Everything Pundits Are Getting Wrong About This Current Moment In Content Moderation

from the pay-attention dept

Since Twitter and Facebook banned Donald Trump and began “purging” QAnon conspiracists, a segment of the chattering class has been making all sorts of wild proclamations about this “precedent-setting” event. As such, I thought I’d set the record straight.

1. “Deplatforming Trump sets a precedent”

That says:

Deplatforming Donald Trump, a sitting US president, sets a dangerous precedent.

It has less to do with his views and more to do with intolerance for a differing point. Ironically, those who claim to champion free speech are celebrating.

Big tech firms are now the new oligarchs.

First of all, the only “precedent” set here is that this is indeed the first time a sitting US president has been deplatformed by a tech company. I suppose that if your entire worldview is what happens in the United States, you might be surprised. But when you look outside that narrow lens, you would see that Facebook has booted off Lebanese politicians, Burmese generals, and even other right-wing US politicians…nevermind the millions of others who have been booted by these platforms, often without cause, often while engaging in protected speech under any definition.

2020 alone saw the (wrongful, even in light of platform policies) deplatforming of hundreds, perhaps thousands of people using terms related to Iran (including a Los Angeles-based crafter’s “Persian dolls” by Etsy) in an overzealous effort by companies to comply with sanctions, the booting of Palestinian speakers from Zoom on incorrectly-analyzed legal grounds, the deplatforming by Twitter of dozens of leftist Jews and Palestinians for clapping back at harassers, and so much more.

2. “This is the biggest online purge in history!”

That says:

I’ve lost over 15,000 followers today – insane how many accounts are getting terminated in the largest online purge in history

Twitter has been purging accounts of QAnon conspiracists and other right-wing accounts over the past week or more. Many of these accounts engage in dangerous rhetoric, including encouragement of violent insurrection against a democratically elected government. It is indeed interesting, particularly when one compares it to the company’s inaction against similar rhetoric in India and elsewhere. But what it isn’t is the “largest online purge in history”—not by a long shot. I would suggest that that occurred two years ago, when Twitter kicked off more than a million alleged ISIS accounts with zero transparency and the “freeze peach” galaxy brains didn’t blink.

3. “AWS kicking Parler off its servers is a step too far/is unprecedented/marks new territory in the digital rights debate”

That says:

Companies like Amazon should either get out of the hosting business, or remain agnostic about what their customers use their services for. As a very long term user, all the way back to the beginning of S3, their move today is disturbing and unacceptable.

To be completely fair, I am of the belief that infrastructure companies play a different role than platforms designed to host user speech/user-generated content, and that decisions like this should not be taken lightly. But let’s not pretend it hasn’t happened before (to be fair, Dave Winer is not doing that, and he is quite aware of the company’s history on these matters). In 2010, AWS famously booted WikiLeaks after no more than concern from the State Department—that is, WikiLeaks hadn’t been charged with anything—kicking off a series of deplatformings of the group. But WikiLeaks is not the only example here: Sanctions—or at least some legal interpretations of them—have meant that ordinary folks from countries like Iran can’t use AWS freely either. Last January saw a massive purge of Iranian users from various platforms, likely instigated by the Department of Treasury (though thus far, we have no proof of that). Some might suggest that this is a legal requirement of Amazon, but as GitHub demonstrated this week, there are indeed workarounds for companies that care enough about internet freedom.

4. “This is communism!”

Uh no, this is capitalism. Platforms have this much power because unbridled American capitalism is what y’all wanted. It is also not “Orwellian,” I can assure you.

5. “The Google Play store/Apple store booting Parler sets new precedent.”

Uh actually, no it doesn’t. Does anyone remember that Apple forced Tumblr’s hand hardly two years ago by threatening to kick it out of the App store if it didn’t do something about the child sexual abuse imagery it was unknowingly hosting, resulting in a near-total ban on nudity and sexual content on the site? Anyone?

6. “Twitter won’t let you hashtag #1984”

That says:

Twitter won’t let you hashtag #1984, a dystopian novel about an evil Big Tech government that spies on everyone, censors and manipulates speech, punishes wrong-thought, and tortures dissidents for sport.

There’s Orwellian, and then there’s banning references to Orwell Orwellian.

Twitter has never allowed number-based hashtags, next?

Got more examples? Shoot them to me on Twitter.

Republished with permission from Jillian C. York's website.

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Filed Under: content moderation, deplatforming, donald trump, precedent, pundits


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 1:50pm

    Always funny to see people refer to 1984 in a way that reveals they clearly haven't even read the book's Wikipedia page.

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:07pm

    Deplatforming Donald Trump, a sitting US president, sets a dangerous precedent.

    As if failing in an attempted coup did not set off loud alarms in every company in the US and beyond.

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

  3. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:08pm

    Doesn’t seem to have done anything over at Fox News, OAN, and Newsmax… 🤔

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:12pm

    Re:

    Crackpots gonna crackpot.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:13pm

    "Companies like Amazon should either get out of the hosting business, or remain agnostic about what their customers use their services for. As a very long term user, all the way back to the beginning of S3, their move today is disturbing and unacceptable."

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:16pm

    Re:

    Those people have bought into the lies and misinformation so hard that they actually believe that they're the patriots and they're trying to "save America from the thinly veiled socialist plot to take over the country". They honestly believe that to be true. Their incursion into the White House wasn't an insurrection, it was an attempt to stop their "beloved" country from being taken over by communists. They think they're trying to stop a coup, not engage in one.

    This is the America we have now, thanks to Trump and all the greedy asskissers that supported him in government.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:17pm

    Re:

    Yeah, 'cause if they were hosting child porn or terrorists he'd be totally cool with that.

    /s

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:17pm

    I don't twitter, so I was unaware that twitter does not allow numeric hashtags.

    Does it allow all-punctuation hashtags like ---...--- ?

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re:

    Can they invoke the insanity defense? Because they sound really crazy.

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

  10. icon
    bhull242 (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:27pm

    Re:

    I’m pretty sure that punctuation marks aren’t allowed in hashtags, and the first character must be a letter/orthographical equivalent to a letter.

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

  11. identicon
    wiserabbit, 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:27pm

    ...i know this makes me a bad person...

    every time i see something like this, "I’ve lost over <insert incredibly huuuuge number> followers today", all i can think is, "well, yeah, but probably 90% of them were bots or something"....

    ....ok, like 99% of them...

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

  12. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:31pm

    Plenty of blame to go around

    Oh not just greedy asskissers, you've also got the gutless cowards who care more about their political career than the country and who don't dare stand up to Trump lest they lose the support of the large 'deranged lunatic' section of the GOP voter base.

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

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:34pm

    Re:

    Is Amazon restricted from selling and delivering dildos in the state of Alabama?
    Is Amazon restricted from selling and delivering alcohol to whomever purchases it?
    Is Amazon restricted from selling and delivering weed to whomever purchases it?

    Yeah, they should totally remain agnostic about what their customers use their services for because they would in no way violate any existing laws.

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

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:36pm

    Re:

    Input filtering is always a good idea.

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

  15. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:37pm

    '... You WANTED those people as followers?'

    Given the kind of people who are apparently getting the boot assuming bots would seem to be the more generous reading of the situation, because the alternative is rather telling as to who was following them and brings the question of 'why?'(in both the 'why were they following you?' and 'why are you upset that they're gone?' sense) to the forefront.

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

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:52pm

    There are valid questions to be asked over whether app stores should be policing content moderation policies (or lack thereof) in the apps on their stores (similar to the concerns over moving the policing of content moderation policies deeper into the infrastructure stack ala Parler being kicked off AWS). Apple in particular doesn't allow people to install alternate app stores or sideload apps on its devices so it can't use that excuse like Google can.

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

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 2:57pm

    Re: '... You WANTED those people as followers?'

    ....it is actually just a immediate reaction my brain goes to, regardless of context, to anyone talking about their follower #'s...

    (and wouldn't that day be a cool day? what exactly does twitter look like without all those accounts?)

    seriously, though, exactly your point. why someone would want to publicize that they have 15,000 knuckleheads following them...but i'm not a huge twitter follower so....there may be prestige in that????

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

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 3:06pm

    Re:

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

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 3:10pm

    Re:

    Amazon looks at a group of people, who if they had their way would institute a fascist state that would tell Amazon how to run their business. After witnessing an attempted coup to that end, why should Amazon be required to support that group by giving them hosting services?

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

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 3:37pm

    Re:

    or sideload apps on its devices

    100% not true. You can sideload all day long using tools Apple itself distributes. They just don't make it super obvious you can do this.

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

  21. icon
    ECA (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 4:18pm

    Anyone

    Got the numbers of How much money we have saved All the corps, not Just the TV/CELL/ISP systems??

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

  22. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Re:

    If you want to get a politician to pay attention hit them where it hurts, the 'donations' fund. I suspect that that more than anything else will get across that maybe supporting a lie that resulted in an insurrection might have been a bad thing.

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

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 4:28pm

    Republicans are asking for content to be treated equally? That's odd, I thought they claimed killing off net neutrality was a good thing.

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

  24. identicon
    Christenson, 11 Jan 2021 @ 4:44pm

    Re: ...i know this makes me a bad person...

    Lol -- Read up Techdirt at "Lies, Damned Lies, and Audience Metrics" -- Internet audience measurements, as in followers, are very unreliable due to the both the bot phenomenon and abandoned accounts.

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180220/11260539272/techdirt-podcast-episode-155-lies-d amned-lies-audience-metrics.shtml

    and generally:
    https://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=metrics

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

  25. identicon
    Christenson, 11 Jan 2021 @ 4:50pm

    Precedent for AWS deplatforming Parler...

    Sounds a lot like CloudFlare and Daily Stormer!

    While we're at deplatforming, what about Sci-hub??? Revenge porn scum? That court ruling that the internet was too essential to modern life to deprive a convicted child molester of access???

    P.S. "Parlor", a chat app that seems to lean towards naughtiness of the pronographic type, has had a huge traffic spike...

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

  26. identicon
    Jono793, 11 Jan 2021 @ 5:10pm

    Re:

    If the app can run in a web browser, which Parler can, it's not been locked off Android or iOS in any meaningful way.

    Heck, most browsers even allow you to place bookmarks on your phone's home page. So you can even pretend it's a real app

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

  27. icon
    lorgskyegon (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 5:30pm

    I think what they really mean is that

    holding Republicans to the same standard as everyone else sets a bad precedent for them.

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

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 5:34pm

    Signs of Narcissism

    (1) Keeping track of how popular you are

    I have a little rule. If someone even cares how many followers they have, I will go to some trouble to ensure I don't even know what they are saying. We each have a choice--hunt out and tell the truth, or say whatever attracts the most attention. I look for people of type (a).

    (Does this apply to Neilson ratings? Absolutely!)

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

  29. icon
    Boba Fat (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 5:41pm

    Re: Re:

    I think they've put the coup before the hosts.

    ;-)

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

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 5:41pm

    Re: Re:

    Except that AWS is kicking them off, too, which will shut them down completely until they find a new home. If they can.

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

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 5:44pm

    Would section 230 protect a site like parlor from charges related to inciting an insurrection and active participation in an attempted coup?

    If so, why are the insurrectionists wanting 230 abolished? seems a bit counterproductive to me.

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

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 5:51pm

    Royal view

    All these angry people out here like “king George had a point of view too bro ”🤣

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

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 5:57pm

    Re:

    They did not actively incite. “Unless proven otherwise” just host.
    Trump and subs could be facing charges and convictions if you brought up the past history of his language.

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

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 6:45pm

    censorship only drives the problems underground... it does not go away, you just dont see it until its too late. its better to have it out in the open so you can deal with it in a constructive manner. suppressing speech because you disagree with it is not free speech....

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

  35. identicon
    TripMN, 11 Jan 2021 @ 7:09pm

    Re:

    Section 230 does not protect against anything that is a Federal crime (see the all the FOSTA/SESTA/Backpage write-ups by Mike) -- so if insurrection or conspiracy to blank are a Federal crime, then Parler could be charged if a DA really wanted to go through with it.

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

  36. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 7:53pm

    4. "This is communism!"

    I think in this case communism is being used as a generic insult the way gay and terrorist have been used for years.

    It means This is a thing I don't like

    A slang translation would be This is horse shit!

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

  37. icon
    crade (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 8:28pm

    "I am of the belief that infrastructure companies play a different role than platforms designed to host user speech/user-generated content, and that decisions like this should not be taken lightly"

    if decisions like this were taken lightly by amazon or others it would destroy their business because infrastructure hosting decisions are a big investment and risk and and businesses aren't going to want to put their eggs in your basket if you pull the rug out from under your customers without a damn good reason

    That said, I don't see why they should feel any more obligated to provide service to anyone they don't want to when leasing virtual servers than dell should when selling the physical ones

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

  38. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 8:55pm

    Re:

    Deliberate lies unthinkingly parroted by the above AC like the good sheep he is:

    "censorship"
    "only drives problems underground"
    "it does not go away"
    "you just dont [sic] see it until it's too late"
    "its [sic] better to have it out in the open"
    "you can deal with it in a constrictive manner"
    "suppressing spech"
    "because you disagree with it"
    "is not free speech"

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

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 9:36pm

    Re:

    I find it funny that people who criticize those who use 1984 have no idea what it's about.

    How the Party controls everything, how society and culture are changed to fit what the Party says. How the past is erased, street signs are changed, statues are torn down, how history is a problem and must be erase.

    Hmm, sounds like what's happening in America right now, huh?

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

  40. icon
    cattress (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 10:21pm

    Re: Re:

    AC isn't wrong about how deplatforming can drive people underground, force them out of sight while not actually hindering, at least not for long, the problematic activities. FOSTA/SESTA did this sex workers, making work more dangerous, and victims harder to find. A lot of these people hell-bent on violence and chaos will reconstitute elsewhere, say Telegram for instance.
    Of course, there has been not just red flags for potential violence, but massive blinking signs with arrows and blaring sirens indicating something afoot, visible from space, that some (some meaning the Capital Police who were given detailed reports of the impending violence from Data vacuums like the NYPD, plus FBI analysis) law enforcement seems to have turned a blind eye to. So just because the information that could thwart a violent attack, was readily available, doesn't mean it will actually be paid attention to.
    What concerns me is that these dangerous groups will migrate entirely to encrypted platforms, do or attempt something violent, possibly on a large scale, and suddenly law enforcement will have everyone supporting "legal backdoors" and destroy encryption.
    These assholes are going to be yet another reason why we can't have nice things.

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

  41. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 10:30pm

    Re: Re:

    Often the browser experience is intentionally made worse to drive people to the app experience. It shouldn't be that way but that's crapitalism for you.

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

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 10:35pm

    Re:

    The issue is how centralised these decisions then get which creates chokepoints for censorship. See also the PornHub Purge of 2020 which was instigated by payment processors cutting them off at the behest of ill-informed anti-porn orgs.

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

  43. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 11:10pm

    Trump ban was a win win for EU citizens. Not only he is finally out of twitter, now merkel can use the ban as a pretext to start serious eu regulation of big tech and gain support from both the left and the right against this unregulated oligarchic capitalism. Split, tax, break the monopoly. And then sue them for not complying like with GDPR. And get finally online the eu big data standardization program.

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

  44. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 11:17pm

    Of course it’s being used that way. Everyone knows communism is just a red herring.

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

  45. icon
    PaulT (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 11:29pm

    Re: Re:

    They were hosting terrorists, which is why they ditched Parler...

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

  46. icon
    PaulT (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 11:31pm

    Re: ...i know this makes me a bad person...

    What's funny is that they don't go to the logical next step... "I lost X number of followers on the day where terrorists were kicked out, which means that my followers must have been...."

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

  47. icon
    PaulT (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 11:35pm

    Re:

    "There are valid questions to be asked over whether app stores should be policing content moderation policies (or lack thereof) in the apps on their stores"

    Yes, and the answer to those question are always "they have the right to control what's sold on their property, and people who don't like that have other options".

    "Apple in particular doesn't allow people to install alternate app stores or sideload apps on its devices so it can't use that excuse like Google can."

    The "excuse" is "the Apple App Store has always been a walled garden, and people who chose to buy an iPhone despite this knowledge have only themselves to blame if they don't like this fact", and I fail to see the problem with this. If you don't like what Apple is doing as a business, the correct answer is to buy from a competitor, not to try and force Apple to change its business model to placate you.

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

  48. icon
    PaulT (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 11:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    They have no right to use anyone else's property to host their content. They can set up their own cloud infrastructure if they have made themselves so toxic that nobody else wants to work with them.

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

  49. icon
    PaulT (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 11:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Then, if Parler are doing such a thing, they only have themselves to blame for their users experience by doing so...

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

  50. icon
    PaulT (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 11:37pm

    Re:

    Because they don't know what section 230 actually says.

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

  51. icon
    PaulT (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 11:39pm

    Re: Re:

    230 protects Parler from what their users are doing and saying. It doesn't protect them from what they say or do themselves. If they did support this stuff openly rather than merely provide a platform for others to talk about it, section 230 won't protect them.

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

  52. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 12:16am

    The subdued police presence

    Considering how many law enforcement services were on friendly terms with Trump and the White House, it would not surprise me at all if online communications promises to stand down or even to take up arms alongside the insurgency are uncovered in the near future.

    I'm pretty sure if civil war broke out, the DHS subdivisions and a whole lot of sheriffs would join up with the Trump Confederacy.

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

  53. identicon
    Rocky, 12 Jan 2021 @ 12:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    They can also tacitly support what happens on their platform by not moderating content even though said content violates their TOS or the law.

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

  54. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 12:28am

    Apple's Walled Garden

    Around the time Apple refused to put Binding of Isaac on the iPhone because it might offend some people, it came out the Apple app certification management had some rather prudish attitudes about what can go on iOS devices, assuring that LGBT+ interests, minority interests and counterculture interests will be underrepresented on the Apple Store. Those stories are here in the backlog of Techdirt.

    When it comes to the interface experience iOS ≠ Android. I know some people use iPhones specifically because they don't like aspects of Android or grew up with iOS and don't want to relearn their phone.

    Of course, one can jailbreak iOS. It's risky and probably a troubleshooting chore.

    Is there a an iOS-style shell for Android to make an Android phone behave like iOS? That would solve some of the problems.

    Also, I'd like to be able to play FTL and Slay the Spire on my Android devices. Both titles are iOS only.

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

  55. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 12:30am

    Killing net neutrality

    I don't think Republicans can feasibly conceive of equality. They want only Republican content to be hosted, and for all non-Republican content to be restricted.

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

  56. icon
    PaulT (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 1:31am

    Re: Apple's Walled Garden

    "I know some people use iPhones specifically because they don't like aspects of Android or grew up with iOS and don't want to relearn their phone."

    But, they still make the choice. What's more important - having access to Parler/Isaac/whatevver or the benefits of having an iOS device? Trying to force Apple to lose control of its ecosystem so you can get what you think is the ideal best of both worlds scenario isn't really a good way to go.

    "Also, I'd like to be able to play FTL and Slay the Spire on my Android devices. Both titles are iOS only."

    Well, the devs for Slay The Spire have confirmed they're working on an Android version at least. As for FTL, well it's really just down to what's most important to you. Some apps are iOS only specifically because the locked down nature of the OS makes it easier to develop for a wide range of devices, and part of that is because the App Store is the only way in which things can be installed or modified.

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

  57. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2021 @ 3:43am

    Re: Re:

    Actively incite vs host ?

    What was it he told the crowd right before they stormed the building? Who was holding open the doors for them? Who setup the lack of security? This was a premeditated attack, planned well in advance and it probably goes all the way to Donald.

    Seriously, have you not been paying attention?

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

  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2021 @ 3:56am

    Re:

    "censorship only drives the problems underground... it does not go away"

    Agreed - so now what is wrong with fact checking, because as we all know, fact checking is akin to censoring and it too needs to stop right now - lol.

    What should be done about fraud? Used car salesmen claiming the vehicle was only ever driven by a little old lady to church on sunday are lying of course just like politicians and advertisers.

    What about the president of the united states claiming that ingesting chlorine is safe and effective treatment for the raging pandemic that has everyone freaked out.

    Let the lies flow ... idk

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

  59. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2021 @ 3:59am

    Re: Re:

    Wait .. pornhub banned Donald?

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

  60. icon
    PaulT (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 4:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They can, but intent would be hard to prove - section 230 is there explicitly to allow them to make that judgement call, as much as it exists to prevent them from trying to moderate and missing something. Possibly disappointing in this case, but from what I've seen elsewhere of the content on there and the general tone of posts from one of the company's founders this might not be an issue.

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

  61. identicon
    Rocky, 12 Jan 2021 @ 5:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But can they really rely on 230 if they knew of content that essentially was a planning-session for attacking Capitol Hill and they didn't take action to remove it? Doesn't this fall under 18 USC §4 (Misprision of felony) and thus negating any 230 protection or am I missing something?

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

  62. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 5:33am

    No. PornHub purged itself of every video not posted by a partner or verified user. That was millions of videos. And PornHub’s (step-)sister sites did the same thing, last I heard.

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

  63. icon
    PaulT (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 6:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, I'm certainly no legal expert, so I don't really know. I would hope that if this is the case, it requires rather more evidence than them just not having moderated certain posts, but I'm also sure that this specific event will inspire people to prosecute that angle if it is applicable. I just also hope that it doesn't lead to yet more misguided attempts to dismantle 230 in the false belief that it would force more effective moderation.

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

  64. icon
    crade (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 6:26am

    Re: Re:

    a more centralized system may be less efficient at routing around government censorship via the law, but if anything, amazon making it's own decisions about who to provide service to without legal pressure isn't censorship but choice and will only make it less centralized.

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

  65. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2021 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It will be interesting for sure, wonder how long it will take for such a case to find its way into a court room, also which court will they choose.

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

  66. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2021 @ 8:02am

    "unbridled"

    If you have your head so far up your butt that you can call American "capitalism" "unbridled" then you have no credibility on any issue. It would be interesting to see how companies would have acted differently if it wasn't for the 230 debate e.t.c. - that is an alternate universe where there wasn't political appetite for punishing them for being inadequately censorious.

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

  67. icon
    crade (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 8:18am

    Re:

    Sounds like a grift to me

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

  68. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2021 @ 10:18am

    Re:

    Wadsworth: Can you keep a secret?
    Col. Mustard: Yes
    Wadsworth: So can I.

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

  69. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2021 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re:

    as long as it is legal, non violent and democratic, it is called politics

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

  70. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2021 @ 10:56am

    Re: The subdued police presence

    Not so sure about that now. Police stand, first and foremost, by police. After the pathetic mini-insurrection, a policeman has been killed a dozen or so injured, some is truly nasty fashion, whether seriously or not. Also, some rioter have, in their own minds, been unjutifiably attacked (e.g., the woman whining about being "pepper sprayed", while admitting that it had happened inside the capitol building). That will lead some of the nutjobs to see police as traitor and attack them pre-emptively. There's nothing quite like making yourself a threat to some police to turn all police against you.

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

  71. icon
    nasch (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 11:48am

    Re: Apple's Walled Garden

    Is there a an iOS-style shell for Android to make an Android phone behave like iOS?

    There are launchers to make Android look so many different ways, including like iOS.

    https://www.maketecheasier.com/make-android-look-like-iphone/

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

  72. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 1:19pm

    "your head so far up your butt"

    Anonymous Coward you brought a knife to a pitched tank battle. Go home. I hope you're drunk, as it's a sad state of affairs if you're this way sober.

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

  73. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 1:27pm

    iPhone immitation launcher suites

    Excellent, so there are options after all.

    My (step-)daughter has been raised on iPhones and is unlikely to want to switch, even when she has to sustain her tech habits via her own income. It's nice to know there are multiple paths by which she can navigate that forest.

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

  74. icon
    bhull242 (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 3:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    They were saying Parler did nothing to actively incite the riot.

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

  75. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Lincoln Randall (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 3:57pm

    LOST BITCOIN RECOVERY AGENCY

    b322b63I was able to recover my funds from a very sketchy company, 24Options, Last year a friend and I invested all our life savings but got duped in the process. This January, we were able to use the services of R E C O V E R C O I N a t R E S C U E T E A M d o t C O M and we have gotten all our money back. My nightmare is over, It's a whole new day here. Do be careful when dealing with investments.

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

  76. identicon
    christenson, 12 Jan 2021 @ 5:38pm

    Re: Re:

    See also Daily Stormer and Cloudflare...

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

  77. icon
    cattress (profile), 13 Jan 2021 @ 1:16am

    Re: Re:

    Fact checking is fine by me, in fact I was joking with my husband that at bare minimum, whenever Trump was speaking on TV, there should be a meter at the bottom of the screen, akin to Politifact, that would point to pants on fire lies, through a more neutral area that would include indecipherable garbage and impossible to substantiate claims, to true. But Trump is an exceptional case of dishonesty (and often so were his people), and I'm not sure that much fact checking can be done on scale nor that it's appropriate to do so for the rest of the world.
    I think the platforms should open up for third party and personal moderation and curation options. People like choice, and it lessens the expectation that the platform can create one perfect moderation system that makes everybody happy all the time.
    And we need to create and fund policies to direct antiterrorism intelligence to focus on de-radicalizing, and specifically the goal being preventing violence by getting people to disengage with extremist instead of arrests and prosecution. Of course, that takes time, and a shit-ton of people, and currently about 1/3rd of our population have been brainwashed and thinks they are facing an imminent existential threat. So we are probably going to shit the bed as usual, and end up further marginalizing minority and vulnerable communities, and make a bunch of old white guys even richer.

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

  78. icon
    PaulT (profile), 13 Jan 2021 @ 1:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "whenever Trump was speaking on TV, there should be a meter at the bottom of the screen"

    Twitter essentially did that with their fact checks (not a meter but specific warnings on the many tweets where he was lying), and the response was wailing and moaning about censorship because they dared point out he was lying. One of the real problems facing us on this issue is that mere facts are part of a conspiracy to these people.

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

  79. icon
    nasch (profile), 13 Jan 2021 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Even when they just added a link encouraging users to get informed about the election, the right wing complained about censorship. Though I don't remember if that was Twitter or Facebook.

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

  80. identicon
    Rekrul, 13 Jan 2021 @ 6:18pm

    Aren't republicans/conservatives the ones who are always arguing in favor of businesses having the right to deny service to those that they dislike?

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

  81. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 13 Jan 2021 @ 6:27pm

    'Only we're supposed to be allowed to discriminate!'

    Right until the 'free market' that they love so much turns against them anyway, as the second that happens then suddenly it's time for the government to step in and start cracking heads.

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

  82. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2021 @ 9:44pm

    Re: Apple's Walled Garden

    You can also argue that Apple is acting in a monopolistic manner with its gatekeeping of iOS app distribution. I'm loath to defend Epic Games considering the crap they've been pulling on PC with their open warfare against Steam but they do have a good point that Apple's ironclad control of app distribution is not good for competition/diversity on iOS.

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

  83. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2021 @ 9:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't even know if this was the case with Parler but it does happen rather often elsewhere which is why I brought it up.

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

  84. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2021 @ 10:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The chokepoints for censorship are referring to where the only viable players at a certain point in the infrastructure stack (payment processors in my PornHub example above) can run de facto censorship when they all deny services to a website/platform.

    Given how much consolidation/acquisition/merger mania there's been in tech (especially in the US), this is a real concern that shouldn't be dismissed so lightly.

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

  85. icon
    PaulT (profile), 13 Jan 2021 @ 11:04pm

    Re: Re: Apple's Walled Garden

    "You can also argue that Apple is acting in a monopolistic manner with its gatekeeping of iOS app distribution"

    You could argue that, but since Apple has plenty of competition, they have never offered a different type of app distribution and it's a fundamentally well known part of their ecosystem, you'd probably lose.

    "Apple's ironclad control of app distribution is not good for competition/diversity on iOS"

    Customers always have the option of buying something that uses a different OS, instead of voluntarily giving Apple money for a new phone every couple of years while bitching about it?

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

  86. icon
    PaulT (profile), 13 Jan 2021 @ 11:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Perhaps, but the question is what's the answer to that? Removing the right to free association and forcing companies to service companies they don't wish to have as customers isn't the answer. Also, what if things happen that aren't really censorship? Say, Parler were not being kicked off for their political actions but for not paying their bills, but they went around telling everyone it was censorship? Does the company not being paid for their services have to keep on the deadbeats until they go through a court battle to prove that it's not censorship?

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

  87. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Jan 2021 @ 12:43am

    Re:

    "Always funny to see people refer to 1984 in a way that reveals they clearly haven't even read the book's Wikipedia page."

    I wish that was the end of it. The real kicker is where the anti-230 crowd keep grasping for bona fide communist rhetoric straight out of Marx whenever Big Tech or Social Media is concerned, because their arguments all boil down to selectively abolishing private property just so the owners of a platform and its users can not choose to kick out people who act offensively.

    When all you've got as the basis for your argument is that the state must seize the means of production then no matter what you claim you certainly aren't on the right end of the political scale any longer.

    Shouldn't be too surprising though. National socialism always had one foot in both corporatism and communism, to borrow the worst facets of each. No wonder at all the "alt-right" trolls rooting for white power keep dragging that repulsive political hybrid to the table. While bemoaning "leftists", at that.

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

  88. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Jan 2021 @ 12:48am

    Re: Re:

    "Hmm, sounds like what's happening in America right now, huh?"

    Context matters. Tearing down the statue of a slave owner and traitor who led soldiers against the legitimate regime in order to defend the right to own other people is a good thing.

    Changing society so that ethnic and gender slurs are abolished? A good thing.

    Your argument resembles that of a postwar German insisting that there is no need to finally sand the swastikas of the walls of the reichstag because after all, it's history.

    "I find it funny that people who criticize those who use 1984 have no idea what it's about."

    ...says the man who obviously roots for the faction which thinks the leadership structure in 1984 seems like a good thing. Thanks for outing your opinions that way, and being honest about where you're coming from, troll.

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

  89. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Jan 2021 @ 12:54am

    Re: Re: '... You WANTED those people as followers?'

    "seriously, though, exactly your point. why someone would want to publicize that they have 15,000 knuckleheads following them...but i'm not a huge twitter follower so....there may be prestige in that????"

    As long as it's just a blind number every tweeter wants more followers. But now a few politicians and public profiles have found that it's become known a large group of their followers are people waving swastikas and confederate flags while storming the reichstag and shitting on the floor.
    Being followed by an army of people bellowing "Die Fahne Hoch" and "The South Shall Rise Again" is not a good look for most people and at that point they just want to be quietly rid of the embarrassment.

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

  90. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Jan 2021 @ 1:08am

    Re:

    "censorship only drives the problems underground... it does not go away, you just dont see it until its too late."

    That is correct, which is why I, for instance, am against actual laws prohibiting even the most offensive people to state whatever repugnant opinion they have in public.

    However, it's always a tradeoff here, when two principles come into conflict. In this case it stands between; a private entity and it's right to dictate who is welcome as a guest on their property; and the right for anyone to speak.

    The right to communicate, right of assembly, right to speak in public, etc...that's the concept of Free Speech, as described by 1A and any number of national constitutions and charters.

    But that's not what the alt-right is after with their twisted parody most commonly called "freeze peach" - which is apparently the right to be heard by depriving the private property owner the right to kick them off his or her property.

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

  91. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Jan 2021 @ 1:18am

    Re: 4. "This is communism!"

    "I think in this case communism is being used as a generic insult the way gay and terrorist have been used for years."

    Except for one thing. In this case it's a gay man hollering about the gay people and a bearded fanatic with a bomb belt ranting about terrorists.

    The rhetoric pushed by these...self-styled "alt-right" idiots seems to consist, in large parts, of arguments lifted straight from The Communist Manifesto. Which isn't too surprising given that we've seen this exact spiel before, when the early national socialist party of Germany started ranting about communists while selectively stealing the worst parts of communism for their party charter.

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

  92. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Jan 2021 @ 1:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Given how much consolidation/acquisition/merger mania there's been in tech (especially in the US), this is a real concern that shouldn't be dismissed so lightly."

    That's a reflection of antitrust legislation failing because of corrupt politicians, not a valid reason to abolish a few rather more important core principles of democracy. The proper way to fix that is by bringing anti-monopoly regulations back and give them some teeth, not by backhandedly eliminating the right to own property or force platforms into compelled speech.

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

  93. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Jan 2021 @ 5:46am

    Re: "unbridled"

    "If you have your head so far up your butt that you can call American "capitalism" "unbridled" then you have no credibility on any issue."

    As compared to any other economy with a capitalist system in the world?

    Yes, the US system is unbridled. That's pretty much given. US antitrust and regulation is a joke.

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

  94. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jan 2021 @ 5:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes antitrust legislation needs a complete reboot. It's fascinating how antitrust debates and moderation debates can intersect like this.

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

  95. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 12:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "They can also tacitly support what happens on their platform by not moderating content even though said content violates their TOS or the law."

    Well, sort of. Ironically if section 230 didn't exist Parler would be in for it over that. It's known, after all, that they do moderate, so their protection goes right out the window if 230 falls.

    I expect this to percolate down to the owners of Parler any day now that it has been spelled out for them multiple times and they are seeing actual risks of lawsuits.

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

  96. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 12:23am

    Re: Royal view

    If only. The problem is that what a lot of them bring to the table is a pov originally introduced by Hitler. It's pretty easy to spot those people when every time they try to make an argument the broken logic employed was first put in print with Mein Kampf.

    What really bugs me about that is that with the storming of the capitol the USA has now had its own version of the bierhallenputsch. Failed and farcical though it may be that coup attempt isn't the end of it. It's just the lit fuse.

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

  97. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 12:51am

    #nineteeneightyfour

    6. “Twitter won’t let you hashtag #1984”

    No but Twitter totally lets us hashtag #nineteeneightyfour. When I refer to Orwell's novel (rather than the actual less-Orwellian year or the recent Wonder Woman movie) I spell it out anyway.

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

  98. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 12:56am

    Re: #nineteeneightyfour

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

  99. icon
    PaulT (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 1:11am

    Re: Re: #nineteeneightyfour

    Wait, you mean that instead of doing the most basic research into their own self-created problem, they instead invented a wild conspiracy theory with no basis in reality that allows them to play the victim? I'm shocked...

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

  100. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 1:15am

    Mein Kamf

    I never read Mein Kamf. I never had easy access to it and I heard it's a tedious, laborious read anyway.

    My impression was Hitler liked the glory days of monarchy and feudal hierarchies out of a sense of Wagnerian aesthetics. Also he couldn't imagine not being on the top of such a structure, despite having once lived homeless in Vienna.

    The reason we don't do monarchy is we can't trust the next heir to rule wisely and judiciously, and one jerk or even one unskilled administrator (one John of England, or one Caligula or one Joffrey) can roll back centuries of progress.

    To quote Sideshow Bob, Your guilty conscience may force you to vote Democratic, but deep down inside, you secretly long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals and rule you like a king!

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

  101. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 3:34am

    Re: Re: The subdued police presence

    "After the pathetic mini-insurrection, a policeman has been killed a dozen or so injured, some is truly nasty fashion, whether seriously or not."

    One who sided with the liberal election stealers yes, is the way this will be spun. Consider how many in that crowd were former (or current) law enforcement or veterans. Not as if this was a mob of brown people.

    I'd be surprised if Parler and Gab wasn't flooded with comments about how that officer was a fifth columnist and traitor who was righteously struck down while opposing veterans and patriotic "real" police.

    "There's nothing quite like making yourself a threat to some police to turn all police against you."

    I'm still not convinced the only reason there were only a skeleton crew of 500 on site (nominal being 2300+) that specific day wasn't just because the "undesirables" on the force were never given the memo about what was going to happen by their peers on the force hoping this would sort out the people they suspected might not stick with Code Blue when the chips were down.

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

  102. icon
    PaulT (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 5:03am

    Re: Re: Re: The subdued police presence

    "One who sided with the liberal election stealers yes, is the way this will be spun"

    Well, it has been confirmed that the cop was a Trump voter, but these people don't tend to let pesky things like facts get in their way.

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

  103. icon
    crade (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The trouble with your statement is that they aren't the only viable players at all.
    Nothing other than the current players providing exceptional service is preventing new players now any more than there was when the current players started (or if there is, that is what we should be looking at fixing). They are the currently popular ones. They are just the ones who have put in the work to build great services., and it's not defacto censorship, it's the ones who put in the work deciding who to let use what they built. Censoring would require actually doing anything to prevent the speech. The worst pornhub and parler are getting is "not helped".

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

  104. icon
    nasch (profile), 15 Jan 2021 @ 8:01am

    Re: Re: Re: The subdued police presence

    I'd be surprised if Parler and Gab wasn't flooded with comments about how that officer was a fifth columnist and traitor who was righteously struck down while opposing veterans and patriotic "real" police.

    I'd say it's more likely they'll claim the person(s) who killed him were Antifa and/or BLM. That's what they're saying about everyone else who stormed the capitol.

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

  105. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2021 @ 11:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And we see all too often how upstarts who gain a following end up being bought out by the established players. While this doesn't always happen, it happens often enough that it's clear antitrust laws/enforcement need an upgrade/reboot - something that could help solve some of the issues with moving moderation deeper into the infrastructure stack.

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

  106. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jan 2021 @ 10:56am

    Re: Mein Kamf

    Du biest ein dumkopf.

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


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