"The claims in that news publication were totally fake and deserve to be censored -- here, check out this Twitter user who has the real truth!"
In other words, when debunking an article as true/false, I think extra rigor needs to be put into the debunking -- you can't debunk an unreliable source with yet another unreliable source... (unless this guy is like a NYT editor and I just don't realize it)
It really depends on the news publication's reputation. The New York Post (the original source) is a tabloid and (for instance) Wikipedia does not consider it reliable, so there's not a lot of reason to trust it too highly:
> There is consensus that the New York Post is generally unreliable. A tabloid newspaper, editors criticise its lack of concern for fact-checking or corrections, including a number of examples of outright fabrication.
Also I think anyone can credibly point out inconsistencies and highlight the implausibility of certain statements, like the twitter thread does, because those can be easily evaluated. It'd be much harder to take grant the same credibility to a random person's statement that some specific other thing happened.
There are oodles of trust involved when you trust a tabloid.
If these claims are true, surely some journalist would have noticed the same things? Maybe they have and I completely missed the story?
Edit: after reading the post article, there are quite a number of things that aren't so easily explained away by the oddities pointed out in that Twitter thread.
If our self-proclaimed trustworthy legal and journalism institutions were less theatrics-based, the actual truth of these allegations could be uncovered without too much effort. But perhaps there's no budget remaining (in any governmental agency, or any journalism outlet) after the multi-year investigation into the alleged Trump/Russia collusion. Whatever the reason, I suspect that for some unknown reason, this issue will be added to the ever growing pile of "things that we know(!) are fake news, even though we don't actually know because we did not investigate them".
EDIT: Interesting (but not surprising) that this article is [flagged], further demonstrating the wide variety of ways in which the distribution of certain categories of ideas can be controlled, even without a central coordination authority. Ideas do very much seem to behave like living organisms, with human minds as their unwitting hosts.
“People don't have ideas. Ideas have people.”
― Carl Jung
Mind Control: How Parasites Manipulate Cognitive Functions in Their Insect Hosts
Neuro-parasitology is an emerging branch of science that deals with parasites that can control the nervous system of the host. It offers the possibility of discovering how one species (the parasite) modifies a particular neural network, and thus particular behaviors, of another species (the host). Such parasite–host interactions, developed over millions of years of evolution, provide unique tools by which one can determine how neuromodulation up-or-down regulates specific behaviors. In some of the most fascinating manipulations, the parasite taps into the host brain neuronal circuities to manipulate hosts cognitive functions.
The Twitter thread:
"So just so I follow this story: Hunter Biden, who lives in Los Angeles, decides to fly 3000 miles across country, to drop off 3 MacBook Pros at a repair shop run by a blind guy who charges the insanely low price of $85 (because there aren't repair shops in LA). He drops them off, signs a contract for repair and then disappears."
Sounds fishy. Let's check Google:
Born Robert Hunter Biden
February 4, 1970 (age 50)
Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.
"Curiously" not mentioned in the Twitter thread (even though it was extremely specific about pointing out the distance between the shop and Hunter's hometown): Wilmington, Delaware
Personally, I think that Facebook and Twitter are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. If they do interfere and censor perceived misinformation, they run the very real, maybe inevitable chance of censoring information that is, in fact, true, or maybe just as bad, censoring misinformation with bias. On the other hand, if they do not interfere, they will surely be blamed for not doing anything to curb the misinformation spread on their platforms.
I think it’s all a symptom of the fact that social media websites like Facebook and Twitter that are effectively unmoderated trash fires should probably just not exist. Exactly why they should not exist is up for grabs but my personal pick is the seemingly reduced-to-zero liability they seem to have on many horrible things going on on their platform that wouldn’t be looked over on a small forum even if the owner tried to claim it was “unmoderated.”
Could you link to it?
Have you seen some of the emails yourself?
The emails I've seen look authentic & reveal major corruption.
On the contrary, twitter & FB would never suppress such a story about trump.
During the primaries this whole Burisma thing came out. Bernie Bros pushed the narrative, Biden would just blow up and not answer the question like he should do reasonably. The democrat base said it's not enough to go Bernie and they elected Biden. What was the story? The possible bias of a company who likes democrats and other left-leaning figures gave his son a job in perhaps hopes of some influence? Not exactly a huge story. Biden had denied any involvement during the primaries.
NYPost investigated and found further information and sat on it until just the right time before the election. Smart play by them to be sure.
Even with what the NYPost reported on. Hunter Biden is a scumbag to be sure and it does confirm Biden met his employer but it doesnt prove any influence was sold. Hunter Biden was probably taking advantage of his rich/famous father. Not unlike Donald Jr.
To assert that this is misinformation is quite unlikely.
Facebook and Twitter didnt block it because it was misinformation, they blocked it because of personal identifying information or 'hacking sources'.
I mean, liars are gonna lie about more than one thing.
There are gaps in the story that need to be investigated, but who the heck are Facebook and Twitter to make that call minutes/hours after the story broke?? This is not some weird obscure conspiracy story.
The other thing here is the double standard. So many hacked information has been freely circulating, from wikileaks to Trump's tax records. Why now, why so suddenly? Really hard to deny political bias.
I'm pro free speech, I think everyone should err on letting information flow. But whatever you do, if you use a double standard you'll have no reasonable argument to save you.
Link to independent (non-tabloid) confirmation?
* Hunter Biden’s attorney, George Mesires, has allegedly gotten a subpoena issued for the return of Hunter’s laptops. In doing so his ownership is implicitly verified. Caveat: I wasn’t able to find a copy of this subpoena, though I’m fairly sure I read it a day or so ago.
* The Biden campaign has not denied _any_ of this.
* The FBI has not commented. If there were no active investigation they would typically say so. If there were an active investigation, they are bound not to comment on it.
I don't know that I reach the same conclusions as you though. The lack of denials is disconcerting and does imply some elements of truth in the story.
For the subpoena for Hunter's laptop I could see a lawyer doing that if there was no laptop to force someone either into contempt of court, perjury, or acknowledging the laptop doesn't exist. It could be a tactic to undermine the story rather than supporting evidence is what I'm saying (but on the surface is looking bad).
As for the FBI  I think things are a little more complicated than taking a lack of an answer for confirmation.
As for the FBI - it's at best circumstantial evidence. If they had stated there was no open case I would have considered it to be strong evidence that it's all disinformation. The two possible outcomes from that facet are "disprove"/"not disprove".
Perhaps the emails, texts, and photos are real but from a Russian hack and are being selectively released in an effort to paint Hunter Biden in the worst possible light hoping it reflects poorly on his father.
At the end of the day I don't think the source matters in terms of how I see the Bidens, only the authenticity of the information itself. If the later comes out that the stated source was a lie, then that will change how I see everyone involved on that side. If both the information and source are false, then I would strongly support severe criminal charges for those involved.
More importantly - the Biden campaign HAS NOT said the emails are fake.
Where's the verification?
> One of the people on an explosive email thread allegedly involving Hunter Biden has corroborated the veracity of the messages, which appear to outline a payout for former Vice President Joe Biden as part of a deal with a Chinese energy firm.
There are plenty of photographs of Hunter Biden from the drive, which were obviously not in wide circulation, of him doing drugs and apparently other illegal activity. This would seem to be evidence supporting the idea that the drive did belong to him. So now we have to believe that false information has been mixed with true information.
But on the other hand, we do actually know that Hunter Biden was receiving 50k/month from Burisma, and he had no qualifications and a very questionable past. Nobody disputes this. Nobody needs this harddrive story to know there was corruption going on, based on this information alone. Ukranian energy companies are not searching the streets for random American crackheads to hire for exorbitant sums. He was hired because of his connections. The only question is the exact nature of how it went down, and if it matters to you.
The only information it adds is that Joe Biden allegedly makes Hunter Biden give him half his income and some alleged details of some meeting - not anything particularly salacious. It definitely appears political for Facebook and Twitter to shut down this story - there are a lot of weaker stories that get a pass every day.
The NYT reported that US intelligence officials picked up on conversations that there was to be an October surprise  that was designed to throw a monkey wrench in the US election.
It would be straight up dangerous to society if the false narrative created by a Russian disinfo was allowed to spread, and in that sense, the containment makes more sense. You might not have to agree with it completely, but you can't say that this is merely big tech partisanship. Glenn Greenwald doesn't even bother to mention this probability and simply paints it as big tech simply favoring one side, when there is clearly more to the issue.
I no longer trust him, and by association, The Intercept. Of all the government corruption that happened in the last four years, the only time he really speak up is when it's against Democrats. I am not saying his writing is bad, or that he doesn't make some valid points, but I question his motives.
As a side note, I became aware of Glenn Greenwald after the Snowden affair and I have been following his writings ever since. He is one of the sharpest minds in journalism today and is also one of the most objective journalists I've come across. In the past 4 years journalism has become extremely polarized and it's next to impossible for many of them to remain objective. As soon as one declares their opinion on something, they're skewered by the side opposing the issue. Somehow, Glenn has managed to remain largely objective.
Surprise surprise, the political party who gets to censor more content in their favor supports it and the political party who gets more of their content censored takes the free speech angle. If you can't see that it's a political game you aren't looking very hard.
> Would anyone encounter difficultly understanding why such a decree would constitute dangerous corporate censorship? Would Democrats respond to such a policy by simply shrugging it off on the radical libertarian ground that private corporations have the right to do whatever they want? To ask that question is to answer it.
I would! I don't know why The Intercept thinks Democrats are undoubtedly hypocrites.
Facebook, Twitter, and Google are more than welcome, as private corporations, to legally make that decision. If they want to do it, I will not try to use the government to compel them to do otherwise.
However, if they do it, they will lose a sizable fraction of their user base and their employees, all of whom are also welcome, as private individuals, to legally make that decision. I certainly will not try to use the government to compel the employees to stay.
The market will respond. Is there a reason that The Intercept thinks that heavy-handed government regulation is required to solve something the market can quite clearly solve?
(I do think that breaking up these companies on monopoly grounds is perfectly reasonable, and that is the market-believing, American solution to this problem - not regulating the incumbents and keeping them incumbent. They do talk about this, and I agree with that portion of the article. And then they go off into repeating the Republican talking points about finding things in Section 230 that are literally not there in Section 230.)
I don't think that this article really contributes much more to the conversation. I expect discussion here to be just a rehash of the above.
>But that standard, if taken seriously and applied consistently, would result in the banning from the platform of huge amounts of the most important and consequential journalism.
i think this is the easiest way to attack the most recognizable problem, however i dont think its the root problem.
there is simply no such thing as capital T Truth. Period, full stop. the idea that we can moderate or fact check our way into more meaning is just nonsense.
vaccines cause autism (extremely rarely). government conspiracies happen. unexplainable things happen. science and scientists are wrong, a lot.
to say the emobidment of our human knowledge at this point will not appreciably change and that anything else needs to be moderated away is so utterly, mind bogglingly arrogant and ignorant it beggars belief.
the who and cdc have both flip flopped stances on the coronavirus, and doctors who were correct in the minority were censored. the key to eliminating misinformation is discussion and debate, not censorship.
If this is their policy, they're going to have to get rid of a very large number of reaction gifs. The first instance of any particular one might be able to make a fair use argument, but every reuse is straight up copyright violation, which is very specifically use without authorization.
Additionally, I wonder if security researchers are going to be able to tweet about the vulnerabilities they discover. Most software has EULAs that specifically exclude reverse engineering. For example, Apple's iOS 12 EULA says:
>You may not, and you agree not to or enable others to, copy (except as expressly permitted by this License), decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, attempt to derive the source code of, decrypt, modify, or create derivative works of the iOS Software or any services provided by the iOS Software or any part thereof (except as and only to the extent any foregoing restriction is prohibited by applicable law or by licensing terms governing use of open-source components that may be included with the iOS Software).
The left needs to worry about accomplishing its policy goals and convincing people that left-wing approaches will improve their lives, and then it won't matter how much fuel the right gathers.
Also, this articles headline is inaccurate. Facebook and Twitter are private organizations and have a right to not allow certain things without it being censorship. Restaurants can keep out people known to defecate on the floors, Twitter and Facebook can stop By post garbage.
Censorship by nature is something a government does, not a private entity. Wikipedia doesn't censor articles, it just edits stuff.
Wikipedia directly and immediately contradicts you: “Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient." Censorship can be conducted by governments, private institutions, and other controlling bodies.”
Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient." Censorship can be conducted by governments, private institutions, and other controlling bodies.
Freedom of speech and expression has a long history that predates modern international human rights instruments. It is thought that the ancient Athenian democratic principle of free speech may have emerged in the late 6th or early 5th century BC. The values of the Roman Republic included freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Concepts of freedom of speech can be found in early human rights documents. England's Bill of Rights 1689 legally established the constitutional right of freedom of speech in Parliament which is still in effect.
The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prevents the government from making laws which regulate an establishment of religion, or that would prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the freedom of assembly, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.
The 5th century is the time period from 401 to 500 Anno Domini (AD) or Common Era (CE) in the Julian calendar. The 5th century is noted for being a period of migration and political instability throughout Eurasia.
Considering how often this specific foundational topic (and many others like it) comes up on HN, and the amount of disharmony it creates within the community, it would be an improvement if we had some sort of a FAQ that is appended to the HN Guidelines, and an additional related guideline:
"Please exert some reasonable effort to not say things that are objectively not true."
Yes, there would be a period of adjustment, Rome wasn't built in a day, but holy smokes how antagonistic do things have to get around here before we do something? And if we don't, how far away is it that HN starts to get in on the censorship game?
Given that the situation with Twitter a mess right now, the only responsible thing that should be done right away is for the President to issue an executive order barring the use of Twitter for any official purpose. Remove all tweets and close all accounts. A third party should not be intermediating between the government and the public.
If microblogging is a value, then he should also issue an EO which directs the appropriate federal agencies to establish standards defining protocols, create baseline implementations, and regulations around use, free speech, and the like.
Social media is very public. I'd say it's closer to radio than telephone.
For me, democracy has 4 pillars that must be independent, and currently are not is most countries: executive, legislative, judicial and media. The 4th one is controversial but nonetheless necessary for the country to be a democracy.
Democracy without equal speech time for all parties isn’t a democracy – it is like Singapore, a single-party democracy.
Finally, we must have a population who is educated enough to read ambiant news and distinguish false from truth. If you say that is impossible, you advocate for the people’s decision being taken by a central organization, aka not people’s decision. Educating people enough is entirely possible; For example people are routinely exposed to scam and a rule of life is never to fall down into scam. Only a few % of pop fall for it and it is fine. Democracy is based on the same people. You precisely shouldn’t prevent people from being exposed to fake news, otherwise they become ultra gullible (which may be what you want, in the end...).
All in all, what leftists call fake news or debunked news are often... falsely debunked, by journalists who try to present alternative facts, which the people are getting tired of. It’s ok, we understand they don’t want to lose grip of the leadership.
From a legal/political standpoint SM is on new ground: a privately owned (i.e. non government) platform but with massive reach. Free speech laws are aimed at the government so should they be applied to private companies? I can understand both sides and I don't think there's an obvious solution.
This is part of the "mistake" of the social media companies. Rather than emphasizing cohesive friend groups, they (particularly Facebook) defaulted everything to be as widely visible as possible.
Yes, they should have just been private point-to-point communication mechanisms. Unfortunately, they decided to be broadcasters instead.
I'm kidding, but ad supported commercial promotion (broadcast) of speech (for additional profit/engagement) is pretty far from what I think the framers of the constitution meant as Free Speech (of the individual)... but then the Supreme Court has decided that money is speech (and corporations are people) so it doesn't matter what I think.