For whatever reason they started scouring youtube for “controversial” videos checking if they had ads (no matter how little views they had) then they would contact the advertisers for comment.
Advertisers would initiate damage control and pull their ads from youtube.
Youtube would explain that the numbers and views in question are insignificant and that this type of complex system can never be 100% error free but they reluctantly imposed restrictions.
After successfully manufacturing a story and gaining attention and traffic reporters continued scouring and contacting advertisers forcing youtube to enact tougher restrictions.
They then would extended the coverage to the anger in the youtube community and how it’s tough for them out there with all the latest policy changes.
Rinse, repeat; keep reporting on any video you find disagreeable no matter how little views it has.
Be sure to remind youtube of their power and responsibility after tragedy strikes.
One of the big issues with the demonetization on YouTube is that it's a binary flag -- either "acceptable content for advertisers" or "unacceptable for advertisers." As if advertisers were a single block with a single set of values!
When YouTube is not under an obligation to act as the virtual-public-square (because "they're a private company"), then they are especially vulnerable to defining that "acceptability" either by internal ideological conformity, or by external ideological pressure. Part of the concept of "free speech" (as a doctrine, not just as 1A legal structure) is that it allows for a society where the distinction of "I don't agree with this but someone out there might and so it's OK for it to exist" is a distinction that is possible. Without that, we're left with a world in which expression has to be mediated by the approval/whims of external forces for it to be present.
Whatever strange, fringe things this person was having as YouTube videos, I'd be willing to guess there's some fringe company out there who wouldn't care if they were advertised on those videos. Think of the kinds of advertisers 4chan, Infowars, or adult websites get. Their standards don't fit into a generic mold of "acceptability." But if someone was a video creator who wanted to court such advertisers, what kind of audience would they even be able to build without access to the de-facto public-square that YouTube is?
I don't know how to get there from here. But I think a more healthy ad-revenue model would somehow have YouTube saying "OK, these mainstream videos are able to be monetized by mainstream ads from companies A B and C, while these fringe/controversial videos can be monetized by whatever companies X Y and Z want to."
The attacker videos seemly were mostly about exercising, vegan diet, and some lighthearted videos...
AFTER demonetization, seemly some videos with criticism about Youtube and US, saying that Iran (her home country) had more free speech than US, showed up.
At the risk of drumming up unneeded controversy, it reminds me of when Marine Le Pen in France tweeted graphic images from ISIS actions as a rallying cry against them, only to be charged by the state with circulating violent content inciting terrorism ( https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/01/marine-le-pen-... ). Without proper application of context and judgment, a terrorist spreading propaganda and an anti-terrorist illustrating the terrorist's propaganda would be seen as the same sort of thing.
Of course, there's no simple solution -- we wouldn't want a world in which someone could get out of responsibility for spreading needlessly graphic content just by saying "oh I was just spreading it for educational purposes!".
Can automated processes ever hope to achieve the nuance we need in our societies?
Well, it's not exactly that: it was a response to a comment from a journalist, which could be interpreted as equating the Front National (MLP's party) to ISIS.
I think all speech should be protected (the good, the bad, and the weird). Ideas should die on their own merits.
To be clear - they aren't actually responsible for an active shooter showing up on campus. It sounds like you're saying they could have some responsibility in someone coming to their office with a gun.
The created an environment where people could work hard to create their own destiny while giving themselves the ability to destroy those destinies without cause or recourse.
It was only a matter of time until one of those furious victims took up a gun to get revenge.
> It was only a matter of time until one of those furious victims took up a gun to get revenge.
I strongly disagree that given YouTube's arbitrary policies murderous retaliation was inevitable.
However, your pointing to the economic context of Ms. Nasim's grievance with YouTube is very helpful.
Before continuing, I want to clarify that whatever may have motivated Ms. Nasim to take the actions she took, I believe her actions are ultimately unjustified and unbearably tragic and that no one is responsible for what Ms. Nasim did except Ms. Nasim herself.
Concerning the economic context, the arbitrary foreclosure of a career path where the contractor (YouTuber?) has little to no recourse over her livelihood highlights problems with the unequal power between platform and content generator.
I believe platform owners (like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) have the ability to make matters more equitable. Attempting to make platforms that rely on user-generated content more equitable undoubtedly will present new challenges, but such consideration for the people whose labor a platform depends for its existence is the moral and ethical thing to do.
Giving content generators more power over the monetization of their content is the right thing to do.
EDIT: add a "the"
It's the law of large numbers at work. With how many youtubers there are, and how severely some have been impacted, and how two faced/hypocritical they've been, and the current state of mental health in america I don't think it's rational to believe the risk is zero.
If a company algorithmically fired portions of their workforce every day without even talking to those employees or giving them a chance to appeal, then I would expect something terrible to eventually happen. I would expect that eventually an employee would snap under the injustice of the situation and commit a mass shooting, just like eventually an employee would commit suicide.
Firings/layoffs are stressful and those edge cases happen already. When you add in a feeling of "injustice", then I postulate that those edge cases become a little bit more common.
Ad money provides an incentive to make money, encouraging you to post some video. It isn't exactly a salary paying thing like a job.
Sure every once in a while some kid could become a millionaire posting reviews on toys. That rarely means everybody can or must.
Its also in a way the plight of so many street performers and musicians. When you go to Pier 39 in San Francisco, many performers are on the verge of begging for tips. People don't understand the concept of paying for content, and most of it works like 'Bystander effect'- If I'm not paying may be somebody else is.
Hence the term, "going postal."
That stat doesn't pass the sniff test, so I looked up some numbers.
In 2016, there were 500 workplace homicides in the US. No where near the 2nd most common cause of death.
I should have clarified that I can see how it would seem improbable.
If you get your plans and (faltering) livelihood ruined by some Big Boss Man, you absolutely could be filled with rage, but the chances that you will direct that rage at some random secretary in a wholly other division is nil. You can identify the boss that fired you, you are enraged, maybe you try to revenge yourself and maybe not, and maybe you feel that just telling the world how rotten that guy is, will suffice.
If you're not allowed any focus for your rage because the organization is completely abstracted, those are the conditions under which 'just any employee' might seem like just as valid a target: there is literally nobody available who would seem more to blame.
So, lay off people in person if you want to minimize (a) the chances of an attacker mass murdering just employees, and (b) the chances of that person being completely deprived of any other outlet for their rage. I mean, if they knew who you were they could make a doll of you and stick pins in it. How are you going to make a voodoo doll of 'Youtube'? How are you going to let people go 'My monetization got taken away, and I'm down $30 a month I was using to feed my kid, and it's THAT GUY's fault!'
If you expose only the blameless as a target, you take away the chance for people to vent more productively, just for your own personal comfort. You're a cog in the Google machine, but you've got human shields.
People really like protesting, people like yelling at those who've wronged them, people like finding the boss and giving 'em a piece of their mind. If you can yell at the person responsible for ruining your big plans, you've probably vented that feeling safely. If you can identify some middle manager or CEO as responsible for actions that have harmed you, then you can go yell at that person.
Creating a situation where 'go murder random employee people, as many as possible' seems like an appropriate choice, is actually quite difficult. If you can identify ANY more relevant target for your anger then you focus on that target, and if you can identify other humans then there are a wide range of options for hurting those humans non-lethally (including shame, simple verbal abuse and so on)
YouTube gives itself the ability to destroy individual humans' plans/destinies FACELESSLY. This is in fact the problem with setting up massive unanswerable corporate power as a faceless system. It enables you to abuse people far more than you could get away with face to face, or as a corporate manager publically known and subject to social pressures.
Unfortunately, when you abuse people on a vast scale while giving them no legitimate outlet for their anger, you expose your own people to personal danger to the extent they can be identified as you… since you aren't allowing anyone important to be identified as you. (the scale is important because it means that, statistically, you'll sometimes be extremely unjust to somebody that can be dangerous)
[citation needed, God help us all]
>It was only a matter of time until one of those furious victims took up a gun to get revenge.
Damn, that's a pretty fatalist viewpoint and an odd way to state that. "We updated the ToS, somebody went and shot a few of our employees, oh well, what can we do?". It's very tempting to let the discussion stray into "Americans and gun violence" at this point but I guess I'll stop there.
So, you have a website with your videos, you have proper advertising on your videos, maybe a subscription system setup. What next? Where do you get your audience?
Today the universal truth is that you get your audience on Youtube, and to some extent Vimeo. You just lost practically 100% of potential customers.
You can depend desperately on extra income even if you have a job (or two). “Real career/job” is just not something many people can count on in the US, and hasn’t been for a long time. I strongly recommend that you learn more about this. People are really, really hurting right now, no matter how many millionnaires there are.
You can't act shocked and surprised if a mentally ill person snaps when you've been happily profit sharing that mentally ill persons content and then change the deal.
YouTube/Google likes to think these relationships are all one way and not think about the consequences of their choices and algorithms on peoples lives. I'm actually surprised it took this long for this to happen, it was a morbid inevitability in my eyes.
If YouTube/Google can't understand when money is involved actions have consequences then maybe the whole partner program should be scrapped.
If a business capriciously de-indexed from Google search, I think there'd be plenty of room for criticism of Google. I don't think there's a terribly large difference here. It might not rise to the level of illegality, and it certainly doesn't justify shooting employees, but I do think it's a predictable result.
Please do not suggest 'you can make your own website' is an answer to issues around the management of massive, subsidized content-aggregation platforms. A thing like YouTube cuts off the air supply of competitors, especially when it's run at a loss, and individual web hosts are not remotely comparable.
A victim of a free service? The degree of entitlement on display here is ridiculous. You have no right to the service to begin with, no right to the audience and no right to the income. All you have is the potential, and if you don't like the terms of service you can instead of bringing a weapon to the company you disagree with fuck off and host your own content.
If all business disputes were sorted out by people taking up arms then it would be a pretty wild world.
Think of it like this - does youtube bear some responsibility when creators leave the platform because of demonetization? Of course. Does youtube bear some responsibility when creators make lots of angry videos because of demonetization? Of course. Does youtube bear some responsibility when demonetization is implemented in a way that feels arbitrary to it's creators? Of course. Does youtube bear some responsibility for failing to stand up and protect it's creators from some of the advertisers demands? Of course.
The company makes decisions that affect some peoples lives in a profound way thus they also have some responsibility in the direct and indirect effects of those decisions.
"Maybe if they hadn't been so mean...". News flash: normal people don't go on a shooting spree when bad things happen in life.
This is squarely the fault of a psychologically troubled woman. Discussions about YouTube's monetization policies shouldn't even be part of the story.
Features of the environment that lead troubled people to lash out should certainly be a part of the story.
Why so black and white? I'm arguing for a shared responsibility. I even acknowledge that most of it lies with Nasim just that youtube also shares a piece, I don't think that's really an extreme viewpoint.
>News flash: normal people don't go on a shooting spree when bad things happen in life. This is squarely the fault of a psychologically troubled woman. Discussions about YouTube's monetization policies shouldn't even be part of the story.
Actually I do think some normal people go on shooting sprees when bad things happen in life. The idea that if you commit a shooting you must be mentally troubled seems wrong to me, it allows us as a society to remove our responsibility from these peoples lives. Besides it's not as if being 'psychologically troubled' just springs from the ether. Of course sometimes it can but it can also be caused by life stressors such as the ones youtube introduced to the life of this woman. Take this from Wikipedia:
In 1993, the United States Congress conducted a joint hearing to review the violence in the U.S. Postal Service. In the hearing, it was noted that despite the postal service accounting for less than 1% of the full-time civilian labor force, 13% of workplace homicides were committed at postal facilities by current or former employees.
I'd say that there was something specifically and especially dehumanizing about working for the postal service and that the postal service had a shared responsibility in the fact that this happened. To say that youtube had no responsibility here and that the postal service had no responsibility with it's shootings demonstrates that we can see individual factors at play but are purposefully blinding ourselves to the systematic factors at play. I'm just saying that both play a role in actions like this and that implies a shared responsibility.
When a fit minded adult makes a decision out of his own free will, there's a lot of factors and reasons involved. However, since it's his decision, he's the only one responsible for it.
Imagine if Uber started randomly denying drivers payment, taking away their source of income for arbitrary reasons with no chance of appeal. It would only be a matter of time before someone showed up at their door with a gun.
Only the shooter is guilty of the crime. But YouTube is responsible. And the courts will agree when the victims sue.
Obviously YouTube is going to cave to advertiser pressure and start to restrict what videos can have ads, their whole existence depends on it, and if I worked at YouTube i'd see demonetizing some videos as a welcome alternative to closing the whole thing down.
I don't blame the advertisers one bit from wanting to remove their ads from many videos. Once the media starts playing the game that "an ad on the video == the advertiser agrees with the message" I too would want to do everything I can to ensure that I'm not associated with bad things.
Media outlets are (in many cases) just trying to report on things. They are (correctly) pointing out how many users and creators are upset with YouTube's moves in this case, and how many advertisers are upset about being associated with "bad" videos.
Obviously there are things that each group can do better (YouTube could stand up to the Advertisers a bit more, Advertisers could push back on the notion that "an ad == approval", and the media could stop trying to "stir up" controversy), but in each case the thing that is better for society is worse for that group (at least in the short term). I can absolutely see an alternate universe where people are boycotting Coke because they allow their ads to run on gun videos, or where YouTube ends up losing out to even more money because they won't enact more strict rules about which videos can have ads.
I don't know the answer here, but it's obvious that the current "solutions" aren't working.
Ads are far more than just "approval", they're funding. An ad appearing with a video is funding the production of more, similar videos.
It's quite meaningless to "boycott" a service that you're not paying money for, but people recognise that the modern flow of money around the economy is extremely indirect. This results in a lack of moral accountability. Campaigners aim to collapse the distance between those spending the money and the actual actions that result, to say "are you really happy paying for this to happen?"
To me it seems likely that this person felt that this was the only way they could 'reach' YouTube.
The problem is people thinking they are more important than they are and then going to extreme lengths to make themselves relevant. That's what mass shooters are, people with egos that don't have the influence to match.
This is wrong though. See Valve for a counter example. Steam is also run by algorithms but Valve has managed to give people tons of information on what their algorithms are doing at various points on their store ("this game was shown to you because of X, Y and Z", for instance). The communication problem that YouTube has can be solved by them improving their product and letting creators see more of what their algorithms are doing behind the scenes, like Valve did with Steam.
We'll, people can just understand the algorithms are flawed and not blame the advertisers for having an ad for toilet paper next to an video of someone TPing a house.
Softly (the toilet paper brand) simply deselects 'pranks' as a tag to advertise on.
Why do we do that on youtube when we don't do that on TV? Do we assume that if you're ad runs during <some sitcom> you agree with the jokes in it?
TV just has also built up years of trust with advertisers and have legal departments reviewing all their content while YouTube was throwing up ads in front of ISIS recruitment videos.
Nobody is complaining that ISIS is losing their youtube ad revenue stream, that's a strawman argument. ISIS recruitment videos violate youtube's guidelines so they'd just be taken down, that's not what we're talking about here. What's actually happening is videos that have a dissenting or unpopular viewpoint have their ads removed, with a lot of harmless content caught in the crossfire due to the indiscriminate nature of youtube's algorithms.
Also, the FCC regulates broadcast TV and commercials. you can't simply run an obscene advertisement just because the station and/or station's audience approves it.
Our society does do that on TV and radio. Consider the recent boycott attempts against Laura Ingraham: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boycott_in_support_of_David_Ho...
>Do we assume that if you're ad runs during <some sitcom> you agree with the jokes in it?
I don't think most people actually assume that the advertiser literally agrees with all the content they are running ads on. Rather, I think that people have found that it's an effective ideological weapon.
Going after the advertisers to attack content is a tactic that works. The attackers don't have to literally think that the advertisers are morally signing on with the content, they just have to think that enough people out there think that, and that the advertisers are risk-averse to bend the knee, that it's a useful tactic.
You're thinking the marketing manager at Coke clicking buttons in an admin panel on youtube.
The reality is 3 layers of management inside Coke, 2 external advertising agencies, a brand management company, ad aggregators and 3rd party ad exchanges and resellers, video networks, then youtube.
When the boss at coke sees an ad next to dubious content, it's much easier for them to say "don't advertise on youtube" than "switch this special setting on youtube to avoid controversial channels".
Youtube is taking the "safe" approach by not allowing such advertising at all.
I would be more guarded and say in some cases. The previous comment's accusation that "mainstream" media, televisual, radio, & written, is stoking the anti-youtube sentiment has legs to stand on. Self publishing and social media are their competition and as they are getting desperate they are playing dirty. This is true of both the big players and some collectives of small players (which like those in the Sinclair Broadcast Group are effectively one big player as the individual outles have to tow the corporate line). The hope that moving bits of advertising budgets away from online outlets will mean that some of it comes back their way.
Of course this doesn't in any way make them culpable for the events at youtube's offices this week.
Similarly while youtube's terrible user support (which I'm told is very much in keeping with Google's apparent policy of "like we give a fuck about individuals"), while it may have increased her ire, can't be considered even partly responsible either.
The woman obviously had issues, and they were going to blow up in someone's face sooner or later if not treated. I can't pretend I have an answer, as it is a very complex issue, but a key part of the problem is the lack of support available for those with mental problems, and the lack of ways to protect the rest of society from the fallout when something pushes people over the edge.
Lack of gun control is also part of the problem too IMO (sure she could have attacked with a knife instead, but knife attacks are generally less deadly).
The no-win situation you describe is a prime example of "Moloch."
Is an ad exposure before a "controversial" video any different in its effect compared to "acceptable" video exposure? It shouldn't be. I presume ad-to-video strong association is some kind of established US norm, where you pressure companies to "pull ads" when something offends you. Not being able to pull ads in a targeted manner is unacceptable I suppose, and that great American institution of pulling ads is "ought to be preserved".
Also I don't understand why Youtube went with advertisers' demands -- they have near-monopoly, big coffers and can impose their own rules. Like "You can't dictate at the start of which particular video your ads are shown, only the demographics and some keywords". The current set of rules is giving advertizers the power they shouldn't really have. It's as if the ogranization is willing to implement what equals to advertizers moralistic/political policing of content.
The advertisement pays for the video. Without the ads to provide money for a given type of video, there will be less of them and they will be less sophisticated. Thus, whether an advertiser likes it or not, they are supporting the video content, albeit indirectly.
Also, I don't think advertisers care at all to engage in moralistic or political policing of content. They just want to sell stuff. Being associated with controversial content offends people, which drives away what could otherwise be good paying customers. So they just want to avoid it.
Advertisers pay for ad exposures on this platfrom, not for the video. The fact that some money goes not only for infrastructure but also to the creators, should be considered just a side effect of the need to increase viewcounts, and as a result ad exposures. Any attempt to associate particuilar algorithmically matched ads to videos and vice versa should be considered as a powergrab and an attempt at speech policing, IMO. Which is exactly what media fishing for unsightly associations is doing.
>Being associated with controversial content offends people, which drives away what could otherwise be good paying customers.
I doubt that a controversial video after youtube ads has any significant effect on driving away or attracting paying customers. Your statement requires proof. If viewers willingly choose to watch a video with a controversial topic, it's their choice, and their taste. As for media fishing expeditions "this company's algorithmically matched ad was shown before this controversial video" -- I doubt anyone reads or takes this seriously. At least at youtube video scale.
>Also, I don't think advertisers care at all to engage in moralistic or political policing of content.
Are you telling me people don't want power? Are you telling me ad and silicon valley companies workforce are not all elite college educated and espause particular political views? Are you telling me humanities departments are not basically training political activists?
I'm only explaining the viewpoint of others, not trying to argue to change yours. IMO, you're welcome to your viewpoint, if it doesn't involve harming others. Just understand that it isn't necessarily shared by the various actors in this situation and that if you understand their viewpoints you can better understand what's going on here.
That would be even wider scope for stirring up controversy.
When this happened, total ad spend on youtube dropped dramatically. It was a real emergency inside youtube. Had it continued for any long period of time, I would guess youtube would have been forced to close.
I don't see the irony. Perhaps they are just saying "my content is better, that ad-money belongs to me!"
I’m not a vegan, but I don’t see the point in opposing them. Other than the banter about how in-your-face they can be, do people violently oppose vegans, or animal rights activists? She was upset over a workout video being age-gated: who would oppose that video?
Mental health is no joke. She shouldn't had any access to any guns. To be fair though, I haven't read about how she acquired the gun.
WWII Allies killed Nazis to save humans. They weren't shocked to realize that Nazis were humans.
So yes, that's exactly how it was.
You seem to be confusing respect for animal life with pacifism. Fighting to defend the helpless is company with caring for the helpless. Soldiers kill people to defend their countrymen.
I doubt being vegan is the key here.
Though there is a fair amount of bullying, through ad-homenim attacks or idiots just trying to wind people up for shits & giggles. There are also some with a persecution complex that seem to take even the slightest criticism as a violent attack. This is not constrained to veganism though: there are similarly unhinged people in many walks of life.
> or animal rights activists?
I expect this is the more important factor. Being a vegan is likely a consequence of her strong feelings in this area (the fact that some are highlighting the vegan thing is an example of the bullying I mention above). Animal rights is a very emotive area and some people (a few, but a very active and vocal few) get dangerously passionate about it to the point of losing all view of any other logic or moral sensibility (like not killing human animals).
> a workout video being age-gated: who would oppose that video?
I've not seen the video in question so I can't make specific guesses, but there are a couple of possibilities that spring to mind:
* Some people are very puritan about the showing of skin and so forth, perhaps there was a complaint about that sort of thing?
* Was anything potentially divisive said during the workout clip, even in passing? Given her apparent anger at the world that is not unlikely.
* It could just be someone that disagrees with her views on something else. Down-voting and reporting entirely unrelated content in response to something else is an immature but very common reaction.
Also I don't see the last part about their responsibility in the shooting. Had this been a gun (2nd Amendment) fanatic whose gun demo videos were banned, like many on Reddit prematurely guessed, I don't think anyone would be saying " youtube is responsible for this". Now that it is a woman and she was pro-animal rights suddenly the blame is starting to shift towards YouTube, gun laws, society in general.
The algorithm also seems very poor implemented, like it should give the benefit of the doubt, like if I have 10 wrongly flagged videos that a human decided it is advertising friendly then mark my channel as "trusted" and don't allow the AI to de-monitize the video , flag it and have a human check it.
In the present the algorithm is favorable to YouTube and advertisers and creators suffer.
I don't think they have any responsibility for the shooting. None at all. Whether the videos were demonetized rightfully or not.
That type of systematic degradation always pushes some people beyond the edge but because internet companies are disconnected from their users/workers they've mostly been able to ignore these side effects. This woman's act is horrific but it's also illustrative of the effects these companies actually have on people's lives.
Likewise The Gaurdian's headline about the 'unarmed' guy with a gun is his car, which they were forced to retract by the PCC.
The death of traditional media and "news" cannot happen soon enough.
Anyone that’s been paying attention knows the reason. If you can’t attack free speech, make that speech too expensive. All of the recent controversial issues have one side scrambling to publicly list advertisers - see the March Against Guns tweets about who has deals with NRA or advertises on Fox News.
It’s a horrible tactic that’s very much mob censorship.
People treat Facebook, Google, etc. etc. etc. as if they themselves are "The Internet" when they are publishers. "You" are not publishing content on YouTube, YouTube is publishing your content. Just because they do almost nothing to curate what they publish, doesn't mean the little they do is some civil rights violation. We're learning with the Russia+Facebook thing that there is a fundamental problem with third party corporations publishing and promoting anybody's content automatically.
Nobody claims the New York Times violates free speech when they won't put some radical wonk's opinion on the front page.
If you want to publish your content with your own hardware on the Internet, you can. The tools aren't very good to do it, but you can. When the problem becomes network providers censoring your views, then come back to me.
When your definition of "censorship" becomes advertisers refusing to pay you for your whacky extremist views, your view of freedom has become distorted from the liberty to expression to the freedom from criticism.
YouTube, Facebook, etc. do not owe you publication rights. They are not public spaces.
The threat to freedom isn't non-public spaces exercising their rights, it's the nearly complete lack of actual public space online for anyone that isn't wealthy or a hacker.
The issue is that, unless we have some sort of political movement toward a US-Government funded equivalent of YouTube, there will never be a public space online for the average person. More and more of daily social interaction is moving onto a platform on which everything is inherently private, where there is no public square anymore. I'm concerned about a future where technically you can scream on a physical public streetcorner but have it mean nothing at all in terms of impact on public discourse. "What good is speech if you are unable to make a phone call?" to twist the Matrix quote.
>If you want to publish your content with your own hardware on the Internet, you can. The tools aren't very good to do it, but you can. When the problem becomes network providers censoring your views, then come back to me.
The problem is that there's nothing fundamentally different about the arguments when it comes to the network providers. They're also private companies, why should they be forced at gunpoint to deliver content they disagree with? And yet we acknowledge that having the phone company shut you down for political speech on their phone lines would be an overstep even though the phone company is private.
At a certain point, the sheer dominance and size of some of these social media networks means we should be treating them differently. The fact that, as you say, "People treat Facebook, Google, etc. etc. etc. as if they themselves are The Internet" means that there is a distinction of kind that the citizenry are perceiving. I don't think the solution is just to say they're wrong, but rather to find a way to formalize this implicit categorization into something workable.
It seems like the options are to regulate, nationalize, or build government-funded public alternatives to mega-social-media systems. Other options are to add some better system of decentralization that nonetheless allows users to access the common public pool of an audience and not just ghetto-ize themselves into irrelevance and destitution.
I don't want a federally run YouTube, and I don't want to rob publishers of the right to choose what to publish.
There's nothing preventing a company from selling hardware and software to enable you to publish yourself. It won't be free, it shouldn't be free.
The only "platform" that should be a public space is TCP on the Internet.
There is one problem with two solutions.
Social media giants aren't public spaces.
You can either force them to be public spaces through strict and probably ridiculous regulation or you can create fundamentally different ways to publish on the existing public space of the Internet as a whole.
Except it's not fundamentally different. Much more towards the beginning of the Internet the way you shared information with people was by setting up a web server and an email server. They were yours so there was nobody to censor you.
That creating things yourself action hasn't really moved into the 21st century. It is still possible but ever more the realm of experts.
Actually, no, not at all. The Internet was for defense contractors to share information, and when made available to the public it was for corporations to sell services to the public. All that "free information" propaganda was just propaganda to get the public comfortable with allowing large scale surveillance technologies into their homes and to be carried on their persons. "Social media" is a genius re-writing of surveillance technologies.
It preceded the commercialization of the internet.
Ultimately service providers have to take a stand for free speech and allow both the publishing of controversial media, as well as let people easily filter out what they don't want to see. I would really like to see a youtube in the model of reddit or 4/7/8chan where you can manually segregate by "board" and just not engage with speech you don't like. This entire problem is because each new user content publishing site has to re-learn the lessons from UseNet, except the ones that are popular today want to take away the voice of people they don't like and put them in some underclass that doesn't have access to what everyone else has. Let people pick their spaces, move or delete content that doesn't fit the space it's posted in and warn&ban repeat offenders.
Where does it stop? Does the comment section on my personal blog have to be a public place? If I start a newspaper or open a book store do I have to publish or sell whatever anybody wants me to?
If I start a grocery store can I choose what to sell do the local farmers all get the right to sell in my store regardless of my wishes?
Where does it stop exactly?
> no single person can bear the costs of publishing videos online
I could. I am.
I have a server running Plex in the closet. It "publishes" videos over the Internet. Right now there are only two people who have access to see what I publish.
If I wanted to publish videos myself and let the public consume them, I could. It would take slightly different software, but the server is in the closet already. There might be some issues if something I published got to the front page of HN. There isn't much risk of that.
If the comment section on your blog started to comprise 80-90% of all the comments on the Internet? Yeah, maybe it should,
There's so much distance between your hypothetical and what YouTube, Facebook, et al are doing that it's not even a "slippery slope" argument. Maybe a "slippery Marianas Trench" argument.
Does Congress pass a bill declaring Facebook public? The rules can't be gut feeling, how do I tell the difference between a comment section that is a public place and one that isn't?
If there are two types of things: A which is a public place and B which isn't, how do I sort into those two bins?
"Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble"
What part of the first amendment guarantees me YouTube has to host and monetize my videos?
The government isn't allowed to tell me I can't say something or to punish me for doing so (with the exceptions decided by SCOTUS). The first amendment doesn't mean my neighbors have to be my friends if I use obscene language at dinner parties.
People seem to confuse the First Amendment and the Civil Rights Act.
The Civil Rights Act reached into much less public places and prevented certain behaviors. If YouTube was deleting videos because they were made by black people or Muslims or women, this would be a very different conversation. Religion, race, sex.... those are protected classes.
Freedom of expression doesn't mean your opinions are a protected class. The law doesn't and won't reach that far into the behaviors of private entities. The first amendment protects you from the government, nothing else.
Well, one starting point would be looking at past examples of antitrust action. The AT&T and Standard Oil cases might be instructive.
> What part of the first amendment guarantees me YouTube has to host and monetize my videos?
It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the First Amendment. I think they should either be declared a common carrier (and thus required to serve all without discrimination) or (conversely) they should have their DMCA safe harbor privileges revoked.
"discrimination" legally is about protected classes, and like I said expressed opinions aren't protected classes.
Do you take 'required to serve all' as services without moderation? I don't really want to be surrounded by opinion anarchy.
Protesting is great. Civil discourse is better.
Using your twitter gang to side channel attack the people you hate because you can’t make your point in a direct way - is nothing but intimidation.
You have no problem with this? Cool. Tell me how it’s “the American way” when it turns around on you.
A proxy war between assholes and advertisers is good for no one.
Indeed. Robespierre, Trotsky, Ernst Röhm, and many others could tell you how this winds up.
The fire-breathing revolutionary extremists are always taken by surprise when the new regime no longer requires their services.
Your responses where you assume the political affiliations of the commenters are actually against HN guidelines in that you are not assuming good faith.
It has no resemblance of discourse. It’s just intimidation.
Edit: thought experiment... you really think you’d have the same opinion if some alt-right group was using this tactic to shut out people you agree with?
In the case of the NRA’s sponsors being boycotted, you must be fucking kidding or forgot what happened to Delta, or that the NRA is still doing fine. It seems you are just as low-information as the mobs you deride.
Dude, be honest. You are only OK with targeting advertisers because it lines up with your beliefs instead of allowing all speech and just making better arguments against those who you disagree.
Oh, surely this could never turn around on you!
Laura Ingraham is being boycotted because she decided to tweet a childish insult against one of the Parkland shooting victims. You realize that dozens of prominent media personalities have pushed back against the Parkland survivors, right? Why haven't they been boycotted too if boycotting was as simple and easy as you suggest?
I'm arguing against your position because it seems to lack knowledge of how complicated real world discourse is. The First Amendment bars the government from banning speech; this gives citizens the responsibility to police themselves and corporations. But you're arguing for that to be taken away so that there is basically citizens have no legal recourse against speech they dislike? So how are any boycotts justifiable?
If you were more aware of how things actually worked, you would easily be able to cite boycotts that have gone against left-leaning people. I'll help you: Remember Kathy Griffin? 
Numerous left-leaning celebrities, as well as personalities on CNN, have ripped into Trump. If what you fear was actually the reality, you would have no problem citing successful boycotts against left-leaning celebrities.
You can make a point about government not being allowed to deny groups the freedom of speech, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with private people voting with their wallets to show where they stand in relation to speech that they feel that is threatening to them.
It's not "encouraging a mob" if someone say "Hey, these companies are advertising with bigots and racists, let's do a boycott to show them that we will not tolerate this".
What you are saying is that they should "shut up and dribble"? Stay quiet with their heads low while they are being constantly attacked?
Calling for a boycott when you don't agree with someone is pretty far from "encouraging a mob" as you put.
I'm not sure any of the people arguing points and counterpoints in our society's current free speech debate really value free speech?
I think it'd be a bit more accurate to say that these people value THEIR speech and freedom, not really the speech and freedom of others.
YOU value the free speech of whoever is speaking, but not that of the counter protesters. Who themselves value THEIR free speech, but not that of whoever is speaking.
It's an intractable problem really.
The problem is that some groups have defined "intolerance of intolerance" to be somewhat good, so then discourse stops.
If a bunch of Americans want to yell at each other, they're free to do so. That's what the First Amendment is all about. And that's what I think you guys all don't understand. The government doesn't have to give you pristine conditions under which you can speak, they just have to let you speak.
Unfortunately... they have to let everyone else speak too.
At the same time if those people choose.
That's what freedom is all about. That's why America is great.
First off: In America, 1A free speech means the government cannot oppress you, NOT that private citizens cannot disagree with you and make their displeasure with your speech known.
Second off: Voting with your wallet (a "boycott") is Economic Free Speech. It's Free Markets in their most basic and pure form. The freedom of an actor to associate how they please. Anyone who suggests that we should not be free to spend our money how we please is acting beyond the pale in a free society.
Quite frankly, it's incredibly ironic that those in our society who used to pretend to be "pro Free Markets" and "pro Free Speech" and "pro Freedom of Association" are now howling and crying about people freely choosing to associate with cetain businesses based on their freely chosen private criteria.
And of course: relevant XKCD https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/free_speech.png
TL;DR: Free speech includes the freedom to not spend money with businesses whose speech you disagree with.
Let's back up. Opposition to free speech looks like using power to shut up ideas. Free speech, in contrast, prefers that ideas are best addressed with better ideas.
So GP criticizing tweets is fine. And I think it's a fair thought to consider whether these boycotts are just a combination of free expression and free association or whether they are more like expressions of social power and therefore bullying.
In defense of the latter view, the rejection of NRA funds has been too immediate to come from economic behavior. So we are left wondering what caused the sudden change of heart. GP might argue that it's fear of blacklisting and punishment at the hands of the relatively socially powerful. Though one could argue that each change of heart was genuine and based on a new appeal to morality and ethics.
No, that's absolutely false. Opposition to free speech looks like using the government to censor people. FULL STOP. Shaming people who say bad things isn't opposition to free speech, it is itself free speech to respond to their free speech. You insistence that we should "be silent" in the face of those who say bad things is an assault on free speech IMO, and your "bullying" line is again an attack on free speech. "Don't respond to my speech, bully! You attack my rights when you use yours!"
Please read the American constitution. In America, Free Speech is a special concept and you have ignored that.
>So GP criticizing tweets is fine. And I think it's a fair thought to consider whether these boycotts are just a combination of free expression and free association or whether they are more like expressions of social power and therefore bullying.
Protip: Bullying bad actors is free speech, too. I have no problem with identifying anti-social speech and using social force to reprimand and demand conformity.
This is how you deal with racism and other anti-social behaviors. Shaming. Or if you prefer, bullying.
But you won't catch us with the Paradox of Tolerance. Intolerance of intolerance is vital the health of tolerance.
> ...your "bullying" line is again an attack on free speech.
I think here you acknowledge that free speech is broader than just the first amendment. If it were only about that, I literally couldn't attack free speech by posting some text in a comment on the internet.
> Bullying bad actors is free speech, too.
So the question is "what speech isn't free?" I'd argue speech that moves beyond advocating a better idea. Examples include fraud and threats of violence. Applying social pressure to corporations that give NRA discounts is clearly neither of these. Arguably, a platform for speech (YouTube, HN) can and should use its freedom of association (removing content) to restrict freedom of speech (maybe to prevent doxxing).
> I have no problem with identifying anti-social speech and using social force to reprimand and demand conformity.
I can tell. There's an argument for that, but it's not free speech. You can argue that it's good nonetheless, I suppose.
 See the wiki article about "Freedom of Speech". It's certainly broader than just being about laws and regulations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech
So, any business which wants to support the NRA, who is anti-intellectually defending the gun violence epidemic through the destruction of research and the hamstringing of tools, in my book, doesn't deserve my dollars.
I want the gun violence epidemic to end, and it's pretty easy to see that the the NRA is the number one lobby and number one reason why common sense gun control that is strongly supported by 70 and 80% of the country cannot become law.
My free speech is that the NRA is a terrorist organization, and that any business who works with them and their members aids and abed's the gun violence epidemic, and absolutely deserves not even a cent of my attention or support.
It's MY LIBERTY to not associate with the NRA or ANY business who supports them, gives them aid, gives them discounts, or treats them in anyway better than anyone else.
You would infringe on my liberty to remove my free association and my free choice?
"I can tell. There's an argument for that, but it's not free speech. You can argue that it's good nonetheless, I suppose."
I apologize but you appear to be playing some "No True Free Speech" game where the only person who "knows" what free speech is you alone. I can never live up to your personal, no true scotsman of Free Speech, but I can speak about the American constitution, the American culture, the American concept of speech, and how we practice it (which I have done quite accurately).
That's the most utterly ridiculous thing I've heard today.
In the end, this is one of the "externalities" that get forced upon society when the big companies decide to cut corners on support. Some will... take matters into their own hands. Be it by spraying racist tweets as graffiti in front of the Hamburg Twitter office or by running amok, when they feel desperate enough. Desperation, especially perceived desperation, drives people to really horrible decisions - and demonetizing all videos of someone who depends on YT income for life is certainly enough to seriously mess with people.
This doesn't look like a support issue at all to me.
When I get really mistreated / fooled and can't reach any kind of human support and none of the "robotic" support options work - it's incredibly frustrating. Not to the point where I'd shoot someone, but I've definitely smashed my fist on a table once or twice.
Edit: I was emphasizing that I became irrationally frustrated, not that I didn't kill someone.
You maybe not, but less mentally stable persons or those without any safety net? The US isn't known for good mental health care and also not for a safety net. Not everyone lives a privileged life.
Or, even better: as here the case seems to be that the shooter depended on Youtube as income, why shouldn't she have the right to have her effective "firing" appealed in a proper court of law, like in Germany?
And the right to sue for redress of grievances is covered in the first amendment, for goodness sake. She didn't exercise it.
Good luck trying to sue one of the most powerful companies in history. I wouldn't dream of this.
Now, she probably wouldn't win, because there's no contract here and Google has no affirmative duty to host anyone's video in particular nor to pay them for it. But you can absolutely do it.
You can do it, but who has the resources (especially the motivation and willpower) to drag such a case through the various appeal instances, with the issue that if you do lose, you have to pay the opposite party's lawyer bills? No way in hell I'd risk loading up THAT debt risk.
Edit: I meant if anyone thinks they should depend on youtube ads for income, they are delusional.
Exactly this safety net is what the "gig economy" tries to cut...
I'd imagine a significant part of it is that we live a society where some people can have their livelihood yanked away from them, with no support structure to help them, leaving them desperate and angry.
Youtube and its employees are the victim here. Using this to put pressure on them in the "for the safety of your employees" way is incredibly distasteful.
Addressing the systemic reasons behind hostile actors does not mean "caving" to the actors themselves.
Should we let ISIS take over the Middle East and establish a fascist theocratic state? No, obviously not.
But that doesn't mean we shouldn't carefully consider how the past decades of violent imperialist foreign policy might have played a significant part in the conditions that allowed ISIS to rise, and use that to inform our future policy.
Neither Austin bomber nor Parkland shooter explained why they did it, but whatever they states reasons, the objects of their hate don't necessary have responsibility to obey their wishes.
So no, the "youtube can not demonetize videos" straightforward nonsense is not an analysis of systemic reasons behind this shooting.
Indeed it is not, but that would be a very shallow reading of the systemic arguments made in this thread.
That is extreme, sure. But I have to work hard to not interpreted milder comments that way too. The straightforward reading is pretty much that. The youtube blaming and insinuations that youtube brought it in itself were pretty much prevalent when I commented.
No. The employees are the victim. Youtube? Not at all, save for a day of missed work. Them cutting off a person off their income without any way of appeal caused the whole chain of events in the first place.
By this logic, if employer in right to work state fires someone and that someone shoots the workplace, employer caused the shooting.
Of course not. But there is, more often than not, a common background between all these cases. Recognize and fix the system and prevent more suffering. Shootings are the ultimate outlet, so if you fix the system you automatically prevent loads of more suffering.
> By this logic, if employer in right to work state fires someone and that someone shoots the workplace, employer caused the shooting.
Yes (except for the rare case where an immediate firing is warranted, such as stealing from the employer, sexual harrassment or similar).
There is no obligation to exercise the "fired on the spot". You can as a boss always behave like a decent human being and show your employees at least a fucking basic level of respect. Or you can decide "uh we dont need XYZ any more, even if he's still productive, has worked years of overtime, shown dedication and has to support a family but if I fire him I can make 10k personal bonus that year"... but then I would not be surprised if you'd end up at the wrong end of a baseball bat or worse.
By the way I would advise you to read up on how most of the workers' rights we know today in civilized areas of the planet (right to unionize, strike, illegality of "at will employment", social security systems) have been achieved: through shitloads of blood. If your state still has legal "at will employment", the state is responsible for any avoidable suffering caused by this.
I don't understand the equivocation here. It seems a symptom of the broad inability in modern social thinking to pin any responsibility on individuals. While this stems from our desire to root out systematic issues, which is necessary and important, it should not be the only thing we care about.
In fact, a culture of individual responsibility actually can become a deep feature of our society if we take the time to engender it.
Talking about individual responsibility is not ignoring the systematic issues in society, because a lack of focus on individual responsibility is actually rooted in our culture and hence is a systemic issue in itself.
Because a culture that seeks to blame individuals for problems makes individuals extremely reluctant to actually accept responsibility for their decisions.
Consider how the airline industry investigates after a disaster: They investigate the circumstances leading to each bad decision, and then attempt to change the process such that it cannot happen again. This leads to individuals being forthcoming about their mistakes, and implements changes that actually solve the problem. This culture of focusing on systemic issues rather than individuals has made air travel extremely safe.
That was crazy, but maybe not all parts of that machine were broken. If I genuinely had millions of views on my videos that gave me an income and was suddenly cut off, I would have felt being very wrongly treated as well.
You might want to take some of your individual responsibility and correct your statement.
Tier 1 support is now supposed to dissuade lunatics from murdering people? Are we supposed to construct our society around making sure that nothing, nowhere could possibly lead to a lunatic getting upset at some decision that could inconvenience them?
Losing one's job is not just an "inconvenience". It is an inconvenience in a country with a social safety net. In a country like the US where job loss often enough means direct loss of health insurance and a place to live, losing a job can (and will) lead to homelessness and eventual death.
Oh, enough do. There's a reason why fired people get escorted by security.
A few years ago videos were generally interesting, or at least authentic, ads were mostly uncommon for non-commercial content, and comments were a cesspool.
Today the comments are marginally better, the content is worse, and there are ads everywhere.
The focus of many creators isn't creating useful content, but tricking people into watching or playing on the notoriety of making money itself.
This unfortunate event probably wouldn't have happened if the system wasn't designed to incentivise controversial posts in the first place.
Since it's not their data, they should have tougher restrictions the more data they handle.
It's weird because those online platform are thriving thanks to the ideal of free speech, but they are not public entities so free speech doesn't apply to them. It is very frustrating to see private interests seize the tools people use to express themselves.
As long as online data rests on private servers which are tied to lucrative interests, the internet will not be a platform where you can freely express yourself.
I have always thought that the whole online advertisement model is unhealthy and not a good system to make the internet cheaper for consumers. Ad blockers are a proof of this. If tomorrow firefox or any browser decide to not display ads and consumers go along with it, it would create a big mess.
But, about 1% of me, can't help but note that... well, I think there's a reason for people's tendency to give the perpetrator some sympathy. The thing is, we abstract this away into things like "it's not censorship if a private organization declines to monetize the content you freely publish with them," but... let's be clear about what happens here, at the granular ground level:
1) Company creates a space for people to do work that pays their bills. This is for company's benefit as much as theirs.
2) People do that work, pay their bills. Mutual joy.
3) Company suddenly, and apparently arbitrarily, and without adequate communication, yanks people's ability to pay their bills away from them
Most people that suddenly and apparently arbitrarily go from "paying my bills" to "holy fuck not paying my bills" flip the hell out. It's like a lay-off, but even more inscrutable and un-appealable.
Whatever abstraction is laid upon this at the 10k-foot view, I think people are sympathetic to the fact that YT basically did a really shitty thing to a lot of people (or maybe did a totally not shitty thing in a really shitty way). And, if you do something really shitty to a large number of people, yeah, you run the risk of having done something really shitty to a nutjob. The nutjob isn't a black swan, though: they're an extreme version of the response that a lot of people are having.
So, yes, "organization that did really shitty thing to a lot of people accidentally included violent nutjob on list of shit-receivers," doesn't really merit any lionization of the nutjob, but it's hard to ignore the "really shitty thing" aspect of it. Because it's not a black swan - it's just a (much more) extreme version of the same feelings we'd have if we were in their shoes.
I appreciate you laying out your thoughts, but I vehemently disagree with this idea. Like all terrorists, the shooter's actions were grossly disproportionate to their cause. A lot of people were affected by Youtube demonetization, but only one of them chose to perpetrate a violent act in response to it. That's the very definition of a black swan.
The thesis if my main comment is that media coverage that focuses on these shooters (a) makes it seem more common, and (b) legitimizes either their actions or their cause, which causes (c) more people to perpetrate mass shootings in the future.
I'm not saying that Youtube handles demonetization in the best way possible. I'm saying that taking a gun to the problem is completely off the wall, and that this sort of media coverage just adds fuel to the fire. And that the media coverage is just a mirror to the values of our society. And that I'm frustrated by this sort of reaction, and don't have any recourse other than to point out that there's another way to react.
With that disclaimer, I can't help but feel sorry for her. In the unregulated gig/"creator" economy, someone's entire career - not just their livelihood but their life's work - can be wiped out in an instant. In her case it doesn't even sound like it was intentional. An algorithmic blip. That kind of hopeless, pointless loss would make anybody's mental health take a nosedive.
It's time the government stops treating the tech giants as neutral, private platforms, and acknowledges how big the pieces of society are which they underpin.
1) Something modelled after employment regulation to protect people whose full-time income comes from these platforms. There are tons of rules designed to protect employees which services like YouTube and Uber have been dodging (and actively fighting) for years.
2) Something like common-carrier status to protect the users of the most critical platforms (Google search, Facebook, etc.).
With that perspective in mind, these platforms have (intentionally) maneuvered themselves into a position where millions or billions of people depend on them for some combination of livelihood and/or basic connection with the world around them. That is what makes them good candidates for regulation.
If you never read of the Tunisian man, from wiki:
> Twenty-six-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi had been the sole income earner in his extended family of eight. He operated a vegetable or apple cart (the contents of the cart are disputed) for seven years in Sidi Bouzid 190 miles (300 km) south of Tunis. On 17 December 2010, a female officer confiscated his cart and produce. Bouazizi, who had had such an event happen to him before, tried to pay the 10-dinar fine (a day's wages, equivalent to 7USD). In response the policewoman insulted his deceased father and slapped him. The officer, Faida Hamdi, stated that she was not even a policewoman, but a city employee who had been tasked that morning with confiscating produce from vendors without licenses. When she tried to do so with Bouazizi a scuffle ensued. Hamdi says she called the police who then beat Bouazizi. A humiliated Bouazizi then went to the provincial headquarters in an attempt to complain to local municipality officials and to have his produce returned. He was refused an audience. Without alerting his family, at 11:30 am and within an hour of the initial confrontation, Bouazizi returned to the headquarters, doused himself with a flammable liquid and set himself on fire.
They are obviously not the same, and the Mohamed didn't attack other people, but as people earn a monetary (or just a social) living on more arbitrary platforms, they are conjoining their own fates to these platforms, for better or worse.
If you ask Fukuyama, Niall Ferguson, or many historians how to build a non-dysfunctional state, they will tell you that rule of law and property rights matter. Systems that can easily and arbitrarily take away one's living (monetary or social) are not good for society.
I really don't like the parent article's line of thinking of explaining or justifying this person's act. There are plenty of ways of protesting that don't involve hurting others. And it's mind-boggling that we have to point that out at all today.
It wouldn't be entirely surprising if the impulse that expressed itself via self-immolation in one cultural context did so via mass shooting culminating in 'suicide-by-cop' in another one (vis, the United States.)
One of those 'systems' is governmental corruption, the other is Youtube; the comparison makes absolutely no sense. Youtube is a private company, not a corrupt government. If you're living in the states and trying to "eek out a living" and Youtube steals your proverbial "apple cart", too bad, so sad, go get a different job - they don't exist as a platform to ensure people get paid, people getting paid is a side effect of them existing. If it doesn't work for you, find other work.
To compare them indicates a level of myopia and entitlement that is profoundly distressing.
Youtube is not infrastructure; if you don't like their policies, use a different service. Start a competitor. You pay the server time.
At this point it should be to hard to argue that YouTube is infrastructure.
Same as railway tracks, same as water pipes.
You might lay your own but most societies have made rules to make sure we don't need that and can instead use the exiting tracks and pipes.
That might soon happen to YouTube and others if they aren't careful.
> use a different service
What service is there for video creators that has a similar reach? In terms of short internet video, Youtube is a de facto monopoly. Moving to other platforms means giving up basically your entire viewership. Realistically, there is currently no "different service".
> Start a competitor
Now, it's up to me to say "you can't be serious". That's not really an option for somebody who makes a living with videos.
I think this and Cambridge Analytica means that we're finally entering an era in which the public is conscientious of the fact that the massive power wielded by "big data" platforms, combined with the lack of transparency, has tangible adverse effects.
Hopefully this paves the way for more transparent (and beneficent) visibility into how such data is consumed and used, possibly by using public utility-like regulation .
The most noteworthy part of the article to me, granted that this excerpt is taken from a different San Jose news source.
Could this have been prevented? Should the father's comments have been enough reasonable suspicion to arrest her, or at least search her for firearms and confiscate them, given her threat level to society?
Edit: The replies do offer good points, so thank you! I'm personally a supporter of the Second Amendment as well; it's just heartbreaking, especially if any of the victims die, to know just how close we were to stopping it.
Not from the information in this article. That would mean any adult who gets upset, and goes on a roadtrip without telling their family, could get arrested. If the missing persons report noted that she could be dangerous, then that's a different story.
During this, the police and mental health workers were able to convince him to give up his gun.
This was about 6 years ago and as far as anyone knows, he hasn’t re-armed himself.
I guess my point: If you have a gun, you may feel justified in using it to solve your problems with violence (suicide or other). If you don’t have a gun, the friction of acquiring one could be sufficient to deter you from trying to get one.
Unfortunately there are also plenty of counter examples where law enforcement was alerted and nothing happened.
Presumably having the first gun confiscated would prevent that in the background check.
I wonder how long she had this gun and where it came from.
But, if we are to judge on the words alone, nothing in that phrasing says "mass shooting in the offing." Most people who go to the offices of a company they have a grievance with are going there to complain or raise a ruckus, not start shooting folks. As evidenced by, you know, the extremely anomalous nature of this shooting.
("extremely anomalous" as in "mass shooting of a corporation you're unhappy with", not just "mass shooting," because those are a popular pastime in the US.)
Most small YouTubers that monetized their accounts have no other revenue streams with adSense. So when YouTube cancelled their YouTube Partner Program these people wound up with stagnant adSense accounts that were probably below the payout threshold. I tried in vain to get YT to pay out my adSense account because there would be no way for me to ever hit the payout threshold. I tried to explain that there is no difference between holding my money in escrow forever and stealing my money, but the YT reps (who were very unhelpful when I asked for resources to cancel YT Red) largely blew me off and insisted that the money was mine without recognizing that they would never let it out of their possession.
It really was a sly trick and not at all in keeping with the "Don't be evil" mantra.
The company then decided to cut the producers of the content in on the advertising income. Some of those have apparently taken this to mean that they have an inalienable right to this income, to the point where they will take out their entitlement complexes on the employees of the company.
The terms of service are pretty clear about all this too.
If you want control over your content and you want to get all the advertising income associated with your content set up your own bloody server and leave youtube and it's employees alone.
On another note: I hate fanatics, no matter of what plumage.
Edit: And I hate their apologists as well.
Whether it is Youtube, Facebook, Twitch, Medium or any other user generated content site you give up control the moment you start using them and you are essentially working for whatever crumbs they decide to throw your way.
Being fired in many countries actually does come with a whole pile of assurances about your continued income, but it is ridiculous to compare the situation of a content producer on a free platform with the one of a salaried employee.
And to take that anger out on the employees of Youtube is utterly ridiculous, if you feel that there is some form of breach of contract then the courts would be your avenue to seek redress.
He clearly mentioned that YouTube is already doing great service to people by hosting their videos, providing serving infrastructure and content discoverability.
The fact that people seem to be, to the extent, expect YouTube to pay them, instead of being thankful to all the free stuff YT provides itself feels wrong here.
Are they wrong? It's only a matter of time until lots of bad things happen. Still bad, still going to happen.
This is a Burning-man-sized strawman.
In any case, using loaded language doesn't change the validity of the argument.
No, no it's not.
Even AWS customers who don't have a contract (like reserved instances or an Enterprise Agreement) may not have any claim to receive ongoing service.
Business disputes are as old as businesses and we have ways to resolve those disputes: the courts.
And be sure to read the fine print of any service or company that you are going to do business with if your business will be dependent on that other party. Avoid such dependencies as much as possible.
So yes, signing up with AWS is a calculated risk. You should know the possible downsides of that decision, and you should be aware of your position, rights and obligations as well as the terms of service.
Most of society actually works like this, and we somehow manage to muddle through without shooting each other most of the time.
If you allow yourself to be locked in to your hosting provider you are doing it wrong.
AWS is very clever about this but it is still your decision on whether or not you allow yourself to be suckered in. I point this out with some regularity to the companies I look at.
Practically, when you have a business dispute with a major corporation, your only option is to give up.
In Europe the courts are still accessible for companies that do not have millions of $.
AWS on the other hand has plenty of competition, as long as you don't willingly lock yourself into their platform you'll be fine.
It's a mall with a large number of people flowing through it rather than just a content distribution engine.
She snapped, identified the target of her rage, and took violent revenge.
However, it could be helpful to understand Ms. Nasim's motivations insofar as they stem from losing a source of revenue to which she had no entitlement.
To that end, our collective social good might be promoted by platform owners like YouTube giving content-generators greater say over the monetization of their content.
This is not an apology and I accord no blame for Ms. Nasim's actions to YouTube. Mine is just a suggestion that Ms. Nasim had an unjustified grievance which might have been alleviated by giving more agency to the content-generators upon whom platforms such as YouTube depend.
EDIT: add "insofar"
What insurances that are not part of earning nothing from youtube?
> And to take that anger out on the employees of Youtube is utterly ridiculous
So? The same is true for any sort of anger from between partners to countries. Even if someone has been laid off. If a person can literally shoot someone, then this advice won't have the ears.
Sure, and having an at-will employment contract, which is what almost all YC companies offer, isn't something you should count on either. So I fail to comprehend your attempt to distinguish.
So the service-provider service-consumer relationship is inverted.
(Thanks for the recommendation in any case.)
Funny, outside of the US even in countries with high unemployment nobody goes around and shoots anyone.
I can't speak for the culture of other countries, but Americans have a deep-seated sense of worth tied to profession. Having your livelihood stripped raises existential questions about whether you have any value as an American (to understand this phenomenon better, it may be worth also comparing suicide rates in the US after a job loss to suicide rates in other cultures in similar situations).
... but in addition, the US has a pretty deep-seated cultural mythos that when your worth is taken by someone, you take it back, using violence if necessary. Witness the Revolutionary War and the recent phenomenon of a conservative political group naming itself after an economic rebellion against the East India Company.
What point are you trying to make then? People get angry because they feel it's unfair, so...?
EDIT: many people are upset by the panhandling comparison. I just meant that as a juxtaposition to those saying "it's like being fired". It was meant as an analogy - no intent to insult anyone (YouTubers and beggars alike). A better analogy would be a musician who was paid to perform in a bar, and the bar owner tells them "you can still play here all you want, but we're no longer going to pay you." (mind you - they are not saying "you have to continue playing here and do it for free")
I agree that they should realize it's a volatile system and prepare for downswings, but that doesn't make them beggars.
There are many popular creators on YouTube earning an honest full-time living from the YouTube platform, some even have more lucrative relationships with YouTube(e.g. Slo Mo Guys, Vsauce). It's hyperbole to compare them to beggars on the street. Is that income absolutely secure? No, but that seems to kinda be the trend we're heading towards, where fewer jobs provide income security. Should YouTube be more open and transparent about demonetizing content? Yes, especially considering their effective monopoly on the indie video-on-demand scene, and parent Google's effective monopoly on internet ads.
I'm not trying to make a dig at anyone - I'm describing reality and it's upsetting a lot of people who feel entitled to ad revenue. I honestly hope YouTube just does away with their partner program altogether.
As for YouTube careers - I couldn't agree more that many creators are full-time and put their time and energy into making content. The Slo Mo Guys, VSauce, etc are all making money outside of Adsense. They've done what Philip Defranco often tells people to do - diversify where you're getting your money from.
My whole point is that being a YouTube creator or a blogger is a perfectly fine profession - but that requires work to monetize your product and/or direct support from your subscribers/readers.
I am a huge proponent of users in general creating and participating in services that truly meet our needs and wants rather than going all in and hitching ourselves to a multinational corporation that has advertisers and board members to please.
I honestly think we're on the same side of this argument. I just don't think the answer is in expecting YouTube to take care of us.
I know a lot of people want to nationalize YouTube/Google, but unless/until that happens (and unless/until their IP becomes free & open source), we cannot count on them.
But I agree on the rest of your point, relying on advertising and third-party services is unreasonable.
youtube was a platform for which people with issues could still produce an income, gain an audience, and be part of a social group (even if it was just subscribers and comments).
During the great boom era of youtube, it certainly helped lots of depressed and down on their luck people that had a creative spark. It's not that youtube draws them, but that they are desperate enough, and youtube was a good opportunity.
Now youtube becoming more mainstream means that those opportunities that it used to afford to socially awkward and/or depressed people no longer exists. It's a sad outcome imho.
And then you proceed to defend that anyway.
Any webserver will be happy to serve up .mp4 content. There are free players (JWPlayer for instance) and you are entirely free to serve up whatever you want from your own hosted service.
That capricious decision can be appealed, you can take Youtube to court if you feel they have wronged you.
> Why would you be surprised that someone would be upset about a capricious decision, which cannot be appealed, suddenly taking away the money?
Because it never was theirs in the first place. The contract which you engage in when you sign up with Youtube or any other user created content service is pretty clear in that respect: the service can be withheld at the discretion of the company. If you can't live with those terms don't host your content there.
>Any webserver will be happy to serve up .mp4 content. There are free players (JWPlayer for instance) and you are entirely free to serve up whatever you want from your own hosted service.
This echos the classic dropbox comment, "you can just do it yourself". A layperson isn't going to.
>That capricious decision can be appealed, you can take Youtube to court if you feel they have wronged you.
You can sue whoever you want, but you will lose due to lack of resources.
> Because it never was theirs in the first place
As the facebook controversies have show, people have a remarkably bad time using common sense and making rational decisions on the internet, so while you are totally correct, its silly to assume people think that way.
I think the problem is that people are using "common sense", but depending on your background "common sense" can lead you to dramatically different places.
Then you will have to live with being dependent on the whims of another entity. Which means you give up a lot of your freedoms.
> As the facebook controversies have show, people have a remarkably bad time using common sense and making rational decisions on the internet
This wasn't 'on the internet', this was about as IRL as it gets.
That's the state of the vast majority of the population, who lack the system administration and/or development skills to "do it themselves."
Chiding them for not "doing it themselves" is akin to chiding someone upset about their medical bills for not reading to become their own doctor.
We don’t have time for everything, at some point we have to outsorce work.
Did you write the OS used to start up your browser/app to type this comment?
Just because we agreed to depend on others doesn’t mean they can shit on us.
Funny, I did actually write an OS, and no it is not the one on my computer but the one that is on my computer is open source and I know I can rely on it for ever because I have that source and know how to use a compiler.
Yes, that's a conscious decision.
In my point of view, it can be reasonable and morally justified to subject companies that manage to obtain a quasi-monopoly on some form of information distribution to rules that go beyond of what is required for a company merely by law, or even to adjust the law in order to better protect those companies' users.
I would consider it fair and reasonable, for instance, to demand of Facebook, Youtube, and similar platforms (incl. app stores with quasi-monopoly status on a given platform) to be fair, to not manipulate content in favour of the company's political ambitions, in favour of obviously immoral or of decidedly anti-democratic agendas. I also think it is fair and reasonable to expect these companies to remove dangerous, illegal, or decidedly anti-democratic content, to remove radical propaganda, and so on, within reasonable limits. And it is also reasonable and fair to expect or even regulate these companies to adequately compensate content-providers, since they de facto act as their publishers, make money of this content, and have besaid quasi-monopoly. I also think that companies that hold some quasi-monopoly over some information channel should be held to higher standards than those for which there are many viable alternatives, since the former are closer to being utilities. (What constitutes a quasi-monopoly or enough of a monopoly is, of course, another, quite debatable question.)
Obviously, none of this justifies any kind of violence, and the shooter was deranged and most likely wrong about her perceptions of her supposedly unfair treatment. But I couldn't let your statement stand on its own, since I believe it to be wrong in general. This is a debatable standpoint, of course, but there should be a debate. To give another example, I really don't think that Google should be allowed to skew their search results as they see fit, e.g. to influence elections in various countries, just because they are a private company and using Google search is free.
That being said I agree with your non-crazy point about how video uploaders shouldn't feel entitled to a share of the cake in the first place. If your business model is entirely based on some multinational corporation giving you scraps of their ad revenue then you better have a backup plan ready. Unfortunately the people who do that seem to be very young and probably don't plan that far ahead.
No, but there are such 'shooter apologists' in this thread.
Read the whole of it, at least one person writes that they feel that it was only a matter of time before someone brought a gun to a dispute like this.
But if you are claiming ownership of revenues then you are indirectly claiming ownership of that audience and this is a giant mistake. After all, hosting some video is trivial, getting that audience to your self hosted content is the hard part.
So if you take part in an ecosystem like that then you will have to (1) abide by the rules and (2) take into account that you serve at the pleasure of others. Failure to do so is going to result in a rude reminder of what your position really is: one of dependence.
Thank you for agreeing.
You can't plan for 'crazy'.
You spend a lot of time and money to make a video.
You upload it to youtube.
It trips some random check and is flagged and de-monetized, you appeal.
People come and watch your video, with this type of content the vast majority of views is in the few first days since publishing.
Your appeal finally gets through, you can now monetize the video. However it is too late because 80% of the views the video will ever have have been without ads.
You are not entitled to revenue, however if you make your living off Youtube, you may expect that it will not randomly shoot you in the foot for no reason.
this is the problem i think a lot of youtubers have. If only youtube can clearly say what they are checking or set guidelines for monetizations to follow. Of course, the issue they must have is that guidelines are often skirted around - youtubers (and internet in general) is known for attempting to edge towards the limits...
unless you're restricted in how many times you're allowed to check the video, this will just become the same game-able system. There isn't a good way tbh - i think a free-for-all (ala, streamable!) is the best democratic option.
I think you built a strawman that makes it harder to discuss because you seem to equate "being unhappy with Youtube's monetization scheme" with supporting that shooter which is obviously inane. I doubt anybody here is saying that you should go shoot Google HQ if you're unhappy with their ToS.
For the record I don't think people complaining about Youtube's monetization are right anyway, begging a tech giant for lunch money is not a viable business model. If you think you ought to be paid for your content then you should try to work together with other content producers to create your own platform where you get the share of the profit you deem fair. You need Youtube more than they need you.
That's about as silly as being a 'pro Mediumer'. There is such a thing as a professional blogger but they treat the thing as an actual business: with as much control over hosting and content delivery as they can get.
The moment you use a third party service as the key component of your business you lose your 'pro' status.
That's ridiculous on any number of levels. Are Pro hockey players not pro because they don't own their teams? Are salespeople not professional because they use SFDC as SaaS instead of their own handcrafted CRM? Hell, are devs not pros if they use GitHub, AWS, or GCP?
Yes, if you draw it wider than I intended to it is. After all I clearly meant within the context of creating and delivering content to an audience. If that is your business you operate at the whims of the owners of the network.
> Are Pro hockey players not pro because they don't own their teams?
I never really got 'professional sports' so I'm not going to be the right person to comment on that. To me a sport is something to be enjoyed, not something to be made into a profession though it is clear that lots of people do just that. Even so, they are not - to me - as much of a professional as say a car mechanic, a musician or a computer programmer would be. If professional sports would disappear tomorrow I wouldn't miss it, but I totally realize I'm in the minority here.
> Are salespeople not professional because they use SFDC as SaaS instead of their own handcrafted CRM?
They would be unprofessional if they did not plan for outages, being kicked off the service and potential bankruptcies of the SaaS providers. Or at least, the organization they are part of would not be professional.
> Hell, are devs not pros if they use GitHub, AWS, or GCP?
If they make themselves totally dependent on any of those, then yes, they are not pros.
A real business should do the best it can to be an independent entity and should only enter into dependencies after well reasoned out weighing of pros and cons and backup services and options where possible.
Otherwise you will find that that business will sooner or later crash due to some outside influence.
Now obviously there are some risks that you can not protect against: wars, 'acts of god' (a cop-out to mean anything we can imagine that's out of scope), wholesale market downturn and so on. But a simple account termination should not be able to kill a healthy business.
Why? If you are aware of the risks, have alternate monetization scheme, back-ups and mirrors of your videos, what's the problem of relying on a company who can distribute videos way better than what one person can do?
You are right. I was just trying to point out how treating one's YT presence as a business could be done right, but I agree that's not the majority of Youtubers.
(Also, I am neither making videos on Youtube nor invest in crypto, I just happen to follow a bunch of people that do.)
I tend to agree with you, especially since they could put ads directly in the videos. However, they changed their policy fairly recently. If it was money producers were relying on to live, then they are definitely going to be upset.
It's like when Apple pulls something from the AppStore because they want to release something similar. They shouldn't have tried to build a business on someone else's platform, but it's still shitty.
100% agree, no "however"
when did that happen?
Youtube set out to "own video", and they've been very successful at it. There are a few alleged alternatives out there like vimeo, but come on, how many smart TV's do you know that have a vimeo app pre-installed? Google favors youtube content over other video sites in its search results, and youtube is on-again-off-again zero rated with ISP's all around the globe. Youtube is dominant.
As a result, cutting someone off from youtube is actually a pretty big deal. It's a critical platform for all modern charities, and most modern companies. It's very hard for a marketing department to compete with other companies if they can't use youtube to distribute tutorials, promo content, key announcements and other errata. In most countries, youtube could swing an election by cutting off one party without warning mid-campaign.
And yeah, it's a platform for people to make independent income. Youtube channels are modern busking. I personally would consider income from youtube too tenuous to be willing to commit to a rent contract on the back of that income, but some people are more adventurous.
Youtube wanted a near-total monopoly on internet video, and now they have it. Good for them, but it's not consequence free in my opinion. If they could legitimately tell this person "go use one of our competitors, we don't care", then I'd consider them in the clear. But youtube has successfully suppressed any serious competition, and as a result I consider them to have the same responsibilities as a public utility. They're the USPS of video now. If they're going to have no competitors, they also shouldn't be allowed to arbitrarily cut anyone off from their service.
For some people in the new gig economy of attention/viewfarming, they've found themselves dependent on a particular 'company town' online service. I'm not so much of an anarcho-capitalist that I find this situation hunky-dory.
Youtube first made the pitch that you could "monetize" your videos. Then they had to deny that offer to certain cases. This naturally led to "demonetized" (as opposed to some awkward phrase like "ineligible for monetization").
The word is reasonable in context, and the usage ship has sailed — all market participants use it. I think it's a big stretch to see any presumption of a right in the use of this word.
A whole generation of stand up comedians, music instrument players and other people have been able to reach people easily and then make careers on top of it all because one easily discovers content on YouTube.
YouTube to me is to get your content some mindshare in the crowds. How you build your career from there should be up-to you.
It's pretty easy to get sucked in to the illusion that Youtube needs the content generators more than vice-versa but Youtube is drowning in content, a lifetime worth of new content is uploaded every day so they have the freedom to pick-and-choose at their pleasure and if you want access to those eyeballs then you are playing their game.
No, it doesn't: it suggests, accurately, that without and until that action, the content would be permitted to be enrolled in some income-generating program. Whether this is a matter of natural or legal rights or (as is in fact the case) merely the discretionary policy of the program operator is outside the scope of the implication of the term.
This was a terrible tragedy and as with all tragedies I fear it will cause parties to double down rather then be introspective of themselves and find a way to grow from it, be it monetization policies, gun rights, office security, etc.