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The topic of Alex Jones came up at work. In light of him getting banned from Apple, YouTube, Facebook etc: I'll leave this as I did around the office.

Comments
  • 12
    i agree.
    at the same time, in a world where basically everything including basic necessities (like food) is provided by privately-owned companies, this creates a complicated precedent.

    yes, the companies involved are non-critical, but the principle is still complicated.

    if 90% of grocery stores in your country banned you from shopping there because they have the right to do so based on disliking things you say...
    ... is that still okay, and not violating your free speech?

    again, i agree with your point, but at the same time, i see the complications and possible implications. and i am not sure on how to resolve this conflict.
  • 3
    I mostly agree.
    But Facebook and YouTube are monopolies, as Apple is on iPhone apps. So they have the power to manipulate the public opinion by withdrawing content. So the 'internet community' argument doesn't hold up for them.
  • 4
    I think the XKCD cartoon makes more sense when considering the responses of individuals.

    But we already require companies to act "neutrally" by law---which is what makes this stuff problematic. If Facebook no platformed people based on gender or ethnicity I'm sure they'd be in serious trouble. So, it's not quite as simple as saying this only apply to government.

    So, what's my solution? Don't have one---obviously.

    Clearly, being banned by these platforms is exactly what some people want, of course.
  • 5
    If all of these sites were to ban all content about Donald Trump, they would control the election in USA. It can be pretty difficult to determine where the line should be drawn.
    I just think it is a very dangerous situation if we let companies decide the public opinion.
  • 5
    A YouTube channel called h3h3 got their live stream taken down because they were simply talking about him. That’s what I mean when I say it’s dangerous if companies can decide what the public opinion about someone or a certain topic should be.
  • 5
    Society, rightly or wrongly, has already decided that the big tech companies need to be controlled---so we can no longer just leave them to it on subjects. The Pandora's Box that is regulatory oversight is already open.
  • 9
    I disagree.

    I agree that it's their site and they can do anything they want with it. I agree that the free speech laws aren't being violated.

    However, what i think is wrong is when people with a certain political intrests are banned and kicked off a platform, while others with the opposing opinion are allowed to stay, simply because the people managing don't want them there.

    Debate me.
  • 2
    lt's bigger than that, though. Can social platforms ban users when they don't like their content? Usually I'd say yes, but a good deal of people actually stopped following the news, being informed instead via Facebook and/or YouTube, so... Yeah, I don't like the possible future implications.

    ...What really pisses me off, though, is how all those channels/group who preach to cure diabetes with all-fruit diets (which is like pressing a self desyruction button), ElsaGate videos and such are still there to stay. Those actually are contents which could cause harm or trauma, yet they stay there.

    So...
  • 1
    @platypus the difference in the gender/ethnicity examples is that those aren't opinions, that's not something that anything short of major surgery can change. That's what makes this discrimination rather than what happened to Infowars. The examples you give aren't comparable. A comparable example would be to ban a gay person who said "kill so the straights", it's then the opinion that's the reason for the ban, and no longer discrimination.
  • 3
    @c3ypt1c Infowars politics causes its followers to harass Sandy Hook families to the extent of not being able to visit the graves of their family members who died there because of Alex Jones's fucking insane beliefs. Frankly I don't care if those kinds of politics are suppressed, because they are not good faith politics, the whole site is an odious monument to unsupported view points and misrepresented science.

    This isn't about opposing opinions, this is removing a set of people who use their position to lie to people who don't know better to shill whatever they're trying to sell.
  • 4
    @Zaphod65 I was thinking more about *viewpoints* about gender, etc. Obviously, on the Internet, no-one knows you are a dog and all that.

    My point is more that we have a situation where some views are more mainstream than others, but, as Facebook et al are now treated as utilities, then that's a problem.

    However, I fear I'll start drifting towards politics here, so I'll stop.
  • 1
    @Zaphod65 who are you to judge what kind of politics are good and which are not bad? It's all subjective, isn't it?

    And i mean, it's not like people have their own brains and are responsible for themselves and what they do, right? Especially if it's harassment of others. The people are to blame for their own actions, not infowars. (can't believe I'm defending infowars here)

    But I agree, he does have insane beliefs. And I don't agree with him on many of the topics he talks on. Neither do i like him as a person.

    And well, religion exists. We have to accept and not discriminate against people who are almost insane because of their belief, and they're free to express themselves and to convince other people to buy their things?

    And well, it is. How does this not have anything with opinions and how people think?
  • 4
    @Zaphod65 Of course Alex is a lunatic, but as far as I know, he never endorsed or promoted taking action against Sandy Hook victims. He might have a moral obligation to distance himself from actions of his audience, but not a legal one.
    I strongly believe that private companies and governments should not be the authority on what is 'good faith' politics and what is not (see news on Bangladesh for a recent example).
    Removing such people is a bad move in my opinion: These people believe in conspiracy theories. If you systematically silence them, others will think that there is truth to these theories.
    I think ridiculing them is the most effective way.
  • 1
    @not-sure YouTube apologized and removed the strike. Nevertheless, I strongly agreee that this kind of discrimination of opinions exist!
  • 4
    @c3ypt1c while I agree that many core parts of religious texts are downright absurd by today's standards (and were often deliberately misinterpreted to justify things in conflict with initial teachings like the Divine Right of Kings and state-sponsored bigotry,) anybody advocating adherence to some of those aspects probably would end up on the no fly list. It's not just beliefs, it's beliefs that advocate violence, and using those beliefs to advocate plausibly deniable violence.
  • 1
    @Bernarnold yes, i agree, but that's not what I meant. People from all religions claim that they have been enlightened, blessed, etc.. I've literally seen people fall unconscious, one after the other, into a state of ecstacy because of "the holy spirit". They also seem to draw other people into their state of minds, thus creating mini cults. Of course, you pay for religious objects and services. I don't agree with it, yet it happens. I believe it's the same thing with infowars. It's kinda like brainwashing.

    I honestly think it should be stopped, but i don't know what will happen to our personal freedoms if it does get stopped, since there is no way to make this not subjective since all cases are different.

    If you are offended by this, I'm sorry but I'm just expressing my view on things and i really don't mean to hurt anyone by this.
  • 2
    I agree with you wholly, but religion is based around willingness to believe in something in the absence of hard evidence, whereas conspiracy theories typically are attempts to find a simple answer for a complex question that justifies the existing beliefs of the believer- your average "Elders of Zion" believer probably was anti-Semitic way before they read about it online. I think the motivations behind religious movements are fundamentally different in this respect, since most rational individuals who are religious will tell you that their faith in their deity and their understanding of science and history are compatible- their texts were made 1000 + years ago by people trying to find meaning in their lives who lacked the resources we take for granted. That's why society is becoming more secular over time.
  • 1
    @c3ypt1c what kinds of politics are good or bad IS NOT SUBJECTIVE, quite the opposite, it's very objective, except often hard to measure/find out in short term. but it's very easy to see in hind-sight.

    ... does the politics cause violence, famine, deaths, oppr... FUCK I DESPISE THAT WORD SINCE REGRESSIVE LEFT HIJACKED IT SO HARD... whatever, you get the point.
    if your politics causes that, then it's objectively bad.
    if it doesn't then is still might not be outright good, but at least it's not bad.
  • 0
    @Bernarnold i guess i agree with you there.
  • 0
    @Midnigh-shcode really? I don't think it's that simple as being generically morally bad since what bad is to one person could be good to another.
  • 0
    @Midnigh-shcode Philosophers have very different opinions on what is moral, how to measure 'universal good' and how freedom/wellbeing of the individual relates to the wellbeing of society. Even if you would/could find a objectively right definition, I would doubt that there is an agreement on how to implement them. And remember that it has to scale to the entire humanity.
  • 2
    @c3ypt1c @Midnigh-shcode exactly. An opinion on policy is something where the alternative your opposition is pushing is not their freedom, safety, or right to exist. "Mixed economies more effectively prevent the free market from creating unsustainable business practices and exploitation than neoliberal light touch regs" or "American Foreign Policy in the Mideast is the way it is because of the role the West played in installing despots there during the Cold War." They're interpretations of existing facts that aren't necessarily the only good framework, but are an effective one. "You can't piss near me because of how you look naked" or "you should obey laws solely because they exist" are not valid opinions in this respect, as they jeopardize the well-being of others at a structural level.
  • 2
    @c3ypt1c @Scade fuck philosophers and relativity.

    if your politics kills people who are not trying to kill you, silences people who are not trying to silence you, refuses to tolerate people who are not intolerant towards you, and is threatening to people who are not threatening to you, then it's objectively bad.

    everything else is useless (up to outright dangerous) bullshit drivel to justify evil.

    are we clear, or shall i invoke and force you to defend nacism just so you can keep that relativistic bubble of yours?
  • 1
    @Bernarnold "policy" is not politics.
    policy is an opinion on how to achieve something.

    politics is an opinion on what should be achieved.
  • 3
    @Midnigh-shcode I'm not a relativist. I'm just saying that it is not easy, if even possible, to find objectily moral and correct politics. (Edit: look at the trolley problem)
    The politics you describe as 'bad' are opposable by my argumentation too, because they prevent discussion.
    I would go so far, that everything except slander and threats of violence, is free speech and should be protected by everyone in their own interest.
  • 1
    @Scade nevermind. i can apologise for formulating it as if it were targeted on you, if you want.

    but i still stand by all the points i made.
  • 1
    @c3ypt1c I just got out of bed, so I'll debate now. 🙂

    I agree with the idea that a select number of companies having control over speech/advertising is not a good thing. Here's a good question: in the 60's and 70's TV had 2-3 news stations and AT&T was a monopoly. Eventually the government had to step in due to anticompetitive issues but not on the basis on speech even though they essentially controlled a major aspect of it.

    Now, I don't think things are that bad now, Alex Jones still has a website, an app, and a way to communicate. He hasn't lost his ability to speak.

    Should we have specialized laws for companies that host forums/videos? Should Microsoft be forced to host Gab if their Admins refuse to delete posts about Jews being treated like livestock? Or should the government get involved in hosting a public domain board for speech on light of this?
  • 1
    @Midnigh-shcode No offence taken. I enjoyed the discussion so far.
  • 3
    @Scade
    glad to hear that (no offense taken).

    about enjoying this discussion:
    i didn't, and this is probably my last bit in it.

    not by any fault of yours or anyone here, really. it's just that years and years of watching the "ideological war" between regressive left and actual reasonable people has got me to a state where most of the time if anything even touches on these subjects in any way, i start literally feeling physically ill.
  • 2
    @Midnigh-shcode I feel your pain there. I'm politically center-left and the alt-right and regressive-left are far outside normal. But the thing with extremism is they're the ones rushing to grasp the megaphone first.

    I would agree with you that it feels like our free speech laws are too leniant but I've never seen a government not go down that slippery slope when they try to control it.

    The best we can hope for is to beat them in the court of public opinion.
  • 3
    @Midnigh-shcode I have the same feeling. Describing myself as liberal and pretty left leaning, I'm concerned by the authoritan left as well as the authoritan right. In my opinion, it all comes down to ideology and the inability to listen and understand (which is not equals to agreeing).
    (I have to leave now, have a nice day :)
  • 2
    @starrynights89
    i am politically i don't know and don't give a fuck where. i just see and despise idiocy (anywhere in human behavior), and am trying to be reasonable in general.

    "alt-right" used to be the extreme until left started using it (along with "nazi") as a synonym for "person that doesn't agree with me". so nowadays when i hear any of those two words, i instinctually think "oh, that's probably going to be some reasonable person".
    and right after that i think "what the fuck have you done to the language, tham makes this my first thought, and moreover i'm about 70% likely to be correct in it, you demagogues?!"

    it's insane.
    "fighting" "racism" by making everything about race and "sexism" by making everything about gender, ESPECIALLY those things where it's utterly irrelevant.
    ensuring "freedom" by introducing actual thought crimes.
    it's utterly insane, an actual, real orwellian newspeak.
  • 2
    @starrynights89 every time i hear or think about it i get scared and disgusted at how readily and happily so much people turn themselves into complete morons.

    the thing is, i don't know if it's possible to defeat them in the court of public opinion, because 1. they got to power precisely via manipulating and bullshitting tgat court
    2. as soon as that happens, they're going to redefine defeat to mean victory
    3. even now, it's becoming impossible to discuss them, or almost anything, due to the babylonian confusion of language they already caused
  • 2
    @Scade it all comes down to the fact that any and all ideologies are dangerous, manipulative bullshits.

    i don't condone even the concept of ideology.

    the concept itself is antithetical to reason, even in principle, moreso in practice.
  • 3
    Hooray for censorship!
  • 1
    @Midnigh-shcode But you can't prevent people from having an ideology, or from extremism. You can maintain and exercise your rights. You don't have to hear people bullshit, I don't listen to extremists here or anywhere else. But you can't lead a horse to water if it doesn't want to drink. The trouble is that banning InfoWars only gave them more stuff to chew on then if nothing had happened at all.
  • 2
    That's usually left-wing dribble for shutting down opinions they don't like. Fuck the authoritarian left.
  • 1
    @Fast-Nop get this man a beer
  • 0
    @Midnigh-shcode nah, let's not fuck anyone. I'm just having a polite discussion dud.

    I'm saying it will be difficult to create laws and to actually define these things. Would a mother telling her son to shut up be breaking a law, since she's taking his "speech" and she's the only one talking? Many countries "kill" their population because of inadequate health care amd health awareness. Other countries don't "tollerate" some items or objects other people have. Another one "threatens" jail for defending yourself. You see what i mean? What you're saying has the potential to be a double edged sword.

    Just like the word "offended" has been overused and is really subjective, your words will also become very subjective. You can literally send someone to jail in England because they offend you. Whatever offend means.

    However: I agree, though. I don't think there should be one side shitting on the other and fucking them over as you described.
  • 0
    @starrynights89 I completely agree with you. Alex still has a reach, for now. But there will definitely be people like him who will step into his throne.

    The answer to your questions: I don't know. I wish there could be laws that would solve this situation and ones like this, but I really don't know how to construct such a flawless law, where bystanders won't be hurt and nothing would be subjective.
  • 0
    Real freedom of speech doesn't mean "if you use it, you'll end up homeless". That's bullshit. The point about freedom of speech is that voices can be heard. If it's just some fringe lunatics, well so what, nobody cares. But if there are major concerns, they have to be fed into the democratic process. Discussing back and forth, pro and contra, and finally finding some compromise that everyone can live with.

    The important thing here is avoiding that pressure builds up that would finally release in an upheaval or even civil war, which obviously would suck. Societal breakdown is never fun. Not only during, but also afterwards because the winners would automatically be folks who are good at violence, and you don't want them to govern, see the French Revolution.

    Sure, it takes longer to convince and make your points than just shoving down shit people's throats, but if we want to retain a civil and mostly peaceful society, the longer road is better.
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