With 8chan, I legitimately don't know what my opinion is. I've read it before, and I spent a few hours reading it this weekend, and it's beyond clear to me that it absolutely had the potential to radicalize shooters and terrorists. I'm not referring to the simple use of racial or ethnic slurs -- of course this was extremely common there, but I don't think this is the part of the site that encouraged actual violence. Rather, among the many ideological threads that were more or less constantly ongoing on 8chan, one of them just straight-up encouraged mass shootings. "The fire rises" is a common phrase I saw there celebrating the frequency of shootings. For instance, here's a quote I saw this weekend (I screenshotted a bunch of stuff like this in anticipation of the site going down):
"holy fucking shit, a third mass shooting toda [referencing an incident near Douglas Park in Chicago], white guy shot 7 people, no one dead yet but the meter is still running!!! shooter still active!!!
its absolutely fucking happening !!! the FIRE RISES!!!"
This was attached to a picture of Trump with the text "it's happening" superimposed.
While 8chan overall was absolutely all over the place, this thread of support for shootings and terrorism was seemingly always present in the background.
It's not just that they inspire a few shooters and mass murders. They inspire a hell of a lot of other once-reasonable people to be deeply and irredeemably terrible in many other ways.
The answer is structuring society, socialization, and culture in a way that doesn't disenfranchise people or leave them feeling helpless enough to turn to extremism, hate, and violence.
But that requires empathy and effort, things often in short supply.
People only go down the dark paths that lead to 8chan et al when the avenues to belonging they were presented with by their parents and by default failed them.
Why are invoking alt-right? One of the two shooters was radically left, and he posted his threats on Twitter.
This bubble is so large it no longer appears to be a bubble.
Is that what passes as reasoned thinking these days?
I call him radical because he actually was. He posted overt, politically charged threats on Twitter, for example: "I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding."
Edit: seems we have some Nazi-sympathizer downvoters on HN.
Fascists or Ethno-Centrists are both better terms, and cover the ideologies that most people attribute to the alt right.
Personally, Twitter has been a much bigger source of anger, shock and hate than 4chan ever was. Some of the shit I've seen on Twitter made it unbearable to go on my day and yet on 4chan, on boards like /vg/, /ck/, /g/, /wg/ it was mostly just shitposts and once in a while you would see a good post.
All I can do is shrug.. People with no clue will always just yell.
Do you ever see people openly hoping for shootings, cheering them on, and then posting manifestos there (referencing not only the ideology they learned from the site, but even the in-jokes of the people cheering for it on the site) before doing their own shootings? And then after that, do those sites regularly completely refuse the concept of doing anything to try to prevent repeats?
I'm sure that other sites have been guilty of bits and pieces of that, but the combination makes 8chan on another level than any of those.
I'm in the same boat as DonHopkins. I've seen people who used to be friends get sucked into far alt-right stuff through 8chan specifically. Maybe it happens with Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, but I haven't seen it and haven't seen many people here bring up any experiences like that.
Yes I have many times. Just this weekend alone, the Ohio shooter tweeted "Kill every fascist", retweeted several violent Antifa posts. His Twitter profile read “he/him / anime fan / metalhead / leftist / i’m going to hell and i’m not coming back.” His top pinned tweet said “Millennials have a message for the Joe Biden generation: hurry up and die.” In May, he tweeted, “You’ll never be rid of me. I’ll haunt your life like a fucking vengeful spirit.” He added, “My Horoscope Just Reads ‘Doom.'” He shared posts about “concentration camps” at the border and wrote, “Cut the fences down. Slice ICE tires. Throw bolt cutters over the fences.” He retweeted a post from another person about stealing from “right wingers” at a Trump rally. One of his tweets referred to white people. “Imagine if we did the thing you liked, but in a way that totally ruins what you liked about it! Wouldn’t that be fun? Ha ha Also, of course they’re all white people, of course they are,” he wrote.
From another comment:
> "Dayton shooter Was The Lead Singer Of A "Pornogrind" Metal Band - The gunman, identified as 24 year-old (wont be named), was a member of Menstrual Munchies, a three-man band that performed regularly on the Midwest death metal scene. All the Dark Metal Bands that were friends with the shooter are distancing themselves extremely fast. All their music supports antifascists (aka antifa) and their genre of music is defined by its explicit subject matter and themes of gore and violence, specifically sexual violence and necrophilia."
> "Betts was also in a “Pornogrind” Band that, according to Vice News, “released songs about raping and killing women.” Vice called it the “extreme metal music scene.” The bands he performed in sometimes were called Menstrual Munchies and Putrid Liquid, and the songs contained vile names like “6 Ways of Female Butchery” and “Preeteen Daughter Pu$$y Slaughter,” Vice reported."
> Betts’ Twitter profile read, “he/him / anime fan / metalhead / leftist / i’m going to hell and i’m not coming back.” One tweet on his page read, “Off to Midnight Mass. At least the songs are good. #athiestsonchristmas.” The page handle? I am the spookster. On one selfie, he included the hashtags, “#selfie4satan #HailSatan @SatanTweeting.” On the date of Republican Sen. John McCain’s death, he wrote, “F*ck John McCain.” He also liked tweets referencing the El Paso mass shooting in the hours before Dayton. The Twitter page contains multiple selfies of Betts.
Archive of the tweets:
If the groups of these other shooters had instead responded by distributing propaganda that literally canonized the shooters like saints and praised future shooters in order to encourage more, then it might be comparable. (You don't have to look far at all on 8chan for this type of thing.) I'm probably only in the tamest of lefty circles, but I've never seen anything remotely like that. I don't see these shootings celebrated; it seems like a much harder argument to make that they're encouraged in lefty places than the argument that 8chan encourages violence.
The problem with most of the internet is that there are so many psychological incentives to repress unpopular opinions and to fit in with the hive mind. Reddit is the pinnacle of that where your opinion is literally shown or hidden based on its popularity. Now this is good for lazy content consumption since most of the time the popular content is what you want to see. But it's also very dangerous. Very very dangerous. Not only because it discourages changes in thinking but also because malicious entities can literally manipulate what you're thinking.
So yes, I may not always like what I read on 4chan. It may act as a platform for mentally ill people. But a lot of greatness also comes from it too. I mean it's no coincidence that a disproportionate amount of internet memes originate there. But a lot of thoughtful discourse also occurs there, often inciting interesting arguments where elsewhere on the internet it'd be buried by downvotes or deleted by moderators.
It's like asking if you'd rather eat your own poop or a handful of one inch nails. As unpalatable as the former certainly is, the latter is unambiguously worse.
Although I strongly disagree regarding 4chan being unambiguously worse. Maybe if you're talking about just /b/ and /pol/ I'd agree but the site is so much more than that.
For instance, the game development community there much more human and helpful than most other communities I've participated in. But there's a hundreds of other micro communities that are really great if you know where to find them.
I think the chans were cool and interesting back in the early-mid 2000s but since then they've been taken over by not-actually-ironic trolls, political propagandists and astroturfers, and other nasties. Since the forums are anonymous there's no real way to police it or even tell who you're talking to or whether they're a "real person" or a sock puppet of some kind.
I distinctly remember what to me felt like the chans' shark-jumping moment: Ebola Chan.
When that appeared along with a thread full of seemingly not actually ironic comments like "maybe Ebola will de-populate Africa," I felt that the chans were done.
A lot of people on 4chan view these boards as a sort of filter to scare away outsiders. The majority of the site isn't nearly that edgy and largely discuss the various relevant topics for each respective board.
The idea that these movements are leaderless collectives is part of their propaganda and should not be passed on without skepticism.
>Prior to the start of Rawitsch's history unit, Heinemann and Dillenberger let some students at their school play it to test; the students were enthusiastic about the game, staying late at school to play. The other teachers were not as interested, but did recommend changes to the game, particularly removing negative depictions of Native Americans as they were based more on Western movies and television than history, and could be problematic towards the several students with Native American ancestry at the schools.
But they partially addressed that in the 1974 MECC version:
>He also added in more positive depictions of Native Americans, as his research indicated that many settlers received assistance from them along the trail. He placed The Oregon Trail into the organization's time-sharing network in 1975, where it could be accessed by schools across Minnesota.
Now the developer, Don Rawitsch, would like to create a version of the game from the Native American perspective.
>But developers still field questions about the game’s stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans. During a recent gaming conference, Don Rawitsch, one of three aspiring teachers who developed The Oregon Trail, said he has dreams of reimagining the game with a Native American perspective.
>“If I were to create something like Oregon Trail today, I would create the Native American version,” he said during a panel discussion at the Game Developers Conference in March. “What would it be like on the other side of the wall, so to speak?”
But even the cowboys-and-indians-movie 1971 version of Oregon Trail was a far cry from 8chan.
Of course no sane person takes it literally.
To paraphrase GP: everything on the web is one click away.
Like otaku. Or furries. Can't imagine anything more terribly dangerous than furry otaku spreading GNU Manifesto and forcing you to install Gentoo. Awful place!
There is a whole cottage industry of people attempting to radicalize jaded white teens and "skeptics" to turn them from ideological libertarians or politically unaffiliated into hateful, "alt-right" fascists. One of them was Steve Bannon .
>55 Savushkina Street, St Petersburg, said to be the headquarters of Russia’s ‘troll army’.
So what exactly causes white nationalism to be rising everywhere, not just on 8chan?
Note that this is a sincere question, since I haven't had exposure to 4chan since before the Internet went mainstream, and even then it was fairly limited. I've heard horrible things about what it's become since, but I don't know much about it.
No nuance, no grey area. The leftists do have a point and reality is somewhere in the middle.
If he were Muslim or dark skinned we'd be losing our shit but because he's a white Christian male he's a lone wolf and it's solely his responsibility. Excuse me but I find that to be utter horsecrap.
I mean, it literally radicalized white supremacist terrorists. There's no "had the potential" anymore, it's a fact.
It also sounds like it held plenty of child porn, so I don't understand why it took until now for anyone to do anything about the site.
"Things we legally cannot host" is exactly where one would expect them to draw the line. Whether or not you agree with that position is another matter.
They're all behind variable IP VPNs. Permanently getting rid of them is nearly impossible.
Otherwise there's no reason to oppose real images, since the harm is done before the image is ever seen.
We ban specifically real images for two general reasons - one is that allowing them encourages the production of more such images, necessitating additional abuse, and the second is that for the children involved, knowing that other people are looking at those images is a huge violation.
Neither of those applies for "artificial but real-looking" images.
Lot’s of places on this planet have hyper radicalized portions of their populations that commit aggregious acts of violence, and they lack free speech.
Yet free speech is being used as the red herring to blame.
Unequivocally, your assessment of these forums causing the radicalization is wrong. Plain wrong. These people exist in any environment, they go into the shadows, they continue to lash out, and removing and restricting rights for every person DOES NOT STOP THIS BEHAVIOR.
Regardless of that, is your solution to a decades old problem that pre dated the internet is to ban online forums that don’t tow approved narratives?
I think you will be incredibly disappointed in the results of your solution.
I do not like companies being the arbiters of good, but in this case (as far as CF is concerned ) I believe they did no wrong.
They clearly state that they should not be in the business of policing legal content they host, but also work hard to make sure they are not hosting illegal content. This way is better than a twitter-like approach where you only pay attention to high profile situations.
(In many senses twitter is doing a good job, but in other senses they (and their employees) have a strong political bias that bubbles up to how they enforce policies)
I think we have a fundamental issue with men and how they are treated from a young age in our society, and it has nothing to do with the chans.
You can look at the symptoms or look at the underlying pathology that creates the symptoms.
DUI laws don't stop DUI related accidents, but having and enforcing DUI laws decrease DUI related accidents. And while you can't prevent anything 100% of the time, you can actively work toward reducing the chances of something bad happening.
There is an underlying issue in our society that creates this lashing out behavior, and hiding it under the precept of preventing radicalization instead of engaging it will not stop the behavior.
We are all adults here. I have children, as many of you do. When your children exhibit a bad behavior, do you ban it or engage it and fix it?
I can tell my children to stop doing something until I’m blue in the face. I can BAN the action from my home, but until I engage with them it’s meaningless and only serves to make me feel good while they continue said things behind my back.
My point is, let’s look at the deeper issues instead of the emotional knee jerk tripe of ban guns, ban speech, blame racism. We have a problem that requires more rational behavior and level heads.
If our ultimate goals are to reduce driver impairment and maximize highway safety, we should be punishing reckless driving. It shouldn't matter if it's caused by alcohol, sleep deprivation, prescription medication, text messaging, or road rage. If lawmakers want to stick it to dangerous drivers who threaten everyone else on the road, they can dial up the civil and criminal liability for reckless driving, especially in cases that result in injury or property damage.
Doing away with the specific charge of drunk driving sounds radical at first blush, but it would put the focus back on impairment, where it belongs. It might repair some of the civil-liberties damage done by the invasive powers the government says it needs to catch and convict drunk drivers. If the offense were reckless driving rather than drunk driving, for example, repeated swerving over the median line would be enough to justify the charge. There would be no need for a cop to jam a needle in your arm alongside a busy highway.
Now, that's not to say disruptions of communication systems (e.g. censorship) is the right answer. But existence doesn't mean we shrug our shoulders and do nothing. At the very least you can stop encouraging and normalizing them.
Nasty people do exist in any environment, but in just the same way that network effects can enormously magnify things like charitable fundraising or the production of cat memes, they can also amplify the production of terrorism or other undesirable activities. Damaging social infrastructure which allows that is an effective way to impede recruitment and organization.
If it was an ISIS board we wouldn't even be having this conversation, it would already be offline.
I don't see anything wrong with that considering the limited and volunteer-based resources they have. Youtube-style content ID pre-censoring built into everything shouldn't be a goal we're striving for.
So it ran as a honeypot? I understand that 8chan wasn't hosted anonymously, the owners are known. If they provided a safe haven to child pornography, I assume law enforcement would put an end to that very quickly, especially with obvious and easy ways to apprehend the owners. They've been very active and successful in bringing down hidden services, it's not plausible that they looked the other way for a clearnet site.
I don't think so. What seems more likely to me is that one or more of the following is the case:
1) The "fast-flux" nature of imageboards makes it difficult for law enforcement to effectively respond to illegal content hosted on them.
2) Deleting content upon reports places board administrators technically within the boundaries of the law.
3) The arm's-length separation between the owners of 8ch, the users who operate boards on the site, and the users who post content on the site allows the owners to claim a lack of responsibility for that content.
Only when the platform embraces it does that statement make sense, which apparently 8chan did not if I understand you correctly.
Unless you aren't attempting to imply anything about them being at fault. Although, as long as they are making that good faith effort to take down CP, they can't be taken down by the US govt at least.
Other than the fact that 8chan had things on it that you didn’t like, where is the evidence to support this claim? How do we know that it was a website that was responsible for the views of its userbase, as opposed to any other media they accessed? How do we know that 8chan specifically was the factor that caused the outcome?
I thought the idea expressed by NearlyFreeSpeech.net in the following link was nice:
It's definitely an issue worldwide regardless of race, religion or gender and unfortunately no one has the answer. I don't know if 8chan going down really helps stop radicalization but I don't think it hurts. I also don't think it's an affront to free speech if a hosting provider stops doing business with them. If the US government started arresting posters on 8chan that's most definitely a concern but losing your Cloudflare service or hosting is not breaking any first amendment rights.
Not necessarily - more like taking the megaphone away. You're right that some/many will find a hub to congregate in, but if it's discoverable by the current 8chan users, there's no reason to think it won't be discoverable by media outlets/journalists either.
Like most things, obfuscation/suppression isn't going to solve the issue, but by providing spaces that allow for discussions, the views can be legitimised in the eyes of people who otherwise may not believe them. I'm for the most part against suppression of speech or views, but I do believe there is a line, and to me 4/8chan can (and do) regularly cross this line.
So the crime is mostly in allowing individuals to connect with other individuals interested in a particular topic.
In that case, isn't Google a far more reaching megaphone? One can find far more vicious communities through Google. I remember browsing through racist forums as a kid because a friend had found it on Google (presumably because he looked for it). The community in there certainly matched the worst 8chan boards in their belief and conviction in hateful ideals.
The only difference is 8chan is a neutral rank by popularity, while Google also filters by a user-supplied search string. The same type of communities can be found through both sites.
No, the megaphone was the site facilitating the discussion, not the ranking. In fact, by anonymising the discussion, they make it even more difficult to infer whether something is "groupthink" or just a lone spammer.
>In that case, isn't Google a far more reaching megaphone?
This is textbook whataboutism, but yes it is. That doesn't change the discussion in any way other than to attempt to muddy the discussion.
> . I remember browsing through racist forums as a kid because a friend
The internet has changed hugely in the last few years, and comparing what was on Google 10+ years ago doesn't compare to the discussions that are happening in other places today.
Nobody would call for Google to be shut down for the "evil" content they mirror and link to. We all have an implicit understanding that Google is simply a tool, a neutral platform to connect people to websites.
In fact, we believe the exact contrary. For us well educated folks, it's preventing access to Google on the basis of its content that is seen as a backward, deeply offensive move (China, Iran).
We look at the purpose and nature of the platform itself when we judge Google.
Well, the purpose of 8chan has never been to promote hate, but instead to provide an open alternative to 4chan, where everyone is welcome to open a board about any topic.
The reason why 8chan is ridden by "evil" content has more to do with the heavily controlled state of the giant internet networks, than the nature of 8chan in itself. Nothing about 8chan caters to hateful communities in particular. It's simply one of the few open social networks on the web, which naturally attracts the people rejected from mainstream social networks first.
Were it to be more popular, the ratio of "evil" to "decent" communities would trend towards the ratio found in other social networks.
So why do we call for it to be shut down, when its only real fault is to be too small? If you were the user of an 8chan community about cooking cupcakes (or furries, or BDSM), you certainly wouldn't want 8chan to be shut down just because some people are using the site differently.
Now I don't disagree with the reality that intellectually vulnerable people can be influenced by hateful communities in sites like 8chan, and that this is a problem to solve.
But in my opinion, the solution is to go in the total opposite direction of what you propose.
The urge to seek out and enter fringe communities is healthy, and at least a necessary step in one's intellectual development. People will from time to time look to escape out of controlled environments, into the bigger space of possibilities. This won't change for as long as we keep teaching kids that freedom is good.
The problem is that, as conventional social networks get more and more controlled, and havens of diversity suppressed (Tumblr, ...), the only remaining places of freedom are those where all the "evil" has been funneled in. That's how people wanting to escape oppression or simply discover new possibilities, get shoved in places where "evil" looks like the norm.
Therefore, the solution is not to shut down one of the last places of diversity on the internet, Instead, we should try to make diversity and openness of thought as widespread as possible, so that "evil" doesn't seem like the only option to a lost, vulnerable individual.
: the Al-Jazeera documentary about its founder is pretty nice even if skewed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REnlB3631Nw
No free speech rights were trampled on, and no censorship took place.
"Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient". Censorship can be conducted by a government, private institutions, and corporations."
This is the wikipedia definition of censorship, so that makes your definition wrong.
- did censoring 8chan significantly limit any sort of harmful behavior?
- is censoring 8chan "right"?
- does this merely hide the problem, preventing an open discussion?
- should CloudFlare, an entity with massive control of Internet infrastructure, really be acting as a moral arbiter? Or do we expect some kind of neutrality from them? Do our expectations matter?
The line isn't as clear when you generalize the action.
The notion that we could reach them on 8chan is a bit idealistic, the only thing we're able to reach is the manifestos within seconds of the news breaking as far as I can see. If your goal is to _reach_ them, then do it in reality.
I think it is rather strong implied assumption here that places like 8chan can't change peoples' ideologies.
 If you ask me, the assumption is wrong.
Reddit found that banning hate subreddits reduced the overall usage of hate speech on the website. Even though the most dedicated users probably moved to voat, now some clueless kid who just wants to see look at memes is much less likely to just stumble upon that content.
That creates a powder keg waiting on a fight/flight trigger. Without a tribe to back someone, such a trigger will cause a flight response, but with that tribe they’ll feel emboldened and choose a fight strategy. Sites that encourage the formation of communities that promote violence will inevitably lead to actual violence once they’re past a certain size. It doesn’t even really matter what the ideology is, it just matters that they preach violence.
I would not doubt that a not very small percentage of the conspiracy theories posted are done so by people who don't actually believe it but want to see how many others they can convince.
However, I do also believe that some pretty sick people use 8chan to recruit people to continue their campaign of hate.
But one of the biggest ponds you own lies still and stagnant. A perfect place for mosquitos to lay their eggs. In fact you’ve managed to make it especially hospitable to mosquitos that carry malaria. And all your other ponds are next to it, all your other ponds connect to it. Lots of people who come to your ponds for other things end up with malaria.
Should you be allowed to keep operating these ponds?
Are your actions illegal? I don't want pond ownership determined by the moral outage of the day.
Presumably you have some threshold of statistical significance that would cause you to be worried about risk factors, but that threshold is itself subjective. Besides the questionable proposition that the number of deaths below that threshold don't matter, a lack of interest in the problem impairs the ability to make future predictions, since by the time you do take it seriously, you'll have to do a lot of catching up before you can assess the future course of events.
you might like to think about this in similar terms to epidemiology. while a small number of fatalities from a disease outbreak in a remote location isn't that troubling to most people, epidemiologists are in the business o assessing the potential scope, speed, and severity of communicable diseases and seem to prefer nipping things in the bud to waiting to see whether they develop into a pandemic if left alone.
Of course more people die of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, car accidents (and probably any number of other things) than in mass shootings every day.
But the seemingly random and violent nature of it is what's scary.
I can eat healthier, exercise, buy a safer car, drive more carefully, etc etc. But mass shooters aren't really avoidable while leading a normal life. That makes it scary and noteworth.
But let's roll with it anyway. What we have here is actually a large-scale land owner who leases out the land to anyone without further conditions to the lessee. It would seem silly to blame the leaser and not the lessee for what happens on those lands.
Of course the government can still come in and request that they do something about the mosquitoes, if laws and regulations require that, but until then they won't become active because it would mean going back on their lease agreements which grant the lessee free use.
You can't stop the signal. ThePirateBay proved it many many times.
We need to address the sources of the problem, not the symptoms.
I'm ashamed I ever let myself fall into the decaying orbit I did, but when the attractor was removed, I didn't seek out a new one. I didn't even have to install tor if I wanted to: they had just moved to Voat. Still, that tiny barrier to entry caught me. And I'm glad it did.
That's already too much work for the vast majority of the population. If you can't just randomly stumble on it somewhere, it has no real discoverability.
The internet has shown just how much making that slide easier means way more people fall into it. Used to be to get sucked into a world of neonazi/etc propaganda you had to know one and consciously choose to associate with it but now it gets lightly slipped into discussions online and is easy to find articles taking you to the next step.
If someone creates an app that connects to some sort of distributed indestructible backend, it's game over, and all you need is an app.
The very small subset of the population who live in a area where govt has blocked Piratebay can just use a VPN (which they likely already are for stuff like YouTube and Netflix).
> With 8chan, I legitimately don't know what my opinion is.
You can support free speech and still condemn 8chan, by considering Karl Popper’s Paradox of Tolerance. If a person or group enacts violence on another person or group because of their ideas, the elements of the latter will curb their speech out of fear.
Violent groups use “free speech” as an excuse because it works. They’re only interested in free speech for themselves, not others. In fact, they’re so incapable of tolerating the free speech of others that they resort to killing them.
the free speech argument is that racist assholes should be allowed to say whatever they want, but cloudflare or voxility or any other service provider should also be allowed to tell 8chan to STFU and go away. that's part of free speech too. 8chan doesn't and shouldn't have any more rights here than cloudflare does.
It's very easy to shout the mantra of "Free speech!!! OMG!!!" but we gain nothing by acting like there aren't natural consequences to it. By having a liberal free-speech system, you are going to expose glitches in the "marketplace of ideas", and demagogues and radicals are going to be able to exploit it.
It might still be worth it (I haven't made up my mind yet on where we draw the line in censorship).
There are a huge number of people who claim they support the Confederate flag in honor of those who lost their lives under it.
Okay. It was a racist and oppressive government, but I can understand that logic. People gave their lives, and even sacrifice in favor of an unjust cause is sacrifice.
That said... if that's what it's really about for them, then why didn't those folks say something when the flag was claimed by racists and white supremacists? Why didn't they defend it from those who would appropriate the symbol?
Silence carries its own liability.
And a lot of 8chan-style behavior that isn't guilty of outright instigation is certainly guilty of immoral silence.
Source: living in a southern US state
I don't hear much about the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy loudly denouncing racism.
If you're tangential to violence and hate, and you don't denounce it strongly and frequently, people are going to wonder.
The classic extremist play is to patiently gnaw at the edges of acceptability. Subtle digs at Jews, blacks, Hispanics, muslims or non-muslims (you can insert any group here, really) pave the way for innuendos about their morals, work ethic, intellectual capacity etc.
You can gaslight perfectly normal, upstanding citizens into doubting their strongly held ethical convictions, first enough that they don't argue against e.g. racist loudmouths, then to the point that they don't argue for equal treatment of "out" groups. As this process plays out, it starts to seem dangerous to defend the maligned against violence, and eventually enough citizens will have had their sense of normal behaviour pushed far enough that atrocities become possible.
I don't know how to break that cycle. I do think the root causes need to be addressed, because poverty and social decline provide fertile ground for demagogues pointing fingers.
I don't think I'm an idiot, and I would like to think that I'm normally a pretty decent human, and yet I was still able to be persuaded by morons on Youtube like Sargon of Akkad and Thunderf00t, and I spread the stupid memes along with most of my friends; I can easily see the alternate universe where I didn't realize I was wrong, and went further down the rabbit hole watching idiots like Stefan Molyneux or something.
I think people like to pretend that they and everyone they care about are immune to propaganda.
People voice their trashy opinions there - which is totally fine - but there are so few balancing/calming opinions. Especially if you have some conspiracy affine news site/YT video, these balancing/calming opinions are just not present.
My conclusion at the moment is that more balanced people (no, not bots :)) should visit these sites and write calming/positive comments. Dialogue has become pretty unfashionable in 2019, monologues seem to have become the norm unfortunately although I think there is hope.
I agree in principle with what your suggesting, but at this point those boards are echo chambers, not spaces for discussion.
I recently got an account at a more or less alt-right news website and the comments there were all just rants that stood for themselves.
I continue to be surprised at the level to which people misunderstand this.
That's probably because you are actually the one misunderstanding. The argument it sounds like you're making (I apologize if I'm reading you wrong) is the often made one that "Freedom of speech only protects you from the government". This argument equivocates the idea of freedom of speech with the First Amendment.
Many Americans, and freedom loving folks internationally, believe that freedom of speech is critical for a liberal democracy to exist. Many of the American founders believed in the idea and enshrined it in our Bill of Rights to make sure the Government can not violate it. They did not, however, create he idea of freedom of speech, which existed long before the Bill of Rights, exists outside of America and outside of the context of Government and Citizens.
Think of it like murder. People do not find murder reprehensible because it is illegal. It is illegal because it is reprehensible, and most people would not support it regardless of its legal status (I hope). The idea of murder and the legality of murder are related but separate.
Your argument is therefore taking as narrow a scope of the idea of freedom of speech as possible and then arguing against that, which is a type of straw man argument. I hope that clarifies the logic fallacies involved in your argument and helps you better understand those you disagree with.
It's granted that people are within their rights to throw out speech they dislike and that there's a world of difference between severing a voluntary business relationship and the deployment of state force, but the implications of an anxious, PR-sensitive set of internet infrastructure providers is certainly fair game for discussion.
If we get into the habit of shutting down every site that attracts a spate of negative attention, it still has the aggregate effect of chilling free discourse. If a shooter came onto HN and posted a manifesto here, would it withstand the mainstream media onslaught?
I think that 8chan is terrible and I would rather it not exist, but at the same time, I would be pretty against denying its owners water or something, since we've decided that utilities don't get to take sides.
I'm not saying I disagree with you, evidently; the line in which we draw "utility" is a discussion that I really don't know that I have a good viewpoint. Are you entitled to having a soapbox to shout off of? I'm genuinely not sure.
What do we even do, besides sit and watch? I've totally shifted the way I browse the web to reduce my exposure to toxic information, and I think that the whole corporate banning of Alex Jones was a net positive, but what happens when a voice I agree with gets shunned in the same way?
What a messy problem
It isn't "misunderstanding" it is willfully ignoring to push a narrative. I sincerely doubt most of the people here calling this a violation of free speech are doing so in good faith.
It is a pretty basic set of logical steps to determine that a private business refusing to serve a customer is perfectly okay and should be encouraged. Arguing that a private business should be forced at gunpoint by government goons to do business with nazis or racist assholes doesn't make any sense at all.
All the attempts to derail into minutia like "cloudflare is a utility" is simply done to wear you out.
there have always been hyper-radical idiots. with 8chan and such, you can see them.
you're not getting rid of anything, you're just sticking your head into the sand.
Sure, I'm aware that the KKK existed before the internet.
> you're not getting rid of anything, you're just sticking your head into the sand.
I didn't claim I was getting rid of anyone or anything. I didn't really claim much at all in my post, but there's a difference between "getting rid" of stuff and deplatforming it.
For that matter, how does your logic make any sense? If I hire a hitman to kill someone, could my defense in court be "Well he was going to kill somebody anyway! You're just sticking your head in the sand by blaming me for it!"
Is your argument that rhetoric, delivered consistently enough and effectively enough, can't possibly influence people to do reprehensible things?
I just wonder with all the technology we have at our disposal, how is it these people continue to slip through the system undeterred to escalate this type of violence?
Of course that's dangerous thinking in itself, because there's always potential for abuse when you let someone decide what people aren't allowed to say. But there has to be a balance somewhere. I hope we can find it.
What was it you read there that convinced you that websites are capable of turning people into murderers any more than video games are?
I personally doubt violent video games turn people into murderers; I suspect they do desensitize people to violence, and normalize violence. That's the problem with 8chan: violence, hated, bigotry, etc are normalized
you mean the same thing alot of movies and videogames do also?
If printing, a supplier has no obligation to provide paper or ink or typesetting.
The same is true for music producers. Make all the Nazi Punk garage band cassettes you want, but don't expect Jack FM to give you airplay.
Good data providers don't want Federal heat or the drag on the public perception.
It has also not prevented the US to go into a de-facto oligarchy state if anything the NRA and others have manipulated the "free speech cult" to promote private interest over a public one.
Same as with gun ownership, that sad illusion that owning guns will prevent tyranny is beyond hilarious at this point.
So framing an event and pushing a narrative when one neither likes the frame nor the narrative is now an offence requiring the sacking of media?
When mass-media is busy framing and legitimizting the next War On Something it's in the cards again!
If people can't handle reality, you should accept that not shut it out.
There is absolutely no evidence that the 8chan circle-hate happening out in the open has had any mitigating effect. It only made it accessible to even the technically illiterate among the potential audience.
These people are trying to kill as many of us as possible. In no way should society accept it. It's simple societal self-defense. Root out the terrorists wherever they may congregate, regardless of whichever flavor of terrorist they happen to be.
yes, and that entire article is about people trying to get them to take them down and the criminal statute they're using to force the issue, which is part of the GP's point. Not a lot of folks in the federal government hand wringing about deplatforming on that one.
This is relevant as the censorship here (whether justified or not, right or wrong it is censorship) is not done by CF, but by a faceless internet mob that is attacking both CF and 8chan.
CF has all the right to terminate its relationships with anyone. social media mobs should not force companies to exercise that right.
I think an appropriate qualifier here might be that they used to hold on as long as possible. I don't think that's universally true anymore.
> This is relevant as the censorship here (whether justified or not, right or wrong it is censorship) is not done by CF, but by a faceless internet mob that is attacking both CF and 8chan.
In the same sense that a mob outside the courthouse ensured a guilty verdict, perhaps. But it's still the jurors who actually acted.
I am not sure what you mean here... but I would find in both cases very problematic that a mob could wield such power. A mob is not a democratic representation.
The reason the mob has power is in the end that they do not get criticized by those they respect.
IMO the reason Cloudflare took down TDS and 8chan but not the Taliban or Hamas is simply outgroup vs fargroup.  The operators, users and targets of 8chan or TDS are all familiarly western but different enough to hate, while islamic terror organizations are so different it's hard to relate to them - sort of like that joke about how the more similar two religious denominations are, the more likely it is that they hate the other. 
I don't see this working out well for them when it comes to total negative news. Would we have seen nearly as many requests to Cloudflare asking for 8chan to be cut off if they had not already done so for The Daily Stormer?
I do think cloudflare will be forced to be more palatable to enterprise customers if they go public. One biggest factors why I don’t use them is who they provide access to.
We used to, until quite recently. You could read Dabiq, the well-produced magazine of ISIL/ISIS. They definitely glorified their terrorist incidents. With color pictures of their operations. All with religious justification. "Islam is the religion of the sword, not pacifism". (Dabiq, issue 7.)
Dabiq probably inspired enemies more than supporters. Dabiq says that there can be no compromise until the followers of Allah rule the earth. So ISIS could never have a peaceful border with anybody. On March 23, 2019, the last territory controlled by ISIS was captured.
8Chan is a minor annoyance in comparison. I'd let them blither and look foolish.
Speak for yourself, I would. I've downloaded and distributed ISIS propaganda videos before out of sheer intrigue.
Just because someone says something you don't like doesn't mean you should ban it. Of course, this will be downvoted to hell because this is a hot topic at the moment, but we shouldn't let that too-near emotion influence out policies. We've seen that lead to stuff like the PATRIOT act in the past and we surely don't need another one of those.
It will be downvoted because it's INSANE, not because it's a hot topic.
ISIS propaganda isn't banned for the fun of it or because "too near emotions influencing policies", it's banned for the effect that it casuses, the intention it has, and the attorcities it shows.
There's a difference between supporting free speech and you spreading around videos of murders, executions of innocent people who have families, and calls for more murders of innocent people all over the world. Just because those things don't make you want to kill someone, doesn't change the fact that they do help radicalize other people.
You seem strongly opinionated on this one though, I'm curious, what do you think of Tor or BitTorrent? Should such services be banned as they aid in the distribution of this type of thing too? If you're running a Tor middle node you're part of the distribution of not just all sorts of propaganda like this, but far, far worse things.
Do you think banning these services, reigning in control of information to "help prevent radicalization" in a China-esque way would be a good decision? In my view this is just part of living in a free society, freedom sometimes costs security.
Platforms that can, but do not, enforce rules to remove such content should also be punished and forbidden.
I would not sacrifice the lives of the ones I love in the name of free speech. Promoting terrorist content increases ever so slightly the chances of your loved ones and your family being hurt by those who get radicalized due to such content.
If "China-esque way" is what it takes then so be it.
Tor operators in doing so are making a choice: they feel the freedom of anonymity and speech are more important than human lives, even the lives of children.
I'd argue that running a Tor node is explicitly making that choice and that statement, so then it confuses me why you seem to be okay with Tor but more questioning of 8chan and similar services where the choice is made less directly. Is it a matter of having the ability to discern "good" uses from "evil"? You're surely accepting both uses by operating a Tor node and knowingly doing so, so I don't see how that makes sense.
If you want to look at gun laws on the other hand, that's a freedom for security trade that seems more debatable given that other countries have the same access to information, but not nearly the same gun violence problems.
What rational person will see an ISIS video and go: "Hmm this looks good, guess I should join ISIS".
They didn't get the ideas to do that out of the blue, without seeing or hearing any of the propaganda content.
and distributed ISIS propaganda videos
Do elaborate on your motives for and style of distribution.
More Americans should read the writings of Osama bin Laden too.
It's not that this material isn't horrendous, but it's very different from what you'd expect -- the people behind it are not dumb, and like all good propaganda the rationale is selectively built on compelling facts.
Personal attacks, in particular, will get you banned here, so please don't do that again.
Are you a moderator?
The point was downvotes. That's how the HN community shows someone the door. HN itself shows someone the door by banning them.
Speaking for the whole site like that comes off as rather pompous. Not to mention the comment is now "in the black" on points, so it's not even clear that the community even agrees with you.
Yea, I wouldn't pretend to speak for the community - for some reason our OP insinuated I do by asking if I'm a moderator.
What I'm trying to say is that a negative karma post has been shown the door by the community. That statement remains true from my perspective regardless if I upvoted, downvoted, or did not engage with that comment.
I certainly would tolerate those sites. Free speech arguments aside, you can't kill the hydra, but you can severely degrade intelligence operations watching that hydra. Best case the bad guys all end up on sites already being surveilled, worst case they slip under the radar.
We had this problem years ago, hacktivists targeting ISIS channels. They scatter to the winds, intelligence ends up doing more work for less rewards.
Feel good outrage made things worse.
I'll be quite honest, I don't know what a "good" solution here is, but I really don't think this is it.
In war, degrading your enemy's communications and lines of supply is often more effective than engaging in battle.
While we need to wait for more detail to fully understand the path of radicalization, I am moderately confident in predicting the El Paso shooter visited 8ch regularly for at least 6 months, probably much longer, but posted infrequently if at all.
At the very least a good post-mortem analysis would be nice.
I guess I'll settle for watching the finger-pointing dumpster fire.
IOW, mission accomplished.
Yet sometimes in a mosque some evil islamic imam or something preaches radicalisation.
Yet we tolerate and welcome mosques. Then why shouldn’t we tolerate and welcome sites like 8chan?
Also please keep in mind that now that 8chan has been basically shut down, we have no way of make an opinion of our own.
"Monteilh eventually so unnerved Orange County's Muslim community that that they got a restraining order against him. [T]hey also reported Monteilh to the FBI"
You do know that Homeland is a TV show and not real life, right?
A mosque that openly fostered extremism like 8chan did would of course get shut down. By contrast, 8chan has not been shut down. Its operations have been disrupted, but it hasn't shut down, anymore than Cloudflare has shut down just because they had a site outage last month.
Indeed, you arrest the single imam, you don't shut down the whole mosque. That's the point.
I completely disagree. I've read Dabiq and similar publications because I want to know why people believe the things they believe. It is a good thing that such horrible ideas are available to the public, and for the same reason that it's good that flat earth sites are available to the public. JS Mill puts it best:
> But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it.
> If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.
It is for these same reasons that I also read /pol/ and /leftypol/ on 8chan.
These aren't exactly organized bands of people funneling in millions of dollars for carrying out actual training and misson planning/execution. They're watering holes where disaffected elements of society hyperbolically play up various happenings.
Just take a step back for a moment. We have an increasing population and increasing saturation of that population with streams of data. When something happens, we know with a speed that is uncommon in human history (to be euphemistic about it).
More population = more happenings = more things to emotionally charge people in the same 24 hour frame. Even if population increases by a bajillion, we still only have 24 hours in a media cycle.
Even if the per capita incidence of violence decreases, a rising population means more slices of highly charged emotional manipulation within the same media cycle.
Edit: So instead of increasing population, resultant increasing pop density, increasing information density, and a myriad of clusterf* systems running haywire (even in an era where we're safer than even 20 years ago)...4chan and 8chan are the devil and satan for allowing people to shitpost in a hyperbolic hyperironic manner?
4chan and 8chan didn't create hyperirony (although they certainly cultivate massive gardens of it) or densensitization. Our media cycle has created it in tandem with a feedback loop that synergizes with the principle of "more people + same time amount = more hyperslices of emotion eliciting news that distort mental maps of larger-than-self situations"
You're safer at a wal-mart than prior 4chan and 8chan. But if you combine higher population density and information density, you'll get more raw events of violence even if the chance of experiencing violence has gone down.
Imo, there's a more insidious risk in allotting more powers of censorship to entities who are far less subject to reciprocal investigation. Think of 9/11. If we had done nothing, we would be safer and more prosperous today. We let the fleas provoke us into gouging untold amounts of flesh to stop itches.
Edit: A more simple way to phrase it is that hyperirony and the lack of "proper affect", which is really what people seem to be most horrified about, is a defense against the 24/7 atrocity exhibition which turns emotion into banality.
* - Note that more people, especially younger folks with their hyperbolic tendencies, and anonymity means more raw sociopathy and psychopathy being displayed in relation to those events. It's at least partially a function of the numbers game.
Why? Think about what you're saying. Imagine equivalents:
1. We wouldn't allow cell phones that let terrorists communicate
2. We wouldn't allow roads that allow anyone to carry whatever contra-ban they want down them.
3. We wouldn't allow trains that allow just anyone to carry books on whatever topic they want.
4. We can't allow for air that allows two willing participants to communicate using sound waves.
The hubris to imagine that we dare have a say in whether a group of adults date to communicate with each other.
Nobody depends on 8chan. 8chan is not comparable to "air".
This point is so incredibly banal that I'm surprised to find myself making it.
Why is that a remotely controversial statement? Nobody is suggesting that chan-tards should be rounded up for unamerican activities, and I'd be the first to speak against that, but CF don't need to tarnish their brand with 8chans bullshit.
They're free to withhold their support and so express an opinion.
Because Cloudflare used to say that they would never take anyone down, and now they have. I think it's valid to wonder if they'll be more willing to take down other content, and perhaps become a target by groups looking to restrict the spread of certain information now that they've shown that this is something they're willing to do. This also brings up the point of why Cloudflare thought this specific website was worth taking down, and not the other horrible things that they do support.