Censorship Wars Using Jargon
Censorship Wars Using Jargon
Does anyone remember the appearance of poor little rich alien, Mark Zuckerberg in front of Congress in two marathon sessions almost a year ago? One did not envy him. It was a pile on from both the left and the right, and at one point Zuckerberg actually asked Congress to regulate him, especially when it came to politics.
The attitude he displayed when asking for regulation was almost crawling and strikingly similar to Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey’s appearance on the Joe Rogan show on March 5th of this year. For three hours, Dorsey was attacked by leftie journalist Tim Pool principally on the censoring of conservatives, compared to the almost-no-censoring of liberals.
Dorsey apologized over and over again, repeatedly throwing the accusations over to Vijaya Gadde, his global lead for Legal, Policy, Trust, and Safety (an Orwellian title if there ever was one). Gadde brought data with her, but not enough for Pool, and ended by promising over and over again to ‘reach out’ and discuss specific cases with Pool and Rogan. Perhaps, she floated, permanent suspensions could be made temporary. And so on. “Algorithmic deep learning is happening as we speak,” added Jack. Shiver.
They were, however, prepared to discuss the banning of Alex Jones, uncomfortably. Also Milo. Uncomfortably. Also the banning of the phrase ‘Learn to code’, which was leveled at the many fired journalists after the Covington Boys fiasco. But Pool asked, “Why were the Proud Boys banned and not Antifa?” They wobbled, but Pool did not give up. He roasted them. Again, a self-identified progressive took the side of banned conservatives.
Both Jack Dorsey and Vijaya Gadde apologized many times over the course of the three-hour discussion, made many statements about trying harder, claimed they worried ceaselessly about this and that. That banning people sent them to the dank underground of the human psyche and who knows what would come out of that? The jargon was killing: ‘Cost-benefit analysis’, ‘deep learning’, ‘evolution in prioritization’, ‘massive velocity’, and preventing ‘harm’. “We have to work with the technologies, tools, and conditions we have today and evolve over time where we can see examples,” said Jack. “We are working on opening up the aperture even more. We understand that binary on or off is not scalable. A permanent ban is not desirable”. “Nuances are coming”. “Sunlight is the best disinfection,” said Gadde. “We worry about driving people away from the platform and affecting their real lives.” And so endlessly on.
Wired Magazine points out that these guys have been apologizing for 14 years. Senator John Thune called Zuckerberg on it last Wednesday. “After more than a decade of promises to do better, how is today’s apology different…?”
It’s different because opinion is turning against the digital giants and, at the same time, against the left-wing which has turned social discourse into shrieking hysteria. On Friday NBC/WSJ published a poll declaring that 60% don’t trust Facebook. Big majorities say social media divides us, spreads falsehoods and unfair attacks. And 82% say social media sites waste people’s time. The negative opinions run across the political spectrum.
Lawsuits are mounting from both sides of the aisle. Devin Nunes filed a $250,000,000 suit against Twitter last month and Twitter isn’t broke but their insurance rates will skyrocket if he succeeds. The New Yorker published a take-down of the corrupt Southern Poverty Law Centre on March 21, which all the digital giants used to determine whether you were a good guy or a stinking racist. The lawsuits based on that censorship could be impressive.There were about half a dozen suits lodged against Facebook in the last week alone.
Next week, Facebook, Twitter, and Google are appearing in Congress to specifically answer alleged censorship of conservative voices. Google has been accused of skewing millions of votes for Democrats in the 2018 election
Facebook has promised a dog and pony show. “Facebook said public policy director Nil Potts will provide testimony at a Wednesday hearing titled “Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse held by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.
No doubt they will weasel out using some of the newspeak listed above. But maybe not. Something shifted around the time of the Covington Boys. You could feel it on Facebook as evidence mounted that the story being sold was not only wrong but cruel to the point of criminality. On Dave Rubin’s podcast this week, the lawyer for the Covington Boys, Robert Barnes, discussed the case and free speech. Barnes has sued CNN and the Washington Post for $275,000,000 and $250,000,000 respectively and he doesn’t plan to lose. Barnes is considered one of the leading figures in the free speech wars.
These are scary numbers for media struggling with ratings. Even one win will embolden other conservatives to stop taking the endless slander and bullying lying down. The behavior of the mainstream media (of which I was a member for 15 years) has been egregious beyond belief for the past two years. 90% of Trump stories are negative and 95% of reporters are left-wing. The security of conservatives on staff is tenuous at best. This is not open and free discourse. This is very close to Fahrenheit 451.
In Canada, it’s even worse. We have one right-of-center tabloid chain which is under ceaseless attack as racist Nazis, all the rest of our broadsheets are staffed by socialists or scaredy-cats. Our national broadcaster is bought and paid for by the current Liberal government to the tune of $1.5 billion annually, and just last month, the same Liberal government invested $600,000,000 in print media, conveniently ahead of the fall election. This, fyi, is how bad it can get.
Equally, people are becoming increasingly aware of the left’s use of lawfare against people who can’t afford to defend themselves. They perfected this in rural regions all over the world, but especially in rural America. Environmentalists backed by massive foundation money lodged suit after suit against foresters, ranchers, miners, farmers and any manufacturing concern that used raw materials drawn from natural resources. They broke county after county, township after township. Despite Trump’s deregulation and his new people in Interior and the EPA. Rural America is still operating at less than 50% of capacity. Up in Canada, we have allowed left-wing American foundations to spend $300 Million with the goal of decommissioning our oil sands. Alberta’s oil sands infrastructure is one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the most advanced environmentally-sound infrastructure project in the oil business. It is operating at half speed if that and all new routes to export have been mothballed, leaving the resource virtually landlocked. Two researchers working on their own, without pay for 15 years uncovered this scam, and still, no one will stand up and take these people down in court. Nevertheless, people are angry. We have a couple of important elections coming up and they are looking to landslide right. Even Canadians can fight back.
Are we seeing a tipping point in the culture? I am sensing the screeching and crunching of a forced widening of discourse, somewhat like the tomb door opening in a Lara Croft Tomb Raider film. In five years, if we win this battle, we will be living in a far healthier world. If not, we all better get used to muzzling our speech.