As long as the platforms recommendation and ranking algos are a black box, there is no guarantee that China isn’t conducting misinformation campaigns via the platform.
At the very least, the government should audit the algos and make sure China can’t arbitrarily alter ranking results.
Corporations as a rule, and there have been exceptions, but as a rule have none of those powers. Theoretically the worst crimes they’re going to commit are fraudulent in nature and crimes of negligence. They’re not just a separate org chart ultimately serving as a private arm of the State with its own private rules that it self-enforces; they’re different beasts entirely.
The problem with PRC-based corporations is that they muddy the waters entirely between what is private and public. As far as the PRC is concerned, all private life is subject to the State and should serve the interests of the State. Google and Facebook and your favorite café or tea house can and do have interests that lie entirely outside of the State and are free to pursue them. That is the difference between a free society and an authoritarian State.
If the national community agrees on something, it's all that matter. We don't have to abide by other countries standards on everything especially if we dont like it.
Im thinking as a French I had to fight a lot with free speech absolutists abroad, while at home we're quite okay with selective censorship... it sounds scary to an American sometimes, but hell we dont care :D
Forgive me for not just taking your word for it. Citation needed.
Even your freedom of speech is subject to certain restrictions in the US – you can't make violent verbal threats to people, to name one example.
The problem with Law is that laymen opinions seem to matter even less than in other domains.
The problem here (as I see it) is that the definition of liberty is very subjective, and yet people make arguments like yours based on the premise that their personal definition of liberty is an objective truth.
Liberty and humanism are topics built on millennia of context and nuance. Blanket statements like yours, while passionate, risk being so reductionist that they distract from the important substance of the conversation.
You can establish things that you think are "very important" in a society, and make it much harder to change than other things.
Of course, if everyone thinks you're the king of France, you're the king of France. But establishing rules to counterbalance the state's monopoly on violence and making those be pretty strong protections within the framework of laws helps establish the norms!
Everything has an asterisk in these kinds of conversation. I think most people can understand the relative difference in values between "people should have a right to assemble and speak their mind" and "people should be able to park on the left side of this street on weekends"
Liberty is the natural order, but liberties can be tempered by morals and laws. If they existed not in nature, but as a set of approved rights granted to you by secular authorities, then your liberty is not your liberty, but your license.
The difference now is whether it is State-sanctioned or not, and sometimes it still is. Liberty is natural, but laws and morality act as the limiting principle. Without them, martial power is the rule and only another martial power can counteract another from engaging in the trade and enslavement of people; but law can also prevent selling yourself into slavery as a way of settling debts. The 13th Amendment is a general prohibition article, one of the only two ever adopted, and the 18th was later rescinded by the 21st.
France made slavery in mainland France illegal in 1315, in the colonies they had laws regulating the slave trade, as disgusting as it still is, that made torture and family seperation illegal. This Code Noir resulted in 13.2% of freed slaves in Loissiana compared to 0.8% in Mississipi. No lesser person than Robbespierre abolished slavery in France and its colonies in 1794, until t was shortly reintroduced under Napoleon in the colonies.
The British Empire made the international slave trade illegal in the Empire in 1807, in 1833 slavery was abolished in the Empire as a whole, it was achived mostly in 1838.
Tunesia abolished it in 1846, Romania in 1855.
Some countries were late to abolish it, some went faster. But only the US needed a Civil War to some around. And of the major powers, the US was the only democracy, all others were monarchies at the time slavery was abolished in the main lands.
You missed the point of my post though: the difference between slavery today and slavery in the 18th Century is whether it is state sanctioned or not. There is an extant global slave trade that is larger than the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade at its peak, but now it is a mostly black market trade.
The 13th Amendment has a flaw as well; it allows for prison slavery.
> Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
The Black Codes passed within the Antebellum South made full use of this qualifier to essentially criminalize Blackness and re-enslave Freedmen through the prison system.
I'm not saying it was just, nor am I denying the hypocrisy present within the Constitution at the time of its ratification which is in direct contradiction to the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. That said, there is such a thing as voluntary slavery, and debt bondage. The former was a means of providing for yourself or your child and is a practice that was recorded as far back as the Code of Hammurabi. The latter has a history in the Americas, Asia, Europe and Africa, and is still widespread in South Asia and Subsaharan Africa. Voluntary slavery is a liberty, but because the 13th Amendment does not make any kind of distinction, it is prohibited along with all other forms except prison slavery, hence my characterization of the 13th as a prohibition article.
You can fault the United States for being one of the last countries to (mostly) abolish slavery if you like. That's fine, but it's not the criticism I would levy, there's plenty of Reconstruction Era and post-Reconstruction Era problems stemming from how poorly the Lincoln Amendments were written which were written with the best of intentions, badly. There's also the fact that the Emancipation Proclamation was in 1862 and the 13th Amendment was passed in 1865 just prior to the end of the Civil War. It's now been 155 years, and the 13th Amendment has been in force over twice as long as all of the clauses related to slavery in the Constitution.
In the absence of law though, there is often slavery. Peoples who are weaker than their neighbors and have nothing else to offer are usually enslaved by their neighbors. If you don't have greater martial power and it isn't costly to take you, you're dead, or a slave.
Another thing is that liberty is very difficult to define, and anything from a libertarian paradise to a socialist one (as in Scandinavia) can be the most liberty for different people.
America is a good example of where we used anti-democratic institutions towards democratic ends. We retained a parliamentary body, but we subordinated it to the Constitution rather than maintaining the premise of parliamentary supremacy. We retained the previous makeup of Congress in the Senate much to Madison’s chagrin, and even improved it somewhat by going from 1 State Vote to 1 State 2 Separate Votes; in exchange we got buy in during the ratification conventions. We put an elected official in Office in place of a King, with term renewal. We introduced an Electoral College into the process because these were the pre-Telegraph pre-Railroad days where it might take six weeks to go from the Potomac to Philadelphia, and made Congress the fallback when the EC couldn’t decide on an overall winner (this process was expected to be used more than it has been, most notably in 1824). We came up with political parties, and they functioned very well for a long time at keeping riffraff and people morally unfit for Office from ever coming close to the White House, up until we threw open the doors to the smoke filled rooms and made it so any DINO or RINO could run for President under the Party banner which is now we ended up with President Trump and Bernie Sanders was twice a serious contender in the Democratic Primary despite not serving as a member of the Democratic Party. Juries have absolute power over one simple question: guilty or not guilty, and peoples’ lives hang in the balance of that question.
Liberty is natural, but we do temper it with morals (it is sinful to kill) and laws (we will execute killers). There is no justice in lawlessness, and if men were Angels we wouldn’t need justice.
> Another thing is that liberty is very difficult to define, and anything from a libertarian paradise to a socialist one (as in Scandinavia) can be the most liberty for different people.
This speaks to our collective failure as a society to regulate our morals and understand our liberty. In part it is because we rely too much upon the State to do so for us. What societal understanding we do have of our own liberty is rooted in our liberties under the Common law, which despite its name, is as much tradition as it is law, traditionally tempered by Courts of law and equity, but which can be overturned by statute; and the natural law.
We don’t have a law saying that you have a right to live, to have sex, to have children, and to form a family. Nor do we have laws saying that you have a right to engage in commerce. These are rights, but not rights in the positivist sense where the State will provide these things for you under rational principles, but rights that are intrinsic to being born alive and grow healthy enough to engage in these pursuits. If you are sterile, you cannot sue for a remedy from nature for this misfortune, although our society is vast enough and complex enough that you might still form a family by other means, it is not owed to you.
I'm not surprised you're being downvoted as I've tried to make this point with American friends before and gotten the same reaction 10/10 times.
To use a very topical example: in other jurisdictions outside of the US, racism is a crime, and speaking out in favor of it or discriminating against someone verbally is not protected by free speech.
In fact, jurisdictions outside of the US often do not even have a definition for the "right to free speech" – it's obvious that you can say whatever you want.
It just so happens that by saying some of those things you may be doing something illegal, not unlike how threatening someone isn't a protected action in the US. So it's not so much a matter of censorship, but one of limits to rights. Every right has certain limitations, and free speech isn't absolute, be it in America or elsewhere.
Free speech as a strongly held value is incredible, because it avoids situations like the above (Austria). It also avoids situations where the police pay you a visit to check your thinking over a tweet (UK). It also avoids the situation where a teenager gets arrested for quoting rap lyrics on Instagram (UK). It also avoids situations where you can be fined for insulting the president by holding up a sign that says "get lost, you prat" (France). It also avoids situations where the government can refuse to allow (not ban, simply do nothing) the publishing of video games, movies, and books in the country (Australia and New Zealand).
Note that in the French case the ECHR actually got their act together and found the French law to be in violation of free speech. If that situation had happened in the US then there wouldn't have been a fine in the first place, because the right to free speech is that important.
People accept these kinds of things, because they don't think they'll ever be in the wrong. However, when it happens to them there's no real recourse.
Edit: keep in mind that that are the countries that are considered to be doing well.
As an aside, police violence happens in the countries I mentioned. Not as much, but it does happen. Eg the yellow vest protests in France had a problem with this.
Free speech is extremely important in the United States, especially amongst sensible, regular everyday people. There are some elements on the far left who have been turning against free speech, but thankfully they are fringe groups that are largely ignored (Antifa/BLM Marxists, etc.)
The police fined the guy, which doesn't mean that the french people supported the police on this (they didn't), and that the law supported the police on this (it didn't).
So either police actions are a good scope to evaluate the importance of free speech, or either they aren't, but it shouldn't be only when it's convenient.
"Point" in your comment means the muzzle of a gun, not a logical argument.
This is another slippery slope and Covid-19 will increase censorship further. Indeed India by censorship legitimize the censorship regimes around the world (including China).
Been working with Internet since it's early years in 1991 and hope it remains free. But it seems less and less likely given every country wants to create it's own Internet, as it became important for being in power.
Given the amount of censorship in India, treatment of its minority and arresting protestors without due trial for innocuous Facebook and twitter posts, because some politician or ruling administrations is hurt is not something one needs to be proud of.
As I said it's a slippery slope once the power is given to regime it's hard to get back.
Also just for information India's ranking on Internet Freedom for reference. 
PRC corporations have a history of behaving in a mistrustful manner, combined with their obligations to the PRC State which treats its citizens as subjects, and sometimes not even its citizens, but anybody of Chinese descent, PRC corporations absolutely should be singled out and treated with mistrust. Our corporations have the obligation to turn a profit for their shareholders and sometimes that even means entering into a contract with the government, but theirs also have the obligation to advance the interests of the State. Dual mandates, even when not initially at odds with each other, often eventually come into conflict with each other, and State-owned or controlled corporations often don’t even have the profit incentive but are instead subject to politics. See also: the American corporations Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for examples of why they’re a bad idea, although their enterprises are domestic.
This is off topic but since you brought it up, we’re not the free speech absolutists that we believe we are. What we took issue with specifically was the idea of a central government regulating speech, assembly, the press and the establishment of churches. We still had established churches for quite some time, but they were governed by the States, not the United States. Let me quote you the First Amendment:
> Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Everything you really need to know is in the first five words. It’s a prohibition on Congress, not a grant of rights, and this would later come to be incorporated against the States as well such that their legislatures have the same restrictions. The reason this amendment exists at all was 1. To quell dissent from the Anti-Federalists which campaigned against the Constitution in the ratification conventions and 2. Because then and now, we’re a nation of dissenters. Many of the people that migrated from Europe to the United States were religious dissenters or penal colonists living in exile. I don’t know to what degree you studied the Huguenots in French history, but they made a few attempts to establish themselves, each time French politics seeking their resupply attempts after the initial landing, before receiving a land grant in what is now Brooklyn, and then was part of the New Netherlands.
In France, censorship is a real problem for most intellectuals and individual citizens
Assa Traoré, the leading personality protesting against police violence has been repeatedly sued. Charlie Hebdo, the satiric newspaper that was attacked by terrorists who killed 12 people had been repeatedly sued. Eric Zemmour, a right-wing intellectual has also been condemned for speaking. Citizens who have placed a "Macronavirus" (concatenation of Macron, our president and Virus) sign in front of their house have spent a night at the local police station.
"Hate Speech" is a way too broad definition. And the censorship in France is getting bigger and bigger, notably since the highly-controversial Avia Law that forces Social Media platforms to censor "Hate Speech".
All these examples, have been made with non-evil governments. Our current president is a centrist and the last one was a leftist. Now, imagine what could happen when the far-right has to decide what "Hate Speech" is? I don't want to live that, and the Rassemblement National has been rising to dangerous levels.
We would be much better with constitutional and absolute free speech as in the US.
Not that clear cut.
I was thinking more about companies that have actually had militaries, the Dutch East India Company being a prime example.
I think there’s a difference, but if you don’t think so, why?
This might be a shock to most people in the western world, but if you go on almost ANY news website in china, the headline news is dedicated to government propaganda.
The reality is that Chinese firms and government operates together intimately. Nearly all sizable firms have a party secretary that is involved in board level decisions, and steps in when things get political. You can ponder who has the final say.
No, I get this, but here's the thing: YouTube and, more specifically, it's advertisers do everything that you're accusing China of. There are material consequences if YouTube doesn't keep in line. What this means is that a status quo that pleases advertisers will be maintained.
It's every bit propaganda as dropping leaflets, but you can't point out a boogeyman pulling the strings.
Advertisers are not a homogeneous block. YouTube et al can afford to piss off some advertisers; if they're pissing off all advertisers, the material is probably extremely objectionable to most humans.
I challenge you to point out an example of content that has been banned from youtube because it offends advertisers, that you really think the banning of which is a significant issue. There's no shortage of material on YT hypercritical of Goldman "Vampire Squid" Sachs.
Whereas there is a long litany of material banned from Chinese networks for obvious political reasons. Furthermore, if you don't like YT's policy, you can use other video sharing sites or even gasp host your own videos. Try doing that in China and see how long it takes for men with guns to show up.
The washingtonpost story can be proven false. Whenever I add the word lesbian to a video title traffic goes up 4x the average.
The everage article was interesting. Keywords trans or transgender could put the video into a more mature sexualized context. Most searches with that term probably have a mature/porn intent. It's one of the more popular sexual preferences by keyword search volume so the context of other words matter more.
Similar story with Tumblr. I had been using Tumblr for a good many years, for non-pornographic use/material (I shoot landscapes and buildings, and I liked the way I could post/group my photos). It pissed me off though when they (Tumblr) clamped down on sexual content, because it really hurt the LGBTQIA+ communities. A similar clamp down on Pinterest also made me drop them equally fast.
I don't know what conservative agenda they took on, but there were other ways to "protect the sensitive eyes" of their conservative users, without shutting down freedom of expression.
Content that is specifically about LGBT issues is almost always going to involve sexuality at some point or another. Advertisers are skittish about their ads running next to such content. Tumblr wanted to become more attractive to advertisers, so they clamped down on sexual content. By clamping down on sexual content, they also incidentally clamped down on LGBT content. They probably also clamped down on people talking about straight sexuality as well, but that doesn't raise censorship alarms because the explanation for "censorship" is just plain typical American prudishness that is generally accepted.
This is almost certainly the same dynamic at play on youtube.
You can call this a "conservative agenda" if you want, but IMHO you are twisting the debate to frame it as a political wedge issue when it really isn't.
The equating of sexuality (an identity) to sex (an action) and specifically targeting identities that are not straight _is_ the problem. Under Yahoo (and in a bumbling attempt to adhere to App Store guidelines), completely safe for work content (from discussions to screenshots from media to even teenagers venting or asking for advice) that happened to contain words like "lesbian" got censored/marked as NSFW - meanwhile content that was much more sex-related than that (e.g. a gif from a movie showing two straight characters kissing or getting handsy) would pass just fine. But of course, it's "twisting the debate" to find it absurd and obviously homophobic that a girl _typing_ about wanting to marry another girl someday is considered pornographic in comparison.
Where we disagree is I do not believe this is any kind of moral judgement biased against LGBT content. It's just that content explicitly designed to be LGBT is going to trip stupid automated moderating systems, just like content explicitly designed to be about BDSM or any other kind of sex related topic, whether it is LGBT or not.
Images are a different kind of problem entirely. Again, computers don't understand context. Recognizing a boob or a penis is hard, but still relatively easy compared to understanding that images can be highly sexual without any overt images of sex.
Yes, these sites don't understand the context you want them to understand. But no, I don't think it's a politically conservative motivated judgement (in all likelihood of course, I can't say for certain... and likely neither can you).
There is some confusion on these. One has to do with identity, the other has to do with sexual partner choice. I.e. I was born a man, I feel like a woman. In an unrelated (to identity) note, I prefer X-Y-Z as my sexual partner.
The conservative/conservatism bit has to do with the hypocrisy that man, woman should be the only available choices of gender, and that "man + woman" should be the only allowed sexual partnership. I will not bring religion to the discussion, it only makes things shittier.
This (imho) is the founding stone of fascism, you are different than me (postpartum gender change not allowed), and your choices are different than mine (man + woman, and no other combo allowed).
When a company suppresses and eventually kicks out these communities, they may be doing it for the $$$$, but in the end of the day they ostracize people only because of their identity and choices. As for the “stupid automated moderating..” I call bullcrap. It is a mix of hate and incompetency. But driven by hate and conservatism.
If Tumblr wanted, they could have created an tagging mechanism that could facilitate people to find their own groups/fandoms.
Censoring the literal word "lesbian" is not a politically/socially conservative judgment to you?
Same reason as Facebook: advertisers don't want their ads shown next to controversial content. As a matter of fact, the LGBTQIA+ communities aren't all about sex, and it's homophobic to say they are.
You don't have to have consensus from advertisers to ban something. If an advertiser of significant enough size, or a block doing similar, threatens, YouTube will listen.
> I challenge you to point out an example of content that has been banned from youtube because it offends advertisers, that you really think the banning of which is a significant issue.
You don't have to ban it, you just have to demonetize it and content creators will fall in line.
> Whereas there is a long litany of material banned from Chinese networks for obvious political reasons.
I really think you need to reckon with this. You speak a lot about hosting your own shit, but, as American hegemony crumbles, your consumption will meet road blocks.
This week we saw one social media platform after another ban the same people. The North American cartel moves together as one, once again.
You can host your own videos but if you do expect to be banned by paypal and mastercard and visa. Because all north american companies are just different faces of the same underlying entity.
Chinese companies offer real competition to that. Chinese companies are very good for my political freedom.
I would not totally agree with that statement. In some ways I may be able to speak more freely as a foreigner on Chinese run platforms because China might not care to suppress the same news that American run platforms would try to suppress. I would not agree that they offer political freedom. The CCP does not believe in any level of free speech. For an example see the recent news. Not only do they want to suppress it but even outside China they try to erase that history.
I can name plenty of western companies that have come out in support of the Hong Kong people and plenty that have abandoned them for a quick buck. Can you name one Chinese (Not Honk Kong or Taiwanese companies, these are under different governments) company that has come out in support of the people of Hong Kong against the CCP?
Tell me what kind of videos you'll be banned by payments companies over, please. Because I used to run the (at the time) biggest BDSM porn company on the internet, and yes we took credit cards.
There is no "North American cartel". There are no chemtrails either.
Videos showing American war crimes, specifically the “capital murder” video on wikileaks, which caused visa, paypal and mastercard to all pull the ability to use their services to donate to wikileaks.
Doesn't look very banned to me.
Sounds like they're moving in lockstep in response to public sentiment. Is that a bad thing?
Might be bad for you, but probably not bad for Americans. The people have spoken and the corporations are doing their bidding. Sounds like what most people want from their government. This as opposed to China, where an autocrat is deciding what to do and enforcing his will onto his subjects. Whether it's ethical or not is besides the point, because otherwise this conversation just devolves into a discussion on the merits of democracy.
That is scary.
Like, I get that the milquetoast world advertisers want to live in is some kind of lens that colors the views and opinions presented by their platforms. It's just that the worst that happens from being influenced by it is it that you live a more boring life and consume more product. That's not nearly as worrying as being influenced to hating racial minorities in an attempt to distract from the South China Sea or something.
Coca cola sent death squads into South America.
> That's not nearly as worrying as being influenced to hating racial minorities in an attempt to distract from the South China Sea or something.
I don't know if you've noticed, but there are currently protests going on in America over racist injustice.
> It's just that the worst that happens from being influenced by it is it that you live a more boring life and consume more product
And how do you think this interacts with the above point?
That's an argument against Coca Cola doing business in South America, not against banning an advertising platform in South America.
Also arms smuggling, anti-union activity (violence) etc.
I mean yeah, since those corporations were acting like a quasi-nation state. If you're willing to go back far enough, you could also point to the East India company as evidence of corporate power, although in those cases they pretty much were the state in the areas that they operated. I'm not sure whether you could say the same about corporations today.
For US-based firms, that’s simply not the case.
Yes, YouTube needs to make sure Nike is happy. But Nike didn’t just kill two dozen Indian soldiers.
Certainly there’s privacy related concerns with US companies - as with Chinese companies. But nobody had accused the DoD of manipulating YouTube search rankings.
If the DoD wants to conduct a YouTube propaganda campaign, they can buy advertising like everybody else.
> For US-based firms, that’s simply not the case.
Disingenuous or naive?
Now somebody has decided that China is very bad, and here we are discussing how bad they are. Despise that in 1989 they massacred their population literally in the center of their capital, a few years later and until recently the investment in China grow exponentially. But, they are starting to be too powerful, so, they are not funny anymore. Now, we have to block their mobile apps.
What happened to Saudi Arabia by the way? Why are not the independent media talking about the relationship with them in the same way they talk about Iran?
Probably not the best company to choose given their history.
Consider past agreements about/agency infiltrations to create backdoors and the like or canary clauses in licenses and why they exist.
Still better despite being only a partial mechanism for increasing balance between powers.
>> The reality is that Chinese firms and government operates together intimately. Nearly all sizable firms have a party secretary that is involved in board level decisions, and steps in when things get political. You can ponder who has the final say.
> No, I get this, but here's the thing: YouTube and, more specifically, it's advertisers do everything that you're accusing China of. There are material consequences if YouTube doesn't keep in line. What this means is that a status quo that pleases advertisers will be maintained.
You're basically saying: "YouTube has to please group X, TikTok has please group Y. Since they both have to 'please groups,' they're doing the same things!" That's a flawed comparison, because the the devil is in the details: the relevant differences between group X (YouTube advertisers) and Group Y (the Communist Party of China) get obscured when you're reasoning about such high level abstractions.
Why must every single posting on Hacker News that involves China be flooded with whataboutism? It's a recurring thing, not even subtle.
Maybe I'm too optimistic, but we should always strive to be better. Just because the US could be doing as bad things as China or Russia, doesn't mean it shouldn't be better than it is now.
Maybe we shouldn't have worked so hard to support building up their manufacturing base when we knew this all along.
Oh well, we just get to repeat the Dutch mistake of financing your enemy into having a robust manufacturing base until they gradually overtake global control.
YouTube and its advertisers aren't countries, and aren't engaged in recent, deadly military skirmishes with India.
It might help to read the parent posts I was replying to, but we're talking about the effects of black box algorithms.
>India is absolutely right in banning TikTok as it is a significant national securities threat.
which is exactly why YouTube and China are not equivalent. You're talking about abstract black box algorithms; no one else was.
Unless or until they approach the scale of a nation-state (and to be fair, many do) it seems like commercial interests are at the very least clear (and arguably market-driven and subject to competition).
For a specific if arbitrary example: I don't think Facebook values privacy (or YouTube free speech) but that's a side effect of their primary objective. Maybe it's a distinction without a difference, but it sure feels more sinister when the app is purpose built for privacy-invasion or opinion-manipulation.
And in Canada, corporations are not exactly actors which perform rigid functions outlined by the government.. the liberals, who are currently in power, don’t have party members sitting at the top of companies whose function is to literally oversee compliance to liberal propaganda.
China isn’t quite as bad as western media makes them out to be, I’d argue that in many ways they have been improving and loosening up, but it’s silly to pretend that YouTube is no different than TikTok or that Amazon is no different than Alibaba.
So they actually have a good influence, redirecting marketing dollars for "marketing" ( since it looks good on the outside).
China doesn't care, they even block Winnie the Pooh.
Those people would be even more shocked by the extent to which this is true in the western world as well.
3.9M subscribers, so they're pretty popular.
Lets say it's December 2015 and I want to find out what ISIS has to say about it's activities.
It was nigh impossible to find unfiltered information from them.
The only two political parties in the US, for instance, differ remarkably little in terms of foreign policy and labor rights. Headlines in major US media will virtually never indicate there is any significant room for debate here. The public is satisfied with the false dichotomy of "raise military budget by $100B" vs. "raise military budget by $200B".
Before Trump, I would probably have agreed with you, but these days, I don't know how you can say that. Trump has made major breaks with the foreign policy establishment over the past 3 years, and continues to do so (pulling half of our troops out of Germany is a good example of this). On labor rights, the two parties have been far apart for years. The GOP has intentionally and willfully attacked and degraded the National Labor Relations Board, allowing it to lose quorum and be sidelined.
If you broaden the policy proposals to health care, the parties are even further apart, with one party advocating for single-payer state funded health care, and the other advocating for the immediate elimination of subsidized health care for over 10 million people.
There may have be some issues where there is a general consensus between the parties, but there are plenty of very important issues where the parties are far, far apart.
At best, the establishment Dems have been passive observers to the catastrophic erosion of social systems over the past 50 years.
> Both parties broadly promote global US military and economic supremacy (unipolarity)
They seem to be doing a pretty bad job of preventing the rise of China as a second pole.
It doesn't mean that advocating for multipolarity isn't a political dead end in the US. Both parties are against it.
Maybe that's the goal but the execution is lacking. Seen from outside the USA it seems that the influence and the prestige of the United States are lower now than at any time in my life. The apex was any year in the 90s.
Obama started the trend. Trump accelerated it. Dealing with allies as if they were enemies doesn't help to keep a supremacy. Everybody needs friends, even big countries.
YouTube is filled with virtually everything imaginable. Do you have the numbers and relevant comparisons to back this claim?
That’s the point FFS. I responded to the notion that google only allows fake disagreement by showing two ends of the same snake.
In China, the government has more power than corporations. In the US, corporations have more power than the government.
I still can't get over the lack of self-awareness in this post.
Well I have news for you... Most of the news about international politics you read in the west are propaganda as well- and it works so well you're about to hit the downvote button in disbelief.
I think he is referring to Google.
There's nothing xenophobic about the claim that PRC blocks a huge portion of the internet. I operate several websites that are blocked by CCP in PRC, despite having no relation to any policy priority of the CCP or law/edict in PRC.
A U.S. company like Twitter even bans the U.S. president's posts on their platform, and so does Facebook. Something like that is impossible in China as whoever does that will instantly get shut down. Think about the implication of this. This means you have to assume that any Chinese tech company will have to comply when the government tells them to spread some propaganda through their media.
This is what has been called in a science fiction as "information warfare", and it can be even more catastrophic than a real war, but I don't think most people realize this because they've never seen one before. What's even scarier is that even as this is happening, nobody knows this is happening, which is worse than a war because, unlike a physical war where everything is visible, one country can "attack" another country without anyone else realizing, causing a huge damage to their economy.
Groups violently turning on eachother, families splitting over political divides, lynchings... these matter a lot more than whether people have nice cars.
If Indian government sees no harm in US apps whilst banning Chinese apps, this is the definition of diplomatic pressure. Asymmetry is the tool used to apply this pressure.
Your point is valid - we have no way to know Facebook algorithms and it is a blackbox, but this isn't supposed to be a symmetric comparison for aforementioned reasons.
A private company will optimize profit, all things being equal. Sometimes this means it’s product/platform can be used to disseminate possibly dangerous information, but it also can be regulated in response.
Another government? Not so easy
Only way to really assert influence is through a much more narrow and limited scope like diplomacy, economic sanction, war, or otherwise influence the state/affairs of the country through target regulations like the ones mentioned in the article
I don't think this is true specifically in the case of America. Who are you going to get to actually grapple that beast of a multi national? Yeah, lots of people talk about it, but politics ultimately requires a degree of consensus.
When you have investors calling up their representatives saying they will donate to their opponent next election or they will move jobs out of the area, politicians are going to start falling off. Oh, these politicians are all probably invested in these companies to some degree, or maybe they rent apartments to their workers. There's also the gridlock issue that likely can't be resolved unless we start adding states, so legislation will be hard there.
Companies like alphabet and Facebook are the culmination of the last 40 years of politics in America.
You can’t pass legislation that makes another government open itself up to transparency though. That’s the fundamental difference
That wasn't the intention
There are no "shootouts". There are standoffs sometimes (think once a year if you want to define regularity) due to the loosely demarcated Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China. It's usually a melee. Even the recent escalated incident wasn't a shootout. There are agreements between Indian and Chinese governments that prevent usage of firearms in standoffs like these.
> What’s happening along the Himalayan border is an unusual kind of warfare. As in the brawls last month, Chinese and Indian soldiers fought fiercely without firing a shot — at least that’s what officials on both sides contend. They say the soldiers followed their de facto border code not to use firearms and went at each other with fists, rocks and wooden clubs, some possibly studded with nails or wrapped in barbed wire.
It's pretty simple if you don't try to extrapolate everything to logical extrems. India and US is ally, India and China is rival. Full stop, it ends there. KISS
No tear will be shed for those apps, regardless from which country they come from (I know this is very targeted due to recent tensions, but its still a step in the right direction re privacy)
If you furthermore consider how bad the "western world" (mainly Britten and the East India Company) had treated it in the past, some aspects of the Chinese culture and the current Goverment direction western countries expecting any fair or reasonable treatment once china succeeded to become the worlds dominant power is kinda a sad joke.
A) Having democracy does not correlate with having transparency and freedom, this has been de facto proven.
B) If the "western world" is the bar, the bar is low.
By analogy you're basically equating tortute in order to prevent the detonation of a bomb to torture in order to detonate a bomb.
Yes, ethically all sides are compromised but as things stand they are by no means all the same.
Also, no one included SA as part of the West.
I really can not see how I am doing this. Care to illustrate?
>Also, no one included SA as part of the West.
There is a reason why I used the word hadwaveingly.
And yet China manages to fail this low bar stunningly. To the point that they are running actual concentration camps for Muslims. Something no Western government has done, and the last one to do finished paying reparations to the victims 4 years ago, 70 years after it happened.
Right now, America is running actual concentration camps for African Americans.
Don’t think western governments are any better.
Slavery was first abolished by the west. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_slavery#Abolitionis...
Global abolition of slavery was led by the league of nations in 1926
You are welcome to move to China if you think they are better.
After all I moved to the West because I thought it was better.
What do you think PRISM and Five Eyes are? It is my experience that people who bring them up as huge evils have no idea what they are. They typically think that PRISM allows the NSA to read anybody's email (as opposed to being an ingestion system for data collected by the FBI) and that Five Eyes allows governments to indirectly spy on their own citizens, both of which are ridiculous ideas that are legally impossible.
I don't think this is even hand-wavingly a thing. If it is then it doesn't bode well because "we" don't exactly have a great track record of treating people on the other side of the world well.
But one large difference is that they had a private army and used it to force through their ways in any non EU country.
It is not absurd to say that the East India Company did occupy India like a country would have occupied another country they won against in a war.
They where also one of the main driving force behind the Anglo-Chinese War (see Opium wars).
But the Party can just put officials in the Douyin (TikTok) offices and ask for any encryption key without having to divulge anything and without the company having any recourse. This in complete legality.
Large corporations becoming the end point for debate is a real problem, but I don't think it really overlaps with public/private collusion (or the lack of true private in China's case).
A nation state and a company are different in substance as well. I am sympathetic to the idea that companies (in America) can do more to curtail your freedoms. But, this is only true because of our system of government. In principle, a government can do much more than a company to curtail your freedoms. In practice, this is often less true. (although if you bump into eminent domain, or similar laws, then the government is much more threatening to you.)
We don't have to look far for this theoretical: the Chinese government rounds up people and puts them in camps, and disappears people for having the wrong opinions.
That's a clear proof of difference.
I often think what would California look like if it had the laws of Texas. Or what would China look like if it had the structure and motivations of Nevada? Both have Elon Musk and gambling.
I don't think it's a stretch to state the risk of tiktok being mass propaganda machine, from India's perspective.
Additionally, I don't take this as a particular politically charged statement against China, as quite a few replies stated. The reason is that China and India are on a very delicate geopolitical environment. The history is long and ambiguous. The current rivalry is subtle and dangerous. You just cannot give any chance in this situation. After all, China do not have any foreign social network services anyway. There is no reason to gift the opponent an potential upper hand.
The Pandora's box was formally opened in the Arab spring already. It was a well intended start, followed with an ugly development and messy prospect left for generations to suffer and struggle.
Now the whole idea of social networking services as an actual helper of connecting people with different cultural background roughly reduces to nil. That really was a buffer.
Lastly, I don't think it makes sense for any sovereign government to force their country's corporation to serve them directly.
That would immediately destroy any chance of those organizations to expand beyond their home country. Someone might argue Chinese firms are OK to that because they had a big market already. That's a totally unreasonable imagination on Chinese business men's brain structure. I never encountered any such Chinese business man who believe loyalty to CCP is higher than their profit. Other argument is that Chinese law can coerce, but all the laws are saying the company ought to corporate when necessary for the security of the country. I cannot imagine any sane political personnel can convince anyone else that offensive propaganda in peace time is necessary for national security. At least I did not see any such behavior or even minor behavior with hint of such reasoning from past history.
All platforms recommendation and ranking algos are ultimately a black box. Why is TikTok special here?
If you understand that, then surely you must see the symmetry in banning Tiktok etc?
This is just a lame attempt at economic warfare and "misinformation campaigns" is a very weak excuse.
What concerns me the most is that in 2020 people are overwhelmingly in favor of governments and corporations controlling what their people watch and read and think.
99.9% of them are US apps and websites. you don't need to ban india apps in China as I've never heard any of them, you don't need to ban india website as the india infrastructure won't be able to serve requests from a country like China anyway.
Anyway, India's hotstar holds the world record of maximum number of consecutive users watching a live stream.
Is the problem, let's say, with:
- the country of origin, so if this was the exact same app from US it would have been less harmful, or,
- the amount of time people spend on it, so if people spent time on something like facebook it would have been less harmful?
It is an extreme move, but I see the logic behind it.
Letting government step into this space creates an alternative form of censorship. I would rather ask all content platforms for transparent open-sourced moderation rules.
At the meantime, TikTok has a remarkable traction that put in a row of the greatest product of the decade. Previously ByteDance tried to move HQ away from China, but I now I guess they might even consider selling their product.
I guess it is more political decision rather than Indian government really cares about data security. Seems that US and specifically Facebook become the absolute winner in India.
Many countries have broadcast laws around a maximum amount of foreign programming (for one example amongst many, private French radios have to play French music for at least 40% of their programming).
See the top comment as the video has now been removed from YouTube.
TikTok is bound to the CCP in a way that has no comparison in the west.
If you consider that they also run on operating systems made by American-owned companies who don't really care that much about privacy, it's even scarier.
China isn't the boogeyman here. The United States is.
If any this sounds like a propaganda move aimed at giving the people a feeling that the government has done something about it.
Some of these may relaunched as a web service, some may relaunch under a different branding, there are any number of things the app makers can legitimately do to skirt around this.
Using summary executive powers to do such is a rather undemocratic move, and which time and again this Indian Government has indicated it has no qualms of using.
This is a politically motivated move, where as it should not be. If there was established wrongdoing then ban the apps, not because it is politically convenient to do it.
As opposed to Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat and all the others?
Can we do the same for YouTube ?!
If India was serious about taking action it would have done something about the Chinese branded phone and Chinese infra project. All the largest phone brands in India are chinese. Same is true for Tv's. All unicorn startups in the country has considerable chinese interest. This ban carefully stays away from all apps, businesses and things that could really invite a response from China.
And it worked. As in the link above, Modi's followed have taken the bait. They are happy and all over social media celebrating this as a fitting reply for the soldiers life lost in the border.
I installed tiktok just maybe 2 or 3 weeks ago.. it was kind of fun at first and was amused by some stuff on there. What it was showing me I thought was very relevant to prior stuff I had seen in some regard (just the type of humor) so I was kind of impressed.
Then all the sudden it started showing me all this pro-Trump/pro-religion/antiBLM stuff. And look, a platform like this and the age demographic the amount of pro-trump & pro-religion stuff is TINY. The amount that was coming up was baffling. And it would just be inserted at the weirdest times, where it honestly felt like I was being targeted to see this stuff.
I'm not one to be a conspiracy nut at all, but there were some flags hitting in my head that something weird was going on.. so I promptly uninstalled.
Honestly it's too bad, I think tiktok is a very unique thing, and seemed to fill some type of space where people just want to create stupid little videos that either say a little message or are just funny. But there's something weird going on.
Hard to explain exactly, just saying that it really seemed unusual. Again it was also the amount that were coming up. I watched a descent amount of BLM related videos a few nights.. like, a lot. Then a few insane trump ones which maybe I watch a few moments but keep swiping away, only to be suggested more Trump and less BLM?
Anyway- I understand it's conjecture and hard to say what I was seeing.. just seemed off, and it's pretty easy to jump to the conclusion that it was attempting to manipulate me.
It seems more sustainable and much easier to work with if you have your own network, and you don't rely on US-services looking away / Twitter tolerating your stuff.
For a bad actor, the cost-reward looks pretty low (if we assume a high initial investment like a couple hundred million dollars to approach our goal of data collection in a shorter timeframe), but for a government that is probably totally doable.
And who cares if they are? We live in an open society, and in the US, freedom of speech is a foundational principle. This is among the trade-offs you face when prioritizing absolute freedom of speech.
Foreign propaganda is explicitly legal and protected in the United States. I'm sorry that you think it should not be, but it is, and it always has been throughout the entire history of the country.
How exactly do you intend to distinguish the types of speech that the government is allowed to ban? Any foreign ownership of a media organization from a country deemed an enemy of the state? And you're wondering about what needs to be said out loud?
That's not to say the United States Government cannot take _diplomatic action_ to counter propaganda. It certainly can, and it does. And indeed, the Congress just passed the Countering Foreign Propaganda Act a few years ago, to do precisely that in response to Russian efforts in the 2016 election.
But you know what it doesn't do? Ban the protected speech. We don't ban RT, which is broadcast into most of the homes in the country, despite being directly controlled by and funded by the Russian State, because that would be unconstitutional, and the Congress does not have the power to do it.
The standard in the United States is that the information published is both knowingly false and published with actual malice. And for matters of public concern, there is a further requirement that the information be provably false. Separately, the charges cannot be ridiculous, as demonstrated in Hustler v. Falwell, where it was held that even though Hustler published a story that Jerry Falwell had incestuous sex with his mother in an outhouse, and even though that story was false, known by the publisher to be false, and published with actual malice, it still did not meet the standard.
Misinformation campaigns are absolutely allowed in the United States. This is a current problem with Fake News. Fake news is protected by the First Amendment, no matter who writes it. And indeed, much of it is written by foreign agents, specifically with the intent of influencing US elections.
Second, the first amendment only applies to US citizens and those on US soil. So, as pointed out, American's have the right to seek out such information, but those oversees have no such right to have it disseminated here. Someone in the US can take the information and broadcast it on their behalf, which is how it happens now, but the notion that foreign agents have a right to create and disseminate whatever information they like is patently false.
How else are they going to disseminate media in the United States? They certainly could disseminate it via the Internet, but then the US would have no ability to block the information except via a Great Firewall, which the US does not have.
It's a distinction without a difference. RT is a Russian Government-owned propaganda network, with an American subsidiary, which operates in the US and broadcasts soft propaganda all day long.
I'm surprised, actually, that Trump hasn't expressed a desire ban TikTok. Especially after they trolled him so badly at that Tulsa rally!
He's managed to ban Huawei over (unproven and strenuously denied) security issues. Yet TikTok has direct influence over something much more important than 5G radio equipment: the hearts and minds of a generation of American children!
Governments may seem dumb and bureaucratic, but good ones tend to have some level of pragmatism.
Most people don't see it, but I hate it to realize that she's being slowly influenced by hidden propaganda :(
Stroking nationalism and pointing at foreign enemies in hard times is a tried and tested tactic.
But it is a dangerous game because it can get out of hands. I think both sides know it and they don't want things to escalate. We need to see how the pandemic develops and hits both countries and their economies. I'm more worried about the Indian side at the moment because the pandemic situation seems out of hands and deteriorating fast there.