Techdirt Podcast Episode 203: Crying Wolf Over Conservative Censorship

from the conspiracy-theory dept

You’ve heard the uproar — conservatives are being censored on social media! But… are they? The short answer is no. The long answer is this week’s podcast, with Lincoln Network policy head Zach Graves joining us for a discussion about the misinformation, hyperbole and general ridiculousness surrounding supposed social media bias.

Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes or Google Play, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt.

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Comments on “Techdirt Podcast Episode 203: Crying Wolf Over Conservative Censorship”

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63 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Snowflake Conservatives

Snowflake conservatives are just whining because they can not accept the truth that stating there are only two genders is something only a Nazi would do.

People who advocate for white genocide, threaten to kill those scummy Covington Catholics, or make statements to Uncle Tom blacks, that would be racist against a good liberal, are just being good citizens and deserve there place on social media.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Snowflake Conservatives

Given that what Elliott Ness and the US Treasury Department did to Al Capone meets the over-broad UN definition of genocide, it doesn’t take a Nazi to notice the current trend that seems determined to give white people the same treatment by society that Jews did in early-20th century Europe.

Prinny says:

I think Mike’s and Zack’s dismissal of the Twitter bias study was just a bit too glib, dood. What they said about them being banned for bad behavior may well be true, from a certain point of view, but it’s only really credible if the rules are applied universally and consistently. Which, as Mike loves to point out, can’t possibly be true because of the difficulties of content moderation at scale.

Therefore, we must necessarily conclude that the rules are applied selectively, dood. The behaviors described, racism, harassment, doxxing, slurs, out-and-out trolling, etc are just as prevalent on the Left as on the Right, if not more so. So we should be seeing extreme-left rabble-rousers being banned at approximately the same rate as the extreme-right ones, dood! The fact that we don’t suggests that bias does indeed exist, and that the stated reasons for the extreme-right guys getting banned wasn’t the reason so much as the excuse.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

One word: Antifa.

In more words: Claiming that criticizing Obama for his politics, lies or crimes in office is racism is either an attempt at propaganda or — if the speaker truly believes it to be true — a particularly vicious form of racism in itself. Why? Because if you look at a person and think the only possible reason to dislike them is skin color, then you are seeing nothing of them but that skin color.

Humans are argumentative sorts, we can find any number of reasons to dislike someone, or even none at all. We’ve all met someone we just plain don’t like, with no reason for it. But saying that the only reason to dislike someone is skin color, despite all of human nature? Racism.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Exactly!

You know what the difference is between a fascist and an "anti-fascist"? It’s a lot like the difference between matter and anti-matter. Scientists tell us they’re exactly the same in every possible way, except for a few specific aspects in which they’re exactly the same except for being oriented in the polar opposite direction. And when they mix with each other, you get a violent explosion.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Isn’t it? The point that if it’s impossible to consistently apply the rules to everyone equally and impartially due to the scale involved, then therefore someone must necessarily be choosing who to apply them to, sure looks logically valid to me!

Your logic is weak. Given your first statement it is NOT given that someone must be choosing who to apply the rules to. The rules may for example only be applied to accounts that’s has a lot of followers/views etc which invalidates your statement that someone has to decide.

Prinny says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Your point doesn’t refute the AC’s argument, dood. It just moves it back a step. If the rules aren’t being applied manually by some sort of admin, they’re being applied automatically by a banning algorithm of some sort… which is acting according to the rules that some person programmed it to follow. The fact that we see biased results still implies biased rules, dood!

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The fact that we see biased results still implies biased rules.

No, it can also imply that the ones making the study are biased, the data used in the study where biased or those who look at the result are biased.

Either way, the twitter bias study failed to take a lot of variables into consideration and the article explaining it ended with a bunch of anecdotes.

The study failed to take into consideration the behavior of people on the left and people on the right for example. Conservatives on the right has stronger opinions about their polar opposites than vice versa which may well play into the language used which got them suspended/banned.

Also, the study had a total of 43 data-points which makes any conclusions drawn from it very uncertain.

jnuts1 (profile) says:

sad

I am have a hard time with this nonsense on techdirt. I really like this site for being objective but not so much anymore. its pretty easy to use the google machine to look up say facebook employees admit to bias and a TON of article from the NYtimes USAtoday Washington times all legit publications pop right up. literally Facebook admitted employees rigged sh!t and most everyone here straight up says it’s not true. Jack Dorsey admitted that conservative employees do not feel safe to express their opinions. he even admits they are biased but it doesn’t seep into content. sure. did anyone listen to the JRE Twitter podcast? they are either biased or seriously ignorant about all of the hypocrisy that was laid out for them.

jnuts1 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 sad

jack the CEO of twitter is on record on the JRE podcast saying all of that is true. and there are countless articles about facebook admitting it’s employees messed with trending results.

anyone that says that’s not true or I need a citation probably needs to do a little research which they/you can do without my help.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 sad

anyone that says that’s not true or I need a citation probably needs to do a little research which they/you can do without my help.

Nope, that’s all on you. The one who presents a claim is the one with the responsibility to back it up, and refusal to do so is grounds to ignore the claim as baseless, per Hitchen’s Razor.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 sad

Context is everything. If I was talking to a grade schooler about mathematics, I’d expect to have to explain the Pythagorean Theorem. If I was talking with an adult who was trying to appear knowledgeable about math, I’d expect them to understand such common-knowledge basics, and if they said the burden was on me to explain the Pythagorean Theorem, I’d be quite within my rights to think they were either being a total bozo or deliberately trolling me.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Hitchen's Razor it is then

So much wasted text when you could have simply typed in ‘I don’t like the burden of proof, so I’m going to try(and fail) to get you to bear it.’

Seriously, do the people who use that tactic ever realize just how badly it undermines them, or do they actually think that doubling down on refusing to provide evidence for their claims somehow makes those claims more, rather than less, believable?

If you actually think that attempting to dodge the burden of proof like that strengthens the claim then I’m sorry to say that you’re wrong, on everything, and if you want evidence of this you can find it yourself because it’s clearly obvious if you can be bothered to look.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: sad

I am have a hard time with this nonsense on techdirt

Nonsense?

its pretty easy to use the google machine to look up say facebook employees admit to bias and a TON of article from the NYtimes USAtoday Washington times all legit publications pop right up. literally Facebook admitted employees rigged sh!t and most everyone here straight up says it’s not true.

You are misreading what those stories were about. There was a highly exaggerated article quoting a disgruntled ex-employee who claimed they rigged the "trending" section that almost no one reads. This was widely disputed by the rest of the team. It also had nothing to do with the newsfeed, which is one people claim is biased. Nor did it have anything to do with content moderation choices.

Your "evidence" is not good. It’s not evidence at all.

Jack Dorsey admitted that conservative employees do not feel safe to express their opinions.

Again, we said in the podcast — which you have now admitted to not listening to, that employees in SF tend to lean ideologically in one direction (though, less than people like yourself tend to think). But there is no evidence of them using that in content moderation decisions. The whole point of the podcast was to discuss EVIDENCE.

You have not shown any other than misreading a story not unlike the stories that we discussed in the podcast.

And you call it "nonsense."

Sorry man, but when facts go against your faith-based belief, it’s not nonsense. It’s reality.

jnuts1 (profile) says:

Re: Re: sad

no I listened to your self-righteous podcast. you could have a killer career on NPR putting people to sleep.

jack admits to bias so pervasive his employees don’t feel safe. he said something like 85% are liberal. that’s a pretty large percentage probably more than people like you tend to think… he also stated that liberals get zero info from anywhere other than liberal media. they have done studies on this internally at twitter and confirmed. facebook admitted that employees of the trending department skewed results. but but but the algorithm flags everyone equally….. that doesn’t mean they apply the rules evenly after that.

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