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Google suspending Parler from the Google Play store (play.google.com)
370 points by jimmy2020 8 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 809 comments



Wow, is this the great purge? I don’t support certain people, but man I don’t think this is going to end well. This censorship just seems crazy to me.


If wal-mart stops selling a brand of ice cream, is that censorship? Is it censorship that wal-mart doesn't sell playboy in their store?

If not, then why is the removal of an app from the app store censorship? The world wide web still exists. Parler is still on the internet.

Seems like there should be some acknowledgement that there's a difference between refusing to actively participate in distributing content and censorship.


I think a better analogy is saying, oh, you've banned newspapers, but who cares, you can still talk to people in person.

Which is to say, it's true, & that's a good thing, but that doesn't mean that the censorship itself isn't bad.

The most effective, most powerful communication medium that exists right now is native apps for social networks on smartphones. If 100% of that medium is controlled and censored by two companies, that means those two companies exert a massive influence on what kinds of communication society as a whole will have.

If you believe in the general principle of free speech (not just strict legal interpretations of say the 1A), that's not a good thing.


Nonsense.

The better analogy is that the newspaper has banned certain people who have written articles inciting violence.

Or maybe an even better analogy: the movie theater has taken the microphone away from the person telling those in the crowded movie theater to start punching each other.


Do you think only Trump himself has been affected by this? Even just on topic for this forum they're talking about an app used by thousands (or more, I honestly have no idea since I don't use Parler) of people. Do you think all of those people have incited violence? What about Parler itself? All inciting violence?


They can side load Parler. All the stupid violence-inciting peeps can still talk to each other and incite violence, just not so easily


I think you mean to say that if you aren’t allowed to walk into anyone else’s home or business, and yell your opinions into their face, your rights to free speech have somehow been infringed.

My analogy is far more accurate than your tortured newspaper analogy. Parlour still gets to publish unrestricted as a web site and as web apps, it just doesn’t get free distribution, marketing and hosting from Google or Apple.


> you can still talk to people in person

That's practically illegal now, too. What a time to be alive...


Evil genius! Move to ban in person communication, control all the virtual communication mediums.


Can’t tell if you are joking or if you really believe this.


If a newspaper is promoting killing and owning the libs and overthrowing the government it has gone from reporting the news to promoting death and violence which has never been acceptable for the free press.


> If 100% of that medium is controlled and censored by two companies

Except you can sideload on Android.


That's a good point actually. I'm on iPhone; is distributing software via side-loading on Android actually practicle, or is it such a pain that it becomes non-workable in practice?


Yeah, on Android it's much simpler. On iOS it's still doable using AltStore, it just requires you to be on the same Wi-Fi network as your computer at least once a week to keep sideloaded apps active.


It is practical actually, it's like downloading an exe or dmg with maybe an extra security hurdle (settings -> enable installing apps from $X). Plus you could make your own play store clone like F-droid and I think amazon made their own, too.


OK, that actually makes me much more sympathetic to Google exercising a lot of editorial control of the Play store.


We did this to ourselves by integrating Google/Apple products into our every day life. 20-15 years ago we didn’t have any of it and still led mighty fine lives. Yes, private companies are free to do this stuff to us, but we only have ourselves to blame.


This is more akin to Walmart not selling certain magazines or books because they don't like their (political) content. You could also compare it to when the Catholic Church had a black list of "heretical" books and pressured their removal. Both are legal, but maybe not desirable?


Both are desirable. Walmart curates content for its customers, if it didn’t their sales experience would be far worse.

And as much as I dislike the Catholic Church, not allowing it to list books it finds heretical is outright restrictions of its freedom of speech. It’s only a problem when the church has the power to have governments also ban those lists, but that’s quite a different thing.


There are tens (hundrends?) of alternative ways of selling ice-cream other than walmart, there are 2 ways to to get access to Parler for most people, either through the browser or an app - you're cutting off the easiest way for most people to gain access to that content through a phone - do you see the difference between what's happening and your analogy?

This is assuming services like Cloudflare and hosting services won't cut Parler - they've done this before


Give me an ability to buy ice cream in a different store, and I would have no problem with that. However, on Apple devices you are locked to AppStore, and modern Android devices, while still giving you an ability to sideload apps, have severe limitations on their functionality without access to google play services (chiefly, push notifications are a must for any communication app)


I think a much better, much older, and much more philosophical argument is...

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

And actually, the more I think about it, this is a more apt analogue to what's happening with Paler then first engages the mind...

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_a_tree_falls_in_a_forest#:~....


Suppose Google releases an update to Chrome that prevents it from loading problematic websites. What really is the difference, in your mind, between removal from the app store and what I described? Or would you also find that scenario acceptable?


The difference would be that in the Play Store, Google hosts the app. They haven't blocked anything per se, just removed it from the server. It'd be more like them kicking problematic we sites off GCP and Firebase, which I don't like but can totally see happening.


When Hollywood voluntarily removed certain movies and ideas during the black list it was justified for the same reason these bans are justified: these ideas are harmful to society. And it was deemed censorship. In fact it’s an archetypal example of censorship. Government action isn’t required unless you’re talking about the 1A.

And this is yet another escalation on the road that started with “we’re just going to censor tweets that literally say the sky is green.” Google has banned an entire social network.

It’s exactly what social conservatives did back when they controlled the levers of government and industry in the mid-20th century. They prevented liberals from spreading their ideas, because that could cause social unrest, violence, etc. (And there was violence, such as anarchist leftist bombings.)


Hollywood isn’t a monolith, and it didn’t “remove movies or ideas”. Hollywood production companies and theatre chains agree to set standards for film ratings in order to access large audiences. Artists almost always have had the ability to release unrated films, at the costs of access to large funding sources and theatre chains.

That’s freedom in both directions.

At its worst Hollywood created a black list for alleged communist sympathizers. That was a very specific kind of rating system for the same benefits. Most Americans were justly terrified of the Soviet Union and its genocidal leadership at the time, and distributing a film written by or starring someone who publicly endorsed communism would have killed box office and likely had the studio boycotted by large anti-communist groups.

That said, the black list unfairly included lots of people who were at most interested in social justice.

Today the same thing has happened to Mel Gibson and us happening to Johnny Depp. Don’t expect your employers to invest their millions into help you promote repugnant behavior or beliefs to their customers.


I’m talking about something quite different: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_blacklist


"Hitler liked dogs too!"


> If wal-mart stops selling a brand of ice cream, is that censorship?

If WalMart sold ice cream to white people, but not to black people, that would be pretty awful both morally and it would be illegal.

The thing with speech is it is inherently attached to a person. There is no speech in a vacuum. Google has basically said that certain people shouldn't be able to speak. As politics is a personal belief like religion, it is sad it is not a protected civil right. But that's what this is--saying certain people can express their beliefs, but others can't.


tech monopolies are effectively info utilities.

censorship of viewpoints you disagree with means you don’t understand the point of freedom of speech.


You have Wal-Mart, Target, Wal-greens, CVS, BestBuy, MicroCenter, tons of mom-and-pop stores (until all the world leaders drove all of them to bankruptcy due to COVID)

Say you had two stores: Walmarket and Toget. That's it. That's all you got. Toget stops telling a brand of ice cream and you literally cannot sell it anywhere else other than Toget and Walmarket because someone would have to drive 2 hours out of their way each time to buy your Ice Cream.

You have Android, iOS and PinePhones.


> You have Android, iOS and PinePhones.

I mean, Parler is a CRUD app. You are posting a comment on another CRUD app that doesn't even have an official mobile app client!


How do you do notifications from a CRUD app on a mobile device if you can't have a native app on the device?

Let's not kid ourselves. People rarely use the browser for something they really like on mobile if there is a native app. The experience is very different.


> How do you do notifications from a CRUD app on a mobile device if you can't have a native app on the device?

Facebook and Twitter are older than push notifications. SMS and email are pretty obvious replacements with little functional difference.

> Let's not kid ourselves. People rarely use the browser for something they really like on mobile if there is a native app. The experience is very different.

Sure, but you are pretty clearly moving the goalposts. Is it any more difficult to enter "news.ycombinator.com" into a mobile web browser than it is to download a mobile client?


You can use SMS or email.

There is also ongoing work to add Push API [0] support on the web as well. No Safari support though.

[0] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/Push_API


> How do you do notifications from a CRUD app on a mobile device if you can't have a native app on the device?

Can't service workers/PWAs handle this? While the UI may be subpar, they still have total access to it.


On Android yes, on iOS it's not supported yet.


IMO it's worse than that, because there's a duopoly where both the stores coordinate to do this at the same time. And the intent of it is political, they're trying to end someone else's business because the owner is on the other political team. And that's not even where it ends, next they'll come after their web hosting and credit cards.


To be honest I really dislike this analogy.

Where I live there is indeed no importer of certain brands of products that I could easily get in the US. Not even an equivalent alternative.

But life goes on and aside from me complaining about it on the internet every now and then I don’t let it bother me.

Social media and communication are a different beast.


I seriously can't identify with this viewpoint. There's no censorship here- parler still exists, people are still free to share their (abhorrent) viewpoints there, Google is just choosing not to amplify the voices of people that have proven themselves capable of and prone to violence. All the pearl-clutching over free speech is totally overblown.


This is accurate.

Just because you have to go directly to the website doesn't mean it's censored. Google, Apple, FB, Twitter, etc are not in the business of supporting outlier extremism in our society. Claiming censorship because they don't want to platform that stuff is ridiculous.

Imagine a Jewish-owned store being forced to sell nazi paraphernalia because not selling it is censorship. The users of parler or gab are just mad these huge companies are taking a stand. Engaging with their tantrum only gives them a platform, even if it's just a small personal one, and is clearly bad. Do we argue with crazies on the street yelling "The end is nigh!" every day? No.


Huh? Last time I checked, BLM app ( https://apps.apple.com/us/app/black-lives-matter/id955318790 ) is on Apple store and the group has, among other notable events, burning Kenosha done on their bucket list. Google, Apple, FB, Twitter et al have zero issues supporting violence as long it supports a given side.

I don't buy the analogy ( mostly because most analogies are crap ). Normal people try thought experiments and use the same situations and change one critical piece of information to see how it affects the model.


youre mischaracterizing BLM. Parler posts were actively calling for violence and government overthrow. The mob at the capitol set up a gallows and were carrying handcuffs. To the (limited) extent that BLM protests turned violent, it was the result of situations on the ground getting out of hand, not planned in advance or incited by leadership. (Also, much of it was the result of aggression by police). There's certainly room for valid criticism of aspects of BLM protests but they are not at all comparable to the insurrection at the capitol this week.


Eh. I honestly do not think I am, but let me do a quick DDG to not rely on memory alone:

Portland 01/02/21 - reports of molotov cocktails, fireworks, fires - I don't know about you, but use of explosive materials does tend to sound violent. You don't really come with a firebomb with no intent to use it.

Seatle 07/27/20 - reports of fires, 59 injured officers

Kenosha 08/25/20 - riots, destruction of property including fires including courthouse, incitement for more violence

I don't think I have to mention Chicago or NY..

And this is just a cursory check.

In BLM defense, they initially suffered from the same issues anonymous did. Literally anyone could be their spokesporson so right wing media got lovely quotes about purpose and goals of BLM such as ( some of those come from their official website ):

-Destruction comes before rebuilding, that’s what we talking about here -“Yes, I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down,” the activist posted via Twitter on Monday. “They are a form of white supremacy. Always have been.”“Tear them down.” -We believe and understand that Black people will never achieve liberation under the current global racialized capitalist system. -‘we will burn down this system’ -'MacCallum asked Newsome what Black Lives Matter hoped to achieve through violence." “Wow, it’s interesting that you would pose that question like that,” Newsome responded, “because this country is built upon violence. What was the American Revolution? What’s our diplomacy across the globe?”

Now you will note that their website is cleaned up and no longer contains notes about - forgot what terminology they used - abandoning existing familial structures and building new utopian world. It is a shame they took it down. It could open some eyes. I guess someone told them they need rebranding.

So maybe you are right. They are different after all. BLM is worse that Trump crazies. At least Capitol assholes will be picked up by various agencies and prosecuted. BLM members may have been arrested, but various Dem operatives ensured they are out as soon as possible. Hell, some were raising money for bails.

In other words, I do not think you have a clear picture of BLM, who they are, or even what they were doing.

So I this my comparison is valid.


I didn't say anything about the BLM app. Don't know why you're bringing that up, other than to strawman, but hey, that's what they do.


It is not a strawman. I introduced BLM specifically, because, just like not all Trump voters are violent, I am sure some are. BLM is just another side of the coin in my view. They are a group, who had instances of violent behaviors ( see 'fiery but mostly peaceful' CNN clip for reference ) during the past year(s?).


Or it dismantles the way they will organize with weapons to the next destination they seem unworthy of Trumpism. Could be a place like the U.S. Capitol.


It's important to distinguish that "not deleting something" is NOT the same as amplifying it.

Amplifying it would be pasting images and links to Parler all over the Google Play splash page and all over the Google Play website, sending emails to all its gmail users to download Parler, or inserting Parler ads into some % of its ad impressions.

They aren't doing that. "Leave it alone" is not the same thing as amplification, that's literally the distinction that is made in Section 230.

The ONLY thing being asked for is that Parler polices itself (or the authorities get involved where appropriate), and that Google and Apple leave it be because all they do is serve as the conduit to get it onto the device they control.

That is the way the world SHOULD work. No it doesn't give you the adrenaline rush of enforcing your desires on the world, but that's not a good thing to be enabling in the first place.

If they had no control over the stores used to get apps on devices, the whole question would be moot. Their duopoly leads to this issue. Frankly, that control should be taken away.


not deleting something allows it to be shared, or at least show up in search results. it allows it to be seen by people who otherwise would not see it- this is amplification.


Absolutely but the platform isn't doing the amplification, people do. This is the same thing as someone copying your chant on a street in front of a courthouse. The street isn't doing the amplifying, the people are.


You have to discern what people here are really outraged about - and sadly, it's not free speech or constitutional rights or any real high principle. Those are just intellectual cover.

After all, you don't see people clamoring in shock and about "unsettled" feelings regarding the moderation that happens here on HN.


It is censorship when those preventing freedom of speech are monopolies.

When a small number of companies make it difficult to communicate via our main communication device, and there are no viable alternatives, then a fundamental right is being suppressed.

There is no marketplace of ideas when there is no marketplace,


Please point to where in the Constitutions that it says you have a right to post on twitter and facebook or put an app on a webstore?


There is a difference between legal/constitutional freedom of speech and freedom of speech in a cultural perspective.


> There's no censorship here- parler still exists, people are still free to share their (abhorrent) viewpoints there

People are calling for AWS to drop Parler, and Parler has already come out and said if this happens, then Parler itself is gone forever.


if that happens, then people on parler can share their opinions by self publishing books, or printing flyers and passing them out, or yelling on street corners. If your complaint about these media is that they don't have the same reach as online social media, then we can agree we're not talking about censorship and instead talking about amplification of ideas.


This is my view. These sites aren't censoring anybody- they're choosing not to amplify.


Yep and leave section 230 alone as well.


> choosing not to amplify the voices of people that have proven themselves capable of and prone to violence

Then why not ban Twitter as well? I could show you hundreds of tweets from little known left-wing activists inciting violence during the BLM protests. This double standard tells us that the rationale given for banning Parler is just an excuse. The real reason is that executives in these companies are doing what their most vocal employees and the liberal media are pressuring them to do.


Sure, people technically have free speech. But not in any meaningful sense. It's like trying to have a debate when the other side has a megaphone.


It only feels like a megaphone when most people disagree with you. And the web is the real megaphone, and it’s still unlimited.


Go to China, Turkey, or Saudi Arabia and insult the leader(s) of the country on the internet and see how long you last. That is why we're different.


This decision, in and of itself, doesn't seem particularly unprecedented or untoward to me. Every store, including the Google Play Store, has a right to choose what products it wants to carry, for pretty much any reason whatsoever, including for political reasons. It's probably pretty difficult to find copies of The Turner Diaries in your local Barnes and Noble, and I'd be even more surprised to find a copy of The Vagina Monologues in a Lifeway.

What makes this scary is not that stores are choosing what products to sell. What makes it scary is that, at least in this segment of the economy, there are exactly two stores, and picking at least one of them to shop at is very nearly a precondition for participating in modern society. This gives Google and Apple a degree of influence over peoples' lives that one could quite reasonably recognize as quasi-governmental, and that is worrisome.


I own a kindle fire tablet. I wanted to use an app from a competing service, but alas it wasn’t in the Amazon App Store. No problem though, I installed the google store on my tablet, and downloaded it. Side loading would have also worked.

Isn’t this what android users have boasted of for so long to apple fans? There isn’t only one store. In the case of Parlor, you can probably just use a browser even.


Natural rights existed all governments all religions and all systems. Create a system that diminishes natural rights and by the Organic Law, it is our duty to alter or abolish such systems.


It's not censorship, it's free market. These are private companies.


You realise that it’s possible for entities outside of the government to censor things, right?

That word isn’t only applicable to state actions, and nor should it be.


Real censorship means that the government prosecutes you for speech, no matter where or how or to whom are you saying it. That was happening in parts of Europe from 1945 to 1990. This what is happening in USA right now is nowhere near that. It's just free market. If you're banned from a certain platform you can reach your audience in another way. No one is censoring your speech. It's just a certain company not wanting to serve a particular user. If it was actual censorship then you wouldn't be able to even print it on paper and distribute in your neighborhood.

Free speech != guaranteed access to a company providing access to a big audience


Censorship has a very simple definition, and it can be conducted by private companies. From Wikipedia:

“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.”

“Real” censorship is just censorship, and that’s the definition.


The reason I used the word "real" is probably because of my environment (ex-communist european country). I was born after the fall of communism, but of course the environment has a big influence on the lens through which you see things (family, friends, stories, history classes, etc.)

So when I see what is called censorship in US, it seems a bit funny and strange to me. I immediately think how people in my country during communism would be happy if only that was called censorship and if they had a possibility to use alternative channels to exercise free speech. But of course, I accept that this might be my biased eurocentric view of things and that from a different cultural perspective "real" means something else. Perhaps it will be like that even in Europe in a few years, who knows. We don't have much problems for now because we all use US social media and they don't really react to foreign languages, except a few universal "trigger" words like antivax. At least for smaller languages and countries (central and eastern europe)


Present-day social media censorship in the US is not "just free market", and is markedly similar to the kind I experienced growing up in a now-ex-communist eastern European country in the 1970s-1980s. Outright bans were not politically tenable by then, but forcing the opposition to express their views on fringe "alternative" channels was a popular strategy [1].

WeChat does not let you share Winnie the Pooh. Nominally, Tencent is a privately owned company freely choosing who they provide a platform to [2]. But in reality, they have no choice but to ban Winnie the Pooh, unless they want a state apparatus to make their lives increasingly difficult. Just because something is censored by a private platform doesn't mean that it's the "free market" of ideas and not a state or the government wielding its power.

Large US companies are also part of an industrial–congressional complex, with lobbying and political contributions on one side, political approval and threats of regulation on the other. Large tech companies are deeply and inseparably intertwined with the state and the political parties (both of them), based on the granting of reciprocated privileges. They know full well that if they ban the wrong speech (or refuse to ban the "right" speech), they face being regulated out of existence. Indeed, seeing this threat, we see them scramble to align with the incoming administration.

The kind of social engineering that led to the present bans was very popular in communist Eastern Europe as well. Did you recite an anti-government poem at your barbecue? You might find yourself banned from your favorite pub permanently! Why? Nominally, it was the bartender exercising his right not to serve you: after all, he shouldn't have to suffer potentially vocal ("verbally aggressive") imperialists in the establishment he runs. But behind the nominal reason was plain, state-mandated censorship. They'd have risked a bunch of misfortunes by not banning you. These could range from relevant, like the next few beer shipments "mysteriously" getting damaged during delivery, to completely random gaslighting-esque punishments, such as the bartender's daughter not getting admitted into the local high school. A plethora of plausibly deniable, no-outright-ban social mechanisms existed to make life difficult for people who disagreed with the official narrative, and to encourage people to ostracize the disagreeable. It required only a few well-placed entryists, made sure that ordinary citizens had skin in the game, and was a lot easier to handwave away than the black cars and heavy-handed approach that riled up the opposition in the previous years [3].

[1] https://meanwhileinbudapest.com/2020/09/11/klubradio-going-d... [2] https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-china-blog-40627855 [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_German_uprising_of_1953 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_Revolution_of_1956 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague_Spring


Taking this to its logical conclusion, if you used the “login with X” feature (X being Apple, Google, Facebook), and you suddenly find yourself deplatformed, what are the knock-on consequences?

I don’t have a huge problem deplatforming itself. I do have serious problems when it suddenly cuts you off from other unrelated websites or paid-for assets. These knock-on effects aren’t immediately obvious and can be quite severe at the individual level (eg FB locking you out and now you can’t access the local Oculus content you paid for).


In my opinion, the solution needs to be a guarantee of transfering your account to another provider. We can do it with phone numbers, we can do it with banks (at least in Europe). I don't see a reason why we couldn't apply the same on social media and auth providers.

Banned from "login with apple"? I should have a right to transfer my account to "login with google/facebook/my own server" and it should work. The same way I can call my friend when he transfers his phone number to another phone network.

Trump banned from Twitter? He should be able to transfer his account to Parler and I should still see his tweets in my Twitter feed, be able to retweet it to my followers, interact with it, etc. Twitter wouldn't be able to influence tweets from Parler so it would show in timeline. But they could decide to not display it in proprietary parts of their system (search, trending topics, whatever)

This way we would prevent echo chambers and deplatforming, while simultaneously allowing companies to maintain their freedom to moderate their own space.


You might be interested in the "fediverse" then. One instance can ban you but you can make an account in others and still interact with people from your old instance.


Why is the fediverse / mastodon not picking up all these users? How did Parler even get the jump on them?


I made this comment in another thread but I think we are few year from it being forced by the Supreme Court as it has ruled very close to this in the past.

> ... noting that ownership "does not always mean absolute dominion." The court pointed out that the more an owner opens his property up to the public in general, the more his rights are circumscribed by the statutory and constitutional rights of those who are invited in.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsh_v._Alabama

Twitter is going to be forced to unban most if not all people if they want to be a general open to the public social network.


This actually isn't the case as long as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act exists [1].

The section has two parts, the first of which protects the platform (Twitter, Google Play Store, FB, etc) from prosecution for user-generated content on the platform.

The second part, more relevant here, ensures the right of the platform to moderate it's users anyway it sees fit. If r/conservative can ban anyone for saying anything on the subreddit, or Parler can ban you for dropping leftist talking points, the Play Store can ban your app for enabling domestic terrorism.

[1] https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230


If the Supreme Court chooses to go down the route I have described the content of section 230 has no bearing on the discussion as ruling on this matter as a First Amendment issue would invalidate the needed parts of the Communications Decency Act.



For the sake of our freedoms let’s hope Twitters right to decide who gets to use their property and distribution remains. Otherwise it’s a tragedy of the commons as every platform devolves into the lowest common denominator.


There are more recent cases that go the other way. I don’t think that ruling is as expansive as you think it is.


I hope everyone else walks away before then.


> Free speech != guaranteed access to a company providing access to a big audience

If that's what were happening you'd probably have a point, but it isn't. "Not deleting" something is not the same as providing the audience, nor amplifying.

And, by the way, yes free speech does imply some obligations on the rest of us. Speech is not free if you are not free to exercise it; "you're free to talk in a prison cell" type of thinking isn't productive because it avoids the entire conversation.

Free speech has absolutely nothing to do with the government, by the way. Just because one country wrote down something called "The 1st Amendment" doesn't mean that somehow free speech only exists in that country and only when the government gives it to you. Free speech is a natural right that we all have and nobody has the right to silence anyone else: The 1st is simply one aspect of that.

The fact that society at large has lost that value cannot be viewed as a good thing and all the people in this thread defending the silencing of millions because they disagree with them politically is beyond shameful.


You have never had the right of free speech on someone else’s property. This is not new in any way.

I realize that there are some court cases that do guarantee free speech in extremely limited circumstances, but saying that society at large has “lost that value” doesn’t line up with any history that I’m aware of.


> You have never had the right of free speech on someone else’s property.

Wrong. You always do. They simply have free speech too.


This is a good point that isn't emphasized in this thread. A lot of people seem very upset about one mechanism of dissemination no longer being available, and treating it as though the content of the message boards are now illegal.


Sometimes I feel that the free market argument doesn't apply to media platforms. This is because the effectiveness of a media platform (or any mass media, for that matter) is largely determined by its market/usage share; in other words, smaller or alternative media platforms cannot be considered as a working substitution to the dominate platforms. And since the user distribution of social media tends to follow the power law (i.e. the "can't switch 'cause all my friends are using it and they won't switch due to the same reason" phenomenon), it is almost inevitable that a single platform will eventually monopolise the sector if left unregulated. banning a user from using the most popular media channel would mean he/she is no longer able to communicate his/her opinion effectively even he/her is able to choose a less popular alternative.

tl;dr: one can always switch their phone if they don't like Apple because the usefulness of a phone doesn't depend on its popularity; one can't practically switch their social media platform if they are banned because the usefulness of the social media depends on its popularity, and the most popular platform typically dominates due to the power law.


> This what is happening in USA right now is nowhere near that

It's going to happen. These platforms are so large they encompass a signification amount of the communication market .. and I don't say that lightly. Look at how Facebook has literally gobbled up all its competition and now is pushing policies that make WhatsApp and Oculus useless without handing over full control of all your accounts and devices?

These companies ARE STATES! They may not look like governments, but the communication power they wield is stronger than many nations.

You can no longer just say "They're private companies" when you literally cannot buy a well supported Mobile device unless it runs Android or iOS, unless you have the skill, ability and time to run something like a PinePhone or PostmarketOS.


Why this assumption that you need a smartphone? That's patently silly. Your life and liberty do not depend on you owning a smartphone. This is an app on an app store. Do I think it's a great precedent to set? Not really, despite my political beliefs being heavily progressive. But this overblown reaction is bananas.

Like, my life is proceeding just fine without either WhatsApp or Oculus products. Or a Facebook account that I use, for that matter.

(edit: For the record, the reason I am not happy with the precedent is that isolating communities like this seems to usually just serve to increase radicalism rather than remove it.)


It'd be a good idea to read through these threads from a day or two ago:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25662215

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25669864

Apparently WhatsApp is so integrated into several countries' cultures, you cannot live without it. Like literally - some examples I remember are food deliveries (during lockdowns) are only available through WhatsApp, as are scheduling hospital visits, anything involving schooling, I think I remember lawyers sharing documents, and so on.


> Why this assumption that you need a smartphone?

I got my first smartphone in 2019 because I watched the world around me gradually change to the point where an Apple or Android phone was expected and became inconvenient not to have.


> Your life and liberty do not depend on you owning a smartphone

Modern life absolutely depends on being able to connect to the Internet in some way. For a lot of people, that's a smartphone, which is cheaper and more mobile than a computer.


the solution to this, obviously, is to break up monopolistic companies, not to force them to be mouthpieces for fascists.


I think the solution is to simply break the network effect by mandating a right to transfer your account and a guarantee of interoperability. This would reinvigorate the competition


Look at it this way: when private companies censor something the user has the option to go elsewhere to exercise their speech. When the government does it, they can't go anywhere.

In this case, if a significant number of people are disenfranchised by this, it will naturally create the market pressure for a solution that they can use. It will spur adoption of tools like F-droid and open devices etc. It'll force these people to embrace open web technologies instead of proprietary ecosystems. Which are all very positive and healthy things.

It may be very inefficient, but to some extent its a healthy process that ultimately arbitrates where acceptable standards of speech sit.


If there were a large, vibrant community of public squares, I'd very much agree with you; the problem is that the network effect means that there will only ever be 2-3 big ones. It's a form of natural monopoly if not monopoly-in-fact and that has to be accounted for if "the people" are to remain in control of their ability to exercise their rights.

So, one solution would be to foster an environment where Twitter et.al lose their power because they really CAN'T lock people in anymore and I would absolutely love to see such a future.

But unfortunately that isn't where we are right now and the incentives around us are all set up to ensure it never changes.


> If there were a large, vibrant community of public squares

You’re exercising your free speech in one right now.

I don’t even have an account of any of the “monopoly” ones.


It's legal for entities outside the government to censor things. IANAL so if I'm wrong let me know. But my understanding is that censorship is perfectly fine for any company.


It's (typically) perfectly legal, but not necessarily perfectly fine.


I find undesirable to buy a phone where a company can arbitrarily decide what I am and am not allowed to run on my device. Because economies of scale make things cheaper if many people want them and because I generally believe in fighting the power of arbitrary or harmful corporate decisions, I try to convince others of the importance of this "feature" (really it's more of a lack of an anti-feature).

Luckily you can still sideload apps on Android. The day they remove that feature is the day I take the time to figure out how to use an alternate OS.


I fully agree with you on this.


It also use to be legal to deny people based on their skin color. Just because something is legal doesn't make it right.


And the laws changed. Hopefully we'll see that. We can't expect companies to be our moral compass.


Is Google refusing to distribute Parler different from the NYT refusing to publish an article I send them?


Yes. NYT is making an editorial decision. Google publishing an app is much more akin to you making a phone call - they are the carrier, nothing else, because they control the end of line.


Phone companies also have terms of service. Here’s AT&T’s:

> AT&T may immediately terminate all or a portion of your Service or reduce or suspend Service, without notice, for conduct that AT&T believes (a) is illegal, fraudulent, harassing, abusive, or intended to intimidate or threaten; (b) constitutes a violation of any law, regulation, or tariff (including, without applicable policies or guidelines (including the Acceptable Use Policy), and AT&T may refer such use to law enforcement authorities without notice to you.


And yet somehow have never resorted to saying who can and cannot use their service based on their political beliefs.

Keep trying.


Parler wasn’t pulled from Google’s app store for discussion of Conservative policy. It was pull for hate speech, incitement, and for the illegal conspiracies being plotted. Plus Parler isn’t enforcing their own terms of service.

If it was just politics then Google would also pull New Republic magazine.

Apple has said that they need to step up their moderation game and they can get back into the App Store. I’m guessing that would be good enough for Google as well.


Private market censorship is legal w.r.t. the first amendment. If it's good for society is a separate question.


That wasn't the question being asked.


Unless you do it to a privileged group. Then it’s discrimination.


There’s a difference between what is legal and what is morally correct.


Encouraging violent insurrection against the legally elected congress isn't moral either.


Agreed. And these companies are following what they believe is morally correct.

Also, this isn't going to be effective Parler is a website, people can just browse to it in Chrome/Safari...

We should be promoting apps that encourage and promote healthy discourse between people not echo chambers, but that's what I think is morally correct.


This line of argument is always going to end up accidentally side-loading authoritarianism into the American system. The logical conclusion is that the government should force Google to carry speech, and that is a bad idea.


Yes, but that also requires adopting a rather expansionist idea of corporate power and freedom of speech, even compared to post-Citizens-United America. Restricting a private actor from removing content they don't like creates a positive duty to publish content. For example, Net Neutrality regulation was legally opposed specifically on 1st Amendment grounds, and that was a far looser regulation than what would be necessary to prohibit social media companies from making political decisions about what to publish.

More concretely, YouTube has actual knowledge that extremist right-wing political views damage their brand reputation - they've gone through several waves of pulled advertising that has harmed both themselves and their relationship with their creators. Advertisers have told them in no uncertain terms that they will not have their content on the same platform as, say, KKK rallies. So now we need to extend this positive duty to publish onto anyone who does business with these platforms, in order to prevent them from exercising the power of the purse to soft-censor views they don't like.

Furthermore, even this "duty to publish" standard for free speech does not always seem to meet the standards of some. I've heard people (not necessarily you, so the following is a strawman) argue that public rebuke is a form of censorship; if only because it may cause adverse publicity to have one's views opposed. This is absurd; the prescribed answer to offensive speech is counter-speech. If people decide not to do business with someone because they find their political views offensive, that shouldn't automatically be treated as censorship. Even at a "duty to publish" level (what you actually seem to be arguing for), you need to be careful to define common carriers narrowly to avoid forcing people into unwanted relationships, lest you run into this trap of "speech is consequence-free".


Aren't these conservative principles? Like Gov shouldn't have any business in private company's affairs?


None of these monstrous corporations would exist in anything resembling their current form without a tremendous amount of regulation that entangles government deeply in the affairs of these private companies. So that ship has sailed, you might say.


Partially, regulation is one thing but being able to kick someone out of your establishment is also part of the law that has been upheld by the Supreme Court and in the constitution. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of communication platforms on the Internet. If Twitter was the only communication platform, then I would be very upset about this decision.

There are some companies that I do not think should be allowed to ban people, like ISPs.. since many times people don't have choices between multiple high-speed ISPs. However, Twitter is not in that same category.


Ok, so ISP's shouldn't ban people but they're allowed to be monopolies in the first place!? Internet and critical infrastructure is not considered utilities, let private enterprise take care of the most important connection to the outside world - the internet. What could go wrong!?

Note clearly - I am not condoning ISPs banning people. I am highlighting the hypocracy in a lot of contemporary conservative principles. It's not the Lincoln party we know of.


Free market principles, at least. But regardless of the political orientation of the view, it always seems to last only as long as they happen to agree with the political implications of the company's decisions


That depends on what case the C is in. Many self-identifying conservatives do not believe in anything close to a free-market, or freedom in general.


It was until liberals started to run big businesses, that wasn't supposed to happen, so now companies engaging in freedom of association is actually socialism. Those hippies and nerds weren't supposed to run the show


Of course it’s censorship. Censorship has nothing to do with who is doing it.

Whether a private company suppresses communication or the government does it, it’s still censorship.


So the government should be able to force your business to do something against your will? That doesn't sound like free market of which USA, and particularly conservatives, are so proud of.


> So the government should be able to force your business to do something against your will?

This ship sailed 50 years ago, I'm afraid. Businesses can no longer discriminate (including refusal to serve) on the basis of race, gender, religion, disability, veteran status, and a variety of other factors. Now, this is almost certainly a good thing - there's been a few negative consequences of the change (destruction of black businesses, for one) but on net it's not really close.

So really all people are asking for is "political affiliation" to be looked at like "religion". And honestly, there's a smaller and smaller set of differences between the two categories as the years go by.


> So the government should be able to force your business to do something against your will?

No one said that. We can criticize companies for censorship with or without wanting government intervention.


Yes, this is why restaurants must seat black people, no matter how racist the owner.


The FDA forces food standards. Should the government really be able to prevent a farm from cutting your meat with sawdust?

Should government really keep pharma companies from selling you pills that are filled with snake oil?

Should a government really force you to allow black people to eat at the same tables in your restaurant as white people? It's your business after all and it's private. You should have a choice on which customers you get to serve.


I think the answer here is that all the above is legal until the PEOPLE OF THE US choose it isn't, by voting. In all the above cases the people of the US elected officials who were saying they would take such actions. That means the people gave up their rights to sell sawdust as meat, sell fake medical products, and implement racist policies.

Do remember, it's a democracy. The government by the people, for the people and all that. Not the people VS the government.


The above poster does have an important point: Freedom from speech also includes freedom from compelled speech.

The things you listed entail selling materially defective good, and discrimination on the basis of race and gender. These are not examples of compelled speech. Here are some more applicable questions:

* Can the government force Hacker News not to flag and hide certain posts?

* And the government make a bookseller to stock certain types of books?

* Could Trump pass a law or executive order to make Twitter revoke his ban?

* Can the government official compel a newspaper to print certain content?

The last one was actually addressed in a Supreme Court ruling [1].

Freedom of speech includes freedom from compelled speech. It's also against the law to tell a person or business to print or say something, or not ban certain content. Sure, if a business exclusively bans content based on the race of the poster they they could fall afoul of anti-discrimination laws. But note that it wasn't the content of the speech that matters here, it is the discriminatory nature on the basis of race.

These protections don't magically go away when a company grows to a certain size or number of users. Market share is relevant to things like anti-trust and anti-competitive behavior, but the people claiming that Facebook or Twitter have to run content because they're big are incorrect.

The exceptions to protection from compelled speech are very narrow, like showing your passport at the border and nutrition labels on food or health warnings on cigarettes. They almost always have a direct and tangible safety or administrative justification. Furthermore, political speech is the most protected form of speech in the US by far. I would be astounded if we ever pass legislation compelling platforms like Facebook or Twitter to host content against their will.

I agree that the principles of inclusion and freedom of speech should be upheld by Facebook and Twitter, but I strongly disagree that they should be enforced by the government. I could see wisdom in making ISPs, payment providers, and DNS providers act like utilities and extend services to all lawful customers, but not at the application layer.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami_Herald_Publishing_Co._v....


It is also difficult for me to imagine that the government would compel private businesses to transmit speech inciting or coordinating riots at the capitol.

Even if the heavy hand of regulation were applied to private corps, it seems like they'd still draw the line somewhere.


The government forces businesses to do things against their will all the time. So much so that most big businesses have compliance departments to ensure they're doing everything the government requires them to do.

In fact there have been many laws requiring companies to carry messages against their will, including the Fairness Doctrine, the Equal-Time Rule, and Common Carrier laws, as well as the failed, but generally regarded as Constitutional, Net Neutrality proposals.


Censorship opposes the free market of ideas. Maybe it's a private company, but it doesn't make sense to use that principle to justify a behavior that kills free markets, economic or not.

At best it's hypocritical, taking advantage of competition at the market level, but then preventing that competition within your company, then praising one and condemning the other. It's not consistent, platforms need to be platforms and let the information flow instead of control it.


Corporate sponsorship under pressure from “woke” customers is in fact a manifestation of free markets. These corporations are making editorial decisions based on what their customers want. Right now their customers want less overt coordination of political violence on their platforms. Therefore the platforms are complying.


> Therefore the platforms are complying.

Are you saying companies should comply with whatever market pressures they have regardless of the outcome (given a free market)? Because oil companies have an interesting history of abusing this. Surely there is a line, however blurry, that companies shouldn't be crossing if they want to keep the greater good in mind.

Given that many of these tech "platforms" are worldwide, and have slowly dominated the world's userbase BEFORE changing their policies, it's easy to see they might have already crossed that line, we're just not sure exactly how yet (at least imho).


It's not really a free market that's why these tech companies all have anti trust investigations. This is censorship. It's just censorship lots of us agree with.


Yes, it absolutely is censorship. And a massively coordinated effort at that.


Got a source for that?


Private companies with more power and influence than governments, and little serious competition.


The free market approach requires antitrust. It's disingenuous to defer to free market rules when we have big government and big tech so deeply entrenched and largely unchecked.


Why does one mean it isn't the other? Clearly it's both. It's just not government censorship, for which there's a bit of text in the US bill of rights.


We spent the last four years waxing philosophical about how social media influenced the 2016 election, I think it's time to admit that these aren't _just_ private companies and there's a very real risk that this wave of censorship has far-ranging consequences.


Maybe there should be government regulation. That’s my personal opinion. Or laws to create and define new category for social media alongside publishers and news organizations.


> These are private companies.

So are Baidu and Tencent.

Large companies are part of an industrial–congressional complex, with lobbying and political contributions on one side, political approval and threats of regulation on the other.

Just because something is done by a private company, it doesn't mean that it's not the state or the government wielding its power. In the current political climate, and given how intertwined corporations and state power are in the US, trying to maintain a crisp distinction between private companies and public authority is itself comical.


Baidu and Tencent are, in part, state owned.


Trying to maintain a distinction between Twitter and the Trump administration is comical?


Thinking that Baidu banning photos of the Tiananmen Square protests is not the Chinese administration exercising its power, because the banning itself is done by a private company? Yeah, that would be comedy stuff.

In China as in the U.S., these are not local mom-and-pop stores exercising their rights to free association. These are large tech companies and business ventures that are deeply and inseparably intertwined with the state and the political parties (both of them), based on the granting of reciprocated privileges. They know full well that if they ban the wrong person (or refuse to ban the right person), they face being regulated out of existence the next day: indeed, seeing this threat, they're scrambling to align themselves with the incoming administration. Yes, they had deals with the previous administration too [1].

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/21/business/media/facebook-d...


Exactly this. If I start a private enterprise, I'll be damned if somebody dictates that they have a private right to do or say some particular thing on services I pay hosting for.

Corporations are not beholden to pleasing every single individual.


Censorship - noun

the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.

It is censorship. But not all censorship is bad.


That's what I saw daily under military dictatorship in South Korea in the 1970s and 80s. My Time magazine would arrive with gaping holes where pages had been cut out. These days the scissors in the US are virtual, but the goal is the same: suppression of political speech and news deemed heretical to one's ideological viewpoint. If you approve of censorship. try China, all the public rhetoric is very clean and faultlessly progressive.


I think companies should have the right to censor their products in very specific situations, but they should be grilled like they are when it happens so we can debate it with transparency. I am not condoning governments to censor, I think you are reading way too much into my comment.


The compliant Korean media companies under the military then and the Chinese ones like TenCent now craft their censorship to the ideological winds of the state. Silicon Valley under Biden will likely exactly mirror state ideology and indeed participate in its making. We're seeing before our eyes the creation of a one-party discourse system, where unapproved ideas will be extirpated from public forums as "hate speech".


> But not all censorship is bad.

pretty much all dictators agree with you on that.


Yeah this is a valid point here.

If you think it should be illegal to yell "fire" in a crowded theater, you're a dictator.

If you think it should be illegal to create/sell/distribute child porn, you're a dictator.

Nice false equivalence. The US is divided right now because of bad faith arguments like this.


Interesting how you cherry picked political speech out.


I know if I was a dictator, I would definitely agree with it!


But not child porn purveyors.


Pretty much all dictators breath, too.


It appears that people are downvoting me... to censor me? How ironic.


Wait until Google starts blocking URLs in Chrome and Android to protect you from "harmful" content.

Maybe Facebook can join and block in WhatsApp too.

Hey it's free market, private company product yay!


Something can be censorship and also free market. Don't create false dichotomies.


Private companies in the same sense that Marx described democratic capitalism as the best outcome for corporations because it provides the illusion of separation while being unduly connected through monetary incentives?


private companies censor things all the time. it's still called censure.


You are literally wrong, unfortunately. Censure is quite different from censorship.


It's corporate censorship and not government censorship. Corporate censorship is legal to a point. We see now Corporate and State are highly aligned in every possible way. The party Big Tech supports now has control over the House, the Senate and the Executive Branch.

In which fantasy world is the consolidation of power ever good for a democracy?


what’s would be your argument when utility cuts off water to your house? Or you will go to another company?


Let me introduce you to centuries of thinking on this subject and the concept of “natural monopoly”.


Agreed: Internet, like water, is a market failure and should be a public utility. c: That way, your DDoS protection & hosting is subject to First Amendment protections.


Newspapers and magazines have always had a choice who or what to print in their papers. TV and radio stations have always had a choice who or what to air. Why shouldn't social media companies have the same liberties?


Social media companies are protected by Section 230 while newspapers and magazines aren't. If social media companies are going to act like newspapers and magazines then they shouldn't be shielded from liability for their content.


Online newspapers and magazines frequently allow comments from readers, and they are absolutely protected by section 230 for the same reason that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are.


Which is a fair comment to make, but ultimately without the protection of Section 230, Twitter or Facebook would have never allowed Trump on the platform in the first place. The risk of being held accountable (ie. lawsuits, defamation suits, etc) for the content he posted would have been too great.

Removing Section 230 wouldn't have the effect people like to think it would.


So in other words you want them to remove even more content (no one wants to be held liable for Trump’s tweets)? Sounds pro-censorship to me.


There was no "network effect" deterring me from dropping the NYT. These social media platforms, and the internet in general-- which are entirely "private"-- are the new public square.

Twitter, Facebook, et al just excluded leading conservative voices from the public square.


They are not a public square. They are not the government.

They are a private company that needs to do business to stay alive. Other companies can choose not to do business with them based on the content that's on their site. If they fail to satisfy their customers, they die.

They cannot satisfy the whims of those who pay nothing and demand a megaphone. They owe you, and your beliefs, nothing.


Civilized (and sometimes boorish) people today go to the Internet to communicate. That's what we're doing right now.

Maybe if you (or I) were banned from HN, no big deal, find some other corner of the Internet to shout from. FB and Twitter are the modern public fora however, they have through moats or whatever business tactics, made other fora far less significant, and in terms of discussion space they are a very big deal. You might be correctly repeating legal principles as they appear in last year's hornbook, however, the books will eventually change.

If Cloudflare and Google together delisted and deplatformed anyone repeating any words of the President or major conservative leaders -- that would undermine a core tenet of our democratic society. That would be an obvious affront to first principles. I'm not sure FB and Twitter are greatly removed from that hypothetical.


> Maybe if you (or I) were banned from HN, no big deal, find some other corner of the Internet to shout from.

So is the premise of your argument that we should be protecting the less internet savvy from having to learn how to browse the web?

Give me a break. FB/TW shouldn't be required to uphold the public's ability to communicate.


What makes these companies the "new public square"? Some threshold for use? Is the "real" public square no longer the public square? If FB/Twitter/etc, are the public square, then the government should own them, right? Or does this mean private property can be a public square now and deserves protections because of it?

If I build the biggest coffee shop my small town has ever seen and it becomes ridiculously popular, is it the new public square and I'm no longer allowed to kick out people for being assholes?

This "big website is popular so now we must treat it as public space" is a take that I see kicked around but has lots of holes in it.

Frankly, it makes smells like bullshit.


Then nationalize them or make them a public and/or Government agency (in a fair market fashion, by petitioning the Government to make them an offer to buy them out). But as long as they're a private company they get the same protections and liberties as all the rest.


But it's different. There was a time when anyone could start a newspaper. There was a time when people had FM transmitters in their backyard. It became more expensive and the FCC started slicing up FM spectrum so everyone wouldn't trample over each other.

Media was once free and then collapse to be owned by ABC, NBC, CBS and a few dozen newspapers.

This was originally about network neutrality, but it applies to what we're seeing right now:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JP_3WnJ42kw


Anyone can start a social media network. Twitter has competition in the form of the relatively-new Parler, which has welcomed controversial voices - and has gained significant traction among them.

You can feel free to create your own too. Social media platforms existed before Twitter and Facebook, and eventually other platforms will succeed Twitter and Facebook.

Can it be expensive to start a company from scratch? Yes, it can. But that has always been the case.


It's cheap to start a social network. I run a Pleroma and a Mastodon server and you can find the links in my profile.

But don't fool yourself into thinking my little instances have any sort of effect compared to the big mega-corps of Google/Facebook and Twitter.


I don't. Making something popular requires a tonne of work. Again, this has always been the case, even for traditional physical products. If you're going to make a competitor for something, expect an uphill battle.

As I said, there were social networks before Twitter, Facebook, and Parler, and there will be social networks afterwards.


>But it's different. There was a time when anyone could start a newspaper

starting a newspaper is significantly more costly and difficult than starting a social media app. You're confusing the fact that websites like Parler are so toxic that nobody wants to do business with them with the inability of actually starting it, which anyone with a laptop can do on a weekend.


Maybe you should find the worst comments on parler, voat, and thedonald.win then take them around to print shops and see if everyone prints them.


I’m going to lend your neighbours a huge sound system so they can use their free speech to play the darkest industrial techno outside your door at 4am.

I’m obviously joking, but would it be okay for me to use my platform this way? If not, why not?


Or you could simply not install Parler.


Until people whose brains have been melted by Parler influencers start calling you with death threats because they believe you’re a treasonous antifa instigator.


No one is forcing you to listen to Parler.


No one is forcing you to install parler from the Play Store either.


What is the alternative? Do you think that the government should nationalize private companies? Or perhaps they should dictate to them who should be their clients? If a company like Google doesn't want to do business with Parler, that is their right. That is free market. If the market didn't agree with it, the free market forces would make sure that Google dwindles and another company replaces them.


Google and Apple have a duopoly. In the wake of 2016 we collectively agreed that Big Tech has the ability to influence elections, now is the time to think about how to protect our democracy.

My take is simple: either treat social media conglomerates like we do telecom or break them up like we did AT&T.


I agree with breaking up companies which are monopolies/duopolies. But why do you think that those broken up companies wouldn't behave the same in this case (ban Trump, Parler, etc). If that's what the majority of users want, then such decisions increase their profit. If there was 5 mobile OS/store companies today, I'm pretty sure the same would happen on all 5.


I agree, it's probably wishful thinking. My hope would be that "we don't ban anything that's not explicitly illegal" would be a profitable stance for at least one of the competing app stores.


If that's what the majority of their users want, why shouldn't they ban those services? What better proxy is there for what they should do? Aren't they beholden to their users and shareholders? Is the suggestion that all platforms have to cater to the most vocal minority? That doesn't seem like a good strategy.


> Is the suggestion that all platforms have to cater to the most vocal minority?

I think this is what they're doing right now. I'd imagine the average voter doesn't care whether Trump is on Twitter or Parler is on the App Store.


I think you're wrong. These companies are very aware of what their customers/users think (think of all the data!). It's asinine to think that these companies, with corporate boards and a legal mandate to produce profit, would just out some amount of users and reduce revenue. They clearly don't think the amount of users they are affecting with these actions are significant enough to damage them, especially compared to the costs of enabling these domestic terrorists.

These groups are not some good ol boys looking to have measured debate about monetary policy. They are literally trying to kill elected officials and undermine democracy.

More directly, the average voter very clearly seems to care, when you're looking at these actions in an economic light.


Well, we could simply treat them the same as phone companies, using our existing laws.

Social media companies are indeed large communication platforms. There are a lot of similarities, even if they aren't exactly the same.

Or do you believe that our existing laws that apply to phone companies are somehow a tyrannical infringement on their rights?


Turns out planning a coup in plain site is a step too far, and has consequences.

Who could have possibly predicted it?


I think it's wonderful. Push them to the edges where they belong. Let them make their own platform to spread lies and hate, it will make them easier to find. They are going to commit acts of hate and ignorance with or without general platforms, why let it reach the mainstream. Make those who drift towards it work for it. Google is well within their rights as a company to do it.


Looks like it.

- Twitter has suspended both General Michael Flynn, President Trump's first National Security Adviser, and attorney Sidney Powell. Also less know users.

- Twitch and Snapchat disabled Trump's accounts.

- Shopify took down two online stores affiliated with the president.

- YouTube says it's accelerating its enforcement of voter fraud claims against President Trump and others based on Wednesday's events.

- TheDonald.win lost a host (but has backups)

- Facebook has banned Brandon Straka and removed his #WalkAway campaign on the site, an initiative consisting of over half a million users.

Edit: Not sure why a list of facts is being downvoted?


It looks like the whole thread is being brigaded.


The ways to profit from Trump are shrinking and the chances his vindictive actions can affect companies have vanished. So there is no longer a good reasons to associate with his toxic brand. Companies can virtue signal with little to no repercussions now.


This is less “censorship” and more “ending a business relationship” which Google is certainly able to do.


Never let a good crisis go to waste. I think we are seeing the beginning of a purge of a certain line of thought from the internet, using a few crazy people as the catalyst.


Could you explain exactly what that line of thinking is, and why you're troubled by this?


Primarily right-wing apps, websites, subreddits, communities. I'm afraid there will be attempts to cite some kind of complicity and ban them.

I'm troubled by it because right-wing != violent, and 74 million people voted for the republican candidate. Continuing to disenfranchise their speech options will not go well.


It’s not platforms fault that certain communities are much more likely to violate basic rules.

If reddit creates a rule stating “do not threaten or advocate for violence” and in the process of enforcing that rule they find out that certain groups are disproportionately affected, should they continue equally apply the rule or should they start tallying things up to make sure they ban equal amounts of each group?


How do you reconcile that Google News still caries New Republic and The New American and lots of other Conservative publications. They don’t seem anti-conservative, just anti-extremist.


A lot of pedants are telling you it's not censorship and they are technically correct, these private platforms are within their rights to decide how they are used. And many people have raised concerns before about what it means that we've given so much power to these platforms. I hope this goes down as the time the big platforms overplayed their hand and made people realise that even though we have turned over so much power to them, they do not have the same constraints or responsibilities as government, and as private businesses can act arbitrarily according to their prerogative.


While they may be pedants, I am anally right. On a personal level I think those who chime in to cry that it's not censorship are myopic fools.

It is absolutely censorship. It's textbook, dictionary, censorship. Take wikipedia's great opening paragraph:

>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.

In my opinion it's especially egreoious, requiring remedy, if the censorious actor has a large amount of control over a medium of communication. In this case google dwarfs perhaps governments.


Right, it's censorship, it's not first amendment limitation of free speech, I think that is where the semantics come in.


> telling you it's not censorship and they are technically correct

No, they are technically incorrect. As other posters have pointed out, it literally is censorship. Whether a private company or government is doing it is irrelevant to the definition of that term.


https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution-conan/amendment-1/t...

"true threat" is where you have actual proof those threats arent empty rhetoric, like you know, people shouting about overthrowing the government and then storming Parliament while armed, with resulting causalities.


The set of topics that gets you de-platformed (or financially de-platformed) is increasing.


I share your feeling “this is not going well”. Most of the comments here seem polarized and emotionally driven - yet these censorships are worrying even if they look like the right thing to do.


I can understand the viewpoint you have, though I don't agree with it.

Radical ideas have always looked for ways to spread around and influence people. As in with any idea, there are good ones (Why should a worker not have paid holidays, or days off, or have work life balance, education rights, voting rights, etc) and bad ones (the ones we see espoused by many radical right wingers like the claimed inferiority of the black race and the superiority of the white race)

Now, 74 million Americans voted for a vision of trump, that mixes a lot of good ideas with some very terrible ones. And out of the 74 million voters for him, I am sure many of them voted for the promise of jobs, stability, incomes, etc. Unfortunately, a significant & vocal minority of his supporters have shown hard right and often immoral ideas.

In the past, messaging and reach was a carefully cultivated art practiced by seasoned politicians and ideologists.

Today, the situation is different. It is very very easy to gather people into a group, isolate them and radicalize them. You see it happening everyday on the social media.

What, then, is the solution to this? It is a problem because a society must be coherent and move forward together, otherwise it fractures and implodes from within.

For a society, there are many aspects that affect it's prosperity. Jobs, distribution of wealth, prevalence of opportunities, justice, etc.

If you have allow one small section of ideologues hijack the conversation and demand for continuation of radicalization, that society will collapse. Just think about Nazism, Stalinism, etc. All those societies had one thing in common, the ability to radicalize and brainwash population.

So what about Parler? Banning is the right thing to do.

Out of those 74 million who voted, they have avenues like FB, Twitter, IG, etc to engage and communicate.

That small group who wants to radicalize the society, have their voices cut off, and that is how it should be.


If you're only exposed to left-wing media, you only see right-wing radicalisation.

If you're only exposed to right-wing media, you only see left-wing radicalisation.

Both tribes are convinced that the other is dangerously radical.


Ok. Can you name the three top radical ideas of each side? Just curious.


The argument is likely that neither side is actually all that radical, so the answer to your question is reasonably "No".


My opinion is that right wing ideas are more extreme than left wing ones. Sure, both of them have good ideas and radical ones, but radical ones of left seem to move the society as a whole in a good direction while right wing ones seem to move them in a direction that threatens the existence of the society itself.


This is pretty well put. I definitely agree with your points here.

I would like to point out that Nazism and Stalinism are localized versions of the same thing: fascism. trump is the current leader of American Fascism. He should have his voice on major platforms cut off.

What people don't seem to realize about democracy is that fascism is the weak point.


I don't care about private sector censorship, that is free speech in line with our constitutional ideals.

Your freedom to not listen or associate with someone is part of the First Amendment and applies to corporations as much as it applies to you.

People get to say or not say whatever they want, you get to listen or not listen to whoever you want.

A corporation you have chosen to rely on still gets to choose they want to associate with, arbitrarily even.

When the corporation messes up, we can try pressuring them into compliance with our ideals.

What the corporation did is in compliance with my ideals. Good luck with yours.


It’s not censorship, private businesses have the right to decide what they sell in their stores.

Parlour can still distribute itself as a web app, no problem.


So then, can a restaurant refuse service, to filter what kind of customers would allow to let in, let's say on criterias like: only men, only white people, everybody but gay people? It's a private business after all. Especially if they are still available to deliver without any filter.


Is this a cannibalistic restaurant? Are they serving customers other customers?

What does discretion in the products a restaurant sells have to do with the customers it sells to?

Whataboutisms galore.


Then it's still censorship; private businesses simply have the right to censor.


Nope.

Censorship: the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.

A private business not distributing a product because it doesn’t represent their or their customers values isn’t censorship, it’s a marketing decision.

If Walmart decides to stop carrying Coke because of its sugar content, is that “censorship”?

If a girl decides not to date you, is that censorship of your free speech rights to bore her?

The advocates for Parlours right of distribution don’t actually believe in individual rights, or they would argue it has to be imposed on the App Stores.


> Censorship: the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.

And this was indeed done because it was considered politically unacceptable and a threat to security.

> A private business not distributing a product because it doesn’t represent their or their customers values isn’t censorship, it’s a marketing decision.

The problem is your thinking that those two are some exclusionary.

The censorship that most company practice is of course for financial gain.

> The advocates for Parlours right of distribution don’t actually believe in individual rights, or they would argue it has to be imposed on the App Stores.

Nor does their believing in free speech or not have anything to do with whether this is censorship.


If you’re going to call it censorship if Walmart refuses to sell a product I make, then you are really watering down what that word means.


No it is not crazy when the platforms have active terrorist organizations planning an attack (the upcoming biden event).

It is a clear and present danger.


Neither do I but frankly it doesn't matter. People don't have what it takes to listen, to speak up, or to just stop bein idiots. They only see part of the painting, they don't see the big picture.


Have you bothered to look at the content on Parler? It's full of speech that is not protected by the US 1st, such as threats to kill political leaders and eminent calls for violence. There are also tons of neo-Nazis calling for the deaths of Jews and other minorities.

Parler need to remove this content. This isn't Google and Apple censoring political views. It's a demand for Parler to remove illegal content.


what is illegal content? trump was telling protesters to go home the day of but they cancelled his account.


The website is still accessible, right?


Until they get booted from their ISP or can’t get DDOS protection.


That's not the service Google or Apple have ever offered Parler.


Have you been on the Donald. Win lately? At what point are we allowed to stop people from planning treason?


This is a strange comment to make, are you making an investigation of sorts or do you frequently go on websites of people you politically despise?


Yes, I do. To live in a bubble and not expose yourself to things you don't like is to live a life of blissful ignorance.

That may work for you, but I like to be educated and have insight.


I read Breitbart and the comments for that exact reason. It's pretty illuminating.


> frequently go on websites of people you politically despise

This is why I browse (some threads on) HN


Yup, I purposely follow some blogs and Twitter accounts of awful people, to see what they're up to.

Keep your friends close, and...


Do you only read things you agree with?


Agreed. A lot of folk on HN right now are having difficulty identifying or naming treason and sedition.


No, they're having trouble trying to say that they agree with the values held by the people who tried to stage a coup, without saying quiet part out loud.


I don't know about Google, but Apple just told them they needed to moderate speech which incites violence (and maybe hate speech?). This isn't remotely like China where they are censoring people who post images of a stuffed bear with a vague resemblance to Trump.


The purge has been happening for years. I hate how people on HN is praising this. There are literally few alternatives for the average person apart from Google and eyeProducts. I have a PinePhone, but what percentage of America can truly put in the effort to use one? <1%.

If you cannot install an run your own software on a device, you do not own the device.

You cannot praise the removal of Gab or Parlor now and complain later when they take everything else from you. They can increase the Apple developer fees whenever they want. What happens when they start charging you $2,000 a year or $4,000 a year for the right to publish apps? What happens when the two big platforms decide no one can push an app unless their platform has full moderation.

What happens when Google and Apple, for your safety, say all user contributed content must go through their "spam" filter first for any apps?

This is horrific. You may not like Parlor, but it will not stop here. This is a dangerous place we are in and we should all be horrified by it. People are horrified right now, but they're focused on the wrong thing.


Other way round: anyone on the left is used to unfair treatment. The app reporting drone strike locations was banned years ago. Apple caused tumblr to self-destruct. Just this time the policy is actually in our favor.

Unlimited incitement to violence is not sustainable. Banning them for this is the start; America is going to have a long uncomfortable process of dealing with its media.


Exactly -- I love the pearl-clutching tone of these of slippery-slope complaints: "Just you wait, leftists! One day the power of the state shall be visited upon you, and then you'll see! How would you feel if the government censored you, infiltrated your gatherings, and sidelined you from mainstream society? Hmmmmm?"


> "How would you feel if the government censored you, infiltrated your gatherings, and sidelined you from mainstream society?"

It already happened to the left before and it was called the Red Scare of the '50s. It is strange to see the modern left dig up those old repressive practices and adopt the for their own but "those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it" I suppose.


Um, it's happening to the left now (including infiltration, active attempts by government provocateurs to discredit, and even government agents collaborating with violent non-government actors engaging in violent retaliation, etc.; BLM has been a particular target), with government power involved much more than in anything targeting the Right.

That seems to be GPs point, actually. It's silly when those on the right are pretending that th comparatively minor private exclusion that the more extreme Right is subjected to might sometime be directed at the Left. The Left is used to much worse, at the hands of the State along with private exclusion, routinely.


The Occupy movement was targeted and that was barely a decade ago.


African-American civil rights activists have been targeted pretty consistently for...well, most of American history, really.


Yep, Fred Hampton and MLK, Jr. being the most well-known, at least to myself.


If it's already happened to you, why are you happy about this?

All this is going to do is create a real market for more decentralisation and censorship resistance, we have a modicum of control now but that's going to evaporate with the next iteration of the web if this trajectory continues


So what's the argument you're making? That that was all ok? Are they hypocritical and correct, or non-hypocritical and wrong?


> pearl-clutching

Pearl clutching? Odd. I've heard people say that all summer long about those afraid of the "peaceful protests" turned violent riots that burned down cities and devastated business. This violence was encouraged by all types of politicians on the left and all the big media networks as well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eQzLcO5qhY

A small number of people at an almost entirely non-violent rally, a rally where the president encouraged people to "walk down to the capitol house" .. walk, not riot or loot or burn, a small number of people did something horrifically stupid. Most just walked around, a smaller percentage destroyed stuff. Everyone one of them should be charged if they did.

But you know what I also saw? "Pearl Clutching." Every senator and congressman afraid out of their mind because the villages had come into the castle. The peasants were in the kings court, and the village idiot with a racoon on his head was sitting at the seat of The King's Hand playing with her royal gavel.

You cannot possibly talk about the violence on the 6th, without addressing the fact that the media went on and on and on about praising all the violent "peaceful protestors" all summer long.

It did not matter at all when it was the business owners, the minimum wages workers who lost the jobs at stores now condemned, or those losing everything in lockdowns while Pelosi showed America her ice cream collection in her $14k kitchen setup.

But now that they were causing some minor damage, 1/1000 of the damage the democratic left supporters did on inauguration day 2014:

https://youtu.be/BXR3d22BhHs

It's suddenly the worst thing on the planet! Unprecedented even!

America has a long history of its citizens taking federal buildings. The Black Panthers, with an armed militia, took the California Capitol in the 1970s and no one died.


Dude, there were pipe bombs and militia boys with guns and handcuffs. The rest of the crowd aside, I’m pretty sure this was supposed to be a show.

Not comparable. We were close to a congressional decapitation on live TV.


Have you heard about Portland and the riots there?

They made shields, set a police station on fire, etc, etc. Much worse than the current situation was.


> We were close to a congressional decapitation on live TV.

In 2017 a lone left-wing activist caused more Congressional casualties than thousands of militia boys invading the Capitol.


If we're going to start enumerating domestic terrorist incidents, there's the Charleston church massacre, the Wal-Mart massacre in Texas, and the synagogue massacre in Pennsylvania. All of these incidents were linked to white supremacist ideas that the right has been flirting with for decades. Trump has just been dispensing with the dog whistles.

All four of these incidents had white perpetrators, btw. To extrapolate from mainstream Republican positions, we clearly need a complete and total shutdown of all white immigration until we figure out what is going on.

Back to the present day: the climate of lies about the election from Republican leadership up to and including Trump was obviously a factor in the violence in DC. On top of that Trump was there that day, speaking to that crowd immediately before they took action, directly inciting them to violence. There's no deniability to be had.

Appeasement has only emboldened these people to attack America, it's institutions, it's people, and it's values. We must have law and order, and that requires accountability for Trump and his enablers.


> We must have law and order

Absolutely

> that requires accountability for Trump and his enablers.

Absolutely not. It's words like that that truly frighten me. Have you lost your good sense?

What truly worries me is this part: "his enablers".... what exactly are you saying? That voting for Trump was a crime? That supporting Trump was a crime? That protesting for Trump (but not engaging in violence nor tresspass) was... what.. Terrorism (as the media is now trying to suggest)? No, no it was most definately not. It is very dangerous to use loose words like this which can be interpreted in too many ways, especially now. If you mean to say that Trump committed a specific crime and had co-conspirators, explain it that way and name the conspirators. Otherwise you are going to have a huge percentage of the population believe that you intend to "round them up into camps" or "line them up against the wall" or other things that other very dangerous people have tweeted. Trump supporters will defend themselves, potentially pre-emptively (just like how the war between the states started) and nobody wants that.

I don't associate with a political tribe, I didn't like Trump, and I left America long ago. But I've cautioned my mother who still lives there and who supported Trump all the way (she believes all the nutty theories, but isn't a bad person) that she needs to plan an escape route into Canada. Because I truly fear for her life at this point. Biden and the media keep wrongly using the word "Terrorism" in order to (I'm quite sure) invoke special governmental powers that allow them to suspend all civil and human rights from... who? ... all Trump supporters? And PATRIOT-ACT V2 has landed, all premeditated and prepared, ready for a huge draconian power grab.

Nobody has demonstrated that Trump has committed any crime (AFAIK). I'm sure there will be attempts. But nobody has even pointed to a credible suspected crime (AFAIK). Well respected constitutional lawyers like Alan Dershowitz have weighed in with clear opinion that Trump doesn't need to pardon himself because he has not committed any legally cognisable crime. And that his speeches were not incitement to violence... and Alan gives a long history of speeches that resulted in violence... and America has always punished the violence doers, not speakers, being extremely hesitant to invoke "incitement to violence." In this case it's laughably far from such.. he said walk, he urged peace, he only called for a protest.

But I'm positive many people will attempt to "require accountability for Trump." Go ahead, do so via the court system using the laws of the land. Both political tribes will support that.


> a rally where the president encouraged people to "walk down to the capitol house" .. walk, not riot or loot or burn

Consistently amazed that people seem to think that as long as you don’t literally say “I am inciting you to commit violence!” it can’t be considered incitement.


Regarding the drone strike app thing. While most of the american left is against drone strikes they still don't mind voting for people who support them. (in comparison to the american right that I doubt would care about the drone strikes in the first place). Point is that both democrat and republican governments would support the drone strike app removal.


Interested to know you see the drone strike app as a left issue? I don’t think opinions on foreign intervention fall very neatly along the left-right spectrum


I think what falls more on the left is caring that the drone strikes kill 90% civilians.

The right is much more inclined to agree with the characterization that it's mostly terrorists we're killing or that why are civilians around them.

To what some on the right might object is why are we spending all this money on this, which they might even arrive at ultimately the same conclusion as the left but for a different reason.


Even though I'm on the right, I have noticed anti-war lefties get banned a lot.

Even copblock, something both of the more socially liberal wings of the political spectrum can appreciate, has been banned multiple times.


Are you at all worried about the possibility that America could have another civil war because a sufficiently large proportion of Americans are radicalized in uncensored, insufficiently moderated communities? Facebook's own research found “64% of all extremist group joins are due to our recommendation tools” and that most of the activity came from the platform’s “Groups You Should Join” and “Discover” algorithms: “Our recommendation systems grow the problem.” [0]

We just suffered a textbook seditious conspiracy against the United States, which was planned on Parler and thedonald dot win. Is there a chance that Google's decision to remove Parler from their app store will only throttle the spread of Parler? Have you heard of the slippery slope fallacy? [1] And if so, why doesn't the prohibition of apps for child pornography produce the harms you cite?

[0] https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-knows-it-encourages-di...

[1] https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/fallacies/


The proposition that free and open discussion creates civil war is frightening. If we are prepared to believe such a thing, then we have no democracy to protect.


If the freeness encompassed saying "let's have a civil war", "these people are your enemy", "buy weapons for the incoming civil war", and selling t-shirts with a proposed civil war start date, then maybe?

How do you think civil wars start? And how many actual wars have been started by lies? Usually by the instigating government or yellow press, but in this case it's DIY yellow press letting people make up their own lies.


Incitement isn't permitted by any interpretation of the 1st amendment.

The current state of affairs offers nothing more granular than shutting down all of Parler in response to their failure to moderate this speech effectively.


Discussion? I haven't seen discussion come out of the US on a number of topics for decades. Discussions might start, but someone comes along and starts incoherently screaming.


Lies are often how wars start.


I suspect you believe that as an article of faith, but it makes me think you haven't been on the internet in decades. Go onto thedonald dot win and you'll see hundreds of thousands of people who have created an insulated bubble where assertions that support their preferred outcomes are articles of gospel.

If you can go on there and convince a single person that the election was legitimate, that ballot security measures make it impossible for their beliefs to be true, and that Biden was legitimately elected, it's possible for the proposition "free and open discussion can diffuse false ideas" to be valid, but if you can't, then you might want to reevaluate.


Actions like these where one side fully suppresses the other - one set of standards for themselves and another set of standards applied to people they oppose - are exactly the kind of actions that lead to civil war.

Comparing ~70 million Americans to paedophiles...


or comparing ~70 million Americans to Nazis


if the boot fits


Welcome to the streisand effect. Big tech has effectively silenced 80m Americans and Parker and other alternative wrongspeak will grow much faster now.


Do you really think 80MM Americans have been "silenced"? What is wrong with you. As a member of a group that has been historically marginalized in the US, it's laughable to see tech bros act as if they've suffered some Red Summer of 1919 because they can't post on social media.


The 80M number is not “Americans silenced”, it’s the number of Twitter accounts that follow Trump’s Twitter account.

Evidence generally supports the notion that deplatforming works. If you remove people from your platform, they generally end up scattered across other platforms or new platforms in smaller numbers. “Alternative” platforms are more likely to collapse, which just makes things worse.

Think about this—when was the last time you heard about Alex Jones or Milo Yiannopoulos? What happened to r/fatpeoplehate or r/watchpeopledie? If you want to find these communities, where do you go? You have to search them out. Maybe you check out one of the chans. Maybe you go searching for Discord invites. But you still keep a Reddit and YouTube account, of course. You keep using Twitter and Instagram and Facebook even though the communities you want are deplatformed.

Most people don’t go through the effort. The communities end up fractured. The alternative platforms like Parler and Voat are often worse for exactly the same reasons that they exist in the first place. That’s why deplatforming succeeds.


That is not the Streisand effect.


If you start conflating free speech with child pornography when that isn’t even relevant or necessary to the point at hand then it’ll be no wonder if you lack responses, and maybe you’ll consider that proof of a strong argument, who knows? Maybe that’s even the point of slinging that in there. I fail to see how that will lead to productive discussion though.


Neither I nor the person I replied to mentioned free speech. They asserted that Google or Apple removing an app will lead to Google or Apple "[taking] everything else from you".

I pointed out a class of apps that are banned and asked why we haven't slipped down the slope they described.


> in uncensored, insufficiently moderated communities

> if so, why doesn't the prohibition of apps for child pornography

Forgive me, I was obviously mistaken to bring up freedom of speech or to claim that you were conflating apps/sites that allow freedom of speech with those that allow child pornography.

/s

Edit: fixed my egregious typos.


The point is that free speech absolutism requires that child pornography be protected speech.


There are good arguments against free speech absolutism, but this is not one of them, since child pornography IS protected speech in the US. You can write a book of poetry that has entire chapters featuring Achilles and the Tortoise raping babies in patently offensive detail. If Congress tried to pass a law that bans your book, it would easily pass the Miller test, and the Court would tell them to think again. Heck, you can find books featuring pornographic scenes involving children on Amazon today.

Of course you are not allowed to possess or distribute explicit photos of actual minors (the same way you are not allowed to possess or distribute human kidneys, or for that matter copies of Windows XP): fortunately, none of these acts are speech, even under extreme straw men versions of free speech absolutism. Easy test: you are still able to convey any of your thoughts/opinions and make absolutely _any_ point to any audience without inconvenience even if you don't resort to these activities.


So, you're saying that anyone can write an entire book on overthrowing the government and sell it on amazon, but Twitter has silenced however many million people? It sure sounds like there are easy avenues for people to share ideas.


Not sure what argument you're trying to make here.

If the state would use its influence to get one single bookstore in Bumsworth, Arizona to stop selling one specific book on repairing video cameras [2], that would certainly be a free speech issue, and it would certainly violate the First Amendment.

Yes, even if the book remained available in every other bookstore across the nation, and every book discussing other ways of repairing video cameras would remain available for sale in Bumsworth. Just imagine a state attorney trying to use that as a defense, to explain why the "No Video Camera Repairs in Bumsworth Act" does not violate the First Amendment. It would be ridiculous.

You're trying to use the same defense while the leaders of the largest soon-to-be-opposition party are banned en masse in an effort to align industry with the incoming new administration, while people with significant cred [1], who happen to be on bad terms with opposition party in question [3] denounce the whole thing as an "unacceptable act of censorship".

[1] https://nypost.com/2021/01/09/russian-dissident-alexei-naval... https://twitter.com/navalny/status/1347969772177264644

[2] more pertinently, a book about the acts of the Catholic Church in Bumsworth, or the mafia connections of the mayor of Bumsworth

[3] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-05/donald-trump-us-has-n...


Here’s another easy test: say the government bans photos of something innocuous, like cars, but allows text to be written about them. Take a photo of a car, go to jail. You can write a book about racing, though. Free speech?

Of course not. The medium


The medium has nothing do with free speech. Sorry, didn’t notice my post got messed up.


> large proportion of Americans are radicalized in uncensored

You do realize, both sides of America think the other side is radicalized. This was literally the reaction on Trump's first day of office:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXR3d22BhHs

Have you forgotten about that? Does that look anything like the 6th? No, of course it doesn't. Had those people been let into the State House, it may have burned to the ground in 2017!

> insufficiently moderated community

Section 230 was put in place because it's difficult to moderate effectively when you're trying to launch a startup. Are you saying no one can launch a social network unless they have the money and staff to moderate each an every single post that comes in?


> You do realize, both sides of America think the other side is radicalized.

On Wednesday, while our elected Representatives and Senators were in the process of finalizing the count of the US election, armed Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol. Several of these people were carrying zip-tie handcuffs and were hunting for Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer. 5 people died in this insurrection attempt. Here's the video of the QAnon insurrectionist who was shot by the Capitol Police as she was breaking into the area where our elected Reps and Senators had retreated to.

This was an attempt to overthrow our government, and it's a matter of luck that our legislators weren't executed by this mob. Attempting to "Both Sides" this is intellectually dishonest, as a riot in the streets is a categorically different thing than a seditious conspiracy that involved the violent disruption of the finalization of results from our election.

> Are you saying no one can launch a social network unless they have the money and staff to moderate each an every single post that comes in?

I'm not intimately familiar with Section 230, but I don't want my country destroyed. If Google and Apple facilitate distribution of a toxic product that destroys my country, that's a problem for me.

[0] https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2021/01/08/ash...


[flagged]


Huh, that's pretty crazy, especially with AOC herself writing up impeachment papers:

"Sunrise planned a sit-in in Pelosi's office and asked Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to help them publicize the event, which she instead decided to join herself...The sit-in took place on November 13. Over 250 protesters showed up to occupy Pelosi's office, with 51 being arrested by Capitol Police."

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


Why does Pelosi's office not seem to have door locks?


> Do you really honestly believe that a few hundred people marching onto the capitol has the ability to destabilize the country?

How are we to know? Four years ago everybody was like "do you really believe a senile ex-talk-show host will withstand a round of debate^W^W^W^W^W become the Republican candidate^W^W^W^W become the president? Come on."

Yet here we are.


> Why do you think there was a seditious conspiracy? Do you really honestly believe that a few hundred people marching onto the capitol have the ability to destabilize the country? Remember, we have layers upon layers of armed forces that would end any such attempt very very easily.

You might want to review the facts. The Capitol Police were overwhelmed, our elected representatives, who were in the process of finalizing our election, had to run for their lives, and the layers upon layers of armed forces were not there to protect our representatives. This was a massive security failure and we should never come this close to having our elected representatives taken hostage and executed by insurrectionists. And if that had happened, yes, it would have destabilized the country. How could it not?


First, this is strawman bullshit. Don't bring up app prices in a culture war.

What you're witnessing is culture expressing itself, rooted in history, the law, the zeitgeist of the people. And right now the culture is drawing a line in the sand and saying, "don't do that (bigotry, racism, ignorance)". You are free to be on this side of the line or you can start a revolution. So far the good guys are winning. Not Dems or Republicans, but sane people.


Fuck you and everyone here. The fact that anyone could defend this decision is ridiculous. I'm tired of people defending censorship in the most brain dead of ways when it has never worked in the past and it most certainly will not work now. Censoring unpopular ideas only allows them to fester in the dark where they can't be brought to light or addressed in the open. This was never about "racism","bigotry" or "ignorance". We are in this boat because of a much deeper set of problems that are currently going to lead to the further regression of society.

Those in power, people here and the arrogance of many others have created an entire generation of people who've been banished, shunned or shouted down any time they had a differing opinion on anything. I personally am done dealing with this bullshit and the problems that have been inflicted on society. I'm done being quiet and, personally, I'd rather join the damned than continue this circus. I'm willing to put everything on the table to end this and ensure that this will never happen again. EVERYONE deserves a voice and a platform; you are more than free to not listen.

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


That Wikipedia article is about the rise of Nazism you idiot. Please try to tell me again we're not talking about bigotry or racism in this thread, or that the "patriots" you stand by aren't some of the lowest pieces of shit fighting for one last gasp of relevance in this brave new world.


Take a deep breath and step away for a minute. You're not alone, and lots of other people right here in this thread are also opposed to censorship. Dying on a hill isn't what we need, and in fact given that you're here, you're probably uniquely qualified to help in the great effort of building the next generation of censorship-resistant technology. Haters gonna hate, but coders gonna code. It'll take time, but we've succeeded before and we'll succeed again.


> If you cannot install an run your own software on a device, you do not own the device.

ADB doesn't require individual clearance from Google, you can install any apk you like. In fact you don't even need ADB, you can just install an apk downloaded from the web if you uncheck "only verified sources" in settings. Google is merely removing Play Store convenience (and distribution channel safety). Providing that Play Store convenience costs them real dollars for computing resources and they chose to not do that anymore for the app in question.


If you must have a native mobile app, you can download it from alternative stores. Or Parlour can just distribute as a web app.

Businesses don’t have any right to force other businesses to carry their products.


> Or Parlour can just distribute as a web app.

Okay.

Then hosting providers refuse to host.

Payment processors refuse to process your payments for web services.

Your domains are revoked.

Your SSL certs are revoked.

Where does this end? If they have the power to, and they've justified it this far, why wouldn't they keep going?


Is this not “the market” deciding it doesn’t want to entertain this business? As a society it’s totally reasonable for us to draw the line at intolerable behaviour, we’re not obliged to put up with platforms that enable hate and vitriol, just as we don’t tolerate violence in the street.

If a business closes because nobody is interested in buying their products, or a club disbands because nobody is interested in joining, or a pub bars a patron who’s starting fights and nobody blinks an eye. The same thing happens on the internet and suddenly it’s the end of the world.


In those cases it's the business owner who decides. What happens when the decision comes after a mob puts pressure on the owner to drop that costumer or else?


If there is a market for it, presumably some business out of reach of the mob in question will take up the mantle for the money. If there's no money in it, then the market is deciding that the market doesn't want the opinions in question. The market still decides in the end.


[flagged]


We've banned this account for continuing to do political flamewar after we specifically asked you not to.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25695444


So dissenting is now considered doing political flamewar? Ok.


Gratuitous provocation and name-calling are not dissent. You can express dissenting views without doing those things, and users here are required to.

There is a link, though: people with minority opinions are sometimes so frustrated with the majority that they lash out in frustration in ways that break the site guidelines. People with majority opinions don't usually do it that way. They're more likely to be self-righteous. Either way, though, users here need to follow the guidelines regardless of what their opinions are.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


It's always easy to willfully misconstrue what opposition says to justify their silencing. It's exactly what we're seeing at a large scale.


You're skipping that you repeatedly broke the site guidelines and repeatedly ignored our requests to stop. What do you think we should do when people break the rules and flout polite requests by moderators?


[flagged]


For the vast majority, the BLM protests (which I assume you are referring to?) set out to be-and were-peaceful. Leadership made a big deal about remaining peaceful. Things escalated most of the time when the _police_ instigated attacks. Given the racial tensions, and generally charged atmosphere I am absolutely not surprised rioting broke out. Lets remember that low-impact/low-disruption protests had been done prior, and were not met with attention or change they were ignored and sidelined. Cripple peoples ability to be heard and they will use increasingly forceful methods to be heard. This is _not_ a case of protestors rocking up to a street and beating on random pedestrians - which didn't happen and is the kind of "violence in the streets" I'm talking about. In my opinion some broken windows and torched stores are less important than peoples human rights - if in the course of a legitimate protest some shopfronts are destroyed, I don't have an issue with this. I do have an issue with people using a protest (which went to lengths to remain peaceful) as a cover/excuse to destroy things "just because" or to loot - this I absolutely condemn, as it does nobody any favours and takes away from the issue at hand.


A {hosting, domain, ssl} company doesn’t have to accept another company as a customer.

What about the hosting company’s freedom of speech rights? If a hosting company doesn’t want to host your site, that’s their decision. If they don’t want to be associated with a site or app or spend their resources, that’s their decision.

These aren’t regulated monopolies that have to serve all customers.

Now, if you want to claim that they should be a regulated market — that’s a whole other discussion.


That's interesting.

Do you feel the same way about a company refusing to serve Jews or Blacks? Is it their right?


Under the current anti-discrimination laws, political affiliation is not a protected class. Religion, race, sexuality, etc., however, are.


Interesting, I didn't know that. So a business can actually deny a service depending on political affiliation.

Of-course this can be challenged in the courts. Well, unless, it's protected by 230.


The answer depends on what state and city the business is located in.

Political affiliation is a protected class in some states[0].

California[1], for example, also prohibits discrimination on gender identity, ancestry, sexual orientation, AIDS/HIV status, medical condition, political activities or affiliation, veteran status, or status as a stalking victim.

[0] https://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/discrimin...

[1] https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/california-employmen...


Neither of those linked sets if laws apply to customers. Only to employees.


Anything can be challenged in the courts. And I believe there are some (limited, mainly religious based) exceptions that are pretty recent. But there is nothing that protects the political beliefs of a person as this isn’t a protected class. Protected classes protect things people are, not what they think.

Trying to conflate 230 here is disingenuous and has no role in a strictly business decision about whether of not a business has to accept a customer.


Meaning I can post a sign "No Trump Voters Allowed" on my restaurant?


Political affiliation is a protected class in California[0] but this may be legal in some states.

[0] https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/california-employmen...


That's only for employers discriminating against employees. It doesn't apply to customers -- a business can almost always refuse to do business with you, for almost any reason. Example: you can get thrown out of a restaurant for not adhering to a dress code.


Good catch! I'm not sure what I was thinking.

I did some further searches; Madison, Wisconsin[0] and DC[1] forbid discrimination on political affiliation in public accommodations.

[0] https://library.municode.com/wi/madison/codes/code_of_ordina...

[1] https://ohr.dc.gov/protectedtraits


Sure thing. Right next to the commonplace "no shirt, no shoes, no service" and "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" signs.


So as we soon as we pass law making it a protected class, that argument will be null and void, correct?

Great, I cannot wait!


> So as we soon as we pass law making it a protected class, that argument will be null and void, correct?

For business discrimination in general, maybe.

For specifically constraining the expressive freedom of media (including social media) businesses, quite plausibly not, because a statute designating a protected class can't negate other people’s First Amendment rights, since the Constitution is superior to statute law.


I wouldn't hold your breath.


That's alright, I'm sure you would have said the same to civil rights advocates in the '60s, too.


Except, the civil rights advocates in the 1960's would have agreed with me. Denying business to racist institutions, starting with the Montgomery bus system, is how they got started.


Ok, Can businesses refuse gays, lesbians and transgenders now ? Can one refuse to serve depending on whether customers are republicans or democrats, white or blacks ?

Surely, this should all be just OK by your logic ?



This is the natural possibility of closed systems we all subscribe to. Your ISP is only one government call away from disconnecting you.

The answer is relying on corporate sponsored freedoms is not enough. Open source tools and communication technologies need to be available.


Open source can’t solve the problem if government control exists.


If government can control everything then why are we even discussing anything? Clearly this discussion is in the realm of citizens having _some_ free will.

Rather, we're talking about whether or not the government should forcibly allow/deny corporations from supporting extremists. This has nothing to do with government control, imo.


You just described the coordinated takedown of Alex Jones from Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Cloudflare et al in less than 2 hours.


Infowars is still up.


This isn’t possible without government control of the underlying components of the web, such as domain system. Otherwise private persons and companies can always create their own domain providers.

Yet you seem to advocate more government control. You see the dichotomy in your thoughts?


Hasn't breaking up monopolies been a central tenet of ensuring a free market since forever? Suddenly you defend monopolies. Interesting, isn't it?


There is no hosting monopoly, there is no payment processing monopoly, there is no domain registration monopoly, there is no SSL CA monopoly.


Payment processings are monopolies. More precisely, oligopolies. See how easily Mastercard and Visa drop PornHub payments after the news paper article. It's not a court order or even a trial. There is mainly zero way of doing business without fully government controlled banking entry-points.

Yes, there are cryptocurrencies available, so if we can fully legalize it and promise that we don't touch anyone's private transactions (as well as businesses officially accepting crypto) - that would be an argument.

For better understanding how bad it is: it's non trivial to even accept worldwide payments for small business/individual in the internet if you are, say, from Ukraine, Russia, China or lots of other countries not processed by stripe/paypal for some political or legal reasons. Apart from that, there is a "free" market of two payment processors in the internet and two card processors =)


This is bizarre. You offer cryptocurrencies as the alternative for Mastercard and Visa. How about bank transfers?

It's perfectly normal in Europe to pay for your ecommerce purchases with a bank transfer directly to the merchants account. There are thousands of banks out there, there's no monopoly or oligopoly at play.


It's sufficient to push undesirables to services which are more expensive, more inconvenient, unreliable, and so on. Relegate them to their internet ghetto.

However, there clearly is a small number of players in mobile platforms, cloud, and payment, and they act in a unified way. It has been sufficient.


>mobile platforms

Sure, there are in fact only a small number of players in this space.

>cloud

There are vast amounts of hosting providers. A quick google suggests over 300k, but that sounds somewhat unlikely.

>payment

There are a thousands of banks in the world, most of Europe manages just fine using bank transfers for payments without involving external payment processors.

>It's sufficient to push undesirables to services which are more expensive, more inconvenient, unreliable, and so on. Relegate them to their internet ghetto.

Is this really a problem? That's just the inherent nature of being undesirable.


If nobody wants to do business with you, maybe you are the problem?


This is a big point. I feel it’s acceptable for google to remove whatever they want because android allows you to install the apk directly. IMO apple should either be forced to allow side loading apps or to accept everything within reason to the App Store.


And who is the arbiter of "within reason"?


For me it would just be “complies with the laws of the country”

An acceptable compromise I think would be to have unlisted apps that can’t be found on the top charts or in search but can be installed via the App Store with a link.


You can already side load apps on iOS, you just need to go through some hoops (install Xcode, compile the app, create a developer account, futz about with certificates) but you don’t have to pay any money (you don’t have to pay the $99/year, that’s only necessary if you want to sell apps).


Well, at least you have to purchase another device from them to run xcode on. Those 99$/a aren't the biggest hurdle of you aren't a Mac user. (even assuming a skillset that includes "futzing about with certificates")


Applications installed like this have limited functionality--such as no push notifications--and some types of application are simply not supported (such as VPN clients: Apple seems to have structured everything in order to best support the China Communist Party's control regime here). You can only have three such self-signed applications installed at once, and you have to keep reinstalling them every 7 days (which is more annoying than you would expect if you haven't really had to do it constantly).


And if installation of apks from unknown sources goes away because some nasty malware exploits it or other security excuse becomes available?

Hard not to be alarmed by the pattern here.


Samsung does (or at least did) lock down their Android phones like that. They had to be rooted to get third-party APKs installed.


Do you have a source? I can’t find any myself. I (and others in my family) have owned several Samsung phones and have always been able to install APKs, so this would be news to me.


Did, then. My first smartphone was a Galaxy S in 2010, which was locked down like that.

Edit: Maybe it was AT&T, not Samsung, but if so that's a broader scope anyway - and my current AT&T Android phone isn't locked down.


The fact that most of the largest headlines these days are all “Trump banned from X” shows you how important those websites are. If it these are “just apps” then it wouldn’t be headline news when someone gets banned. These are much more. They are monopolies in their own right but also they cooperate with eachother to simultaneous ban someone from all sites together. Now even if you allow the person they banned on their app on your app, or say you will such as Parler did, they will ban you from their payment processing system, their search, and basically everything they touch. It’s an attempt to blacklist someone from the internet and its only possible because they have monopoly like power. People will quickly catch on that “tech” is not one industry but many industries that no one player should dominate. There are only a few large players often control those industries and they collide with each other on things like moderation and bans.


> I hate how people on HN is praising this.

In most countries in the world, you can go to jail for saying the wrong thing. This includes countries which are, for all practical purposes, freer than the USA -- like Germany, which hasn't renazified since WWII in part because of its hate speech laws.

So no, not everybody recognizes that unfettered expression is a universal good. There are places which have already experienced the danger of free-speech absolutism.


> Germany, which hasn't renazified since WWII in part because of its hate speech laws.

The US has a number of troops stationed in Germany comparable to the German army. The ideology of Germany has not been left to chance at any point after WWII.

That probably isn't the model that most people look for in their own country's governance.


I think one potentially positive outcome is increased knowledge of side-loading apps. Granted, this really only exists as an option on Android but Fortnite demonstrated the feasibility of this approach. If side-loaded apps gain traction it might break the Google Play store monopoly.


This is a pretty likely outcome - fracture. And certainly wouldn't be the worst for the Internet.

What if the same happens to the Union ...


I'm not sure if a fractured internet is more likely to lead to a fractured Union as compared to an internet were a substantial segment of the population feels suppressed. I highly doubt that these bans are going to be effective in terms of curbing undesirable communication. On the other hand, I am confident that they will reinforce perceptions of biased and uneven enforcement.

I am also particularly worried that politicians will use the threat of regulation to coerce companies into suppressing political opponents' messages. The government can't directly ban speech, but if they can intimidate platforms into censuring political opponents they will have achieved the same effect. Better, in fact, because the politicians' agency in this censorship is not visible.


Agreed, its horrific.

This is an act of great escalation in an already dicey situation.

I hope I'm wrong when I say this will likely beget more violence.


How can the bans (being de-platformed) be more horrific than the actual violence that's occurred?


This is going to sound incredibly cold and callous, but the comparison needs to be made.

One woman was shot. 4 others died for medical reasons. One was a heart attack. One was a police officer.

Tragic deaths, to be sure. And the photos really do feel horrific. But do single digit casualties justify all this? Gang violence and crime kills way more people and police officers on a daily basis. Are we really setting the value of our liberal values that low to justify all this censorship and deplatforming?

The events on the 6th, while horrific, have given a handful of big corporations control over national discourse and communication. That scares the daylights out of me. Was this all it took?


While i hear you - i don't see this as an isolated incident. I see this as the inevitable result of radicalization that this President has pushed for four years.

Shockingly when you flat out say that "They're only sending there criminals" (with regards to Mexico) it has affects on how some people view and thus tread Mexicans and/or brown skinned peoples. Repeatedly, examples similar to this have been expected by the left (myself included) to incite discrimination and violence to groups of people.

So this is, imo, the natural outcome of the President saying that the government is broken beyond belief and that it is a literal stolen election.

So, with all that said i don't entirely disagree with you - BUT, this is far from an isolated incident in my mind. This is repeated escalation.


I think the point is that the “radicalization,” as you are calling it, actually resulted in fewer deaths than say a typical day in Chicago. The point is this is all blown out of proportion simply because law makers themselves were involved. When there 20 death in a weekend the law makers don’t give a damn, it’s not radical, it’s just the norm, but when a couple deaths are close to a lawmaker then they care. It is hardly radical at all in my opinion it just has a microscope on it. It’s completely obvious as others have said the way this is being portrayed. It’s as others have said, the same journalist who would refuse to call a BLM protests with multiple deaths and burning buildings a riot calls this one a mob or riot and not a “mostly peaceful protest.” Hell it took some digging for me to even find what they were perpetrating about since the “why” is left out of every headline and article that a big corporation doesn’t agree with. They don’t want to humanize the people there, they want to exaggerate the actions, it’s a clear and obvious agenda on some of these organizations. I’ve never seen any response more clearly show the bias.


> The point is this is all blown out of proportion simply because law makers themselves were involved.

Not entirely true. Much of it is just plain old politics. This was a massive unforced-error by the President, many of his supporters in congress, and his fanatical base.

Do you recall how many years we heard about Benghazi? How many hearings, investigations, and committees there were? This incident was objectively worse than Benghazi. If the Left were as good at offense as the right, this Jan. 6th attack on our government will be investigated, examined, dissected, and discussed incessantly for at least the next 4 years.


Look up the Portland protests from earlier this year. Hundreds literally stormed a federal building attempting to light it on fire, throwing fireworks, Molotov a, and other objects all-night. The protesters dressed up in outfits with gas masks, helmets, lasers, and much more. That building was some how protected from people but the capitol building couldn’t be? Not only that but it was literally not on any of these major news sites anywhere. The mayor literally went out to protest with them yet nothing happened to him. No bans, nothing. But some how here the death was by the police shooting the protester and some how this is violent? I’m not kidding look up Portland courthouse protest, it is mayhem for months but no one cares because it wasn’t the right party.


> That building was some how protected from people but the capitol building couldn’t be?

It could have, but the DoD and Trump by extension purposefully weakened security and delayed sending in reinforcements to help.

> The mayor literally went out to protest with them yet nothing happened to him.

Was he violent? Did he break any laws? You realize there were multiple former and current Republican elected officials among the seditionists in DC?

> But some how here the death was by the police shooting the protester and some how this is violent?

Well when you have multiple deaths by violence, yes. The below video I found uncomfortable and disturbing, but I link it to provide evidence this was not a nonviolent protest. https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2021/01/09/officer-crushed-in-...


When it comes to communication channels, you choose how you get your information. Each person, individually, makes that choice. If you think that big tech is problematic for getting your information, it's not because they are making it more difficult to consume and participate on Parler. It's because it gives them too much control over information. The choice then is to your information elsewhere. People sharing disinformation on social media has been a grave issue long before the event on January 6, 2021.

When it comes to that event, the real horror is not "single digit casualties" and that is a naive lens to use here. Disrupting a core institution of our representative democracy - certifying the election results for the President of the United States - in an attempt to overthrow the votes and will of the citizens is horrific and chilling.


A handful of big corporations already controlled national discourse and communication prior to the events of January 6th. That hasn't materially changed before or after the insurrection.


Easy. Tech giants have means to control all public speech and information exchange. -> they ally with political party -> ensure they win elections, fairly or whatever, no one will be able to tell the story that votes are counted unfairly -> install an unremovable authoritarian dictatorship. Which might have imitation elections & stuff, just like USSR had.

And then, 'correction' camps for people that do not fully fit this new beautiful society.


How much insurrection is acceptable before the tradeoff of a 'new beautiful society' is the better deal? Both sound like bad outcomes. Neither sounds obviously superior.


the insurrection is the political classes fault! if they hadnt shown the right that they were ok with burning cities the right wouldnt have had enough and actually did something. Sure the political class is going to make examples because this wasnt approved like the other but now their own words are getting thrown at them. granted a civil war will make the soviet collapse look like a cakewalk so im not preaching for that but holy damn. and it doesnt help this censorship means 40% of the country will think there is indeed a conspiracy now and will cause more unrest which will cause more more tyranny which will cause more unrest which causes a giant feedback loop. the higher ups literally are meeting their destiny by trying to avoid it. this could very well not end well.


That’s just the start. We’ll start seeing tech giants introduce “Partner API” for allied political parties in other countries. And soon enough there will be a world centralized government.


Such APIs already exist. You can't install Signal on iOS in China. I've been preaching this to oblivious ears here for a long time, yet, most say 'i like apple appstore monopoly'.


The comparison to be made is between a society that values and supports freedom of speech with one that doesn’t. Which will contain more violence and misery?

I would contend it is the latter.


Well you get to suppress any speech that is too disruptive to the status quo, which includes all of the horrific things the government does.


by inciting more violence through disenfranchisement of desperate individuals.

it's a pretty common occurrence, historically.


I would be humbled by data that proved or rejected the idea that disenfranchisement of actors who organize violence from mainstream platforms actually prevents or reduces its occurrence.

There's a fair point to be made that they'll move on elsewhere, but what if that slightly increased barrier friction is enough to stop them? No harm, no fowl, if that's the case. We traded a small bit of free speech for public safety, the ROI looks good, if it's so.


Why is violence from one side celebrated and called "peaceful" ?


Violence from both sides is celebrated and called “peaceful” - by one side or the other.


That's a false choice. They're both bad.

Don't be so cavalier about what's being lost here. The right to think and to speak freely is a fundamental human right.


> If you cannot install an run your own software on a device, you do not own the device.

I agree with this, and your analysis of the inaccessible cost of those devices people truly can own and control. However, I do not think this is an accurate parallel to the many horrifying political events of this week.


Where were all of the free speech absolutists a decade ago when Twitter, Facebook and Google started removing Islamic content from their platforms under the guise of dealing with extremist content? I seem to recall them cheering those companies on.


I disagree. This is great, because it illustrates the problem you're citing.

Without this use case people won't realize why open source matters, or phones without control matters, etcetc. While i don't agree with Trump or his party actions, this definitely is waking thousands of people up to how easily even Americans are censored.

This realization is crucial to privacy focused applications, imo.


Agree with this. Everyone who was never dependent on FAANG in the first place because of tinfoil Stallmanism is now sitting back roasting their marshmellows as the rest of society burns.

Either you control your device, or your device will be used to control you.


Nonsense

This is the free market in action. No one is forcing Google or Twitter or FB to do anything; I think they've been very restrained. The libertarians should be happy that it's commercial companies shutting Parler down and not govt. It's only when the president incites violence in an attempt retain power that these commercial entities acted.


Once a company is so big that its refusal to support a small business is a major hit, that company cannot operate in a wild west style. That's why most countries have anti-monopoly laws; and it's long past the time when those laws should have been applied to google.


In case you didn't notice, there are already anti-trust lawsuits against Google; I'm happy that such inspection of big tech is happening. Even so, that's a separate issue


When a company (or two) gets a near-monopoly on a distribution channel, bans are no longer a business issue. We banned X becomes much more important than "because of Y" part, which can always be made up and is pretty weak in the case of parler.


They may be able to do it legally and it would still be wrong thing to do. Queue discussion about "Google or Twitter or FB" having it both ways as publisher and platform.

Parler is not going to be shut down now. Whoever made this decision, just literally gave them Trump base users on a silver platter.


The way to fight with Fascism is to be Fascism.


I haven't seen the right screaming when there's Republican legislators passing anti-BDS legislation all over. That's the purest form of censorship targeting primarily people on the left and yet crickets.

Maybe the so called free speech absolutists are not as principled as they say.


I can't imagine the world where you are less horrified by the literal neo Nazis storming the US capital then an app getting kicked off google play store. People are dead, get some perspective.


>I can't imagine the world

this is the world of techbro-ism with people making 200k per year living in sheltered neighbourhoods, more concerned about their online speech than having a boot on their neck. It's actually completely in line with the audience of this site

the literally most upvoted comment is some random rant about the 'great purge' let that sink in.


Did the “literal neo Nazis” prevail? How many of them were there?

“No” and “not many” are the answers so the comparison with widespread attacks on millions of people’s hard won freedoms are (or should be) definitely more of a concern to wider society.


You have lost a sense of perspective. People storming the capital was symbolic act ( with some violence ). Move by Google will likely have repercussions beyond that violence and that storm. Some of us horrified, because that song is always the same.


It was not a symbolic act, it literally happened. People literally died. By people who are literally neo Nazis who literally think I should be murdered, who literally had zip ties and the police are now finding literal pipe bombs. I assure you I am not the one who lost perspective.


"Nazis who literally think I should be murdered"

I disagree. I may be wrong, but it would appear that you feel personally attacked. I am not sure how people storming capital AND fighting cops AND leaving pipe bombs in said building want to kill you specifically. I do not see the connection. Are you a staffer/lawmaker/cop there or something?

I recognize that tensions are high, but shouting "literally neo Nazis" is not a great argument in US for a variety of reasons ( not completely unlike antisemitism, it lost some of its punch ).


They don't want to kill me specifically, they want to kill me because they are Nazis and part of their ideology is that I should die. That's why they wore shirts saying 6 million was not enough or camp Auschwitz prison guard.


The country went down this path as soon as the Senate refused to convict Trump.

We are now at the point where we have to block violent fascists from organizing the overthrow of our democracy, and that requires deplatforming. We had a peaceful resolution to this in February of 2020, but the GOP chose this path instead.


To be clear, we had another peaceful resolution to this on November 3rd, but unfortunately the President refuses or at best refused to accept this.


Trump has been warning us since the beginning that he wouldn't accept a loss, and instead take the country down with him.

I think most of us didn't fully realize until this week the consequences of not conceding would be this bad.


Convict him of what exactly?


Read the impeachment papers


A brief history of the Trump movement:

1. Trump is a popular public figure that has been tweeting against Democrats for the past decade.

2. Trump runs for office, and immediately starts calling into question mainstream media and election integrity.

3. Trump wins the election, and his voters accept his premise that the media cannot be trusted. They turn to him as their sole voice of reason.

4. Given that they believe everything spoon fed to them by Trump, they cannot accept alternatives.

5. The voice of Trump is amplified by his followers across the internet (and this is aided by complicit Republican in and out of government.)

6. When Trump wins, they believe that he won the election. When he loses, they cannot accept it and instead choose to believe the word of Trump.

Should this voice of Trump be forced by the U.S. government to be supported by every public and private corporation to continue the Trump movement?

Would drowning out all other media and sources of information be the ideal way forward for the United States?


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