Facebook selectively censors conservatives - WSJ

This article, if true, suggests that FB staff want to dial down virality in a content agnostic way keeping the platform fair, while the executive team want to keep virality high & selectively censor conservatives.

In a way, it is understandable because Facebook is getting tons of flack for all the wrong reasons.

Like, they’re in the good old business of making money by offering people the services they want. Which, in Facebook’s case, included tweaking their news feeds to prioritize posts that the users themselves would find most important/interesting – posts that generate the most clicks, reactions, comments, etc. The reason it backfired for Facebook is due to its nature as a social network – in a way, they are mirrors of ourselves, of our humanity.

And, with improved algorithms, Facebook simply became a better mirror. And we didn’t like what we saw in it… And so we went on to blame the mirror.

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Claire, this article is pay-walled. Can you include the text? Thanks!

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By Jeff Horwitz and Justin Scheck

After the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, far-right activists launched an online campaign to form what they called a Patriot Party as an alternative to the Republican Party.

Facebook Inc. worked to kill it, citing information it said showed the movement was being pushed by white nationalists and self-styled militias who had worked to instigate the riot, according to internal company documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Facebook engineers made it harder for organizers to share Patriot Party content, restricted the visibility of groups connected to the movement and limited “super-inviters” from recruiting new adherents, according to a March review.

“We were able to nip terms like Patriot Party in the bud before mass adoption,” said another memo.

The surgical strike was part of a strategy Facebook adopted early this year to stop what it calls “harmful communities” from gaining traction on its platform before they spread too far. Rather than just taking action against posts that violate its rules, or that originate with actors such as Russia-based trolls, Facebook began putting its thumb on the scale against communities it deemed to be a problem. In April, based on the same policy, it took aim at a German conspiracy movement called Querdenken.

Internal Facebook documents, part of an array of company communications reviewed by the Journal for its Facebook Files series, show that people inside the company have long discussed a different, more systematic approach to restrict features that disproportionately amplify incendiary and divisive posts. The company rejected those efforts because they would impede the platform’s usage and growth.

The reality is that Facebook is making decisions on an ad hoc basis, in essence playing whack-a-mole with movements it deems dangerous. By taking on the role of refereeing public discourse, Facebook has strayed from the public commitment to neutrality long espoused by Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.

And because of the enormous size of its global user base—the latest count is about 2.9 billion—its decisions about whom to silence, with no public disclosure or right of appeal, can have great impact.

A protester holds a Patriot Party flag outside the Washington state capitol on Feb. 6.

PHOTO: JOHN RUDOFF/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES

The issue sits in the middle of one of the most sensitive debates around Facebook. Activists on the left have been urging the company to more forcefully block what they see as harmful content. Other activists, largely on the right, accuse Facebook of censorship directed at conservative voices.

Matt Perault, a former director of global public policy for the company who left for an academic post at Duke University in 2019, said documents shared with him by the Journal suggest that Facebook’s commitment to being a neutral platform was slipping.

“It’s understandable that the immense pressure on tech companies would push them to develop aggressive solutions to combat misinformation,” Mr. Perault said. “But predictive, behavioral censorship seems fraught. In the absence of data suggesting otherwise, I think it’s appropriate to be skeptical that the benefits will outweigh the costs.”

Facebook spokesman Drew Pusateri acknowledged the tension in the company’s work to combat dangerous viral social movements. “To find those solutions, we’ve had to invent new technologies and balance difficult trade-offs that society has struggled with for a long time, and without needed guidance from lawmakers and regulators,” he said. “We know our solutions will never be perfect, but stories like these exist precisely because we confronted our toughest problems head-on.”

A senior security official at Facebook said the company would seek to disrupt on-platform movements only if there was compelling evidence that they were the product of tightly knit circles of users connected to real-world violence or other harm and committed to violating Facebook’s rules.

“When you start to think about authentic people organizing on the platform and contributing to harm, you have to be very careful,” the official said in an interview. “It’s very easy to get into a place where you’re picking and choosing. And that isn’t fair.”

One challenge for the company has been balancing concern about fairness with recent history, in which groups such as foreign trolls and small conspiracy movements have used Facebook to get their message out to millions of people.

The Patriot Party was a loose and fast-growing collection of people and groups that had supported Donald Trump’s false claim that last year’s presidential election was stolen from him. In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, Facebook and other social-media platforms worked to suppress many such groups, especially those associated with the “Stop the Steal” movement. In response, thousands of members rallied behind the Patriot Party name, starting Facebook groups, websites and chapters around the country.

Facebook employees watched the Patriot Party movement grow in real time. The company’s automated systems showed that conversations about the proposed pro-Trump political movement were disproportionately heavy on hate speech and incitement to violence, and the company’s researchers had spotted links between the party’s promoters and armed movements, the documents show.

“We need to organize our militia to meet up with local police and weekend warriors. Wars are won with guns…and when they silence your commander in chief you are in a war,” one member wrote on Jan. 9 on a Facebook Patriot Party page. It has since disappeared from Facebook, but was archived by an advocacy group, the Tech Transparency Project.

Still, nothing about the idea of founding a new political party itself broke Facebook’s rules.

Larry Glenn, an Ohio man who is treasurer of the American Patriot Party of the U.S., said his group was growing early this year largely because of Facebook. The platform let it spread its message and directed like-minded people to it, some of whom were in turn directed to the party’s website. “The website was growing quickly. We had a lot of followers,” Mr. Glenn said in an interview.

Then Facebook started warning the group, according to Mr. Glenn, about divisive content posted to their group. He said his colleagues worked to take down rule-violating posts, but the group was still removed from Facebook. “They pulled the rug out from under us,” he said. Now, the party is dormant, he added.

Controversial approach

The targeted approach has been controversial within Facebook. Documents show employees have long championed “content agnostic” changes to the platform, which were both technically easier and less likely to raise free-speech concerns.

One such employee has been Kang-Xing Jin, who has been friends with Mr. Zuckerberg since their first day at Harvard University and now leads the company’s health-related initiatives. In late 2019, Mr. Jin warned colleagues: If the company didn’t dial back on automated recommendations and design features that disproportionately spread false and inflammatory posts, what he called “rampant harmful virality” could undermine Facebook’s efforts to prevent the spread of toxic content before the 2020 election.

“There’s a growing set of research showing that some viral channels are used for bad more than they are used for good,” he wrote in one note. Facebook wouldn’t have to eliminate virality to deal with the problem, he said, just dial it back.

Those suggestions were met with praise from other employees, the documents show, but generally didn’t get traction with executives, leaving the ad hoc approach as the company’s main weapon. A Facebook spokesman said the company took such concerns seriously, and that it adopted a proposal Mr. Jin championed to stop recommending users join groups related to health or political topics, and had taken steps to slow the growth of newly created groups.

“Provocative content has always spread easily among people,” said Mr. Pusateri, the spokesman. “It’s an issue that cuts across technology, media, politics and all aspects of society, and when it harms people, we strive to take steps to address it on our platform through our products and policies.”

Facebook’s trillion-dollar business is built largely on its unique ability to keep users coming back, in part by maximizing the viral spread of posts that people will share and reshare. Mr. Zuckerberg has often highlighted the benefits of virality. He points to the “ice-bucket challenge,” in which thousands of users in 2014 filmed themselves pouring freezing water over their heads to raise money for charity.

Executives were slow to think about the downsides and what to do about them. “For the first 10 years of the company, everyone was just focused on the positive,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in a 2018 interview with Vox.

The 2016 U.S. election changed that. Revelations of foreign interference, bot networks and false information left the company scrambling to identify how its platform could be abused and how to prevent it.

Its researchers found that company systems automatically and disproportionately spread harmful content, the internal documents show. Whatever content was shared, Facebook would recommend and spread a more incendiary mix.

Facebook took action against a German movement called Querdenken, whose supporters are shown protesting in November.

PHOTO: OMER MESSINGER/GETTY IMAGES

Particularly troublesome were heavy users, the kind of voices that Facebook’s algorithm had long helped amplify. In at least nine experiments and analyses beginning in 2017, Facebook researchers found links popular with heavy users were disproportionately associated with false information and hyperpartisan content, the documents show.

“Pages that share misinformation tend to post at much higher rate than other pages with similar audience size,” one research note states.

Researchers also found that efforts to boost the “relevance” of Facebook’s News Feed were making the platform’s problems with bad content worse.

Internal experiments

In dozens of experiments and analyses reviewed by the Journal, Facebook researchers, data scientists and engineers found viral content favored conspiracy theories, hate speech and hoaxes. And they discovered that as the speed and length of the sharing chain grew, so did the odds that content was toxic.

To demonstrate to colleagues how Facebook’s dynamics ended up promoting a toxic brew, a researcher created a Facebook account for a fictional 41-year-old named Carol Smith, according to a document describing the experiment. The researcher made Ms. Smith a “conservative mom” from Wilmington, N.C., interested in “young children, parenting, Christianity, Civics and Community.” Her tastes leaned right but mainstream.

On the first day of the experiment, Facebook recommended humorous memes and generally conservative groups, which the fictional Ms. Smith joined. By the second day, it was recommending almost exclusively right-wing content, including some that leaned toward conspiracy theories. By the fifth day, the platform was steering Ms. Smith toward groups with overt QAnon affiliations. Selected content included false claims of “white genocide,” a conspiracy-theory “watch party” and “a video promoting a banned hate group.”

A subsequent study of the platform’s recommendations to a liberal user found a similar distorting effect.

The documents show that employees pushed for the company to confront its reliance on virality, but that its leaders resisted.

One engineer in 2019 suggested killing the reshare button, which let users quickly spread posts across Facebook. Other suggestions were more incremental: to stop promoting reshared content unless it was from a close friend of the user; to moderately slow the platform’s fastest-moving posts; or to lower the limit on daily group invitations from 2,250 a day.

Facebook data scientists intensified their scrutiny of viral problems during the 2020 election run-up, putting in place measures to analyze how fast harmful content was spreading. They found the company had inadvertently made changes that worsened viral problems.

In Facebook’s internal communications system, called Workplace, Mr. Jin, Mr. Zuckerberg’s former schoolmate, said research suggested Facebook was in the wrong part of the “virality tradeoff curve.” He championed measures to damp virality on the platform. Many colleagues agreed that one attractive part of his suggestion was that slowing down the spread of viral information would affect everyone, no matter where they are on the political spectrum. It would help the company avoid the accusations of bias that comes when it targets a specific group.

Mr. Jin ran into skepticism from John Hegeman, Facebook’s head of ads. At the time, Mr. Hegeman oversaw recommendations in Facebook’s News Feed. He agreed with Mr. Jin’s assertion that Facebook’s systems appeared to magnify its content problems. But he contended that most viral content is OK, and asked whether it would be fair, or wise, to cut back.

“If we remove a small percentage of reshares from people’s inventory,” he wrote, “they decide to come back to Facebook less.”

Facebook didn’t follow Mr. Jin’s advice. By early 2020, executives responsible for Facebook’s election preparations were growing worried, the documents indicate. Facebook lacked even “a minimal level of reactive protection” against viral falsehoods when the fourth quarter began, according to one document, but the company wasn’t prepared to change course.

The company moved from crisis to crisis in 2020. The platform boosted divisive material from QAnon conspiracy theorists, violent armed groups and the Stop the Steal movement, according to the internal company analyses.

In each case, the documents indicate, Facebook’s tools turbocharged the growth of those movements, and the company stepped in to fight them only after they led to real-world violence or other harms. That thrust it repeatedly into messy arguments about whether its controls over speech on the platform were insufficient or overbearing and biased.

The company tried slowing its platform, but only as a temporary, emergency response, part of what Facebook referred to internally as “Break the Glass” measures. It first did so when false claims of election fraud took off in the immediate wake of the U.S. presidential election, then after the Jan. 6 riot.

In most cases, the company rolled those measures back afterward, according to the documents.

Patriot problem

In the days following the Capitol riot, critics accused social-media companies of fueling the insurrection. At Facebook, systems showed that conversations about the Patriot Party movement were disproportionately heavy on hate speech and incitement to violence. Some employees, though, worried that taking aim at a grass-roots movement would mean that Facebook was tipping the political scales.

Some movements are following Facebook’s rules but also spreading content the company deems “inherently harmful and violates the spirit of our policy,” one Facebook researcher wrote. “What do we do when that authentic movement espouses hate or delegitimizes free elections? These are some of the questions we’re trying to answer.”

One Patriot Party supporter was Dick Schwetz, a Pennsylvania salesman and member of a chapter of the Proud Boys, a violent, far-right group, who said in an interview he was banned from Facebook before the presidential election. Mr. Schwetz later promoted the Patriot Party.

Dick Schwetz, a Patriot Party supporter, said Facebook’s action against the group was unfair.

PHOTO: PAUL WEAVER/SOPA IMAGES/ZUMA PRESS

Mr. Schwetz said Facebook’s action against Patriot Party groups made it more difficult for the movement to grow. He said that was unfair. “Facebook opened itself up to say it’s a public platform,” he said, but the action against the Patriot Party shows that is untrue.

from the files

This also suggests that we were able to nip terms like “Patriot Party” in the bud before mass adoption.

Source: Internal report titled, ‘Information Corridors: A Brief Introduction’

Internal reviews of Facebook’s performance around the election’s aftermath pointed to the company’s inability to keep pace with the speed of its own platform or separate out skepticism of the voting results from incitements to violence.

First reported by BuzzFeed News, one internal report acknowledged that Facebook had been unable to reliably catch harmful content that goes viral, with the broader Stop the Steal movement “seeping through the cracks” of Facebook’s enforcement systems.

The report was optimistic on one front: The company was able to suppress the growth of the Patriot Party.

In the weeks following the Capitol riot, Facebook began studying a data set of more than 700,000 Stop the Steal supporters, mapping out the way information traveled through them.

Armed with the knowledge from that and similar research, Facebook hoped it would be able to sabotage future “harmful topic communities” and redirect what it called “susceptible users” toward innocuous content.

Facebook’s strategy for dealing with movements it considers harmful are outlined in a series of internal documents from early this year, from a multidisciplinary group within the company called the Disaggregating Harmful Networks Taskforce.

Under Facebook policies, “an individual can question election results. But when it’s amplified by a movement, it can damage democracy,” said an April update from the task force. “There is harm in the way movements shift norms and an understanding of collective truth.”

Facebook scientists studied how such networks rise, and identified “information corridors”—networks of accounts, pages and groups—that create, distribute and amplify potentially harmful content. The networks span hundreds of thousands of users. Mapping them required artificial intelligence to identify users “most at risk of being pulled into the problematic community,” according to one document.

Once a dangerous information corridor is identified, the documents show, Facebook can undermine it. A movement’s leaders can be removed, or key amplifiers hit with strict limits on transmitting information.

Unless Facebook chose to disclose such coordinated action, users who weren’t themselves removed would never know of the company’s interventions.

Facebook deemed the Patriot Party experiment successful enough that the company decided to keep honing its ability to target individual groups, such as the German movement called Querdenken.

Though it shares some affinities with QAnon and anti-Semitism, Querdenken as a group isn’t chronically in violation of Facebook policies, according to the company. Officially it preaches nonviolence. But the group had been placed under surveillance by German intelligence after protests it organized repeatedly “resulted in violence and injuries to the police,” an internal presentation to Facebook’s public-policy team stated.

In April, some of the same employees who tamped down the Patriot Party got to work on an experiment to see if they could suppress Querdenken by depriving it of new recruits and minimizing connections between its existing members.

The Facebook senior security official said the company had acted against Querdenken accounts under a new “coordinated social harm” policy.

Facebook demoted Querdenken content in news feeds and prevented many users from receiving notifications about its posts.

“This could be a good case study to inform how we tackle these problems in the future,” one researcher wrote in a document describing the experiment.

That’s an interesting analogy. And there is a progressive chicken/egg conundrum…does an unpleasant person start that way and merely seek out unpleasantness to their heart’s content? Or does the self-perpetuating algorithm-based flow of unpleasant content eventual add to one’s inherent unpleasantness? I don’t know.

I would be ok if FB merely went and progressively built a better and better single mirror…but one that still allowed you to look around and beyond it. But the FB way seems to be to gradually entrap you in a house of mirrors.

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Now that’s an interesting analogy! The way I see it, very few of us are, most are simply doing their best to act like.

And we “act like” by emulating – by mirroring – those around us. We also tend to reflect others’ emotions on them (e. g. your social anxiety would make others afraid of you 'cause anxious ==> must be up to no good).

We do it without a second thought and I am guilty of it as the next guy. But I don’t think we can fix it with Facebook.

It won’t teach us to love everyone, pleasant or not – and yet that’s what it would take to break the spell, to free ourselves from the real-life mirror maze we’re living in.

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Base human instincts impel us to scout for threats and adversaries, and, because we’re social animals, find like minded allies. FB having settings of high virality feed that instinct, and doing so is profitable for FB, hence the top people at FB have a strong motivation not to dial down the virality.

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I’m not really getting this house of mirrors thing, FB isn’t sending people to sites that are an accurate reflection of their own beliefs, people are being steered to sites that feed emotional reactions, usually anger, kicking in the adrenaline rush with spin claiming great injustices that need to be fought.

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It is an interesting article, but I think that what Big Tech misses in its desire to censor and remove extremist content, it that it must play the role of neutral arbiter if it going to undertake such a role for itself, whilst simultaneously relying upon its status as a private business to protect its right to act as a publisher in this selective manner.

First, where is the desire the police the dangers of loosely affiliated networks like Antifa? They have, at various times, tried to burn the building of a Portland mayor, tried to barricade a Police Station with police officers inside and burn them to death, and amounted what effectively amounts to a nightly siege of a federal building. Many are also avowed communists- a movement which was responsible for more deaths than Hitler in the Twentieth Century.

But the other problem is one of unfairness. There is a systemic bias in almost every major American institution against conservatives. The New Zealand shooter told us what his aim was, beyond murdering Muslims, it was to discredit the American conservative and populist movements under Trump- why else would he so clearly try to discredit Candace Owens who- regardless what some might think of at least some of her ill-advised style of rhetoric- was a keen supporter of Trump. Far from being in bed with Trump, the global white nationalist movement has tried to deliberately disrupt and discredit American conservative and populist events- throwing white supremacist questions into events as varied as those with Dan Crenshaw, Ben Shapiro and Donald Trump Jr. as speakers. The groypers, yet again, are the ones trying to orchestrate these movement- they see the Right and populism as the greatest impediment to ethnonationalism.

A part of me wants to believe that it is sheer stupidity on the part of Left “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”- but I also fear something far, far worse. Because of their overweening fear of Trump, who on a good day could best be described as a kayfabe reality TV star who has a dangerous tendency to play with fire, they have decided he is so dangerous that the far greater threat should conveniently be lumped in with his followers.

Nothing could be further from the truth. He is the obstacle, not the enabler. His political ignorance may be astounding at times “stand down and stand by” being but one example- but to make sense of this one has to remember his narcissism paired with somewhat more justifiable paranoia (but which is also historically evidenced, for less substantive issues), considering that every major American institution has been against him from the very beginning, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy sure to end in disaster.

The Left is playing with fire in this regard. They see Trump as the far greater peril, because of his electability. Let’s not forget that if not for Covid-19 he would have easily won- a core constituent who turned away from him, were older voters who saw his rhetoric on Covid-19 as dangerously irresponsible (with good reason). But the greater threat all along is that disaffected conservatives would be vulnerable to white supremacists.

In 2017, the ADL estimated that the total number of organised white supremacists was around 11,000. Peak online engagement was between 35,000 to 45,000- when we look at engagement with their central hub, the Daily Stormer (although many of these may have been foreign actors using VPN’s because their of their own countries less lax attitudes to employing secret intelligence services to root out these odious scum).

The rise of these groups is not driven by Trump per se, but but by the feeling that his ‘mistreatment’ leaves them without a political voice. It’s delusional to an extent- but it does lave them open to subversion and recruitment. We have to recognise that populism was and is a legitimate political movement- in the Anglosphere at least, all but a fringe element have been fairly tame by comparison to European far-fight examples. Contrary to the views of some, the main locus was a fear of economic displacement, followed by political and cultural (rather than ethnic) displacement. Remember, Democrats used to be against mass migration, until they realised the migrants (and their children) were voting for them.

I fear the attempt to exclude Trump and American populism from the mainstream will unleash a far more dangerous force- a whole army of disaffected white people, willing to use force to achieve their political aims. In effect, through their own actions the Left will have manufactured the very monsters their lunatic fringe was convinced existed all along. Remember, the FBI has investigated the Capitol Riot and found scant evidence it was coordinated:

Bloody irresponsible and shameful, yes- an insurrection, not at all.

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Here:

Facebook didn’t just ban Leftists for Self Defense and Firearm Freedom. When announcing the new policy, the company said it took down 980 groups and 520 pages related to militias and antifascists. While the company declined to break out this data, it did tell me that antifascists made up a comparatively small silver of the numbers. (Facebook also took action against 890 Facebook groups and pages it identified as being associated with QAnon.)

Among other pages taken down were two large news sources: It’s Going Down, an anarchist platform that helps track far-right extremism, and Crimethinc, “a decentralized anarchist collective” that has published antifascist articles. Neither appears to have a history of openly advocating for violence.

Notable exceptions include the U.S. Senate, the Supreme Court, and the Electoral College, along with the vast networks of right-wing media outlets, Evangelical churches (which minister to over 50 million Americans), and extremely influential and well-funded think tanks/activist organizations like the Federalist Society, Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity (one of many Koch-funded groups), etc. So, there’s that.

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Political power is transitory- that’s the nature of the ballot box- even though it may feel painful to the losing side in the meantime. Plus, lets not forget that the Census favours liberals in the House through non-citizens, and both historically and now, this unfairly benefitted or benefits the Democrats.

As an interesting aside, although we have no written constitution, we also opted for a system which avoided the temporal nature of politics and division. The Law was recently changed, but both the older system and the new one tended or tends to work rather well:

After all, justice should not be a popularity contest- and in America we’ve seen the dangers of allowing influence over the judiciary by both politicians and the citizenry (especially through the influence of the media). From an originalist perspective, the judiciary was supposed to stand separate from the legislative and executive branches, and it was one of those rare instances where the wisdom of the Founding Fathers failed them. They just couldn’t work out a way for the Separation of Powers to be truly separate, without creating an insular class potentially susceptible to moneyed interests.

Permanent power is institutional- in education, the universities, legacy media (although this looks to be diminishing in power), Big Tech, Finance (which is in the process of switching allegiance, at least amongst the up and coming younger generation), the Arts, Publishing, the fact that 3% of all corporate budgets in America are now spent upon woke capitalism (although they don’t seem to extend their progressive bona fides to their employees) and most of all the Permanent Administrative State.

Good source on the Facebook thing- I feel somewhat more optimistic than I have done for a while.

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He wasn’t a “bomber”, I’ve seen nothing to suggest he was trying to “discredit” Owens, he probably just had a crush on her and wanted to get her to notice him in his final great act.
The rest of the quoted section of your comment reads like an elaborate conspiracy theory. Actual white supremacists are marginalized in todays society and a few try to take opportunities offered to get noticed, they’re fantasizing that many conservatives secretly agree with their views but are too scared to speak up, they’re looking for brave supporters when they ask their WS questions, hoping to spark a resurgence of support for their views.
Almost sad and desperate really.

Edit.
I don’t think Tarrant would technically qualify as a WS, his focus was on the supposed threat of Islam, WS has become a loose cover term for all nasty white people. No doubt there will soon be proof that Harvey Weinstein was a WS - if it hasn’t been discovered already.

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This is the crux. We created this concept of an egalitarian communication medium (the internet) that would allow individuals to exchange information always without interference from the dominant societal structures.

We realised early on that it became less of a vehicle for societal egalitarianism but rather a vehicle for our animal pursuits.

Old net news sex traffic dominated from way before the ‘web’ (http) was invented.

Social media is the ultimate manifestation of that egalitarian intent we oldies had.

We are all shocked and appalled. Do you know why? We, from our privileged educated position underestimated how damn uneducated humanity as a whole is. Or just stupid.

Turns out humanity deserves exactly what it gets. I do too. I was young and arrogant. I had no idea at the time what life was all about.

I am wiser now, and it’s just interesting to me. Enjoy.

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Define a ‘white supremacist’.

I have a few possible definitions:

  1. People with lighter skins are more capable than people with darker skins
  2. People with lighter skins were probably from western Europe and invented ‘science’ so they must be better
  3. I hate people who don’t look like me
  4. I hate people who don’t think like me.

I’m particularly interested (as a mixed race person) why there is no such concept as “black supremacy”. According to the above, the concept of “black supremacy” is alive and well in Africa where dark-skinned people dominate.

I know this forum is dominated by western society, where light skinned people dominate, but I think your perspective is skewed from that.

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“White supremacists”
I’d define as white people who think white people are superior to people of other races. Fairly straightforward, I don’t include people who think Islam bad.

In western countries there are black people who think that black people are superior to other races, Their views are not widely covered in the media, possibly it spoils the narrative of black people continuing to be innocent victims of racist white society.

The only country in the world where being of a particular race is an explicit requirement for citizenship is Liberia.

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But we all think our personal being or culture is superior to others, else we would not pursue it, including moslems (my brother’s family).

The concept of ‘white supremacy’ is not useful. The only aspect of ‘whiteness’ that is useful - empirically via western Europe’s de facto colonisation of most of the world’s zeitgeist right now - is the strange concept of objectivism, which is the heart of scientific method.

Subjectivism is now a key foundation of the new left. It is somewhat intellectually coherent. But it will not be useful.

At the moment human proliferation is only due to (western / white) scientific progress.

Be careful what you wish for.

Many African countries, including mine, have explicit racial legislation that disadvantages light-skinned people.

The company I work for has recently caught wind of this. My partner is a recruiter who spends her waking hours trying to work out what ‘race’ a candidate qualifies for. We have quotas. It’s a ridiculous game, and killing real business.

Look at a picture - she’s black / white / coloured / Indian.

Yes these are the legislated categories. Fuck you if you’re Chinese or inuit.

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I meant shooter! Wil edit. No, the manifesto was quite clear it wanted to discredit American Conservatives (most other Anglosphere Conservatives are liberal conservatives, in the modern sense of the word liberal- as shown by their support of universal healthcare) specifically. Unfortunately, I can no longer prove it because the document was eliminated within 24 hours. Re: Candace Owens, he was an ethnonationalist so obviously he would see her as the enemy.

Cheers, for the correction though- I really did think shooter, but typed bomber.

Re: the shooter, his guns were decorated with white supremacist symbols and he flashed a white supremacist salute in the courtroom.

On Candace Owens this is something he actually said “Each time she spoke I was stunned by her insights and her own views helped push me further and further into the belief of violence over meekness,” he continued. “Though I will have to disavow some of her beliefs, the extreme actions she calls for me are too much, even for my tastes.”

I’ll admit I don’t like her style and some of her more implausible claims- she gets angry when she should think her responses through- but at the same time, in order to believe his statement and take it at face value, one would have to be crazy or operating in bad faith or both- anyway, in order to judge for yourself- take a look at a direct source which details the groyper war on conservatives.

See what I mean. I feel dirty having even looked the site for reference purposes. They really are targeting American Conservatives, because they see them as the main opposition to white supremacist recruitment. They trawl the internet on other sites, and try to recruit disaffected young men to their vile creed. They use hidden phrases and codewords like ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ to identify each other, and have a good chuckle about spreading the trope of the ‘great displacement’.

Of all the various white supremacist varieties, they are probably the most dangerous. The are more tech savvy than most and are experienced radicalisers- think about that in terms of the online component of Islamic radicalisation. They claim to be enemies, but in many ways share similar modus operandi.

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Summary here:

True, but conservatives are likely to dominate the Supreme Court for a generation due to the timing of when justices happened to die and shrewd maneuvering on the part of McConnell – despite the fact that a GOP candidate has only won the popular vote for president once in the past eight elections. In addition, demographic trends guarantee that Republicans will have a significant advantage in the Electoral College and Senate for the foreseeable future. Both are counter-majoritarian institutions. So change may come, but it will come very slowly.

Maybe, but red states like Texas also have sizeable immigrant populations. I’d like to see an analysis which quantifies the Dems’ advantage. I doubt it counterbalances the extremely aggressive gerrymandering Republicans implemented after the 2010 census. So far it looks like the GOP will make fewer gains in the 2021-22 redistricting, but that’s largely because they’ve already maximized their advantage in states that they control. (Yes, Dems gerrymander too. However, they’ve had fewer opportunities in recent cycles and several blue-leaning states have established non-partisan redistricting panels that limit their partisan advantage.)

I think you’ve vastly overestimating the significance of this spending. In my view it’s almost entirely performative: companies are virtue signaling to attract urban customers and mollify their college-educated workforce. In reality CEOs give zero shits about trans issues, BLM, etc. – they want to reduce regulation, maximize profits, and pass legislation to block potential competitors. Despite their pseudo-populist rhetoric, Republicans remain ready and wiling to advance this agenda. Democrats are as well – I agree with you that both parties are deep in the pockets of special interests. The money continues flowing to members on both sides of the aisle, and former Republican office holders are just as likely as Dems to become well-compensated lobbyists after they retire from public service.

Most government workers are not rabid partisans: they want to do the job that their agencies have been tasked with carrying out. They objected to the Trump administration because it appointed leaders who actively worked to obstruct and undermine their agency’s mission.

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