19 votes

Social app Parler apparently receives funding from the conservative Mercer family

30 comments

  1. [7]
    3d12
    Link
    You know how people say "oh, I'm surprised the Onion is still running, you can't write anything more satirical than what's actually going on recently?" This was that moment for me: I... I don't...

    You know how people say "oh, I'm surprised the Onion is still running, you can't write anything more satirical than what's actually going on recently?"

    This was that moment for me:

    "Once you start content curation and you start fact checking, you're introducing bias," Matze replied.

    I... I don't even. Bias against what?

    16 votes
    1. JXM
      Link Parent
      Not a bias against something, but a bias toward the truth, which doesn’t support their worldview. It’s almost beyond parody...but The Onion still finds a way.

      Not a bias against something, but a bias toward the truth, which doesn’t support their worldview.

      It’s almost beyond parody...but The Onion still finds a way.

      18 votes
    2. [3]
      Grzmot
      Link Parent
      To perhaps interpret this statement more benevolently than others have; I think the sentence means that no matter how you moderate content, you'll always have the bias of the moderator to take in....

      To perhaps interpret this statement more benevolently than others have; I think the sentence means that no matter how you moderate content, you'll always have the bias of the moderator to take in. You cannot remove that bias from a human being, it's impossible, even automated systems adhere to the biases of their creators.

      Fact checking is something different though, lol.

      16 votes
      1. [2]
        onelap32
        Link Parent
        Even fact checking can be a source of bias (and even if the fact checks themselves are completely impartial) if there is a tendency to fact check certain content more often. E.g., if Parler...

        Even fact checking can be a source of bias (and even if the fact checks themselves are completely impartial) if there is a tendency to fact check certain content more often. E.g., if Parler applied accurate fact-checks only to pro-BLM posts, they would still be introducing bias despite only providing accurate information.

        12 votes
        1. Grzmot
          Link Parent
          Only fact checking certain posts (like those in support of BLM) would of course be very overt in showing the bias against the movement. However even if you check the facts of every controversial...

          Only fact checking certain posts (like those in support of BLM) would of course be very overt in showing the bias against the movement. However even if you check the facts of every controversial statement, you still have massive problems, most of them related to scale, because you can't fact check millions of users, and the bias problem remains.

          3 votes
    3. skybrian
      Link Parent
      Moderation is inherently biased against whatever content it’s discouraging. A spam filter is biased against spam.

      Moderation is inherently biased against whatever content it’s discouraging. A spam filter is biased against spam.

      12 votes
    4. Good_Apollo
      Link Parent
      When you don’t believe facts are objective, then fact-checking is inherently open to the bias of the checker. That’s the whole problem with this world right now, ironically in the Information Age:...

      When you don’t believe facts are objective, then fact-checking is inherently open to the bias of the checker.

      That’s the whole problem with this world right now, ironically in the Information Age: Everyone has a constant and unending source of information that says their particular bullshit isn’t bullshit at all but the real and very attacked and cornered “truth” that they are privy to above the mainstream “narrative”.

      3 votes
  2. [4]
    wycy
    Link
    All these anti-Parler articles I've been seeing popping up everywhere over the past few days is only serving to promote the network more.

    All these anti-Parler articles I've been seeing popping up everywhere over the past few days is only serving to promote the network more.

    7 votes
    1. [3]
      RNG
      Link Parent
      This is probably controversial, but I support these folks using Parler. It may allow them to express more extreme viewpoints, but it contains the spread of their views to the mainstream. Getting...

      This is probably controversial, but I support these folks using Parler.

      It may allow them to express more extreme viewpoints, but it contains the spread of their views to the mainstream. Getting them off Facebook, Twitter, etc. limits their spread to folks who otherwise might not have been radicalized to that degree.

      I think I saw some post on Voat or Gab that summed it up well, but I can't find it. It essentially bemoaned the fact that "normies" never get exposure to their ideas when they leave Reddit/FB/Twitter for another platform. These alternative platforms either moderate (which puts them in the same boat as the aforementioned sites) or they don't, in which case the discussion eventually becomes so toxic that the site is basically unusable to everyone except the most devoted of Neo-Nazis.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        wycy
        Link Parent
        There's truth in that for sure. The problem with these super-isolated echo chambers is that it tends to be a strong feedback loop, radicalizing people more strongly than they might have otherwise....

        There's truth in that for sure. The problem with these super-isolated echo chambers is that it tends to be a strong feedback loop, radicalizing people more strongly than they might have otherwise. Congressional Republicans say more crazed things when they go on Fox News than they do when they go on CNN.

        It's difficult to say whether it's better to have more highly radicalized people more isolated, or less radicalized people out in the public getting owned in their mentions.

        6 votes
        1. RNG
          Link Parent
          That's a great point, this is really the crux of the balance. There are plenty of cases of how rightist terrorism is promoted and enabled on these sorts of sites. The difference in your example,...

          It's difficult to say whether it's better to have more highly radicalized people more isolated, or less radicalized people out in the public getting owned in their mentions.

          That's a great point, this is really the crux of the balance. There are plenty of cases of how rightist terrorism is promoted and enabled on these sorts of sites.

          The difference in your example, in my opinion, is that Fox News has mainstream appeal. Of course, a mainstream rightist social media platform would be horrible, but I don't think it is likely. What seems more likely is that Parlor will go the way Gab, Voat, Ruqqus, and every other attempt at a "conservative-friendly" social media network. Many rightists will start saying the quiet part out loud and push everyone else away, making the platform inhospitable to new users. Ultimately, it is like a voluntary self de-platforming of the most toxic and dangerous voices, at least until they realize no one is listening.

          It would likely be a temporary respite from these conspiracy theorists having your parents/grandparents ear, if only for a time.

          6 votes
  3. spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    Primary source is this Wall Street Journal article but it's behind a hard paywall. This NPR article was the best non-paywalled source I found, though I took the headline from this Verge article.

    Primary source is this Wall Street Journal article but it's behind a hard paywall.

    This NPR article was the best non-paywalled source I found, though I took the headline from this Verge article.

    5 votes
  4. [14]
    thundergolfer
    Link
    Would highly recommend The New Yorker's piece on Robert Mercer. Robert Mercer is a truly terrible person, like the Koch brother's, but he's also quite weird, which adds a lot of colour to the article.

    Would highly recommend The New Yorker's piece on Robert Mercer. Robert Mercer is a truly terrible person, like the Koch brother's, but he's also quite weird, which adds a lot of colour to the article.

    5 votes
    1. [13]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Nonono. Haven't your heard? Charles Koch is filled with regret now, and now wants to work on bridging the partisan divide! So he's totally one of the good guys now, we should trust him from now...

      is a truly terrible person, like the Koch brother's

      Nonono. Haven't your heard? Charles Koch is filled with regret now, and now wants to work on bridging the partisan divide! So he's totally one of the good guys now, we should trust him from now on, and forgive him for all the damage he did over the decades... just like we should for all the "former" Republican political operatives behind the Lincoln Project! /s

      15 votes
      1. [12]
        arp242
        Link Parent
        Not sure why you're being so negative about this; holding grudges is not the way to get out of this mess.

        Not sure why you're being so negative about this; holding grudges is not the way to get out of this mess.

        7 votes
        1. [10]
          cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Charles Koch has spent decades contributing tens of millions of dollars towards conservative causes, campaigns, and organizations, undermining everything from environmental protection and labour...

          Charles Koch has spent decades contributing tens of millions of dollars towards conservative causes, campaigns, and organizations, undermining everything from environmental protection and labour laws, to LGBT+ and women's rights. His actions are a major part of the reason there is such a huge partisan divide in the first place! I hold a grudge against him because he has actively and intentionally made the world a worse place to live in, out of sheer, unadulterated greed. He doesn't get to just suddenly claim to have made a 180 and be forgiven for all that.

          22 votes
          1. [9]
            arp242
            Link Parent
            And now he had a change of heart. How sincere is it? I don't know. I never said anyone has to forgive him at a moment's notice, but let's at least give him a chance before sneering at it immediately.

            And now he had a change of heart. How sincere is it? I don't know. I never said anyone has to forgive him at a moment's notice, but let's at least give him a chance before sneering at it immediately.

            5 votes
            1. [7]
              cfabbro
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              I appreciate your optimism and willingness to give people a chance, but think about it this way; If he genuinely has had a change of heart, truly regrets his actions, and earnestly wants to bridge...

              I appreciate your optimism and willingness to give people a chance, but think about it this way; If he genuinely has had a change of heart, truly regrets his actions, and earnestly wants to bridge the partisan divide that he helped create, I think at that point even he would have to agree he deserves all the scorn and skepticism being heaped his way right now.

              p.s. I would also suggest educating yourself about the Koch brothers before judging me too harshly. See:
              https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/08/30/covert-operations
              https://time.com/secret-origins-of-the-tea-party/
              https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/26/koch-brothers-americans-for-prosperity-rightwing-political-group

              14 votes
              1. [6]
                arp242
                Link Parent
                It's certainly fine to be skeptical; my own attitude would be "I'll believe it when I see it", but I think there's a difference between skepticism and dismissiveness. This story is just a few days...

                It's certainly fine to be skeptical; my own attitude would be "I'll believe it when I see it", but I think there's a difference between skepticism and dismissiveness. This story is just a few days old, so we'll have to see how sincere it is.

                I'm familiar with the Koch brother's history, but refusal to bury old grievances, often very justified grievances, is essentially at the root of many conflicts. At some point the past needs to remain in the past and we have to move forward.

                7 votes
                1. [5]
                  cfabbro
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  The asshole has nurtured and directly funded Pence throughout every step of his career, and his actions in raising up and fostering the Tea Party directly lead to the mainstreaming of right-wing...

                  The asshole has nurtured and directly funded Pence throughout every step of his career, and his actions in raising up and fostering the Tea Party directly lead to the mainstreaming of right-wing conspiracy theories (starting with bitherism), and getting Trump elected in 2016. So these aren't "old grievances", they are still fresh, wide-open wounds, and Charles Koch's hands are still wet with blood from having inflicted them.

                  Let's revisit this again 4 years from now when Pence's 2024 run kicks off, which I can pretty much guarantee you will also have Koch's money behind it, despite all his claims of being a changed man.

                  9 votes
                  1. [4]
                    Adys
                    Link Parent
                    I despise Charles Koch but @arp242 has a point. It's totally unproductive to just be vocally cynical about it. I saw the story earlier, thought "yeah right" and ignored it. But adding fuel to the...

                    I despise Charles Koch but @arp242 has a point. It's totally unproductive to just be vocally cynical about it.

                    I saw the story earlier, thought "yeah right" and ignored it. But adding fuel to the fire is unhelpful imo. Remember that this isn't just your own attitude; what you are sharing here in public influences the way others think and behave. Your proactive dismissiveness of Koch's gesture moves the needle, very slightly, in the wrong direction for others as well.

                    And I know this doesn't sound like much but you're also putting @arp242 in the awkward position to be the (literal) devil's advocate, which has got to be especially frustrating.

                    8 votes
                    1. [3]
                      Micycle_the_Bichael
                      Link Parent
                      Nobody other than arp is forcing arp into playing devils advocate. Arp clearly believes that Murdoch’s statements both deserve to not be dismissed and should be defended from dismissal, because...

                      Nobody other than arp is forcing arp into playing devils advocate. Arp clearly believes that Murdoch’s statements both deserve to not be dismissed and should be defended from dismissal, because they believe that everyone deserves that right. If they didn’t believe that then there wouldn’t be a discussion to be had here. If they didn’t want to play devils advocate, it’s super easy. Just stop commenting defenses for the devil! Boom! No more needing to play devils advocate! Or! If you decide you want to play devils advocate because your morals dictate it, you either have to think about why you’re being put in a situation to play devils advocate and change your morals based on what your soul searching finds, or you have to come to terms with the fact that your positions include devils advocacy. And there are plenty of places where playing devils advocate is right! I’m not saying arp is wrong to defend Murdoch. I’m saying no one is forcing them to play devils advocate.

                      2 votes
                      1. boltsky
                        Link Parent
                        Wait, is this about Murdoch or Koch?

                        Wait, is this about Murdoch or Koch?

                        5 votes
                      2. arp242
                        Link Parent
                        Clearly voices who don't align with American Liberal dogma aren't desired here. It's fine, I won't be back.

                        Clearly voices who don't align with American Liberal dogma aren't desired here. It's fine, I won't be back.

                        3 votes
            2. MimicSquid
              Link Parent
              The chance he has is to engage in immediate action to undo some of the harm he's done. If he just says that he feels bad, but doesn't do anything, how much are his words worth against the millions...

              The chance he has is to engage in immediate action to undo some of the harm he's done. If he just says that he feels bad, but doesn't do anything, how much are his words worth against the millions of dollars he spent in the other direction?

              11 votes
        2. wycy
          Link Parent
          Consider the grudge held.

          Not sure why you're being so negative about this; holding grudges is not the way to get out of this mess.

          Despite Koch's calls for unity, his political contributions largely favored GOP candidates in the 2020 election cycle, with $2.8 million donated to Republicans and just $221,000 for Democratic candidates, the Journal reported.

          Consider the grudge held.

          7 votes
  5. [4]
    arp242
    Link
    Ars did a piece on this Parler thing: What is Parler, and why is everyone suddenly talking about it? This Twitter thread basically says all you need to know: it's an amateurish crappy platform...

    Ars did a piece on this Parler thing: What is Parler, and why is everyone suddenly talking about it?

    This Twitter thread basically says all you need to know: it's an amateurish crappy platform that's only getting attention now because "Twitter bad".

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      10 million members, assuming it’s actual people and not bots, or just inflated numbers, seems pretty serious? Most attempts at starting a new social network don’t get that far. That is crazy...

      10 million members, assuming it’s actual people and not bots, or just inflated numbers, seems pretty serious? Most attempts at starting a new social network don’t get that far. That is crazy successful, particularly if it’s still growing rapidly.

      Apparently they are having lots of problems that need to be fixed quickly and running into the usual contradictions of a free speech zone. People may decide they hate it and go inactive, or the site could hit a wall in some other way. Still, it’s easier to fix a web app than to generate that kind of growth.

      6 votes
      1. arp242
        Link Parent
        Not sure if you saw it since Twitter is such a chaotic mess, but Judging from that Twitter thread there's a lot of spam, so I'd wager that there's far fewer than 10 million people on there.

        Not sure if you saw it since Twitter is such a chaotic mess, but Judging from that Twitter thread there's a lot of spam, so I'd wager that there's far fewer than 10 million people on there.

        7 votes
      2. dredmorbius
        Link Parent
        Keep in mind that there is a wide range of reportable user and activity statistics. Ten million registered users is not active users (generally given by day, week, or month), or stronger metrics...

        Keep in mind that there is a wide range of reportable user and activity statistics. Ten million registered users is not active users (generally given by day, week, or month), or stronger metrics such as time-on-site. It turns out that most peoples' days have only 24 hours, and media patterns are both rivalrous and immensely prone to power curve / Zipf function usage distributions.

        Ten million registered users is roughly what Ello could claim (my back-of-the-envelope calculation, largely confirmed by Ello staff at the time). Growth rate matters, and Parler claims a near-weekly doubling, which could get large fast.

        And of registered users, the 90-9-1 rule tends to hold, if not more extremely: about 90% of members lurk, 9% post occasionally, 1% are highly active. (For Google+, the "1%'" were actually about 0.15%.) Ten million registered is at most 100k actives, likely far less.

        On the other hand, rapidly-growing social networks start experiencing severe hygiene and sanitation problems, likely the more so in current environments. Span, distraction, and attacks are highly likely, possibly from motivated parties.

        Parler might become the next 4chan / 8kun, a breeding ground for hate and fascist thought. Quite less likely the next Facebook or Twitter.

        7 votes