So Wait, People Really Think The Barr DOJ's Investigation Into Google Is In Good Faith?

from the bad-faith-clown-show dept

Late last week, news emerged that the DOJ would likely be bringing a massive antitrust lawsuit against Google. Reports suggest this is the culmination of a full year of saber rattling by Bill Barr, who has made “antitrust inquiries” into “big tech” a top priority at the DOJ:

“the DOJ’s antitrust inquiries into Google, Facebook and other Silicon Valley powers has become a priority for Attorney General William Barr, who has asserted greater control of the probes and has said he wants to make a decision on Google by the summer.”

The news was quickly met with celebration by numerous folks, many of whom have correctly noted that US antitrust enforcement has become toothless and frail, and our dated definitions of monopoly need updating in the Amazon era. The announcement was also highly celebrated by a litany of folks eager to see Google’s domination of search, advertising, and other sectors disrupted — for both justified and competitive reasons.

Oddly, much of the coverage of the DOJ’s potential antitrust case operated under the premise that Barr’s efforts are being conducted in good faith, and might actually result in useful remedies at the end of the battle. The problem with that assertion is multi-fold. One, Bill Barr just got done making it abundantly clear his DOJ isn’t actually interested in the rule of law. The Trump DOJ has also made it abundantly clear it’s not above weaponizing antitrust for petty grievances, as we saw with the ridiculous lawsuit against California over vehicle emissions.

Barr’s DOJ also isn’t what you’d call consistent on antitrust and monopoly enforcement, either.

Barr’s DOJ, for example, just got done rubber stamping the $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, despite a laundry list of warnings from economists that concentration in the telecom sector would reduce competition, raise rates, lower overall sector pay, and result in up to 20,000 to 30,000 job losses. Yet DOJ antitrust boss, Makan Delrahim, not only rubber stamped the deal without listening to experts, he used his personal phone and email accounts to help ensure deal approval. That is what “antitrust enforcement” looks like at Donald Trump and Bill Barr’s DOJ.

The DOJ’s lawsuit to hamper the AT&T Time Warner lawsuit was also treated with furrowed brow seriousness by the press, despite it being well out of character for a Trump administration that generally panders to AT&T, has a less than zero interest in consumer protection, and usually has no problem with industry consolidation — provided you’re an ally of the administration. There’s ample indication the DOJ’s lawsuit was driven by Trump’s disdain for CNN and his ally Rupert Murdoch, who saw two attempts to buy CNN rebuffed by AT&T and had been working overtime to scuttle the deal for competitive reasons.

Why is monopolization in telecom and other sectors ok, and monopolization in Silicon Valley not ok? Because, as we’ve noted previously, much of the Barr DOJ’s sudden, uncharacteristic interest in “policing monopolies” is being driven by the telecom sector (Barr you’ll recall used to be Verizon’s General Counsel). Giants like Comcast, Verizon, and others have been hungrily eyeing Silicon Valley’s stranglehold over advertising revenues for the better part of the last fifteen years, and there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind they’re driving a lot of the anti “big tech” animosity you’re seeing from the likes of Bill Barr and Marsha Blackburn, whose interest in consumer protection, level playing fields, monopolies, or consolidation is utterly nonexistent on any other Sunday.

A desire for stronger antitrust enforcement or concern for monopoly domination isn’t what’s driving the Barr DOJ here, and press outlets assuming this is a good faith effort are clowning themselves. It’s being driven by telecom sector allies and Trump pals like Rupert Murdoch, who are eager to boost their own advertising market share. It’s also being driven by heaps of partisan nonsense about how Conservatives are being “censored by big tech,” which as we’ve documented repeatedly isn’t based on anything remotely resembling reality.

None of this is to say that there aren’t very obvious monopolistic problems Google presents that need addressing. And the separate antitrust inquiry by state AGs (expected this fall) is far more likely to be conducted in good faith, even though there too you have a lot of AGs that were just fine with monopolization in sectors like telecom. But anybody who thinks the Barr DOJ’s effort in particular is driven by a genuine interest in reining in monopoly power simply hasn’t been paying attention.

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Companies: facebook, google

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Comments on “So Wait, People Really Think The Barr DOJ's Investigation Into Google Is In Good Faith?”

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526 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

As if the previous administration did any better

DOJ Antitrust investigations are nothing more than public finger-pointing to get away with unofficial State Actor relationships. Companies give backdoor access to their information and the government bends over backward to let them become a monopoly.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The cyber actors who have interacted with me have called the problem "radical extremist group" rather than liberals or conservatives.

radical extremist group is accused of picking out children to hit with their lasers and continually coming back to really kill them

they further threatened to try to extinct humanity if they are actually ever prosecuted for their radical extremism

I have personal experience as a target of that radical extremist group

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Anonymous Coward says:

Explain This To Me

One of Techdirt’s weirdest editorial policies is this constant claim that conservative voices aren’t being silenced by Google, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

This is factually untrue and I don’t understand how anybody can say it with a straight face (and expect to be taken seriously).

What Techdirt seems to claim is that no, conservatives aren’t being deplatformed, only "hate speech" that violates TOS.

The problem with this viewpoint is that in the past "hate speech" was limited to a narrow definition that most people would consider "hateful" – namely racial slurs, threats of violence, etc. But in recent years, the definition of "hate speech" has vastly expanded to now include many viewpoints that have always been considered conservative . Most sensible people would agree that these American conservative viewpoints include being against gay marriage, illegal immigration, Islam, transgender rights, affirmative action, etc.

Those have been and still are the viewpoints of the majority of American conservatives. Many of those same viewpoints are now banned by various terms of service.

It’s fine if Techdirt thinks those conservative opinions being silenced is a good thing … but to claim it’s not happening is just ridiculous.

It’s a disingenuous claim, and it makes you look foolish. It is very clearly happening. "Who you gonna believe; Techdirt or your lying eyes"?

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Pixelation says:

Re: Explain This To Me

"This is factually untrue and I don’t understand how anybody can say it with a straight face (and expect to be taken seriously)."

Citation needed. Conservatives keep complaining about being censored but can’t point to non-hate speech as an example.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Explain This To Me

PaulT, nope. Nice rhetorical trick. Notice I didn’t attribute any particular reason (much less a malevolent reason, as you attributed to me) why these companies are censoring conservatives, I just said it’s obviously happening.

Because, again, as I very clearly said, most people used to have a similar definition of "hate speech". Slurs, advocating violence, etc. So, "attacking" gays would fit in that old definition, and is not what I’m arguing here.

BUT … if you suddenly (last 10 years) now define saying "I don’t think gay people should be allow to marry each other" or "I think Pride parades are obscene" or "I think gay sex is gross" as hate speech.

So simply redefining normal conservative positions as hate speech results in conservatives being censored. Do you not admit that this is true?

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Explain This To Me

"Notice I didn’t attribute any particular reason (much less a malevolent reason, as you attributed to me) why these companies are censoring conservatives, I just said it’s obviously happening."

So, why is it happening apart from so many bigoted assholes being associated with the right?

"BUT … if you suddenly (last 10 years) now define saying "I don’t think gay people should be allow to marry each other" or "I think Pride parades are obscene" or "I think gay sex is gross" as hate speech."

Yes, it’s changed from "gays should not be attacked" to "gays should have the same rights as straights". Why is that an issue?

"So simply redefining normal conservative positions as hate speech results in conservatives being censored."

You see to think that "normal conservative positions" equates to "bigotry you used to be able to get away with". That is an issue.

Steve says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Explain This To Me

You’re building a strawman on conservatives. You made your first mistake when you attributed a personal belief, or opinion about LBGT agenda, or behavior, as somehow taking away the civil rights of gays. More and more conservatives are socially libertarian, which means my personal opinion should not infringe on your civil rights. Other conservatives are Christian, which basically says they can not agree with your behavior, but still love you as a creation of God. Please make a mental note of this, sir, and stop judging people you don’t even know.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Explain This To Me

No straw man, I’m stating my experience with them. Your no true Scotsman fallacy doesn’t translate.

"Other conservatives are Christian, which basically says they can not agree with your behavior, but still love you as a creation of God"

Which would be fine if they acted like that. From where I sit a lot of them seem to be extremely pissed off that the supreme Court just decided that gay people have rights.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Explain This To Me

Pixelation …

Wait, wait, wait. "Citation needed" followed with "Conservatives keep complaining"?

So you admit someone is being de-platformed/censored/kicked off Twitter (I’m not going to get into Stone’s favorite semantics discussion). True?

You said "conservatives keep complaining". Your word for them: conservatives. So you’re saying the complainers are actual conservatives. True?

Did you read what I wrote? The "can’t point to non-hate speech as an example" is a non-starter, because as I very clearly said, traditional conservative positions have recently been redefined to be hate speech.

Analogy: say Google, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook – for whatever reason – decide to adopt a Term of Service that says "From now on, it’s considered hate speech and will be violation of our TOS to advocate for a vegetable-only diet". Lo and behold, a whole bunch of vegetarians "keep complaining about censorship". Would you now argue that "vegetarians being censored is a myth"?

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 'Oh, you know...'

Conservative: I have been censored for my conservative views
Me: Holy shit! You were censored for wanting lower taxes?
Con: LOL no…no not those views
Me: So…deregulation?
Con: Haha no not those views either
Me: Which views, exactly?
Con: Oh, you know the ones

(All credit to Twitter user @ndrew_lawrence.)

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 'Oh, you know...'

That One Guy – I know your copy/paste was meant to be flippant, but oddly we might actually be getting somewhere on this discussion.

So you admit you think conservative = bigot.

Now, are:
a) Bigots being deplatformed?
or
b) Bigots not being deplatformed?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 'Oh, you know...'

TFG –

Since you asked twice, it seems like you genuinely want to know and are discussing in good faith. I think I said it pretty well in my original comment: "American conservative viewpoints include being against gay marriage, illegal immigration, Islam, transgender rights, affirmative action, etc."

I suppose one could deny that those are American conservative viewpoints, but then you’d be going against what self-professed American conservatives state outright are their opinions.

But that creates a problem, because those are in fact what most conservatives believe. And expressing those opinions will get your Twitter account disabled, YouTube videos demonetized/removed, etc.

So the only way to be able to say "conservatives are not be silenced by Big Tech" is to also say those are not conservative positions. Which, c’mon, is ridiculous – but is (I think?) what Techdirt is saying.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

the only way to be able to say "conservatives are not be silenced by Big Tech" is to also say those are not conservative positions.

Therein lies the rub: If one associates those views and the attached rhetoric with conservatives, and that rhetoric leads to bans, the issue has nothing to do with conservatives being banned for being conservatives and everything to do with conservatives being banned for using rhetoric that violates the TOS.

American conservatives don’t have to rail against the supposed evils of queer people/immigration/any religion that isn’t Christianity (or a lack of religion)/anything that benefits people of color. They certainly don’t have to do it with the language of ignorant bigots. But if they’re going to do all that, they must learn to deal with the consequences. Such consequences can include being booted from a platform they don’t own (and have no legal right to use) under the principle of “we don’t do that here”. And if’n they don’t like it, they can go find a platform that will accept such speech — like Gab, 4chan, or an even worse alt-right shitpit.

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Therein lies the rub: If one associates those views and the attached rhetoric with conservatives, and that rhetoric leads to bans, the issue has nothing to do with conservatives being banned for being conservatives and everything to do with conservatives being banned for using rhetoric that violates the TOS.

See, and I don’t hold that those positions necessarily define "conservative." I believe it’s entirely possible to be "conservative" without holding those views.

And even then, there’s the question of the method used to argue the viewpoint. Are those who cry out against what they see as bias against them being removed just for holding their view, or are they being removed because of how they express it?

Consider that Prager University, a self-defined highly conservative group with views largely in line with those expressed just now, has most of their videos up, fully monetized, no issue. Those videos still express those views, so what is the difference between the ones that stay up and the ones that get the moderation?

Again, to anyone who claims there be a moderation bias against conservative viewpoints, I invite you to provide statistically significant data (against the backdrop of millions of moderation actions per day) displaying a disproportionate amount of moderation actions against those who hold conservative viewpoints strictly for holding conservative viewpoints.

Not because they broke out the slurs or attacked people in general.

I’ve yet to see it happen.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Not because they broke out the slurs or attacked people in general.

Therein lies the issue though, because it seems to be pretty clear that to the person you are trying to get answers from bigot and conservative are the same thing, such that penalizing someone for bigotry is penalizing them for expressing ‘conservative’ positions

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 'Oh, you know...'

They seem to have been pretty clear on that by crying foul about how bigoted positions that were given a pass as acceptable in the past were now rightly being called out as bigoted, so while I most certainly intended to mock them for that I’m not seeing how I was strawmanning them in any way.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:5 'Oh, you know...'

Two things:

1) Timing. When you put up your post, the AC had yet to clarify the conservative positions in question. Even though you turned out to be right, without it clearly stated, it ran the risk of being a strawman.

2) Preventing wiggle room. I consider it important to allow the person to clearly state the position, and thereby out themselves. When they state their own position it makes it that much harder for anyone to claim misunderstandings. The less wiggle room for bad faith arguments, the better.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 'Oh, you know...'

They’d already done the first via a comment several hours before mine(8:13, ‘BUT … if you suddenly (last 10 years) now define saying "I don’t think gay people should be allow to marry each other" or "I think Pride parades are obscene" or "I think gay sex is gross" as hate speech.’), which while it may not have been quite as clear as a later comment still basically said the same thing, so I don’t really see it as strawmanning to point that out.

As for the second given who you’re dealing with you’ll have one hell of a time with that, but I can certainly see the value in nailing someone down like that for the reason you noted, so a fair point there.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:7 'Oh, you know...'

"They’d already done the first via a comment several hours before mine…"

I probably missed it, then, especially if it was in a different comment thread. Sorry on that one.

As for the second given who you’re dealing with you’ll have one hell of a time with that, but I can certainly see the value in nailing someone down like that for the reason you noted, so a fair point there.

It’s okay. I’m That Fucking Guy. They’ll give up before I do.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 'Oh, you know...'

TFG –

Well, I mean, you can try to "trap" me or something, but I’m not going to try to "wiggle out" of anything. I’ve been pretty explicit with what I’ve said. I’ve not tried to be vague or skirt around anything. So if by "nailing" me you mean that we’re just going to disagree after I get tired of trying to get a straight answer out of you (you know, I "give up"), yeah, I suspect that’ll be the case.

I’m saying outright that anyone who says that conservatives aren’t disproportionately censored/suppressed/silenced by Big Tech are either:

  • blatantly lying
    or
  • don’t know what "conservative" means
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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:9 'Oh, you know...'

I’m saying outright that anyone who says that conservatives aren’t disproportionately censored/suppressed/silenced by Big Tech are either: blatantly lying or don’t know what "conservative" means

And until you can put up with evidence, your claim of "blatantly lying" is not supported, even if we decide to take your definition of Conservative as rote (which I don’t).

I am still waiting on that data I’ve asked you for upwards of five times now. Show the evidence that those with "consevative" views are being disproportionately moderated because of the views they hold, and not because of the method they use to express those views.

Remember, it must be statistically significant against the backdrop of the millions of moderation actions per day.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 'Oh, you know...'

"I’m saying outright that anyone who says that conservatives aren’t disproportionately censored/suppressed/silenced by Big Tech…"

Racism and bigotry is suppressed by most of Big Tech on their platforms, yes.

You are claiming that racism and bigotry are core concepts of being a conservative. We do not agree.
Nor, in fact, did your grandparents who went to germany and fought the people whose core precepts you appear to have adopted.

Your views aren’t "conservative". They were as loathsome back last generation as they are today. It’s just that you got away with it until now.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 'Oh, you know...'

Racism and bigotry are also not the only things being "censored". For example, a bunch of accounts have been cracked down recently on for spreading conspiracy theories and misinformation about COVID-19, which if left unchecked stood to get people killed.

I think this guy is also saying that dangerous, irresponsible propaganda is some kind of purely conservative concept, which doesn’t say what he thinks he’s trying to say…

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Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11 'Oh, you know...'

What’s behing banned, in most cases, is not viewpoint, but behavior.

Bullying, harassment, slurs, lying, disinformation, ban evasion –

All are generaly against TOS no matter their motivation; just bigotry happens to disproportionately rely on those tools.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 'Oh, you know...'

I probably missed it, then, especially if it was in a different comment thread. Sorry on that one.

No worries, in a comment sections with comments popping up left and right in various threads honest mistakes like that are bound to happen.

It’s okay. I’m That Fucking Guy. They’ll give up before I do.

Ah, so that’s what the initials mean, good to know. Have fun then.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Explain This To Me

Nah, I think the problem is that people who’ve always called themselves conservatives, and whose opinions have not changed over the years, and still call themselves conservatives – are now being told by people like you that "Nope, you’re not conservative, you’re radical right wing!".

See the problem? They never stopped calling themselves conservatives – it’s how they define themselves and what they self-identify as. Same self-adopted moniker, same opinions. The group identity has not changed, the worldview and political positions have not changed.

But then you come along and say "nope, you’re radical right wing".

Good try. They won’t accept you redefining who they are, just like a liberal would not allow someone to say "Yeah, I know you call yourself a liberal, but you’re actually a far left Red Army Faction commie".

Don’t be ridiculous.

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Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Explain This To Me

It is the responsibility of the communicator to ensure that the communicatee understands what the communicator intends. If conservatives fail to be seen as conservatives it is not the viewers fault. It is the conservatives fault for sending the wrong message.

I could call myself a snow angel (substitute any fictional being for snow angel), and try to get everyone around me to believe that I am a snow angel, but if I don’t display the characteristics of a snow angel (whatever those are) they are not going to believe that I am in fact a snow angel. The same goes for conservatives who display characteristics that are beyond what other conservatives see themselves as, and therefore get labeled as something else. You can be a bigot and a conservative but expect to be seen as something else by folks who are conservative but not bigoted.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Explain This To Me

Go ahead, deny the overton window has been moved to the right so far that Reagan would now be considered a liberal.

I agree that the ultra-right whatever you want to call them are not what used to be considered conservative. I do not care what they call themselves, these people are radicals who want to watch the world burn. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it’s something about that rapture silliness. They screw everything up here and then leave … sounds familiar.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Explain This To Me

"One of Techdirt’s weirdest editorial policies is this constant claim that conservative voices aren’t being silenced by Google, Twitter, YouTube, etc."

No, they claim they aren’t being disproportionately censored. If all racists a re being censored, but more of them are on the right, that just means more racists are on the right, not that the right is being targeted.

"But in recent years, the definition of "hate speech" has vastly expanded to now include many viewpoints that have always been considered conservative"

Such as?

"Most sensible people would agree that these American conservative viewpoints include being against gay marriage, illegal immigration, Islam, transgender rights, affirmative action, etc."

Oh, so hateful bigots are still being censored, you just noticed that more hateful bigots are on your "team".

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Explain This To Me

Paul,

I know you’re not trying to argue in good faith here, but your post actually spells out why I find Techdirt’s editorial policy to be so confused.

You explicitly said those viewpoints (against gay marriage, illegal immigration, etc) are being censored.

So now the only for you to claim conservatives aren’t being censored is to say that those aren’t conservative positions. Is that what you’re saying?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Explain This To Me

"I know you’re not trying to argue in good faith here"

I am actually. I’m sorry that you don’t recognise your own faults, but they’re not mine.

"So now the only for you to claim conservatives aren’t being censored is to say that those aren’t conservative positions. Is that what you’re saying?"

No. Try reading my actual words noext time.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Explain This To Me

I feel I need to add this as well:

  • My question is not rhetorical. I sincerely don’t understand Techdirt’s reasoning here. Every article that I’ve seen on Techdirt topic this never actually addresses the disparity between Techdirt’s position v. actual reality. (For instance, the article hyperlinked in the story "Enough With The Myth…". seems like it’s about to make a point, but devolves into a discussion about "some think neutrality is required by law; it’s not" and "conservatives are playing the refs". Those might be valid points, but they aren’t what I’m asking here.)
  • I’m not saying these companies aren’t well within their right to censor these conservative voices, or that these companies must be "neutral". That’s a separate discussion.
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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Explain This To Me

"Every article that I’ve seen on Techdirt topic this never actually addresses the disparity between Techdirt’s position v. actual reality"

Maybe if one of you guys decided to explain what that disparity is rather than whine that racists were kicked off private property for being racists, as is their free association right, you might get an answer.

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Explain This To Me

My question is not rhetorical. I sincerely don’t understand Techdirt’s reasoning here. Every article that I’ve seen on Techdirt topic this never actually addresses the disparity between Techdirt’s position v. actual reality.

Please explain to me where the disparity is. Responses that don’t actually show the disparity will be ignored – it is not obvious.

You have show statistically significant data that shows a disproportionate number of conservatives being taken down for conservative views.

Remember there are millions of moderation decisions per day. Statistically significant means you need instances in the thousands, per day.

You also have to remember that people being racist get their stuff taken down for being racist. Slur slinging gets taken down for being slur slinging. Etc. Double-check the reason for it to be taken down – was it because they professed to be a conservative, or because they did something reprehensible?

And remember, disproportionate. You must look at the non-conservatives who are being banned, or having posts deleted, etc. To show bias, you have to show a statistically significant number of non-conservatives who do not get their stuff taken down when they should have per moderation policies.

I wish you luck, and patience.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Explain This To Me

You have show statistically significant data that shows a disproportionate number of conservatives being taken down for conservative views.

Almost every single thing this person has posted on this thread has been flagged. He has not said anything offensive and appears to just be trying to have a legitimate conversation with you people. I see this happening on many TD threads, where someone expresses an opinion or viewpoint that could be considered "conservative" or leads the reader to believe that the person has right-wing political views, and then of all the sudden, BAM! All the posts get flagged, and all of the libby-extremist TD regulars swoop in for the roast. I’m no conservative, but I don’t need to be to see that you people are really making yourselves look bad.

To the Anon: best not to try to have a normal conversation with these hypocrites, get whatever news you need from here and let that be the end of it. Que: this post has been flagged by the community.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Explain This To Me

Gent at 9:27 …

No, the issues is that leftists, because they believe that every one of them is a special, unique, super-interesting individual because of their odd sexual choices, being filled with rage in different ways about the fact that the world is what it is and not what they wish it could be, confused gender and race worldviews, and other special, unique lifestyles have been:
1) Called snowflakes by normal people at one time or another
2) Don’t know what snowflake actually means.
3) And now it’s they’re favorite word (yes, despite #2 above); see Masnick using it in nearly every comment or article he writes

The funny thing is modern leftists all – to a man, woman, and otherkin genderchoice – have one thing in common: they absolutely hate their dads.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Explain This To Me

Please provide evidence that anything, even the smallest iota, of what you have claimed here and elsewhere in the comments is true.

Given the lack of any such provided evidence so far, ever, I must conclude that it doesn’t exist, and claims to the contrary are bald-faced lies.

It would be nice to be proven wrong, but I don’t hold out much hope of that.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Snowflakes

The term special snowflake (later shortened to just snowflake) rose to prominence in the late aughts on 4Chan/b and /pol, a reference to the notion that each ice crystal forms a unique pattern so they’re all different yet still pretty. (In fact those patterns quickly start to get repetitive, but I digress.)

The argument rose originally from Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, those most people got it from the David Fincher movie not the book that contrary to what our parents taught us, we are not special but in fact ordinary. The term space monkey was borrowed from our program of sending animals up on rockets trying to learn how to bring them back alive: As space monkies we are expendable, as workers, as soldiers, struggling toward a higher purpose.

This is a counter-argument to the one made by Alan Moore in Watchmen comic book series that we are all thermodynamic miracles, and it is only because we number in the billions that we fail to see the sublime qualities in each of our lives, even if there is no higher purpose to our respective existences. We have value and fail to see it the way the sublime beauty of a tree is lost in a dense forest.

But the Trump era has shed sunlight on the inconsistency of the special snowflake insult: Trump regards his own personal life special, as is those of his allies and family. Everyone outside that window is disposable, whether soldiers to throw at a war or patients to succumb to the new epidemic. And this has echoed throughout Trumpist and conservative culture: the marginalized, the downtrodden, the sinners and nonbelievers– they all are mediocre and sin-ridden and destined for Hellfire, where only the inner circle is Heaven-bound, forgiven and deserving of privilege.

And slowly and surely that margin constricts like a Fortnite perimeter, pushing more and more people out into the Other, where they no longer have significance. They eagerly throw hatred and resentment at the Trade Unionists and Communists unaware that they are on the same list.

Curiously the ones who like to talk of Special Snowflakes are also into American Exceptionalism, suggesting Americans are superior to non-Americans, just for the flag they salute. We in the US have failed to adopt a British notion of humility that we only crawl away from vulgarity and illiteracy through trial and error across time, that modern civility is rooted in a long history of the failures of savagery. That self awareness will ultimately outpace skill and competence. In that light, we are not intrinsically special, rather have to earn greatness through toil, and through that suffering we learn sympathy for those who still struggle with their primordial nature.

Conceding that we’re not special (that we’re all mere snowflakes) is grounds for compassion, not contempt, but the sentiment in the US is not that we are not special, but you are not special. Trump absolutely thinks he is (or should be) special, ever in fear that his loyalists will collectively realize he is not. But in the meantime he is glad to tread in the snow and leave his footprints on our collective faces.

21st century ideology has been about the rats getting hungry, and looking to separate those who get resources from those who don’t. Why one deserves them over the other are false justifications. We’re happy to decided that those who are the wrong color, or have the wrong culture, or worship the wrong gods are to be left to starve or wither without medicine while the privileged flourish. In this regard snowflake is a dog-whistle, that it’s okay to be cruel and not participate in the larger society that was necessary to create modern luxuries and infrastructure in the first place. All of us snowflakes exist for the elites to ski upon us.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Explain This To Me

Guy at 2:55 … well, I wasn’t expecting necessarily a normal conversation.

In fact, I got what I was (sadly) expecting, which is Masnick lying.

I actually was pleasantly surprised that a few anonymous commenters are being honest here (that they consider conservatives bigots, and that bigots are being censored by Big Tech).

But of course, not shocked at all that all the Blue Checkmark commenters – to a man – avoided answering anything honestly. Expected from the big dogs on the block (Stone, That One Guy, Paul). Surprised by TFG, as it’s not a name I usually identify with being a discussion-avoiding liar.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Explain This To Me

I have asked you a single question, over and over, on which the whole premise of the discussion rests:

Can you provide evidence that conservative bias exists?

I am surprised that you are surprised that I would ask for this and stick to it. It’s what I do. Please stop trying to evade the question and thereby evade the discussion.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Explain This To Me

I think he was assuming that you could just do your own research, like a responsible adult would do. Here are some Twitter employees admitting that their algorithms censor content based on users’ political affiliations:

https://www.projectveritas.com/news/undercover-video-twitter-engineers-to-ban-a-way-of-talking-through-shadow-banning-algorithms-to-censor-opposing-political-opinions/

Anyone who tries to claim that information is not being manipulated/suppressed/fabricated by monopolistic companies that are conveniently in a position to do so in the current political environment is not worthy of anything other than being laughed at in the face.

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Explain This To Me

Responsible adults provide evidence to support their assertions rather than expecting others to do their research for them.

I invite you to provide statistically significant data that shows an actual history of disproportionate moderation actions due to conservative views.

Project Veritas’ video is not said data.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Explain This To Me

Responsible adults research a subject before they talk profoundly about it, so that they don’t make complete fools out of themselves.

So, how long back into history are you talking? One year? Five years? Twenty years? The internet only became widely used by/available to by consumers in the late 1990s/early 2000s.

Odds are, no evidence regardless of the quality/quantity would be enough to sway your little brainwashed mind. This video shows and identifies employees who admit that while they worked for one of the largest social media companies, that company promoted political bias in its operations. Yes, it is a conservative site, did you expect it to show up on IBT?

You’ve been asking over and over again for something, and now it has been given to you, and you’re still not satisfied…sound familiar, anyone?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Explain This To Me

Well said, sir. Wow, so there is an actual grown-up in Techdirt comment sections now besides me?

If word got out and other adults started coming here … yipes, I hate to think what Masnick would do. Even if all those mature, logical comments were flagged/hidden (which, face it, they would be), it might prompt Masnick to have his cadre of lying propagandists actually start at least attempting to add a thin veneer of vigor and rationality to their articles.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Explain This To Me

Haha…

This website is an enigma to me. Lots of good writing on good topics, but the people who comment here…they leave something to be desired. It’s like they read these articles and then somehow are unable to apply the knowledge in any sort of fundamental/logical way to the reality in which all of us live. I understand the international people who are fed up with us, and they very well should be, because the belligerent behavior of our politicians do affect other countries badly.

I don’t think Masnick has bad intentions, I certainly hope not, because he probably has good connections within the IT community. After writing the sort of anti-government things that he has, and with good reason and evidence for doing so, I imagine he has his own problems to deal with. Although, sometimes I wish he would see things in a different light and take a more conspiratorial view on things. That said, I wouldn’t come here if there wasn’t some value in it.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Explain This To Me

Yes, I agree. There is a strange underlying logic and rationality to much of what Masnick and his cadre write; it’s like there’re is some sense of decency and common sense and American can-do attitude lurking under all that hateful leftism … but they just can’t bring themselves to drop the leftist buzzwords and talking points and other confused aspects.

If I had to guess at a reason or Techdirt writers’ childish leftist pandering, I assume it’s an attempt to get attention from mainstream media?

I’m not sure, but I agree with you – except the part about Masnick having good intentions. You’ll want to check out his hateful anti-white comments elsewhere in this very thread.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Explain This

TFG, I really do believe what you said in one of your first comments: that you’re going to "win at commenting". In fact, I’ve not said otherwise.

Not the most amusing, or thought-provoking, or interesting, but definitely the most persistent.

(A long way of saying: copy/paste will save your keyboard.)

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:13 Expl

Making things up?

TFG, 26 May 2020, noon:
"It’s okay. I’m That Fucking Guy. They’ll give up before I do."

You said you’ll win at commenting. I believe you! There’s zero chance I won’t give up before you do.

You’ve all but won at commenting, TFG! You’ll know with certainty that you’ve won when I get bored and leave. I’ll have forfeited the commenting contest.

Hold on a little longer, though. I still find this amusing.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:14

Whatever the outcome, I’ll be satisfied.

Possibilities:
One: You ‘put up’ – by showing the evidence you provided that displays that there is, in fact, an anti-conservative bias, thereby edifying everyone here and doing what no one else could. That would provide useful context for a great deal of good discussion. I’d love to see that happen. That would be a win. A major win for you in particular. I don’t see why you’d play coy with this.

Two: You ‘shut up’ – self-explanatory.

Three: You miraculously come around to my point of view. Hope springs eternal.

By the way…

Where’s that data you said you had?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Explain This To Me

So…. someone provides the evidence consisting of someone from the company being accused of anti-conservative censoring says outright they’re censoring conservatives.

… and your response, TFG, is "Oh no, not that evidence! That is uhhh not uhhh evidence. It’s, like, tainted."

Kind of like you, hmmm, aren’t going to accept any evidence. Kind of like you aren’t arguing in good faith.

Someone: "Well, here’s evidence the moon landing took place."
TFG: "Oh no, that’s from NASA, that’s not evidence."

Very above board and honest of you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Explain This To Me

Fair enough – O’Keefe interviewed 8 people…out of nearly 5,000 employees.

From the ground-breaking, earth-shattering holy fucking nugget of an article that you think finally broke the case…can you tell us finally how many conservatives were censored for their conservative views?

Or is that illustrious statistic still forthcoming, we just need to go search for it, or make it up if we can’t find it?

Because that’s STILL the fucking question, Mr. Grown Up. You’d think if it was so prevalent, we could find something other than anecdotal horseshit from bigoted dicktards who think they’re entitled to an audience.

Protip, Mr. Adult-guy – make sure you understand the question before answering. It’s been asked enough fucking times, that’s for sure.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Explain This To Me

Gent at 07:40 …

C’mon, don’t take that away from them. It feels really good for leftists to do the whole "FUCK YOU, Dad!" – door slam – "I’m not gonna get a haircut, you fascist asshole!".

It’s one of the few very liberating and joyful things they have in life.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Explain This To

So basically to a right-winger objecting against racism and misoginy is a doorslamming routine to be met with patronizing contempt?

You aren’t exactly making the case for the right wing here, Kemo sabe. Unless, again, you are in the mistaken belief that being able to look down on others based on color-coding is such a cool thing trying to take it away is griefing.

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Explain This To Me

The video provided is a manipulated interview of a very small group of people.

It does not provide any actual data of actual moderation actions.

I invite you still to provide statistically significant data showing disproportionate moderation actions against conservative viewpoints for the viewpoints themselves.

For statistical significance, remember that this is against the backdrop of millions of moderation actions per day. I have pointed this out from the very start. Small datasets will not fly, they are too small to be statistically significant.

You have not provided the evidence, despite saying you can. No one has ever provided evidence that supports the claim anti-conservative bias. Support your claim with data that shows its happening, like you said you could.

Or were you lying when you said you could?

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Explain This To Me

Project Veritas has come up before on TD, and to call them an ‘unreliable and/or untrustworthy source’ would be a serious understatement. Using anything they say is about as credible as ‘my aunt’s sister’s friend’s ex, who is a known liar said…’ to the point that if that’s all that someone has they have worse than nothing.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Explain This To Me

So you’re saying that the people in the video didn’t work for Twitter? Or that they’re lying? Or that it’s completely fabricated? Or…what? What exactly are you saying?

I’m pretty sure there would be multiple lawsuits as a result of this video, and the video would have been removed from public access, if any of those things were true.

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Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Explain This To Me

It’s Project Veritas. The singular reason for their existence is to fraudulently manipulate video footage to deceptively put words in others’ mouths to fuel the Extremist Right’s false narratives.

There is 0% chance of anyone citing PV acting in good faith.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Re:

Ah, Stephen, the only person who I care to communicate with on this website with at this point:

I admit nothing less than that all information is manipulated and censored to an extent, and you have not provided me with any evidence that the people/information in this video are/is false or fabricated.

I don’t believe it is possible to have a legitimate conversation on this board at this point, as your moderators are censoring posts with a "loose canon" mentality.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Explain This To

"discredit actual video evidence saying "it’s conservative source XYZ, they’re fraudulent!"

No, they’re saying "this articular source has a long history of fraud, and if they’re the only source you have then you are believing a fiction. "

"There was at best very little manipulation"

Lol. A couple of pointers here:

1 – "At best" means that what you’re saying is the best case scenario, and that all other scenarios are worse, therefore:

2 – According to you, there’s no change that the video was not manipulated. The best case is that it was manipulated a little, but more likely that it was greatly manipulated. By your own words.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Explain This

No, I am saying, I don’t frequent this PV website, but please explain to me how this video, with Twitter employees blatantly admitting to censorship, is not indicative of political censorship? Because that has not been explained to me, besides the typical "this website is fraudulent, you can’t trust anything you see on this website" when I can see with my very own eyes, employees that are blowing the whistle here. I don’t really give a shit what political affiliation we are talking about here.

If this goddamn website is going to censor me, then so be it, but make sure your account-holders don’t reply to my posts en masse.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:14

Toom:

What the hell are you talking about? You haven’t made sense at any point in this conversation, you’re relying on mod censorship, which is apparently a good thing to rely on here on TD. I was talking to Stephen, so respectively get the fuck out of the convo. Thanks.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Explain This To

Gent at 8:32 …

Oh no, no …they don’t discount "conservative" sources, only those "Extremist Right" Nazi fascist sources like … uh, James O’Keefe? You know, the reincarnation of Hitler.

Like the Nazi white supremacist …uh multi-racial, gay inclusive Proud Boys…I guess?

Or the Nazi white supremacist…uh black lady and Asian lady Candace Owens and Michelle Malkin … I guess?

Or the Nazi white supermacist … uh black men Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas … I guess?

But I do salute Stone, Toom, TFG, TOG, and the rest of the Blue Checkmarks for their restraint and discipline for putting in writing here what they really want to (and whisper to each other when it’s only them talking).

You know: Uncle Toms and Aunt Jemimahs.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Explain This To Me

Oh, you’re "haven’t seen the video" guy?

The one with James O’Keefe saying Google needs to "prevent another Trump situation".

Oh … what’s that? It was a video of Google CEO saying that? Oooops.

Uh … cough, cough … yes, well… uhhh… oh, I got it … that must’ve been a DEEPFAKE!

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Explain This To Me

Please provide statistically significant data (against the backdrop of millions of moderation actions per day) displaying a disproportionate amount of moderation actions against those who hold conservative viewpoints strictly for holding conservative viewpoints.

You know, the evidence you said you could provide, but haven’t.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Explain This To Me

I think he was assuming that you could just do your own research, like a responsible adult would do.

And there it is. The asshole who could answer the question won’t because he wants you to do the "research."

And if you can’t make the facts fit the narrative, well that’s on us. We’re just too stupid to understand.

AKA "You haven’t looked hard enough."

AKA "Educate yourself"

AKA "Mainstream media is burying the facts"

AKA It’s just a great big conspiracy and you have to be in the right Facebook group to "get enlightened."

This bullshit is entirely too predictable. I’m surprised you didn’t show up sooner.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Explain This To Me

Ugh…

Yes, you are too stupid to understand that if you wanted to have a conversation, now that you’ve called me an a**hole, that conversation won’t happen, because I typically don’t waste my time talking to people who resort to petty name-calling.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Explain This To Me

Ah yes, Masnick does apparently lie sometimes. To me it’s surprising, because politically-motivated dishonesty is exactly what this site attempts to expose much of the time. The writers on this site have done good, honest reporting in the past – what got me here in the first place was the good writing on Snowden and the constitutional violations of the Obama administration, years ago.

You should stay away from having discussions with the regulars here, though, because you will never even come close to seeing one of them give an inch to someone who argues even slightly in favor of conservatism, even if you explain something completely logically and rationally. It’s a complete waste of time. You are an independent who leans towards conservative? Remember, this site is based out of NY, with one of the biggest concentrations of lying, liberal extremist scum in existence. I am a moderate independent, I lean one way on some things, the other way on others, but never far enough in either way to buy into political extremist garbage, which is what you will get a lot of if you talk to the people on this site.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Explain This To Me

And the funny thing is, I haven’t stated anywhere today what my political position is.

What I’ve said is that self-identified conservatives are being censored by Big Tech, and it’s as self-evident as that water is wet. I’ve even tried to give Masnick/TFG the opportunity to just be honest and admit conservatives are much more likely to be booted from platforms, but you’re right – they can’t admit that.

Without expressing my own political viewpoints, there’s no way of knowing whether I’m a Maoist or a libertarian or an evangelical or a Golden Dawn member or KKK member – that is, unless one takes the position that any hint that the extremely loud outcry from conservatives claiming bias might, maybe just maybe, have a point means that I’m one of those evil conservatives.

(Which I don’t think is there position. No, I think they’re position is that it means I’m a ‘Nazi’ who wants to start a Fourth Reich.)

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

What I’ve said is that self-identified conservatives are being censored by Big Tech, and it’s as self-evident as that water is wet.

No one has been able to produce any statisically significant data that proves Twitter punishes conservatives more than liberals/progressives for their political views instead of the expression thereof. Your assertion would only be “self-evident” if you can show me that specific set of data, because I wouldn’t be able to draw any other conclusion from it. Show me the data or quit talking out of your ass, Ace Ventura.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Explain This To Me

"What I’ve said is that self-identified conservatives are being censored by Big Tech, and it’s as self-evident as that water is wet."

It really doesn’t matter if racists and bigots self-identify as "conservatives". It just means actual conservatives have an even more urgent need to separate themselves from the racists and bigots trying to ride their coattails.

"And the funny thing is, I haven’t stated anywhere today what my political position is. "

Except where you repeatedly claimed your views on what constituted "american conservative values" – which was an identical match to what Mein Kampf states were the values of good german national socialism. All you were missing was a hateboner barb for "ze jews" and you’d have the full set.

What you describe isn’t "conservatism" but a direct political ideology where it’s somehow OK for the Chosen Ones of Arbitrary Superior Morality to look down on other people whose color of skin, religious preference, gender identity or sexuality is different than yours.

In other words, your arguments in themselves are those of a racist and bigot. And your add-on argument that what two consenting adults do in private should be the affair of unrelated parties puts you in a direct political bracket.

"Without expressing my own political viewpoints, there’s no way of knowing whether I’m a Maoist or a libertarian or an evangelical or a Golden Dawn member or KKK member…"

Ironically the combination of classical collectivism and bigotry is the core precept of national socialism. And you’ve actually expressed the values which put you very close to that specific bracket already.

Good grief for the good old days when the nazis at least had the chutzpah to stand up tall and declare their beliefs at gunpoint. Today, apparently, they all go "I’m not a racist, but…" and whine incessantly like little children about the vast majority of the human race choosing not to hear them out…

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Explain This To Me

Gent at 10:15 …

(Provided you’re not a Masnick’s Blue Checkmark sockepuppeting as a false flag), I urge you to not go away.

When Techdirt is writing about something like copyright or DRM or broadband, they’re actually rational and interesting articles. (It’s the ones that express an anti-American worldview where they run into problems; anything relating to law enforcement or politics. We’re not certain , but from the tone of those articles, one suspects they function as a form of kinky erotica for their wives’ boyfriends, or something.)

You shouldn’t give up on the comments section, either. Even if just as a lurker. Sometimes a normal American will slip in and write comments (always written by "Anonymous Coward".)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Explain This To Me

You should note that you have not absolute right to use Facebook and friends to spread your political messages, so that even if some conservatives voices were being thrown off the platforms for expressing their politics in a hateful fashion, the are not being censored, and can start their own platform.

Now explain why gab is not attracting a lot of regular conservative people, is it perhaps that it has become the home to extreme conservative opinions, expressed in an aggressive fashion, like those that cause bans from other social media sites.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Explain This To Me

Not only should I note it, I did note it. To wit, "I’m not saying these companies aren’t well within their right to censor these conservative voices."

I also said I don’t care about the semantics used (censored or de-platformed or removed or accounts disabled or videos demonetized or … etc). Because the semantics discussion tends to be a silly one on Techdirt threads for some reason. For some reason the word ‘censored’ has a bunch of weird cachet here, whereas most (normal) people understand it simply means "suppression of speech" – with no value judgement attached to it, and no specific "suppressor" being identified.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I don’t care about the semantics used

You, uh…you might want to hang onto that thought. Just sayin’. ????

For some reason the word ‘censored’ has a bunch of weird cachet here

It carries weight here because of the semantics. People who use the term in a flippant manner — e.g., anyone who uses it because they got shitcanned from twitter — cheapen the concept of censorship. A government official threatening lawsuits to silence a critic is censorship (via the concept of chilled speech). Twitter admins banning someone for saying racial slurs is, most decidedly, not censorship.

most (normal) people

Objectively define “normal” in a way that doesn’t mean “statistical average”.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Explain This To Me

Teka, agreed. Which is why in almost any dictionary you care to name, censorship is defined as "suppression of speech".

Stone becomes apoplectic if one doesn’t adhere to his insistence that censorship can only mean government suppression of speech, so in an effort to keep him from having to be sedated, I try to use words that might not hit his fetish button (like silenced, suppressed, deplatformed, accounts removed, demonetized).

Even if everyone knows it means an authority somewhere is suppressing someone’s speech, if I say "booted from X platform", there’s a possibility Stone might not kick his dog or something.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

censorship is defined as "suppression of speech"

And if you can show me how Twitter banning someone means that someone can’t legally say elsewhere the thing that got them banned, I’d be more than happy to sign on with your assertion that Twitter engages in censorship.

Stone becomes apoplectic if one doesn’t adhere to his insistence that censorship can only mean government suppression of speech

You, uh…you’re gonna want to hold onto that thought. ????

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Explain This To Me

"Which is why in almost any dictionary you care to name, censorship is defined as "suppression of speech"."

…and Twitter can’t suppress your speech. Facebook can’t suppress your speech. The local Bar owner can’t suppress your speech. All they can do is ask you to haul your ass off their property.

Government can suppress your speech…and only by making sure that if you try to say something that government does not like they can make a law which shuts you up or disappears you.

THAT is why only government can practice censorship. All any private entity can do is tell you to get the fsck off their lawn.

"Stone becomes apoplectic if one doesn’t adhere to his insistence that censorship can only mean government suppression of speech…"

I think anyone who likes the concept of "language" becomes apoplectic when they are continually and persistently confronted with a Vested Interest who keeps trying to use a word which means a Very Bad Thing in ways it does not, in fact, describe at all.

"Even if everyone knows it means an authority somewhere is suppressing someone’s speech…"

So when a bar owner is confronted with a patron standing on his tables and doing the helicopter while screaming about how his pet peeve minority sucks, the bar owner is suppressing the guy when he finally throws the clown out?

Let me put it bluntly. The only ones who feel it is a Bad Thing when a person is the authority who can tell people to get off their property are the ones so odious they’ve run out of places where people willingly allow them to park their soapbox.

Now the sort of "conservative" values you feel compelled to share with people are eagerly accepted by a lot of people in places like Stormfront, Gap and occasionally at Breitbart. So why not try there instead of places where people go to not hear your particular brand of values?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Explain This To Me

Why am I making such a big issue of it?

To go back to my original comment: because Techdirt knows conservatives are being disproportionately "booted off" platforms, as you and the other commenters have all essentially admitted, but Techdirt denies it’s happening.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Explain This To Me

To go back to my original comment: because Techdirt knows conservatives are being disproportionately "booted off" platforms, as you and the other commenters have all essentially admitted, but Techdirt denies it’s happening.

Techdirt denies it’s happening because there’s evidence that it is happening.

I am still waiting for the data that shows conservatives are being disproportionately moderated for their views alone, and not for the methods they use to express those views.

Can you provide this data?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Explain This To Me

No, TFG, you were right the first time:

1) There is evidence it’s not happening.
2) The evidence, as described by Masnick, is that Big Tech leaders told him it’s not happening.

Oh, that sounds silly? Be that as it may, that’s exactly what Masnick described as his evidence. See his comments here. (They’re helpfully marked in gray for you Blue Checkmarks so you know what the talking points are.)

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Explain This To Me

"The evidence, as described by Masnick, is that Big Tech leaders told him it’s not happening."

So in the same manner Russel’s Teapot must exist because no unassailable authority has produced evidence that it does not, in fact, exist?

It’s pretty clear by now that you can’t produce anything other than troll rhetoric. Apparently the face of the New Right. And the reason so many old-style republicans aren’t, anymore.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Explain This To Me

I’m not sure what Russel’s Teapot is.

But if you meant Russell’s Teapot, which is about unfalsifiability, that’s a pretty interesting analogy to bring to the discussion. The only evidence Masnick and co would accept could only be produced by Big Tech. Instead of demanding and examining that evidence, he chose instead to just take Big Tech’s word for it – "nah, it’s not happening" – as evidence.

Bunch of women: Bill Clinton sexually harassed or raped us!
1990s media: That is troubling. Perhaps we should examine the evidence.
Bill Clinton: Nah, didn’t happen.
1990s media: Okay, thanks for the evidence, Bill. Hey everyone, it didn’t happen! We have evidence.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Explain This To Me

1) There is evidence it’s not happening.
2) The evidence, as described by Masnick, is that Big Tech leaders told him it’s not happening.

By that logic, the fact that people say there is an anti-conservative bias is evidence that there isn’t a bias.

Since that is entirely too silly, I will instead ask, once again, for statistically signicant data that shows a disproportionate moderation response against people for holding conservative viewpoints.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Explain This To Me

Well, your first sentence makes no sense.

But I agree it’s silly to take an accused perpetrator’s word as the sole evidence something’s not happening. Especially when it’s happening in front of millions of witnesses.

  • Bunch of people with stab wounds: Hey police! That guy just stabbed a bunch of us!
  • Bunch of non-retarded people nearby: Yeah, it looks like that guy in the bloody shirt holding the knife stabbed those people. There definitely are a bunch of people with stab wounds. You police ought to see if it was him!
  • Police: Okay, we’ll look into it. Guy with bloody shirt and knife, these people are all unquestionably stabbed, and they say you did it. Did you?
  • Guy with knife: Nope, wasn’t me.
  • Police: Okay, sir, you’re free to go.
  • Bunch of people with stab wounds: Hey! We said that guy –
  • Sexual partner of guy with knife: Stop making things up. That guy didn’t stab you. He told me so!
TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Explain This To Me

All of your examples provided there have something in common: evidence. To wit, the stab wounds, the knife, the blood.

Everyone claiming anti-conservative bias is missing evidence. In your analogy, they’re running up to the officers and claiming they’ve been stabbed, with zero stab wounds in evidence.

Show me the stab wounds. You said you could, so what’s the delay?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Explain This To Me

because Techdirt knows conservatives are being disproportionately "booted off" platforms, as you and the other commenters have all essentially admitted, but Techdirt denies it’s happening.

If something that you admit is entirely permissible is happening, then it isn’t a problem. That which is not expressly prohibited is permitted.

But you keep on talking yourself into that corner. I’m sure you’ll start complaining about your comments being hidden shortly. That’s typically how you perpetual victims tend to operate.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Explain This To Me

Wait, hold on buddy … you may have inferred I think something is a problem. I never said that. I haven’t talked myself into any corner. Nowhere have I expressed an opinion either way for or against it being a good or bad thing. Not a discussion I’m interested in, because those are opinions.

This is a discussion about facts, not opinions.

What I have said, unequivocally, is that it’s a fact that conservatives are more likely to be booted off Big Tech. And that Techdirt, being not completely deaf and blind and retarded, know that. And since they claim otherwise, they’re lying.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Explain This To Me

This is a discussion about facts, not opinions.

Then provide some facts to back up your claim.

What I have said, unequivocally, is that it’s a fact that conservatives are more likely to be booted off Big Tech. And that Techdirt, being not completely deaf and blind and retarded, know that. And since they claim otherwise, they’re lying.

And I invite you to prove it. Provide the evidence that shows that it’s a fact that conservatives are more likely to be booted off Big Tech.

Then, provide the evidence that shows that Techdirt knows this.

Remember, this is about facts, not opinions. I’m gonna need to some facts out of you.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Explain This To Me

What I have said, unequivocally, is that it’s a fact that conservatives are more likely to be booted off Big Tech.

Where is you evidence, which by the way will only be believable if it covers almost all cases of people being booted off of big tech. Personal observations do not count as evidence, because people always have an inbuilt bias in the choices of people they follow, which means they see a bias in the politics of those being deplatformed.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Explain This To Me

Depends how you define "waste" of time, TFG.

Some might say that the fact that whatever a normal American says on Techdirt will get "flagged as abuse" means it’s a waste of time.

Someone else might say that the fact that probability dictates there’s a high likelihood that there are other normal Americans lurking here who aren’t intimidated by the scary comment expansion button, who find this discussion either enlightening or amusing.

Finally, someone else might say that normal Americans getting Techdirt Blue Checkmarks asking mommy for their binkies later tonight is reward enough.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Explain This To Me

"Some might say that the fact that whatever a normal American says on Techdirt will get "flagged as abuse" means it’s a waste of time."

Why yes, a racist or bigot who wants to describe themselves as a "normal" american would complain about that.
That’s not a problem with techdirt. It’s a problem with their assumption of the racist and bigot that americans in general are moral midgets made out of hatred and fear just like they themselves are.

You seem to take for granted that a "normal" american is someone who finds racism and bigotry acceptable – and calls it "conservatism" to adopt the values which were out of style a generation ago.

Factual reality begs to differ. But you do you.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Explain This To Me

The waste of time, in this case, is continuing to try to argue a premise without first providing the supporting evidence that shows it has merit.

The evidence you said you could provide, but haven’t, likely because you actually can’t provide it. I guess you were lying when you said you had it.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Explain This To Me

"This is a discussion about facts, not opinions. What I have said, unequivocally, is that it’s a fact that conservatives are more likely to be booted off Big Tech."

…and that’s not fact. It’s false assumption and false equivalence.

Racists and Bigots are being booted out of Big Tech’s property for violating the terms Big Tech has stated is the requirement for being allowed to squat on Big Tech’s property.

It’s no different than a bar owner putting up a sign saying you aren’t allowed to drop your pants and shit on the floor. And then boots people for doing exactly that.

And the reason we’re all not accepting a damn word you say is because you keep trying to make this about conservatives – which it isn’t, unless you are stating that every US conservative today is a racist and a bigot.

"And since they claim otherwise, they’re lying."

Nope. But I guess that as long as you don’t have the moral courage to at least own up to your own ideals and instead keep trying to borrow the credibility of calling yourself a "conservative" then Newspeak is your only way to even start the argument.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Explain This To Me

Well, Scary Devil … if you can find anywhere on here where I called myself conservative, I’d sincerely appreciate if you could point it out.

But I do find … ha … your attempt to casually drop references to Orwellianism as a right wing worldview in here! Nice. I don’t believe I’ve seen that before!

All those right-wing made-up Newspeak terms, like:

  • affirmative action
  • busing
  • deadnaming
  • intersectionality
  • transman / transwoman
  • safe space
  • free speech zone
  • white privilege
  • deplatforming
  • gay marriage
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Explain This To Me

"All those right-wing made-up Newspeak terms, like:"

…he said, and proceeded to define the transgender concept, white privilege and gay marriage as terms as literally false as "war is peace" and "freedom is slavery".

I guess the "right-wing" or at least the alt-right have gone full circle and embraced the propaganda methods of classical communism. Not too surprising, really, since racism has always been more of a collectivist belief.

"…if you can find anywhere on here where I called myself conservative, I’d sincerely appreciate if you could point it out."

Well, no. It’s pretty clear you are’t a conservative by any of your arguments. By the logic of which you are either a troll or someone who truly feels it lamentable that the KKK aren’t being given a free pass to recite their views on someone else’s platform.

So what are you? Trolling for the sheer hell of it, or – as demonstrated by your choice of terms above, a bigot?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Explain This To Me

It’s that word "DISPROPORTIONATELY" that seems to be messing you up, as you have yet to show anything other than an OPINION that this is the case.

You can’t prove disproportionality by opinion, it has to be statistical, and hopefully more than a 51%/49% split (which is not disproportional), now a 80%/20% split would be disproportionate, so for every 4 conservative posts ‘deleted’ there should be 1 non-conservative post ‘deleted’ (on the same subject matter and using the same attitude/tone in the messages).

Anything less and it’s just your opinion… yes people are kicked off 3rd party platforms all the time for expressing themselves in non-appropriate ways (regardless of being a conservative), but you haven’t shown the disporportionate piece at all (and NO HE WHO YELLS THE LOUDEST OR MOST OFTEN ISN’T THE ONE WHO’s RIGHT…AMIRITE?)

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Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Explain This To Me

Toom, talking about racial disparity in SAT scores.

I doubt you understand what that actually means, but it aptly illustrates your shallow thinking but it also reinforces the point being made that many people who profess to be conservatives see nothing wrong in saying what you just said without even understanding the real issue.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Explain This To Me

"(on the same subject matter and using the same attitude/tone in the messages)"

That’s of course the issue. If say "I hope everyone enjoys themselves on the beach today!" and stay on Twitter but some knuckledragger says "Let’s all go to the beach, no masks and infect everyone we can!" and gets banned, it should be obvious why the difference in reaction exists. Basic humanity and intelligence seem to be the first casualties in this discussion from the self-proclaimed victims.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Explain This To Me

"It’s that word "DISPROPORTIONATELY" that seems to be messing you up, as you have yet to show anything other than an OPINION that this is the case."

No, not really. He could probably produce an 80/20 or even 90/10 case. But he really doesn’t want to since, as he let slip rather early in the thread, he’s redefined systemic bigotry as a core conservative value.

That’s why he keeps parroting the word "conservative" in every other sentence. He knows damn well it won’t go over well with anyone if it emerges that he’s really protesting on behalf of the Very Fine People who hold the "conservative" beliefs that certain religions, gender identities, ethnicities etc belong to the lesser races.

He does have facts at hand. We all do, rather easily. It’s just that those facts show that his "conservatives" all wear teutonic solar wheels and/or white hoods.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Explain This To Me

Scary Devil, sincerely:

  • Do you admit that the opposite of "conservative" is "liberal" (in America, within the last say 100 years)?
  • Do you admit that there are certain actions/things one can either be for or against ?

(If "no" to the two above, then I commend your caretakers having helped you negotiate your way through life so far.)

  • These positions: for affirmative action, for illegal immigration, for influence of Islam spreading, for gay marriage, for people with penises in girl’s bathrooms, for hormone blockers for minors …
  • Are those conservative positions? Is that, somehow, your premise?
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Explain This To Me

"Do you admit that the opposite of "conservative" is "liberal" (in America, within the last say 100 years)?"

Since what was "liberal" a century ago is "conservative today, then no, obviously not. Any other false assumptions you’d like to slip under my nose and have me sign to? Before you proceed to run with rhetoric based on an outright falsehood?

Also, more concerning, someone who is primarily concerned with other people’s worth and value is primarily a bigot, not a conservative. It is quite possible to be a liberal conservative – like Eisenhower, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Apparently they needed caretakers, then, being clinically insane and all?

"If "no" to the two above, then I commend your caretakers having helped you negotiate your way through life so far."

Right. So in other words you assume that the belief that human society changes with time is insane. And many of the founding fathers and great republican presidents apparently needed caretakers, then, being clinically insane and all?
That explains why so many of your stated assumptions are written as if an outraged 18th-century calvinist penned down his latest rebuttal of modern "immoral devilry". You think "liberal" and "conservative" are opposites. They’re not, but your assumption that they are tells us all which crowd you learned the definition of those words from.
I guess when what you define as "conservative" is actually collectivist scapegoat ideology meant to pin societies failings on The Other it might look the way you posit.

Liberalism’s ideological opposite is Bigotry. Not conservatism. This is where you keep falling off your horse before getting it to the starting line.

"These positions: for affirmative action, for illegal immigration, for influence of Islam spreading, for gay marriage, for people with penises in girl’s bathrooms, for hormone blockers for minors …"
"Are those conservative positions? Is that, somehow, your premise?"

Whether your strawmen and false equivalences are "conservative" positions or not depends largely on whether you actually DO represent the modern American "Conservative".

Someone who is more of a political conservative than an outright bigot would state that whatever two consenting adults do with one another is nobody elses business. And that the one and only sovereign of ones own body is oneself and no one else. In that regard a real "conservative" wouldn’t really give two shits about whatever you used to produce your strawman brigade, above. The bigot, however, certainly would care.

The belief that other people get to determine who and what you are is not a conservative view. Bigotry is collectivist, which puts it decidedly on the extreme left of the spectrum. This is why systemic racism fits better in Hitler’s "national socialist" model than under any form of government based on equal rights and core values.

Your argument is identical to the ones once carried against Women voting, black people being born free, jews being able to purchase and own property, and justice by court and jury.

But, by all means, keep putting up straw men and false analogies. Knowing how you define a conservative tells us much about where you learned it. I think your arguments would be better received back on Stormfront where those definitions come from.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Explain This To Me

Scary,

You seem to have it pretty clearly in your mind what you consider to be actual conservatives (not just self-labeled conservatives) and actual liberals (not just self-labeled liberals).

In your opinion, in 2020, in America:

  • What percentage of self-labeled conservatives are actual conservatives?
  • What percentage of self-labeled liberals are actual liberals?
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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Explain This To Me

Even if what you say is true (and it isn’t), there is nothing unlawful about it. Maybe it’s time for a group of conservative tech people to create Assbook where you’re free to boot people with liberal views.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Explain This To Me

Yeah, and for the 80th time, I never said there is anything unlawful, illegal, or even wrong about it happening.

But yeah, it absolutely, definitely is happening – and you’re lying that "it isn’t" – and you know you’re lying. The question: why ?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Explain This To Me

Now, TFG, I am starting to doubt my previous position that you aren’t stupid.

Because, for the fifth time, here is the answer to your simple question:

You: "Can you show that it is, in fact, happening?"
Me: "Yes."

Do we do this again a sixth time somewhere?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Explain This To Me

"You: "Can you show that it is, in fact, happening?"
Me: "Yes.""

Yet, you seem to ignore the rest of the conversation:

Him: "OK, can you show us the proof that you have seen to come to that conclusion?"
You: crickets

If you’re tired of repeating the start of the conversation, perhaps you’d like to try continuing with the rest of it?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Explain This To Me

Paul, maybe you didn’t read TFG’s comment at 4:33. Actually, it seems you didn’t even read your own comment before you posted it.

Here, I’ll answer you, sir.

You: Can you show that it is, in fact, happening?
Me: Yes.

Him: OK, can you show us the proof that you have seen to come tot hat conclusion?
Me: Yes.

Oh, you mean will I.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Explain This To Me

Well, you can ad hominem if you like. But again, since I’m not saying it’s good or bad either way, I don’t believe you can (non-disingenuously) say I’m complaining/whining/bitching (whatever phrase makes blows your skirt up).

But so you don’t get confused, without me placing a value judgement on said censorship of conservative opinions, I’m definitely stating it’s happening. And that Techdirt and you know it. And that to deny it makes you a liar.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Explain This To Me

I’m definitely stating it’s happening.

I’m sure it is. And I bet there’s a grassy knoll involved too. Maybe the CIA and the deep state are behind it while we’re at it.

And the Illuminati too. Might as well go for the nutjob trifecta, amirite?

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Explain This To Me

I’m definitely stating it’s happening. And that Techdirt and you know it. And that to deny it makes you a liar.

Then show the evidence that it is happening, and the evidence that Techdirt knows its happening.

Without showing the evidence to support your claim, you’re just lying.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Explain This To Me

"…because Techdirt knows conservatives are being disproportionately "booted off" platforms…"

Techdirt knows full well that racists and bigots are booted off platforms. Most of us still give the "conservatives" the benefit of the doubt and believe that there are plenty of conservatives still writing happily away in all these platforms because their brand of conservative ideals does not include bigotry and medieval views on women.

Now if what you say is true and racism is inherently part of the american conservative today then getting booted off platforms is the least we’d want to see.

What you won’t get is to rebrand racism and bigotry as "conservatism" in the mistaken belief that this will whitewash it sufficiently to allow it passage back into civilized society.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Explain This To Me

Scary, I see you have a borderline sexual fetish for scare quotes.

Can you say something about conservatives without the scare quotes? I’m sincerely interested in what you think a conservative is – I mean actual conservatives, what you think their positions are, without the scare quotes to distort your opinion or misdirect.

Give me some core conservative – actual, unscarequoted conservative – positions are.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Explain This To Me

"Scary, I see you have a borderline sexual fetish for scare quotes."

Everything you don’t like appears to become linked to sexuality in some form in your mind. I’d advice you talk to someone about that.

"Can you say something about conservatives without the scare quotes? "

Unfortunately quotation marks are necessary hwen what you discuss isn’t, in fact, conservatives.

A conservative – a liberal conservative, in fact, would be Eisenhower, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.
Being a conservative does not mean being the opposite of liberal – except when a horde of bigots and racists attempt to borrow the credibility of the word by redefining it.

A conservative is someone who is primarily cautious about change. So a few core conservative positions would be.

  • Everyone born with equal rights.
  • Justice being equal for everyone.
  • Your freedom to wave your fist ends where my face begins.
  • As long as it doesn’t involve me, whatever you do with other consenting adults is none of my affair.
  • Laws should not be changed as the result of fear and doubt.

Now if you instead believe that what should dictate your actions are the fear over someone elses religion, creed, or gender identity then you aren’t primarily a conservative. You are simply a bigot and it no longer matters whether you try to justify your bigotry through twisting conservative or liberal values.

We’ve already seen that your own definition of conservative values look like a quote from Mein Kampf with only one or two items missing to complete Hitler’s bingo card. I posit that if your ideology is shared to such an extent with only the worst scum acknowledged by humanity as a whole then perhaps it’s time to rethink where your ideology has brought you.

In the end, however, it’s a dead argument. When bigotry is what prompts Twitter and FB to block users then the only response possible is "good".

That those same racists and bigots desperately want to belong to the cool kids and try to make it look like everyone who self-identifies as a "conservative" must share their views – notably about gays and black people – is a different issue entirely.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Explain This To Me

Scary, thanks for the clarification. Sounds like your definition of conservative is "classical liberal".

Okay.

Now, what percentage of people in 2020 calling themselves conservatives do you think fit your definition?

Who are some big-name, prominent conservatives in 2020 who fit your definition? So far, the names you mentioned were prominent in the 18th century … and one in the 1950s.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Explain This To Me

"Islam is a foreign government"

?

"Muslims are the religious adherents of their state religion.

That’s a theocracy, like the one Evangelist "Christians" are trying to turn the US into. What’s your opinion on US Muslims who don’t swear allegiance to any other government?

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Explain This To Me

"Islam is a foreign government."

The same way Christianity and Atheism, you mean?

"Most people don’t even know enough about it to know what it is."

Including, apparently, you.

"Morrocco, iraq, iran, and india and China’s "Islam" are are equally Islam."

Complete and utter bullshit. About as factual as claiming that every american is a pennsylvanian from Podunk city.

Here’s a fact – Iran is about the only centre of shia Islam. Above their hatred of Israel, the US, or anyone else, really, they hate, above all else, the Sunni bastards in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

China’s "muslims" are either 100% chinese citizens, or they’re sitting in a concentration…err, "re-education" camp.

The indian Sikhs and Sufi are considered blasphemous heretics by both Shia and Sunni.

Where the fsck is this "country" you keep babbling about? Right next to the Deep State, at the edges of the Flat Earth, run by the Lizard people in the Illuminati?

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Islam is a religion (actually a supersect)

The Islamic state has the same kinds of end goals as the Great Commission. If you’re going to say Islam is a foreign government, then it by the same arguments Christendom is also a foreign government, and the Holy See and megachurches (such as the GCM or SBC) who have profound influence on the US federal government should be regarded as foreign entities.

If you don’t want to do that, then Islam gets demoted to just another group of religions which are free and welcome in the US.

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Bloof (profile) says:

Re: Explain This To Me

They’re not being silenced because they’re conservatives, they’re being silenced because they’re bigots.

People who’ve spent much of the last hundred years delighting in the majority oppressing minorities should appreciate the irony in their bigoted subset of the conservative movement becoming a minority in itself and losing what they imagine to be rights due to the majority of americans not wanting to have to put up with their hateful rhetoric and people being treated like that anymore. Even if you don’t, they should appreciate the fact they’re being treated a whole lot better than conservatives treated gays, lesbians, African Americans, Latin Americans, religious minorities, liberals…

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Explain This To Me

Bloof –

So essentially what you said is that conservatives are being silenced. Right? Your argument is that it’s because they’re bigots – okay, that’s a valid opinion to have – but the end result is that conservatives are being silenced. Right?

Because that is not what Techdirt has repeatedly claimed.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Explain This To Me

Let’s face what the real problem conservatives have for a change.

They don’t like that they’re being kicked off of mainstream social media. So they roll their own, failing to acknowledge that if they just act like bigoted assholes amongst themselves, it’s not quite the same.

That’s the heart of the issue, isn’t it? You can’t own the libs unless we’re forced to listen, and just whining to each other has got to get old fast.

You’re not entitled to an audience.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 PLEASE READ THIS

Do you want me to comment on that, truly? I will, if you like. I argue in good faith, so I’ll assume the same about you and answer your question. (Will also assume you’re telling the truth about it, like I am.)

Well, despite Breitbart being in nobody’s definition "Big Tech", and therefore unrelated to this conversation about people being booted from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google and the other companies everyone agrees comprise "Big Tech" …

Despite that … I think it’s weak of Breitbart to do so. I think it makes Breitbart look like crybabies and cowards and sissies. (I know ‘sissy’ makes some here uncomfortable, but you asked for honesty.) I think it means they’re afraid of opposing viewpoints. I think it’s Orwellian and un-American.

(I don’t think it makes you or your friends ‘persecuted’ – that seems to be Masnick’s latest buzzword, but if Breitbart wasn’t trying to kill you or put you in jail or threatening you with violence or threatening to #CancelLiberalPeople, it’s not persecution.)

But no, Breitbart are un-American, Orwellian weaklings who are afraid of dissent for booting you for Breitbart, or flagging your comments.

Is that clear? That’s my comment.

If the Masnick and Masnick’s Blue Checkmarks and other commenters on here read nothing else I’ve written, I hope they read this. I stand by everything I said above, 100%.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Right?

This rhetorical gimmick will not work here.

And besides, conservatives aren’t being “silenced”. They’re being booted from a platform with a huge potential audience. Someone banned from Twitter can still go to another platform and say the exact same shit that got them banned. So if a conservative can’t find an audience on a platform outside of Twitter or Facebook or YouTube, well, too bad. The law doesn’t guarantee them an audience, and those facts don’t care about their feelings.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Stone, it’s funny that you talk about "rhetorical gimmicks".

Why is the semantics around censorship your favorite hobby horse?

Silenced, censored, suppressed, deplatformed, moderated, blah blah blah. Choose whatever phrase you want.

Just as I have with other commenters, I am quoting your own words . If after reading them back they seem nonsensical, be more careful with your wording next time. Quoting someone back and trying to come to consensus on what was said/meant is not a "rhetorical gimmick" – it’s how people discuss topics and come to conclusions. (The conclusion may simply be that they disagree, but at least they’re not talking past each other and understand what the other was trying to say.)

You said, "They’re being booted from a platform". They being conservatives (your words); platforms being Twitter, Facebook, YouTube (your words).

I know you’re not a Techdirt writer, which was who my original question was addressed to, but it sounds like you , individually as a person, are outright admitting what Techdirt denies: that Big Tech suppresses conservative speech.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Please provide statistically significant data (against the backdrop of millions of moderation actions per day) displaying a disproportionate amount of moderation actions against those who hold conservative viewpoints strictly for holding conservative viewpoints.

Not because they broke out the slurs or attacked people in general.

Method matters.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

TFG, let’s see if you can answer this question honestly, we’ll go from there:

Of all the people booted off Twitter for TOS violation and who self-identify as either "conservative" or "liberal", do you think the majority booted would be:

  • conservative
  • liberal
  • or would it be mostly even, like 50/50 +/- 10%
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

Doesn’t matter. Twitter can ban anyone for violating the TOS, and if a pattern shows up that consistently proves one “side” receives bans more than the other “side”, all that says is that “side” does more to violate the TOS. The issue, then, wouldn’t be with Twitter — it would be with the “side” that prefers vice signalling instead of following the rules.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

It doesn’t matter twice over because it’s a loaded, dishonest question.

People aren’t being kicked off of Twitter because they’re conservatives, they’re being kicked off for rules violations involving bigotry, so to frame it as ‘conservatives vs liberals’ is a dishonest tactic because that’s not the factor that’s relevant.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Which is why I didn’t ask "are people being kicked off Twitter because they’re conservatives". What I did ask is: is someone kicked off Twitter more likely to self identify as conservative, or self identify as liberal?

Picked at random, of which is that deplatformed person more likely to identify?

You know the answer, which is why you and rest of the Techdirt crew just won’t answer it.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Matters to Masnick, sir. Absolutely matters to him. Conservatives complain they’re being disproportionately booted from Big Tech. When they do, Masnick’s cadre writes articles about it.

If it doesn’t matter, then your argument is with Masnick. When his cadre stops writing lies about it, there’s nothing to discuss about it on Techdirt. Then I go away!

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:13 Re:

Toom, in 2020, the reference to "rope" is pretty insensitive. It brings to mind the lynching of people of color that was happening very, very, very, very recently (the 1930s) and that some certain white people who speak for people of color say people of color are still affected by.

Hate speech!

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

"What I did ask is: is someone kicked off Twitter more likely to self identify as conservative, or self identify as liberal?"

Nazis and the KKK have always self-identified as conservatives. Doesn’t mean they are, but there you go.

This invites the question whether nazis and the KKK should be kicked off Twitter. And that’s where we get to the words "private platform". No private entity owes another private entity an audience. And twitter and Facebook both know full well the civilized audience won’t accept having a hysterical bigot around.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Yeah, we get that, Scary. We do.

What we don’t get is you having failed to define what you think conservatives – nonscarequote conservatives – actually are .

Be interesting to see what you believe they are. I wonder if it matches reality. I wonder if it will be legitimate.

(Hint: if you’re just going to define them in such a way as to be about 10% of the self-professed conservatives, you’re doing it wrong.)

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Re:

I think Masnick’s Blue Checkmarks need education in, possibly more than anything else, how to have actual convictions and state them clearly.

(I mean besides the one strong conviction of hating normal Americans.)

Being this flaccid and wishy-washy online must be even more difficult in meatspace.

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TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

AC: to answer that question honestly requires data I don’t have. I will not answer it because I cannot answer it honestly.

Can you answer my request for data that supports your position honestly? Do you have the data I’ve requested?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

No he doesn’t, his position is supported by faith or belief not facts or statistics, that if he says it enough times, others will chime in and agree with him, thus growing the ‘conservative support’ for his position, no doubt.

We could prove the existence of God using nothing but math (Pi and a square root function) before he will be able to prove his ‘conservatives being disproportionatility’ being kicked off platforms with factual statistics (it’s just as easy to make up numbers as it is to claim a false opinion about something).

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Wait, what "data" don’t you have?

Do you, TFG, think/guess/estimate a higher proportion of self-identified liberals or a higher proportion of self-identified conservatives have had their Twitter accounts closed for any reason – any reason whatsoever?

Ignoring all the surrounding discussion, just the one question above, if you had to bet. Based on your experience as a seemingly intelligent adult human that’s observed the world around him.

It’s not a riddle, it’s not long division, it’s a simple question.

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

The data that is missing is the data that I have asked you for repeatedly:

Statistically significant data displaying disproportionate moderation actions against "conservatives" for their viewpoints.

Without this data, there is no honest answer to that question.

Ignoring all the surrounding discussion, as I have from the beginning, I am asking you to answer, actually answer, just that one question. Can you provide the data?

It’s not a riddle. It’s not long division. It’s a simple question that asks you to provide evidence that your premise is correct. Will you answer it, or will you evade?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

TFG, your life must’ve been awfully tough.

I can’t imagine the embarrassment of your compulsions prompting you, when a teacher asked you at what time two trains approaching each other at a given speed from a given distance would collide, to respond … "I uhhhhh can’t answer that … need more data! Where are the trains coming from?? What is their cargo?? What are the maiden names of the engineers’ mothers?? Neeed morrre data!" In front of the whole class.

Embarassing. Sorry, man.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Nah, TFG, you absolutely can answer it honestly … which would then not allow you to subsequently claim conservatives are not disproportionally affected by Big Tech TOS. It’d be more honorable, but also you’d have to admit you were wrong earlier.

You won’t answer it, which is different.

(Or you could answer it dishonestly, which would make your continued lying even more obvious. So thanks I guess(?) for having no convictions and keeping your lying comparatively subtle.)

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Why is the semantics around censorship your favorite hobby horse?

As I said before: Using “censorship” when someone hasn’t been censored, or when information hasn’t been banned from public access, cheapens the concept. I was suspended on Twitter once for using an anti-gay slur as part of a discussion on anti-gay views. I didn’t consider myself “censored”, even though Twitter made me delete that post before I could access my account again. Twitter admins moderated my speech on their platform — which they had every right to do.

Speaking of which…

You said, "They’re being booted from a platform". They being conservatives (your words); platforms being Twitter, Facebook, YouTube (your words).

…Twitter has every right to make that decision, too. Even if I grant the existence of an actual anti-conservative bias at Twitter, so what? The First Amendment, combined with Section 230, gives Twitter the right to act on that bias. But I still say that if Twitter bans a self-proclaimed conservative for expressing anti-LGBT views, the problem lies less with Twitter’s TOS and more with the person who conflates anti-LGBT views with conservatism.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

Do you think conservatives are "pro-LGBT"?

In generalized, broad strokes, black-and-white thinking? No. The Republican party vehemently opposes LGBT civil rights, including the legalization of same-sex marriage via Obergefell v. Hodges. The generalized record of American conservatives on such issues bears out that opposition.

In particular, fine strokes, shades-of-gray thinking? That depends on the self-identified conservative. One such person might be for gay people’s civil rights but draw the line at trans rights. Another might be for LGBT rights in full. Yet another might be for same-sex marriage, but not same-sex adoption. And yet another might think all discussion of LGBT civil rights is moot because “the queers don’t deserve ‘special rights’ ”.

While I accept the common conclusion that conservatives in general are opposed to LGBT civil rights, I also accept that such generalized thinking leads to the kind of black-and-white thinking that divides us. But I still hold to my original conclusion about a supposed “anti-conservative bias”: If Twitter bans a self-proclaimed conservative for expressing anti-LGBT views, the problem lies less with Twitter’s TOS and more with the person who conflates anti-LGBT views with conservatism.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Which is why I said many times that most conservatives are, for instance, against gay marriage. Not offshoots or exceptions, like Log Cabin Republicans or TPUSA.

You seem to agree with me: "conservatives in general are opposed to LGBT civil rights". This utterly contradicts the idea that I’m "conflating anti-LGBT views with conservatism".

We’ve both stated that, essentially, being anti-LGBT is a conservative position. Essentially, because your nuance is that there are many shades of gray; my nuance because one might equivocate that being against gay marriage isn’t being anti-LGBT. But essentially, it seems we both agree that conservatism is more anti-LGBT than it is pro-LGBT.

So then some odd wording: "If Twitter bans someone for expressing anti-LGBT views".

So, Stone, does Twitter ban people for expressing anti-LGBT views? Or, if you don’t want to answer that for whatever reason: Stone, is Twitter more likely to ban someone for anti LBGT views, or for pro LBGT views?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

one might equivocate that being against gay marriage isn’t being anti-LGBT

Except it is. Saying gay people don’t deserve the right to marry but straight people do expresses a discriminatory position. You can’t advocate for the civil rights of gay people and say “but they shouldn’t have this specific right” simultaneously.

does Twitter ban people for expressing anti-LGBT views?

In a generalized sense? Probably. In a nuanced sense? They ban people for expressing anti-LGBT views in ways that violate the Terms of Service.

is Twitter more likely to ban someone for anti LBGT views, or for pro LBGT views?

I literally used the slur “f⸺t” in a post attacking anti-LGBT attitudes and Twitter dinged me for it. It’s not about the views, it’s about how they’re expressed. But people who hold anti-LGBT views are more likely to use such language, so…yeah…

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Okay, since you seem kind of open to a discussion about nuance and specifics, how about this … the trans thing seems to be the area where a) conservatives and liberals strongly disagree, and b) there have been absolutely unquestionable very recent and strongly enforced TOS changes on many platforms vis a vis trans.

You know the person Manning that was imprisoned for leaking classified material?

I don’t think anyone would question that most conservatives mostly think that person should be referred to by the name under which that person used when that person committed the alleged crime (the same one assigned to that person by that person’s parents at birth).

I also don’t think anyone would question that most liberals mostly think that person should be referred to by the name that person chose about, what, 3 or 4 years ago.

However, referring to that person by the name on the birth certificate is now called "deadnaming" (not a slang, actually used) that is prohibited by Twitter TOS.

Do you think a basically even amount of conservatives and liberals have been or will be booted from Twitter for deadnaming? Because I posit that a vastly higher percentages of self-identified conservatives will be kicked off Twitter than will self-identified liberals.

I think Masnick would agree that that’s the case – he’s not blind nor an imbecile.

A perfect example of what was once acceptable, very recently redefined as unacceptable, and that results in conservatives being removed in much higher proportions than liberals.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9

Do you think a basically even amount of conservatives and liberals have been or will be booted from Twitter for deadnaming?

Doesn’t matter. If deadnaming is against Twitter’s TOS, Twitter has every right to ban people for doing it. That conservatives might be more likely than liberals to do it, and thus be banned for doing it, says more about conservatives than it does Twitter.

And even if — if! — I grant that Twitter bans conservatives far more often than liberals for the same TOS violations…so what? No one has ever told me why I should care. Twitter isn’t a monopoly; it’s one platform out of many. Conservatives who don’t like how Twitter operates (or how they think Twitter operates) can go find another platform or make their own. When Tumblr instituted its now-infamous “porn purge”, I left that platform, and I didn’t whine about how Tumblr was “censoring” anyone because I recognized that it had every right to make that (rather awful) decision.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

Stone, I believe I’ve answered in very very clear language every question you’ve asked.

Yet, when I ask you a simple question, you edge ever so close to providing a clear answer … and then back away. What is it you’re afraid of? Can you answer something unequivocally, without hemming and hawing with a bunch of caveats and "doesn’t matters" and equivocations.

(So we can put it to bed, for the 60th time, I acknowledge and support Big Tech’s right to ban/boot/moderate whoever they want, at any time, for any reason. You might be arguing with someone about that, but it’s not me! I absolutely assure you Stone, it’s not me !)

Now, I get that you say " IF Twitter is booting conservatives at disproportionate levels". Do you see that I understand that?

But what I’m asking you, Stone, personally, as an individual person … do you think they ARE ?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

Paul, are you sincerely asking me that? If you are, I am happy to provide an answer. I assume you think you’ll be tricking me into something, but I assure you, I will absolutely answer that sincerely. There’s chance you’ll return the courtesy.

If that’s the key point, as you say, I’m fine with it.

Your question (tell me if I’m misparaphrasing here): Have a basically even amount of Twitter users [conservatives v. liberals] been violating the Twitter TOS to not deadname trans people?

My answer, and I’d bet a large amount of money I’m right, is: ABSOLUTELY NOT. I bet conservatives have violated this Twitter TOS in much, much higher percentages than liberals. Probably in the 80-90% range.

Now, Paul, since I answered your question honestly, will you do the same with this question (with no caveats or hemming and hawing), do you think:

  • For violating Twitter TOS or any other reason you choose, are a disproportionate percentage of conservatives in comparison to liberals booted from Twitter?