Facebook selectively censors conservatives - WSJ

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.

4 Likes

“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.

1 Like

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.

5 Likes

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.

3 Likes

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.

2 Likes

This has been mentioned in the past, by folks like Halifax (where has that guy gone?) as well. Are they publishers, or are they platforms? Cuz to take the role of “arbiter” already means you have made a decision on the first question. And the basis of any supposed neutrality will always be up for debate, unless there is a codified set of rules upon which those arbitrations are based, applied equally in every instance. And as we see when it comes to the law and judges, even that is brought into question at times with accusations of “activism”.

1 Like

I have seen that figure, 3%, for corporate America. I don’t know its basis, and I wouldn’t trust any attempt at definition to be consistent from one company to another. But I do work in US higher education, and have watched the steady growth in the number of postions under a “Vice President for Community Relations” to VP for Diversity Equity and Inclusion, with some staff directly undern that portfolio,and a team within every school or college devoted too DIE, and all staff being required to take annual training in harrassment and DIE

Well, sure, it’s all performative. There’s not a lot of real, well-defined goal in it. But it’s 3% and then some, into the performance budget, doing very little toward the traditional objectives of the university. Until the university takes into its mission the restructuring of society. A lot of visible budget, and hours spent on the job by many people, are effectively diverted toward thtat cause.

2 Likes

I know Halifax, and I would be happy to ask him a question if you can frame it. I think I agree with your line.

1 Like

They could still be platforms if they only censored illegal content. However, any further censorship is a form of editorialising through content, and as such should mean they then become publishers. One of interesting rules of household maintenance- if you ever clear your paths or driveways, or sweep the stones which accrue on the public road from the bottom of your drive, you then become legally liable if you fail to maintain these tasks forevermore. It’s the same legal principle.

1 Like

I think the issue here is one of values, and whether social media should have “global” values (whatever those are), or the dominant values of the host country.

Ideas which are in considered relatively innocuous in one country would be considered radical and inciting violence in another. And vice versa. Let us imagine for example a young woman posting that she could not decide between a humanities and science degree; in Australia this would not occasion any indignation whatsoever, but if she were posting from some northern part of Pakistan, this would be considered provocative. Likewise Falun Gong, and so on.

And so, if social media is to censor what is inoffensive in one country, but provocative in another, it will be considered to impinge on free speech by one country, and keeping things peaceful in the other. And if it decides not to censor, it will be promoting free speech in one, and inciting insurrection in another.

Thus, a global social media can only really work if there are global values. And of course we do not have global values. If each country or region is to retain its own values, it must have its own social media. If social media is global, then there will inevitably be censorship and clashes online, which can only end in one region’s values becoming global, or in violent insurrections in various regions.

Facebook and other Western social media in the 2000-2015 period promoted global values, thus their leading place in the Arab Spring and so on. Which is to say, people like Mark Zuckerberg had a role in causing conflicts which have killed and displaced millions of people. But when from 2016 onwards social media started to have a role in creating conflicts in the home countries of the controllers of the social media, all of a sudden they became concerned, and not so fond of globalising values of free speech &c.

9 Likes

Claire was kind enough to share my comments on twitter, and I was amused by the responses: “It’s not true that people find it hard to speak to people outside their own culture, I’m a Westerner and I speak to Westernised people from other countries all the time.”

I also liked the guy who parodied the bolded by substituting “family.” Apparently he has never had a regular family dinner - the institution responsible (in part) for retaining that particular family’s values.

And this really is what cultural values are: the things which are so obvious everyone takes them for granted, and assumes the whole world is either exactly like them, or else evil criminals.

And this is why Americans have no problem with drone strikes on family compounds of Taliban, and why Taliban have no problem publicly executing Westernised Afghans. In both cases, people with very different cultural values are considered (by the ones inflicting violence) evil criminals whom nobody will miss.

Social media censors people in order to maintain that society’s values; the censorship will thus always be selective. Afghanistan removes all access to social media because they know that people will get access to foreign cultures with different values. But try expressing Taliban cultural values on Western social media and see how you go.

In each case, the censorship will be of ideas which they fear people may actually take on. If you go onto Western social media and say that your country should become an absolute monarchy, people will think you’re odd but you won’t be censored, because nobody is worried that there will suddenly be a monarchist insurgency pop up out of nowhere. But if you go on Western social media and say that homosexuality should be banned, you will soon be censored, because this is unlikely, but having been reality in the memory of people still alive, it does fall in the realms of possibility.

We should not be surprised that social media has censorship. It was always going to be constrained by its host culture. We should be surprised that we had a decade or two relatively free of censorship.

5 Likes

Very compelling argument that social media should be considered platforms. In that case, responsibility will solely rest with individuals as to everything they post. I think that is a perfectly reasonable solution. I am strongly in favor of more personal responsibility.

From a practical standpoint, is there a way to do this without going to realname?

The other solution might be extremely rigorous geofencing, where every country maintains their own Great Firewall a la CCP China.

3 Likes

Well, this is a big topic. John Robb has talked about how there should be digital ownership. Minds.com is based on the idea that - well, what’s the appeal of Lamebook? It’s the content created by the members. So why aren’t the members paid to be there? Would paying people to be there make their content better? How about if they were paid based on the quality of their content?

Look at something like reddit with its reputation system - you could have it that nobody is ever banned, but if you have negative reputation, you have to pay to be there, and if it’s positive, you’re paid to be there. You can run around calling people rude names if you want to - but you will literally be paying for it.

You could post anonymously, but you wouldn’t get paid for positive content, and the moment your reputation became negative, you’d have to either hook up an account and start paying, thus losing anonymity - or you’d be silent. So if all you did was create new accounts every day and call people rude names - well, you’d get 1-2 posts and then be silenced and have to make a new account. Most people would get bored and wander off.

With this sort of approach, you wouldn’t necessarily require geofencing. You could just have Social Media 001, Social Media 002, and so on. Over time they’d evolve to become associated with a particular culture. “Oh yeah, SM057 is the PRC one, don’t go to SM058 though that’s the DPRK one, those guys are crazy.”

Of course, this is an approach which would empower people, and leave them beyond the control of large organisations, whether corporate or government. And so it’ll never happen.

2 Likes

Funny response

1 Like

That’s an odd comment. Surely allowing many groups to exist independently is the opposite of tyranny? And imposing some set of values on several different groups would require tyranny?

I think what we’re seeing here is the unravelling of the whole Fukuyama thing - the 1990s, it’s the end of history, liberal democracy is triumphant, we will all share the same globalised values and only really differ in restaurant menus - all that. And the thought was that the internet would accelerate this and make it inevitable. The global village!

Of course, when they imagined a single homogenised world culture, it was… well, ours. They didn’t imagine a global village run with the values and lifestyles of Burma, Burundi or Bhutan - it was basically the US - where most of the big tech companies were headquartered. Just a coincidence, of course.

Then if you want to censor people to follow US values, well then at some point someone says, “which US values?” Imagine the internet starting in 1981 with the Reaganite Moral Majority, rather than in 2001 (more or less) with the Californian and New York wokesters. A 1981 FB would have banned you for suggesting men could become women if they wanted to, a 2021 FB bans you for saying they can’t.

Either way someone’s policing what you say. And they have to, because like the TV and radio it replaced, it exists from advertising, and nobody’s regularly watching things which offend and annoy them. The social media giant can follow public opinion, change public opinion, or it can simply die from lack of interest and general disgust and contempt.

They’d rather not die and changing public opinion is hard and might fail, it’s much easier just to follow. History never ended, we just stopped watching, and while we weren’t looking it changed a lot.

The end of Fukuyama.

3 Likes

The Times (UK) reports,

As John Robb comments,

The people who control the rapidly expanding list of what is considered “harmful effects” and “psychological harm” will control public speech.

It won’t be clear. It won’t be fair. It won’t make sense. It will be used by authoritarians.

7 Likes

Very interesting stuff Kyle. Thanks.

Yes, I saw that. Funny that if we take the activists word for it, and classify harm as being in the eye of the beholder (or ears)- words are violence and silence is violence- then we would have to define psychological harm as being the exact opposite of what the best psychology and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy tells us is in the best interests of the psychologically vulnerable…

4 Likes