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10/30/2018 2:47 am  #31


Re: Liberty and regulation

I lost my original reply, so I will be even more concise. Your point is simplistic at best. You're relying on a false and/or a very rigid idea of mainstream. Firstly, in many areas in which conservative opinions have been targeted by social media companies, the conservative or non-left-liberal positions are not obviously less mainstream than left-liberal ones. In America, for example, public opinion is roughly  split between the pro-life and pro-choice, and the same is true , at the very least, on immigration and quite a few areas. And it's not even as if these platforms leave moderate progressives alone and target both conservatives (and more extreme elements on the right) alongside more extreme left-wing voices. More radical leftists seem to be looked on indulgently. Farrakhan is an example, but so are Planned Parenthood and other such hardline pro-choice groups. The American public is surely somewhere around the centre on these issues, yet more hardline leftists seem to largely escape the sights of these sites. It's true that in certain quarters of the media, business, and establishment, progressivism is taken for granted, and you could argue that these platforms take this as public opinion. But that just proves my point. To take a particular ideological and cultural bubble as representative of the whole nation, or whole of the West, shows the ideological blinkers of these companies.

Also, even if the opinions are, or were, less mainstream, I don't think that is a great point. You don't have to be free speech absolutist to believe speech, especially on political, cultural, social, or philosophical/religious matters should be free in most circumstances. The idea that standard pro-life or committed but respectful anti-immigration arguments, for example, should actually be banned is quite an extreme vision of ideological conformity, which would show these companies have very little respect for freedom of expression. I don't think they'd want to actually embrace such a position publicly, at least not at this time (hence they leave it vague what their hate speech, etc., provisions mean). And, of course, again, the  fact this targeting isn't down in an ideologically even way - left-wing views thar certainly aren't popular (at least yet) are in no such danger - just compounds the lack of credibility in forming such a defence of Facebook, Twitter, et al.

 

10/30/2018 4:15 am  #32


Re: Liberty and regulation

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

I lost my original reply, so I will be even more concise. Your point is simplistic at best. You're relying on a false and/or a very rigid idea of mainstream. Firstly, in many areas in which conservative opinions have been targeted by social media companies, the conservative or non-left-liberal positions are not obviously less mainstream than left-liberal ones.

Instead of calling my point simplistic and false, why not acknowledge that I am keeping to the obvious? Your argument falls apart because it attempts to combat the obvious with something much less obvious. Even worse, your claims have blatantly obvious counterexamples based on what you earlier linked to and what I already refuted.

For example, you approvingly linked to an ostensibly conservative (better: anti-liberal) columnist who cited Trump as a conservative voice. At the same time, hopefully you have heard Trump's consistent message where he denounces mainstream media as fake news. Do you deny that he has been beating it all the time during election campaign and as president?

To me the issue is very obvious: When you keep denouncing the mainstream and rejecting basically all journalism, then you are positioning yourself as FRINGE. So the question for the columnist becomes: Should fringe voices be given fair and equal treatment in the mainstream?[1] Add to this the fact that Trump actually does not represent any conservative value whatsoever, so the columnist is wrong in presenting Trump as a conservative voice, and that Trump's voice is actually not suppressed in media nor on Twitter, so the columnist ends up obviously mistaken on all counts and all claims.

To counter these obvious points with something less obvious will get you nowhere.

[1] For the sake of completeness, let's point out that Trump is not actually fringe: The president's post is as mainstream and as establishment as it gets, so his pretensions to be anything else are rhetorical nonsense and inappropriate to his post. The complete picture is, however, not obvious to common public. To the common public it's obvious that Trump is accepted among self-proclaimed conservative activists and that he consistently positions himself as anti-mainstream, therefore conservatives are not mainstream - obviously.

Last edited by seigneur (10/30/2018 4:37 am)

 

10/30/2018 4:37 am  #33


Re: Liberty and regulation

I have no idea how that is a response to what I said. It boggles the mind. What do Trump's comments on the media (which I personally believe are silly and over-the-top) have to do with my points in anything but the most absurdly tangential way? I suppose one could mention that some left-liberals do treat Trump and his supporters as fringe, despite the fact he is president, but I don't know if social media platforms do this. Obviously, Twitter doesn't ban him. But Trump is the president. Of course, they wouldn't take action against him. That part of your post also proves nothing about my general point.

None of the sources I referenced was primarily about Trump's conservative or his views on the media, nor was any example I brought up in my posts.

And my post, like this part of a conversation, was about social media platforms. Theb point about columnists including fringe voices doesn't make sense in context: we're talking about Twitter et al. targetting conservatives and conservative positions. These platforms are journalistic outlets. As noted above, the idea what is not mainstream can be unproblematically banned or marginalised, isn't much of a defence of these platforms.

 

10/30/2018 4:47 am  #34


Re: Liberty and regulation

The idea that the mainstream media and journalism is balanced is way above and beyond me. 

http://www.unz.com/pgottfried/charlottesville-after-a-year-as-an-outsider-i-think-the-alt-right-far-from-finished/

Your example of the terrorism incited by alt-right media is something along the lines of regulating and setting precedent for behaviours which may constitute to inciting violence. I don't agree with this at all, at the same time all states have the power to do this--but no state can do this without taking off moral culpability from the individuals who do perform this themselves. 

It isn't odd to hear arguments of the sort "my actions are ultimately the responsibility of the ones who state x," although that is categorically different when someone calls for violence and incivility, this is not what alt-right leaders seem to do. On the other hand, consider the women who have been attacked for being pro-life, and assaulted, although the law in Canada has dealt with them---mainstream media has remained largely silent. So your analysis of there being balance in mainstream media is just not reflective of reality.

https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/im-a-pro-life-woman.-this-man-just-round-kicked-me-in-public-for-my-beliefs

https://globalnews.ca/news/4602617/woman-arrested-abortion-protest-ryerson/

Even the Charlottesville event is almost never covered with any sense of fairness;https://vdare.com/articles/the-system-repudiated-city-s-own-report-confirms-charlottesville-police-politicians-conspired-to-suppress-unite-the-right-rally
It's true that this is an unpopular opinion among sociologists and mainstream media---but that hardly comes as a surprise.

     Thread Starter
 

10/30/2018 4:49 am  #35


Re: Liberty and regulation

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

I have no idea how that is a response to what I said. It boggles the mind. What do Trump's comments on the media (which I personally believe are silly and over-the-top) have to do with my points in anything but the most absurdly tangential way.

So when you linked to that silly columnist, it was only in the most absurdly tangential way? Okay.

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

None of the sources I referenced was primarily about Trump's conservative or his views on the media, nor was any example I brought up in my posts.

Maybe not primarily, but it was up front as a given that must be accepted before getting any further. Unfortunately it's a premise I do not accept, so I dismiss also everything that follows from it and rests on it.

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

And my post, like this part of a conversation, was about social media platforms. Theb point about columnists including fringe voices doesn't make sense in context: we're talking about Twitter et al. targetting conservatives and conservative positions. These platforms are journalistic outlets. As noted above, the idea what is not mainstream can be unproblematically banned or marginalised, isn't much of a defence of these platforms.

Can we agree on one/a few of the following? Those platforms, insofar as they are journalistic outlets, do what mainstream has always done to fringe. Those platforms, insofar as they are business entities, do what business entities have always done.

This is not a defence of the platforms, but explanation of how they operate. If a maker of wedding cakes is within his rights to refuse an order to make a gay wedding cake, then does a similar right not extend to paid advertisements?

 

10/30/2018 4:53 am  #36


Re: Liberty and regulation

seigneur wrote:

Can we agree on one/a few of the following? Those platforms, insofar as they are journalistic outlets, do what mainstream has always done to fringe. Those platforms, insofar as they are business entities, do what business entities have always done.

This is not a defence of the platforms, but explanation of how they operate. If a maker of wedding cakes is within his rights to refuse an order to make a gay wedding cake, then does a similar right not extend to paid advertisements?

That's the whole reason to start a thread like this.

seigneur wrote:

Mainstream journalism and academia are as good as it gets in terms of fair and balanced. The world does not deserve any better.

https://areomagazine.com/2018/10/02/academic-grievance-studies-and-the-corruption-of-scholarship/

I do not know what leads you to think that, looking at all the discourse about the geopolitics of the US, there is never honest level-headed debate concerning the matters of Russia, Middle-east, etc. There's a constant demonizing of any foot being removed from the doorstep of Russia. I have to browse through five to six different news channels to get a contrived assessment of what's going on.

Last edited by Dennis (10/30/2018 4:58 am)

     Thread Starter
 

10/30/2018 5:13 am  #37


Re: Liberty and regulation

Seigneur,

Actually much of what that author says about her own experience of dubious algorithms has little to do with the sentence you are fixated on. You yourself seem to admit that it wasn't primarily what the article was about. So how you could have the gall to talk about me linking to it in a tangential way (of course, I actually do, given your track record) I have no idea.

Social media companies aren't journalistic outlets. Facebook is not CNN. Twitter isn't the NYT. They're platforms for letting people interact with each other. You haven't shown the conservative viewpoints in question are fringe, but that doesn't matter. Your current argument (you shift a lot) is silly. They aren't news outlets. If a conservative Facebook group is set up or a pro-life organisation has a Twitter page, these aren't reliant, or shouldn't be, on some editorial policy. You're basically conceding the point - that these aren't the open platforms they pretend to be, but have a very particular (i.e., ideological) editorial policy. On businesses, we've been through this, but there's no business necessity for a business like these to have an ideological bias. Besides, these platforms aren't like normal businesses, given their huge place and influence over how people communicate, so there's nothing wrong with conservatives being worried about their bias or even considering regulation.

 

12/02/2018 6:12 am  #38


Re: Liberty and regulation

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

Social media companies aren't journalistic outlets. Facebook is not CNN. Twitter isn't the NYT. They're platforms for letting people interact with each other.

This is not a sufficient description.

IRC is a platform for letting people interact. The nicks and handles there are anonymous, the interaction is not all over the place on third-party screens. As a result there is no controversy about IRC.

Facebook and Twitter users, on the other hand, employ recognisable nicks and their content is googleable. And media outlets and all sorts of commercial entities  are active participants there. It is close to a complete reflection of society out in the open. Hence the controversy.

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

You haven't shown the conservative viewpoints in question are fringe, but that doesn't matter.

Maybe. But you haven't shown they are viewpoints in any relevant sense, conservative or mainstream or whatever, and that they somehow deserve the distribution they demand.


Jeremy Taylor wrote:

You're basically conceding the point - that these aren't the open platforms they pretend to be, but have a very particular (i.e., ideological) editorial policy.

I concede that they may pretend, yes. Those who assume that Facebook and Twitter are open platforms without a particular ideological policy are deluding themselves. Read the terms and conditions and you might learn a lot.

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

On businesses, we've been through this, but there's no business necessity for a business like these to have an ideological bias.

Isn't it so that in a free and open society nobody gets to dictate to a capitalistic enterprise what sort of ideology to have or not have? They get to have whatever ideology they want, and they do, whether you like it or not.

They inevitably have their policies and ideologies, but I question whether you can call them "liberal". Perhaps "self-serving" and "face-saving" would be more appropriate.

Jeremy Taylor wrote:

Besides, these platforms aren't like normal businesses, given their huge place and influence over how people communicate, so there's nothing wrong with conservatives being worried about their bias or even considering regulation.

Oh, so they are like CNN and NYT after all. Isn't that what I've been saying?

And insofar as they are (commercial) platforms with a bias, I maintain that it is unsustainable for so-called conservatives to whine that the bias is liberal. Back when the bias was conservative, liberals had to put up their own platforms in order to have a voice. Conservatives can now do the same - it's a free country, as they say.

Anyway, I also maintain that those who complain about the alleged bias are hardly conservative themselves, and "liberal bias" is a very unfortunate mislabelling. The bias is there alright, but it's not liberal and not anti-conservative. The bias is pro-corporate trying to ride a bandwagon that seems mainstream for the time being - money-making values covered up in an ostensibly neutral or benign public image. It is the way companies always presented themselves, particularly when they are big.

To wrap it all up, we don't even agree on what conservative and liberal mean, so there is little chance we can agree on much else.

Last edited by seigneur (12/02/2018 8:17 am)

 

12/02/2018 5:55 pm  #39


Re: Liberty and regulation

You seem to just repeat the same missed points.

It is simply the case that these companies market themselves as open platforms for expression. Facebook or Twitter don't claim to be media outlets, like the NYT or CNN. Also, in the US at least, carriage services are regulated differently to media outlets. For a carriage services, the default legal position is against legal liability for things like copyright violations and defamation by users, whereas the default is that normal media outlets are responsible for such violations that go out under their names. Can you guess which regulatory category Facebook, Twitter, et al. wish to retain? So not only do these companies market themselves as open platforms, but they wish to take advantage of the regulatory benefits of being such. Yet they are adhering to an increasingly narrow, not to mention biased, editorial policy.

I have responded repeatedly to your corporate culture point. You give no proper counterpoints. To reiterate the main points:

1) It is probably true that commercial outlets like these have business interests that can often conflict with their stated loyalty to free expression. But one can still point out conflicts and note where they aren't living up to their claims about free expression and their legal position.

2) There's nothing, really, in business or corporate interests that demands limited expression or the idea that a corporation cannot be associated with an arena where there is full and frank discussion. Corporations are quite capable of backing free speech and a general social respect for free expression. How does this conflict with corporate interests? Only if the expression is being used to criticise corporations would there be a direct conflict, but if social media banned criticism of their corporate partners or themselves, it would be quite draconian and conflict markedly with their public presentation of themselves.

3) There's certainly no reason that a pro-corporate position should align with left-liberalism, especially social and cultural liberalism, at least not explicitly and directly. Yet there is ample evidence the social media platforms enforce rules biased against critics of left-liberalism. Why is trans-activism or hypersensitivity to criticism of Islam pro-corporate? That doesn't make any sense, yet these are the kinds of positions that these companies want to enforce. The silliness of your suggestion is made even more obvious by the fact anti-corporate, even anti-capitalist, expressions are not censored in the same way, for example, politely expressed general disagreement with trans-activist positions would be. It is true that social and cultural liberalism is very popular amongst corporate managers and leaders, but that just goes to show the simplistic nature of the claim these businesses only care about the bottomline. There was nothing strictly economic in the motives of companies who bullied North Carolina about its bathroom law, for example. The ideology, not business interests, seems in control here (though I'm certainly not saying companies don't care about their interests).

4) The rules, which tend to biased against conservatives (or non-left-liberals) to begin with, aren't even enforced even even-handedly. Hence Loius Farrakhan can obviously violate the rules of Twitter - by referring to Jews as termites - and not have action taken against him, yet anyone who, for example, casts doubt on the latest trans-activism better watch out. What this has to do with business interests, those of the platforms or anyone else's, is hard to see.

I don't deny some of what these companies do in terms of censorship and rules does have to do with business interests. The recent YouTube purges and demonetisation seem to be partly motivated by this. Though even here, the crackdown seems to have unfairly targeted critics of left-liberalism.

And when was the bias conservative? I'm not sure what you've talking about. But I agree that conservatives should leave these platforms (I don't see why anyone would use Twitter anyway), but you seem to contradict yourself by now , towards the end of your post, admitting a liberal bias at these companies.

 

12/04/2018 5:09 am  #40


Re: Liberty and regulation

That's not as drastic as it might seem.

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n20/daniel-soar/short-cuts wrote:

This argument only holds, though, if what they wrote was actually ridiculous. It’s worth noting how extraordinarily hard they worked to make their papers suit the journals they were aiming to get published in. Over ten months, Pluckrose, Lindsay and Boghossian, [...] wrote 180,000 words across their twenty papers, diligently responded to editors’ and peer reviewers’ comments and requests, cited all the relevant literature, and generally did everything they could to get their papers up to the necessary standard. One thing they didn’t need to bother with was any of the field research they claimed to have carried out: any journal – Nature included – has to take it on trust that the data included in a study isn’t made up.

Dennis wrote:

I have to browse through five to six different news channels to get a contrived assessment of what's going on.

This is what you always have to do, under any and all worldly regimes, authoritarian or libertarian or democratic, left or right or whatever. You can stop fact-checking only when gossip or fallen human nature ends once and for all; that would be in paradise.

Last edited by seigneur (12/04/2018 6:16 am)

 

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