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Tech Giants Shutting Down Violent Social Media Cesspools

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The tech industry is flexing its muscle. 

Facebook suspended Trumps account indefinitely. Twitter suspended him forever. 

Many of his cronies including Steve Bannon have had their YouTube accounts blocked. It’s similar to what they did to Alex Jones for spouting his conspiracy nonsense a few years ago.

Along the same theme, Parler (the safe space to which all those living in Trumpistan and QAnon territory fled when they got tired of being challenged on their BS on other platforms) was removed by Google from the play store yesterday. Apple then also removed it from the App Store today. 

However, removing Parler from the stores just means new users can’t download it. Existing users who previously downloaded can keep using until the iOS is updated to a version beyond what the app is approved to support.

So, it’s still out there circulating lies and disinformation and lathering up the lightly educated. That is, until tomorrow...

Now Amazon who hosts Parler on AWS has given Parler 24-hour notice that it will be removed from their hosting servers tomorrow. It’s being taken out to the woodshed and shot.

All of these things are happening because of the death threats and incitement to violence happening so consistently on Parler, due to the unsurprising predictable cesspool it’s become. The activities taking place there break the terms of service of all of the tech companies. 
 

What do you think about that? Is this an unacceptable obstacle to free speech?

What happens when it’s less easy for those deepest in the Trump cult to no longer use widely available social media to align with the likeminded and to spread their nazi like messages? 8-Chan again? Back to AM radio, maybe?

Does this just prompt them into the streets sooner with their loaded long guns aimed at their unsuspecting neighbors? Marching with torches screaming “Jews will not replace us?”

Something else? 

Edited by iNow

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Is this banning of Trump just a stopgap measure ?(and a response to his  incitement to anti democratic insurrection,as well perhaps as a wish to disassociate themselves from further incitements) 

Won't he find another outlet soon enough?

Since he will no longer be President  he won't need the amount of followers he has now .

 

The whole question of regulating social media is a huge question in itself.

 

I have always thought that  heavy  accountable moderation should be compulsory.

 

Other than that the only opinions I have are (obviously) that this is a huge world defining question and that developments are moving ahead at lightning speed.

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23 minutes ago, geordief said:

Is this banning of Trump just a stopgap measure ?

Does it matter? Either way, the Twitter ban is permanent, so it seems the answer is no. 
 

24 minutes ago, geordief said:

The whole question of regulating social media is a huge question in itself.

Hence my creation of this thread to discuss it. ✌️

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42 minutes ago, iNow said:

What do you think about that? Is this an unacceptable obstacle to free speech?

All decisions made by private entities.  Having free speech does not obligate others to provide you with a platform from which to express it.

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44 minutes ago, Janus said:

All decisions made by private entities. 

No, they are listed on public stock markets.

 

1 hour ago, iNow said:

Facebook suspended Trumps account indefinitely. Twitter suspended him forever. 

Understandable. And well deserved.

1 hour ago, iNow said:

 

Along the same theme, Parler (the safe space to which all those living in Trumpistan and QAnon territory fled when they got tired of being challenged on their BS on other platforms) was removed by Google from the play store yesterday. Apple then also removed it from the App Store today. 

However, removing Parler from the stores just means new users can’t download it. Existing users who previously downloaded can keep using until the iOS is updated to a version beyond what the app is approved to support.

So, it’s still out there circulating lies and disinformation and lathering up the lightly educated. That is, until tomorrow...

Now Amazon who hosts Parler on AWS has given Parler 24-hour notice that it will be removed from their hosting servers tomorrow. It’s being taken out to the woodshed and shot.

All of these things are happening because of the death threats and incitement to violence happening so consistently on Parler, due to the unsurprising predictable cesspool it’s become. The activities taking place there break the terms of service of all of the tech companies. 
 

What do you think about that? Is this an unacceptable obstacle to free speech?

In simple words? Absolutely, yes..

Imagine somebody makes a computer game, where people are talking to other people in the real-time, write on chat, whatever they want, and then somebody from platform which is used to release that game is telling you that you must include invigilation and capture everything what has been said by them by voice and in chat, to analyze, or otherwise you will be banned from their platform...

ps. Apple HQ is easier to capture than the Capitol.. are they prepared for assault?

Edited by Sensei

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14 minutes ago, Sensei said:

No, they are listed on public stock markets.

That just means people can buy shares, and even if they acquire more than 50% to take control, that control will still be private 

18 minutes ago, Sensei said:

Apple HQ is easier to capture than the Capitol.. are they prepared for assault?

Any wagers they’d do a better job defending it?

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Or one can ask the opposite question. Should we have a situation where much of not most of public discourse is owned and mediated by private companies?

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2 minutes ago, iNow said:

That just means people can buy shares, and even if they acquire more than 50% to take control, that control will still be private 

Private equity, and public equity, have definitions as below:

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

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

https://askanydifference.com/difference-between-private-and-public-equity/

"What is Private Equity?

Private equity means your assets or security representing your ownership in a private company. Their financial information about stocks and shares is not disclosed to the public. A person having knowledge about investments or belonging to the business world can only speculate about their asset’s worth.

No governmental organization like Security Exchange Commission has any pressure on them that is why private equity investors can focus on long-term prospects about their assets."

FB, Google, Twitter are public companies, and they are listed on NYSE:

https://www.nyse.com/quote/XNGS:FB

https://www.nyse.com/quote/XNGS:GOOG

https://www.nyse.com/quote/XNYS:TWTR

Whether XX % of company is at hand of one person is not important.

There are other liabilities. e.g. with minor investors of company.

 

If owners of FB, Google, Twitter would buy back Parler, and then introduce more strict policy for their customers, it would be pretty fair movement (against freedom of speech but legally okay).. but banning them to have app in store, and then servers.. ? Just because you don't want to invigilate people? Absolutely outraging.

 

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12 minutes ago, CharonY said:

Or one can ask the opposite question. Should we have a situation where much of not most of public discourse is owned and mediated by private companies?

Do you mean by owners of television news stations, radio stations, newspapers, printing presses, and monks or slaves serving as scribes?

Just now, Sensei said:

FB, Google, Twitter are public companies, and they are listed on NYSE:

Publicly listed, privately controlled. You’re a smart man. Don’t continue this path of argument. 

1 minute ago, Sensei said:

Absolutely outraging.

Couldn’t they simply setup another platform elsewhere? Microsoft hasn’t banned them from Azure, for example. 

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No one owes you a platform.

 

HOWEVER.

 

I do find it awfully suspicious that, over the years, the left has gradually shifted the goalposts from "not obligated to provide your ideas a platform" to "obligated NOT to." If the latter were their real opinions, why didn't they say so the first time?

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My understanding: the way a privately controlled company moderates its social platform is a from of speech - that is, moderation is speaking. Companies are responsible about their moderation policies in the same way as speakers are responsible for their speech. Companies should have freedom in choosing their moderation policies under same rules as for the public speech itself.

(Btw, I am not that much impressed with actions big companies did last few days...  I hope you also agree that these came too late to be praised for either bravery, morals or foresight.)

 

 

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6 hours ago, geordief said:

Since he will no longer be President  he won't need the amount of followers he has now .

He never really needed followers any more than you or I do, except that he's psychotic. Not being POTUS will not cure his desire for praise.

 

56 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

I do find it awfully suspicious that, over the years, the left has gradually shifted the goalposts from "not obligated to provide your ideas a platform" to "obligated NOT to."

Got any evidence?

As has been pointed out and argued about, the likes of FB are not owned by the Left, but they are  the ones making the decisions to block the terrorists.
Are you saying it was the Lefties who refused to allow a gay wedding cake?

 

4 hours ago, CharonY said:

Or one can ask the opposite question. Should we have a situation where much of not most of public discourse is owned and mediated by private companies?

That's a very interesting question.
And the Devil's advocate answer is "Would you prefer Pravda?"

It's one of those things where a combination would probably work better.

4 hours ago, Sensei said:

Private equity, and public equity, have definitions as below:

And are irrelevant.

The point is that these are not state owned institutions.

If the state was denying them freedom of speech, that would be another issue.

 

Incidentally, when a man who has a press office tells you that he is being censored, you know that he's lying.

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3 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

He never really needed followers any more than you or I do, except that he's psychotic. Not being POTUS will not cure his desire for praise.

Agreed but the point (not  so salient perhaps) I was trying to make  is that ,for him the blow is softened if he can move to another platform with less followers as his future status (as a leader of a political -to be kind- grouping) will probably still  be able to thrive equally well  with that reduced amount of publicity

The problem with Trump is those who use him for their ends. Hopefully those who oppose him and his loose "political" grouping will be able  ,if required to use his presence in a way to further their ends (eg he can be used as an example)

9 hours ago, iNow said:

Does it matter? Either way, the Twitter ban is permanent, so it seems the answer is no

Well .it might matter if his term was not about to end as he could put pressure on Twitter to reinstate his account -or  make political capital of of his matyrdom and the supposed  "assault" on  freedom of speech (which of course ,in the large is a real issue .)

 

Everyone is trying to get  through and past the next 10 days and so "stopgaps" are not to be sneezed at at the stage. 

Edited by geordief

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OP: They will find outlets somewhere. That cohort is a significant fraction of nearly half of the US voting population.

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5 hours ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

I do find it awfully suspicious that, over the years, the left has gradually shifted the goalposts from "not obligated to provide your ideas a platform" to "obligated NOT to."

I reject your premise. It’s false. They’ve always been obligated not to allow incitement of violence, calls for insurrection, and the only real question is what took them so long.

4 hours ago, Danijel Gorupec said:

Companies should have freedom in choosing their moderation policies under same rules as for the public speech itself.

This is a good point, and it’s the lever the companies have been using to take down Parler... That their moderation policy is insufficient 

39 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

OP: They will find outlets somewhere. That cohort is a significant fraction of nearly half of the US voting population.

Indeed. Part of what I’m wondering about, though, is whether some of those outlets will involve actual physical violence... thinking of new “militias” and “shooting clubs” forming with these politics as their foundation 

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If you use the phone system there is certainly nothing the phone companies should be doing to restrict your speech, so there is no obligation or responsibility for them to do so other than to allow the judicial system access to wiretap when it is important enough to the safety of the community to override your rights. So the phone companies have laws that protect them from liable when their assets are used to do harm.

If these media platforms wish to maintain the same protections they can't get to decide how to police their own systems regardless of the fact that they own them.

It might very well be good, (or not) that Trump has had his rights to use compromised and restricted, as it has been with some of his tweets removed or have qualifiers added to point out that his statements are false, and now his right to use removed completely, but the platforms themselves should not be the ones to decide if they are going to have their protections from liable maintained.

Imagine if I made libellous statements on twitter against everyone who has posted in this thread and twitter decided to add a statement to the effect that the statement against, say, String Junky is false, while allowing the other statements to go unqualified. I of course would be subject to lawsuits, but why should twitter not for their implied agreement of my other statements?

4 minutes ago, iNow said:

I reject your premise. It’s false. They’ve always been obligated not to allow incitement of violence, calls for insurrection, and the only real question is what took them so long.

This is a good point, and it’s the lever the companies have been using to take down Parler... That their moderation policy is insufficient 

Indeed. Part of what I’m wondering about, though, is whether some of those outlets will involve actual physical violence... thinking of new “militias” and “shooting clubs” forming with these politics as their foundation 

They are all insufficient.

But what if they became "sufficient" to block views you agreed with?

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6 minutes ago, iNow said:

I reject your premise. It’s false. They’ve always been obligated not to allow incitement of violence, calls for insurrection, and the only real question is what took them so long.

The Penn&Teller:Bullshit episode had a recurring theme of "we need guns so we can commit armed rebellion against the government every 20 years!" I don't recall seeing Penn Jillette in handcuffs following the broadcast of that episode. If there are laws against incitement of violence, social media platforms aren't the only ones against which they are enforced.

 

I'm not sure how one would "measure" shifting goalposts, but I remember back when the Internet was debating the same thing in the context of TV Tropes forumers posting Trump-esque opinions (though usually more of the racist variety than the inciting violence variety) before Trump even made it big. The debate was over whether TV Tropes had a moral obligation to allow people to post such content, and/or to allow other users to be rude to the individuals posting it. Usually the people who supported one opposed the other and vice versa.

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1 hour ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

But what if they became "sufficient" to block views you agreed with?

I’d need to reevaluate my views and/or seek alternative channels to explore them

6 hours ago, Danijel Gorupec said:

Btw, I am not that much impressed with actions big companies did last few days...  I hope you also agree that these came too late to be praised for either bravery, morals or foresight.

I do tend to agree. I feel the same way about those in the Trump admin who are “bravely” resigning in protest when there’s only 10 days left in their jobs. 
 

image.thumb.jpeg.8f4cf112bd19f3e0e67340954693279c.jpeg

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47 minutes ago, iNow said:

I’d need to reevaluate my views and/or seek alternative channels to explore them

No man is an island.

Some of your views are too important to be suppressed, and their expression delayed.

Edited by J.C.MacSwell

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15 hours ago, iNow said:

Do you mean by owners of television news stations, radio stations, newspapers, printing presses, and monks or slaves serving as scribes?

 

10 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

That's a very interesting question.
And the Devil's advocate answer is "Would you prefer Pravda?"

It's one of those things where a combination would probably work better.

Yes, these go the heart of the issue, I think. The biggest issue (I thought) would be monopolies, be it private or public, as it would create a means to easily control information flow. In that context, the rise of huge news conglomerates was a huge worry to me. One could see twitter and facebook as similar entities if that is where folks de facto obtain their information regarding the world.

On the other hand (though that leads a bit off-topic) even if facebook et al. were not private companies we now also see how badly false information can impact society. To a degree that leads to massive number of deaths in, say, a disease outbreaks (with more to come in the future).

So from this standpoint I am not at all certain what the best model should be. I still think that diverse platform rather than monopolies are one aspect. But I am not quite certain whether I am as much on board with social media news distribution as I might have been in the past. Perhaps it is just a consequence of freedom of expression plus new technology and we should just live with the fact that folks will reside in fractured realities. It would also mean that we have effectively crippled our ability to address big challenges which will result in uncountable suffering of the following generations.

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I am a BIG believer in free speech, however, I don't do any social media at all ( other than a few Forums, where I'm somewhat anonymous ).
My rights to free speech stop when they start infringing on the rights of those who have to 'carry' my speech.
So, yes, I agree that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., should be able to police or disallow content they find objectionable.
If people don't like it, they don't need to keep using those platforms.

The big problem, is that society has 'evolved' to use social media as their primary news source.
Gone are the days when the News presented facts without opinion, and you made up your own mind about things.
Now everybody expects to be force-fed 'entertainment' news and opinions.
more and more, popularity ( on media ) determines whether the general public believes you or not.
Presidents used to be chosen on their background, be it military, foreign service, economics, law, etc.
Just in the last 40 years we've had a former movie star, and a reality TV star.
What is happening to our society ???

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6 minutes ago, MigL said:

Just in the last 40 years we've had a former movie star, and a reality TV star.

I think it may be related to getting old, but what gets me is the lack of effort in many of these things. The lies (e.g. QAnon conspiracy) are so obviously absurd and made with no real effort. And conversely folks simply believe even the most absurd of claims without making the effort of double-checking. Trump rose to the top without really putting the works in and was even able to incite an attempted coup. And all without even trying or at least preparing a proper speech. Their whole effort of usurping the power was just lazy and cumulated in a press conference on the parking lot of a gardening centre.

Yet folks that are so obviously inept and lazy obviously have no problem getting what they want and, even worse, get support from other folks. I really have trouble understanding that (and the world at large). To me, social media seems intrinsically connected to that, somehow. I am just not sure what is cause and what is effect.  

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31 minutes ago, MigL said:

I am a BIG believer in free speech, however, I don't do any social media at all ( other than a few Forums, where I'm somewhat anonymous ).
My rights to free speech stop when they start infringing on the rights of those who have to 'carry' my speech.
So, yes, I agree that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., should be able to police or disallow content they find objectionable.
If people don't like it, they don't need to keep using those platforms.

The big problem, is that society has 'evolved' to use social media as their primary news source.
Gone are the days when the News presented facts without opinion, and you made up your own mind about things.
Now everybody expects to be force-fed 'entertainment' news and opinions.
more and more, popularity ( on media ) determines whether the general public believes you or not.
Presidents used to be chosen on their background, be it military, foreign service, economics, law, etc.
Just in the last 40 years we've had a former movie star, and a reality TV star.
What is happening to our society ???

Then why protect them from liability? Why should some billionaire, or a few of them, get to limit your speech but then not be at all responsible for the speech they accept and disperse?

If you go into Walmart they can't kick you out for the views you hold, and tell you to go find another store.

If they want to make the rules and interpret them they need to be able to be held accountable.

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20 minutes ago, CharonY said:

To me, social media seems intrinsically connected to that, somehow. I am just not sure what is cause and what is effect

It’s an amplifier, not a root cause. Lies and disinformation and absurdities spread in nazi Germany, too... well before social media. 

Schwarzenegger put out a good video today speaking along these lines and how the siege on the capitol was like Kristallnacht. 

 

3 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Then why protect them from liability?

This is a much bigger conversation. The question is not if the law should change, but how. 

Here’s what protects them today: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230

Edited by iNow

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3 minutes ago, iNow said:

It’s an amplifier, not a root cause. Lies and disinformation and absurdities spread in nazi Germany, too... well before social media. 

Yes, but I would argue that it took a minimum of effort , buy-in from the establishment and elimination of other voices. Nowadays apparently all you need to do is post fiction somewhere and folks are going to run with it.

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