It seems as if there are a growing number of people that no longer believe this statement. It's unfortunate and I never thought I would see free speech be devalued (in the US), but I regularly see calls to restrict speech.
I agree with this paper that anonymity must be protected, but I worry that current and future generations will continue to move away from these principles in the name of inclusion.
Look above, comments from Josh Cole... bots control the internet.. only regulation, govt censorship, and censorship by tech companies can save the uneducated, unwashed masses which could never understand or be left to make their own decisions with regard to the web and information contained therein..
I always get a chuckle from those who have such arrogance and avarice, that only the govt can fix societal ills. It's horrifying. Experts...
Please don't lie about what I said.
I said that the argument against, written in 1995, does not reflect the reality of the day. A reality which is producing said regulation and policy change, right now, already, in California. I'm talking about things that happened. I said that this topic wasn't accurate for modern day - that the speed at which technology has progressed has left this post dramatically out of date.
Maybe you've forgotten, but Facebook and Twitter didn't even exist in 1995. Back then the internet was far more decentralized.
It's funny that Google would frame it like that, because here is an article from 1995 clearly stating that you can expect trolling to come from freedom of speech. This was a known issue with the internet from the get go. It's just that since society has become ultra-political that points of view from "the other side" has gone from being obnoxious to being something that must be wiped off the face of the earth, by force if necessary.
During the founding of this country we probably had trolls too, but its easier to regain a pleasant town square when the troll has to directly, physically, face the consequences of his free speech.
The goal of free speech is not to create a "pleasant town square", it's to protect individual liberty and not allow powerful entities to control what can and cannot be communicated.
I have some pretty unpopular opinions because of my support of this Constitutional underpinning. For instance, I think that there is nothing wrong with exclusive country clubs. Or hoisting Confederate/Nazi flags on private property. Or even kneeling during the anthem. Etc.
Our government does not stop any such activities. (And if they did, I would consider it an act of governmental overreach on the level of treason against the Constitution.)
Now from the other side of it, if that exclusive country club does not want me on their grounds, that does not restrict my activities. I don't have any rights that impinge the rights of others. That is, the country club does not have to give up its right to be exclusive, because I want to go eat there.
My rights, shouldn't trump anyone else' rights, but I believe my rights should almost always trump the government's rights. And my honest belief is that that's how the Founders saw things as well.
That's the way I think things should work.
But when it comes to YouTube or Facebook, no moderation policy is appropriate because there is no single set of community standards for all users. When you have more users than most countries have citizens, you're acting in the role of a government.
Obviously the best solution to this is to get back to a decentralized internet where no one site has more than 5% of the total users, but in the meantime the big players shouldn't be censoring anything. And if that so happens to make them less competitive against smaller sites without so many users they're expected not to restrict anything -- good.
There doesn't have to be.
In my view, YouTube and Facebook, are private property. It's like the example of the exclusive country club. I can't argue that the country club is big and has all the best restaurants, so they have to let me in. It's their club.
Or perhaps a more analogous example. What happens a lot up here in Wisconsin is that some families sit on a lot of land. Needless to say, during deer season, there are a lot of people who think they can just go on that land to hunt. But that's not how it works. I don't like it. I'd like to hunt on some of that land. It's all of the best spots being monopolized by one family, but it's THEIR property.
My right to hunt doesn't mean that all of a sudden they don't have a right to their land. It's their land.
Same with YouTube. Go to another video streaming site. Or start your own. But you don't get to tell YouTube what to do with their video streaming site.
Your right to speak freely is not impinged at all by them precluding you from their site for instance. Any more than my right to hunt is impinged by a certain family, that shall remain nameless, not sharing their land.
If someone has a thousand times more land than the average person, but still only 5% of all the land, they have no obligation to share. If someone has more than half of all of it, it's antitrust time and different rules apply.
You don't like his service, use another. YouTube doesn't own all of the video streaming services around. Not even close.
All your arguments just don't apply to the case you're trying to make. YouTube doesn't own all the video streaming services. And the government doesn't restrict your right to speak freely outside of YouTube.
So where is the necessity to speak on YouTube coming from?
You haven't presented an argument that would, in any way, support abrogating our social compact of private property.
Sure, all you have to do is get all your viewers to switch from Facebook/YouTube to something else. Which you have no real control over, hence the problem.
YouTube is not forcing your friends to use YouTube, and neither is the government. Your friends can easily view your video stream on any other service.
So "but my friends won't use Twitch instead", is not really a legitimate reason for us to abandon our belief in private property. Sorry.
If this were true, why isn't it what actually happens? Why is there a single dominant YouTube with majority share rather than dozens of competitors none of which has more than a single digit percentage of the users?
Presumably because YouTube is better? Or maybe just easier?
I'm not an expert. I couldn't tell you.
But what I can tell you is that it's NOT because the government forces everyone to use YouTube. It's not even because YouTube forces everyone to use YouTube.
If someone starts forcibly preventing you from using, say, Twitch, then give me a call. I'll be the first one to agitate for getting that restriction removed. But if you and every one of your friends are free to use whatever you like, and you're choosing to use YouTube. Then there is no real problem to be solved.
What it sounds to me like you're asking for, is for us to effectively confiscate someone else' private property because you kind of like it. Well I'm sorry, but this is not Cuba. That's just not how things work here. Here in the US, the principle of private property is held sacrosanct. It takes a lot more than what you've put forward for us to go confiscate and nationalize someone's property.
There are plenty of video streaming services. Your issue is that you don't want to use the others. That doesn't make YouTube a problem. The problem is that you don't want to use the others. And that's not a problem that the Constitution or the government should solve for you.
But you CAN view live video streams at numerous other places.
This is the difference that's glaringly obvious to everyone else, but somehow seems to escape you. DailyMotion exists. Twitch exists. Vimeo exists. Facebook video exists, and is actually larger than YouTube. (by megabyte stored.) Twitter video exists. Instagram video exists. Snapchat video exists. The list goes on and on.
You have to have a monopoly, to break up a monopoly. YouTube doesn't have a monopoly. You, presumably, just like their property more than Twitch or Instagram video or whatever. So you want to use YouTube.
Fine. I get that.
But that's a 'YOU' problem, not an 'US' problem.
Also, if you view YouTube as merely a video hosting service, you're completely missing the point. It's the second largest search engine on the web.
i would like to see governments take more of a black/white stance toward "safe harbor" protections. if you need to moderate for the bottom line, you can do it, but this should come with additional liability.
It isn't bad to have moderated spaces as long as they're actually run by individual communities and not amalgamated general purpose platforms imposing one party's views on everybody else.
As soon as you impose liability you go from moderation as a mechanism to weed out malice to essentially an editorial board that has to pre-approve everything as officially sanctioned by the platform. It excludes an important middle ground.
That's not free speech.
Never gave you a right not to be ignored by your neighbours, or not banned from the bar, or not having others nudge their friends to make sure they notice and avoid, etc. Free speech almost always came with consequences until the internet age.
Preaching Bible can offend my atheist neighbor. My neighbor's blasphemous speech can offend my religious sentiments. There can be no end to this. In effect, no one will be free to speak their mind.
It is like that where I grew up in the Midwest, too. Knowing that there will likely be immediate physical consequences for inflammatory speech is a great way to limit that kind of behavior. Unless, of course, it's Saturday night and you're mildly drunk and looking for a fight.
That's not free speech. That's silencing what you don't like with violence.
I'm not advocating public violence to limit speech or "de-platform" people. We have too much of that already. Rather, the point was to contrast the kinds of things people will say online that they would probably not say in person.
it's also a great way to limit unpopular political speech and marginalized people taking up public space. "gay bashing", for example, is still a thing that happens to some of my friends.
unless we can count on people to only administer beatings to the right folks, i don't really see how you can have it both ways.
It's also a great way to defend unpopular political speech and marginalized people. The civil rights and gay rights movements used the same means of inflicting social and physical consequences against the status quo that its defenders used to defend it.
Speech doesn't exist in a vacuum completely separate from the universe of physical consequence, it never has.
They're not my ideas, and they don't benefit only those in power. If that were true, no protest, union or revolutionary movement of any kind would ever have been successful. The paradox of tolerance is a real thing.
I'm not trying to get in the middle of your guys' argument, but I have a serious question.
Why does a troll being anonymous or public, make his speech any more, or less, free? (Assuming that soldiers or police, or Saudi Intelligence Agents, aren't coming to drag said troll away.)
That is, in fact, the definition of free speech.
I would even go as far to suggest you would probably agree with them, at least for the most common form of speech I saw people wanting to ban. Think of the worst image you can that someone could share or possess.
Once we agree that some speech can be banned, or even that we can just declare certain things don't count as speech, we set the precedent that limits on free speech are acceptable.
Presuming that I understood cft's point, I'm not sure I buy it. True, some of the humanities people seem less committed to free speech than one would wish. But they are hardly the first to be so. Personally, I'm not sure that there are more voices in favor of censorship than there ever have been. It' may just be that, like every other viewpoint, those calling for it can get really loud in their own echo chamber...
Just as we already decided long ago, not long after drafting the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, when we determined that it was not OK to yell "fire" in a crowded theater, and that sharing state secrets with the enemy, while technically a form of "speech", was still treason.
Threats and legitimate harassment are illegal in the US. No further action needed there. Just call the police if you're in danger. Platforms are legally obligated to work with the authorities and remove illegal content.
"Russian propagandists", is a partisan issue and definitely something that free speech should help protect. I'd say this strikes at the heart of the issue actually. People can accuse those they disagree with of being "Russian" or "bots" then get them censored. Free speech stops this from happening.
It's not. No party in the U.S., or in any country, supports propaganda from foreign powers, and there's not much debate whether it exists; evidence of their activities is deep and wide. The Russians wish it was partisan.
There may be debate over which things on the Internet are the products of Russian propaganda, but that's the nature of effective propaganda - only the crappy stuff is obvious, and the effective propagandists want everyone arguing with each other.
That is the raw data.
> React to the anonymous information unemotionally. Abusive posters will be encouraged further if they get irrationally irate responses. Sometimes the most effective response is silence.
For every case of abuse, there are more cases of good use of a service and we should focus on those and not let the malicious ones become the loudest.
Any space where abuse was allowed rather than moderated, the space just became dominated by the abusive and they would overtake the space.
Internet is a strange place right now, much different from what it was
Don't feed the troll was born on the premise that abusers were a minority and that anonymity was protecting the good guys from the bad guys
Today anonymity protects the bad guys from being prosecuted
Now your anonymously accessible forum greets newcomers with the most abusive, disgusting posts imaginable sprinkled with the occasional post of an idealistic cypherpunk who abides by the dictum, "Don't feed the trolls."
Predictably, the forum is frequented by no one outside of a handful of idealistic cypherpunks and problem even fewer trolls (because it's cheap to saturate a forum with the most vile, disgusting content).
trolls don't need a lot of food to keep posting, but i posit they at least need some.
Maybe you can monetize trolls somehow? But I've never been on a team that came up with a good way to do so. No one wants to be 4chan.
In the end, it's always been better for the bottom line to try to make them go away.
Moderation is also vital to making a space usable. Enforcing real names is not a moderation policy in and of itself - people are perfectly willing to post hate speech under their own name, including in national newspapers.
Where these intersect is that it's much easier to moderate if you can ban someone in a way that they stay banned.
This argument against is old enough that it is now a straw man.
There are known state-level actors actively pushing propaganda through the internet. There are companies founded with the express purpose of providing influence in exchange for money. There are companies founded with the express purpose of providing bot accounts to make it seem as if a person is more popular than they are.
There is an industry and state level actors abusing anonymity online to shift discourse, with real life consequences more severe than death having already resulted. It isn't unreasonable to suppose that it is possible that millions of people will die as a consequence of some of the manipulations which has already occurred, given UN projections regarding the effect of climate change.
We accelerate in progression as we progress. 1995 is a lifetime ago. You might as well link Plato.
Recent google slides which made it to Hacker News frontpage has a slide that put the estimate of bot traffic on the internet near 30% of all traffic.
Taxes can be great; taxes without representation aren't. Anonymity can be great; anonymity for people with hostile motives who influence things which do not relate to themselves are not.
Have a little subtlety.
I'm getting downvoted. Go watch Facebook testimony to congress and similar things in which their is admission of acts as vile as extremist groups being intentionally provoked into armed conflict being performed on online platform. Go read about the IRA and probes into Russian influence on social media. Stop being so ignorant, Hacker News. I get that you filter bubble out political talk, but in case you missed it, there is an actual reason behind why California is moving forward with a law to ban bots which don't confess to being a bot and similar laws designed to curtail these influence campaigns. Its not that legislators are insane.
The last group of people who will be thwarted by lack of anonymity on the web are "state-level actors". Literally.
> There are companies founded with the express purpose of providing influence in exchange for money.
Probably the second- or third- last group of people who would be thwarted by deanonymization.
So you think Facebook adopting non-anonymous political ads as their policy was done because the intent wasn't to go after corporations and governments interfering with the political process? That instead, these people are the very last people who are going to be targeted?
The truth of the matter is that the first people targeted were these groups, but that they have the most resources, so may be most capable of overcoming these limits and causing harm anyway.
follower counts only impact people because of the assumption that each follower is a _real_ person, which is a direct effect of the deanonymization we see today by social networks.
propaganda has significantly more impact when it is perceived to come from "just another normal person" rather than an anonymous bot.