White House Once Again Circulating A Draft Executive Order On Social Media Bias

from the another-bold-move-by-the-Party-of-Free-Speech dept

Since the White House is convinced social media companies are kicking conservatives off left and (mostly) right, it has decided to do something about it. What this “something” is remains about as vague as the accusations.

Once you remove a handful of grifters and Nazi fans from the list, you’re left with not that much to get upset about. But the few who fervently believe this is happening make a lot of noise and have the ears of powerful people, so stuff — vague stuff — is being set in motion while the First Amendment is set aside.

A leaked copy of what was supposedly a draft executive order on social media bias appeared late last year. If the leak was legitimate, the White House’s proposal would not have been Constitutional. It would have used the pretense of bias to allow the federal government to directly regulate speech on social media platforms. Here’s Mike Masnick’s take on the draft order:

Basically, the order would task the White House with “investigating” social media platforms for bias and then seek to use antitrust actions (or pass it off to the DOJ or FTC) to punish companies that show loosely defined “bias.” The document takes as default that any kind of “bias” on major internet platforms should be taken as anti-competitive (which seems incredibly questionable) and then also requires that various agencies give the President a report on how to “address” social media bias.

How anyone can stretch “bias” into something deserving the DOJ’s antitrust attention is beyond me, but this is similar to assertions made in several lawsuits filed against social media platforms by peeved far-right personalities.

The terrible idea appears to be back on the table after (nearly) a yearlong hiatus. Margaret Harding McGill and Daniel Lippman report for Politico that a handful of unidentified White House personnel have seen a new draft executive order being crafted to tackle social media bias.

The White House is circulating drafts of a proposed executive order that would address allegations of anti-conservative bias by social media companies, according to a White House official and two other people familiar with the matter — a month after President Donald Trump pledged to explore “all regulatory and legislative solutions” on the issue.

None of the three would describe the contents of the order, which one person cautioned has already taken many different forms and remains in flux.

Again, the draft is still a draft and no verifiable copies have been released. But this does indicate the White House still wants to take action against social media platforms for their moderation efforts. What’s a bit more chilling — when you consider the voices behind these statements and where they currently reside — is the comments made by these officials about social media moderation.

“If the internet is going to be presented as this egalitarian platform and most of Twitter is liberal cesspools of venom, then at least the president wants some fairness in the system,” the White House official said. “But look, we also think that social media plays a vital role. They have a vital role and an increasing responsibility to the culture that has helped make them so profitable and so prominent.”

“Us vs. them,” in other words. The White House views social media platforms as the enemy, which puts them on a long, long list of First Amendment-adjacent entities the President doesn’t seem to care for. I guess the goal is to force platforms to become “conservative cesspools of venom” as well, aligning them with the Gabs and Voats of the world.

Another unnamed White House official feels this executive order would dovetail nicely into the President’s recent demands that social media companies branch out into pre-crime to prevent mass shootings.

“They have a role, if not a responsibility, to monitor the content on their sites to ensure that people aren’t threatened with violence or worse, and at the same time to provide a platform that protects and cherishes freedom and free speech, but at the same time does not allow it to descend into a platform for hate,” the first White House official said when asked about the draft executive order.

It’s going to be extremely difficult to “cherish free speech” and prevent sites from “descending into platforms for hate.” This is why moderation is best left to social media companies, which can focus on the latter, rather than worrying too much about what the First Amendment does or doesn’t allow. And this statement ignores the fact that many of the people companies have deplatformed routinely engaged in hateful speech.

If this executive order ever does actually appear, it’s impossible to believe it will find some way to thread the Constitutional needle while still giving the Trump White House what it wants: control of social media platforms.

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Comments on “White House Once Again Circulating A Draft Executive Order On Social Media Bias”

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134 Comments
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Yeah, I can’t see any way such an order could stay on the right side of the First Amendment. And not only is it blatantly unconstitutional, it’s also insanely fascist. I mean, to everyone who likes to think social media bias against conservatives is a thing: How much do you want government control over social media in the hands of a left-wing president?

ladyattis (profile) says:

Re: Re:

None of this surprises me in the least. The conservative movement is out of gas and so they’re trying to force whole generations of users to consume their content lest they be left in the trash bin of history. They continue to insist that if people are just exposed to their claptrap that magically everyone will be anti-abortion, anti-lgbt, and evangelical Christians.

Doug Yurole says:

So, you too want to reverse the "lunch counter principle":

How anyone can stretch "bias" into something deserving the DOJ’s antitrust attention is beyond me,

Your HUGE bias against "conservatives" — that you exhibit clearly above — stops you from seeing that once "bias" gets a toe-hold, it escalates quickly.

You delight in the "right" people being targeted, is all. Like Masnick, you have started dviding people into two categories, the KEY point. — And to be done by corporations authorized by mere statute! Which is literally FASCISM.

ladyattis (profile) says:

Re: So, you too want to reverse the "lunch counter principle":

And to be done by corporations authorized by mere statute! Which is literally FASCISM.

No, it’s not the definition of fascism. You really need to read some Umberto Eco before coming out with this bs line again. Look up Ur-Fascism (sometimes titled Eternal Fascism) then get back to us.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: So, you too want to reverse the "lunch counter principle":

You delight in the "right" people being targeted, is all.

I certainly do. I wash my balls with conservative tears being shed over having your asses kicked off of social media. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of douchebags, and frankly it’s a long time coming. If only you could pull up your big boy pants and create a site of your own, where your ideas could flourish…

I bet you wish you had advocated for more STEM in schools instead of caving in to the god people and pushing that religion bullshit instead. Maybe then you could produce people who could build a platform worth a fuck.

In the meantime though, I look forward to you coming on here and complaining like the little bitch that you are. Enjoy your whining, snowflake!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Have a flag.

Thanks mate! Not for nothing, but the "when they go low, we go high" mentality fell on its ass a long time ago. The best way to counter a bully is a swift punch to the face. Look how well asking for a defense of his position has gone.

And frankly, there’s nothing in my post that’s incorrect:

  • He’s a snowflake (and at times, an incendiary one at that) who is well worthy of my contempt
  • He’s a whiner
  • They can’t create a platform of their own, because there is a lack of conservative-based talent
  • I look forward to his floundering because of his inability to have anything of value done to address his imaginary problem

If that’s worthy of a flag so be it. But honestly he deserves a taste of what will inevitably happen if/when he gets what he wants – he’s assuming advocating for unfettered conservative bullshit will be met with retreat.

It won’t.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

While you’re entitle your opinion regarding "when they go low, we go high," I consider your opinion to be narrow-sighted. Going high is not about convincing the person you’re responding to. It’s about ensuring that everyone else who’s reading won’t simply discount you as yet another asshole.

"I drink conservative tears" just hands people ammunition to use to discount your view.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

It’s about ensuring that everyone else who’s reading won’t simply discount you as yet another asshole.

If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him.

"I drink conservative tears" just hands people ammunition to use to discount your view.

That’s not what I wrote. I don’t drink them – I use them to keep my nuts clean.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him.

This is only valid when the opponent is not already shooting himself in the foot. Your response was, in my opinion, exactly the kind of nonsense that turns people away from supporting you, either.

That’s not what I wrote. I don’t drink them – I use them to keep my nuts clean.

Okay. Point stands.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

This is only valid when the opponent is not already shooting himself in the foot.

Take advantage of the enemy’s unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.

Your response was, in my opinion, exactly the kind of nonsense that turns people away from supporting you, either.

To be fair, I’m not looking for support. If you’re more comfortable taking a passive approach, then by all means go for it. I’m sure the PragerU article was insightful and a more than adequate response to your question. That’s what you’re dealing with – one hit wonders.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Take advantage of the enemy’s unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.

This is only valid when the route is unexpected and the strike actually does something. Your route is exactly what they expect from people who disagree with them, and does fuck all.

(The Prager U article was, as expected, insufficient. Which I pointed out, along with an explanation of why.)

Again, I’m not trying to convince the people claiming bias that they’re wrong. That’s a lost cause.

I’m making sure they don’t convince anyone who is undecided and not already a lost cause by exposing the arguments for the nonsense they are. The fact that when asked for real data, all that can be presented is an article long on opinion and bereft of evidence shows the lie.

Belligerence towards them would simply make other readers ignore me.

To be fair, I’m not looking for support.

To be fair, I’m not saying you should be looking for my support. In terms of our views on the existence of conservative bias, you’d be preaching to the choir. I’m saying you should be aware that your approach is going to do more to convince people that conservative bias exists than it will to convince anyone it doesn’t. Your tactic harms your position.

Put another way? Stop trying to help. You’re only making things worse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Your route is exactly what they expect from people who disagree with them, and does fuck all.

Is it really, though? There’s a reason that the term "snowflake" was coined and assigned to the left. It’s meant to convey weakness in the face of beliefs, rather than fact, and it’s what they use to feel strong. I don’t feel a need to feed that myth, nor that strength, which is why I essentially told him that his tears were bath water for my testicles. I can assure you that I feel far more satisfied than say, for example, someone asking for them to provide proof, and either getting a bullshit article or more likely nothing at all. That’s been done over and over again within this thread, and across all the other articles with a similar theme. The results are consistent and not going to change. Isn’t insanity doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result?

I’m making sure they don’t convince anyone who is undecided and not already a lost cause by exposing the arguments for the nonsense they are. The fact that when asked for real data, all that can be presented is an article long on opinion and bereft of evidence shows the lie.

What makes you think someone who is undecided is going to think a lack of response proves anything? They don’t need to prove anything. They just need to keep repeating it. If you haven’t learned that by now, I’d postulate you haven’t learned this president’s strategy at all. Right or wrong, it’s the repetition makes it true for them.

I’m saying you should be aware that your approach is going to do more to convince people that conservative bias exists than it will to convince anyone it doesn’t. Your tactic harms your position.

Because I have no empathy for their imaginary problem? That’s called living in reality. It’s not always wrong to point out that someone full of shit is clearly full of shit. You might want to sugar coat it, but I do not.

It’s time to call a liar a liar, rather than a misspeaker (media’s biggest disservice to the american people).

Put another way? Stop trying to help. You’re only making things worse.

If he stops writing shit as a result of my words, how exactly would that be worse? You’ve already said people like him are a lost cause…

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Is it really, though?

Yes.

There’s a reason that the term "snowflake" was coined and assigned to the left. It’s meant to convey weakness in the face of beliefs, rather than fact, and it’s what they use to feel strong. I don’t feel a need to feed that myth, nor that strength, which is why I essentially told him that his tears were bath water for my testicles.

I’m sure he’s crying himself to sleep rather than holding you up as an example of someone triggered by his truthful claims.

I can assure you that I feel far more satisfied than say, for example, someone asking for them to provide proof, and either getting a bullshit article or more likely nothing at all.

Personal satisfaction is irrelevant to my goals, and irrelevant to my point.

That’s been done over and over again within this thread, and across all the other articles with a similar theme.

And will continue to be done as many times as necessary.

The results are consistent and not going to change.

Since the results are consistently that idiotic claims with nothing to back them up get exposed as idiotic claims with nothing to back them up, that’s a good thing.

Isn’t insanity doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result?

No. That was a cute quote, once upon a time, but it’s never been accurate. Insanity has an actual definition, of which this is not part. Additionally, it is used far too often to tell people to stop trying. Besides, in the context of this blog, I’m not expecting a different result. I’m expecting the same actors to blow smoke, get their lies exposed, and anyone new to see it and be edified.

What makes you think someone who is undecided is going to think a lack of response proves anything?

What makes you think someone who is undecided won’t realize that a lack of evidence means the assertion is meaningless? This is a hypothetical person. They could take it any way they please.

But if the assertion is made and no one counters it, then the chance of someone assuming the assertion is accurate rises.

They don’t need to prove anything. They just need to keep repeating it.

And all I have to do is keep asking the same questions they can never answer. I just need to keep repeating it.

If you haven’t learned that by now, I’d postulate you haven’t learned this president’s strategy at all. Right or wrong, it’s the repetition makes it true for them.

If you haven’t realized that I’m aware of this, and that I’m not trying to cure them, but rather stop their infection from spreading, I’d postulate you haven’t listened to anything I’ve been saying, and that you suffer from a similar condition.

Because I have no empathy for their imaginary problem? That’s called living in reality. It’s not always wrong to point out that someone full of shit is clearly full of shit. You might want to sugar coat it, but I do not.

It’s time to call a liar a liar, rather than a misspeaker (media’s biggest disservice to the american people).

And I have no empathy for your problem with not presenting yourself as an asshole. It’s not always wrong to point that someone who is being and asshole is clearly being an asshole and is reflecting poorly on everyone who might agree with them. You might not to hear conflicting opinions on your methods, but I don’t care.

I’ll call a liar a liar. Donald Trump is a liar. Mitch McConnell is a liar. Senator Hawley is a liar.

You know how I know they’re liars? Because they can’t provide a goddamn shred of evidence to support their claims, and neither can anyone who supports them. You know how I know they can’t? Because we keep asking for it and they never show it.

It’s also time to call out assholes who hurt their own position with belligerent nonsense. It’s a great disservice to the American people.

If he stops writing shit as a result of my words, how exactly would that be worse? You’ve already said people like him are a lost cause…

Dude doesn’t stop writing shit because people attack him. You’re not the first to do this. It doesn’t work. I’ve seen this guy and others happily walk down the insult train and call out tactics like yours as ad hom, seizing on it as ammunition. The belligerent lost causes respond to belligerence like yours with more belligerence.

My observations are that the comment threads come to a close far more often when they’re (repeatedly) asked for something to back up their claims. Either they run away, or they throw out an article that fails to prove it, have this pointed out, and then run away.

Of course, John (Jhon) Smith/Sanford/Baghdad Bob has a bullheaded stamina for persisting with the same tired arguments based on nothing, but that dude does it no matter who responds to him. Your type of response either gets rolled right over or fuels his fire.

Again. Stop trying to help. You’re only making things worse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

I’m sure he’s crying himself to sleep rather than holding you up as an example of someone triggered by his truthful claims.

I could care less. It’s my satisfaction in using his own language against him. The standard has been set over the last two and a half years, and it’s time to play by their rules. You don’t reason with a bully. I’d be more than happy to return to civility once I start seeing it coming from across the aisle.

Additionally, it is used far too often to tell people to stop trying. Besides, in the context of this blog, I’m not expecting a different result. I’m expecting the same actors to blow smoke, get their lies exposed, and anyone new to see it and be edified.

Sure – given the additional attention this issue has achieved over the last few months, would you say that’s working or not?

You know how I know they can’t? Because we keep asking for it and they never show it.

This isn’t about facts or reasoning, or making the new people see a lack of response. Those who are on the fence at this point aren’t interested in seeing a lack of answers. They’re just seeing who can say the same thing louder, right or wrong.

You’re not the first to do this. It doesn’t work. I’ve seen this guy and others happily walk down the insult train and call out tactics like yours as ad hom, seizing on it as ammunition. The belligerent lost causes respond to belligerence like yours with more belligerence.

Interesting observation – your response requesting proof seems to have the same type of outcome. And yet, somehow it’s better?

Your type of response either gets rolled right over or fuels his fire.

To be honest, my response didn’t get rolled over. It’s gotten 5 responses so far. If it fueled his fire, I’m fine with it. Irritate your enemy.

Again. Stop trying to help. You’re only making things worse.

Making things worse for who? Some dolt looking for confirmation in these comments? I’d postulate a person who uses the comments section of any site to make a true/false decision is easily manipulated and not someone you can count on.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

I could care less. It’s my satisfaction in using his own language against him. The standard has been set over the last two and a half years, and it’s time to play by their rules. You don’t reason with a bully. I’d be more than happy to return to civility once I start seeing it coming from across the aisle.

I don’t care about your satisfaction. Your contribution to the conversation is a negative one, and there I am calling it out as such. Playing by their rules is a bad thing, and I will call it out as such. Don’t be an asshole.

Sure – given the additional attention this issue has achieved over the last few months, would you say that’s working or not?

Too early to tell. I know your contribution in this case is not helpful, though.

This isn’t about facts or reasoning, or making the new people see a lack of response. Those who are on the fence at this point aren’t interested in seeing a lack of answers. They’re just seeing who can say the same thing louder, right or wrong.

That’s a nice, broad generalization you’re making. Neat trick, knowing exactly what everyone reading is thinking. I don’t agree with your assessment (clearly). Again, your contribution is a negative thing. Don’t be an asshole.

Interesting observation – your response requesting proof seems to have the same type of outcome. And yet, somehow it’s better?

Yes. My response requesting proof involves not being an asshole, and has a chance of exposing their claims as lies. Your response involves being an asshole, and does nothing to edify anyone.

To be honest, my response didn’t get rolled over. It’s gotten 5 responses so far. If it fueled his fire, I’m fine with it. Irritate your enemy.

Your response has gotten replies from me as opposed to him. It does not change the observation, which is based on past occurrences.

Making things worse for who? Some dolt looking for confirmation in these comments? I’d postulate a person who uses the comments section of any site to make a true/false decision is easily manipulated and not someone you can count on.

Making things worse for everyone. All you are doing is being yet another asshole. You won’t stop the guy you’re responding to, you won’t edify anyone reading this, and you contribute nothing positive to the discussion with your style of response. All you do is spread additional hate and provide ammunition for those you are responding to.

Stop trying to help. You’re making things worse for everyone.

If you do it solely for personal satisfaction, then you’re a troll, and can get flagged.

Like I said, I’ll call an asshole an asshole. And your response made you an asshole.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8

There’s a reason that the term "snowflake" was coined and assigned to the left.

When someone calls someone else a "snowflake", they’re quoting Fight Club, a satire written by a gay man about how male fragility causes men to destroy themselves, resent society, and become radicalized. Tyler Durden is a personification of the main character’s mental illness; his "snowflake" speech is both a mockery and an example of how fascists use dehumanizing language to garner loyalty from insecure people.

If someone uses "snowflake" as an insult, they’re quoting a fictional domestic terrorist who blows up skyscrapers because he is insecure about how good he is in bed.

TFG says:

Re:

Please provide evidence of a bias against conservative views by social media moderation.

Please define which views, in particular, are being censored. The blanket term of "conservative" is too malleable to be valid for this discussion.

Please demonstrate that there is a pattern of non-conservatives not receiving the same moderation treatment as the examples you provide.

Please note that we are dealing with sample sizes exceeding 300 million – we’ll need more than a few data points to establish a pattern of bias.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Thank you. However, this is the account of a single channel, who has a portion of their videos restricted (but, notably, not removed). Again, we are dealing with sample sizes in excess of 300 million. This data point is not sufficient to establish a pattern of censorship of conservative views.

Additionally, the linked article does not specify what views are being censored. Please define what "conservative" means in this context, ideologically speaking. Nor does it demonstrate a pattern of non-conservatives not receiving the same moderation treatment as their own account.

The data provided is insufficient to come to a conclusion. Please provide additional data as requested.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I notice that you have not done the following:

A) Provide evidence of a bias against conservative views by social media moderation.

(See my response up-thread to your WSJ article for additional detail)

B) Define which views, in particular, are being censored. The blanket term of "conservative" is too malleable to be valid for this discussion.

C) Demonstrate that there is a pattern of non-conservatives not receiving the same moderation treatment as the examples you provide.

Again, please note that we are dealing with sample sizes exceeding 300 million – we’ll need more than a few data points to establish a pattern of bias. Your single WSJ article is not sufficient data.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The article does not cite the videos that have been demonitized. This is an issue, as they have put out videos which do not directly express violence or hate, but are Nazi apologist videos or blatantly lie. Both of these things can also trigger demonetization as not being ‘brand safe’.

I can bring up the constant problem progressive independent media, such as David Pakman with 700K+ subscribers and a nationally syndicated radio show, also have with youtube demonitization. One channel does not a pattern make.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Would you care to perhaps try these then? I’m certainly happy to source articles from other reputable news organizations if you are incapable of finding them yourself.

https://www.theverge.com/interface/2019/4/11/18305407/social-network-conservative-bias-twitter-facebook-ted-cruz

https://gizmodo.com/report-google-news-does-not-have-an-anti-conservative-1835362673

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Media bias concern is like a conspiracy theory. The believers do not need any evidence, they have belief. Your demand for evidence merely proves that you’re one of the enemy.

If you present evidence proving there is no bias, it will be dismissed because belief supersedes all evidence. Not to mention that you will prove you are the enemy.

Come on, we have seen this before. It’s just the latest form of birtherism. There is no way to combat this with fact.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

As I’ve been explaining in a different conversation thread, the request for evidence is not intended to convince those claiming it exists that they are wrong.

It’s to demonstrate to those who are watching and who don’t know what’s going on that their claims have no basis. I’m trying, in my own small way, to help prevent the infection from spreading.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Media bias concern is like a conspiracy theory. The believers do not need any evidence, they have belief."

Yes and No.

In this case the issue is that the platforms kick out bigots and racists. Said bigots and racists identify themselves as conservatives. It follows that the media bias becomes a reality – if you accept that "conservatives" are defined as racists and bigots.

The GOP should have known this would happen when they back in the day invited alt-right populism to bolster their flagging numbers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: So, you too want to reverse the "lunch counter principle":

With corporations, or supported by statute, owners of platforms deciding what speech to carry, you can always create your own platform, and create a corporation if enough people will back your idea for how a platform should be run.

Let the government control speech, and you are one large step nearer the tyranny of a one party state, where disagreeing with the government view is a crime.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: So, you too want to reverse the "lunch counter principle":

The President and his conies are the group dividing people into categories. Their divisive policies and public statements are responsible for all of the division we now see between political opponents and it has swept up the unthinking among the public into the fray.

Just accept the fact that the Constitution protects these private entities’ speech and there’s nothing you or anyone else can do about it. Go start your own social media company that caters to the right-wing if this is such a problem for you.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: So, you too want to reverse the "lunch counter principle":

"Your HUGE bias against "conservatives" — that you exhibit clearly above — stops you from seeing that once "bias" gets a toe-hold, it escalates quickly. "

Said "bias" being that racists and bigots get kicked from selected platforms by the platform owners, and this sticks in your craw because unless you perceive you have the right to stand in someone else’s house and scream invectives you feel your right to free speech is infringed upon? Classic.

If I were you I’d go after the far more harmful problem for conservatives – that they’re not just allowing racists, bigots and religious fanatics to identify themselves as conservative – but that they actively embrace those insufferable lunatics in the fold.

You don’t have a problem with platforms going after conservatives.
You have a problem with "conservative" being gradually redefined as a political group represented by "Stormfront".

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

By all means, show us the anti-conservative bias. Show us examples of the speech over which social media sites punish conservatives. Then explain how that speech doesn’t violate a given site’s Terms of Service and was punished only because it is considered “conservative”.

Also: I can always counter with examples of “leftist” speech receiving the same treatment.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:

Bear in mind we’re dealing with sample sizes of over 300 million. To establish a pattern of biased moderation, whether anti-conservative or anti-liberal or what have you, you need more than 10 examples for it to be significant given the user bases involved.

Bear also in mind that, when attempting to establish a pattern of bias against an ideological viewpoint, one should first define the viewpoint. What views, exactly, are being suppressed?

Mere labels of "conservative" and "liberal" are so malleable in intent and understanding that they may as well be useless for this type of argument.

ladyattis (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

At this point, the only bias is the money grubbing kind with all the automated banning that occurs as a result of how tech companies think (if it can be automated then it shall be automated). Which isn’t good or bad, just lazy. Like how YouTube still leans on ContentID and other automated flagging systems despite their lackluster results. But it’s nothing like what conservatives are claiming nor is it against the law as it is.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Oh, this story again.

And for the 15th time, Most of my friends and contacts are left-wing. And so if I were to go with the evidence of my eyes, I would assume a an anti-progressive bias exists. Why? Because the vast majority of moderation I see is progressives being moderated. I really Only see conservative moderation on social media when its a public figure after months of hateful statements. I don’t see day to day conservative moderation, because my social media feed doesn’t have conservatives who are getting moderated. And its not necessarily because my conservatives are better, but a numbers game. I have significantly more progressive contacts given where I live and my hobbies. And so there is a higher likelihood that one of those contacts will post something that will be moderated. They aren’t being moderated for being progressive or holding progressive values, but because the content of their posts are seen, by the eyes of a minimum wage worker exposed to the worst humanity has to offer, to be a concern for moderation.

The issue with the evidence of your own eyes standard is that you might not be looking at a representative sample. Or you might be mis-identifying the cause of action.

For instance, while simultaneously arguing that you aren’t a Neo Nazi, you might state that Neo Nazi ideals are a very important part of conservative ideology, so taking action over repeated use of neo-nazi rhetoric is taking action against conservatism, not against neo-nazi rhetoric. If that is the hill you want to die on, so be it, but I don’t believe that Neo-Nazis are integral to conservative thought.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Oh, this story again.

I think after the 15th time this story pops up, saying something isn’t happening you can see with your own eyes, you have to kinda start asking newer, funner questions.

You poor, poor, poor persecuted little man.

When will you ever finally catch a break?

I feel so, so , so sorry for you.

Really. Much pity.

Bigly pity.

The bigliest pity ever.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Oh, this story again.

Oh something is happening. It is just lies being repeated over and over to try to make it the truth. But back in reality, no matter how many times you repeat something, it doesn’t make it true. Unfortunately, people are easily gullible and will accept something that is truth that is not. I list flat earthers as my example of that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Oh, this story again.

Just because a small group keep shouting the same thing, and the people you hang out with keep stepping over the line of acceptable to society speech does not indicate a political bias.

Also, just because speech is within the bounds of the constitution does not mean is is acceptable to most of society, only that the government cannot shut you down for saying it; while private institutions can throw you off of their real or virtual premises for speech that is unacceptable to the majority of society.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Oh, this story again.

At risk of being repetitive, this applies to you, too:

The President and his conies are the group dividing people into categories. Their divisive policies and public statements are responsible for all of the division we now see between political opponents and it has swept up the unthinking among the public into the fray.

Just accept the fact that the Constitution protects these private entities’ speech and there’s nothing you or anyone else can do about it. Go start your own social media company that caters to the right-wing if this is such a problem for you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Oh, this story again.

Their divisive policies and public statements are responsible for all of the division we now see between political opponents and it has swept up the unthinking among the public into the fray.

Really??? So the Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Nixon … Lincoln administrations didn’t divide the country in one way or another? It all started with Trump. Right.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Oh, this story again.

" Go start your own social media company that caters to the right-wing if this is such a problem for you."

There are plenty of social media platforms catering to the sort of "right-wing" (it’s not, really) bias these whiners demand.

It’s just that they’d prefer sticking their bullhorn out of a clean and presentable environment which adds credibility rather than the toilet which is "stormfront".

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Oh, this story again.

saying something isn’t happening you can see with your own eyes

Literally no one has been able to show that this is happening to anyone’s eyes.

you have to kinda start asking newer, funner questions.

Yes we do. Like why you continually lie about this stuff then run away when presented with cold hard facts that prove you wrong.

Come on, you’re such a coward. We can prove you wrong with one arm tied behind our backs and you just sit there and take it. The only conclusion can be that you are, in fact, wrong and can’t summon any facts to support your assertions.

Ed (profile) says:

What should happen...

… if Trump puts forth this "Executive Order" is that Twitter should then deactivate his account. Facebook and others should deactivate all of the ad accounts for GOP candidates. If they want to play this game, let’s see who wins. Personally, they should have shitcanned Trump’s Twitter a long time ago. Hell, deactivate his entire damn phone account.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

conservative just wants you to think.

a conservative doesn’t want you to think, they only want you to listen to them and believe what they have to say is the ultimate truth so that the person doesn’t have to think for themselves. Just look at our current state of the republican party right now. Trump has nothing but support from the people who are not smart enough to think for themselves, they just blindly follow.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Talk about blindness. There are plenty of folks on both sides that blindly follow their leaders. How many blindly followed Obama? Most people just don’t care.

a progressive doesn’t want you to think, they only want you to listen to them and believe what they have to say is the ultimate truth so that the person doesn’t have to think for themselves. Just look at our current state of the democrat party right now. (Yep – I guess it works both ways)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Now.. we are getting somewhere. Can we discuss why people such as Henry Kissinger never die. Do they have children’s blood running through their veins? How close are we to marshall law in US? When will they attack Los Angeles with HAARP and put that city in the ocean? Curious minds need to know!

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"A progressive wants you to think like they do and a conservative just wants you to think."

Not since 1950.

But then again, before 1950 "conservative" did not mean "religious zealot", "bigot" or "neo-nazi". When Roosevelt’s "New Deal" more or less expelled the KKK lookalikes from the democratic party the GOP failed to bar the door and just let them in.

Today most stormfront posters consider themselves "conservative". And the only ones to beg to differ with that definition are liberals. Hilarious.

Anonymous Coward says:

I will put this simple and unbiased: this man would not have been elected without the social media platforms he talks about most will not get RE ELECTED without them And most of the people who complain about them on either side will lawfare it to a court stalemate reverting it back to a section 230 outcome “ I hope”

I say that Becuase 1: it’s true 2: I’m not one for politics and until the ##### that has happened through the years I have had to participate. And 3 right now I’m in angry boss Mode where you don’t care if you piss off anyone Becuase things that were working fine are not now because Of arguments so lowly and repeating and endless that the earth might as well be flat because water is falling.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"A private company in the US that wants to operate with immunity and the same rights as an individual citizen should have to be ruled by the same laws as citizens.. So bake that cake."

It does, actually. a citizen is fully free to evict anyone who makes a ruckus on their premises. And a racist or bigot is allowed to make a Facebook account. Said account will only get blocked if the racist in question decides to publish racist ideology.

And if you want the baker to make you a cake then the baker should do so – unless you’re standing in his shop holding a white supremacy speech in which case said baker can evict you from his premises.

Any other flawed analogies and false metaphors you’d like to bring to the table?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Unless the law says “bake someone a cake no matter how much of an asshole they are, even if they threaten you with violence or destruction of your property”, a baker can refuse to serve someone based on what they do (and, in a not-zero number of states, for being LGBT¹). And a baker can refuse to bake a cake with specific messaging on it if they so choose. The government saying otherwise would be a case of compelled speech, which is illegal under the First Amendment².

The next time you want to trot out the “go bake a cake” line like it’s some sort of “gotcha” or mic drop, go read the facts of the Masterpiece Cakeshop and Azucar Bakery cases. You’ll likely discover that you have a misunderstanding of both those cases — and of the non-discrimination laws surrounding them. Ignorance is one hell of a bad look, son.


¹ — Reminder: Federal law has no anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people vis-á-vis public accomodation businesses.

² — Masterpiece was never forced to bake a cake for the same-sex couples that (successfully) sued the bakery partly for this reason. It is also, at least in small part, why Azucar won a similar case brought against it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I don’t mind getting spanked for getting it wrong sometime. But some of of your comments are a little below the belt. I mean, "why drag my mother into it?!!" Besides, I’m a disabled vet who is missing part of my brain. Its awfully hard sometime keeping up with most of you. But, I also like to make myself laugh. Its just so cut and dried on Techdirt sometimes!

ECA (profile) says:

TL/DR..

What I see in conservative..
Tends to be..
32 religious channels all yelling at us that we are sinners.
Or/And
Those Saying they are Conservative, so they can Blame everyone about everything, and NOT solve any problems..

then you get the Liberals…(not many churches here) looking around trying to figure out IF’ there is a problem, and Who/what to blame, insted of themselves.

Might as well have a room full of 2 year olds..trying to figure out how the Turtle died.

Wyrm (profile) says:

Contradiction

Funny how they pretend they want to both "eliminate anti-conservative bias" and "prevent dangerous radicalisation".

  • If they strengthen the conservative position online (which was they truly mean by "preventing anti-conservative bias"), they will reinforce white supremacy, neo-nazi and other extremist movements (religious zealots, racists, anti-lgbt, etc). This will definitely lead to more mass shootings and other lethal actions as those behaviors are tolerated and sometimes encouraged by the executive branch.
  • If they want to "prevent mass-shooting from extremists", the first to be censored will be the president, closely followed by a lot of extreme conservative voices on the net. They are continuously pushing for division, violence and hate. They are not the only violent ones out there, but they are definitely the most vocal about it.

I don’t know for sure what is their priority, but I kind of have a feeling that the second one is just empty words coming from the current administration. They never intended to take action against the current most dangerous form of extremism in the US, which they prove repeatedly by their actions.

cynoclast (profile) says:

The White House is right

the White House is convinced social media companies are kicking conservatives off left and (mostly) right

Because they are. I’m a left leaning anti-authoritarian and a registered Pacific Green, but I can still see this is true.

Authoritarianism and censorship isn’t a good thing, even if they’re done for all the Left reasons.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Answer: Racism and Bigotry.

The main issue conservatives should ask themselves is how come "conservative" has, to an increasing degree, become synonymous with racism and religious zealotry.

The republicans should have seen this coming back in 1950 when the KKK migrated from the democrat party to the GOP én másse.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"Funny how none of the people crying "conservative bias" have so far put up and specified which conservative views are being censored."

Sadly very few of the people whining about anti-conservative bias in the media WANT to bring to the table the often very public reasons the "media" has had to ban this or that poster.

It would probably be easier for everyone in this argument if they had the moral courage to stand up and proudly say *"Platform X banned me for calling black people N**! That’s a fcking conspiracy by leftist gys and qeers upholding the jewish conspiracy!!"

Of course the people dumb enough to do just that happen to be the ones most often getting banned from any forum frequented by non-bigots.

restless94110 (profile) says:

What Kind?

Of imbecile would start off his article doubting that social media is anti-free speech totalitarian banning going on?

So Mitch McConnell gets banned? And Tulsi Gabbard gets throttled? Both obvious actions that happened.

Are you:

  1. stupid?
  2. insane?
  3. have TDS?
  4. evil?

I truly can’t figure out which.

Why would you support fascist censorship?

You don’t think they will come for you?

I sincerely do not understand how someone who seems smart at other times is so utterly stupid when it comes to this.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

How is a social media platform banning someone a “totalitarian” action when social media platforms have every legal right to choose who can and cannot use those platforms? For what reason do you want to force Twitter, Facebook, etc. to remain “neutral” towards all speech and thus host speech the admins of those platforms already decided not to host? How would forcing a private entity to host speech it would otherwise refuse to host not be a totalitarian act in and of itself?

fairuse (profile) says:

President of USA

Well, here I am at the end of another comment section. The only thing nobody said a word about is how well the current president understands advertising.

1) bottle of water A
2) bottle of water B

Keep repeating item 2 is taken off shelf in one store because that store likes item 1.

Make noises about forcing store to stock item 2.

Store looks at ceiling and wonders if stocking water brand A and water brand B is worth the expense. New sign in window says no water sold here.

Private company is not government.

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