Facebook declared Kyle Rittenhouse guilty from the start

The blackout went far and wide: Facebook actively policed its users for pro-Kyle Rittenhouse posts and removed the content. It even targeted posts from legal scholars arguing the merits of his self-defense case.

Source: Facebook declared Kyle Rittenhouse guilty from the start

Whatever you think about the case, this is not the internet I signed up for.

Facebook is following the playbook for any and all companies now: monopolize a market, and then extract all of the profits from it. The problem is that Facebook has essentially monopolized online speech. Sure, they can point the FTC at other successful social media companies, in order to mitigate antitrust action, but every other company is a drop is the bucket in comparison. The most influential company besides Facebook is Twitter, and they have, like, one tenth the number of users. So, yes, there are other social media platforms, but if you want to put something “out there” for the world to see, you can’t NOT use Facebook. Is it the de facto social media platform.

Awhile back, someone pointed out the cynical interpretation of the “Facebook whistleblower,” who recently gave testimony to Congress. Rather than this being an embarrassment to Facebook, and begging for intrusive government intervention, it was, in fact, an engineered and coordinated effort to provoke Congress into creating an oversight board.  Why? Because, rather than put shackles on Facebook’s hands, it would be liberating for the officers of the company to be able to point their detractors towards the governmental body regulating social media, which would, nominally, be setting policy. Except that, as we all know full well, they would be doing so at the bidding of Facebook, for the maximization of profit, and campaign contributions.

In my opinion, the so-called “mainstream media” created Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge by their systemic bias. They only really achieved national success after it became clear that the entire American press was going to give Clinton an editorial pass for every one of his scandals, including (and especially) Lewinsky. After that, they remained forces that every other news commentary program had to contend with and respond to. There are conservative social media and independent journalistic platforms ramping up right now in response to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter’s hamfisted efforts at censorship. I predict that they will achieve the same sort of niche-yet-unignorable success that Rush and Drudge had. If so, it will just prove that line in Star Wars true: “the more you tighten your grasp, the more systems will slip through your fingers.” The success of Parler and Substack, et. al., are directly tied to the tactics of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to control any and all important social narratives online. They more content they disallow, the more those other platforms will thrive.

Dopamine Thirst Trap – Pirate Wires

As with almost everything on the internet, misleading headlines are not a new phenomenon. What’s new, and notable, is the scale of our exposure to the phenomenon. Today, on Twitter, many of us now spend a significant portion of our lives inside a virtual world of headlines.

Source: Dopamine Thirst Trap – Pirate Wires

Well, not me. I deactivated my Twitter account again. I can’t, in good conscience, continue to be manipulated by the platform. That being said, I’ve been fighting the urge to reactivate it, because I enjoy the thrill of seeing all the drama unfold in real time. That’s the problem, and why “the only winning move is not to play.”

This guy points out that Twitter’s censorship has not been fair, so they’re going to crowdsource it, and then, rightly, makes fun of the idea:

Anyway, Twitter said “fuck it” this week and decided they could crowd source the truth.

I publicly critiqued Birdwatch for what I believed the obvious danger inherent of determining “truth” by popular vote. Like, from science to civil rights literally when has this ever worked out? A handful of commenters expressed frustration with the point, and asked what I would do about the problem of misinformation were I in charge. But misinformation is as old as human civilization. What’s new is the phenomenon of instantaneous information virality, and this is where we should focus.

Where does someone go to defend themselves from cancellation if hosting providers follow suit, and won’t let them back on the internet? You can say that Parler had other alternatives besides AWS to host their site, but I venture to say, given prevailing public sentiment, that Microsoft and Oracle wouldn’t have let them use their clouds either, for fear of being labeled “Nazi sympathizers.”

You can say — as I have — that they could buy some servers and rent space in a co-lo facility, but who’s to say that public pressure wouldn’t cause the hosting company to give them boot, or their ISP’s to cut off network access, or their WAN providers to remove their BGP routes, or their DNS registrar to delete their entries? We are all dependent on access to the internet at this point, and there are many gatekeepers involved. The mob can apply pressure at any one of these points.

My approach to the news has been to read alternating reports about controversial stories until they “converge” on a consistent set of most-likely facts. Not coincidentally, I cribbed this approach from how I go about implementing a new programming technique. I read a lot of documentation, Q&A’s, and blog posts about it, until I see a consistent, reliable, and understandable implementation emerge. How will I be able to read original sources and make my own informed opinion about some of the most important, yet controversial, issues of the day, when platforms acting as de facto common carriers eject people from their services when the mob gangs up on them?

Either we’re a county that believes in freedom of speech, or we’re not. You can say that we shouldn’t allow speech calling for violence. We don’t. There are all sorts of legal remedies for this already. You can say that the speed by which this particular form of speech makes it impossible to react quickly enough to avail ourselves of our existing legal tools. That’s why “Pirate Wires” here is advocating slowing everything on Twitter down, and admitting up front that this idea runs in stark contrast to all the profit motives driving the company.

I think banning people you don’t like because they said something which might be legally actionable is the wrong approach. For every single example you can show me where some “conservative” said something legally objectionable, you can find some “liberal” who said exactly the same thing. The “liberals” I’ve traded comments with about this say “it’s not the same thing” because you have to consider the size of the audience of followers. Fine. Put that into the algorithm then, and then do it. It’s just popular, right now, to go after the conservatives. What happens when the same rules get applied to the next big Antifa or BLM protest, and “leaders” of those movements suddenly find themselves without the platform on which they’ve relied? I suspect we’re going to find out, and pretty quickly.

Supporting the 2020 U.S. election

Yesterday was the safe harbor deadline for the U.S. Presidential election and enough states have certified their election results to determine a President-elect. Given that, we will start removing any piece of content uploaded today (or anytime after) that misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, in line with our approach towards historical U.S. Presidential elections. For example, we will remove videos claiming that a Presidential elections. For example, we will remove videos claiming that a Presidential candidate won the election due to widespread software glitches or counting errors. We will begin enforcing this policy today, and will ramp up in the weeks to come.

Source: Supporting the 2020 U.S. election

People are crowing about how repealing section 230 of the Communications Decency Act would put too much burden on companies like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. They say it would be so costly to implement that it would effectively put them all out of business. But they’re happy to implement real-time screening for any and all copyrighted music posted to their platforms, even if it’s momentary or in the background. And now they’re apparently happy to police their content for things the government finds too controversial.

Who does it hurt to leave up videos about potential election fraud? The courts have soundly shut down the investigations. Any objective person would have to conclude that there is “no there, there.” And, yet, if you you’re were planning to steal an election by tampering with mail-in ballots and voting machines, the very second thing you’re going to do is plan to avoid being shown to have done so.

I don’t think there’s enough evidence to conclude anything either way about the election and possible fraud, but there seem to be enough curious situations to have happened that I’d love to see another documentary like The Great Hack, which showed the connections between the Trump campaign, and a successful manipulation of social media in his favor in 2016.

Our country is a captured regulatory body, only doing the bidding of the largest campaign donors, at the expense of smaller competitors. These mammoth companies get to do whatever they want. They will not allow themselves to be treated as a public service, even though they are. And they do just enough to appease people in the government so as to avoid being tasked with actually censoring their platforms for actual offensive content. So they walk this nauseating middle road of only censoring things that a small group of unpopular people are posting, and that’s the worst form of it. Either censor your platform, or don’t. If you’re removing content about election fraud, then I don’t want to see anything about 9/11 being an inside job, or how the Illuminati are running the world, either.