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Google deletes “communist bandits” from comments on Youtube (support.google.com)
1783 points by zaggynl 11 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 1177 comments

All: please don't miss that there are multiple pages of comments. Unfortunately the two top subthreads have become so large that they fill out the first page entirely. You have to click 'More' at the bottom to see the rest (there are almost 1000 at this point).

I made this a collapsed stub comment to collect replies, since we don't want to distract the top of the thread too much.

The "more" pagination button appears to only be visible on the first page of comments....you need to update the URL manually to get to comment pages 3+

Oh! The second page was crashing. It should be fixed now. Eesh; I'm sorry.

There's a bug that we haven't fixed yet, the workaround for which is to restart the server after renaming an account. I must have forgotten to do that.

It might be nice to keep everything mostly collapsed by default, except the top 3 replies for the first level, and 2 replies for the 2nd, 1 reply for the 3rd.

I experimented with that the other day and ran into some problems with it, but will probably come back to the idea.

Speaking of meta-issues, this article seems to have just dropped to the second page, and is sitting below older articles with 10-15x fewer votes. Perhaps worth checking whether any jiggery-pokery is going on.

You can't derive story rank from timestamp and point score alone—the system is more complex than that and includes many countervailing factors, including user flags, software downweights, and moderation downweights. All of this is to try to prevent the front page by being dominated by the few hottest and most outrageous topics of the day, which is what would happen without them. I've reduced one downweight, though, so this one is back on the front page now.

There was a huge thread earlier about the rank of this thread and related ones relative to others, which you'll find somewhere in these pages.

Collapsing comments doesn't seem to work in subsequent pages

It should be working now. Same issue as https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23228692.

Yeap, it does. Thanks man.

I noticed this is the second thread that you’ve posted this message on within the same week.

Why not include some basic, numeric pagination links before comments start? Ex:

1 2 ... 5

Because the plan is to drop pagination altogether and just render entire pages like we used to.

I think a more fundamental problem is a single private company having a near-monopoly on various public communication channels, and having financial interests in various global dictatorships.

The Founding Fathers could not have predicted this.

Google's "We're a private company" get-out-jail-free card cannot continue to apply.

Here are some numbers to keep you up at night, they are very scary:

Google controls 91.89% of the search market [1]

G controls 68% of the browser market [2]

G's android is on 84% of phones operating systems [3]

G has 73% of the search advertising market [4]

[1] https://gs.statcounter.com/search-engine-market-share [2] https://www.statista.com/statistics/544400/market-share-of-i... [3] https://beta.trimread.com/articles/16433 [4] https://www.geekwire.com/2019/amazon-gaining-google-search-a...

At risk of nitpicking, why do say "controls" rather than e.g. "services" or "handles"? When you say "controls" it's like you're saying Google has some kind of monopoly power that makes it hard to switch. And yet anyone can easily switch to e.g. DuckDuckGo. If that's a monopoly, it's not quite the kind of a monopoly we should generally be worried about.

Browsers would be a different issue. In that case, there are network effects like about what standards are supported and how, which make it difficult to launch a competing browser, even with technological superiority, and in that case, it would be reasonable to worry about too much market share.

They do in fact control Android. The open headset alliance means Android is open source in name only. Only tinkerers/hackers use ASOP derivatives by itself (or some foreign manufactures that cannot to offer Google Play services .. or Amazon Fire makers).

They dominate the software ecosystem. Although it's not difficult to load 3rd party applications, it's certainly not common. Their removal of the Podcast Addicts app is a great example. Also you cannot interface with things like Android Auto without getting Google's golden approval (so no Android Auto for F-Drop apps)

I did a full post on all the gripes I had with Android a few years back, and I think they all still apply: https://battlepenguin.com/tech/android-fragmentation/

The sentence he was specifically talking about: Google controls 91.89% of the search market [1]

I think Podcast Addict is back on G Play. Google apologized for the removal.

Only reason it worked is because of public shaming (here on HN and elsewhere).

If some less popular app is banned they have little recourse except hope for their story to go viral.

Simple add on - i can no longer uninstall any google apps from my droid phone. Best i can do is disable.

On this topic. WSJ states DoJ is readying antitrust vs google ij near future. May turn out to be quite an accomplishment if done

> If that's a monopoly, it's not quite the kind of a monopoly we should generally be worried about.

It the same monopoly that a town center has in term of political activities. Anyone could easily choose to switch to hold demonstrations somewhere else, but the result of holding it where only 8% of people will see it will make that less of a choice for the ones organizing the event.

As a society where I live we recognize the benefit of political diversity, and we acknowledge that the disruption that such political activity bring is usually minor. As long it does not cause prolong and significant disruption to everything else then the benefit of giving everyone equal right to demonstrate in the town square is a benefit.

I do agree however that Browsers are more similar to regular monopolies worries. One company in control of the market will increase prices, decrease innovation and create perverse market incentives.

That's a horrible analogy.

While people can be physically only in one location, they do get their information from a variety of source online. Comparing Google to a town square is dumb, when you account that Facebook has much more engaged users than YouTube.

At the time of writing I'm reading stuff on Facebook, Reuters, Yahoo Finance, Twitter, Reddit and watching YouTube videos in between.(HN as well) I'm present on all of those "squares" at the same time.

I guess people has a bit different view about how sticky platforms are. If I imagine that google would take a political side in the US election and ban all site and comments of the other side, my belief is that it would have a direct impact on the election results and there would be nothing that the banned party could do. Politics right now depend highly on being visible on google search, Youtube and google ad network. A small but noticeable portion of users would move out, but it would not be close enough to compensate the loss and the impact on the political climate would take years to recover.

I would like to be wrong on this and that google do not have this kind of power.

> If I imagine that google would take a political side in the US election

They did. Maybe not in public, but it has been communicated clearly to the employees:


While this is true, I do not think this applies to the point that GP was making wrt influencing election results. Taking a public stance and enforcing said stance on communication through their services is a far cry from an internal discussion within a company where most employees lean towards one side.

I'm not saying this is okay--it probably could've been conducted in a more (politically) inclusive manner. But my argument is that this doesn't apply to the GP.

Edit. Also of course the main post about comment censoring is troubling.

All analogies fail given certain conditions. However for the choice of which search engine to register with and which ad company to choose, most companies would choose G first. So, back to the analogy (which I found strange, but certainly not dumb) a company (or person) looking to be heard would certainly have far smaller reach if G actively blocked them from their services.

This analogy fails in principle.

For this analogy to be correct, there can be no equally populous squares. But there are equally populous squares.

The assumption was: "Anyone could easily choose to switch to hold demonstrations somewhere else, but the result of holding it where only 8% of people will see it will make that less of a choice for the ones organizing the event."

So, no. One square dominates viewership (ie the town square <-> Google). You can switch to another square (ddg) if you want, but you don't get the viewership that you'd want to get the reach that you need.

This is the perennial discussion on HN as HN'ers get popularity confused with monopoly. I get the anti-Google sentiment but outside of the Play services agreements that Google got dinged for with Android manufacturers, they're not being anti-competitive.

If Google were to block search results to DuckDuckGo for example, that would be monopolistic and warrant antitrust action. As it is now, Google isn't blocking competition, consumers are choosing to use Google despite the privacy-oriented preferences here on HN.

Google has and does block competition, and they've attracted the attention of antitrust regulators for this on multiple occasions.

>Google has and does block competition

Can you share some of these occasions?

That's not blocking competitors though.

I specifically didn't bring up the Shopping case because EU anti-trust law is very different, and the case doesn't qualify as anti-trust in the U.S.

The blocking of competition was mentioned several times in the links I posted. Here's a couple of quotes:

> Google required direct partners to exclusively use Google's AdSense and could not engage with Google's competitors

> Google required that partners take a minimum number of Google ads and predominately place them above any other advertising, nor could place ads from other services above or alongside Google's ads;

> preventing manufacturers from selling smart mobile devices running on competing operating systems

> Google entered into anticompetitive exclusive agreements for the distribution of Google Search on both desktop and in the mobile arena

> The Commission’s complaint alleges that Google reneged on its FRAND commitments and pursued – or threatened to pursue – injunctions against companies that need to use MMI’s standard-essential patents in their devices and were willing to license them on FRAND terms.

Huh, I did not know about the Adsense one, that's news to me. Interesting to see if it's relevant in the U.S. because it was only with large partner contracts and Google stopped it before the E.U. investigation even began.

Again, the EU anti-trust law is different from the U.S. I already mentioned the Android Play services case already.

Anecdotal evidence, but if you don't offer GoogleADX inventory, your site gets de-ranked in searches. I am very interested in the anti-trust probe for that reason.

They do deliberately slow their sites on Firefox, as has been discussed in many past hn articles. YouTube for example. Pardon my lack of references, you should confirm for yourself with a hn search in case I am mistaken

In addition to this, their use of reCaptcha makes using a non-chrome browser a significantly worse experience on several sites.

This is my biggest issue. I tried using Firefox exclusively for a period of time but experienced a 10x increase in the number of reCaptcha manual verifications I had to complete. Going to the same sites on Chrome has no reCaptcha.

For me, this is blatant anti-competitive practice and should be punished.

I've used both firefox (dev edition) and chrome pretty evenly for a long time (work stuff in chrome, personal in ff), and I haven't noticed any more reCaptchas in firefox than I get in chrome. If you just started using firefox, I could see the extra captchas being due to having "too clean" of a browser, or a different browser that was never used before tripping some sort of anti malware or suspicious login system.

All just speculation, but I haven't noticed the same issue.

This is exactly it. Modern recaptcha is "reputation" based. So if it fingerprint matches you against a known profile, you never see the captcha. One could argue that a residential ip block combined with a common browser should be sufficient to filter most bot traffic, but it's not exactly in googles interest to worry about non-chrome user experience.

Well TIL. This gives me hope. I will put some time back into FF and see if there is an eventual drop in reCaptcha.

As a regular user of multiple browsers, I haven’t noticed this. Could you show a few examples? I’m not doubting your experience at all, I’m just curious to see if there may be a common thread.

Their handling of recaptcha should be criminal. They are the single most annoying thing to deal with this side of popups in their heyday

The YouTube example was a bug from 2018. https://www.theverge.com/2018/7/25/17611444/how-to-speed-up-...

It's since been fixed.

Of course it was a bug. It could only be a bug. Would they really admit if it was intentional? Would they admit that their internal testing around Firefox is not as robust as Chrome? "Oh, whoopsie, no one here uses Firefox so we didn't notice it."

YouTube for me this week, only on Firefox, incidentally only fully loads 1/3 tries. Could be another bug

IIRC that's because YT switched to polymer, and since Mozilla doesn't support the new shadow dom APIs yet, YT serves it with the older version.

My understanding is that the "deliberate slowing" reported, was such that if you have firefox send a chrome user agent, that one gets faster (and functional) results.

Is that consistent with the "it is because FF doesn't support new thing yet" explanation?

No because again, IIRC, sending a chrome user agent to YT in FF breaks a lot of the functionality.

Does it? What stops working, since I haven't noticed anything?

Ah, “the parts that work are faster but a lot of it is broken” does seem like it suggests the benign explanation

I believe it was that YT was using the legacy v0 shadow DOM API that only Chrom[e|ium] supported, with a slow polyfill for other browsers, rather than the much better supported v1 API that all other major browser makers agreed to implement.

Oh, is that why it takes forever to load google search on firefox? how is that allowed? I'm speechless.

That's...not why, and it doesn't. Try clearing your cache, or loading a profile without any addons.

> how is that allowed?

It is not the case.

But who would have the legitimate right to stop it? Do we want government dictating product features?

How is that a feature??

>consumers are choosing to use Google despite the privacy-oriented preferences here on HN.

I'm not sure I'd agree with the word "despite". I still think the majority of the non-tech world is still oblivious to the privacy implications of G,FB,etc. Sure, I'm sure there's a percentage of people that have made the decision they don't care and are fine with it, but there are definitely don't know/understand.

No. It's in all the news. But the truth is people love Google. Google gives them so many services for free that they didn't have before.

In many 3rd world countries, smartphones were the "couple months salary" iPhone or an Android that's literally a tenth the cost.

To most of these people, Google has been an unalloyed good. Google is probably one of the most resilient brands worldwide. Even in America it's well trusted. For good reason.

> Google is probably one of the most resilient brands worldwide. Even in America it's well trusted. For good reason.

Two types of trust though. Trust in the products which they've earned in spades, and trust to moderate political speech which they have not.

This story is suggesting that they are willing to enforce standards set by the Chinese propaganda departments - which is to be expected, really, given their interest in regaining a presence in China. They aren't trustworthy in the political sense.

Huh? So we're supposed to thank them for the cancer they have wrought? Search was a good thing, then it got bastardized into a gaming system. Free email? Sounds great until the day you find out you're not the only one reading the email. Android is an interesting side project that has proven a useful alt to some. Again until you realize it, along with all of the other "useful" products, was just the long con into gathering all of the data to make Ads viable. If these products were just the products they appear on the surface, then maybe I'd say Google was reputable.

And most people are completely fine with having ads targeted at them.

You're just raging that other people have a different opinion about their online activity.

Now imagine you quantify the cost of having Google Search. If you search for florist - Google could charge you $10 for the results(florist CPC is very high) and up to $30 per search for a hotel in NYC.


So dramatic. It's an amazing product that billions of people depend on that you don't have to use if you don't want to. Pretend it doesn't exist if it makes you feel better. Try Bing and Proton mail on an iPhone and never look back.

>If these products were just the products they appear on the surface

They're not a charity. If you're not paying for it upfront, you're paying for it with your eyeballs. Don't like it? Take your eyeballs elsewhere.

You are one of those confused HNers.

Monopoly power is different from abuse of monopoly power.


Right, hence the statement about anti-competitive behavior. GP is saying Google is a monopoly based on marketshare though, not monopolistic action, which is not correct.

As of some recent update on the ps4, at least since january, I am unable to enter any text on duckduckgo's search bar in the built in browser. The keyboard pops up briefly then vanishes. It likely works with an external keyboard, but the onscreen one refuses to appear. Google's search bar work's fine, the PlayStation's built in search works fine(but uses google), in site search engines powered by google work fine. But I have been unable to use duckduckgo on the ps4 since at least then.

I was capable of doing this before and regularly did. But, from what i've been able to tell, my web searches must all go through google now, either through the built in search feature or the browser.

If you haven’t already, maybe try the plain HTML [0] or (failing that) Lite [1] version of DDG.

[0]: https://ddg.gg/html

[1]: https://ddg.gg/lite

What about bing?

Well I never tried because the idea of using Microsoft's search wasn't much more appealing and honestly, I just never think about or consider them and kind of forget Bing exists. But it'd be interesting to see if it worked. They're more of a direct competitor to Sony at least in the console market.

A monopoly is not a lack of other options.

Nope. A monopoly is definitely the lack of other options for suppliers, i.e. a single supplier.

Conversely, a monopsony is the lack of other options for buyers. Words matter.

And conversely, other HN'ers get confused by a very narrow definition of what constitutes a market. It is this very definition that is under scrutiny.

Okay let me explain why this is a "control" rather than "service" or "handles". Say I am running an Ad using Google Ads. I get to reach all those people who are using Google services. And since Google has majority marketshare I can easily reach my customers and scale them as much as my budget allows. But at the same time I am bound by an ever-changing Google Policy that dictates what I should put in the Ad and what I shouldn't. Imagine that I or someone in my team pushes out an Ad that violates their policy somewhere. Depending on the scale of violation they can ban you form Advertising on Google platforms ever again. Now, you say that is a good thing. It keeps the bad guys out. I agree with you there. But it is not fool proof. I have seen Ads get rejected for frivolous reasons (like you can't have two different links in the same ad group). Now these rejections stack up and can get you a ban too. Have missed a payment because of some issue with your credit card or bank? Account suspension is a real possibility. Have you used the same credit card for two different Ad accounts? Be prepared to get suspended. Same mobile number for two different Ad accounts? Be prepared to get suspended. There are so many ways you can go wrong and get banned from ever using Google Ads again. Now this is where the danger is. If your business is highly dependent on Google Ads you will lose out on that huge marketshare you had earlier. I don't want my business to be affected because of some stupid policy violation that caused my account to be banned.

Found the google clown, I’ve been pissed at google for nearly a decade, and yet still continue to use my gmail address, because it would take me literal weeks to detach from it... and I’m actually technically capable of understanding what I need to do to separate.. 99% are not, they “control” these markets.

Thought experiment: Google controls 90% of the search market, the 10% (or 1%, whatever) they don't serve being made up of people who are oppressed in some way by the 90%, deliberately or otherwise.

Google censors information relating to that 10% for everyone else. They don't care enough to switch.

Centralization is an issue _a priori_. It's giving power to a single entity that we have no reason to trust will act in everyone's best interests.

And who gets to decide what is "best interests"?

Google Search is a consumer focused product, if they don't serve up the stuff that the users want - they loose viewers. No viewers - no revenue. Their bottom line depends on giving each person the best search results possible.

Pretending that they'll just decide to cut off even 1% of users is insane.

No. You're assuming that a particular sort of imaginary market dynamic overrides any and every other motivation anyone might have. That is nonsense.

If they can make 2% more by selling out half their users and giving them inferior results to serve the interests of somebody or something willing to pay Google money to screw over the users, they will do that without an instant of hesitation, in the absence of oversight. They are in an absence of oversight.

You are wildly in error to believe that people magically can tell they're not being harmed. People absolutely have no idea whether they are being 'given the best' anything possible, much less something like search results (or information in general).

It is highly profitable to screw over mass audiences for one's own benefit and there's largely no mechanism to prevent this… again, in the absence of oversight.

The citizens get to decide what their best collective interests are. They do that by, among other things, electing representatives that appoint officials to anti-trust committees.

Yes... I love when the "majority" decides to limit freedoms, under penalty of violence. Because apparently that is "the collective interest".

The most annoying bit is that it's never the majority. It's at best plurality that "gets" to decide.

I don't like it, but it's even worse when the minority decides to limit freedoms.

> When you say "controls" it's like you're saying Google has some kind of monopoly power that makes it hard to switch

No, "controls" means decides the rules and what is happening on that part of the market. Any number that is not 100% automatically implies it's not a perfect monopoly and it's possible to switch, but once you are within the area controlled by Google, it's Google's rules. Including removal any content Google doesn't like for any reason, blocking any action Google doesn't like for any reason, etc. So for 91% of the searches, Google decides what you can and can't see.

Google hasn't leveraged their ownership of the browser to enact censorship (frequently on behalf of most vile dictatorships) yet as far as I know (surveillance is another mater) but it certainly did and is using its control over search, advertising, video hosting, etc. markets to do that.

But how is that different than one company owning over 91% of the newspapers in the country? I think most people would agree that's a bad thing.

> If that's a monopoly, it's not quite the kind of a monopoly we should generally be worried about.

All available search engines run on ads and offer roughly the same service. There is no competition in the market from the perspective of the consumer. How is this healthy?

> And yet anyone can easily switch to e.g. DuckDuckGo. If that's a monopoly, it's not quite the kind of a monopoly we should generally be worried about.

Because people are conditioned by defaults. Google knows this, and so does every other business. Google had a good product, but Google also bought market share by bundling their products with random software (like adobes flash player, which later they unsurprisingly tried to kill), making a deal with Dell to bundle their software/toolbar, etc. Yes anyone in theory can switch, but its not really how people think. People are not as informed as we think they are, or aware of the pros and cons of various competing services and products. That includes most people, even people on this site, so its really not an elitist thing.

I can't switch to duckduckgo. I do the kind of intricate searches that don't find what I need there.

Try hiding your business’s website from Google and see how that goes for you.

Exactly, Google provides a lot of value. Stop acting like this is a one sided transaction. If you don't like the value proposition, you're free to leave anytime.

Just like everyone is free to leave their power company and install solar panels, just like everyone can leave their water company and have water tankered in. Just like you can leave your telecom company and use satellite data.

Just because a company is providing value that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be regulated. Just because you can technically leave a service doesn't necessarily mean that you aren't realistically locked into it and that that service isn't going to exploit that fact.

Google is not essential to live. You can also use Bing or any of the numerous alternatives. It’s not the same thing at all.

I don’t think it’s a nitpick at all. I agree that google is a private company and searchers have the option of using a different search at the click of an icon.

Usually I consider terms like “control” to be hotheaded but if you substitute “is in control of Which results are returned” you can see the consequence could be nefarious. This understanding informed antitrust theory up to the 1980s.

I don’t use Google for anything myself except for communicating with my gf’s kids’ scout troop. That doesn’t mean I think they have a bunch of evil geniuses cackling and rubbing their hands in building 42. The rehetoric makes me think some people do think this.

The cackling and rubbing of hands is an exaggeration of course but if anyone were going to be doing that it would be Google's customers, not Google's employees.

Tell your legislators you want to see antitrust action taken against Google!

They're abusing the hell out of their status. AMP, removal of adblock capability, driving web standards to potentially be more opaque, walled gardens, automated removal and takedown, etc.

If you're using adblock on my website - you're an asshole. You're consuming my work without a just compensation.

If it were easy, I'd have my server not serve anyone using an adblock... and instead present them with a paywall... Which you would probably bitch about.


Don't visit the sites that do that then. See? Magic!

No one is obligated to provide you with content on your terms, other than the government.

You wanna check out web monetization API - https://webmonetization.org

> No one is obligated to provide you with content on your terms, other than the government.

Where does that law / moral come from?

If I could snap my fingers and remove all of the paywalled sites from the internet, I would. People continue to post them, and all they do is jam the signal. I should be compensated for time wasted clicking on these links and then again on the back button.

Until the industry adopts either microtransactions or federated publishing, I won't pay or sign up for most content. It's too inconvenient, and information is nearly infinite. You're just making the opportunity cost differential higher. I have better ways to spend my time.

And speaking to the advertising issue, I've never personally bought anything from an ad. They're annoying viruses being leveraged against my consciousness that I didn't consent to. That's bad enough without mentioning the tracking and deceptive practices they employ.

The whole economic model is a race to the bottom and is fucked. I'm sorry you're working in such a painful industry.

Look at what streaming did to the music industry. It's convenient. I pay monthly and have no ads. Do this please.

So... On a thread that is about monopoly power, you are arguing that all of media publishing transition to a payments monopoly?


Speaking of that why don't you select an ad network that doesn't try do malign things to your uses?


People will consume what they need to consume. It is on you how you profit from it without infringing upon the people's privacy or time or bandwidth.

You should charge for your content and cast away the advertisers.

Well then this is kinda your fault for not providing a market for ad networks that don't invade peoples privacy now isn't it.

Federated. There isn't a single music streaming service.

There's 0 demand for it.

Spotify and the likes addressed a need in the market.

Advertising is still completely adequate method for compensating a lot of publishers.

Others, who don't mind giving the aggregators 30%, provide you with the ability to subscribe from Apple Newstand and similar services. There's been a bunch of services that tried to do content access like this... uptake was completely dismal.

Your [1] is incorrect.

It doesn't even include Baidu, which dominates China and has something like >12% of the world's market share for search engines, so how can Google have 91%?

The source is bullshit. Baidu, the Chinese search engine, has less than 3% market share in Asia? Where Google is banned for over a billion people?

Who believes this crap? You might as well have linked to a Facebook comment.

Like half of those billion people aren't even on the internet. According to the same source, Baidu has 65% of the Chinese search market, which seems about right. https://gs.statcounter.com/search-engine-market-share/all/ch...

Honestly about a year ago I decided to switch to an iPhone once the "contract" is up. I have used iOS and I didnt find it anymore special, but it isn't really that much different to me to be bothered by using either one. I will also take that moment to ungooglify my life including email and such.

I did the same a few years back, use duck duck go for search, iphone for phone, apple maps for directions, firefox|safari|brave for browser, it is really easy to get google out of your life, only thing I am still looking to replace is mail, if anyone has found something that is free(or relatively cheap) and is reliable I'd love to know.

Try fastmail. $30 for an annual plan and it works like a charm. A lot of people in here recommend it.

Do they still recycle the address if you stop paying?

In 2020 everyone serious about own stuff should use own domains.

Didn't happen in my case, but I can't speak for everyone. I tried an e-mail for a month, the trial ended, six months later when I went for the full plan it was still available.

I will sound silly, but I've gone with Outlook, just kinda waiting on them to allow me to use my domain from namecheap. They only support godaddy, if that doesn't change I'll find a different provider, but I went with them because I can get actual Office applications along with ad-free mail. I got an @outlook.com email though, but waiting on their domain support to not suck so much.

Protonmail[1] is a viable free alternative to google/microsoft/yahoo. Also has client-side encryption and is hosted in a mountain bunker in Switzerland, so there's lots of points for security & privacy.

[1] https://protonmail.com/

What is your alternative to YouTube?

That has obvious discoverability problems.

Bitchute seems to be gaining traction. Currently, they're where you go to watch banned videos and banned content producers like Infowars, Soph, etc.

PeerTube is one alternative that is recommended.

Does PeerTube have an answer to the discoverability problem yet? That's one thing I've noticed in the past.

It works if you have a specific URL to click on for a video, but if I just want to "find" a video, that will be relatively difficult.

Twitch.tv! It's not just for live streams either. You can watch lots of previously recorded streams as well. It's also not just for video games (though it is predominantly video games).

I can't think of a decent alternative, for learning khan academy is good. Sounds like a source for disruption :)

LBRY recently launched a web interface.


Take a look at https://purelymail.com/ - $10 per year - unlimited domains and aliases.

A lot of webhost + domain offers come with complimentary email. Just remember to pay your renewals or all hell breaks loose.

if you have your own domain you can set up a mail server

purelymail.com is hella cheap!

That actually looks decently cheap but has anybody else on HN used this before? I don't think I've heard of it till now.

Apple is only better because it is smaller but it does a lot of the same things and often lies about it... A pure and open Linux phone is the only way that it could get better.

"but it does a lot of the same things and often lies about it"

Can you provide evidence of this? Not that I don't believe you (nor do I have any financial interest in Apple), but I'm not a fan of seeing baseless accusations on HN.

Sorry, I thought that it was well known... did a quick search and found this: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/oct/18/imessage-...

duck.com for more examples...

That isn’t an example at all. It’s a random assertion from a 3rd party with no validation.

so what is an example, according to you?

The onus is on you, the person who made the claim, to find examples that have enough evidence to be taken as factual.

I don’t trust any big company and assume they’re all lying, but I trust random online assertions without evidence even less.

An example would be them actually being shown to be lying about something factual.

Not just someone offering an opposing opinion.

”This article is more than 6 years old”

At that time Google’s motto was still “Do no evil”...

> At that time Google’s motto was still “Do no evil”...

still 2 years after Steve Jobs died which I think had a better moral compass

Until there's a proper mainstream one I can buy from my cell provider I don't think I can make such a switch. I need very specific apps on my phone for work.

which app is that if you don't mind me asking?

I've worked at two different places that had very specific 2 factor apps they used. I wouldn't be able to authenticate anywhere without iOS or Android.

Hm, I've switched to:

DuckDuckGo - search

Brave - browser

Android - you've got me there; but I might switch to Apple next year.

Gmail - ditto, but I'm hoping to switch to proton or similar

Youtube - alternatives like Bitchute exist for banned videos

Fortunately, although the GOOG does have a lot of best-in-class products out there, competition is rising. Consumers benefit from lots of choices.

Google biggest advantage (and its the same thing Apple and Microsoft are doing) is integration of services that ultimately make the users life easier. Personally I use a Mac and iPhone and all my data is stored in iCloud. I do a lot of my personal work with MS Office and my email is Gmail. But over time I have found that choosing an ecosystem does benefit you. Recently I switched my work tasks to Google suite products and dropped my Apple TV for an android based solution. The main advantage is now my TV, browser (chrome), gmail, youtube are all synced together. I can watch videos on my tv and save others to pick up on my phone later. I can edit my docs anywhere and link them into my emails easily. I have debated moving from Apples Photos to Google Photos so that my images are all centrally located for my own ease of use and cross platform integration. I still back up all files to a secondary drive and forward copies of important emails to my outlook account in case I ever get locked out of my google account, but the integration is really nice.

These numbers are just for the US. Comparing this to the AT&T break-up is not even similar, because Google has but even bigger market share when you consider their international operations as well.

You're toggling between global stats and US specific stats.

For example Android is ~52% of the US market.


It is not just monopolistic control of their specific areas of interest. They have had pretty tight integration with the State Department, especially under the previous administration, getting involved in negotiations and all kinds of affairs: https://wikileaks.org/google-is-not-what-it-seems

(quote from there):

> Google is getting WH [White House] and State Dept support and air cover. In reality they are doing things the CIA cannot do . . . [Cohen] is going to get himself kidnapped or killed. Might be the best thing to happen to expose Google’s covert role in foaming up-risings, to be blunt. The US Gov’t can then disavow knowledge and Google is left holding the shit-bag.14


Are you saying the document quoted is not real? Sure, the scruples of the site may not be in alignment with yours, but if the data is valid...

Wikileaks has a rather infamous history of overstating the significance and meaning of the leaks they publish in ways that is straight up misinformation, or borderline misinformation. I'd take anything they say with a serious grain of salt.

What is a better source? Can you show some examples?

Another one:

Over 75,000 people are happily working for G with many more eager to join

Really hope the decentralized tech stack will get there over time. Fingers crossed.

Pied Piper?

But is it replaced with "I'm an American company?"

There's a deep rabbit-hole of hyper-nationalism right next to the deep rabbit-hole of hyper-corporatism. Does a YouTube beholden to the US government get banned from being used in China at all? And if it does, what happens when China creates a competing product that is more successful than YouTube, and YouTube gets displaced globally by a product that is beholden to China's censorship policies in general, not just in isolated cases?

Hyper-nationalism is a backlash to globalism due to the recently realized risks of opaque governments exploiting transparent governments.

The intentions were good: Reduce the risk of global nuclear war. The globalism outcome is good for trade and relations with nations that have transparent governments, bad with the opaque.

"Transparent" vs "opaque" governments strikes me as a false dichotomy. There is certainly a spectrum of transparency and I grant that the United States is more transparent than China (at least from my perspective inside the former), but keep in mind that Snowden is still facing charges if he comes home and Manning just got free after her latest round of detainment. Considering the ways national interests interact is more useful than using transparency as your measuring stick for everyone.

Transparency International ranks the US as number 23 and China as number 80 in their list of transparency/corruption. They are not in the same quartile and can't be considered similar in transparency.


Don't overgeneralize: The page you linked explicitly lays it out. Corruption Perceptions Index. Each word is important. In addition, think tanks have biases and TI is no exception. Do you think that the "experts and business people" they interview to calculate CPI have interests which may align more or less with different nations?

In any case, I opened by admitting my perception of the United States is as a more transparent actor than China. Still doesn't make a dichotomy.

Was it really bad for US until China started working on 5G and trying to become independent in semiconductor sector? Because until that time globalism was pretty profitable in terms of trade and relations for US.

>>>Was it really bad for US until China started working on 5G and trying to become independent in semiconductor sector?

Yes, it's bad because "naval strategy is build strategy", and all of that industrial activity and technical know-how exported to China has facilitated the buildup of a massive, modern, increasingly-blue-water Navy and supporting Air Force that is postured specifically to challenge the US. The US Navy's global presence and open sealane patrolling is key to enforcement of the Petrodollar system, and therefore one of the lynchpins of American economic hegemony. Eventually China will challenge the US, and the US will either back down or lose. Either way, expect the global order to change, the Petrodollar to go away, and the US economy to collapse....and we'll have basically spent 30+ years making down-payments on our own destruction.

At least that's the theory.

A US economic collapse would be real hard on China, given how much of our national debt is owed to Chinese creditors.

Not necessarily. China doesn't really have many options, when it comes to parking USD. If USD collapses, 0 chance of that happening any time soon, then CNY would probably take over the spot... That would balance out Chinese losses.

People have been going on about China in the US since their ascension to the WTO. Plenty of federal politicians have been elected on platforms for pushing hawkwish trade policy with China.

Obama and Romney both ran with the policy of designating China a currency manipulator in 2008: https://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/03/currency-manip...

Which is fascinating because the TPP that got bi-partisaned slamming in 2016 was an anti-China trade agreement for the APAC region.

When the TPP fell through, China moved in with it's own version lock down the region called RCEP.

I think that's a bit of a selective history though. In the 1990s there were plenty of politicians that fervently supported it, though the reasons they supported probably had something to do with this[1].


The parent comment implied that the US has done a very sudden turnaround of belief; that's a selective reading of history.

The US has always had undertones of economic nationalism, particularly around jobs getting outsourced to China. It just took a while for the pot to boil over.

The complete destruction of domestic labor markets could be considered a "negative"

> Because until that time globalism was pretty profitable in terms of trade and relations for US.

It still is.

It's profitable for certain strata of economic classes and is destructive for most of the rest. But "in the aggregate the pie gets bigger", so Macroecon 101 is conserved. Yay.

You're being downvoted for being right. People without stock market share or who work as FTE for the hyper-successful tech companies are the only ones befitting under the guise of "lifting up underprivileged people around the world". It's disingenuous at best, nefarious at worst.

Wikipedia is the way to go.

Why have the hypercorporatists and hypernationalists not replaced it???

Because fuckers in both those camps think it has to make money as a condition to exist. It's their weakness. Requires imagination to exploit.

Comments like these have limited meaning in the context of a conversation about Google and YouTube. Wikipedia does not aspire to be YouTube. Wikipedia does not aspire to be Gmail. Wikipedia does not aspire to be a general-purpose search engine.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia.

You may be thinking of the various wiki brands run by the Wikimedia Foundation, which doesn't aspire to be any of these things, either, but at least entertains the aspiration of being a better Google News with WikiNews. (But do not confuse WikiNews with WikiTribune, the latter of which is a non-WMF project of Jimmy Wales, originally aspiring to be news, now aspiring to be a social network).

I think they're saying that wikipedia is an example of media not designed to be profitable. Maybe there couldn't be a similar youtube, but there could be other platforms, like wikipedia, that aren't built for profit but to inform.

Wikipedia is very easy to game unfortunately.

I don't consider Wikipedia a valid reference for anything more trivial than sports statistics or Hollywood trivia these days.

I'd imagine the amount of blatant organized 'revisioning' by nation states, NGOs, for-profit corporations, and politically biased individuals is now dwarfing the objective individual contributors who once were the majority of Wikipedia's editors.

> Why have the hypercorporatists and hypernationalists not replaced it???

It’s not profitable.

Nowhere near as many people would donate money/time/edits/content to Wikipedia if it wasn’t a registered non-profit - nor would they receive donated/subsidised hosting services from their providers - and if it’s for-profit they would need to run ads - and there’s no money in generic ads so they have to be either content-based ads (which immediately creates a perverse incentive for articles to be edited or biased in favour of the advertiser, which devalues the content of the encyclopaedia - or behavioural/tracking ads, which won’t be here for long due to expected incoming changes in browser handling of cookies and cross-site content) - which leaves behind only paywalling the encyclopaedia - and we saw how well that worked-out for Britannica, Collier’s, and Encarta.

Wikipedia has a high-value because it’s a non-profit - as contradictory as that sounds.

> Wikipedia has a high-value because it’s a non-profit - as contradictory as that sounds.

No question. It's the primary reason its community stuck with it across the many years it took to build it up, whereas the editor communities abandon for-profit content farms like Quora or Answers.com.

> and there’s no money in generic ads

Wikipedia could operate the encyclopedia side of itself with generic advertising. There is a lot of money in generic ads, relatively speaking, when you're dishing out static text content and some images at a billion page views per day (especially when the bulk of your platform's expansion is over, so your situation re expenses is increasingly stable).

Could you run the encyclopedia thin for ~$20 million per year? Based on their budget history, you absolutely could. So could you bring in at least $20m in revenue via generic advertising, against several hundred million page views that you're able to show ads on (a bit larger than the English edition's daily page views; ie I'm heavily discounting monetizable traffic down from their global figures to tilt this even more conservatively)?

You need a CPM of around a range of $0.10 to $0.15 to at least have a shot at making it work. It's a very low number for a super premium property that sits at the top of nearly every Google search result.

You could make ten phone calls and trivially fill $20m in generic advertising every year. Pick up the phone and call: Google, Amazon, Walmart, Microsoft, Coca Cola, Procter & Gamble, Comcast, Unilever, Samsung, AT&T. At $2m each, you'd have to fight them off with a stick at those CPM rates for that reach. Procter & Gamble spends $10 billion globally on advertising, they wouldn't take $2m to slap their brands on Wikipedia? They'd probably take that every month if they could.

Would any and all manner of advertising turn off visitors and editors? Probably. That's the far bigger problem than whether Wikipedia could bring in $20m per year in advertising on their massive traffic base. Not to mention that Google might (would) start viewing them as a competitor and might (would) downgrade their content placement to neuter that risk.

What if the laws against censoring content would be quite strict, then a censoring Chinese YouTube clone wouldn't even be possible.

(In the countries where it's strict. Which could be the EU, US, Kanada, Japan and more. Through it would be more tricky for smaller China dependent countries or autocratic powers. But the other countries could push that through in the way they currently push through commercial interest like copy right).

I don’t consider that likely. There are many Chinese social media properties inside the Great Firewall but they haven’t ever had much success outside of it.

Think about it, if a Chinese social media site could outcompete YouTube, they would just do it already anyway. If they can’t, they have to either block YouTube and have a Chinese clone propped up by an effectively protectionist policy or else try and get YouTube to cooperate with them.


> Does a YouTube beholden to the US government get banned from being used in China at all?

You know YouTube is already banned in China, right?

We have loads of communication channel alternatives. People freely choose google and should be allowed to continue freely choosing whatever platform they please. The idea that some governing body can better choose my communication platform for my personal needs than I can for myself doesn't seem logical from my point of view.

Ah yes, the idea that profit driven management is a better juror of freedom than our democratic society.

Whatever they decide, they owe you no explanation or recourse. After all, these people are 'accountable' to wall street. To them 2008 and Boeing 737 were an unforceable turn of fortune, and they should bear no harm from it.

Please remember that democracy is a way to control a shared resource by the opinion of the majority, and it makes the minority submit to the decision of the majority. A democracy is more free than a tyranny, but it's not freedom incarnate.

If 1.5B Chinese people totally democratically voted to ban particular words from usage worldwide, and were very serious at enforcing their decision, would you conform?

I'd very much appreciate if no society ever chooses things for me, as long as the choice is not of a conflicted shared resource that needs to be handled uniformly to even work (like property laws or traffic rules).

Keep in mind the framers of the constitution in the US realized this type of issue, which led to the Bill of Rights protecting things like free speech and other government encroachments on individual liberty.

I appreciate that corporate platforms are different than public spaces when it comes to free speech, but we've got a long way to go before US society broadly tolerates censorship by foreign entities (at least, I hope).

US Bill of Rights was originally written more to protect the states against the federal government. It couldn't even be enforced against the states until the 14th Amendment provided some vehicles for incorporation, and the courts acknowledged them. And even then the process of incorporation is still ongoing - e.g. the 7th is still not incorporated.

Suffice it to say, the line between majoritarian rule and “true” democracy has been debated since Sophocles. Elections per se do not a democracy make.

Whatever the government decides, they rarely, if ever, provide an explanation or recourse either: the Patriot Act, Ahmad Arbury, TBTF, the assassination of Awlaki, snooping on Americans, Operation Fast and the Furious, the Pentagon's missing billions, Epstein's death, etc.

I'm as pro-democracy as they come, but the belief that the government is somehow (and always) more accountable than companies strains credulity. Companies are accountable to Wall Street, which implies they're accountable to their consumers too. Shake Shack did not have to return the funds they received recently, but they did, because of media attention.

Accountability to wallstreet = accountability to consumers? Where is this idea even coming from? Can you name a single instance of Wallstreet punishing anti-consumer practices? Did AT&T selling of customer location data affect stock price?

All your examples are from defence. I've been watching people challenge in court every kind of decision, from roadbuilding to Brexit.

But tech companies circumvent laws, uber is not a taxy company, people driving them are not employees, Youtube is not a media company, etc. Every time this happens, voting becomes more and more meaningless.

> All your examples are from defence.

Half of those examples have nothing to do with the DOD. One of them (Ahmad Arbury) has nothing to do with the federal government at all. Where did you get this idea from?

Wall Street punishes companies that are not profitable or are losing money. Consumers can make that happen by walking away when companies are anti-consumer. If they do, profits fall and Wall Street would hold that company accountable.

Why do you think Zoom hired security professionals and bought Keybase? Why do you think Facebook reacted after the Cambridge Analytica scandal? Why do you think TikTok separated itself from ByteDance in China?

Even with the most federal oversight, US banks and financial firms tanked the economy and then got paid for it. And it's not a left-right thing; it's a them-us thing. And if you don't believe that, you only need to take a look at the Panama Papers scandal.

I'm sorry.... But what did we learn from 2008? That financial sector is unaccountable or that they own the government?

Boeing was not punished severely enough, because of two things - American nationalism would prevent it from drowning(helloo rescue package ;) ) and belief that they could fix it fast enough. But as a person holding Airbus stock for a long time, I disagree that Boeing wan't punished at all. Boeing's price dropped by 75%, while Airbus lost only 50%

> a better juror of freedom than our democratic society.

Almost anything is better at safeguarding freedom than allowing people to vote on what counts as freedom.

Companies have a profit motive to upset as few people as possible. Politicians who are democratically elected have incentive to rig things in their favor, especially when it comes to more ambiguous things like gerrymandering.

The argument is a popular Authoritarian viewpoint that isn't viewed as such. Meanwhile the work towards decentralization continues, one day I hope it'll get the network effect akin to Bittorrent.

BT has about 170 million users (depending on who's counting). Hardly nothing.

But in terms of network effect... YouTube has two billion users.

Laws are written for the sole purpose of serving our needs. "Free markets" are also a made-up concept designed to serve us. If they are no longer doing that we should change it as we see fit.

> The idea that some governing body can better choose my communication platform for my personal needs than I can for myself doesn't seem logical from my point of view.

It's an elected body that is chosen by the people in a fair and free democratic process. Why would they be incapable of serving their electorate?

>Why would they be incapable of serving their electorate?

I'm not claiming they are incapable, but with a constantly re-elected congress that's on an upward trend and just now hitting 30% approval rating it seems they don't serve their constituents effectively.

Well, I don't want to broaden the scope, but what about public communication platforms necessitates that governments cannot adequately protect free-speech as well as provide a fair/balanced service? NPR seems to do it quite well, so does PBS. Not saying they're perfect because nothing is, but the government is quite capable in this regard.

Is someone suggesting that a governing body chose platforms? I haven’t seen that yet suggested.

What I have seen is suggesting breaking up giants like Google and Facebook to allow them to compete more with each other rather than allowing the two fold in any possible alternatives as soon as they become popular.

What's the equivalent competiting content delivery system to YouTube?

I don’t think it’s about a governing body making that decision for you.

If all the policies and processes around censorship were laid out in the open for that to be considered when weighing up the options, people would be able to make more informed choices.

I’m always really worried about the unintended consequences of having the government regulate what Google can and cannot moderate on their platform. That strikes me as a larger free speech issue than our current system.

I’d recommend just breaking Google’s monopoly; which is an idea that has more benefits and less downside risk.

> I’d recommend just breaking Google’s monopoly

Would an independent YouTube be less susceptible to these requests?

We don’t know, because right now youtube is one black box in Google’s finance sheets. We don’t know if it is a loss leader, which I think is very likely. Imagine youtube was a separate company that always ran in the red and another private company solely footed their bill. Would you trust YouTube’s neutrality then? Wouldn’t that explicate why competition is having difficulty emerging?

Or imagine YouTube were to split into two; YouTube the distribution platform and YouTube the recommendation engine. Imagine Youtube the platform had to license content publicly. Now it is much more likely to have competition emerging and end users benefiting from it.

YouTube was much more profitable before the current era of partisan activists engaging in targeted campaigns of harassment against specific brands when their ads appear next to controversial content.

Before, industry players, YouTubers, and users largely didn't mind. Now, there is a systemic chilling effect in the form of demonetization, algorithm shenanigans, and banning.

To recover revenue under this new paradigm, YouTube is catering to "brand-safe" corporate media productions and surfacing their videos much more highly than those of independent creators. There's likely media money involved as well, much like how Yelp and food delivery apps rank restaurants.

> YouTube was much more profitable before the current era.

We don't know if it has ever been profitable at all.

Google started breaking out youtube numbers in their recent quarterly results (once sundar became Alphabet CEO)

That is only the revenue, which is mostly meaningless because most of the revenue is disbursed to content creators. We also don’t know how much the whole system costs to run.

I bet even Google doesn't really know. It's pretty hard to break out cost numbers within a company with so many shared services.

Oh, they know. They have to know server utilisation to be able to bill their cloud customers and I bet they have even better data for themselves.

That's not the same thing. They had detailed server utilisation data when I was there years ago, and they had models that tried to translate that into some sort of dollar cost, but that didn't mean they really knew.

You probably can't know. The ground truth would be if YouTube were spun out and had to rent its infrastructure from Google directly via Google Cloud. But GCloud doesn't actually sell the infrastructure they use, as far as I know - for instance the search engine, the ads engine, the anti-abuse engines, Borg, the edge networks. AFAIK most of the stuff that YouTube relies so heavily on isn't actually available to buy at any price.

Pricing is hard work, too. What price should Google charge to license out their search engine tech for competing video sites? There's no existing market for that kind of tech that could provide an obvious price point.

For an integrated operation like Google/YouTube you can't ever truly say if it's profitable or not. The division of costs and benefits will always be rather arbitrary.

> You probably can't know

I disagree both on knowability and what needs to be known. The point of the exercise is not having a calculation down to the cent. We don’t even know if the order of magnitute of the revenue and the cost is the same. By its nature I would expect youtube to be very IO and compute heavy, which would dominate the cost function, to the point of rendering rest of your list into bells and whistles.

> Pricing is hard work, too. What price should Google charge to license out their search engine tech for competing video sites? There's no existing market

That is precisely the function of making a market, supply and demand meet and iterate over the price. Right now there is no price because there is no market.

>Hey boss can I have another million dollars for my project?

>>What's the ROI?

>Idk should be good though.

>>Here's three million just in case.

A conversation that no one has ever had.

Probably, as it would have fewer conflicts of interests and relationships with foreign dictatorships.

...but ideally, we would have multiple YouTube competitors, that would allow content creators vote with their choice to use Google.

YouTube has multiple competitors.

One of them is even a heavyweight - Facebook. Did you not realise that Facebook hosted videos? Maybe you're unaware that Instagram has Instagram TV section...

> Would an independent YouTube be less susceptible to these requests?

You would almost certainly need something like the Paramount Consent Decrees to structure the marketplace correctly and to foster the kind of competition that would prevent a single player from being in such a vulnerable position.

This is the reason I really hope we see an uptick in distributed applications.

>>The Founding Fathers could not have predicted this.>>

Sure they could. They had the East India Tea Company.

I'm not a legal expert but it seems like the fundamentals are pretty simple and timeless. If they have a monopoly, then their private get-out-jail-free card no longer applies.

As I read it, "this" refers to "a monopoly on communication/speech", not "a monopoly [of any kind]".

Messages had to be transmitted by hand until the telegraph era.

The British (or Dutch) India Companies had a stranglehold over shipping -- and thus over communication -- to colonial holdings for much of their existence.

I wasn't aware of this, but I still don't think this is a compelling analogy. I doubt that these companies were able to efficiently parse the content of these messages in order to manipulate the distributions of certain messages, for example. Further, there's simply no way that post had nearly the same share of communication as do digital systems today (most communication was certainly by word of mouth and print).

The majority of communication was still local - and importantly, B/D India Company wasn't opening and reading and censoring all the letters they were transporting.

Benjamin Franklin controlled major fractions of the post offices in the colonies, the other rival post offices and Ben Franklin would often censor mail and remove messages. So, it also applies in the way you originally read it back then as well.

I recommend the biography of Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

No barrister or legal historian here,

but fairly certain that a monopoly on permissible communication/speech was and is still held (in title at least) by the Crown

this is pretty much precisely what the 1nd amendment is about and why it was so radical at the time.

Also due to the Stamp Act.

The East India Tea Company wasn't a fully antonymous entity though by the time of the American Revolution; it was more equivalent to a state-owned enterprise found in the likes of modern day China. Because of this any "powerful" moves the company made was assumed to be an extension of British political will moreso than that of some profit-seeking NGO.

That would be why the US Justice department is looking at an antitrust suit, Anti-trust is the remedy that came about in 1890 when the Standard Oil trust seemed unstoppable.

That said, I see this sort of thing a bit differently.

If Google is all powerful and a monopoly and never in danger of being killed, why comply with an authoritarian foreign nation to remove comments that are amplifying an anti-government sentiment? Why should Google care if the government of China is feeling a bit insecure about their own population's loyalty?

I worked at Google during "China Debacle #1", where Google went to China as an uncensored search engine, left in the middle of China Debacle #2, when China infiltrated Google's infrastructure to use it to track dissidents, and watched from the outside (as many here did) for China Debacle #3, when Google tried to create a censored search engine for China.

Why does Google need China so badly, that they are willing to compromise their values (debacle #3 and this comment censoring behavior)?

I don't think you need the antitrust legislation. I think Google is slowly dying and as they die their ideals wash away. Clean user experience, gone, Useful free services with return only positive feelings for the brand, gone. Employee perks, fading away. Lofty slogans of not being evil, gone.

This compliance, sometimes forced by edict in the EU's antitrust case, sometimes forced by coercion, tells me that Google isn't powerful, it is weak. It has lost its way and may not survive if it is unable to find its way back to something good.

Google certainly doesn't need China, but it wants it. It's a heckuva lot easier to do business and make money in a country, when you're chummy with the people in charge. Even if it goes against your ideals, free speech, or public interest.

Even if Google dies, its replacement will still be equally tempted to censor dissenting voices, in order to please the people in charge.

I understand where you are coming from here, I see it a bit differently. But I recognize that I see it differently because I have a weirdly particular definition of the word 'need.'

I have come to define the magnitude of need to represent how far out of your internal value system and the law are you willing to ago to satisfy a "need." I'm not sure what the units are, desperation perhaps.

For example, I "need" to eat to live but at the present time my need is modest because I have enough money to buy food to eat. At my current level I wouldn't steal food (go outside the law), or misrepresent my state of poverty to a food bank (go outside my internal values) in order to acquire food. So the magnitude of that need is "small."

However, if I was unemployed, out of savings, and behind on my bills, the calculus changes. I really need to eat, and in that situation might do things I would not normally do (like rummage around in trash cans for discarded food).

It is clear to me that Google, like every company, needs revenue in order to survive. The stronger the need for that revenue, the more willing they become to compromise the user experience, the law, and/or their internal values.

To me, their actions of the last few years appear to directly contradict what at one time were core internal values. Whether its the level of monetization of their own properties, or their willingness to cooperate with an authoritarian state to keep information away from their population. I see their taking of these steps as an outcome of their great need for revenue.

China is the second largest economy on the planet, and Google does not appear to be willing to hold true to their values and forego the revenue that economy could potentially produce for them. That is the reasoning by which I come to the conclusion that Google needs China.

> a single private company having a near-monopoly on various public communication channels

Does Google rise to this level? Facebook, Twitter, cable TV and every newspaper and blog would seem to present a decent front of competition.

Before 1988 in the U.S. we had "equal time" laws that required that broadcast media present both sides of political debates with "equal time" for each side. That's because for decades there were three sources of content: ABC, CBS, and NBC. Then cable and alternative radio ended that oligopoly for a while and those laws were removed.

Now we have just a few mass media content producers and a few mass social media outlets. The situation is beginning to resemble that which existed for decades, from the 20s to the 80s, in broadcast media.

Those "equal time" laws, more collectively the Fairness Doctrine, was struck down as unconstitutional because it forced broadcasters to host speech they did not agree with.

Why would we expect to be able to force Google to host speech they disagree with?

The Fairness Doctrine was not struck down as unconstitutional by the courts, the supreme court upheld it several times. It was Reagan's FCC that unilaterally struck it down. And that led directly to the rise in prominence of right-wing talk starting with Rush Limbaugh which became the template for other right-wing broadcasts including Fox News.

My mistake, it was indeed undone by the FCC rather than the courts. I could have sworn it was undone by SCOTUS, but I guess a refresher is needed every once in a while.

Regardless, I think the main point from the proceedings is: it was only found constitutional because of limited airwaves available (i.e. physical constraint of the medium, or exclusive government licensing). The same rule would not be constitutional if it applied broadly to "the press."[0]

In that sense, my point remains: there's nothing intrinsically exclusive about the medium of Google's websites that would prevent another from competing for the same "airwaves" (other than their perceived popularity), so a requirement that Google shares its "airtime" with others would not be supported by the precedent.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FCC_fairness_doctrine#Decision...

I think the fairness doctrine is a great litmus test for intellectual honestly on this topic. Anyone who is in favor of regulating Google and Facebook's speech should also be in favor of regulating Fox News and other platforms that are dominated by conservative politics.


I'll classify Fox News with other media, like Vox and Slate and Buzzfeed. (for the articles and shows at least, not necessarily the paid advertisements)

I'll classify Google and Facebook with other communication platforms, like T-Mobile and FedEx. Paid advertisements probably go in this category too, even if appearing within the other category.

Why would you classify Google and Facebook in the same category as T-Mobile?

Individuals use them to communicate. Personal messages ("Happy birthday to Root Axis!") are passed around by ordinary people. FedEx, T-Mobile, Google, and Facebook are all similar in this way.

Individuals who decide to run news segment on Fox News get denied, just the same as they would if they decide to run an article in Slate or Salon or The Atlantic. To communicate on a platform in that category, one must get hired or convince an employee that an interview (which would be tightly controlled) is beneficial to the employee.

Well there is no such distinction with regard to current law, so I'll assume you're discussing what you believe ought to be.

So from that perspective, why should Google be treated differently from Fox News simply because Fox News has a higher standard for publication than Google?

In current law, the distinction is called common carrier status. Enforcement is lax and irregular, and it mostly isn't being properly applied to the tech giants.

We don't let the phone company disconnect phone calls in which people complain about the phone company, or about China, or about the governor. We don't let FedEx decide that you can't ship an unauthorized biography of the FedEx CEO.

Common carrier status has never applied to news media. The closest we ever had was the fairness doctrine, which is gone and wasn't the same thing anyway. Fox News is clearly news media. Most of what we call "Google" is clearly not news media.

> Common carrier status has never applied to news media

It never applied to websites either, so why do you want it to apply to websites but not "news media"?

Do you believe that Fox News should be allowed to delete comments from foxnews.com?

We invent a new technology by which to transfer things, and suddenly the existing law doesn't apply? New technology is inherently lawless? Being "with computers" makes it different?

I don't think so. It's the same old stuff, merely with a technology upgrade. Be thankful, so the first amendment doesn't only protect quill pens and lead movable type.

The comments on foxnews.com are at the borderline, so it wouldn't be bad to flip a coin. A reasonable approach would be that deletion is restricted to crude insults and off-topic rants. It doesn't really matter though, because the foxnews.com comments sit on the border between being a publication and being a generic public communications medium. There is no point splitting hairs.

You're the one splitting hairs; a platform that is privately owned and financed by the owner belongs to the owner, if you believe the prerogatives of private ownership should be a function of popularity then there is no reason to carve out exceptions for media companies on different mediums. It is not a reasonable outcome that google would be prohibited from moderating their platform with respect to their values yet Fox News would be permitted to curate their platform with respect to their own. The litmus test seems effective.


Verizon's phone network is a platform that is privately owned and financed by the owner.

I think you're failing a litmus test here, unless you really believe that Verizon should have the right to drop phone calls that are politically offensive to Verizon executives.

The same goes for FedEx's logistics/transportation network. It too is privately owned and financed by the owner. Imagine that it were run by an executive who decided that the terms of service would include disposal of democrat campaign materials. Send a box of Biden yard signs, and they go into a dumpster. The tracking number just disappears from the system.

It's probably hard to see that Google is very much like Verizon when you happen to like Google's bias.

> "Why would we expect to be able to force Google to host speech they disagree with?"

So what Google is doing with this particular epithet is fine is what you're saying? Sure hope there's no other cause that you champion that Google decides they disagree with someday.

Every individual is a "side," so the equal-time concept in broadcasting doesn't scale.

It never really did, and this would only be more apparent if we tried to re-institute such a doctrine today.

There's some overlap, sure, but each of these is different. It's like saying there isn't a milk monopoly, because another competitor makes cheese.

The Founding Fathers totally predicted this. The USPS existed in some form before the founding of the nation. The postal service was vital for allowing communication and dispersal of news through the nation. Without this neutral party a private mail carrier could opt to not deliver for any reason, like after they've opened your mail and read the contents they find politically disagreeable.

Historically the monopoly of the mail was abused for censorship (e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comstock_laws). If there've been comparable consequences from competing private mail services, I haven't heard of them.

Mail is to Data as Video is to Data. Youtube is a private data service. We are in a discussion of the comparable consequences of competeing private mail services.

The very first multi-national companies were neck deep in looting India and smuggling opium to China. The American founding fathers were very aware of this.

I don't see what this has to do with this conversation. Those companies were not censoring coffee shop or bar conversations of citizens WITHIN the United States.

We aren't talking about economic monopoly exploitation - we're talking about monopoly control over domestic communications.

We were fanboys enough to use the East India Company flag, too.

Sure, a more fundamental problem. But many people don't have enough imagination and foresight and for them concrete examples are more convincing. Same with the country I'm currently in - democracy has been rotting for the last several years as the ruling party has been busy disabling protection mechanisms and pulling out screws. It's only now that the government is blatant in its abuse of law and police fine people with no chance of appeal and straight up beat them, nurses get pay CUTS... that citizens realize what suckers they've been. That laws and procedures exist for a reason.

Maybe they're not just stupid, but have a different way of thinking. Bottom-up versus top-down.

google search is a utility class service at this point, a tier below tap water and electricity. the world would be an objectively worse place without it for billions of people. with great power comes great responsibility is how the saying goes, but i can see them fighting tooth and nail to not be labeled as such. same for facebook and others like them.

You're putting the cart before the horse. Google and Facebook are utilities but the Internet service you need to access them isn't. Seems a bit ridiculous, no?

my bad for assuming that it goes without saying i guess? or that most people except us here can't tell the difference?

It is your bad for assuming. Telecoms will fight to the death to prevent Internet service from becoming a utility and you're acting like it's all but guaranteed. We're not even close to this reality.

never said anything to the contrary, actually agree with everything here.

There is nothing sadder to think of than a desperate man, crawling through the desert, body burned, lips parched, just begging to know what year Ted Nugent was born in.

The suggestion that google search is comparable to water and electricity is absurd IMO. Google search is not needed to survive. There are also alternatives to google. Nothing about google's popularity precludes someone from using bing.com instead.

Electricity is also not needed to survive. Depends on your definition of need.

Not everyone needs it to survive, but many do. It is needed to survive if you live in a climate that gets very cold or very hot. It's needed to survive if you rely on medical equipment powered by electricity. It's needed to survive if you rely on a refrigerator to store food. Of course needs are on a spectrum, but its frustratingly disingenuous to suggest that google.com is comparable to electricity in terms of need, it's obviously not.

> a single private company having a near-monopoly on various public communication channels > The Founding Fathers could not have predicted this.

Financial, political, religious entities controlling newspapers and book publishers is a problem known (and well documented) across thousands of years.

Same for near-monopolies of means of transportation, materials, water, and other.

None of those combined instantaneous planet-wide distribution of spoken word, produced by anyone, shoveled to everyone, individually based on what they would be most likely to want to hear.

If founding fathers had netflix this wouldn’t even make to a black mirror episode of their time.

> Google's "We're a private company" get-out-jail-free card cannot continue to apply.

It can, should, must and most importantly, will.

What's really not acceptable is their monopoloy position on information, not that they, as a private company, have a right to decide what to publish.

>The Founding Fathers could not have predicted this.

The Founding Fathers used this to their advantage.

They colluded with the handful of major publishers of the time to orchestrate a rolling, synchronized release of the Federalist Papers, saturating the already-monopolized (due to the massive expense of presses and paper) media market with their ideas.

The authors of the Anti-Federalist Papers had no such deal. They had to print out their responses on their own and distribute them by hand.

The country probably would not have even gotten to the point of needing a debate about a constitution, one-sided as it was, if it hadn't been for publishers telling non-conforming opinions to fuck off.

And please, nobody chime in with "publisher v. platform": it is irrelevant, you're wrong.

Am I crazy or was there a comment in this thread calling out the moderators of HN and their own censorship? Did it disappear as well?

Discussion was buried low the comments because it was "down-weighted" by the moderators:


The thread you're referring to is https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23223555. There is ample explanation there of what happened.

thanks for the hard work here dang, I really appreciate your moderation. I hope you can appreciate our inquisitions from time to time. I think this kind of model works well in general to keep both sides accountable.

I don't remember exactly, but originally my comment wasn't top-level. Did the mods do that, or is that automatic with high karma comments or something?

We sometimes do that to protect an on-topic subthread from suffering the fate of its on-topic parent.


It would be very interesting to see a complete list of all the banned words, could some google employee leak it?

>> The Founding Fathers could not have predicted this.

HA! The founding fathers were all lawyers and newspaper owners. They were very aware that private interests, through control of available media, could exert influence all manner of public debates.

Right-wingers are afraid of power of governments, while left-wingers of power of multinational corporations. Both are right: we should be afraid of any organization that gets that big. Sadly, there's no political ideology that has a coherent plan to keep both in check.

You forgot socialists and anarchists (also known in the US as libertarian socialists for historical reasons) which advocate for a classless democratic society. The former advocate for a transition state and the latter demands a direct immediate transition as far as I understand it.

I agree with you and the commenter who replied with the market share stats that the numbers are worrisome, but literally no one laid a gun to the commenters’ heads and asked them to leave a YouTube comment. They could embed the video (or link to it) and offer a comment on their blogs.

There was an article about RSS on HN recently — in the end, people voted with their feet away from a decentralised web to the YouTubes and Twitters and Facebooks of today.

Maybe we need more actions like these to remind ourselves of the perils of lease-holding.

It's not "We're a private company" as much as "Google cannot practically force you".

Google also doesn't have anywhere near a monopoly position in consumer markets. YouTube isn't an absolute majority of online video and strong alternatives are right in front of you - Twitter and Facebook offer free video hosting. You could even build a private one, or rent space from Vimeo or Dailymotion.

The Founding Fathers can go &&*k themselves. Invoking their name is literally appeal to authority.

This is a problem with monopolies, not censorship. When private companies are forced to publish content, you have fundamentally lost the notion of a free press.

I don't entirely agree that companies operating public discussion forums is equivalent to "forced speech", but I do agree that the problem can be fixed by eliminating the monopoly/oligopoly.

Forbidding companies from moderating the content on their own public forums is forced speech. An easy test is when government officials participate in those forums: if you must publish what the government tells you to, that's literally forced speech.

Similarly, the Fairness Doctrine was overruled because requiring companies to air opinions they disagreed with was found to infringe free speech.

Google even more outrageous qet-out-of-jail-free card is the "our servers aren't in your country so we don't have to obey your laws"

That is a bigger issue for our society, yes. But it's also understandable that people might be very interested in alleged problems that strike closer to home for them. In this case, if there is an issue worth considering at HN, exploring it could give insight into the larger issue as well.

We desperately need a Post Office of internet content. At-cost hosting and completely content-agnostic.

Total content agnosticism is not going to fly once illegal stuff starts getting hosted, and then you go down that sliding scale of what content is allowed vs what isn't. If you ban some highly illegal content, you'll probably need to ban some other illegal content, and then start picking what countries laws count to enforce (recognizing that you'll be banned in some countries if you dont comply), and you'll end up back where you started. If you decide you dont care and will let literally anything be hosted, you might find yourself in jail, and very few people will feel comfortable hosting their content on the same service that hosts some of the most despicable content in the world.

True, but to me the difference is the focus on the user rather than the platform. If somebody mails a package of child pornography to someone else the news doesn't attack the Post Office. Since it'd be government-run I wouldn't have a problem with each account being tied to a specific social security number. A true federal public utility that doesn't have to worry about crossing borders.

If the post office didn't comply with/lead an investigation into who mailed it (or something like a mail bomb - there are ways to do direct damage with the platform as well, imagine the site being used to host viruses) and instead said that they didn't moderate what went through the mail, they will protect free speech, mailing is a form of speech, and that they won't enforce anything for the spirit of the platform, the platform would be eviscerated and the we must protect the children backlash would be enough to get a law passed saying that every single bit of mail must be opened or read. For the internet platform, they'd have to start having questions about what they enforce and what they don't, and when they do or don't work with law enforcement. Just look at how Apple is going up against the justice department and multiply that conflict by 100x

Yes, but there's a difference between complying with the law and having a constantly-shifting rulebook whose enforcement is predicated only on creating the largest value for shareholders. I want rules that apply to all users equally regardless of whether they have ten viewers or ten million, which today's online hosts like Youtube and Twitch blatantly don't do.

good luck with that, congress has been trying to slowly kill the real post office for years and now the head of the executive branch is been trying to kill it as a way of punishing a perceived rival/critic. despite the consitution specficly calling out that we need to run it. getting them to build a modernized digital equivalent.

The founding fathers gave the USPS a monopoly on the major communication channel of the time. Maybe it's time to update those laws to give them a monopoly over online communication, too?

I see no way this could go wrong.

USPS wasn't opening and reading everyone's messages, and then refusing to deliver certain content.

That's why envelopes were sealed.

US Telecom?

Pretty sure they were aware of the East India Company (both Dutch and British), and other powerful mercantile organizations.

We need to redefine what is considered a public space.

I think the solution to this is simple: Pay for every service you use.

The question was historically then how do teenagers (or the developing world for that matter) pay for electronic services and cue Facebook and Google.

How would that solve the problem at hand (Google having a near-monopoly on search and video)?

Email: Protonmail, Tutanota, etc. Storage: AWS, Box, pCloud, etc. Search: DuckDuckGo, a few open source projects, etc. Video: Not sure if there is one.

My point is just if you pay for something, you are less likely to be gamed for advertising cash.

For search you should be paying for the indexes in some way, or for the algorithms in your company.

I am just presenting this as a philosophy. Not trying to solve the world's problems on a forum.

Other than waiting for a superior product to emerge, nothing can be done to stop their monopoly besides seizing the google.com and youtube.com domains and permanently shutting them down.

> having a near-monopoly on various public communication channels

Since when did Google became the defacto public communication channel?

I would say from approximately 2008

Last time I checked Facebook, Whatsapp and fake news outlets were being used by bad actors to manipulate elections in various countries. If Google holds monopoly in public communication channels, this shouldn't have even happened?

That was a bad joke, but truth be told there are not that many outlets. The word "monopoly" is thrown around very lightly, although if you have just a few big players on the market then there is always a real possibility of cartel-like operations. Small platforms are eliminated or bought out very quickly. The way in which all the classical media reacted to Gab getting bigger was a bit suspicious, because it was not their direct competitor. From their point of view it should be an enemy of an enemy. It's much more likely, that existing internet molochs do not like competition that much. Maybe Gab was a special case, but ask yourself this - how many video platforms created from 2008 onwards can you name and how much of them are still around, not owned by big G and having a reasonable market share? There is only YT, nothing else comes close. This format - medium to long, usualy rich in content, videos are something that cannot be easily replaced in public discourse. Maybe facebook groups or reddit fill some of the gaps, but definetely not tictok or instagram. Communication does not equal communication. A well made video can have a lot more impact than all conversations that you can possibly start on WhatsApp in your life. Twitter is too shallow to fill this gap in my opinion.

This is a feature of Capitalism. The big fish will always end up eating the small ones unless the small fish so radically different that the big fish dies before it was able to eat it, there's no escape.

Sure, I agree, but so far unregulated capitalism served only those companies and nations that already had market advantage. Forcing "liberal" economic changes in South and Latin America caused their markets to crumble under global competition. You always have to regulate markets somehow. The anti-monopoly laws are an example of just that. Now let's ask ourselves how is a monopoly in a certain area of information brokerage any different? I think classical media gave a very good example of what should be avoided and we have to remember that those actually split the domain between themselves. In the case of internet giants it is often a division based on functionality, so each player owns almost a monopoly of one form of expression. YT Twitter and Reddit are the prime examples. Those three altogether cover almost all of meanigful ways of communication. Most of what's left is just too short, shallow and spreads not that well. Ok, there is still Facebook et al, but you will probably share content created on those 3 big platforms anyway. This is not a game. This is a breach of trust on an unprecedented level and is a direct threat to the future of humankind.


My point was that the Constitution does not handle the current situation - not specifically that the authors thought of it or not.

OK, but why is there so much Constitution/Founding Father worship in America?

It's a flawed document that has lead to a flawed nation. It does not have Messiah-like abilities to deal with current problems so why be surprised it doesn't have modern solutions to modern problems.

But they did have the foresight to make it a document that could be edited. That part did take forethought and was revolutionary by men who were very much ahead of their time. I understand that judgement of figures of the past by modern ethics is the newest trend, but history has to be given a bit of context and what is a given now was blasphemous at the time. Some of the things, like a constitution that could evolve, was not the norm.

Every country that has a constitution has a mechanism to modify it, but the US Constitution is set up in a way that its most severe flaws can't be fixed (small rural states are over-represented but have a veto over any attempt to change this because 3/4 of the states must agree to any amendment).

It isn't a flaw. It is part of the strength of the system.

When a country that's only 70 years old goes into a civil war - that's not an indicator of a strong system.

A war which it recovered from and remains to this day the world's oldest federated state.

By subverting the US Constitution.

That's not a flaw, it's a very intentional choice that enables the US to be the federation of states that it is. Changing that would be to fundamentally change the form of government that the US has.

> Every country that has a constitution has a mechanism to modify it

Sure, NOW that's standard. At the time, it was not.

> the US Constitution is set up in a way that its most severe flaws can't be fixed

This isn't a flaw at all. It is meant to ensure the broad geographic consensus is required to make fundamental changes.

Reducing the political power of rural communities might be popular today among urban communities, but it is a recipe for escalating division and ultimately rebellion.

There is great value in giving out-sized political power to remote colonies and communities. Further centralizing power in the capitals is a path to fascism.

This last summer I read through the two Chernow bios for Washington and Hamilton. I came away from them with a renewed respect for their leadership through a difficult war and the daunting challenge of errecting a new government built on a system of checks and balances that protects individual rights. I'd say they were pretty darn successful.

We are lucky that they were able to pull it off. It really could have fallen apart. But it didn't. And for that they deserve an enormous amount of veneration.

It's an outstanding document all things considered. Aside from some things like implicitly allowing slavery at the time, the constitution + bill of rights are nearly perfect as a foundation for the role a federal government should play in my opinion, especially with some additions like the 14th. Nothing else that I've seen captures the essence of good governance quite the same.

Because people (on different sides of political divides, at different times) are happy to have any, arbitrary, damping coefficient on the pace of social change.

The ceremony of interpreting the document is all a bit silly, but it's better than letting they majority party write a new one.

They are using public right-of-ways an spectrum to carry their data, so free speech ought to apply.

It's not only Google, some argue we have been slowly moving from an Internet to a Trinet where GOOG-FB-AMZN control the majority of the web traffic while staying out of each others way [0]

[0] https://staltz.com/the-web-began-dying-in-2014-heres-how.htm...

Google can do whatever they like. They're a company, not the government. And as such, they will always bend to the mercurial whims of both rich investors and the government (who is also owned by the rich).

The only way to fix that is a nearly-uncensored#, non-profit& communications and streaming platform that is globally-distributed and doesn't have a SPoF. Trying to get a content creators' union is all-well-and-good, but it doesn't solve the fundamental problem of reliance on corporate greed that will never assure access to speech.

# There are only a few topics that shouldn't be enabled like child porn and actually planning mass murder.

& Nonprofit itself while it supports monetization for creators with only minimal fees to cover costs.

> having a near-monopoly on various public communication channels

> Google's "We're a private company" get-out-jail-free card cannot continue to apply

You're upset that they have a monopoly on their own website/business? What the hell are you even talking about?

Do you even remember the internet before Google? I do. You know how I found new websites? By typing random domain names into the URL bar and trying different combinations of TLDs.

Then I used Yahoo. Excite. AltaVista. Lycos. Ask Jeeves. Dmoz. Alltheweb. They all kinda sucked in their own unique ways. And then Google came around, and I could actually find what the hell I was looking for in one go.

Your outrage is pure entitlement. You don't like the way the world works, so you think you deserve to change everything to function exactly the way you want. As if that's in any way rational, fair, or ethical. Presumably you think of yourself as a good person. How is it good to demand unreasonable things from people who do not owe you anything? Do you really think this is the best way to effect societal change?

Not that long ago, capability (yes, some dictionarys show also; skill, appearance, behaivior and other around orchestrated topics ^^) btt: capability wons importance, cos growing globalisation and toughening competition - in terms of the commerce, with shorter product life cycles, higher complexity and much more influences.

In such a environment, a premise for life is a permanent monitoring on all levels of performance, to have the option to bring on steering and governance, if a discrepancy in goal-reaching or goal-setting occurs.

no, that was'nt english enough, let me try better:

"'Sharks' are speaking of 'satisfied' when a half of the profits result by dividends and from Performance."

Exploiting the central-bank-agitation

so big on a global scale, more in detailed,... now you...

Do you want to continue to support art, like 'google will eat itself'? (-;

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