Yet Another Story Shows How Facebook Bent Over Backwards To Put In Place Different Rules For Conservatives

from the pro-conservative-bias dept

It has become an article of faith among some that the big social media sites engage in "anti-conservative bias" in their moderation practices. When we point out, over and over again, that there is no evidence to support these claims, our comments normally fill up with very, very angry people calling us "delusional" and saying things like "just look around!" But they never actually provide any evidence. Because it doesn't seem to exist. Instead, what multiple looks at the issue have found is that moderation policies might ban racists, trolls, and bigots, and unless your argument is that "conservatism" is the same thing as "racism, trolling, and bigotry" then you don't have much of an argument. In fact, studies seem to show that Facebook, in particular, has bent over backwards to support conservative voices on the platform.

Last fall a report came out noting that when an algorithmic change was proposed to downgrade news on Facebook overall, the fact that some extremist far right sites were so popular on the site, the company's leadership, including Mark Zuckerberg were so afraid that Republicans would accuse them of "anti-conservative bias" that he stepped in to make sure the algorithm also downgraded some prominent "left-leaning" sites, even though the algorithm initially wasn't going to -- just so they could claim that both sides of the traditional political spectrum were downgraded.

Over the weekend a new report came out along similar lines, noting that Facebook's policy team spent a lot of time and effort putting in place a policy to deal with "misinformation and hate." Not surprisingly, this disproportionately impacted far right extremists. While there certainly is misinformation across the political spectrum -- especially at the outer reaches of the traditional political compass, it's only on the right that it has generally gone mainstream. And, again, the same political calculus appeared to come into play. After the policy team worked out more neutral rules for dealing with misinformation and hate, Zuckerberg apparently stepped in to overrule the policy, and to make sure that wack job supporters of Alex Jones and similar conspiracy mongers were allowed to continue spewing misinformation:

Jones had gained infamy for claiming that the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school massacre was a “giant hoax,” and that the teenage survivors of the 2018 Parkland shooting were “crisis actors.” But Facebook had found that he was also relentlessly spreading hate against various groups, including Muslims and trans people. That behavior qualified him for expulsion from the social network under the company's policies for "dangerous individuals and organizations," which required Facebook to also remove any content that expressed “praise or support” for them.

But Zuckerberg didn’t consider the Infowars founder to be a hate figure, according to a person familiar with the decision, so he overruled his own internal experts and opened a gaping loophole: Facebook would permanently ban Jones and his company — but would not touch posts of praise and support for them from other Facebook users. This meant that Jones’ legions of followers could continue to share his lies across the world’s largest social network.

"Mark personally didn’t like the punishment, so he changed the rules,” a former policy employee told BuzzFeed News, noting that the original rule had already been in use and represented the product of untold hours of work between multiple teams and experts.

The political calculus isn't that difficult to understand, here, and the Buzzfeed article notes that much of it was driven by policy boss and Republican operative Joel Kaplan. Basically, the fact is that applying these rules neutrally mean that more Republicans/conservatives are impacted, because misinformation and hate is more mainstream on the Republican side of the aisle. So a "fair" policy results in more limitations on Republicans, which only lead to more (false) claims of "anti-conservative bias." Or, paraphrasing Stephen Colbert: reality has an anti-conservative bias.

This goes back to the point that many people have made: that all of these claims of "anti-conservative bias" are really "working the refs." Basically, people whining about this realize that these moderation decisions and policies around them are not made in a vacuum. They know that users, the media, politicians and commentators will respond to them. But by constantly screaming about "anti-conservative bias," it makes some fear that if the outcome appears to impact one side more than the other, then the inputs need to change. In other words, in order to keep the outcomes "equal," the entire moderation grading system has to be on a curve: meaning that the actual bias is in favor of conservative viewpoints because those viewpoints tend to include a lot more misinformation and hate.

Facebook's explanation of this, in response to the Buzzfeed article, is pretty silly. They call it a "more nuanced" approach. And by that, they mean focusing on fairness of outcomes, not fairness of policies. That's not nuanced, that's simply caving in to dishonest actors gaming the system. It's failure state.

“Mark called for a more nuanced policy and enforcement strategy,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said of the Alex Jones decision, which also affected the bans of other extremist figures.

Zuckerberg’s “more nuanced policy” set off a cascading effect, the two former employees said, which delayed the company’s efforts to remove right wing militant organizations such as the Oath Keepers, which were involved the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. It is also a case study in Facebook’s willingness to change its rules to placate America’s right wing and avoid political backlash.

Internal documents obtained by BuzzFeed News and interviews with 14 current and former employees show how the company’s policy team — guided by Joel Kaplan, the vice president of global public policy, and Zuckerberg’s whims — has exerted outsize influence while obstructing content moderation decisions, stymieing product rollouts, and intervening on behalf of popular conservative figures who have violated Facebook’s rules.

In December, a former core data scientist wrote a memo titled, “Political Influences on Content Policy.” Seen by BuzzFeed News, the memo stated that Kaplan’s policy team “regularly protects powerful constituencies” and listed several examples, including: removing penalties for misinformation from right-wing pages, blunting attempts to improve content quality in News Feed, and briefly blocking a proposal to stop recommending political groups ahead of the US election.

Again, the reasoning behind this is not surprising, and completely understandable if the entire calculus was: how do we minimize political risk. But that's silly and reflects extremely poorly on Facebook's willingness to stand up to dishonest and disingenuous political screamers, rather than just saying the truth, which is that there's just more misinformation and hate on the Republican side of the aisle right now. That's a problem for the Republican Party to deal with, but Facebook seems to think it needs to paper over that issue to avoid any appearance of bias. It's a silly -- and sometimes dangerous -- position to take. I understand that Mark Zuckerberg has staked out an understandable position that he doesn't want to be the arbiter of truth. But the reality of the situation is that some people are abusing that stance to make sure that there's more nonsense in the system.

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Filed Under: alex jones, anti-conservative bias, content moderation, joel kaplan, mark zuckerberg, politics
Companies: facebook


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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    Koby (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 9:51am

    Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

    The terms "misinformation and hate" simply means that you disagree. Allowing people to hold a different viewpoint is not bending over backwards to create a special rule.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 9:59am

      A theory on how to best achieve economic growth for people in all economic groups is “a different viewpoint”. Alex Jones’s belief that the Sandy Hook massacre was a false flag operation is a lie he allowed to grow so big that his followers harassed parents of dead kids into hiding over it. If you really think one is the same as the other, that says more about the company you keep than the people who think the lie should be moderated off social media.

      Also, I’m going to quote Lazor Wulf at you now: Shut up, Wallace.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:16am

      Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

      our comments normally fill up with very, very angry people calling us "delusional" and saying things like "just look around!" But they never actually provide any evidence.

      Hey look, we found one!

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:29am

      Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

      How are death threats, advocacy for genocide, the organization of an attack on the nation’s Capitol, claiming vaccines cause autism, claiming that there is a secret sex trafficking ring run by high-ranking Democrats in the nonexistent basement of a pizzaria in DC, claiming that Sandy Hook and other mass shootings were hoaxes, claiming that all/most homosexuals/bisexuals/transgender people/blacks/Hispanics/Jews/Muslims are out to destroy America and/or kill white Christian Americans, claiming that chemicals in the water are turning the frogs gay, claiming that COVID-19 is a hoax, etc. not misinformation or hate? How is treating American far-right people and their followers differently from literally everyone else not bending over backwards to create a special rule?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 1:12pm

        Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

        Power is all about creating its own double standards and not only getting away with it but so established as a norm that said double standard isn't noticed and you are a dangerous and crazy person for even suggesting treating them the same as everybody else by say throwing our war criminals before the hague or even expecting the police to know the laws they are to enforce.

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        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 3:33pm

          Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

          And I’m saying that to the extent Facebook has double-standards regarding political viewpoints, based on the information presented in this article, they tend to favor conservatives over liberals, not liberals over conservatives. I would also add that double standards in a private company with regards to enforcing its terms and conditions within its privately owned but publicly accessible property is completely different from government-enforced double standards, and that discrimination based on inherent traits (physical appearance, race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexuality, disabilities, chronic diseases, mental disorders) is different from discrimination based on one’s own words and actions, at least those publicly made.

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      • identicon
        rolotony, 24 Feb 2021 @ 4:16pm

        Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

        This is a really minor point but the "turning the frogs gay" thing was actually real. He was reporting about a chemical plant that was dumping waste into the river and it was mutating the frogs. That's actually a common way to assess toxic waste pollution in those settings - you get waaaay more hermaphroditism than normal, they start growing extra legs etc etc. But of course Alex phrases this in the dumbest way possible and it turned into a meme. He's not a good guy but I always feel the need to correct that one

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 12:40am

          Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

          "He was reporting about a chemical plant that was dumping waste into the river and it was mutating the frogs."

          Well, yes, but the problem is that Jones taking that salient fact and shoehorning it into a chemtrails and "faked school shooting liberal plot" conspiracy theory turned the factual news about a chemical plant dumping toxic waste into a cry of "Oh my Gawd, those homo liberals are experimenting to turn everyone else gay! Shock and horror! <Insert hyperbolic pearl clutching and meandering towards the fainting couch in dramatic fashion here>"

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 12:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

            Indeed. Not even Alex Jones is wrong about things 100% of the time (though he seems to do his best to try), but even when he's correct he has a habit of turning something that could be insightful into some Chinese or liberal plot to destroy humanity.

            He'd be a really funny satirist if I didn't know how much he and his followers actually buy into his fictions. From the recent shows of his I've heard (from the safe distance of an edited commentary podcast, so my experience could be skewed), I'll honestly be surprised if we don't hear of another attempt at an atrocity from one of his faithful listeners.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 3:24am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

              "He'd be a really funny satirist if I didn't know how much he and his followers actually buy into his fictions."

              Not so much funny as abusive. Every time he satirizes something he directs the bile towards the Great Liberal Conspiracy or China, usually while blowing a few dogwhistles for the racial purity afficionados among his audience.

              His main reson d'etre has always been the same - sell silver nitrate toothpaste, canned goods and tinfoil to the conspiracy theory preppers and white power adherents making up the bulk of his audience.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 12:36am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I gues

                "Not so much funny as abusive."

                It would be possible to be both, if his aim was to lampoon the ad absurdum end game of the right-wing shock jock era.

                "usually while blowing a few dogwhistles"

                As I've said before, I only experience my fascination with this terrible person through the shield of the Knowledge Fight podcast, never directly. But, it seems increasingly clear that he's swapped the dog whistle for a foghorn.

                His mental state also seems to be very much in question. Between the failures of Trump, long-running lawsuits against him for things ranging from Sandy Hook to his ex-wife, and even regular contributors telling him that we was only ever a useful idiot to promote their own scams, he is fascinatingly unhinged right now. Which only makes me more concerned about the type of person who still takes him remotely seriously.

                As for the obvious selling supplements scams - even there he's run into trouble. He's been told by the FDA to stop trying to sell his crap as a COVID cure (which he did unironically between segments where he claimed it was a hoax and/or a racially targeted bioweapon), and even his regular rubes seem to have noticed there might be a problem considering the self-proclaimed prep expert ready for the Chi-com takeover was completely unprepared for a couple of days without reliable heat and power.

                But, again, that just raises concerns about those who are left. Jones himself might not be a threat to anyone directly outside of his drink driving and mental state affecting a couple of innocent bystanders when things go wrong. But, what kind of lunatic looks at him and Trump and thinks "these guys are right"?

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 6:48am

          Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

          This is a really minor point but the "turning the frogs gay" thing was actually real.

          I doubt that. "Perhaps Jones was referring to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, which suggested that exposure to atrazine, a widely used pesticide, may cause gender-switching among frogs. But then he would be misinterpreting the results of that study. Gender switching is not the same as sexual preference. "

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2018/08/16/alex-jones-top-10-health-claims-and-why-they -are-wrong/?sh=60f965183e7f

          So unless you can find any evidence of frogs switching their sexual preference due to chemical contamination, I'm going with no on that one.

          Second, I believe he claimed "the government" was putting these chemicals in the water, which as far as I know is not true, it would be farmers doing that. Third, this was a part of his larger point that government was conducting chemical warfare on the US public, and that the existence of gay people is because of a secret government plot to put estrogen mimickers into drinking water to make people gay.

          I would not bother defending the guy if I were you, even if he almost managed to accidentally get near a truthful statement this one time.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:30am

      Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

      It seems that the gist of your argument is that in order to hold a different viewpoint, you must be given access to social media.

      If there was no social media, would those different viewpoints not exist?

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    • icon
      Bloof (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:33am

      Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

      '<Minority group> are subhuman and should be stripped of their rights and killed.' is not not just 'holding a different viewpoint.'
      'All gun related tragedies are faked part of a conspiracy by the <antisemitic dogwhistle>' is not just 'holding a different viewpoint.'
      '<minority group> are part of a conspiracy to replace white people' is not just 'holding a different viewpoint.'
      '<left wing celebrity> is secretly part of some plan to force everyone to bow to to Moloch' is not just 'holding a different viewpoint.'
      '<antisemitic conspiracy featuring George Soros>' is not just 'holding a different viewpoint.'
      'The election was stolen by democrats and the 'globalists' without any evidence what so ever' is not just 'holding a different viewpoint.'
      '<dark forces> are planning to murder Donald Trump' is not just 'holding a different viewpoint.'
      'Every right wing terror attack is a false flag even though the perpetrators are well known right wing figures and regular attendees of far right events' is not just 'holding a different viewpoint.'

      Racism, homophobia, misogyny and lies are not just 'holding a different viewpoint' nor is it an alternative to reality. How much blood needs to be spilled before people like you will stop pretending hate speech isn't hate speech because it's coming from conservatives? How many lives need to be lost before you accept bigotry and bullsh*t conspiracies rooted in the deranged rantings of the John Birch Society and the Elders of Zion aren't things that private companies should be forced to host?

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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        TheLizard (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:00am

        Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

        Speech is dangerous because ideas are dangerous. The idea that peasants did not need to pay a priest for blessings from God were very dangerous - they tortured and killed people for expressing such a view.

        Spilling blood is done by authoritarians in power, not by people with dangerous ideas.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:03am

          That ain’t an answer to any of Bloof’s questions.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:14am

          Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

          I didn't realize the insurrection which resulted in five dead was filled with nothing but people with power, you'd think that would have been more widely known.

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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            TheLizard (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

            The blood spilled was done by the people in power in that case as well. The only death was one of the "insurrectionists" (...) killed by a guardian of the rulers.

            All the other deaths were heart attacks, strokes, and other health issues that occurred in the area.

            https://greenwald.substack.com/p/the-false-and-exaggerated-claims

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:29am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

              The only death was one of the "insurrectionists" (...) killed by a guardian of the rulers.

              Your own citation contradicts your claim.

              "Sicknick’s death was the only example the media had of the pro-Trump mob deliberately killing anyone."

              Do you bother to read what you cite?

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:33am

                Do you bother to read what you cite?

                “Reading is for chumps and betas.” — TheLizard, probably

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              • icon
                Bloof (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 12:29pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I gues

                Conservatives tend to get their news from people citing one line from an article they either didn't read all the way through or are willingly misinterpreting then spinning right wing fearfiction from it, so I suspect not.

                They probably saw the link posted elsewhere as part of that cycle with the same claim and copypasted it without reading any further.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2021 @ 1:48pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I gues

                You selectively and misleadingly took something out of context from the article:

                It became arguably the single most-emphasized and known story of this event, and understandably so — it was a savage and barbaric act that resulted in the harrowing killing by a pro-Trump mob of a young Capitol police officer.

                It took on such importance for a clear reason: Sicknick’s death was the only example the media had of the pro-Trump mob deliberately killing anyone. In a January 11 article detailing the five people who died on the day of the Capitol protest, the New York Times again told the Sicknick story: “Law enforcement officials said he had been ‘physically engaging with protesters’ and was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher.”

                The problem with this story is that it is false in all respects. From the start, there was almost no evidence to substantiate it. The only basis were the two original New York Times articles asserting that this happened based on the claim of anonymous law enforcement officials.

                Despite this alleged brutal murder taking place in one of the most surveilled buildings on the planet, filled that day with hundreds of cellphones taping the events, nobody saw video of it. No photographs depicted it. To this day, no autopsy report has been released. No details from any official source have been provided.

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                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 5:16pm

                  Being a goddamned insurrection truther is as bad a look as being a birther, a 9/11 truther, or a Sandy Hook truther. I beg of you to reconsider your position, Mrs. Greene.

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                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 7:12pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I

                  You do realize you're not doing yourself any favors by trying to die on that hill, right? Even if we dismiss the 'bludgeoned by insurrectionists' claim and throw it out the window you've still got a dead body in need of explanation, and unless you want to argue that they just so happened to die shortly after the failed insurrection(one in which over a hundred other cops suffered injuries from the deranged mob as noted in that same article, so violence was clearly not out of bounds for that lot) and it was a complete coincidence that the two events took place one after the other you're still left with an insurrection that resulted in a dead cop.

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                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 8:12am

                    You do realize you're not doing yourself any favors by trying to die on that hill, right?

                    Therein lies the problem with hills you’re willing to die on: You usually die on them.

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                • icon
                  bhull242 (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 6:04pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I

                  Actually, we knew about Sicknick’s death on the day of the event, and surveillance footage of it was released.

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            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

              But none of the other four deaths were at the hands of the protesters: the only other person killed with deliberate violence was a pro-Trump protester, Ashli Babbitt, unarmed when shot in the neck by a police officer at close range.

              Nice phrasing that, though it seems to be missing out on something, I just can't place what...

              Taking that article at face value it would seem the death toll would be two insurrectionists who dropped dead for unrelated reasons, one insurrectionist who was killed by their own accidentally, one shot when trying to break into a federal building(ah yes, that was what was missing, context), and one police officer who died for utterly mysterious reasons that had nothing to do with the deranged lunatics storming the building.

              Oh, and over a hundred non-lethal injuries suffered by the police dealing with insurrectionists, but hey, what's minor details like that?

              Not exactly helping your case there but you do you I suppose, and while you're doing so much like Stephen I'm also curious as to your response to Bloof's comment.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:26am

          Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

          Spilling blood is done by authoritarians in power, not by people with dangerous ideas.

          So are you denying that school and workplace shootings by those who do not wield any other form of power besides violence have ever taken place?

          You'd have to forget Timothy McVeigh and the Unabomber and the Boston Marathon bombers. You'd have to ignore Parkland and Sandy Hook and Columbine and every other school shooting. You'd have to pretend that you've never heard of the Beltway snipers or Dylann Roof or any other famous shooters.

          So you're either completely disingenuous or not informed enough to speak on the matter with any useful input.

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

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 12:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

            "You'd have to forget Timothy McVeigh and the Unabomber and the Boston Marathon bombers. You'd have to ignore Parkland and Sandy Hook and Columbine and every other school shooting. You'd have to pretend that you've never heard of the Beltway snipers or Dylann Roof or any other famous shooters. "

            Ah, but you forget. Every last one of those was just a deep cover liberal masquerading as a right-wing extremist just to smear the poor honest white folks with some bad press. Just ask the people from stormfront. Surely none of the upstanding and righteous people in the new nazi party SA...i mean, Proud Boys would lie?

            /s because that bullshit is exactly what they're saying. The leaders of the capitol assault were "antifan deep cover agents". Despite having been right wing extremist leaders and influencers for decades...

            I'm not really sure what's more pathetic. That the "alt-right" of today think the way they do, or that they are such pathetic losers they can't even own up to their opinions. Say what you like about the original nazis, at least you wouldn't find them toeing the dirt, looking down and squeaking "..it wasn't us..." in sullen voices.

            And they call themselves the Proud Boys. Proud over what? Their ability to deny in public what they bravely scream about in private?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2021 @ 9:19am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

              For me "Proud Boys" always sounds like adolescent gays.

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        • icon
          Bloof (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

          Boy, sure is great that 'ideas' are completely divorced from the real world, isn't it? Nobody stormed the US capitol because they were fed lies about a stolen election, nobody persecuted Muslims, African Americans, Hispanics, Jews, LGBTQ people and other minorities using policies based on bad ideas. Sure is great that the same ideas that lead to the rise of fascist dictators across Europe are being trotted out for a new audience with a fresh coat of paint, nothing bad can come from it, you know, apart from all the times they did.

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

        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 2:20pm

          Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

          I’m sorry, but we’re talking about Facebook and, to a lesser extent, other social media platforms and Big Tech companies regarding their moderation practices as applied with respect to conservatives vs. non-conservatives.

          And bigots and conspiracy theorists, including conservative ones, have spilt blood. Just look at the SC church shooting and the guy who ran over a protestor during the Boston March. There’s also the Jan. 6th riot, which caused the death of an LEO and injured numerous others and which intended to kill or arrest a number of lawmakers. And none of the various school shootings or mass shootings over the years were done by the powerful, either.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:37am

      Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

      Which specific "viewpoint" is being blocked?

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 12:20pm

        Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

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

        (All credit to Twitter user @ndrew_lawrence.)

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:42am

      Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

      Koby: a difference of opinion is where people can hold different viewpoints. That's fair.

      Misinformation and hate is where you deliberately lie -- such as claiming that Sandy Hook was a false flag information -- or where you deliberately push for violence or dangerous actions against people as a show of power. I am against "hate speech" laws for the ability of the government to misuse them, but what we're talking about here is NOT a "disagreement" over "viewpoints."

      And if you can't understand the difference, the problem is on your end and I'd kindly ask you to fuck off.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 2:13pm

        Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

        Masnick: "Misinformation and hate" is [whatever I disagree with]."

        Lizard, this is why you'll never be able to have a normal adult conversation with these people. They don't live in reality and they're not really adults, if "adult" is defined as accepting the world for what it is and not for what you wish it to be.

        Like ill-mannered children, they are at once naive and deceptive. They live in a fantasy world ("what we're talking about here is not a disagreement over viewpoints"), and they lie boldly and constantly ("I am again hate speech laws" ha ha ha!). If you try to show them the real world, they are rude ("fuck off").

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 2:34pm

          Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

          "Psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which the ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves by attributing them to others. For example, a bully may project their own feelings of vulnerability onto the target, or a person who is confused will project their own feelings of confusion and inadequacy on other people."

          "Projection incorporates blame shifting and can manifest as shame dumping."

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

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        • identicon
          Rocky, 24 Feb 2021 @ 2:46pm

          Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

          Like ill-mannered children, they are at once naive and deceptive. They live in a fantasy world ("what we're talking about here is not a disagreement over viewpoints"), and they lie boldly and constantly ("I am again hate speech laws" ha ha ha!). If you try to show them the real world, they are rude ("fuck off").

          Every accusation, a confession. Just look at what you wrote, it doesn't seem "adult" and "well-mannered" in any way.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 3:19pm

          Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

          As I read your comment, I was immediately reminded of Donald J. Trump because what you describe fits very well.

          Your description is very good, the best, no one makes better descriptions than you.

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        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 3:27pm

          Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

          Masnick: "Misinformation and hate" is [whatever I disagree with]."

          Um. That's not what I said.

          If you can't make an argument without lying about what people said, no one is going to believe you have a point. Because you don't.

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        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 3:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

          “[W]here people deliberately lie […] or where you deliberately push for violence or dangerous actions against people as a show of power“ is not even remotely equivalent to “whatever I disagree with”. A lie is where one deliberately tells a falsehood or says something that is so obviously false that no reasonable person could possibly believe it. He even gave the example of someone claiming that Sandy Hook was a false-flag operation as a deliberate lie. That is not a disagreement of viewpoint, nor is it a mere difference of opinion. That is an objectively false and hurtful claim that no reasonable person could reasonably believe to be true.

          There is also a huge difference between 1) a private person holding the personal opinion that some speech should get spread less than others based upon certain criteria that places them as misinformation and/or hate, 2) a private company removing speech they find objectionable (possibly because it’s misinformation or hate speech) from their privately owned but publicly accessible platform, and 3) a government passing and enforcing so-called hate-speech laws. Personally preferable =/= morally right =/= morally acceptable =/= just =/= fair =/= ethical =/= legal, and a private individual =/= a private company =/= a government entity. One can find something objectionable or even immoral without believing it is or should be illegal or unlawful, and one can believe that it’s okay for a private individual or private company to do something but not okay for a government entity or agent to do the exact same thing. None of that is contradictory, hypocritical, or a double standard.

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    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:46am

      Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

      The terms "misinformation and hate" simply means that you disagree.

      [Projects facts not in evidence]

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:38pm

      Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

      "The terms "misinformation and hate" simply means that you disagree."

      No, it means that you are lying, deliberately or by being misled, and hatred can spill offline.

      "Allowing people to hold a different viewpoint is not bending over backwards to create a special rule."

      But, making special arrangements so that Alex Jones can continue to spread lies that has led to a long campaign of harassment and threats against parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook is doing that.

      Surely even. someone as wilfully ignorant on this issue as you can see the difference?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2021 @ 12:03am

        Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

        For Koby to see the difference, he has to first admit that Alex Jones is lying. Believe Alex Jones, and it becomes a difference of opinion, rather than pushing hate speech based on a lie.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 12:20am

          Re: Re: Re: Thanks for not being the Gestapo, I guess?

          "For Koby to see the difference, he has to first admit that Alex Jones is lying."

          Well, it still wouldn't remove the "hate" part, and Jones is a blubbering mass of hatred on a daily basis. I suppose that "misinformation" is in the eye of the beholder to some degree, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and since that evidence has not been provided then it should be Facebook's moral duty to remove posts that are actively inspiring physical attacks on grieving parents.

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  • icon
    crade (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 9:57am

    "I understand that Mark Zuckerberg has staked out an understandable position that he doesn't want to be the arbiter of truth"

    Except he is being the arbiter of truth.. He is only changing how he is arbitrating it, not whether he is.

    He is still using his power as arbiter to slant discussion just as much, just changing where he slants it to.

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    icon
    TheLizard (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:06am

    Evidence

    It's not that there "is no evidence" of anti-conservative bias, it's that all the evidence is dismissed by people on the far left by redefining terms and calling normal mainstream opinions "misinformation and hate," which of course will always be a subjective judgement.

    We saw clearly when the tech oligarchs covered up for Biden when the story of Hunter's laptop came out, and the oldest newspaper outlet in the country (the New York Post) was banned from Twitter. The excuse was misinformation, there were phony statements that Russia was involved, but in fact even to this day there is no evidence that anything they reported was fake, or that there were any hacks involved.

    We also watched when Apple, Google, and Amazon appeared to collude by simultaneously cancelling the most popular app on Apple's platform, Parler, and deleting their services after January 6th. That in spite of evidence that the vast majority of coordination of rioters that day occurred on Facebook, not Parler.

    Yesterday Matt Crowder was suspended from Twitter for simply investigating voter addresses from voter roles and finding many of the addresses did not exist. Crowder made no claims of fraud or rigged election, only the facts that he uncovered of illegitimate addresses on the voter rolls.

    The most compelling evidence has been the numerous experiments where people took tweets from left-leaning accounts and repeated exactly the same tweet, but replaced "Trump" with "Biden" or "Cuomo" and watch their tweets deleted and their account suspended, while the original tweet using the same language stayed up weeks or months later.

    Another organization conducted an extensive study of Google search. One of the most compelling results of that study showed that for people that did searches that indicated they were Democrats started getting reminders about election day in the weeks running up to the election, while users posing as conservatives got no such notifications.

    The question of whether social media companies harbor an anti-conservative bias can’t be answered conclusively because the data available to academic and civil society researchers aren’t sufficiently detailed. Existing periodic enforcement disclosures by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are helpful but not granular enough to allow for thorough analysis by outsiders.

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    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:13am

      Re: Evidence

      "We saw clearly when the tech oligarchs covered up for Biden when the story of Hunter's laptop came out, and the oldest newspaper outlet in the country (the New York Post) was banned from Twitter. "

      Because the Hunter laptop was a joke. Even the reporters for the NY Post wouldn't sign their names to it, it was so bad. It was failed before it started.

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        icon
        TheLizard (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:21am

        Re: Re: Evidence

        I still have seen nothing that indicates it was disinformation or that anything about the story was untrue.

        If you have anything to add other than "OMG it was RUSSIA RUSSIA," maybe you should present it.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:31am

          I still have seen nothing that indicates it was disinformation or that anything about the story was untrue.

          Given the timing of the story (less than a month before the election), the lack of credible evidence that says the laptop belonged to Hunter Biden (why did that laptop repairman have it for a year, and why did he wait so long to report what was on it if what was on it was really that newsworthy?), and the lack of credibility on the part of those who handed the story to the Post (particularly Rudy “I ended my career between a cock and a charred place” Giuliani), I’m inclined to believe it was a bullshit attempt to derail the election. You can try to convince me otherwise, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence — and you likely don’t have any.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:35am

          Re: Re: Re: Evidence

          I still have seen nothing that indicates it was disinformation or that anything about the story was untrue.

          Human perception of truth is not binary. You don't have to believe something is true just because you haven't seen proof that it isn't, anymore than you have to believe something is untrue just because you haven't seen proof that it is.

          The more common and likeliest scenario is that you don't have enough information to make a good judgment either way, in which case choosing to pretend it must be true because you haven't seen evidence to contradict your bias is just you wanting to believe bullshit.

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          • icon
            sumgai (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 1:35pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Evidence

            ... choosing to pretend it must be true because you haven't seen evidence to contradict your bias is just you wanting to believe bullshit.

            That got my vote for Insightful!

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        • identicon
          Baron von Robber, 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:59am

          Re: Re: Re: Evidence

          "New York Post writer wouldn’t put name on Hunter Biden laptop story, employees say he had credibility doubts"
          https://www.kxan.com/news/us-politics/new-york-post-writer-wouldnt-put-name-on-hunter-b iden-laptop-story-employees-say-he-had-credibility-doubts/

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        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 3:03pm

          Re: Re: Re: Evidence

          If you have anything to add other than "OMG it was RUSSIA RUSSIA," maybe you should present it.

          Neither Baron von Robber nor anyone else here has dismissed the Hunter laptop story because “it was Russia”. Baron von Robber didn’t even mention Russia. Whenever one of us has even suggested it was Russia, it was after already presenting reasons that it was at least likely to be false and were going further by speculating about where the laptop and email might have come from if not Hunter, again after having already shown why we don’t think the story was true, or at least likely to be true.

          I could go on and on about reasons to find the report sketchy, but to name a few:

          • Why would Hunter Biden take his laptop to a computer repair shop so far away from his home?

          • Why would Hunter go out of his way save such incriminating emails to his laptop for so long after the fact?

          • Why would Hunter not go back to pick up his laptop later?

          • The computer repairman has, on social media, previously expressed strong support for Trump, strong opposition to Biden, and belief in a number of right-wing conspiracies and falsehoods.

          • Why would one of the first people the repairman contacted be Rudy Giuliani?

          • Why were the emails presented in the report in a format that doesn’t contain metadata that could be used to authenticate the emails and their contents as true and correct copies?

          • According to publicly accessible, verified, and verifiable data (Biden’s official calendar), the meeting alleged in the emails never actually took place.

          • The timing of the release, not long before an election in which Biden is running, is also suspicious.

          • The reporters for the NY Post, who are not always known for their journalistic integrity, refused to sign their names to the story, suggesting that they feel the story is likely false or at least has insufficient backing.

          That last one actually hints at something important here: the burden of proof is on the one(s) making the claim. This story lacks a lot in the way of evidence supporting its authenticity. The only ones who could and did personally claim to have seen information proving the authenticity of the email and the laptop are also known to have a strong bias and lack credibility.

          Now, without access to the laptop or original emails, we can’t definitively prove that the story is false, but the burden is on the claimant anyways, and there are so many things suspicious about the article’s contents that the story is very likely to be false. I can’t say with absolute, 100% certainty that it’s false or that it’s completely impossible for it to be true, but there is far too much doubt and not enough evidence to accept it at face value, and the further you dig, the less credible it seems. It’s certainly lacking enough credibility for any mainstream source to be willing to present it as likely to be true.

          Furthermore, this is about bias. If you replace all mentions of Trump with Biden and vice versa, Rudy Giuliani with one of Biden’s attorneys, and Hunter Biden with Donald Trump, Jr., I still wouldn’t believe that the story was likely to be true, and I would feel the same way about Twitter or Facebook not wanting to host links to the article. I would also be unsurprised if Twitter and Facebook would have still taken the same action.

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          • icon
            Toom1275 (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 8:11pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Evidence

            According to publicly accessible, verified, and verifiable data (Biden’s official calendar), the meeting alleged in the emails never actually took place.

            The only ones who could and did personally claim to have seen information proving the authenticity of the email and the laptop are also known to have a strong bias and lack credibility.

            Umrainian businessman Hares Youssef has admitted he made up damaging lies about Hunter Biden business dealibgs because he was bribed with the promise of getting as US Visa if he did so.

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          • icon
            Toom1275 (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 8:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Evidence

            • What was ot that made Rudy say he had a secret bombshell while he was meeting with known Russian agents?

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:52pm

          Re: Re: Re: Evidence

          "If you have anything to add other than "OMG it was RUSSIA RUSSIA," "

          CTRL-F "russia"

          Weird, you seem to be the only person mentioning them.

          "I still have seen nothing that indicates it was disinformation or that anything about the story was untrue."

          How stupid do you have to be in order to believe that anything about the story of the son of a presidential candidate taking a cross-country trip to get a laptop repaired from some random store owner, forgetting to pick it up despite just happening to have classified information on it then the store owner just happening to call Rudy whose just happens to leak details about it to the press close to the election in which his boss looks to be losing in the polls IS true?

          How does this not leap off the page as hilariously bad fan fiction?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:21am

      Re: Evidence

      Aside from the rest of the bullshit you're spewing, Parler was banned for terms of use violations, not for hosting conservative points of view.

      This is the exact disingenuous bullshit that Mike was talking about. You're basically admitting that a key component of conservative speech is threats of violence.

      And the whataboutism saying Parler wasn't as bad as Facebook for hosting speech that planned a homicidal insurrection doesn't make Parler okay. It just means Facebook should also be banned for terms of use violations.

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    • icon
      crade (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:31am

      Re: Evidence

      The question of whether social media companies harbor an anti-conservative bias can't be answered because it can't currently be distinguished from anti-bullshit bias

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:37am

        And it doesn’t matter whether they do because they’re legally allowed to moderate according to political biases — no matter which side they’re on.

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          icon
          TheLizard (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:13am

          Re:

          But they're doing the bidding of Democrat office holders. There is a hearing today in which broadcasters will be brought in and required to justify continued broadcasting of conservative-leaning news outlets. It's a transparent attempt to get broadcasters to ban viewpoints unapproved by the political party in power.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:24am

            When you can present incontrovertible proof that “Big Tech” is explicitly acting on orders from politicians/lawmakers to silence speech from one “side” of the political aisle, you let me know, and we can have a discussion about that. Until then: Shut up, Wallace.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 12:35pm

              Re:

              He shouldn't need to present incontrovertible proof. Overwhelming evidence should be enough. Heck, even reasonable doubt should be enough. None of which have been offered, incidentally.

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

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 12:39pm

                Overwhelming evidence should be enough.

                I can present overwhelming evidence of any claim, but if all the evidence is bullshit, nobody would (or should) take it seriously. That’s why I said “incontrovertible proof” instead of “any proof”.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 1:14pm

                  Re:

                  Don't know about you, but where I come from, bullshit is proof of nothing.

                  And evidence and proof are two different things. "Overwhelming" evidence is no such thing if it's demonstrably false. I think that's a major problem with most on the right, they've lost the ability to discern whether claims are true or not, and even with facts they can't tell whether they are evidence of anything. The same goes for many on the left, too, but it seems to me much more prevenlant, and much more serious, on the right.

                  As an example, many rightists seem like they'll believe that a burger joint in Detroit offering a free meal on election day is evidence of a hamburger corporate conspiracy to subvert the election and prevent Trump's rightful re-election. Especially if Hannity says it on Fox.

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              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 1:04am

                Re: Re:

                "He shouldn't need to present incontrovertible proof. Overwhelming evidence should be enough. Heck, even reasonable doubt should be enough."

                I'd take "any form of credible indication".

                But what the alt-right is bringing as basis for every last one of their assertions is stuff they heard on stormfront, from some guy in a pub, "found" on an anonymous post-it note or heard when their morning cereal formed a jesus face and started talking.

                Then an actual judge asks for evidence to their allegations and Giuliani, so eager to scream about the stolen election in public, clams up as soon as he discovers that if he lies to a judge in a courtroom he's going down for perjury, and ends up trying to ask the judge to stop the election because..."someone, somewhere, may have said something, mumble mumble"...

                It's pathetic.

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 2:11am

                  Re: Re: Re:

                  Rudy in front of TV cameras at whatever random venue he accidentally booked: "we have incontrovertible proof of fraud!"

                  Rudy in front of an actual judge: "well, we're not alleging fraud per se, so here's a rambling lunatic who cleaned a couple of machines once to explain how little she understands about the process"

                  Sane people: "wow, is that really all you have?"

                  Nutters: "I knew it! Total proof!"

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:28am

            Re: Re:

            Is it ok to lie on national television?

            Why yes - yes it is ... but you had better not have a wardrobe malfunction!

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:35am

      calling normal mainstream opinions "misinformation and hate,"

      Which opinions are those? Please offer specific and directly quoted examples.

      the tech oligarchs covered up for Biden when the story of Hunter's laptop came out, and the oldest newspaper outlet in the country (the New York Post) was banned from Twitter

      Four things.

      1. Twitter isn’t all tech companies.

      2. The New York Post was never banned from Twitter.

      3. Twitter only blocked a single link, which never did anything to censor the Post or prevent people from going to the Post website and reading the story.

      4. The story was sus from the get-go, and nothing has yet proven the story to be anything but a load of bullshit.

      Matt Crowder was suspended from Twitter for simply investigating voter addresses from voter roles and finding many of the addresses did not exist

      I tend to distrust any explanation that involves the word “simply” before the description of an action. Can you please provide the content of the exact tweets over which he was suspended?

      Crowder made no claims of fraud or rigged election, only the facts that he uncovered of illegitimate addresses on the voter rolls.

      Distinction without a difference.

      people took tweets from left-leaning accounts and repeated exactly the same tweet, but replaced "Trump" with "Biden" or "Cuomo" and watch their tweets deleted and their account suspended, while the original tweet using the same language stayed up weeks or months later

      Someone did much the same thing to Donald Trump’s account, only they kept the tweets the exact same. Their Trump-parroting account was suspended — multiple times! — while the tweets it parroted were left up. What’s that about “anti-conservative bias” when the most powerful conservative in the world was allowed to violate the rules over and over and over again without consequence?

      Another organization conducted an extensive study of Google search. One of the most compelling results of that study showed that for people that did searches that indicated they were Democrats started getting reminders about election day in the weeks running up to the election, while users posing as conservatives got no such notifications.

      What was the name of this organization? Where did they publish this study? What methodology did they use to gather this data? If the data was self-reported, how does the organization know it was reported truthfully? How can we know for sure that the organization didn’t intentionally fudge the data for the sake of making “Big Tech” look bad and bolster the persecution complex of conservatives?

      The question of whether social media companies harbor an anti-conservative bias can’t be answered conclusively because the data available to academic and civil society researchers aren’t sufficiently detailed.

      Even if we could answer that question: So what? A website moderating third party speech with an anti-conservative bias is 100% motherfucking legal. So is moderating with an anti-liberal/progressive bias. You’re so concerned about whether it happened that you’ve forgotten how, legally speaking, it doesn’t matter whether it happened unless you want to play the victim. (And here I thought conservatives hated people who played the “victim card”.)

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      • icon
        crade (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:52am

        Re:

        Several conservative values I would have said are commendable, but
        we have seen every one of them completely and utterly abandoned in the name of it's "us or them". Including pulling your own damn weight, and basic freedoms like choosing who you do business with.

        If you don't like twitter or AWS or whatever crap the evil satanic pedophile liberal science believing nerds made for you or how they run their service, put your money where your mouth is and do it better.

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          icon
          TheLizard (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:04am

          Re: Re:

          This is the old argument that you can still stand in a park and shout your message.

          It's the idea that you have free speech, but it's not practical. If you can't actually practice free speech, you don't have speech like everybody with establishment-approved messages.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:12am

            Re: Re: Re:

            You have no right to a bully pulpit.
            You have no right to comment upon an internet forum hosted upon private property.
            You have no right to practicality ... shit, can you imagine that? LOL!

            What is this establishment-approved messages?

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              icon
              TheLizard (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Speech is useless when there is no practical way for it to be heard.

              And it's not just private companies making decisions on their own - it's the political party currently in power pressuring companies to censor unapproved messages.

              https://taibbi.substack.com/p/i-cant-stand-fox-news-but-censoring-94b

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:40am

                I hope, then, that — borrowed opinion aside — you’re as disturbed by the Trump administration using its pressure to make companies afraid of showing/supporting “unapproved messages”. Like, say, using its pressure to make Fox News act like even more of a Republican news network than it did before Trump took office and fire/suspend people who didn’t kiss Trump’s ass at every opportunity.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:42am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Speech is useless when there is no practical way for it to be heard.

                Private property isn't private when any old asshole can just walk right in and use it how they see fit.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:45am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                What are you going to do about this massive violation of the right to spread conservative opinions?

                Are you running for office? Starting a PAC? A GoFundMe ... how about a FansOnly? lol

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:46am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I have news for you, even if you cannot use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other big social media sites, your speech still has far greater reach via other Internet outlets than in pre-internet days, where you had to get it accepted by an editor for publication. Failing getting an editor to accept it there was the street corner, and printing and distributing your own pamphlet locally.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:47am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Speech is useless when there is no practical way for it to be heard.

                The freedom of speech includes the freedom of the audience to choose not to listen. Freedom of speech is not a right to an audience. It's also the freedom of private organizations to refuse to host speech they don't want to carry, including speech that violates their terms of use. And conservatives have fought for the right of the companies to do this. If big tech doesn't want to bake you a cake, then go to another baker.

                And why is it that every time someone bitches about being silenced, they do so loudly and frequently in places where they are not in fact being silenced in direct contradiction of their argument?

                "Conservative voices are being silenced."

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              • icon
                Bloof (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:53am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I can't go on primetime Fox News and tell Tucker Carlson to go F*** himself and call his audience morons, therefore I am being censored by Fox because I am being deprived the audience and platform of my choosing for the things I want to say.

                'Speech is useless when there is no practical way for it to be heard.' There are plenty of outlets for conservatives to spew their bile, you do not have a right to the audience of your choosing, nor do you have the right to ignore the rules of a platform because you're a conservative.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 12:22am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Speech is useless when there is no practical way for it to be heard."

                Your speech is being heard. We're laughing at your delusions and wishing you'd taken your news from the reference section of the library rather than the fiction section, but you're being heard.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2021 @ 9:25am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Free speech is the right to speak, not the right to be heard. There is not and never has been a right to be heard.

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          • icon
            crade (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:12am

            Re: Re: Re:

            Boo hoo. All you get is what the other guy started with. practical is earned.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:13am

            Twitter banned Donald Trump and Alex Jones. They can still practice free speech outside of Twitter.

            The only principle of free speech is the government generally can’t stop you from, or punish you for, expressing yourself. That principle — and the law governed by that principle — doesn’t, hasn’t, and will never give you a right to use private property you don’t own as a soapbox. Don’t like that fact? By all means, advocate for the government takeover of that private property so you can change said fact. But don’t be surprised when you’re called a communist for doing so.

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              icon
              TheLizard (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:30am

              Re:

              You do realize that Democrats are pressuring companies to do censorship for them, right? There is a hearing today in the House, where broadcast companies will be pressured into banning Fox News, Newsmax, and OAN.

              That's government censorship. Courts have already decided it's illegal.

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:35am

                Republicans have likely pressured companies into hosting compelled speech for them. What’s your point, other than whataboutism?

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              • icon
                Toom1275 (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:50am

                Re: Re:

                Sinve when was Josh Hawley - someone actually pushing for censorship* a "Democrat?"

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              • identicon
                Baron von Robber, 24 Feb 2021 @ 12:00pm

                Re: Re:

                Trolololol

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 12:25am

                Re: Re:

                "broadcast companies will be pressured into banning Fox News, Newsmax, and OAN"

                Hopefully you're realise one day that if this happens they're not being banned for political leanings. They're being banned for inventing fictions that are inspiring real world violence. If you guys weren't dumb enough to believe laughable fictions, to the point where you're going out and acting as if these fictions were true, the adults in the room wouldn't have to force you to change the channel.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 12:24am

              Re:

              "Twitter banned Donald Trump and Alex Jones. They can still practice free speech outside of Twitter."

              Alex Jones even has his own platform, independently created and which predates Twitter by a number of years. His case is the most obvious that it's an audience he needs, not a platform, and he's bitter that he has less rubes to fleece once he can't co-opt another broadcaster.

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        icon
        TheLizard (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:10am

        Re:

        Thanks for proving my point: It doesn't matter how much evidence is provided, it will be dismissed away by redefining terms.

        The problem with the oft-quoted canard of "Well they're private companies they can do what they want," is that we are now seeing they are not just doing what they want, they are doing what government agents are pressuring them to do. In the last go-around, Virginia Senator Mark Warner prepared a lengthy white paper called “Potential Policy Proposals for Regulation of Social Media and Technology Firms,” that among other things considered making the tech giants more susceptible to tort claims, as well as beefing up FTC authority over the firms. This was the sword raised over the head of Silicon Valley as it considered whether or not it had a duty to implement those Senatorial demands for plans to prevent the “foment of discord.”

        In the current round, the House Commerce Committee is holding a hearing today with FCC-regulated entities requiring them to justify why they broadcast Fox News, Newsmax, and OAN. Do you think this will NOT affect what they decided to censor and what they do not? Do you think this interference in content management of broadcast companies is in line with the First Amendment?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:18am

          Re: Re:

          What evidence?
          What terms?

          It appears that you wish to change the laws with regard to the internet and the bill of rights, in a democracy does everyone get to input their opinions on these changes? Are you a lawyer? Have you read the bill of rights?

          Why would anyone question the content broadcast upon Fox News, NewsMax, OAN ... LOL - Stop the lies people. Enough bullshit already.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:21am

          It doesn't matter how much evidence is provided, it will be dismissed away by redefining terms.

          I have redefined no terms, whether terms means “words” or “parameters”. Even if we accept that anti-conservative bias in social media moderation is a thing that happens, it’s still legal. Even if we accept that anti-conservative bias refers to all conservative-slanted opinions and not only opinions such as…well, you know the ones, bias in moderation that makes such views a ToS violation is still legal.

          If you don’t like the fact that I can say “fuck Donald Trump” and not get banned for hollering at the animals, that’s a “you” problem. I can’t, don’t, and won’t solve those.

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        • identicon
          Baron von Robber, 24 Feb 2021 @ 12:48pm

          Re: Re:

          You provided lots of laughs but no evidence.

          You know compelling big tech companies to carry somebody's speech is against the 1st A, right?

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        • icon
          BernardoVerda (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 5:25pm

          Re: Re:

          Ummm... maybe if you would actually present any such evidence, rather than just bare and completely unsupported assertions, then you just might conceivably have an argument.

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 1:55pm

        Re:

        Masnick goes with the lie that "it's not happening". (He knows it's not true, so he's not 'delusional', he's just a liar.)

        Stone goes with "it's not happening...but even if it is, it's a good thing."

        Proving he's both a Masnick-style liar ("My client absolutely did not rape that woman...but if he did , it was consensual.") and an anti-American leftist authoritarian (de rigueur for Techdirt commenters).

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        • identicon
          Rocky, 24 Feb 2021 @ 2:54pm

          Re: Re:

          I can only surmise from your post that you have no evidence at all, and instead you proceed with ad hominem's.

          Apparently, there is no way to have an adult conversation with you since you can't stop lying and being ill-mannered all the time.

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        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 3:19pm

          Re: Re:

          Stone said that it’s not a bad thing (or at least not illegal or unlawful or something that should be illegal or unlawful—not every bad thing is or should be illegal or unlawful), not that it is a good thing (not a bad thing =/= a good thing). Also, private companies doing as they see fit and removing those they find undesirable has historically been a conservative, pro-America viewpoint and non-authoritarian, quite the opposite of what you claim.

          There is also insufficient proof of anti conservative bias by Big Tech, at least based on the evidence the claimants have presented. You have presented none, simply conclusorily said that Masnick knows that it’s true without giving any evidence at all, not even bad or false evidence.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 5:09pm

          Stone goes with "it's not happening...but even if it is, it's a good thing."

          Why must you turn this comments section into a house of lies?

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          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 1:11am

            Re:

            "Why must you turn this comments section into a house of lies?"

            Because if you're an alt-right extremist wingnut none of the facts are on your side.

            That, and the Proud Boys ended up being a cadre of people too shit-scared to stand, in public, for the beliefs they cling to so openly in private...which is why none of them ever has the guts to state outright that the "conservative" viewpoint they got kicked off twitter for was some racist, anti-semitic or misogynistic bullshit.

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    • icon
      freakanatcha (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:43am

      Re: Evidence

      So funny when the people always screaming "socialism BAD" get their panties in a knot when a private enterprise chooses to enforce its own ToS.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 12:27am

        Re: Re: Evidence

        These guys are all for outright communism, and want the state to seize control of private property they don't like and control their speech.

        They don't like calling it that, but they're all for it if they think they can be in charge.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 12:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Evidence

          These guys are all for outright communism, and want the state to seize control of private property they don't like and control their speech.

          A grossly hypocritical and one-sided version of communism anyway, as while they may make only a weak attempt to hide their desires for the government to come in and start nationalizing platforms and dictating rules about no longer being allowed to show assholes the door you can be damn sure that they'd be screaming to the sky were someone to propose the same treatment for platforms/companies on their side.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2021 @ 2:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Evidence

            Some conservatives want a theocracy, so they can tell everyone else what to do. It's a power trip thing.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 2:43am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Evidence

              A lot of these "conservatives" are all for Sharia Law. They just don't like the "Muslim" part of it. Replace that with whichever sect they personally belong to and they're 100% for it.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2021 @ 7:40am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Evidence

                I have seen these people referred to as:
                American Taliban
                Y'all Qaeda
                Vanilla ISIS
                YeeHawdist

                and those who like to cosplay army, there is;
                Gravy Seals
                weekend warrior
                Mealteam Six

                very funny stuff, the people are a bit scary tho

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    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:44am

      Re: Evidence

      Also, I'll be concerned about big tech bias, when you become concerned about AM radio bias. Deal?

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        icon
        TheLizard (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:20am

        Re: Re: Evidence

        Because AM radio has EXACTLY THE SAME reach as all of the Internet, and the oligarchs that control it?

        Or, is it true that I can send a Tweet, and it is almost instantly available to anyone in the world? And if a small group of wealthy children can control whether that message can actually arrive anywhere or go into /dev/null of whatever communications equipment they control, that's just like not being able to tune into a specific terrestrial AM radio station?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:52am

          Re: Re: Re: Evidence

          But people who want to listen to AM radio (which is available via the internet) tune in. It's the audience's choice, not the broadcaster's.

          You're bitching about not being able to force people to carry and listen to speech. That's not freedom of speech. That's forcing speech, which is a violation of the freedom of speech of others.

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 2:03pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Evidence

            Nope. When you hear something on AM radio you don't like, you just turn it off ... you don't start screaming for the radio stations to kick people off the radio because you disagree with them. (At least if you're even a slightly normal person who values his free time and is capable of pushing a button you don't.)

            But you Masnickers don't advise the same thing for online Big Tech. Instead of "I disagree with that guy; I don't like what he says, so I don't read it" ... it's "I disagree with that guy, therefore he's a dangerous nazi white supremacist transphoic evil bad guy bigot insurrectionist, therefore Big Tech should ban him, and if they don't, it's another shoah!"

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 2:13pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Evidence

              There is a difference between radio and social media, Radio is one way, social media is multi-way, enabling conversations with like minded people. What you keep demanding is the right to derail those conversation. That is you want to exercise the hecklers veto whenever people disagree with your viewpoint.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 2:55pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Evidence

              you don't start screaming for the radio stations to kick people off the radio because you disagree with them. (At least if you're even a slightly normal person who values his free time and is capable of pushing a button you don't.)

              So you're just admitting you're ignorant of what people have said. Some of the people who disagreed with Rush Limbaugh and other right wing nutjobs did call for radio stations to stop broadcasting that nonsense. And it's their right to suggest it because they're using their free speech to say that private organizations should make the decision to deplatform them. And the private organizations have the ability to decide if they want to listen to those people or not and the decisions that they make may or may not coincide or deviate from what has been suggested to them. That's the free market at work.

              But you Masnickers don't advise the same thing for online Big Tech.

              You'd be further mistaken if you assumed anyone who doesn't agree with you agrees with everything Mike says. And grouping all large tech companies doesn't help because different companies behave different ways.

              Instead of "I disagree with that guy; I don't like what he says, so I don't read it" ... it's "I disagree with that guy, therefore he's a dangerous nazi white supremacist transphoic evil bad guy bigot insurrectionist, therefore Big Tech should ban him, and if they don't, it's another shoah!"

              It's not "I disagree, therefore..." There are a lot of people others disagree with whom they will never call to be deplatformed. It's specifically the people who spew harassment and incitement of violence and stochastic terrorism who people are advocating for their deplatforming. That you see it as mere disagreement only shows that you don't understand why someone might oppose providing a platform to such people.

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            • identicon
              Rocky, 24 Feb 2021 @ 3:01pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Evidence

              Nope. When you hear something on AM radio you don't like, you just turn it off ... you don't start screaming for the radio stations to kick people off the radio because you disagree with them. (At least if you're even a slightly normal person who values his free time and is capable of pushing a button you don't.)

              But you Masnickers don't advise the same thing for online Big Tech. Instead of "I disagree with that guy; I don't like what he says, so I don't read it" ... it's "I disagree with that guy, therefore he's a dangerous nazi white supremacist transphoic evil bad guy bigot insurrectionist, therefore Big Tech should ban him, and if they don't, it's another shoah!"

              So it's okay then to force that radio station against their wishes to give air-time to some random nut-job spewing lies, bigotry and conspiracy theories because the listener can just turn it off?

              That's the logical conclusion of your argument anyway, but I doubt you'll grasp the implications.

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              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 3:10pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Evidence

                If that's really what they want to go with then I look forward to their support for rabidly anti-Trump speakers to start making regular appearances on pro-Trump stations, podcasts and other forms of media whether the owners want them there or not, since after all the listeners can always just choose not to listen.

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            • icon
              bhull242 (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 3:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Evidence

              That is proves nothing and isn’t even true. People try to get others kicked off of the radio all the time, or at least did when radio was the biggest method of communication.

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            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 5:35pm

              Sit down, you sweet summer child. I’mma do you a learn.

              Instead of "I disagree with that guy; I don't like what he says, so I don't read it" ... it's "I disagree with that guy, therefore he's a dangerous nazi white supremacist transphoic evil bad guy bigot insurrectionist, therefore Big Tech should ban him, and if they don't, it's another shoah!"

              (“Nice” anti-Semitism, by the way.)

              The kind of speech talked about here as “hate speech” is often the kind of speech you would associate with that phrase: expressions of bigotry and any violent rhetoric associated with such expressions. “Trickle-down economics will work some day” is not hate speech (but it is ignorant as all hell). Referring to Black people by using a racial slur is.

              “Hate speech” can also refer to bigoted speech that disguises itself with innocuous language. “All lives matter”, for example, is an innocent statement in and of itself. But when used in the context of biting back against “Black lives matter”, it becomes hate speech. After all, nobody started saying “all lives matter” until people started saying “Black lives matter” — and the same goes for “ ‘blue lives’ matter”.

              Your problem seems to be that whenever people here talk about hate speech, you think we’re dunking on conservatives by default. We’re not — even liberals/progressives can say bigoted bullshit, regardless of whether they meant to say it. (Not everyone on that “side” is on board with trans rights.) Your choice to associate discussions of hate speech with conservatives says more about you than it does about us…and none of that is good.

              But hey, I’m willing to see things from a different perspective. For the sake of argument, let’s assume we are dunking on conservatives by default in such conversations. What does it say about conservatives that they’ve let themselves become that closely associated with bigoted rhetoric?

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 12:29am

          Re: Re: Re: Evidence

          "Or, is it true that I can send a Tweet, and it is almost instantly available to anyone in the world?"

          That's also true of Gab, and all the other cesspools of hatred that have sprung up to sooth the butthurt of people who get their hate speech blocked from Twitter.

          I'm sorry that most people don't want to touch the communities you created, but they do exist.

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    • icon
      Bloof (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:57am

      Re: Evidence

      So big tech are biased against conservatives, while simultaneously being run by soulless right wing libertarians, prioritising conservative content (Who hasn't gotten a Prager U propaganda piece or Ben Shapiro clip recommended to them after watching actual news?) and downgrading leftleaning outlets, changing their rules to avoid banning conservatives as much as possible and quietly rescinding even the mildest of punishments handed out to anyone on the right as swiftly as they can even though they're still doing the things they were punished for in the first place?

      Let's be honest, you will scream bias until the day conservatives are in the same position online as they are on talk radio, left completely immune to suffering the consequences of their online and left wing content is excluded from major platforms entirely.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:58am

      Re: Evidence

      Yesterday Matt Crowder was suspended from Twitter for simply investigating voter addresses from voter roles and finding many of the addresses did not exist. Crowder made no claims of fraud or rigged election, only the facts that he uncovered of illegitimate addresses on the voter rolls.

      Doesn't Twitter have a rule about NOT posting other peoples addresses?

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:04am

        Yes, Twitter has a rule against doxxing — which is the reason Twitter gave for blocking links to the Post story about the laptop alleged to have been Hunter Biden’s.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 12:33am

        Re: Re: Evidence

        Also, why does Crowder's name keep popping up in the examples these people always give about supposed bias? I swear, his name is always the only concrete name they give, and it takes 5 seconds of research to find that it's always about something that doesn't relate to his political views.

        Not only are these people dumb, they keep believing the same debunked examples.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:06am

      Re: Evidence

      "It's not that there "is no evidence" of anti-conservative bias, it's that all the evidence is dismissed by people on the far left by redefining terms and calling normal mainstream opinions "misinformation and hate," which of course will always be a subjective judgement."

      What sort of evidence is there that says it is ok to inject chlorine into ones blood stream? Conservative voices (Donald) were saying this, do you remember? Is it anti-conservative bias to say that the aforementioned claim is incorrect? Is it anti-conservative bias to tell people that injecting chlorine will most likely result in death? Is it subjective? Why are you polishing a turd?

      Repeating lies over and over only pisses others off, it does not result in them believing it - unless they already are members of the cult.

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        icon
        TheLizard (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:26am

        Re: Re: Evidence

        You're hallucinating. Donald Trump did not say that.

        Lots of other people said he said that, and lots of people insist it's true and that they heard it. It's a lie repeated so often that people like you believe it.

        Seems like you're the cult member, here.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:37am

          Donald Trump did not say that.

          NARRATOR: But he did say that.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:38am

          Re: Re: Re: Evidence

          For a guy that has "all the best words" he sure needs you people a lot to explain what he really meant.

          Perhaps since he was such a compulsive liar, the fact that he may have implied it is simply believable because he was so full of shit? Actions have consequences, do they not? And if you spend each and every day being as full of shit as trump, he certainly earned attribution to that statement because frankly, it wasn't the absolute stupidest thing he ever said, but given the context it's in the realm of possibility.

          It's not everyone else's problem that he only had a vocabulary with 20-30 words total in it, and as a result, couldn't convey a simple thought properly.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:38am

          Re: Re: Re: Evidence

          "US President Donald Trump has been lambasted by the medical community after suggesting research into whether coronavirus might be treated by injecting disinfectant into the body."

          Coronavirus: Outcry after Trump suggests injecting disinfectant as treatment

          Your claim is that he did not use the word chlorine? Ok, he used the word disinfectant. Now should we all stuff a flashlight up our bum?

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 12:34am

          Re: Re: Re: Evidence

          You know there's video, right?

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    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:47am

      Re: Evidence

      A few months in rehab, and you'll stop seeing thing that aren't there like that.

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    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 12:28pm

      Re: Evidence

      It's not that there "is no evidence" of anti-conservative bias, it's that all the evidence is dismissed by people on the far left by redefining terms and calling normal mainstream opinions "misinformation and hate," which of course will always be a subjective judgement.

      While “misinformation and hate” are indeed subjective, of the examples provided to me of anti-conservative bias, most were very clearly in that category. Claims that COVID-19, Sandy Hook, other mass/school shootings, and/or the Jan. 6 attack were hoaxes/false-flag operations, that 5G causes COVID-19, that vaccines cause autism and/or are likely to cause severe nerve damage or death in most individuals, that chemicals in the water supply are turning frogs gay, that Donald Trump won the 2020 election, that there was substantial election and/or voter fraud in the 2020 election, that there was substantial voter fraud in the 2016 Presidential general election, that Donald Trump will become President in March 2021, and that there is a secret sex-trafficking ring operating out of a nonexistent basement in a DC pizzeria are all clearly misinformation. Saying that there is a Jewish/Islamic/gay/trans/queer/black/Hispanic conspiracy out to kill/imprison/kick out all white Americans, death threats, advocacy for genocide, harassment, doxxing or calling for people to be killed, fired, or imprisoned solely or primarily because of their religion (or lack thereof), skin color, ethnicity, birthplace, gender/sex, sexual preferences, gender identity, economic background, and/or mainstream-political-party affiliation (not to be confused with specific political beliefs), and using racial, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, antisemetic, and/or islamophobic slurs are all clearly hate speech.

      Now, most of that is not (at least in America) and should not be necessarily illegal or unlawful except in specific cases (like a true threat, severe harassment, or an incitement to imminent lawless action), but that does mean that I have no problem with Facebook and other social media or big tech companies taking action against them within their respective platforms, and it does mean that it’s not anti-conservative bias unless conservatives who do those things are more likely to be punished than liberals who do the same thing. Which is the point: unless you have examples of non-conservatives doing something the same as or substantially similar to what those “conservatives” were punished for and those non-conservatives were not punished or were punished less severely for those same actions, no amount of examples of conservatives being punished by these companies will indicate any sort of bias.

      Those examples aren’t being dismissed solely because they are misinformation and/or hate; there is no evidence that conservatives are being punished disproportionately more or more harshly than liberals for the same or equivalent behavior (that is, as a percentage of the members of each respective group who engage in so-called misinformation and hate).

      We saw clearly when the tech oligarchs covered up for Biden when the story of Hunter's laptop came out, and the oldest newspaper outlet in the country (the New York Post) was banned from Twitter. The excuse was misinformation, there were phony statements that Russia was involved, but in fact even to this day there is no evidence that anything they reported was fake, or that there were any hacks involved.

      The New York Post was not banned from Twitter; links to that one specific article were banned. The New York Post is also a bit of a tabloid (so not a terribly reliable source), I don’t think it has actually been disproven that Russians were involved (though that’s far from the most important issue, and I’m very uncertain that any Russians had a hand in any of it), the story was and still is extremely sketchy (for example, it’s uncertain that the laptop or the email were Hunter’s to begin with or if the presented email was actually found on the laptop, and the only sources we have on these things are quite biased and could plausibly have faked their evidence), and the thrust of the piece—that Hunter sold access to Biden to a foreign operative—was disproven by, among other things, Biden’s publicly accessible calendar, which shows that Biden did not meet with the person sending that email.

      Also, Twitter did not claim they removed those links because it contained misinformation but because it contained possibly hacked information (which it likely did if the allegations of the proffered information are true; the repairman shouldn’t have had access to Hunter’s emails), and they have since rescinded that policy of removing tweets containing (links to) hacked information.

      We also watched when Apple, Google, and Amazon appeared to collude by simultaneously cancelling the most popular app on Apple's platform, Parler, and deleting their services after January 6th. That in spite of evidence that the vast majority of coordination of rioters that day occurred on Facebook, not Parler.

      Apple and Google did not and could not delete Parler’s services, and Amazon did not and could not cancel Parler’s app. Amazon stopped providing Parler with cloud-hosting information (which isn’t even deleting Parler’s services), and it wasn’t because of the Jan 6th riot alone but because Parler failed to meet Amazon’s terms and conditions regarding moderation. Google and Apple just removed (which I guess you could read as “cancelled”) Parler’s app from their respective storefronts for smart devices, again for a more general failure to moderate according to their terms & conditions, and this does not prevent you from side-loading the app onto your phone through other means or from just using a mobile browser app to access their web page directly, which is not substantially different from the app, anyways.

      Also, as I recall, while Apple did announce that they were considering removing the Parler app from their App Store the same day that Google removed Parler from the Google Play store, Apple did not actually remove the app until days later. Amazon cancelled their cloud-hosting deal with Parler days before Google or Apple did anything regarding Parler. It all happened in the same week, I think, and it was during a period that came after the Jan. 6th riots, but they were not even close to simultaneous.

      Furthermore, the general claims of anti-conservative bias had never previously been against digital storefronts or web- or cloud-hosting services; just Google Search, YouTube, and social media sites. (Well, and universities and mainstream media, but that’s a completely different subject.)

      Yesterday Matt Crowder was suspended from Twitter for simply investigating voter addresses from voter roles and finding many of the addresses did not exist. Crowder made no claims of fraud or rigged election, only the facts that he uncovered of illegitimate addresses on the voter rolls.

      I don’t know the details of Matt Crowder, but it’s still very insufficient evidence of anti-conservative bias if you can’t point to similar stuff from liberals that did not result in their suspension from Twitter or prove that investigating voter addresses is inherently and exclusively a conservative thing to do.

      The most compelling evidence has been the numerous experiments where people took tweets from left-leaning accounts and repeated exactly the same tweet, but replaced "Trump" with "Biden" or "Cuomo" and watch their tweets deleted and their account suspended, while the original tweet using the same language stayed up weeks or months later.

      What are the tweets? Context is important, and changing the person referred to can change the meaning.

      Also, based on your phrasing, I’m assuming that they took tweets that said “Trump”, removed that name from the tweets, and then inserted “Biden” or “Cuomo” in the places that previous had “Trump”. If so, then that could mean a change from, say, “Trump is responsible for many deaths due to his mishandling of the pandemic,” to, “Biden is responsible for many deaths due to his mishandling of the pandemic.” Since Biden had no power to do anything more than speak out (which he did) regarding the pandemic, the latter statement would clearly be misinformation, while the former wouldn’t be. Similarly, a tweet saying, “Trump lost the 2020 election,” or, “Trump is still claiming there was massive election/voter fraud in the 2020 election,” would be true, but replacing “Trump” with “Biden” or “Cuomo” would make those statements clearly false and would likely be removed on that basis. Then there’d be a tweet saying, “Trump instigated a riot on Capitol Hill,” which would be very different from saying the same thing about Biden or Cuomo. (If you intended to say the other way around, there are other examples for that that I can think of that would work similarly.)

      The point is, context is important. Without knowing the contents of the tweets themselves, this claim, even if true, is insufficient to prove the claim reasonably.

      Another organization conducted an extensive study of Google search. One of the most compelling results of that study showed that for people that did searches that indicated they were Democrats started getting reminders about election day in the weeks running up to the election, while users posing as conservatives got no such notifications.

      Again, context and details are important. I’d need a link or something for that study, or at least the name of the organization that conducted it so I could do my own search.

      Regardless, based on your description, there seems to be a bit of a flaw there. See, as far as I can tell, Google Search doesn’t send reminders at all. There is also no correlation between what I see on Google Search and what I see on the one Google-run service that might possibly send reminders of anything: GMail. I do searches on Google Search that would tend to indicate that I am a Democrat, and I use a number of other Google-run services, including GMail, and yet I never got a reminder for Election Day, ever. As far as I can tell, Google doesn’t send reminders like that at all, at least not unless you explicitly tell it to. As such, I find it unlikely that Google sent reminders before Election Day reminding them to vote to anyone, let alone to suspected Democrats, so I find that finding to be quite suspect. I suppose I could be wrong about that, but I’m skeptical as that’s not really how Google’s services work.

      Now, what’s possible is that the Democratic Party and/or some left-leaning organizations—whose ads and mailing-list emails would normally not be shown to suspected Republican users, regardless of the exact content—paid for ads to be shown and emails to be sent that would remind users to vote on or before Election Day, while organizations whose ads would normally be shown and emails to be sent to suspected Republican users did not pay for similar ads or send out similar emails. While this would lead to suspected Democrat users to receive reminders to vote in the weeks approaching Election Day while suspected Republicans wouldn’t, that would not be because of anti-conservative bias on Google’s part or in the algorithms Google uses for their search engine, ad service, or email service; that would just be because of how targeted ads and/or mailing lists work in general and a failure of right-leaning groups to use the same tools as left-leaning groups to send the same message.

      Again, though, without seeing the actual study, it’s hard for me to say too much definitive stuff about that particular conclusion.

      The question of whether social media companies harbor an anti-conservative bias can’t be answered conclusively because the data available to academic and civil society researchers aren’t sufficiently detailed. Existing periodic enforcement disclosures by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are helpful but not granular enough to allow for thorough analysis by outsiders.

      Perhaps not, but the fact is that the data we have been shown by people claiming anti-conservative bias aren’t just not enough to conclusively answer the question; they fail to even present a truly compelling argument. We also have evidence, including the reports mentioned in this article, that Facebook, at least, has a bit of a pro-conservative bias regarding moderation and enforcement of its terms and conditions.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:48pm

      Re: Evidence

      "when the story of Hunter's laptop came out, and the oldest newspaper outlet in the country (the New York Post) was banned from Twitter"

      It will never cease to amaze me the knots you people will tie yourselves into in order to spin a very simple situation into some kind of conspiracy.

      But, hey, at least you honestly said they they were only taken of Twitter (of course, not banned as you falsely claimed, they were merely suspended until they took the offending misinformation post down, under the T&Cs that the NYP agree to in order to use their free service). Normally you people try to pretend that they were kicked off the entire internet, such is your desire to invent a false reality.

      Oh, and you're demonstrably wrong about the NYP being the oldest newspaper in the country too. Maybe stop repeating tiresome fiction and educated yourself?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 10:13am

    Article presents evidence of anti-liberal bias but refuses to call it out as such. Whatever might've prompted Zuck & co to believe they would get away with that easier than equality?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 8:00pm

      Re:

      Article presents evidence of anti-liberal bias but refuses to spoon-feed conclusions to readers like they're a bunch of simpletons and half-wits.

      FTFY

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:27am

    'He was banned for nothing was he, let's check his tweets...'

    Yet more evidence that the goal isn't equal treatment but special treatment for the whiners, exemptions from the rules even as they cry to anyone foolish enough to listen about how 'persecuted' they are for suffering consequences for their words and actions.

    It is well past time for platforms to stop bending over backwards for these liars and start calling them out and forcing them to either shut up or defend the speech they're claiming is harmless. They're claiming persecution no matter how much platforms give them special treatment so it's clear that doing so isn't actually doing the platforms any good, but laying out all their dirty laundry for the public to see, where they either own it or disavow it would probably make it a bit harder for them to claim the victim title, at least for anyone who's not already bought into their lies.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 1:07pm

      Re: 'He was banned for nothing was he, let's check his tweets...

      I thought it was obvious - they have a persecution complex because it lets them bully for preferrable treatment dishonestly - backing it with their threat of using legislative clout.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 11:43am

    Wow, long list already.

    "our comments normally fill up with very, very angry people calling us "delusional" and saying things like "just look around!" "

    Considering moderators, can be Pretty fast, and things removed before you can search them up.

    Lets ASK them to post something. Yourself wont say anything to your moderators/sysops/anyone.
    LET them have a controlled post, with Oversight from 1-2 people TO SEE if there is a PROBLEM.

    Whats funny, is they are Looking for OTHERS posts. That Those OTHERS said were removed/edited/???
    You cant fight it, unless we can find a way to be On Their side for a moment. Back them up and let That 1 person post and sit there and watch.
    Show them its not being erased. And the person that was Complaining, is the one with the problem. remind them of the easy way to control people is to BLAME OTHERS.
    Now if they Post something REALLY IDIOTIC, HAND them your TOS and say THIS is why, you got edited.

    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, 24 Feb 2021 @ 2:57pm

      Re: suuuuuure they did

      You're conflating policies with campaign donations?

      And you're ignoring the context that conservatives have been calling for regulating Facebook, thus incentivizing them to want someone else to get elected instead?

      You're not proving anything here.

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

    • identicon
      Rocky, 24 Feb 2021 @ 3:07pm

      Re: I only have a link and no argument

      An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a definite proposition. A bare link isn't.

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 4:03pm

      Re: suuuuuure they did

      I don’t click links unless there’s a clear description of what I can expect to find that explains its relevance and the point the poster is trying to make. You provided a bare link with the subject line, “suuuuuure they did”, which does none of that.

      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, 24 Feb 2021 @ 2:31pm

    Masnick, you need an editor

    Masnick again claims conservatives are not disproportionately silenced on Big Tech websites.

    Masnick several paragraphs down: "Basically, the fact is that applying these rules neutrally mean that more Republicans/conservatives are impacted..."

    So... "The fact" (it's true) is that "these rules" (Big Tech policy) means that "more" (disproportionately) "Republicans/conservatives" (mainstream conservatives, not 'nazis, klansmen, far-right extremists, or other boogeymen') are "impacted" (silenced, banned, censored, booted, moderated, whatever.)

    For one brief shining moment you admitted the truth. Do you not have an editor to catch when slip up and contradict yourself (i.e. tell the truth for once)?

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 5:15pm

      Please provide evidence of a conservative being banned/suspended from Twitter for expressing a “conservative view” that doesn’t violate the ToS. When you can do that, we can have a real conversation. Until then, let the grown folks talk with each other in peace.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2021 @ 6:47pm

      Re: Masnick, you need an editor

      Yet another "conservative" who is totally clueless about the difference between correlation and causation.

      When the temperature rises, ice cream consumption rises.
      When the temperature rises, crime rates rise.
      Ergo, ice cream causes crime, right?

      When you look at censored groups, they writings are banned more often.
      When you look at facebook, conservative writings are banned more often.
      Ergo censorship causes the banning of conservative writings, right?

      Wrong on both counts.

      To establish anti-conservative bias, you must show that:
      1) Conservative writings are banned more often than others per post.
      2) Conservative writings are banned for reasons other than breaking the TOS at a higher rate per post than other writings.
      or
      3) Conservative writing are banned more often per when they violate the TOS than other writings that violate the TOS in an equivalent manner.

      Actually, 1) is unnecessary and will be shown automatically when 2) or 3) are demonstrable, but if you can't even establish that then any harm done will be minimal and not worth fighting over.

      All you can demonstrate is 1), if that, and I suspect most anyone here would quite happily concede it, since most appear to believe that conservatives are obnoxious anti-social snowflakes who can't stand being held to the same standards as everyone else. Personally I think that isn't the necessarily the case, ti's mostly confined to the 80% of republicans who have become detached from objective reality and worship Donald "I've been acquitted by a minority of the jury" Trump.

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

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 24 Feb 2021 @ 8:07pm

      Re: Masnick, you need an editor

      Masnick again claims conservatives are not disproportionately silenced on Big Tech websites.

      Masnick several paragraphs down: "Basically, the fact is that applying these rules neutrally mean that more Republicans/conservatives are impacted..."

      What's actually happening:

      You're proving you're math-illiterate by asserting a ratio probably around 63/88 is larger than ome like 8/10 because you're myopically looking at it as though it's 63 vs 10.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 12:41am

      Re: Masnick, you need an editor

      "Do you not have an editor to catch when slip up and contradict yourself (i.e. tell the truth for once)?"

      No, but he does have the reading comprehension to know that he didn't do that.

      There is no policy in place that disproportionately impacts conservatives for their political views. This is known, and demonstrated many times.

      However, conservatives seem to be much more likely not only to say things that violate the T&Cs of social media, but do so in such an open and obvious way that it leads them to be banned under those rules.

      These facts do not contradict each other. If my policy says "don't be an asshole" and I apply it equally to everyone, it's not my policy's fault if more people belonging to one specific club are kicked out for acting like assholes.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2021 @ 4:02am

      Re: Masnick, you need an editor

      It's not disproportionate if more conservatives violate the terms of use.

      If you have two kids and one of them breaks the rules more often, it's not disproportionate to punish that kid more than the other.

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

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 12:00pm

      Re: Masnick, you need an editor

      The problem you have, is the evidence is probably gone.
      Have them Print it/paste it/take a snapshot.

      That would help.
      then my suggestion as above. Get a moderator to WATCH your post. and as long as it DONT break the TOS, Check to see if someone is being a BAD person and erasing THOSE types of comments.

      Complaining that the garbage man Didnt empty the garbage, Suggests I go look in your Can, and ask if you had Any in it, in the first place.

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

  • icon
    zarprime (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 8:44am

    View from the outside: "conservative bias" a uniquely US problem

    I think in just about any other democratic country this would be called "polar bias" or "extremist bias", and even in the US you could call it that, but it doesn't make any sense because you don't have representation across the political spectrum. As a Canadian, it boggles my mind that your government can even function with only two parties. We have, at any given time, at least 4 major political parties covering a much greater proportion of the spectrum. Heck, we have a communist party. And you can be sure that if someone here on the far left started spouting off conspiracies, misinformation or hatred that tech companies would treat them exactly the same as they do far right wingnuts.

    It boggles my mind that you guys (US) call the Democrats "the left". You don't have a left - you have the far-ish right Republicans, and the center, maybe even right-of-center Democrats. You really need a proper left, if only for perspective.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 8:57am

      it boggles my mind that your government can even function with only two parties

      It can’t…or at least, it can’t function well.

      It boggles my mind that you guys (US) call the Democrats "the left".

      Trust me, anyone with an ounce of sense knows the Democrats, as a whole, are one step right of center. The problem there lies in how Democrats hate progress as much as Republicans — especially in regards to reducing the wealth gap — but also know that holding it up forever doesn’t win votes with liberal/progressive/genuinely left-leaning voters.

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

      • icon
        zarprime (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 2:19pm

        Re:

        Wait, so some people do know there's a real (if vacant) left? About a year ago I got into a bit of a political discussion with a friend who lives in the US, and they, being Republican, expressed some fear of "the left". I chuckled, and they asked why, to which I replied "you don't even know left, the Democrats aren't the left, they're like the middle." They literally said "I can't imagine what left of the Democrats even looks like." In my head I was thinking "holy crap, NewSpeak is alive and well". If you've got no words for it, you can't discuss it. I know this was a small sample size, but I genuinely came away with the impression that this was how it was in the US - that the Democrats were as left as left could be, and would seem to explain why Republicans always seem to be implying that "Democrat" is just a euphemism for "Communist".

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 10:46pm

          Re: Re:

          Bear in mind that they attack Bernie and AOC as being communists because they suggest things that would be common sense programs supported by conservative parties in other parts of the world. They really don't understand what they're talking about, but they sure love them some fascism when their party is in charge.

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

          • icon
            zarprime (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 7:19am

            Re: Re: Re:

            Oh don't even get my started on the whole "antifa" thing. Again, people calling out "antifa" as "the enemy" and "terrorists" - so you don't like people who are anti-fascist? So you're PRO fascist then? Because that's how you're coming off. How does this point never get made?

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


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