Monday, August 6, 2018

Reuters Facebook, Apple remove most of U.S. conspiracy theorist's content


"It can't happen here."

"Hate-speech" is different.

Note that this is a voluntary action taken by the private sector. So there is no violation of the First Amendment, which prohibits government censorship.

Reuters
Facebook, Apple remove most of U.S. conspiracy theorist's content
Rich McKay

Also at Reuters

This is kind of a big deal. Chinese state media is usually pretty moderate. This is an attack on POTUS and it represents ratcheting up.

Chinese state media slams Trump for 'extortion' in trade dispute
Andrew Galbraith, Michael Martina


UPDATE

SFgate
YouTube, Pinterest Pull Alex Jones and InfoWars Channels Following Bans by Apple, Facebook

also

Liberty Blitzkrieg
Stop Complaining and Just Delete Facebook
Michael Krieger


19 comments:

Konrad said...

“Apple Inc, YouTube, Facebook Inc and Spotify all took down podcasts and channels from U.S. conspiracy theorist Alex Jones…”

Godwin's law asserts that "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1.” That is, if an online discussion continues long enough (regardless of topic or scope), sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Adolf Hitler, at which point the accuser loses the debate, and the discussion is over.

Konrad’s law states that the minute anyone accuses anyone else of being a “conspiracy theorist” (regardless of topic), the accuser loses the debate, and the discussion is over (or else it devolves into empty chatter).

Since everyone has his own personal definition of "conspiracy theorist," the term has become socially meaningless.

Tom Hickey said...

"Conspiracy theory" has become a go-to propaganda term to demonize opponents. It's a tell, except under very specific circumstances that generally don't apply to headlines..

Bob said...

"Fake news" has become a go-to propaganda term to demonize opponents. It's a tell, except under very specific circumstances that generally don't apply to headlines..

Jones has also promoted a theory that the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre was faked by left-wing forces to promote gun control. The shooting left 26 children and adults dead at a Connecticut elementary school.

He is being sued in Texas by two Sandy Hook parents, seeking at least $1 million, claiming that they have been the subject of harassment driven by his programs.


When the revenue being brought in by AJs brand of entertainment is less than what a lawsuit might cost, it's time to pull the plug.

Infowars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson said in a tweet here that the broad take-downs amounted to censorship and were intended to help Democrats in the national election this fall.

Hey Watson, aren't you in favour of private property rights? Or are you a closet fascist?

Bob said...

Oh, and good on China.

Tom Hickey said...

The reason we don't pull the plug on people unless they are advocating grossly illegal activity is opening Pandora's box. Doing that begins the slippery slide to totalitarianism.

"Hate speech" is illegal. Who decides? Base don what criteria. What is the process?

Yelling, "fire" in a crowded theater is in a different category.

The way the game of control works is take away a "little" thing at time and keep doing, along with not letting a good crisis go to waste, like suspending constitutional rights and civil liberties.

But "it can't happen here."

Sorry. It is happening and a lot has already happen that has been documented along the way here at MNE.

I am no fan of AJ, and he is often over the top, but so are others on the talk shows on different sides of the political spectrum. Jones is likely being singled out owing to his reach. He was key in whipping up Trump's base but he has also criticized Trump, too.

And AJ does get some things right, on occasion. He is the only person in the US that has had Alexander Dugin on his show, for example. Whatever one thinks of Dugin as "Putin's brain," which is total BS, he is one of the most important thinkers in the world at this point in time and deserves a hearing rather than demonization.

Bob said...

Hate speech in Canada is inciting violence against an identifiable group. Are you suggesting that no line by drawn, because that line will be messy?

Free speech rights are limited to government attempts at control. Apple/Facebook own their platforms. AJ will have to find another platform willing to host him. With his wealth, he could create that platform himself.

Another aspect of free speech is accountability. You are not protected from the consequences of your speech. It is alleged that AJ's fans harassed grieving families. AJ is reaping what he sowed.

Matt Franko said...

Jones does the same thing as the left with the whole “neoliberal conspiracy!” Theory fantasies... . with Jones it’s “the globalists!” or “deep state!” fantasies...

Tom Hickey said...

I am a (left) libertarian. All libertarians, left, right and center, oppose Big Brother, Daddy, or Mommy, supervising what information sources adults get access to. I don't want the private sector doing this either, especially social media firms that are known to "cooperate" with the government.

That doesn't bother everyone, and they may live to regret the consequences of it as the screws tighten.

Tom Hickey said...

Jones does the same thing as the left with the whole “neoliberal conspiracy!” Theory fantasies... . with Jones it’s “the globalists!” or “deep state!” fantasies...


That may be, but you don't ban people for fantasies.

Matt Franko said...

I agree... like you don’t see us banning the WWE just because UFC exists... many people still attend the WWE events...

Bob Roddis said...

Hey Watson, aren't you in favour of private property rights? Or are you a closet fascist?

It seems to me that youtube is violating its own contractual terms of service as a public forum. If they want to expressly be shills for the war state, that is their right and they should clearly state that in their terms of service. I believe they are breaching their existing terms of service. Further, as Caitlin Johnstone wrote last March:

And when I say censorship, I mean censorship. America has a corporatist system of government, with no meaningful separation between government power and corporate power, so corporate media is government media, and corporate censorship is government censorship. When you’ve got Senate Judiciary Committee meetings featuring plutocrat-sponsored Senators meeting with plutocrat-owned social media officials talking about how to use internet censorship to “prevent the fomenting of discord” in America, you’ve got government censorship.

Oh, you didn’t hear about that last one? Yeah, it’s a thing. A few months ago the Senate Judiciary Committee spoke with top legal and security officials for Facebook, Twitter and Google in a very disturbing way about the need to silence dissenting voices. Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii demanded that the companies adopt a “mission statement” declaring their commitment “to prevent the fomenting of discord.” Former FBI agent and deep state lackey Clint Watts kicked it up even further, saying, “Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words. America’s war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America.”


https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/social-media-censorship-is-vastly-more-dangerous-than-the-censored-material-a9d467ccf738

Matt Franko said...

“It seems to me that youtube is violating its own contractual terms of service as a public forum.”

Bob is qualified here... (trained attorney ). Jones will probably hire an attorney...

Bob said...

That may be, but you don't ban people for fantasies.

Then shutting down Alex Jones is no worse than canceling your favourite sci-fi show.

Tom Hickey said...

Then shutting down Alex Jones is no worse than canceling your favourite sci-fi show.

They don't shut down shows politically but rather because they are not making money.

The problem with Alex Jones from their POV is that he is making too much money, that is, has so many eyeballs — millions of them. The problem is that he has been identified as an influencer that is threatening them.

If that were not the case, he would not even be a blip on their screen.

BTW, those millions of eyeballs are going to be outraged. This is not over yet.

Matt Franko said...

Iirc about 20 years ago you could get a near real-time video server that could serve 350,000 viewers for about $1m (hardware only)...

Bob said...

This is about money. AJ became a liability in their view and it was time to act. They had more to lose from offending advertisers and potential lawsuits than they had to gain by keeping AJ's subscribers. Jones is tiny relative to the subscriber market in YouTube.

Don't cry for Alex. He'll milk this for all its worth and laugh the rest of the way to the bank. As long as there's money to be made, he'll be popping up somewhere.

Tom Hickey said...

The way it usually works is that is someone is offending a lot people and turning them off, it's the advertisers that pull the plug. That is not suppression, but just the way that capitalism works.

This is different. Its' the providers that are involved and there is not evidence that they are being harmed economically.

Twitter has so far refused pressure to take AJ down, saying that he has not violated their guidelines.

Bob said...

YouTube advertisers have been complaining about their ads appearing alongside undesirable content. They do not want to be associated with looney/alt-right channels. YT is a stronghold for right wing ideology. Google has been working for well over a year to demonetize and isolate objectionable content. This is advertiser $ driven.

I can't speak to the situation on other platforms.

Tom Hickey said...

The problem is twofold:

1. So-called right wingers are about half the US population.

2. Both left and right wingers are lobbying to shut down the other side.

So advertisers are in a damned if you do and damned if you don't

Providers also get heat and to some degree lose the eyeballs of people on both sides and in between (neutral) that see censorship at work.

This is an unfolding dynamic and it is far from over. Add to it, the concerted effort of the bipartisan establishment and all factions of the ruling elite to regain control of the narrative.

This point is mostly libertarians of the left and right that are most aware of it, judging from feedback.

McCain is even screaming that Ron and Rand Paul are Putin bots. I kid you not.