias" or how the "benevolent Governments" are in on it and now censor all the social media everywhere, hiding all these refugee crimes for their secret agenda of "replacing white people" or whatever.

Lots of strawmen about my supposed thinking process. The truth is that I don't try to look at snapshots of the current situation, but at data that is indicative of long-term trends. Such as the data of the Dutch bureau of statistics, that show that crime rates among muslim immigrants actually increase from the first to the second generation [9]. Or the research of Ruud Koopmans, indicating that a large percentage of muslims in Europe hold beliefs that are so radical and backwards it would make neonazis blush [10]. A survey of the British Channel 4 came to similar conclusions [11].

There is no "melting pot" trend in Europe when it comes to Muslim immigration. To the contrary, every younger generation of Muslims in Europe is on average more radical than their parents, and withdraws still further away from society at large. This is already a problem when it's about ghettos within cities. Entire cities however, like e.g. Brussels and Antwerp are now already demographically doomed to have a Muslim majority within a couple of decades. The majority of schoolchildren there are Muslim as of now. There are probably many other cities in Western Europe where this is the case.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Kony

[2] http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/femalecaptives.htm

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_School#Cultural_Marx...

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Are_Sthlm_sexual_assaults

[5] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/03/swedens-braval...

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manspreading

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Women%27s_March

[8] https://www.quora.com/Is-Linda-Sarsour-a-sharia-law-advocate

[9] https://www.cbs.nl/-/media/_pdf/2016/47/ji2016s_web.pdf, paragraph 1.7, "Proportion of crime suspects by background and background characteristics, 2015*"

[10] https://www.wzb.eu/en/press-release/islamic-fundamentalism-i...

[11] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQcSvBsU-FM


> The phrase you put in quotes are your literal words in your post. I never claimed such a thing. It's the strawman you make of legitimate criticism on indiscriminate mass immigration.

I was referring to your statement about what "my view seems to be" in regards to governments censoring social media. I tried to make that especially clear by seperately quoting said sentence.

> What's wrong with that source?

For one that it clearly has an agenda [0], the other one being that I'm very skeptical of any outlet that goes through quite an effort to hide who's behind it.

> You are shooting the messenger here, because thereligionofpeace.com does nothing but quoting the Quran & the Hadith extensively.

"Does nothing but quote the Quran", sure. Amazing how we seem to be looking at two totally different websites because over here it most certainly does not look like the site is only "quoting the Quran and Hadiths". Maybe it's my censored German Internet?

> In northern Uganda there was a guy called Joseph Kony who started his own religion.

I don't even know where to start with this. But sure, I'll go with "Kony invented his own religion" and none of his acts had anything to do with abusing the Christian faith. Do you realize it's exactly that kind of narrative framing which says a lot about your own position? When Kony goes around with his "Lord's Resistance Army" that's a completely "made up religion" and has no relation at all to Christianity, but when ISIS goes around beheading people "that's Islam!".

> The reasons for this form of mass delusion are complicated, and are sometimes grouped under the unwieldy umbrella term "cultural marxism".

You are, once again, not reading your own sources: "'Cultural Marxism" in modern political parlance refers to a conspiracy theory which sees the Frankfurt School as part of an ongoing movement to take over and destroy Western society."

If that's not good enough you then you might want to check out the RationalWiki on that particular topic, they have a dedicated article about "cultural Marxism" that goes into more details [1].

> This is a very ostrich way of downplaying what actually happened.

As opposed to dramatizing the situation by claiming that Muslims go on drunken raping sprees in the thousands because "that's just the thing they do"? A vast number of incidents from that evening, which have been dramatized as "outrageous", are common occurrences during New Year's Eve, like all that outrage over "Refugees shooting people with fireworks". Stuff like that has been happening for as long as New Year's Eve and fireworks have been around, but when "brown people" shoot others with fireworks that's suddenly especially bad and a whole new level of danger.

Which does not mean that I approve of shooting people with fireworks, I'm merely pointing out the obvious double standard at play here for the sole purpose of painting a narrative.

> That wild claim is nowhere supported by the source ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_sexual_assault_in_Egypt ). You seem to make this up on the spot. Can you give a citation?

That "wild claim" is literally the second paragraph of the article...

> So if the woman gets robbed in the process we should ignore the sexual assault?

Where did I say anything like that? I merely pointed out how these large number of "sexual assault" cases come about because in the vast majority of cases they involved petty theft with the "sexual assault" serving merely as a distraction and not rapes. This isn't anything new, in German, there's even a term for it "Antanztrick" [2]. I'm pretty sure there's also an English term for this kind of tactic because it's rather widespread and has been happening long before refugees from Syria arrived in Europe.

> The existence of fake news doesn't invalidate the fact there's a real problem here.

And what might that "problem" be? How Muslims are just "culturally incompatible with Western Values" even tho we literally have millions upon millions of peaceful and productive counterexamples?

Btw: Even tho that was in your previous comment, I still feel the need to point out that Germany's "censoring social media law" didn't do anything new. The laws for that had already been in place, and plenty of use, before they introduced massive fines for Facebook. But even prior to that you could get into a lot of trouble for "sharing" questionable views on any website you run, this would even involve comments made by complete strangers. By German law, it's the one who's running the website who's liable for any and all content there.

Facebook, for whatever reason, circumvented that law, while every private person and business has to moderate their comment sections to keep them clean from defamations and incitement of the people, thanks to a German legal specialty called "Störerhaftung" which has been around for as long as telephones have existed in Germany.

And before you go there: No, that does not mean I support such practices, I'm merely giving context to your narrative of "Now, that the German government censors Facebook, nobody will know about all these refugee crimes anymore!" because it's just that: Another narrative to support conspiracy theories by misrepresenting the facts about the situation at hand.

Is it important to have a discussion about how to properly integrate, or not integrate, refugees from war-torn countries? Sure enough, it is, but that discussion most certainly shouldn't involve sentiments along the lines of "They are all raping cave-men who hate our western Values!" because that's just utter bigotry and it's oozing out of every second sentence you write.

I'm out of this "discussion", didn't even want to be in it in the first place, but thanks for making this comment chain an illustrative example for the dynamics I addressed in my original comment.

[0] http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/07/thereligionofpeace-com-work...

[1] https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Cultural_Marxism

[2] https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antanztrick


I agree with 90% of what you said, but must take issue with your characterization of cultural marxism. Cultural Marxism as I've encountered the term is simply what critics of Intersectional Feminism call Intersectional Feminism, and as political slurs go that seems rather reasonable. Intersectional feminism really does have a lot in common with Marxism if one replaces 'the proletariate' with underprivileged groups like sexual, ethnic, or cultural minorities.

I don't disagree the rhetoric by people who use the term is often overblown, but the basic fact of the critique - that Intersectional Feminism is similar to Marxism - not only seems fair but would probably elicit no disagreement from the people so characterized.


> Cultural Marxism as I've encountered the term is simply what critics of Intersectional Feminism call Intersectional Feminism

That's what it's often used for, but why not simply use intersectional feminism/identity politics? That would be far more fitting and wouldn't carry the same baggage as using an idea the Nazis made up. Imho some people use this term very consciously and others simply pick it up without even realizing that there's quite a history to the idea behind it. Instead, it gets thrown at everything people disagree with:

Education too liberal -> cultural Marxism

Third wave feminism -> cultural Marxism

Government supposedly being "leftist" -> cultural Marxism

Said government not turning away refugees -> cultural Marxism

At this point, it's pretty much become the new "The communists are behind it!", which was always a common theme for Nazis, and certain US conservative circles.

Does everybody who uses it believe in the actual conspiracy theory behind it? Doubtful, but by marginalizing and normalizing the term the Overton window shifts and suddenly the cultural Marxism version, which involves an international conspiracy, becomes that much more "debatable".

It's especially troublesome to see it being used by people who so thoughtfully identify as "Christian", just like a certain Norwegian terrorist [0] who killed 77 people.

Disclaimer: I'm not attempting to silence people for their speech, I'm just questioning the terminology used because if people keep on using terminology like that, after having been made aware of its actual connotations/history, then they really shouldn't be surprised/act outraged when others locate them in a certain political camp. If I'd be ranting about class warfare and how the proletariat needs to free themselves, then people would also very quickly paint me with a certain brush, probably rightfully so.

[0] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/anders-breivi...


Interesting - I hadn't known the history behind the term, I thought it was a neologism. I do prefer the term identity politics myself, but the tendency of right wing groups to call everyone they dislike communists doesn't appear to me any more ridiculous than the frequency with which they are called Nazis. There seems to be an effort in that camp to shift the Overton window to exclude communism with the same prejudice currently reserved for Nazism, and from that perspective 'baiting' the opposition into being too loose with either term is probably an effective strategy.


> For one that it clearly has an agenda [0],

There's nothing wrong with that.

> the other one being that I'm very skeptical of any outlet that goes through quite an effort to hide who's behind it.

You and I use an anonymous account here on this forum too. This doesn't prevent the things we're saying from being judged on their own merit.

> "Does nothing but quote the Quran", sure. Amazing how we seem to be looking at two totally different websites because over here it most certainly does not look like the site is only "quoting the Quran and Hadiths". Maybe it's my censored German Internet?

Are you referring to their claim that islamic terrorism is overrepresented in the terror statistics? There are other sources that corrobate that. [1]

> I don't even know where to start with this. But sure, I'll go with "Kony invented his own religion" and none of his acts had anything to do with abusing the Christian faith. Do you realize it's exactly that kind of narrative framing which says a lot about your own position? When Kony goes around with his "Lord's Resistance Army" that's a completely "made up religion" and has no relation at all to Christianity,

Agreed, there is nothing in the Christian gospel justifying any kind of violence, let alone Kony's war crimes. The founder of Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth, was all about radical non-violence.

> but when ISIS goes around beheading people "that's Islam!".

True. The Quran and the Hadith are full of calls to slaughter "infidels". Dying during jihad is one of the only two things that guarantees access to Paradise after death [2]. The other one is migrating in the name of Allah [3].

> You are, once again, not reading your own sources:

Yes I did.

> "'Cultural Marxism" in modern political parlance refers to a conspiracy theory which sees the Frankfurt School as part of an ongoing movement to take over and destroy Western society."

I think I indicated already that I'm not too happy with the term "cultural marxism". Then again, I don't buy the epithet of "conspiracy theory" neither. I'm OK with quoting sources that I disagree with, BTW.

I think there is a totalitarian trend going on where people get into professional trouble for freely discussing ideas in a scientific manner. James Damore [4] and Lindsay Shepherd [5] are two recent examples of this.

> If that's not good enough you then you might want to check out the RationalWiki on that particular topic, they have a dedicated article about "cultural Marxism" that goes into more details [1].

RationalWiki is anything but rational and the page you cite is a perfect example. By quoting thedailystormer.com and then making fun of it you can make just about any point.

> As opposed to dramatizing the situation

Well the thing is, the events were not dramatized at all during the first 4 days of January 2016. They were kept silent. Without the (at that time) uncensored social media we would still be in the dark about it today. That's an important thing to keep in mind the next time you rail against all the fake news that keeps popping into your view.

> by claiming that Muslims go on drunken raping sprees in the thousands because "that's just the thing they do"?

Again, you're making a strawman of my argument. My point is that sexual slavery of non-muslim women is described as justified in the Quran and the Hadith. In many muslim countries these scriptures are the foundation of all morality since 1400 years, so this mentality is deeply ingrained.

> A vast number of incidents from that evening, which have been dramatized as "outrageous", are common occurrences during New Year's Eve, like all that outrage over "Refugees shooting people with fireworks". Stuff like that has been happening for as long as New Year's Eve and fireworks have been around, but when "brown people" shoot others with fireworks that's suddenly especially bad and a whole new level of danger.

I'm not the one talking about fireworks. You keep bringing up that subject. Which is strange because it is a quaint topic in the face of the mass sexual assault that was happening at the same time.

> That "wild claim" is literally the second paragraph of the article...

Sure, there is a footnote to a NYT account from 2005, where supporters of one political party were mobbing and assaulting women. But to conclude that this must be a government tactic to intimidate women is beyound me. And it's - if you think of it - a ridiculous idea. Does the Egyptian government really have that many secret agents to pull off such a thing? What about the other men that see it happening? And why do they only intimidate women? Why don't they intimidate the male political opponents too? And do they ask the women about their political views first before they sexually assault them? Questions ... questions ...

> And what might that "problem" be? How Muslims are just "culturally incompatible with Western Values"

No the problem is that Islam is incompatible with Western values. The ideology of the Quran violates just about any human right imaginable.

You seem to confuse criticism of Islam with racism towards Muslims. They are not the same thing. Just as criticism of National Socialism isn't the same as racism towards Germans. Or criticism of Maoism is not being racist towards the Chinese.

> even tho we literally have millions upon millions of peaceful and productive counterexamples?

It's a good thing that millions of European Muslims are peaceful and productive. This will make the de-islamisation of Europe all the more attainable. After all, the de-nazification of Germany after WWII was a resounding success too. And the end of communism in the Soviet Union went largely peacefully too. As was the transition away from Maoism in China.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in...

[2] https://quran.com/4/74

[3] https://quran.com/4/100

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google%27s_Ideological_Echo_Ch...

[5] https://www.therecord.com/news-story/7923200-wlu-censures-gr...


They control ‘a’ flow of information.


Facebook has over 2.7 billion monthly active users [0], that's roughly over a quarter of the world's population [1]. Sure, there are fake and duplicate accounts among those, but it's still quite an impressive number and I struggle to think of anything else which has had similar reach and influence in human history.

Add to that the fact that many Facebook users don't even realize they are using the Internet, as to them Facebook is pretty much the whole Internet [2] and I fear the future might be somewhat dystopian.

[0] https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/

[1] http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

[2] https://qz.com/333313/milliions-of-facebook-users-have-no-id...


>Without Capitalism we wouldn’t have anything like Facebook or Twitter.

So, like, three gifts at once?

Though, citation needed. The web was created by public funds, in a European public institution. The internet by army funds, in a US public institution.

What we call capitalism is just a way of organizing the economy that emerged circa 14-15th century (people have almost always bought and sold things, but not in a capitalist context).

Historically capitalism has never been the only game in town (and I'm not talking about communism either).

Whole societies and empires rose and flourished without it -- and they could have just as well created social media too, if they had the technology at the time. They have created tons of great stuff we now build upon anyway.

>These services don’t control ‘the’ flow of information, they are entirely additive to what we had before. Arguing that we have worse options for communication now is bizarre.

Of course they control the flow of information, that's how they make money.

That they don't control "the whole flow" or that they don't hold people at gunpoint to dictate their own flow is irrelevant for what we're discussing.

It's enough that they control a large enough flow, for enough people, to be hugely (and negatively) influential in the flow of overall information.

And of course, they're not neutral to the flows they allow.


Maybe Free Market was meant, instead of Capitalism


Even free market is a recent obsession. Societies historical had all kinds of protections, tariffs, and other measures (heck, not just Italian city states or Rome, the US itself had heavy tariffs, subsidies and such for most of its existence, until they established their economic and diplomatic dominance, and only then pretended like its all about the free market).

That's on top of the cultural, religious, civic and other restrictions on trade in the past.


I didn’t say internet, I said Facebook and Twitter. Both were both founded with VC funds.


That's true, what I said was, we had internet and web without VC money. So who's to say we couldn't have a (e.g. distributed) social net without those? An without the garbage that comes with for-profit social networks (ads, surveillance, etc).


> So what is the non capitalist alternative? State controlled social media services? Really? That would be a better option in Romania right now?

Right here you ask for an alternative, then suggest it is one particular alternative, then argue against that as if it's the only answer. Do you think that's an honest way of debating?


Still no actual suggestion of an alternative.


Here's one: Mastodon [0]. It's decentralized, you can deploy your own instance, and doesn't (necessarily) rely on advertising.

[0]: https://joinmastodon.org/


> It's decentralized, you can deploy your own instance

So it's useless as a social network. Not an alternative.

I wonder when will the anti-centralization people realize that their solutions are not for everyone, and that's why so many people don't care about them.


What about it being decentralized makes it useless, and not an alternative?


It makes things hard for actual users. Centralization can generate trust issues, but it is often damn effective, that's why it's used so much everywhere.


I just signed up for Mastodon, and it was super easy to do. I don't what it could be considered difficult, even for non technical users.


What about both non-capitalist and non-state controlled?


A crowdfunded open source platform?

I don't think you can describe it as capitalist since it's neither privately owned, nor for profit.


That's not an answer to my question. Did you accidentally reply to the wrong comment?


No I suggested a possible alternative and asked if there were any others. All I got back was snark.


> So what is the non capitalist alternative? State controlled social media services?

Come on. More like decentralized, optionally self hosted istances of open source social networks.

Given the amount of politics meddling that Facebook,Twitter Google and Amazon do especially out of the US, i would consider THEM the actual state-controlled service.


Ok, fair enough. Systems like that do exist, but practically nobody uses them. We need an alternative that actually addresses people's need in a way they access. But even in the system you describe, what is to stop biased operators from infiltrating the system and biasing the distribution of messages to filter out opposing views, or generating fake content? How does a system like that maintain integrity? Until you have a reliable functional, usable system it's just pie in the sky.


You're right but at least that pie in the sky is something WE lowly mortals can have a say in. FB/Twitter/Google are black boxes and we have no idea what their real interests are, how they implement/enforce/change the processes that skew the media we consume. Would it actually be any better? Who knows but something has gotta give cause what we got now is definitely broke and not going to be fixed


Of course we have a say. We can choose which services we use, and we can vote in and lobby governments that regulate them effectively.


> So what is the non capitalist alternative? State controlled social media services?

The alternative is not state controlled media, but rather anything other than an oligopoly. For several reasons it overtook IRC, personal websites, etc, but alternatives are not unthinkable.


"Bicameral" board structure in a B-Corp w/ appropriate mission. A blocking vote's worth of "stakeholders" which have predetermined portions of a holdings company (Ben Cohen, thnx!)

Accept capital the same, yet shareholders only have x% instead of x+f*users%.

Make revenue via advertisement, hosting, SaaS; aggregate, anonymize and make available the data. Cloud computing, independent instances + economies of scale for the cohort.

AI assisted web-rings for social media/hypermedia. It would profit-share the popular content creators AND open source contributors.


Sounds interesting, now go build it. Don’t just tell others what to do, lead by example and prove that it’s viable.


Not unthinkable, but all the ones that have been suggested are, either unusable for most people. ‘Install your own server!’ Or quite possible but nobody is actually doing it, and therefore are irrelevant. That’s the thing with Capitalism, it gets stuff done.


>So what is the non capitalist alternative?

Here they are:

https://prism-break.org/en/all/#social-networks


I would go one further and suggest simply hosting your own site.


Yes. Does anybody remember the ancient times there were these things called personal Web pages, and blogs, instead of everything being Facebook page/feed?


Exactly my point. These things all still exist and are easier to get started with than ever. Nobody is holding a gun to anyone's had and forcing them to use Facebook, or Twitter and honestly if it wasn't for this article about suppressing information about protests in Romania of Facebook I wouldn't even know there were protests in Romania. So something seems to be working out. If all this stuff had been posted on people's individual personally hosted blogs I would never know.


First it is a confusion about the condition of capitalism and democracy. Capitalism can function very well in a dictatorship .

Second , Facebook is able to make compromise about free speech because is just a bussiness . If in a country , the usage of facebook is conditionated by the power ,the company will accept the rules of the power because its interest is to make money in that country. You can see china.


Do you have an example? In most dictatorships I know state was deeply involved in the economy, thus making it socialist.

Capitalism requires free markets. Freedom, the opposite of dictatorship.


You'd be hard pressed to find a historian, economist or political scientist who would call any of the 20th century's right-wing dictatorships 'socialist', regardless as to the extent of state intervention into the economy.

Also, free movement of capital and 'Freedom' are not at all the same thing, and don't always exist in the same places at the same time. Capitalism can totally exist where there isn't a democracy. China. Russia. Sure, it looks different from western capitalism, but it sure as hell isn't socialism.


Sure, but to the extent that those economies are capitalist, they are also more free because freedom of ownership and freedom to benefit from the fruits of one's labour are real freedoms.


You mean like “National Socialist German Workers' Party”?!

I always found it funny they call it far right.


That's called branding. The name was chosen to be appealing to the German people, not to be an accurate description of their form of government. Unless you think North Korea (official name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea") is actually a democratic republic, this should not be a difficult concept to understand.


Right, because National Socialism was a system in which a dictator for life ran a single party system running a command economy and police state, with systematic persecution of minorities and dissenters, while Russian Communism in contrast was... er... completely different than that... somehow.



I mean that article goes on and on about how anti-Marxist the Nazis were. They essentially claimed that they were the "true" socialist and Marxists weren't. Much like how North Korea would probably say that they are the true democracy and everyone else isn't.

> Our adopted term 'Socialist' has nothing to do with Marxist Socialism. Marxism is anti-property; true Socialism is not

> The Nazis claimed that communism was dangerous to the well-being of nations because of its intention to dissolve private property, its support of class conflict, its aggression against the middle class, its hostility towards small business and its atheism.[205] Nazism rejected class conflict-based socialism and economic egalitarianism, favouring instead a stratified economy with social classes based on merit and talent, retaining private property and the creation of national solidarity that transcends class distinction.

So they did have their own definition of "socialism" that they met, but that definition had virtually nothing in common with the way that the rest of the world defines it.


I still find it funny that people dare to call the Democratic People's Republic of Korea a dictatorship. Names are sound and smoke, as Goethe said.


> state was deeply involved in the economy, thus making it socialist.

>Capitalism requires freedom, the opposite of dictatorship.

You clearly have some amount of misunderstanding or an active bias/axe to grind. Suffice to say, that's not what any of those terms mean.


Socialism - “a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole“


That definition clearly excludes any dictatorship because a dictatorship is by definition controlled by a dictator, not by the community as a whole.


"Community as a whole" is keyword for the State/Goverment, as the practical representant of the community. And the dictator is/controls the state.


State-controlled markets are not automatically socialist, they can for example be communist in nature too.

Capitalism doesn't require a free market. As evidenced by American ISP's, all you need is capital and the will to have more of it plus the cooperation of the government.

Freedom is not involved in Capitalism nor is it an evident feature of it.


By Capitalism people usually mean the freedom to own capital, the freedom to invest or spend it as one likes and the freedom to benefit individually from the fruits of one's labour. These are all real freedoms.

If we redefine it so that Maoism, Leninism and even Marxism are all forms of capitalism then it really loses it's usefulness as a term and makes it impossible to understand what most people have ever said or written about it.


>These are all real freedoms.

Nah, those are madeup freedoms for humans. Freedom isn't something real you can touch, smell or measure. And it should be mentioned that the entire first paragraph on Wikipedia about Capitalism doesn't mention freedom at all. The only instance of the word "free" in the opening section is in relation to "free market capitalism", a version of capitalism.

>If we redefine it so that Maoism, Leninism and even Marxism are all forms of capitalism then it really loses it's usefulness as a term and makes it impossible to understand what most people have ever said or written about it.

Not really nor did I do these things. Leninism as for example experienced in East Germany was decidedly different to the Social Market Capitalism in West Germany, one is a Capitalistic Market and the other is not. However, there is nothing about the East that makes a Capitalistic Market or even Free Market impossible.


Yes ikea in east germany, a lot of companies collaborate with oppressive regimes from Africa

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/business/...


"Capitalism requires free markets"

I don't think that's true. Under the Nazis plenty of businesses did well despite not having free markets. In the end capitalists want to make money first


A bunch of state-run or government friendly companies making money does not make it a capitalist regime.


Why? There were property rights and people invested their capital to make money. What else do you need for capitalism?


Working Markets. In which you are free to enter, free to sell your products and services, free to set your prices, free to purchase or to refuse to.

The more regulated and less free a market, the less capitalist and more socialist it is.


That was true for most businesses during the Nazi time and it is true in China now. It was also true during military dictatorships in South America. You can't call all of them socialist or the label loses its meaning.


So if people can't posit an alternative, they must never complain about the existing system?


as long as they appreciate their complaining will come to nowt, do it as much as they like


> So what is the non capitalist alternative?

From my understanding, 100% worker owned and operated co-ops that give the average worker more democratic control in the work place.


What's stopping those from starting up and doing the job right now? Sounds great. Where are they? Is there some aspect of the current system that's rigged against them somehow? I know a few of these do exist, usually founded on what was essentially a gift of the starting capital to the collective, but that doesn't seem like a scalable model.


You seemed to have selectively seized on the work "capitalist" in the OPs post. Nowhere does the post seem to be an attack on capitalism. The OP stated:

>"Having facebook, or any similar monolithic capitalist behemoth ..."

All three words together "monolithic" + "capitalist" + "behemoth" need to be taken together, it is not the same thing as the same as just saying "capitalist."

>"These services don’t control ‘the’ flow of information, they are entirely additive to what we had before."

Except they are not additive for groups that never consumed the older mediums in the first place:

http://www.journalism.org/2015/06/01/facebook-top-source-for...


The choice isn't a binary between corporate monopolies or a non capitalist alternative, there is a very wide spectrum of possible 'topias between those two extremes.

Methinks public discourse is overdue for a revival of good old fashioned Aristotelian Virtue Ethics.


The alternative is very obviously nonprofits, such as Wikipedia, who do a fantastic job of serving up the internet's original intended purpose- free information exchange without a catch.


It came to this after Silicon Valley was thrown into a moral panic over the tools they had built wasn't just for Tunis and Cairo, for Obama and Ron Paul, but also for Brexit and Trump.

Moral panics are never productive, but this won't be the time we learn this either.


I'm not aware that Obama or Ron Paul used the services of Cambridge Analytica to manipulate votes. What do you mean by that?


Opt out. Nobody is forcing you to use Facebook. If you think it’s poison, don’t use it. The rest of the Internet is still here, trust me!


> Nobody is forcing you to use Facebook.

EVERY zombie contact of mine contaminated by Facebook is forcing me to use it. This argument is a fallacy as FB is everywhere. The rest of the internet IS NOT still here as almost all content creators are hooked or moving to facebook, youtube and instagram. The only "opt out" available is to tear it down.


Maybe you need better friends


This is for sure but 70% of my country is a facebook zombie.


The internet just increases the amount of information flow - what one does with it reflects whatever their values are.


But depending on how you shape that information flow, you can create pretty weird outcomes because it allows for straight up wrong information to be consolidated in such a way that it might appear "true".

The Internet (social media to be more specific) has helped people with fringe ideas to connect with each other on a global basis, regardless of how fringe these ideas might be. Pre social-media these "fringe believers" used to be so fractured and compartmentalized, limiting their influence and general visibility quite much.

Social media has allowed for these fringe believers to find each other, not just allowed, it's pretty much motivated it by personalizing what content and users get surfaced to them. To put it in not so nice terms: Facebook has facilitated a situation where individual town-idiots unite on a global scale, this allows them to shape the public discourse in ways they haven't been able to before.

Case in point: People throwing around the term "cultural Marxism" these days like it's the most normal thing in the world. When "cultural Marxism" is basically just a reframing of the age-old Nazi conspiracy theory about the "International Jews controlling everything".

Not too long ago you could easily disregard people spreading such memes, as they were rare and single individuals. This doesn't work anymore because the idea of "cultural Marxism" being an actual thing has now been legitimized through massive social media echo chambers.

The sad part is that many of these people often don't even know what they are regurgitating because they get all their information just from their social media feeds. A quick google search of "cultural Marxism" should be able to educate anybody in a matter of minutes, but that would involve effort while "+like" and "share" barely requires any effort and is the far more appealing course of action when users see something that reinforces their beliefs.


Though often that flow of information on the internet is through Facebook and they have control over certain information valves as stated by earlier posters.

In application just because a piece of information exists on the internet doesn't mean folks will be exposed to it. Folks values are reflected, but are also molded by the information that is made readily available to them through there internet habits and social network. If entities censor or place greater emphasis on certain streams of information they can attempt to mold the resulting values of users.


Right. Facebooks effective monopoly is an issue in and of itself- but that’s a separate issue.

Humans online polarize themselves and split into sub groups. (Amazingly the sub groups can end up polarizing themselves.)

Facebook has never dodged the issues forums has faced.

The core issue is human behavior and nature.


For certain topics I find reddit quite good. Yes, there's the hive mind and sub-groups living in their bubbles, but extreme polarization is an emotional issue with individuals(think vegan-harcore feminist-sjw-atheist activist- that thinks everybody not sharing their exact beliefs is a subhuman scum); it always existed, the internet just makes it easier for these individuals to meet. I think I read something from


Alternate perspective (not sure if I agree, just it’s possible) - humans were already polarized and split into sub groups. Now though it is far more apparent because people butt into each other all the time on the internet.


been on forums and modding actively right now.

I've seen polarization appear where none used to be before.

My view is that the web often results in a worst case scenario.

1) Text like books, are permanent - once written, you can always revisit them and they don't get erased

2) Voice is very good for real time expression of emotions you feel. But its never permanent, or easy to revisit. That momentary flash of emotion was never bottled and dissipated.

The net combines the worst of it.

Have an angry thread? You get triggered and write an angry response - and then go away.

Meanwhile, people keep coming to the thread, and it feels like an ongoing conversation - and now they start getting triggered - over and over again.

Its like having people exposed to an anger stimulus, randomly and at mass scale.

So its not just more apparent: It's not just tribe/group discovery - its straight up tribe/splitting and creation.


Governments needs to be aware of the problem before they can suppress it. So, their was a wave of social media unrest, and their likely will be gain however it's going to be on new systems not those who are being monitored today.

The printing press sparked many revolutions in the past, newspapers and radio continued the trend. The internet is just part of a long line of technology that exposes society's discontent.


The internet is simply reflecting the society from which it emerged--a society where wealth buys power, where militarization is an unspoken rule, and where speech rights exist in name only. The internet could potentially help people organize, but unless used deliberately en masse, its inertia will lead for the common person very much in the opposite direction, as we have seen over the past few years.


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Russia is definitely the reason behind every problem in the US, including erectile dysfunction, Facebook, the election, and hurricane Harvey


The person pouring petrol on a fire didn't start the fire.


Think where that petrol has come from. Western world indirectly supported corruption and totalitarianism by allowing investment of stolen government money for decades. All oligarchs and families of Russian officials are now citizens of the US / EU and they're your problem.


As the Romanian government I'd be careful... Romania has a well developed IT sector (especially for a developing country) and they recently pissed off most of the geeks in the country with the new tax code.

I'm also willing to bet that these people as a vast majority weren't voters for the party currently in power.

And the Romanian government is far from having NSA's IT prowess (yes, I know that they botched up quite a few things, but you have to keep in mind that the NSA & US government are playing at an entirely different level than most countries in the world except for maybe China, Russia and 3-4 others). At least on the IT front things the blow back could an order of magnitude bigger than what they're trying to do, clumsily.


> and they recently pissed off most of the geeks in the country with the new tax code.

Interesting, would you like share some more information on that?


It's a new fiscal code that aims to change the way social contributions are payed, but has the side effect of lowering the salaries in the IT sector by about 6%. Many companies are rising salaries to make up for this, but the measure already annoyed a lot of people.


I see. For a minute there I thought this was the catch in Romania's recent impressive economic growth.


My guess is that something about this got changed (2016):

https://www.romania-insider.com/romania-expands-tax-incentiv...


In November that did change.

Micro-enterprise tax

It is no longer possible for any company to opt for a profit tax payer status (16% profit tax rate applied to its taxable profits) instead of a micro-enterprise tax payer (1% or 3% tax rate applied to its revenue), even if the company has share capital of more than RON 45,000.


The well developed IT sector is mainly due to outside investors. If they leave because of the new tax code and the crusade agaist "multinationals", there won't be a developed IT sector any more.


They'll leave behind plenty of educated IT engineers willing to work though.


Yes, mainly in other countries. If the local IT sector goes bust they won't be able to find any IT jobs locally.


> especially for a developing country

I’m not sure ‘developing country’ is the right term here, however I agree compared to Western European countries, most Eastern European countries aren’t quiet as ‘developed’ (disclaimer: I live in one) which I assume is what you meant to imply. Heck even Western/Eastern is bad, because Finland definitely isn’t in the west of Europe... So is there a better term to describe this type of country?


Romanian here and also a software engineer. It is correct, we are a developing country, except for some cities, where the quality of life is equal to the cities in western europe, but they are a few. Also, the IT sector makes about 6%/7% of Romania's GDP and it has only 150k IT workers where the population is 19 mil (2014) with a rate of ~200k people leaving the country every year since then. I'm still here but don't know for how long tho.


I'd rather agree it's a correct term. With such a growth of GDP the country is indeed developing: https://www.google.ch/search?q=growth+of+gdp+romania


> Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

this has been known since a while, giving power to censor is giving out power to control the population thinking - it always come in the name of the greater good and it always get abused half generation later.


For now you may think facebook merely facilitates regression. Eventually we'll see them enable repression. The gap is narrow, when one decides to manipulate people by manipulating the news feed they see as well as selling screen space in that "news feed".

Here is an example of the unfortunate side effects of manipulation: One month ago a dear friend of mine posted an obit for her mother. Facebook did not include it in my "feed." I only found out because yesterday I thought "hey, I haven't heard from K for a while..." and typed her name in the search box.

When revolutions shall come, facebook may hide them from you.


It's funny how people who complain about facebook the most are the ones who treat it super seriously. Or why do you allow such stupid feature as "news feed" to be the primary source of your news and then complain about its uselessness?

Facebook is awesome for chatting with friends, organizing events and sometimes even for posting updates about yourself, for those who want to see them. You don't need the news feed for any of that.


I don't understand, how is missing your friend's post related to enabling repression?


It's an example of manipulation. Facebook removed an important item from my "news feed."


Did they arrange it so that you didn't see that post (why would they?), or did you just miss seeing it, or is it just ranked poorly by their algorithm?

Seems like there's a lot of possible explanations, it doesn't seem obvious to me that it's Facebook's fault/


An obituary is not going to get shared widely or get many clicks (unless it's a celebrity), so obviously it will be ranked poorly by Facebook's algorithm. But it is Facebook's choice to rank content based on click rates and virality, so in a way they did arrange it so that post would not be seen.

"Our algorithm did it." does not absolve anyone of their responsibility in choosing to use that algorithm.


The explanation is that that kind of post doesn't provide as much "engagement" (i.e. likes, shares and in the end ad revenue) as the kind of posts that makes facebook a worse place (click-bait kind of articles, "fake news", gif memes etc).

Something like this happened to me too (though it was about a newborn baby). FB simply decided that some of my contacts are not worth showing up in my feed. Some other instead keep popping up, despite me clicking "Hide post - See fewer posts like this" like mad.


When one of the options is: "Show me the News Feed in chronological order, omitting nothing," [0] then Facebook will not be at fault.

[0] I am aware of appending /?sk=h_chr to the URL. It does not work 100%.


If you do not believe there is a difference between:

_A company controlling what you can say_

and

_Missing what someone wrote_

then it will not be worthwhile for you to follow this subject.


It kind of makes me hope that federated networks like Mastodon catch on more. Hugely popular in Japan for not to dissimilar reasons; US Companies not respecting foreign culture and country.


Mass reporting is a common censorship tactic on Facebook. There are Facebook groups of Muslim activists who mass report critics of the religion to trigger autobans.


I agree, FB/Twitter etc, filters or blocks content which doesn't suite their agenda. Saying from experience as well.


No we all know Facebook and Google are both trustfully truth providers, that actually has been their goal all along. And if they don't know, we can always count on Snopes to tell it like it is.


It sucks that a company is suppressing the will of the people because it's greedy. That said,

> So next time you call for censoring "fake news", think again, because it's not you who will benefit from it.

This line of thinking doesn't lead to a society that tries to make things better than they were before. Personally I prefer reminding people that democracy is a 365 day/ year job. Don't avoid doing things because bad people exist in the world: instead, commit to lifelong stewardship of your community along with your fellow community members such that there will always be a conscientious group of people to try to keep bad things from happening.


bad_user please use VPN in your country!

And to everyone else, Facebook had tremendous oportunity to stand their/our ground and pissed the FTC off with some sort of minute/minutes/hour blackout in terms of net neutrality. Where was Zuckerberg then??? I know when you read it online its just a news; masses won't care. Instead of your profile, if Zuck would put a black page with number to your local representative and inform it will stay for 10 minutes, imagine the outbreak - FTC president would be out of door by then. Instead Zuck did nothing. Truly despicable that was a moment to create history in the name of freedom that Zuck praise his record on. As bad user said -- Facebook IS poison.


wtf, I am romanian and I posted on all international social networks about this event, It's not only Facebook in this world, be creative guys please.


I really don't like that "fake news" became this term that means "news I disagree with". What it was describing at the time it was coming into popular usage, it mostly described "news" sites that in many cases used scripts to generate their content, and for the most part preyed upon far right sentiments. So yeah, we shouldn't censor "fake news" on the premise that it is something we disagree with, but rather whether it is easily verified as false(as many of these were).


"Fake news" came into popular usage because Trump was using it to disparage critical real news. It's a dangerous phrase, trivially dismissing real news based on emotions and critically attacking propaganda based on facts.

Just call things as they are. News, lies, propaganda...


> "Fake news" came into popular usage because Trump was using it to disparage critical real news.

No, it came into popular usage to refer to propaganda supporting Trump which closely followed what RAND Corp. labelled the “firehose of falsehoods” propaganda strategy used by Russia.

It was subsequently co-opted by Trump in the way you describe, but that's not how it came into popular usage.


No, you're completely politicizing an issue based on your warped world view. That's just as damaging as fake news.

Here's an article from 2014 discussing fake news: https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/2014/08/30/large-the-intern...

Here's an article from 2011 discussing the measures taken against fake news (to little effect) since 2006: https://www.freepress.net/blog/11/12/21/truth-about-fake-new...


No. You are seeking out earlier uses of the phrase to support your warped world view, which you accepted from those who co-opted the term. This is very recent history:

https://gizmodo.com/facebooks-fight-against-fake-news-was-un...


Google trends graph shows a fairly recent and step spike for the phrase "fake news"[1]. I'm sure the phrase was intermittently used for some time, but it's current usage send new, and much more popular.

My memory is the same as the comment you are replying to. "Fake news" was a left attack on the media supporting Donald Trump (think Breitbart). Trump and friends then coopted the term to describe the mainstream media and repeated it enough for the term to become associated more as Trump-thing than anything else.

1 - https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=today%205-y&q=...


"Fake news" was a left attack on the media supporting Donald Trump (think Breitbart).

No, "fake news" was used to label news that was quite literally fake. As in: false. Not true. It was not used to describe simply biased reporting.

As others have said, Trump co-opted the term and uses it to describe news that he doesn't like, regardless of truth. Thus, he has muddied the meaning of the term and created a new dog whistle. Brilliant move on his part.

Fake news was generated to appeal to all sides of the political spectrum, but the pro-right literally untrue news was much more popular than the pro-left literally untrue news.

This is a good article on the subject: "Inside the Macedonian Fake-News Complex" https://www.wired.com/2017/02/veles-macedonia-fake-news/

It's opens:

"The first article about Donald Trump that Boris ever published described how, during a campaign rally in North Carolina, the candidate slapped a man in the audience for disagreeing with him. This never happened, of course."


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Leftism and Clinton in the same post is very amusing, America is weird.

I can't really think of anything about her that aligns with leftists politics.


I'm really saddened to see the sort of rhetoric used by the parent on HN.

"Fake News" is a nebulous term, but the real thing people are getting as is these sites that churn out this obviously fake content and/or generate it with scripts that gets shared literally tens of millions of times on facebook.


If you're far enough to the right, everyone starts to look like a leftist.


That is the kicker isn't it. It's the Overton Window in action;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window


Seriously.

In the US they have two parties. Right and Far Right. The media reflects that as well.


The reason people see Clinton as left-wing is because her campaign and the American media used this as a cynical marketing tactic to try and convince people to vote for her. Anyone who pointed out the fact that she did not, in fact, align with leftist politics was accused of practising "purity politics" and of hating her because she was a woman. The New York Times ran an opinion piece telling her critics to "grow up". There was a general feeling amongst the media that there could be no good-faith criticism or dislike for her from a left-wing perspective. A lot of this spread onto social media too, not helped by the astroturf campaigns by groups like ShareBlue/Correct The Record.


You are right. We should be wary of Censorship and Facebook is poison. But :

Facebook is a social media. Social Medias are not limited to Facebook.

Example : https://riseup.net/en


I think the cost borne by propagandists from censorship is higher than those organizing protests like those Romania appears to be facing.

Censoring modern propaganda greatly limits the damage it can cause, while protestors have more traditional ways of organizing their protests.

I am not a fan of censorship but it appears some fraction of credulous humanity requires it to maintain at least a tenuous grasp of reality.


The "propagandists" have unlimited resources compared to the individuals, filtering them on FB is a small battle in a big war. These individuals' "reality" is much more immediately in peril than some perceived danger of your reality being overwhelmed by propaganda. Teach people discernment if you are truly concerned.


Who decides what constitutes a "tenuous grasp on reality"? Is it those who said that Saddam had WMD? The ones who said that the Democratic primary wasn't rigged? The ones who said that it was ridiculous that the US government was spying on its own citizens? If the censors had their way, all of the above may very well passed into history as undisputed facts.


The ruling class decides of course. That's what all the hand-wringing over populist 'fake news' is about. The politicians, media, think tanks, and other powerful special interests are used to being the arbiters of truth, only allowing effective public debate on the narrow disagreements between them. They are as dishonest as anyone else, but have the resources and sophistication to be less crude about it. Instead of outright lies, they usually misrepresent the truth with selective emphasis, rhetorical tricks, and omitted facts and arguments. Now the internet threatens their control of information and they are trying to use their remaining power to protect their dominance before it's too late.


That's exactly right. The powers-that-be are absolutely terrified that they have lost control of the narrative. They have had almost total control over the "public debate" since 1917 when Woodrow Wilson created the Committee on Public Information, the first official federal propaganda arm. Ever since they have used a variety of legal and illegal (from the Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917 to Cointelpro) means to keep an iron grip on public discourse. With the of the internet came the (mostly) free, unfettered, uncontrolled dissemination and spread of information. While this has been of utmost concern to the ruling class for several years now, their total failure with the collapse of the Hillary Clinton campaign, which had the complete support of every establishment propaganda arm, was a real shot over the bow (that their defeat came at the hands of a corrupt, carnival barker was salt in the wounds). These attempts at censorship and information control are a last gasp to control the narrative. Unfortunately, the outcome is still very uncertain, with the power of the propaganda of the ruling classes on full display among the multitudes who welcome their calls for censorship of "fake news".


A couple of good replies have already been written, but I'll add another, using the new gold-standard often used to advocate censorship: The Russians pushing out disinformation to help Trump win the US election.

Millions of Americans weren't instantly converted from open-border advocates to wanting to build a Wall and limit immigration, thus supporting Trump, because of a few Facebook ads.

Propaganda doesn't work in a vacuum. You already need an actual issue to be its catalyst. And censoring anyone who speaks of it, even if it is in an exaggerated way, is probably better in the long run than letting it fester until it really blows up with much more force.

I would same thing for this new idea of hate speech that some people prefer to ban.


And censoring anyone who speaks of it, even if it is in an exaggerated way, is probably better in the long run than letting it fester until it really blows up with much more force.

I'm guessing that this was mangled in an edit and some essential word was left out. Or are you saying censorship is the opposite of "letting it fester", and that if we can prevent issues from being spoken about we can prevent them from ever exploding?


Oh thanks - I did edit it, leaving it even more confusing.

I think censoring ideas will lead to groups moving to echo chambers where whatever issue they have, is magnified into something far more absurd than the original issue probably is. And that inevitably leads to violence.

It's better for society to allow open debate, even if its uncomfortable, than to just ban users or groups, make ad-hominem attacks, and hope it goes away.


I think what many people don't know or understand, is that facebook is not the internet.

So when you write something at facebook you ask a company to host your story under their domain. And as the company is held responsible for what they host, they have to review everything before publishing it.

When we wrote forum posts back in the day, it was no different. If the forum operator didn't like what you wrote, he just deleted your post. So if you wanted to post something nobody wanted on his website you just made your own website.

And so it is today. Unless you want to periodically write hate posts you should be able to find a web hoster or ISP to share your opinion with the world. The only misconception is that because facebook is such a large 'forum', everybody thinks it cuts his right of free speech when facebook does not want to host his opinion.

Yes, I know that many people use facebook as their primary means of communication and that therefore their channel to the world is 'censored'. And Actually I have no simple solution to this problem, as my solution would involve to not use facebook in the first place.

So I think there is a difference between a moderated facebook 'forum' and a censored internet, which some countries have and which is a real danger to the freedom of speech.


> I think what many people don't know or understand, is that facebook is not the internet.

Once, I had a debate online with someone. I linked them an external (non-facebook) link. Their reply was "sorry, my data-plan only covers Facebook".

That to me is very scary. This means that a lot of people like that individual are getting their online content from Facebook's trending news and nothing else.


I wonder what plan that was - wasn't there a "free" Internet thing planned that'd only allow access to Facebook? Time to start tunnelling data.


I have seen plans like this in multiple countries around the world. You buy sim card and have let's say 1 GB mobile traffic per day but Facebook/Youtube/Instagram is not counted into it so you can watch unlimited Youtube videos and use Facebook as much as you like. Quite scary, it will trap people in these walled gardens even more because of how these plans are structured.


My first mobile data plan had 200MB of data + unlimited Facebook usage. This was in France around 2011. It now seems weird with all the net neutrality talks (and vastly improved mobile data plans thanks to the push from Free), but it seemed pretty normal at the time.


>I think what many people don't know or understand, is that facebook is not the internet.

The Internet is whatever people will engage with. That is something the creators and early adopters (30-50 year olds) will have to come to grips with, as we did when Gopher and other protocols were ignored.


People engage with many more sites than just facebook.


You seem to miss two important points: facebook provides a) convenience (most people can't be expected to find a web hoster to "share their opinion with the world", especially in the age of social networks) and b) enormous reach


If you still use facebook on a daily basis, you are in part responsible for what is happening to the free web. Sorry. I said it. I'm getting bummed at the frequency I hear the excuse, "But I don't have a choice, network effects..blah blah blah." Doing the right thing isn't fucking easy. So stop the excuses.


Upvoted you, so this is just a little nitpicky suggestion: your comment would've had more power and less whine if you had omitted the "Sorry. I said it."


I use facebook for keeping track of events. If someone would just make a good replacement for that (that people would use) I wouldn't attribute much utility to facebook.


Do something about it. Every little thing matters.

I just submitted an issue to Mastodon: https://github.com/tootsuite/mastodon/issues/5843


Mastodon has Embrace/Extended the GNU Social protocol, walling-off large parts of the federated network in an act of mass-censorship.

Be wary of jumping out of the frying pan and into another frying pan.


> Do something about it.

While I agree, knowing exactly where to put your weight is more than half the problem.


Haven't heard about Mastodon yet, thanks!


You can still use Facebook and still not be part of the problem if you use it to post anti-social-media articles. That's seems a lot better than just deleting your account in protest.


It helps me organize events and keeping up with events of my friends. Or for just keeping up with friends I can't meet at the moment. It is useful tool. Sorry, I said it. I'm getting annoyed how people like you are always eager to blame facebook for their inability to actually improve their lives with it. It is really easy, so stop the excuses and learn something new. You might realize why people use it and maybe finally appreciate it.

Or learn how to actually make an alternative. No, Mastodon is not even close to it.


As a Romanian what seems to happen is that a large group of supporters of the ruling party were coordinated in reporting the protests-related posts. I think facebook could easily implement an algorithm to detect reporting rings and actually suspending their member's accounts. Just like reddit is doing with the upvoting rings.


> algorithm to detect reporting rings

How the hell is this not a thing already at Facebook? Are you freaking serious, Facebook? And you want to impress us with your lame "AI"?!

Reddit has had ring voting protection for years, and it only has 1/10 of Facebook's userbase.

I sure hope Facebook isn't planning on developing a self-driving car software platform.


Why don't you think they have one? Let's take a second and think about how awful Facebook would be right now if they didn't have the protections they have in place already.

Taking an isolated incident of community reporting taking down some posts and accounts doesn't show in any way that they don't have protections against bot rings. What if it's legitimate users who have a vendetta against the protesters? Obviously, that doesn't make the end result OK, but that wouldn't be some weird evidence of technical neglect by Facebook.


That sure was the case in Ukraine during the was and it's going on on now with Saakashvili. Lots of people just tag everything as porno and user who posted this goes to ban.

When you are trying to appeal, it obviously goes to somebody who should know the language post was written and it happens to be some Russian, who also flags it.


I doubt that this is an isolated incident. I've directly seen a few cases when content that was unpopular with a large group was removed for ridiculously false reasons and heard of various FB groups trolling each other by getting each other banned.


> Reddit has had ring voting protection for years

It does? Is that why reddit is inundated with political propaganda everyday?


and what precisely is the difference between a 'reporting ring' and an 'activist group', algorithmically?


The ring is just an indicator of coordination. Coordiniation of what is left up to the humans.


Isn't mass reporting done by people a form of activism. Don't know why you want to diferentiate, activism doesn't have to be "good".


> Isn't mass reporting done by people a form of activism. Don't know why you want to diferentiate, activism doesn't have to be "good".

Any kind of "mass reporting" should be blocked, regardless of the motivation. The only question when evaluating a report should be is it of a valid guideline violation or not.

The core problem here seems to be that Facebook doesn't have a human in the loop to filter the bad reports from good. Maybe they do have a human in the loop, but that human isn't trustworthy. In any case, their system clearly needs more work.


Reporting rings are pretty common on Facebook


Yes but what distinguishes a reporting ring from a "valid" group of people acting in concert?


When content reported by a group of people acting in concert is manually reviewed (one can dream, right?) and it turns out that it didn't violate the rules on what kind of content can be posted, the group of people is actually a reporting ring, and reports by them should correspondingly be given lower weight.


These people are acting in concert to deny some other citizens what should be a basic right: the right of free speech. There are things that shouldn't be possible to be enabled by popular vote: for example it shouldn't be possible to take the life of a law abiding citizen based on how many people antipathize him. Or to silence one for that matter.

I think that voting rings should in fact be legitimate (because they show that a piece of content is popular within a certain group of people, which is exactly the purpose of upvoting functionality), while reporting rings that obstruct some individuals liberties should be actively banned.


You don't have a right to post whatever you want on Facebook. As far as we know they can forbid everyone from posting and call it a day, it's their website after all.


Ah it's like the old digg days with bury-brigades.


Facebook does this every day. For example, they regularly close Kurdish-related groups and pages at the behest of the Turkish government, and not just Turkish ones; recently there were Kurdish FB groups based in Canada closed as well.


But Kurds, despite having 30_000_000 - 46_000_000 population, don't have a country. And if they're not so organized (this may change in future) states feel okay to ignore them.


This is exactly why I think it's dangerous to have a company like Facebook censor people, even in the name of "fake news." It's within their right to do so on their platform, but I don't think they should. You'll never get it 100% right, and real/legitimate people will end up silenced because of it. I wouldn't want that on my conscience.


Centralization is the real issue here. If people were sending emails to each other, this could not have happened.

Some would perhaps end up in spam, but if you're receiving the "same" message from multiple people, the information itself would eventually came through.


> This is exactly why I think it's dangerous to have a company like Facebook censor people, even in the name of "fake news."

What makes you think this was "in the name of 'fake news'"? It's entirely possible -- and, in fact, much more likely -- that the posts were reported as spam, violent, pornographic, or otherwise abusive. Unless you're arguing that Facebook should throw up their hands and let any content at all on their web site?


It's also possible that Facebook was told to remove this content by the Romanian government. Their policy is to comply.


The actual problem is not Facebook censoring content. It's actually people trusting them not to, and relying on that. "Oh then it has to be regulated", yeah sure lets trust government to not censor what they don't like, what can go wrong.


>It's within their right to do so on their platform

I will add that I think it isn't even in their right. "Private enterprise" or not, you still need to abide by rules, and just as a newspaper has to follow certain laws of press (and being a private company does not excuse them nor give them the right to do as they please), so does facebook, as the controller of a great deal of information, have to follow laws of neutrality and anti-censorship.


Couldn't it be that the Romanian government (or someone who has an interest in this matter) is mass reporting these posts and users?

If I wanted to make someone shut up on Facebook; I'd write a bot that uses hundreds of fake Facebook accounts to report certain users. This would cause Facebook's automated systems to temporarily disable posting rights till they've had a chance to review the user in question. Eventually, Facebook's review teams would review the user and lift the block. But, usually there's a delay between reporting a user and Facebook 's review teams looking into it. Which is enough to shut up a user for a couple of hours.


That's most likely the case. There's even no need for bots or automated ways, the ruling party has a lot of followers which are know to follow orders. Plus, there's been plenty of times when they bought votes and people support.


This made me giggle. An automated bot developed on behalf of the ruling party.

This should take around 100 years, given that they were not able to host a propaganda website without publicly linking to their office's address.


If Facebook was really like a society, it would splinter into a number of communities based on common interests. It doesn't, because it's a farm controlled by Mark Zuckerberg. Farm animals rebel only in books. Facebook controls how and when users interact. Users have no power to cause any change in Facebook. A society of slaves that can't govern itself. Let me know when Facebook has elections.


Nah, let's go back to arguing like Facebook owes us some fundamental rights and so on.


Here is the Archive.org link as it seems the original website is down. https://web.archive.org/web/20171127203202/https://dorinlaza...


It's probably just an algorithm misfiring.

I don't like the censorship approach to combat miss information, I think the problem is digitising social interactions without including the social safeguard dynamics.

What I mean is, the problem is not the malicious information but the lack of accountability for those who introduce the fake information. In a real life, if someone starts a false rumour, although the virility can still happen, when the rumour gets debunked it usually brings punishment to the person who started it.

On the social media, there's no accountability as creating an account and run it programatically is much easier than growing an adult and interact with it in multiple social circles.


LOL, 2 posts about this on HN top!? really!?


Really what?


I think ankhkare is referring to the other discussion thread about this situation. can be seen here [0]

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15790687


I understand that, what it has to do with my comment though? I think ankhkare disagrees with me on a fundamental level and I'm curious about it.


I think he accidently replied to you rather than post to article. See his other CO.ments in context. 5 years...3comments...2 today.

My two cents


Oh, Ok. that makes sense. Thanks for pointing out.

edit: On the other hand, he just commented and apparently that wasn't the case :)


I stand corrected, I am very interested in this.

my mother in law escaped from Romania under communism and has quite an incredible story. I also had a great opportunity to visit and drive those most of the northern (mostly Hungarian) areas this past spring and thoroughly enjoyed the area, the only time I was able to communicate with a local was in Toroczko (far outside of 'city' areas -- might be butchering spelling) where I heard some sad observations about the state of affairs. absolutely loved my time there though.


i just can't believe you think this is 'just an algorithm misfiring'...


Why? False positives happen all the time. Youtube is de-monetizing perfectly legit videos for example.


sorry, the other post on HN was about an article on dorinlazar.ro, which says the same things pretty much and sadly now is down...


This happened as this related article (http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/11/07/facebook-cant-cope-with-...) was on the front page of HN yesterday.


In Russia Facebook has been exploing for a long time. There are sites where you can “buy” attack to specific user and he/she will be blocked or banned. Attacker just report some user posts as racist, pornographic or something like that and facebook blocks user. Moderation of such complaints is absolutely weak and causes a lot of anger and frustration, some people even leave facebook because of that.


I think we need a distributed alternative of Facebook. I wider adoption of https://mastodon.social/ could be a good start...


Been using Mastodon and I can say it is indeed a very good alternative. One reminder to newcomers: choose wisely which server you'll join, depending on your interests. It will influence what and who you'll see first. Personally, I joined mastodon.gamedev.place which, as the name says, is turned for the game development community, however, it won't stop you from following people from mastodon.social, for example.


Be wary of Mastodon. While they were a good idea in the begining, their embrace/extend of GNU Social's protocol, as well as the walling-off of a large chunk of the federated network, is blatant censorship.


This's why we need decentralized networks.


this is legit (I am from RO). more about the news - even the US made a public statement about what's going on in Romania: https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/11/275899.htm


Yet another lesson in how abuse prevention mechanisms are themselves subject to abuse. This is also practiced against LGBT and feminist groups on Facebook, and against critical reviewers and the ASMR community on YouTube.


Facebook should really think about whether they want to piss off Romanians protesting. Christmas is coming.


Sorry, but I don't get the reference. Is Santa Claus Romanian?


A previous Romanian protest led to a show-trial on December 25, 1989. The sentence was execution. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trial_of_Nicolae_and_Elena_Cea...


On an unrelated note, there is a great Ceaucescu-related song in the movie Lachto Drom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS-_W-dOYeo


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolae_Ceau%C8%99escu#Death

I think that, coincidentally, Nicolae would be Romanian for Claus?


Santa Claus comes from Saint Nicholas, which yes, would be Sfântul Nicolae.


It's about this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trial_of_Nicolae_and_Elena_Cea... , i.e. we "trialed" and subsequently executed the Ceausescu couple on Christmas Day 1989.


He, and his wife, were executed so they don't talk. It was not the will of the people, but rather the ones surrounding him in the former regime, who subsequently took the power. Romania, I believe, is the only ex-communist country where the former ruler was executed.


Trust me, the vast majority of Romanians at the time did not mind their execution one bit, they in fact cheered for it. I know because I was there and cheered along. It's hard to fathom the intensity of hate that the average Romanian had for "Dear Leader"


Ceausescu was killed on Dec 25 1989, after widespread protests.


They executed Nicolae Ceaușescu on December 25th.


you can sort of tell that facebook is a company of no principles from its adulatory attitude towards Chinese government and its censorship policies.


It’s not clear to me whether Facebook is in bed with government agencies at a corporate level, or has just been compromised by them, but I have seen active censorship with my own eyes in the UK during politically sensitive periods so this is no surprise to me.


I'm beginning to have doubts about Facebook's commitment to Sparkle-Motion.



Proof that any technology has a double use. Once is good to filter spam/fake news, but in this case the fast spreading of the news is crucial for rallying people to a cause.


and isn't it surprising that anything that is anti-EU is 'spam/fake news' and that anything that is pro-EU is 'crucial for rallying people to a cause'..


FYI this protests are not related at all with EU, this is not the first time when large protests happen with laws that favor the corrupts are attempted to be passed, laws like allowing people condemned for corruption to be able to become prime minster, changing the corruption laws so specific people can escape justice. Again nothing related with EU, migration or whatever you are imagining


How the fuck did you come up with that one...


Welcome to the wonderful world of propaganda. The top voted comments here are praising reddit for cracking down on "upvote rings" when reddit hasn't. Reddit, even their admins, actively work to push liberal propaganda on their platform. Hence why if you go on reddit any time of day, you'll see an anti-trump post.

The hypocrisy of the pro-censorship propagandists is disappointing. But then again, they are only interested in spreading propaganda themselves. They just want everyone to see their own fake news and ban their opponents' fake news.


It's probably just Facebook's AI thinking that protesting against the government is dangerously close to suicide, and so protecting its users accordingly.


Your comment is bad, even for a bad sub-reddit standard, the joke is not funny and the only danger after such protests this days is that the prime minster will have to resign if the protests are not handled correctly.


At the same time, posts filled with expletives but from people pro-government are reviewed as "we didn't find anything wrong"


The whole US MSM (including online) is notorious for not showing protests. Now please don't tell me they're not corrupt.



Don't think they won't do this in America when necessary.


thread i participated in yesterday would suggest about half of HN welcomes it with open arms.


Half of HN are libertarian chuds these days, so it's not exactly a surprise.


FB's openness has begat an unmanageable monster that is going to require a lot of imagination and brainpower to dial down. This is part of what killed MySpace.


this is a well-known tactic, widely used since 2014 by Russian troll factories re: war in Ukraine


wtf, I am romanian and I posted on all international social networks about this event, It's not only Facebook in this world, be creative guys please.

Let’s information to spread in internet graph.


Democracy was hacked!


I chose to believe that this is a side-effect of facebook trying to combat fake news with some lame algorithms and an understaffed department of reviewers, not facebook actively trying to please the Romanian authorities.

But even so, this shows how utterly unprepared facebook is for its role as a de facto news business. A bunch of engineers thinking they are smarter than they actually are unwillingly facilitate the election of Trump, Brexit, genocide in Myanmar, and apparently the suppression of opposition in Romania. And who knows what.

At the end of the day, relying on a social network run by a bunch of college kids, with absolutely no editorial board, no knowledge of any of the news they show, no local presence anywhere, no income except what they generate on advertisement, and worst of all, an incentive and an ability to show every individual exactly the news he wants to read in order to keep his eyeballs for another ad, is a really bad for civilization.

But that's what we have.


> this shows how utterly unprepared facebook is for its role as a de facto news business. A bunch of engineers thinking they are smarter than they actually are unwillingly facilitate the election of Trump.

All of our "respectable" news sources fell into clickbait journalism. You can thank the NYT and NPR for doing their part to elect Trump. Reporting on the latest Trump scandal during the campaign drove far more clicks than "oh, Bernie cares about income inequality. Still. Yay"


When Bernie had his largest rally yet (larger by far than anything Hillary had by then), NPR spent 8 minutes of the Newshour talking about something Trump said, and the reactions people had on Twitter.

They chose not to cover Bernie and while I could only speculate why, I agree with you that they helped elevate Trump’s candidacy.


I don't want to give facebook a pass, but I hate seeing the issue framed as "facebook sucks at news because young engineers" vs the implied adult in the room of traditional journalism.

Facebook has failed at news, but traditional journalism is still in the dog house and is not the default credible alternative. I'll admit they don't do the whole "fake news" thing which is nice, but even without outright lying the bias in what the choose to cover and what public figures they ally with is disappointing. They can grandstand all they want about "editorial independence" and "separation of church and state" but for the most part their bills get paid the same way facebook's bills do.


> but for the most part their bills get paid the same way facebook's bills do.

Yes, and they have a set of checks and balances to deal with that fact. I'm completely stumped why you would discount those checks and balances. Media outlets are all biased in different ways, and I share your disdain for some of those biases. That said, if they are a legitimate news outlet, those biases have little to do with their advertisers, so not sure what your point is.

Care to expand on your complaint?


> if they are a legitimate news outlet, those biases have little to do with their advertisers

I don't believe this to be true. Or at least under that definition I think that there are few if any "legitimate news outlets". I'm not trying to be edgy. I just have zero faith that all of these businesses that make money by advertising have internally created a system of checks and balances such that they write whatever they want even if that will directly lead to layoffs of journalists because they've pissed off advertisers who will no longer fund them.

Maybe a simpler analogy is that newspapers are junkies shooting up heroin (advertising dollars) and telling us "don't worry, we got this under control, it won't affect our decisions".


I agree with your main point.

I would go a step further. Mainstream media outright lies. You're willingly covering your eyes if you think otherwise.

We have our own false truths that we tell ourselves--you probably look at other counties or back in history and think we are somehow different from all of those people in this respect.

The problem they have is that Facebook did not control the narrative as well as mainstream media--as your examples of Bernie and Trump illustrate. However, the "Fake News" campaign will change that and get them in the club with other media outlets.

You can already see media's attitudes towards FB start to change. Today, this article in the NYT seems to tack on a high five to FB at the end--even though FB was not even really (primarily) what this activist was blogging with[1].

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/11/27/world/asia/vietnam-ngu...?


It is those opposed to the demonstrations tapping the "Report" button, and shunting those posts off into Facebook Review Oblivion. The "Report" button on Facebook means the reported post (and by implication, the reported party) is guilty until proven innocent.


Zuckerberg's Switchblade: Make it look like a side-effect of trying to combat fake news.


"unwillingly" should probably be "unwittingly".


It should, thanks!


Or are they playing along to change the story around how much less time people are using facebook but still checking in and how users are counted. It feels like content generation has slowed and most people are only absorbing.

Change the headline.


This is valid but what can Facebook do? What steps should the company take to ensure this doesn't happen? Do they have the capability to fix the status quo? Is there an algorithm that can prevent this from happening? We don't know if this is an issue stemmed from lacking reviewers.


They could quite easily just stop filtering news and give the users the tools to filter things for themselves.


Could ordering posts by "most recent" first by default be a part of the solution?


Interesting idea. I'd love to be able to twist the dials of the algorithm for what I see... But I can't imagine FB would. That would defeat post-boosting.


Every time Facebook has stepped in to "fix" something they have been criticized by one side or another. They have learned that it's safer for them to do nothing and then blame the algorithm when enough people complain. No one gets fired when the algorithm does something wrong.


> They have learned that it's safer for them to do nothing and then blame the algorithm when enough people complain

When Facebook does that, people need to call them out on their bullshit. "The algorithm" and Facebook are exactly the same thing.


Huh. Could you elaborate more on the relationship between Facebook editorial policy and the plight of the Rohingya?


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