It's bad enough that NYT can be pretty biased on its own, but the comment sections are always full of low-tier thinking that just push whatever narrative is currently in the Overton window.
What I find distressing is how people remark that a telecom and advertising giant acting as a de facto government over the public square isn't a violation of free speech principles because they're a "private business", as if that's an original thought that's profound. Funny how people say "it's a private business" when it suits their own political interests.
We wouldn't blindly allow company-owned cities or states to pass laws, especially vague or undefined ones, that potentially violate our rights, so why do we allow "states" in cyberspace to be run in such a way?
Ban people promoting violence? Sure, why not. I'm as against hate and violence as the next person. But not only is censoring "hate speech" becoming a slippery slope at the company level, it's bad for the public in general because it sets a greater precedent for what the big corporations that run our everyday lives can tell us what we can or cannot do, and with no forgiveness. I don't find it hard to imagine a world where individuals can be instantly and permanently banned from doing everyday things, just like they are on YouTube, because they said or did something off the platform.
They worked so hard to research and create a 2000 word article that accurately reflects the world (in accordance to their editorial guidelines) using their good name - and then let fReEtHiNkErChAd and 2020BloodInTheStreets chime in at the end.
It would be OK if they strictly moderated the comments, but few sites seem to do that.
I'm not sure which news sites you read but most of the ones I've seen count only as journalism in a very vague and abstract sense. The information is thin, the writing poor, and major important questions go unanswered and ignored. If there is indeed any point to following the news on a daily basis (and there is good evidence to suggest there is not), the quality of most new sources is atrocious enough that none of it is worth my time.
(The exception here is the occasional piece of very well done investigative journalism.)
But, in regard to comments, they do it for the same reason that Hacker News or any other site has a comments section: community engagement. This is not necessary a bad thing but it comes with the responsibility to _moderate_ the resulting community and almost every site drops the ball on this.
I'm pretty sure a big part of the reason the Guardian stopped opening comments on most stories was the cost of 'moderation', except the reason their moderation costs were so high is that their moderators would routinely plough through comments by hand to remove people pointing out mistakes or absurd statements by the journalists, and as the Guardian changed over the years the articles became ever more extremist, so that started to be most comments. That is, they defined making their own staff look bad as abuse (regardless of whether it was written in vitriolic style).
Even now if you go read one of the few open threads they have, you can find commenters pointing out logical or factual problems with the column.
Authors of articles are generally more informed than their pieces suggest, but their editors step in and make the story "pop" for readers in order to generate clicks. This often involves removing nuance. I believe that most major news organizations make an honest effort to be factual, but there's a lot of room within the facts to be misleading.
A commentator that is an expert in the field is not constrained by an editor, and can in a few paragraphs give a more realistic and accurate assessment of the phenomenon.
When I read articles about things in which I'm not knowledgeable, I don't trust the conclusions until I see high quality comments(or tweets) that confirm the thesis of the article.
Sometimes, to some degree, and sometimes not. The level and consistency of accuracy varies per organization, per individual reporter, per story, and per person doing the judgement of "accuracy".
I find this laughable. Many recent articles I've seen are designed to get clicks and have nothing to do with good journalism or research beyond what someone can get from behind a keyboard.
It's a place the public visit not a piece of public infrastructure. Repeating "public square" over and over again does not make it so.
Which of these cases is Youtube more like? It's already hard to tell, and it's continuing to change. I expect the legal status of online forums to evolve over the next several decades, just like the legal status of brick-and-mortar spaces has evolved over time.
Even then, it does not mean that those malls should allow anyone to sell wares. What it means it allows people to visit without discrimination on basis of legally protected classes like gender and race. YouTube banning a channel does not ban individual from watching videos, it prevents them from uploading videos which is akin to setting up stores.
No, the "public square" designation specifically allows people to do things like come to the mall and set up political protests and whatnot. It's not about _access_ to the mall; it's about speech protections.
Is uploading videos more akin to setting up a store at the mall, or more akin to standing on a soapbox at the mall and giving a political speech? It probably really depends on the video, on whether the video is being monetized, etc.
In particular, I feel there is an important distinction between demonetization and removal here, from an ethical/moral perspective. I can't speak to the legal perspective; I am not a lawyer.
If a mall did that they likely be accused of discrimination. The demonstrators don't demand to be promoted, but simply be treated as anyone else.
That said, I'm not quite sure I understand your point. A speaker in physical space can pretty easily take their speech elsewhere; most obviously to the nearest public street corner. So moving away from a private venue typically does not require anything nearly as drastic as "moving to another state/region".
I'd really like to understand your point and how it applies to both the mall and youtube situations, though, and would appreciate you explaining it if you have the time.
I think there's a difference between "you can speak" and "you can speak in such a way that interested people can hear". The former is not very useful in terms of the right people usually think of as "freedom of speech"; the limiting case of it in the physical world is "you can speak, but only in your own home". So what, if anything, makes for an online version of the public square, where one can go to present speech for consideration by others?
Also, I think online speech is more similar to physical-world speech than you make it out to be. You can't speak online without "imposing" on your hosting provider, their ISP, etc. If you self-host, you "impose" on your own ISP (and probably violate their ToS, if you have a residential connection). You "impose" on your domain registrar. These are all private entities, so you have the same sorts of issues as you allude to for the physical world. And these private entities have been known to restrict the speech of people relying on their services, so this is not a hypothetical risk.
The extent to which someone is entitled to an audience is of course more difficult to judge.
That's the idea those absurd behind "free speech zones" off in a remote corner.
Free speech means free speech in every public space.
Personally I fear the future where the government (or monopoly/oligopoly) in power isolates all opposition in a remote corner where no one can hear.
What if you set up a booth in a shopping mall in the spring of 2016 in California or Massachusetts and gave away pro-Trump stickers? I assure you there are plenty of people out there in both states, many of them likely working on YouTube, who view that as equivalent to your hypothetical. I know a number of them personally.
Trust me, I'm not a fan of the sort of rhetoric you describe. But I also don't like slippery slopes with no guardrails. I expect we'll end up with guardrails here in the end, after a few decades and a bunch of court cases, but it's going to take a while.
Now very likely Youtube plans to do extremely selective enforcement. I'm not sure that over-broad rules with ensuing very selective enforcement, applied only against the powerless and unpopular, is the right direction to head in, but that's what I see going on here.
I think the truth is that big platforms that are conceivably open to anyone eventually become abused, unevenly enforced, and end up being a gamble when it comes to business. YouTube, Google play, Apple's app store and many more are all examples of this.
Also, I couldn't care less whether things are a gamble when it comes to business. I do care about public discourse and control thereof.
We need an Internet Bill of Rights to ensure free speech on any platform of this scale. Yes, that means speech you don't like; may I suggest not watching it?
Following more modern censoring in Sweden, should Youtube allow videos that include tobacco, alcohol and gambling? if not why not?
It's closer to pamphlets than newspapers, in that regular people can make and distribute pamphlets, whereas regular people have never been able to put whatever they want in newspapers. We would be rightly upset if either the government or common carriers refused service to political groups distributing pamphlets.
Because to use your analagy, to send out your pamphlets you must know your audience already.
Yes, but the analogy with traditional delivery services breaks down because people don't ask the delivery service to find new content for them. Preferring certain people's videos in search and recommendations based upon their political content is a deliberate reduction in the ability of the penalized people to meaningfully participate in the political conversation, which is what we should be trying to prevent. It's dangerous. Less dangerous than banning them altogether, perhaps, but still dangerous.
Google and Facebook et al built very successful products that a lot of people enjoy using. But I don't think very many people think that should entitle them to shape the political conversation. The people being shut out to varying degrees will certainly not see it that way.
Yes of course those two things are different, but YouTube does both of them and both of them are necessary for meaningful participation in the public political debate.
>but recommendations/search fall under curation and curation is very much back in the realm of TV/newspapers where the proprieter exercises control.
When users search somewhere like YouTube or Google, or look at their recommendations, they are typically not expecting to get content ranked by how well it falls in line with the proprietor's political outlook. They're trying to get content that matches what they searched for, or in the case of recommendations looking for content the service thinks they might be interested in, not content that the proprietor thinks they should be seeing to further their own political goals. Search, and to an extent recommendations, fall under discovery. People don't go to YouTube or Google or Facebook or Twitter to see content curated by those companies. If they want curated content, they go to a specific channel or page or account, or to a website like the NYT.
>I think that does entitle them to shape the political conversation, although I could see some argument for a great deal of transparency in exactly what they're doing in that regard.
I'm curious if you would you say that if they were hiding content you agree with and promoting content you disagree with, or what you would say if there was an election coming up and they were hiding content in favor of your preferred candidate and pushing content in favor of the opponent.
And do you think they remove that content without any regard for their own political leanings? That their opinion of what is "offensive" or "dangerous" is not influenced by their own political ideology?
>I distinctly believe that a right to free speech is not a right to have an audience provided to you.
What is the point in free speech, in your opinion? Why is it something we should care to guarantee?
>If you want to build such a community on your own site then by all means, that's your prerogative and that's the freedom the web gives you.
A) The actual fact of the matter is that the majority of the public political debate which normal people engage in on the internet occurs on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, and perhaps a couple of other giant corporate-owned web properties that all have essentially identical policies. Telling people to go elsewhere is essentially telling them to go piss up a rope. It's not a real alternative.
B) The daily stormer would like a word with you.
(I can see political pressure now and in the future to say that some platforms should have some kind of neutrality and/or transparency obligation in order to get this immunity -- but under current U.S. law, they don't.)
If your cell company prevented you from calling your crazy uncle on Christmas eve because he believed aliens built the pyramids, that would be considered a violation of your right to free speech AND free association, and it would be very creepy.
The public square argument at this point isn't deniable, it's more about what the company that maintains that public square gets to define as trash.
I think a key insight in discussions like this is realising that “public square” is as more of a function rather than a state of ownership.
IMO if your company becomes big enough to obtain the function as a public square, you should be prepared to be required to act as one.
Legislation isn’t there yet, but just like privacy and data-ownership is getting more legislative attention these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if things like this are subject to regulation within 5-10 years.
As this infinitely repeated discussion shows, it’s clearly a problem which needs to be solved.
* Self-moderating: Such conversations require a certain level of decorum, since these are presumably people you interact with every day. The likelihood of calling your desk mate a Nazi, racist, race traitor, etc. to their face are astronomically smaller than when it's cloaked in anonymity, since there may be consequences to your commentary.
* Self-authenticating: It reduces the efficacy of message amplification, since the real world serves as an out-of-band identity authentication mechanism.
* Self-regulating: It's easier, cheaper, and less risky for the hosting site, since they no longer have any enforcement role to play in the discussion itself (beyond the original slant when presenting the information, e.g. by news organizations).
Of course, this doesn't address the problems of sites which are inherently designed to do one-to-many broadcasting and discussion, such as Youtube or Reddit. How would these sites look without comments at all, or with a very strict attestation/vouching system?
Although HN follows a similar model vis-à-vis discussion and broadcasting, the active HN moderation is pretty good, at least good enough to maintain a relatively high-quality discourse and removing very low-quality discussion. However, this is difficult to scale and relatively expensive.
Well, it turns out I had an over-optimistic view of people.
If a community has a topic and the majority of users are interested in discussing that topic, then when someone veers off-topic to rant about their favorite conspiracy theory, you don't have to be a judge of the validity of his viewpoint. You just gently point out that's not what people are there to talk about and that they're welcome to discuss said conspiracy theory over on yonder conspiracy theory aficionado forum (and ban them if they continue trying to detract from the conversation).
This then removes moderators as judges of what is Right and True (the problem facing moderators on Facebook/YouTube/other anything-goes platforms) and positions them in the much more manageable role of, well, moderating a conversation.
It's hard to admit that dichotomy, because when we realize that the top 1% or .01% can still be so ignorant, we also gradually realize that we are all probably in for a lot of trouble moving forward, particularly if and when resource wars become a bit more widespread than they are now.
In reality I doubt the average HN user is above the 75th percentile
If this were true, I would have lost whatever little faith in humanity I had left. But I very much doubt it, being good at some "hackery" thing is completely orthogonal to being intelligent/smart in any normal meaning of the word.
The important point, though, is that "dichotomy" not the same as "contradiction". The contradiction between your estimate of the high intelligence of HN commenters and the, let's say, less-than-intelligent ideas sometimes expressed here can be explained by noticing that being somewhat smart doesn't make someone immune to having stupid ideas.
What, after all, is the minimal IQ beyond which one will never make a mistake?
I'd argue 0, in that a being completely incapable of even attempting thought would be unable to have an incorrect thought. But that's a bit of a reductio ad absurdum
Edit: As a clarification, while I still tend toward a preference for representative democracy, I now acknowledge that it is possible for a fruitful and productive society to flourish in systems that some may label as an "oppressive dictatorship".
And indeed what we see is that oppressive dictatorships never have high quality people running them. They're always overrun with corruption, absurd ideas, forged statistics, pseudo-intellectual waffle (see: the books and political thinking created by the leaders of the USSR) and to the extent they may seem more intelligent or erudite than the working classes it's only because they craft their image so carefully.
You say you now acknowledge it's possible for a "fruitful and productive society to flourish" in an oppressive dictatorship, but what on earth are you thinking of here? Surely not China, which has thrown millions of its own citizens into concentration camps, trashed its environment, routinely seems to report false GDP numbers, relies on capital controls to keep the rich Chinese from leaving, is famous throughout the world for IP theft, has practically disconnected itself from the global internet and has radically misallocated resources in many well documented ways? That fruitful and productive society?
One of the things I'll give the US is as crappy as the leaders get, the system still remains cohesive rather than suffering a bloody coup every four years.
Completely agree. I'm just speaking from an American perspective. There are plenty of other countries that are similarly stable (perhaps even moreso thanks to having more than two diametrically opposed parties).
The "general agreement to operate within the framework" bit was what I was getting at with "good people". I'm not sure how stable it would be against a concerted effort to disrupt/distort it. But I haven't looked into its governance in much depth, either, thus my original question.
Pretty much every system in the world has that feature. Heck, that's a standard of quality so low North Korea’s government passes with honors.
Actual states have a monopoly on violence, and can deprive me of life, liberty, and property. So I want them to have as few excuses to do that as possible. These "states" in cyberspace can do none of that, so it's significantly less of a problem if they don't embrace freedom of speech as an ideal.
(I guess it depends somewhat on whether you see free speech as an inherent virtue or as a safety valve against government oppression. I've been leaning towards the latter personally.)
I have no idea how it is in other countries but in Germany the comment sections in every single newspaper is _horrible_, especially when it is articles about refugees, climate change and similar topics.
I do disagree with your private business comment though. It is a private business and they can do what they want to an extent. You don't tell a news paper who they have to let write articles. But I think the problem is that youtube is so large and the service so imporant that it might as well be a government deciding rights. It's not just youtube there are a lot of tech giants that powerful. I think when it's obvious they are that powerful and important it's time to break them up. I mean hell the bread company my step dad works at even had to go through a process to see if they would be too big with a recent purchase. But yet tech companies have been getting away with this sort of unchecked growth. They are global powers with dwindling competition. Break them up. Reintroduce competition.
I don't know if breaking up these massive "tech" companies is a good approach, but something has to be done at some point, and there needs to be rules over how YouTube can regulate its platform. At the very least, YouTube needs to be forced to make all of its rules explicit and to not insta-ban entire channels while deleting all their data.
I'll admit though. I'm not so sure what the effect of breaking them up will be. How many services would be lost, how many sites would go down because of lost services, how much money would be lost due to search ranking being ineffective or businesses needing to buy ads from multiple companies. It would hurt a lot of people at least temporarily. But I think long term the Internet and business would thrive after a short term pain. It would definitely have to happen in stages though. Each part of the business broken up into a few.
But yeah I agree, the escape velocity companies you mentioned need to be put in check somehow.
Foregoing vaccination imposes an as-yet-unaccounted externality on the community; you put everyone at risk by not vaccinating yourself or your kids, and there's no way for the vulnerable (those relying on herd immunity) to know who around them will put them at risk.
It goes way beyond an individual choice, to vaccinate or not. That decision has impacts far beyond the individual's life.
You are OK with banning the idea? It's one thing to make it criminal to endanger your children's health. It's another to put a blanket ban on the speech because you don't like the idea or you think it's "dangerous". The point of free speech is that you don't get individuals deciding who gets to be in charge of what is morally right to say. Society as a whole decides through civil discourse and rigorous debate. But you can't have that if you go around suppressing the other side.
Start banning free speech and you start banning democracy. There is really no two ways about it. This is not a debate about the physical choices people make. Those are either made illegal or not. This is a debate about whether or not people have the right to talk about their ideas. But you are here trying to use a ridiculously nearly undefendable action to spin the argument of some actions are bad or dangerous. Yes they are, but the speech and discussion can only enlighten the public so long as reasonable minds have a chance to speak up against unreasonable ideas. Humanity's resilience comes from the fact that we get to try so many ideas at once out. But if you let a single entity decide what ideas will be allowed you introduce a dangerous weak point into society. The inability to speak your mind only ever brings suffering violence and death. Yes free speech has its problems but it's the best we got.
How far are you willing to go when it comes to oppressing individuals in the name of the common good? Force women to have children to repopulate aging countries (or, alternatively, force sterilize them in overpopulated countries)?
Vaccination, for those who can be vaccinated (not everyone can), is a trade-off for participating in a society free from disease. Taxation is the price you pay for buying a society and traffic controls are a price you pay for access to a ubiquitous and generally safe road network.
All of coexisting with others is a balance of trade-offs; labeling all of those trade-offs as oppression renders the word meaningless, as much as referring to any kind of coercion as violence.
As for how far am I willing to go? Mandatory vaccines are a good trade-off, and I am willing to stand by the position (one which is growing increasingly popular, as preventable diseases are returning in force).
Forcing women to have children? I have never heard, outside fiction, of a society that forces women to give birth; certainly it's been encouraged, lionized even, but you're proposing something from the realm of fiction as a what-if. Not helpful.
We will never have absolute safety in life. I prefer to have freedom to make the choice because the government will always end up abusing any power we give it.
The right of free speech is that you can say what you want without violent repercussions, such as fines, prison time, or capital punishment. Corporations and individuals already aren't allowed to do any of that, so no additional protection is needed. Governments are singled out specifically because they do not follow the same rules as everyone else—asserting that violence is a "legitimate" means of achieving arbitrary goals.
This is merely one view of free speech; many people actively disagree with this view.
You can't take a contested human-defined concept like freedom of speech and say "this only means X, case closed." I mean, you can, but nobody has to agree with you.
You say these consequences are trivial, but they may not be trivial for every individual. A number of individuals have been banned from multiple platforms, including their revenue streams and parts of the financial system, seriously damaging them financially. Even when I disagree with the individuals being banned, something about this strikes me as wrong. It should not be possible to mount a coordinated attack on an individual's financial stability like this. The boogeyman of the moment is the right, but this will surely be turned against individuals on the left the next time we go to war, or perhaps the next time left-populism seems to be gaining serious ground.
Three people walk into a Hotel. A priest, a advocate for the left, and a advocate for the right. Each three talks about the groups they define as "us", and how bad those "others" are. Can the hotel owner deny hosting and ban one of them based on the identity and vies of the person?
But corporations' ability to decide what to host is guaranteed by freedom of speech. Remember, freedom of speech is not just freedom to say what you want it's also freedom from compelled speech. It's the freedom from the government telling you to make or host speech. Mandating that corporations host speech they don't want is not protecting freedom of speech, it is violating freedom of speech.
TY for reading my comment
Now you could argue that Donald Trump expertly exploited exceptions to the "equal-time rule" in order to get much more coverage than his competition, but that's more to do with the structure of the law than the spirit of what it's trying to accomplish.
Youtube, or any other site uses no public property in that way so they are not, and should not be beholden to the same rules.
YouTube is just asking to be regulated in such a way as the phone companies. And it should be regulated to follow the First Amendment as a mass communication platform, even though it is a private company.
FWIIW this censorious crap cost them $70b in market cap last quarter. Looking forward to next quarter.
No comments, likes, dislikes, and no recommendations on the sidebar. It can still be viewed if you accept the risk, and can be found using the search bar or by scrolling through the channel.
2. There's not going to be a fair judge of what counts as "censorable content" when two opposite sites of the debate are each arguing in favor of their side. It's like why referees exist in sports. Of course Team A will say "No way! That wasn't a foul, I didn't touch them!", while Team B says "It was definitely a foul, I got hit!". To anyone who's heard "boos or cheers" from the crowd at a sports game, it's not a shocker the response centers around which calls benefits their team.
3. With regards to the "freedom of speech" rights and personal liberties - how much of a shit does a monopoly-level, multi-national corporation give about strictly adhering to government-defined "rights"? What is the business cost of vehemently adhering to potentially-gray-area covenants vs. saying "Yeahh.. fuck that shit it's too much effort". Finagling laws to suit business needs is what huge companies pay teams of people to do already.
4. YouTube is like a factory farm. The more users are bunched into YouTube, the more money Google makes from advertising. It's all a numbers game. Google has no incentive to change the setup of the farm, so to speak, when what they have has been paying off to keep the service free and hold market share. Unless someone has a particularly large audience, the main solution to complaints from random, non-paying users is: "Deal with it".
5. Ban specific items that are violent, devious, or dangerous? Sure. Banning "DIY drinking bleach cures autism" is not the same as banning something more nuanced like "trailer trash ride dirt bikes on the interstate" on the grounds a specific subgroup has a problem. As customer service will show you, people will always find something to complain about. If Google came out with, "We will ban whatever we feel like based on what disagrees with our superior, self-selected ideology", that would be a very different story. That's not much better than a dictatorship banning anything that disagrees with the State.
>The thing about an online comment section is that the guy who really likes pedophilia is going to start posting on every thread about sexual minorities “I’m glad those sexual minorities have their rights! Now it’s time to start arguing for pedophile rights!” followed by a ten thousand word manifesto. This person won’t use any racial slurs, won’t be a bot, and can probably reach the same standards of politeness and reasonable-soundingness as anyone else. Any fair moderation policy won’t provide the moderator with any excuse to delete him. But it will be very embarrassing for to New York Times to have anybody who visits their website see pro-pedophilia manifestos a bunch of the time.
“So they should deal with it! That’s the bargain they made when deciding to host the national conversation!”
No, you don’t understand. It’s not just the predictable and natural reputational consequences of having some embarrassing material in a branded space. It’s enemy action.
Every Twitter influencer who wants to profit off of outrage culture is going to be posting 24-7 about how the New York Times endorses pedophilia. Breitbart or some other group that doesn’t like the Times for some reason will publish article after article on New York Times‘ secret pro-pedophile agenda. Allowing any aspect of your brand to come anywhere near something unpopular and taboo is like a giant Christmas present for people who hate you, people who hate everybody and will take whatever targets of opportunity present themselves, and a thousand self-appointed moral crusaders and protectors of the public virtue. It doesn’t matter if taboo material makes up 1% of your comment section; it will inevitably make up 100% of what people hear about your comment section and then of what people think is in your comment section. Finally, it will make up 100% of what people associate with you and your brand. The Chinese Robber Fallacy is a harsh master; all you need is a tiny number of cringeworthy comments, and your political enemies, power-hungry opportunists, and 4channers just in it for the lulz can convince everyone that your entire brand is about being pro-pedophile, catering to the pedophilia demographic, and providing a platform for pedophile supporters. And if you ban the pedophiles, they’ll do the same thing for the next-most-offensive opinion in your comments, and then the next-most-offensive, until you’ve censored everything except “Our benevolent leadership really is doing a great job today, aren’t they?” and the comment section becomes a mockery of its original goal.
>Fourth, I want anybody else trying to host “the national conversation” to have a clear idea of the risks. If you plan to be anything less than maximally censorious, consider keeping your identity anonymous, and think about potential weak links in your chain (ie hosts, advertisers, payment processors, etc). I’m not saying you necessarily need to go full darknet arms merchant. Just keep in mind that lots of people will try to stop you, and they’ve had a really high success rate so far.
We would say, these private companies have a duty not to radicalise our children. That our children are being led away from god and into sinful lifestyles like homosexuality.
Some of us would welcome our views being censored by a few execs in silicon valley because we would see them defending the moral values of the status-quo...
Surely I'm not the only one who feels it might be a little short sighted to give a handful of billionaires like Zuckerberg control over what we can and can't express in the 21st century?
If we're so concerned and don't want to see content we morally disagree with, why can't we have family friendly modes?
I for one am glad we were all radicalised to support the "homosexual agenda". I'm glad we were radicalised by people like MLK to resist racism. And sure, there were some extremists along the way who took it upon themselves to commit acts of terrorism for the "greater good", but we understood these people were rare and this was the unfortunate, but necessary cost of liberty.
So before we continue too far down this road, are we certain we have all the answers now? If someone can be banned from social media sites for stating biological (but perhaps unfortunate) facts such as, "trans women aren't women" are we completely sure we'll get mass censorship right this time?
It might be worth remembering vast majority of us hold one or two "extreme views" that others find morally offensive.
Edit: Not that I should have to, but for those who are suspicious of my motives, I'm a left-wing, pro-LGBT, anti-racist type of guy.
Racists are not a protected class of people. They aren't afforded those same rights. And on some grounds their disruption of society actually puts an onus on you as a platform to restrict their access.
"Protected class" basically means politically favored group, and as GP points out, that changes.
This isn't my bias speaking here, this is a contextual reality, the world has constraints and there isn't any iteration of what we have that would allow this reality to evolve.
The only wiggle room you have here is on free speech grounds but we have already figured out, that this does not apply here.
To quote the EU court:
"the Court held that "A fair balance of personal rights made it necessary to accept that others’ thought should be subject to a minimum of influence, otherwise the result would be a "strange society of silent animals that [would] think but ... not express themselves, that [would] talk but ... not communicate, and that [would] exist but ... not coexist."
It basically comes down to the idea that people have a freedom to express a religion or belief, and its the later word which has in the courts view a much larger scope as it also covers ideology and philosophy. A belief can be anything from the view that men are more violent than women, or that immigrants are more violent than natively born.
The US has generally a much narrower definition for protected classes, but there are three states that consider political affiliation as protected class. California, D.C., and New York, where the later protect against discrimination because of political activity. (https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/political-aff...)
All that said, protected class is unlikely going to work on a youtube video. If youtube wanted to ban all non-white non-christian people they likely could do so, as people in videos are not employees of youtube and thus are not covered by the anti-discrimination protection.
I think this is an outdated belief. Many officers earn 6 figure salaries in the US.
That is more than basically anyone I know personally outside of software, and I'm not in a low COL area.
They rank 15th. Electrical Engineers, loggers, fishermen, etc all have more dangerous jobs.
By this logic, shouldn't neo-Nazi rallies or protests be "causing violence" as well because they influence people to commit violent acts later the same way neo-Nazi videos influence people? Yet that is the very thing the officers in GP's comment are protecting.
Police carry weapons that can kill, and have jails that can lock you up for a long time.
Youtube has none of those negative things. They have positive things: great technology and a huge audience. The worst they can do is deny you access to those.
In general, you're not owed an audience. The police won't bring you an audience for your protest, and Youtube won't bring you an audience for your videos unless they want to.
I’ve decided that your comment causes violence towards people inclined to believe in freedom.
And so does Antifa, BLM, third wave feminists.
When do we start banning them? And are you “ok” with having someone else randomly labelling your speech as something “causing violence”?
No? Then if it’s not ok to do to you, why is it ok to do upon others?
If someone effectively manages to limit my liberties, does it matter if they used guns or not, or what other form of violence was involved?
You're also welcome to take your business elsewhere, if you wish YouTube had more Nazis on it.
It’s that leftists are increasingly categorising reasonable discourse and arguments they don’t agree with as “extremist right wing propaganda” (or just Nazis), and based on that get accounts defunded or banned.
The left is widening their already rampant use of censorship.
Allowing one side to dictate what the other is allowed to say is generally not good for a democracy.
YouTube has already decided that academic software vulnerability exploitation proof-of-concept videos are "dangerous content", which results in video removal and a strike on your account.
This seems like another example of containment, but it's scary because what's normal today might be an extreme view tomorrow... and what's extreme today could be normal tomorrow. As much as I detest the idea of ideas like white supremecy spreading, I'm not sure I like the idea of fighting it by hiding it from view.
Yesterday was the anniversary of Tiananmen square. China avoided democracy by hiding all evidence of this terrible event. I think most people can agree the government hiding the truth is wrong, but if social media is the new public square (which the supreme court in a way ruled to be true when it ruled Trump can't block his tweets), I think these ideals of not hiding information still applies. The 1st amendment, and what it stands for is truely in jeopody with these actions.
>Removing more hateful and supremacist content from YouTube
I think this is great, I see nothing of value being lost from channels whose whole schtick is to marginalize people's of a target group.
>Reducing borderline content and raising up authoritative voices
I do like attempts to curtail outright scams and misinformation, but don't like YouTube choosing "top channels" as voices of authority.
>Continuing to reward trusted creators and enforce our monetization policies
I think this shows what drives YouTube and many other platforms, what is and isn't advertiser friendly. Principles only go as far as the bottomline.
> I think this is great, I see nothing of value being lost from channels whose whole schtick is to marginalize people's of a target group.
Who gets to pick what's 'hateful' and 'supremacist' though? Did you think of that?
1 rich republican Google employee donating $500K vs 100 middle class democrat Google employees donating $4K will yield those results you posted, yet the demographics would indicate 1% republican.
Hint: If they go the Facebook route it will be various 'anti-hate' orgs which have openly called people like Trump and Ben Shapiro Nazis.
I wonder if things like the Freedom From Religion Foundation would qualify for a ban. Or a church that preaches that their god is the correct one.
You can't choose your age, gender (mostly), race, caste, sexual orientation, or veteran status, but religion is malleable and public discourse about those topics where one person argues that their view is superior to others is pretty important to society.
It's not clear if YouTube is going to remove anything that asserts some religious beliefs are indeed superior to others.
What this announcement actually means is that YouTube is going to become more politically active in their content curation. This is what a subset of their employees, as well as influential bluechecked Twitterati, have been lobbying for. As a progressive/neo-liberal institution, it will apply exactly the sort of differential policy enforcement that one might expect.
I won't delve into the details of how that applies to your examples because it would quickly become too controversial for HN.
Just imagine how the median Bay Area tech-person would parse out the details and you'll have the answers.
Or preachers telling the world that gays are evil sinners that need to be saved by conversion therapy? That's discriminatory.
Or feminist groups that advocate for women-only programs and institutions? Dividing the world into groups with different treatment is certainly segregation.
The platform should shoulder as much or more blame than the content in this case. Free speech man. This is not ok.
"In addition to tightening its hate speech rules, YouTube announced it would also tweak its recommendation algorithm, the automated software that shows users videos based on their interests and past viewing habits. This algorithm is responsible for more than 70 percent of overall time spent on YouTube, and has been a major engine for the platform’s growth. But it has also drawn accusations of leading users down rabbit holes filled with extreme and divisive content, in an attempt to keep them watching and drive up the site’s usage numbers."
So you are saying YouTube should actively recommend people stuff they disagree with? Like, if you are religious it should recommend atheist and skeptic videos? And if you are vegetarian it should recommend meat smoking videos?
I'm pretty should people would hate that
YouTube should actively try to prevent people from being drawn into racist rabbit holes. If your rabbit hole ends with "and that's why we should exterminate Jews", probably not a good idea to encourage viewers down that path.
Regarding the censoring of extreme views, what I don't understand is why YouTube gave the likes of Alex Jones such a long run. I suspect that for a while it was working out well for YouTube having people watch his rants as well as the 9/11 conspiracy theory stuff.
This defied common sense, his garbage was being recommended to people that weren't looking for it. I think these Google people get a bit too clever for their own good without taking time out to just ask if things are common sense.
I think we should all have the option to seek out views differing to our own, for instance I do care to find out what the likes of Timothy McVeigh actually thought. It doesn't mean I believe in them or what they have done. I don't want some BBC journalist to interpret that for me, I want to hear it for myself.
Recently the Iran state broadcaster Press TV got banned from YouTube with no explanation given. They did not have many views, however, now they are gone, how is anyone supposed to 'see' what Iran thinks of the world? There was no hate speech on their channel, it was just banished. Press TV is positively benign compared to recent UK/US leaders and I don't believe I am controversial in saying that. Something is deeply wrong with the censorship landscape.
Err, how do you know that the algorithm does this? And also, how do you know that people are not exposed to other views outside of YouTube. And lastly, why do you think its the job of an entertainment platform to "challenge" views?
Youtube optimizes for watch time. Most people don't want to spend their afternoons having their views challenged.
Any algorithm that properly optimizes for watch time of the masses will learn to validate views.
What about my statement is speculation?
• Youtube themselves state that they optimize for watch time.
• I don't want to go and search for papers on this, but I don't think the idea that people prefer to have their views validated instead of challenged is in any way controversial or speculation.
• It's also not speculation to state that people want to spend their time doing things that gives them positive emotions.
You clearly won't get "objective proof" on this, because the only way to actually proof this would be to do a formal study on it. And why would anyone to a study on such an obvious non-controversial topic?
Also, I said I want "some objective proof". You twisted that into "complete proof". Its funny that you are doing the exact thing you're accusing me of.
I didn’t do the same thing as you because I didn’t post around multiple times asking for the same thing from multiple people and acting sort of obtuse like they are saying something isolated.
Well, now that its clear that it is simply an assumption/speculation, then I have no problem with anything you say. Your original comment seemed to imply that this is a demonstrable fact.
>It’s not the platforms job to challenge one’s views, rather one’s views are naturally challenged when in an open marketplace of ideas.
And you counter extreme ideas, with better ideas of your own - in this same open marketplace of ideas.
>YouTube isn’t an open marketplace of ideas.
Right, because YouTube seems to think that some ideas are verboten, and simply should not exist which is why they are removing those videos. Are you in favor of removing these videos?
Or, at any rate, if that's the outcome, then it might be time to regulate said platform.
Anyone capable of doing so is clearly capable of heading a Unicorn start up which isn't overvalued.
Large tech companies frequently receive demands for the literally impossible like backdoors which don't compromise security.
The slippery slope argument works both ways.
A wholesale expunction from one end of the spectrum is hard not to interpret as politically charged censorship. Let's see how many Antifa and BLM videos get taken down.
Not to mention lots of pro-weed and pro-sexworker stuff being banned.
Yes we are.
You are implying equivalence where there is none. Black Lives Matter and Antifa are not equivalent to white supremacists.
Just watch how many radical left videos get removed, irrespective of what group posted them.
not only are they not calling for expelling whites (the "reverse" of what a lot of white nationalists call for), what they are asking for is that people of color be treated by the state enforcement mechanism at parity with white people.
You may find that distasteful, but it is difficult to see what aspect of that is hateful.
From their own website: "We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise."
I'm only writing all this because it's very important not to let rhetoric like "white nationalists and Black Lives Matter are equivalent"; they're not and it's disingenuous or dishonest to conflate them.
I find it interesting that conservatives want to protect genocidal racists, but there isn't an equivalent on the progressive side of things. If there was, progressives would want that noise shut down faster than anyone else.
1) Good. Hateful content spreads hate and causes it to multiply. We should not allow it to proliferate on the internet.
2) This is censorship. It it is the fault of the individuals watching/reading the hateful media who are to blame for number of views the videos/articles get.
So I wonder: is it really an either/or decision? Is there no third option here? It seems like a classic ethical antinomy. Authority influences people but, at the same time, the authority always needs to be recognized as authoritative by the people who are influenced by it.
Why do you think a nation of free speaking individuals is patently not entitled to say what they want on a platform specifically created to allow people to say whatever they want?
To be absolutely clear on my position, I am not saying YouTube is acting outside their rights to censor content. But I am very much saying people have a right to be peeved about the bait and switch.
Further to my point. People being concerned about who and what specifically will be caught up in this is well, well within reason to bring into question given their current approach to takedowns which consistently missflag videos inappropriately.
"It's their business they can do what they want" isn't a valid argument against any of these questions, you're just stating a fact that doesn't answer or even acknowledge the potentially problematic situation at hand.
Edit. I looked at the way back on YouTube’s tou from when the site was a dating site and it’s always disallowed hateful content regarding race or other things. This seems like a clarification on that provision.
And re your edit, it's not a clarification it's a redefinition and that's what scares people.
from the original tou as far back as it went on archive.org:
specifically the first part: (1) is unlawful, obscene, fraudulent, indecent or that defames, abuses, harasses, or threatens others, or is hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable;
heading from their blog post:
> Removing more hateful and supremacist content from YouTube
where they go on to clarify what is meant by hateful.
It's moving from an ad hoc approach to a more definite, clarified criteria. Before some of these videos were being removed and some not but now there's more of a clear framework by which to judge offending content.
you can squabble over definitions of words all you like but they've always been against hateful content. they are just clarifying what is hateful.
I am saying they are clarifying what they mean by repeating them selves and changing the definition.
Has their TOS actually changed here? If so, in what way? Does it now include more specifics?
That's obviously not true. A list of banned content has been place for most of its existence, e.g porn and illegal content.
And you're right, it has always restricted illegal content. And that's a good line to draw.
What's illegal about this new content?
Or what has changed that they now think they're ready to judge what is extreme and hateful?
Or what has changed that they now think they even should?
It would be great if you would review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and take the spirit of this site to heart when posting here.
Imagine that the electricity company providing electricity policed what kind of devices you can use inside your home (you are allowed to connect a Samsung washer but not a Bosh washer). There would be a lot of outcry.
You mean that you willingly give them control over your time and attention.
It sounds like you're saying that they either have to host absolutely any video anyone uploads, or else stand behind every video as if they made it themselves.
I don't see how a video platform could exist on those terms.
But it still sounds to me like you're demanding that, after removing illegal videos, a site should either be 100% curated or 0% curated.
> The platform’s users upload more than 500 hours of fresh video per minute, YouTube revealed at recent press events.
100% curation is unrealistic in that case. They could crowd source the work, but it's hard to see how they can be legally accountable for what users mark as OK.
But 0% curation would mean that they're forced to host videos they consider repugnant. Imagine starting a video sharing platform, having your business grow, and one day being told "well now you're big enough that you no longer get any say in what your site hosts."
I don't like the sound of government interference at all, trust me. However when people are being silenced and demonetized because they hold political views that YouTube doesn't like I feel that it's necessary in order to uphold the users constitutional rights. Many experts have speculated that YouTube operates at a loss - is it fair that they gain market dominance this way and then flex their power to remove ideas they don't like?
User's have no constitutional right to political speech on a private platform. Their rights are not being violated.
YouTube doesn't have "a strong grip on societal discourse", it's a glorified video sharing site that's widely regarded as a cesspool in terms of discourse.
Since YouTube has a monopoly on video content on the internet, it may be reasonable to require YouTube to take on responsibilities normally handled by the government, such as ensuring the freedom of speech on their platform.
There is a finite amount of land in a town, so a monopoly can exclude people. This is not true of video hosting - there can be as many video hosts as people care to build, and they are all equally usable from anywhere on the internet.
> Since YouTube has a monopoly on video content on the internet
Now, if ISPs started censoring particular political viewpoints, that would be different IMO. It's much harder to get a different ISP (at least where I live) than it is to browse to a different web site.
There is a limited number of viewers, and content creators. YouTube has the monopoly on those two limited resources.
I'd also contend that "equally usable" is also not true, especially with HD videos. Most of the world can't stream 4k videos across a L3 provider (which YouTube does not have do).
None of the top channels are political. Do you have any evidence to support the idea that YouTube is so important to politics that the government should step in to regulate it?
Young people eventually grow up to vote. Are you suggesting that their impressionable young minds are uninfluenced by what they see on YouTube?
>but also because most of the content on YouTube is not political content.
OK, but there is still a whole lot of political content on there.
The second to most subscribed channel is not political as its main function, but there is most definitely political content on there.
>Do you have any evidence to support the idea that YouTube is so important to politics that the government should step in to regulate it?
Do you have any evidence to support the idea that people speaking on soapboxes are so important to politics that the government should step in to prevent municipalities from regulating their messages? There are billions of views of political videos on YouTube. It's a place where many millions go to consume political content. People get angry when political content they agree with gets censored.
They will be influenced by hundreds of factors, YouTube perhaps among them, but YouTube is not of any particular our outsized importance.
> OK, but there is still a whole lot of political content on there.
And? Political content exists on the bathroom stall as well, that doesn't mean it's important.
> The second to most subscribed channel is not political as its main function, but there is most definitely political content on there.
PewDiePie is not a political channel and is completely irrelevant with regard to politics.
> Do you have any evidence to support the idea that people speaking on soapboxes are so important to politics that the government should step in to prevent municipalities from regulating their messages?
Outsized in comparison with what?
>And? Political content exists on the bathroom stall as well, that doesn't mean it's important.
Political videos on youtube have billions of views.
>PewDiePie is not a political channel and is completely irrelevant with regard to politics.
Like I said, not the main function of the channel, but there is certainly politically oriented content. Do you think his politically oriented content has no impact on the politics of his ~100 million audience?
I believe you're either acting in bad faith on this topic, or are unaware of https://www.newsweek.com/pewdiepie-christchurch-shooting-mos...
With any of the other hundreds of platforms that cater to political discussion.
> Political videos on youtube have billions of views
So what? I'm not suggesting that YouTube isn't popular, I'm saying that just because its popular doesn't mean YouTube should be prohibited from curating it's own platform.
> Do you think his politically oriented content has no impact on the politics of his ~100 million audience?
The impact is negligible. Nobody cares what PewDiePie thinks when they enter the voting booth. And even if they did, it's YouTube's prerogative to kick off whoever they want, and if they decided to kick off PewDiePie... who cares? YouTube drama isn't important.
Which platforms in particular are you referring to?
>So what? I'm not suggesting that YouTube isn't popular, I'm saying that just because its popular doesn't mean YouTube should be prohibited from curating it's own platform.
I'm not saying that either. I'm saying it should be prohibited from curating its own platform because it's popular and because it's where a substantial part of the public political debate takes place.
>The impact is negligible.
Maybe, but he's only one person.
>Nobody cares what PewDiePie thinks when they enter the voting booth.
You could say that about just about anyone that isn't a cult leader, because that person isn't the only one the voter is listening to.
>it's YouTube's prerogative to kick off whoever they want
It is now, sure.
HN, reddit, twitter, facebook, instagram, voat, snapchat, tumblr, livejournal, gab, vimeo, dailymotion, metacafe and many others.
> because it's where a substantial part of the public political debate takes place.
Define "substantial part". I would argue that it is not at all substantial and the evidence is on my side.
Good joke. First of all, this site actively tries to ban political discussion. Second, it's tiny in comparison to YouTube.
Maybe. Definitely far up there, and a good candidate for being regulated.
Agreed, should be regulated like youtube.
Very little political content from what I know, but I don't know much about it.
Ya, OK. Smaller than HN.
Small compared to YouTube/Facebook/Twitter
YouTube Alexa rating: 2
Vimeo Alexa rating: 125
DailyMation Alexa rating: 133
>Define "substantial part".
90% of all views of some particular type of political media, e.g. videos produced by people not associated with corporate owned media outlets. So if YouTube serves 40% of those views, and Facebook serves 30%, and Twitter serves 20%, then regulate those three.
> I would argue that it is not at all substantial and the evidence is on my side.
You keep suggesting that the amount of non-political content on YouTube somehow reduces the effect of the political content on YouTube. What is your reasoning behind that bizarre suggestion?
Yet here we are. Are you banned yet? YouTube also bans certain types of political discussion as you are well aware... so what?
> . Second, it's tiny in comparison to YouTube.
So you think the uninformed conversations occurring in a video entertainment cesspool are more impactful than the discourse between the engineers, founders and investors that actually built, maintain, understand and operate these platforms on a day to day basis? That's totally absurd. You're so hung up on popularity that you seem to have lost sight of relevance.
So in summary, if the site isn't a top 10 alexa ranking you regard it as politically unimportant. Popularity != political relevance. League of Legends is the most popular online game in the world, there are millions of people having political discussions on that platform every day, should Riot be prohibited from banning people?
> You keep suggesting that the amount of non-political content on YouTube somehow reduces the effect of the political content on YouTube.
No, I'm demonstrating that YouTube is primarily and overwhelmingly an entertainment platform and your attempts to suggest that it's so important to the fabric of political discourse that YouTube should not be allowed to ban people is not supported by the evidence of the activity on the platform.
Who, me? Never.
>So you think the uninformed conversations occurring in a video entertainment cesspool are more impactful than the discourse between the engineers, founders and investors that actually built, maintain, understand and operate these platforms on a day to day? That's totally absurd. You're so hung up on popularity that you seem to have lost sight of relevance.
Each of those people engaging in uninformed conversations gets a vote that matters just as much as the vote of the people that built these platforms. I don't think many people are overwhelmingly concerned with making sure their message reaches the tiny number of people on this site.
>So in summary, if the site isn't a top 10 alexa ranking you regard it as politically unimportant.
I regard websites as being unimportant as far as this topic goes if they're not one of the most popular sites for people to participate in the public political debate. Banning an ideology from being espoused on HN isn't going to make people that subscribe to that ideology feel like they're being prevented from peacefully advocating for their interests. Banning that ideology from YouTube, or Facebook, or Twitter might. Banning it from all three almost certainly will.
>No, I'm demonstrating that YouTube is primarily and overwhelmingly an entertainment platform
What I'm trying to tell you is that I don't disagree with that statement, but that it doesn't matter.
>and your attempts to suggest that it's so important to the fabric of political discourse that YouTube should not be allowed to ban people is not supported by the evidence of the activity on the platform.
I've explained what I mean by substantial/important, and why I think YouTube qualifies. You keep saying it doesn't qualify because there are other videos on there and/or because the quality of discussion is low, but that doesn't address my argument.
I agree. Getting banned from YouTube doesn't prevent you from voting. YouTube is wholly irrelevant to the civic imperative, it's just a video sharing site, yes, the most popular video sharing site on the web where people also happen to discuss politics, but its popularity doesn't change its fundamental nature.
> I don't think many people are overwhelmingly concerned with making sure their message reaches the tiny number of people on this site.
Right. Exactly my point. That's a mistake. Despite being orders of magnitude less popular than YouTube, this site has catered to an audience that is wealthy and well-connected relative to the YouTube audience and the political discussions on this site have a ripple effect in the tech community and thus the tech industry and people's livelihoods. My only point here is to illustrate that "popular" doesn't necessarily mean "important".
> it doesn't matter.
It does matter. The primary function of the site is a business built around video entertainment, just because some fraction of the site's users decided to have political discussions on YouTube doesn't mean that the fundamental nature of YouTube has changed into something that should now be owned by the commons. The creators and owners of YouTube still have rights to, and creative control over the product they created, even if that control resulted in a blatantly partisan culling of political content. If YouTube's behavior displeases the people they should seek redress with the platform's owners or abandon it. The reasoning you describe is a strange kind of mob tyranny where a corporation becomes obligated to give up creative control over its products because a bunch of people decided to start squatting political banners on the front lawn.
YouTube is not a political forum, it's a place where people shoot the shit about every topic under the sun, and there are plenty of places to do that on the internet.
Right, it prevents you from taking part in the public political debate that tens of millions of voters are participating in.
It's like telling someone "You can't talk about your political message on this popular street corner where there are actually people to hear you. You are welcome to go stand on the street corners way outside of town, though, where practically no one is listening. Those other people are fine to spread their message on this street corner, though, because I agree with them."
There are very good reasons why we don't allow that sort of thing on street corners. The very same reasons apply to the major social media platforms.
>this site has catered to an audience that is wealthy and well-connected relative to the YouTube audience and the political discussions on this site have a ripple effect in the tech community and thus the tech industry and people's livelihoods.
Ah, so middle/low class people should grovel to the elites that gather here, even though those people don't share their interests, and hope that they somehow convince elites to act against their own interests, and do some ripple effect thing on behalf of people that have interests opposed to theirs.
>My only point here is to illustrate that "popular" doesn't necessarily mean "important".
And you've forgotten not everyone has the same interests. If some low skilled workers feel that some policy is driving down their wages, they're not going to go grovel to a bunch of engineers who probably want their wages to go down so they get cheaper vegetables.
People want to be heard by people that have, or may have, similar interests to them.
>The primary function of the site is a business built around video entertainment,
So? The primary function of sidewalks is so people can walk on them.
>just because some fraction of the site's users decided to have political discussions on YouTube doesn't mean that the fundamental nature of YouTube has changed into something that should now be owned by the commons.
Right, it's the fact that said fraction represents a huge number of people.
>The creators and owners of YouTube still have rights to, and creative control over the product they created, even if that control resulted in a blatantly partisan culling of political content.
Subject to the limits that the government puts on that control.
>If YouTube's behavior displeases the people they should seek redress with the platform's owners or abandon it.
"Feel free to go talk on that street corner a mile outside of town. Only people who say things we like can talk on this one."
You really think that's going to be satisfactory?
>The reasoning you describe is a strange kind of mob tyranny where a corporation becomes obligated to give up creative control over its products because a bunch of people decided to start squatting political banners on the front lawn.
When you become "the commons", you lose some of your "creative control". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsh_v._Alabama
I don't think that's true, but even if you could prove it, it doesn't matter. You should not be entitled to use YouTube just because its popular and people discuss politics there.
> You can't talk about your political message on this popular street corner where there are actually people to hear you
Bad analogy. YouTube is not a public street corner, it's a private business and platform that you don't pay to use. It's more like saying you can't talk about your political message inside a popular tavern because the owners have decided they are not friendly to the political message. That is not a violation of your rights, that is how private property works. I get that you don't like it, but its their property and its a non-essential service, even if its very popular.
> Ah, so middle/low class people should grovel to the elites that gather here
Wow. That's a very disingenuous reading of what I wrote. I didn't say anything resembling that, AT ALL, I even explicitly stated that my only point there was to demonstrate that the popularity of a site doesn't necessary correlate with its political importance, but you still managed to twist it into a completely ridiculous strawman. Since you're arguing in bad faith I see no reason to continue wasting my time trying to have a conversation.
Have a nice day.
You don't think tens of millions of voters and future voters are have watched political videos on YouTube?
>but even if you could prove it, it doesn't matter.
You keep saying it doesn't matter without actually addressing my argument.
>You should not be entitled to use YouTube just because its popular and people discuss politics there.
Says who? You?
>YouTube is not a public street corner, it's a private business and platform that you don't pay to use.
The point of analogies is not that the two things are identical, but that they are similar in some particular important way.
>It's more like saying you can't talk about your political message inside a popular tavern because the owners have decided they are not friendly to the political message.
A popular tavern with tens of millions of people in it, maybe.
>That is not a violation of your rights
Depends on who you ask. Rights aren't written anywhere in the stars. People make them up.
>that is how private property works.
Private property rights are not absolute.
>Wow. That's a very disingenuous reading of what I wrote.
Actually you revealed a lot about your opinion from what you wrote. You said it's a mistake for people to value being able to post political content on YouTube more highly than they value being able to post political content on HN, because HN is filled with elites who do some ripple effect thing, whereas YouTube is filled with poor uninformed simpletons. In other words, they should value being able to beg the elites to do the ripple effect thing for them more than they should value being able to spread their message directly to like-minded people. Poor uninformed simpletons can't make changes on their own, they need elites to do it for them.
The problem is that the elites want cheap vegetables, so they don't want the poor simpletons to get paid more.
Well, I think everyone in this thread can at least agree that nothing should stop anyone from being able to oppose the idea.
Also, the rights given an individual are distinct from the rights given to a company, and IMO are distinct from the rights a company deserves (i.e. a company has no inherent right to exist).
I think most agree that Government needs to be prevented from preventing our speech not that our neighbors must allow us to grandstand upon their property even if their property is listed as a public place to grandstand. They have been given rights over the venue and we're supposed to be intelligent enough to recognize government activity vs private activity.
Why can't the voice actor of mickey mouse say fuck more often? iTs hIs pHiloSoPhicAl rIGhT!!! Sure, he can say fuck and then get fucking fired.
Platforms like YouTube have basically become the public square. A lot of political engagement happens on platforms like YouTube. Perhaps we should expect them to offer free speech as well? They already have more rights than you and I, perhaps they should get some responsibility too?
Yes but still they have theirs also. That's what people don't seem to connect between the two. You have no right to my property and all the right to say what the hell you like. Just because I offer my property as a place to speak doesn't mean I have to offer my property without restrictions, how about bearing arms? Why then could a church or school prevent my being armed?
If an individual can change the terms of our property use agreement by saying anything he wants on my property when I object then cannot I change terms by kicking him and his "publication/broadcast" off of my property? Seems a pretty straight forward contract dispute to me. You may enjoy your rights on your property.
A publisher is a person or company that prepares and issues books, journals, music, or other works.
Their site literally prepares recordings and streams for issue over the public(?) network.
It’s not only about it being our most important right. We also expect our communications platforms have morality, and criticize them when they do immoral things.
Many think belief in free speech is an important moral - doubly important for communications companies like Youtube/Google.
> because it became the de facto place most of non tech-savy people go to to see videos online. They have a huge monopoly on our time and attention
Society has a vested interest in either regulating or breaking up monopolies. Our rights don't magically stop at property borders. It needs to be checked on a case-by-case basis, whether the right to free speech or youtube's right to do what they please with their property is more important.
Actually that's almost exactly what "property" means. Famously, "Your right to swing your fist stops at the end of my nose." Or in less flowery language: Your rights end where others' property begins.
If you think YouTube has a "monopoly", the right way to address it would be to start up a competing site. There are no significant barriers to entry in starting a video streaming site. They're a dime a dozen these days. Google will even sell you the server capacity and bandwidth, or you can host it on one of their competitors' cloud platforms or rent space in a datacenter somewhere. Your main concern will be dealing with the inevitable DMCA complaints related to user-submitted content.
Of course, you should be prepared to deal with the fact that your site will mainly be populated with all the videos YouTube doesn't want to host, often for very good reasons.
So your rights do not end where other's property begins. What they actually might do is be in conflict with the rights of the owner. But only in a country where capitalism is driven to cynical extremes would the rights of the owner win per default. I know of no such country.
> There are no significant barriers to entry in starting a video streaming site.
Of course there are and you even state one of them three sentences later. Online platforms with user content are very similar to natural monopolies. While anyone can start a video streaming site, it is obviously extremely hard if not impossible to actually compete with Youtube. I mean even google tried and failed. But I'm sure you aware of that. What I don't know is why you bring up the straw-man of "starting a video streaming site", knowing full well that starting such a site will not change anything about youtube's monopoly.
> If you think YouTube has a "monopoly", the right way to address it would be to start up a competing site.
So, no – the right way to address it is to handle it as we handle all the other monopolies and regulate it or break it up.
Just the one right, actually: The right to decide how the property is used. That's both necessary and sufficient. There are no obligations beyond reciprocation, respecting that same right when it comes to others' property.
> Your nose is not your property by the way, because the rights you have towards your own body are very different (and a lot stronger) than the ones you have towards your property.
No, they're exactly the same. Your body is your property. The only difference is that you can't give up ownership of your body as a whole (it's inalienable), and that's simply because there is no practical way for you to relinquish control over your body to anyone else short of your death. Even if you agreed to it you would still remain in control, which would render any such agreement void. Certain individual parts, of course, are a different matter. In every other respect your body is just like any other kind of property.
> What they actually might do is be in conflict with the rights of the owner.
Any use of others' property against their wishes conflicts with the right(s) of the owner. This is a distinction without a difference.
>> There are no significant barriers to entry in starting a video streaming site.
> Of course there are and you even state one of them three sentences later.
DMCA complaints are a problem created by the government. If you want to do away with copyright, I have no objections. However, this is not a significant barrier to entry because it only starts to become a burden at scale. Small sites with user-submitted content regularly deal with such matters manually, while large ones have had time to implement the needed infrastructure for automating the process.
> ... starting such a site will not change anything about youtube's monopoly.
Because YouTube doesn't have a monopoly. What it has is popularity. Anyone can start up a site that does what YouTube does, but that won't automatically make it popular. The responsibility for that is 100% on the prospective competitor.
Popularity is fickle. Sites everyone turned to yesterday may be deserted wastelands tomorrow. (E.g.: MySpace) If your site is actually better at giving people what they want, it will win. Your problem is that YouTube actually is giving most people what they want. If you broke it up you'd end up with a bunch of YouTube-clones with basically the same policies, because they're trying to attract the same audience YouTube has now. You want to change what people want, which is naturally unpopular and likely doomed to fail.
In short, despite your complaints about "natural monopolies" and the difficulties of competing, you don't really want to compete with YouTube, just leverage its existing popularity to push your own agenda. The problem with this is that its popularity is a product of its audience-pleasing policies, not any sort of monopoly, natural or otherwise. If you did manage to force YouTube to follow your preferred policies it would become less and less popular until it was eventually be replaced by a competitor that looks more like the YouTube of today. So breaking it up wouldn't help you at all. Regulating it and actively preventing competition, or regulating all such sites the same way regardless of "monopoly" status, would better serve your purpose, but that's just exchanging one (non-)monopoly for a much larger monopoly, namely the government.
There is a very big difference between your rights ending or being in conflict.
> Popularity is fickle.
The only examples I know for this are myspace and digg. I don't think popularity is that fickle once you have the content.
> Because YouTube doesn't have a monopoly. [...] If your site is actually better at giving people what they want, it will win. Your problem is that YouTube actually is giving most people what they want.
So how exactly is youtube now not a monopoly and it is possible to successfully compete with it?
> You want to change what people want, which is naturally unpopular and likely doomed to fail.
I want none of these things, I was explaining how rights to free speech relate to someone else's property.
> In short, despite your complaints about "natural monopolies" and the difficulties of competing, you don't really want to compete with YouTube, just leverage its existing popularity to push your own agenda.
Where is this even coming from?
> The problem with this is that its popularity is a product of its audience-pleasing policies, not any sort of monopoly, natural or otherwise. If you did manage to force YouTube to follow your preferred policies it would become less and less popular until it was eventually be replaced by a competitor that looks more like the YouTube of today.
I highly question your theory that Youtube's popularity is a product of it allowing extremist content.
> but that's just exchanging one (non-)monopoly for a much larger monopoly, namely the government.
Now you're just trying to be clever with words, but I'll bite. As I wrote before
> Society has a vested interest in either regulating or breaking up monopolies.
The government is democratically elected by society and highly regulated.
There is established case law and legislation in the US, though pretty variable by state in terms of details, that people can in fact have free speech rights on private property when the private property de-facto functions as a public square. The devil is, as usual, in the details, and the details are, as usual, not time-invariant here.