Facebook Is So 'Biased Against Conservatives' That Mark Zuckerberg Personally Agreed To Diminish The Reach Of 'Left-Leaning' Sites

from the the-narrative-is-garbage dept

As you well know if you've been reading this site for the last few years, there's a garbage myth out there that the internet companies have an "anti-conservative" bias. First of all, even if this were true, there's literally nothing wrong with that. Historically, media companies have long had political biases, going all the way back to the founding of the country (seriously you should read how crazy it was). This is literally part of the reason the 1st Amendment exists in the form that it does. The founders knew that allowing the government to crack down on biased media would create problems over time.

But, it's also important to note that there remains no actual evidence for this so-called bias. There are certainly plenty of examples of the big companies kicking off or otherwise limiting trolls and assholes, but not evidence that it's targeted towards any particular political viewpoint. Indeed, there have been trolls and assholes on both sides of the political spectrum removed, but it does appear that there may be slightly more (and slightly more prominent) trolls and assholes on the Trumpist side of the political scale. Even the one study people tout seems to simply show an anti-Nazi and anti-troll bias, but the study counted accounts like the "American Nazi Party" as "conservative".

Meanwhile, other research has suggested that, if anything, Facebook's moderation efforts have been biased in the other direction, favoring more Trump-friendly news organizations. Some people have blamed the fact that two of Facebook's top policy execs are long-term, hardcore Republican operatives, including former FCC chairman Kevin Martin and former Scalia clerk Joel Kaplan. And Facebook execs will even admit (off the record, apparently) that the Trumpist content thrives on the platform and just does much better.

Of course, a new giant WSJ piece suggests another idea. Despite all the huffing and puffing by Republicans -- or perhaps because of it -- Facebook made the decision to diminish left-leaning sites in its algorithm. As you may recall, facing a ton of criticism about how news flowed on Facebook, Zuckerberg announced plans to diminish the overall importance of "news" and to focus on friends and family more. Of course, he's made that promise more than once, as you might note from the dates on these two separate NY Times articles written a year and a half apart:

Anyhow, as Facebook engineers set about making that work (not very successfully by all accounts), it appears that there was a fear within Facebook that whiny snowflake Trumpists would go insane if any of their sites got demoted. And thus, Facebook engineers tweaked the algorithm to make sure it harmed left-leaning sites in a weird attempt to stave off criticism from Trumpists:

In late 2017, when Facebook tweaked its newsfeed algorithm to minimize the presence of political news, policy executives were concerned about the outsize impact of the changes on the right, including the Daily Wire, people familiar with the matter said. Engineers redesigned their intended changes so that left-leaning sites like Mother Jones were affected more than previously planned, the people said. Mr. Zuckerberg approved the plans. “We did not make changes with the intent of impacting individual publishers,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Of course, it hasn't worked in any sense of the word, because Republicans are still insisting that Facebook is biased against them -- because they see that it's working. Zuckerberg (pushed on by Kaplan and Martin) is bending over backwards to favor the Trumpists, and so they're just going to keep playing victim to continue to pressure the company not to make any moves that hurt their presence on the site, while actually harming those at the other end of the political spectrum.

In the WSJ article, the Trump campaign more or less admits that this is their strategy, first admitting that they think that Zuck is a "pragmatist" who is trying to stay out of political fights, and then immediately flipping to whine about how the company treats Trump content:

The Trump campaign considers Mr. Zuckerberg more of a pragmatist than top executives at other major tech companies, according to a person familiar with the matter. But the campaign also has sharply criticized Facebook’s policies. “Just like the rest of the Silicon Valley Mafia, Facebook erroneously believes it is the arbiter of truth and decider of elections,” said Samantha Zager, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, adding that tech companies increasingly censor Mr. Trump and conservatives.

Of course, running a giant company like this is going to involve lots of tradeoffs, and I'm sure that no news story can fully convey the reasons for various decisions made by the company. The most simplistic narratives are rarely true. But this absolutely includes the simplistic narrative that Facebook is somehow biased against "conservatives."

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Filed Under: anti-conservative bias, bias, content moderation, mark zuckerberg, politics
Companies: facebook


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 11:19am

    Giving someone everything only to have them demand more

    Gotta love the overwhelming sense of entitlement mixed with gross dishonesty and a victim-complex. Facebook bends over backwards to favor them and they're still whining that the company has it out for them, going so far as to compare them to the mafia since being honest and admitting that it's very much the other way would conflict with the persecution narrative they're pushing.

    At this point it is well past time for companies to stop being doormats by trying to play nice and realize that nothing will appease the 'conservatives' since if they admit that they're being treated fairly that will destroy the whole 'look at how mean tech companies are treating us' scam they've got going and start treating them like everyone else.

    (If the CEO's really like being slapped around, denigrated and called names there are people and places for that sort of thing, no need to scratch that itch so publicly or in such an unhealthy manner.)

    If someone violates the rules they get the boot. If they want to contest that boot then they get to publicly own what they claimed was acceptable, and if that means defending racism, sexism or some other form of assholery then that's on them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 11:36am

      Re: Giving someone everything only to have them demand more

      That's what they do, and it's what they've been doing for decades.

      It's worked quite well with the New York Times, which they continue to decry as left-wing even as it prints op-eds by Republican senators calling for the military to murder American civilians.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 12:18pm

        It's almost as though the complaints aren't honest ones...

        You'd think by now companies would have wised up and realized that they're being played like fools and that trying to appease the eternal victims will never work, but I guess some people are just really slow learners.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:26pm

          Re: It's almost as though the complaints aren't honest ones...

          The NYT in particular is under the misconception that it's had an unfortunate series of isolated errors in judgement, instead of a serious systemic issue with its editorial approach (which won't be, and hasn't been, fixed by replacing a single individual editor).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 5:39pm

          Re: It's almost as though the complaints aren't honest ones...

          Or perhaps they have actually measured the cost of the lawsuits, the lost revenue from advertising, and the PR cost to simply saying:

          Okay, all you "oh so oppressed" Republicans, all you flamebaiting Progressives, all of you lawmakers who've called us on the carpet to lecture to us or who've proposed cutting our first amendment rights: OUT OF THE POOL!

          But damn, I bet more than a few Facebook execs have dreamed of it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    P. Murtetov, 19 Oct 2020 @ 12:26pm

    Caitlin Johnstone covers this: IT'S THE ESTABLISHMENT'S PLOY.

    No Real Change Can Come If Speech Is Restricted By Monopolistic Oligarchs

    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/10/17/no-real-change-can-come-if-speech-is-restricted-by -monopolistic-oligarchs/

    Somewhat picking at random (it's all good):

    The problem came in when the corporations which were elevated to the top of this new paradigm began collaborating more and more brazenly with ruling power structures, to the point where they're now just openly working with US government agencies to determine what information to censor. They have every incentive to do this as talk of antitrust cases and reinterpreting Section 230 heats up; they know the odds of their monopolies being torn apart go down the more favorable they make themselves to the government powers that would enforce them.

    Yes, Maz, Facebook will respond to politicians and CENSOR "the left" too. -- I don't want that, but you clearly think that's some sort of "balance" of tyranny so everything is okay.

    Of course, it hasn't worked in any sense of the word, because Republicans are still insisting that Facebook is biased against them

    "Republicans" are of course just one side of the same Establishment. You're playing the same old game of pretending that "both" sides aren't out for power and against We The People. As I've long written: you're nothing but a stenographer for the Establishment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 12:30pm

      For what reason should the United States government have the right to compel the hosting of speech on an interactive web service?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Alison Wanda Land, 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:49pm

        Re:

        For what reason should the United States government have the right to compel the hosting of speech on an interactive web service?

        Well, directly answering your question at face value: because The Rich and their powerful influential corporations are trying to prevent certain speech from even being seen.

        Now, had you read Johnstone -- a progressive by the way who's already been censored above -- then you'd know that The Establishment will soon censor ALL non-Establishment voices, probably even yours.

        And of course, the real question is: why do YOU support corporations over individuals? You're not at all for "social justice" for the poor, just The Rich. You are one of the many fakes who actually push The Establishment view.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:57pm

          Nothing would stop the U.S. government from legally compelling a U.S.-based non-corporate Mastodon instance from hosting speech if it can legally compel Facebook or Twitter to host speech. What’s good for the “corporate” goose is good for the “personal” gander, as the saying (sort of) goes.

          You have no right to use any interactive web service. You have no right to make users on any service give you attention. You have no right to make the admins of any service give you an audience. Whatever rights you think you have in that regard, you don’t. Whatever rights you want to have in that regard, you never will.

          Can you cite an actual law, statute, or “common law” court ruling that says the government can compel any privately owned interactive web service — no matter how “big” or “small”, no matter whether it’s owned by a person or a corporation — to host any and all legally protected third-party speech? If so, now would be the ideal time to make that citation.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Appreciative user (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 6:32pm

            Re:

            What if the platform claims to be unbiased but its actions show that it is biased in its moderation. ASSUMING that is true, isn't that lying to its customers. If a company promises its customers X but gives them Y, you wouldn't tell customers to simply go somewhere else. They can be sued for this deception.

            Whether its strictly on section 230 based complaints is a little bit of a moot point.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              bhull242 (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 6:37pm

              Re: Re:

              “Bias” is subjective, which therefore means that no court would take it as a promise that can be enforced in court.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 7:50pm

              Re: Re:

              If you managed to find a company stupid enough to write that sort of TOS they might be on the hook for breach of contract, but basically any sane platform is going to have a TOS that includes a 'while we have rules we reserve the right to kick people off at our discretion, and if you don't like it then don't use our platform' clause.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 10:07pm

              Re: Re:

              "If a company promises its customers X but gives them Y, you wouldn't tell customers to simply go somewhere else."

              Define "customers". Facebook users typically are not the actual customers of the company...

              "Whether its strictly on section 230 based complaints is a little bit of a moot point."

              No, that's a completely different issue. Section 230 shields it from responsibility for the actions of its users. It does not protect them from actions they committed themselves, which in your scenario would include misleading their user base. These have nothing to do with each other, apart from the fact that some people are really trying to stretch to try and argue against the moderation of private platforms in a way that doesn't fundamentally involve removing some peoples' right to free speech and free association...

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 12:58am

                It does not protect them from actions they committed themselves

                Uh…it does protect them from liability for one specific type of action. Without 230, services wouldn’t be able to legally moderate speech without being held liable for the speech it didn’t moderate.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2020 @ 2:03am

                Re: Re: Re:

                Hey, your Honor, as you see it did not take long for the proof of pro conservative bias of facebook to emerge. Case reopened because of new evidence proving support of Zuckerberg to the right, plaintiff was right, thank you. Next will be the proof that "censoring" some random content from the right every once in a while is just a manipulative attempt to cover the pro-conservative bias. But we will need a whistleblower for that.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2020 @ 3:46am

              Re: Re:

              " If a company promises its customers X but gives them Y, you wouldn't tell customers to simply go somewhere else"

              Why not? Sounds like business as usual.
              No Caps? ... oh yeah, it's capped
              unlimited? ... oh yeah, it's limited
              no solicitation? ... oh yeah, it's solicitation

              Don't like it ... tough shit, go elsewhere

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Appreciative user (profile), 21 Oct 2020 @ 6:56am

                Re: Re: Re:

                I'm not saying that corporations haven't gotten away with ALOT of things.... but if I remember correctly, many of your examples DID get sued.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 5:09am

              Re: Re:

              "What if the platform claims to be unbiased but its actions show that it is biased in its moderation. "

              Irrelevant.

              If you run a bar you can evict any patron, for any reason. How popular your bar is doesn't matter. If it's the watering hole all the cool people go to doesn't matter. If it's the one place within ten miles serving alcohol still doesn't matter. Because the bar is private property.

              Twitter, Facebook - or for that matter Parlor and Gab - can deny anyone access to their private premises for any reason. Any reason at all.

              And the only way to change that means you just decided private ownership of property doesn't exist and it's all nationalized to favor the collective proletariat.

              It's truly astonishing to hear - from the fucking right wing - the argument that as soon as it comes to freedom of speech and right of assembly the government must seize the means of production.

              The irony of people who call themselves "right-wing" advocating pure communist ideology while booing everyone else for being "leftist" is just fucking sad. Even for people apparently dumber than a bag of hammers.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 5:50am

                Re: Re: Re:

                "If you run a bar you can evict any patron, for any reason."

                Well, not for any reason. You can't just go "I don't like n***ers" and kick someone out, you have to be more creative than that. But, being an asshole is not a legally protected class.

                Which, I suspect, is the real issue. Twitter can ban white supremacists quite legally, but Gab can't just outright ban black people. That must sting to the people who think that way.

                "The irony of people who call themselves "right-wing" advocating pure communist ideology while booing everyone else for being "leftist" is just fucking sad."

                They quite often demonstrate they haven't got the first clue what words like "socialism" and "communism" actually mean. They just use them to describe things they don't like and don't bother to understand why that's not what it really means.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Oct 2020 @ 12:27am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "They quite often demonstrate they haven't got the first clue what words like "socialism" and "communism" actually mean. They just use them to describe things they don't like and don't bother to understand why that's not what it really means."

                  ...because trying to understand and fix a deep-rooted issue, especially if the fix means having to give up cherished old entitlements, is hard.

                  Much easier to just scream and curse at a picture of Goldstein.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:57pm

          Re: Re:

          because The Rich and their powerful influential corporations are trying to prevent certain speech from even being seen.

          And by means of campaign contributions, lobbying etc. they have an oversized influence on government. So you want to hand control over speech to those who most want to control it. Your reasoning as ever is incoherent.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:59pm

          Re: Re:

          And of course, the real question is: why do YOU support corporations over individuals?

          Then why do you support it when a corporation decides it's not going to bake a cake for a gay couple?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:59pm

            Better questions for ol’ Blue Balls to answer: How can a corporation control and enforce a copyright when you believe corporations have no legal rights, and how do you feel about corporations using copyright to censor speech?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 3:27pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            Would you still feel the same way if that situation had been reversed? If an attempt was made to force gay bakery owners to bake a cake for straight customers whose message they disagreed with? And no claims of whataboutism, either. Just answer the question. Yes or no?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 3:58pm

              Would you still feel the same way if that situation had been reversed? If an attempt was made to force gay bakery owners to bake a cake for straight customers whose message they disagreed with?

              Something akin to that scenario — but not exactly like it — occured with Azucar Bakery in Colorado a few years back. A Christian customer ordered two Bible-shaped cakes with anti-gay messaging; bakery owner Marjorie Silva (a Catholic, by the by) agreed to bake the cakes, but refused to put the messaging on them. She also offered to sell the customer everything he needed to decorate the cakes himself. The customer refused that offer, then later filed a religious discrimination complaint.

              The case came before the Colorado Civil Rights Division. They ruled that Silva didn’t infringe upon the customer’s rights because her refusal to decorate the cakes was not about the religious nature of the messages. Rather, the refusal was based on the “derogatory language and imagery” of the messaging, which Azucar had a policy of not putting on any of their products themselves.

              And then there’s the Hands-On Originals case, which is more on-point (albeit with a different kind of business). Also: I agree with that ruling.

              So yes, I feel confident in saying that no one should have the right to compel speech from a business — even historically marginalized peoples. Oh, and for the record: At no point in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case was that bakery ever compelled by any governmental authority to bake anything for the gay customers who lodged the discrimination complaint.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 10:15pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "If an attempt was made to force gay bakery owners to bake a cake for straight customers whose message they disagreed with?"

              If they would do the same exact cake for a gay couple? Absolutely.

              There are two famous anti-gay cake cases I'm aware of. One didn't involve a message at all, the owner originally agreed to make the cake, then changed his mind and refused when he found out it was a gay wedding. If a gay couple did the same thing when discovering the cake was for a straight wedding, they should be criticised in the same way.

              The other I'm aware of did include a message, but when it was discovered that the message would be problematic the couple in question offered to buy a cake without a message and decorate it themselves. The owner refused - which again is a no-no. If you sell a product to the public, you cannot refuse to sell it because you don't like the customer's religion, gender, race or sexual orientation - and that should stand whether the customer is gay, straight or other. If you offer undecorated cakes to straight couples you also offer them to gay couples and vice versa.

              So, while you seem to have misunderstood the cases in question the answer is yes, equality means that you treat the public equally, and if you have specific problems with a certain section of the public using your services, maybe you shouldn't offer services to the public.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 12:47am

                if you have specific problems with a certain section of the public using your services, maybe you shouldn't offer services to the public

                The Masterpiece Cakeshop case was about this specific principle, BTW. A business that purports to serve the general public doesn’t get to decide who is part of the general public. It must serve the same “menu” to all customers equally. Masterpiece chose to not serve a gay customer equally by refusing to even make them a basic wedding cake. (Decorations are a whole other matter, as the Azucar Bakery case proved.) And after Masterpiece initially lost its case — and was ordered to treat LGBT customers equally — the bakery stopped offering wedding cakes to all customers so it wouldn’t have to make one for a gay customer.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 5:45am

                  Re:

                  Yeah, the decoration part does change things, but the Masterpiece one seems clearcut - they were going to offer the service before they found out the couple were gay, then retracted the offer. That's a big no-no, and for good reason.

                  But, what the AC and others sometimes forget is that the law works for everyone. If sexual orientation is protected, then that works both ways. A straight man being discriminated against is rightfully protected as much as a gay man is. The fact that a straight man is far less likely to have that happen is not an indication of favouritism on the part of the law.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2020 @ 11:23am

                    Re: Re:

                    I know the law works for everyone - or at least it's supposed to. I was just wanting to see if you all did since that case gets trotted out but the reverse situation is almost never brought up.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 11:55am

                      the reverse situation is almost never brought up

                      There’s a reason for that: The majority rarely need to use protections intended to prevent discrimination of minority groups within the population. We don’t expect to hear about gay people denying service to straight people only because they’re straight. And if that happened, we likely wouldn’t be hearing about a civil court case — we’d instead hear about something awful happening to the discrminating party.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 10:32pm

                        Re:

                        "And if that happened, we likely wouldn’t be hearing about a civil court case — we’d instead hear about something awful happening to the discrminating party."

                        Depends on the area. In most places, the gay place won't be the only place in town and a lot of people would just go "screw you then" and go to a competitor. The group in the majority position always has somewhere else to go.

                        We hear about court cases about minority groups not only because they're more likely to be discriminated against, but because they're going to have less choice of where to go if they're allowed to be discriminated against. "Go to another bakery" sounds fine until you realise that every business in the area you live in agree with each other and you have to do a lot of travelling to find someone who will serve you.

                        Violence isn't the only think to be concerned about, history has proven that the whole "separate but equal" thing is rather problematic as well.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 2:14pm

                      Re: Re: Re:

                      "the reverse situation is almost never brought up."

                      Yes, the situation where a demographic that's been in the majority position for hundreds of years gets discriminated against isn't mentioned as much as the minority group that's only got the right to be married granted to them in the last few decade being discriminated against.

                      Why do you suppose that is?

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Oct 2020 @ 12:40am

                      Re: Re: Re:

                      "I was just wanting to see if you all did since that case gets trotted out but the reverse situation is almost never brought up."

                      For good reason. Naturally the principle of the law is clear no matter who is involved...
                      ...but when, exactly, was a straight/cis person marginalized in public or treated as a second-class citizen or actual abomination based on his/her sexuality or gender identity?

                      It's pretty clear that there are far fewer cases of people being beaten to death for being straight then there are of gays meeting that end. Hence there are few examples trotted out, the same way there are very few real headlines of "man bites dog" or "killer hornet stung to death by irate farmer".

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Oct 2020 @ 12:36am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "If an attempt was made to force gay bakery owners to bake a cake for straight customers whose message they disagreed with? And no claims of whataboutism, either. Just answer the question. Yes or no?"

              Typical Baghdad Bob - asking a question which already has the answer you were most definitely NOT looking for.
              The answer is yes, you can not force a baker to custom-make a cake if the baker has any reasonable cause to refuse you. And do take note that no baker has ever been forced or compelled in law to bake such a cake.

              I hate to have to say it - again - but you are such a fucking tool when you can't produce any single argument in favor of your position without lying or straight-out going back on your previous arguments.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Koby (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:24pm

    No Censorship = No Bias

    If FB is tweaking the algorithm, it means that there is a bias occurring. Just let it go. Don't engage in corporate censorship in the first place and everything will be okay, except for the people who want to engage in bias.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:30pm

      If FB is tweaking the algorithm, it means that there is a bias occurring.

      And in this case, the bias is favored towards conservatives. So much for that “anti-conservative bias”, huh?

      corporate censorship

      How does Facebook censor anyone? I mean, Alex Jones got kicked off Facebook, and he still gets to say his shit on InfoWars.

      (Reminder: You have no right to use Facebook. You have no right to make Facebook users give you attention. You have no right to make Facebook give you an audience.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 2:24pm

        'Look, bias!' '... In your favor.' 'Still counts!'

        I do so love how, when faced with evidence that if there is bias it's in favor of his side he just doubles-down and tries to claim that it's proof that he was right all along.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 2:41pm

      Re: No Censorship = No Bias

      If FB is tweaking the algorithm, it means that there is a bias occurring. Just let it go. Don't engage in corporate censorship in the first place and everything will be okay, except for the people who want to engage in bias.

      You do realize that this would mean no search results (picking the top result is biased). No spam filtering (bias!). No making sure that you see more babies and pets (bias!).

      Sorry, but that's ridiculous.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        teka, 20 Oct 2020 @ 4:40am

        Re: Re: No Censorship = No Bias

        Maybe we can go back to the "the page that has the most matching words somewhere on it must be the best result" web searches.

        Ah, those were the days.

        Dark, dark days.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:29pm

    How does one tell whether Caitlin Johnstone is a Marxist or a Fascist? In her mind, there is evidently no influence but in violent power; and everything devolves around it.

    I am persuaded that the key to U.S. success is the consistent radical separation of powers: not just legislative/executive/judiciary/jury, but federal/state AND the independence of citizen-associations like churches, publishers, and other corporations from any of the above. But that key still has to be wielded by people who fundamentally trust, rather than hate, their neighbors and intend to be trusted and respected by them in turn. And each "power" must depend for support on the ideals it represents and enables.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Alison Wanda Land, 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:36pm

    You're again conflating newspapers with truck drivers.

    The founders knew that allowing the government to crack down on biased media would create problems over time.

    Facebook is a HOST of many PERSONAL websites, not the Publisher of all on one gigantic "corporate" website. Just because it has some extra HTML (and central control that generates links dynamically) that facilitates various communication between the many PERSONAL websites doesn't make it any different in principle than any other HOST.

    In fact, this kind of "biased media" should be forbidden because it's giving an electronic PRINTER total power over what persons wish to Publish.

    Facebook is NOT the Publisher; its users are not Authors who agreed to subject themselves to control: they thought were on a "neutral platform" where could present their own views without hindrance, and definitely never agreed to be chained to a block like slaves for sale.

    You don't know American principles, Maz, only the legalist / corporatist control systems that were indoctrinated with at your elitist Ivy League diploma-mill.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 5:18pm

      Re:

      How's that Colette Pelissier fund coming along bro?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 5:27pm

      Re: You're again conflating newspapers with truck drivers.

      Facebook is NOT the Publisher; its users are not Authors who agreed to subject themselves to control: they thought were on a "neutral platform" where could present their own views without hindrance...

      Maybe they should have read the Terms of Service, eh?

      it's giving an electronic PRINTER total power over what persons wish to Publish.

      finish the sentence: "what OTHER persons want to publish on THE PRINTER's equipment"

      That's what "freedom of the press" means: the owner of the press gets to decide what gets printed. Go into Kinko's and see if they'll let you use their equipment to copy just anything (I have, and they have limits, and I had to convince them I was within the limits.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:43pm

    You're again conflating newspapers with truck drivers.

    by Alison Wanda Land

    The founders knew that allowing the government to crack down on biased media would create problems over time.

    Facebook is a HOST of many PERSONAL websites, not the Publisher of all on one gigantic "corporate" website. Just because it has some extra HTML (and central control that generates links dynamically) that facilitates various communication between the many PERSONAL websites doesn't make it any different in principle than any other HOST.

    In fact, this kind of "biased media" should be forbidden because it's giving an electronic PRINTER total power over what persons wish to Publish.

    Facebook is NOT the Publisher; its users are not Authors who agreed to subject themselves to control: they thought were on a "neutral platform" where could present their own views without hindrance, and definitely never agreed to be chained to a block like slaves for sale.

    You don't know American principles, Maz, only the legalist / corporatist control systems that were indoctrinated with at your elitist Ivy League diploma-mill.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:46pm

      You forgot to answer the question, Brainy Smurf:

      For what reason should the United States government have the right to compel the hosting of speech on an interactive web service?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Alison Wanda Land, 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:44pm

    Again with can't use a screen name!

    But went right in as AC. Have you got a filter list now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Alison Wanda Land, 19 Oct 2020 @ 1:51pm

    Caitlin Johnstone covers this: IT'S THE ESTABLISHMENT'S PLOY.

    [repeat just for fun: TD LOVES WHACK-A-MOLE!]

    No Real Change Can Come If Speech Is Restricted By Monopolistic Oligarchs

    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/10/17/no-real-change-can-come-if-speech-is-restricted-by -monopolistic-oligarchs/

    Somewhat picking at random (it's all good):

    The problem came in when the corporations which were elevated to the top of this new paradigm began collaborating more and more brazenly with ruling power structures, to the point where they're now just openly working with US government agencies to determine what information to censor. They have every incentive to do this as talk of antitrust cases and reinterpreting Section 230 heats up; they know the odds of their monopolies being torn apart go down the more favorable they make themselves to the government powers that would enforce them.

    Yes, Maz, Facebook will respond to politicians and CENSOR "the left" too. -- I don't want that, but you clearly think that's some sort of "balance" of tyranny so everything is okay.

    Of course, it hasn't worked in any sense of the word, because Republicans are still insisting that Facebook is biased against them

    "Republicans" are of course just one side of the same Establishment. You're playing the same old game of pretending that "both" sides aren't out for power and against We The People. As I've long written: you're nothing but a stenographer for the Establishment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 2:06pm

    Zuckerberg (pushed on by Kaplan and Martin) is bending over backwards to favor the Trumpists, and so they're just going to keep playing victim to continue to pressure the company not to make any moves that hurt their presence on the site, while actually harming those at the other end of the political spectrum.

    Between Zuckerberg having had dinners with Trump and other GOP head honchos, a performative post-election ad ban that Facebook knows won't solve a thing while simultaneously turning on algorithmic amplification for posts within groups, and this, I feel like it's safe to say now that Facebook is a malicious entity that doesn't give a fuck about how its business model is incompatible with human rights or democracy. The company isn't just "doing a bad job", as Mike has insisted in the past; it sees all the shit that goes on on the platform that causes harm and doesn't care because hey, more money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 5:38am

      Re:

      "I feel like it's safe to say now that Facebook is a malicious entity that doesn't give a fuck about how its business model is incompatible with human rights or democracy."

      Probably. So individual people currently favoring FB should realize this and make use of their individual right to walk off to as platform which better represents them.

      The response of the stupid and one-dimensional would be to punish facebook for it's opinion.
      Those who possess a smattering of history realize it's a bad sign to start lawmaking against opinion and instead advocate for simply letting people make up their own minds about where to go.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2020 @ 9:44am

        Re: Re:

        We should advocate for letting people make up their minds on where to go while simultaneously using all the legal and governmental tools that make the most sense to put a stop to Surveillance Capitalism. As Evan Greer wrote:

        There is no silver-bullet solution. To fix this, we’ll need every tool in the toolbox: grassroots pressure, antitrust action, open source and decentralized alternatives, strong data privacy legislation, adversarial interoperability, and other policies that make Big Tech’s abusive and monopolistic practices impractical or illegal. But all of that will take time, and the election is weeks away. Facebook’s algorithm is a digital megaphone for groups planning real-world violence, and a deadly signal boost for false information about Covid-19.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Oct 2020 @ 12:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "...while simultaneously using all the legal and governmental tools that make the most sense to put a stop to Surveillance Capitalism."

          No one would have a problem if the advocacy was government regulation over normal consumer protection rules. But that's not the issue here.

          The issue is that government has begun advocating that private property needs to be nationalized if said property is sufficiently popular.

          Now if the concept "For the good of the people the state must seize control over these means of production" doesn't run a chill down your spine it may be because you've never actually read "The Communist Manifesto" the alt-right somehow keeps espousing lately.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    David Longfellow, 19 Oct 2020 @ 2:09pm

    Not a surprise

    I see no real problem here.
    As long as you assume you are getting a steady stream of of filtered propaganda from the left, you are good to go. Lying about it is just part of the plan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 4:04pm

    Can I just say I love that instead of calling them Republicans or conservatives, Mr. Masnick elected for the term 'Trumpist'? I hope many more people start to use that term and not let people pretend they didn't support him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2020 @ 4:05pm

    Yes, your narrative is garbage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2020 @ 11:39pm

      Re:

      This is what you've been reduced to, antidirt? No "Masnick why you won't debate me"? No rants about how "lifetime + 99 years" is still a limited period for creators to break even? Wow, your wife must really be into cuckolding, but then NTR is a pretty fucking big manga genre for some godforsaken reason.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 19 Oct 2020 @ 5:41pm

    The questions conservatives/right wingers aren't asking

    If there is a bias, why is that? Is it because our viewpoint is abhorrent? Do we come off as assholes and people really don't want to listen to it? Is it that we are so self-righteous that people are turned off?

    A little self reflection might do some good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 19 Oct 2020 @ 8:00pm

      Re: The questions conservatives/right wingers aren't asking

      Well you know the saying, 'if you run into an asshole during the day you ran into an asshole, if everyone you meet calls you an asshole it must be them'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2020 @ 5:12am

      Re: The questions conservatives/right wingers aren't asking

      "A little self reflection might do some good."

      Vampires cannot see their reflection.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 2:35am

    And conservatives will continue to decry bias, because they don't want criticism or left wing content to be allowed at all. They quite liked being able to censor opponents and crush opposition to their policies during the Bush admin and will only ever be happy with that on steroids.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2020 @ 11:26am

      Re:

      Oh, so you've personally met every single conservative in existence? Because that's the only way you can say something about them as a group. Generalizations are wrong. Don't make them. People are not these monolothic groups all made up of carbon copies of each other. Simply adding the qualifier "some" to your comment would've avoided the whole issue.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2020 @ 12:03pm

        Re: Re:

        And most conservatives will continue to decry bias, because most of them don't want criticism or left wing content to be allowed at all. Most conservatives quite liked being able to censor opponents and crush opposition to their policies during the Bush admin and will only ever be happy with that on steroids.

        Is this better ?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2020 @ 10:10pm

    So all sites are private property - then repeal 230. That's why security in the bars is for - you have to keep an eye on your customers and can't allow for drugs to be sold in your establishment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Oct 2020 @ 10:25pm

      Re:

      "That's why security in the bars is for - you have to keep an eye on your customers and can't allow for drugs to be sold in your establishment."

      Yes, and section 230 is the thing that allows platforms to manage their property that way. It exists because the Prodigy case could have meant that any attempt to secure the bar in your analogy would make them directly liable for anything they missed, and it's impossible to manage the property with 100% accuracy. The only way to avoid liability is to not secure the bar at all and let the drugs fly free, or close it to the public. That is the dilemma section 230 seeks to avoid, and what allows you to post here.

      Strange how you people with easy answers about getting rid of section 230 get every fact about it so wrong...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2020 @ 6:19am

        Re: Re:

        no dilemma - close it all. If it is too large to be effectively controlled, then just shut it down. You have limits of people in bars, why should not you have them on sites? Why you should be able to shield yourself under the "they are sooooooo many I cannot read all they write?" If you cannot keep an eye on them, you just shut your site down. I want rave parties with 10.000 people to be illegal, as much as I want a million idiotic comments to be deleted. If the result is that I will not be able to comment as well, then be it. Fair price to pay.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 21 Oct 2020 @ 7:19am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "no dilemma - close it all. If it is too large to be effectively controlled, then just shut it down"

          Define "effectively controlled". I can presumably hide a big bag of coke in the toilet of my local hole in the wall bar without the owner's knowledge. Or, a music festival with hundreds of thousands of people can be successful with few issues even if some dickhead manages to smuggle a tiny bag inside. You're crazy if you think that the way in which these places need to be managed is identical.

          "I want rave parties with 10.000 people to be illegal, as much as I want a million idiotic comments to be deleted"

          So, you're just antisocial, then?

          "Fair price to pay."

          Others disagree about this being a fair price. Why does your opinion override the opinion of the 9,999 ravers who aren't causing trouble?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2020 @ 7:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          no dilemma - close it all. If it is too large to be effectively controlled, then just shut it down. You have limits of people in bars, why should not you have them on sites?

          Do that and your return the world to the pre-internet age. Back then there were references to the silent majority, and they were silent because they had no realistic way of getting their words published. Limit sites to what they can edit and validate and you silence the majority of people.

          Also bad analogy, because bars are limited space, and if you keep on letting people in you end up with a big crush and a pile of dead bodies. Internet services are not limited in that fashion, as they can always add more storage.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 21 Oct 2020 @ 9:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If the result is that I will not be able to comment as well, then be it. Fair price to pay.

          I was going to write up a longer comment about what a blisteringly stupid argument you were proposing, but if you're willing to accept being silenced like that then I see no reason to bother and will instead take you up on that, flagging any current and future comments by you. Thanks for saving me the time and typing.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Oct 2020 @ 12:51am

      Re:

      "So all sites are private property - then repeal 230. That's why security in the bars is for..."

      Your analogy is reversed. If section 230 is repealed the "bars" wouldn't be allowed to hire bouncers - the moderators in this case.

      Seriously, why does the alt-right have to keep lying through it's teeth and use actual newspeak every time they want to argue their position these days? At this point we might all just react better if you guys were truthful enough to just flat-out say "WE want special privileges for not being liberal or black".

      The sniveling cringy weaseling is getting old, guys.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2020 @ 1:46am

    Uh oh, the dumpster caught on fire again

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Susie, 31 Oct 2020 @ 4:12pm

    One sided.

    I asked google to show me all the negative info on Biden and it brought up shit on Trump! I cant believe Zuckerberg is a socialist bastard

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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