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Are conspiracy theories our right as citizens of a free country?


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2 hours ago, Alex_Krycek said:

However, FB, youtube, twitter, etc do not generally censor any information unless it promotes violence. 

In recent weeks, a host of political officials — including a dozen state attorneys generaland some members of Congress — have blamed hesitancy in part on Facebook (FB), saying the company has failed to combat the spread of vaccine-related misinformation. 

In a new interview, Carolyn Everson — vice president of Facebook's Global Business Group — responded to that line of criticism, saying the company is "taking very aggressive measures" to remove vaccine misinformation. The effort reflects a top priority for the company, she added.

"We have fact checkers in dozens of countries around the world that are really working around the clock to look at not just misinformation about vaccines, but misinformation more more broadly," says Everson, an executive at Facebook since 2011.  

"We see it as an absolute imperative to try to get misinformation off the platform and redirect people to accurate information," she adds.

Facebook began removing false information about COVID-19 vaccines in December, and expanded the list of offending vaccine-related claims two months later, the social media giant said on its blog in February. Since that month, Facebook took down 2 million pieces of anti-vaccine content, the company told Bloomberg Businessweek on April 1.

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/facebook-aggressive-measures-to-remove-vaccine-misinformation-carolyn-everson-141428270.html

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33 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

There isn't any mention of "false" information here.  

It’s a lot of content. I didn’t quote the whole thing.

This reply does little more than confirm that you ignored the url I shared as my source, the one you even quoted when replying to me. 

No worries, though. Here’s the part you said isn’t mentioned (to be clear though, these are section titles only... more is available within each section):


image.thumb.png.f7e0a34679d78fa9ec3da273968e41aa.png

Edited by iNow
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13 minutes ago, iNow said:

Corporations and the people within them aren’t monolithic in the way you enjoy implying. Also, you’re apparently using a nonstandard definition of the term. 

 

image.thumb.png.01e05a02be7532ab99e572b9fa2ee659.png

Yes,  "relating to or characterized by advocacy for the control of a state or organization by large interest groups" is how I was using the term.   

And I disagree that corporations don't tend to have monolithic interests.  Primarily these are: lower corporate taxes, less legal accountability for corporations, and fewer rights for workers - anything that maximizes profit for shareholders.

Edited by Alex_Krycek
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15 minutes ago, iNow said:

So basically all corporations look the same to you? You believe none are run by decent humans with prosocial aims?

Most corporations in the US are driven to maximize profit, and so they make decisions based on that priority.  If they can pay workers less, they will; if they can pay lower taxes, they will; if they can make an unsafe product at a lower cost and get away with, they will.  And not just "if" - they work exceedingly hard to make their priorities a reality, due to their "lobbying" efforts.  Morality doesn't really enter into it: "it's just business".  Most CEOs and executives of major corporations are in their own elitist bubble and are immune to the consequences of their actions.

Yes, I agree there are some corporations that take an ethical stance and flout convention, but they are in the minority in the US.  Seattle CEO Dan Price of Gravity Payments runs one such company.  He made the baseline salary for his employees 70 k USD in 2015, and interestingly has reported great success over the last five years.  It seems when you treat your employees right and produce happy workers you make more money.  Go figure.  

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-monday-edition-1.5482390/seattle-ceo-who-pays-workers-at-least-70k-us-says-it-s-paying-off-in-spades-1.5482394

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Yep. Employees even gifted him with a Tesla in thanks and in recognition of his correct focus and so consistently doing the right thing. However, your earlier comments here about corporations were so broad sweeping, generalizing, and all encompassing that you accidentally looped him and his entire team and his whole company (an obvious exception) into your disparaging dismissive comments... suggesting rather explicitly that anything they might be involved with cannot be trusted... that media sources should be dismissed if they have any involvement (instead of being dismissed for publishing things unsupported or untrue). 

That’s the problem with monolithic labels like “corporatists” or “democrats” or “republicans.” Labels make it easier for is to ignore nuance and detail, or to lump whole swaths of people into a tribe of “other” and “less than.”

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5 hours ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Most corporations in the US are driven to maximize profit, and so they make decisions based on that priority.  If they can pay workers less, they will; if they can pay lower taxes, they will; if they can make an unsafe product at a lower cost and get away with, they will.  And not just "if" - they work exceedingly hard to make their priorities a reality, due to their "lobbying" efforts.  Morality doesn't really enter into it: "it's just business".  Most CEOs and executives of major corporations are in their own elitist bubble and are immune to the consequences of their actions.

Yes, I agree there are some corporations that take an ethical stance and flout convention, but they are in the minority in the US.  Seattle CEO Dan Price of Gravity Payments runs one such company.  He made the baseline salary for his employees 70 k USD in 2015, and interestingly has reported great success over the last five years.  It seems when you treat your employees right and produce happy workers you make more money.  Go figure.  

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-monday-edition-1.5482390/seattle-ceo-who-pays-workers-at-least-70k-us-says-it-s-paying-off-in-spades-1.5482394

Speaking as someone who worked for an oil major for over thirty years, including a short spell in the US, I find this unduly cynical - or a bit naive.

My experience is that while major corporations certainly are driven by the bottom line, as they should be for the sake of their shareholders, it is not that simple. A major issue for companies like mine was the long term reputation of the brand, which was seen as essential to secure a "license to operate" from society - and thus protect long term profitability. There was also considerable pride in the standards of the company, in such matters as product quality, engineering and above all safety. (The safety culture was extremely tough: people could be - and were - sacked for not switching off their mobile phones when driving, for example. Being at work in one of the oil refineries was, famously, considerably safer than being at home!) 

So it is a bit glib and superficial to claim that the profit motive drives towards unsafe products and working conditions. It may in some companies, but not in well-run ones.

On taxation you are right, of course. No company will pay more tax than the law requires and multinationals do jump around to find the lowest tax rates. But this is driven by governments competing to offer the lowest rates, in order to attract business. This is an argument in favour of countries agreeing to stop this practice and start to harmonise corporate tax rates - as I gather Biden is now proposing, in a modest way.   

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14 minutes ago, exchemist said:

Speaking as someone who worked for an oil major for over thirty years, including a short spell in the US, I find this unduly cynical - or a bit naive.

My experience is that while major corporations certainly are driven by the bottom line, as they should be for the sake of their shareholders, it is not that simple. A major issue for companies like mine was the long term reputation of the brand, which was seen as essential to secure a "license to operate" from society - and thus protect long term profitability. There was also considerable pride in the standards of the company, in such matters as product quality, engineering and above all safety. (The safety culture was extremely tough: people could be - and were - sacked for not switching off their mobile phones when driving, for example. Being at work in one of the oil refineries was, famously, considerably safer than being at home!) 

So it is a bit glib and superficial to claim that the profit motive drives towards unsafe products and working conditions. It may in some companies, but not in well-run ones.

On taxation you are right, of course. No company will pay more tax than the law requires and multinationals do jump around to find the lowest tax rates. But this is driven by governments competing to offer the lowest rates, in order to attract business. This is an argument in favour of countries agreeing to stop this practice and start to harmonise corporate tax rates - as I gather Biden is now proposing, in a modest way.   

Was this oil company British or American?

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2 hours ago, exchemist said:

On taxation you are right, of course. No company will pay more tax than the law requires and multinationals do jump around to find the lowest tax rates

It’s also common among all businesses, large, small, and otherwise. It’s not an issue specific to corporations. 

2 hours ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Was this oil company British or American?

Relevance? If it’s British should we no longer dismiss related news sources, but yes to dismissing those news sources if they’re American??

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44 minutes ago, iNow said:

It’s also common among all businesses, large, small, and otherwise. It’s not an issue specific to corporations. 

Except big corporations tend to regularly pay less tax than small businesses, due to their lobbying power.  I support lowering taxes on small businesses, not letting big businesses who rake in billions in profit pay little to no tax.

44 minutes ago, iNow said:

Relevance? If it’s British should we no longer dismiss related news sources, but yes to dismissing those news sources if they’re American??

I ask because he mentioned safety standards for the oil company he worked for.  My perception is that safety standards are higher in the UK and EU, thanks to more robust regulation from government, unlike the US where the regulation is disturbingly absent.  

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3 hours ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Was this oil company British or American?

Shell: Anglo-Dutch, but with a large and semi-autonomous US arm. But I have in mind not only Shell itself but the companies we used to do business with, either as suppliers to us or as our customers, or as manufacturers whose machines used our products: I was exposed to all three in the course of my career, many of them American companies. 

There were some, usually smaller, who you could perhaps characterise as cynical and driven only by short term profit, but most of the larger ones took a much more nuanced approach to their business.     

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9 hours ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Most corporations in the US are driven to maximize profit, and so they make decisions based on that priority.

Publicly-traded companies are legally obligated to do so, AFAIK.

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9 minutes ago, swansont said:

Publicly-traded companies are legally required to do so, AFAIK.

I think that is more of a goal than a requirement.

Quote

Nevertheless, facts are facts, and the fact is that there is no legal requirement for for-profit companies to maximize returns to shareholders.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/harold-meyerson-the-myth-of-maximizing-shareholder-value/2014/02/11/00cdfb14-9336-11e3-84e1-27626c5ef5fb_story.html

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Back on topic, dismissing entire news sources due to being “corporatist” strikes me as misguided. Dismiss them when they publish crap and inaccurate garbage. Attack the content, not the messenger (or owner).  This shouldn’t need explaining, IMO

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18 minutes ago, swansont said:

maximize returns to shareholders ≠  maximize profits

Quote

To quote the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in the recent Hobby Lobby case: “Modern corporate law does not require for-profit corporations to pursue profit at the expense of everything else, and many do not.”

...

...corporate directors are protected from most interference when it comes to running their business by a doctrine known as the business judgment rule. It says, in brief, that so long as a board of directors is not tainted by personal conflicts of interest and makes a reasonable effort to stay informed, courts will not second-guess the board’s decisions about what is best for the company — even when those decisions predictably reduce profits...

https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/04/16/what-are-corporations-obligations-to-shareholders/corporations-dont-have-to-maximize-profits

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45 minutes ago, zapatos said:

“There is a common belief that corporate directors have a legal duty to maximize corporate profits and “shareholder value” — even if this means skirting ethical rules, damaging the environment or harming employees.”

Still a different argument, as these are extra conditions, but no need to continue; the legal obligation is a more vague duty to work in the best interest of the company, rather than personal interest, and do due diligence to make informed decisions.

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2 hours ago, iNow said:

Back on topic, dismissing entire news sources due to being “corporatist” strikes me as misguided. Dismiss them when they publish crap and inaccurate garbage. Attack the content, not the messenger (or owner).  This shouldn’t need explaining, IMO

Well, the fact is, even with the highest rated news outlets on the schema you posted earlier (CNBC, NBC, CBS, Reuters, etc) there is still an editorial process that is taking place.  A group of editors is deciding what is newsworthy and what isn't, what to cover in depth, what to gloss over, what stories to omit, and how to frame certain reporting.  There are built in, institutional biases at play also; biases that conveniently overlook stories that might challenge the status quo.  It's self serving human nature at the end of the day - nothing unusual - but it does underscore the need for independent journalism to offer an untethered, outsider perspective.  

There's an excellent annual publication released every year called Censored.  It looks at extremely important stories that saw little to no coverage in the mainstream media.  We can debate why these stories were neglected, but we can't debate that this neglect happens on a regular basis. 

I posted some of the news stories from Censored 2020 below.

https://www.amazon.com/Censored-2020-Andy-Lee-Roth/dp/1609809602/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=censored+news+stories+2020&qid=1619283251&sr=8-2

 

Screen Shot 2021-04-25 at 00.05.49.png

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2 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

there is still an editorial process that is taking place.  A group of editors is deciding what is newsworthy and what isn't, what to cover in depth, what to gloss over, what stories to omit, and how to frame certain reporting.

Correct, and without them you may as well be reading the comments section on YouTube videos 

3 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

it does underscore the need for independent journalism to offer an untethered, outsider perspective.  

I tend to agree. You might also appreciate ProPublica. 

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11 minutes ago, iNow said:

Correct, and without them you may as well be reading the comments section on YouTube videos 

Fair enough, but the point is, at the end of the day human bias is at work even in the supposedly unimpeachable bastions of journalism such as the NY Times.  Such bias can and does affect how certain people or issues are covered for decades, if that same editorial perspective is maintained.  

It's interesting to go back and read about the media's coverage of the invasion of Iraq, for example.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_coverage_of_the_Iraq_War#cite_note-autogenerated1-42

I didn't know that the NY Times wrote an exposé on Pentagon officials meeting with members of the media in a "public relations" campaign leading up to the invasion.  So maybe I shouldn't be too hard on the Times after all... 

Pentagon military analyst group[edit]

An investigation by the New York Times discovered that top Pentagon officials met with news analysts where they gave the analysts 'special information' and then tried to convince them to speak favorably about the Iraq war.[42] The discovery was based on 8000 pages of secret information that had been revealed to The New York Times through a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act. The article states that top Pentagon officials would invite news analysts to secret meetings, and urge the analysts to speak positively of the war. Often, the US would give "classified information," trips, and contracts to the news analysts.[42]

Edited by Alex_Krycek
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4 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Fair enough, but the point is, at the end of the day human bias is at work even in the supposedly unimpeachable bastions of journalism such as the NY Times.  Such bias can and does affect how certain people or issues are covered for decades, if that same editorial perspective is maintained.  

You seem to be arguing for perfection. I think our limit may be 'best effort'.

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India recently demanded that tweets critical of the government's handling of COVID-19 be censored under their defamation laws.  This is the slippery slope that exists.  Imagine if Trump had been able to quell dissent regarding his COVID inaction using some vague defamation law.  In a democratic country people should have the right to voice dissent, especially in times of great difficulty.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/other/twitter-removed-tweets-that-criticized-indias-covid-19-response-after-the-countrys-government-asked-it-to-do-so/ar-BB1g0OvG

Edited by Alex_Krycek
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16 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

In a democratic country people should have the right to voice dissent, especially in times of great difficulty.

Is anyone here arguing against that? Do any democratic countries disallow dissent?

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22 minutes ago, zapatos said:

Is anyone here arguing against that? Do any democratic countries disallow dissent?

Yes, India - according to the article I just referenced.  Administrations in other democratic countries try, although it's more difficult legally.

In other news, George Dubya himself has recently been condemning misinformation online. 

Kyle Kulinski from Secular Talk pointed out the absurdity of it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsoSz5i6wkE

 

Edited by Alex_Krycek
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