- Before widespread internet use, say year 2000, all communities were local. News were local + nation wide, people still focused on their physical proximity of 20 miles that affected them the most. Today, none of my friends read local news. Local news outlets are being bankrupted left and right.
- Anonymity on the internet. People can say whatever they want without attaching their name, face and self-pride. This creates extremely unproductive conversations without consequences. Platforms such as Twitter propel this behavior to new heights. When it was local, you'd lose friends for being unpleasant, you'd lose credibility in your community for being inflammatory.
- Foreign interference - when internet use was not widespread, it was difficult to infiltrate a foreign election campaign and interfere with it.
- Data collection and manipulation - Targeted newsfeeds that feed these echo chambers could not possibly reach critical mass before the internet. Echo chambers were physical places to go to - Hells Angels or joining the Evangelical Christian church. No such limits exist now.
- Scale - The internet allows unprecedented scale to operate on. Echo chambers reverb into unimaginable self-resonance. Joe Rogan can say something and millions could hear it. +1M subscriber channels on YouTube span thousands. That was practically impossible unless you were on national TV.
The internet has lot of positives (free voice, commerce, sharing of ideas, services, etc.) and its drawbacks are now surfacing. I want to go back to 90's when we had healthy debates between republicans and democrats. We were one country. One voice. And people debated about issues and not about other people's clans.
We wanted internet to be the left/middle of the Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights  but ended up creating something thats not too far from the right side of the canvas. Total chaos and loss of decency and respect for each other.
Oh, how naive...
I certainly think more people are aware of things they wouldn’t have otherwise been aware of. It’s become more difficult for governments to hide facts from their citizens, and that’s been good.
It’s been a mixed bag and I think we should be careful of judging the Internet by the behaviour of companies like Facebook.
We’re also learning. Ten years ago I can’t imagine anyone quitting social media due to concerns about privacy, manipulation, the undermining of democracy or the amoral behaviour of Facebook’s employees, but that happens a lot now. As PG said, it takes time for us to “develop antibodies” to these things.
But secondly there's also the issue of social media mass manipulation, which MAKES (or strongly pushes) people to act like they do. This is completely separate to how "smart" the community is.
I guess I wasn't entirely wrong about having a lot more niche content, although in hindsight thinking that trash TV was a technological issue was very naive. If anything trash shows (be it on TV or the internet) are trashier than ever due to the increased competition.
(My parents wouldn't let me watch Green Acres, telling me it was trash. By the time I was an adult, it wasn't in syndication anymore. Eventually it shows up on Netflix, I watch it to see what I had missed. It's total trash. Didn't make it through a single episode. It's much the same for the rest, like My Favorite Martian, etc.)
Information back then was scattered, the tools to look for it (Altavista, Yahoo, Archie, Veronica, etc.) were rather weak in retrospect. Wikipedia didn't exist in the 90s, nor did GitHub, Thingiverse, and so on. A lot of things like online banking, stock brokerages, bill pay, video chatting, online gaming, and so on weren't as good as we have it now. None of that was accessible without being tethered to a phone or Ethernet jack.
What has changed is the arrival of platforms that started optimizing for engagement, impressions, views, clicks, targeting, and eyeballs, because all of that can be monetized.
The people who would be glued to the boob tube now are glued to social media, and instead of getting content fed from Rupert Murdoch and other media barons, it comes from whomever does a better job of paying for ad impressions, gaming social media, and creating clickbait content to get their viewpoint heard.
That's no longer possible nowadays.
The website counter was the like-button of those days.
As for advertising... well, if you're going to start making money then expect to brush against regulations. At the very least, you may interest the taxman.
Not all of them bad ones. I suspect once we've finished adjusting to the new digital reality it will have, on balance, made us smarter.
If giving more people access to more information and a place in the cultural conversation doesn't improve things then the human race was doomed anyway.
At their base, social media platforms specifically engineer their desired behavior, powered by obscene amounts of money and technical effort, but largely independent of their users' own preexisting wants and needs.
Facebook et al. are the 21st century equivalent of a <blink> tag.
You see similar problems in places like /r/covid19 on reddit where people argue about IFR with few accepting the meaninglessness of the question.
Complexity is hard, but I don't think the world is better if we oversimplify things.
We used to pay people to take the raw facts and distil useful information. It was called journalism.
Clickbait and conspiracy pays more than actual journalism though.
We are in a "eternal September". It will pass (not literally eternal)
I would not go back. It is brilliant
I don't agree with this. While it's made it possible to be better informed, it isn't the case that everyone is, and in addition it's meshed with the bugs in our code (confirmation bias springs to mind) to allow disinformation to spread, and people to seek sources that confirm their beliefs rather than actually inform them of the truth.
Unfortunately, advertising companies built low-effort dopamine funnels on top and plugged everyone up. This has amplified the more basal animal instincts humans come pre-wired with. Outrage, lust, want, and envy are being micro-stimulated in all of us, constantly, all for the objective function optimization of engagement and ad revenue. Attention has been hijacked, fears have been stoked, and people have been made to hate each other.
We've evolved as individuals and devolved as a whole.
the now-informed go and inform the uninformed, affecting everybody in a slow and gradual manner -- regardless of the individuals participation.
One didn't have to read in order to be affected by the advent of the printing press.
In the same way that some thought about radio, TV and now the internet.
In any case any issues with digital media giants aren't the result of the internet, but rather late stage capitalism.
You can safely bet money on that.
A few years later, Microsoft Encarta  was available on CD.
And a decade later, that was gone itself because of the internet.
The internet is amazing!
Easy to forget when we're wired for extraordinary to feel ordinary in time.
The internet did spread ideas. The spread of ideas can bring certain philosophical freedoms. 'Democracy' is too loosely defined in this context.
The entire attitude is really offensive to me only due to the sheer fact that I am amazed at the accomplishments we've made as humans in the short time that I've been around -- and the internet is one of those huge accomplishments that leaves me in awe every time I stop to think about it.
Previous history was widely categorized and considered by the data storage methods thought of during that time, and the dissertation of that information over the world -- the internet blows all previous methods out of the water by many orders of magnitude, while simultaneously lowering the barrier of entry to these stores of information down low enough to where even the most destitute human can usually find a method to participate.
Did the printing press have as many detractors? Have humans always expected the tools to do the entire job, rather than facilitating it?
'Can someone call up The-Internet and mention that they're late to a 3 o'clock democracy spreadin' gig?'
I joke, 'the internet' is a tool, a network -- not an entity. To anthropomorphize the tool into a lazy being that hasn't solved the promised problems would be silly.
but, you're right, humans have done a lousy job using tools, like the internet, to create equality; thankfully we seem to have a long enough future ahead of us to remediate such laziness on our own part.
In my area, every spring as the days get longer and the frost subsides my yard springs up weeds. Within a month the turf crowds it out despite its slow start. Every year the same thing - the weeds are just quicker on the draw than the grass.
I think we're in the spring dawning of massive global connectivity - the nodes are online but they aren't good at resisting infection, the networks are vast but not resilient to abuse, truth struggles against the speed and virality and appeal of propaganda - but humanity's good at inventing approaches and institutions to improve on those things.
Asteroids, pandemics, and climate change on the other hand....
Not to mention neither the right or the left which have the biggest voices seem to actually care about true liberalism. They both have very narrow world views that they want to force everyone else to behave by.
And the counterpoint of "but look how far we've come" isn't satisfying because we all advance due to the absurd excellence of the few (researchers, inventors, philosophers, organizers, etc...) and what you're talking about seems to require excellence from the many.
But I also believe that the internet can be the solution to that problem. A bigger bunch of the kids that come behind us are much much smarter than we are, and I think it'll be the same for them and those that follow.
Drowning in information, awareness, and interaction from such a young age is going to promote rapid and broader smartening and wizening. The nodes will have an opportunity to slide up the competence gradient now that its apparent and the resources to exploit it are abundant.
Youth won't be wasted on the young in an environment where the young are already wise.
Could you elaborate on this?
It suggests a constraint on humans' impact - an inverse correlation between will & power that yields a flattened curve when plotted against time - and implies that we're restrained by nature.
But if that constraint were broken...
A extremely elitist and arrogant comment. Where is your evidence?
So of course the racists, the sexists, and those without the capacity for abstract thought voted for him in droves.
We're long past the point where there is benefit in pretending that all ideas are created equal, and that my uneducated belief is somehow on the same level as your educated, evidence-backed opinion. To support Trump is to support the anathema of civilized society.
I can see we're not going to have a productive conversation, here.
Perhaps at that point it's more fruitful to name it and to confront it as a cancer on civil society than it is to recruit it or appease it.
If you're caught in a propagandist's net it would seem to do you better to reach your hand out to the folks who notice in hopes they could fight with you for your liberty rather than to compound your shame by insisting you're there for your own good.
The coup in Egypt was so swift that there was no time for then hypothetical Islamist dictatorship to form.
Better how? In the 2 civil wars, tens of thousands of people got killed, millions got displaced, and oil production never recovered. Since the country is so fragmented, they can't do anything about the ongoing pandemic. Even Obama refers to Libya has his greatest mistake.
The fact is that a country undergoing a revolution or even just significant unrest is very weak, and weakness will be exploited.
Whenever I feel afraid I go ping some of my IPv6 addresses or measure the pond temperature remotely, or the current rainfall at school.
If you can’t shake yourself away from the web bits, GitHub with its sheer volume of creative expression (even as unpalatable as centralized monocultures may be) is something to love about this current moment in intarwebs history.
Once one Lead gets in, only they themselves can promote another person to Lead. In my neighborhood, we had one thoughtful Lead, and one insane Lead. The thoughtful lead carefully deliberated about adding more Leads, while the insane Lead picked her cronies - and then eventually "overthrew" the thoughtful Lead.
NextDoor has terrible content moderation and no penalties for infringing users. It's absolutely vile, amplifying the most minority of opinions with no consequences.
No such alternative exists on NextDoor. Don't like the content or moderators? Your only choice is stop participating. I have no idea why NextDoor thinks that is good for their business model. Over time the site will just be populated with Karens.
The cynic in me thinks that Nextdoor is just proof that the fundamental thing that makes social media terrible - being a megaphone for egos, pettiness, and narcism - are not overcome by real identities and scope. In my group, there are people that like to stir the pot, and then there are people that love reacting to the stir.
I'll admit it was awful when I lived in Berkeley, but so were the people around me.
Nextdoor is great; lets me know what the neighbors are doing and helps me pick out great local services. Some dudes above pointed out you need some common interest for it to work: being a good neighbor counts as a common interest!
The reason it worked, was that you would gather based on your interests and there was no giant company optimizing things for clicks - that is also why the original reddit worked so well: there is a small space for your niche.
If this were interpreted by a court or regulator (perhaps as part of an EU anti-trust investigation) as a requirement to have new data automatically exported on an on-going basis, then that is very similar to requiring effectively federation between big services.
They could do whatever they wanted with their customers (pricing, who and how to serve, terms of service, etc.) when they were small enough that users could in practice leave them for a competitor just as easily as they could cut off service.
But if they allowed themselves to grow to into the millions of users, they would have to gradually transition to purely uninvolved, invisible infrastructure, like an underground water pipe. Their users would deal with smaller middlemen instead of the background infrastructure provider. The infrastructure provider would have no way to impose terms of service or philosophical opinions or pricing controls or whatever, which only the middlemen would be allowed, and if the middlemen all conspire, the infrastructure provider wouldn't be able to deny service to a new middleman who offered an alternative.
Basically, the small players deal freely with small players, and the biggest players, instead of gaining leverage, would have to serve them more and control or compete less (or remain small and retain the full freedom of a small player).
Put a hard cap on a post's re-tweets/shares, and aggressively ban bots that try to copy&paste to circumvent this.
The problem with cutting and pasting isn't bots, it's people. Uncle Joe posting 5 links a day from <bad news source> is completely allowed under your system, and yet if there are a million Uncle Joes on your network (and there definitely is a large portion of the population like that), then you'd just be back to square one.
Remember spam chain e-mails back in the 0's? There were a lot of stupid viral ideas going around in them, but their reach was rather limited, and they were, generally speaking, not very successful in breaking into the social zeitgeist.
"15 million people liked this" is a lot of social proof. "Uncle Joe + a few dozen other people liked this" is not nearly as much social proof... And viral ideas live and die by the amount of social proof they have.
It's quite possible that what I suggest may not be the best possible fix. In fact, I'll go so far to say that it's not. But I have a hard time imagining that we currently live in the best possible world, such that no amount of tweaking the parameters of these sites will result in improvement. The current outcomes are horrible.
1. Bad ideas spreading does, in fact, harm me. For instance, bad ideas, in the vein of 'COVID is a hoax created by Bill Gates and Soros' and 'Wearing masks is tyrrany' are currently killing people, and are causing economic damage.
2. If speech is so meaningless that ignoring it makes it's impact on my life go away, why do people care about having free speech? How can it both be so meaningless, and so important at the same time?
3. It takes an incredible amount of privilege to ignore politics. Even if you don't care for it, politics cares deeply about you. When politics stops caring about me, I'll stop looking at 'the crap'.
Talking face to face with friends and family
It is my understanding that Telegram and Whatsapp are currently actively doing this kind of thing, to stop the spread of misinformation and disinformation, according to the companies. I still disagree with this practice on principle. The effects of free speech on free people is increased freedom. If those using free speech are not themselves free, less optimal results may occur; freedom is an inherent good; free actions are judged on their merits and their effects.
Already on Facebook, I generally can't make a post that's shown to other people automatically who are disconnected from my friend group. Is Facebook limiting my free speech by doing that already? Hypothetically, if Facebook did stuff like decreasing the volume, er, show rate, to far-away people if my post is re-shared from my friends and so-on to very far outside of my immediate friend group, is that then censorship?
You will find it is a very nice place if you block Facebook and Instagram at your router and build and cultivate communities yourself.
I am endlessly tired of antisocial people complaining about the modern internet simply because approximately 100% of their society uses it now.
If you’re antisocial, that’s fine: seek out smaller, cultivated communities and protocols. But don’t hate on the fact that anyone can talk to anyone else now. That’s a feature, not a bug.
I think you're implying you would not have used the internet, but that seems unlikely. Since you are still here, you must have decided that the benefits outweigh the death threats?
Too bad that most people are a 'terrible neighbourhood'.
So I think there’s another explanatory variable in this case. What’s the big difference between HN and Facebook? HN is a self-selected community of people which has established a culture based on strong values of discussion, charity, mutual respect, and highly engaged moderation. Facebook, on the other hand, has only outsourced moderation in order to keep out illegal material. It doesn’t have any interest whatsoever in promoting healthy, engaging discussions.
The same goes with moderation. You create a culture where you allow everyone there say, and add specific speedbumps (rules) where your community needs it. Otherwise you get the 5% that overruns the place, skewing the discussion disproportionately.
Source : was moderator for 5 years (not here)
Do they? HN seems small compared to 4chan and tiny compared to Facebook.
I’d say more than three quarters of my tech friends have never been on HN whereas they have all been on Facebook at one point.
This in particular. It took me a very long time to recognize how important this was, but looking back the very best social spaces I've ever been in have all had reasonable standards of moderation with moderators who actually paid attention to the various conversations going on. That's not to say that all spaces with moderation standards are good, but I can't think of a worthwhile social network with hands-off or primarily user-driven moderation.
Trouble is, we haven't figured out a way to scale "good moderation" up to something like Facebook scale, and organizing a mass exodus from large social space is a lot harder to do en mass unless you have a Digg v4-scale unforced error.
I’m not so sure we need it. Isn’t it okay if we have different, small communities with different interests? Like I’m not sure if society actually needs a community as large as Facebook.
Sure, Zuck believes in it, but I think he’s somewhat naïve for doing so. Different people need different spaces.
The karma system can also reduce the amount of content needed to moderate because low-karma users will be limited by the system (to limit the potential damage from a fresh malicious account) while the high-karma users are more or less trusted because they have much to lose by breaking the rules.
I agree that the system isn't perfect (it would fail if you only post unpopular - but otherwise valid and within the rules - opinions), but wouldn't it still be better than the current situation?
Upvoting and downvoting can and have been gamed by users and groups of users. It's a fine distraction to drive engagement in a social media space, but you cannot delegate moderation to the crowd without it turning into hot mess.
> and/or paid accounts.
At some point this might have been a good idea, but it doesn't stop bad actors from joining or returning through credit card fraud.
- - -
Have you looked at tildes? It's a reddit/HN-style site, but with stronger moderation and no downvote button. But the most interesting feature is that you have to be invited to the site by somebody, and the chain of invites is tracked, so if there are a bunch of troublemakers that all seem to have a root at one individual, the moderators can get rid of the whole tree if need-be.
It still raises the barrier to entry significantly. Stolen credit cards are not free to obtain, either you buy them off someone else for $$$ or you obtain them for free through your own means but then you're losing $$$ by wasting them on spam accounts instead of selling them for actual money.
What if any social media platform is required, by law, to put up a banner and 20 minute delay before their voices are broadcasted. The banner indicates, just like Cigarette box warnings, "Please be courteous, introspect and assess your comments before posting it. Be be a decent human, talk about issues and not other people, and have a productive objective conversation." and allow people to edit their posts for 20 mins. This would be opposed by the shareholders so it needs to be a law and cannot be left up to the companies to do it as it reduces engagement and consequently ad-revenue.
It also would be nice to have @dang x 1,000,000 to do moderation on the internet scale. Honest, decent and positive "internet social workers". It would be a well paid job.
Given that as a backdrop, how would you characterize the important variables that affect the relative perception of these moderation approaches?
I'll start: 1. Well articulated rules/ethic. 2. Transparent moderation actions. 3. Few "hard lines": dang may step in to remind people of the rules as they approach the line. The precedence of rules is flexible and depends on the context.
Compare that to mainstream social media where moderation is a cost center, outsourced to people in atrocious working conditions with no good understanding of the subtleties of the language at hand or the topic being discussed, and has no incentive to make the platform better. The platform itself has no incentive to encourage good discussions and mediate conflicts, its only incentive is to keep people looking at ads and the mediocre moderation is just there to keep the law at bay. Any "good discussions" that arise anyway are just a side-effect.
now we blame the "cancel culture" because some are going into other's social media past to dig out stuff. but here's the thing. i saw most of these platforms grow. there were no good moderation.
instead ignorance and absurdity were often supported and even rewarded!
we wouldn't be here if good moderation had happened. now, we are struggling with who to hold accountable for the missed opportunity for moderating what went on social media. the damage is done.
we needed more moderation like we have here on HN!
I think the result is well-identified but not the cause:
> This creates extremely unproductive conversations without consequences. Platforms such as Twitter propel this behavior to new heights. When it was local, you'd lose friends for being unpleasant, you'd lose credibility in your community for being inflammatory.
In real life, if you accidentally invite a local Karen to your party, they show up and screech at everyone and don't get invited again. Karen is thereafter stuck at home alone screeching at her cats. Problem solved.
On the internet, the local Karen screeches and other Karens from all over the world retweet it. Karen is thereby emboldened by the attention and joins a roving band of Karens who blanket the world in screeching and hatred like a plague of angry locusts. Which can happen even if Karen is her real name.
What prevents this in real life isn't the lack of anonymity/pseudonymity, it's the lack of equally deranged local compatriots providing a support network and validation for ridiculous anti-social behavior.
Presumably what's needed is more localized communities. It shouldn't be Twitter and Facebook but rather separate communities based on interests or locality and moderated by people who are themselves members of the community being moderated rather than some unaccountable corporate monopolist.
- How much does it cost to run HN?
e.g., Disable algorithmic feeds, remove sharing/RTing and stuff like Trending.
Engagement metrics would plummet, yes, but they would literally make the world a better place.
Yes, you'd get natural echo chambers of the type we've had since antiquity, but not the hugely accelerated toxic meme spread enabled by news feeds.
I believe that the ideological self-segregation is mostly because you can choose who to interact with. That's also why it's primarily online, because you cannot choose to a similar degree offline, and the physical distance between you and your near-duplicates is too large for echo chambers to form, unless you make an intentional move to bring them together (e.g. sects moving to a certain location).
1. Facebook uses real names and people still say the nastiest things, sometimes to their own family.
2. Maybe you have forgotten that the political debate in the 90s was not healthy. That was the era of the Clinton impeachment, and Newt Gingrich brought us to a whole new low in dirty politics.
A lot of people assume that online content is representative of the majority of the community, when it's likely representative of a very small but very active minority that very well might be mentally unstable. The 1% rule of internet culture is well known, but there's evidence that things are even more skewed than that.
It's likely that the design of much of the current web ends up greatly amplifying the voices of some of the most unhealthy people in the community, to the point where they end up driving the discourse.
With the local news that's of course a thing, on the other hand my parents and other people of that generation used to usually read a local newspaper and a nation-wide magazine or newspaper. I don't think the group of people actively engaging in local politics has ever been really large. Not sure whether to count sharing political "artifacts" on Facebook should be considered actively participating in politics. It's just clicking one button.
I believe that people realize that American politics is much more important to their future than local politics, and that their countries will follow whatever way the US go, with some delay but little choice. The US political conflicts form the US, and that then forms it for everyone in the provinces.
A. Why does Facebook need to change anything ahead of the 2020 elections? Why can't they just run themselves properly all the time?
B. Why is Facebook overly concerned with the US elections, but not overly concerned with the Taiwanese, German, Indian, or any other elections? As a global platform it seems sad that they are paying so much extra attention to the US than democracies everywhere else.
"Make America Great Again", huh?
I actually do have a point: I 100% agree that the spot we're in right now is appalling (in America and in some other countries as well). But there actually have been times in America's history when the debates were unhealthy.
Go back to the 90s, you say?
> Political scientists have credited Gingrich with playing a key role in undermining political decorum in the United States, and hastening political polarization and partisanship.
The Internet has added fuel to a fire that had already started.
I think this is generally true, and don't want to downplay the enormous role the internet has played in demolishing local communities. However, technology has been chipping away at this problem for a long time:
- Television, then cable & satellite television
All of these have served to break down local barriers and expand a person's sense of community.
I've heard this a number of times, and agree strongly: the internet is the worst of a small town, and the worst of a big city combined: moralizing busy-bodies, also filled with the sort of dregs of humanity you only encounter once the population is large enough to reveal the uglier outliers.
The few web communities that stayed decent found ways to enforce their local norms.
And talk about a straw man: "strap a spit-covered rag to their face". Most people wash their clothes. I certainly hope you don't "strap a shit covered rag (i.e. underwear)" to their bottom.
i came here only 20 years ago, so can comment only indirectly - recently watched a Bill Maher standup from something like 91 - and pretty much the only difference was clothes. In particular it was somewhat eerrie how he was talking about Anita Hill while short before me watching it there had been Kavanaugh story.
I used to think this had to do more with isolation from the potential for immediate physical violence, and yet even that seems to have been invalidated by what people seem to be willing to do to each other in real life.
I don't think the root cause is the internet. It's optimization algorithms. From my perspective we have reached a moment in time when regulatory control might be the only solution. I am definitely a small government guy. That doesn't mean no government, just the judicious application of the massive power government can wield.
Over the last several years we have watched two loved family members diverge deeper and deeper into ideological pits of hatred, all fueled 100% by Facebook. One of them on the ideological right and the other on the left. I only use FB to keep in touch with close family. It has been very painful to deal with these two. I've had to snooze them for months at a time in order to not have the walls of hatred they produce pollute my life.
What's sad is that we all watched this happen in slow motion over several years. In speaking with other family members from time to time, comments like "Did you notice that uncle Steve..." (made-up name). Once the problem was obvious it was too late, they won't reason with anyone and logical arguments are pointless.
This process is a familiar one from another domain: Self radicalization of terrorists.
The fact that the FB algorithm (and, to be fair, others) will almost instantly send you full-tilt into a narrow corner of the universe, keep you there and dig deeper and deeper into that hole is the problem. The algorithm has no "return to normal" functionality.
Try it. Go to FB and watch a video you would not normally click on. Within a few clicks you are trapped in that general class of videos. I ran a test on this a while back. Getting out of the hole they dig for you takes significant effort. Which means people will tend to continue clicking on the things that drop them deeper into the hole.
I understand the utility of this when wanting to learn about how to remodel a bathroom. However, there are a range of topics or areas that should never descend into these gradients and should have a strong automatic reset function. The easy one here is politics. Do not facilitate entry into resonant chambers in any subject related to politics. I know it's hard to define this but it is hard to argue that these algorithms have not caused harm.
On your point about communities, news, etc. being mostly local at some point in the past, you hit it right on the nail. Politico did a great article on this that opened my eyes many years ago and helped me understand why things have been so terribly screwed-up. Here it is:
I think it’s time to just delete my account. Facebook was supposed to be a means to stay in touch with family and old friends, and for a while it was.
Now it’s just... evil.
The oldschool forum thread organization model of "bumping" seems more prescient by the day.
A simple example from my experiment: I decided to click on TikTok videos on FB. I never watch videos on FB other that those my family might post about our family. In other words, if it isn't about family I don't ever click on videos on FB.
I click on one TikTok video and watch it till the end. More TikTok videos surface. I click again and again. I did so about five times in a row. Maybe fifteen minutes total video play time.
From that point forward it took a significant effort to go back to less TikTok videos shown to me.
I had to click on other stuff, like hate Trump videos. OK, that meant that within a few clicks I was being led into "Trump is the devil" territory. BTW, the TikTok videos didn't disappear from the list either.
So now I am in "hate Trump" hell. OK, let's try the other extreme. After much scrolling I found a "hate Democrats/Biden" video, a mild one at that. Once again, within a few clicks I am being offered more and more hateful videos aimed at democrats.
So, now my choices became: Hate democrats, hate Trump or watch young girls being stupid on TikTok (what are they thinking?). Because the "hate democrats" was the last category I had more of that than the rest. Yet the point is that FB "fingerprinted" me as wanting to live in those caves. If I touched ANY of them the algorithm instantly flung me deeper into that domain. It quickly becomes a no-win situation.
How do you leave any of this? Well, you can't. I can't erase the hate Trump/Democrats stuff from my list, nor am I able to do anything about the dancing TikTok girls. It's hopeless.
Well, no, you have to pick something else to obsess over and hope that it buries the other stuff. The problem is that it takes a massive effort once you've told the algo that you want to watch a certain category with just a few clicks. You just can't escape it.
I have been clicking on anything I can find that is engineering related. A good source of this are FB groups covering Arduino experiments and other technical hobbies. Even with that, the hateful Trump/Dems caves and TikTok are still there, and they are not there in the noise, they show-up all the time.
I did this consciously, and so I knew what I was getting into and, more importantly, I was not using idle time to get sucked into a deep dark hole of hatred without knowing it. In the case of my older family members, well, they had no hope. Once the algorithm grabbed onto them it was over. Of course, it didn't help that they already mildly resonated with their respective corners of the political spectrum. Facebook took that resonance and added enough energy into it to, from my perspective, damage their brains and personalities. I am not kidding when I say that. Nobody in the family wants to talk to either one of them because the minute you get them on the phone they will always go into the most vile hate Trump/Democrats rants. One can only take so much of that crap.
No, Facebook needs to be really introspective about this and understand just how much harm they are causing by having shitty algorithms that anyone with a little bit of sense would understand to be wrong. This needs to change. If they don't do it, government will eventually get to them.
For all the technical/AI/ML prowess these organizations purport to possess they sure do a shit job of developing technology or algorithms that anyone with one bit of ethics or decency would recognize as counterproductive at best, and maybe even criminal at the extremes. It's only a matter of time until someone who self-radicalized due to FB does something horrible. There is no FB path OUT of self-radicalization, it's a one way trip.
Turns out the paperclip maximiser isn't a runaway Star Trek replicator, but a positive feedback rage loop.
I kind of wonder if it's the same thing as being susceptible to religious zealots.
A pre-internet version (and still happening today) would probably be nutters going door to door to "spread the word".
eg looking for people in a bad place in their life (vulnerable), and attempting to take advantage of that
We need those speedbumps on the internet, ie moderation. Most people are not well versed in discussion or engaging into critical thought.
One speedbump could be we don’t allow for recommendation algorithms anymore.
The world ran just fine before Twitter and Facebook. Some of the things we are seeing today were made possible by these platforms and were impossible before they existed. Food for thought.
The nice thing on the internet is that you don't have to listen to the indecent people. It's just that Facebook doesn't offer a comfortable way to filter the input stream. If indecency were a problem, people would move to Mastodon and implement their filters.
I'm sure new mechanisms for self moderation will grow out of this. The generation growing into these platforms as their only known reality will need to take the lead and set up new rules which would allow society to keep existing. This is a work in progress.
Web != Internet
If the Internet is making it easier to be unpleasant, then that's great. I don't think we could have the kind of discussion that we are having as a result of George Floyd's killing if we insisted on being pleasant. The United States was founded by unpleasant and inflammatory people.
Can you imagine a "the problem is black culture" right wing conservative trying to have a civil discussion with a BLM protestor in the current climate?
talk radio was popular in the 90s and is the same sort of echo chamber that you'd find on facebook.
okay, but if the conversation has no consequence then why does it matter? does twitter matter? i know it seems to matter, but is that not just an effect of every individual person who comprises the media being on twitter representing their company or promoting themselves personally?
this was the point that prompted me to comment. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_electoral_intervention
i really don't understand this. is the idea that all the time you're not in church or at the hells angels club you're soaking up some stuff from the surrounding culture? wouldn't that balance out given how weak of an influence the internet is on one's identity compared to being physically at a place with other people who are physically there, literally forming an actual group of people?
you're opining that now there are more echo chambers compared to when there was one? first, that's questionable on its own, but that wasn't how things were before the internet was pervasive.
the democrats and republicans as they are now were not different in the 90's. there was a time that there were liberal republicans and conservative democrats, then the democrats veered away from the legacy of the new deal, and the republicans congealed around neo conservatism. now we have two homogenous brands that are competing with each other. this all was in place during the clinton admin, which is why he got impeached for getting a blow job. perhaps your memory is fuzzy on the 90s.
It also largely enabled the movements that have liberated the rights of LGBT and also brought to light the extent of racist police brutality. Trans people as a minority group practically did not exist before the Internet allowed them to interact - because their numbers are relatively few to the total population (something like in 1 in 100) - and because their condition is so heavily stigmatized and persecuted - and now something like 1.5 million people in the US have at least a chance not to be part of a ~66% suicide rate because they can actually figure out what is wrong with them in ways the so great "90s" never would have offered them in the siloed and managed culture prescribed by local and national homogeneity.
The 90s were a time of untold ignorance of the masses. The camaraderie of ideology was only in a bubble of white entitlement. It was the decade of mandatory minimums following up the decade of drug war escalation following up the decade of said drug war. The 90s were a time when the totally unchallenged and unaccountable military industrial complex was still nation building around the world, from the Middle East in the first gulf war to American involvement in Cuba, South America, Africa, Asia. A continuation of behavior dating back almost a century since the US became a world power.
The people of the US were allowed to be blissfully ignorant of all of this by being consigned to only an approved narrative via increasingly state colluding cable networks. The rise of cable predated the Internet but precipitated partisanship. The election of Reagan was hugely partisan, it was considered an expulsion of socialist and leftist thought entirely from the states as a near climax of the cold war, where as physical tensions waned the ideological coup de grace was being cast by radical globalist capitalism. It nigh enshrined the US as a formal Christian nation.
This was all during continued unabated mass murder of minorities. There is a reason all of Martin Luther Kings contemporaries didn't live to see 40. Just the white children of the 70s and 80s were allowed to grow up surrounded by Hasbro and Nintendo in blissful ignorance to injustice around them than be put in a stadium with every other person screaming where you can't help but overhear the oppressed voices those in power would rather prefer be muffled.
The Internet is a tool. It can, and has, and will be used for evil and good. It is more a reflection of our culture that being given what is fundamentally both the decommodification of information in material concerns and the total abolition of distance as a restriction on the transfer of information between any and all persons who can afford it that it is treated as a failure for making people accountable to form their own coherent and rational ethics. We, as a society broadly, chose the centralization and gamification and psychological exploitation of Facebook et al because they represented economic growth over social wellbeing or individual happiness. It is a choice we can reverse, collectively, but we likely won't because we as a culture worship money above all else. And Facebook (sec. centralized algorithmitized social media) is very profitable, both in monetary and power dynamic value.
To you it has "brought to light the extent of racist police brutality". To others it has "brought to light the extent of black savagery".
Different bubbles are exposed to very different things, for the vast majority of people they haven't been exposed to all these wonderful things you go on about. (As a side note, you might want to double check that 66% figure)
Disregard the regardless.
Bring it on!
It’s your non-mandatory voting.
Don’t blame the internet, which serves other countries well. Blame your special political system for incentivising the rise of extremes over the rise of politicians who “have” to care about the majority.
And plenty of those are not exactly examples of good governance or non-extreme politics. (Ex: Brazil).
So I don't feel your claim is very well supported by the evidence.
Erm, no. What actually kills voter turnout is lack of polling venues. If voting were a quick, painless process on a national holiday, we would see much higher turnouts.
As it is, the current situation is so bad one can't help but think it was purposefully engineered to be that way. Voting should not have to take hours due to lack of venues.
Hopefully mail-in ballots will become the norm, allowing people to vote easily without having to go to a venue.
In the next 6 months, there will surely be a post or series of posts from one or many politicians where their choice of what is deemed "inciting violence or suppressing voting" will be, mildly put, controversial. These situations are not clear cut, and Facebook will be in the unenviable position of having to decide what is a political "truth" in a fraught political environment.
It’s hard in some cases to determine whether someone murdered someone, or stole from someone, or committed fraud, etc. That doesn’t mean we just throw up our hands and say it’s foolish to ever try to determine whether any rules have been broken.
Fraud is a particularly good example here, because it literally involves making reasonable interpretations of someone’s speech. And I’m pretty sure you can’t weasel your way out of a fraud conviction because of technicalities with the way you phrased something.
I'm not saying FB and it's completely opaque outsourced subcontracted byzantine soulless lowest-bidder sweatshop moderation system is better (or somehow will be better), but it's not like the US criminal/justice system is flawless.
Mark should have either said "we will only take down illegal content" or "we're going to do what we want to maintain appropriate content".
The first would be much easier because, with the 2nd, they will be the decision maker on everything and will get dragged into every decision that's political (all of them?).
And corporations are immoral fuckwits only concerned with survival, regardless of the ethics (or lack thereof) of the people involved.
To read Facebook's policy literally, police departments warning about unlawful behavior would be "inciting violence" because they of course have the monopoly of violence behind them. Even posting the law, and saying that someone is violating it, would be "inciting violence" under Twitter's definition. They don't draw any distinction between lawful and unlawful violence, and every law on the books, whether it's re-selling loose cigarettes or catching too many fish, carries the threat of an officer with a gun using force against the alleged violator.
This is all an interesting thought experiment but in practice, I'm sure this policy will be used to punish people the moderation team doesn't like, and will be ignored for people that they do like.
I’m not one of those “taxation is theft” people, but the state’s monopoly on violence is a real thing, and violence is implicit in every government law. When Warren proposed to create a wealth tax, implicit in that assertion is that the government would collect it from people by force if necessary.
Facebook’s policy on violence, applied to government speakers, is like people who eat meat being squeamish about hunting. Where do you think your food comes from? Likewise, what do you think is the basis for all these things you think the government should make people do?
Maybe you should read up on how the Australian government handled gun control: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_law_of_Australia#2017_Nati...
Hint: their campaign poster said "Now's the time to hand it in without penalty".
You're comparing two very different things here - disingenuously. One in which the president _literally threatens force_, the other which says the government will take ownership of guns.
If you can make that argument with a straight face, I take my hat off to you.
Listen to Beto’s tone and the crowd’s reaction. “Hell yes, we’ll [accept your AR-15 in a buy-back]” would not have had the same rhetorical impact because that’s not what he meant. The crowd cheered because they knew what he meant.
Further listen to his definition of a gun he’ll take. First off the AR-15 is not and never has been used on a battlefield, it’s a civilian gun. Most people don’t own M16’s due to the licensing required. Second is they want to take guns that can be used to kill people, this is all guns. He is frothing at the mouth to take guns that look scary.
1. You'll be asked to hand in guns
2. You can choose not to. You can say it's in the trash. You threw it away. Whatever.
The US gov't will need a warrant to come in and search property. All for a gun that you might own? But that you now know is an "extra" crime to use? That's not going to happen. Manpower, cost, trouble, the chance of escalation - it's not worth it. So yes, keep it locked away if you so choose.
I get your point, but it's an assumption to say that the police are going to _force entry and remove everyone's guns_. That will not ever happen.
I just want to disclaim that I genuinely don't care about guns whether people keep them or not. After being in the UK with acid attacks, keep em. No horse in this race. Just do not understand why people are so determined to say that you'll have them forcefully stolen from you, when just a tiny bit of thinking - and precedent! - shows you that it's not going to happen.
If that law is changed to include guns that are now legal, why would you think the ATF won't seize those guns too?
Not long ago the ATF determined that certain airsoft guns were "machine guns". They pretty quickly asked the seller for a list of customers, followed up with each and seized them.
Why would you expect laws making guns illegal would be any different than the laws we already have making drugs illegal?
"In that case, I think that there would be a visit by law enforcement to recover that firearm and to make sure that it is purchased, bought back, so that it cannot be potentially used against somebody else," O'Rourke told the Morning Joe co-hosts. 
I certainly wouldn't expect we'd be sending unarmed law enforcement to a recalcitrant gun owner's home to force him to surrender his firearms.
In the first case, if I choose not to resist (which I definitely won't if I believe I'm in the right and I trust the review/court system), there's much less risk of direct bodily harm, permanent injury, or death, even if I get jailed. If violence happens during the arrest, presumably that will be considered unusual and the cops will be at risk of being in trouble from that, so they have an incentive to not be violent. In the first case, if I'm wrongfully accused, I get to have my day in court, have a professional represent me, and present my evidence to a judge before anything more irreversible happens to me than losing some time. In the second case, I have no recourse if a cop abuses their power because they're reckless or have it out for me specifically. In the second case, it's already established that direct violence is expected, and because it won't be seen as unusual, the cops have little need to restrain themselves.
> Now's the time to hand it in without penalty
What do you suppose is implied?
It really doesn't matter, anyway, because there a regular and frequent shootings at the Chapel Street clubs.
I wonder how you would have it. Do you propose disallowing use of force entirely? If so, how do we deal with noncompliance?
> When Warren proposed to create a wealth tax, implicit in that assertion is that the government would collect it from people by force if necessary.
Strictly speaking, as a government, you won't need to collect a wealth tax by force. The government's monopoly on violence is inevitably bundled with provision of some privately-valuable services, such as managing and enforcing property rights. People selfishly want their rights to be enforced in a fair and predictable way, so they will find it in their interest to pay up.
For example, you could argue that the murder of the Gracchi was the beginning of the end for the Roman republic: once it became clear that the government was no longer playing by the rules and might really did make right, the republic’s legitimacy was fatally weakened. Before long you get a generation of civil war and the end of the republic.
Having a stable monopoly on violence is generally in the involved parties' shared best interest, so a Schelling point (perhaps weighted by some expectation of shared future benefits) is as much of a source of "legitimacy" as anyone needs. When that process of agreeing on a single Schelling point fails due to excess ambiguity - well, then you might have some real trouble on your hands.
My real point, rather than trying to articulate a complete theory of statehood in some cockamamie HN post, is to push back against the common formulation that finds the source of state power in state violence. The real story is meaningfully more complex.
When Weber is talking about the state being defined by a monopoly on violence, he’s talking about the definition of the modern state as opposed to the pre-modern, not an inherent feature of all human organization and government. The medieval king, for example, certainly didn’t hold a monopoly on violence.
He did indirectly, through the concept of divine right. This power was so immense, that a single king could wage war against an entire religion, as in the Crusades. If that isn't monopoly on violence, I don't know what is.
Anyway, not sure what you’re arguing against: the divine right of kings is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about when I say legitimacy.
We hear something like “the state is a monopoly on violence” very frequently, but without the idea’s original limited context as part of the definition of the modern state. It helps it go unexamined that our personal experience is only with modern states, so it seems intuitively fundamental. We take it to mean that the legitimacy of the state derives from the power of the army (and police, etc). It feels like hard-eyed realism, seeing through the masks to the coercion beneath. But the real situation is reversed, and historically governments without a strong enough story of legitimacy are unable to create or sustain a monopoly on violence. (Note that violence may be an important part of that story, as with the American revolution).
To go back to Rome as an example of how this kind of “realism” can fail us, power in the republic being reduced to who could muster the most swords or the biggest mob wasn’t the true nature of government revealed, it was the end of the republic.
I’ve written way more than I intended, but I really enjoy talking about this stuff. I’m not saying that the monopoly on violence line is wrong exactly, but that taken too simply it can be misleading.
(I’m aware that the Rome example is fraught—after all it isn’t a modern state so we shouldn’t apply Weber’s terms. But for this purpose I think it works: it’s arguably the closest thing to a modern state in the pre-modern western world, and goes to my point about how power and authority are more complex than a “realistic” view that reduces it to violence.
Your interpretation of the phrase "inciting violence" is not remotely useful or common. Humans are not machines and language is not the same as computer code. There is social context implicit in the interpretation of the words we use.
No, but he needn't have sent people with guns at first. The first step in enforcing any law is just asking people to comply with it. The next step is putting fines on them. Only the last step involves the threat or at the very end, the use of force.
Given the common attitudes of those who purchase and keep AR-15s, perhaps the chance of them complying with any future legal ban on assault weapons is small, but in that situation, by not complying they would be committing a criminal act.
> if necessary.
Yes, if necessary. A lot of issues we treat as law enforcement problems can be resolved without bringing violence into the picture, but that's only possible if the systems are set up that way that encourages non-violent intervention first. Unfortunately, our current law enforcement systems treat many situations as having a high probability of requiring violence.
The use of force is certainly the last step, but the threat of force is present at any step. If the government sends you a letter asking you to do something, they're not "asking" you like your neighbor or your friend might ask you. They are telling you to do something, and it's clear to everyone that, if you don't convince them or a court otherwise, they absolutely will use force if you don't comply.
I don't mind the monopoly on violence (though I do believe that the state must enforce it much more: it can absolutely not tolerate challenges to that monopoly, and it must absolutely crush any violence against citizens), but it's not helpful to pretend that, there isn't a gun at the end of the line that gives the nicely worded letter its weight.
I also believe that the monopoly on violence is the least worst option we have for not having a society at war with itself.
But it's also blindingly obvious that it is the backstop for everything, not just enforcing weapons bans, but even things as mundane as speed limits. When the sign says max speed 55mph, that's asking. When the highway patrol pulls you over to give you a ticket - that's fining you. If you don't stop and they need to run you off the road and arrest you - that's the violence stage.
It's also sitting there behind every right we enjoy in free societies. Everything from property rights to civil rights are backstopped by the monopoly on violence. However, that doesn't mean we bring the visceral threat of violence into every property or civil rights dispute.
Just as important as the underlying threat of the use of the monopoly on violence is the judicious and restrained use of it only in the cases where it truly is proportional to the situation it is facing. Otherwise we get situations like the murder of George Floyd for merely using a counterfeit bill for payment at a convenience store.
The "asking" implied "we will give you a fine if you don't", and the fine implies "and we will come to your house and get you if you don't pay".
> However, that doesn't mean we bring the visceral threat of violence into every property or civil rights dispute.
Of course we do, we just do it via the state. I sue you with the knowledge that, if the court rules in my favor, the state will make you accept that ruling.
There is no pacifist society, and hiding the violence under a veil will do us no good. It's useful to be aware of reality, to know how the sausage is made, because it's much too easy to decide things if you close your eyes to these facts. Similar to starting a war that will not be fought by your children, deciding on a policy that will "ask" people to do something, adding "it's not like we're going to kick their door in..." is a problem: because that's exactly what is going to happen if they don't "voluntarily" comply. It's "hey, could you do me a favor? Please move your car, or else..."
I never suggested hiding violence under a veil, or claimed that there is a pacifist society, and I agree that we would all do well to understand the concept of the monopoly of violence and how it is the least bad way we know of to backstop all the rights we enjoy.
What I said is that we shouldn't start the process of day-to-day law enforcement with the use of violence, unless the individual being apprehended is demonstrably violent or threatening to be violent. I'm talking about the actual procedure of law enforcement, not debating theories about
Actual violence should be reserved as a last resort only, not just for unarmed black men like George Floyd, but even for the people who refuse to surrender illegal firearms. They should all be given a chance to comply with the law without escalating things to an actually dangerous situation.
And this needn't be a partisan issue by the way. Sen Rand Paul(R) has introduced legislation to ban no-knock warrants , which are prime example of how police often use violence upfront in circumstances that don't require it.
Well, it depends. Maybe you've declared bankruptcy in the mean time, and the fine might be wiped out as a result. And if you're unwilling to declare bankruptcy, doesn't that mean you have some valuable property in your name? So the state is exerting violence on your behalf just as much, by enforcing your rights to that property.
If you're speeding and won't even stop when police tries to pull you over, you're putting other users of the road at severe risk. From those other users' POV, you were being violent to them, and running you off the road is the lesser evil.
> Everything from property rights to civil rights are backstopped by the monopoly on violence.
Even that is not so clear to me. ISTM that humans have an inherent desire to defend their possession of whatever they regard as their property, as well as the social standing ("civil rights") of people they care about - including by force. So even the basic government function of managing and enforcing property rights need not involve any initiation of violence, compared to the possibly-chaotic and unregulated violence that was already inherent in the basic notion of property, or civil standing/honor, or whatever.
I think we're in agreement here: the use of violence must be proportional to the actual threat, so running you off the road is justified here. If we're not agreeing, then please explain what I'm missing.
Or they could simply add a charge to your conviction if you shoot someone, because guns would be illegal.
Just because they're illegal doesn't suddenly mean they'll be taken by force. That is such a huge mental jump.
What do you think happens when you don't pay that fine?
You will be jailed for whatever you want to want to call it -- contempt of court, tax fraud, whatever, but EOD, if you don't pay the cash, you end up in jail. And putting you in jail (if you do not wish to comply) will be armed police.
I don't understand how this is complicated.
How do you make the adamantly noncompliant comply? You can ask nicely, you can threaten, you can stomp your feet, and if that doesn't work...then what?
The point about gun control is that it's not owning the gun, it's _using_ the gun. There'd be additional penalties if you shot someone!
Sure you can, and we do all the time, we lock them in cages.
But we have a whole set of other measures - fines, penalties, negotiations, loss of benefits - and institutions to enforce them before ever calling upon the actual violence provided by the monopoly for a reason: so that most common societal infractions never need to escalate to the point of violence.
The brain gets wired to accept and try make some sense of the contradictions , where there are none. That is why we argue about every single little thing in the public sphere: Because there is no base set of morals or axioms that we can use to derive more complex ones to address complex situations.
None of this is any different from armed robbery. Of course the bank robbers just ask with a note first. The threat of violence is still the same, which is why there is a huge burden on the state to prove it’s necessary.
This comes across as wealth apologism. If a wealth tax is theft through a monopoly on violence, then all tax is theft through a monopoly on violence.
Singularly applying this concept as a the negative of a wealth tax, while ignoring the rest of taxes, is biased towards the wealthy.
Do you feel a cop's post threatening to beat the shit out of someone in a plausibly legal fashion stays up, but not that same post from a non-cop?
The government is comprised of people. Pointing to individual actors in that group seems sensible since "government" is not some autonomously system but a system composed of individuals who direct the actions of the group.
Yes, the use of force is implicit in all law, but the other is a direct explicit threat of force.
Is proposing any law a threat of force? They're all backed the same way.
How can we even do journalism if we are deleting the sources quoted?
Also, it’s trivial to take screenshots or otherwise archive the page even if Facebook takes it down.
1. Person A says X on Facebook.
2. Facebook removes Person A's post.
3. Journalist reports that Person A said X and that Facebook removed it.
Why would Person A suddenly disclaim X? They want X to be heard, which is why they said it on Facebook in the first place.
And again, there are ways to archive digital content even if its original source has been taken down.
Alternative: Journalist claims that Person A said Y and that Facebook removed it. Person A is unable to disclaim it because every time they repeat X it gets taken down and misreported as Y. The public are none the wiser.
How about you quote that line instead of paraphrasing it (like the grandparent did for the Trump tweet), and you'll find that there are some significant differences between literally threatening violence and announcing a regulation policy entirely in line with existing policy and a ton of proposed legislation.
How do you know Facebook will not do that, when Twitter has already done exactly that?
"Someone should go beat those people up" is an incitement to violence because the intended message is to encourage the listener to go beat those people up.
"If those people don't stop misbehaving, I will send the police to stop them" doesn't incite violence; it merely warns or threatens the use of one's legal power to directly order violence.
Government officials make these kinds of statements all the time. For example, consider this tweet from NYC mayor Bill de Blasio (https://twitter.com/nycmayor/status/1255309615883063297):
> My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.
Or, for another example, consider President George H.W. Bush's statement during the 1992 LA riots (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD_3NOIEk-0). In the statement, he discusses the thousands of federal law enforcement and military personnel that have already been deployed to the LA area before saying:
> And let me assure you: I will use whatever force is necessary to restore order. What is going on in L.A. must and will stop. As your President, I guarantee you this violence will end.
An incitement to public violence can be censored in the interest of preventing violence, but censoring statements from government officials does nothing to stop them from issuing orders to government personnel. Furthermore, if a government official states that they intend to exercise their official powers in some specific way, there is always a legitimate public interest in receiving that statement.
It's not the proper role of social media to provide commentary on whether an announced or threatened use of official government power is legal, moral, or practical. Facebook and Twitter are not in the business of deciding questions of constitutional law.
When a govt official threatens violence for inherently nonviolent acts (even if they're illegal), that is a threat of violence that has nothing to do with law enforcement. It is assuming a crime and that the crime requires violence to be stopped.
In fact, the core concept of the protests in the US right now is that violence is not legal solvely because law enforcers commit it in the pursuit of law enforcement.
Isn't this only the case if the response to a violation is violence?
> carries the threat of an officer with a gun using force against the alleged violator.
Yes. This appears to be the observed reality.
> They don't draw any distinction between lawful and unlawful violence
Sounds correct. It's still violence. Advocating for it is still advocating for violence. Maybe if those with this power of lawful violence showed themselves responsible in its application, we wouldn't be here, but they didn't, and we are.
They also have the middle ground option of putting a warning on things and leaving them up.
That will work for some time, but eventually there will be posts that will be so egregious that they'll be pressured to delete/hide them.
The nice thing is that then they aren't censoring. People are able to see what is being suppressed or hidden if they are interested. I think it is good to have nuance built into the tools.
This degree of power doesn’t comes without strings attached. They have a responsibility to society at large. At this scale, you don’t get a pass because you are a structured as a corporation.*
The very least is to prevent Facebook being used as a tool to amplify violence and genocide. Honestly, given the atrocities that have been effected through their platform , this seems like a very timid step.
* If they don’t start to accept this accountability, it will ultimately be forced upon them by society and governments across the world.