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Verizon suspends advertising on Facebook, joins growing boycott (reuters.com)
535 points by hhs 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 331 comments





Sounds like Verizon's Facebook advertising spend is losing value because of COVID-19, so they're using this a way to redirect focus away from the negative impact on their business.

All of the companies doing this right now are 'pausing spend' rather than redirecting. They're reducing their marketing budgets and pointing the finger at Facebook so no one looks too closely at the implications of their reduced ad spend.


To be fair to Verizon, they have not laid off a single person since March. The retrained 95% of their retail workers to be at home support agents and the rest are still working in their stores for issues that have to be solved in person.

So it makes sense that they would need to cut budget somewhere, since employees is not one of them.


I don't fault Verizon for cutting budget. It's absolutely the right thing to do. But if we weren't in the situation we're in they probably wouldn't be doing this.

The nuance between "we're going to stop doing business with Facebook because Facebook is bad" and "we have to cut budget from advertising and we chose to cut it from Facebook because Facebook is bad" is important.

It's convenient to do this now, but hard to believe that any of these companies would have done this at this kind of scale if they weren't backed into making cuts.


I think it's also really cool that companies are using "We'll stop paying these harmful companies for advertising" as a marketing play!

It is essentially positive for everyone involved except for the harmful companies.


Why is it impossible that Verizon is responding, at least in part, to public pressure against Facebook?

Sometimes things or people change. Something or someone that would have taken advantage of you before, learns its lesson and becomes trustworthy.

When it comes to things that you are bigger than, things which you can stop if need be, giving second chances is noble. But when it comes to things that are bigger than you, things you can't change at all, one chance is all they should ever get.

Verizon does not "respond [...] to public pressure," they just have a PR team that is leveraging some current narrative for their own benefit. They aren't changing, and they will never love you back.


Regardless of motivation, Verizon has clearly made a visible public action, which is what I was talking about and what speaks to the efficacy of the activist campaign against Facebook.

I suspect you might not get an answer to this since it's not something anyone has actually said here.

Headline: "Verizon suspends advertising on Facebook, joins growing boycott"

Root Comment: "Sounds like Verizon's Facebook advertising spend is losing value because of COVID-19, so they're using this a way to redirect focus away from the negative impact on their business."

Parent Comment: "Why is it impossible that Verizon is responding, at least in part, to public pressure against Facebook?"

Your Comment: "I suspect you might not get an answer to this since it's not something anyone has actually said here."

I read this the way the parent commenter read it as well: everyone is explicitly avoiding the notion that Verizon may be doing this because they feel like that is best for their public image. What I can't tell is if you're asserting that no one will answer because everyone is coming up with other ideas that seem to avoid the obvious, or if you think the parent commenter is asking a baseless question.


Verizon's earnings are down something like 3% YTD from their guidance [0] and their stock price is down 10%. Fortune 500 companies do not prioritise doing social good over profits when their share price is down 10%. Too many people are losing too much money; these are numbers that are supposed to go up.

It is obvious Verizon is taking action in context of the Facebook boycott because they've told us that in a press release. But it is a very safe bet that the decision is made accompanied by data that says "Facebook ads have not been especially cost effective for us over the last 12-18 months" and was probably already a decision in the works prior to learning about the boycott.

There are ~8 billion people in the world. Corporate executives are the tiny fraction of that population who are both hyper-competent and hyper-motivated by money. They did not suddenly wake up this morning and decide to try and do more good in the world than they were yesterday, and the odds are bad that they made this call based on nebulous "oh there is a boycott this month we just realised Facebook is nasty" style considerations.

[0] https://www.investors.com/news/technology/verizon-earnings-v...


> I read this the way the parent commenter read it as well: everyone is explicitly avoiding the notion that Verizon may be doing this because they feel like that is best for their public image. What I can't tell is if you're asserting that no one will answer because everyone is coming up with other ideas that seem to avoid the obvious, or if you think the parent commenter is asking a baseless question.

I think at this point most (if not the vast majority) of people think it a baseless question. Not because they think that it's impossible that Verizon/Verizon employees/Verizon executives/etc care but because non-human legal entities have lost all benefit of the doubt and credibility over the last few decades. The dominance of shareholder primacy has all but guaranteed it.

Even if the decision makers or even the majority of Verizon cares about this issue now, natural executive/employee turn over guarantees that they will go back to spending money with Facebook as long as there is a financial incentive to do so - sooner rather than later.


Maybe for PR... Verizon sells your browser history.

The timing is quite suspicious.

I am as cynical about the behavior of large corporations as anyone. But you can never really know anybody's motivations, only guess them from their actions.

Verizon could be doing it because of ad budgeting reasons. Verizon could be doing it because of public pressure. Most likely, both benefits go into their cost-benefit analysis.


Exactly, it’s always both. These conversations always suppose a degree of coordination and agreement I’ve never seen at a large corporation.

I just searched for Verizon on Google, and there was a Verizon ad, so they're still spending on digital marketing elsewhere. That Google ad is not even likely to be profitable considering Verizon owns all the organic links in the first page of results except for the Wikipedia result ranked fourth.

If they were cutting advertising spend due to the economy, it would be rational to cut unprofitable spend first. I'm inclined to take them at their word for why they cut Facebook spend.


The rate Google charges for ads is inversely proportional to click-through rate, so you pay less per click if your click-through rate is higher. In the case of a company bidding to advertise on searches for that company’s own name, it means that the company can win the bid with a lower offer than competitors trying to put ads there. You could say Google is extorting Verizon to pay up to prevent competitors from stealing customers. But regardless, it’s probably a good value proposition for Verizon to participate in the auction, because competitors would have to overpay to beat them.

That they pay little doesn't matter. What matters is that it's above zero, which is what the clicks would cost without the ad, making them unprofitable.

The competitor argument for running the ad has two problems. The first is that no competitors are bidding for that keyword, and the second is that a competitor would already have to pay a lot to get top of page placement for a keyword they can't put in their ad copy.


Not sure why you think an ad wouldn’t work here. Sometimes customers are willing to switch to a competing product. If you can offer something better or cheaper they might want it. I’ve worked at a company where we at times bought Google ads for both our own product name and competitor’s names and made money.

> Not sure why you think an ad wouldn’t work here.

"no competitors are bidding for that keyword"

That itself is enough to make Verizon's ads unprofitable.

If you think that competitors would bid for the keyword without Verizon's presence, you'll have to explain why because with Verizon's presence, if nobody clicks on it, the cost is zero. There appears to be a gentleman's agreement between the consumer communication companies not to bid on each other's name, and if that's the case, bidding on your own name is flushing money down the toilet.

I've seen the food delivery case, where Blue Apron bids on "Hello Fresh" and offers a better coupon than for people searching for "Blue Apron." That isn't happening here.


Most companies don’t want their advertising associated with anything that will give them bad press. We saw the same thing with YouTube and “demonetization”.

It’s not they are ethical, it just doesn’t make sense from a business standpoint.


Their willingness to suspend advertising is also an indictment of the practically nonexistent competitive landscape in mobile providers in the US.

There just aren't good alternatives to Verizon for many people where T-Mobile/Sprint don't have good coverage. Switching between AT&T and Verizon is pointless for most plans.


As someone who helps fortune 100 companies with digital marketing, this is cynical view of Verizon and other companies. I am not sure why you are shifting the conversation from advertisers trying to reform FB to advertisers taking advantage of the media pause for positive PR. I don’t believe any of the companies with paused FB campaigns are paused elsewhere. That means Twitter, AdWords, Amazon, affiliate, and CTV spend is live. Digital marketing teams have to make hard decisions and decide how best to communicate with their customers or potential customers. Pausing FB is a step in the right direction. Other organizations have done the same on YouTube. I am as cynical as they come but I don’t see how reduced ad spend is something to hide and blame one single network.

> I don’t believe any of the companies with paused FB campaigns are paused elsewhere

> Other organizations have done the same on YouTube

Can you clarify these points because the way I read them they sound contradictory. Also, where are you finding this info about companies' advertising spends?

Not trying to be provocative, there's just a lot of misinformation out there.


For YouTube – that happened last year. Major agencies and corporations paused their YT spend. I wasn’t clear as I’m on mobile. You can search “YouTube advertiser boycott.”

I thought the 2019 YT boycott was driven by the fact that YT kept showing ads next to content where pedophiles were commenting.[1]

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/20/technology/youtube-pedoph...


It was caused by insufficient brand safety levers for advertisers on YT. I was providing an example where advertisers paused spend to show the importance of their beliefs.

I think the difference of opinions is that it sounds like you think the boycotts are a moral stand while we think the boycotts are driven by more practical considerations (in that the ads have become less valuable, either due to reduced consumer spending or increased brand risk).

Why is it that advertisers did not care previously and for so long? The status quo for a decade was that all parties - consumers, YouTubers, advertisers, and YouTube itself did not care much about the minority of ad placements that happened to be next to niche political, mature, or sexual orientation subject matter.

Was it the uptick in activists such as Media Matters and Vox conducting name-and-shame campaigns, contacting brands with screenshots and threatening publication? Once a campaign like that picks up media cycles (like the FB one at the moment) it seems that brands follow en masse only then, and not a moment earlier.


I can't speak for each brand or agency, but the majority have been vocal with YouTube or FB or Twitter for years. Each of those ad platforms has a slew of teams that work directly with the enterprise buyers (top advertisers). I remember a major USA bank giving explicit feedback to the YouTube product team six years ago due to limited brand safe content control. I was in the room. There are still two accepted strategies for delivering ads on user generated content networks. One, that if user targeting is used and an ad is served against questionable content, then the content is less important. Why? You delivered an ad to your target market. Two, even with user targeting, the ad's context and content should align with the advertisers ad. I think we are seeing #2 uptick across the board.

For networks like YouTube and Facebook they are in control of the algorithm, feed, ad decisioning, user targeting, and cost. Why can't they afford transparency and more control for advertisers? I don't know to be honest. I assume those features would limit revenue.

To answer your last question, I also don't know what tipped it. It seems like society is shifting quickly right now and brands want to better align with those changes. Someone else asked if all of this was for the sake of practicality. That is a part of it. Users are influenced by advertising and while we can't decipher the exact mix of it that truly influences behavior, brands are trying to protect themselves from egregious content.

I try to create physical analogies for my clients. Let's pretend the path to our storefront (selling clothes) is in a manufacturing warehouse park. Who is going to be enticed to enter the path to the store, or be curious to learn about the store's wares? I predict few folks would enter. It is similar to ads across the web. Some are there to entice you to click (enter) their store and some are there to inform you. Either way, context likely has some influence. Brands acknowledge that. Not to mention, zero brands want someone to screenshot their video or display ad next to something deemed malicious.

Lastly, it is hard for advertisers to turn their backs on channels that generate high returns or are table stakes. What would you do if the billboard that drove the most customers to your store was in a seedy location 20% of the time? The billboard owner sold it as is. So you either take it or leave it. Most business owners would buy it and deal with the risk. That is what we've seen play out on YouTube and Facebook.

Edit: I will add that sophisticated advertisers are shifting their performance metrics from pure lead-generation sales or site visits to incrementality measurement. They want to measure if ad exposure changes consumer behavior. Perhaps we will see that FB and YT have high influence or not or something in the middle. The changes in measurement will have major impacts on advertising spend.


>Sounds like Verizon’s Facebook advertising spend is losing value because if COVId-19

“We’re pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable,”

Doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with Covid-19 to me but rather advertisers don’t want to spend money advertising on a platform promoting hate speech.

But let’s say this was a conspiracy by all these companies to save their ad dollars because they are being wasted on FB, why would they be afraid of the “implications of their reduced ad spend”? Certainly there is nothing wrong with these companies coming out and saying we are not going to spend money advertising on FB because it’s a waste of money. What else is the implication?


I see it as a "kill two birds" situation. Corporate ethics is a very different beast from human ethics. Getting any decision through a board room typically requires at least two entirely plausible value propositions.

No, it takes no decision from the board to cut ad spending due to COVID, which is happening universally.

The bit about 'Facebook' is a very secondary thing and it's not in the same category of 'birds'.

One is existential to the nature of the business, the other is a PR line.


> Doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with Covid-19 to me

Advertising is one of the first things companies cut during a downturn. Their revenues are down and they need to shave some costs.

Where do they make that budget cut? It's a pretty easy call right now. They can shave some money and garner some easy positive press at the same time. They are getting advertising for cutting spending.

When their revenue starts to come back online, they quietly turn Facebook advertising back on. If anyone calls them on it, they can say they feel the atmosphere on FB has improved.


> Advertising is one of the first things companies cut during a downturn. Their revenues are down and they need to shave some costs.

Ok but did they cut advertising across the board or just Facebook?

You can’t have you’re cake and eat it too, either Facebook advertising was effective and they are harming their own business by cutting Facebook advertising (Suggesting there is more than money involved in the decision), or Facebook advertising is a waste of money in which case they won’t just quietly turn it back on as you claim.


It's likely they reduced advertising spend across the board, while cutting Facebook entirely.

> You can’t have you’re cake and eat it too, either Facebook advertising was effective and they are harming their own business by cutting Facebook advertising (Suggesting there is more than money involved in the decision), or Facebook advertising is a waste of money in which case they won’t just quietly turn it back on as you claim.

Of course there is real money involved. But the current political/ economic situation has made Facebook advertising less valuable than it was previously.

Things changed which made this an easy call.


Probably it’s both: two birds with one stone. (Saving costs + PR from participating against the populist right) Voila.

I suspect COVID-19 is making it easy for a lot of advertisers to drop FaceBook right now. Ad budgets are down and likely to stay down until this blows over.

Fact-free assertions :/

Ad spending is down universally, that much is true. [1] And everyone in ads knows this.

This also makes it very easy for execs to spin some PR in whatever direction they want.

It would be hard to provide 'evidence' that of the cynical take that VZ is just using this as an excuse, but there's no doubt the calculus works.

[1] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/coronavirus-advertisi...


HN used to have higher standards for discourse than "there in an effect, therefore any cause is plausible" - I believe it still does

If a marketing department is just told to reduce spend by 90% they will still be running some of their highest-ROI campaigns on Google and Facebook. Completely pausing Facebook means it's about something more than just budget cuts, because even with a reduced budget marketers always want to have at least a small presence on Google and Facebook since the ROIs are so high for the best campaigns.

The real reason doesn't matter. If a company leaves and says it's due to Facebook's promotion of hate speech then there's no way that company can go back to advertising on Facebook before that changes (it'd look like a change of heart, and that now they think promoting hate speech is OK). Facebook are seeing a drop in ad revenue no matter what, and the only way to get the companies back will be to change. Maybe FB don't care about getting them back, but I suspect that's not likely.

What if they are just , “... pausing our advertising until Facebook can create an acceptable solution that makes us comfortable”? because they don't feel Facebook has acted in a manner consistent with their perceived values?

Really?

Consumer facing telco is booming right now. TMobile has a purple ice cream truck selling phones in my neighborhood.

What is the PR hit of reducing ad spend anyway? Ads are the most liquid corporate spend, it dries up in days if not producing a return.


How do you know all that?

While they basically advocating banning people in favor of corporate sensibilities. Cannot have something ugly in their ad spaces Normally I wouldn't even care, it is what I expect from ad-tech. But I think I will remember that. There were other companies.

You believe anyone but Facebook would notice (and care) about seeing fewer Verizon ads on the platform?

> Sounds like Verizon's Facebook advertising spend is losing value because of COVID-19, so they're using this a way to redirect focus away from the negative impact on their business.

My first thought on all these "boycotts". Are we cynical or is there any proof of this?


Either way, if it puts pressure on FB to structure their business in a way that doesn't push hate at a micro targeted level isn't that a good thing?

It's hard to phrase this in a way that doesn't sound snarky, but I mean it sincerely: Would you rather they become more like Twitter instead? Promoting virality is promoting outrage content, full-stop.

Honestly? I think all political advertising shouldn't be allowed, it gives those with a disproportionate amount of capital a lever of influence that runs counter to the democratic process. If you want to push an issue you should have to organize people who believe in your cause and have them involved. There's been plenty of examples of microtargeting's influence that makes me think it has no place in the political discourse.

No idea if we'll ever get there.


Yep, it's pretty much how campaigns here in Germany work. There's about a few weeks of campaigning during which political posters and so on can be put up, but otherwise there's strict regulation on political ads.

Also the parties are significantly publicly financed and the amount of money is much lower, due to the much shorter campaign span, making the process much more egalitarian. For example the largest party in Germany, the CDU/CSU spent 30 million for the entire 2017 general election campaign (about 30-40% of the vote generally), and the smallest parties spend a few million with about 5% of the vote. So not much difference.

I'm completely shocked when I see US candidates in primaries spend tens of millions, or individual senators.


How does that work with FB? Let’s say you have a German politician with a subreddit about him. Does that not count as advertising? I’m genuinely curious because I’m certain your country has at least considered this scenario.

Up until now there hasn't really been laws addressing social media which falls outside of what is considered "Rundfunk" (basically television and radio mainly), but over the last year or two a lot of people have started demanding to apply the existing laws to social media as well. I think at the moment they're only required to label paid political ads.

Culturally though it has a greatly diminished role. If I remember correctly, during the last European election the largest parties spent about 500k on social media ads. We're still overwhelmingly dominated by traditional media. Angela Merkel has no social media presence, and if I had to guess even the most popular politicians maybe have a few ten or maybe a hundred thousand followers on Twitter.


You’re saying they spent 500k over a few weeks? How is that even possible?

You just have legally enforced spending limits.

Someone running for parliament in the UK, for example, is allowed to spend about $0.26 per voter † in an average constituency (of 72200 voters).

It's certainly not a perfect system, but it does mean if you earn £100k it's very easy to become an MP's largest donor.

† (The rules are more complicated than that, of course - there's separate spending by the national party, one free mailing by the royal mail, rules for tracking the equivalent value of volunteered professional services, and so on...)


parliamentary systems have less of the US two-party brinksmanship that explains all the robocalls and takedown ads.

Interestingly, the law in Germany is far weaker than in the US, or at least it was before Citizen United.

There are no limits on donations, for example. Anything below €10,000 does not even have to be reported. And reporting only happens once per year.


"Invest" might be a better term then "Spend"

How would you organize people to your cause without doing anything that would be considered 'advertising'? Unless you narrowly define advertising in a way that is easily worked around..

Same way we can have an open discussion on this lovely site we call HN.

While I'm not going to claim to know every definition of advertising, generally if money changes hands for priority over organic traffic that fits the bill pretty well for me. Doubly so if you're able to target specific categories and demographics. I think what makes microtargeting so bad in particular is that you can do things that would be negative to the broader public but narrow the scope so you have multiple sides of a campaign that doesn't let the public have a reasonable view of that campaign/issue as a whole.


What you're calling the democratic process is simply people willing to spend capital on a cause. It's just that their capital is time (and time is money). It doesn't make them any holier, and there's nothing morally or ethically superior about having to "organize people" without spending money. Put another way, I may be able to exert my political voice using money and I am not less deserving of having my opinion heard or any less deserving of influencing others than someone whose primary input is time (in lieu of other life pursuits).

“Time is money” is a cliche, not a fact. There are plenty of people who have lots of money but didn’t spend commensurate time getting it, as there are plenty of people who spend inordinate amounts of time making little money.

Sure. You can earn more money per unit of time by creating greater value for others. But my point is that saying "political spending is bad" doesn't make sense. Everyone is expending unequal efforts in different facets of their life. If I am busy keeping my small business afloat and can't afford to put in the kind of time a dedicated activist puts into organizing, I think I should still be able to use what resources I have to influence politics.

Otherwise, what we're saying is that everyone must dedicate significant portions of their life to on-the-ground organizing and direct action to be on an even footing relative to others. That doesn't sound like the kind of society most would want to live in. It means we'd need to forego other activities, both economic ones and leisure, just to engage in this artificially constrained political system.


I was just pointing out the foundation of your argument is categorically false. We can quibble over the rest - such as “creating greater value for others” being a completely arbitrary concept. Perhaps a better argument to make for your position is that money collated by organizations such as the ACLU, BLM (or the NRA), is used for political advertising, and therefore justifiable. I would personally find that argument difficult to refute. On the other hand, I personally think 100% of lobbying, which includes political advertising, should be illegal.

> You can earn more money per unit of time by creating greater value for others.

The majority of wealth that gets funneled into politics does not come from people who have high wages, it comes from capital invests or directly from corporate donors. This directly means that those for whom the system already works well have an outsized influence in making sure that the system will work even better for them in the future.

> That doesn't sound like the kind of society most would want to live in.

I think you need to recalibrate your understanding of what people want. Encouraging people to get involved in their communities and government sounds way better than making it necessary for politicians to solicit bribes (politely called fundraising) to keep their jobs.


Is it really that difficult for you to understand that being a squilloraire gives you the ability to politically out-maneuver almost-everyone-who-isn't?

What kind of mental gymnastics do you have to perform to disregard the tone of this particular global conversation?


At least Twitter is mostly public. That allows stupid stuff to be opposed, and harmful things to be reported.

With Facebook, and especially Groups, people are fully immersed in their self-selected filter bubble, and admins can run their colloidal-silver-scams without interference.


Could we prefer they no longer exist? Examples: there’s nothing an oil company can turn into that continues to sell oil in a non harmful manner. Altria tried to adopt vaping (still harmful) to move away from cigarettes (very harmful!).

Some businesses and their products should simply not exist due to the harm they cause. I apologize upfront if this doesn’t seem genuine and instead, unnecessarily controversial.


I'd like to hear the arguments behind the downvotes you're getting. To me, it seems that there are some things that, for the sake of the continued existence of our species (and countless others) on this planet, must simply be seen with clarity.

Our economy cannot currently operate without oil. Even if we replace it for energy production, we still need oil to produce other types of products.

Saying we should move towards using significantly less oil and that companies should pay for the negative externalities they cause is rational, saying oil companies should fundementally not exist is irrational.

Similarly, while I find the way that cigarette companies operate to be abhorrent (specifically they way they use international law to fight packaging and health laws), people deserve the right to smoke if they choose as well as the right to be free of abusive advertising of dangerous products.


We are able to synthesize methane from electricity+air with high-enough efficiency to use it as a chemical source. Some exotic stuff like asphalt might be difficult to synthesize, but most uses should be replaceable with a methane-based synthesis. Theoretically we could start a tax that progressively dis-incentivizes crude oil and natural gas extraction, but this is going to be hard unless US, EU, and CN agree on this, because the economic advantages of operating a refinery that stamps "synthetic" on their fossil products would be massive.

I really don't understand this protest at all. If they really care about this, why aren't they pulling from YouTube and Google? Which has very very bad comment sections? I'm not for big corporations calling for people to police speech. Patagonia boycotted Facebook, but they have 13 factories in China...a country with concentration camps for Muslims and political prisoners. A lot of corporate good will falls on deaf ears for me, especially when they have been so silent on issues in China/Hong Kong/Taiwan. Money talks, if this weren't a profitable thing to do, they wouldn't do it.

Verizon also currently appears heavily invested in TikTok which does not have better privacy practices and has yet to deal with many political issues Facebook must today.

I don't have a facebook, so I don't know how they are advertising these days? But I know that on YouTube your ads won't show on objectionable content. Is there a similar system on facebook? Or do your ads show against all content no matter how objectionable it is? If you can't control where your ads are shown, then this boycott doesn't really surprise me.

By way of a contrived example, suppose there is content about a person who was murdered and dismembered on facebook. Well if I'm Ginsu, I'm not sure I want a ginormous ad for my knives next to that content. I wonder if facebook makes guarantees like youtube does with regard to embarrassing situations like that.



Because YouTube already went through this exact crisis 3 years ago, "brand safety" is a proper noun

Choosing how to spend your own money is hardly 'policing speech'. It sounds more like it's not that you don't understand it but you're set on framing it in a specific way. As you point out, this can lead to hearing loss.

I understand what is happening, and what they want. I don't understand why they want it, other than they've done market research to show such a stance could lead to increased sales or brand marketing. I mean, this protest alone has already brought them tremendous free press/advertising. They've crunched the numbers.

Also...they are calling on the company to police speech. So how can you say they are "hardly policing speech" when they are literally calling for another company to do that? They can do whatever they want with their money, but to pretend they aren't advocating the policing of speech on a platform is just nonsense.


The premise is that the advertisers are pulling out bc they are disappointed with Facebook's relative lack of policing speech

Yes, it’s Facebooks right to run their site as they see fit, and it’s the right of all consumers and companies to associate with Facebook or not based on their own feelings about Facebook. End consumers are also free to express their opinions about Facebook, Verizon, and their relative agreements or lack thereof.

The marketplace of ideas is a pretty messy place.


Sounds good until those consumers form echo chambers that amplify crazy crap and then elect Actually Crazy people (on the left and right).

Then it's time for some guard rails.


How Facebook was used against American elections would not work if American democracy was healthy.

And of course, once actual crazy people control the government, who is going to install and maintain the guard rails?


There is no real evidence that the Russian campaign on Facebook was effective at all in 2016. I believe the entire campaign wasn't necessarily to effect the outcome, but to sow doubt on the outcome. Putin just wanted chaos. The real poll shift came when Comey made his statement on the Clinton email server within weeks of the election.

I'm 100% in favor of Facebook policing things like the "Plandemic" nonsense, but that's not what these companies are asking for. They are essentially asking for a partisan tilt to the platform...when the platform itself (imo) should strive to be a neutral party.


Alas, how do you define neutrality? What happens if Plandemic hypothetically becomes associated with a partisan party? How can Facebook be neutral there?

I agree they should try to be neutral, but I don’t know if neutrality is even possible in a lot of cases.


The irony, of course, is that FB bans users left and right for the most mundane things. I follow blog of a poet who stopped publishing on Facebook because his poems get suspended all the time when they mention any issues.

Yeah their auto-screening isn't particularly impressive. I'm just learning the platform, but I posted a video ad that was rejected and had to be reviewed (fair); then I made that exact same video a boosted post on my business page and had to go through the process again.

I think we're still in the very eary days of L in ML.


It's a well known left wing ploy. Look at Media Matters for example. They try to shut down speech they disagree with politically by affecting the broadcaster or the platform economically.

The outrage in this thread doesn't make sense to me. This is how advertising works, it's a business decision based on business interests, Verizon doesn't care about any of this one way or another, they are simply taking a stance based on pressure from their customers. What so many of you flippantly dismiss as an outrage mob is a coalition of concerned citizens who believe Facebook is wrong for allowing dishonest political content to disseminate unchecked. It's fine to disagree, but just repeating "censorship" is not convincing, other values exist and compete with the human right to shit-post on social media.

> What so many of you flippantly dismiss as an outrage mob is a coalition of concerned citizens who believe Facebook is wrong for allowing dishonest political content to disseminate unchecked.

So "hate speech" is a synonym for "dishonest political content"? Or are we maybe talking about different things here.

And just repeating "hate speech" is not convincing either, other values exist and compete with the "human right" to not be offended.


>to not be offended

If you think this is about being offended then I feel sad for your limited world view.

This is a mix of people not wanting politics to be controlled by external state actors and people not wanting acts of violence to be pushed for. The later leads to people getting actually hurt and killed. Avoiding that tends to be a value that most place rather highly.


At what point would you say Facebook is big enough that they need to be regulated?

In The Philippines, Facebook has a de-facto monopoly on communication.

There are only two major cellphone companies (Globe and Smart), and they essentially just act as last-mile providers for Facebook. Both networks are unreliable, so everyone just has two sim cards. Nobody texts, everyone just uses Facebook messenger and voice chat. Facebook even subsidizes free cellphone plans with access just to Facebook services.

City municipal services were all available primarily via Facebook in the city I stayed in. Cellphone numbers are seen as disposable, especially because the networks are so unreliable. Because nobody else can afford to subsidize the phone companies, nobody can compete with Facebook.

Facebook has an incredible amount of power. They can interfere in elections, and put people out of business with the push of a button. They could hold the entire country hostage.

Is it ok to regulate them then? Or should these leviathan corporations be treated like scrappy startups still?


I don't think people are asking for a FB boycott over "dishonesty", despite the way it is being framed. You literally have organisations like Sleeping Giants whose mission is to convince sponsors to dump sites that host conservative content. The current Facebook boycott is Stop Hate For Profit and is focused around hate speech (using the definition of hate speech as defined by the left).

I lean quite heavily left, I'm Australian and my political compass aligns me the most with our Greens party. I follow news sources from both the left and the right and it seems very obvious that the left is asking for some double standards. Twitter is celebrated online for being woke yet no one sees anything wrong with them for allowing people to commit assault and share it on their platform [1]. I actually find the current US political climate quite worrying, one side is being completely silenced in the mainstream media. I think Democracy needs to have multiple voices.

I hope people turn out and vote in the coming US elections because I suspect the Trump voters are going to come in huge numbers. The conditions of one side being silenced are very similar to 2016. ALL the polls showed a landslide for Hillary because people were too scared to admit they were going to vote Trump.

[1] - https://twitter.com/tariqnasheed/status/1273092750699720709


Australia, left leaning.

I think Twitter's response generally on speech has been terrible. Putting a label on a couple of Trump tweets doesn't fix that when they always move second to ban bot nets after Facebook discovers them, or to remove people who call for violence (eg the Alex Jones Sandy Hook conspiracy theory).

> ALL the polls showed a landslide for Hillary

No they didn't. The ones that were incorrect (state polls in a few states) were all within 3% of the correct outcome, with margin of errors of around 2%. Just because some bad modellers used that to make "Hillary is 99% likely to win" doesn't mean the polling showed a landslide.

That national polling was almost exactly correct.


> You literally have organisations like Sleeping Giants whose mission is to convince sponsors to dump sites that host conservative content

So what? There are a lot of controversial political organizations out there, corporations don't have to listen to them unless they feel it is in their best interest as a business.

> I follow news sources from both the left and the right and it seems very obvious that the left is asking for some double standards.

I think that's fair criticism, but twitter has a stated desire to draw the line somewhere, so if you disagree with where they draw it I think it's fair to call them out or ask them to do better, but just keep in mind that fairness is an impossible ask, so imperfect moderation that incrementally improves is the best we can hope for on that website. Yet, I'd suggest we not hope for anything and just let twitter be twitter, there are many better places to be on the internet. Certainly, the conversation we're having right now would be impossible on twitter.

> Twitter is celebrated online for being woke yet no one sees anything wrong with them for allowing people to commit assault and share it on their platform

The only people celebrating twitter's wokeness is twitter, everyone else just rolls their eyes because twitter is a self-indulgent dramafest with very little in the way of productive discourse, it is perhaps the popular platform least suitable to substantive discussion due to the mechanics of the site.

> https://twitter.com/tariqnasheed/status/1273092750699720709

I don't see the problem from twitter's perspective. Yeah, I agree it's assault, but the poster didn't commit the assault as your phrasing suggests, it's a video of a real event and there is a discussion about the event with a diversity of opinions represented in the comments.

> I actually find the current US political climate quite worrying, one side is being completely silenced in the mainstream media.

It's simply false to state that conservatives are being "completely silenced". Every influential conservative you can name has millions of followers on twitter and there are many millions of conservative users all over twitter which is obvious to anyone who has ever used it. Yes, there are more liberals on twitter, but you can't blame them for simply existing on the website in those numbers, if the site is too woke for your tastes just don't use it.

> I think Democracy needs to have multiple voices.

Conservatives overwhelmingly control the federal government and state governments around the country, so I find it difficult to seriously entertain the idea that leftist bias on twitter represents a threat to the conservative voice in democracy.

> The conditions of one side being silenced are very similar to 2016

People see what they want to see, conservatives are more influential now than at any other time in the last 50 years

> ALL the polls showed a landslide for Hillary because people were too scared to admit they were going to vote Trump.

The polls were more or less correct, Hillary Clinton received millions of more votes than Trump, it is only that Clinton's complacency provided Trump's campaign with the opportunity to outmaneuver her in critical swing states, Trump managed to achieve the unlikely odds, but they were still unlikely, it's an open secret that even Trump himself mostly expected to lose.


I stand corrected in that I do not know the current makeup of the state and federal seats in the US. The current media coming out the US implies a huge Democrat power base, at least in the power to influence company policy. I will admit that it can be hard to get an accurate gauge of this, despite browsing both sides, because my own media is very left. I assume it's my own biases that make me disregard some of the rights media.

That being said, some of the media coming from the right seems crazy. If the people that watch that have control then that's crazy news to me. America seems so familiar due to Hollywood but at the same time it's so foreign.


They own Yahoo and AOL, I'm claiming this is just in-house strategy presented in a theatrical ceremony.

They also own things like HuffPost, Engadget and TechCrunch... It's no secret that Facebook has siphoned news revenue without having to actually do the hard and pricey work of journalism.

Someone probably drew a chart of all of Verizon's properties and figured out that Facebook is an expensive middleman between them.

I'm not a big fan of Verizon but they certainly do know how to run a business.


For all the people mentioning the free speech ramifications, I would like to point to the recommendations from the group leading this boycott[1]. It doesn't seem like any of this is related to free speech. They are asking for extra moderation and support. They also are asking for Facebook to stop profiting from hate speech and misinformation, but they stop short of asking for changes to any policy regarding the removal of content. What is wrong with these requests?

Provide more support to people who are targets of racism, antisemitism and hate

* Create a separate moderation pipeline for users who express that they have been targeted because of specific identity characteristics such as race or religion. This pipeline must include experts on various forms of identity-based hate.

* Create a threshold of harm on the platform where they will put a target of hate and harassment in touch with a live Facebook employee to help them address their concerns.

* Release data from their existing reporting form around identity-based hate. For example, how many reports of hate speech based on race or ethnicity did they get in 2019? How many, and what kinds of actions were taken?

Stop generating ad revenue from misinformation and harmful content.

* Create internal mechanisms (for every media format on every Facebook platform) that automatically remove all ads from content labeled as misinformation or hate.

* Change the advertising portal on all Facebook products to tell advertisers how often their ads were shown next to content that was later removed for misinformation or hate.

* Provide refunds to advertisers for those advertisements

* Prove it: send out an audited transparency report specifically addressing these suggestions.

Increase Safety in Private Groups on Facebook.

* At the request of a member of a private group, provide at least one Facebook-affiliated moderator per group with more than 150 members. Consider more moderators for even larger groups.

* Create an internal mechanism to automatically flag content in private groups associated with extremist ideologies for human review. This content and associated groups would then be reviewed by internal subject matter experts on extremism.

[1] - http://stophateforprofit.org/productrecommendations


I think the concern is that some people working in tech companies and media may define "hate" as anything to the right of Karl Marx, even well-researched centrist positions.

If this is true, then I can easily see why policing of political content is seen as censorship.


Facebook already has a definition for hate speech and this boycott is not asking for any changes to that definition so complaints about how anyone but Facebook defines hate speech is mostly irrelevant.

They are asking for "experts", who will likely come from the extremely left leaning Social Science departments. If they attempted to fill those slots with centrists then they'd be decryed for not using the "real experts" or something similar.

On most platforms racism is only defined using the systematic defintion and not the traditional definition [1]. Calling a white person a Karen seems to have definite racist qualities but it's perfectly acceptable for some reason. Calling someone a N* means people applaud when you get beat up.

I'll trust the "experts" when racism is applied in both directions.

[1] - prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group


>... Karen ...

>... N* ...

Your comment was being parodied[1] years before you wrote it. It is not a centrist position to think Karen is anywhere close to the N word on the spectrum of hate speech.

Once again, Facebook is not being asked to redefine hate speech. Instead the boycotters are asking that the people moderating hate speech are knowledgeable about hate speech. That seems reasonable to me. Do you think those moderator positions should be staffed by non-experts?

[1] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mg0UWxhJkfk&t=31


I'm not trying to say Karen has the same history as N. I see Karen as a word used to target white female and to shame them into acting exactly how the far left expects a white woman to act. You might have seen the recent video of a guy confronting a woman who cut him off in traffic [1]. Widely shared, she's clearly in emotional trauma because she knows the social consequences of being taped and shared online. Oh and she's also scared because he followed her home, recorded her plate and home address to share online. Turns out he's got a history of making claims against people and restraining orders against him for harassing women.

It's a word that is being used to harm some people and to control others. Is there a line on the hate speech spectrum where some hate speech is ok but others needs to be banned? If so, exactly what is on each side of that line?

The man in this video keeps uttering it constantly to her. He's clearly in a positon of power and he's taking a lot of enjoyment out of causing her pain. I say if we're getting rid of racist speech it needs to cut both ways.

[1] - https://www.reddit.com/r/FuckYouKaren/comments/hf5t61/hyster...


I'll be the first to admit I don't have the answers to all your potential questions on hate speech. If only there were experts on the subject that Facebook could add their moderation team to help answer these difficult questions.

I'm also going to admit something, I didn't actually grasp that the far right was a real political view in the US. I see the people waving Confederate flags in the news and I always assumed they were just racist looneys. I've had some discussions here tonight that have made me realise America has a significant minority that actually holds those beliefs.

Where it affects my arguments is that I always believed the far left existed but never really believed the far right existed. I think it's warped my view of US politics to middle Right vs far left, which isn't a far comparison.


These so-called-experts are more similar to a cult than actual expertise. A self-perpetuating cabal kicking out dissenters and recruiting yes-men. Their beliefs are arbitrary and divorced from the real world.

Recently a woman was promoted to tenured professor for tweeting that "white lives don't matter". That's how your experts are selected.


Why is the systematic definition worse than the traditional one? The only advantage I see to the traditional definition is that it is semantically nicer. The traditional definition 'does what it says on the tin'. So sure, maybe we should use another word than racism.

However, if this were a problem, I think the solution would be to change the wording of the policy to match the interpretation. Not change the policy to match the wording.

When we say 'racism is a big problem to be solved' that big problem (in the west) is discrimination against non-white people. At least as seen by most people. This is why calling someone the N-word is a lot worse than calling a white person anything relating to their race. Because white people suffer a lot less from racism.

That is not to say that racism against white people is totally okay, but the badness of it is on a totally different level than racism against e.g. black people. And to say that one form should be treated just like the other is ignoring a whole lot of context, just for the sake of semantics.


> They are asking for "experts", who will likely come from the extremely left leaning Social Science departments.

It's peak anti-intellectualism to question someone's credentials and an entire grouping of fields of study just because their educated opinions don't coincide with your own.

> On most platforms racism is only defined using the systematic defintion and not the traditional definition [1].

Why are these two definitions at conflict in your mind? Furthermore why is that the definition? Why not Wikipedia's?

"Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to physical appearance and can be divided based on the superiority of one race over another."

Your definition would seem more in-line with prejudice at large, not racism which carries a very specific historical context.

> Calling a white person a Karen seems to have definite racist qualities but it's perfectly acceptable for some reason. Calling someone a N* means people applaud when you get beat up.

Calling someone a Karen doesn't carry even remotely the amount of history or hatred as the other. No one's been called a Karen as they were being lynched, as their hat was being knocked of their head for not removing it as a white person walked by, for being relegated to the back of the bus, or to being bought and sold as slaves.

It's frankly perverse you'd compare the two.


Why do you think their opinions don't coincide with mine? I support the extreme left party in my nation and I vote. I'm also open minded enough to follow news from the left and the right so I can attempt to understand all viewpoints as I feel democracy relies on having many different views to bring balance. When I look at the right wing news I actually see some of the pain that racial slurs like Karen have on real people.

When you watch the both sides of the news you realise that there is racist, horrible behaviour occuring on both sides. I do see a huge imbalance in social power though. I believe that stacking committees with extreme left views will end up harmful due to few checks and balances.

I know about racial history in my country. Some of my black ancestors were taken from their families as babies to be raised proper by whites, google "Australian Stolen Generation" if you want to read more. That's the power language like N* had. What I don't want is for my children to be attacked because of their white skin due to the power of words in the modern world.

Have a look at the post I made 20 minutes ago if you want to see a link that shows the power of Karen and the pain it can cause people.


> Why do you think their opinions don't coincide with mine?

You used scare quotes, my dude.

Furthermore, you suggested that:

> If they attempted to fill those slots with centrists then they'd be decryed for not using the "real experts" or something similar.

You're suggesting conspiracy.

> What I don't want is for my children to be attacked because of their white skin due to the power of words in the modern world.

They're not attacking Karens because they're white. They're attacking Karens because a lot of people have worked dogshit retail jobs where they've been accosted by people aggrieved over the most inconsequential things imaginable. If that's what you associate with having white skin, then you're harboring racist beliefs.


Truth of the matter is if you hire from soc-sciences experts on racial whatever, you might as well just ban everything right of Mao from the platform.

You can like or not like or hate trump but a very large portion of the citizens of the republic voted for him.

Those requests will basically lead to FB loosing control to a bunch of sjw crusaders(more then they already have). It will all be weaponized, current climate in US allows for nothing else.


> Truth of the matter is if you hire from soc-sciences experts on racial whatever, you might as well just ban everything right of Mao from the platform.

No wonder you people feel so terrified all the time if you actually believe this.

> You can like or not like or hate trump but a very large portion of the citizens of the republic voted for him.

Why are you bringing this up? It's irrelevant.


>This pipeline must include experts on various forms of identity-based hate.

I wonder where Facebook could possibly find those experts....


> Private company tells other private company which speech they should be censoring

Welcome to the new era of information folks. You thought private companies were too powerful before, well, guess what? You've now given them the power to control almost all forms of communication.

"But, but, private companies should be able to decide who they want on their platform! What about the free market?"

Wake the hell up. Read up on monopoly. And then read about the network effect. And then go and try starting your own social network that believes in freedom of speech, and convince 1 billion people to join. Then come back and tell me that the private communication industry is a free market.


It's extremely frustrating being someone left leaning that believes in the principals of free speech.

It seems like all of the alternatives to the censored platforms, are naturally majority populated by the right.

This polarizing effect squeezes out any productive centrist discussion or debate.


Whichever opinion is currently being frowned on by society, will always be more prominent in the fringes. The left will talk about how right-wing conservatism is the current populist trend until they're blue in the face, but the reality is that the only people being censured by the media, universities, private companies, etc. are people with right-leaning views. I don't agree with all of them, but I can't remember the last time I read an article about a professor being let go for being an "extreme leftist". Being extreme-left is seen as being brave, pushing the envelope, exploring new ideas, fresh, edgy but interesting etc. Being extreme right is seen as dangerous, fringe, unacceptable, backwards, and so on. And so what happens, is that one side begins to feel cheated by the system, left out of popular discourse, and will then turn to alternative platforms to discuss their ideas. And hence you get the less mainstream, more free speech loving platforms being right dominated.

This is why I firmly believe that all sides should be allowed to share views. The best way for bad ideas to be shown for what they are, is for them to be debated publicly. Unfortunately, that is not what we are seeing happen. And that also means that anybody who isn't censured, thinks they're onto something good. It gives them an inflated sense of worth. See: Twitter checkmarks.


I second you on that frustration. You literally get shut out of discussion if you don't agree with every single popular policy.

The people asking for more moderation are not leftist. Would you believe Verizon is a left leaning company?

"Verizon" isn't the one making the decision here. Probably their marketing people are, and I'm gonna take a wild guess that their marketing department is staffed by stereotypically latté drinking art graduate types - the sort of people who believe academics are always right, and who get conspicuously upset about racism and sexism whilst loudly hating white men. All corporations have ended up with people like that, and even when CEOs disagree with them they prefer not to pick that fight because letting them set up diversity committees or whatever seems cheap relative to cracking down.

Now this stuff is moving beyond hosting seminars on white fragility, I wonder when or if the decision making classes will rediscover their own moral backbones and push back on it. There's really no moral virtue to be found in actions like this.


What, exactly, is your alternative here? The government forces me to fund speech I hate? Facebook is not allowed to ban literal NAZIs? A mandated minimum ad spend for all TV programs?

I can’t understand the supposed end-game for this idea that no one is allowed to moderate speech on private property.


The solution doesn't lie in either extreme. The solution is not 'companies can't censor anyone' nor is it 'companies can censor whomever they want'.

The issue is that a functioning society needs a public forum to have discussions. Access to that public forum thus is important. Reasons to deny access to that forum should be weighed against the effect on the public discussion.

Where that balance lies affects society a lot, so society should have a big say. At the same time, we can't just take over a private company's control over the public forum wholesale. Instead, we need regulations made by government to inform how to weigh those decisions. We need a decent enough appeals process to fix mistakes.

If a company cannot handle that process, then that company shouldn't have that much control over public discussion. The fact that they didn't intend to have that control doesn't matter. At some point, the needs of society come before the needs of private companies.


> The government forces me to fund speech I hate?

Yup.

You already do it anyway with many other platforms. "Nazis" are still entitled to cellphones and mailing addresses. And you help subsidize them. And that is a good thing.

However progressive you think you are, I'm certain that there are people out there that would call you a Nazi and want you to be banned from everything.

> I can’t understand the supposed end-game for this idea that no one is allowed to moderate speech on private property.

A company like T-Mobile is not "private property". It is a good thing that T-Mobile is forbidden from terminating your account at a whim because they don't like your politics.

And Facebook is bigger and has a lot more power over the public than T-Mobile. But Facebook should play by the rules of some small Silicon Valley startup? Facebook is well into the domain of telecom giants.

Now, I don't think that Facebook should be forbidden from protecting some of their customers from other customers, or facilitating harassment. But I think they should be held to an even higher standard than the phone companies, because they provide so many features that people have come to rely on.


> The government forces me to fund speech I hate?

That's school for ya.


Not quite as ironic as a President complaining about his right to free speech in a private forum (not a violation of the 1st amendment) even as he is threatening threatening to use the military to suppress peaceful protests (an actual violation of the 1st amendment).

> even as he is threatening threatening to use the military to suppress peaceful protests

Source? The “peaceful protests” in particular...



> threatening threatening to use the military to suppress peaceful protests (an actual violation of the 1st amendment).

The 1st amendment only covers peaceful protesters who aren't burning buildings down and having gunfights in the street.


There have been thousands of protestors out on the streets for nearly a month now. If there were burning buildings and having gunfights in the streets this whole time, there wouldn't be any cities left.

Uhh, have you seen the CHAZ/CHOP?

Edit: 38 people shot in half a day in NYC: https://www.pix11.com/news/local-news/24-people-shot-in-18-i...


> Uhh, have you seen the CHAZ/CHOP?

Don't live in Seattle so not personally. I do have a people I trust who live there who have been to the center of the "CHAZ" area he it's fine. They haven't even burned down the Police station which would be target number 1 if they were out-of-control.


Three people were recently shot in CHAZ, and it's why loads of protesters left.

A private company is deciding that it doesn’t want its brand to be associated with certain subjects. What do you propose? A law saying that Verizon can’t choose where to spend its ad dollars?

You have the right to say what you want. You don’t have the right to get a platform to publish it. People were getting their voices heard nationwide before the internet existed. During the Civil Rights Movement, leaders went to churches.

We can see in the last presidential election how little Trump spent on traditional media to get his voice out there.


Actually, a case might be made that Facebook be required to carry political advertisements. One thing that springs to mind is how the NYC Subway system was forced to carry Zionist ads.

[1]: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/21/nyregion/mta-violated-rig...


By definition, a private corporation can’t be accused of illegally “censoring free speech”. The constitution says that the government can’t censor speech. The MTA is a government run organization.

For people defending Verizon censoring things, would you still defend Verizon so vigorously if they were bowing to Conservative groups and blocking text messages related to women's health? Because they actually did that. [1]

It's really amazing how attitudes have changed. This is what the ACLU had to say about Verizon back then:

> Verizon and AT&T, among others, are spending millions of dollars lobbying Congress for the right to discriminate against content on the Internet it deems controversial, unsavory, or even just contrary to its own business interests.

I think now, the ACLU is pressuring Congress and Verizon to crack down more on content.

Of course, the idea that Facebook, a $70 billion dollar company that dwarfs any phone company in customers, should somehow be less regulated than Verizon is ludicrous. Facebook should be required to consult congress before any major policy changes. Amtrak, The US Postal Service, and Verizon are all "private" companies, but they provide such an essential service that they are heavily regulated. So should Facebook.

[1]: https://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/verizon-reverses...


For people defending Verizon censoring things, would you still defend Verizon so vigorously if they were bowing to Conservative groups and blocking text messages related to women's health? Because they actually did that. [1]

They didn’t want to let someone use a short code. They didn’t stop them from sending text messages. Would Verizon be out of line if they didn’t let the KKK have a short code of HangTheN$%%#^s? (Before I get downvoted to oblivion for being a racist - that’s just an example - the person I see when I look in the mirror everyday is Black).

There are forbidden custom license plates too. Almost every platform that lets you customize anything have standards.

Verizon in this case isn’t censoring anything. They have every right to choose what other companies to do business with.

Of course, the idea that Facebook, a $70 billion dollar company that dwarfs any phone company in customers, should somehow be less regulated than Verizon is ludicrous. Facebook should be required to consult congress before any major policy changes

I cannot for the life of me understand why people have this undying trust in the government. The same government where the President wants to “shut down Twitter” because he didn’t like one of their policies. This is also the same government that wants to outlaw e2e encryption and consistently tried to pass laws to make it harder for private citizens to record police misconduct.

Amtrak, The US Postal Service, and Verizon are all "private" companies, but they provide such an essential service that they are heavily regulated.

Amtrak is not a private corporation, it is a “quasi-public” corporation that is partially funded and subsidized by the government. The US Post Office is also not only a government run department, it’s actually mandated in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7).


This is the free market. Verizon is paying Facebook. If you want a say, you should consider paying for your social network.

We need to get corporate interests as far away from political speech as possible.

It's honestly a disgrace these companies are trying to boycott Facebook for not wanting to censor our speech.

We all know the phase "hate speech" is interchangeable with anything that's not deemed advertiser friendly to these corporations.

You think these companies want to advertise against a status update critical of the BLM movement? Of course not. If Facebook buckles to these demands they'll be boycotting Facebook to censor posts critical of political movements they don't like next. We need to stop acting as if billion dollar corporations have our best interests at heart.


Corporations want their customers to buy their stuff. It helps when you don’t offend your customers. Are you proposing that the government force companies not to discriminate where they advertise?

Of course not. They can advertise where they want. Were they fairer in its implementation I'd say YouTube's "not advertisement" friendly model is a good way to handle these problems.

My issue here is their intention is to boycott Facebook into censoring my speech. If they simply suspended advertising then fine, but they're claiming they're doing it as part of a wider protest to force companies to regulate what I can say online.

I don't have a perfect answer, but I do believe more regulation is needed. These "platforms" are the modern equivalent to 20th century communication technologies like the telephone. We should be extremely careful about allowing a service as important as Facebook the legal right to curate our speech so that we're advertiser friendly.


No the Internet is the communication technology. Not Facebook. You are free to create a blog and say whatever you like. If it’s something worthwhile, you should be able to get a following. There were people getting their messages out through grass roots campaigns way before the internet was a thing.

While I do believe the Facebook boycott is real, Verizon has a fairly large advertising/media business of their own and so is competitor to Facebook. Not mentioning this as part of reporting isn't great journalism.

The 'brand safety' shoe was about to drop for a couple years, and by definition it requires Facebook start deciding what's bad and what's good.

I hope Zuck has a plan, it's uncharacteristic for him to commit this hard to an approach and not have a way out...


If facebook gives in to moderation based on silicon valley politics they're done for.

I'm not American, I'm not in Facebook either. I've read TFA and still don't have a clue what is Facebook criticized for. What's that hate speech and who's doing it?

The triggering event, as I understand it, is they did not censor the President of the United States who said something to the effect of riots lead to death. There's two ways to interpret this. One way is that eventually people will get hurt in some way if riots continue. Another way to interpret it was as a death threat to protesters. FB's position was that even if it was a threat, that the protesters needed to know that the President was going to send in the military to come kill them. So they did not censor or otherwise flag the post. This is perceived as FB promoting violence.

He also said he asked to slow coronavirus testing down. When his staff said we were misinterpreting him, he corrected his staff and said he said what he meant. He also used racial slurs to describe coronavirus. How many gaffes before we stop presuming good intent?

> He also used racial slurs to describe coronavirus.

Source? I follow online controversies quite closely and haven’t seen this one...



To save everyone a click: the term is “kung flu”. Slur maybe, racist definitely not (China is a country, not a race).

A slur against an ethnicity is generally accepted as racist.

Trump is racist no matter what he does. He says neo-nazis and white supremacists should be condemned totally, they claim he said nazis are fine people. NYT, WaPo, etc. call it the Chinese corona virus? No problem. Trump calls it the Chinese corona virus? Racist. So fuck it, it's the kung flu. I think it's a gross thing to say and don't choose that language myself, but fuck everyone's faux offense. Also, people generally have a POSITIVE view of Kung Fu. Positive associations are not slurs. China is not an ethnicity. Good for him going scorched Earth.

Facebook presumed bad intent. They presumed the president literally threatened to murder protesters.

Thank you for the clarification. Now I remember reading something about an "antifa" flag, that seemed unconclusive... please, remember I'm a foreigner so my judgement may lack some insights you have.

Actually all this seems absurd. Trump is a politician, actually a public officer, so censoring his speech is a alien concept to me. In my country certain politicians IMHO deserve jail for the outrageous nonsense they say everyday, promoting hate and justifying violence.

But nobody ask newspapers or tv to stop giving them interviews or air time. In a sense Facebook or Twitter are a kind of media, so even if the messages are disgusting, they're still relevant and the public should see them... and act accordingly when the time to vote comes.

It's other politicians who should criticize that speech and put a moderate counterpoint against it. Acting against the messenger seems misguided.

Am I missing something?


He’s posting factual inaccuracies about mail in ballots. Twitter appended the fact check information, so people could pursue their right to vote. Facebook did nothing

This isn’t due to one single event, it’s a pattern.


You stated "all this seems absurd". An accurate description of American politics. I don't think you're missing anything.

>Now I remember reading something about an "antifa" flag, that seemed unconclusive...

You're probably thinking of this case recently where Trump ran ads on Facebook which called out antifa and used the same symbol for them that the Nazis used for leftist political prisoners sent to concentration camps. The ads even had other Nazi dogwhistles included too. Facebook took down those ads.

https://www.motherjones.com/2020-elections/2020/06/trump-ups...

I find it outright amazing how much charity people around HN are still extending Trump.


I have no sympathy for the man and, trust me, I'm not playing dumb. I'm genuinely unable to see the logic in all this.

In a majority system you win by seducing the centrist vote. Why would anybody think it's a good idea to be associated with nazis? Or for that matter, dissolving the police, so his adversaries are trying to outdo him with similar egregious proposals.

What does Biden say about the lootings and the defunding? I can understand that extremist groups somehow justify the violence, but not a presidential candidate or his party. Verizon seems to be a phone company or gigantic ISP. Why does that kind of company takes sides in this fight?

What I find funniest is that over here even media in the opposite end of political spectrum complain when the government leaves them out of election adds.


> Am I missing something?

Yes - it's the election year. Trump is an alien element to the American establishment (republican and democrat alike), they put tons of work into preventing his election, even more work to obstruct his presidency, and now pulled out all the stops to derail his re-election.


Trump did more than you suggest. He used well understood language (“when the looting starts the shooting starts” is a famous quote from a white supremacist) to encourage his supporters to murder/lynch blacks.

His campaign eventually started using Nazi imagery suggesting various opposition groups and protestors should be sent to concentration camps.

Facebook pulled the ad. Around the same time, he used Twitter to (successfully, apparently) incite lynchings.

Pulling a few Trump campaign ads was too little too late, and now people are boycotting Facebook.

Here is a link to a story about the ad. Don’t take my word for it: https://boingboing.net/2020/06/18/trump-ad-uses-nazi-symbol-...


I think you're giving Trump too much credit. I find it difficult to believe Trump is highly educated about anything, much less esoteric quotes and symbols used by dead racist people.

He just parrots what he sees/hears and he spends a lot of time looking at far right content.

Can you name a place on the internet that regularly uses a red triangle as a racist symbol that Trump might have parroted this from?

Well the most racist stuff I've seen from him have been retweets so that would be my guess. Not sure how well twitter censors out that particular symbol.

Hitler didn’t have much of a web presence, and I guess whatever’s left of the Nazi party hasn’t set one up. However, people have scanned some of the nazi propaganda:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_concentration_camp_badg...

Also, at least when I was a kid, public grade schools covered WWII, and taught us about the triangles.

Here’s a story from the history channel:

https://www.history.com/news/pink-triangle-nazi-concentratio...

Red was reserved for political prisoners, and the LGBT movement co-opted the pink triangle. Good for them.

Have you seriously not heard of any of this? Are you not from the US, or have holocaust deniers been tampering with school curricula?


I'm from the US. We surely covered WWII. I don't recall triangles at all. That doesn't mean it wasn't covered, I do remember the star of David looking badges to mark Jews, which is technically two triangles.

I could be wrong, but Trump doesn't strike me as the kind of person watching a lot of the history channel. Or reading history books. Or reading anything at all really.

I feel like I'm being asked to believe that the guy who spent two years bragging about how great black people were doing economically, bragging about funding HBCUs more than any other administration, creating opportunity zones, and implementing criminal justice reform is a secret Nazi. Sure, he's loudly doing all these tangible good things for black people and won't shut up about it, but he's quietly letting the Nazis know he's really one of them.


Trump's audience when he talks about what he does for Black people are "moderate" whites that want to believe Trump isn't racist. He is though, he retweets white supremacist memes regularly and says them in speeches.

He also hires lots of white supremacists both in government and for his campaign work. Some of them have a lot more interest in the history than Trump does.

Look up Stephen Miller. Whether it was Miller specifically-- campaigns have a lot of staff. None of this stuff is conceived and directed by a single person.


You think his marketing team randomly chose from a selection of polygons to run as the primary image on a national ad campaign? The Trump administration loves their dog whistles.

If Trump got a swastika face tattoo and posted a video of himself goose stepping on the white house lawn, do you think we should see that, or should the media censor and hide that from us?

Are you asking me if I think Facebook should have to host that content? Naw, seems like a better fit for tiktok.

Perhaps it is giving Trump too much credit - the actual blame likely lies with the team running his campaign. All the same, it seems strangely coincidental that he keeps on stumbling into racist material and symbolism.

I mean yeah, it was just a coincidence he restarted his rallies on Juneteenth in Tulsa, OK, that he then moved under pressure/outcry. Also a coincidence he used a quote from a racist police chief, and also a coincidence he used a nazi triangle. I mean, sure, it is possible this is all just happenstance.

If in the future he starts talking about campaign bliztkriegs and having his voters celebrating at crystal night parties and his campaign printing "I voted" stickers of dancing people that look like Jim Crow, and then proceed to claim ignorance, just another 3 crazy coincidences, I'm gonna call bullshit all the same.


> used a nazi triangle

If anyone doubts that this was an intentional dog whistle to white supremacists: the first sentence of the ad with the nazi triangle had 14 words[1]. His campaign ran 88 [2] on the facebook pages for Trump, Pence, and Team Trump.

These are very well-known references used by white supremacists/neo-nazis they often use as dog whistles.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteen_Words [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/88_Precepts


> Trump did more than you suggest. He used well understood language (“when the looting starts the shooting starts” is a famous quote from a white supremacist) to encourage his supporters to murder/lynch blacks.

Yet somehow it's hard to find this quote in Google if you select range before the events.


Google returns lots of results from a variety of sources for that quote:

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22when+the+looting+starts%2...

As expected, most of the results appear to be about the original use of the phrase in 1967 by the racist police chief of Miami Walter Headley.


That's why I told to select date range before, like 2010-2019.

My link did include a date range:

    &tbs=cdr%3A1%2Ccd_min%3A%2Ccd_max%3A12%2F31%2F2019
    # urldecoded:
    tbs=cdr:1,cd_min:,cd_max:12/31/2019
While I didn't bother specifying cd_min, many results are within your range. From the first page of results from my link above:

(2018) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/08/07...

(2018) https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article1981602.htm...

(2014) https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/156908


It's an election year in the US and mud slinging time.

Mud slinging is usually at the other candidate, not entire races.

I am very nervous that the main US political outcomes of 2020 will be a reduction in free speech and expansion of executive powers.

In other news, the US has been downgraded to “flawed democracy”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index


By The Economist, so it means nothing.

What's wrong with The Economist? Whom do you trust?

That happens basically every election. We've been slipping in free speech freedoms in various indexes for 20 years now, and that has been regardless of who is in office.

Seems like a lot of people like that idea, what a shame

This sounds similar to the advertiser boycott that led to demonetization of YouTube channels that were pushing hate content.

I don't know what action FB realistically can take to similarly disincentivize hate content or violence promoting though, since its primary content producers (people who post) are not paid - they are posting for their own sake - so there is nothing to demonetize.

Maybe they can follow Twitter's lead and flag content with warnings, but that seems unlikely given their current stance.


Yes, there a number of reasons to reduce an ad spend, but they also made a point of a key reason:

"Verizon Communications Inc said on Thursday it was pausing advertising on Facebook Inc in July, in support of a campaign that called out the social media giant for not doing enough to stop hate speech on its platforms."

Short, but insightful article. Worth a read.


Fiduciary responsibility. The company would not boycott Facebook unless there was at least a business incentive in place. Meaning, even if there are moral concerns, they are entirely secondary to or constrained by business concerns. The opportunism isn't in this subordination, but in the PR that tries to present this as a purely moral decision.

(In any case, the concept and actual use of "hate speech" is dangerous. Laws regulating language that incites violence already exist, but "hate speech" is a phrase often unjustly used to silence people that those using the phrase don't agree with. The better response is to respond with better speech that addresses it or to ignore it.)


FB is also not doing enough to stop spreading false misinformation and propaganda. I have seen a anti-EU page sharing lots of untrue and simplified claims. It is censoring people so after I asked them to provide sources and proofs of these claims or attempted to explain some of them myself, they blocked me. They keep only anti-EU fan comments there. And I can't even report the page to FB as there is no "misinformation" report category. This is slowly polarizing the society and amplifying anger.

I would boycott Facebook for other reasons than them not boycotting Trump ads.

Facebook is simply a TERRIBLE company. They make us lose billions of hours and created a mental health epidemic, especially in teenagers that cannot stop comparing themselves with other's fake life on Facebook. That is a good enough reason to not want to advertise on that platform.


Accusing Facebook in that it’s like accusing sugar companies in diabetes. Not saying the problem doesn’t exist, but maybe they just abuse Facebook? I’m spending around 10 minutes a week in my fb account, checking on friends and family, that’s mostly enough. What stops you from doing the same?

Some books you might benefit from reading on this topic:

“Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us”

“The Attention Merchants” by Tim Wu


Thanks for the recommendation!

I spend zero minutes a year on FB. I still recognize that it harms those who do use it.

It’s just a tool. Don’t use it to harm yourself and you’ll be fine.

They can boycott all they want small and medium-sized businesses make up majority of Facebook's advertising revenue.

They should also boycott that Facebook spreads so much misinformation like antivax and antimask to millions of people

None of this matters unless the end users stop using FB. If not, advertisers will keep spending money on ads.

I love hearing these news. I cut all the ties with Facebook created products. Feel good.

The word boycott suggests a grassroots campaign against a company. But these are companies attacking individuals. Restricting their ability to trade, make a living and communicate.

What we have on our hands is a trade blockade.


We want Facebook to censor speech on Facebook!

But oh not all speech just some speech that we don’t like. Only we are allowed to define the type of speech we don’t like. And we reserve the right to change at any time.

So, please just censor speech that we don’t like. On this day. At this hour. At this minute. And next minute we’ll tell you what to censor next.


Outrage Mob Rules of Social Media Engagement:

1. Any and all views expressed in opposition those currently deemed acceptable by The Mob must be censored, and an outrage/cancel campaign may be waged against any view holders

2. In the event views are partially or mostly aligned with The Mob, but said views are misinterpreted so as to be sufficiently in opposition to The Mob (deliberately or not), Mob reserves its right to demand said views must be censored, and to wage outrage/cancel campaigns against any view holders

3. The Mob reserves the right, at any point in the future and without statute of limitation, to retroactively revoke acceptability from any currently acceptable view. In such event, The Mob also reserves the right to wage outrage/cancel campaigns against any view holder who in the past, directly or indirectly, either expressed support of, or was misinterpreted to have expressed support of, any view for which The Mob later revoked acceptability.


Small correction, It's not any view deemed acceptable. It's any view not deemed properly righteous. For any not displaying the correct righteousness will be deemed to have not just the views they expose, must also be hiding views deemed reprehensible.

Someone on a separate thread pointed out this is known as Havel's Greengrocer: the owner of a market feels obligated to display communist propaganda lest he be suspected of disloyalty to the party [0]. This is very similar to all the businesses suddenly issuing letters of support for Black Lives Matter, lest they be suspected of being racist.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Power_of_the_Powerless#Hav...


> We want Facebook to censor speech on Facebook!

Well, Verizon doesn't want their ads running next to certain types of speech, correct. Not sure if that's censoring.

> But oh not all speech just some speech that we don’t like. Only we are allowed to define the type of speech we don’t like. And we reserve the right to change at any time.

> So, please just censor speech that we don’t like. On this day. At this hour. At this minute. And next minute we’ll tell you what to censor next.

That does sound like a lot of work to keep up with what is considered acceptable in polite society. I know I have no interest in starting a social media company. But Facebook is making their money from advertisers against user-generated content, so they made their bed, as has every other social media company funded by ads.


Hate speech is widely viewed as a legitimate exception to free expression, along with other classic examples of things like yelling fire in a crowded movie theater. Not by every country to be sure, but by many democracies.

You're portraying this as some kind of whim that changes with people's moods, but that's a complete, total, 100% straw man. There are decades of legislation and jurisprudence, particularly in Europe, that can be used to define hate speech in a stable way.


"You're portraying this as some kind of whim that changes with people's moods, but that's a complete, total, 100% straw man."

This is completely false.

The popular definition of what people think FB ought to take down literally changes week by week.

It is absolutely a 'whim' that changes over time.

The issue with FB is not, for the most part the 'legal' definition 'hate speech' - it's 'speech which people consider harmful'.

If FB were to focus very intently on removing that which would 'legally' be considered, technically 'hate speech' - which I believe they do - the populism against them would be just the same.

Ironically - it's your argument that is the 'straw man' - by holding up a pragmatically fictitious standard (i.e. 'legal hate speech') as the standard by which FB would be measured.

And FYI FB's platform already doesn't allow hate speech by their own interpretation, and a whole host of other forms of speech as well, i.e. their bar is at least theoretically already higher than that.

This issue is Greyer than Grey, those who see this in Black and White I believe are not looking closely enough. It's messy.

EDIT: FYI 'hate speech' has legal definitions outside of the US.

I would also like to point out the very problematic implied assumption that American popular social framework is somehow relevant anywhere else in the world.


Meh, the 'yelling fire in a crowded theater' is, rightfully, not protected under free speech but "hate speech" (which has no legal definition in the US) has consistently been allowed by the Supreme Court. Doubt we'll reach a hate speech exemption anytime soon.

The the phrase "shouting fire in a crowded theater" has am interesting history.

It does not come from an an actual precedent, but dates back to a supreme court decision that prohibited political speech on opposition to the draft during WWI.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shouting_fire_in_a_crowded_t...

In my opinion, the unanimous decision on that case is a travesty and the use of the term to justify abrogating free speech indicates a lack of understanding of the history of the government abrogating free speech when it serves their interests rather than for the common good.


"falsely shouting..."

all should listen to Chris Hitchens on this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z2uzEM0ugY


What is hate speech? Can you define it for me? Better yet, use legal definitions.

As the OP mentioned, many countries, including democratic ones, do have laws around hate speech. Wikipedia has a few words about it in English: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech_laws_in_France#The...

You also have laws against defamation that consider it illegal to defame people based on race and other criteria (since the 19th century in France).


The last such law in France was just cancelled for being unconstitutional.

And in practice they are impossible to enforce for a platform like Facebook, since in the end it's a judge who has to decide what is, and what is not hate speech.

In practice, enforcement is selective and the sentences are never formally enforced since it would create de-facto political prisoners, which gives a bad image to a democratic country.

So I'm not sure they're a good example.


Okay, let me be more specific. Define it for me in US law.

The great thing about not defining it in law is that anyone is free to use their own definition when deciding who they support, who they give money and patronage to, and who they host the content of.

Hate speech isn't a legal construct in the US. It is, however, a social construct. This is a social issue. Nobody is taking Facebook to court over this.

In addition, freedom of speech IS NOT the right to be heard. This ignorant censorship argument is getting old and is immensely ignorant. I can walk away from some idiot spouting racist vitriol, just as much as Verizon can walk away from a platform that is infested with racist vitriol. They can continue to spout or host that vitriol, but nobody has to listen and nobody had to do business with them.

Facebook can continue to host this garbage, exactly like anybody is free to boycott them for that. If they lose all the business then the market and society has spoken.


Yes, but the issue is whether or not a lot of this speech constitutes 'hate speech'.

Do jokes about 'The French' constitute hate speech? What if it's only a joke about Macron's 'stereotypical' French action? Or not even a joke? What if the target is Chinese?

It's a minefield and we need a map, aka rules, and FB alone cannot make them. Either industry gets together, or we have some sane regulation, or we live through this insufferable toxic pop-culture corp-on-corp virtue signalling, protesting, 'my cause is the cause' cold war.


Everything is being redefined as hate speech, so that's a moot point.

"White lives matter" and "it's OK to be white" are not remotely hate speech, yet those sentences are being treated as being "white supremacist" stuff now.

The laws in Europe are 1) not that great and 2) won't work in the US thanks to the 1st amendment.


That's because it's the kind of thing supremacist whites say. Not because it isn't true.

It certainly is legally permissible and agreed, not in and of itself "hate speech", but it is obnoxious and in bad taste and indicates sympathy with a certain point of view. Certainly something a big company wouldn't want to be associated with in the current climate.


Then, can we get the court to order the take down since thes bad posts are obviously illegal?

I'm not sure why we let Facebook make these judgement, instead of a proper legal due process.


Freedom of speech does not equal to freedom of consequence. What I've listened to people lately say is that when they engage in personal attacks they should be allowed to because "Freedom of Speech". Yet, the type of speech that is protected is speech that is against the government.

Being mean, hurtful, and disrespectful against an individual is not protected speech, it's called being a jerk.


Being a jerk _is_ protected though, as is making jerk speech (at least in the US).

It just makes one a jerk to engage in it. Not a crime.


> Freedom of speech does not equal to freedom of consequence

Yes, it literally does. That is, in fact, the definition.


I find it very much unsettling that you're portraying as capricious or arbitrary things that I would consider basic human decency. We're not talking about Facebook's font choice here, we're talking about intolerable content that foments racial hatred.

Also, it seems like many people in HN politics threads over the last couple of months are in such a rush to talk about everything in terms of a clash over speech and censorship that they seem to forget about the actual clash over racial equality. There's a ton of important and complicated context around why norms for acceptable speech should change. That context is why the Facebook moderation concerns are able to come from a place of universal values, and not arbitrary zero-sum disagreement.


That's a good start! But what we really want is for Facebook to go out of business.

Why? It’s fine if you don’t derive value from their product, but clearly others do, and if they were to go under something else just as evil, if not more, would immediately take its place. Is it not more worthwhile to fix the issues with society that make Facebook unpleasant?

That's a fools errand for the most part. The underlying issue is human behavior and lack of emotional development/awareness. You can connect any interface to a database and as long as the goal is "look at me" in any form, this will happen, eventually.

Yeah, agreed.. I guess that's what I tried to hit at by saying society but the issues run deeper.

Not the OP, and I don't think that's what I want, but FB's hide on the wall would at least be a warning to others.

I doubt "FB going out of business" would have the effect you think. There would then be a vacuum where other actors to fill -- actors who have not experienced the lessons ($5 billion fine) that FB has.

I just don't buy the idea of "start a company, making tens of billions, then your company goes out of business" is a warning. Just like I don't think Adam Neumann's situation is a warning to anyone.

Michael Lewis relates a story about how people use Liar's Poker as inspiration, rather than a warning. Us humans are very self interested -- if there's an opportunity, people are going to take it.


> There would then be a vacuum where other actors to fill > if there's an opportunity, people are going to take it.

Good, we need more platforms (preferably decentralized) to cultivate free thinking and public form. Not a centralized entity that bends to the will of domestic and foreign governments and angry mobs.


You might be right, although I don't think it's nearly so certain. Why wouldn't each niche community just become an even greater echo chamber when they are decentralized and don't have to follow the same community guidelines? Seems to me, you'd be looking at a lot of communities like /r/thedonald.

I think the action taken with /r/thedonald contributed more to what you are warning against (echo chambers) [0].

"Community Guidelines" can mean anything or whatever confirms to the CEOs biases.

From the article "Current CEO (and Reddit co-founder) Steve Huffman stepped in as CEO following Pao's departure. He's had his own tussles with r/The_Donald: in 2016, he admitted to modifying posts from users on r/The_Donald after they repeatedly sent him expletives. "

And

"Others on Twitter have taken issue with Huffman's letter regarding Black Lives Matter as well, with the Twitter account for r/BlackPeopleTwitter quoting Reddit's tweet with an image of a Guardian headline that reads, "Open racism and slurs are fine to post on Reddit, says CEO."

0:https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.businessinsider.com/reddit-...


Why is it worthwhile to "fix" society's "unpleasant" aspects? And who, exactly, determines which aspects are "unpleasant"?

Much better from my perspective to have multiple huge "big corporates" protest each other to the point of landing economic body blows. That's the tried and true "let the market solve the problem" solution.

So everyone can vote with their dollars.


A large percent of the world has little to no money. They have no real choice except to accept free with all the consequences. Not using a service like facebook may not be realistic when the percentage of a group using it gets above a useful/necessary threshold.

Do you feel the same way about Twitter ?

You have the freedom to speak. You don’t have the right to be heard.

Publishers have freedom of speech too. Nobody forces the NY Post to provide a column for Obama.

Facebook attempts to downplay its editorial role in pushing garbage.


Speech is not free even in real life. If I start shouting and printing on posters that cwhiz is a neo-Nazi on a payroll, then you have the right to sue me.

Speech is defacto constrained by the law, and by social contracts (e.g. you will not go to your colleague to tell them that they are ugly).

Now if you ask me how should social media handle it? I think that it should not be their choice, because they are not accountable (aka we don’t get to vote for FB’s leadership). The elected gov. has to come up with a framework that allows for punitive action against language that is verifyiably wrong and can cause harm to other people.

If this framework is wrong, we can vote for a different gov with a better platform.


This situation appears to me to be corporations freely associating and/or choosing to do business, or not to do business, with other corporations. No government coercion involved in either forcing or blocking this behavior.

In other words, the libertarian ideal of the future.

I don't see the problem. The fact that this behavior isn't universally celebrated is an example of why libertarianism fails in the real world. It doesn't even get the trivial cases.

edit: a word


Wait, where did this become a referendum on libertarianism? Nothing in the parent comment suggests this.

I was just noting that fundamentally this is an issue between two corporations acting in their own interests, and that the government isn't involved.

The OP paraphrased as "we want Facebook to censor", but that actual demand is "we want something that makes us comfortable". Which is a bit different.

These corporations are deciding out of their own free will, to withhold their money.

This seems to me to be ideal behavior from a free market, libertarian, perspective. Correct?

:edit for clarity


the whole point of a democracy is to give the people what the want

That is definitely not the "whole point" of democracy.

Not exactly. That’s why democracy doesn’t promote lynchings for example, and why US sets term limits on its presidents even if they are popular.

This is more free market capitalism than democracy per se. Facebook is not state run media and Verizon is deciding where to spend it’s money - or in this case, not. I’m not sure what “the people” really have to do with it, except that Verizon is presumably catering to some group of people with this move, or doing it out of some other form of self-interest.

Speech that leads to violence, how about starting with that?

> Speech that leads to violence, how about starting with that?

That's already illegal in most (all?) of the US. The precedent for that is Brandenburg v. Ohio; the legal term is "imminent lawless action". (Regarding Facebook, my understanding is that they will happily remove such speech. That's what the report button is for.)

Of course that doesn't provide for censoring politically incorrect or socially unacceptable views so naturally people get bent out of shape and proceed to use terms such as "violence" and "harm" in creative new ways.


You obviously don't follow the President on Twitter, or have any idea of the scope of "revolutionary" private groups on Facebook.

Literally anything can lead to violence. It’s just a matter of interpretation. How about stopping with the censorship and fighting with the violence itself?

> Literally anything can lead to violence.

Literally anything and lead to anything, that's not an argument it's a distraction.

> How about stopping with the censorship

For the 1,000,000th time, private company cleaning up garbage content its "censorship". Only governments engage in censorship. Every private business has the ability to clean up their space without needed to ask permission.


Asserting that "Only governments engage in censorship." is objectively false.

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

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/censorship

While government censorship naturally comes to mind, anyone can practice censorship from governments, private organizations, and even individuals.


> Literally anything can lead to anything.

I’m glad you get my point.

> private company cleaning up garbage content its “censorship”

And again )

Jokes aside - I am still waiting when people like you start burning books with “garbage” content. I’ll give it 2 years from now. Oh wait, haven’t you already started? Thinking of “Gone with the Wind” now. Oh, it’s back already. But with a disclaimer that it ‘denies horrors of slavery’ and stuff. Like modern people are just unable to understand it right and they require some proper guidance to think in the correct way.

An anecdote: in USSR we had these western/European movie shows on very rare occasions. Normally, before every show a communist party member would make a speech where he/she would warn the watchers that the alien western ideology might harm their soviet minds. It’s very interesting to see how there same thing starts to happen again, voluntarily, in the western world. Way to go, kids )

The argument you’re using - “only governments engage in censorship” - is just an excuse for you to justify the censorship in social media. It’s just a matter of definition, but the result is the same. The social media corporations of the Facebook scale have the same (or even larger) impact on the public consciousness as the government propaganda machine and should not be treated differently.

Actually, the government’s censorship looks even nicer, because they at least provide the legal definition of “garbage”, whereas you guys just call a “garbage” anything you don’t like today. Anything “alien” to your current ideology.

There’s also no such thing as a “right thing”. There are only actions that are legal or not. The violent acts are illegal - work on stopping these. Otherwise, it’s (obviously) a slippery slope (I can’t believe I said this). Simply because the fluctuations of the meaning of “right thing to do” and “garbage information” are completely unpredictable you should be very much afraid of using such moral criteria.

That’s basically the freedom of information and speech people of my country died for in mental hospitals and gulags.


Ban all politics from Facebook then?

[flagged]


Please don't do this here.

Do what?

Posting unsubstantive comments and flamebait.

It's a perfectly valid comment to people who want to get rid of "hate speech" but say nothing about the popularity of gangsta rap within this same crowd.

I never understood this.


People are going to assume that you're bringing this up as a trope of culture war and race war, and I'm doubtful that they would be particularly wrong to assume that. That makes it flamebait, which is against the site guidelines. Please don't post like that to HN.

It's a perfectly valid argument and one that I like to make. The "hate speech" crowd rarely, if ever, protests over rap music and for the life of me I never understood why.

And metal music. And anime. And many books.

“No taxation without representation.”

Sorry, I know that’s pretty extreme.


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