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.
So it makes sense that they would need to cut budget somewhere, since employees is not one of them.
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.
It is essentially positive for everyone involved except for the harmful companies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
"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.
It’s not they are ethical, it just doesn’t make sense from a business standpoint.
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
“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?
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.
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.
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
My first thought on all these "boycotts". Are we cynical or is there any proof of this?
No idea if we'll ever get there.
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.
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.
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...)
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.
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.
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.
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.
What kind of mental gymnastics do you have to perform to disregard the tone of this particular global conversation?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 marketplace of ideas is a pretty messy place.
Then it's time for some guard rails.
And of course, once actual crazy people control the government, who is going to install and maintain the guard rails?
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.
I agree they should try to be neutral, but I don’t know if neutrality is even possible in a lot of cases.
I think we're still in the very eary days of L in ML.
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.
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.
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 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 . 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.
 - https://twitter.com/tariqnasheed/status/1273092750699720709
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
 - http://stophateforprofit.org/productrecommendations
If this is true, then I can easily see why policing of political content is seen as censorship.
On most platforms racism is only defined using the systematic defintion and not the traditional definition . 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.
 - prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group
>... N* ...
Your comment was being parodied 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?
 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mg0UWxhJkfk&t=31
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.
 - https://www.reddit.com/r/FuckYouKaren/comments/hf5t61/hyster...
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.
Recently a woman was promoted to tenured professor for tweeting that "white lives don't matter". That's how your experts are selected.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I wonder where Facebook could possibly find those experts....
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 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.
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.
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.
I can’t understand the supposed end-game for this idea that no one is allowed to moderate speech on private property.
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.
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.
That's school for ya.
Source? The “peaceful protests” in particular...
The 1st amendment only covers peaceful protesters who aren't burning buildings down and having gunfights in the street.
Edit: 38 people shot in half a day in NYC: https://www.pix11.com/news/local-news/24-people-shot-in-18-i...
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.
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.
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 $70 billion dollar company that dwarfs any phone company in customers, should somehow be less regulated than Verizon is ludicrous. Facebook should be required to consult congress before any major policy changes. Amtrak, The US Postal Service, and Verizon are all "private" companies, but they provide such an essential service that they are heavily regulated. So should Facebook.
They didn’t want to let someone use a short code. They didn’t stop them from sending text messages. Would Verizon be out of line if they didn’t let the KKK have a short code of HangTheN$%%#^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).
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.
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.
I hope Zuck has a plan, it's uncharacteristic for him to commit this hard to an approach and not have a way out...
Source? I follow online controversies quite closely and haven’t seen this one...
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?
This isn’t due to one single event, it’s a pattern.
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.
I find it outright amazing how much charity people around HN are still extending Trump.
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.
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.
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-...
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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. His campaign ran 88  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.
Yet somehow it's hard to find this quote in Google if you select range before the events.
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.
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.
"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.
(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.)
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.
“Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us”
“The Attention Merchants” by Tim Wu
What we have on our hands is a trade blockade.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
all should listen to Chris Hitchens on this.
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).
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
I'm not sure why we let Facebook make these judgement, instead of a proper legal due process.
Being mean, hurtful, and disrespectful against an individual is not protected speech, it's called being a jerk.
It just makes one a jerk to engage in it. Not a crime.
Yes, it literally does. That is, in fact, the definition.
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.
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.
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.
"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. "
"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."
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.
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 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.
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
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
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.
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.
While government censorship naturally comes to mind, anyone can practice censorship from governments, private organizations, and even individuals.
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.
I never understood this.
Sorry, I know that’s pretty extreme.