Suppressing Votes, Google Style

So, you think Google is harmless? I don’t care if you are conservative, liberal, or don’t know up from down, this is frightening stuff.

Now, remember, if Google was simply reminding people to vote, it would be mo big deal, it might even be a public service. But this is not what this is. This is a partisan get out the vote effort. That is bad enough, but that is not all.

 

Google (and most likely all the rest of these lowlifes) is also suppressing speech, but only that of right of center people as part of an intentional scheme to change votes.

We don’t usually get too excited about companies telling us what they think about the candidates, how an election can affect businesses is a valid consideration. But this is more like the phone company arbitrarily deciding that conservatives cannot dial out. See the difference? It’s a major one, and it is corrupting the process.

Here’s the whole hearing, even if you don’t watch the whole for almost two hours (which you should) at least watch Senator Cruz’s opening statement.

And do notice as the Google executive is sworn in, how the revolving door works, it’s a pretty neat treadmill if you can get on it.

 

InfoWars

So Alex Jones and InfoWars got themselves deplatformed by Facebook, YouTube, Apple, and Spotify. Probably if I didn’t know it, I’d never notice. Like everybody else, I’ve been there a couple of times and decided it was a waste of time, and brain cells. In other words, he ain’t on my playlist. But it does matter.

And that is why it matters. Infowars may be (and likely is) irrelevant.

But Elizabeth Heng is not. She is the daughter of Cambodians who managed to escape the Cambodian genocide. She is a smart, attractive, conservative candidate (endorsed by Victor Davis Hanson, no less) for the California 16th Congressional district, where last I read she was even with her opponent. Her first campaign ad was suppressed by Facebook, presumably for showing scenes of that genocide. It’s her personal story about why she loves America. Which the left has pretty much consigned to the memory hole.

There are plenty of others.

YouTube said this about Alex Jones:

 YouTube explained that, “When users violate … policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts.” Facebook’s removals came after they decided that Jones’s material was violent: “Upon review, we have taken it down for glorifying violence … and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies.”

Which leads me to conclude. Who died and left these leftist wienies in charge? Where’s the protection for say Candace Owens, who got physically and verbally abusively run out of a Philadelphia diner the other day by Antifa, who never has a problem with YouTube censorship?

Now mind, this is not a First Amendment issue. These are all private companies, and as such, are not subject to it, unlike say a small bakery who does not wish to bake a cake for a gay wedding, because of their religion.

But the thing that needs to be decided is this.

  • Are these companies common carriers, like the phone company? Then they should (must, actually) be allowed (required) to carry all messages without regard to their content. That’s mostly what the tech oligarchy has argued over the years. I’m good with that as well. Actually, I think it the best possible model.
  • Or are they publishers? In that case, they bear the responsibility, and the authority to screen what they publish. They also bear a legal (and financial) obligation to stay within the guidelines. In addition, they are subject to anti-trust laws.

The choice is binary, one can not choose one on every day except every other Tuesday after the sailboat races. One or the other.

Then there is the whole ‘hate speech’ thing. There is NO definition of what ‘hate speech’ is, it all a murky quagmire of what this person or that person is offended by, even if it’s not about him. Mind you, we’re doing a bit better than the UK here, where you can go to jail for such mindless drivel, here you can’t, yet. But you can lose your social media, which many have spent a lot of time and money building into a profit center. Gone because some leftist tech puke has offenditis.

Zuckerberg Talks, Facebook’s Problems Even Worse

From Investor’s Business Daily.

Public Relations: After days of silence in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been talking up a storm. Given the kinds of things he’s been saying, it might be better if he went back to his Silent Zuck routine.

Case in point is his interview with Vox.com, in which Zuckerberg managed to generate a new round of bad press over Facebook’s privacy scandal, talked about having some sort of Supreme Court decide what constitutes “acceptable speech” and how Facebook (FB) hampers independent media outlets. Oh, and he apparently thinks patriotism is arcane.

The latest privacy flap came when Zuckerberg suggested that Facebook scans private messages sent over its Messenger app and blocks those it deems inappropriate.

During the interview, he talked about blocking “sensational messages” that Facebook believed were meant to incite harm. “Our systems detect that that’s going on,” he said. “We stop those messages from going through.”

On Wednesday, Facebook officials confirmed the practice to Bloomberg.

The public response has not been favorable. One Twitter user commented “Facebook is the new NSA.” Another tweeted “Facebook: The world’s youngest surveillance state.”

Completely unacceptable, in my opinion. Either Facebook is a common carrier of information, rather like the phone company, or it is not. If it is not, then it is a private message service, and needs to be transparent in its advertising and public relations that it only carries messages for its favored people and groups, even if that undercuts its model of making (lots of) money by selling its clients information to all and sundry.

“You can imagine,” he said, “some sort of structure, almost like a Supreme Court, that is made up of independent folks who don’t work for Facebook, who ultimately make the final judgment call on what should be acceptable speech in a community that reflects the social norms and values of people all around the world.”

It’s a good thing Zuckerberg wasn’t around when the founders were drafting the First Amendment.

But what exactly does he think would constitute global “social norms and values” in a world that includes countries where gays are executed, infidels killed, political opponents jailed, and free press suppressed?

Zuckerberg also talked about how his company “worked directly” with the German government to monitor content before elections there, saying that “if you work with the government in a country, they’ll actually have a fuller understanding of what is going on.”

That prompted the Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman to write: “The idea of Facebook working with governments around the world to filter news is more frightening than almost any commercial use of user data one can imagine.”

We could not agree more.

I couldn’t agree more either. Worst of all worlds really, being exploited for your personal data, by who knows whom, not to mention various repressive governments, and yes, I include Germany in that category. I wonder when we will start seeing Europeans going to jail for Facebook posts? Shan’t be long, I imagine, the British police are already monitoring Twitter.

At another point, Zuckerberg appears to dismiss pride of country as old fashioned.

“One of the things I found heartening is if you ask millennials what they identify the most with, it’s not their nationality,” he said. “The plurality identifies as a citizen of the world. And that, I think, reflects the values of where we need to go.”

Well, what really is there to add to that. He has his opinion. I and millions of others have a directly opposite opinion, mostly because we are intelligent enough to recognize that some countries are better than others, and some are clearly evil.

He really ought to stop digging, the hole is plenty deep to bury him in, but he won’t, not least because he thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room well world maybe. Watching people blow things up is strangely fascinating though, isn’t it?

Handing Over the Keys to the Internet

pic_giant_031814_SM_Handing-Over-the-Keys-to-the-InternetWe talked about this before here, but I want to stress that this is very important, even though it sounds very mundane. Why does America need to retain control of the very skeleton of the internet? Because who amongst the rest of the world do you really think is trustworthy. I say that while we are far from perfect, we are better than anybody else by far.

Here’s an article from National Review that covers the basics.

If at least for the sake of variation, those charged with riffling through last Friday’s news dumps must have been relieved to find neither new Obamacare delays nor abandoned red lines hiding among the detritus. And yet, while the less technically proficient could have been forgiven for having missed it, an announcement just as vexing was waiting in lieu: that America was planning to give up control of the Internet.

At this point in the proceedings, one is customarily chastised by pedants who note impatiently that the United States does not really “control” much of the Internet at all — at least not literally. The Internet, our dogmatists record, is a wildly decentralized network of computers, servers, and services that are run by non-governmental agencies, individual citizens, and private businesses, and fleshed out by the enthusiasm and the creativity of civil society. They are right, of course. In its structure, the Web is a libertarian’s dream — an explosion of spontaneous order and of mutual cooperation that would have made Hayek blush. It don’t need no stinkin’ Man.

Continue reading Handing Over the Keys to the Internet | National Review Online.

Great Satan’s Girlfriend reminds us that groups like Tibetan Human rights advocates and Ukrainian Independence organizations could easily be banned.

I note that Turkey is celebrating the eighth anniversary of Twitter®; by shutting it off.

And in the ‘Who you going to trust’ file:

Jonathon Turley reminds us that censorship is growing all across the world, even in the United Kingdom

I have repeatedly written on the alarming erosion of free speech in the United Kingdom, particularly as a result of hate speech and anti-discriminatory regulations (here and here and here). Now, Security and Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire, has stated that the government is not content with censoring language viewed as terroristic but wants to remove “”unsavoury” content.” He acknowledges that such content is not illegal but express a desire to sanitize the web of such speech. Brokenshire is an example of the insatiable appetite for censorship that develops once you allow the government to control speech. You can almost hear the “harrumph” and “here, here” to get the diminishing measure of free speech in England….

Continue reading his article as well. But what is my take away here? First is the definition game. Define ‘unsavory’ Do you think your definition is the same as mine? I’ll bet it isn’t. This is the First Amendment on steroids, and you know what? The First Amendment only exists in the United States. And always remember, “My hate speech may well be your ground truth, and vice versa.” We all have a right to try to sell our viewpoint, no matter how bizarre it is. We do a disservice to everyone when we censor their speech, even if a large percentage really do believe the sun orbits around the earth.

I know there are a lot of shiny squirrels out there, missing airliners and Crimea being taken over by Russia, and all, all things can be solved in time. If and only if we are free to explore the possibilities.

Any other way is Doubleplusungood.

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