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The Media [Derail] Thread

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Solfege, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. Johnnyseattle

    Johnnyseattle Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    Well, first, this is America, so your logic and rational thought don't really count.

    Secondly, the issue with this is that the president is using this as a tool of communication to the nation at large, and thus he isn't allowed to tell an American citizen that they can't hear what he has to say. So the delivery platform is a private company that can theoretically do what they want. But the diarrhea the president spews on it amounts to presidential records, and that's a whole other ball of wax.
     
  2. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    Twitter was ruled a public forum in that specific case, and it was deemed that Trump's First Amendment rights to block them did not supercede the FA rights of those blocked. Article on this, and quoting part of the ruling:

    (The full ruling is also linked in the article.)

    The fact that it's a privately-owned website through which this communication takes place isn't overly relevant in this case, I don't think. Twitter was deemed to fulfil the public forum standards, and so they apparently legally are.
     
  3. Agayek

    Agayek Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    This is one of the more interesting questions in the modern era, honestly. There's some really interesting debate to be had about the role of social media as "the public square" and the fine line between "being denied a platform" and "being allowed to speak, but only where no one can hear". I'm rather intrigued by how this will all shake out over the next couple decades.

    This particular case was because Trump was the President, which means his public statements are, well, public and he cannot bar people from seeing them because he disagrees with them (as blocking them does). As such, he's not allowed to block people on Twitter while he's serving as President. Afterwards, I assume that restriction is lifted, but I could see an argument otherwise, so who knows.
     
  4. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    I'd like to direct you to a link I posted several posts above yours.

    Also what Agayek said. Is there a point at which we say "Fb/Twitter/YT/etc are ubiquitous platforms of public expression and everyone has to be allowed in"? If private company argument sticks, is there a solution, given that social media doubtlessly is a public forum in practice if not legally? Perhaps a publicly funded and maintained alternative? But then roads are also publicly funded and maintained, yet you can be banned from driving on them (though not from using them altogether) and society has decided that that's fine.

    I can point to specific cases and say why I think this and that person shouldn't have been banned, but it becomes much more complicated when you try to find some standard applicable for everyone. I do however think there's a strong argument to be made for something like "if your online business is delisted from Google, it might as well not exist".
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
  5. Nazgus

    Nazgus Chief Warlock

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    Cloudflare's CEO published a really good blog post after they terminated their contract with The Daily Stormer and they got DDoS'd off the internet. While searching for it, I found a good article on the whole thing by Wired. It seems like the company blog post has been edited and sanitized since then, but I found another article that quotes an internal email that has the quote I remembered:
    It's hard to disagree with that sentiment.

    They're private companies with an insane amount of sway over who gets to say what, and just because it's currently pointed at people you disagree with doesn't mean it shouldn't terrify you.
     
  6. Agayek

    Agayek Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    I think it's pretty easy to make the case that social media fills the same role as the public square in older times, and as such, the same speech guarantees of that should apply.

    The tricky thing is how to square that with the rights of the private owner as regards control over their property.

    In my mind, the solution is to set a legal distinction between private and public social media platforms, where public social media platforms are required to abide by first amendment rules, both regarding ability and limitations on speech, while private social media platforms are like now and can do whatever they want, then the relevant companies could decide what type they want their platform to be, if not both.

    In that case, I would set the definition of public as "users may post content anyone can see", while private is "users may post content to a select group". To draw an example, DLP would qualify as both, where WBA would be considered "private" and whatever posts you can see without an account considered "public".

    I feel like this settles the core conflict here by allowing platforms to opt in to serving as the public square, thereby accepting the limitations of content policing congruent to that, or eschewing those limitations and in turn limiting their usability as an alternative to the public square.

    Or maybe I'm just a crazy libertarian with an irrational obsession with freedom of speech and the philosophical underpinnings of our entire civilization.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
  7. TieHat

    TieHat Groundskeeper

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    Then by your logic, the admins and Lord Ravenclaw can't ban people from the general part of the forums.

    That's beyond stupid. This is literally Lord Ravenclaw's website. If he believes someone is disturbing his ideal environment, he should be able to do as he pleases.

    I would want the same to apply if I made a website.
     
  8. Agayek

    Agayek Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    Well yeah. Under that paradigm, that would be considered public content, accessible to everyone.

    Fortunately, the solution is really simple. You take the content and hide it behind a login or some other explicit opt-in measure to demarcate between public and private, then you can ban whoever you like.

    The whole idea is that if you're going to put forth a platform as a public platform (read: accessible by everyone), it would be beholden to the rules governing, well, public platforms. And if you don't like those rules, then you're free to ignore them, but it necessarily can't be a public platform.
     
  9. TieHat

    TieHat Groundskeeper

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    By that logic, you have to login to write on Twitter and Facebook. So, writing on those sites is a private feature and as such, can be moderated by companies, meaning that your idea adds no change at all?
     
  10. Agayek

    Agayek Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    Not at all. Because you don't have to login to read it. You can peruse the majority of Facebook and Twitter posts without ever making an account, which would qualify it as a space for public discourse, under those definitions.

    To use a direct FB analogy instead of using an internet forum, which is already something of an edge case in this discussion, Facebook itself already has a distinction between "public" and "private" posts, with the primary example being posting in a group you've joined vs making a post/status update/etc. One is a statement made to a specific group of people, and only that group of people, while the other is a statement made to the whole world.

    My idea is that the public posts, the ones you put out there for the whole world to see, as if you were standing on a street corner and shouting it at everyone in earshot, would enjoy free speech protections, but the posts to groups or whatever, the things analogous to gathering a group of like-minded individuals together in a private building, would not.

    And if a social media platform didn't want to abide by the established societal standards of free speech, then they are welcome not to; they would simply have to not pretend to be public spaces for discussion.

    And yes, that does impose an obstacle in the business model of the various social media companies; they will need to radically update their moderation policies or entirely rejigger their UX and core conceptualization to comply with such a law. But I find that a very small price to pay to codify the ideals of liberal democracies into the internet age.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
  11. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    @momo I think given the current state of affairs, it's apparent that websites would have to give up something of their power over the website and users to the users if we're gonna adhere to the principle of free speech. It also grates on me a bit because DLP would, under what @Agayek proposed, have to contend with the idiots we've banned over the years, and at the end of the day, DLP is maintained and funded by Raven and DLP Supporters.

    There is no ideal solution, but I think that allowing Fb/Twitter et al to rule over the expression of billions like it's their personal fiefdom is worse. The "public option" might be a good idea in theory, but in practice, running a massive social media site costs money and I imagine quite a few people would find it a bizarre proposition for the govt to pay for a publicly owned Facebook when Facebook is right there and free to use, and with years of feature development behind it.
     
  12. Agayek

    Agayek Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    To be fair, under the system I proposed above, it would be pretty trivial to simply require a login to view the forums at all, like we already do for WBA, and then DLP as a whole would classify as "private" and can ban whoever and moderate however they want. Most forums would fit into such a system without needing to change their operations hardly at all, given minor changes to the site itself.

    Hell, even Reddit would be able to handle it relatively easily. An update to their moderation policies in the core public reddits and making subreddits hidden (potentially with the option to unhide it, and sacrifice some moderation powers, for the admins) unless you sub to it would get it qualifying.

    The only sites I've been able to come up with where it would have a significant (unintended) negative impact on are those that function primarily as resource hubs (ex: stack overflow), and even then it's not an insurmountable issue.

    The bigger issue with the idea, as with most things involving the internet, is the GIFT and how to define trolling and fuckery vs legitimate speech. Any legislation in this regard would need to be well-crafted to allow for a degree of content moderation, for the purposes of protecting people's privacy, preventing harassment, etc, just like with real life speech, which would require a full suite of legal definitions for things such as doxxing, cyberstalking, and the like. This should be pretty doable, given time and motivation, but it's definitely going to be the trickiest part of the process, and I'd be willing to bet it would require another generation or two of lawmakers to get anything even vaguely close to sufficient.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
  13. Zerg_Lurker

    Zerg_Lurker Order Member DLP Supporter

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    Considering the US still hasn't a concrete stance on whether broadband is considered telecommunications or whether it should be regulated as a utility, I wouldn't put bitcoins on legislating internet moderation within a few generations.

    As daunting as I find the prospect of social media giants having such power, they've yet to be recognized as public goods or utilities, so I would argue they shouldn't be subject to the constraints of the first amendment.

    I don't really have a problem with the hypocrisy of Facebook and Reddit and the like presenting as public forums while not adhering to the notions of absolute free speech. They're open to the public, and publicly traded, but they're not public in the sense that they're owned by the people. I can loiter around the lobby of the Bank of America Tower all the hours it's open and trade Pokemon there, but I wouldn't expect to be welcome if I were to announce my loyalty to Gen 1 and declare fans of all other generations to be degenerate subhuman scum.

    Hell, reddit gave the boot to r/fatpeoplehate, a subreddit for flagrantly literal hate speech, and those denizens found new platforms on various *chans, to speak nothing of more final, dark web solutions. The segregation private and public internet forums is really flimsy when you consider how low the barrier of entry is to the private section, and how easy it is to expose the private to the public.

    I also find it amusingly ironic that the crazy libertarian is advocating for legislative interference of private enterprises instead of allowing the free market to come up with solutions. : ^ )
     
  14. Agayek

    Agayek Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    That's kinda the point. Conceptually, it's the difference between some guy on a street corner shouting at passersby about how climate change is the death of humanity, vs a private building labelled "Climate Change Preparedness Group" that folks can wander in and hear what's being said should they choose to. We already make that exact distinction IRL, where some places are private and can freely regulate speech within their borders, and others are public and speech cannot be regulated. It's the core idea of the town square in the first place, I'm just adapting it to fit the internet paradigm.

    And yes, you're likely right that it'll be more than a couple of generations to get it legislated correctly, but I'm still gonna advocate for it.

    Well... yeah. The free market can't guarantee free speech. At best, it can guarantee segregated speech, where people can say whatever they want, but only to people who agree with it. Which is what we're increasingly moving toward on the internet, and why I think it's such a big deal.

    Thus, the government needs to step in. Guaranteeing free expression and the level ground of the marketplace of ideas is the one requirement for a functioning liberal government. It's quite literally the only thing the government needs to do.
     
  15. Zerg_Lurker

    Zerg_Lurker Order Member DLP Supporter

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    Not preserve its own existence and authority so that it can make such guarantees? Or ensure the life and welfare of its citizens such that the guarantee of free expression is in any way meaningful? /nitpick

    As for the guy in the town square, he's got his right to his shouting but no guarantee of a right to be heard, unless you want to infringe on the rights of everyone else in the square to not hear him. Facebook is more akin to the private building in your example, the difference being it's large to the point of a global convention center with millions of such rooms.

    Still not buying the argument for legislation. Also, what would the broad strokes of it be? The town square analogy might well fall apart when technology advances to a point which speech is no longer recognizable by established standards. Hell, I've had entire conversations with nothing but emoji, meme gifs and stickers on FB messenger. Legislation would then be moot by the time it reaches the house floor, should it ever emerge with many of our incumbent tech-ignorant Congress. Market solutions like competing platforms or consumer pressure would be more responsive and adaptable than heavy handed legislation.

    More importantly, it would be impossible to constitutionally justify such legislation. The media giants are ultimately not government entities, nor do they receive government funding, trillions of tax breaks notwithstanding, and so a law grounded in the 1st amendment most likely be struck down.

    Mind you, I'm not disagreeing with you in principle, just the approach. I think that legislation couched in the Commerce Clause would be more reliable cf. Heart of Atlanta v US, though it may still well fall short of your ideal solution given that the public, by and large, does not engage with Facebook for commerce or profit.

    Instead, I think it'd be best to ensure that the media giants simply don't accumulate such power that they can suppress free speech and define the overton window. Maybe antitrust legislation? To be honest I'm struggling to come up with a way to break up or restrict them in any meaningful sense, given the tendency of web ecosystems towards consolidation and continuity over fragmentation. Something something, Chinese democracy.
     
  16. Sauce Bauss

    Sauce Bauss Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    A few points. One, speech has been recognized as being larger than simply spoken or written words for decades at the least. Standing or sitting at a particular point in time, the money you spend, and the clothing you choose to wear have each been upheld as speech. Congress is technologically incompetent, but they're not so stupid as to be bamboozled by "People can communicate with pictures of smiley faces, whaaaaaaaat?" Town square and free speech protections have already been established in private fora previously, most notably malls.

    Market solutions are tricky in that network effects are real and first mover advantage plus scale has left tech giants in a unique position. A superior product doesn't win on its own merits, nobody is on Facebook for its unique feature set. They're on FB because everybody else is. As for antitrust legislation, I fail to see what the justification behind that would be. Facebook has a monopoly on facebook posts? There are almost infinite avenues by which to communicate online, so the justification behind breaking up FB would be spurious at best. You're correct that a break up would just result in one of them cannibalizing the rest until we have another Facebook.
     
  17. TieHat

    TieHat Groundskeeper

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    Listen if you have a problem with FB and twitter monitoring your speech, make your own site.

    But they literally created the entire things. They aren’t monitoring you because it is like their fiefdom. It literally IS their fiefdom.
     
  18. Agayek

    Agayek Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    Regarding the "right to be heard" thing, this gets trotted out a lot, but it's really not relevant. Like, at all. It's a strawman that does nothing but distract from the point.

    No one is advocating that everyone must read every post on Facebook, that's insane. What's being advocated for is that people be allowed to post it in the first place so that people can read it. On a conceptual level, it's literally exactly the same as the guy on his soap box at the street corner; someone is putting speech out there and everyone that stumbles across it can then choose to engage or not as they please. There's no mechanism in place that forces you to read random Facebook posts, I'm baffled why the insistence that there is keeps coming up.

    The specific method of communication is irrelevant. Speech has been recognized as simply standing in a specific place. All that really matters is that communication is on-going, and existing speech law will cover that largely fine (though I'd imagine there would indeed be some edge cases we'd need the courts to rule on).

    As for the market, I would love a market solution, but the problem is, that isn't a practical one. The problem is that this the nature of social media and human psychology means that instead of a single sphere for public discourse, we'll have several, and people will congregate to the ones that best suit their preferences. This is what we're seeing now, with several of the "right leaning" alternatives to Twitter, Patreon, etc.

    This isn't in and of itself a terrible thing, but it does mean that discourse segregates itself naturally and creates self-reinforcing echo chambers, which is bad. It's something of a unique problem, as the restrictions of distance and movement made such concerns a relative non-issue in older times, and it requires its own solutions.

    That solution being to enforce content neutrality in public cyberspaces, piercing the bubble.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
  19. point09micron

    point09micron Seventh Year

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    I don't have a problem with FB/Twitter moderating since they are private companies. The problem is the disparity between what they say ("we're for free speech") and what they do ("as long as we agree with it"). The uneven application of the rules is a big problem also. An obvious recent example is the doxing and death threats to the Covington students which resulted in zero bans as far as I know. Meanwhile simply telling an out-of-work journalist to "learn to code" is apparently a bannable offense. This in spite of the fact that it's a callback to journalists basically saying the same thing to coal industry employees who lost their jobs due to Obama-era policies.
     
  20. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Coal industry employees lost their jobs because coal isn't competitive.

    As for social media, they need to figure out what they are and stop saying they're the forum of the internet but acting like private sites.
     
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