There used to be a joke on Slashdot. Whatever was happening in tech, somebody would say "And I for one welcome our new $X overlords"
Now we have all the major internet companies deciding winners and losers. Doesn't seem like much of a joke anymore.
All those years I watched my dear friends on the left march in the streets, claiming that the right was going to shut them down and prevent their message from being heard.
Fooled me, guys. I guess it's true: we become what we fear from others.
They aren't stopping him. He can still publish his brand of crazy elsewhere. This seems okay.
If anything it's "our" fault for giving Facebook, Apple et al the unreserved omnipresence they have.
>First Amendment Experts Warn Facebook Banning InfoWars Could Set Completely Reasonable Precedent For Free Speech
>... “If we allow giant media platforms to single out individual users for harassing the families of murdered kindergarteners, it could lead to a nightmare scenario of measured and well-thought-out public discourse,”...
It's a stretch calling it censorship as these people can host their podcast somewhere else or even host it themselves if they want to. Apple doesn't have a monopoly on podcast hosting.
True, but with Spotify, now Apple and in the future perhaps other major players, what if all members of the oligopoly deny someone a service?
>even host it themselves
Can be seen as a silencing strategy - making something extremely inconvenient.
It's funny to call an industry that didn't even exist 20 years ago an oligopoly. The industry leader of 20 years from now may not even exist yet.
It's not Apple's job to keep things convenient for content publishers. Let alone those only indexed by their search engine. If you're squelched by mere "inconvenience", then perhaps your convictions to share your message aren't strong enough and your message isn't worthy of attention after all.
What we're seeing here seems like a relatively new phenomenon, of private companies that are taking it on themselves to systematically erase entire schools of thought from the modern communications platforms, at least as far as they can. And yes for any given instance you can say, well, you can host your content elsewhere. And that works right up until Google - for example - steals your domain name on moralistic grounds, or your last remaining ISP or hosting provider gets attacked or comes under pressure from activists and so on. Because the sort of people who are doing this don't simply want Alex Jones off iTunes. They want him gone completely, from everywhere, and they will not rest until that happens.
Unfortunately Silicon Valley has long since lost any right to claim neutrality on political topics. That probably makes regulation inevitable. How long will conservatives sit back and watch as tech firms systematically attempt to erase their world view from the political conversation? How long will the wider population tolerate Twitter shadowbanning members of the government whilst doing nothing to an NYT journalist who (as noted above) says repeatedly she wants to kill all men, that she hates whites etc? This sort of extreme side-taking seems both new and very short-sighted. It cannot end well.
That's not happening though. Or, if it is, it's nothing new.
Newspapers have always decided to not hire someone. Newspapers are not a free outlet for anyone to publish any content they wish. Editorial choices are made that, in one very narrow (and incorrect) view, could be seen as eliminating speech and "entire schools of thought".
Apple is exercising editorial control over it's platform, like they do with most of theirs. To say that they shouldn't be allowed to do this is a very interesting claim to make, especially when you're trying to promote freedom of speech.
Newspapers are responsible for what they print. They can get sued if they print things that are illegal, or even just wrong. With the editorial voice comes responsibility for what's said.
Technology companies have historically been viewed more as common carriers. In fact the term "common carrier" was invented to describe an earlier wave of technology companies. They are not responsible for what's said or done with their platform because they do not exercise editorial voice. The DMCA further solidified this notion in law by making it clear that if you respond to legal takedown requests you have a safe harbour and are not considered to be aiding-and-abetting crime if it takes place on your platform.
Right now tech firms seem to be trying to have it both ways. They want the scale, legal immunity and profits that come with bulk automation and claiming to be a common carrier. But then they want to selectively eliminate legal speech as well to make their employees feel good about themselves.
I suspect if regulation is introduced, it will work like that - editorial control cuts both ways. If Apple, Twitter, Facebook etc are going to exercise such control over their platform, they'll have to do it like newspapers do. That means if someone "publishes" something that triggers liability on their platform, it falls on them. In practice that would be impossible given their business models.
Edit: to be clear, I'm making a general argument here rather than about Apple specifically. Apple is a bit unusual in that it does (or at least did) manually review most content put on its platforms. In that sense Apple might well be able to argue it doesn't want or need common carrier status and it would be allowed to do this and equivalent things (removing Alex Jones apps), especially as it's not a monopoly. Also, I'm not explicitly advocating such a legal approach, I'd want to ponder it more first, just speculating on a likely potential future given that the legal tools and precedents already exist. Such a change in legal perspective would affect Twitter, Facebook and Google much more than Apple.
I mean, common carrier was applied to telecommunications services that acted as dumb pipes, carrying other people's content. Seeing as iTunes doesn't not host podcasts themselves and acts also as a editorial platform, it seems hard to say that Apple / iTunes is a common carrier (especially when the FCC, incorrectly IMHO, declared that broadband ISPs are not common carriers). Of course it gets even more complicated when these tech companies run actual news products, like Apple News.
> Right now tech firms seem to be trying to have it both ways.
Honestly, this is the main problem. We don't have good ways to deal with the roles and responsibilities of tech companies. Our old laws were made in 'simpler times' and can be awkward to apply to newer companies and the internet in general.
Side note, I found this on the wiki: In certain U.S. states, amusement parks that operate roller coasters and comparable rides have been found to be common carriers; a famous example is Disneyland.
If Apple had done this in isolation I don't think anyone would care. As part of a trend that seems to be affecting most companies based in the bay area, it is far more worthy of analysis and discussion as part of that trend.
That doesn't make it any less true. Free speech doesn't depend on private support. The reach it can have does, but that's a big difference.
What is tiresome is people believing that every opinion has a right to be heard at the same volume and reach as any other, regardless of how the majority of society perceives them or even, in some cases, how despicable it can be.
> How long will conservatives sit back and watch as tech firms systematically attempt to erase their world view from the political conversation?
Let's stop pretending that this is true. Twitter is not "shadowbanning" anyone and, if anything, it's been the opposite. In a clear case of false balance they have been over-representing ideas held by a minority of the population in order to appear fair and balanced.
Now that is clear that the message doesn't resonate with many people as expected, there's a lot of frustration among conservative voices. It's time to start accepting that certain ideas are not being suppressed. They are just not that popular.
> doing nothing to an NYT journalist who (as noted above) says repeatedly she wants to kill all men, that she hates whites etc?
Context matters. And reading comprehension does to. And cherrypicking cases to prove a point is not really effective.
Are you sure? Even VICE News says it's true:
Twitter didn't deny it either, although apparently they "fixed" it once it was called out.
By the way, you appear to believe Twitter is a newspaper? Since when does Twitter attempt to have a "balance" on anything? Given its automated nature, it has historically just been a way for people to announce their opinions, right? Not an attempt to fairly represent all the issues.
I would have more sympathy if AM radio wasn't dominated by conservative talk radio and elaborate syndication organizations.
I would have more sympathy if you weren't equating vile propaganda about 'crisis actors' and 'schools of thought.
I might have more sympathy if Fox News and Sinclair broadcasting were being told what to talk about by the government.
Once you subscribe to a podcast - either by clicking on a link from the podcast directory or by entering the url yourself - not an iTunes hosted url - the podcast app goes to your server directly.
If a search result doesn’t appear on the first page, statistically it may as well not exist.
If not, why is it censorship when they use the same judgment to remove something they had previously approved?
Apple isn't required to help you promote your content if they don't want to, but they are also not allowed to block your access to legal content, regardless of what they may think of it.
What law forbids this?
I'm not sure if a private company is allowed to block their customers from accessing content that the company, in this case Apple, simply dislike. That's may be perfectly legal.
Would Apple be allowed to block users from accessing Google from an iPhone, if they wanted to? They can't if they do to promote their on alternative, but can they if they just feel like it and don't benefit?
What I wouldn't like is Apple parsing the podcast feeds I enter into iTunes and potentially block me from adding certain feeds. That should be non of their business.
Was eventually shut down by Roosevelt and his local church parish: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Coughlin#Cancellation_...
You just know Alex will use the deplatforming to "prove" that the globalists are after him, or something like that. Might have been better to ignore him instead of Apple getting into the game of deciding what is and isn't hate speech.
(Does NY Times hiring an openly racist editor make them subject to removal? Who knows...but somebody will start making that argument now that the door is open.)
If history has taught us anything it’s that giving fascists a platform is never, ever the solution, you can never reason with them, you can never argue them out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into, and they will always use your kindness as a weapon against you.
There is no value in anyone giving people like Alex Jones a platform, all you are doing is giving him wider access to people who will be swayed by his idiotic ramblings.
It shouldn’t even require saying; how do you think he has such a large following in the first place? Do you think he’s been unchallenged up to this point? Do you think the counter arguments have had any effect on his base? Do you think the sort of person who ends up falling for a dickhead like Jones is even capable of understanding the arguments against his position?
Stop protecting fascists, open a history book.
I mean to bring up facism again, there were valid rational counter-arguments to the nazi's arguments, but because they owned the media nobody saw them and those that published them were squashed.
Same thing is still happening all over the place.
More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man's laws, not God's — and if you cut them down — and you're just the man to do it — d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake
Historically speaking fascists were hard left. The Fascist government of Mussolini had the following features:
- No democracy
- Massive state control over private industry
- Forced suppression of the opposition by censorship and intimidation
Has Alex Jones advocated for censorship of his opponents, massive state control over private industry or the institution of dictatorship? If not, what makes him fascist, exactly?
There are many negative adjectives that can be used to describe Alex Jones and his conspiracy theories, but to the best of my knowledge he does not support totalitarian dictatorships.
If you take away the mic, there's nothing left to disinfect. It's the formation of conspiracy believing, self-reinforcing cults that cause these narratives to begin with
Like every show there are likely hardcore listeners (who will still find him) and a spectrum of less committed listeners (along that spectrum is a point where people will just stop listening)
There is a line somewhere in between, it's rather blurry but at some point sunlight no longer work and the best option is to nuke it. (I don't think this is generally true for everything the alt-right says, a lot of it can be desinfected with sunlight, so to speak)
They're not doing that. They're getting into the game of what does, or does not, comply with their acceptable use policy.
It's nice to see some companies actually applying these policies.
They have guidelines. He broke them. End of.
Fuck Alex Jones, but I want the tech companies to be totally impartial. As soon as Spotify led with removing music it immediately resulted with demands from political groups to remove more and more. It sets the stage for endless politicizing of everything someone doesn't like because the precedent of intervention is now made.
It gives further power to the mob rule mentality of Twitter where everything you once said is on record, context-less, and used as a kludge to attack by the loudest people whether left or right.
As someone who listens to podcasts like Reason magazine that are often pointed, if not controversial to some, this is highly concerning to me. Don't put Jones on anything but a direct search for all I care but as Sarah Jeong is now learning the pitchforks can come from the right too
You can add the link directly to the podcast app.
I'm sure there are enough conservative outlets that will inform people how to go to the link. If enough sites link to it, it should appear higher up on Google.
Also you realize that there's an entire "bring these giants to task over fake news" thing happening right now whereupon we will demand the likes of Google and Facebook take editorial control over content, when the majority of people will only get what comes out of those filters. This is inherently wildly dangerous and absolutely censorship.
Delisted by Google = a company effectively does not exist, the same goes for most things online, and that is the natural next step once some of the giants start to take stricter control. People will only demand more and more things they don't like be removed.
For instance in the Apple ecosystem, there are plenty of pundits like Gruber, the guy who runs stratechery, etc who don’t depend on SEO and never have.
If your whole business model is dependent on Google SEO, you’re just one algorithm change away from going out of business - even if you’re not specifically being targeted.
There is a whole conservative ecosystem that most people who care about people like Alex Jones can discover him from.
Like I said, people can’t both argue that Apple should allow side loaded apps and not be a wall garden as a way to foster free speech and at the same time argue that podcasts - one of the few areas where you can get content outside of the walled garden isn’t good enough. If that’s the case, Google allowing side loading of apps is a meaningless talking point.
People are always complaining that Apple doesn’t allow you to side load apps and if Apple doesn’t approve your app, you can’t distribute it and it would be fine if Apple curated its own store as long as you could “side load”.
Well here is an example where you can “side load” content by providing a URL and the content doesn’t get treated any differently.
That tells me that even if you could side load apps, people would still be complaining about Apple’s “censorship”.
In fact, between music, video, podcasts, apps, and books, the only two types of contents you can add to thier respective libraries directly from the phone, are podcasts and books.
SCOTUS said not a word about the material issue, but ruled on very narrow procedural grounds.
Edit: Do people giving me thumbs down care to explain themselves?
Would you really want that associated with your brand? I wouldn't.
You could remove someone who is promoting child abuse, threats, racism (man oh man, did twitter let that NYT editor board woman account stay despite her racist comments), killing and so on, but if you disagree with someone like alex jones, congrats! now move on!
(not fan of him, but fan of free speach, i mean i know the price of it and it's not cheap)
You've not fully read the comments above that discussed "common carrier". HINT: it was decided that common carrier doesn't really apply in this situation.
You can find fart apps where you press a button and you hear a fart. I doubt by allowing this app in Apple store, everyone all of sudden believes farts = Apple. Or that Apple affiliates themselves with nasty behavior in public, etc.
maybe cheaper than Apples products...
100% agree with your comment. There are worse people and worse scams, even on Apples platform. But this banning makes for far better PR of course.
Apple might not be the right platform if you like to make decisions yourself and they ban a lot of other stuff too. Their right. Maybe some higher ups were not content with the effect of the man-pills.
The BBC love to try and escape accountability by claiming "we found examples of people accusing of opposite biases, therefore we're neutral". However this doesn't logically follow.
Prime example, license fee revenues are currently falling, because people have been watching online and using services like Netflix, so the BBC has been looking at ways to change their whole model to keep going.
The BBC is accountable because it's state run, and so there is a lot of infrastructure in place to force change, fine it, take it to court etc
How exactly can the state force change? The government basically leaves it alone on the grounds of 'political neutrality' except for occasionally adjusting the license fee (upwards). It's left to its own devices. As for fining it or taking it to court, that applies to any company, doesn't it? Fining the BBC is useless anyway, it's just a pass-through fine on people who have a television.
Further, just because the BBC is a public broadcaster, doesn't mean people have to watch it, or even pay the license fee
Everyone with a television or radio has to pay the license fee even if they don't watch it. Yes, in very recent times for the first time ever there are significant numbers of people who don't have a TV or radio at all. But that's still a small minority. In effect, no matter how great or useless the BBC is, their income remains the same.
At any rate, the original issue is more like "is the BBC more accountable to conservatives than Apple" and the answer is clearly no. The principle that the government leaves the BBC alone, especially in matters of news, is too well established.
We all know the problem with unregulated banking. And there is a market in broadcasting in the UK, the BBC doesn't stop that.
How exactly can the state force change?
Because it's backed by public money, so there are laws surrounding its use. The BBC isn't some corporation set up on a whim, great thought went into the system, including the charter. See https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/governance/regulatory_framewo...
Everyone with a television or radio has to pay the license fee even if they don't watch it
This more than anything suggests you don't actually know what you're talking about. The license fee is only for watching OTA broadcasts and certain situations with iPlayer. I don't pay for my flatscreen TV that I only use to watch Netflix, youtube etc. And it's a !TV! license fee, not radio, you don't need a license to listen to radio.
I recommend you read up before posting FUD.