27 votes

I joined Parler, the right-wing echo chamber’s new favorite alt-Twitter

28 comments

  1. [22]
    nothis
    Link
    Social networks like this seem like an inevitable consequence of Twitter enforcing some standards. Long-term (for internet timescales), is this a good thing, though? Is it better for all the...

    Social networks like this seem like an inevitable consequence of Twitter enforcing some standards. Long-term (for internet timescales), is this a good thing, though? Is it better for all the alt-righters to congregate on some smaller site so they can't spread their bullshit as quickly? Is it just accelerating their radicalism? I don't really know what to make of it.

    17 votes
    1. [13]
      asteroid
      Link Parent
      I don't know what to make of it either. People who share interests have always found a way to find one another online, starting with BBSes. In some cases that's a good and healthy thing; I recall...

      I don't know what to make of it either.

      People who share interests have always found a way to find one another online, starting with BBSes. In some cases that's a good and healthy thing; I recall when CompuServe created a private section of the SEXSIG forum for LGBTQ people who wanted to stay in the closet, and there was a CANCERFORUM for people who needed one another's support. And there's value in finding Like Minds for mundane interests such as model railroads... hey, I'm not the only person who cares about this!

      But the people whom we comfortably label "bad guys" want to talk too -- and they're going to find a way to connect. Are we better off when we push them into the back rooms of the Internet?

      I honestly don't know.

      11 votes
      1. [8]
        MimicSquid
        Link Parent
        Yes, yes we are. The biggest concern is not when they talk amongst themselves, but when they are able to display their beliefs more broadly and draw new people in. Representation matters, for good...

        Yes, yes we are. The biggest concern is not when they talk amongst themselves, but when they are able to display their beliefs more broadly and draw new people in. Representation matters, for good and for ill, and we want hatred to have as little representation in polite society as we can manage.

        19 votes
        1. [7]
          ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          Let's assume that's solved. What about the radicalized ones? Are we leaving them to die in the confines of their own beliefs? 'cause from what I'm seeing, they ain't rushing off their feet to join...

          Let's assume that's solved.

          What about the radicalized ones? Are we leaving them to die in the confines of their own beliefs?

          'cause from what I'm seeing, they ain't rushing off their feet to join the Other Side™.

          2 votes
          1. [4]
            Akir
            Link Parent
            That's a very emotionally loaded way to ask that question. These people aren't dying of stupid opinions. And it's not some affliction they can be cured of. The good thing about ostracizing people...

            What about the radicalized ones? Are we leaving them to die in the confines of their own beliefs?

            That's a very emotionally loaded way to ask that question.

            These people aren't dying of stupid opinions. And it's not some affliction they can be cured of. The good thing about ostracizing people with bad ideas is that it's not a permanent brand; literally all they have to do to come back is to not be an asshole. It's not exactly a high bar - they don't even have to renounce their ideas, they just have to behave.

            25 votes
            1. [3]
              ThatFanficGuy
              Link Parent
              As someone to have been permanently branded as the weirdo in any group I join, I wonder how far this sort of outlook goes for those who do feel permanently branded by the society. When all you...

              As someone to have been permanently branded as the weirdo in any group I join, I wonder how far this sort of outlook goes for those who do feel permanently branded by the society. When all you have is an echo chamber and the rest of humanity is either a handful of allies or automatic enemies... how far would you be willing to go to join mainstream society?

              They're not dying of political opinions, but they may well be dying with them. Radicalization is a disorder that even death may not always fix. In a society where it's generally accepted that the elderly should be supported with unconditional pensions, where criminals ought to be persecuted in accordance with the law, where education is accepted as a mark of a regular citizen... I'm just wondering if there may well be something to help those who can't help themselves in this regard.

              It's easy to not be an asshole when that's the default social conditioning you grew up with, sure. It's also easy not to be an asshole if your environment doesn't consistently push you to be one. These brave defaults crumble for those who have been passively put onto the fringe without a clue in the world what could be possibly be wrong.

              Racism and xenophobia may not be natural human instincts, but they sure as shit cloud your mind when they do come by. You might as well consider them mental disorders of social variety, 'cause it's not like it's a conscious choice between hating the blacks or the Jews or the Mexicans and not hating them once you've been persuaded that they are what's wrong with your life.

              We put mentally-ill people in psych wards because they can't help themselves. (That's the idea, anyway.) We force children to partake in education because they can't help themselves yet. We create support groups for depression, anxiety, overeating, body dysmorphia because these people can help themselves but it can be very hard on its own.

              I'm just wondering if these's something we, as a society, can do for someone who can't help but feel overwhelmed with the sense that their world is threated by this or that group of people.

              Because why the fuck would you think it's not about their ideas? They're assholes this much because the ideas they hold afford it.

              7 votes
              1. [2]
                Akir
                Link Parent
                I get where you are coming from. Really, I do. When it comes to politics and governance, I often like to picture my ideal world and figure out what steps we would need to take in order to make it...

                I get where you are coming from. Really, I do.

                When it comes to politics and governance, I often like to picture my ideal world and figure out what steps we would need to take in order to make it a reality. But the truth is those steps are always going to be impossible because of dissenters. So in reality there is no way to achieve a utopia. One person's heaven is another's hell. And when I realized that I felt absolutely terrible because I also wanted to do something to make these people happy, but changing their minds would take Herculean effort.

                The fact at the heart of the matter is that these xenophobic and racist bigots are far too powerful politically to actually do something for them. I mean, what are we going to do, drop them in a group home until they say "black lives matter?" I don't think you'll find any solutions that would gain any traction even among leftists.

                11 votes
                1. ThatFanficGuy
                  Link Parent
                  I'm not even talking about changing anyone's mind. That shit is a no-go automatically. You cannot change anyone's mind: you can only let them do so, and you can maybe ensure that the environment...

                  I'm not even talking about changing anyone's mind. That shit is a no-go automatically. You cannot change anyone's mind: you can only let them do so, and you can maybe ensure that the environment they find themselves in points at the right direction. Away from xenophobia, towards... well, at least towards "You may be Mexican, but you're doing good work, so, uh... thanks, I guess". That would be pretty good for a start, no?

                  Things change. That's in the nature of things. Social change at scale seems impossible because people rarely try. Seems to me like PSAs are the closest we've gotten so far. Maybe there isn't enough theory out there. (I say that as I recall seeing the sorts of profiling those grey-area analytical companies would provide.)

                  Society is a system. Inputs invariably produce outputs. As such, you can tweak things – small things, very small things – until you find yourself in a society that no longer cares about one group over another.

                  4 votes
          2. skybrian
            Link Parent
            I think fixing people is difficult and it's not realistic to expect to be able to do that with strangers on the Internet. It's up to people they know in real life, if it happens at all.

            I think fixing people is difficult and it's not realistic to expect to be able to do that with strangers on the Internet. It's up to people they know in real life, if it happens at all.

            7 votes
          3. MimicSquid
            Link Parent
            There's only so much you can do to change a man's mind once it's made up. It's not like keeping them on Twitter in the name of tolerance actually makes it more likely for them to change.

            There's only so much you can do to change a man's mind once it's made up. It's not like keeping them on Twitter in the name of tolerance actually makes it more likely for them to change.

            7 votes
      2. [4]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        Just curious, are you actually interested in model railroads? :)

        Just curious, are you actually interested in model railroads? :)

        1 vote
        1. [3]
          asteroid
          Link Parent
          My husband used to be. For a while we were active in a local model railroad club, and he was editor of its newsletter. When that group went into a political freefall (as so many volunteer groups)...

          My husband used to be. For a while we were active in a local model railroad club, and he was editor of its newsletter. When that group went into a political freefall (as so many volunteer groups) we walked away. Unfortunately that means he no longer has a place to run his trains, so the equipment is now in a closet.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            skybrian
            Link Parent
            As kids, my brother and I had some HO-scale trains and a table we sometimes used, though more often for Lego. I had a book called "Six HO railroads you can build" that I read many times but never...

            As kids, my brother and I had some HO-scale trains and a table we sometimes used, though more often for Lego. I had a book called "Six HO railroads you can build" that I read many times but never actually did anything.

            But I did build quite a long mine cart line in Minecraft, with a trestle and three stations. :-)

            2 votes
            1. asteroid
              Link Parent
              When it's safe to go out again... look for a model railroad community in your area. If nothing else it gives you a way to run the trains without having to build everything from scratch!

              When it's safe to go out again... look for a model railroad community in your area. If nothing else it gives you a way to run the trains without having to build everything from scratch!

              2 votes
    2. [8]
      Silbern
      Link Parent
      I don't think it really changes much tbh. The thing is that while these far right nuts may share the same website as the general public, they don't really interact with them as is. Look at Reddit...

      I don't think it really changes much tbh. The thing is that while these far right nuts may share the same website as the general public, they don't really interact with them as is. Look at Reddit and /r/The_Donald for instance - back when it was an active subreddit, there were tons of users that visited that sub, and only that sub (or subs very closely related). On Twitter, they only follow other far right users, and generally only participate in discussions with them too.

      If they already talk in mostly their own circle, then them moving off to another site isn't going to make them more or less prone to radicalization, than they would be if they just stayed on Twitter in their community to begin with. It does limit their exposure to other people who might not be radicalized though, and at the bare minimum, contains their vitriol, so I think it's a net positive, if a relatively small one.

      7 votes
      1. [7]
        rabbit
        Link Parent
        I thought /r/the_donald wasn't exactly an isolated subreddit,. If I recall correctly, they did brigade other subreddits in general and with some frequency. Here's a thread from /r/boston talking...

        I thought /r/the_donald wasn't exactly an isolated subreddit,. If I recall correctly, they did brigade other subreddits in general and with some frequency. Here's a thread from /r/boston talking about it. In that thread, it's alluded to the fact, they were likely not the only city based subreddit to be affected by /r/the_donald brigades.

        That being said, my suspicion is far right users are using popular sites like reddit to recruit and radicalize new members. Does anyone remember /r/frenworld? For those that don't, it was a subreddit devoted to memes in baby-talk that had a strong subtext of racism and violence. I'd bet some real money there was a lot of crossover between /r/frenworld and /r/the_donald. When /r/frenworld was finally banned, the far right suddenly started crying about "harmless memes being banned" and other overreactions from the left.

        If I were a betting man, I would wager that these radicalization efforts haven't really stopped on popular sites like Reddit. They're just better at hiding it in plain sight.

        17 votes
        1. [2]
          cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          They haven't... just visit /r/Conservative and /r/ConservativeMemes if you want to see what the alt-right is still up to on reddit these days. Gradual radicalization is the name of the game for...

          If I were a betting man, I would wager that these radicalization efforts haven't really stopped on popular sites like Reddit.

          They haven't... just visit /r/Conservative and /r/ConservativeMemes if you want to see what the alt-right is still up to on reddit these days. Gradual radicalization is the name of the game for them, and one of the primary ways they do that is by submitting countless articles and videos of black people committing crimes (no matter how old or out of context), in an attempt to increase the perception that the majority of black people are "thugs" who commit crimes. They even manage to sneak a significant amount of said submissions into the top of more mainsteam subreddits (esp news and cringe based ones) with some regularity. And the comment sections on those submissions are also typically a toxic mess full of coded language, breadcrumbs to hate, cherrypicked statistics, dog whistles, scapegoating, and every other deceptive logic and language tactics you can think of to reinforce their message. Reddit is unfortunately still thoroughly infected by these assholes, they have just gotten slightly more sly about how they go about their business.

          14 votes
          1. kari
            Link Parent
            I accidentally stumbled upon an /r/Conservative post the other day where people were saying that RBG shouldn’t have been allowed to be on the Supreme Court because she used to be an ACLU lawyer...

            I accidentally stumbled upon an /r/Conservative post the other day where people were saying that RBG shouldn’t have been allowed to be on the Supreme Court because she used to be an ACLU lawyer...

            4 votes
        2. SantalBlush
          Link Parent
          I don't know if threads like this one quite qualify as radicalization efforts, but some kind of organized racist activity does seem to be hiding in plain sight. r/JusticeServed appears to be...

          I don't know if threads like this one quite qualify as radicalization efforts, but some kind of organized racist activity does seem to be hiding in plain sight. r/JusticeServed appears to be dealing with its own wave of racist material right now as well.

          7 votes
        3. [2]
          Cycloneblaze
          Link Parent
          Have you seen r/PoliticalCompassMemes on the front page? Explicitly giving libertarian and conservative ideologies a place to spread memes by making it so that they must be a part of the...

          If I were a betting man, I would wager that these radicalization efforts haven't really stopped on popular sites like Reddit. They're just better at hiding it in plain sight.

          Have you seen r/PoliticalCompassMemes on the front page? Explicitly giving libertarian and conservative ideologies a place to spread memes by making it so that they must be a part of the conversation from the premise of the subreddit is pretty smart, in an unpleasant way.

          7 votes
          1. Kuromantis
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I frequent r/politicalcompassmemes so I very much see (That one is solely the comment section) it there. There is also an anti-AHS circlerjerk on the sub. Thankfully there is an alternative for...

            I frequent r/politicalcompassmemes so I very much see (That one is solely the comment section) it there.

            There is also an anti-AHS circlerjerk on the sub. Thankfully there is an alternative for when things get toxic and there is some criticism.

            1 vote
        4. Silbern
          Link Parent
          Fair enough I guess. What I meant, is that all that pressure is outwards focused; while they may troll and brigade other subreddits, they're not engaging with their users in any meaningful...

          I thought /r/the_donald wasn't exactly an isolated subreddit,. If I recall correctly, they did brigade other subreddits in general and with some frequency. Here's a thread from /r/boston talking about it. In that thread, it's alluded to the fact, they were likely not the only city based subreddit to be affected by /r/the_donald brigades.

          Fair enough I guess. What I meant, is that all that pressure is outwards focused; while they may troll and brigade other subreddits, they're not engaging with their users in any meaningful capacity. If you took away the other subreddits, and /r/the_donald were the only sub on that site, nothing would really change other than that they wouldn't have other users to troll. They're not going to become any less extreme than they already are, since they weren't moderating themselves to begin with.

          If I were a betting man, I would wager that these radicalization efforts haven't really stopped on popular sites like Reddit. They're just better at hiding it in plain sight.

          Targeted efforts will continue, and not all of these users leave completely. After all, they may still retain their old accounts, and perhaps even some smaller communities as well. But if the big ones aren't on the site anymore, it's going to significantly hamper their ability to draw in new users and troll existing ones.

          2 votes
  2. [2]
    Deimos
    (edited )
    Link
    Techdirt had an article the other day looking at Parler's User Agreement and Community Guidelines and talking about how nonsensical they are: Just like every other platform, Parler will take down...

    Techdirt had an article the other day looking at Parler's User Agreement and Community Guidelines and talking about how nonsensical they are: Just like every other platform, Parler will take down content and face impossible content moderation choices.

    Who knows if they'll actually follow their own guidelines at all anyway, but it shows that the people running it don't really understand the principle that their site is supposedly built around and didn't consult with a lawyer that does either.

    It also contradicts the "values" that a lot of the prominent users say they're looking for, and would even be illegal under some of the proposed changes to CDA 230 that are being pushed by some of the same politicians that have been hyping Parler.

    9 votes
  3. [4]
    moocow1452
    Link
    That is going to be a long wait then.

    But the biggest name of all still hasn’t made the jump from Twitter to Parler, a moment that Parler goers are eagerly awaiting. That’s Donald Trump, of course.

    That is going to be a long wait then.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      I expect him to make an official personal account on Parler in about seven hours.

      I expect him to make an official personal account on Parler in about seven hours.

      1. [2]
        moocow1452
        Link Parent
        Maybe to get the namespace, but Twitter isn't cutting him off, and he gets all the notoriety, adoration, and amplification he could ask for. It's better product for his needs.

        Maybe to get the namespace, but Twitter isn't cutting him off, and he gets all the notoriety, adoration, and amplification he could ask for. It's better product for his needs.

        5 votes
        1. ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          At this stage I'm wondering why he hasn't been seen in public wearing the KKK hat yet.

          At this stage I'm wondering why he hasn't been seen in public wearing the KKK hat yet.