First, it's not about private files, it's about distributing content.
Google isn't spying on your private files, but does scan them when you share them publicly. E.g. keep all the pirated movies you want on your Drive, and even give private access to friends, but the moment you make them publicly viewable Google scans them and limits access accordingly. So no, this isn't applying to your private diary or privately shared documents.
And second, to those who claim absolute free speech with no limits -- notice that the two main categories here are related to democracy and health. All our legal protections ultimately depend on a democratic foundation -- undo that with misinformation and you don't have anything anymore. Similarly, your rights don't matter much if you're dead. Companies aren't allowed to advertise rat poison as medicine and neither are you.
You cannot have true democracy if people cannot disagree with their governments, they must be able to disagree with any truth or opinion such a government might consider self-evident, just on the off chance they're right.
I should at this point note that Google doesn't directly claim to go quite that far in preventing misinformation, they mostly claim to disallow things that could harm the democractic process (e.g. telling people to vote at the wrong place, their candidate has died, etc.). At least that kind of information is usually agreed upon (if not there are bigger problems than mere misinformation), though they seem to try to include claims of voter-fraud, which is a bit dangerous.
This idea that thinking critically of a government and even believing that perhaps the government as it stands today is not the government "of and for the people" (sure could be interpreted as anti-democracy by that same corrupt government)... And maybe that's not correct, but who is the government to say that we can or cannot challenge them in public discourse as it is supposedly protected under the first amendment?
This is indeed an insanely slippery slope and people willing to trade their freedoms because they think it's for the ultimate good, I think are really making a mistake... it's not difficult to understand that this is one of the first steps of an actual fundamentally corrupt government... This is easily open to abuse and vast interpretation.
Smart. It would have. That is indeed how you fight an insurgency.
Not sure how new it really is though. Compare and contrast to the Harrying of the North.
> to invent the concentration camp
I hear they borrowed the idea from the Spanish in Cuba.
Compared to alternatives, it was supposed to be more humane: "Get the civilians out of harm's way (and keep them from aiding the guerillas without killing them)".
It wasn't until the Nazi extermination camps of WW2 that the phrase "concentration camp" took on such negative valences.
Granted people did die in concentration camps, but the deaths were of things like cholera -- the same diseases that would run through army camps. Arguably we still have them today, under the new name "refugee camp".
> the Boer war
It shouldn't be left out that the British had a decent case for moral high ground in that war. The Boers were religious hyper-conservatives who believed God had given them a right to Black slaves, whereas the British had banned slavery throughout the Empire and were going to some expense to enforce this.
Democracy thrived before the printing press. Democracy survived the invention of the printing press, which was mostly in the hands of magnates who could afford it. Democracy survived the invention of television and radio, which was (and still is) in the hands of a select few magnates. We build up terms like "journalistic integrity" and look at the past with rose colored glasses as if these mediums delivered pure objective truth.
If anything, what we're seeing with the internet is a more true democracy with a wider range of opinions, less controlled by small groups of plutocrats. If you don't like to see the death of that plutocracy, or you're happy to see a new group of benevolent plutocrats come in to retake control the narrative, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you don't really like democracy.
Misinformation in this shape and form is a new phenomenon. And it is not just the scale;
- the number of agents that push their version of misinformation is at least an order of magnitude higher than ever, depending on the particular topic. So-called culture wars have so many different sides.
- technology not only scales misinformation, but it also accelerates it. The objective function of "increased engagement" meshes very well. Hard to grok, full fidelity facts don't get shared or recommended as much as rage-baiting or bias-confirming material.
- technology can on-the-fly piece together material to conform to whatever bullshit you want to hear, I want to hear or the other guy wants to hear. As it is optimized to increase engagement, it can efficiently generate personalized micro-narratives, which is ultimately a reflection of our personal biases.
The problems is it gets harder and harder for these narratives to converge. More on that below.
> If anything, what we're seeing with the internet is a more true democracy with a wider range of opinions, less controlled by small groups of plutocrats
As mentioned, original thoughts don't have the same propagation speed or reach as junk-infotainment, and you're just as subject to the narrative-shaping powers of those "plutocrats" as ever. They just blend in better.
But the larger issue is that you can't equivocate mere plurality with a functioning democracy. Ultimately there is a single reality, and even though we are in divergent positions due to having different entry points and framings, we should be - however little - converging in our narratives and understanding of that reality as time progresses.
But the opposite seems to be happening, we are getting dumber at scale, stuff makes less sense, institutional mistrust is at all-time-high. I am not putting this all on tech, but it certainly pours fuel on the fire of meaning-making crisis.
I wouldn't take it for granted that we could survive this without it creating a larger crisis first.
I want to point out that the biggest reason for this is that those institutions are worthy of mistrust, people just weren't aware of the need to mistrust them. The news media for instance has been gradually getting worse due to having to compete with internet sources and it was plenty shit back in the 60s and before...
Then there's things like the replication crisis damaging our trust in science-as-an-institution and the mask flip flopping damaging trust in science-as-communicated-by-prestigious-bodies.
And of course there's always departments attempting o justify their existence even when it makes everyone's lives harder for little gain (yes, I work for a mega Corp, how did you guess?).
A compassionate view of humanity would say that humans are basically accepting. This openness can then be abused by viral misinformation. We could take the view that humans should just be self protecting and if they got duped that’s on them. But IMO that’s a depressing view of the world, and tends toward something like mutually assured social destruction in the limit. We need to protect our shared narrative.
Also personally I find the view that “democracy prevailed before, it’ll continue to prevail somehow” deeply unsatisfying. Democracy is not built into nature. It has to be proactively maintained and refreshed.
I'm sick of hearing that it's up to "people" to be fed the right information so they behave the way that works for the Government and large corporations.
Why should I trust the WHO? Why should I trust the FDA? Why would I trust Johnson and Johnson? Why should I trust Pfizer? Why doesn't the Government fund an emergency trial on Ivermectin?
Do you know that these pharmaceutical companies cannot be sued if there is a problem with my health related to the COVID-19 vaccines? Why would I trust a system like that? Why wouldn't I be skeptical and why wouldn't fringe theories appear?
I don't want information to be hidden from me to influence my beliefs, I want all the information made possible to me so I can make up my own mind.
As Edward Snowden says, the worse conspiracies are in plain sight. I'm starting to think he might be right.
Because there's no evidence that it would work? Nobody has explained how it's supposed to act on COVID-19, when it's a nerve poison for invertebrates.
There's not infinite time and effort available for patiently trying every theory with no sound basis, and the worst thing is that there have been small trials with poor or inconclusive results which people ignore. https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/ivermectin-is-the-new-hydro...
That's quite a silly view. In silico evidence shows that ivermectin can bind to spike protein, main viral protease, and replication proteins:
Calling ivermectin the same as HCQ is a strawman approach.
Actually, this is the perfect example, as the main compound in HCQ has been proven in several studies unrelated to COVID19, to specifically prevent the 'jelly-lungs' that people with severe critical-case COVID19 died from in high numbers.
Preliminary Evidence demonstrates Ivermectin does improve outcomes with those infected with COVID-19.
Which is a very fitting observation in this thread on the continuing stupidification of societal debate.
Only perhaps not in the way you intended.
Skepticism is exactly what makes democracy working. Blind trust is what allows bad actors to transform a democracy into a dictatorship.
You speak as if past dictators were not democratically elected or journalists never uncovered corruption in government and institutions.
there needs to be a middle of control and freedom without the bullshit.
As somebody from a Western country that has gone from democracy -> dictatorship -> democracy within the last 100 years, I couldn't agree more (I'm German). Democracy is fragile and has been under increasing threat for the last 15 years or so, unfortunately partly accelerated by social media.
If we can't agree that democracy is the foundation for freedom of speech, and that there are actors (foreign and domestic) using misinformation to erode trust in democracy, I'm bearish for the future of democracy (at least in the US).
We won't because freedom of speech is the foundation for a healthy democracy, not the other way round. Socrates was executed at the behest of a tyrannical democracy - the original democracy - for his speech.
Firstly, free speech is not a synonym for democracy, we can clearly see there are democracies with differing levels of free speech, some with very low levels.
Secondly, most of the other systems of political organisation are antithetical to free speech. That does not mean, however, that democracy is a necessary pre-requisite for free speech. I can imagine other systems - as have others - but that they do not exist is either because they cannot or because the conditions for them to hold are not there yet.
> Or do you believe free speech exists by itself in nature, prior to any system?
I'm not a student and this is not a student debating society, please make your points in a way that an adult and professional would expect and can respect. I don't know you, it's far too early for you to take the piss. Try and get into a conversation first, at the very least.
No, parent is saying freedom of speech is a consequence of democracy, not that one wouldn't exist without the other or that they are synonymous.
One can, as you have, construct and imagine all kinds of political systems where one exists without the other (e.g. Greece 400 BC, benevolent dictator etc). This leads to rather contrived arguments that miss the point at hand: Freedom of speech has almost always been a consequence of modern democracy.
Your flippant response in the last paragraph makes me believe you aren't convinced in your argumentation either.
Then you'll need to explain these questions:
> What prior-to-democracy system would lead toward that free speech? Or do you believe free speech exists by itself in nature, prior to any system?
Without them I might agree. With them, the inference is impossible to ignore.
> Freedom of speech has almost always been a consequence of modern democracy.
No one was saying anything else. It's starting to look like you aren't going to shine a light on what I've missed but what you've missed.
> Your flippant response in the last paragraph makes me believe you aren't convinced in your argumentation either.
Flippancy is a manifestation of doubt, now there's a claim I've not heard before. The world is indeed full of wonder and mystery!
No it didn't.
Do you have examples of democracies before the printing press besides Athens and arguably the late Roman Republic? Those happened nearly two millenniums before the press and didn't last that long. "Thriving"?
Nothing is more dangerous than someone being striped of power they considered rightfully theirs.
There isn't really. You're adopting, I assume, J.S. Mill's view, that the cure for bad speech is more speech, which he famously published in 1859.
However, since then it's been widely accepted that when speech reaches a certain level of harm then the greater good is to prevent/punish it. You can't incite violence under the guise of free speech. You can't advertise that something is safe when it's not. This is because more speech can't undo violence and death after it occurs.
And when it comes to misinformation with regards to provable and intentional lies about voting procedures, election results, etc. that falsely harm the country's institutions and legitimacy, it's entirely consistent for that to fall under the widely-accepted prohibition of speech that rises to a certain threshold of harm. It directly leads to mobs, riots, and revolution based on lies, not based on actual injustices.
This doesn't mean any harmful speech is prohibited -- that's ridiculous. You're generally allowed to insult people, tell lies, etc. But there's a threshold of harm that gets established.
I have very few friends “in tech” and this is the view that basically all of them hold, this is the view that most of my family hold. Across the 100-150 people that spans the full (European) political spectrum and many different backgrounds and life experiences from growing up extremely wealthy, finding wealth through hard work (and luck) and success and borderline surviving - do not “SV tech circles”.
Basically it’s a view point that is able to accept nuance and grey. People who work in absolutes dominate headlines so it’s all we hear, in reality the majourity of people live in the middle.
It's not widely accepted at all, except maybe in the small circle of Silicon Valley elites whose ideas align with yours politically.
What kind of horrible friend group are you part of that believes people should be thrown in jail for telling lies or insulting people?
The Silicon Valley elite are dinosaurs who came to this realization too damn late.
They, argued about free speech too long.
The elite are out of touch.
The greatest hold they have on speech isn’t shutting or removing misinformation.
The hold they have on society is that the data needed to make these decisions intelligently is behind an NDA.
Every scientist who worked on this with data, is employed by These forms.
That is where the silence is deafening. And the success of it is that people are still arguing yesterday’s battles while the front has moved away.
The united states is basically unique in the strength of it's speech protection, and even that is only the government. I'd challenge you to name a social group, any social group, that wouldn't ostracize you for saying certain things.
If someone is ostracised that is an example of the listener exercising their free speech rights, not a violation of them.
Some use this as an example of why companies like Twitter and Facebook may remove someone from their platform, but I would argue firstly that they are a monopoly exercising monopoly power, hence violating one's rights to free speech, and that they are not platforms any more because of their interventionism in the speech of others (and currently have too much protection under law to do this). The monopoly power is the most important thing to challenge, in my view.
See e.g.  for an overview or  specifically for hate speech.
And it absolutely is widely accepted if you look at democratically produced law across the world. Restrictions on harmful speech exist literally everywhere in democracies. It's what people vote for. It's absolutely widely accepted.
Widely believed would be a better phrasing, as you may compare anywhere with low to no support for free speech and they will be more oppressive and violent than anywhere in say Europe or North America that has greater support for free speech, the correlation will be huge.
Then you could compare somewhere like the US with somewhere like France or Germany and ask if there is a greater amount of violence in either and see what could be attributed to speech. I doubt you'll be able to produce strong enough evidence for your position to then claim it as widely accepted over widely believed or just advocated for by parties that benefit from less freedom of speech.
Maybe you can, but I'd need to see it first.
Europe is one place with more limitations on "free" speech, and pretty much no parties or political grass-roots movements here are campaigning for any radical changes towards an American-style legislation. (Right-wing populist parties and movements in several countries are complaining about hate-speech legislation going too far -- and may even have a point -- but AIUI not even that means they're against the main idea that it's right to ban harmful speech; they just disagree on the definition and limits of what's "harmful" with regards to the kind of speech they want to indulge in.)
> Then you could compare somewhere like the US with somewhere like France or Germany and ask if there is a greater amount of violence in either and see what could be attributed to speech.
Crazy American lies freely spread under the guise of "Free speech!" gave you January 6.
Would love to see an example. The vast majority of revolutions in human history were results of hunger.
Two out of three.
It's clear that a handful of genocides were caused in large part by hate speech, such as the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust.
What's not clear to me (although I'm open either way) is whether strict hate speech laws would've reduced the odds of these happening. Do we have reason to think that to be true?
The first order effect is to chill that kind of speech. But is there a second order effect of making these people into martyrs and fostering resentment towards the protected group that does more harm than good?
My understanding is that pre-Nazi Germany had hate speech laws, and it didn't seem to work there?
But that isn't at all what is happening here. Google has decided that they don't want to enable people to distribute certain data using their platform. They're not being crowned the omnipotent oracle of good and bad.
> you are talking about creating super powerful entities just because they agree with you.
This position is bizarre to me -- what do you think an elected government is? I vote to create "super powerful entities that agree with me" every 4 years. Those entities possess the power to destroy all life on earth. Google is not anywhere near as powerful as those entities, and while it is not (directly) democratically accountable, it does derive its power from its users.
No information will be permanently erased just because Google does not spend money and time making it available on Drive.
My argument is very humble. Everyone gets to talk, whoever is most convincing gets listened to most. I don't need a paternalistic company protecting me from bad thoughts.
> This position is bizarre to me -- what do you think an elected government is?
A system with an intentional freedom to allow dissent?
You're talking now, and this isn't (AFAIK) on Google Drive.
You want Drive to be a democratically guaranteed national resource, nationalize Google.
An entity that gets to tell millions exactly how to vote and which nuke-wielding bodyguard to hire is surely more powerful than said bodyguard.
Tell that to the Gandhis. And several Cæsars.
The government already has that power. See that bit about saying rat poison is medicine or incitement laws.
Are you scared that we support such behaviour from the government?
Well, no, the first article of amendment (usually abbreviated “first amendment”) is the eighth article of the Constitution, following the seven original articles. “Amendment” is revision/change.
This is a false equivalency - “telling Pfizer they can’t claim their drug cures AIDS is no different than suppressing the Covid lab leak theory”.
Yeah, it’s massively different.
Just that the government already has the power to judge good/bad speech - and people are not revolting against that.
Why doesn't the government's ability to judge good/bad speech give you the heebie-jeebies, but that specific instance does?
No, you can’t incite violence with speech. Everyone is responsible for the actions they take, even if misinformed.
Google is not the government. It's a private company owned by private citizens who also have the same constitutional rights. You're not being 'censored'. It's not a violation of your free speech. You're free to petition the government and you're free to just host your files someplace other than Google Drive. Access to Google Drive is not a 'right'. Quit trying to conflate the two. It's a disingenuous argument meant to confuse the issue and push a personal narrative.
The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.
> It's a private company owned by private citizens who also have the same constitutional rights.
The scale at which Google operates today, anything short of defining some of its popular products as public utilities would be disingenuous.
> Access to Google Drive is not a 'right'
Except this is not a Google drive (the product) access issue. It is an access to information issue, if you look at it fundamentally.
Look at that from the perspective of a startup founder. You've made a thing. Spent decades working on it. It became popular because many people found it useful. So useful in fact, that they've decided that it would be nice if you didn't own it anymore, and they owned it instead.
Laws should be the same for everyone. If you're not okay with other people deciding that they own your stuff, don't tell others what to do with the things they've created.
There's an argument that private corporations that are involved in dissemination of information (search engines and social media) should respect principles of freedom of speech as a democratic principle, regardless of constitutional mandate.
Suppose the government outsources welfare eligibility decision-making to a private company. Does this mean traditional notions of fairness we would expect from such an decision-maker do not apply, because they are a private company?
Google is not hosting your public content on behalf of any government.
The point is, you look at the substance of what is being done or controlled, not the status of the actor as a private or public entity. That is what the analogy is used to explain.
The substance of what is being done, here, is regulation of communication between individuals over a communication platform. Downplaying it as 'not hosting public content' is inaccurate or at least of no moment. What's public content mean anyway?
If a significant amount of private communication goes through privately owned channels, it is reasonable that the private companies operating those channels respect democratic norms. It's unreasonable to dismiss any criticism as 'they are a private company', as that's beside the point.
I think that line becomes a bit more blurry if you're a student using your school-issued Google account.
It’s the difference between not allowing the government to say what you can publish and requiring a company to publish whatever you want.
This is the same logic that prevents me from saying that in this meeting hall, gay people are not allowed entry.
Ownership implies responsibility.
The actual case seems to be that anyone can paint anything except certain banned things. But any person can still paint other unbanned things.
That's different than banning particular people. In other words, if the republicans are allowed to discuss everything except vaccine conspiracies, you aren't discriminating against republicans, so this analogy about banning individuals doesn't work. And of course you might ban a particular individual from the premises for repeatedly breaking those rules.
All of this seems perfectly reasonable, and indeed I know real-world spaces that operate more or less like this.
Yes, I stand by this. If it's legal to have porn on your house wall, it should be legal for people to paint porn on your communal wall.
Again, the solution to this should be a city ordnance. The problem to me is not restrictions but accountability.
> The actual case seems to be that anyone can paint anything except certain banned things. But any person can still paint other unbanned things.
This seems akin to saying that the theocracy does not discriminate against gay men, because they can marry women just like hetero men can.
Why? Why is it that if I allow people to paint things, I lose the right to moderate those things? Like it's still my property, right? What causes me to forfeit my property rights?
Or to ask a perhaps different question, could I close the venue entirely?
What if I later reopened it with a list of allowed people and you could only enter if you were on the list? Do I still forfeit those rights? How big does the list have to be for it to be suitably public again?
> This seems akin to saying that the theocracy does not discriminate against gay men, because they can marry women just like hetero men can.
You're going to have to explain this better. Because in practice banning gay men from marrying men prevents them from getting married at all. Preventing anyone from painting porn doesn't prevent an artist from painting not-porn. I might be more willing to agree if, for example, it was the government blanket banning porn. But we're not talking about that, were talking about one dude with one popular artists venue banning pornographic art being painted. It's not different than if I disallowed the sale of pornography in my art gallery.
Keep in mind, today, in the united states no priest is compelled to officiate a same sex wedding. The state recognizes them, but you or I don't have to.
Good question! In my view, the deciding factor is "universality". I think there is a fundamental difference in nature between a friendgroup and a customer base. When you offer a service to your friends, you may pick and choose how you like on any basis. When you offer a service to the general public, you are in a sense attempting to provide a "plug-in" service to society as a whole, and so the terms of that service should be negotiated with society as a whole, including such things as civil rights. This is exactly where you cross the boundary between being "a private citizen" and " part of the state".
> Or to ask a perhaps different question, could I close the venue entirely?
Yes. Nobody can be compelled to offer a service.
> What if I later reopened it with a list of allowed people and you could only enter if you were on the list? Do I still forfeit those rights? How big does the list have to be for it to be suitably public again?
I think this is a sliding scale. The specific cutoff would always be kind of arbitrary.
> > This seems akin to saying that the theocracy does not discriminate against gay men, because they can marry women just like hetero men can.
> You're going to have to explain this better. Because in practice banning gay men from marrying men prevents them from getting married at all.
No it does not; it merely prevents them from getting married in the way that they like, which is a different way than the societal norm. The right to hetero marriage, as practiced in theocratic societies, inherently normalizes hetero relations and excludes gay relations. However, there is nothing inherently wrong - in the erroneous sense, not the moral sense! - about such a choice. This demonstrates that the constraints you apply to a service, even if they only pertain to the nature of the service and not the persons the service is extended to, can still be discriminatory.
> Keep in mind, today, in the united states no priest is compelled to officiate a same sex wedding.
Likewise, inasmuch as weddings have societal relevance, I think they should be compelled to - or else not officiate any weddings at all.
Does this apply to all businesses that offer services? Keep in mind here that the first amendment, in addition to protecting our right to speech, protects our right to association. That is, our right to associate with the people, and only the people, we want to is a civil right that our constitution protects just as much as speech.
If I open a store and let people purchase things, I'm offering a service to the general public. But I'm certainly not "part of the state". One of the primary concerns about the state is that it (usually) has a monopoly on the things that it does, so that if it provides a service, it's the only provider of that service.
But "speech" isn't a service that one can monopolize. Preventing speech can be done via force, but "facilitating speech" isn't monopolizable. If someone won't let you do it, you can do it yourself or find it somewhere else.
> Yes. Nobody can be compelled to offer a service.
But you are compelling me to offer a service! I want to offer the service to paint anything except X. And you say no no! You are additionally compelled to offer the service to paint X. This by the way, gets far more complicated if, for example, my service is...baking cakes. If I offer a universal cake baking service, when can I refuse to bake a cake? Can I refuse all wedding cakes? Can I refuse all cakes above a certain size? Can I refuse all cakes in red? Can I only bake chocolate cakes? Can I refuse to bake cakes for people who have previously given me bad reviews?
> No it does not; it merely prevents them from getting married in the way that they like, which is a different way than the societal norm.
So let's make this concrete. Let's say I ban painting my name. I don't want people to paint it in my house. People can paint anything else, but not my name.
With the marriage example, we generally assume that people are attracted to a particular gender, and aren't really able to change that. Are you suggesting that, similarly, there are people who cannot find happiness without painting my name on my wall?
I mean if that's the case, why is it moral for me to ban them as long as I ban everyone else too? These particular people can't be happy either way.
With marriage, the issue is that you're essentially preventing some group from being able to openly mutually associate in the way that they want to. We can quibble on exactly how much of a freedom to associate or a human right that is, but it sure sounds like a lot more of one than your ability to write my name on my wall.
There's another argument by the way, which is that marriage is a service provided to two individuals, and that providing only heterosexual marriages discriminates based on attributes of those individuals, in exactly the same way as only marrying white people would be discriminatory. This same argument doesn't work for the example of banning speech.
(Neither does the US, when it comes to discrimination on protected categories.)
> If I open a store and let people purchase things, I'm offering a service to the general public. But I'm certainly not "part of the state". One of the primary concerns about the state is that it (usually) has a monopoly on the things that it does, so that if it provides a service, it's the only provider of that service.
> But "speech" isn't a service that one can monopolize. Preventing speech can be done via force, but "facilitating speech" isn't monopolizable.
Sure it is, by controlling the platform. In any case, I have a much more expansive view of monopoly as a spectrum. Network effects, for instance, can also contribute to a monopolizing service. In any case, I believe the primary reason why monopoly is a moral risk is because a monopoly prevents you from switching providers to escape a restrictive corporate environment. My approach is instead to outlaw restrictive corporate environments.
> > Yes. Nobody can be compelled to offer a service.
> But you are compelling me to offer a service!
No, you always have the choice to not offer the service at all. I am not compelling you to offer any specific service, I am preventing you from offering a service with certain restrictive parameters.
> And you say no no! You are additionally compelled to offer the service to paint X.
No, you are compelled to offer the service to paint X, contingent on your decision to offer the service at all. You always have the option to cease offering the service entirely. And you could, I guess, close your company whenever someone requests a service you don't like. However considering fees, that may be impractical.
> I mean if that's the case, why is it moral for me to ban them as long as I ban everyone else too? These particular people can't be happy either way.
I don't have an opinion on the morality of the matter. Or rather, I don't think my morality should affect the decision. That's why I have focused this conversation specifically on the mechanism by which the morality is arbitrated, which should be the same mechanism by which state decisions are arbitrated, ie. civil rights, representative democracy etc, inasmuch as the service is of the class of "service offering to the general public" shared with some state services.
Civil rights are always in conflict, and which ones you prioritize and how is a moral decision. You can't abdicate that responsibility.
Put another way, why does it violate civil rights to offer a service conditionally, but not to refuse to offer the service at all?
Or in the reverse, why is the government able to regulate my offering of a service conditionally, even though you seem to believe that them compelling me to offer the service in general is a violation of my rights?
Or yet another way: why do you believe that the right of association is less important than the right of speech?
Those are all ultimately moral or ethical questions.
That is, the more individuals your organization serves, the more it becomes a "thing whose arbitration between individuals is of societal import". I believe that issues of societal import should be decided by democratic means, whereas issues of individual import are decided by personal choice. Between the two is a sliding scale.
Come to think of it, why would it be bad if a government censors speech?
Because government has a monopoly on violence.
Its a step in the wrong direction. The next step is to forbid asking that question. Step 3 is war to get our rights back. 2 and 3 may take time. Say 6 years for 2 and 1000 years for 3.
1000 years of blaming the witches, the socialists, the unionists, the jew, the Muslim, the Chinese, the Russians and of course you!
If you were defending the governments right to censor speech you were useful in installing it. When the censorship is accepted by the masses you become someone known to publicly share an opinion about a forbidden topic. Presenting the question for others to answer the way you just did is much worse than having your own opinion.
If we allow people like that, before we know it, we have people questioning everything!
Then lets not ignore the fact that most countries had to make laws specifically to protect working parents. There are most likely entire warehouses filled with court cases over a business owner realizing that statistically hiring a non married replacement for the recently married employee will be better.
They wont do it out of racism, they wont do it out of religious fervor. However they will do whatever they can to make more money.
Huh?!? It's perfectly ordinary and contemporary English.
And that other place won't censor me?
captain pedantic, you meant to say it's not a violation of the first amendment.
censorship is a violation of free speech
An early tidbit that may have been lost with deplatforming was that Euro leaders also disagreed, citing that only the state could be trusted with that power. However, the US Constitution mostly prohibits that route and it's left to private companies to make up their own minds about what content they want to host.
You could also elect me as your benevolent dictator, I'll be happy to bring the misinformation to an end, but the lie I'd tackle first would be that this has anything to do with democracy.
Treat the propaganda campaign like the war it is - and arrest those who are serving as foreign actors for treason.
The earlier people are finally willing to admit Russia and China are waging a war against the whole Western world, the better.
The big multipliers - #45, Alex Jones, Fox News, Newsmax, OANN - are publicly known, as are most of the people spreading the stuff on FB, and can be taken down. No need to resolve to a surveillance state, just public information is enough.
To what end? What is their motivation? They’re evil cartoon villains and hate our freedom? What’s their gain?
For Russia? Being able to rebuild the Soviet Union. Just look at Crimea, or read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundations_of_Geopolitics which is essentially a playbook of what Putin has done.
For China? World domination for Han Chinese, nothing less. They are taking over entire countries by "debt relief" aka loan sharking, and leaders who don't want their "investments" simply have their assets taken away by force like the Philippines.
Both can only follow through with their plans if there is no united opposition against them. Europe is falling apart on a national level with nationalist, often Russia-backed anti-democrats spreading discontent and hate, and the US is collapsing in ethnic and class war.
Hasn't the USA been aggressively exporting its values and memes (ie. Engaging in cultural warfare) for almost a century now?
I mean you want the “public” to be able to “challenge” the misinformation.
But fundamentally the public has N number of compute units per day and the attackers have N^N compute units.
This is throwing unarmed citizens directly into an army trained to crush unarmed citizens.
The attackers are DESIGNED with the awareness that people will be having this argument on hackernews.
Which one? Plenty of candidates depending on which part of the political space your views lie in.
Is it the misinformation campaign that Trump won the last election? The one that says third world immigration is good? The one that says Democracy is good? The one that says COVID is harmless?
If there were some Oracle that could tell us what is true or false then this wouldn't be an issue in the first place.
If I can't explore new ideas, evaluate information and make up my own mind, no matter how much bullshit exists, I'm not living in a democratic free society anymore. I'm living in a technological dystopia, and authoritarian state.
I'm afraid, skepticism is part of a healthy democracy...no matter how much the government want me to get a jab.
When did Google feel the need to be the world police?
Dear god people - we know how to create malformed content.
To assume you are immune is like assuming you are immortal or that your computer is unhackable.
Modern Misinformation is malformed code, being done at scale.
It’s cluster bombing civilians who can never muster the resources to defend against it.
It’s not about you. It’s about the attacker.
Yes - and No.
To fairly answer your question, there’s different levels of sophistication to misinformation.
It ranges from vaccines will grow you another arm, to the Gates foundation is using this to impoverish nations. (I’m loosely using current examples)
So yes - experts can and will be able to avoid many of the misinformation attempts out there. The ones which they fall victim to - in their own area of expertise, are likely unavoidable.
For google to remove healthcare misinformation, they will be targeting the obvious content that has been flagged and likely supported by govts orgs.
I feel that many people are arguing about the case where the gatekeepers are wrong - which was an issue in a world where traffic through the gates was more orderly and the gatekeepers had historically been mistaken in stopping traffic.
Right now, even if I don’t like gatekeepers, I have no choice.
Someone has figured out to how to mass produce obviously and subtly malicious traffic.
The issue at this juncture in time is the lack of effective filtering.
Since we don’t have a better solution, we get forced to use gatekeeping.
What do you mean by “your brain is mapped?”
We know how brains operate and process information. We know that it’s not going to treat information in an unbiased manner.
It processes identity information, threats, statistics and out group information differently - among a whole world of idiosyncrasies.
Attackers sadly also know enough how to create content that subverts that processing in precise manners.
It’s content designed simply to propagate and defeat logical or rational scrutiny.
Its filled with the kinds of logical fallacies that maybe YOU would defeat, but are so broadly spread that it will always find victims.
Those victims are then set up for the next round of content and then the next round.
Eventually this content dominates the discourse. It’s like suddenly everyone knows that the yeti was an astronaut.
Google misses more misinformation than it finds - and this is even if we discuss only America or the English speaking world.
Smaller nations aren’t even coveted, and rare languages or regions don’t even have automated analysis
Why is it so hard to believe that people will simply be foolish and create garbage on their own?
But that doesn’t mean attackers don’t exist, or that they happily co opt those communities to seed and propagate their content as well.
And most of that content stays up. It takes a lot for any of the tech cos to act right now.
So to me this is at least nuanced. Insisting on completely unchecked speech, however unscientific and destructive, is not a reasonable position.
You aren't censored if you can't generate a link to Bits on a google server.
You may want a different example :).
> Warfarin first came into large-scale commercial use in 1948 as a rat poison. Warfarin was formally approved for human use by the US FDA to treat blood clots in 1954.
from the wording in the link, it seems even if you share the document with just one single person, and that person flags it, Google is then allowed to investigate. So, the pre-condition is not sharing publicly, just sharing.
> So no, this isn't applying to your private diary or privately shared documents.
Well this seems to be inaccurate based on the text cited below, do you have sources that back your claim? There is nothing saying that privately shared documents can't be reviewed. The only necessary condition seems to be just that someone flagged your content, which could be the one person you shared that content with.
 "After we are notified of a potential policy violation, we may review the content and take action, including restricting access to the content, removing the content, and limiting or terminating a user’s access to Google products".
This is an insane conclusion to draw, because it blithely ignores that it positions Google as an oracle of what's threatening to democracy and what isn't.
The examples in the current policy are fairly narrow, but this is a categorical line being crossed (for better or worse). Those who are concerned by the increasing encroachment of effective utilities on what can be communicated need to speak up when clear lines are crossed, because it's the only way to avoid frog-boiling.
Like, if Google has a hidden agenda here that makes it any more fundamentally compromised as a judge of disinformation than anything else, then whether or not it will be a free CDN for arbitrary content isn't remotely our biggest problem.
And if they're just that bad at sorting information from disinformation in spite of their considerable resources and ostensible value proposition, same thing goes, although that's an opportunity for someone else to the extent that there's a market for understanding reality.
So, yeah. Google by its nature is going to play a role regarding what's a threat to accurate understanding and democracy. It's not alone in this; journalism does it. The academy does it. The courts do it. Businesses do it.
The way you get a well-functioning society where robust discourse turns into better perception and refined ideas isn't that everybody takes a hands off approach, it's that everybody -- all institutions and individuals -- take responsibility.
Not to mention that requiring Google (or anyone) to carry and disseminate information that they consider irresponsible... well, compelled speech isn't exactly freedom of speech.
Indeed, the bias in Google Search is actually a very serious problem.
You're thinking of Google Search, their web search product. The thread is talking about Google Drive, their file-storage and - sharing product. If you don't get the difference between these two products and the expectations around them, I don't know what to tell you.
(a) Google is actually less uniquely powerful or threatening when it comes to the hosting segment
(b) Google has an even greater claim to moral and legal rights to say "yeah, we're gonna decide not to carry/disseminate certain content,", except to the extent that your position here involves the idea that compelled speech is the way forward.
Someone else has figured out what is misinformation and is telling google.
But the minority of society that understands and participates in the process of truth-formation (including scientists!) produces a widely disproportionate amount of epistemic value, and society depends on this process for basic functioning.
It's amazing to me that this isn't clear to everyone after the pandemic, of all things. The amount of claims that were banned from social media as "misinformation" that became expert consensus a couple of months later is mind-boggling. Following smart and quantitative people on Twitter was wayyyy more likely to provide you a healthy and safe pandemic experience than following the incoherent and self-contradictory public health recommendations (let alone policy). More important than this "direct-to-consumer" ability to discuss the pandemic is that experts themselves form their opinions through this type of discussion. The notion that there's a "someone else" who has reliably figured out which dissent is out of bounds is laughable.
I'll note again that Google's current policy is limited to fairly simple things, but it's an important Schelling fence being torn down and worthy of commenting on (and pushing back against, if yiu believe the trend is harmful).
This is false. All of the major services that host images scan them for child porn, regardless if they're private or shared.
I don't know how they're going to apply these rules and, unless you work there and are involved in this, neither do you.
Google's response was that it was a corporate feature that was accidentally turned on for all accounts.
So they certainly have infrastructure to do deep content scans of all users docs. Realistically they probably do still scan all accounts for internal metrics, it's just notification that has been disabled.
I can't find anything with searching that Google ever algorithmically identified hate speech in Docs & Drive, there's no such corporate feature that can be enabled in G Suite control panel, reliably identifying hate speech is a hard problem that there's no indication of Google having solved, and honestly the entire thing sounds like an urban legend.
But if you have a reputable source I'd love to know.
Anyone have any experience in this realm? Do they have to use CP to compare against? Wouldn’t that be illegal?
That presumes that we have come from a period that was somehow free of misinformation. This is obviously false, and all we're doing is trading one corrupt system of control for another.
Democracy also demands that the burden of proof is on the accuser, don't you feel this same standard should apply to those, who of their own volition, take on the task of fighting this "misinformation?" Shouldn't those deprived have recourse?
> Companies aren't allowed to advertise rat poison as medicine and neither are you.
Advertising is always a commercial activity. If I'm merely sharing my opinion that rat poison, in some dose, might possibly serve as a cure for some particular ailment, how am I advertising? Isn't there a responsibility of the other end user to not accept medical advice from anonymous information published from a free document sharing service?
I'm not sure the trade offs you suggest are gaining us anything important.
No, they don't. They have never depended on an entity deciding what information should be disseminated and what information should not be.
This move isn't any different than AT&T or the one guy with a Gutenberg Press in your region deciding what you can and cannot read.
Our legal protections depend on the citizens and the government adhering to them.
Sort of. People use "anybody with the link can view" for lots of purposes that are far short of broad public publishing.
I use it for sharing with single digit numbers of people I already know, or sometimes just for myself for things that don't need to be private.
It's going to be a minimum wage indentured Google servant that doesn't quite understand what they are reading but they have 17.5 seconds per case to make a decision. They will shoot first and ask questions later. What if the document is satire but they couldn't understand it? Oh well there goes one strike against your account, or maybe that's your third strike and now ALL your Google accounts are banned.
We already know what the appeals process is like. Unless you get it publicized on Hacker News et al, you won't get any chance to appeal.
But what happens when Google/their allies change their mind and determine that something is no longer a conspiracy theory?
> After we are notified of a potential policy violation, we may review the content and take action…
So (1) it's not about Google proactively scanning all your files (even public ones: though I guess with sufficiently public files, sooner or later someone will click on "Report Abuse", perhaps even by accident), and (2) I imagine it could happen with files you shared with just your friend, if your "friend" decides to "Report Abuse".
(Disclaimer: I work at Google but not on Google Drive or anything related to these policies.)
Google has been doing anything it wants with people's data, news like these just mean they are lazily formalizing their power.
How can they be held to account when they inevitably get it wrong?
Where will the highly-transparent write-ups detailing moderation decisions be published?
Seems like if Google actually gave a damn about the morality of censorship as some sort of 'neccessary evil' you'd be able to answer these questions easily^. Until then, it's a non-starter in my book.
It’s debateless policies that are spreading on the world stage. People need to rise up against a small group of individuals located in Menlo Park, CA who are demonstrably and utterly out of the touch with the rest of the world, but deciding how and what information flows. These people have no idea how agriculture works or how people live in Indonesia or what conflicts are going on in Namibia.
But I don't have to trust that Google won't suppress valid positions drive since there are many alternatives for sharing information beyond Google drive, which isn't meant to primarily host public content in any case.
You'll be disturbed to learn then that every major social network heavily censors information in an opaque manner.
What about the elderly or others who might only know how to use Facebook or YouTube? Fuck em?
But on the topic of social network news filtering, anyone who uses a social network is implicitly consenting to that network's filtering of information.
Once upon a time, most people got their news from a single newspaper - well informed people might read several papers as well as newsmagazines but even this implied a lot of filtering. Those newspapers filtered the news more heavily than any present network.
In what way does this make censorship the morally right thing to do? Think of all the evil large corporations have tried to justify with statements like that^ over the years.
"Our billions of users should have known we were gonna pull the wool over their eyes!"
I think we’ll have augmented intelligence through computing soon and imagine how horrific it will be if Google says “you can think misinfo, we just won’t let you think it?”
That’s bad. Storing, creating, and distributing don’t need limits like this.
Asimov’s three laws were possible and they still had issues. Imagine having a law for robots that they couldn’t speak what Google thought is misinfo.
The distinction between private files and distributed content is blurred-2-nonexistent, and Google Drive is not a neutral player in that process. The whole premise is that these are just sharing settings.
The premise of this service is that controlling your own files is passe, because content distribution, creation, consumption and need to work seamlessly.
Also, this isn't outside of the greater Alphabet complex. Even in social media, where they are a secondary player, they own Youtube... also premised on the sharing and distributing model.
Yes, it is.
> All our legal protections ultimately depend on a democratic foundation
is the wrong way round. I suspect you're speaking from a US perspective. The US constitution limits the rights of goverment for the benefit of the people, it does not limit the rights of the people for the benefit of government.
Funny you should mention health... Imagine if Google banned speaking out against Cryonics or life extension technologies on this basis.
What's more likely:
A) That they make a single-pass scan over a file for various purposes
B) They make multiple, separate scans over a file at different times depending on sharing status and other factors
I'd contend that it's more likely to be A, and that it almost certainly happens as soon as the data becomes visible to Google. I'd be very surprised if they didn't scan immediately to de-dupe and detect illegal pornography, for example. Once that's a given, it doesn't make much sense to do a separate kind of scanning later based on a different set of criteria; You scan once and flag for the respective detections immediately.
And how is this defined?
At one time everyone agreed the earth was flat.
actually, it does... at least on the ones hosted by Google.
I don't know how anyone could continue using it after this.
I probably have dozens of docs and hundreds of research papers contradicting government health advice on diabetes and heart disease. These would fall under "Misleading content related to harmful health practices" since they promote a health theory which the government considers harmful.
However I would have cancelled regardless since the idea of automatic bans and/or content deletion based on ML models is crazy. They are obviously going to find a lot a false positives and I can't deal with the idea of trying to speak to google to explain that their algorithm mistakenly flagged my innocent content. In other words even if you are the perfect citizen, there is a chance you will get flagged anyway.
What if I just like to collect and share old conspiracy theory stuff that I know is wrong? For whimsy, historical, whatever purposes...
Based on Google's wording, it seems you just need to share that document with one single person; if that person flags it, at that point Google is allowed to investigate even if the document is not public.
 "After we are notified of a potential policy violation, we may review the content and take action, including restricting access to the content, removing the content, and limiting or terminating a user’s access to Google products."
The key word there is "share". Lots of people use the "share with anyone that has the link" for limited sharing.
Yet. Once people get used to it, it will be extended to private files. Likely they will even build it into Android and create an API to report citizens storing questionable documents.
Time to migrate everything off of google services.
Those of you claiming that "democracy" depends on authorities preventing the spread of misinformation are ipso facto saying that democracy requires the government, or megacorporate cartels with a monopoly on public speech most likely acting as proxies for the government (as Psaki made clear is happening), to define what counts as "truth" (a Ministry Of Truth if you will) and to stamp out what they've defined as "false."
It's insane, and it's amazing to me how many of you have your heads so far up your assessment with partisanship that you can't see that the recent media hysteria over "misinformation" is a blatant example of the contrived "emergencies" that all totalitarian regimes in history have used to seize control over free societies.
That’s not sufficiently true. In fact, asserting untrue propositions is one of the easiest-to-counter ways of misinformation.
Real pros use humbuggery; of a set of n true propositions, pick a subset m to lead the audience to your conclusions and you haven’t even “lied”.
That’s why “fact checking” is such a popular way of narrative laundering, because truthiness of individual propositions alone never reveal if someone was bullshitting you.
That’s also why the courtroom maxim is “truth, nothing but the truth, and the whole truth”. Only those 3 properties in combination would exclude misinformation. (Not saying courtrooms necessarily live up to this maxim.)
I agree with the spirit of the rest of your argument.
I've never heard the word humbuggery before, but I completely agree with the rest. Before social media we used to call that "choosing what to cover". It's also called a "lie of omission", so any censor who suppresses true information can reasonably be accused of lying (or misinformation) themselves.
As others have said, it's not new, but now, for the first time in US history, the media moguls are censoring not only their own broadcasts, but everyone's communications. Could America have ever developed as it has if the postal service or phone company had done that?
Even just saying "X sells stock Y before event Z" imples that X knew about event Z and that it would affect the stock price of Y. People will read headlines like this and walk away assuming there was insider trading, but that may not be the case. Nothing in that example headline has to be false in order for it to spread falsehoods.
Tell that to the children ICE detained separately from their parents.
Does this sound familiar ? This is exactly what religious loonies say in order to take control.
Science necessarily involves keeping your own ignorance, epistemic and otherwise, in mind while dealing with things, but it's quite worrying that the West is going back on what was won with blood and sweat.
I could also argue that there is a invisible unicorn orbiting the solar aystem. As long as there is no real proof for it we have to accept that it is just a theory. And the more facts align with my theory the more motivation there should be to check my theory by trying to disproove it.
SARS-1/MERS was prooven to stem from bats in the same region, so assuming that instead of a lab leak theory was more in line with known/knowable facts than a lab leak theory. When the facts changes theories change, that is science.
Serious scientist have to remain open for all possibilities no matter who wants them to be true, but it really doesn't help if there is a irrational coloration to it including people being assaulted in the street because of how they look.
Societies with a calmer political climate can react calmer to things. Which is why the German Fauci equivalent explained when this theory first came up "sure that would be possible — it just doesn't seem plausible by our current information".
And the idea that "you are not allowed to say that" seems just a bit... weird to me given that this was a hot topic many people discussed. Scientists explained on public television why they don't deem it likely, that is pretty much opposite of "not being allowed to discuss it". It just happened that the side which believed it had no real evidence that could have been discussed, so at one point the discussion found its natural end without any new data. I remember the situation back then: People back then wanted this theory to be true really hard without any supporting facts. Sure it being true was an option, but people weren't calm about it, they were nearly desperate, as if the only way they can make sense of the pandemic was to blame it on someone act of mallice by some (evil) actor.
Maybe it is because I live in Germany but I am quite frankly allergic to this kind of behaviour. It has caused Genocides before (and probably will do so in the future). When you want some comforting truth or some story to be true so much, you stop caring whether it is actually true or likely you are lying to yourself. And when you lie to yourself just hard enough everybody is able to become a monster.
of course there were a few brave scientists that spoke the truth of the viability and likelihood of the lab leak hypothesis, but that only proves how severe the suppression of discussion was.
people let your political opinions dictate what discourse is acceptable and which is not. if one imagines that your political opponents "wished it to be true" and seem to think of even labelling the virus from china as some sort of wrong think then one can be happy to pick and choose whichever truth you want to accept. scientists both hear and abroad where able to dismiss that lab leak is not plausible, based on lack of evidence. but the same thing could be said for the wilderness human contact. fauci said based on history lab leak is unlikely, in spite of the fact that lab leaks had occurred in the past.
I personally have no doubt that China s messaging was to suppress support for the lab leak, and they have succeeding in avoid any pressure to come forward with the truth about the actives of that lab in Wuhan . I also think that there is an entire field on scientific study that needs much more regulation and discipline, and they have also avoided any significant scrutiny.
I will await the discussion from mainstream virologists on tv and in medical and scientific journals demanding transparency and reform. but I will not hold my breath.
That exists. It's exactly what people mis-read as scientists supporting the lab leak hypothesis. Instead they support a more open attitude by China regarding investigations, which is neither evidence nor proof of either an artificial origin for the virus, nor for the lab leak theory.
First result after I google lab leak...
Senior Biden officials finding that Covid lab leak theory as credible as natural origins explanation
Yes, the truth is important, and if the virus came from a lab leak, it should be known and dealt with. FOX and company weren't journalists looking for answers. They were hatemongers giving their viewers an "other" to blame for something out of their control, while telling them at the same time that the virus was fake and masks are tyrannical.
No one said you couldn't discuss it. No one was jailing you for talking about it. Stop the fake oppression.
Let's just be clear on this: The "opinion" section of Fox "news" is one of the most dangerous organs of communication in society today.
The left likes to call anything they don’t want to talk about “hate” or “racist” these days.
This usually happens when upper middle class liberals get offended on minorities or “others” behalf.
The Orwellian newspeak is also not helping.
The hate-mongering is from the opinion shows that made themselves the heroic, oppressed "real-fact" people by constantly talking about it, by making it a conspiracy when it wasn't really, it just didn't matter at the time. Read my other reply, I'm not going to type it all out.
No, it isn't hate-mongering to wonder if the virus came from a lab. It's hate-mongering to play the victim, to scream "conspiracy!" as a strawman to millions of people, and have people going batshit crazy about it when it doesn't really matter. In other words, it's not the question that is the problem, it's the framing that Fox and Co. put around their narrative.
Don't even talk about "the left". It's not a monolith. I didn't talk about "conservatives" writ-large, my point is against the Fox op-ed cult - a very specific subset of the right. Please limit your assumptions as much as possible.
And really, it's makes zero sense to make the sweeping accusations against everyone on a side of a political spectrum. "The left" etc. is something to avoid. Much as I think the federal GOP is actively working against American values for the sake of its own power, I don't blame every conservative voter for their lack of options, nor do I think every Republican voter is literally Mitch McConnell.
This is exactly this kind of misunderstanding that this whole thread is about.
"Couldn't have been natural" is especially a stretch, given that SARS and Bird Flu manifested naturally in the same part of the world a few years prior.
As to a natural virus being accidentally leaked from a lab, there's no evidence for that scenario, except for the fact that the first major SARS-CoV2 outbreak happened in the same city. For what it's worth, this is not as implausible a co-incidence as might be claimed, since it is not uncommon for a virology lab to study viruses endemic to the region it is located in.
The bat virus that seems to be the progenitor of SARS-Cov-2 was isolated in caves in a different part of China, quite far from Wuhan. Plus, bats hibernate during the time that the spread began.
So it's certainly not a recent transmission, which is why an intermediate host is proposed, which could also be bat, or some other host species. Coronaviruses are endemic in that region of China.
But I also believe humans do not have access to it.
And while it is the sole arbiter of truth, the moment something occurs that truth starts decaying via entropy. Photons fly away at light speed never to be seen by us again. The energy that remains starts mixing in ways that cannot be reversed. You quickly lead to scenarios where more than one initial state could lead to the current state we can measure.
And worse we can never exist in a system where we capture and keep this information. You either alter the 'experiment' by measuring it, aka chaos theory. Or, you bring about the premature heat death of the universe.
One can argue the news should just report the facts, but they add additional context and information to explain why the facts matter.
Verifying the facts / truth is objective and clear (e.g. it rained 2 inches today). Determining whether the impact is properly reported (e.g. “devastating” flooding occurred) is murky. And the flooding could have been devastating - to one family, to a village, to a school. So it’s not untrue, it’s just more subjective as you move from numbers to impact. And the news cares more about reporting impact than facts and will tailor the narrative to explain the impact to their audience.
Look at the news service all sides. You can figure out the facts (e.g. a law was passed) then see what each side is saying about the impact. The impact may be true for both sides, just presented in a vastly different way.
The idea that there may be 'truths' sounds utterly bonkers to me. a ^ -a is considered a contradiction for a reason.
For example, one of the stunning consequences of Special Relativity is that there exist situations in which an observer says that event A happens before event B, and another observer says that event A happens after event B, and both are correct. Nature does not appear to be at all bothered by this "contradiction", however, and the world works just fine. Even more puzzling "contradictions" arise in quantum mechanics.
For all we know, it appears that reality is indeed dependent on the observer at a deep level. Maybe there is an even deeper level at which statements such as "a ^ ~a is false" hold, but so far nobody has been able to discover any.
Reality is not dependent on the observer, but we are observers, so that's why everyone thinks they have their own version of the truth. We are the weak link.
There is no contradiction. Our intuition for what 'A happens before B' means and implies is just bad/incomplete, as special relativity models.
>Even more puzzling "contradictions" arise in quantum mechanics.
I would bet a couple years of wage that what seems like contradictions will eventually be cleared up with some non-intuitive models, just like with special relativity.
I imagine the 'changes based on observer' problems of quantum mechanics will be more understandable once we decide what an observer is ( goddamnit people from physics, you don't add such a highly abstract variable to your model without giving it some good definition x( ), with some better experimental apparatus or with some deeper models of reality.
Humans are not logical systems.
I dunno. I'm inclined towards none of the ones I know a little about being true since they really like to ask you to 'trust me bro, feel it in your heart' instead of just giving you good reasons to believe them.
Newton gave us far better arguments for universal gravitation than most people do for their religions, and he was ultimately wrong/incomplete.
>Humans are not logical systems.
Yes, that is a bug in the humanity system. Generally we try to diminish its effects when truth-judging (or maybe probable-truth-approximation-judging if you care about your epistemology). Recognizing this bug is useful to try and diminish its effect.
So the urge for flying to the moon is a bug? Climb a Mountain?
The urge is a bug if it doesn't match the things you value. The urge is not a bug if it matches the things you value.
With some fat margin for uncertainty around 'matching the things you value' because that's hard to quantify.
Utility functions can have 'axiomatic values' in them. Not everything you value is deduced from underlying principles.
And see for yourself whether we humans have bugs.
Religion is the exact opposite.
That is maybe true with science, but not with living breathing things.
Just one example:
What is the best system to live in? Capitalism, Socialism or a mix of Capitalism AND Socialism?
Often it is just not a question of truth when it comes to humans.
If you rigorously define what you mean by that word in this question, then there will be one and only one answer.
Of course, whether we're capable of finding that answer is a separate question.
That's exactly what i mean...humans and everything that comes with them are not systems....let alone logical ones.
Hell even science makes a difference (hard science and soft science)
Are you saying living things have some irreducible complexity that's unexplainable or undetectable by scientific methods?
>Just one example: What is the best system to live in?
It's a pretty bad example. There's necessarily an answer which, if nothing else, is the best for the largest number of people. People aren't infinitely variable.
No i said Humans are not logically describable systems.
>There's necessarily an answer which, if nothing else, is the best for the largest number of people.
Having Slaves because it's an easier life for the larger population for example?
>People aren't infinitely variable.
Try to mathematically proof that ;)
Arguably they're equivalent statements.
>Having Slaves because it's an easier life for the larger population for example?
Yes. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it couldn't be the "best". By the way, historically, slave-based economies needed the majority of the population to be slaves. It makes sense, since the slaves are consuming their own production and are expending more energy than the non-slaves.
>Try to mathematically proof that ;)
Humans don't grow arbitrarily large or small, nor do they grow arbitrary numbers of limbs, nor have arbitrary numbers of bones. A person chosen at random from anywhere in the world isn't equally likely to hold any opinion from the infinity of opinions they could conceive of. For example, I could confidently say no person has ever simultaneously believed that Google should be subject to more regulation and that the current pharaoh is a living deity.
In history, it has always been those engaging in widespread censorship who turn out to be disastrously and/or maliciously wrong.
The science now being censored has become so well-established, that at this point, Google/YT et al, has and will delete and suppress the sharing of peer-reviewed science published in mainstream journals and indexed in PubMed.
That 100% ends their credibility. I deplore anyone expecting an explanation as to why.
Anyone yet standing by such incredulous, irresponsible and/or actively-malicious action, reveals themselves as same, for all to see.
So please, come up with proof or yours is just another case of trumped up claims
I made a statement, on-topic, about the nature and history of censorship, Google's credibility as arbiter of truth, and how naked they appear now as a result of how extreme they've become in that self-appointed role.
If you're not a bot, maybe try reading it again with that understanding?
This thread ends here
In fact, they are and they do. (Ok, not you unless you run a pharm company). The best known rat poison is warfarin, an anticogulant used world wide as a medicine under various names.
As to your main point, how do you or others on SM, define misinformation? Do you believe the shadowy folk (qualifications unstated) who pontificate at FB, Twitter, Google and Wikipedia? That has to be absurd and shocking.
Anyone who wants to (and wants to seems to be the issue), can see the fatuity of this after searching for overturned consensus views as supported by the SM platforms mentioned.
The search should include the peer-reviewed literature.
A most recent volte-face relates to Covid origin, In April it was undoubtedly of natural origin as we were authoritatively informed by the Lancet. Now in July, the previously regarded conspiracy theory is taken seriously by people able to make a judgment. Who does one believe, the unknowns at SM or someone like Peter Palese, https://labs.icahn.mssm.edu/paleselab/) who was among 27 scientists who had earlier signed the Lancet letter denouncing as “conspiracy theories” the notion that the coronavirus could have escaped from a lab — or even be man-made. He now disavows that claim as do many others of similar status.
Instead it refers to "misleading information".
Absent a specific definition of "misinformation" from Google's lawyers -- who likely authored or at least reviewed this page -- we are left to consult the dictionary.
The dictionary defines "misinformation" as "information that is incorrect". There is no requirement of intent. The information may or may not be misleading.
That is, the term "misinformation" may apply to any incorrect information regardless of intent.
Is it possible to have incorrect information ("misinformation") that is not intended to or does mislead (~ "misleading information"). Your answer: ___
Is it possible to have correct information (~ "misinformation") that is intended to or does mislead ("misleading information"). Your answer: ___
No need to answer this question. The technodemocratic complex has already answered it. It's tawdry, but the hunter biden laptop was "misinformation", because it was intended to mislead people away from Biden.
Doesn't matter that it was correct, the evidence was good, and it was published by major newspapers. The technical elite agreed with the political elite, and it was struck from the internet.
Amazingly, when it was raised at the presidential debate, real-time polling suggested that the majority of the populace had no idea what was being talked about. The suppression was effective.
We live in dangerous times.
Clearly, since this is the most upvoted comment in the entire thread, you're not the only freethinker in an ocean of sheep.
I don't know, this lecturing tone is quite aggravating.
The fact is there is no such thing as rule of law without lots of institutions and individuals (private and public) taking responsibility for arbitrating truth. And there's no freedom of speech without allowing them to do it.
Someone could murder someone, but due to lack of evidence they are found “not guilty”. But that’s not the same as “the truth is this person did not commit murder”. It’s simply a finding that the state didn’t prove its case.
A formal process of examining evidence marshaled in the service of arguments supporting/refuting a claim sounds practically equivalent to most forms of determining truth. Because it is.
Not only that, but there are segments of the law where truth is explicitly invoked, ie "truth is an absolute defense against defamation."
Organizing information and making it useful sounds altruistically anti-misinformation. And maybe the search engine of the past was a net good against misinformation. And then maybe the ship attracted folks with less than ideal intentions over time, making your premise more and more true. Maybe 2031 Google will be much worse.
What else can we possibly expect than this to happen?
I honestly see no evidence that open society is compatible with modern digital communication networks. An authoritarian contagion almost seems an emergent natural property of the network.
The cyberpunk religion I use to believe in couldn't have been more wrong.
I just take solace that I will have been born and lived at the perfect time and place in history. I will have got to be part of this very short lived religion that the internet is the greatest thing for liberalism and freedom ever created when it is really the complete opposite.
I can even zoom out enough to see the historical beauty in such a historic mistake.
Hard to live in more interesting times than right now.
Google is a mega corporation. If the world is trending cyberpunk, they're going to be the Arasaka of the story, not the Hiro.
However, your analysis doesn't acknowledge the very real war on truth being fought daily on a multitude of fronts. There are many actors, and many reasons they are doing it.
Some people just want to watch the world burn (troll armies, 4chan-like people, alt-right, etc). Some people want to keep ignorant people in their place, and pit people against each other (cable 'news", especially Fox).
People are being exposed to misinformation (deliberate lies about the state of current affairs) more and more easily than ever before.
It's like saying we have a freedom to hold whatever rocks we find on the ground, then someone finding a block of uranium. Sure, we have that freedom, but there is a very real danger and we need to figure how to deal with the more dangerous aspects of it. Censorship/government enforcement is a heavy hammer and I don't think it's the answer - but that doesn't mean there isn't a problem.
Google has lawyers to minimize its legal liability. Turning some vapid terms of service clause into a slippery slope argument for the onrush of totalitarianism is taking things too far.
Who says that individuals or business institutions making judgments and using their resources to arbitrate truth -- especially institutions like Google whose business is about information -- are acting "as proxies for the government" instead of taking responsibility for honestly arbitrating truth as they understand it?
And the idea that any attempt to arbitrate truth is equal to totalitarian oppression is exactly wrong. Every institution and individual has to do it. Certainly any society based on rule of law does; you can't apply law without a consensus about what the facts to apply it to are.
Imagine a society that censors the disinformation/propaganda that trans women are women out of a sincerely held belief that this is indeed disinformation. Oh wait, Russia already does that.
Why would American attempts at suppression be any better? Or any better than what happened during the McCarthy era?
"American" attempts would be better... because in most cases this appears to be voluntary and where the state is involved it appears to be officials actually persuading some private actors on the merits of the idea rather than compelling people by force.
Also your logic falls apart considering the courts ruled last year that Trump wasn't allowed to block people on Twitter. You "flagging" or "blocking" something is very different from the government doing it or pressuring companies to do it. That makes them state actors as has been ruled multiple times in the past.
Nor are we talking about stuff which "breaks the law" here. By social media's own proven standards, they kept the lab leak theory off their platform for 1.5 years. They are censoring women who oppose men competing in their sports or entering their private areas like spas and bathrooms. Palestinians get censored under the guise of "anti-semitism" and Israelis/Christians get censored under the guise of "islamaphobia" depending upon which political side has power. If we had such big social media back in 2000s, they would be censoring anyone who spoke out against the war or there not being any WMDs. If you spoke out against the Syrian gas attack hoax, you would'd get censored too.
From Supreme Court of the United States opinion couple months ago:
> "But whatever may be said of other industries, there is clear historical precedent for regulating transportation and communications networks in a similar manner as traditional common carriers. Candeub 398–405. Telegraphs, for example, because they “resemble[d] railroad companies and other common carriers,” were “bound to serve all customers alike, without discrimination." ... "Internet platforms of course have their own First Amendment interests, but regulations that might affect speech are valid if they would have been permissible at the time of the founding. See United States v. Stevens, 559 U. S. 460, 468 (2010). The long history in this country and in England of restricting the exclusion right of common carriers and places of public accommodation may save similar regulations today from triggering heightened scrutiny—especially where a restriction would not prohibit the company from speaking or force the company to endorse the speech." ... "The similarities between some digital platforms and common carriers or places of public accommodation may give legislators strong arguments for similarly regulating digital platforms. [I]t stands to reason that if Congress may demand that telephone companies operate as common carriers, it can ask the same of ”digital platforms." ... "For example, although a “private entity is not ordinarily constrained by the First Amendment,” Halleck, 587 U. S., at ___, ___ (slip op., at 6, 9), it is if the government coerces or induces it to take action the government itself would not be permitted to do, such as censor expression of a lawful viewpoint. Ibid. Consider government threats. “People do not lightly disregard public officers’ thinly veiled threats to institute criminal proceedings against them if they do not come around.” Bantam Books, Inc. v. Sullivan, 372 U. S. 58, 68 (1963). The government cannot accomplish through threats of adverse government action what the Constitution prohibits it from doing directly. See ibid.; Blum v. Yaretsky, 457 U. S. 991, 1004–1005 (1982). Under this doctrine, plaintiffs might have colorable claims against a digital platform if it took adverse action against them in response to government threats. The Second Circuit feared that then-President Trump cut off speech by using the features that Twitter made available to him. But if the aim is to ensure that speech is not smoth- ered, then the more glaring concern must perforce be the dominant digital platforms themselves."
> "As Twitter made clear, the right to cut off speech lies most powerfully in the hands of private digital platforms. The extent to which that power matters for purposes of the First Amendment and the extent to which that power could lawfully be modified raise interesting and important questions. This petition, unfortunately, affords us no opportunity to confront them."
This is just the free market doing its job.
"Misleading content related to harmful health practices: Misleading health or medical content that promotes or encourages others to engage in practices that may lead to serious physical or emotional harm to individuals, or serious public health harm."
not only do they use the term misleading to define the term misleading, they clearly state any information that could cause serious public health harm is misleading. when people are screaming about vaccine misinformation they are often talking about discussing side effects of the vaccine, which causes hesitancy and therefore harm. if pressed for an example, they will pick up an absurd claim like 5g caused covid, but not the typical claims that the covid vaccine has reportedly killed thousands and injuries many more than that.
the labels disinformation, misinformation, misleading, potentially harmful are very orwellian, as many can take them to mean false information, but in fact these labels can be placed on perfectly true statements that are simply dissenting.
Firstly, this is a content policy, this is separate from actual enforcement. I would doubt that google enforces this proactively, rather they want a possibility to shut down what has now been dubbed 'fake news'.
Secondly, reading this with an open mind their focus seems to be on dangerous falsehoods, think things that can get people in prison (double voting?), health issues ('bleach anema for 3 year olds cures autism', 'vitamin D prevents covid', 'covid is an invention of the deep state', ...), or manipulated information that claims to represent another's view ('manipulated media ... that may pose a risk of egregious harm', e.g. I'd imagine a fake NYT article saying that masks are harmful).
Third, this is a private platform, not a government body enforcing its views.
Last, there are some dangerous lies. In Germany its illegal to state the holocaust never happened. You can discuss details and question parts of the narrative but not doubt that it ever happened. You can't have neo-nazis claiming that its all a big conspiracy and that others were at fault - which, if you know your history, is one of the very ways the nazis justified WW2. This law was an essential tool to counter similar tendencies after Germany lost WW2. In contrast, in Poland its illegal to state that Poles contributed to the holocaust, which is however a true fact that is just politically unwelcome. So the issue here is not whether there is a truth, and also not whether lies can be dangerous (bleach anema to get rid of your kids' autism!), but rather who does and how truth is arbited. A government/company shouldnt be able to shut down every dissenting opinion but I can't believe anyone honestly believes that there should be no way to challenge and limit the spread of dangerous lies. You can think and discuss what you want, but if you broadcast your views to a wide audience you should also be held to a higher standard. The real issue is who does the accounting.
I'm doing to take issue with your "dangerous lies" classification as not being a useful one. Every bit of censorship can be argued to be censoring dangerous lies. From Russian LGBT censorship to China's censorship of things undermining the narrative of Chinese greatness to older censorship of criticism of the king (in all his chosen by God glory).
This. Former Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and its secret police (StB) did not say "we are evil and we want to suppress information that contradicts whatever we need you to believe". It was a necessary struggle against Western ideodiversional centrals that were sowing lies among naive young population for nefarious purposes, of course.
Every censorship system will cloak itself in righteousness and necessity. Has been tried for hundreds of times. If anybody still accepts this argument at face value, they are likely ignorant of history.
It is exactly because you, nor anyone else, can come up with an acceptable solution to your last point, it is surely a lesser evil to have free speech, however "dangerous" it may turn, rather than have a benevolent accountant with the speech monopoly turn on us.
Discretionary enforcement power is part of the problem, not a mitigating factor. The policy itself simply gives them carte blanche to remove content with which they disagree:
> When applying these policies, we may make exceptions based on artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific considerations, or where there are other substantial benefits to the public from not taking action on the content.
Even if we give Google the benefit of the doubt and grant that initial enforcement could be judicious, wise, and a net positive for society (pretending like "a net positive for who?" is an easy question to settle), "substantial benefits to the public" is not a limiting principle.
History has taught us that without real, adversarial constraints, this power will always be mishandled and abused. Eventually, Google will make mistakes. In their zeal to prevent misinformation and harm, they will bury a promising drug therapy and it will cost lives. They will disallow evidence of a crime, and they will make exceptions that happen to benefit their biggest markets.
They have the right to do this, but it is surely wrong for us to delegate our judgement to them.
Funny how they demand radical free speech, but downvote/flag anyone who disagrees, while using a forum where comments with too many downvotes are hidden automatically.
Google is absolutely already blanket banning stuff on Youtube. There is no reason to give them the benefit of the doubt.
> there are some dangerous lies
Yes, and the WHO has committed to dangerous lies as well.
Hell, in your own example, you're saying the Nazis justified WW2 with lies.
Government officials provably cannot be trusted to disseminate "the truth".
These are not normal private companies. Citing GP, these are
>> megacorporate cartels with a monopoly on public speech most likely acting as proxies for the government
Here is a partial list of scientific consensus "deniers" proven right which this sort of censorship will either silence by big tech or due to self-censorship:
1. Ignaz Semmelweis, who suggested that doctors should wash their hands, and who eliminated puerpal fever as a result, was fired, harassed, forced to move, had his career destroyed, and died in a mental institution at age 47. All this because he went against consensus science.
2. Alfred Wegener, the geophysicist who first proposed continental drift, the basis of plate tectonics, was berated for over 40 years by mainstream geologists who organized to oppose him in favour of a trans-oceanic land bridge. All this because he went against consensus science.
3. Aristarchus of Samos, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, brilliant minds and leaders in their field all supported the heliocentric model. They were at some point either ignored, derided, vilified, or jailed for their beliefs.
All this because they went against consensus science.
4. J Harlen Bretz, the geologist who documented the catastrophic Missoula floods, was ridiculed and humiliated by uniformitarian "elders" for 30 years before his ideas were accepted. He first proposed that a giant flood raked Eastern Washington in prehistoric times, and who suffered ridicule and skepticism until decades of further research proved his thesis. All this because he went against consensus science. He was eventually awarded the Penrose Medal.
5. Carl F. Gauss, discoverer of non-Euclidean geometry, self-censored his own work for 30 years for fear of ridicule, reprisal, and relegation. It did not become known until after his death. Similar published work was ridiculed. His personal diaries indicate that he had made several important mathematical discoveries years or decades before his contemporaries published them. Scottish-American mathematician and writer Eric Temple Bell said that if Gauss had published all of his discoveries in a timely manner, he would have advanced mathematics by fifty years
All this because he went against consensus science.
6. Hans Alfven, a Nobel plasma physicist, showed that electric currents operate at large scales in the cosmos. His work was considered unorthodox and is still rejected despite providing answers to many of cosmology's problems.
All this because he went against consensus science.
7. Georg Cantor, creator of set theory in mathematics, was so fiercely attacked that he suffered long bouts of depression. He was called a charlatan and a corrupter of youth and his work was referred to as utter nonsense.
All this because he went against consensus science.
8. Kristian Birkeland, the man who explained the polar aurorae, had his views disputed and ridiculed as a fringe theory by mainstream scientists until fifty years after his death. He is thought by some to have committed suicide.
All this because he went against consensus science.
9. Gregor Mendel, founder of genetics, whose seminal paper was criticized by the scientific community, was ignored for over 35 years. Most of the leading scientists simply failed to understand his obscure and innovative work.
All this because he went against consensus science.
10. Michael Servetus discovered pulmonary circulation. As his work was deemed to be heretical, the inquisitors confiscated his property, arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and burned him at the stake atop a pyre of his own books.
All this because he went against consensus science.
11. Amedeo Avogadro's atomic-molecular theory was ignored by the scientific community, as was future similar work. It was confirmed four years after his death, yet it took fully one hundred years for his theory to be accepted.
All this because he went against consensus science.
It may be a survival trait, in fact. Not all of us are brilliant mavericks, so we have to rely on group think and past practices. Some disruptions are indeed harmful and must be suppressed firmly for the good of the species, for example inbreeding with siblings and parents.
What's happening right now with the attempted suppression of "hate speech" and "dangerous misinformation" is a classic imposition of majority consensus on a restless, information-empowered population.
It is an attempt to regain control. Never before have humanity had so much decentralized power to disseminate information; anyone can quickly and easily put their ideas out to a vast audience.
Probably a certain amount of control is necessary to maintain order, but obviously, how much is still up for debate.
The suppression of innovation that you have outlined is likely a small fraction of the total. How much might we have advanced, had these people's ideas not been suppressed? How much human suffering might have been averted?
Or would we have merely developed the tools to destroy ourselves and our world that much sooner?
Entire discussions on things like ivermectin to treat covid were banned from YouTube as “misinformation”. Now some studies are coming out that might show that it’s not. At least it deserves a discussion but it has been censored as misinformation. So we lost an entire year of treating people around the world because SOMEONE deemed ivermectin misinformation??
What about the Wuhan lab origination? Last year that was derided as conspiracy theories and misinformation, but now it’s basically accepted as fact.
Who determines what is misinformation? What if Trump wins again or someone worse like Tom Cotton? And they set up a government panel that they decide is misinformation and companies like Google need to follow it? Who determines who is spreading misinformation now?
10 years ago a low fat diet was deemed “heart healthy”. Now that is classified as misinformation. Should low fat diets be censored by Google?
This is the problem. What you thought was misinformation is only really a few studies away from being flipped around.
To be clear, that matters because by censoring "misinformation" you are killing these studies, therefore we are by definition stuck wherever we are right now.
New science and "misinformation" as defined by our digital overlords intersect.
The big tech companies are destroying the value and credibility of our information ecosystems, by treating the first draft of history and science like it's the last. The day after an event , elite opinion becomes "information" and anything that contradicts that is "misinformation."
 I meant this as a slightly comical overstatement, but in many cases it's quite literal.
Rebecca MacKinnon, former CNN Bureau chief for Beijing and Tokyo, wrote a book called Consent of the Network that lays all this out. She says, “This is one of the features of Chinese internet censorship and surveillance—that it's actually carried out primarily by private sector companies, by the tech platforms and services, not by the police. And that the companies that run China's internet services and platforms are acting as an extension of state power.”
The people who make that argument don’t realize how close we are to the same model. There are two layers. Everyone’s familiar with “The Great Firewall of China,” where they’re blocking out foreign websites. Well, the US does that too. We just shut down Press TV, which is Iran’s PBS, for instance. We mimic that first layer as well, and now there’s also the second layer, internally, that involves private companies doing most of the censorship."
This is Integer and float vs malformed code.
Misinformation is code. It’s designed to specifically take advantage of gaps in our society and spread in such a way that makes it harder to challenge it.
Including people who run institutions like Google.
If they can be compelled to disseminate content they think of as irresponsible, so can you.
The art of thinking critically and using logic takes training, and far too many people don't seem to have those skills, due to an inadequate education system in the United States.
Free people should be "allowed" to listen to, and say, what they want. I don't even think Tucker Carlson should be silenced by the government, no matter how much better I think society would be without him on the air.
I think there is a space for content to be labelled as "bullshit" by the people hosting it. Youtube labeling anti-vax lies as "misinformation", the FCC disallowing Fox from using the term "News" on its marquee during their "Four Hours of Hate" from 5-9pm.
Just as fast food is allowed to be sold to people, but they're required to disclose nutrition data - people should be allowed to listen to and spout bullshit, but it should be labeled.
The rise of batshit crazy and easily demonstrably false conspiracy theories like Qanon, flat earthers, 5G, Covid is fake/a Chinese bioweapon/etc. Pizzagate, what have you, and clearly empty populist politicians and political movements across the world show that way too much people struggle with that. And the choices they make impact all of us.
I honestly don't think there's a solution for this. Any authority on "truth" will be abused, but what we have now doesn't work either.
Are you aware that ideas like abolition of slavery, civil rights or acceptance of gays had to spread precisely in the same way, through gaps in the contemporary societies that made harder to challenge them, often because open declaration of such ideas would mean major trouble for the speakers?
Do you think that our current society is perfect in this regard and thus can suppress further functionality of such mechanisms without adverse consequences down the line?
If not, better not touch the gaps.
Except you won't be doing the banning, and it's not going to end well for any of us after you help to give the people who will be doing it the power they want with rationalizations like this.
The amazing thing about these super political fights is like 90% of people are on the sidelines going "what's wrong with both of you?" The people that always end up looking like idiots are the idealogues
I call my organization the good people group. Who would oppose the good people group except the bad people group?
"XXXX statement is misinformation, because it lacks context"
"XXXX statement is misinformation, because it is still up for debate"
"XXXX statement is misinformation, because it is offensive to class YYYY"
"XXXX statement is misinformation, because it is unfair to person ZZZZ"
These are logical fallacies presented as civility. Applying them uniformly would me desperately wrong. Having double standards, and applying them based on partisan bias is nothing short of evil.
Glenn Greenwald said it best. If you are okay with these practices, you are a political authoritarian. No other information is needed to determine this about you.
No one is suggesting regulating truth generally, but rather specific cases that are deemed dangerous .
Now, you could make a slippery slope argument starting from there and that would be a valid, but different discussion.
The slippery slope argument sometimes applies and sometimes it doesn't. It depends on the specific situation. There are examples around the world of governments that very selectively suppress narrowly defined types of speech, in order to protect other values believed to be equally fundamental, but defend the freedom of all others.
 Within the bounds of the freedoms that a private company has to operate as it sees fit, or by means of democratic decisions.
This is a big change because the legislative body is significantly constrained in what it can censor through multiple mechanisms. The slippery slope concern falls flat in that old context, but not in this new context where 1 or 2 people (who we don't see and who may not have even been directly elected) can label something as misinformation and have it scrubbed.
Speech has never been free in this absolute sense anywhere, because, at the very least (!), there are cases where speech has obvious, immediate, terrible consequences.
That means that the difficulty lies in figuring out where exactly to draw a line along a blurry boundary. Hence the slippery slope issue.
Government: can imprison, fine, and enslave you. Corporation: can ban you from online platform.
Companies absolutely and always have enforced their own version of "truth". While Google says this thousands of other companies of similar size are regulating their version of "truth" internally. As we speak lobbyists are paid to make sure senators will vote along their version of "truth". There is no such thing as neutrality, and never has been, only the illusion of inaction.
First it was to "combat hate", that speech was limited according to what partisan big tech companies decided was fair. It was said it had real-life consequences. Harm. So it should be banned.
Then anything from certain parties or ideologies became hate if labeled so by the tech giants. So out they went.
Now, anything questioning the authoritarian narrative of the pandemic is labeled as such.
The slippery slope that people tried to deny with claims of "private companies" has gotten higher and keeps going deeper.
Talking about freedom, freedom of speech or human rights gets you mocked in certain spaces. It's mind-boggling.
"Big tech" decided to ban people for being hateful to others on their platforms. Those platforms don't exist for your protection against government actors. Nor should it.
People agree with censorship if it's in in agreement with their belief.
Obscenity laws are kind of different, since it's perfectly possible to add or remove obscenities from an utterance without substantially affecting the message. I'm not saying I agree with such laws, just stating the facts. What are examples where specific types of messages were banned? E.g. hate speech laws, blasphemy laws, lese majeste laws, etc. In Western democracies, the only examples that come to mind are recent.
>People agree with censorship if it's in in agreement with their belief.
Agreed, generally speaking.
Geez, what did I say that was so disagreeable? This is why I don't have a permanent account here. Whatever.
Of course, my point is seemingly unpopular in very partisan websites where it's seen as a rep/dem or left/right issue (US centric) but the fact that we see more and more of these types of articles (today an EFF one) shows there's more of us, concerned by this arbitrating of truth by a certain group of ideologes and the people who agree with them where they leverage their power to prescribe what speech is worth transmitting and which is worth censoring.
No amount of whitewashing or misdirection of what happened that day or the factors that lead up to it will change that certain “free speech” said by the right mouth, believed by an angry undereducated group can lead to actual loss of our free society. Just look at the insane amount of legislation being passed in certain red states, all based and cheered on by the exact same lie..
We can all argue the merits of google, but that’s just a method to control the conversation by those who seek our society for there own dystopian Handmaids Tale version, and deflection from what put us in this sitaution. A lie, perpetrated by the president, enabled by his supporters, and a Ministry of Truth style belief in what that government said, that’s leading to voter disenfranchisement and loss of faith in the very foundation of democracy. Period.
As for the medical information that I disagree with. If people want to believe in lies, I have enough “don’t tread on me” to let them. Personally that’s very much a game of “play stupid games win stupid prices”. None of my business have at it
The idea that the coronavirus came from a lab used to be one of those circle the wagons points that anyone could get cancelled for. The evidence is so overwhelming that you're now allowed to post that to social media without getting cancelled. How would that information have gotten out there if the cancel network had been perfect?
Trump lied, period. And it lead to and is leading to a lot of negatives.
As for the virus personally I don’t care where it came from but people can believe whatever they want. We have a vaccine now, don’t want it then don’t, doesn’t affect those that chose to. “The big lie” however affects us all, and that’s a problem.
In the case of covid the math changes. Generally speaking if it affects only you, have at it. If it spills out and affects others, problem. Though I’m not gonna argue the pedantry of that, that can devolve quickly
It's not unsurprising, this is a two sided political party war on information. One side is misinformed, one side is less misinformed. Which is it? Nobody can agree.
If I shout fire in the cinema and 1 minute later a fire starts it was still a bad thing to do.
Note too that for this specific conspirancy, it was maybe 30% about the lab and 70% about the Chinese government spreading it on purpose as a bioweapon or for some other nefarious purpose, the latter of which is still not widely accepted even as a possibility (as opposed to a containment failure)
Just as a point of fact, that's false. Usage spiked in late 2019. Nothing special happens on this graph in Jan 2021, and the term is surprisingly in decline right now:
Same with "disinformation":
I was far more worried about the BLM riots which burned entire districts - since I had family affected.
Using Jan 6th as an excuse for government censorship is utter nonsense. What is misleading today can become fact tomorrow very, very quickly.
"In their wake, vandals left a trail of smashed doors and windows, covered hundreds of boarded-up businesses with graffiti and set fire to nearly 150 buildings, with dozens burned to the ground. Pharmacies, groceries, liquor stores, tobacco shops and cell phone stores were ransacked, losing thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise. Many were looted repeatedly over consecutive nights"
"Three hundred seventy-some miles south-east of Minneapolis and about sixty miles north of Chicago on Lake Michigan in Kenosha, the family-run car dealership of an Indian immigrant was burned down by the rioters. The owner, trying to hold back his tear, told reporters that BLM rioters burned his lot two nights in a row destroying all the cars"
Umm, no. I’d rather say it was a mildly interesting event for the entire world outside of the US. For instance, I don’t remember myself experiencing horror really.
I think a better example though is Flat Earth ideas.
Suppressing people from communicating that the Earth is flat is far more dangerous than the idea that the Earth is flat.
All the West really has going for it is that we are able to entertain ridiculous ideas. This is what lets our creativity percolate on the network.
Once that is gone we have nothing. Just a small % of the global population, kind of lazy, kind of entitled.
Police were ordered to take a knee to the mob.
We were told that this was justice.
But the second those powerful people were even slightly threatened, the gloves came off.
Only one person was murdered on the 6th. A veteran and Trump voter named Ashli Babbitt, killed by the police. And Democrats celebrated her death.
That’s not really murder. And no, the rest of the world did not look on in horror at the BLM protests. They looked in horror at what caused them.
Speak for yourself - I am part of the world that looked on in horror at the media's sanction of open violence against the people by a violent minority.
I only know about it but following local independent outlets in Portland.
Regardless of if the riot on Jan 6 was an attempt to seize the government (it wasn’t), this line of reasoning doesn’t track at all since the concept of “misinformation” as a public enemy has been brought up ad naseum since at least 2016.
Let’s be honest, “misinformation” between 2016-2020 just meant “things written about me I don’t like”, it only came from one person/group.
I disagree. While dubbing things “misinformation” was extremely prevalent coming from democrats and those on the left, things like Trump and his supporters dubbing certain reports “fake news” show everyone has concerns.
Recall that the "fake news" scare (and "post-truth era" etc) was actually started by the media before Trump appropriated it against them. And in most cases it was used against people for expressing skeptic towards favored conspiracy theories about the 2016 election.
Ask the rest of the world before you speak in their name. From the other side of the puddle, Jan 6th was a poorly executed riot that was mildly interesting mainly because of the obvious kooks (such as the Shaman) and their outlandish clothing. Don't try to repaint it as a surrogate coup just because polarized American society yearns for Big Defining Events. There is nothing to yearn for.
And historical coups, even the unsuccessful-but-plausible ones look very, very different. Usually a lot more bloody, too.
But as far as Ministry of Truth goes, I am with you. Whatever institutions people build, they should imagine them in hands of their worst enemies.