That said, the trend of centralization of Podcasts worries me a bit. Podcasts were one of the few real success stories of an open syndication format that allowed an ecosystem of podcast apps to flourish. I've noticed a trend where podcasts make it hard to find the RSS URL or even make it hidden and require you subscribe on the major platforms. Let's not turn podcasting into the same walled garden we have for every other aspect of syndicated content!
For instance, we expect universities to act as neutral debate platforms for all sorts of views that are not endorsed by the university administration. When they fail to do this, they are not legally penalized (modulo constraints from accepting government funding), but we (should) lower their public esteem. Newspapers and online media companies like Apple and Facebook could and should be held to a similar standard by the public, although in practice they are unfortunately given more latitude.
By "legitimacy" I don't mean that people agree with the conclusion being expressed, but that people agree it's at least an attempt at a structured argument based on actual facts. The 95 Theses were complaints against real injustices, not a set of fabricated smears.
Colonial independences generally were discussable - and discussed - at the time and in advance of their happening.
Not in the way you're thinking. This is at the time when the King had absolute or near absolute authority. King John was the ruling class. While it was the English nobility that opposed the king, they did so (1) at great risk to their own safety, and (2) as the only ones in a position to do so. Certainly no serf could have accomplished this -- they would have been killed.
Second sentence of the (excellent) Wikipedia article about it:
> First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular King and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons.
In theory, perhaps. But the barons could and did challenge the King with a degree of success. The king did not have a practical monopoly on the use of force. So the description of Magna Carta as an 'agreement among the ruling class' seems reasonable.
This is far easier said than done. Just for starters, which "people" get to decide, and that's not even getting into the messy details at analyzing any arguments or facts.
We know who gets to decide - the owners of the communications platform and those who influence them, under current democratic legislation, which is completely subject to change according to the will of the citizens of a democratic country.
It's interesting how easy it is to observe stereotypical right-wing pedantically technical justification behaviors be adopted by the left (feel free to correct me if my assumption is wrong) as the topic of specific discussion moves around various dimensions of reality.
I don't know anything about the facts of the case at hand. I am responding to the argument, made above and many place in this thread, that the only sorts of protections on free speech are legal ones, and that in particular they don't apply to legal actions taken individuals or private organizations.
His right to free speech is not infringed. He is still free to host the RSS feed and the media files however he sees fit.
Plenty of people here have argued for the gravely mistaken position that free speech protections should only apply to the government, but I've never heard anyone argue that private individuals and organizations are morally bound to protect free speech in certain circumstances but this only applies if they are completely wiping out the speech rather than just making it difficult to access. I don't understand why that would be the case.
Not all bad behaviors are illegal but calling for active, illegal harassment of an individual, which other people carry out, is, in fact, illegal and given this is often Jones' modus operandi, his activities are illegal and his overall strategy has involved staying one step ahead of lawsuits.
In case of Jones, He blatantly defamed the parents of Sandy Hook victims in a fashion that had considerable negative consequences for the parents due to constant harassment by Jones followers.
Hate speech is correctly generally protected by the first amendment, and it should likewise be protected as free speech by private parties.
Hate speech is not protected by the first amendment. It is correct that something being hate speech by itself not sufficient cause for it to lose first amendment protections. But hate speech can loose first amendment protections for all the reasons other speech can; commercial speech, fighting-words and liable/slander included.
And of course, the first amendment doesn't require Apple or Facebook to host anyone so them banning first amendment protected hate speech is not a problem by itself, which is to say the second part of your claim isn't justified.
I mean, Jones' vicious rants are hate speech, slander, and falsehoods. They are intended to damage innocent, a-political, private individuals and have indeed damaged a-political, innocent private individuals. Which reason a company actually gives to ban Jones probably involves a PR calculation ("hate speech" sounds best) but whatever the given reason, I can't see this as unjustified.
"Hate speech is correctly generally protected by the first amendment" obviously does not mean "all hate speech is protected regardless of other properties it may have". That's the entire point of the word "generally". The point is that Apple and others are using "hate speech" alone as the justification.
> the first amendment doesn't require Apple or Facebook to host anyone so them banning first amendment protected hate speech is not a problem by itself, which is to say the second part of your claim isn't justified.
I have explained at least half a dozen places in this thread why it's a mistake to think there's no moral imperative for private individuals and organizations free speech just because the first amendment applies only to the government. I didn't want to repeat myself, so I explicitly acknowledged in the comment you're replying to that it is an additional moral claim. Your comment just states your disagreement without actually arguing for it, or engaging with any of the arguments I have given elsewhere.
There is a moral imperative for private organizations to protect open expression in fashion appropriate to their position the national and world media "sphere" (Google suppressing a search is distinct from Apple not selling a tune is distinct from Youtube not hosting a video). None of them are identical to a government so none of them have imperatives identical to a government.
It's worth noting also that Facebook and others are transnational entities - hate speech is not protected speech in Europe, for example.
I didnt claim they were identical and I have in fact already given an example elsewhere in this thread for where they are different. If you want to argue for a particular difference in this case, do so. But just pointing out that I haven't fully anticipated and defeated to all possible counterarguments in a single 100-word HN comment is not constructive.
The various media platforms have, however, strongly interfered with his ability to profit from his lies, slander and malice and appropriately so. One can hope that a despicable thug like Jones winds-up in with his commercial empire collapsing and in state of destitution but unfortunately, he will mostly likely just slow shrink away.
Apple hasn't said (that I know of) that Infowars speech is illegal. Merely that they want no part of it.
>The fact that the first amendment only legally applies to the government does not mean that free speech as a concept doesn't have moral force on other organizations.
Morals differ between organizations and individuals (just ask any church, the supposed arbiters of morals). Morals are relative to groups and individuals because they are created without/despite the input of other groups and individuals. If there were an absolute moral authority (which would obviate the need for other sets of morals) then perhaps this might be different.
All of this to say: good riddance to bad rubbish. His followers may feel differently, but to Hell with them, too.
You misunderstand. The person I was responding to was equating the legality of Apple's suppression or speech with the acceptability/morality of that suppression. We weren't discussing the legality of Infowars' speech.
> Morals differ between organizations and individuals
People believe different things about empirical facts, but we don't think those difference of opinion mean there isn't a fact-of-the-matter which is separate from those opinions.
If you want to argue for moral relativism you need to argue for the non-existence of moral facts, which is fine and a reasonably popular position among some philosophers. But it's hard to convince anyone to listen to any of your arguments about what should be done, in this case or any other, if you admit it's just a personal opinion (like a preference for strawberries over blueberries) and you don't actually think they have any moral imperative to listen to you.
Well, then, to clarify on my part, I believe it's perfectly acceptable for Apple to say they want no part in some form of speech. It's perfectly legal since the American 1st amendment only binds the government. Apple really only has the power that it has convinced consumers and shareholders to willingly given it (begrudgingly or not), aside from whatever power is granted by incorporation.
I don't have to agree with their decision (in this case, I do). If they were to drop some musical artist I really like (say, Peter Gabriel) I would probably feel differently, but that wouldn't make me any more right, just mad.
Again: the fact that something is legal doesn't make it moral.
> I believe it's perfectly acceptable for Apple to say they want no part in some form of speech.
You haven't actually engaged with my argument about the morality of this action, just stated you believe the opposite.
No, this is not where the line is drawn. In the case of first-amendment protection of free speech, the speech has to induce imminent lawless action
Thus, hate speech and speech that advocates violent revolution is protected.
Public universities. I wouldn't dream of asking the same thing of Liberty University. The difference being, the one is a branch of government, and the other is not.
Free speech is narrowly intended to be something that limits the government's ability to impose restrictions on non-government entities for good reason. Asking private organizations (e.g., Liberty University) to follow the same limitations would undercut free speech by preventing ones with a particular point of view (e.g., a conservative Christian one) from actually being able to express that point of view.
Now, if we all wanted to agree that Facebook needs to be granted common carrier status for publicly arguing with your family about politics, that would be different.
Huh? Most universities in the US are private, including the large majority of the top ones that host controversial debates. (All the Ivys, Stanford, MIT, CalTech, etc.) These universities are held to rather high standard of neutrality even though it's not legally required for them to do so (modulo restrictions from government grants, which are empirically not the main drivers of their behavior with regard to free speech). They behave this way because the university professor and administrators believe the world is better for it, and because otherwise the public would lower their esteem as honorable places of learning (and good places for donations!).
> Free speech is narrowly intended to be something that limits the government's ability to impose restrictions on non-government entities for good reason
No! The First Amendment is intended to limit the government. Free speech is a much wider concept! If you don't understand why free speech is an idea that has important moral implications for individuals and private organizations, you should read "On Liberty" by John Stuart Mills, the classic canonical defense of this. It's only 100 pages and available free.
Honestly, I want Liberty to support open and honest debate. Otherwise, what is the point of having a university? I understand that their professors are going to be required to sign their statement of faith. Such is not required of the student and students of all faiths are welcome.
I can say what I want at work but I can get fired for that speech. Same thing you can loss your advertisers and your platforms for the same speech.
I grew up in the last house in Bethel, CT before Newtown (Sand Hook), heck my mom went to elementary school in Sandy Hook. Friends of mine had children in the school. People don't know how crazy it was the first 6 months there.
The tension was HUGE that first two weeks with Westboro Church trying to get there to protest (I knew that the people in CT would do everything to keep them away). Then the conspiracy crazies got involved and it just was a mess.
Still today I still get people who ask if it really happened. Those poor parents are hounded still. Think the Flat Earthers going after astronauts and multiply it by 10.
Jones is absolutely responsibly for his speech. Sure he can say it but platforms don't have to allow it. Terrorist, Nazis and Infowars should break every platform's policies.
You should only be fired if that speech directly interferes with the performance of that job, e.g., if the cashier says offensive thing to the customers or an employee tries to convince their coworkers to shirk their duties. Political opinions that are separate from an employee's job that the employee expresses on their own time should not be punished.
Free speech is about cordoning off a realm of ideas that is free from reprisals in meat space. If you don't understand why this is important, and applies to individuals contemplating economic reprisals just as much as to government incarceration, you should read "On Liberty" by John Stuart Mills, the classic canonical defense of this. It's only 100 pages and available free.
The question of whether businesses should refrain from firing employee with unpopular opinions because the businesses fear anti-free-speech punishment from their customers (e.g., a boycott of a grocery store because the shift manager is pro-choice) is complicated, but it is very similar to the sorts of moral trade-offs made in the personal sphere all the time: if a group of students are being mean to Alice for no good reason and they will shun me if I stay friends with her, am I morally bound to stay friends with her? Yes, there is a presumption that I should not punish Alice unjustly, but there is also a limit on the size of negative consequences I am morally bound to endure on behalf of Alice. Likewise, businesses generally ought to refrain from firing employees who tweet unpopular opinions for free speech reasons, but it is unreasonable to expect businesses to take unlimited economic losses on behalf of such employees due to anti-free-speech customers.
Yep, he has plenty of money to set up his own broadcast channels if he must. If nothing else, Jones can broadcast on shortwave. Which is probably a good place for him.
as a customer of Apple I'm delighted by this move.
I don't understand why Google refuses to accept standard podcasting convention and let users consume my RSS feed direct and download my show from the servers I've provided.
For iTunes, as a counter example, de-listing InfoWars will hurt their discoverability obviously, but their listeners can easily subscribe themselves manually in the iTunes client.
I'm not affiliated in any way, but Pocket Casts has been running for years and is an excellent option on both iOS and Android. I know there are some other good options on Android as well, if Pockets Casts isn't your thing for some reason.
But to be listed on Google Podcasts, they consume your RSS feed and upload it. The terms include the standard granting Google irrevocable worldwide royalty-free rights to your intellectual property and includes highlights like their ability to use your podcast content even if you remove it from your feed later.
Since most other podcast apps don't do anything but help others find your RSS feed, I've never had to agree to terms and prove my ownership to be listed anywhere else, Google's demand of IP rights seems unique in this space. I've actually found my podcast listed on all sorts of sites I've never heard of with no such terms required.
I'm not too worried for myself since I plan to release it all in a Creative Commons album anyway, but I'll keep it in mind if I see someone talking up Google Podcasts.
Do you have an example of what you mean?
Those who ignore the obvious signs and still choose to listen to it do so for their own, identity-driven or emotional reasons. This is the same process that causes humans to rally behind demagogues of all kinds.
When uncensored, Jones' folly is obvious and can be easily evaluated and dismissed. But when it's censored, those inclined toward conspiracy theories will assume that Jones is speaking some kind of truth to power, etc.
So Apple's move strengthens Jones in all the worst ways and does a great disservice to American civil society. The only way to prevent dark ages beliefs is to shine light on them.
This is the sort of principled belief I used to hold that I’m no longer sure holds up to scrutiny.
There's always been a fringe that was willing to believe anything. But how do you call something like Infowars “fringe” when it’s on the same “network” as NPR and CNN podcasts? Placement like that legitimizes Infowars. That “light shining” on Infowars was a spotlight.
You’re probably right that this will galvanize the true believers, but what was going to turn their beliefs around? The flipside is that this move may cauterize a growing infection.
Infowars are trash. CNN is trashy, but not as trashy as Infowars. I make that abuntantly clear.
I think you're smart enough to know that, so it seems as if you're deliberately misreading the comment in order to either get attention or deflect criticism of ToS violations you support. Which indeed is a disgusting and deliberate misrepresentation of fact.
> Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith.
2. Yes, demonstrably false news reduces the value of Facebook. That anyone would think it doesn't illustrates the need for 1.
You literally did.
Educating people about morally correct beliefs is a separate undertaking that is typically what members of the clergy undertake with worshipers. I don't think there is any need for such a role in secular society. If you disagree, don't just downvote this, explain what level of moral education and policing is appropriate in a free society.
> ...this move may cauterize a growing infection.
I understand the point you are making, but I would like to add that I think it's a bit dangerous to use nazi-style rhetoric like "infection" or "infestation" to describe people we oppose politically.
The problem, as I currently perceive it, is not how society performs moral education or policing on adults, but rather how we teach critical thinking skills to children.
For a related example, there was an excellent article recently where someone visited a “flat earth” convention and interviewed various participants. What he found was that adherents didn’t exactly disbelieve in a globe; they were instead embracing rejection of factual authority. https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/looking-for-life-...
I don’t see Infowars types as those I “oppose politically.” Their beliefs are not merely “right-wing” — their worldview is simply craziness.
If I’m right that this is a problem of rubber-stamping students through graduation who are unable to think coherently, then "moral policing" is a post-facto treatment, and what’s really necessary is prevention. (These ideas are mostly spread through memes, for crying out loud; the term is literally defined as an infection.)
(I didn't downvote you, incidentally.)
I agree that students should learn critical thinking in school, but I'd argue that Alex Jones has not gained popularity by appealing to untrained minds, but by appealing to human emotional needs.
I take solace in the realization that humans are extraordinarily hypocritical. Consider the massive engagement numbers from Youporn in the most religious counties in the US. Belief has virtually nothing to do with action, so there is no reason to be concerned about anyone's beliefs.
People act for emotional reasons that are beneath the level of belief. Jones appeals to people for those reasons, and I fear that censoring him only strengthens the emotional meaning of his existence for his followers, and will motivate them to share his messages more actively now that the content isn't as easy to find by accident.
It is a fatal error to misunderstand this as a norms vs views issue. It is not. It is war.
This brings to mind the war on drugs, war on terror, etc. Typically war is used when we are meant to take sides in support of drastic action without too much thought getting in the way.
> He and his ilk are about weaponizing the norms of society to destroy society.
I'm honestly not sure from this comment if you are deliberately trolling/baiting or if you just feel a tremendous amount of righteous indignation and emotion about Alex Jones.
In my view, if we start to assume that all content on the internet has somehow been vetted by responsible elders who know what's best for us, we lose the (essential) ability to filter out the garbage for ourselves.
In today's world, people seem to flock toward authority figures of all kinds and wish to wield authority against others (by suppressing their speech, etc.). So your comment strikes me as an appeal to authoritarianism and a call to authoritarian action to crack down on morally objectionable content.
Some people think that a picture of two men holding hands is morally objectionable content, and they seek authority to make their view dominate the public discourse. How is your goal different from theirs other than in the small detail of which content is objectionable?
No, it isn't meant to dull anyone's thinking or whatever you are implying. It's quite straightforward. Recognize when war is being waged upon you, and act accordingly. Thus the category error attributed to your earlier comment.
> I'm honestly not sure from this comment if you are deliberately trolling/baiting
No, I'm being quite literal. You don't need to do any interpretation, or look for some deep motivation. Recognize when war is being waged. Simple.
> Some people think that a picture of two men holding hands is morally objectionable content, and they seek authority to make their view dominate the public discourse. How is your goal different from theirs other than in the small detail of which content is objectionable?
The fact that you draw an equivalence between a picture of men holding hands and Alex Jone's incitement says that you aren't really engaged in any meaningful discussion. This isn't a classroom, you aren't Plato or Socrates. You aren't interested in debate, you're just trolling.
First I would say that it encompasses the fact that the purpose of propaganda, misinformation, and deception is not to inform but to incite, control, misdirect, and is otherwise malign in intent. The purpose of the action is to cause the recipient to self-harm, in the sense of sowing unwarranted distrust, fear, hatred, and division. The most fervent hope of those involved is that the US and the Western world devolve in to internal violence, disorganization, and dismemberment. I would add, these outcomes are very real risks as a result.
This is the major thrust of all of the most malignant social media operations, from Jones, to include wikileaks, the Russian astroturf and info theft campaigns, et. al.
The second aspect, not directly related to the speech aspect, is when political opponents are on the surface simply working the system but actually have no commitment to working within it and will only do so when obtaining their ends. For instance, the matter of the nomination of Garland to the US Supreme court was when it became clear that the party controlling congress was not actually committed to the norms and values of the institution, rather would do whatever they could get away with to achieve their ends. So also with voter disenfranchisement, making up lies about massive voter fraud, etc. These are all warfare, in that they are operating outside the value system that calls for free speech absolutism are assuming.
There is much to be learned from the likes of Arendt, Orwell, and others who studied the practices and effects of propaganda, disinformation, and related techniques. In my view all of these are outside the bounds of the social contract and are in fact warfare.
The quote captures the violence inherent in politics. What is interesting about your argument is that you seem to carve out an exception for working within the system.
If we take "the system" to mean the dominant political order, or put another way, the manners and conventions preferred by those in power, then your comment seems to be a strong argument for preserving the status quo of powerful interests. This is nearly the definition of conservatism.
But you also mention that some try to attack our institutions. You include Wikileaks in that list, so I think there is an interesting distinction to be made.
Most of what Wikileaks does is to reveal corrupt or illegal behavior done by officials and government institutions. If the behavior that is revealed makes the public angry, then the leaked information puts the institutions involved in danger. The institutions generally exist because they provide a service to the public and the public funds the institutions in exchange for the service that is performed.
When leaked information shows that the service is not being performed in an honest way, the public may recoil and begin to question whether the institution should be trusted to continue functioning, since the leaked information reveals that there has been dishonest stewardship going on.
To use an analogy, take the situation with Jerry Sandusky. He ran the institution of Penn State football. Once someone leaked the information that he was abusing children with the help of some of his top staff members, the institution of Penn State football came under great scrutiny. In your words, it was "attacked" by those who were outraged that the legitimacy and history of the football program had been used to facilitate the inappropriate behavior of one man.
I view the leaked information and subsequent partial destruction of the Penn State football program as a very good thing. I'm actually very pleased that top aides to Sandusky were fired, and that Sandusky himself was no longer allowed to have a job where he could take advantage.
In the short term, this looks bad for the institution of Penn State football, but over time it offers the program a chance to rid itself of corruption and rebuild itself into a stronger institution that does not foster child abuse.
It sounds like you are arguing that there is a sacred area that it is impolite to question and impolite to "attack" if one comes to view it as being counter-productive. It seems that you believe that the people who leaked information that the US Government was lying to the public about the Iraq and Afghan wars should not have leaked the information but should instead have handled the situation internally within the military. Similarly one might expect that you would prefer that the person who leaked Sandusky's behavior should have instead gone to him and advised him to stop abusing children but should not have reported the abuse to authorities or the parents of the children he victimized.
While you may not hold these views, I think they may be logical consequences of the views you do express.
In my opinion, the only way we can have strong institutions is if we have high levels of accountability and zero wiggle room for fraud and corruption.
To draw on your point about information campaigns, I'm less concerned with the kinds of campaigns you mention and more concerned with the campaigns run by the most powerful interests. People in the US fear Muslims and brown folks largely because of a multi-billion dollar propaganda campaign intended to make Americans want wars in the middle east. There are unintended consequences to that campaign such as the fear and mistrust spilling over onto brown skinned immigrants from Latin America, etc.
There is very little scrutiny of key US institutions. The GSEs withheld financials for several years leading up to the crisis in 2008. Many officials have been found to have committed perjury, etc., yet have not been held accountable. There are so many disturbing ways in which the core institutions of our democratic system are being corrupted and used by those in power for their own benefit at the expense of society as a whole.
The solution is not trust in our leaders, good manners, or loyalty. The solution is to increase accountability and transparency. Someone like Jones should have no fodder for conspiracy theories because we should all see obviously corrupt leaders disgraced and removed fairly often.
How is it that we tolerate Paul Ryan, a man who has spent his life in public service and yet has a net worth exceeding $8 Million Dollars? Why don't we scrutinize how he got that money and what was exchanged for it?
When we allow this stuff to happen and we act loyal toward the people doing it, we empower people like Jones to embellish and stylize nearly any kind of conspiracy theory he dreams up. In a democracy, public servants do not become multi-millionaires. It just doesn't happen.
Wikileaks isn't about shedding light on corruption, as clearly indicated by Assange's activity during and after the 2016 campaign. His purpose and intent is to weaken the US and its ability to act as a united people for their own benefit. He's a happy Russian co-opt, a racist, a misogynist, and wants nothing more than to bring the US down for his own benefit.
Likewise all the other campaigns. It is a freshman error to believe the maskirovka, which is a plausible and agreeable statement of purpose or condition, and not see the underlying intent which is to do everything, anything, which reduces the ability of the people to unify and act in unity. Thus the funding and provocation of extremists on both left and right, ideology is irrelevant as long as division can be created and sown.
There is an enormous difference between the activities we are seeing, from Wikileaks, to Antifa, to the NRA, to Infowars,to Q, which are intended not to improve the US, but to destroy it, and some campaign which may be harmful to some in power but ultimately working within the social compact, for the benefit of others, and ultimately strengthening and unifying the people as a whole.
None of the above-named parties have the best interests of the US at heart. None of them. They are at war with the US, they are simply too weak to do so using overt violence. If they are a bit more successful we will see a shift in tactics, though, as we did in the 1970's, adding violence to the mix.
We should not be fools enough to let that happen.
- Ignoring your unfair ad hominem aimed at Assange, you are making the broader point that many orgs can be "weaponized" in a way that creates division and tension. This is true.
- Is it your contention that the "activities we are seeing" are somehow part of a coordinated campaign? (antifa, NRA, Wikileaks, Infowars, Q).
- Or do you believe that each of these groups is independently seeking to harm the US by creating division?
- What would it mean to have the best interests of the US at heart? Over what time horizon is this defined? Which group of beneficiaries of such actions would be most aware of the benefits, which group least aware?
My view is that in a pluralistic society there are always countervailing interests. If I am selling a laptop I want to get a high price for it, the buyer wants to get a low price. We are strenuously opposed, yet if we transact we have reached an agreement.
In trade relationships, consensus takes place when a price is agreed on by two parties, but in governance, consensus is not so simple.
What does it mean to have consensus? The expression "the tyranny of the majority" illustrates the way in which the 51% may rule viciously over the 49%. Different political systems establish different consensus rules upon participants. Some democracies might require 100% consent by all citizens for anything to become law, others might require even less (such as plurality voting).
The NRA exists because the issue of gun ownership/rights lies close to the consensus margin... so do pro-life organizations. At least, pro-life organizations believe that the margin is close (I personally think that 80% or more oppose restricting reproductive freedom).
What happens when political action organizations wage campaigns that result in policy changes? By your definition I think you would say that something important is being destroyed. In the issue of reproductive freedom, depending on what side of the issue one is on, a change in laws would either be viewed as a great humanitarian tragedy or as a great humanitarian advancement... Or put another way, one side would view it as a great strengthening/improvement to the country, the other would view it as the destruction of something important.
So I'm trying to determine whether your view about those organizations trying to harm the US is based on the particulars of their views or of the tactics that they utilize to try to make political change.
I really do not understand how you could believe that in a democracy where people are free to vote for whichever candidate they prefer, how wikileaks revealing raw data from one of the candidates that would help voters come to understand the positions and opinions of the candidate better could possibly be viewed as anything other than a tremendous benefit to the democratic process.
In an election, one candidate has to win and another has to lose, and if voters are not supposed to use actual factual information to make the decision, what should they believe? Should they believe the TV commercials sponsored by the candidate? The lies told in speeches by the candidate?
To refer specifically to the Wikileaks emails from Clinton, I would strongly have preferred that someone also leak a bunch of Trump's emails, but I was personally very happy to see more details about what the candidate HRC actually believed in. It turned out she was both much more neoconservative than she had claimed, but also a bit more of a free-trade-idealizing libertarian. For me, this didn't really alter my view of her, some of the items were good news and others were bad news, and it all came out pretty much even.
So suppose that instead of Wikileaks the emails had been leaked to a major newspaper that did not publish all of them the way Wikileaks did but instead wrote individual stories highlighting the most newsworthy of the emails. Would this too have been an attack on the US? Why or why not?
In my view, we should all seek to be brothers in truth and the people should unite in solidarity against the elites who lie to us about wars and expect us to vote for them. Why do we accept their authority so readily? Why do people read newspapers of their chosen partisan slant and simply believe everything wholesale while disbelieving everything written in the opposing partisan newspaper?
In my view, it is the herd mentality and the high degree of loyalty that is the biggest threat to our freedom and our nation as a whole.
If that were the case, he wouldn't have the popularity that he has, he would be just another rando ranting on a street corner. But that's not the case—the fact is, there are many people who spend time listening to him, who think that there is something of value to learn from his rants. So just shining a light on him isn't sufficient.
Sometimes, when you have an injury, you can just ignore it and let your body heal itself. And sometimes, when you have an injury, you need to be more proactive about recovery.
Note: I think it is dangerous to use nazi-style analogies for content we do not agree with. Calling it an infection, infestation, etc., does not help with the rational process of discussing the issue of content which some people find objectionable, it merely politicizes it and dehumanizes those who like the content.
Yes, it does. it destroys his platform and importantly limits his ability to monetize what he's doing, which is probably a large reason for the continued existence of the whole endeavour, to begin with.
Censorship is a very effective tool to stop people like Jones from doing what they're doing. The point isn't to heal anyone, it's to contain it.
There's some pretty dehumanizing content out there, Alex Jones included.
I remember YouTube comments being highly nasty. Many people had installed browser plugins solely to hide YouTube comments. Google finally started to remove nasty comments. And now I rarely ever see horrible comments. In fact, you can actually get useful info from some comments and threads.
And this is not a free speech issue but a hate issue. Almost all platform forbid hate and violent content. I don’t understand why so many people are equating this with freedom of speech instead of TOS violation.
The problem with the whole idea of hate speech (which I think is a foolish idea) is that it classifies certain ideas as abhorrent. Ideas cannot be abhorrent, only actions can be.
If ideas were abhorrent, than we would all be guilty just for considering them, even if we decide for now to reject them. Not sure why you would assume that anyone holds non-provisional, permanent beliefs. That's just not how human consciousness works.
Actions can be harassing, inappropriate, etc. But someone simply publishing a private channel that others can encounter only through voluntary choices is not harassing.
Content platforms have the perverse incentive of appealing to society's moral leaders (these days usually politicians). We should resist the idea of legitimizing platform level censorship of content, and instead insist upon the higher standard of enforcing conduct guidelines. If a user harasses other users, that's a problem. If a user self-publishes opinions that are simply expressed as opinions, we should not view that as a problem unless the world we idealize is one in which views not held by moral leaders are always considered abhorrent.
History has shown that this power has and will be abused. Even if it is not here, it will be in the future.
Sometimes it's better to just not do anything, but I guess that doesn't get you PR points.
Adding barriers to passive consumption, by vulnerable (misinformed) people, is probably also a good thing. It's not being censored/outlawed, just made slightly less convenient to access. Fake news are a threat to democracy.
However, I think we should make the tradeoff explicit here. Just saying "Apple shouldn't do this because it's censorship, and censorship is bad" is a rather naive attitude. I would argue two things:
1. This isn't censorship, it's a refusal to broadcast. It's one thing to say "You can't say that", and another to say "I'm not going to allow you to use our platform to say that." The government is not allowed to prevent speech, but that doesn't mean that private companies are required to enable it.
2. It's not "fake" news. It's fake. It's literally made up stories, about child sex rings in pizza parlors and slave colonies on Mars.
So you might say, what's the harm in making up stuff? Well, people are shooting up restaurants and making on-air death threats to journalists and generally gravitating towards authoritarian viewpoints sponsored by organizations such as infowars. And guess what tool authoritarians love to employ? CENSORSHIP. Failing to hold these jokers accountable for their words and instigation actually and inevitably leads us farther down the path towards actual censorship than refusing to give them a platform. I would rather companies take a stand against this stuff than just allow them to exploit our misguided notions of democratic rule to undermine actual democratic rule.
It is, just like we need to teach kids not to drink poison. But we also don't use "we need to teach kids not to drink poison" as an excuse to leave easily drinkable poison in reach.
At some point, we'll have educated people better on how to do their own critical thinking. But we're not there yet, and acting as if we were isn't a strategy for success.
In practice that's not what happens.
So yeah, I'm not shedding a tear over IW (though they probably have a point, on one occasion or another. Other media address these points so it's not dependant on them)
It doesn't just show up in your podcast feed.
What sorts of demands would be listened to or have any chance of being effective if not having the weight of force of law behind it?
It is an awful misconceptions that the only way to effectively get other people to act differently is with law. It is lazy and leads to unnecessary use of force. Most things that are bad are not illegal (e.g., lying to your friends, being mean, abandoning your parents, cheating on your spouse) and yet occur at much lower rates than they would without the many extra-legal mechanisms that keep them in check.
This is about providing a platform to someone who willfully spreads lies.
There has been research into the effects of Reddit clamping down on hate speech a few years ago. Guess what: not giving assholes a platform actually works. It's still a cesspool but less so than it used to be.
I'm also suspicious -- what stops the aforementioned individuals from finding another website/forum? I seem to remember hearing that after Reddit closed down several of the more unsavory/flat-out-awful subreddits, a large contingent of those users moved to another site (can't remember which though).
FWIW, I support clamping down on hate speech, but only if it's accompanied by some form of education (otherwise, you're just hiding the problem).
Constricting hate speech has a notable impact on the dignity and well-being of those impacted.
 EG: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504630.2015.11...
But I also fully support the property rights of Twitter, Facebook, etc to exercise control over the content of their platforms.
You wouldn't permit someone setting up camp on your front lawn, passing out, say, NAMBLA literature would you? It's unlikely you'd say "Sir, I do not like that that you are on my lawn evangelizing man-boy love, but it's your god-given right to do so!" -- you'd probably (rightly say) "Get get the F--- off my lawn!"
Your property, your rules.
There is a correlation between the support of freedom of speech and gender / race, unsurprisingly.
I am not sure any populist politician has quite realized this power. Trump has to an extent but he has no backing from anyone in media, education, or most government employees. Now that Trump has broken so many tacit rules, I fear a charismatic leftist populist would be able to nationalize these private struggle sessions and vastly amplify his or her power.
The mob has not been a force in politics for a long time. I fear a resurgence.
You realize which country has some of the more effective and stringent hate speech laws in the world? If you do, did you stop to ask yourself why?
In other words, these platforms are powerful enough to silence people. Today, it's people you agree with silencing. Tomorrow, it may be people you disagree with silencing. It's not a good thing that massively powerful private companies are deciding what speech should be allowed and what should not. The law doesn't require it, but as users, we should demand that these major platforms are open to everyone, not just the ones that the majority currently approves of.
Their platform, their rules, within the confines of the law.
Those aren't orthogonal. They seem to both be true in this case (what "it is about" is subjective).
The Streisand effect applies when the attempt is to hide or censor information for no reason other than hiding information.
This is obviously not true. Apple has had a ridiculous "no politics" policy on the App Store for years, censoring the anti-war left.
I’m leery of people who cite one scientific data point alone. It smells like an appeal to authority. And you’re throwing up a strawman with your rhetoric about blocking a communist podcast.
Alex Jones himself has said in court it’s an act and he’s just an entertainer. Sometimes the act gets old and shows get canceled. Is that censorship?
In this case the show isn’t even canceled. Just removed from one of dozens of podcast directories. It’s still findable at the source. Your complaint is really about the creation of a slight inconvenience. There’s no real censorship here.
Not saying they will, because they haven't indicated that yet, but they are working with the extremist SPLC to craft a policy around 'hate' content and 'hateful' content (the latter to presumably include content that isn't hate content but could be misconstrued as hate content, perhaps?).
That was the moment when I cancelled my spotify account.
Oh and to be sure, they don't need to "working with the extremist SPLC" to do that. This ban has more to do with some sort of pseudo moral outrage, wich the right is quite capable of on their own.
Right leaning source: http://dailycaller.com/2018/04/19/splc-maajid-nawaz-muslim-e...
Left leaning source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/24/opinion/southern-poverty-...
They are removing the podcast from their directory of podcasts, not blocking the ability to subscribe.
I'd love to see that.
It really doesn't prevent infection, just warns you about stuff that may be unhealthy.
You can argue that Facebook, Apple and twitter are bigger platforms, but the principal is really the same.
Free speech is the right to say what you want, the way you want it, without being procecuted by the government or murdered by a violent mob.
Free speech is not the right to be heard.
I see the problem of the idea of huge media platforms banning content, but only as an idea. Alex Jones is a hate mongering asshole, that while entertaining, is also dangerous. When infowars ran a piece on the Sandy Hook tradegy, labeling it as a false flag and the victims as actors, some of those parents who lost their children received death threats. Some of those parents are still in hiding today, thanks to infowars and their insane audience.
I don’t think the free world, or free speech, suffered anything from this asshole being banned from iTunes.
It was almost a contest between he and the considerably less inflammatory but still uniquely weird John Aielli.
This isn't, nor should be read as a defense of Alex Jones by any sane person-but an acknowledgement of the absurd. I mean come on. Gay frogs? You gotta admit--it's chuckleworthy.
That all changed when either he "lost the plot" and began to believe it all, or the constant need to stay ahead of the news cycle (everything's a false flag, everyone in Hollywood or DC is a homosexual/pedophile/drug user, etc), combined with increasing mainstream coverage, make it genuinely harmful.
That the mask only drops in response to lawsuits is the tell, I think, and that's why I'm not really concerned about this having hugely unintended consequences and chilling effects. If his lawyers are to be believed (yeah, I know, don't @ me) then he's a grifter and actor but his storyline is harmful. No one has to carry his content; he can create his own media network and distribute it there.
As asked-I'm not particularly sure I'm open to arbitrarily unloading all of that context-and reduce it all down to a simplified yes or no.
Being willing to critique ones own body politic is a healthy thing. My lack of surprise comes from this strange phenomenon going about that presumes anything short of full-fledged vociferous condemnation or admonishment must automatically mean harbored complicity and is worth the harshest rebuke or silent dissent in the form of drive by downvotes without much contemplation or substantive discussion in the slightest.
It's not so much strange, it's simple human nature really. The strange part to me is how common it is becoming on a forum as intelligent as HN. Most people here see themselves as a cut above the general public when it comes to intellectual capability, and they're right, but even with this genuine intellectual advantage so few people seem able to notice that they too are neck deep in the cultural meme war, and guilty of many of the same (or at least similar) transgressions of those they criticize, albeit to a lesser degree.
To me, this is the big elephant-in-the-room problem we should be talking about rather than obvious idiots like Infowars, and the stakes are very high in the long term.
(.....and, possibly relevant, I'm "you're posting too fast" throttled, once again. Is that message 100% consistent with the underlying algorithm? Oh right, "freedom of speech doesn't guarantee you a platform", there's nothing more to be said about the matter, full stop. As long as we follow the law to the letter, "it's all good bro".)
I find radio which has a perspective that matches my own to be insufferable. It’s not funny, it’s uptight, it’s often miserable in it’s Subject matter.
I just prefer my entertainment to be creative people arguing absurd points over boring professors explaining climate change.
That's why most of us consider Alex Jones to be a joke, but the reason Apple and Spotify are making this move is because many people, exposed long enough to Alex Jones, start to believe what Alex Jones has to say.
I'm still sitting behind this keyboard chuckling slightly at the idea that a human being has the capacity to be so completely apoplectic over homosexual amphibians.
the problem is he's not. he holds these beliefs, and with his platform, he's leading other people to hold them as well. some are fairly benign, like gay frogs. others are downright sick, like calling the sandy hook kids crisis actors.
what i'm getting at is someone needs to mirror him, with disclaimers that everything that comes out of the host's mouth is ludicrous, asinine, and should never be considered rational thought. like the jackass intros, "you, and all your stupid little friends, should never try this at home."
Okay, sure YouTube telling Alex Jones to kick rocks isn't censorship, because only the government has that power.
It used to be a go-to move of mine to remind the holder of that opinion that government (supposedly) exists as a stand-in embodiment of the will of the people. The kind of laws we pass (or allow to pass) are macro-indicators of what we value. Certain amendments are passionately argued as being just that-weirdly, except the first amendment. It gets all sort of special treatment that sometimes (operative word) looks like selective application of the argument of "only government" can curtail speech.
Lately though I'm beginning to wonder if a better argument against "only the government can enforce speech" looks something like questioning the power given to corporations (those private enterprises that are free to curtail speech as much as they like) to suppress or hide what Edward R Murrow called "unpleasant or disturbing information" with how much power and influence these corporations have at large, comparatively speaking at the government level.
Or, said much more succinctly: I'm terrified of the eagerness to treat 'freedom of speech' as something that is universally, and singularly granted by the government-and I think it hides some really painful truths about the speaker that they probably would never admit themselves if pressed.
Similar to how we’ve come to understand the Internet as a whole as a utility which should provided as a dumb-pipe service by companies which must promise neutrality, a similar argument can be made that despite being run by private enterprise (so is most internet infrastructure anyway) that these monopolistic services are so core to how we actually use — and harness — the power of the internet that there is a level of neutrality required in their administration as well.
I'm actually far more concerned that not a lot of people are challenging the question of whether those characterizations can one day become (if they are not already becoming) arbitrary, self-serving, overly broad, or even simply 'by popular demand' removing items based on an increasingly politicized/bifurcated population.
I would argue that choosing winners and losers in the realm of ideas -- which is different than, say, graphic videos, where the criteria are easier to craft ["no nudity" or "no violence" examples of criteria with fewer edge cases] -- goes against core concepts of Western ideals of liberty and the marketplace of ideas. For if there's an objective reality out there, and each of us can seek it out for his/her self, there's no need for an overarching authority to remove "conspiracy theories" to protect our simple minds from accidentally becoming infected with false ideas.
I never enjoyed the screaming histrionics of Jones, nor his absurd obsessions, but I'm increasingly concerned that this Postmodern society is more concerned with what it views as Correct and Incorrect Ideas in such realms as comedy and discourse (the overly used "political correctness" that we often argue over so much) than letting individuals think things out for themselves.
I have a cultural foot in the door in both Europe and the U.S., and one point of contention I'll forever have with the European leg of the value system is the absurd notion that laws or norms should protect people from being offended and root out "false ideas." Not because I want people to be offended or because I think false ideas are good; instead, I simply don't trust anyone -- not a European judge nor some Apple bureaucrats -- to have better judgment than the rest of the population in this matters.
Applauding Jones getting wiped clean from these channels of distribution is short-term: one day there might be something less vile, less clear-cut, an edge-case, that gets removed and you'll have to shout to get it back. Be careful.
However, I don't think that's the biggest damage they could face from a single provider. I'd say that YouTube could absolutely break the entire thing down to pieces.
There are dozens of YouTube videos on their channel with millions of views, often multiple hours long. Hosting multiple hour long video files in a way that millions of people can stream them reliably, that's going to take some effort (and a non-negligible amount of resources).
Since YouTube offers them both discoverability and unlimited video bandwidth, if YouTube made a similar decision to Facebook, they would most probably be destroyed in an instant.
I occasionally listen to Alex Jones for background noise and entertainment value. There is something amusing in his voice, delivery and absurdity - perhaps I am a little privileged to be able to feel that way because he is nowhere close to home for me, as I live in India.
Challenge accepted. Where are they hosted? The videos stream from Akamai CDN. CNN can now press Akamai to remove Infowars.
Do they use CloudFlare? CloudFlare is know to censor far-right sites (but not jihadi sites).
'Move thrusts tech giant into the debate over censoring content on internet platforms'
Also a little hypocritical of Apple, they have some very inflammatory/deceptive podcasts run by some pretty nasty people, but because they aren't InfoWars it's ok.
Apple is not virtuous, nor will they ever be, regardless of what they want you to think.
He is free to publish his podcast on the internet, no one is stopping. If US government bans him, then we are in a big trouble.
Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or sanction. - Wikipedia
Freedom of speech isn’t the right to be heard, mind you. If you came by my house wanting to sell Jesus and I shut the door on you, you’d still have free speech.
They do have a legal right to discriminate which they used against him.
But still that does not change the fact that the media outlets are the ones that choose who has a right to speak and discriminate.
I consider myself an extremely strong First Amendment advocate and "free speech absolutist" when it comes to government force, and I am also uncomfortable about where the line should be for "private entities" that manage to achieve quasi-governmental levels of power, though I do not think that any level of non-violent restriction is directly comparable to censorship via the government's monopoly on physical force.
That said, a major question for me that has been growing bigger and bigger in my mind over the last decade is what exactly should be Free Speech's answer to denial of cognition attacks (and I want to be extra clear that it is a question, I have not been able to come to at all a satisfactory universal answer myself yet). Likely everyone on HN will be familiar with the concept of resource exhaustion attacks in the context of computers and networks. DOS mitigation has regrettably become a near requirement for any significant public facing Internet service. But fundamentally resource exhaustion attacks apply equally well to humans. In the idealized world of discussion and debate and philosophy abstract models of conduct are often used, but at the end of the day "implementation" still comes down to individual humans, each of whom only has so much mental capacity and so much time. And many arguments involving reality can easily be asymmetric too: it takes very little time and energy to make an assertion but a great deal to disprove it. Reality is under no obligation to be simple and elegant to human preferences.
I have seen this get put into practice with ever greater sophistication on a lot of my favorite forums. Someone arguing BS will throw out a bunch of simple stuff that takes a great deal of careful posting to show is wrong. If people volunteer their time to answer in that thread, it does no good in preventing the exact same assertions from being tossed out again (maybe remixed) in a new thread a week or month or whatever later. Eventually people just get tired or are busy. If they try to point towards a centralized source instead, that source can then be attacked and you see "argument from authority durr" and the like thrown out. It's bad faith but in a way that exploits a lot of the norms around free speech and argumentation, which classically didn't have the same scaling and automation threats. In fact, perhaps even more pernicious is when it's not bad faith but someone who has been fed a bunch of stuff they are arguing in all earnestness, yet there simply isn't time to address them individually. They must be directed to authorities and be expected to educate themselves on it.
I'm not sure what the answer is but we do clearly have a problem as some of the previous natural barriers due to cost of speech have fallen. It is common to speak of a "Marketplace of Ideas" when it comes to Free Speech, but it's important to remember that "Free Markets" are specific real tools that require regulatory support to function and have no goals of their own. Costs need to be internalized, information and processing ability needs to be symmetric, there needs to be a shared base of legal structure and norms to work on top of. Getting too far away from that results in market failure. I don't know how that might be translated to Free Speech but I do think we're seeing a "market of ideas failure" to some extent right now, and that it could easily get much worse in the near future unchecked. There is a need for better ways to improve the signal/noise cost function, and for systems to re-internalize that the point of Free Speech, of marketplaces of ideas or markets of anything at all, is to come up with good products. They're tools to serve humanity. Bad ones shouldn't be banned by force but they shouldn't be flourishing either, if they are then something isn't working.
Free speech is the right to speak your mind without being prosecuted by the government, it’s not the right to force your opinion on people who don’t want it.
As it stands though, within current speech norms and ideals of debate dating back to Athens at least, there are lot of people very angry about bans. And that matters to commercial entities in particular, which means banning isn't "easy" (even ignoring the lack of any time equivalency token system to deal with the economics of suspensions or bans better).
>Free speech is the right to speak your mind without being prosecuted by the government, it’s not the right to force your opinion on people who don’t want it.
You don't need to tell me that, I covered in the first paragraph of my post. But it's not unreasonable to talk about wider concepts for the "marketplace of ideas" as it serves society beyond the critical foundation of the 1A. I think we may need better norms and tools to help private entities in determining where lines should be and how to go about that. And I also think it's disingenuous to not address private entities that achieve levels of societal power that approach modern government even if they don't have armies of their own, particularly when there is in fact subtle government backing down the chain somewhere (DMCA for example).
It’s not my fault people have the wrong assumption that free speech meant you could say what you want without consequences.
Part of why free speech work is because adults accept responsibility for their actions, and part of that is living with the consequences of how you behave. When you offend people for a living, people are going to get offended and then they genuinely won’t want to listen to what you have to say.
Which is their right.
Dismissing any discussion on this topic as simply "you have the right to free speech, but you're not guaranteed a platform" in the age of the internet, with absolutely no consideration whatsoever for larger long term considerations and risks displays that the speaker is not righteously unbiased. Sure, they're undoubtedly more correct than Alex Jones and his ilk, but they're not fully willing to support a marketplace of ideas on principle. If your ideological team is winning, this is a natural tendency, but consider a scenario where your team isn't - then what?
From where I sit, this is a good demonstration of the nature, difficulty, and importance of the problem we're dealing with in our complex societies.
It has nothing to do with free speech.
I can see why inforwars readers aren't happy with this, but I don't really care what they think. People who send death threats to parents who lose children in school shootings because infowars labeled them as actors in false flag operations are assholes.
Who wants to listen to them? And it's not like they're not allowed to say what they want, they absolutely are, they just can't force anyone to listen.
Ironically, if you want the government to force private companies to include inforwars on their platforms, well, then you're really not very different from the left-leaning marxists who wants the government to force companies to hire 50/50 male/women directors.
Equality of outcome is always evil, and there is nothing complicated or nuanced about it.
Who watches the watchmen?
I mean, by all rights, Trump should have been banned from twitter as well, but I guess you can become popular enough that rules don’t apply.
But that is frankly wrong.
His initial post:
"I consider myself an extremely strong First Amendment advocate and "free speech absolutist" when it comes to government force, and I am also uncomfortable about where the line should be for "private entities" that manage to achieve quasi-governmental levels of power, though I do not think that any level of non-violent restriction is directly comparable to censorship via the government's monopoly on physical force.
That said.....<where he goes into some other related but distinctly different (from the first amendment) ideas...>"
And then your reply, where having literally just finished reading a substantial block of text (the above is just one excerpt), you act as if he was specifically discussing the first amendment, and only the first amendment:
> It's not broader or more nuanced though, the first amendment is very clear.
He is not talking only about technicalities of the first amendment, yet you continue to reply as if he is.
My questions to you:
Are you aware that you are doing this? Is this behavior accidental, or is it intentional?
One idea xoa discusses is the notion of "human resource attacks": "I have seen this get put into practice with ever greater sophistication on a lot of my favorite forums. Someone arguing BS will throw out a bunch of simple stuff that takes a great deal of careful posting to show is wrong. If people volunteer their time to answer in that thread, it does no good in preventing the exact same assertions from being tossed out again (maybe remixed) in a new thread a week or month or whatever later. Eventually people just get tired or are busy. If they try to point towards a centralized source instead, that source can then be attacked and you see "argument from authority durr" and the like thrown out. It's bad faith but in a way that exploits a lot of the norms around free speech and argumentation, which classically didn't have the same scaling and automation threats. In fact, perhaps even more pernicious is when it's not bad faith but someone who has been fed a bunch of stuff they are arguing in all earnestness, yet there simply isn't time to address them individually. They must be directed to authorities and be expected to educate themselves on it."
I would assert that what's happening here is a specialized variant of a more general "human resource attacks", specifically patience, and it is something one will see repeatedly in forums, particularly on topics that fall under the the social sciences. In this case, xoa is trying to have a genuine conversation in good faith about an important topic, and you are exhibiting a behavior where you repeatedly behave as if you misunderstand the specific point he is trying to make, even when it is explicitly pointed out to you that in your responses you are changing the subject from what he is actually talking about to a related topic of your choosing, and then using that to dismiss his points.
I wonder if anyone has catalogued all of these behaviors/techniques. I recall encountering mention of some sort of a handbook on disrupting online forums or communities, I wonder if this might be something it covered, because these techniques (techniques if conscious and deliberate, behaviors if an observation of subconscious human behavior) are very effective, and in my experience (from looking for these types of behaviors while reading forums for quite some time), very common.
Apple's wrong here.
On a smaller scale, you couldn’t get your content posted on infowars if they didn’t like it. Does that mean infowars is stepping on your rights?
No, because freedom of speech isn’t the same thing as the right of being heard. You can say what you want, but I don’t have to listen to you.
Giving for-profit corporations "freedoms" like they were people was a mistake. Once an organization grows to a certain size, it has more in common with a government than a person. When that happens, their "freedoms" should be appropriately circumscribed.
You misunderstand: I wasn't commenting on which companies have rights or not, but about which rights companies should have at all, and where their rights stand in relation to those held by individuals. Corporations are not natural persons, they're creatures animated by legislation and can be regulated by it or abolished entirely.
No, that's wrong. The government can force a company to provide services to someone, despite however much that company may disagree them, their views, or their identity. A lot of anti-discrimination law works that way. For instance: private individuals have the right not associate with a particular person for any reason, but companies do not.
If you violate a TOS you get banned. Alex Jones is a vile troll, he broke the rules and reaped the consequences. The government shouldn’t prevent this just because he has vile listeners.
The "turning frogs gay" is reductive and hyperbolic, but unlike most of the nonsense spouted by Jones it is at least grounded in something resembling fact.
How many of them accuse the victims of mass shootings of being false flag actors?
"Jones insisted that the kids’ deaths were a great hoax, a performance staged by gun-control activists backed by the American government. As a result of that, Noah Pozner’s family says, they have been stalked and subjected to death threats by Jones’s legions of epistemically gullible yet digitally savvy followers—a fact that has, doxxing by doxxing, forced them to move seven times over the past five years, ever farther away from the body of their slain son."
I am entertained as anyone by conspiracy theories, and I am free to believe them or not. But if tomorrow morning, I would wake up with my name on infowars, saying I am part of the plot, it would not take long to create serious problems.
The transcript is talking about how media is trying to drum up a narrative that any violence against the media is Trump and InfoWars and Breitbart fault. This is seen as another means of censorship and blame gaming.
The specific example that comes to mind is of the attack in Baltimore Capital Gazette which just last week journalists were yelling “What about Baltimore?!” at Sarah Huckabee Sanders, when we know the gunman had specific personal animus and had even made Twitter threats against the paper, and yet CNN anchors claim it’s Trump fault for inciting violence against reporters....
Statements like this are purely political. There was no call for violence. This is discussing current events and the narrative around inciting violence against the media (“Acosta’s life threatened at Trump rally”) which is kind of an important story going on right now. But because they are on the “wrong” side of the narrative, we’ll find a way to call it hate speech and ban it?
We can all laugh about "gay frogs" but the guy is dangerous.
Let's just agree to disagree. I read your comment history. There's no point in debating you.
I actually have learned a lot over the last few years on HN in discussions on all sorts of thorny topics with people holding diverse viewpoints.
Throughout those discussion I try very hard to avoid ad hominem attacks, or personally disparaging remarks. We’re not obligated to engage or reply to comments espousing different viewpoints, but if we do, we’re obligated to keep it civil please!
This is not a close call.
Is there not something worth discussing here — as we examine the reactions to Sarah Jeong, Quinn Jones, Alex Jones.... to me these are all part of the same movement. By which I don’t mean necessarily something explicitly planned and orchestrated, but rather shifting public consensus on public discourse, what consequences should be dealt, and how the visceral response in these cases may be weaponized and subverted.
Upon second thought though, perhaps the more apt comparison is Roseanne Barr. I certainly agree that bringing up Jeong did not result any useful dialog on the topic, so I’ll be more careful about that in the future.
They aren't. The lines between a professional conspiracy- and snake-oil-monger, a person whose friendship with Nazis made them lose a job offer and a person against whom a targeted smear campaign failed are not at all blurred. These things are not closely related and piling Roseanne Barr on to this blob of amorphous grievance-gunk just makes it more sealion-shaped and sealion-sized. It's not a good HN topic - polite flamebaiting is still flamebaiting.
On the other hand, derailment was a serious concern during the industrial revolution and some thread-workers violently opposed new, disruptive technology. This is a technology site. Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica, all this has happened before and will happen again and is totally not unrelated.
It seems like you feel like this is all so cut and dry, however the public discussion on all sides would seem to discredit that notion. It’s what NYMag calls, “on the one hand, utterly obvious ... and at the same time muddled and thorny.” 
I had to Google the sealion reference, I think you’ve quite abused the term. 
 - http://nymag.com/selectall/2018/02/why-quinn-norton-and-the-...
 - https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/sea-lioning
The guidelines mention:
> Please don't use Hacker News primarily for political or ideological battle.
We should allow discussion of hate speech, regardless of ideology, on a thread about how hate speech is handled online.
That's the power of a smear campaign, right? Planting a negative perception in people who previously had no attitude about a person. I recommend researching a bit before repeating the message of the campaign ("racist tweets"). Jeong is okay.
Good, because those sites are absolutely notorious for spreading lies and false rumors that have caused documented harm to innocent people, under the guise of "asking questions".
It is way too easy to spread lies in simple black/white slogan form. They embed themselves and influence opinion. It takes much more effort to disprove them, because reality is complicated and nuanced.
There's your asymmetric information warfare. The virulent hatemongers know that people want simple scapegoats, and they play to that, with anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, anti-tolerance retoric.