Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
YouTube bans content “showing users how to bypass secure computer systems” (twitter.com)
1355 points by avolcano 13 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 668 comments





Emperor G built a beautiful walled city, inviting everyone in, encouraging them to paint their houses whatever color they like. A year later, Big G banned blue houses. If you didn't like the rules, you were more than welcome to build your house outside the city and paint it whatever color you like.

Only most people don't leave - blue is just one color and they weren't very interested in it anyway. Besides, the city is so beautiful and provides for their every need. In the coming years, people who want to paint their house blue badly enough to leave paradise are heavily scrutinized and eventually considered outcasts.

Over the years, more and more colors are slowly banned, one by one. People start to notice and complain once their favorite color is outlawed. But decades have passed since Emperor G's generous invitation. Entire generations have lived, died, and raised children inside the city. No one knows how to navigate the wilderness anymore. And even if they could, why would they want to? Thorns and weeds have overgrown the wasteland; it's much safer to stay inside the city walls. Besides, it's cozy and we have everything we need in here.

In theory you are correct. In practice, if 97% of society exclusvely uses said aggregator/community to find videos - 97% of your potential audience will never know the video exists - is that not still censorship?


Let me retell your story from my perspective.

Some random guys built a beautiful walled city inviting everyone in, encouraging them to paint their houses whatever color they like. Before the walled city, almost everyone was homeless, and the few people who had houses were rickety and constantly needed upkeep. (Before YouTube, most people couldn't do video sharing, and tech-savvy people could but it was more complicated)

Five years later, the random guys realized they had spent themselves into oblivion building the city. Thankfully, the Emperor, G, came along and offered to bail them out provided he could run the city. G didn't want to charge people money to live in the city, but did need to make money somehow, so he began allowing people to run home businesses and made profit off business taxes.

Years after that, lots of people were running home businesses. Some of them were running legally and ethically odious home businesses. Two things happened: First, all the customers from outside the city said they really didn't want to keep buying from Emperor G's city unless he took action to shut down the shady businesses. Second, Emperor G didn't like that he was being associated with those businesses. So he suggested that in the near future, zoning laws would change to prohibit running home businesses in some categories. In the metaphor, this is Google and advertisers beginning to demonetize certain for-profit YouTube channels without banning anyone.

Some business and some residents owners expressed concern about the new zoning laws (especially those affected!), but most of them, and certainly most visitors, didn't because they had the effect of weeding out some undesirable elements and beautifying the city.

Then, like three years after that, a bunch of white supremacists (and some people who aren't white supremacists, but who frequently say things that are debatably white supremacist, and also, some people who aren't even those people, but pal around with them a lot and really do their best to appeal to white supremacist audiences) colonized a big wing of the town. Some of them were running businesses and so they ran into zoning law problems as before, but most were just living there. Emperor G started an HOA to exclude those people, since many others in the city were tired of the general nuisance. I think the metaphor here should be clear.

Like most HOAs, it wasn't especially fair (and it caught up some of the neighbors of the people listed above) and so even if you agree with the decisions in principle you probably still have a lot to complain about.

Now, as even more years go by, Emperor G is starting to make really silly calls through the HOA, like banning certain colours of paint on houses. People are really starting to get irritated with this. Some of the people kicked out in the previous wave or zoned out of business in the first wave are seeing "told you so", but most residents of the town don't see the connection because it's possible to support HOAs or zoning laws while disagreeing with specific stuff that they ban. That's this thread and what's being discussed here. In fact, most people do support the HOA and the zoning laws!

Some people talk about leaving the city for the wilderness, or just missing the wilderness. Today, about the same number of people have wilderness skills as had them before, and the good news is there's more avenues than ever before to learn wilderness skills and get supplies out there. So you absolutely could leave the wilderness. However, most people still prefer the city despite its flaws, because in the same way that it takes less effort to prepare food than it does to grow it from scratch, the city allows people to focus on the things that matter to them rather than reinventing all of civilization from scratch. Besides, all the white supremacists that got kicked out of the city are still out there screaming, and sometimes you just want to go through your day without being screamed at.


Authoritarian Censors always have a boogeyman to point to that justifies their censorship

Your white supremacists boogeyman is just a over blown justification for massive dictatorial censorship of the internet in general and you tube more specifically

I have no respect for anyone that wants to hide behind this narrative in support of the wide and sweeping censorship of millions of hours of contents

//as a side not, HOA's and Zoning laws are also Authoritarian, as a libertarian and supporter of individual freedom I do not support censorship, nor HOA's nor Zoning laws

corndoge 12 days ago [flagged]

Except this is about hacking videos not white supremacy videos

I know my post was a little long for HN, but I think you need to follow the through line. Let me re-iterate:

Policy decisions and how people respond to them unfold in chronological order, and so the chronology is important. I was responding to a metaphor that imagined Google as an Emperor of YouTube, subjecting its subjects to a series of terrible decisions. It was framed as a "first they came for..." style argument for why we should believe today's decision tells us something about previous decisions. In the original metaphor, no hacking videos is like the emperor taking away another colour, after having previously taken away other colours.

I rewrote the metaphor as a chronology of what I think were some of the major inflection points for YouTube, and why a) this is different than previous cases; b) but the previous cases do lead us to this; c) I can support the goal of restricting some content on YouTube and not support this; d) I disagree with it and believe it to be stupid and arbitrary, but also I don't think the end point here is "Abandon YouTube and reclaim the free web!" for a few reasons.


Like most odious behavior, there is a scale. It doesn't have to be super odious for it to be banned anyway, just look at your local HOA board and how petty they can be.
tkxxx7 12 days ago [flagged]

Flippant comments like these are not only frustrating, they are misleading. I know you realize now that you were wrong, but your short, dismissive comment following a substantive paragraph makes it seem much less substantive without having read it. Which would be great, if you weren't wrong.

> In theory you are correct. In practice, if 97% of society exclusvely uses said aggregator/community to find videos - 97% of your potential audience will never know the video exists - is that not still censorship?

I mean... no?

I think it's useful to have a separate concept for actual censorship (government-mandated), and just "someone built a really great way to connect to a bunch of users, that didn't exist 20 years ago, but now isn't letting you use it". I'm not saying it's not problematic (or that it is), just that it's different in a meaningful way and therefore bad to conflate.

As for how much of a monopoly YouTube really is - it's clearly a huge aggregator that's gotten almost all "user watching video" engagement. Except other niches have been discussed here (e.g. porn), and they seem to be doing fine. So I don't think it's inevitable that YouTube is the only service that can exist.


This works in a non monopolized system. If you live in a large city with many different stores, and you get banned for one of them for wearing a blue shirt, that doesn't matter too much.

If you live in a remote city with one wallmart and no other stores, and wallmart bans you, that's a problem.

Yes, there are alternatives, but 97% of the market is definitely a monopoly.


The difference between your example and the YouTube case is in how accessible are the alternatives. If the only store close to you bans you, then it can be somewhere between a major inconvenience and practically impossible to go to an alternative.

On the other hand, replacing YouTube as a hosting platform isn't too hard (I think? I don't actually have much experience with this but there are alternatives).

Of course the big issue isn't YouTube the host, it's YouTube the marketing platform - but even here there are alternatives. Host on vimeo, but use other social media more. More Facebook posts. Get an audience via podcasts. I'm not saying it's easy, I'm saying that I'm not at all convinced that YouTube really is a monopoly in the sense where we want to do something about it.


It's very easy to host a video elsewhere than YouTube.

It's very easy to view a video elsewhere than YouTube.

It's difficult to convince other people to view a video elsewhere than YouTube. You'd have to be on YouTube to begin with to reach them. Sure, there are Facebook and Twitter. But if you want to get off those as well (and I do)… good luck.


Youtube is not a chat app, where you have 10 alternatives (whatsapp, viber, wechat, fb, telegram, signal,...), but it's the site where most users search for videos, and if eg. wallmart had such a monopoly as youtube does, if they decide not to sell your products, you're basically fuked.

This is a good point. I've been hearing "deplatforming" as the word for what's happening and that seems more accurate than censoring. In part because if we call this censoring and then later the government actually does strictly ban this content - what do we call that?

I mean, corporations have the worst track record. A great number of governments managed to stay non-evil for centuries, even the ones that dipped their toes in censorship.

Honestly if it were my government (the Dutch one, which is okay, but also definitely not perfect) versus any random corporation, even one that has so far only displayed good and well-intentioned behaviour, benevolent even. Remember Google in the early 2000s? Yeah.

To turn from something so good, such a positive outlook on the future, idealism, etc, in less than two decades into the this global market dominating, employee mistreating, faceless, evil .. Moloch thing.

This can of course also happen to governments, but if you look at history, it's the exception. Whereas with capitalism and corporations, it seems to be the fucking rule. You just have to wait which ones grow big enough to just go completely predator on humankind.


There is nothing in the definition of "censorship" that implies it has to be government-mandated.

Also, you're free to leave the country if you don't like what it is censoring.


Government-mandated or capitalism-mandated? What's the meaningful difference?

Well, maybe, historically, many governments have proven time and time again a meaningful capability to not simply turn Evil for many decades, centuries even. For corporations it seems utterly inevitable; they either grow and become evil, or they don't grow and die. Which happens over the span of one or two decades at the most.

Clearly, we should prefer government censorship, if anything. ...


I totally disagree.

For the most part, if I don't "do what YouTube/Google wants", then I'll just not use their products. If they want to "censor" me by not allowing me to post certain content, then I can put that content elsewhere.

On the other hand, if my government decides to censor me, they can force me to be quiet, either by monetary threats or physical threats. This is obviously much more of a deterrence.

> For corporations it seems utterly inevitable; they either grow and become evil, or they don't grow and die. Which happens over the span of one or two decades at the most.

Not really? Most corporations are not "evil", even if you choose to personify the corporation, which I think is a mistake.


It'd be real nice if we could make an expeditionary force and start setting up more cities outside, to continue the analogy. At the moment, most groups wanting to leave the city contain too many undesirables, but eventually there'll be enough critical mass. What does that look like? At first - an ecosystem of services, packaged together, rather than piecemeal. Firefox, duckduckgo, an open calendar. I don't think it means linux per say, but maybe a privacy-focused android distro and an overlay for windows. The OS doesn't matter as much anymore.

The solution to alternative communities having too many 'undesirables' is pretty simple; you focus on a specific niche/field that YouTube or whatever doesn't do well, then build up from there.

That's how Twitch took off. Started off being gaming focused, became a bit more open to other content later on. Same with Discord compared to say, Reddit or Twitter or Slack or what not.

The reason most alternatives attract the wrong audience/don't reach critical mass is because their marketing is always focused on the freedom of speech/privacy/whatever angle. That's attractive to a certain audience (those who are being censored more often on existing platforms), but not to the general public.

So you aim your new privacy/decentralised/free speech focused platform at gamers or sports fans or software engineers or what not, and then slowly open it up to the general public/all topics. Like how Facebook started out being aimed specifically at college students.


The part that people always miss is the “don’t sell out to the big bad companies after you get traction”.

> The OS doesn't matter as much anymore.

I disagree. Everything described above applies to the Microsoft Windows monopoly. The monopoly was shaken by the web, then by mobile in general, but lots of traditional businesses are still locked into the Windows stack. Non technical businesses in particular are locked into MS Office.

Given that the world basically shrugged and let MS keep their stranglehold over the enterprise market, I don't expect Google to be treated any differently.


I work in a non-technical business that depends critically on MS Office, but it's not a very pernicious form of lock-in. Honestly, we could probably get by with LibreOffice or Google Docs, and with VMs or terminal servers as a backup, we could ditch Windows as our main desktop OS.

But retraining non-technical users is disruptive and expensive, not to mention retraining helpdesk staff who were hired from a massive pool of Windows experts. The ongoing support costs could massively exceed Microsoft's licensing costs, and switching would produce no benefit for us. So we're 'locked in,' but it's not really Microsoft's fault.

Things were different before their monopoly was disrupted by the web and mobile. OS pluralism is normal now, and people are more inclined to blame vendors, rather than those who opt out of the vendor's ecosystem, for compatibility problems.


What an exuberantly generous take on the relationship that exists between your company and Microsoft.

'depends critically' vs 'we could probably get by [with alternative]' - which?

> So we're 'locked in', but it's not really Microsoft's fault.

It's conceivable that some of the wealthiest people on the planet have accidentally arrived at a situation whereby myriad users are 'locked in' to a situation whereby their on-going wealth is assured.


Most enterprises depend critically on being able to view and edit Word and Excel documents. If there was some urgent need to get rid of Microsoft, they could get by with non-Microsoft applications that support the same file formats. It's easier and cheaper to stick with Microsoft because of the huge ecosystem Microsoft built. That's no accident, it was good business, aided by some questionable business practices which were noticed by antitrust regulators at the time. But it doesn't give Microsoft unlimited power – if they hike licensing fees, the available alternatives will start to look more appealing, despite the (currently) higher cost of finding staff to support them.

They’re locked in because they do license agreements for office, not because they can’t use anything else on windows. Plenty of companies use g-suite on windows.

I was also talking more about home and personal use in general, rather than businesses.


Let me tell you, technical businesses are too.

What if Microsoft was offering the best solutions to enterprise, and that's why they kept their stranglehold?

If solutions were independent of the environment, the fix would be easy: simply develop better software than Microsoft. Unfortunately Microsoft owns the stack so it's hard to compete with them on their turf. You can develop for Mac or Linux and sell to a tiny market. Or you can develop for Windows and hope Microsoft decides not to enter your market.

Without a full stack you're just a Jenga tower.

Deeper!


While Google created that walled city, they also destroyed every other city into a pile of rubble after tapping into endless resources from a completely unrelated industry. YouTube had an unfair advantage over just about any other company trying to build something similar.

Google is famous for making things free until they are not, than your screwed. I like when they arbitrarily change rules about SEO, AMP's and such. Don't want to play by the new rules? No problem, you and your company will be thrown onto the scrap heap.


The more this metaphor is fleshed out the more it sounds like it's referring to civilization in general and how ancient cities/city-states actually operated (to some level of similarity).

Build a city, invite people in, tax them and rule them, and destroy or absorb every rival you can get away with. Have technology or resources your competitor doesn't have? Sucks to be them.

I guess I'm not that surprised that even though we can collectively build better systems for ourselves after time and lots of understanding where the alternatives lead us, our nature shows itself in various other areas.


Yeah, that's exactly how it was. Then we pushed for the rule of law, a set of fundamental rights, democracy, and a social safety net and while this stuff still happens it's a lot better than it was.

Time will tell if we're able to keep it up. Certainly there are new threats and opportunities.


Many of the of the same pundits supporting censorship on Google search and Youtube used to be extremely critical of Walmart's business practices. This isn't about principles.

Is there a way to disable amp in my browser? It’s hard to get to the real sites

Use Firefox and/or DuckDuckGo.

Yes, install Firefox Mobile.

As far as I know, no. You can request the desktop site and that should stop you from getting AMP pages as search results, but it doesn't always work either.

Apparently it's "for our own good" not to have the option to turn it off.


Am I the only one gets annoyed when people use "than" while it should be "then"? And hell a lot of such people!

> people use "than" while it should

Don't you mean "when"? "people use 'than' when it should..."


GP's second sentence could also use some grammar love ;)

Ah, but we do know how to navigate the wilderness. You see, we built this city. We built it on ARP and IP. And we can build it again - next time with better foundations.

The gatekeepers underestimate how long tastemakers are willing to go without them to discourage long-term bad behaviour.

My only regret is that I did not contribute to building DuckDuckGo.


The problem isn't you and me, the problem is "the most".

In my time, we all hung out on IRC (well, some still do, but mostly for technical stuff). But IRC was like ARP and IP, you needed to set some parameters, enter a server address (that you had to look up in a paper magazone or had to ask a friend for it), you had to join a channel, that you had to find first (listing all channels was useless on larger ircnets), and then you could chat. ...and you had to be online to receive messages, which was a problem back then with dialup connections.

Then came "social networks" (myspace, facebook,...), where all you needed to know was "myspace.com", and they offered objectively "more" than irc (chat messages were recorded even if you were offline, photos, profile pages,...), and people started using those. So if you wanted to chat with friends, you had to make an account there. And most people slowly migrated to myspace, and then facebook, and so on.

Anyone can build a website, set up video streaming, buy virtual machines for video hosting, etc. But if "all of your friends" (97%(?) of video watchers) open up youtube, and search for videos there, and your video is not there, it's the same if you were alone on an empty irc channel with two other users on the irc server.


Who is 'we'? You know, and I know. Most users of youtube do not.

Yes, not everyone needs to need to invent the future to enjoy it. A few rogue engineers are enough.

This comment reminded me of the last lines of Hotel California: "You can check out any time you like // But you can never leave!"

There are other cities which you can move to.

The problem is, Emperor G sells the only map to the Internet, and they're not shown on it.


Is your analogy trying to say that Google is the only search engine you can use, and that it doesn't list rival video sites?

(Disclosure: I work for Google)


You can use other search engines, but the only one Mr. G tells you about is their own, and it consistently features YouTube above other sites.

If this kind of behavior from a market leader isn't a textbook anti-trust concern I don't know what is. It's remarkably similar to Microsoft featuring and promoting its own browser at the expense of others. The level of bundling and integration that they were attempting between IE and Windows, and which ultimately got the DoJ to act, has been going on in Android with Search and Chrome from day one.


Look up "search engine" on google and you find link to alternatives to google, and not google (of course you need to know what a search engine is and that it exists)

It was also possible to use Windows to download alternatives to Internet Explorer.

Microsoft got into hot water not because Windows blocked alternatives, but because it gave preference to Microsoft's own browser. Which is something that is normally perfectly legal and fine, but under US antitrust law it stops being fine once you're the market leader.


Even "alternatives to google" gives you a card with "Top 12 Search Engine Alternatives To Google"

the Analogy to me is the Google run YouTube, Andriod and Search.

Google, it is believed and supported by much anecdotal evidence and some leaked documents, that google manipulates search to remove the "undesirable" competition like Minds, Gab, Bitchute, and others. Twitter, Facebook, and other Authoritarian Censorship supporting Silicon Valley companies are unaffected

Then there is Android where google blocks apps from anyone unless the adopt a censorship policy mirroring that of Google


Human race has a lot of intellectual growing up to do.

This is, in effect, the same Modus Operandi that resulted in the Opium Wars - addict a populace to "free" some thing and bankrupt them intellectually.


Greed. Humanity has always been driven by greed, but the hope was that it would recognize and overcome this sin and get to the next level. This hasn't happened. I have a weird feeling that humanity (or rather this civilization that started about 10k years b.c.) has just missed the critical point when it needed to take off. The greed was too heavy and we've started losing altitude. In practice, losing altitude manifests as the raising temperatures: the only way to solve this problem is to overcome greed.

I guess the lesson is "don't build your house in someone else's land".

A lesson that's impossible to follow when all the land is already owned, unless everyone gets the ability to create a full fledged ISP in their basement.

> In theory you are correct. In practice, if 97% of society exclusvely uses said aggregator/community to find videos - 97% of your potential audience will never know the video exists - is that not still censorship?

Reminds me of the retort to libertarian/anti-big-government goals: "Lots of things become a government"


Who cares about 97% of society? They can enjoy their shit.

thanks to lightning me. i seriously try new firefox today.

You forgot the part about how Emperor G would come and burn your house to the ground if you tried to build outside the city because building houses was his idea.

But wait, they didn't invent building houses. But Arbiter W lives in the walled city and the Emperor gives him gifts. Arbiter W considers Emperor G to be the person who owns the idea of building houses, and Aribter W is the one that sent the arsons out to your place, so you are now shit out of luck with a burning house.


I'm sorry, this just flew over my head. What is this analogy about? Is Google DoS'ing third party websites? Deranking them? Suing for patent infringement? Who's W?

If you want to livestream on Youtube, you aren't allowed to mention or link to other livestreaming solutions, such as Twitch.

YouTube's policy appears to ban videos that "promise users they will see something but instead directs them off site in order to view." As far as I can tell, mentioning that you have a Twitch channel should be fine, but creating a video called "my sick game livestreaming" whose content is a guy telling you to go somewhere else to watch your sick livestreaming might be seen as this type of spam. Honestly, that sounds pretty reasonable to me. Maybe I'm missing a story somewhere about them doing something worse?

I think this is the policy here: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2801973


> creating a video called "my sick game livestreaming" whose content is a guy telling you to go somewhere else to watch your sick livestreaming might be seen as this type of spam.

this happens a lot with many twitch streamers who also do youtube. I don't think it's banned under youtube.


Someone needs to tell Linus Tech Tips that.

They mention the Twitch or Floatplane streams or streaming all the time. Either last week or the week before that they had an issue with the Youtube and Floatplane streams, but Twitch was doing fine.

Would you link to those rules? Curious what the exact text is.


They did get a strike about that, or possible several times. For example, https://twitter.com/linustech/status/1008752236027973632?lan... talks about it and I strongly remember a wan show being almost dedicated to the same topic.

If I recall right, they have said that there were not that many users who came from youtube so it doesn't matter much, and that wan show itself isn't really a money maker in the first place but rather a place where they can vent and just talk a bit about random stuff. They later changed their setup so the same stream goes to youtube, twitch and floatplane at the same time but they don't know if that is within the youtube rules.


Here's where they talk about it: https://youtu.be/SKtJY6soCds?t=698

Doesn’t floatplane stream to multiple services? You have 1 system to stream to many.

I don't know the rules, I'm not a YouTuber. I don't think anyone has ever accused Google or YouTube of applying their rules equally, though.

The original analogy was that you're not allowed to build a house elsewhere. You seem to be analogously talking about selling said house within the perimeter of the original city.

Doesn't Twitch have similar rules regarding not advertising other streaming sites? I mean, its reasonable trying not to give free advertisement for your competitors.

Is it reasonable?

Maybe. Maybe not. I see it as another good reason to find viable and economical ways of hosting our own content independent of these platforms.

Twitch gives you an outright ban if banned Twitch streamers are spotted anywhere on your stream -- whether or not it was intentional.

Lighter cases get 90 day suspensions of Twitch accounts.


Presumably OP was referring to big companies skirting around data laws and heavy lobbying by said companies. W would be the US government or similar.

I believe it is W for Washington

Not OP, but reminded me of the X-Plane developer who was sued for publishing an app to Google Play[0].

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4523380


Reminded me of patents

And if you built a really nice house and people saw leaving the city to join your new house community. The G would just buy your house and move everyone in the walled city.

Vimeo, Twitch, Bitchute etc., none of whom seem to be getting shut down.

[flagged]


Lighting a fire is a crime. (When it's arson.)

Painting a wall is a crime. (When it's vandalism.)

Jumping a fence is a crime. (When it's trespassing.)

Not going to be much left to watch if every act that could be a crime is banned.


No, but the big corps like that because it lets them selectively ban pretty much whatever they want.

Dosen't really have anything to do with it, YouTube can already selectively ban anyone they want (and do), its already a part of the TOS.

But they are not instructionals on how to commit crimes. They are instructionals on how to bypass security systems, and that may or may not be a crime depending on your relationship with the entity controlling the security system.

The same argument could be used to ban any videos showing weapons being used (target practice or demonstration dummies) or any martial arts. Because who knows whether viewers will use that knowledge against live targets. That would include a ban of all military combat and training videos.


Importantly: understanding how to bypass security systems is an implicit dependency of understanding how to defend oneself against your own security systems being bypassed by others. Instead of allowing ordinary people to educate themselves on how they might go about defending themselves against cybercrime, YouTube has effectively decided that "nah, it'd be better for the common folk to be entirely helpless to cybercriminals".

>The same argument could be used to ban any videos showing weapons being used

That has actually already happened, to a certain extent (depends on the weapon). This is just the next step.


Videos that involve weaponry are already either banned outright or heavily hidden and demonetized on YouTube. There was a channel (not sure if it still exists) that was about making different kinds of slingshots. SLINGSHOTS. And YouTube came for them a few years ago. The content was popular and the audience loved it. Google, however, did not. They declared it in violation of their community guidelines and swiftly stripped away the creators livelihood.

It's important to realize that we're not just talking about "oh some entertainment is no longer available" here but, in most cases, someone or groups of people just went from being able to feed their families to not.


Except that slopes are actually slippery sometimes. Look at the recent, and quite rapid, normalization of physical violence in American political argumentation.

What normalization? Physical violence is extremely uncommon, but grossly overreported by the media. If it bleeds, it ledes.

Are politicians literally shooting each other again, like Aaron Burr & Hamilton? In all seriousness, if anything is new in our political discourse, it is sensitivity to violent language.

> Bypassing secured computer systems, in practice, is illegal.

So is sexual harassment in the workplace. Remove those videos too?


As far as I can tell, a slippery slope is nothing more than a projection based on current and past data. I think it’s foolish to cast out such projection for the mere reason that they are projections. Rather, we ought to debate the quality of the data and model feeding the projection.

I would like them to have consistent understandable policies and pay anyone they demonetized a severance or just whatever youtube made off of it

It's only a fallacy if there is no demonstrable slope.

It's only a fallacy if you think YouTube owes anyone free platform access and to uphold free speech as a private entity. They don't.

They are acting like a monopolist. And they are an effective monopoly.

A reply to you makes the unsubstantiated claim that YouTube is a profit-seeking company. They ignore the fact that, no, YouTube has not operated as a profit-seeking company. The reason YouTube is, and will remain, the pre-eminent video platform is because it was run at a profound loss for over a decade, losing hundreds of millions of dollars at a clip, for no reason other than to totally suppress competition. Framing them as some kind of capitalist company is genuinely false.

If you wish to build a competitor to YouTube, your first task is to secure a billion dollars or so to build a competitive infrastructure with investors who are prepared to lose money on its operation for no less than a decade and quite possibly forever (or until Google goes bankrupt).


> The reason YouTube is, and will remain, the pre-eminent video platform is because it was run at a profound loss for over a decade, losing hundreds of millions of dollars at a clip, for no reason other than to totally suppress competition.

No one actually knows whether YT is technically profitable as a sole entity. So the premise of your argument and the argument you're referring to is basically flawed unless you have insider information.


And practically impossible to determine. How much does Google "earn" by having a better idea of who its audience is?

How much does Google "earn" by keeping its competition weak(er)?

How much does Google "earn" by being able to speech-to-text all video and increase its corpus of knowledge?

How much does Google "earn" by being a better search engine because it can provide video results?

How much does Youtube bandwidth "cost" Google when it has links into every exchange there is anyway?


Your local auto parts store prices oil lower than a mechanic can get it for, just to bring people in the door to sell them other items.

This is a well known tactic; these items are called "loss leaders". The fact that in this environment other people have successfully made video sharing websites (without a billion dollars, no less) means that the environment is competitive, even with the loss leader tactic.

On TOP of that, "Sharing videos" is not something that is required for civil society. It's an ancillary waste of time, but in no way owed to the public sphere.


>Your local auto parts store prices oil lower than a mechanic can get it for

Why doesn't the mechanic just buy their oil from the auto parts store?


They do! But they charge you full retail price on the bill, without the loss leader pricing.

If you've ever had an oil change and thought, "I can get oil for less" - you're right.


They are a for profit company and can do what ever they want. regardless if their membership is free or not.

There are other choices out there. They may not be the best. People can build their own youtube if they want to.

At least in the USofA you can build something similar with your own rules.

youtube can be taken down, but people appear to be too lazy or unaware of what youtube is doing slowly. Taking away certain liberties that used to be available in YouTube.

peace


There's tons of other video sites that people are free to use. Nobody "requires" you to use YouTube.

"But more people are there, my videos won't be see elsewhere!" does not count as a monopoly.

Host your videos elsewhere, nobody's "owed" access to Youtube.


Is this an argument about free speech?

Its more about the arbitrary practices which affect people’s livelihood while youtube retains all the profits from content it eventually disagrees with

This anticompetitive behavior can be curbed using the people’s government in ways that have nothing to do with free speech


Are there alternatives?

Yes, tons of them. Don't like Youtube? Don't use Youtube.

Simple.


And simultaneously use existing arbiters created by the people to change youtube’s internal policies

It's not censorship by the definition used by law, no. It's still morally ambiguous...

It's like how free speech is both a reference to the first amendment and a concept in and of itself, meaning that you can support free speech in private spaces, without supporting it as a requirement under law. There's always confusion over the difference between what should be allowed under law and how things should be ideally.

Damn! Don't forget auto-censorship... This is 1984.

Except replace "the color blue" with one very specific shade of blue among millions of possible shades.

Good analogy, but lets not forget Emperor G has to keep the Gods happy. Or at least the federal government(s) and to some extent the press and public.

If he keeps allowing blue houses the few people who want blue houses are happy but the Gods may become angered.

Given this, Emperor G's staff of highly paid lawyers have suggested cutting off the degenerates who want blue houses.


> the degenerates who want blue houses

Are we still talking about computer security tutorials? I'm not aware of any federal law prohibiting those.


Emperor G will use his massive power to influence the elections of the Gods, only allows those sympathetic to the Emperor's goals a voice to talk to the people in the city

One effective way to protest this would be to report videos by high-profile companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google itself.

Take a few minutes to look for a video about Azure or AWS or GCP, or a video of a presentation at a conference around such things, and report it as Inappropriate content citing the relevant terms of service.

Be very careful only to report content that conforms to the above description — the point here is to show YouTube where they're wrong by forcing them into direct confrontation with their own vested interests.

Bonus irony points will be conceded to correctly flagging a Google Project Zero video, or a YouTube security team video, as in violation of the terms of service as stated.

Again, please do not do this indiscriminately. Use your judgement on how to create the maximum exposure of stupidity through honest and careful judgement of what obviously should be permitted and yet does not comply with the rules as stated today.

EDIT: Per commenters below — if you behave improperly and report a ton of videos inappropriately, you very well could get your account banned. If you're worried about this, report one video only. Be selective, use your single vote, and then move on.


> Bonus irony points will be conceded to correctly flagging a Google Project Zero video, or a YouTube security team video, as in violation of the terms of service as stated.

Without reading the ToS too carefully, I'm all but certain academic and industry-leading security work is deliberately carved out. Clearly this rule is designed to disallow liability concerns like a viral "how to see someone else's snapchats!" video, etc...

In the case of the linked tweet, it seems to have also hit a legitimate-seeming-if-not-industry-leading security source as a false positive. And that's bad, and a reason to oppose this policy in general.

But treating this as an "Ah hah! Hypocrisy!" kind of thing is missing the point and not going to help anyone. You know what they're trying to do.


Sadly, this is the moment where the terms of service that do permit such work would have been precisely what we need to counter the direction of the entire post. I hope you or someone are able to discover it and cite it here. (I couldn’t manage to find the terms from my device, but that’s likely more my device’s fault than any. I’ll try again later if I remember, but it might be too late for today’s comment.)

Ok, here we go:

In section 6.E. of the YouTube ToS (https://m.youtube.com/static?template=terms), they say you cannot submit content contrary to the Community Guidelines.

On this page (https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2801964?hl=en) of the Community Guidelines they say you may not post “Instructional hacking and phishing [content]: Showing users how to bypass secure computer systems or steal user credentials and personal data.”

Interpret that how you will. It seems broad enough to include academic/security work.


Indeed it does. I look forward to their response after the US Holiday tomorrow.

That's probably a great way to get your own Google account banned, and there is no way in hell I'm risking that.

> and there is no way in hell I'm risking that.

Yes. You need to keep a good balance in your social credit.


Self-sensure. Works as designed

Well I suppose he set himself up for that one.

This is a good example of what people do in real life when confronted with change they want vs repercussions.

Compounded by the fact that it was posted by username 'gambiting'.


I'm always curious what people think my username means. I thought of it when I was only starting to learn English at around age 10, and my young brain thought it would be amazing to combine "game" and "biting" (as in, eating games, since I loved playing them). I only discovered the word gambit much later.

this is way off topic, but what the heck. i read your name as doing a gambit, playing a gambit, or something along those lines.

risking your google account by making a report, as you observed, is a gambit :-)


I read it as gam-biting. Seemed nice enough if a bit out there for hn.

At least in real life you get a chance to face your opponent, even if it's a goliath and david mismatched weight-class scenario. An angry mob may be outgunned by the police, but at least they can still throw bricks. What can realistically be done online to hurt Google? Does there exist a digital brick heavy enough for google to even notice you throwing it?

this comment makes me happy having removed gmail from my life.

I dont give a fuck about my google account anymore.


Why do you only have one google account?

Is having multiple (non-company) Google accounts allowed per their TOC?

Since you don't need to verify your true identity, such rule would be totally pointless even if it were there.

For a number of years now you have to give a phone number to make an account. Doesn't need to be a one-to-one mapping, but it still connects the accounts.

It can be evaded by using multiple phone numbers, but if you're working that hard to not be violated by Google then chances are you aren't using Google in the first place.


> For a number of years now you have to give a phone number to make an account. Doesn't need to be a one-to-one mapping, but it still connects the accounts.

Even if the number is required (a sibling comment challenges that), it only connects your accounts if you only have one phone number, or all the phone numbers you have and use for Google accounts are publicly (or privately but through Google) tied to your identity. Otherwise it does not, to Google, connect the accounts.


I thought they keep track of "associated accounts" via IP address, browser cookies, fingerprinting and so on. There have been plenty of instances where innocent Google Acounts have been terminated due to a different account holder's activity on the same machine.

You don’t need a phone number to open a google or gmail account. It asks for it but it’s a skippable step

That hasn't been my experience on a few occasions over the last few years. Guess they changed it.

Nah it still occurs from a desktop browser.

Though I learned it does not ask for one (or is skippable) if you create an account on an android device (I use a tablet for that).


It depends, if you are signing up on a mobile device (say creating an account as part of an Android device setup) it is absolutely required in my direct experience with no way to bypass it.

However if you create a new account via a desktop browser, it's not been required.


it’s not.

for your first account, it is not required. once they think you are opening more than one, or they think you may be a bit, a working non-voip humber is required.

tragedy of the commons.


Does Google have a real life name policy?

I have 3, had them for years. Haven't been struck down by any gods yet.

This will be ineffective. Google whitelists many channels by large organizations and they are sheltered from any such reports. If 200k reports came in on the next Microsoft video posted, someone at YouTube might notice, but the video would never be taken down. You should read (as should everyone else) Eric Schmidt's book 'A New Digital Age'. In it he lies out his view. Basically (and obviously this is my perspective, this is the meaning not the language he uses to sell it), because Google is rich, they are Better. The teeming masses of the unwashed must be yolked by their betters. Left to their own devices, the public would destroy themselves and it is the responsibility of Google and other gigacorps to create culture in order to preserve civilization.

> because Google is rich, they are Better. The teeming masses of the unwashed must be yolked by their betters. Left to their own devices, the public would destroy themselves and it is the responsibility of Google and other gigacorps to create culture in order to preserve civilization

(probably an unpopular opinion, but...) sounds like neoliberalism


Really? It is almost the textbook definition of Conservatism. Not like 'Republicans are conservative', but the political science sort of Conservatism that ruled the world for centuries, the ideology that supports monarchies, dictatorships, theocracies, etc. The belief that the rights of the state (or church or similar) are primary, that some people are 'special' in a way that destines them to lead while the majority are destined to follow because they are constitutionally incapable of anything else. A refutation of that was the meaning of "all men are created equal" in the Declaration of Independence which was the first official codification of Liberalism. Liberalism then conquered the world, but I imagine there's nothing absolute in place that would prevent it from re-emerging.

well, neoliberalism is a weird thing because it means different things to different people, but wikipedia puts it thusly[1]:

> economic liberalization policies such as privatization, austerity, deregulation, free trade and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society

basically how “gigacorps” rule society and public needs to be lead by private institution because they can’t rule themselves fits very much (in my opinion) with neoliberal thinking... and in more modern times neoliberal thinking very much has an anti-democratic and more capital-centered (or you could say elitist) orientation...

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism

[edit] just to be clear, what i mean to say is that neoliberalism shouldn’t be confused with classical liberalism even if they have similar origins, with neoliberalism being more closer to the conservative ideal economically (not socially per se)


This is a great strategy when dealing with a corporate entity that isn't actively evil.

I can say from experience this does not work at scale. YouTube has allowed large public accounts to be in blatant violation of the terms of service. They are selectively enforced.


This reminds me of the Charter 77 movement in Czechoslovakia. They protested against the Communist regime by reporting to the it its own violations of its laws and agreements. It was a brilliant way of unveiling the lies of their government. Somehow, this approach is very similar.

can you clarify which options to click on? I dont see a label that best fits this complaint. there are options like terrorism/child abuse/offensive content, etc.

I cannot, sorry.

It's called selective enforcement.

You can make it a PR issue. Go through reporting and if the videos clearly violate TOS and aren't taken down, point out the double standard to the activist press.

> out the double standard to the activist press.

Except the activist press only cares about their side. If you're censoring anything they don't like or critical of them, they will shower you with praise.

They will actually cheer at Google to ban more. Just wait until a US President, British PM, or other leader they like is in power - they'll beg Google to merge with the government.


Technically you can.

In practice it’s playing the outrage lottery: you can’t complain not winning if you don’t buy into it, but you only have one in a million chance to have your issue blow up to any proportion, and then some more astronomically low chance it leads to anything.

I am still thinking about the Vox presenter Carlos Maza who painstakingly documented and published how youtube didn’t enforce its hate speech rules, gathered 20 000 retweets, got an official youtube account reply to assure they’ll look into it. And nothing (well, some more harrasment and hate speech)


Do you have a link where this is documented? Reports on this seem quite polarized.

It seems to be very polarizing yes. Then Steven Crowder's channel has 4 000 000 subscribers, so someone asking youtube to punish the channel is garanteed to have "strong opinions" facing him.

This is the original tweet series: https://twitter.com/gaywonk/status/1134263774591037441

The final response from the youtube team: https://twitter.com/gaywonk/status/1136056663927087105


What is?

Reporting their own content doesn't matter, because the rules don't apply to them. Ergo, selective enforcement.

asdf21 is implying that your strategy probably won't be effective because YouTube may only enforce this policy selectively (i.e. not on their own parent's content or other powerful entities).

When you "report" videos of large companies, they will likely simply ignore those reports, rendering your outlined tactic futile.

Policies like these are almost always selectively enforced.


There's a lot of bad content on the Internet, and a lot of people wanted to ban it. And the free speech absolutists said, that's a slippery slope. Once you start restricting speech beyond whatever is illegal, there will be no end to the demands to ban certain content.

And a lot of us said, slippery slopes are silly arguments. All we're asking is to ban overt racism and calls to violence. We can evaluate these things individually on their own terms.

It may turn out the absolutists had a point.


I don't think this changes the idea that the slippery slope is a silly argument.

Aren't we evaluating these things on their own terms now? It's definitely possible to have a YouTube that is harsh on calls to violence but allows cyber-security instructionals.

We're not sliding down the slope just yet. We took a step too low and need to climb back up.

edit:

I should not have used "we" above, since only Alphabet controls the platform.

To clarify, I don't think this is the natural end of a "slippery slope" from removing hateful/violent videos from YouTube.

This was not an inevitability of moderation. It is possible to have a "YouTube" that takes down violent content and leaves educational material up.

If it makes them money and no one in power objects, it stays up (see harassment of Carlos Maza). If it jeopardizes those in power or YouTube's bottom line, it comes down.

Moderation is not to blame. Profit motive is.


A slippery slope is only a fallacy if you can't demonstrate a downward slide. Once you can demonstrate that slide, the issue needs to be taken more seriously. I believe that over the last two years, we have seen a dramatic increase in censorship from the most powerful companies in the world. I'm not even sure that our governments have the will or power to stop them at this point.

A big problem with critics of "slippery slope absolutists" is that often when someone says "Youtube just banned porn, you don't care now but one day they'll come for something you love" the response is "dude that's such a slippery slope, that won't happen." In other words: we just classified the end-state as a correct slippery slope, and now we're thinking that the end-state will never happen because that one argument was wrong.

A correct slippery slope identification is when someone says "A happened, thus Z will happen." That's a stretch. But "A happened, then B, C, D, E, F, and G... Z is looking more likely", its no longer a slippery slope. Its a valid concern. The slope is slippery and we're falling down it. The first case can still be right, even if we only had one data point at the time. Its incorrect to assert it is absolutely right, but its also incorrect to dismiss it just because there's only one data point.

Slippery Slopes are, absolutely, among the weakest logical fallacies to be proven wrong by internet armchair warriors with the Fallacies wikipedia page open in another tab. We can make the easy jump all the way to Goodwin's Law and assert that it is a known historical fact that people in 1930s Germany felt the same thing as these armchair warriors when the Socialists were drug away. And then the trade unionists. And then the Gypsies. And the Jewish population. And tens of millions of good people were killed. Slippery Slopes are absolutely a real thing. Having a fallacy named after them doesn't mean they don't exist.


Thank you. Listing to people intone about how dumb slippery slopes are makes one wonder if they think the world is 100% stochastic without a trend in sight.

Every other HN discussion I've seen about YouTube banning content lately has been full of people insisting that because Google moderates their content at all, they are morally obliged to use their powers to police the politics of the nation. That's not so much a slippery slope as it is a slippery cliff face. Probably the only reason this one is different is because they're going after something HN regulars care about.

> I don't think this changes the idea that the slippery slope is a silly argument.

Why? "slippery slope" holds when each change makes it easier to enact further change in the same direction, and that seems to be the case here. "censor CP" + "censor porn" is an easier sell than the original "censor CP" step was, thanks to infrastructure already being in place. Adding copyright on top of that was easier still. And then violent content, and then aid to terrorism, and then politics we don't like, and gun repair videos, and ammo reloading, and...

Now we're at "hacking instructions", which is a hell of a way down that slope.

> We're not sliding down the slope just yet. We took a step too low and need to climb back up.

Perhaps we're running down the slope and not sliding, but that doesn't increase the chance we're about to turn around.


It is possible to have a Youtube like this. Its also possible to have a Youtube that allows porn, or a Youtube that exclusively hosts videos from large media companies because its too risky to allow random people to upload any of these things.

All of these are possibilities. Some of them are more likely than others. But you want to know the least likely possibility? The one with chances so unrealistically impossible that it practically will not happen? Its the possibility that Moderation will land on the point in the Gray Area that you believe is Fair.

Why is that? Its because everyone's point is different, and its insanely difficult to even define that point during day-to-day enforcement. So, Youtube, serving millions of users, having thousands of humans and millions of lines of code running enforcement, will continually become more conservative. Someone is outraged? Ban it. An advertiser is outraged? Oh damn, make a policy. Making a policy is easy. Reverting is is very difficult. At its very foundations this is why the world gets more and more conservative over time.

This is why freedom of speech is such an important thing. The first, best option is to find a gray area that is perfect for everyone... which is impossible. The second best option is to allow anything. Anything is better than nothing, and its also probably better than the conservative, whitewashed world that we're headed toward.

But, then again; they can run their platform however they want. And most people think they should ban violence... and self-harm... and suicide... and directions for making explosives... and hacking? Well, maybe there is somewhere they should stop. No one ever said it was easy. Or that allowing everything is the right move for them. But, the reality is, if they keep changing the rules, then the rules will eventually slide toward gross conservatism. That's the future of the platform. And next decade, a new platform will replace them, and the same thing will happen to them. Freedom of speech isn't necessary in private platforms like this; generally speaking, given enough time, the markets will take care of it.


> " given enough time, the markets will take care of it. "

And death finds all murderers in the end, but why wait for that? I prefer we actively hunt them down, to limit the damage they can do.

See also: Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.


That's why I'm fine with the government staying out of it(free speech) and letting the rest of us squabble over and it figure it out ourselves. Users will pressure Youtube, Youtube will pressure users, platforms will come and go, and the pendulum will continue to swing.

Instead of "doomsdaying" over Youtube policy I need to change the strings on the world's smallest violent. It got quite the workout playing for Daily Stormer and Alex Jones..


> We took a step too low and need to climb back up

This is not going to happen; we will keep sliding. We are not the ones doing the stepping, because we do not control the platform. What we can do is persuade people to use distributed and/or federated alternatives.


Using "we" was a bad choice by me.

I was trying to say that this is not the natural end of a "slippery slope" of removing hateful/violent videos from YouTube.

I don't think this was an inevitability of moderation. It is possible to have a "YouTube" that left educational material up. It was a choice by a powerful corporation acting in the interest of other powerful forces. If they had a real competitor they might be under pressure to leave useful videos like this up.

YouTube is definitely in the wrong, distributed alternatives are a good way of providing access to this important information.


People have a natural tendency to project their opinions on their own side.

I think part of it is rose-tinted glasses and part of it is people with divergent goals keeping quiet until the time is ripe.


> All we're asking is to ban overt racism and calls to violence

I agree that it's reasonable to ban "calls to violence", but the "overt racism " part is extremely subjective. Why is racism worse than hacking? I, based on my own principles, think racism is 'worse' than hacking, but most people's principles are completely different from mine, and I think a considerable part of the population thinks that hacking is morally "worse" than racism, even if they don't realize that they think that.


Different people might have different views about whether "racism is worse than hacking," but that doesn't mean we just throw our hands up and concede that everyone is entitled to their own views. Explicitly racist policy still exists, and racism became socially unacceptable in the first world only very recently (in historical terms). But the fight against racist policy has partially succeeded in changing the world, and racism no longer falls within the Overton window.

Almost everyone agrees that there should be some room for objectionable and offensive content, but 'the worst' content must be censored and criminalised. There is very little consensus on where to draw the line. Banning hacking videos (if that's an accurate description of what occurs in practice) crosses the line for me, but at the same time, hackers don't need YouTube to share videos.


Behaviour that is racist or illegal in one place is very often acceptable in another. YouTube as a global website has to remain fair.

For example, Cape Town puts on a minstrel festival every year[1]. Should YouTube ban videos of it? It is surely intensely racist and offensive from an American perspective, yet it is also a culturally significant event in Cape Town and it seems unreasonable to apply American/Anglo definitions of racism to South Africans thousands of miles away who see the world from a different perspective.

I don't think YouTube could exist without banning certain kinds of content. But at the same time, I wish they do so lightly. Because homogeneity of thought is far more dangerous to a society than any video.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaapse_Klopse


If we let other people's principles guide ourselves, we will end up as the absolute worst of society in no time.

> It may turn out the absolutists had a point.

It is almost as if the founding fathers gave a lot of thought and consideration to the first amendment. Maybe we shouldn't willy nilly stomp all over it.


>It may turn out the absolutists had a point.

Of course they have a point. It just takes getting burned a few times before people learn why “you do you even when I don’t like you” is an important philosophy.

We become accustomed to restrictions when they’re not against us. The MPAA is a censorship cartel. But most people couldn’t be bothered to give a shit and those that do are happy for it. Who cares if movies forcefeed sexual negativity as long as it means little Timmy will never see tits?


Eh, I think there is a difference, and it should be obvious, which is why it should be discernible. There is something to learn from hacking videos. The people tend to put them up "in good faith", a critical component of my argument.

Hate speech, calls for racial violence and other overtly harmful speech with no redeeming value, lesson, or skillset are discernible from videos about skills that could be used for good or bad.

A video about how to shoot accurately under pressure isn't bad. A video about how to take cover and kill as many people as you can in a church when the revolution begins is harmful.

Showing unpatched vulns that have been reported in IoT devices, or teaching about discovering web vulnerabilities, is good. Publishing a specific zero-day with no warning to the vendor in a way that would compromise many peoples' PII or banking data should be banned.


> calls to violence

Would you then agree that any communist leaning YouTube channel is by definition a "call to violence", since communist movements have resulted in deaths of 110 million people in 20th century? And therefore the channel must be shut down.

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

No? Don't agree? Well now you see why slippery slope is not a silly argument.


Rejecting that 'definition' does not imply the truth of any slippery slope argument. I think it's easy to distinguish between communist leaning YouTube channels, and communist leaning YouTube channels that contain explicit calls to violence. A 'slippery slope' argument assumes the opposite: that once we accept that some content is prohibited, we cannot avoid the conclusion that all content is prohibitable by an arbitrary censor.

Youtube is banning racist videos with no explicit calls to violence. Communism has killed more people than racism. Maybe the truth does not matter though, people are just doing what they can to not get sued...

I’m in that boat. I thought the slippery slope argument was just fear mongering. How embarrassing. Last I heard anti GMO content is to be banned. Bizarre.

At this point I don’t know why “slippery slope” is called a logical fallacy when so much experience has proved otherwise.


Scott Adams. Scott Adams single handedly promotes the “slippery slope fallacy.”

He’s just wrong


these seem fairly unrelated, honestly. They could have just as easily left the bad content in and still moved on removing videos on circumventing device/computer security. The bad content removal isn't a precedent that allowed for the removal of videos that affect their (and their peers') bottom line: they had that capacity from the onset.

As terrible as it may be (I haven't seen what is being removed to say), it is their site and their rules. So it then falls upon the users to decide if another site that will provide security bypassing videos is worth it to go to.


There's no such thing as a free speech absolutist and YouTube was never a free speech platform.

Right. Most "free speech absolutists" are only absolutists when it comes to viewpoint neutrality, not when it comes to issues like incitement, false advertising, or defamation.

And frankly, a lot of people who loudly proclaim their love of free speech aren't even close to being absolutists in that sense; they'll talk up the marketplace of ideas and the importance of rational discourse as long as they're under threat, then suddenly lose interest in the issue when restrictions are applied to the outgroup.


Except YouTube hasn't even banned overt racism and calls to violence. You can still find plenty of it on the platform. Once a channel is large enough, there's effectively nothing you can do short of copyright infringement to get banned.

The slippery slope is still silly, we are still evaluating things on their own terms right now in this thread.

'Slippery slope' is an illogical way to argue things. There are better arguments against censorship, most notably: There is no cogent argument in favor of censorship. It's that simple. People don't like simple truth, but really, that's their problem. The fact of the matter is, there is exactly 1 person who can control the impact of any expression - the audience. No one else can do it. When the audience wishes to abdicate their responsibility to determine their response, and wish to pawn it off on the creator or anyone else, they have abandoned civilization.

Does this mean that all the reverse engineering videos, con talks, prof of exploit demos, CTF walkthroughs', and fuzzing tutorials will be removed? What about videos showing me how to use tools like Twistlock? Will they be exempt, but videos about burp be banned? What constitutes a "secure" computer system?

Side note, I guess its time to fire up youtube-dl. Are there any channels that need to be archived? I normally just watch what comes up in a search, not anyone in particular.


Exploiting a buffer overflow in sprintf was a lab assignment in my computer architecture course, iirc I had to watch a few youtube videos to really understand what I needed to do (my TA wasn't particularly helpful).

Not to go all slippery slope, but are BosnianBill and the Lock Picking Lawyer next?


I'm not going to be able to take a look for a few days, but I'd be grateful if someone made sure that most of the Defcon talks were archived or mirrored somewhere.


You will also find recent ccc conferences on peertube nodes.

Thanks, didn't realize these existed.

Please use tubeup [1] to backup at risk videos to the Internet Archive. It uses youtube-dl on the backend for retrieving content, subtitles, etc, and will properly set metadata for the item in the archive. The content will be darked if there’s an issue serving it, and the IA staff and storage system will throttle you if necessary (which will bubble up as s3 timeouts).

DEFCON, CCC, and other infosec groups need to move to peertube ASAP.

[1] https://github.com/bibanon/tubeup


CCC famously rolls their own streaming infrastructure during congress and all of it is available at https://media.ccc.de/

Not just during congress. The C3VOC (CCC Video Operations Center) serves Chaos events and tech conferences throughout the whole year.

Source: Volunteered for VOC duty a few times.


Someone suggested federating with the PeerTube network to the people maintaining the backend for https://media.ccc.de , but there doesn't seem to have been a decision on that yet.

https://github.com/voc/voctoweb/issues/342


'Adrian Crenshaw' Records from 20+ hacker/infosec cons yearly and have around 2k vids on his channel.

&

'LiveOverflow'


Next up, banning video tutorials on how to use youtube-dl.

And loading apps outside the Play store on Android.

Shh, don't give them ideas.

I think ippsec recently set up a mirror for himself where you can download all of his videos, but his videos on youtube are tremendous help on my way to OSCP. He does walkthroughs of boxes hosted on hackthebox shortly after they retire.

It's a shame to see this type of content at risk of being blacklisted.


He is the first one I thought of when I read this! He has been so helpful on my journey as well

Too many to count.

I've been trying to argue for awhile that if the major public venues become privately moderated that it would have a chilling effect on free speech. I continually get the rhetoric that free speech only applies to the government (it doesn't; the First Amendment only applies to the government but the ideal of free speech is a universal human right) and that censorship is something only the government can do (also not true for the same reason).

This is not a new concept. In 1859, John Stuart Mill argued in On Liberty that the tyranny of the majority and the de facto censorship that they can create is just as if not far more dangerous to actual liberty than government control.

If we have laws for common carriers, and laws like network neutrality, then there must also be laws protecting the right of the people to participate in public discourse even when the venue is privately held. It is vital to the existence of a free state!


What you say is true, but the better solution is for huge corporations not to have a monopoly/oligopoly on channels for public discourse.

Better perhaps, but what's your proposed path to implementing that? Is it achievable, and what eggs get broken in the course of cooking that omelette?

One huge roadblock I can see is that you would need to address the question of what would replace privately held platforms? If the suggested replacement is something the government operates, you now have to address how that conflicts with the overall neoliberal philosophy of government that we've been operating under for the past couple of decades that precludes the notion of such a thing being operated in that manner. So now we're looking at quite a lot of smashed eggs.

Whereas the former suggestion is something that has, at first glance, a reasonably straightforward path to implementation via legislation, and related precedent to boot. It's easier to make a targeted override of a behavior that is an inherent part of the system under which it emerged, than it is to overhaul the entire system to correct that particular behavior.


> If the suggested replacement is something the government operates

No. That is the exact opposite of helpful. What you need is something that nobody/everybody operates, in the style of email. A protocol (like SMTP), not a platform (like Facebook).

A government could usefully fund the development of such a thing though.


I like your idea since it would mean more self-hosting and decentralisation, but I'm afraid it's the much more complicated way of doing things, and if it could ever happen, I'm not sure it can anymore given that we already have these platforms and especially the USA government would never shut them down, citing economic and national security (everyone's data now has to pass through the USA) reasons.

"More complicated" isn't really the issue. It's the same amount of complicated as email and people use that. And people use it by mostly using gmail and other big providers -- but that's not really a problem as long as setting up your own and still communicating with everybody who uses gmail continues to be an option. It means Google can kick you off of gmail but they can't kick you off of email.

> especially the USA government would never shut them down, citing economic and national security (everyone's data now has to pass through the USA) reasons.

On the other hand, it means every other government has every incentive to make the alternate succeed so that doesn't happen. How about the EU take that fine money they've been sucking out of Google and use it to fund a solid free competing social media protocol implementation.


That's an extremely difficult problem given the speed at which social media changes and the slowness of legal changes. Look at the explosion of Discord. Also, social media isn't a commodity service. What happens if YouTube is broken up? Facebook? Instagram? Twitter?

It seems safer to also require that any platform that offers free, open access to social media style content not show any bias towards that content unless it is otherwise illegal. If you want to pretend to be a public venue, you've got to have the responsibility of keeping a public venue.


> What happens if YouTube is broken up? Facebook? Instagram? Twitter?

If you're going to break them up, you don't do it along those lines. You don't need to have six separate Facebook clones so that five of them can fail or flail around until they get bought back up by the others. Look at what happened with the AT&T breakup.

The lines you break them up on are the preexisting ones. Facebook can't continue to own Instagram and in general major social media companies can't buy competitors. Split YouTube off from Google so that YouTube competitors have equal access to Google's ad network and Google searches don't have any reason to suspiciously favor YouTube videos. That sort of thing.

> It seems safer to also require that any platform that offers free, open access to social media style content not show any bias towards that content unless it is otherwise illegal.

That is hopeless. To give an obvious example, a lot of spam isn't strictly illegal. You do want platforms to filter out content that all of their users want filtered out.

The problem is when they filter out content that some of their users actually want to see, merely because some other users don't want anybody to see it. But there is no principled test for that because the spammers and trolls will insist that they want to see spam and trolling while the censors insist that anything they don't like is spam and trolling that nobody wants to see.

It's inherently subjective. On top of that, you have the "anything not prohibited is now mandatory" problem where you have something which is questionably legal and if you allow it and then a court says it's illegal you're screwed but if you remove it and then a court says it's legal you're also screwed.

The only real solution is to fracture the power to banish into a million separate pieces so that everybody has a little but nobody has too much.


I'm so torn on this issue. I dislike the idea of the government interfering with private business very much, and I can see how easily it can get scary.

That said, it really is insane how influential and widely used a well made application/website can get (youtube/discord/etc). I really cannot think of something that YouTube could do that would make people leave the platform. The amount of users and content on there just totally cements their position.

In this specific situation I think tech-savvy people can find where these videos will be located. In other situations, it's pretty strange/scary. I wish people were more open to alternative platforms. Sometimes I talk about DuckDuckGo and get the weirdest stares


> I'm so torn on this issue. I dislike the idea of the government interfering with private business very much, and I can see how easily it can get scary.

When corporations were first created, they used to have to show how what they were doing was for the benefit of the community. The protections against risk afforded to companies was once granted only in exchange for the ability of a company to add real value to the people and the state. This made sense because very few people would primarily profit, so it made sense to get a guarantee or promise that the company would invest into the community. Companies had a responsibility to ensure that happened.

None of that is true anymore, but that's not because it's immoral to require companies to invest in and have a responsibility for improving and supporting the community. Those corporations only exist by the leave of the state, and in a western republic, that means the leave of the people.

Food companies are responsible for producing healthy food. Automobile companies are responsible for producing safe vehicles. Social media services should be responsible for creating environments and discussions that benefit the people.


> Food companies are responsible for producing healthy food. Automobile companies are responsible for producing safe vehicles. Social media services should be responsible for creating environments and discussions that benefit the people.

Are you proposing regulation/legislation for social media services?


Economies of scale and network effects mean that government (or comparable entity) will have to go out of their way to foster competition way beyond what the market will bear. How can we make this happen?

to participate in public discourse even when the venue is privately held

So if I come to your house, to your birthday party, and I start teaching people (or just talking) about torture, scams, rape techniques, differences of classes/races/whatever, etc. or simply teaching kids how to hack an ATM, will you be OK with it? Would you ask me to leave?

Edit: saying all of that possibly while arguing that "it's just educational" even when it may or may not be the real reason.


the idea that a private entity should be compelled to host speech they don't like seems like a massive violation of rights to me.

There are thousands of hours of excellent cybersecurity content hosted on YouTube. The possibility of losing this wealth of information and history is shocking to me.

Time to start the archive effort. And to finally appreciate what so many other communities have gone through when they've found themselves on the wrong side of one of the internet behemoths. I feel naive.


Shocking indeed. Imagine if this thinking was applied to other classes of content. Banning game emulator videos. Banning piracy videos. Banning unauthorized iphone repair videos.

Do you have any recommendations on channels to archive?

'Adrian Crenshaw' He uploads from more than 20 hacking/infosec cons a year and has around 2k videos.

'IppSec' has around 100 CTF walkthroughs.

'Open SecurityTraining' has ~200 tutorial vids on topics like reverse engineering and malware analysis.

Edit: added a few more.


Thank you!

No problem. Do you have any idea where you'll archive them?

My local server. If the smoke clears and channels do get banned, I'd buy a VPS or post torrent links.

Consider peertube instead.

- Many convention talks are really good and are too many to list - OWASP - zseano - hackerone - Bugcrowd (Jason Haddix's stuff is a pretty important pillar) - OWASP - DarkOperator - Absolute AppSec - KacperSzureEN - PwnFunction - LiveOverflow

There are a ton more, these are just ones I've been watching in the past 6 months or so.


You missed a 'k' in 'KacperSzurekEN' - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDbNNYUME_pgocqarSjfNGw

Thank you!

PeerTube lets you import YouTube videos.

LiveOverflow is great also

LiveOverflow

The "solution" is choosing your priorities and being willing to make sacrifices, which, in my experience, many people are not willing to do.

"I don't want to be on a censorious megacorporate platform." Great! You can do this, you'll just have to be on the #2 platform rather than the #1 platform, and there won't be as many "free" tools & services. "What?? How can you suggest I abandon the #1 platform? I need all those free tools and services + the exposure of the #1 platform!" :shrug: OK, in that case "free tools and services" & "exposure" are higher priorities to you than user respect, privacy, free expression etc., and you're making the right choice to stay on youtube.

It feels a lot like people want to have their cake and eat it too.

Our (as users) only negotiating leverage with a provider like google is willingness to leave their platforms. If you're are not willing to do that, all this hand-wringing and complaining is just wasted breath as google has ~0 incentive to take your complaints seriously.


I think the truth here is that saying "Just use another platform" isn't taking into account reality.

Let's say for a moment that Google isn't evil (hypothetical, I know) and that you want a Facebook alternative. Google themselves tried to make one - and failed spectacularly.

If Google can't make a Facebook alternative, what chance does anyone else have? In what way does a #2 platform ever even approach Facebook while FB can just purchase them or otherwise stop them before a critical mass of users switch?

I'm very free market, but this is a clear monopoly and social media sites seemingly requires new rules that didn't exist for telecoms.


I wonder if all this online complaining is worse than useless, but actually counter-productive by acting as a release valve for real grievances.

Youtube updating its policy to ban videos they have already monetized from, while the creators get nothing. Youtube is a monopoly. Creators need to get off YT, and onto something else if it exists.

> if it exists

Herein lies the problem.. Most creators/uploaders know on some level that YT is a toxic monopoly and would be happy to jump ship. Granted some more than others, but I've never observed any sense of loyalty towards the platform - it's just where everyone goes to share and watch videos.

However, switching to vimeo/DTube/flixxo/etc means less views and smaller paychecks. Why would content creators in the same amount of effort for less recognition & money? Nothing will change until alternative services solve the problem of monetization & audience size.

Thus a chicken-vs-egg situation where viewers don't want to switch because their favorite uploaders are on YT, uploaders don't want to switch because all their viewers are on YT, and competitors can't convince investors to bankroll them without higher user counts. Meanwhile, the Big G/YT monolith keeps chugging along with thousands of employees and billions of dollars behind it, becoming more deeply entrenched every year. What's the solution?


What stops creators from uploading to both? Sure, they miss out on some revenue when people watch their video on Vimeo rather than YouTube. But once they are getting a significant portion of their views on another platform, that would likely mean the alternative platform is popular enough to offer reasonable compensation to creators and they can eventually stop sharing content on YouTube.

Less views means worse discovery. Basically, if they start to push their viewers to another platform, they'll be recommended less on YouTube. Like it or not, 99.999% of their potential viewers are only on YouTube, which means growth will stagnate. Worse than that, their videos will be shown less even to current subscribers so they'll lose income.

There really isn't a good solution that I can think of...


I'm glad you brought this up. This was the exact question I had a few years ago, when I began developing my idea for a solution.

What I considered to be the best approach is to break apart the idea of hosting content and sharing content with your audience in the same place. If you can share in one place and host in another, then switching content hosts ceases to be a problem; You can transfer your content to a different host while preserving the space in which you share, losing no audience or traction in the process.

I'm currently in the process of launching this platform, called MyNexus. If you'd like to learn more, or know anyone searching for a solution to these problems, my email is yaniv@mynexus.io.


I don't see how this solves the problem. What happens when your 'link aggregator'? decides to ban certain content?

That's where the business model comes in. To focus on being a positive tool for content creators, I decided to charge them a monthly fee to have their page on the platform. And I maintain absolutely no other means of revenue. The entirely of the business depends on creators finding it a useful, reliable, and trustworthy tool that is worth their money.

I know that doesn't strictly forbid banning certain content, but without the pressure of having to satisfy advertisers, etc., I don't expect to need to ban content. The only exception that comes to mind would be restricting certain content in order to comply with laws.

Please do follow up with any questions or concerns you have. My goal is to be transparent and to build trust, so I'm happy to address them.


Vimeo isn't clean, they banned Alex Jones for believing (edit: and yes, saying) unacceptable things.

Your edit doesn't go far enough. He encouraged hate against the parents of the children killed at the Sandyhook mass shooting. Yes, Jones has a right to be a crackpot, but it ends when it infringes on the rights of the people Jones' audience harassing.

You may be applying an uneven standard by wanting to ban the speech that turns your stomach, but not the speech that turns the Corporate Overlord's stomachs. You could argue that hacking videos encourage computer crime - the counterargument would be that there are plenty of reasons to talk about something other than to actually encourage people to do it. In fact, Alex Jones' defense in one court case he was in was that he was a satirist.

At the very least, these decisions should be made in court, where the judges are elected and the proceedings are public. Of course that can't happen because the courts have already decided in favor of the speech-miscreants. What Alex Jones was doing is absolutely permitted in our society; and I think there's some wisdom in the reasoning behind why that is.

There's nothing less popular than relativism in the midst of a moral outrage, but you have to bear in mind that some of your favorite things were probably at one time (and could easily become again) moral outrages. Alex Jones could just as easily have been caught "encouraging homosexuality in our children," "fomenting hate against church officials," "advocating against job creation," or anything else that the ruling party was against. You'd just have to change the names, places, and times.


Didn't Alex Jones basically dox the parents of dead children and encourage his viewers to phone them?!

He wanted the parents to research it for themselves, which usually means "Google around until you see some more conspiracy websites with the same story thereby becoming even more convinced." It's not entirely clear to me that he advocated for anything bad, although I will admit I don't watch his show. I do know that some of what people are repeating is not exactly true.

The US is one of the few countries that believes in a radical, unlimited right to free speech. Most other countries, it is not tolerated, and this has not lead to a slippery slope.

Claiming that the families of shooting victims are actually "crisis actors" would not be tolerated under British forms of slander/libel law; Nazi apologism/fetishism or rallying is not tolerated under German laws. These societies aren't just fine, they are actually the better for it.

If you feel that Germany or the UK are dystopias where ideological dissent is brutally suppressed, well, that's just your opinion, man.


If there was a horrible fact right under the surface, discussion of which was being successfully suppressed by German/UK speech laws, you would not hear about it.

Well, go on. Is there a horrible secret in Germany?

It seems unlikely that there would be. This is the 21st century. Governments can't even get their soldiers to keep war crimes secret anymore.

The odds that nobody would walk away from Omelas in 2019 is... slim.


Yeah, like when that German youtuber called out the total mishandling of several important issues by a major political party, and was slandered by some newspapers and stalked by journalists hanging out on his street. Said video is a fully sourced, well researched thing that calls out the insanity around the environment and other things. For example, the fussing about with coal, to save the measly 20k jobs that are in that sector, while just recently 80k jobs were lost due to cuts for spending on renewables. Or Ramstein airbase being used for US drones, and how that just gets shrugged off. Not even a shred of "tinfoil" (the slur that made blind obedience hip), all just very, very appalling facts.

He also got a lot of support, it's not like all media and all politicians attacked him. But those attacks also happened, including a person who dreamed herself future chancellor (at least as far as young people are concerned, she can completely forget that now) musing about whether it should even be "allowed", to just point out the list of hardcore failings before an election: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wX3Mz8pdFCs

Yes, we are better for Neonazis not being allowed to run around with swastikas, and I agree that many Americans don't quite get that, but there's plenty of dystopian-in-spe bullshit to be found, and that's not even getting started on the UK. At any rate, the laws that forbid displaying swastikas to glorify Nazism etc. weren't just decided nilly-willy, because "obviously" that had to be done. They took that decision seriously and discussed it in-depth, so exactly the opposite for these rationalizations for censorship by self-styled SV shepherds.


Have you moved to Europe yet?

I’ve thought seriously about it; the biggest thing holding me back being the lack of a job waiting for me there. Perhaps I could pick my German back up.

Why do you think that’s relevant? In your mind, you can’t comment on something unless you’re personally involved in it? It is plainly evident that Europeans enjoy a high degree of freedom and a broad and open discourse despite the lack of an unlimited freedom of speech - and in fact often a broader discourse than occurs in the US.

Slippery slopes are not in fact an automatic thing, outside external pressure. We can in fact just ban the libel and stop there. Even the US already does that, to some degree. We can just ban Naziism, tolerating it is not a self-evident moral necessity, but rather one that we as a society have decided to value. Other societies do not.

To be just as crass and dismissive as you were to me - your unlimited right to say anything you want has already been breached even in the US. I assume you are moving to Somalia to pursue your maximal freedom in a Libertarian paradise?


> In your mind, you can’t comment on something unless you’re personally involved in it?

Well, as a German, it's just another instance of Americans who don't know 5% of what is going on here, using simplifications so gross they might as well be completely fabricated memes, to sidestep actually making a solid argument. I'm fine with it, I'm not going to fight that particular windmill. But it's really astonishing how a few scraps here and there tend to make Americans experts on Germany in their mind, as a general observation. It's flattering, like being pestered by someone you aren't interested in is still flattering.

> one that we as a society have decided to value

Individuals decide things, "we as a society" is BS, it doesn't exist, though it rings familiar. Nazis "as a society" decided Jews and others don't "have value". You need to be more precise than that.


> Well, as a German, it's just another instance of Americans who don't know 5% of what is going on here

Go on then, what exactly "is happening in Germany"?

I suppose this is where you reference the "immigrant hordes" and so on, and the need to "keep Germany for Germans"?

I am broadly familiar with German domestic politics. After all, they are EU politics, which are world politics. Germany is easily within the top 10 most influential countries on the world stage.

> Individuals decide things, "we as a society" is BS, it doesn't exist, though it rings familiar. Nazis "as a society" decided Jews and others don't "have value". You need to be more precise than that.

Oh, "we as individuals need to decide" on whether or not libel or aggression "have value" as constitutionally protected speech? Based on your argument upthread, I suppose you think it should be put up to a vote then?

Again: we can constitutionally decide that people shouldn't vote on whether "jews have value" but also constitutionally decide that Naziism has no value. Even America has decided, in principle, that certain kinds of speech are not protected.

You present a false dilemma here. Why do you think that is not a consistent argument?


> Go on then, what exactly "is happening in Germany"?

I actually elaborated on that before I made the comment you chose to respond to.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20350223

> Germany is easily within the top 10 most influential countries on the world stage.

But that doesn't mean, say, banning swastikas was a decision that came easy or without deep deliberation and discussion. It also doesn't mean we're not riddled with people seeking to control language in all sorts of ways, or that just censoring stuff we "don't consider valuable" is automatically a good idea.

> Oh, "we as individuals need to decide" on whether or not libel or aggression "have value" as constitutionally protected speech?

No, I simply said the way you phrased it, it's an euphemism at best. Individuals make decisions. If you want to be able to say "we as a society" as a shorthand, meaning the people you agree with, minus the people you think you can simply declare unpersons, then you need to be actually able to point to a process where said society had that serious discussion.

> Based on your argument upthread, I suppose you think it should be put up to a vote then?

Why are you shifting the burden to me? You talk about "we as society", so what do you think how would that go? Just doing it? I mentioned it wasn't done nilly-willy in Germany for the swastika etc., you could look into that for a start.

> Even America has decided, in principle, that certain kinds of speech are not protected.

You initially said this:

> The US is one of the few countries that believes in a radical, unlimited right to free speech. Most other countries, it is not tolerated, and this has not lead to a slippery slope.

How you just shift from Alex Jones to Nazis is also noted, but not accepted. To just say "certain kinds of speech" is not good enough, and if you start like that, you can just expand nilly willy. I even already said Germany is better for having banned Nazis -- but the way it's going in America, where people who act like Nazis, want to see people lose their jobs at a drop of a hat for example, I wouldn't buy "let's ban certain kinds of speech" combined with the double think of "oh, it's just a private platform, we're not banning anything". If you want to talk Nazis and don't even see how that shit has red flags plastered all over it, I just don't know how to help sorry.

If you want to make something illegal, lobby to make it illegal. It's not as if in Germany you can do the things you cited in real life, just not on the internet. That's the elephant on the couch in all this. It's just technocrats using somewhat agreeable examples to get their foot in the door to circumvent all that pesky supreme court stuff, and that's closer to the Nazis than Alex Jones will ever be, as foul as he is.


What specific action(s) did he encourage/advocate? Hate is an emotion, and an incredibly subjective one.

So what do you want? Do you want video hosting to be open to all, regardless of how distasteful, or do you want someone else deciding which videos are acceptable and which are not?

I'm out of the loop--was he directly inciting action against the parents?

He didn't say: Mr and Mrs So and So need to be attacked.

But he repeatedly painted a picture of a staged event where the participants were doing it to in order to take away your fundamental rights! They are lying to you! They want to take your freedom! I'm not willing to let that happen! People, America as we know it is about to die, and we can't let that happen! (weeps crocodile tears)

Then when it became known that many of the parents were being followed and harassed, Jones tacitly approved it by not telling the harassers to stop.


He was accusing the parents of aiding a conspiracy to stage a fake shooting. I can imagine being a parent who has just lost a child, only to be told that I was lying, and that my child either never existed or was still alive. It's a real ideological litmus test - exactly how turned can your stomach get before you call for an exception to free speech?

So he wasn't directing anybody to commit a crime? It's a deplorable scenario, but free exchange of ideas and beliefs still requires protection. The consequences of losing it are in the long-term far greater than personal grief.

He flat out lied about the Sandy Hook massacre and slandered victims of murder. He absolutely encouraged people to "take action on their own by looking into it". You can't claim satire on flat out repeated lies. Lies are not protected speech. This wasn't about the free exchange of ideas, this isn't a disagreement on policy, it was about propogating lies to people in order to make money.

What evidence do you have that he knowingly stated that falsehood at the time of saying it?

He committed a wrongthink

Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?

Lets be clear with terms here; I wouldn't call for an exception to "free speech" even for Alex Jones. He has every right to say whatever he wants short of outright threats, etc.

But I certainly don't think anyone should be forced or required to give him a platform for which to broadcast his speech.


> But I certainly don't think anyone should be forced or required to give him a platform

This is where I think most people on both sides of the debate miss the point. Section 203 of the communications decency act provides protection from liability for platforms that host content provided by others. This is a very important law that I think most people see the value in. However it has a Good Samaritan clause which allows them to arbitrarily moderate content without losing that protection. Should these large platforms be able to exert absolute editorial control over the content they host? I think yes, they most certainly should be allowed to. But they should not be entitled to the liability protections afforded to common carriers if they choose to do so.


So basically you're suggesting that a forum about knitting couldn't restrict their content to just knitting topics without losing their copyright infringement protection?

I see the point you're trying to make but it's completely wrong. Platform like this one would be impossible without Section 203; I don't see why it's necessary to tie that together with other requirements. It's certainly not a logical follow on.


> I see the point you're trying to make but it's completely wrong.

If it is, then it’s not for the reason you provided. If I made Knitter News, and somebody posted a thread about gardening, then nobody would comment on it or up vote it. If I went into a knitting thread, and started posted gardening comments, then they would be downvoted.

It’s also not just copyright infringement protection, it protects against a broad range of liability.

The reason common carrier protections exist, is because the service providers do not control the content they disseminate, or the goods they transport, etc... Providing common carrier protections to platforms that exert editorial control over the content they publish is granting common carrier protections to service providers that are not common carriers.

Logically, this is precisely equivalent to providing common carrier protections to an ISP, but completely removing all regulations that mandate any form of net neutrality.

The law was specifically created to protect free expression online, and in the mid 90s, that’s exactly what it did. However since then, most online expression as become concentrated into a small handful of platforms, who all leverage their position (often in concert) to restrict expression to only that which they deem acceptable.

Regardless of what you think about their judgements of what is acceptable, the law is not consistent with other common carrier regulations, and it is absolutely not doing what it was originally designed to do.


> If I made Knitter News, and somebody posted a thread about gardening, then nobody would comment on it or up vote it.

What if you posted about gardening every 5 minutes, every day, from morning till night and every thread about knitting is drowned out completely. I've run a forum, this happens all the time.

> If I went into a knitting thread, and started posted gardening comments, then they would be downvoted.

OH! So now it's not enough to provide a forum, it also needs to have upvoting and downvoting?! How much other software must I develop? And censorship is ok as long as democratic? How much effort must I put into the software to ensure this?

> Providing common carrier protections to platforms that exert editorial control over the content they publish is granting common carrier protections to service providers that are not common carriers.

That's exactly the point. If they were common carriers, they wouldn't need that protection under the DMCA. I don't see how having moderation control means that they should be liable for content of their users. They are not editing the content, they are just allowing or disallowing. If you run a platform, you should under the same concepts of free speech be able to control that platform. In fact, that's really what a platform is -- it's not just a blob of disk space somewhere. Youtube is fundamentally different from Pornhub. How is that distinction possible in your mind?

> The law was specifically created to protect free expression online, and in the mid 90s, that’s exactly what it did.

Free expression online in any form would be impossible without it, even now.

> However since then, most online expression as become concentrated into a small handful of platforms, who all leverage their position (often in concert) to restrict expression to only that which they deem acceptable.

And yet there is literally nothing stopping you from posting a video to your own website that you pay for and distributing it to as many people as you want.

To say that the moment I put a blog online with comments that suddenly I have to host, with my own money, any comment that gets posted there is ludicrous. On the face it's completely illogical and completely against the very idea of free expression.

The most interesting thing here is really that there is no commercial transaction going on here. Common carriers charge for their services. YouTube doesn't charge you to host your video under the condition that they can remove anything they want. That's the terms. So now you're suggesting that they have to host everything for free? What if that isn't even economically possible?


According to your analogy, YouTube is no different from a news paper. All they do is collect content and publish it. The content can be user generated, it can written by people who don’t work for the news paper, it can be written by journalists from other papers. All they’re doing is decided what is and is not published, right? When I read it for free on their website, there is also no transaction taking place.

So if I start a news paper, and begin to publish completely false and libellous information about people, I should be entitled to a common carrier immunity? All I did was decide what was published.

> Free expression online in any form would be impossible without it, even now.

Free expression would be protected by removing the Good Samaritan clause, it’s not a necessary element of the law.

> To say that the moment I put a blog online with comments that suddenly I have to host, with my own money, any comment that gets posted there is ludicrous.

That’s not what I’m saying at all. If you wanted to moderate them you could create a moderation queue. But otherwise what you are trying to do is act as a publisher, but you simply don’t want the liability associated with it.

> And yet there is literally nothing stopping you from posting a video to your own website

There’s nothing stopping me from making my own ISP and running it however I like. Yet we still cherish regulated net neutrality principles as being an essential element of a free internet.

You haven’t really made an effort to refute my underlying claims here, which are:

Section 203 protections are not consistent with any other form of common carrier protections.

The law is currently having the opposite of its intended effect at the time of legislation. It has simply allowed a very small number of companies to exert editorial control over most of the worlds internet traffic, without having to accept any of the liability that should have come attached to that.


> According to your analogy, YouTube is no different from a news paper. All they do is collect content and publish it.

The alternative is that all websites do, in fact, become exactly like newspapers. Every bit of content would have to be submitted behind the scenes to editors who, in turn, would decide exactly what to publish, ensure nothing is libelous or copyrighted elsewhere, and edit the content appropriately.

Obviously, the Internet already existed as a place where content was posted immediately, openly, and moderated. So in order to continue to enjoy doing exactly what we were already doing here, then such an exception has to be made. That's it. It's not rocket science. It's not about free speech or freedom of expression. It's just about making the Internet possible.

> The law is currently having the opposite of its intended effect at the time of legislation. It has simply allowed a very small number of companies to exert editorial control over most of the worlds internet traffic, without having to accept any of the liability that should have come attached to that.

The point of the law is to not require editorial control. Some editorial control is always necessary. It would be impossible to run any website on the Internet without some editorial control just as it would be almost as impossible to run anything other than a newspaper on the Internet if editorial control was mandatory.

The fact that we are here having this conversion is proof that the law is having the exact intended effect it was supposed to have. You are the one trying to give it far more meaning and scope. And the more you expand the scope the more it goes into ridiculous territory that you have no good answer for.


You’re still just describing the status quo, without acknowledging any of the issues I’ve articulated.

This whole argument seems to run up against some of the values that HN would appear to hold most dearly.

HN discussions around net neutrality would suggest that this community thinks it’s one of the most important tools for protecting a free internet. However this argument is arbitrarily applied only to specific companies. I could go and create my own website, with my own ad network, and have my own YouTube. I could also go and create my own ISP that discriminates against content in a way that satisfies me. This argument is somehow absurd when it comes to packets, but completely rock solid when it comes to the content they transmit?

This community also derides walled gardens when it comes to publishing software, but walled gardens are somehow perfectly acceptable when it comes to speech?

It seems indisputable to me that section 203 grants common carrier protections to organisations that are not common carriers. The outcome is that freedom of expression is restricted. This should be seen as a problem, regardless of whether you personally agree with how those restrictions are applied.


The problem I have with your argument is that your proposed solution is worse. And just because one holds a value most dearly doesn't mean that I'm willing to trample on the freedom of others to get it.

Take your example: the community derides walled gardens. I personally dislike walled gardens and I move away from iPhones mainly because of that. There are plenty of ways that I feel that they're bad. But at the very same time, I believe that Apple is entirely within their rights to have a walled garden. The freedom to create software you want to create should be held dear by anyone on HN. Why should that be different for Apple.

I support the right of free expression; that government cannot restrict free expression and you can't be imprisoned or harassed for your speech. But at the same time I support freedom from speech as well. Just because you have freedom of speech does mean that I'm required to hear it. My freedom of expression also means I don't have support your expression. That's my right.

I also support net neutrality and common carrier requirements for phone companies and monopoly shipping companies, etc. But I also acknowledge that there is difference between being a communications carrier and a publisher. In fact, to be a publisher you need to have a carrier so they're already not the same thing.

Requiring publishers to maintain the speech of others without restriction is an impossibility. Is YouTube really going to be required to host every piece of video published to it forever? Is Hacker News? How would any of this work. They are fundamentally different and what you are proposing just doesn't work. But even more so, if I'm the owner of the website you'd be restricting my right to free expression with this scheme. I think that is equally as important.

Is there really a problem here? Maybe. Is forcing everyone to host everything the solution? God no. As long as we are free to choose what services we can connect to then we have the freedom to choose something other than buying an iPhone, going on Facebook, using YouTube, turning on Fox News, or reading the New York Times. We don't have to host our content, for free, on YouTube so they can monetize it. Having our freedom and eating our free cake too isn't going to work.


Except this isn’t an accurate representation of what the alternative actually is, and it avoids acknowledging what the problems actually are.

> Is YouTube really going to be required to host every piece of video published to it forever?

This is a pretty blatant reductio ad absurdum. If YouTube want to clear out some of their content, they don’t have to exert editorial control to do so. Deleting every video that is more than 5 years old isn’t exerting editorial control. Deleting every video that isn’t earning $x/month arguably isn’t either. Deleting videos based on their content is.

If they decide what videos they want to host based on their content, they’re not a common carrier. They’re a publisher that is deciding what content they want to publish. Expecting them to take responsibility for that isn’t trampling their freedom.

The problem is that this situation has allowed a very small group to control most of the speech that takes place on the internet. They decide what content is published, and what content is not, and section 203 allows them to avoid all responsibility for publishing that content.

The Good Samaritan clause grants them with absolute editorial control over the content they host, and the rest of 203 ensures they don’t have to accept any responsibility for their editorial decisions. It is having your cake and eating it too, and the problems it creates are clear as day.


> Deleting videos based on their content is.

What about spam? What about nudity? What about content designed to be denial of service? What about content that just isn't related to the purpose of the site?

> They’re a publisher that is deciding what content they want to publish. Expecting them to take responsibility for that isn’t trampling their freedom.

I think I've already clearly expressed why this isn't viable.

> The problem is that this situation has allowed a very small group to control most of the speech that takes place on the internet.

Your logic is that this exception has allowed for this but there is no logical connection here. If all publishers need to vet all user submitted content that doesn't preclude the possibility of there becoming a single large video site or large content site. What it does do is make small sites, like Hacker News, practically impossible.


I'm glad you brought up the platform distinction because I've also been thinking about that one.

I could deny Alex Jones a soapbox in my yard, because it has little value and there are plenty of others. If there are only two soap boxes in the world and I coordinate with the owner of the other box to silence somebody, then I have become functionally indistinguishable from the government for the purpose of free speech, thereby taking on the same duty they have to not shut it down.


Not even the government has to provide you with a soap box -- so being functionally indistinguishable from the government makes no difference.

If you cannot find a platform, can't buy one, can't build one because nobody will work with you then tough shit.

We talk about how developers shouldn't work on projects that are morally questionable but here you are suggesting that they must because a platform must be provided. That sounds so much worse to me. How would that even work?


Well, the Soviet Constitution promised every comrade a printing press...

To speak to your market freedom point, imagine a community of racist business owners who all refused to sell to an outsider. If every business owner was equally racist, the outsider would be forced to leave, even if there was no law stating that they couldn't live in the neighborhood. Markets have an answer to this - any defector will make more money. However sometimes everybody stays racist and no defector emerges. The community is acting like a de-facto evil government even though there is no legal system supporting it nor any democracy legitimizing it.

I'm really not sure what to do when that happens. I'm as against forcing business to do business as you are.


As a society , we deem specific groups as protected classes and I don't think it's good to mix concepts about protected classes with just being an asshole.

We make specific laws to protect people from racial or religious discrimination. We don't, however, make the same considerations if you're just an asshole.

Would your argument have the same effect if there was a community of fed up business owners who all refused to sell to a big jerk?


There is an ongoing lawsuit against Jones. The lawsuits contain unproven claims of harassment.

There is no direct inciting, and the indirect inciting claims are half-baked. There is a class action lawsuit office looking for a pay day, so they benefit by keeping Jones in the news.

All people factually saying that Alex Jones incited harassment against the parents, are parroting a non-concluded court case PR campaign ("OJ did it!"), and much like these behemoth companies, are playing judge, jury, and executioner. They most likely haven't seen a clip of Alex Jones inciting, or when they have, it is taken grossly out of context.

Remember, when CNN was targeting Jones for weeks, going through his hours of video, and noting anything they found controversial. "Alex Jones is transphobic, which is against Youtube TOS, but Youtube does nothing". Alex Jones was talking about "public library drag queen reading hour". He said these drag queens looked demonic and that it is not normal to normalize this for little kids. Now, just recently, someone ("a Trump supporter") showed up with a gun to these reading hours. Two possible conclusions: "Alex Jones is a transphobe and incited his followers to violently get rid of them". "Alex Jones practices unpopular, but legal, free speech, and they try to punish him for what any of his million followers might do that is against the law". I am leaning heavily towards the latter and it is a downright shame that the first conclusion is drawn by many, without doing any deeper research.

Imagine what you could do if you knew that many people would go for the first conclusion, regardless of the facts?


These poor parents had to move multiple times and go into hiding because Alex Jones' followers kept harassing them.

Dang, wasn't aware - that's discouraging. However I was not suggesting Vimeo is 'clean' - don't know enough about the ethics/track record of any of those services enough to imply that Vimeo is anything except another option for hosting videos.

No, they banned him for saying unacceptable things.

Your definition of "free speech" includes not taking action against truly malicious and slanderous and manipulative people like Alex Jones?

And there is no "who draws the line‽" argument here, Jones exists miles beyond what is ever ok.


>And there is no "who draws the line‽" argument here

That's exactly the argument, not everybody thinks Alex Jones went too far. In fact, I bet a lot of people who listen to Alex Jones would find something you supported to be miles beyond what is ever OK. That's part and parcel of living in a diverse, cosmopolitan society. Sometimes, other people's opinions are miles beyond OK, but that's still okay. ;)

Aelius 13 days ago [flagged]

You seem to be willfully ignoring the demonstrable harm he causes. You're promoting a false balance. You're saying "Alex Jones robbed a bank, other people eat their coworkers' lunch, so who are we to judge?"

Absolute nonsense.


If demonstrable harm is your standard, please just announce you don't believe in free speech and move along. Everybody advocating for the wrong stance on politics creates demonstrable harm.

Free speech means he can say (edit) legally protegted speech* on his own platform.

No company is obligated to provide that platform for him. When judging a company for what content they decide they don't want to host, spinning "vimeo banned Alex Jones" as negative is ridiculous.

Edited: he can't actually say whatever he wants even on his own platform. There's actually a lawsuit against him right now. Too many internet folk don't actually know what "free speech" means and I should not validate such ignorance.


Actually, free speech is an ethical concept, not a legal concept. The first amendment is a legal concept. Free speech means means enabling the free exchange of ideas. Free speeches as a concept applies to private platforms and organizations too, it just isn't mandated by law.

Would you please not take HN threads further into flamewar?

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


> And there is no "who draws the line‽" argument here, Jones exists miles beyond what is ever ok.

Popular media exists miles beyond what is ever ok. Do you want to ban those too?


The courts can draw this line & determine these distinctions, and they are doing just this right now. Jones is currently being sued by some Sandy Hook parents. It turns out we don't need to rely on Youtube of Vimeo to be the ultimate arbiters of this issue, and the system may just be working in this case.

There are alternatives. For years I've been following content creators who upload their content to multiple services because they saw the writing on the wall.

Bitchute: https://www.dailymotion.com/us

Dailymotion: https://www.dailymotion.com/us

PeerTube: https://joinpeertube.org/


Some of the banned/demonetized firearms videos have also moved on to sites like Full30 and pornhub

The reported move to pornhub was pretty much just a one-time PR stunt to get some media attention for the issue (it worked.) Full30 seems to be taking a serious shot at it though.

Reminds me of Ebay: wherever it banned a category of products, some other marketplace popped up to fill the void.

By banning, it gave up control of entire sectors.


I messed up when pasting links, this is the correct Bitchute link: https://www.bitchute.com/

Thanks to BearsAreCool for pointing it out.


You probably want to fix the first link.

Host yourself with PeerTube: https://joinpeertube.org/en/

I went on peertube and I get the feeling half the links would have gotten my ISP angry with me. Bit too much piracy for me.

EDIT: Update, they aren't even real full movies. They're just baits that tell you to click some link in the description.


You can self-host PeerTube and decide what content you want to share, i.e. you can share only your own videos while still being federated.

came here to see what the alternative is.

Need to get some big names on platforms like this, or create a new channel/new star/from this.


> Creators need to get off YT, and onto something else if it exists.

It does now! I'm currently in the process of launching a content-host agnostic platform for creators.

Basically, MyNexus is a platform to share content with your audience, highlight your preferred avenues for support (eg. Patreon or PayPal), and run promotions (whether your own products or sponsorships).

MyNexus doesn't host any of the content itself. You can still upload your videos to Youtube, Vimeo, Peertube, or any other service. Need to shift to a different platform later? No problem. Simply edit your post and your entire content catalogue is preserved without any inconvenience to your audience.

If you're interested in learning more, email me at yaniv@mynexus.io.


> Creators need to get off YT, and onto something else if it exists.

The most common response to this is that a YouTube alternative can't exist because Google operates it at a loss (unverifiable), so anyone who tries to compete will fail.

The YouTube business model also aligns perfectly with Google's strengths: Advertising, data storage, search, etc. So even if it is profitable, it would still be extremely difficult for anyone else to make money in the same market.


> The YouTube business model also aligns perfectly with Google's strengths:

The things people want an alternative for are central to YouTube’s business model, so an alternative that would have any chance of not duplicating the problems would not be trying to duplicate that business model.

One alternative would be a basic creator-pays model which provides the option for creators to require viewer payment for some or all content with a cut of viewer payment received going to the platfrom as well as all of the creator payment going that way.


> if it exists.

It doesn't.


Vimeo?

An example of Vimeo terminating an account of a guy reviewing rat traps after he paid Vimeo's $240 fee:

deep link: https://youtu.be/GGMdrBEumLE?t=87


Big fan of his channel. It's so fucking stupid how a simple educational channel on mouse traps (and other types of pest traps) can run into a wall of censorship and demonetization.

Most played youtube video: despacito (6.6 B)

Most played vimeo video: the mountain (77 M)

Most played pornhub video: kim kardashian's sex tape (195 M)

There is quite a headstart for YouTube here when it comes to number of viewers.


Vimeo banned video game content for not being arty enough. It was a shame too since they were poised to succeed since stage6 had just shut down and youtube wasn't doing HD video.

Bitchute

redtube and other porn oriented platforms have no porn content.

> redtube and other porn oriented platforms have no porn content.

I think that you dropped a letter which radically alters the meaning of this sentence from what was intended.


Creators can host their own content with their own sponsorship and advertising agreements on their own domain and pay their own bandwidth bill.

YouTube was born in an era of a half dozen different non-standard codecs. Now H.264/MP4 works on everything from TVs to watches.

The reality is that most content on YouTube isn’t even worth the bandwidth it costs to get it to people. Most creators are just looking for a handout for creating mindless nonsense.


Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: