What worries me is that the US itself will go in the same direction. The surveillance is already there, but it is not acted on for the most part in everyday life. But there may be a clock on how long that will last.
This specific phrasing jumped out to me because being against both censorship and cancellation should be a contradiction. Cancellation is an example of the exercising of free speech.
Should I not have the freedom to organize a protest of my local theater for hosting a controversial figure that I think is worthy of cancellation? Isn't that a very basic and fundamental example of free speech?
Comments like yours seems to reveal a lack of a consistent principle underlying your argument. Instead, you seem to be defining free speech as some narrow window of speech that you agree with and speech outside that isn't worth protecting. Ironically it ends up making your comment a good example of the exact thing you were decrying.
GP didn't mention free speach anywhere. Yet you still take the liberty of defining words they didn't use for them.
>Comments like yours seems to reveal a lack of a consistent principle underlying your argument
cancellation is a societal issue, free speech is a legal issue. GP didn't say "we should make cancellation illegal" they said cancellation, which "a significant proportion of our society has become totally OK with" combined with surveilance, will cause even more cancelation. That is bad. (And I agree, btw.)
You can have fair laws and still have an unfair population obsessed with censorship and cancellation. That's bad, but doesn't mean we should make it illegal. Complaining about societal failaings does not have to mean advocating for those people's views to be made illegal. That seems to be something that censorship and cancellation advocates can't seem to understand.
>Should I not have the freedom to organize a protest of my local theater for hosting a controversial figure that I think is worthy of cancellation?
You have complete freedom to do that, but it doesn't mean you should or shouldn't. That's what GP is saying. And cancellation can be over extremely petty or unfounded things. Obviously there is a line but people have taken a "cancel first, ask questions later" approach, and over increasingly petty reasons. One can advocate against that without being against free speech, which means that the government cannot make speech illegal.
And? Censorship does not imply government censorship. censorship here is simply the result of a successful cancellation.
>being against cancellation is a form of censorship
No. That would only be if GP advocated for it being illegal. GP is saying "don't do that" not "this should be illegal" or even "you should be fired and excluded for thinking that." The fact that you think being against cancellation is a form of censorship is deeply worrying.
>the institution, system, or practice of censoring
See also: https://www.aclu.org/other/what-censorship
>Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are "offensive," happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups.
I do agree with you that being against cancellation isn't necessarily pro censorship either.
>>being against cancellation is a form of censorship
>No. That would only be if GP advocated for it being illegal. GP is saying "don't do that" not "this should be illegal"
How are those two comments not in direct conflict with each other? If censorship is not a legal matter, GP arguing that people shouldn't cancel people is a form of censorship even if they don't argue for legal repercussions.
When I wrote "GP is saying 'don't do that'" I meant entreaty, as in a request to stop canceling people, or as you put it "calling out cancelation as a growing flaw of society."
>a command or entreaty not to do something
What that is is a discussion of ethics. GP is offering their values, along with their reasoning:
>One could easily imagine a situation where this intensifies and suddenly political ideologues are analyzing all the voice recordings Alexa ever made in order to out political enemies. Keeping all this data around, in my view, means it will inevitably get misused over a long time scale.
None of this has stopped anyone from doing anything. It isn't censorship. The goal of a discussion is for both sides to hear each other and hopefully come to a more accurate conclusion. The fact that you keep conflating having and discussing different opinions with censorship is incredible.
>the practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling (see cancel entry 1 sense 1e) as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure
>to examine in order to suppress (see suppress sense 2) or delete anything considered objectionable
GP being against cancel culture and saying cancel culture is worrysome does not amount to censorship
Cancellation is a group of people saying "don't do that" regarding something they find objectionable.
GP is saying "don't do that" in regard to cancelling.
GP wants those people to stop voicing their disapproval. That is effectively censorship of those people's speech.
And telling people that mob mentality is bad, is not censorship. Telling people to self correct is different from telling a platform to correct people
How are they different?
You telling me not do to something would cause me to self censor.
Me telling a theater to not host an event with a controversial figure would cause the theater to self censor.
Either way there is some external force that is pressuring for a change in expression. That is true regardless of whether they are motivated by mob mentality, identity politics, or anything else. I don't know why the motivation for the speech should even matter unless you are arguing that some speech shouldn't be protected based on the motivation behind the speech.
Would it? If you don't agree, you should not listen. According to your view, if I told you to stop commenting on HN you would stop? I'm not forcing you to do anything.
>Me telling a theater to not host an event with a controversial figure would cause the theater to self censor.
The theater is not the one being censored here but the one censoring. When you do it to yourself, you are both the censor and being censored.
>Either way there is some external force that is pressuring for a change in expression. That is true regardless of whether they are motivated by mob mentality, identity politics, or anything else.
Me telling you my opionin is not an external force that is pressuring for a change in expression. Or, it is, but only in the hope that you yourself change your mind. I can't force you to do anything. This is known as a discussion:
>the activity in which people talk about something and tell each other their ideas or opinions
>I don't know why the motivation for the speech should even matter unless you are arguing that some speech shouldn't be protected based on the motivation behind the speech.
Back to the "shouldn't be protected" argument? We aren't talking about a matter of law but of right and wrong. The law provides us a space to discuss what that means for ourselves. If people use that power to shut others down that's wrong but the most we can do is point out to those people that they are wrong.
There is still a difference though. With self correction, you make the choice. With platform censorship, the platform makes the choice for you. There may be an external force in both cases, but in the former case you can still choose to ignore it.
It isn't the same at all. It is "a way of [a] expressing disapproval and [b] exerting social pressure. One can express disapproval without the express intent of exerting social pressure. That is, the outcome may exert social pressure but the point is to have your voice be heard, not shut the other person down.
>Let's go back to the example I mentioned in my first comment.
>You have complete freedom to do that, but it doesn't mean you should or shouldn't. That's what GP is saying. And cancellation can be over extremely petty or unfounded things. Obviously there is a line but people have taken a "cancel first, ask questions later" approach, and over increasingly petty reasons. One can advocate against that without being against free speech, which means that the government cannot make speech illegal.
Well, what is the purpose of the protest? If it is to make your disaproval known, then it is not an attempt of cancelation. If, as you have clarified, you intent is to exert social pressure to scilence them, then you are trying to both cancel and censor them.
In any case, that doesn't make disagreement of opinions in general censorship, as you have claimed:
>GP arguing that people shouldn't cancel people is a form of censorship
Are we both censoring each other now? Or are we having a discusion?
>I don't know how or why you are separating that one action into distinct categories of speech.
exercising my free speech: (almost) any speech falls under this category.
expressing disapproval: GP expressing disaproval of cancel culture
exerting social pressure: When as a part of "mass canceling" an atempt is made to censor someone.
1. Having an opinion is not censorship.
2. acknowlegment of freedom of speech legaly is not the same as an endorcment of said speech.
3. Being against what people do is not a demand that their free speech be taken away legaly.
"Comments like yours seems to reveal a lack of a consistent principle underlying your argument. Instead, you seem to be defining free speech as some narrow window of speech that you agree with and speech outside that isn't worth protecting."
4. Exterting social pressure isn't always a bad thing and is some times needed. When it is simply used as a weapon to shut down non-dangerous people you disagree with it has usualy gone too far.
These can all be true at the same time
What does "have your voice heard" mean? Who is hearing your voice? How does hearing that voice impact that person or group? Isn't there an implicit social pressure on that person to change after hearing voices of disapproval.
Just think of it on a small scale interpersonal level. Imagine your significant other comes to you and says "I'm thinking of painting the bedroom blue". How do you respond voicing your disapproval of the idea without them taking it as social pressure to not do it? Any objection to the color choice will be viewed as pressure to not make that choice. You can't separate the disapproval from the social pressure because the disapproval is inherently a form of the social pressure.
The same is true for protests. People don't protest just to make their disapproval known. They protest to motivate change. People aren't in the streets of Iran and China at the moment because they want strangers to know they disapprove of their government actions. They are doing it to motivate change from their government.
It means for those involved to know about it.
>How does hearing that voice impact that person or group? Isn't there an implicit social pressure on that person to change after hearing voices of disapproval
They are impacted only (or mainly) in the sense that you have given them new information. Think about an argument you had with a colleague: were you trying to pressure them, or were you having a discusion? There may be some element of presure involved, but was that your goal? If you always act that way you will not work well with others, even if it works temporarily.
>How do you respond voicing your disapproval of the idea without them taking it as social pressure to not do it?
My aim certainly would not be to pressure them. I also wouldn't immediately disaprove but initiate a discusion as this is the first time it is brought up. But this is also not the social pressure that is involved in canceling. If I were to say "the wall will be red or we break up" that would be a manipulative and an abusive relationship certainly. Me being honest about how I feel about the color and discussing possible options would be best. But I would certainly try to limit any compelling attitude in order to maintain a healthy relationship.
>People don't protest just to make their disapproval known.
True, and there are also awareness marches and awareness days, which are meant strictly to bring awareness.
>People aren't in the streets of Iran and China at the moment because they want strangers to know they disapprove of their government actions.
Actualy, in china there are two elements, one of which is to let other citizens (and the world) know that they disapprove. But yes the main reason is to affect some change. I didn't say that every action which attempts to change something is canceling. Those two examples (which are ironicaly protests against censorship) are not about censoring the government so the terminology of canceling doesn't really make sense. But if you like we can still use it. Say the protesters are trying to cancel the government, what of it? I didn't say that you can't do it, all I said was that it is on a different level, which is true:
>Exterting social pressure isn't always a bad thing and is some times needed. When it is simply used as a weapon to shut down non-dangerous people you disagree with it has usually gone too far.
This specifically gave me a theory that might explain our disagreement. You seem to be thinking of this from the perspective of the speaker. I am thinking of it from the perspective of the person who must hear the speech. Reverse this hypothetical for example. Imagine you suggest a color to paint a room and your spouse mentions they hate that color. I assume you are a normal caring person and you would simply pick a different color. It shouldn't even be much of a conversation. If someone you care about objects strongly to something, you automatically feel a pressure to listen because you care about them. It doesn't even matter what they intended by their comment.
Maybe I’m only expanding this analogy beyond interpersonal relationships because I had a couple beers with dinner, but your logic there seems consistent. I get the impression that you think social pressure originates with the speaker. That it primarily is something that is intentional. However, I think its origin is right in the name. It is dictated by how society receives your speech. I don't think any of us have complete control over the social pressure of our speech and in turn any speech can induce social pressure. Meanwhile, you seem to suggest that it can be separated from speech by simply not intending to induce that pressure. That allows you to say “cancelling people is bad” with no ulterior motives to stop people from doing it. I don't think that is how society accepts speech. Society hears "something is bad" as an implicit request not to do said thing. It is motivated by practically the opposite reason as your spouse. Society doesn't care about your opinion at all so the only interpretation of you sharing your opinion is that it is an attempt to impact society in some way.
Basically, you think speech is primarily a method to say something while I am thinking of it as primarily a way to be heard.
A few points here. Again, “cancelling people is bad” is a bit simplistic; "cancel culture is bad" is more accurate, or “cancelling people is generaly bad." That aside, while there are inevitably many effects of a given action, and two actions may overlap in their effects, they will not necessarily do so to the same degree. That is, I am not saying that the intent realy matters per se from an evaluatory standpoint of its effect but rather it serves as a potent indicator of the degree of effect. All this is to say that while there may always be an implicit social pressure involved with all speech, it is generaly at a tolerable (and if not then inevitable) degree. While mass cancelation is a method of exerting social pressure, and while as you say both regular speech and cancelation result in some amount of social pressure, the social pressure exerted by cancelation is to a much higher degee, and the reason is that it is intended and therefore amplified, rather than minified as would be in a productive discussion.
> That allows you to say “cancelling people is bad” with no ulterior motives to stop people from doing it. I don't think that is how society accepts speech. Society hears "something is bad" as an implicit request not to do said thing.
I wasn't simply trying to echo your argument. I was explaining why I see hypocrisy in the argument that is against both cancel culture and censorship. Both are forms of speech. Voicing disapproval of cancel culture is received as trying to advocate against cancel culture. That might not be your intent, but it is how it is received. Pressuring someone to not exercise speech is a form of censorship which creates hypocrisy when combined with a stated disapproval of censorship.
As I said:
>All this is to say that while there may always be an implicit social pressure involved with all speech, it is generaly at a tolerable (and if not then inevitable) degree. While mass cancelation is a method of exerting social pressure, and while as you say both regular speech and cancelation result in some amount of social pressure, the social pressure exerted by cancelation is to a much higher degee, and the reason is that it is intended and therefore amplified, rather than minified as would be in a productive discussion.
Therefore there is no hypocrisy, because the degree is much lower and from a moral evaluatory stanpoint of intention one aims to maximize and the other to minimize. To say all disagreements and expressed moral convictions are censorship is to remove censorship as a meaningful word. Therefore we must in order to have this word in to a case of above average pressure.
Fair enough, but you should know that calling out cancelation as a growing flaw of society will often not be received as a neutral position. The people who complain the loudest about cancelation generally do not come from "either side". It ends up making your comment appear to have a specific political slant even if that wasn't intentional.
Look you aren't wrong exactly but for those of us who grew up being incredibly left aligned and still are on a majority of things like myself expressing concerns about cancellation will make others put us in the out group.
Genuinely though I am concerned about it because I think it has a tendency to encourage people to think about others one dimensionally. One of my friends has told another one of my friends that they are a bad person for not cutting someone out of their life because that person voted for the LNP (the major Australian conservative party). This is trying to guilt and shame someone into "cancelling" someone else on a micro scale and it freaks me the fuck out. I genuinely don't think this would have happened if cancel culture wasn't such a thing.
>> It ends up making your comment appear to have a specific political slant even if that wasn't intentional.
This kind of thing also worries me, the idea that viewing a single thing as a flaw culturally speaking is enough to put someone on a specific political slant. To me it feels somewhat prejudicial. I am not going to pretend I've not been guilty of it, because I absolutely have... just it feels to me like everyone is very quick to take positions on a particular thing as evidence as a side in an all encompassing culture war and I hate it
Unfortunately, to those who view the world through the warped prism of partisanship, there are no neutral positions. Everything is tribal - Red or Blue. Statements aren't ever read with an open mind about what is actually being discussed, but rather scrutinized for indications about whether the author is on one team or the other, so they can be either supported or attacked.
>It ends up making your comment appear to have a specific political slant even if that wasn't intentional.
To tribalists, everything has a political slant.
No. The only one here who comes off as biased is you.
I just don’t necessarily think those cases should let the state prosecute you.
You might want to be sure you’re interpreting someone’s position in a way they would agree with before leveling something as grave as to assert their principals are inconsistent.
Free speech is generally a legal thing while one may expect social mores to correct for the things they find distasteful and be disappointed when they don’t. That is not a contradiction.
Do you not see any contradiction in this sentence?
Dishonest speech is still speech. If you support free speech, you support the ability for people to lie because often whether a person is lying or not is not black and white.
If a company employs someone who makes objectionable statements, how is it not free speech to call up that company and threaten a boycott unless they are fired? Boycotts are one of the more fundamental examples of free speech. How can you be against them but for free speech unless you have a very narrow definition of what speech qualifies as being worthy of protection?
The definition of freedom of speech: the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint.
Is it right that your free speech supersedes the free speech of others to the point where you actively fight against their free speech and which means the speech of others isn't really free then, is it?
I don't know, do they? I can't really address a comment like this without you being more specific.
>Is it right that your free speech supersedes the free speech of others to the point where you actively fight against their free speech and which means the speech of others isn't really free then, is it?
Sure, this is a fine principled stance to take. However, if this is a principled stand rather than one based off situational politics, doesn't that apply to other forms of speech which are used to stifle speech of others?
Hate speech is one example. The people who advocate against cancel culture generally aren't in favor of more restrictions on hate speech.
Money in politics is another. If political advertising is protected speech, doesn't a billionaire having the ability to outbid me for all ad inventory in the lead up to an election stifle my ability to freely voice my beliefs? Either the billionaire's ads aren't free speech or they are free speech and are being used to drown out the free speech of others.
I tried to convey that by pointing out that you are exercising free speech to eliminate someone else's free speech. That seems contradictory to an environment where free speech exists.
> Sure, this is a fine principled stance to take. However, if this is a principled stand rather than one based off situational politics, doesn't that apply to other forms of speech which are used to stifle speech of others?
> Hate speech is one example. The people who advocate against cancel culture generally aren't in favor of more restrictions on hate speech.
It seems a little disingenuous to just lump everyone that doesn't think cancel culture in together with those that like hate speech. I don't support hate speech.
> Money in politics is another. If political advertising is protected speech, doesn't a billionaire having the ability to outbid me for all ad inventory in the lead up to an election stifle my ability to freely voice my beliefs? Either the billionaire's ads aren't free speech or they are free speech and are being used to drown out the free speech of others.
I don't know the answers to this, it does not seem black and white and seems like a more complex scenario but an ad market does not seem like it is exactly similar to a free public forum. But yes, it seems bad if that's what you are asking me.
Apart from that money in politics is also a problem. A very complicated one that also is not helped at all with additional hate speech legislation. On the contrary.
> Freedom of speech is not freedom of consequences.
Again, the definition of freedom of speech is "the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint". It's not really free speech if you have to worry about being censored or consequences. It may be reprehensible speech that you are against but using freedom of speech as a weapon to punish others does not foster an environment where freedom of speech exists.
I personally think we should be able to have academic discussions with people that we disagree with and not try to further worsen this divisive and polarized world that we are trending towards by attacking them instead of their opinions. Shouting the opposing side down so that they cannot speak does nothing but make the situation worse. You might feel like you win a short term win by deplatforming someone but it causes further radicalization. It doesn't matter what side of the spectrum you are on you will not convince the other side without actually engaging in good faith discussions.
> > Freedom of speech is not freedom of consequences.
> Again, the definition of freedom of speech is "the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint". It's not really free speech if you have to worry about being censored or consequences.
That's a very absolutist way of seeing free speech. I also don't believe anyone practices this view of free speech in practice. If you have children, are they allowed to say anything without consequences? What would you do with a guest at your house who repeatedly insulted you? I also would like to know what you think about spam filters, or moderation here on HN is that not cancellation?
As a side note there was an interesting post from a twitter discussion a number of weeks ago. The main gist of the discussion was that moderation is hardly ever about "cancelling" some sort of free speech, but about increasing SNR. Harassment, racism etc. decrease SNR and make people leave your platform.
This is not absolutist at all, this is a very basic rule for civilized discourse. You are correct that people occasionally do not adhere to these principles.
> Shouting the opposing side down so that they cannot speak does nothing but make the situation worse. You might feel like you win a short term win by deplatforming someone but it causes further radicalization. It doesn't matter what side of the spectrum you are on you will not convince the other side without actually engaging in good faith discussions.
Are you suggesting we moderate and apply a little restraint to someone's speech because of the consequences of radicalizing someone?
Yes. Why not try to engage them in a discussion to try to convince them? If you truly believe in your viewpoint and want it to prevail, don't you think engaging with them and convincing them of your viewpoint would be better for whatever you believe in in the long run than simply muting the opposing viewpoint?
I doubt many that got cancelled in that way suddenly saw the errors in their ways. It seems much more likely to make them even more extreme in their beliefs and even more against others so it seems petty and counterproductive.
Not at all.
By analogy, someone who is for the free market, must stand against both nationalization and monopolization.
Nationalization happens through regulation; monopolization happens through a lack of regulation.
So you can't say that someone who is "for the free market" is for or against "regulation" as a concept. Some regulation (anti-trust) is needed in order to make the market free. Other regulations (the kinds lobbyists push for) must be avoided in order to make the market free.
As nationalization is to censorship, monopolization is to cancellation. You get one from allowing some participants in the market to capture the market's regulators (moderators) and through them, direct top-down use-of-force to suppress those they don't like. You get the other by not regulating at all, and thereby not inhibiting private actors from either direct suppression of their peers — or, more insidiously, manipulating public opinion to cause aggregate bottom-up use-of-force ("mob justice") to be used to suppress their peers.
Governments have a monopoly on the use of force — i.e. a self-named vigilante is just someone committing criminal assault in the eyes of the law — because we as a society want the use of force to flow through checks and balances.
Insofar as speech can be used as violence to silence or terrorize groups (see: hate-speech laws in much of the world explicitly recognizing this), the act of silencing others through speech — cancellation — should also be considered a criminal vigilante act if not performed through societally-approved channels with checks and balances.
The lack of checks and balances for the "process" of cancellation, is how you get cyber-bullying witch-hunts and mis-aimed identity defacement (see: the Reddit Boston Marathon debacle.) We don't accept witch-hunts in the physical world; why should we accept them online?
Does this mean you would support legislation to outlaw hate speech? After all that works against tolerance of others and is often used "to smear and destroy someones life and silence dissent from your position" "for what many believe to be innocuous or good faith beliefs."
Tolerance is something every human possesses and should exercise, it's not something that can be legislated. An intolerant person will use their free speech to attack, malign and try to get you fired (which is fair). A tolerant person will let you speak your mind even if they disagree. In no point is there the need for hate speech legislation if you have true free speech.
We are in a situation where we are seeing a strong increase in right extremist terrorism (just look at the last month) and it is by far the most prevelant terrorism in the US and many western countries, but somehow the discussion revolves around how the "poor" people who incite and support the violence are "being cancelled". That's intellectually dishonest.
The talk about "cancellation" is almost exclusively a deflection tactic used from one political direction, who have absolutely no problem to use cancellation themselves. Nobody complained about protestor being removed from Trump rallies, often violently, or let's look at the more recent blocking of left-wing twitter accounts by self proclaimed free-speech absolutist Elon Musk (https://theintercept.com/2022/11/29/elon-musk-twitter-andy-n...)
It isn't a contradiction. Think of it this way: government censorship is just when the government cancels you.
The issue with "cancellation" is that it's often a cudgel to suppress and punish expression some minority disagrees with, often to enforce some kind of orthodoxy. It might be someone expressing their narrow "free speech" rights, but in a way that's opposed to "free expression" or a "free exchange of ideas."
It stops being speech when action is levied against someone.
The problem with cancellation isn’t the debate, but losing your livelihood or worse.
It is most certainly not censorship when you consider the context - something these debates regularly leave out. Some views are widely considered to be abhorrent or dangerous. People are free to believe vaccine misinformation or glorify extremism. Society does not have an obligation to listen.
> Some views are widely considered to be abhorrent or dangerous.
I also think pointing to “society” isn’t that useful since it’s a moving target. “Society” isn’t one thing. Things that are acceptable in one place are not in another.
In some places advocating for equality for LGBT people is considered an affront to society. Dangerous even. The question is, what should be the worst consequence of having unpopular viewpoints?
This... isn't true though. It can be and often is, but it isn't just that. People accused of certain types of crimes, or accused of having done something racist/sexist privately are often cancelled or close to it, even without being convicted. And I completely understand where that impulse comes from too, as much as possible I think we should "listen and believe"... but that we should also maybe take that with a bit of "trust but verify" and not immediately have movements to deplatform people for things we didn't witness them do ourselves/have really solid evidence for
I don't think so.
What you should be allowed to do is to freely argue that the speaker you disagree with is wrong. That's free speech.
If you try to influence the theatre to not have the person speak at all, you are suppressing free speech.
Thankfully, this is your opinion, and not actually how courts and the legal system view the first amendment. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that even full on boycott campaigns, which would generally be above the level of simple protest, to be protected speech when the boycott is political in nature and not just for economic gain. https://www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/987/boycotts
>What you should be allowed to do is to freely argue that the speaker you disagree with is wrong. That's free speech.
This is true. That is free speech.
>If you try to influence the theatre to not have the person speak at all, you are suppressing free speech.
No. This is also free speech. If you are simply protesting the action, you are informing the theater that as a prospective customer you are unhappy with their decision and makes you less likely to be their patron in the future. If you are going further and advocating that the theater be boycotted if they host this person, then you need to show that you are attempting social or political change - but from the premise of the discussion here, it is obvious that this is the intent.
Boycotts of businesses that were pro-British or selling British imported goods were a significant part of the early stages of the American Revolution - https://www.masshist.org/revolution/non_importation.php - so they have a long history of being an important tool in shaping America into what her (future and present) citizens wanted her to be.
The theater is not a public square. The controversial speaker has no first amendment right to say whatever they want in a private space. The theater has no right to force people to not have and share an opinion about who they host. I have every right to share my opinions about a person speaking somewhere, and my opinions about what I think that means about the location hosting them. The speaker (likely) has every right to say what they are saying in general, but not necessarily in any given private location.
Free speech is about preventing government censorship of speech, not private censorship.
>No. This is also free speech.
But it is also a threat. Should threats be covered under free speech? That seems tricky, and certainly undemocratic.
If you are a random patron telling the theatre you don't like it they might ignore you, but if you are the owner of the popcorn factory, you suddenly get to decide who speaks and who doesn't.
When does a threat cross the line to becoming suppression of someone's rights? Only if it comes from the government? Only when the person with the gun actually pulls the trigger but not when says "if you speak I will shoot?"
Free speech is not an easy topic, certainly not today when anyone has free access to mass media as well. I think the founding fathers would have phrased things very differently if they had known about Radio, TV and the internet.
I am not a fan of cancel culture in the way it’s practiced today (especially some of the Twitter driven campaigns), but it’s squarely free speech.
Absolutely not. This inverts the meaning of freedom of speech.
First sentence. Your definition jumped out to me because that is a position of pretty one-sided ideologues.
You are free to protest, but not free to "cancel" people. Precision here is very important.
In China any friendliness towards Japan can lead to being “cancelled” but the way it happens isn’t through a local protest.
Perhaps it isn't about freedom of speech but centralization of power. Protest all you want, but if you advocate for the centralization of power in government or corporate hands then you shouldn't complain when you can't protest anymore without getting the same treatment Chinese protestors are receiving
If the context is a vacuum that might be fine, maybe.
In reality the US is hyper fragile intellectually and it has gotten drastically worse over the past 10-15 years. The way that fragility is being managed is through silencing and cancellation instead of through intellectual strengthening. Younger people in the US are entirely incapable of discussing difficult ideas emotionally, they're weak. Today the US would try to defeat the KKK via cancellation, which doesn't actually work; yesterday the KKK - which was a huge movement at one time, and has almost no power today - was defeated in the public square head-on, not by cowering or cancelling. The people that intellectually fought the KKK at the height of its power would ridicule today's incredible mental weakness; such weakness that someone as trivial as Trump has to be cancelled in order to deal with him. If people today weren't so intellectually weak, they could counter a Trump quite easily. Trump is absolutely nothing compared to what was dealt with in prior generations.
You defeat bad ideology through rigorous intellectual conflict in the public square. It's messy, difficult and it can be violent - so what. Anything else and the bad will fester under the rugs where it has been swept, and you risk it getting far worse. There are far worse things than Trump and they're barrelling toward the US right now (DeSantis), that wasn't stopped by silencing Trump; it only gets stopped through exactly what I said - you have to smash the ideas in the public square, your ideas have to win. Or else. The far right will eventually produce the next version of Nixon, and he'll wield far greater executive power compared to what Richard Nixon had. Trump isn't that, he's a carnival barker at best; a big part of the left is too irrational and obsessed to recognize the difference.
The US is lucky it was Trump. He's a de facto clown show. The US is increasingly close to being primed for real authoritarianism, the levers are there.
Rigorous intellectual debate has it's place. You have to definitively disprove something at the start. But at a certain point in time, giving them any more spotlight does more harm than good. There is a certain portion of the population that will be swayed into ridiculous viewpoints no matter how thoroughly they have been destroyed in a debate, no matter how much evidence has been piled in front of them. Rigorous debate of flat earthers rarely convinces the flat earthers they are wrong, and doing so in a public setting provides them more opportunity to spread their misinformation. We would gain nothing of import by putting a bunch of flat earther's on national television and debating them.
Nor would you gain anything by platforming a KKK member and debating them on stage today. There's no advantage to be earned by doing so. But, at the time, when they were at the height of their power and had many people believing in them? Certainly. They had a way to preach their message regardless, the reach to spread the information to a large audience. Being able to argue against them and destroy their message was important.
But cancelling them was also part of the process. Boycotts were a SIGNIFICANT part of the effort in defeating the clan. You can find many, many, many historical references to them. Here's a small sample:
The American Unity League in particular spent a large amount of time and effort organizing boycotts and other methods of cancelling the KKK. It was important and it was effective.
edit: I would like to note that I do not believe that people should be cancelled simply for having differing viewpoints. I do think that we have white nationalists and others who should be cancelled for continually espousing racist hateful rhetoric and agitating for violence against others. I do not think that someone should be cancelled for stupid twitter jokes they made a decade ago when they were 20 and had yet to learn better, but now do.
I don’t see a way out honestly. The tools are too useful and too compelling. Any work done now on differential privacy, E2E, FHE, and other technologies can be easily reverted in a way that’s entirely transparent given the UX people expect. I feel that the rigorous maintenance of rights and freedoms as seen from a western liberal perspective is a very high energy state, and nature and human societies settle into lower energy states intrinsically.
doing it anonymously was always the traditional way to workaround this effect. eg women authors picked a pen name for themselves to appear as men.
Most people would agree free speech doesn’t mean a local restaurant has to serve you. But what about other businesses?
Can dentists refuse to treat you?
Can hospitals refuse to give you life saving treatments based on your political views? Many hospitals in the US are private businesses.
Most people agree that social networks can kick you out. But what about ISPs? Can they refuse your business?
And if ISPs can refuse your business, what about water or electricity companies?
Certainly freedom of speech means freedom from certain consequences. As codified in the First Amendment it means freedom from certain legal consequences. Of course freedom of speech is broader than 1A though.
> Can hospitals refuse to give you life saving treatments based on your political views?
Ask a Catholic hospital to do an abortion.
> And if ISPs can refuse your business, what about water or electricity companies?
We have specific law for these sorts of scenarios. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_carrier and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_utility
The procedures to deal with incomplete miscarriages are the same as for abortion. Delaying such procedures can have horrible consequences. Some Catholic hospitals have played this game, delaying and delaying until sepsis or some other condition becomes life threatening. If they wait too long, the pregnant woman may die.
My question is, should a hospital be able to deny treatment to a person based on that person’s previous speech? Is potentially being denied at the emergency room just another “consequence” of saying unpopular things? What if the hospital is privately owned, and the potential patient has slandered the owner or doctor in the past?
And when utility companies try to stop servicing areas because of the profit loss, these local governments absolutely will fine the shit out of them for it.
That doesn't change your point, but that particular example isn't a good one.
Water and power shut off to houses having parties during lockdown. Certainly a form of protest, and assembly, and yet here we are.
We've long accepted limits on assembly; pretty much any building you enter other than a private home will have a "maximum capacity x people, by order of the fire marshal" placard somewhere.
Using Covid as an excuse for emergency executive powers was a failing of state and local governments across the US.
While las Angeles was cutting power to houses, my kids were in private school in person building life skills. So many of their peers are socially stunted. It’s sad.
The article even indicates this action took place under "the city's party house ordinance, which became law in 2018".
A hospital that doesn’t take Medicare has no obligation to give you any treatments.
What if I live in an area where there’s only one hospital and it doesn’t take Medicare, do I just need to watch what I say so I don’t piss them off and they deny me life saving treatment? Even if that may happen to be legal, is that what the law should be?
If you're a raging asshole, yes.
And what if that dentist is the only one within 50 miles? Even if it happens to be legal for the dentist to deny you, should it be?
Aside from the narrow question here, my broader point is that “consequences for your actions” is the whole question we should be discussing and I don’t think the term “cancel culture” is that helpful in actually exploring that issue.
What do you think about the (former) NFL team owner whose voicemail containing racial slurs was leaked. It was not supposed to become public: should he not have faced any consequences for it on that basis? IIRC, he was forced to sell his franchise by the other teams.
If the receiver of the voicemail leaked it, that's a consequence that the owner should have been prepared for - that sort of thing happens all the time, like with Alec Baldwin.
If it was the phone company that leaked it, then I think that is a different story. Abusing data from a platform advertised as private, perpetrated by someone who does not even know the people in question, is wrong. Nobody is prepared for the consequences of petabytes of conversation data to be analyzed by random people they don't even know. This is the situation I'm more concerned about.
Well, I mean, quite literally, it is. It's always listening to you, and that's how it knows when you say "Alexa". And IIUC all these audio recordings are sent right to AWS and stored indefinitely.
"There were even sensitive conversations that somehow triggered Alexa’s “wake word” to start recording, including my family discussing medication and a friend conducting a business deal."
Those are consequences, and I don't see how you can have some utopia where that isn't viable. Then you just live in a world where you are forced to listen to the broadcasted thoughts of idiots.
This replaced the previous standard of "clear and present danger."
That is literally true.
News organizations are sued all the time for libel or slander, sometimes for good reason.
Hell, Fox had to backtrack on some of their voting machine coverage, recently, for precisely this reason.
In fact, this is generally true for all freedoms.
Honestly, I challenge you to name just one other human right where you believe there is no legal or social restriction on how you can exercise that right.
But if consequences means there is a coordinated effort among major corporations to punish and prevent you from speaking by de-platforming you or anyone who gives you a platform--that isn't freedom of speech (regardless of whether its allowed under the 1st amendment or not).
US social media banned covid misinformation as defined by US health officials. Why is banning covid misinformation as defined by Chinese health officials any different? Shit, the Chinese policy isn't even that different than the US's view 18 months ago--US lockdown protestors were vilified.
There might be some difference between “consequences to the message” and “consequences to the speaker” but I’ve never seen anyone try to tell those apart.
For example, if I say something controversial to my SO at home it shouldn't cause me to get fired because Alexa overheard and its recording leaked?
I suspect there is a lot of nuance to both sides here. Like if the president of the US tells racist jokes to their lover in private, then public consequences after a tell-all book may be in order. (By public I mean people may chose to vote them out.)
What if yer dog gets mad at you yelling at the television and bites you, that was a consequence, right? so ha! I've totally proven how silly you are for thinking that you should be able to make a statement to yourself about muhammed without actors in the middle east calling for your death!
When people talk about consequences for saying stupid things, this is exactly what they're talking about. Embarrassment for saying completely assinine things, not losing your ability to support yourself because you made a stupid joke when you were 14.
If you can't understand the difference between the two, that's a you problem.
You can bury your head in the sand and pretend this sort of damage isn't happening regularly, but the rest of us choose not to.
I raised my head up high and actively looked for the story by Googling "lost business daughter joke" and came up empty.
Stand on your own two feet.
Your argument forgets that it's also free speech to react to something objectionable. If the government forced me to do business with you without my consent, that would be compelled association, which is more similar to how Mao's government behaved in the 50s.
> What worries me is that the US itself will go in the same direction. The surveillance is already there, but it is not acted on for the most part in everyday life. But there may be a clock on how long that will last.
Russia should have paid attention to how much more effective economic and asymmetric warfare is compared to kinetic warfare
I am 100% sure that Russian state-sponsored trolls are largely responsible for the current state of the "culture war".
Do you remember when Facebook reported how much Russian state actors had spent on disinformation spread on that platform during the Trump presidential campaign? It was of the order of $100,000. Pocket change, to turn the brains of an entire nation into argumentative mush.
The two are linked. Those who wish to see Western culture fail, just want us at each others' throats.
That was just their advertising budget. It doesn't include their hundreds of thousands of sockpuppet accounts operated by their clickfarms.
* liquidate unions
* avoid environmental laws
* take advantage of cheap labor
Both parties fell over themselves in paving the way for US businesses to move the bulk of their manufacturing outside the country.
The Chinese millionaire kids who are buying houses for cash are a product of the distillation of thousands of once blue collar jobs that burned to move production overseas.
Any derision in the quality of Chinese made goods should be directed at the companies themselves. Those factories are built what they are told to build. That brand that was once a mark of quality that is now making a shoddy product is just extracting value. Your Macbook Pro and that power tool in name only are made in the same place.
Western governments encouraged it! “They’ll want to democratize!”
This depends on how you and I are using the terms. If you realize that I am using those terms somewhat synonymously, then what I said makes sense. You can disagree with the way I am using the words, but you can at least understand why I would make the claims that I did if that's how I am using those words.
I could have said "big business" which is closer to meaning "wall street" but this is semantic shorthand, and some misunderstandings may happen.
This is the end result.
Yes it is. Think advertising, marketing, and product placement. It's so pervasive you can't even see it.
> Yes it is. Think advertising, marketing, and product placement. It's so pervasive you can't even see it.
But that's not the state. That'd be much more frightening.
Just look at this: https://www.businessinsider.com/us-army-marketing-esports-co...
"After Congress withheld half of its ad budget due to an audit that revealed millions in spending that didn't deliver results, the Army dissolved its marketing division, relocated to Chicago, and revamped its approaches to data and events. Officials told Business Insider they planned to emphasize conferences like Comic-Con and esports festival Pax, saying gamers and programmers "make good soldiers.""
Whoops, got a little too exposed during the audit time to reset the paper trail.
If they do delete, then at least they only do that in China, and they treat other jurisdictions differently.
Correct, that twitter thread is only about Chinese people living in China.
"If they do have slave labor, then at least they only do that in China, and they treat other jurisdictions differently."
Good to know if that if something is bad, but doesn't affect you personally, it is suddenly no longer bad.
But to your point, China has more control over Apple than the US does over Huawei as iPhones are assembled there (with most components beinf made in Korea and Taiwan).
yeah, rhetorical question, but the issue here isn't necessarily adherence to local laws, but rather having some principled stance.
yeah, I'm hearing it, "principled stance"... one can dream
One of the main points is about this view that "companies must always make more short-term profit at any cost". Sinek says this is just a mind-virus that took hold after Milton Friedman started pushing it, and not only is it not actually true in any legal sense, it's a toxic philosophy that eats away at companies and slowly destroys them. He outlines how it's a big part of why Microsoft keeps losing out to Apple again and again.
(Another point it goes on about is how much more productive your workers are if you treat them like human beings)
So hopefully this book will keep getting more and more traction, and eventually we might not live in a toxic corporate dystopian hellscape
Wonder what pretext that one is going to slip back in again as.
Why is that? Culture, mores, and politics shape how power is used. What makes authoritarianism inevitable?
On one hand power begets power, on the other hand people are easily scared and readily convince themselves of the worst possible explanation.
The anti huawei thing only really kicked off when huawei started dominating key telecoms markets.
When they started kicking out huawei tech they also didn't discriminate between smart (where bugs could easily hide) and dumb tech like aerials (where they couldn't), suggesting that protectionism is at least as much a motive as national security.
The stage is already set. Just make sure your suitcase is packed. The craziness won't come from the government, it'll come from this culture's own inherently fascist tendencies
I agree. I don't know how the US can allow Apple products if they're willing to shut down Airdrop to suppress Chinese protests.
> They have no qualms silencing their own population and invest heavily in surveillance technology. Why would anyone want their equipment?
Yes, but enough about the US, we're talking about China.
On the other hand, many true stories also first circulate online in this format.
I know we're all expected to click through all links and make informed judgments, but like it or not, the title on HN is very powerful in guiding the conversation. Claims like this need an appropriate level of skepticism until corroborated...
I'm flagging this submission, I encourage everybody to do the same. A tweet suggesting that "some users report" some ambiguous behavior is not news. Perhaps some corroboration will emerge and this tweet will eventually be proven correct, but the onus of proof should always be on those who are making the exceptional claims.
CCP is ruthless and has been repeatedly shown to have no qualms oppressing and killing people and abusing technology in similar ways. So the data point is not far fetched.
It would be good to have this either confirmed or proven false. Until then I find it a perfectly valid discussion.
It kind of is a single data point with a vague "users report"
Also, extraordinary claims like this still require more than vague anecdotal proof. If this is on device, can we see the request packet that caused the video to be deleted? Can we see the decompiled code that allows for such a thing to happen?
If this is true - it is a concerning but not surprising maneuver.
Here's a few choice quotes:
"And then came the laughable claim in Xi’s speech that China does not ‘carry aggressive or hegemonic traits in its genes’"
"The idea that Trump’s ‘China virus’ rhetoric is xenophobic is puzzling. "
I'm thinking of two huge examples from recent times:
* The widespread belief that people in China have social credit scores.
* The belief that zero-CoVID was fake, and that CoVID was actually spreading like crazy in China, but was somehow covered up.
These are claims that can be disproven just by knowing people in China and asking them about their lives. Given how many millions of Chinese people live abroad, how many expats live in China, and how many cross-border connections there are in general, it's crazy that so many people still believe the above theories.
There's very little knowledge about China among the Western public, and there's a strong tendency towards conspiratorial interpretations of everything regarding China.
This should be mostly rectified by asking a ramdon Huawei phone user in China.
With stories like these where I have known bias, I always come to the comments before reading the article.
If this is happening, I hope Apple says no to the CCP when they inevitably ask Apple to do the same.
Could Apple use that new CSAM-hash-comparison feature to accomplish something similar?
Nevermind - it looks to me like this mechanism is just for letting Apple know if they should pop open an encrypted image stored on their Cloud.
In the case of China, they should already be able to do that with impunity since they control the regional iCloud and keys
I'd also not be surprised if this was false however - I don't own a Huawei phone and I'm not located in China, so I can't verify this at all.
Apple will do whatever the CCP tells them to do because they are not willing to lose a market of a billion+ potential customers.
Companies have no problem being complicit in enabling authoritarianism as long as it's profitable.
> the White House deleted a social media post on COVID-19 vaccine donations that included Taiwan's flag. A spokesman for the White House National Security Council called the use of the flag "an honest mistake" by the team handling graphics and social media that should not be viewed as a shift in U.S. policy towards Taipei
Emoji are governed by the Unicode Consortium, not the US government.
In this case, the Taiwan flag is character number 1848, codes: U+1F1F9 U+1F1FC
I.e. the Unicode consortium explicitly didn't want to get into the mess of deciding whether Palestine, Taiwan etc. are "real countries", or need to release updates if one country annexed another etc.
So the official standards for the regional indicator symbols just provide a way to encode two-letter ISO country codes, leaving it the implementation's and ISO's problem to map that to political entities.
 - https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-restricted-airdrop-cap...
Yes, that was why there was an uproar. If any hash is deemed bad, that could be of anything.
What’s even easier than that?
- Was this video taken within a geofenced area between these times?
- does audio contain any filtered words?
Only if the video is previously known, as far as I'm aware.
Apple gladly does whatever the CCP asks of them
Yeah looks to be on-device (page 4): https://www.apple.com/child-safety/pdf/CSAM_Detection_Techni...
If a user chooses not to use cloud, could this mechanism still allow protestors sharing videos to be identified?
Or is this mechanism only for giving Apple the green light to pop open images already stored on the cloud (in which case you're right, the whole conversation is irrelevant)
looks like this is just for giving apple the green light to open up uploaded images - which is irrelevant in China because they can already do that
There’s no reason that the tech couldn’t be used on non-iCloud images in china. But by that logic, they could just force-ably upload images in china and forget the whole hashing nonsense.
That includes dragnet surveillance from the federal government, where "0 to 499" FISA data requests yielded data from over 32,000 different accounts over just a 6 month long period.
I mean, I guess so. That doesn't mean Huawei isn't harming the safety and security of millions while Apple is just your standard monopolist.
What worries me is that the US itself will go in the same direction. The surveillance is already there, but it is not acted on for the most part in everyday life. But there may be a clock on how long that will last.