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YouTube to Remove Thousands of Videos Pushing Extreme Views (nytimes.com)
251 points by okket 21 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 683 comments



I'm starting to think that comment sections on news sites are a really bad idea. At first I thought NPR and the like were cowards for removing theirs.

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.


I was shocked when news sites started publishing comments as a matter of course.

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.


> 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

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.


Most journalism is close enough to propaganda these days that the least they could do is open comments so that the public can correct the record.


If you look at the comment sections of actual propaganda sites... well, you won't see Breitbart comments "correct the record". Quite the opposite, they are an important part of the local echo chamber. The only good they can do is giving others an unfiltered view into the minds of those communities.


That is interesting, I wonder if we could use the level of disagreement in the comment sections to detect propaganda vs news sites.


Certainly, but all other things equal without comments there's a reduced opportunity for alternative views to surface on the same page.


Comments do add additional context, it's just a situation by situation basis of whether they are useful. HN comments tend to be useful, YT comments are occasionally useful but mostly garbage.


Is there any service that compiles relevant news(filtering out propaganda etc.). I would prefer an team of people doing the compile by manually going through various news sources and sending out the summary email to subscribers. That would be a huge time saver for me. I wouldn't milk paying money for that kind of service.


That's the mission of most news providers.


Here is a crazy wild-assed concept: letters to the editor, published in the next issue.


The Atlantic have taken that principle & modernised it: every article ends not with a comments section, but an invitation to email them your thoughts; then they publish the cream of the crop on https://www.theatlantic.com/letters/.


Doesn't work if the newspaper publishes total nonsense and smarter or better informed comments point that out, which is 50% of the value of comments.

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.


My experience is the exact opposite. I often skim the article and find that commenters are better informed than the author and provide more relevant information.


Unlike news companies, commentators do not gain monetary value from sensationalism.

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.


One website where the comments are usually more interesting than the article is the register, which is mostly IT/high-tech-related news. But when I say more interesting, it's usually because they provide more context, another angle, more information or some humor.


How do you know the commenters are better informed?


> accurately reflects the world

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".


Comments would be better if there was a enforced delay in the conversation, and you would have to sign off on what you wrote. 24h laters, the rage of the past would be seen indignified by many.


"They worked so hard to research and create a 2000 word article that accurately reflects the world"

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.


Okay: they worked so hard to contrive a 2000 word sequence to get clicks using machine learning and whatnot - and then let fReEtHiNkErChAd and 2020BloodInTheStreets chime in at the end.


Because fReEtHiNkErChAd and 2020BloodInTheStreets will each piss some readers off and please others, polarizing the topic and inviting others to participate, thus increasing pageviews and ad exposure. It worked well for a while, but with the growth of Twitter mobs it eventually backfired.


A lot that I've read in the past few years read like AI has written them. It wouldn't surprise me if major news publishers removed writing positions and replaced them with AI.


Is a privately owned museum a "public square"? Or a sports stadium owned by a private company? Or a Cinema? Or a threatre? No, neither is youtube.

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.


On the other hand, a privately owned shopping mall is legally a "public square" in a number of states in the US, with the justification that it is explicitly a place for people to gather and interact, just like the main street of a town in the 19th century.

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.


>On the other hand, a privately owned shopping mall is legally a "public square" in a number of states

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.


> What it means it allows people to visit without discrimination on basis of legally protected classes like gender and race

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.


Not just between demonetization (totally fine with me) and removal (don't really like it). Promotion is also a tricky one, since those algorithms are fully under Google's control and thus responsibility for its results. But do you still participate in this "public square" if only your followers will find your message? But Google will have to decide what videos are shown anyhow...


For a mall comparison, that would be like them only allowing the demonstration to exist in the basement behind the door that says "beware of the leopard".

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.


One flaw in the analogy is that physical space is limited and difficult for a person to move around in. The digital space is effectively infinite, and switching is as easy as typing in a new url (compared to the physical challenge of moving to another state/region).


There are all sorts of flaws in the analogies here; that's why they're analogies, not identities.

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.


The crux is that digital space is infinite -- anyone can create a space for their own speech. In the physical world, people own very little space, and free speech almost always needs to impose on someone else's property. I think because of that, any comparisons between online speech and IRL speech are inherently flawed and not very useful.


Thank you, that explanation helps.

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.


Telling a silenced victim that they can easily move to somewhere else in digital space is of little comfort when their complaint is that they are being denied access to a public audience who are habitually congregating in an existing location.

The extent to which someone is entitled to an audience is of course more difficult to judge.


I disagree with your last sentence; I don't think anyone is entitled to an audience, so it's not a very difficult situation to judge. Free speech means you can shout in the wind all day long.


"Free speech means you can shout in the wind all day long."

That's the idea those absurd behind "free speech zones" off in a remote corner.

Free speech means free speech in every public space.


I respect that you take that stance, but I don't share that opinion.


Well, I'll remind you that Republicans used "free speech zones" to silence critics of the Iraq War.

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.


The original poster was referring to the Pruneyard rule, which is not about characteristics of shoppers (public accommodation), but about using the shopping mall's premises specifically to engage in speech directed to other shoppers.


I assure you that if you were to set up a booth in a shopping mall and start screaming slurs and lecturing about how gays and blacks and Jews are undermining the foundations of the superior white civilization, you would very quickly be removed from the mall.


That seems probable, yes.

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.


Is YouTube calling simply supporting Trump an extreme view?


A literal reading of their new restrictions as quoted in the article would in fact make a bunch of Trump's campaign speeches fall under the restrictions. And while I'd much rather he had not made those speeches or that people had not listened, or both, it's not clear to me that refusing to broadcast them would have been the right call either.

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 don't have a problem with people pushing bigoted fear mongering narratives for attention being powerless and unpopular.

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.


I think you have the causality backwards. What I said is that in practice only the powerless and unpopular will get silenced, not that silencing will make people powerless and unpopular. That is, in practice this will likely get applied against all sorts of minority viewpoints that fall under the rules, but not applied to sufficiently powerful/popular/near-majority-viewpoint rules violators.

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.


The main case related to this is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pruneyard_Shopping_Center_v._R... (which other states have a Pruneyard rule? I think it's not very many).


It's not many, true. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2003/03/why-can-shopping... lists New Jersey, Colorado, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington, and Pennsylvania, in addition to California.


Youtube runs on the back of publicly-funded infrastructure and, as a natural monopoly in the space, it has a position of privilege that needs to be regulated.

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?


I see, would that include allowing pornography on youtube, or would that not be allowed, if not why not?


Interesting question. US culture has a rather long history of censoring sexual content, but other nations has other areas which they prefer to censor. Historically in Sweden, we had about as restrictive ban on violence as the US had on sex. As an example, we had sexual education for teens on national broadcast and allowed movies which got banned in the states. On the other hand we banned Darkwing Duck as it "taught children how to use physical violence against each other".

Following more modern censoring in Sweden, should Youtube allow videos that include tobacco, alcohol and gambling? if not why not?


Yes, that would include pornography. Age verification is not that challenging.


Interesting question. Of course, being of sound mind, I don't consider pornography to be the same thing as political speech, and don't really seem to have any issue drawing a line between the two. It should certainly be just as easy to NOT see either thing, if you don't want to; but presently it's much harder to get a platform for the speech than it is for the porn. Funny, that.


I find porn to be considerably less objectionable than holocaust denial.


Anyone can put video on the internet. How is YouTube a monopoly? It isn't a human right to have a certain number of people stumble on to your video through algorithm recommendations.


In what possible respect is YouTube a natural monopoly, under any classic economic definition of the term?


Do any of those places host a substantial portion of the public political debate? If any of those places banned people, would that significantly reduce the ability of those people to meaningfully participated in the public political debate?


Probably not, but then I don't think it's a like to like comparison, youtube is more of a broadcast system than anything, it's closer to TV or Newspapers were pre youtube and nobody has the automatic right to TV airtime or to be printed in a newspaper.


It's not close to TV, in any way shape or form other than the fact that it's a video on a screen. Regular people don't put things on TV. That has always been a privilege for the very rich, or for local governments in the case of public access TV. Either way, not something regular people have access to.

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.


Then using your analagy I could see a compromise here, youtube could host whatever content as you desire but it wouldn't necessarily surface it in seach or anywhere else on the site. It would only be accessible by direct link. That would satisfy the common carrier aspect as you could simply email the links out to your existing audience.

Because to use your analagy, to send out your pamphlets you must know your audience already.


>That would satisfy the common carrier aspect as you could simply email the links out to your existing audience.

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.


Then I think there's a core distinction between hosting content and as you put it "finding new content for them". Hosting may fall under some common carrier scenario, but recommendations/search fall under curation and curation is very much back in the realm of TV/newspapers where the proprieter exercises control. 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.


>Then I think there's a core distinction between hosting content and as you put it "finding new content for them".

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.


I think google will largely remove content at the edges that it deems to be offensive or dangerous both to its audience and to its reputation, much the same way reddit went through a recent cleanup of similar "communities". So long as they are transparent with what they're removing, I really don't have a problem. I distinctly believe that a right to free speech is not a right to have an audience provided to you. 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.


>I think google will largely remove content at the edges that it deems to be offensive or dangerous

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.


Then why does it get the legal benefits of being a "neutral platform"?


The main legal benefit is §230 of the Communications Decency Act, which has never required platforms to refrain from exercising editorial control in order to receive immunity (in fact, one motivation for this law was to encourage platforms to engage in exercising editorial control without incurring liability for doing this).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230_of_the_Communicati...

(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.)


Because "neutral platform" in the case of content hosting hasn't ever meant no rules. Youtube has always had rules.


Well, social media is heavily based on network effects, so it's not like consumers can just leave one platform for another and reach the same people.

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.


There's already a SCOTUS ruling on the books where the government cannot deny convicted sex offenders their access to Facebook because it is the public square. It's literally in the ruling.

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.


> Is a privately owned museum a "public square"?

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.


Youtube, Facebook, have to decide whether they're communication infrastructure, like telephone companies, or publishers. In the first case, they have to publish everything that doesn't violate a state law; in the second case, they get to choose, but they accept liability for everything that is published on their platform.


This is wrong. The law very explicitly states that companies are not liable for content uploaded by users and are also legally able to moderate their platform as they see fit. Google section 230.


The advantage of removing (or at least, humans actively moderating) comments is that it pushes discussion back to face-to-face (or at least, more direct and personal) channels and restricts the anonymity of commentary. This has a few benefits, namely:

* 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.


I was a huge proponent of this in the early days of the web and was leading the crusade for reader engagement, championing the idea of anonymous commentary and a pure marketplace of ideas.

Well, it turns out I had an over-optimistic view of people.


Maybe so, but I still think this can work. I think the problem is that we've moved away from communities focused around a particular topic to just throwing everyone into a pool and crossing our fingers.

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.


The problem isn't an ideological or semantic one but the fact that most news operations don't have the resources or motivation to moderate online commentary effectively, and the cost of poisoning conversation is trivially low.


Most new organizations are also general-purpose, meaning the organization will cover everything from politics to sports to tech to finance to gossip. My assertion is that trying to be all things to all people leads us into impossible-to-moderate scenarios even before you look at the motivation/resources available with which to perform said moderation.


I'm proposing approaching the US code and other bodies of law (and associated jurisprudence) as a Wiki and seeing what happens. I propose that this could be an improvement over the whole representative democracy approach.


Oops, I posted this to the wrong subthread.


What no one really wants to admit here on YC is that the userbase here is something like the top .01% of (intelligence / literacy / analytical skills). Hell, even reddit, as low-brow as that has gotten, is still top 1% easily. But there are still plenty of staggeringly oblivious views in both places.

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.


I think you're mistaken, people here (including you) seem very eager to jerk themselves off over how intelligent they are.

In reality I doubt the average HN user is above the 75th percentile


> userbase here is something like the top .01% of (intelligence / literacy / analytical skills).

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.


Well, whichever measure of IQ you want to use as a proxy for intelligence, it's plausible that the self-selected group of people who comment on HN is higher compared to the world population (oh, this includes me, too -- how embarassing). How much higher is an empirical question which is unlikely to be settled, although I would guess that your .01% is a bit of an overestimate.

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?


> 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


Is this lake wobegon?


Nice reference ;)


This. It has to be said. Thank you.


The major consequence of this for me is that it has caused me to reevaluate my views on representative democracy.

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".


Major consequence of what? If we accept for a moment the extremely questionable proposition that HN and Reddit posters are some sort of intellectual elite, yet "there are still plenty of staggeringly oblivious views in both places", all that means is that you wouldn't be able to find an enlightened dictator, would you?

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?


I abandoned that idea a while ago. I think we could move toward a wikiocracy, which would have problems of its own but for which we have a working prototype that is reasonably transparent, responsive, and accessible and delivered a significant public good in a relatively short time frame.


How would the rules look for establishing the long-term governance of a wikiocracy? Specifically, my impression is that it works because it has good people. If the good people left and lesser people replaced them, could it still be made to work?

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.


Well lots of other countries get on OK with parliamentary democracies, I don't think the US system is uniquely reliable in this regard. You'd have to look at the ups and downs of Wiki edit wars, figure out what standards would apply for citations of empirical data as valid policymaking inputs and so forth. I don't think Wikipedia has especially 'good people', just experienced ones and a general agreement to operate within the wiki framework.


>I don't think the US system is uniquely reliable in this regard

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.


Politicians have been talking up what they call evidence-based policymaking for years. That'd be the equivalent of citing empirical data for policymaking inputs. Unfortunately it's not that easy, as the endless edit wars and fights over what constitutes a reliable citation shows.


> 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.

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.


> 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?

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'm starting to think that comment sections on news sites are a really bad idea

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.


That is sadly the way anywhere mainstream without heavy moderation. The scary thing about Youtube comments isn't that they are extra stupid because they aren't - they are the norm and essentially what happens when a representative sample of the population is available.


Just because the majority of the population has the ability to comment doesn't mean the majority participates. Voluntary participation like that tends to attract people with strong opinions on the position under debate - especially people who disagree with the position upheld by the article and especially people who feel like theirs is the minority opinion.


I suspect you're defining horrible comments as, "comments expressing views I don't like and wish didn't exist". Germany has particularly extreme and unusual policies regarding migrants/asylum seekers/refugees, climate change and a few other such things. Is it any surprise that extreme views in one direction trigger extreme views in the other?


Although any hateful speech is terrible of course, I think censoring like this is a bad idea. Like other conversations about freedom of speech on HN it will eventually lead to talking about banning non hateful but extreme ideas like flat earth and anti vax. While ridiculous as they are, I think it would be equally ridiculous to ban them. What's the line you draw when you decide what gets to be promoted. Maybe certain religious ideas or ideas criticising religions?

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.


Yet you say that "they can do what they want to an extent." I'm not sure that we disagree at all. I support private businesses right to do what they want, until they become large enough that they've reached "escape velocity", if you will, where they have become so large that it's unlikely that any meaningful competition can come close to matching them in budget or influence. Companies of Google's size should see even fewer freedoms when they get massive kickbacks from the government; Google receives millions in public money but has nebulous "rules" they arbitrarily enforce over the public.

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 think it's going to be weird and messy whichever way it goes. If it is under government oversight, politics is just going to ruin the whole purpose maybe make it worse. Me and you can have a debate about whether or not neo nazis should have the right to speak their hateful messages without calling eachother nazis. But voters aren't so calm when their elected official slings mud suggestion someone is one because they don't want to ban their speech.

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.


Agreed. The only comment I would add is that, unlike newspapers, these companies receive a broad immunity through the laws so that they can operate without fear of legal retribution. Even though they operate as private companies, I would argue that they still have a mandate to the public good as part of their operations.


I'm also okay banning anti-vax ideas, in defense of the community in general, and in defense in specific of those vulnerable few who can't be immunized and rely on herd immunity.

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.


>I'm also okay banning anti-vax ideas

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.


There is also the problem that someday a company might produce a vaccine that was dangerous to the public, and people that find this out might want to tell others. A strict ban on "anti-vax ideas" would stifle that speech.


Obligatory vaccination is oppression, however you twist it.

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)?


I don't buy this argument any more than I buy the argument that taxation is theft (it isn't) or that traffic lights are oppression (they aren't).

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.


which vaccines? meningitis? anthrax? syphilis? tuberculosis? HPV? hepatitis? flu?

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.


You're conflating three concepts: forcing people to be vaccinated, banning speech opposing compulsory vaccination, and banning speech arguing that vaccines are a bad idea. In a free society, only the first has any possible justification (based on harm to others if you aren't vaccinated). The second is core political speech. The third is core scientific speech.


I agree with your comment but find it rambling, so I’ll concur with this: If free speech is a right worth protecting from the government, it’s worth protecting against equally powerful corporations.


> If free speech is a right worth protecting from the government, it’s worth protecting against equally powerful corporations.

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.


> The right of free speech is that you can say what you want without violent repercussions, such as fines, prison time, or capital punishment.

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.


The view that free speech should protect you even from the most trivial consequences like being banned from a private platform is completely unreasonable and ridiculous. Doesn't matter that there are people that hold that opinion, that's a weak argument for it.


> the most trivial consequences like being banned from a private platform

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.


A lot of people combine free speech with anti-discrimination. Speech get attached to identity and from there a ban becomes discrimination.

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?


> If free speech is a right worth protecting from the government, it’s worth protecting against equally powerful corporations.

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.


That's under the principle that a corporation holds the same rights as a person, which is not a principle that everyone agrees with.


Comments are the worst part of the web

TY for reading my comment


They can choose to not be a platform for anything that they want. You don't have a right to that platform. Forcing YouTube to leave everything up infringes on their rights to run their site as they want.


To play devil's advocate to the "private platform" argument: we force tv networks and radio stations to give equal air time to all presidential candidates.[1] NBC is a private a company but if they permit one candidate to host SNL they must give the other candidate(s) an equivalent opportunity so as not to unfairly sway public opinion. I don't necessarily think that "infringes" on NBC's right to run their platform as they want. They're still given the option of whether or not they want to wade into politics on their airways but once they do they're obligated to open their platform to both sides.

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.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-time_rule


Broadcasters have purchased a license from the government to use those airwaves, and have to abide by rules. In contrast, anyone can put up a website. That is why broadcasters are more constrained in their behavior.


The issue with TV is that it's not "their airways". The "airways" are public property so to speak, and the TV license grants TV networks use of that public property on certain conditions, one being political messages.

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 has become a mass communication platform, more akin to the telephone company than say a magazine. A magazine has editorial control over what it publishes, and can decide what to put into its content. A telephone company has no say over what is said over its phone lines.

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.


I'm wondering why YouTube doesn't have something like Reddit's "quarantine" where certain videos and/or channels are blocked from the recommendation algorithms without being outright banned, but still available for those who specifically search for them.


They do. Now they're taking the additional step of just deleting them.

FWIIW this censorious crap cost them $70b in market cap last quarter. Looking forward to next quarter.


Here, try this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8beSkkKJ_0

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.


Funny enough, it's available in the US, but not in many EU countries (I tried Italy, Spain and Belgium).


Its gone now.


1. Comments sections on prominent, generalized websites (non-niche sites) are oftentimes not even worth reading. Buried beneath idiotic nonsense, spam/scams, edgelords, trolls, bots, and narcissists are the actual few insightful comments that are refreshing bits of value. It's like panning for gold in a river.

--

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.


What strange irony that you post about it on HN, effectively a detached comment section for a news site. Was that intended? Regardless, I think you're making the tacit assertion that comments for the news belong somewhere. How? How should its censorship work? Would that take care of the problem?


There definitely is an effect to white-labeling and brand confidence. When comments are hosted by an organization - regardless of the specific legal implications and understandings - people assume the brand has some ownership of the contents of those comments... No matter how big of a font is used to say "The opinions expressed below belong solely to their owners and do not reflect the views of <BRAND>."


Generally, true statements are not profound or original, but sometimes still need to be repeated when people assert the opposite. “The world is round” is neither an original or profound statement and yet people still need to say it periodically.


I wish all internet comment sections be removed. If you have something to say, promote your own website. Yelp is the worst.


Am I the only one who really enjoys shitty YouTube comments?


Related: https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/02/22/rip-culture-war-thread...

>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.


That Slate Star Codex article is soooo good, and I suspect severely underrated.


Funny how last XKCD refers to NPR and comment sections: https://xkcd.com/2159/


What I find funny about all this is that I'm certain if YouTube existed a few decades earlier we would likely be under pressure to ban "disgusting" pro-LGBT content or content supporting things as "vile" as interracial relationships.

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.


I don't think the analogy fits. Those individuals are protected classes and refusing them access like this would be discriminatory behavior. Likely not illegal in USA but it would be illegal elsewhere.

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.


Nobody is in a protected class. In civil rights law, protected class does not refer to any specific group of people, but to the classifications that the law applies to. For instance, religion is a protected class, but the law applies equally to all. The confusion arises I believe because people think of it like "middle class", or "working class", but it is not. In the case of religion, because it is a protected class, discrimination based on religion is illegal, but the law protects all equally, so Baptists are treated the same as Mormons, for example. Racists are protected just the same as anyone else. Whether or not someone is racist is irrelevant in this context.


They weren't protected classes when the political pressure would have been against them.

"Protected class" basically means politically favored group, and as GP points out, that changes.


Yes it does, but to attempt and claim that White Supremacy could ever be considered a "protected class" is absurd.

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.


Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights is already include ideological and philosophical views as protected.

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.


There are many countries where various forms of supremacy are the equivalent of a protected class.


You ever been to a legit protest? Have you been near the police line at a protest when there are thousands of protesters and hundreds of police officers and tensions are high and really not nice stuff is being said all around? And the police officers just stand there at the ready. (Sometimes they don’t and they antagonize protestors or just plain assault then, but my experience has been that is the exception.) I have immense, enormous, huge respect for those officers. Sometimes the individual officers personal beliefs align with the protesters. Sometimes not. But they stand there. Just stand there. If things get violent then they shut things down. But a lot of times it feels like things don’t get violent because they are there and people know they will shut it down if things get violent. That’s what I want YouTube to be. YouTube should be the public infrastructure that is available for people to gather and exchange ideas upon, such that most people don’t even give a second thought to the importance of having public streets available to protest on, and the police are there when the law is broken or unprotected speech is spoken. That is it. The job doesn’t pay well. It’s not a glorified role. And it’s prob pretty miserable when things get heated. But it’s a beauty to behold when you step back from it all and take it in and see what is happening.


> The job doesn’t pay well.

I think this is an outdated belief. Many officers earn 6 figure salaries in the US.


A quick google, the top three results said average was 50k-60k. One result said the top 10% make low 6 figures. I doubt the majority of officers in those lines are top 10%, almost by simple math.


Departments pay differently, but it is not uncommon that protests pay overtime and that picking up extra shifts in 'normal' work also pays overtime. Such things that pay overtime may be providing security at a parade, may be going into a school for education, may be going to a confrence, etc. Typically, any time you see an officer in uniform, they are getting compensated for that. This is VERY dependent on department, but it is typically not difficult to make much more than 60k.


Well. Then it would be over time? So they are paid more for the time worked during a protest, but that doesn’t make them “well paid” overall. I guess, I’m not seeing any more data in your comment. But. Even if I grant that they make 80k or 90k (up to 50% increase in base pay of 60k, and I’m gonna suppose the cost of living for those officers is commensurately higher), argument sake, I don’t see that really making a substantive difference in the argument


Do you not consider an average 50-60k "high"?

That is more than basically anyone I know personally outside of software, and I'm not in a low COL area.


Median household income is 56k.


For a job that I may get shot and die on any given day, no. I do not.


Police dont even rate in the top ten most dangerous jobs in the us.

They rank 15th. Electrical Engineers, loggers, fishermen, etc all have more dangerous jobs.

http://time.com/4326676/dangerous-jobs-america/


There are detectives in my city that make $150k+ It's not unusual for police to double their base salary though overtime


I don't know if this is what you meant, but that's what youtube is doing now. They've decided that these neo-Nazi videos are causing violence, so they've stepped in to remove those bad actors for the sake of everyone else.


> They've decided that these neo-Nazi videos are causing violence

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.


The fundamental distinction is government vs private.

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.

josteink 21 days ago [flagged]

> They've decided that these neo-Nazi videos are causing violence

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?


[flagged]


Did you deliberately drop BLM from the list because of the 2016 Dallas shooting? Who's trolling whom?


> When have Antifa, 3rd wave feminists, or any of it created mass shooters?

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?

fwip 21 days ago [flagged]

I don't think you're running a video hosting platform - and if you are, I'd be inclined not to use it.

You're also welcome to take your business elsewhere, if you wish YouTube had more Nazis on it.

josteink 21 days ago [flagged]

The problem here is not real Nazis.

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.


That's fine if we can agree on what is an "extreme view".

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.


53% of millenials have a favorable view of socialism today. But in th 20th century when we were fighting wars to "contain" it, we had senators keeping lists of people they suspected had favorable opinions of it. It used to be an extreme view.

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.


An extreme view is anything that may reduce income by making advertisers leave.


Correction: Anything that can be reasonably argued to make a layperson believe that it has the potential to make advertisers leave.


Here is the actual blog post: https://youtube.googleblog.com/2019/06/our-ongoing-work-to-t...

Main points:

>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.


> > 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.

Who gets to pick what's 'hateful' and 'supremacist' though? Did you think of that?


Google. Is this a trick question or something?


More specifically, the political party with the most supporters at Google (currently democratic party, but could change)


They gave slightly more to republicans last time around: https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgot.php?cycle=2018&cmte=...


Yeah but that doesn't tell you anything about the party alignment of employees.

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.


Who do you think?

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.


Why do you assume they didn't? People make decisions. That's how decisions are made the world over.


> Today, we're taking another step in our hate speech policy by specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.

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.


This is all a very interesting thought experiment, but you're supposing some attempt at logical consistency which will surely not be made.

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.


You're exactly right, and maybe I should just be happy that YouTube is going to enforce political views that I mostly agree with, but the whole thing is a bit unsettling and definitely going to have unintended consequences.


It should unsettle you. Power in a democracy is obtained through the manufacture of consent. SF has been reluctant to take the reigns of power away from NYC, but it's finally happening. Strap in everybody.


As your quote shows, it's not simply a matter of saying your group is superior, but then using that view to "justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion".


What about the calls to boycott Hobby Lobby or Chick-fil-A for what they've argued are their religious positions? That's certainly exclusionary.

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.


Will YouTube also remove their algos that send people down rabbit holes of “extreme views” and encapsulate individuals in information bubbles that seem to validate and fail to challenge their views?

The platform should shoulder as much or more blame than the content in this case. Free speech man. This is not ok.


From the article:

"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."


Touché. Guilty. I didn’t read. Thank you for pointing out. Pessimistic me says that not much will change because as the other person’s comment says, algos are there to maximize the viewing time of people, and that have their views challenged etc, they aren’t gonna watch as much.


The cynic in me thinks this is simply to have an excuse to recommend videos to people to change their views, only when it's in Google's interest.


> and fail to challenge their views

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


I think you know what's being discussed.

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.


Well then they should have a transparent blacklist of censored topics that the majority of users collectively agree on. Otherwise it's too easy to start lobbying for the censoring of politically advantageous "extremism" (i.e. groups petitioning YouTube to censor anti-abortion rabbit holes as "misogynistic extremism")


One thing I wish YouTube would clamp down on is extreme planet trashing. People do pranks such as buying a thousand burgers to toss the lot in a swimming pool. They get the ten million likes that pays for the burgers and the local burger restaurant makes a bit of money but some cows had to die for the 'stunt'. Meanwhile at YouTube headquarters they are diligently doing their recycling. At some stage you have to wonder if YouTube are being a good corporate citizen. They encourage this wasteful behaviour.

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.


>and encapsulate individuals in information bubbles that seem to validate and fail to challenge their views?

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?


> Err, how do you know that the algorithm does this?

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.


Somewhat tangential, but unless you have a goal of using a product as much as possible, any algo that optimizes engagement is not your friend. It's like a waiter who always wants you to order more food.


Right, we can all speculate. I'm asking for some objective proof, if any such is available. We can only propose a solution if we first demonstrate that the problem is real.


I don't want to assume bad faith, but I have the impression that you are arguing just for the sake of arguing.

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?


Maybe it seems confrontational to you but, I don't think "how do you know this" is the same as "can you make a reasonable guess". I don't want to have a personal back and forth with you on this, because it doesn't serve any purpose.


I agree with the other commentator. You seem to be posting pointless confrontational messages that you know there’s no complete proof for, but if you were discussing in good faith, you wouldn’t have posted your messages questioning Google’s YouTube algo.


Parent made broad claims without evidence. Maybe those convinced you. They did not convince me. If you cannot respect that then what is the point of a discussion?

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 at all. You’re seemingly continuing the same trend. There have been multiple people now all claiming the same thing about Youtube’s algo. Of course nothing convinced me because I already knew. It’s an obvious thing to many people who use YouTube to a certain degree. So did other people here.

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.


'Oops, my bad' would have been a nice reply, but oh well. Anyway, have a nice day.


Keep up your passive aggressive persona. Have a nice day!


I assume based on my own use of it and pretty much all the memes and anecdotes from everyone. I make no assumptions about what people are exposed to outside of YouTube. 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. YouTube isn’t an open marketplace of ideas. It is effectively a curated presentation of ideas, customized to each individual by the platform. For the economic profit of the platform, at the expense of community goods such as civil discourse. Your snark didn’t add anything to your argument, btw.


>I assume based on my own use of it and pretty much all the memes and anecdotes from everyone.

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?


I cannot speak to “these videos” as I do not know their exact content for each video. I’m against removing content because it is “extreme” or objectionable or even abhorrent. I am pro free speech and willing to pay the cost of allowing speech I disagree with so long as it is “protected” speech.


Okay, then we really don't have any point to disagree on. Have a nice day!


It might not be the job of an entertainment platform to challenge views, per se, but you can argue that it is its job to make sure that their profit-maximising algorithms do not devolve into steering users down a rabbit hole of ever more extreme and dishonest content within an information bubble.

Or, at any rate, if that's the outcome, then it might be time to regulate said platform.


The thing is that those definitions aren't unambiguously definable to humans let alone machines which can't tell. Who defines extreme? Who defines dishonest? Not to mention context and satire. If I suggest killing all the lawyers am I quoting Shakespeare, joking, or trying to incite violence?

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.


If I choose to only buy magazines with racist/extreme/violent content, its on me. But if I watch it on YouTube its on them? I don't understand how using the magic word "algorithm" immediately implies that there is zero volition from the part of the user. Is it scary to think that people actually want to watch these videos, even if the algorithm didn't exist?


Give your worst political enemy the power to decide what is "hate speech" and what is "disinformation" and then you'll realize that free speech isn't something we should ever compromise on. - Naval Ravikant


I strongly disagree banning anyone or any video that does not call for violence. I think it's a slippery slope and smacks of book banning. The information is out there, right or wrong. Who is it to judge what the public should see?


I'm not sure if I follow your line of reasoning. Suppose it wasn't a call to violence but rather a call to never speak or engage with that person again. That person can be fired and never be able to rent again... (I have examples of this if you're curious)

The slippery slope argument works both ways.


I think that line is just too unsubtle. If that rule, and that rule alone, were applied to practically any platform, it would be overrun with extremely low-quality content (though the entertainment value might increase, for whatever that's worth).


I would also prefer Youtube not banning those videos. But they certainly should not help them get views. Google is fully responsible for the output of its recommendation algorithms and the impact to society.


YouTube is in charge of what they serve on their site. That’s your answer right there.


I'll never understand this reductionist argument. Yes, YouTube/Facebook/Salesforce/etc can do whatever they want. That doesn't mean that it's good for society or that it's not worth talking about.


We're not talking about the removal of extreme political views. We're talking about the censorship of one particular ideology. Where is the corresponding elimination of polarizing videos espousing views from the radical left?

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.


There are reports of YouTube demonetizing any mention of "trans": https://socialblade.com/blog/youtube-lgbt-videos-demonetized...

Not to mention lots of pro-weed and pro-sexworker stuff being banned.


> We're not talking about the removal of extreme political views.

Yes we are.

You are implying equivalence where there is none. Black Lives Matter and Antifa are not equivalent to white supremacists.


You're arguing with the least interesting part of my point.

Just watch how many radical left videos get removed, irrespective of what group posted them.


You appear to not be understanding my point. The videos being removed are not some "radical right" that serves as the opposite of your definition of "radical left". They are "channels that advocate for neo-Nazism, white supremacy and other bigoted ideologies". BLM, Antifa, etc. are not the "left" equivalent of these "right" viewpoints.


As someone who finds them both distasteful and hateful; yes, they are very similar. All sides need to reign in their extremists, or become defined by them.


Black Lives Matter literally exists to highlight disproportionate police violence against people of color;

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."

https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/

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.


"similar" is a very vague term. We are talking ideologies that call for the extermination of other races here, in what way is Black Lives Matter equivalent?


One is about creating violence and hate against certain races, other is about reducing violence and hate against a race. They couldn't be more dissimilar.


Antifa isn't? That's highly debatable.


Preventing the spread of hate isn't an act of partisan censorship

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.


Regarding the general phenomenon of removing 'hateful content' from social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter as well) there seem to be primarily two reactions:

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 some people think they're entitled to say what they want on youtube?


Probably because it's literally what YouTube is?

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.


It’s disengenuous to say that YouTube didn’t have rules before this. This is just another rule on what’s allowed. Is it wise? I don’t know, probably. In America white supremacy is a rising problem and they are getting radicalized by YouTube and the economics of hate for profit making a lot of money by recommending the more clickbaity extreme videos. They are perhaps correcting the course. Perhaps they are overreacting. We will see where the chips lie after this.

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.


I never said they didn't have rules.

And re your edit, it's not a clarification it's a redefinition and that's what scares people.


I disagree that it's not a clarification.

from the original tou as far back as it went on archive.org:

> You may not post, upload or transmit to the Site, or to the YouTube servers, any communications, text, graphics or other information or Materials that: (1) is unlawful, obscene, fraudulent, indecent or that defames, abuses, harasses, or threatens others, or is hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable; (2) contains any software viruses, Trojan horses, worms, bombs, or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment or that may damage, detrimentally interfere with, surreptitiously intercept, or expropriate any system, data, or personal information; (3) advocates or encourages any illegal activity; (4) infringes on the copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, right of publicity or other intellectual property, proprietary, contracted, personal or other right of any third party; (5) violates the privacy of inpiduals, including other users of the Site; or (6) violates any applicable local, state, national or international law. You agree not to use bots, spiders or intelligent agent software (or other methods) for any purpose other than accessing publicly posted portions of the Site and then only for the purposes consistent with the limited license hereunder and these Terms of Use. You agree not to, or attempt to, circumvent any access or use restrictions, data encryption or content protection related to the Site; not to data mine the Site and not to in any way cause harm to or burden the Site. You agree that you will not post on or transmit through the Site any advertising or commercial solicitation of any kind whatsoever, including, without limitation, via e-mail or chat, without YouTube's express prior written approval and, if then, solely in accordance with the terms and conditions imposed by YouTube with respect thereto. You further agree not to use the Site, or any element or portion thereof (including, without limitation, e-mail addresses of users), for any commercial purpose whatsoever.

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.


What is a clarification combined with a change in behavior?

Redefinition.


> What is a clarification combined with a change in behavior?

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'm not squabbling over definitions, you're saying they are clarifying.

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?


>Probably because it's literally what YouTube is?

That's obviously not true. A list of banned content has been place for most of its existence, e.g porn and illegal content.


YouTube started out as a way to empower people to post home videos on the internet, a place for every day people to share video.

And you're right, it has always restricted illegal content. And that's a good line to draw.

So..

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?


Porn isn't illegal, but has always been banned on youtube.


[flagged]


Could you please stop posting uncivil and/or unsubstantive comments to Hacker News? You've done it repeatedly, it's not what this site is for, and we eventually ban accounts that do that.

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.


But isn't it a platform for all ages? In which case, it would be illegal for YouTube to host porn, wouldn't it?


Age control isn't a legal requirement for websites that host porn in the USA as far as I know. Google, for example, will return porn in image search results (if you disable the safe search filter), and you don't have to verify your age first to do that.


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 and that's extremely disturbing.

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.


> They have a huge monopoly on our time and attention and that's extremely disturbing.

You mean that you willingly give them control over your time and attention.


the issue is not me or you but with the masses of people that don't know // don't care where they give their attention. And that's the huge majority unfortunately.


That's their choice. If they don't like YouTube they should boycott YouTube, not leverage the government to force YouTube to host arbitrary videos for free.


How do you make small kids boycott YouTube before they gets addicted to it? If so then we can also have people simply boycott drugs and not make it illegal.


The same way we prevent small kids from visiting pornhub: through responsible supervision.


True, however this wraps back to the publisher vs platform debate. If they don't want the government forcing them to host content and uphold free speech then they have to take responsibility for the content in the eyes of the law. Currently they're having it both ways, free to ban ideas they don't like and control the content they deliver without being responsible for libel/slander.


> If they don't want the government forcing them to host content and uphold free speech then they have to take responsibility for the content in the eyes of the law. Currently they're having it both ways, free to ban ideas they don't like and control the content they deliver without being responsible for libel/slander.

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.


That isn't what I said nor what I meant. They are overstepping on the censorship front by continually constricting their "acceptable" guidelines based off of their very fluid internal rules. "In 2018 alone, we made more than 30 policy updates. One of the most complex and constantly evolving areas we deal with is hate speech" They even state it as a point of pride - they continually shift the lines on what is "hate speech" and because of their market dominance, those they target are effectively shut down entirely just because the execs at YouTube/Google are intent on pushing their political viewpoints into company policy. I'm saying that this behavior shouldn't be acceptable for a company that has such a strong grip on societal discourse. Either curate, publish, and be accountable by law, or be a platform that removes only the videos that break the law and allow users to filter out content they deem inappropriate.


I share your concern about how Youtube influences society, and it's likely that content I consider good will be taken down by Youtube in the future. I don't like that.

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.

https://www.tubefilter.com/2019/05/07/number-hours-video-upl... says:

> 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 see what you're saying but it's already a problem for them. 100% of videos coming onto the platform will be . Instead, the discussion we're having is where they should draw the line on what gets removed. Is it videos that break the law? Or videos that they deem inappropriate? We can vote to change the law, we can't vote to change their policies. Users can go to a new platform but there is nothing close to an equivalent competitor. (Name me one popular, full time content creator who did it without YouTube)

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?


> 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.

User's have no constitutional right to political speech on a private platform. Their rights are not being violated.


> I'm saying that this behavior shouldn't be acceptable for a company that has such a strong grip on societal discourse

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.


But there are lots of other places you can watch video without being subject to YouTube's content policies.


Perhaps I'm taking your analogy too far, but if you're an "extreme" user of electricity, either by consuming much more power than they expect you to or destabilizing the grid, the electric company absolutely will cut you off.


Or set up a perferred corprate customer account.


Youtube is the most popular video website on the internet. This makes it a fundamental human right. I am being sarcastic.


If a private developer were to take over most residential areas in a section of town, they would be responsible for providing public access, affordable housing, and other responsibilities normally associated with the government. This is enshrined in law - a private company that is the de-facto entity for a particular function gains the responsibilities of acting as a government entity.

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.


> If a private developer were to take over most residential areas in a section of town

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

They don't.

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.


> 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.

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).


YouTube is the most popular website on the internet for regular (i.e. non-rich) people to participate in the public political debate by posting/watching videos. This means banning regular people from it substantially reduces their ability to meaningfully participate in the public political debate. When people can't peacefully advocate for their interests, they do so violently. We don't want real world violence, so it's probably not a great idea to give YouTube carte blanche to decide who can meaningfully participate in the public political debate.


YouTube is just not that important. It's not some type of important political fixture, it's pretty universally regarded as a cesspool with regard to political discussion and most of the content is non-political anyway.


What exactly do you mean by "not that important"? Is it your position that if, say, YouTube took down all content that was in favor of Democrats, and pushed content that was in favor of Republicans to the front page, and put it all over recommendations, that there would be no impact to elections?


The impact would be negligible, not only because the YouTube demographic skews very young (i.e. people who don't vote), but also because most of the content on YouTube is not political content.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most-subscribed_YouTub...

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?


>The impact would be negligible, not only because the YouTube demographic skews very young (i.e. people who don't vote)

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.

>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most-subscribed_YouTub....

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.


> Are you suggesting that their impressionable young minds are uninfluenced by what they see on YouTube?

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?

What?


>They will be influenced by hundreds of factors, YouTube perhaps among them, but YouTube is not of any particular our outsized importance.

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...


> Outsized in comparison with what?

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.


>With any of the other hundreds of platforms that cater to political discussion.

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.


> Which platforms in particular are you referring to?

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most-viewed_YouTube_vi...


>HN

Good joke. First of all, this site actively tries to ban political discussion. Second, it's tiny in comparison to YouTube.

>reddit

Maybe. Definitely far up there, and a good candidate for being regulated.

>twitter, facebook

Agreed, should be regulated like youtube.

>instagram

Very little political content from what I know, but I don't know much about it.

>voat

Ya, OK. Smaller than HN.

>tumblr, livejournal

Small compared to YouTube/Facebook/Twitter

>gab

Funny

>vimeo, dailymotion

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?


> Good joke. First of all, this site actively tries to ban political discussion

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.


>Are you banned yet?

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.


> 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 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.


>Getting banned from YouTube doesn't prevent you from voting.

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


> Right, it prevents you from taking part in the public political debate that tens of millions of voters are participating in.

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.


>I don't think that's true

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.


Because some people view free speech as more than a legal requirement. Its a philosophy of individual rights.


Getting banned from YouTube is not a violation of individual rights. Forcing a company to host videos for free sounds like a violation of individual rights though.


No it's totally not a violation of anyone's rights, but that doesn't stop me from being able to oppose the idea. Like how I support drugs being legalized but I don't think everyone should start doing drugs.


> No it's totally not a violation of anyone's rights, but that doesn't stop me from being able to oppose the idea.

Well, I think everyone in this thread can at least agree that nothing should stop anyone from being able to oppose the idea.


They aren't hosting the videos for free - they're displaying them alongside advertisements to make revenue off those videos.

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).


By "free" I mean "at no cost to the user". If I wanted to host my videos on AWS or bare metal I'd have to pay for the privilege.


Marginalizing a group of individuals for nothing but their culture is a violation of individual rights if you ask me.


Wait what? The first amendment protections are just a limit on GOVERNMENT power. The right is that THE GOVERNMENT won't prevent your speech. Youtube isn't the government, therefore they can limit the fuck out of your speech when you're on their property.

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.


Free speech is a natural right. The first amendment protects that right explicitly from the government, but if they didn't then that doesn't mean you wouldn't have that right. There's a reason why that same idea is encoded in human rights as well.

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?


>Free speech is a natural right. .... that doesn't mean you wouldn't have that right.

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.


I'd agree with you if Youtube was classified as a publisher, with all the restrictions that entails. They are not.


What makes them not a "publisher"?

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.


You can argue that the Second Amendment was not written with machine guns and rocket launchers in mind. I'm going to argue that the First Amendment was not written with the foresight that nearly all of the total bandwidth of communication between all people would be done using technologies that transcend physical property.


I like your thinking on this but Cannons existed...I think our failing maybe to fully understand their definitions of their times. That said, I don't think their definition of speech and property would be much different even if we're actualizing them in virtual realms. That would have been covered by "freedom of the press." You're literally just still publishing an opinion to someone's virtual press. There's no reason they must publish your writing either.


We have laws against monopolies and trusts to prevent this very thing, but the government is reluctant to enforce them. Not enforcing the 14th amendment's "Equal Protection" clause is the real spoiler here.


Why do you think you're right to free speech has anything to do with what you can say on someone else's property?


He just answered that.

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.


The thing that gets me is, the folks who think Google should delete such content have no trouble with the idea that services have moral obligations which go beyond what's legally required of them when arguing they should remove stuff. It's only when someone argues the moral obligation goes the other way that it suddenly becomes about what's legally required and only that.


As warp_factor said in sibling:

> 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.


> Our rights don't magically stop at property borders.

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.


I don't know where you heard that, but that is not what property means. The concept of property represents a set of rights (and maybe obligations) that an owner of said property does possess. 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.

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.


> The concept of property represents a set of rights (and maybe obligations) that an owner of said property does possess.

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.


> Any use of others' property against their wishes conflicts with the right(s) of the owner. This is a distinction without a difference.

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.


Is the "someone" positioning their property as "a place for people to say stuff, generally speaking" and promoting it that way?

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.


Why do you think it's right for you to tell someone what to do with their property?


It doesn't. You can oppose YouTube's proposed censorship rules without subjecting them to legal repercussions. They are within their legal rights.


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