ForumTouchy Subjects ► Social Media Situation
What are your thoughts on the current social media situation? Do you treat this as violation of freedom of speech or it's the way it's supposed to be? I'm curious what do you think about it, because this is a mixed bag for me.

[sneaky link removed]
  
Is this a bot or a real person?
  
I would assume a real person, as they aren't selling or promoting something like the ad bots do.
  
Moved to Touchy Subjects.
  
Freedom of speech means that the government cannot impose restrictions on your speech. It is perfectly fine and legal for an independent, non-government platform to say that they are removing hate speech and speech that encourages extremism and bigotry. In fact, that is a good thing.

You can say whatever you want, but no company or individual should be required to give you a platform and megaphone to say it with.
  
When do we consider social media as important to our communications that it turns into a public utility?

Should a private company be able to take away your right to wide reach communications then?
  
Technically this site is social media
  
It could be something to get angry for if a big company banned you for sharing your opinions, but that's not what happened. What the social media platforms did was protect themselves and their users from carrying further messages of violence.
  
"But Pheo, social media companies are private companies, if you don't like their censorship you can move to another."

People tried moving from twitter to some other app, so android and apple's app store removed this up and coming popular app from their app store. It was called Parlour (I don't know how the app is actually spelled).

Its like its becoming increasingly clear there's pseudo monopoly of media and tech. Its long overdue time for a trust bust, but companies might be too big for that now.

Edit: Removed some stuff because my post was too long already. Also for the record I don't use twitter and I scarcely use FB. I have less than ten "friends" on there. I didn't move to other sites. Twocans is the most active site I'm on.
  
I think what's scarier about social media is the way that it's sort of a reflection/echo chamber that confirms what people already believe. I think that the migration of far right conservatives to sites like parlour and Q-anon is the late stage of the "red pill", where sites like facebook and youtube elevate far right voices the more that someone subscribes to those ideas. Like, info wars and Q are ridiculous ideas in a vacuum, but there is some truth to the idea that "the information age is dead" because for all of the scientific data and proven facts, there is now just as many falsehoods spreading on the internet. Sensationalism is what gets the most attention, and sensationalism doesn't have to be true.
  
Conservatives don't have a monopoly on echo chambers or people just reinforcing and circle jerking about what they already believe. It makes sense to me that if people are getting censored and getting their stuff deleted, why not move to a site that wont do that? Are conservative people just supposed to stop talking, or thinking, or sharing their beliefs? I mean that's not really reasonable.

Every human wants to speak and to be heard, its a fundamental desire to be seen/heard/etc. makes us feel safe at the least and accepted at the best.

One of my conservative bents is that I find it alarming that people are gradually accepting and embracing censorship and limitations on free speech as a way to combat ideas that are bad, wrong, false, etc.

I mean I'm all for dispelling falsehoods or spreading awareness or engaging good dialogue, but I am frightened by how accepting and inviting people are to restricting freedom (particularly speech). The measures suggested and partially implemented are totalitarian and I will not welcome totalitarian rule with open arms, even if it is for "my own good".

I'm pretty optimistic, but I have a misandrist bent that I don't believe most humans handle power that well, and I don't want to hand institutions a bunch of power to limit what we can or can't say or share. I don't think that's a good thing. I don't care if that kind of tyranny could usher in utopia, I don't like it and I do not trust it.

I've been inspired by the "where all the conservative" post earlier to chime in here or there.

I'm not on QAnon or Parlour or any of it, I don't care to talk to a lot of conservatives especially with some of my wackier conservative counterparts. Most conversations derail into me trying to educate people about white privilege. Most conservatives don't believe its a thing even though I have factual evidence for it. I do think it is bad to try to restrict their speech. I don't think that's right, or just, or effective.

tl;dr: Censorship still bad, freedom good, talking to many conservatives can be exhausting so I don't care for alternate social media. I like freedom and freedom of speech even of (most) wrong speech.
  
Social media reinforces your beliefs by design, and what you engage with most is emotional posts. Q-Anon is the most visible and most obviously pants-on-head crazy extreme of this. Conservatives are by no means the only ones with echo chambers. We have all encountered the dark fringes of Tumblr where peoples' views on what constitutes misogyny or oppression of minorities does not reflect real life anymore.

For a while I consumed a lot of "conservative media" that prima facie was about individualism and foregoing identity politics and about being proud of your culture, and it took a hot minute to realise that all I was watching was fairly extreme channels talking about the extreme side of the opposition, and that none of it was necessarily a reflection of real life. I was seeing the left-wing shut-ins vicariously through the right-wing shut-ins.

A year or so later, the Alt-Right became a mainstream term and I realised a lot of people I watched were now borderline white supremacists/saying fucked up stuff about women that wasn't just "a valid counterpoint to feminism" and I still feel gross thinking about how far I went and easily I could have gone that far too.

I don't think anyone ever feels "out of control." You don't think you're in a loop, or under the influence of algorithms, but you are. Lockdown means people are at home and already scared and vulnerable and if you start watching TheAryanHoneyBadger69420 maybe just switch off autoplay and watch Squidmar or Goobertown Hobbies paint some sick Warhammer models
  
Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that conservatives are the only ones who absorb false information. I've definitely seen some wacky conspiracies from on tumblr. But rereading my post, it does carry that implication. I do think all this false information is a bad thing, but I don't think policing the internet is the right way to go about stopping that. I really don't know the solution, but it is a major problem.
  
I think it'd be ridiculous to ignore the targetting of conservatives by major conspiracies that have led to violence. This issue is clearly pervading right wing circles in a way that is affecting meatspace in a negative way.
  
Grayseff said:
For a while I consumed a lot of "conservative media" that prima facie was about individualism and foregoing identity politics and about being proud of your culture, and it took a hot minute to realise that all I was watching was fairly extreme channels talking about the extreme side of the opposition, and that none of it was necessarily a reflection of real life. I was seeing the left-wing shut-ins vicariously through the right-wing shut-ins.

A year or so later, the Alt-Right became a mainstream term and I realised a lot of people I watched were now borderline white supremacists/saying fucked up stuff about women that wasn't just "a valid counterpoint to feminism" and I still feel gross thinking about how far I went and easily I could have gone that far too.


Would just like to chime in and say I have a lot of respect for this. It's really, really hard to look at yourself and realize how many things you believed were wrong. It's part of the reason so many people keep going - it's easier to do that than to think you might have been wrong and causing harm.
  
I think social media is just going to segregate into right-wing platforms and left-wing platforms. I wouldn't be surprised if Trump financed a new one.

I'd be tempted to feel sorry for the social media giants. It must be a headache trying to correctly censor political speech that's against their rules but legal, or within their rules but illegal. Especially when their rules keep evolving, and different countries demand different content be censored. Then I remember they bring it on themselves, earn billions, avoid tax, and sell data to third parties, so my sympathy never quite happens.
  
I've met the wackball cuckoo variants of left and right in real life. They are usually 1 out of 100. The other 99 people have fairly to moderately reasonable and sane beliefs and actions and rarely fit into any online media narrative about what they supposedly believe or act like.

Wackball right guy in jail was an actual supremacist and was like "keep it white" and stuff like that which baffles me to this day. Another guy on the outside randomly approached me 'cause of a T shirt I had on I liked the graphic of and asked if I was "on the path" of white purity or whatever. He was a bit of a drug addict stranger approaching me whilst high and at one point in the conversation I offended him by challenging his racist beliefs and he flashed a gun at me so I recused myself from that conversation.

Wackball leftist criticized a guy one day for speaking up against misogyny saying it "wasn't his place to speak for women". Very next day, in her presence, she chided him for NOT speaking up against misogyny when he held his peace to let her talk. She's one of those damned if you do damned if you don't looney bananas girls. She also believed that speech could be violent and that actual, physical, altercations to "violent speech" were non violent. She was very Orwellian in her nature regarding language to that point where speaking is violent and punching someone is non violent. She also believed that there is no such thing as racism toward white people because racism is prejudice plus power and you can't possibly behave racist toward an ethnicity in a seat of power so all the "kill all white men" rhetoric couldn't possibly be racist (or sexist for that matter.)

Aside from these anamolies, most people are normal. The more I turn off media that tells me who to pay attention to, or what to believe about people, and the more I use my own eyes and ears, the more I realize most people are pretty decent and are going about doing their best to get along with each other.

On social media, people like the two examples I gave are the majority of what I had seen on media and so it gave me, and I assume others, a very skewed vision of the world. In real life, they are in a tiny fraction of a minority of people I ever encounter. Social media skews information, who knew?

Even most vegans I meet in real life are chill about what other people are doing diet wise, and will celebrate and encourage small progress toward animal non cruelty and waste.
  
Grayseff said:
I was seeing the left-wing shut-ins vicariously through the right-wing shut-ins.
Hear, frickin' hear. I still listen to the Ben Shapiro Show pretty regularly to get a mostly principled and internally consistent (IMO) perspective on US politics, but I'm starting to realize how indulgent that type of media is and how heavily the incentives are bent towards nut-picking and ramping up controversy for more clicks and shares. (Also Shapiro is a dumbass about half the time, though still less than people might think.)

These are some decent sources for political news, analysis, and discussion (US-centric, sorry to others) I've been reading lately:
More to the original topic, I share Millpond's attitude towards these companies. I feel bad for them being stuck in an impossible moral and legal situation, but I also half feel like massive social media sites are a cancer on civilization and hope they all go under. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

And I strongly agree with Phoenix that suppression of speech is not a good answer to the very real problem of the spread of disinformation and conspiracy theories.

Edit:
Aside from these anamolies, most people are normal.
This is true, but some people get unlucky. Quote from yesterday from a college buddy in our Discord:

> I work with a bunch of people who are like "I want the military to reinstate trump because I am a true patriot" and it's a real weird vibe.
> Like normally I just laugh and enjoy all the crazy shit that they are constantly saying, but in this case its just...
  
If it cheers you up at all, none of those people believe they would be suggesting a military coup to overthrow democracy. For whatever reason, they believe the election was stolen and that a coup would reinstate the rule of law and democracy.

Its wacky, but it doesn't come from a bad place in their hearts, only bad information in their heads. Every way of man is right in his own eyes.

I still believe the best about people for the most part.

The girl being racist against white dudes also genuinely believed she wasn't being racist. Good hearts, maladjusted heads.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I think this is another problem with social media. The demonization of an opposing side. Popular polarizing platforms proport that the issues with our opponents is that they are bad people. In reality they are usually good people with bad information. But its so much more sensational to push a narrative that people are being bad on purpose when they are usually being bad on accident.

99% of the time (again aside from some nasty anamolies) people who do harm genuinely believe they are helping or at least trying to help.
  
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
  
Don't wander in here often, but just saw this thread.
"But Pheo, social media companies are private companies, if you don't like their censorship you can move to another."

People tried moving from twitter to some other app, so android and apple's app store removed this up and coming popular app from their app store. It was called Parlour (I don't know how the app is actually spelled).

It is spelled Parler and your portrayal of it as a small noble business vs the mean old oligopoly is mildly offensive, considering it was designed as a safe space for Nazi sympathizers and ideology that found themselves getting banned from other social networks, and naturally became a QAnon incubator as well. Banning hate speech and cults is not censorship when they call for the mass killing of a group of people. When an app or website is a homogenous hotbed for the proliferation of such hate speech, then it's time to ban it and in this case it was long overdue.
  
Period.
  
Blake said:
it was designed as a safe space for Nazi sympathizers
Uhhh... was it though? Obviously there were lots of QAnons and alt-righters there, but that's an expected result of a platform billing itself as pro-free speech in a climate where other major platforms have begun cracking down on certain speech.
Blake said:
Banning hate speech and cults is not censorship when they call for the mass killing of a group of people.
It literally is censorship, regardless of whether we believe it's justified or unjustified. A term having a negative connotation doesn't cause it to stop applying to something one likes.
Blake said:
When an app or website is a homogenous hotbed for the proliferation of such hate speech, then it's time to ban it and in this case it was long overdue.
Honestly if this is our standard, we're long overdue to ban Facebook and Twitter. Facebook’s Sandberg deflected blame for Capitol riot, but new evidence shows how platform played role
  
certain speech.

What kind of certain speech?

Blake said:
Banning hate speech and cults is not censorship when they call for the mass killing of a group of people.
It literally is censorship, regardless of whether we believe it's justified or unjustified. A term having a negative connotation doesn't cause it to stop applying to something one likes.
Threats of violence is not protected by free speech

ban Facebook and Twitter

https://i.redd.it/w7hepiujpm521.jpg
  
I was a moderator on a facebook group for debate. Actual white supremacists came and I started banning them, I don't really have time for it. The admins told me to stop banning them as long as they followed the rules. As far as I am concerned, Nazism is against any rules I'm going to be a part of or enforce. So, I quit because I felt I couldn't do my job. I don't have time for that kind of garbage in my life.

Although I did not want to be part of a forum with Nazis, it never occured to me to try to get the group banned, or to get facebook banned. I felt as adults we could choose our company and I chose not to keep company with Nazis, but I still don't feel totally comfortable making that choice for other people. If anything, I'm sure the results would drive it underground. I prefer my Nazis hanging out in plain sight, not hiding underground, so I know who to avoid and where not to go.

If twocansandstring.com allowed Nazis to openly express their thoughts, genocidal or otherwise, I would leave this site as well. There's no fear of that and so here I am. Having said that, I would not try to get the site banned.

I'd like to clarify a couple positions because I feel I have communicated poorly and the takeaway from my original post was not as intended.

Blake said:
It is spelled Parler and your portrayal of it as a small noble business vs the mean old oligopoly is mildly offensive,
I would request you rescind any offense taken. The post is open ended enough I can see how a David versus Goliath situation could be misconstrued as I didn't explicity say that Parler was good or bad. If any offense is still taken, its not because I deliberately gave any offense so the offense would have to come from something other than my post.

On a less important side note, I don't use human characteristics like "mean" or "nice" when talking about business. The cliche, "Its nothing personal, just business" exists because business is not a human entity that human attributes can be ascribed to. Business is just business, nothing more and nothing less. Its an impersonal, amoral entity that can be used for good, evil, or something in between, but almost always as a byproduct and nearly never as a primary directive.

That being said, Google used to have the motto "Don't be evil" which they have since changed since not being evil may no longer be a concern of theirs. (I jest, I'm sure they just came up with something more modern).

Blake said:
considering it was designed as a safe space for Nazi sympathizers and ideology that found themselves getting banned from other social networks
All due respect, this is a pretty steep accusation to suggest it was designed with Nazis in mind. From what I could Google on the site, it was designed with free speech and no censorship in mind first, and then Nazis created accounts secondly. This is an important distinction to me, if the site were created by Nazis for Nazis, I would probably be in favor of banning it. Nazis using the site, but not having it run or owned or created by Nazis is different to me.

If anyone can link me something linking the owners, founders, or designers to Nazis I would honestly like to know because it would change my opinion about the site and I would seriously consider supporting app stores that ban it from their platform.

Take twocansandstring.com for example. While the mods do good work, over the years it wouldn't surprise me if a Nazi here or there slipped through the cracks on the Ask/Answer and abused the anonymity. While a major difference between here and Parler is that Nazism is against the rules, it would be absurd to think that some here or there have not been using the site covertly now and then. At the very least, I find it highly likely that trolls posing as Nazis have probably used the Ask/Answer sections.

Some people might find that a worthy reason to ban the entire website. It is doubtful anyone here would, but there are folk in the USA on the extreme end of censorship with a zero tolerance policy even for accidents who would love to drop the ban hammer on the merest phantasm or whiff of Nazism.

I'm not so concerned with any slippery slope fallacy of over censorship taking over the website, so I'm not trying to give a false alarm. I am worried that there is a spectrum between freedom and censorship and more of one leads to less of the other. I'm worried the needle has been moving too heavily toward censorship and has not been landing closely enough to the freedom end of things. This is a personal preference, but its guided by the belief that freedom of speech is important.

I don't want to become like China or Germany where saying things unapproved by the state could get me arrested. Luckily the 1st Amendment creates a barrier to that for the time being. There are factions in the US that would love to see wrong speech criminalized and made illegal and those who exercised freedom of speech in ways unapproved by the State arrested and charged with a crime.

While we're not super close to that right now, I don't want to risk moving anywhere near it, and a majority acceptance of censorship on private platforms may one day be channeled into support for restrictions of speech in the public sector which could spell disaster for democracy as I know and love it.

I am not eager for Nazis to have freedom of speech. If I felt confident their rights could be infringed on while I and my friends' rights stayed intact, I'd be all in favor of banning them on private platforms today, and criminalizing them publicly tomorrow. My concern is that its not going to stop with banning Nazis, the common enemies of mankind, but violating their constitutional rights could one day be used as a precedent to take away many more constitutional rights from good citizens.

Obviously the constitution doesn't guarantee the right to use a private platform, but there is a huge amount of pressure for Nazis to not be allowed access to any communications channels, which I find absurd. Its like making them quasilegal today and literally illegal tomorrow.

While private platforms don't directly affect law, it does influence public opinion which one day could be led to create law. This is where my interest and concern lies. As a private citizen I feel its my personal choice and responsibility to live a Nazi free life. I don't think the state should have the power or the responsibility to remove Nazis' freedom of speech from my life because I don't think the state is trustworthy to have that kind of power.

If we can't be trusted with a personal responsibility to avoid Nazi forums on our own without the government stepping in and forcing us, then we have bigger issues than a non censored social media platform showing up on cell phones or not.

Thank you for attending my large novel of a post. The thing I hate most about Nazis is the fact anyone needs to say they are not a Nazi or a Nazi sympathizer. Not being a Nazi should be a default human setting for all people in the year 2021. Its actually insane to me that being against genocide is a moral stance we can still take rather than just have that be one thing that all living people agree on already.
  
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