Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are basically monopolies. They are the only services in their class to take seriously if you're looking to gain a following. If they didn't exist, alternative services would spring up. But alternative services know they can't compete with FB/YouTube/Twitter, so none exist. When people say "if you don't like FB's rules, use another service" it ignores that Facebook is the reason there isn't another service and thus has some responsibility to uphold values we've collectively decided as a society are important.
The issue is not whether Facebook is breaking the law but whether philosophically the market leader in a category should get to decide who can use their product when their product category is fundamental to modern life. Saying "no one is owed a platform" brings us no closer to an answer.
Monopolies of what, exactly? I admit to sometimes looking at entertaining videos on youtube. About an hour or maximum two hours a week worth. I'm not sure what you're suggesting that facebook and twitter are monopolizing. I haven't used the former in years and the latter just about ever -- aside from maybe five tweets over the course of twitter's existence.
Monopolies of online discourse? Attention? Entertainment? Clearly we're not using any of those platforms now.
Monopoly on platform reach. The reach of facebook, or the reach of youtube, twitter etc, is so high, that if you want to disseminate a message, those _must_ be the platforms you use. It's as if they own the radio spectrum, and you have to acquiesce to what they demand to use said spectrum.
Of course, i am free to use smoke signals to send my message, but who will receive it?
Even though they are competing for attention, they each use different mediums. As an analogy, it's like only having one radio station, one TV station, and one magazine. There needs to be dozens of each for there to be a true marketplace of ideas.
Can you define a market each of them has a monopoly over? There are many popular video apps and many popular social media apps. Exactly what does each of them have a monopoly on? A network effect is not a monopoly. Being the exclusive provider of convenience for some specific group of people is not a monopoly.
For example, in some religious town, it's possible that the only way to reach a certain group of people on a Sunday afternoon is to go to the church. This does not mean the church has a monopoly on reach. Likewise, it's possible that where you live, the only place you can get a meal at 2AM is Aunt Ann's Diner. This doesn't make them a monopoly. Nor is the only sushi restaurant in town a monopoly. We live in a world of differentiation - every service provider that has a reason to exist provides something that others don't. This doesn't make everyone a monopoly.
Also, on none of these platforms is it trivial to build a large audience. And it's certainly possible to build a large audience through other means. For any given platform to have a monopoly on reach, people must be spending so little time outside of this platform that it's impossible to reach them otherwise. That's not a world any of us lives in. Even Youtube accounts for a very small fraction of time spent on watching videos and Facebook and Twitter are two of a large number of popular social networks. Snapchat, WeChat, iMessage, Weibo, TikTok, QQ, VK, Reddit, LinkedIn and Line to name a few.
Because more people choose to eat McDonalds burgers than the local dive bar burgers, does this mean McDonalds has a monopoly on burgers?
My local dive bar can serve me burgers whether it has a customer base of 1.000 or 1.000.000. A social network, however, cannot function without hundreds of millions of users. Otherwise it's an anti-social network.
As a result I can post my video to DailyMotion instead of YouTube but how am I going to build a following without engaging with Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter?
These networks require mass user engagement to be effective which precludes a myriad of competition. I don't think breaking these companies up as Elizabeth Warren suggested is the correct solution because it fundamentally handicaps their ability to function. But I think there does need to be regulation around how they do business which sadly does not exist.
I think the point is yes there are alternatives however given the size/reach of FB, YT, and twitter even those alternatives really aren't competing with them. They own the market share for what do and even many of those alternatives (ie mastodon) post on twitter or FB news or service updates. I'd say the alternatives don't even make up 5% use over FB, YT, or twitter.
Is it a monopoly in the normal sense of the word probably not, but the issue remains that alternatives are niche and truly don't directly compete. I think though as things like people being banned, creators being demonetized or the numerous other things that have happened in the last year to show users of these platforms the problems; we might see these alternatives pick up ground as these people with followings and clout get kicked off or decide to find alternatives. They get too big for their own good and in the process they will end up fragmenting their communities causing some to take alternatives serious.
What Facebook IS a monopoly of is getting your content to go viral. I argue this service is not speech. Which is why I oppose web hosts and cloudflare censoring content, but support social networks banning users. When web hosts do it, users who WANT that content can't get it anymore. When social networks ban people, they merely can't find new eyeballs that never specifically requested that content.
This isn't true though. Alex Jones can disseminate his message through countless other websites, which have their own users. This is really just advocating for equal exposure of opinions, which isn't a free speech issue.
i can post a comment on FB and get 0 likes, that doesn't give me equal exposure to the latest nike video on their page.
denying opportunity for exposure is giving that platform the ultimate authority on what shouldn't be able to be exposed in society, if society is reliant on that platform.
i don't want alex jones to have exposure, but i don't want an exec deciding what's next on the chopping block. a page suggesting publicly available employee salaries? they shouldn't have that power
If we're talking about internet providers, that's a different issue, since they are a user's conduit to the entire web. Those absolutely should not be able to choose which accounts to favor.
These networks have been curated from the get-go, for no reason other than to control spam. Then, to keep people hooked, they emphasized virality and controversy. These aspects make them quite unlike a town square.
Our situation is even better than this, the entire internet is our town square, anyone can spin our own metaphorical soap box online and say whatever we want, and the entire worlds internet connected public can hear us if they choose to do so.
So this is different from walking past a demonstration or assembly in the city, it is more of an Inception movie-like warping of the entire city to bring everyone closer to these peoples voices.
Actually, a city square does exactly that, amplify your voice to all those that pass. The difference is that there are many city squares to stand in, whereas there are only a handful of social media companies. The problem here is Facebook's monopoly power, not the medium of communication.
I’m just not sure this holds up to any kind of scrutiny. There are tens if not hundreds of thousands of forums online where people can speak.
It’s a problematic analogy anyway, Facebook is not a public space, if we’re going insist on applying a real world physical analogue, they would be much closer to a city’s incredibly popular nightclub with a stage, which of course would never be required to give extremists or provocateurs free-reign of their equipment or stage. But even this analogy has problems.
I think the real argument is whether or not a company is free to associate its brand with whatever it likes.
In many smaller countries Facebook is nearly synonymous with the internet itself.
I. Where the monopolist lies not the exclusive power of production but only certain exclusive facilities as a producer, and can increase, with imdimimished or even increased facility, the amount of his produce....
II. A second kind of monopoly is in the opposite extreme. It exists where price is checked neither by the hopes nor by the fears of the producer, where no competition is dreaded, and no increased supply can be effected. The owners of some vinyards have such a monopoly....
III. A third and more frequent kind of monopoly lies between these two extremes, and is neither so strict as the last, nor so comparatively open as the first. This comprises those cases in which the monopolist is the only producer, but, by the application of additional labow and abstinence, can indefinitely increase his production. The book trade affords an illustration....
IV. The fourth and last class of monopolies exists where production must be assisted by natural agents, limited in number, and varying in power, and repaying with less and less relative assistance every increase in the amount of the labour and abstinence bestowed on them.
-- Nassau William Senior, An Outline Of The Science Of Political Economy, (1836, 1872) pp. 103-106.
Arguably, FB are a monopoly of all four types.
In the USA, just because we have the first amendment doesn't mean you're not responsible for your words. Fighting words is a thing (it's actually a term), verbal harassment is a thing, etc...
Alex Jones from InfoWar sic his followers to harass the Sandy Hook victims' parents. He was free to say what he wants and then he got ban for inciting unsavory actions.
To be real fair here, I'm pretty dang sure in Facebook's ToS, they have something like no porn allow. Nobody blink an eye on that because that make sense and it's probably some where in the ToS (terms of service). Yet here we got a guy that's advocating his listeners to harass people and a vocal minority of Americans are all up in arm about it. He most likely violated some rules in the ToS.
Thats a skewed depiction of what happened. What happened was the biggest conspiracy theorist on the internet ran a few articles about the hottest conspiracies on the internet (crisis actors, etc) just asking questions. Alex Jones notably believes just about everything is a conspiracy. This naturally led to people deciding to "find the truth theirselves".
Alex Jones really hurt those families but I don't believe he had intent. I think he just didn't quite realise what the consequences of his actions would be.
Ironically the people criticizing Jones for spreading this conspiracy have popularized the conspiracy more than Jones himself. while critizing Jones for spreading this conspiracy. Media coverage is thought to be one of the primary drivers of schhol shootings.
I just don't see a great deal of consistency in the excommunication of Jones. Which isn't to say he shouldn't be banned. He's the epitome of fake news. Yet I notice how facebook itself gets away with providing a service that helps mass murder go Viral. Jones at least doesn't have blood on his hands like Facebook does.
I think the reason we don't is simply because we want to allow speech that result in "bad" people getting harassed but not "good" people, and since different political sides define good and bad differently, what we get is platforms making the decision for us. Personally I would prefer a law instead.
Of course people make mistakes, and as adults, they should know that there are consequences to making mistakes. A stock trader that bets on the wrong stock has to deal with the consequences of losing money. A murderer who shows remorse must still serve their sentence.
Similarly, a conspiracy theory peddler who popularizes false accusations needs to own up to the harm they caused. Alex Jones has harmed a lot of people in very serious ways.
"I'm sorry" is not enough.
The consequences was that he was ban from several services.
There is also a defamation lawsuit against him. That is how it work in a lawful society.
And whatever happen, yes mistake happen, and yes you can apologies. But nobody is obligated to forgive you.
He made the claims in September 2014. He's being banned in May 2019. Such a gaping delay means this doesn't really qualify as a consequence.
I'm sure everyone make mistakes.
I'm not entirely sure if people have made mistake where they stated the the death of children were just a plot to take away guns, that those where child actors and then before I continue I would like to briefly talk about my InforWar products. Buy this rape whistle to support InfoWar. Oh where was I? Right, making money off of the dead kids.
And you're saying this as if this is the only outrageous incidents he have done.
I want you to say it with your real name instead of a pseudo name.
Like how I'm stating my belief on this subject with my real name. Because I'm sure as hell you wouldn't be defending Alex Jones' actions.
> Like how I'm stating my belief on this subject with my real name. Because I'm sure as hell you wouldn't be defending Alex Jones' actions.
Of course they wouldn't, but I don't see why this is a point you would like to make. They would face the potential for real-life backlash if any of many mobs prowling the internet noticed their comment. You can post safely because you're voicing a majority-held opinion.
I'm not seeing the link between "there are people actively seeking to ruin the lives of those holding thoughts like yours" and "what you're saying is incorrect". The mob is always right?
The best possible way of doing this would be if the person is basing this argument from the basis of good intention and good will and that they know the subject is of good. But if you can't do that perhaps deep down in side you know there is something wrong with your position. If you still believe in it you ought to have a solid argument.
Not this every people make mistakes as if all mistakes are the same argument. A distracted mother caused a car accident that kill someone. A drunken driver killed someone in a car accident. Both are mistakes but they're not equal, if they were then one of them wouldn't be likely to have a harsher punishment.
Having a real name forces at person to be honest, civil and actually put real effort into the discussion.
I like to think the people who hides behind these fake names are more like those Klanmen hiding behind those white hooded costumes. I'm not alluding to racism but it is either because deep down inside they know they're wrong or they're not brave enough to stand on their own feet or unwilling to put effort into making a solid argument.
Or you believe you have a solid argument, but realize it's an unpopular one, and have seen others with unpopular arguments be harassed and fired for them. (How ironic that you raise this argument in a thread literally about people suffering for their unpopular arguments!)
> Having a real name forces at person to be honest
People can only be truly honest when anonymous, and assured safety from consequences.
You seem to think that it is courageous to echo the dominant opinion that a majority of talking heads and blue checkmarks on Twitter agree with...try doing something radical like criticizing the U.S. war machine, or Israel, or endless neoliberal regime change and see how that works out for you...you'll find out you can criticize these things using your real name, but they'll be concrete consequences
Other thread have pointed out unpopular opinions will have get mob that's why they hide.
Well let see three unpopular opinions.
1. The earth is flat.
2. A religious person going to a university with signs saying, "Gays are going to hell."
3. Bunch of people with Tiki torches chanting, "Jews will not replace us."
Which one do you think will get a mob? All 3 of them.
Which one is more likely to get into confrontations? The 3rd one and it's because it's coming from hate. It's the degree of hatred in the unpopular opinion that will get a rowdy mob.
What exactly do these people that take these hateful stances expect?
> try doing something radical like criticizing the U.S. war machine, or Israel, or endless neoliberal regime change and see how that works out for you...
I have no idea what you're definition of these subjects are.
But okay I'll go for it.
I don't support USA being involve with the current conflict in Yemen. I know I'm a begger that's choosing, but I've recently have tried my best to not apply to companies that are directly involved in war.
Israel occupation of the West Bank is wrong. UN have recognized it and it hinder the process of peace between Israel and Palestine.
I have no idea what this neoliberal regime is. But it seems like you're trying to get me to spit out some radical unpopular opinion.
If these things I've stated aren't unpopular to you. Then perhaps the reason unpopular opinions being unpopular is because, well, the majority of the people don't support it or hold radical views.
You must be pretty young because here's what I know: It doesn't matter how your politics swing, eventually the other side comes to power and seeks to punish it's opposite. So your candor, while refreshing, won't protect you. The only protection is anonymity, as much as you can get.
We live in an unprecedented era of technology destroying the very fabric of civilization. I don't know that we're going to survive this. We aren't going to survive it with any semblance of "freedom" in the Western legal sense of the word where law rules, where oligarchs don't get away with crimes while the "little people" suffer, and where there is room for individuals apart from the state. From my perspective, technology is quickly enabling despotism and it is happening faster in some places than others.
The worst part is, you won't know that you were judged by something you said online ten years ago when you were a goofball college student. You won't know because they won't tell you that. They just won't hire you for the job or whatever the situation happens to be.
Right now, the left is trying to blackball conservatives in the US mainly because their arguments are weak and they know the things they want to do are dastardly if they can get away with them. Like all communist revolutions, the perpetrators will stoop to murder and mayhem if they can get away with it. They have already left reasonableness and open debate far in the past and now they are seeking to consolidate power by force as necessary. This is all being done with the cooperation of big tech--Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple. These companies have all been taken over by the far left, it seems. No clue how that all happened because last I looked, SV was a bunch of anarcho-capitalists trying to upset the status quo of the world. Next time I turn around, there's a bunch of typical commies in there cozying up to China! That can't end well.
I'm no fan of Alex Jones, btw. Alex Jones is controlled opposition. He is exists to get people to "look over here" to the safe distraction while the real evil plays out somewhere else.
Read about how the Spanish American War got started and what role the media played in it.
Read about Puerto Rico.
None of this is new. What is new is how far the media elite have tried to take it this time. They dropped all semblance of objectivity out of fear that Trump would become some kind of despot. Or was the real fear that unconscionable crimes would be exposed? What would the people do if they found out their elites enjoyed having sex with children, for example?
Translating into English: "your words incur a great debt that you will pay dearly for." Being responsible for the consequences is just a euphemism for debt collection.
In addition, the US federal government only exists to protect the innumerable rights of US citizens. Some of these rights are enumerated in the constitution. It is therefore well within the scope of the federal government to protect citizens against bully companies like Facebook who are infringing on these rights.
The shareholders of Facebook are entitled to run their company as they see fit. Because they own it. Like you can paint the walls of your house whatever colour you like, and if visitors don't like it, then that's their problem.
If we think that Facebook has grown too powerful and intrusive into society to be governed by its shareholders, then nationalisation is completely the correct way to go.
Of course, which nation gets to buy Facebook is another concern... given its global reach, is it really appropriate for the US government to own it? Should the UN "globalise" it instead of the US "nationalising" it?
The analogy also doesn’t work because it’s impossible to have 4 billion people in your house.
That isn't entirely true when we are talking about "customer discrimination"...we'd be having a completely different conversation if Facebook came out and said "we're going to ban Filipinos" or "we're banning those who express anti-war sentiments"...it's a lot easier when the people being persecuted are right-wing nationalists, anti-Israel, or conspiracy nuts...
Semantically it's not a question of "who can use their product" it's a question of in what fashion are users permitted to use their product, what behaviors are/n't allowed on that platform. Facebook didn't institute or enforce a "no Louis Farrakhans" policy. They set boundaries on what kind of behavior is or isn't acceptable for continued membership and participation on their platform, e.g. no anti-semitism.
Even a free-speech shithole like 4chan has a distinct moderation policy for each individual board. There have to be rules for a social/discussion platform to serve an intended purpose, otherwise the platform becomes repurposed by its users or ceases to have any purpose to anyone. If Facebook can't dictate its policies they can't dictate what shape the platform takes.
But the fact that it has dictated its own form is why it's Facebook. That is to say, perhaps Facebook couldn't be the platform on which people wanted to post anti-semitic content, if it didn't actively purge such content from its platform. If Facebook can't dictate what kinds of content are healthy for their platform then there could very well not be a Facebook at all.
By acceding to public pressure, doesn't that demonstrate that these "market leaders" don't actually get to decide what content they host? FB/YT/Twitter/Reddit have consistently dragged their feet on removing extremist content. I think the last couple years have been proof that a laissez-faire model of governing the online public sphere has been a spectacular failure.
This is a strange way to frame what businesses do every single day. If a business believes a certain product is unethical or that the product wont sell very well, they choose not to peddle that product. This is a determination just about every business deals with on a regular basis.
If people think we should have digital public spaces, then we should be paying for it as a public. We have parks and plazas where people can congregate, so why not government funded servers for hosting chat?
If their followers were truly that in love with them, surely they can find a way to fund their own website.
What's stopping them from ending up like the daily stormer, being "deplatformed" from cloudflare, or ending up like the pirate bay, being blocked by a lot of ISPs world wide?
Or maybe they just deserve it if they can garner enough attention and infamy to get themselves blocked from a hosting company.
FB/YT/Twitter are not fundamental to modern life.
They aren't even fundamental to gaining an audience. Lots of businesses manage to turn handsome profits without advertising on those platforms.
 And that's what infowars/milo are -- businesses looking for make a profit by producing social commentary and then selling ad space / books / videos / merch for more than it costs to produce the commentary.
Neither are cakes. But people on left celebrating Facebook for doing what they want on their platform - seem quite similar to the people on the left also trying to get a baker forced to make a cake.
Can't have it both ways.
(edited for clarity)
Your position is a bit like saying "Some people claim they're OK with the US/UK having nuclear weapons, but not North Korea. Can't have it both ways." or "Some people want charities to be tax exempt but not businesses. Can't have it both ways." or "Some people want gun control for civilians but not for the military. Can't have it both ways." Yes, many policies apply differently to different people for different reasons! That's a good thing.
All your examples ultimately boil down to force and have little to do with what ought to be.
Do you have any data on this question? Or is this just a blind assumption that "people who disagree with me on X probably also disagree with me about Y"?
And, yet, content creators must upload their content to YouTube or someone else will--even if they host it somewhere else.
Therefore, YouTube is either a monopoly or a bad-faith actor--your choice--and we will, unfortunately, need laws to bring YouTube to heel.
And no part of this statement strikes you as a problem?
That's just doing business in the current economy. You either have to ignore it or actively deal with it. Neither option will totally eliminate it.
Considering the Patreon fuss and now Mastercard's "human rights committee", it's not only "build your own website", it's rapidly moving towards "build your own bank". It's not realistic.
What concerns me isn't censorship, it's that LEGITIMATE speech is being censored. I'm not sure where Alex Jones falls on that spectrum, but labeling him as a hate monger is just an easy way to quell that speech and make it unavailable. I don't see that man as a neo-Nazi, although I don't think neo-Nazis are any big threat versus neo-communists or whatever the actually violent groups who have large numbers of followers are out there. One thing is certain, far right violence is not a problem in the US, despite what the media wants us to think. The truly violent mob behavior is on the left and it has the approval of the media and many large city councils and mayors. How else could ANTIFA have such free rein across the Western US?
Can you explain what you mean by this?
My point being, why should what you say be of any concern to the seller? Unless, of course, they're trying to control the conversation.
If they were, well, that would be really sinister.
Traditional monopolies "control supply of a good or service, and where the entry of new producers is prevented or highly restricted."
In this case, the supply of a good or service (social networking, webpage indexing and searching) are not controlled by Facebook and Google because they aren't finite resources. Anyone can index the web and anyone can build a social network and Google/Facebook aren't going to crush you with lawsuits or some other nefarious tactic to maintain their position (AFAIK).
Entry of new producers of these services is not prevented or highly restricted. New social networks and search engines pop up all the time.
What Facebook and Google have is massive, large scale user loyalty. Despite alternatives existing (Bing, Mastadon, DuckDuckGo, Myspace, etc.), users are voluntarily choosing to use Google and Facebook. This is not a monopoly.
I think we may need a new term for this situation.
Small or limited government is usually the given position, vague as that may be, not zero government.
If someone is telling you that they support free markets and they also support government regulation, they don't understand what they're saying.
For example, Paul Joseph Watson in this tweet says he's for free markets, limited government, and against monopolies. I'm pretty sure a quick search will show similar results for the others.
That doesn't contradict my original point.
>says he's for free markets, limited government, and against monopolies.
Yes, free market advocates are against monopolies, but believe that they're caused by government regulation. Moreover, when libertarians and free market advocates support limited government, they typically mean a government which only provides a few very basic services, such as military, police, etc. It has nothing to do with regulation.
These free market advocates don't believe that, clearly. I'm wondering why you get to draw these lines rather than the people themselves.
>I'm wondering why you get to draw these lines rather than the people themselves.
Yes, let's both agree to follow the guidelines and not be snarky.
Yours was snarky because it's personal, mine's a rebuttal in the form of a question. Quite different.
I believe it's best if we leave it there but feel free to respond, I will read it.
If you're offended by my standard usage of the term "free market", then you can change my statement to "People who oppose government intervention..." I'm not interested in what you think the term "free market" means, because it's entirely irrelevant to my point.
Please keep in mind the guidelines.
> Don't be snarky.
The tighter the rules get for these traditional platforms, the more push there is towards distributed platforms.
Do you want to earn your livelihood from a platform that can kick you out at any time with any rule they want?
The new EU rules of Article 13 will make the push even stronger. Because it's not only up to the platforms anymore. You want to serve EU citizens? You need to make damn sure to put in filters that lean towards false-negatives.
Interesting times up ahead.
They're not monopolies, they're just expedient ways to reach larger audiences. There's a difference.
A lot of clones do exist. They would just leave it the content creator to bring their audience.
If anything, there's now a danger that the platforms that cater to the fringe now start to gain traction, as some of these figures do bring with them a sizable audience of their own.
I don't NEED Facebook for modern life, neither do you. There's PLENTY of competition for online social networks. Go use one of those. Or go outside, FFS.
The press room in the Whitehouse is an official communications platform of the White House. With that ruling as precedent, can I barge in there? I can even behave better than Jim Acosta.
For this reason, I see Facebook's blocking of specific voices as a potentially positive trend. There used to be a credible hypothesis that social media platforms could be neutral, many hoped this would be the case. However, it's now becoming clear that the hypothesis is wrong.
Social media platforms are not neutral, nor should they be. If Fox News can cater to pro-Trump voices, and NY Times can cater to pro-democrat voices, Facebook and other social media companies should also be allowed to regulate the content on their platform.
The fact that Facebook is now taking an editorial stand, and rejects the premise of being the platform for everyone, will allow other companies to fill the remaining space. I look forward to the day when Facebook chooses to focus on sharing family photos and inconsequential personal minutiae, and delegates all politics and news to other services.
You describe something a shade worse than facism.
Even if they are just joking, their followers most definitely take their message at face value, and that's exactly why they are dangerous.
So, like, the 'Saturday Night Live Card'?
Yiannopoulos consistently billed himself as a provocateur, little different from a Coulter or Maher.
People have been blending news, entertainment, and polemic together for centuries and it's not going to stop because some people want to codify rules of Serious Journalism and impose them universally across the Internet.
I'm of the opinion trolls like him should be given zero media attention. Anecdotally after his twitter ban I rarely saw him in the headlines like a few years ago.
I am hoping media editors are starting to see when they are getting played for headlines.
> Milo Yiannopoulos publicly posted the photos and identifying information of ASUC Senator Juniperangelica Cordova-Goff and campus doctoral student Adam Jadhav on Wednesday, spurring harassment from his supporters.
> Milo Yiannopoulos said he was joking when he sent a text message to reporters, "I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight."
> The remark made the gay right-wing provocateur a trending topic on social media, following the Thursday shooting of the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md.
> In addition to internet doxxing, Weatherford says, his sense of physical safety on campus has been severely compromised:
> They have spammed my UW email account with listserve confirmations; they know where my office is in addition to my office hours; and I have started to receive packages to my departmental mailbox, some of which hinted to include Pepe the frog figurines (an image often sent to victims of online harassment). [...] There is even a post that is attempting to find the bus that I ride in order to further harass me. And, I later learned that night that they know my biological mother’s personal information.
If you want some crazy (depressing) stats, look up trans suicide rates. Although I would speculate that only like 1 in 40 attempts succeeds.
Given those figures, trans people are considerably less likely to be murdered than non-trans people. Even if we take the lowest estimate of the number of trans people I've seen — around 200,000 — non-trans people are still twice as likely to be murdered as trans people.
(And I don't think Milo is responsible for a single one of those murders)
I suspect there are lots of confounders if you wanted to isolate the risk that trans brings. For example apparently trans people have a higher rate of sex work which would increase the risk. On the other hand I wouldn't be surprised if trans were coming from higher socio-economic groups on average which would lower the risk.
Also, I did see what you wrote before you edited it out. That was an unfortunate, accusatory comment in bad faith and I'm glad you removed it.
There are specific cases of them calling on their fans to harass private citizens. Anyone with some semblance of awareness of US law knows free speech is not without limits. No one is entitled to online speech, believe it or not.
To be clear, I had personal interactions with Milo many years ago when he ran a technology magazine in the UK. I’ve never met a more unpleasant individual and I would be happy to never hear from him again, but progressives working hand-in-hand with corporations to ban obnoxious individuals is a slope I don’t want us to start sliding down.
And you're free to raise that issue on its own merit when it happens. You're also welcome to report it to the social network it's posted on for moderation/banning. This does not change anything about banning Milo.
So will CNN, MSNBC, and the Washington Post be banned from facebook for setting hundreds of doxxers and activists on a high school kid who smiled in a red hat?
Man, the lack of introspection in this thread is astounding.
How fast we forget: https://www.cnn.com/2017/07/04/politics/kfile-reddit-user-tr...
Or take your pick of mainstream media openly inciting violence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nw9kyYEwg2
The right to Internet access is not the right to say whatever you like on the Internet.
I'd suggest that you take the time to understand the links you post.
Where did I say this?
Stay off the platform and encourage others to do the same.
Read news from respected news outlets and remember that there are always multiple sides to a story.
But Milo? He's basically a clown.
You use the word "trans students" in the plural, but it was only a single student. The photo shown was a screen grab from an interview that this person themself chose to give to local television, in which their name and university association is displayed. It's not like Milo "outed" anyone here.
The speech in question:
If this passes the threshold of "dangerous", that's a very low threshold.
The only question is Facebook going to ban each group of people per country basis or globally. If globally, we are going to have a very limited, gray area of speech in Facebook.
The cognitive dissonance plaguing most people in this matter is absolutely astonishing.
Everyone wins except the common man, who now must deal with the chilling effects of media and communication monopolies having the power of judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to speech. No need to censor people you don't like if you just capriciously censor people without warning or due process... people will censor themselves for you after that.
Remember the problem isn't that these people had platforms, the problem is those platforms accepted money to promote and advertise these people. I'm sure facebook loved having these people churning around their recommendation engines, they probably drove engagement like crazy. But now the backlash isn't worth the profit, so we all have to pay the consequences.
Remember that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and "deplatforming" these people might make them as personalities go away, but their ideas and propaganda will surely fester and grow in the darker corners of the internet. Milo is a joke even among the alt-right now, but his vitriol and invective continue to grow in popularity.
Deplatforming works. Free speech does not mean you have a right to use any platform you choose, nor does it shield you from the consequences of your speech.
The deeper and darker the corners where they hide and the harder it is to stumble across by accident, the harder it is for them to spread their viewpoints.
See Voat and Gab for relevant examples. Only the really hardcore believers went there when Reddit and Twitter said "that's it, get off our platforms".
What is deemed acceptable and what isn't deemed acceptable are quite transient. It wasn't long ago it was unacceptable/illegal to be a homosexual, but now it is at least (in the Western world) readily accepted. I wonder if facebook was around in the 1950s would they be banning prominent homosexuals?
But wait, Facebook isn't the same a forum, right? Well, it is, it's just bigger. Way bigger. The problem is how big it is. And how, in some countries, it's the only game in town (Facebook Basics).
It may seem like Facebook is overly moderated, but given it's size, it's really the opposite. It's a big free for all where hatred, deliberate misinformation, and calls to violence happen all the time. (Example: Myanmar). If you post that stuff on HN, it will quickly get taken down. But Facebook is slow to moderate anything, their moderation system is opaque, and thus hate speech is allowed to fester.
But not just fester. Facebook actually amplifies it. They see the engagement it gets and push it out to more people. So Facebook is not only negligent in their moderation, they are actively promoting toxic behavior. So long for Facebook being a "neutral platform."
Acting like the bans are the problem is the wrong idea. Moderation is important to any internet community, including this one. But when you get banned from a place, it shouldn't amount to not having a voice at all. Facebook is destroying the public square by maintaining a monopoly on internet communication. We should work to break them up, regulate them, or encourage people to leave the site.
What damage? Be specific. I think censoring people should require a considerable specificity as to their "crimes" before they're exiled.
Sure, you consider this speech abhorrent, but switch the scenario around and consider how enforcing these types of norms stalled real social progress in the past: gay rights, women's rights, rights for visible minorities. You're dreaming if you don't think these new norms won't be applied against you.
So I disagree, not deplatforming does protect you.
What this banning does is move the border between acceptable and unacceptable. You're arguing it's a slippery slope, that the moving border will eventually steamroll right over me and I'll regret not stopping it earlier.
"Slippery slope" is a fallacy. Legalizing gay marriage doesn't mean we'll legalize polygamy. Alcohol was made illegal and then legalized again. It's not a ratchet. We make collective decisions and live with them, and maybe change our minds later.
And among the factors stalling social progress on issues like gay rights and women's rights, I don't believe censorship was the biggest or even a significant factor, compared to all the others.
Agreed. But we've largely only supported censoring speech that's incitement to violence, because anything beyond that seems to result in untenable legal duties.
Furthermore, one main point of protecting free speech rights is to protect the minority against the majority. Classifying that minority as ethically abhorrent is irrelevant. While democracy is a tyranny of the majority, we recognize fundamental, inalienable rights to check that tyranny.
> You're arguing it's a slippery slope, that the moving border will eventually steamroll right over me and I'll regret not stopping it earlier.
That's one argument but not nearly the only one. Another is that there currently exists no rigourous criteria by which to classify the speech that people are looking to censor, so a) every case will be decided inconsistently by people who have no training in adjudicating what should be a philosophical or legal matter, and b) it will sweep up a lot of innocent people and stifle important political debate (which has already happened).
There are plenty more arguments, some of which I've elaborated on here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19819584
> "Slippery slope" is a fallacy. Legalizing gay marriage doesn't mean we'll legalize polygamy
Except there are non-fallacious slippery slopes. Gay marriage and polygamy have no factual basis in common, so there is no slope down which we can slip. That's why invoking the slippery slope is a fallacy in this case.
Now consider instead legalizing bestiality specifically with, say, dogs. Why only dogs? There is no non-fallacious, factual basis for why bestiality with horses should not also be legal if you're going to allow dogs. This is a non-fallacious slippery slope.
So you're asserting that the arguments I've presented are fallacious without actually pointing out the absence of a factual basis. As for asserting my factual basis, I can point out how Twitter and Facebook have already banned controversial politicians, thus effectively meddling in elections. I can also point to recent Supreme Court precedent that established that social media is a public square, and thus that First Amendment protections apply against. I can also point out how that actual studies on online radicalization failed to find any basis for the idea that online echo chambers and hate speech alone actually led to radicalization and violence, so the entire premise for the push to censor this speech is itself fallacious.
So then what are we left with? What justification is there to censor these people? We're left only with mob rule and capitalist motives in appeasing advertisers. These are emphatically not compelling reasons to establish these new and dangerous norms.
> It's not a ratchet. We make collective decisions and live with them, and maybe change our minds later.
Or we could apply a bit of foresight and understanding of history and avoid the problems altogether. The fact that censorship of this sort can and has influenced elections means that we quite literally may not be able to change our minds later.
They are hypocrites in the extreme. They only want free speech for themselves, and no one else.
As for whether free speech benefits those in the far right. Sure maybe it does but it also benefits everybody.
Of course they would. There's even a bit of that happening today: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/10/03/faceboo...
And this is before we get into the question of malicious application of the "real names" policy to trams people.
Society is deciding that this is not stuff we want. Society is rejecting these ideas, and Facebook or Cloudflare when they dropped the Daily Stormer, etc, are deciding that this isn't what they want as part of their society.
If a bulk of society does want these ideas, these people will move to a new platform that supports them, and people will use them and make the ideas mainstream.
Stop complaining that society is rejecting ideas they don't like. It's literally how it works.
I personally think Facebook can do whatever the please with their website. However, if they remove the users they don't like then that implies they approve of the users that remain.
Facebook doesn't care about shit, but their bottom line. They have proven that time and time again. This should highlight the social pressures, because they are not legally responsible as far as anyone can tell. Thus, society is deciding.
No it obviously isn't. If it were, there would be no need for bans whatsoever, they would simply have no audience.
This is completely unproven.
I fail to see why they aren't prosecuted. You're not anonymous on Facebook. And you shouldn't be on twitter, and youtube as well.
Then shouldn't we ban/punish these followers?
Facebook doesn’t owe them anything.
Edit: a couple of words.
You’re telling me that they can’t find “1000 true fans” as a base?
Farakhan in particular had a large following before the Internet was a thing.
Like what? If this damage is so prevalent then it should be easy to cite something specific.
When you have a platform and you use it to abuse people, real damage is done.
Did Alex Jones specifically incite his fans or these trolls to do this? If so, then he's legally culpable. If not, then why place the blame on him? The legal system has a fairly robust and time-tested system for assigning blame.
The problem with assigning blame in "indirect influence" arguments such as yours, is that it can be used to blame almost anyone for almost anything. How indirect or how small does this influence need to be before you conclude that a person is not culpable for someone else's actions?
If you can't delineate some specific set of clear and reasonable conditions, then it will simply be abused to censor any unpopular views, including progressive agendas.
Yes, and he's currently facing (multiple) lawsuits because of it. His defense appears to be that it was temporary hysteria. We'll see how that plays out.
Still doesn't resolve the question of deplatforming and banning though. There's still considerable inconsistency at play here, with people like Dorsey saying social media is a human right, and then exiling people with no transparent "due process" or recourse for making amends. As deplorably as we treat our criminals, they eventually serve their term and regain (most) of their freedoms (and arguably, should regain them all).
You’re suggesting that online services have no sanctions whatsoever, because you have faith that the justice system will be enough of a deterrent? That should be obviously absurd when you consider that a social network’s audience spans multiple countries’ justice systems.
I'm questioning the premise that "speech deterrence is needed at all, or that it's a good idea even in principle.
If you're not inciting violence, which is violence and so against the law, then what justification is there for censoring speech? These companies that provide free services are censoring for optics, with a purely profit-motive to placate advertisers. This motive will not discriminate solely against hate speech, but anything even remotely controversial will eventually be censored, and these services will become the same bland pablum we've had on cable TV for decades, reducing the rich and diverse tapestry of online content we've enjoyed for decades.
Furthermore, considering how influential social media is, by encouraging this type of censorship, we are creating new social norms whereby large corporations are now essentially permitted to overtly meddle in our elections. Where's the oversight for this? Already considerable evidence exists that conservative viewpoints are censored more widely.
The motive on the part of activists pushing this is that the internet is "spreading hate", that it's led to an increase in radicalization and violence, etc. Except there's precious little evidence this is the case.
Studies actually done on radicalization  show the internet increases opportunities for radicalization simply because you're exposed to so many diverse viewpoints, and it creates an echo chamber effect because you then follow only the sources that reinforce your bias, but they do not find evidence for accelerating the process of radicalization, for radicalization without physical contact, and for self-radicalization.
The narrative spun is that right-wing terrorism is increasing in the US , therefore the echo chambers from these internet sites is at least partly responsible. Except that doesn't explain why the US's rates are rising while the rest of the world's rates are falling. This speaks to local circumstances driving the increase in violence.
All in all, there seems to be considerable danger to encouraging these corporations to make up their own rules and censor without oversight, and there are few upsides that I can see. It might make some people feel like they've "done something", but there's precious little evidence that these measures are effective or even necessary.
Legally culpable for what?
>If you can't delineate some specific set of clear and reasonable conditions, then it will simply be abused to censor any unpopular views, including progressive agendas.
At least some people can see past their own noses! The people celebrating this news are firmly in the "well surely this could never be turned around and used against ME!" camp.
The harassment campaign from his fans, emotional trauma, etc.
Gene Rosen, a Newtown resident who was reported to have sheltered six Sandy Hook students and a bus driver in his home during the shooting, has been subject to harassment online alleging he was complicit in a government coverup, among other things. Some journalists have cited such incidents as part of a "Sandy Hook Truther Movement" analogous to the 9/11 Truth movement. A writer for the Calgary Herald reported that the movement self-identifies as "Operation Terror."
In May 2014, Andrew David Truelove stole a memorial sign from playgrounds dedicated to victims Grace McDonnell and Chase Kowalski. He then went on to call the parents of Grace McDonnell, proclaiming that he stole the sign and that he believed their deaths were a "hoax". He was arrested on May 30, and the signs were found in his home. Truelove was convicted of the theft and sentenced to one year in prison.
Robbie Parker, the father of victim Emilie Parker – after doing a CNN interview on the day after the shooting – became the target of conspiracy theorists, who claimed the interview was staged. Parker has been attacked by theorists who believe he is a "crisis actor" and was "getting into character" before going on CNN to grieve over the loss of his child.
In April 2016, Matthew Mills, a man from Brooklyn, accepted a plea agreement with prosecutors on one count of interfering with police arising from an incident in November 2015, when Mills angrily approached the sister of murdered teacher Victoria Soto—who is regarded as a heroine for her attempt to protect her students from the shooter in the Sandy Hook attack—shoved a photograph in her face, "and began angrily charging that not only did the Sandy Hook tragedy not take place, but that Victoria Soto never existed." Mills entered an Alford plea and was thus found guilty; he was given a suspended sentence of one year in jail and two years' probation.
In December 2016, Lucy Richards, a woman from Tampa, was charged with four counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce for sending death threats to Lenny Pozner, whose son Noah was the youngest of 20 children murdered. Pozner has been particularly targeted by Internet trolls and conspiracy theorists because he has vocally fought back against them. Richards had been expected to plead guilty to one count of transmitting threats, with both the prosecution and defense to recommend a sentence of probation and house arrest. However, in March 2017, Richards—who was free on bond—failed to show up to court for a change-of-plea hearing and sentencing. An arrest warrant was issued, Richards' bond was revoked, and she was soon apprehended. On June 7, 2017, Richards was sentenced to five months' imprisonment.
Alex Jones is himself probably a little unhinged, but why does the responsibility for what other unhinged people do fall on him? Did he specifically incite this harassment or violence? He's already being sued for his alleged part in this, so the law will decide his culpability.
But I still fail to see what this has to do with whether or not people with controversial views should have a right to use services like Facebook or Twitter, like any other citizen. I've expanded on the problems with these new norms here if you're interested: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19819584
People seem really fond of jumping over a lot of steps to blame people for their indirect influence apparently without realizing how accepting this sort of argument makes us all culpable of fairly heinous crimes.
I find your comment quite hateful /s
Free speech is a right, I'd argue a human right. Inalienable, guaranteed, innate and hugely important. Yes, you can live without it.
But so you can live without the right of free movement, without equality before the law, without freedom, without right to being alive, and this is actually how most of our history was. These rights are a rather recent innovation.
But should you? Should we? Eroding human rights only leads to dystopia. Human rights are an innovation of civilisation, of progress.
Furthermore while you may call this security theater, the spread of propaganda is actually dangerous. Being able to fight it is as important as being able to give people free speech.
Remember the Golden rule: your human rights stop where others' begin. Hate speech and propaganda aren't free, they infringe on some people's right to safety. It's only a bad trade if your want to spread said propaganda is more important to you than your right to be safe from it.
Not being able to see that makes me very sad.
Speech isn't just a debate between intellectuals sitting in a lounge arguing about things in a wholly experimental matter.
And saying that it is inalienable or innate without considering its true limits is merely a thought-terminating cliche that doesn't delve into the deeper considerations.
And as mentioned above, free speech is just one right among many, sometimes in direct conflict with others. Thus, the resolution and primacy of rights is something left to courts, philosophers, and representatives.
Germany has decided that your right to speech isn't higher than spreading hateful ideologies. The limit as to what constitutes a hateful ideology isn't firmly grounded, but so far courts there have acted in a consistent and pragmatic matter. I'd argue that the speech of people whose idea of speech is promoting the end of a race isn't really something we care about, and I can certainly construct a moral framework where their speech is fairly irrelevant and I don't think most of us are going to lose sleep over it.