An unelected council of a few dozen Facebook employees decides what more than 2 billion people are allowed to share. Facebook “has quietly become, with a speed that makes even employees uncomfortable, what is arguably one of the world’s most powerful political regulators.” Max Fisher investigates in depth at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/27/world/facebook-moderators.html
The word in question starts with F and rhymes with “fire truck.”
By the way, you may well ask why I chose not to use the actual word in the headline, article, or above description. It’s because I thought it would fucking well be better without it.
You start out by banning porn, but you end up banning LGBTQ rights discussions and discussions of lactation because that’s the way this kind of thing tends to work.
John Hennessy, the chair of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., was recently asked whether Google providing a search engine in China that censored results would provide a net benefit for Chinese users. “I don’t know the answer to that. I think it’s — I think it’s a legitimate question,” he responded. “Anybody who does business in China compromises some of their core values. Every single company, because the laws in China are quite a bit different than they are in our own country.”
Hennessy’s remarks were in relation to Project Dragonfly, a once-secret project within Google to build a version of its search engine that meets the demands of the ruling Chinese Communist Party — namely, that Google proactively censor “sensitive” speech and comply with China’s data provenance and surveillance laws.
I worked as a research scientist at Google when Dragonfly was revealed — including to most Google employees — and resigned in protest after a month of internally fighting for clarification. That’s part of why I object to this constant drift of conversations about Dragonfly from concrete, indefensible details toward the vague language of difficult compromise.
Reynolds reacted to reports that protesters in Charlotte are swarming the highways and surrounding cars. “Run them down,” Reynolds said. That was the tweet that got him suspended.
But riots aren’t peaceful protest. And blocking interstates and trapping people in their cars is not peaceful protest — it’s threatening and dangerous, especially against the background of people rioting, cops being injured, civilian-on-civilian shootings, and so on. I wouldn’t actually aim for people blocking the road, but I wouldn’t stop because I’d fear for my safety, as I think any reasonable person would.
Twitter is quicker on the trigger to censor people on one side of the political chasm than the other, Reynolds says.
Later, he responds to a suggestion that “Keep driving” would have been a better tweet: “It would have been, and in only two words instead of three. But I’ve had over 580,000 tweets, and they can’t all be perfect.”
OPENED UP TWITTER TO SEE THIS: – Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit
Reuters isn’t entirely accurate here. I posted the photo to my account twice Friday; Facebook censored it once and gave me a slap on the wrist. In my case, Facebook still has not reversed itself.
I actually posted it twice, in connection with two separate articles. The first article is still up, and it’s also here on the public web.
However, Facebook deleted a second instance, which is here on the public web.
Facebook also issued me a warning. I think it suspended my account briefly — not sure; the notices went by quickly.
And Facebook required me to go through my photo album to be sure I don’t have any more nude photos in there. I did not look at each one, just thought for a second about whether I remembered posting any nude photos, decided I hadn’t, and clicked OK.
This is a big reason why I consider mitchwagner.com my home on the web even though far more people interact with me on social media. Social media is fickle.
Facebook is partly right: That is a disturbing photo.
But what’s disturbing about it isn’t the nudity.
What’s disturbing is that it’s a photo of a child who’s been severely burned in a napalm attack. A napalm attack by an American ally in an American war.
And it’s disturbing that Facebook thinks it’s the nudity that’s the problem.
Facebook Censors Iconic Vietnam War Photo Over Nudity – Mark Scott, The New York Times
Iran cracks down on women posting with their hair showing. India bans face-morphing photo software. Russia stifles anti-Putin parody tweets. These are clashes between American and native cultures, says Buzzfeed News editor Katie Notopoulos.
Not so, says Mike Elgan. It’s not Americans these doing the forbidden sharing. It’s Iranians, Indians, and Russians. The tools were made in America, but that’s irrelevant. These are clashes between tyrranical governments and their own people.
Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall on the news that billionaire Peter Thiel is backing Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker:
“You may not like Gawker. They’ve published stories I would have been ashamed to publish. But if the extremely wealthy, under a veil secrecy, can destroy publications they want to silence, that’s a far bigger threat to freedom of the press than most of the things we commonly worry about on that front. If this is the new weapon in the arsenal of the super rich, few publications will have the resources or the death wish to scrutinize them closely.”
A Huge, Huge Deal– Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo
Apple removed third-party Reddit clients from the App Store because people can use them to access porn. [Graham Spencer – MacStories]
Ridiculous. You can do the same with any web browser. Is Apple going to remove Chrome from the App Store next? How about its own Safari browser? How about Apple Maps, which you can use to guide you to an adult bookstore?
Also, Apple continues to permit the Reddit official app in the App Store, which looks bad for Reddit, although it seems likely that Reddit had nothing to do with these shenanigans.
Censorship, pure and simple. It has no place in a free, open society. If individual ISPs want to use filters, that’s fine, but it absolutely should not be required by government.
The government officials who impose this ban are either scoundrels looking for an excuse to block any speech they don’t like, or fools who don’t understand the value of free speech.
With the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests coming June 4, the Chinese government is tightening a fist of censorship.
BEIJING — Even by the standards of the clampdowns that routinely mark politically sensitive dates in China, the approach this year to June 4, the anniversary of the day in 1989 when soldiers brutally ended student-led protests in Tiananmen Square, has been particularly severe.
The days preceding June 4 often mean house arrest for vocal government critics and an Internet scrubbed free of even coded references to the crackdown that dare not speak its name.
But this year, the 25th anniversary of the bloodshed that convulsed the nation and nearly sundered the Communist Party, censors and security forces have waged an aggressive “stability maintenance” campaign that has sent a chill through the ranks of Chinese legal advocates, liberal intellectuals and foreign journalists.
In recent weeks, a dozen prominent scholars and activists have been arrested or criminally detained, and even seemingly harmless gestures, like posting a selfie in Tiananmen Square while flashing a V for victory, have led to detentions.
The police have been warning Western journalists to stay away from the square in the coming days or “face grave consequences,” according to several reporters summoned to meetings with stone-faced public security officials.
We've always been here: A gallery of heroes of color from 1949s comics: Pre-Code comics featured badass women, as well as African-Americans, Native Americans and other minorities as superheroes.
The Comics Magazine Association of America (CMAA) was formed in September 1954 in response to a widespread public concern over gory and horrific comic-book content. It named New York Magistrate Charles F. Murphy, 44, a specialist in juvenile delinquency, to head the organization and devise a self-policing “code of ethics and standards” for the industry.He established the Comics Code Authority (CCA), basing its code upon the largely unenforced code drafted by the Association of Comics Magazine Publishers in 1948, which in turn had been modeled loosely after the 1930 Hollywood Production Code. This code banned graphic depictions of violence and gore in crime and horror comics, as well as the sexual innuendo of what aficionados refer to as “good girl art”. Fredric Wertham's 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent had rallied opposition to this type of material in comics, arguing that it was harmful to the children who made up a large segment of the comic book audience. The Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency hearings in 1954, which focused specifically on comic books, had many publishers concerned about government regulation, prompting them to form a self-regulatory body instead.
Before the CCA was adopted, some cities already had organized public burnings and bans on comic books. The city councils of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Houston, Texas, passed ordinances banning crime and horror comics, although an attempt by Los Angeles County, California was deemed unconstitutional by the courts.
Thanks, John Barnes!