25 votes

The scary power of the companies that finally shut Trump up

65 comments

  1. bloup
    Link
    I think it's a great illustration of how much power private interests have over public discourse, and it is a very scary world we live in. But watching conservatives saying all the things they...

    I think it's a great illustration of how much power private interests have over public discourse, and it is a very scary world we live in. But watching conservatives saying all the things they called me a "commie" for countless times in the past without a shred of irony has been incredible schadenfreude.

    42 votes
  2. [20]
    cmccabe
    Link
    These tech companies are the new robber barons. While people may be cheering their action on Trump now, no one should forget that they did so based on profit/loss calculations and not for the...

    Trump’s social media exile represents, in some ways, a libertarian dream of a wholly privatized public sphere, in which corporations, not government, get to define the bounds of permissible speech.

    These tech companies are the new robber barons. While people may be cheering their action on Trump now, no one should forget that they did so based on profit/loss calculations and not for the benefit of society. And like @bloup said, the fact that these corporations have been able to amass so much power over public discourse in the first place is a huge problem and needs to be a major focus for voters. It is far too easy for corporations to abuse that power, and the incentives for them to do so are irresistible.

    29 votes
    1. [4]
      Autoxidation
      Link Parent
      Some of this is reading the political winds by these companies. The Dems are about to control both the Senate, the House, and the White House. These corporations are looking to "be good" after...

      Some of this is reading the political winds by these companies. The Dems are about to control both the Senate, the House, and the White House. These corporations are looking to "be good" after years of failing to act to avoid regulation.

      19 votes
      1. rogue_cricket
        Link Parent
        This is my impression as well. "Look, we can regulate ourselves; we can provide oversight to ourselves!" Additionally, I can't imagine that all this political upheaval and violence is good for the...

        This is my impression as well. "Look, we can regulate ourselves; we can provide oversight to ourselves!"

        Additionally, I can't imagine that all this political upheaval and violence is good for the business community so it's in their interest to try and abate it. I can also see it potentially affecting the value of the USD.

        7 votes
      2. [2]
        soks_n_sandals
        Link Parent
        I think you're right, but I can't imagine that tech companies will avoid regulation after doing (in my opinion) the bare minimum post-riot.

        I think you're right, but I can't imagine that tech companies will avoid regulation after doing (in my opinion) the bare minimum post-riot.

        5 votes
        1. Autoxidation
          Link Parent
          I also doubt they won't successfully avoid regulation, but they're making the attempt here.

          I also doubt they won't successfully avoid regulation, but they're making the attempt here.

          5 votes
    2. prairir001
      Link Parent
      especially since how much traffic twitter was getting for having trump. they certainly profited on everything he said, good or not.

      especially since how much traffic twitter was getting for having trump. they certainly profited on everything he said, good or not.

      10 votes
    3. [14]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      I haven’t seen evidence of these profit/loss calculations, just people repeating it. Maybe eventually someone will write a story covering how the decisions were made. In the meantime, let’s not...

      I haven’t seen evidence of these profit/loss calculations, just people repeating it. Maybe eventually someone will write a story covering how the decisions were made. In the meantime, let’s not treat suspicion as fact?

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        Kuromantis
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I don't think it's about profit/loss specifically, just that banning trump now won't bring large companies any repercussions because Democrats control congress so they'll just do it.

        I haven’t seen evidence of these profit/loss calculations

        I don't think it's about profit/loss specifically, just that banning trump now won't bring large companies any repercussions because Democrats control congress so they'll just do it.

        13 votes
        1. RapidEyeMovement
          Link Parent
          Correct, this was a risk management strategy by the companies not some bold leader initiative.

          Correct, this was a risk management strategy by the companies not some bold leader initiative.

          11 votes
      2. [5]
        vord
        Link Parent
        I'll put it this way: I've got to hear first-hand the discourse for a college, including legal, PR, marketing, and the C-suite to discuss the cost/benefit of the work needed to prevent...

        I'll put it this way:

        I've got to hear first-hand the discourse for a college, including legal, PR, marketing, and the C-suite to discuss the cost/benefit of the work needed to prevent accidentally outing trans folks by using preferred name instead of legal name as much as possible.

        Car companies do analysis all the time to see if correcting a known problem in a car is more or less expensive than paying out settlements for deaths caused.

        Banning one of the highest-profile people on the planet from Twitter was not done lightly. It almost certainly involved a very long meeting for the C-suite with lots of charts and projections. There would have been consultation with PR and marketing to insure that this move would not destroy their userbase.

        Ignoring that is being wilfully blind to the workings of organizations...even non-profit ones.

        13 votes
        1. [3]
          tindall
          Link Parent
          Wow, would you be willing to say more about this? I wrote an article on this topic a while back, but it was largely theoretical; I'd love to have a more concrete example.

          I've got to hear first-hand the discourse for a college, including legal, PR, marketing, and the C-suite to discuss the cost/benefit of the work needed to prevent accidentally outing trans folks by using preferred name instead of legal name as much as possible.

          Wow, would you be willing to say more about this? I wrote an article on this topic a while back, but it was largely theoretical; I'd love to have a more concrete example.

          8 votes
          1. [2]
            vord
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I am sufficiently convinced that you and I could probably have a beer and talk specifics about my employer. Either that, or this pattern repeated itself almost verbatim across numerous colleges. I...

            My college has an ERP system which it uses to, among other things, relate students’ billing profiles to their meal plans. This is, of course, a critical function, as it allows us to eat on campus. The ERP system has a “preferred name” field, but it was added after the critical integrations were made. Therefore, I am “Leonora” to residential life, my professors, and the person who swipes my ID at the student commons.

            I am sufficiently convinced that you and I could probably have a beer and talk specifics about my employer. Either that, or this pattern repeated itself almost verbatim across numerous colleges. I would rather not go further details, as it will make it even easier to pinpoint my identity. But there was at one point a speech from legal why implementing exactly what you outlined in your article was important, and the effort was undertaken in part of fear of the PR hit a hypothetical discrimination lawsuit would entail.

            6 votes
            1. tindall
              Link Parent
              That's absolutely understandable. I'm glad I hit so close to the mark!

              That's absolutely understandable. I'm glad I hit so close to the mark!

              3 votes
        2. skybrian
          Link Parent
          Well, I don't disagree. I'm sure they had plenty of meetings and looked at data of some sort. Charts might be involved. But cost/benefit analysis is a more informal process. It's not doing a...

          Well, I don't disagree. I'm sure they had plenty of meetings and looked at data of some sort. Charts might be involved. But cost/benefit analysis is a more informal process. It's not doing a calculation.

          Some might want to quantify things like some car companies got caught at, I just don't think it's possible in this case.

          Also, that car company analysis is naive if it doesn't also take into account the risk of bad publicity, and how do you quantify that? It's still going to be a judgement call in the end.

          3 votes
      3. [6]
        andre
        Link Parent
        I agree that it's good to be cautious, but let's not be naive either.

        I agree that it's good to be cautious, but let's not be naive either.

        7 votes
        1. [5]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          You can be both cautious and not naive by talking about your suspicions as suspicions. It’s fine to speculate about how you think big tech is making these decisions and we can talk about what...

          You can be both cautious and not naive by talking about your suspicions as suspicions. It’s fine to speculate about how you think big tech is making these decisions and we can talk about what seems plausible. We all speculate. But it’s not reporting, and doesn’t seem to be based on reporting.

          It’s unfortunately common for suspicions to get upgraded to fact because people feel very strongly about something, or it sounds cooler to talk confidently about what’s going on in places of power, and pretend that we are in the know. This is how the naive get sucked into conspiracy theorizing.

          But it is naive to pretend that, sitting at home, without reporting via a leak, we can know what’s going on during some video calls when such decisions are made. We are not in the loop. We were not in the room where it happened and we aren’t going to deduce it from arguments based on plausibility.

          It’s implausible to me that they made a spreadsheet, because what sort of calculation could you do about how fast-changing politics will play out and how that will affect your numbers? The math would be garbage in, garbage out. So I would guess it’s more of a gut decision. But I don’t know, maybe someone did do a calculation.

          10 votes
          1. [4]
            andre
            Link Parent
            If you don't think that Twitter and Facebook have spent substantial resources over the last four years attempting to asses the financial risk/reward of (de)platforming Trump, I don't think our...

            If you don't think that Twitter and Facebook have spent substantial resources over the last four years attempting to asses the financial risk/reward of (de)platforming Trump, I don't think our dialogue will be productive.

            He wasn't banned because Dorsey and Zuck suddenly grew consciences - these are corporations beholden to their stockholders and governmental regulations, and the calculus shifted such that banning him was the right business move.

            My default thought pattern is that all of these people are greedy assholes, and whereas you need evidence that the decision was based on finances, I need evidence that it wasn't. Neither of us has this, so it's speculation all around.

            11 votes
            1. [3]
              Comment deleted by author
              Link Parent
              1. [2]
                andre
                Link Parent
                I agree: they're taking action based on a high level, long-term business strategy. Unless I misunderstood this entire thread, skybrian was arguing that we should give Twitter/Facebook the benefit...

                I agree: they're taking action based on a high level, long-term business strategy.

                Unless I misunderstood this entire thread, skybrian was arguing that we should give Twitter/Facebook the benefit of the doubt that they acted for the benefit of society instead of on a business calculus (which, ultimately, is a decision of what will create the most profit), which struck me as naive.

                8 votes
                1. skybrian
                  Link Parent
                  Well, I don't think we're that far apart. I made two arguments, and it seems like you agreed with both of them at certain points, that "it's speculation all around" and by agreeing with Rez just...

                  Well, I don't think we're that far apart. I made two arguments, and it seems like you agreed with both of them at certain points, that "it's speculation all around" and by agreeing with Rez just now.

                  I still disagree on your use of the word "naive" since I think you got it backwards, and I didn't make any particular argument for company managers acting "for the benefit of society." I wasn't arguing for giving anyone the benefit of the doubt, I was just arguing for doubt, full stop.

                  Doubt is good, it means you hedge your bets. Putting all your chips on one possibility is naive.

                  7 votes
            2. skybrian
              Link Parent
              I would expect that they spent substantial staff time debating it over the years. Employees who wanted the ban earlier probably spent some time writing docs and making presentations, to little...

              I would expect that they spent substantial staff time debating it over the years. Employees who wanted the ban earlier probably spent some time writing docs and making presentations, to little effect until now. Some of those arguments might have been about how they wouldn't be losing all that many users. They might talk, vaguely, about the risk of advertiser boycotts. There may have been graphs, which were probably treated with appropriate skepticism unless they were really well done. Maybe they made contingency plans.

              My default assumption is that these are organizations made of people with various opinions and there is an internal political process based on the management hierarchy. When making presentations to the boss, they use arguments that they think he will buy, and "we will make more money" isn't the only argument that works though it's a good one.

              I put a few more chips on financial calculations being a minor factor in this decision, but I would need good evidence in either direction to stop hedging.

              4 votes
  3. Deimos
    Link
    Scott Galloway's most recent blog post is pretty over-dramatic (as they often tend to be), but I have to agree with his point that it's ridiculous that the government and other institutions are...

    Scott Galloway's most recent blog post is pretty over-dramatic (as they often tend to be), but I have to agree with his point that it's ridiculous that the government and other institutions are now so utterly ineffective that we have to beg corporations to save us.

    If there is any question that big tech is our new government, then register that these are the only entities whose actions seem to have a meaningful impact (or what we view as meaningful). Which has had more impact? Futile discussions about the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, or Facebook and Twitter suspending President Trump’s accounts and Shopify closing MAGA stores? Applaud these actions if you like, but accountability for sedition should not be meted out by private companies (in the case of Shopify, a foreign one). We should not be pandering to part-time CEOs to save the nation they demonstrate no regard for.

    20 votes
  4. [28]
    JakeTheDog
    Link
    It also worries me that this is frequently being celebrated on left-leaning forums such as Tildes. We could use some more sobriety.

    It also worries me that this is frequently being celebrated on left-leaning forums such as Tildes. We could use some more sobriety.

    14 votes
    1. [11]
      babypuncher
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I dunno, I think it's worth celebrating. Not because I disagree with Trump, but because he was clearly inciting violence and spreading dangerous misinformation. I have no objection to online...

      I dunno, I think it's worth celebrating. Not because I disagree with Trump, but because he was clearly inciting violence and spreading dangerous misinformation. I have no objection to online communities having rules against either of those things. I don't see the point in having rules if you aren't going to enforce them. And I certainly don't think any politician should be exempt from those rules, regardless of political affiliation.

      If some rando was on Twitter inciting violent mobs but without a political motive, nobody would bat an eye when they get banned.

      19 votes
      1. tindall
        Link Parent
        And, let's be clear - also because he's a white supremacist. His political opinions and policy goals are not value-neutral.

        Not because I disagree with Trump, but because he was clearly inciting violence and spreading dangerous misinformation

        And, let's be clear - also because he's a white supremacist. His political opinions and policy goals are not value-neutral.

        14 votes
      2. [9]
        JakeTheDog
        Link Parent
        That’s not what I’m saying. I’m in support of the fairly strict moderation here. Twitter has been very slow to react in other situations, and it’s not just Trump himself. I’m talking about the...

        That’s not what I’m saying. I’m in support of the fairly strict moderation here. Twitter has been very slow to react in other situations, and it’s not just Trump himself. I’m talking about the precedent, as @xnaas below mentioned.

        4 votes
        1. [8]
          tindall
          Link Parent
          But there is no new precedent. They're just doing the same (bad) things they've always being doing to marginalized people and the left, to the right! If someone slits my tires a few times and gets...

          But there is no new precedent. They're just doing the same (bad) things they've always being doing to marginalized people and the left, to the right!

          If someone slits my tires a few times and gets away with it, but never does the same to the jerk across the street, you can be sure I'll cheer when that guy gets his tires slit too, even if I think tire-slitting is bad.

          11 votes
          1. [4]
            JakeTheDog
            Link Parent
            Have all major tech platforms and even commercial tech companies banned certain left people and communities at scale and all at once? I understand you have a personal experience, but that’s not...

            Have all major tech platforms and even commercial tech companies banned certain left people and communities at scale and all at once? I understand you have a personal experience, but that’s not exactly generalizable.

            4 votes
            1. [3]
              tindall
              Link Parent
              Yes. As just one example, there have been ongoing efforts to remove groups like Police the Police from Facebook (and Instagram), Twitter, etc. since this summer.

              Have all major tech platforms and even commercial tech companies banned certain left people and communities at scale and all at once?

              Yes. As just one example, there have been ongoing efforts to remove groups like Police the Police from Facebook (and Instagram), Twitter, etc. since this summer.

              17 votes
              1. Flashynuff
                Link Parent
                Another example: #BlueLeaks was banned on almost every single platform, even though it clearly showed the widespread use of fusion centers by police to target leftist activists.

                Another example: #BlueLeaks was banned on almost every single platform, even though it clearly showed the widespread use of fusion centers by police to target leftist activists.

                16 votes
              2. Micycle_the_Bichael
                Link Parent
                (for clarity, I agree with you) I think another example of this, though perhaps others will disagree, was the marking of LGBTQ+ content on youtube as adult content. Is it as bad as being banned?...

                (for clarity, I agree with you)

                I think another example of this, though perhaps others will disagree, was the marking of LGBTQ+ content on youtube as adult content. Is it as bad as being banned? No. Is it an example of a tech company limiting the reach a marginalized group is able to have on their platform based on the content they create? Yes. I don't think its 1-1, but I'd argue its an example of a tech platform quieting a traditionally left-leaning community at scale.

                10 votes
          2. [3]
            JakeTheDog
            Link Parent
            I think this is where we disagree the most. I wouldn't cheer and certainly don't think it's the right thing to do.

            If someone slits my tires a few times and gets away with it, but never does the same to the jerk across the street, you can be sure I'll cheer when that guy gets his tires slit too, even if I think tire-slitting is bad.

            I think this is where we disagree the most. I wouldn't cheer and certainly don't think it's the right thing to do.

            3 votes
            1. [2]
              RapidEyeMovement
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              It is a bad metaphor, but I get tindall point. A better one would be, I get a speeding ticket once for driving too fast once down my street, but my asshole neighbor who is always revving his...

              It is a bad metaphor, but I get tindall point.

              A better one would be, I get a speeding ticket once for driving too fast once down my street, but my asshole neighbor who is always revving his engine, peeling out, and speeding down the street finally gets a ticket. I'm gonna have a little bit of schadenfreude with that outcome.

              13 votes
              1. tindall
                Link Parent
                Yeah, you're right, this is a better example.

                Yeah, you're right, this is a better example.

                4 votes
    2. [2]
      rogue_cricket
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      What's concerning to me is how many people seem to believe that private entities should be forced to become government mouthpieces (or really have to post or publish or amplify anything against...

      What's concerning to me is how many people seem to believe that private entities should be forced to become government mouthpieces (or really have to post or publish or amplify anything against their will). Compelled speech is just as much a gross violation of the principle of freedom of expression as censorship is.

      This oligopoly should have been prevented from coalescing this power to begin with. This has been a problem since well before social media, and the USA has been rolling back media ownership regulations since George W. Bush. The FCC tried to prevent a similar thing with TV/Print media but largely failed. Same problem as everywhere.

      13 votes
      1. nacho
        Link Parent
        It's a failure of how few limits there are to speech in the US constitution (although many seem to forget how many exceptions there actually are). The framers simply couldn't imagine modern mass...

        It's a failure of how few limits there are to speech in the US constitution (although many seem to forget how many exceptions there actually are).

        The framers simply couldn't imagine modern mass communication. It'd be absolutely insane to suggest someone in the late 1700s should even envision how such a society could change and what it'd require legally speaking.

        The constitution is also way too hard to change, so it's never been fixed. Subsequent legislation all suffers.

        4 votes
    3. [2]
      rkcr
      Link Parent
      It's like - on the one hand, it is scary how much power big tech has. But for some of us, it was even MORE scary to see how much power big tech was giving to Trump. I think it's fair to have...

      It's like - on the one hand, it is scary how much power big tech has. But for some of us, it was even MORE scary to see how much power big tech was giving to Trump.

      I think it's fair to have complicated feelings on the matter! I don't think big tech should have so much power, but I also don't think Trump should either. In the moment, I think it's better that Trump loses his power than tech does. It's not ideal though, preferably we wouldn't be in this spot in the first place.

      12 votes
      1. Parliament
        Link Parent
        Trump had a private dinner with Zuckerberg at one point. It's definitely scary because Trump is so easily manipulated and always willing to sell out his office anyway.

        it was even MORE scary to see how much power big tech was giving to Trump.

        Trump had a private dinner with Zuckerberg at one point. It's definitely scary because Trump is so easily manipulated and always willing to sell out his office anyway.

        3 votes
    4. [8]
      suspended
      Link Parent
      It is? Are there any Tildes comments/threads that you'd like to point out?

      ...this is frequently being celebrated on left-leaning forums such as Tildes

      It is? Are there any Tildes comments/threads that you'd like to point out?

      3 votes
      1. [7]
        JakeTheDog
        Link Parent
        Not directly, most are neutral in just pointing it out, but most imply that it’s only a good thing or should have been done sooner rather than questioning the wisdom of it and the long term...

        Not directly, most are neutral in just pointing it out, but most imply that it’s only a good thing or should have been done sooner rather than questioning the wisdom of it and the long term effects. Generally the discussions here are quite levelheaded but by no means moderate (let alone conservative).

        3 votes
        1. [4]
          tindall
          Link Parent
          I mean... I can't speak for others, but I think it's possible to hold both "it is bad that tech companies have the power to amplify and silence people unilaterally" and "it is good that this...

          I mean... I can't speak for others, but I think it's possible to hold both "it is bad that tech companies have the power to amplify and silence people unilaterally" and "it is good that this particular person can no longer incite violence as easily" in one's head. That's certainly what I've been saying, on Tildes and in other "left leaning forums".

          21 votes
          1. [3]
            JakeTheDog
            Link Parent
            I agree. I’m just saying that so far only one side of the opinion has been visible, at least to me.

            I agree. I’m just saying that so far only one side of the opinion has been visible, at least to me.

            1 vote
            1. [2]
              tindall
              Link Parent
              Really? You haven't seen the EFF and FFTF and a dozen smaller activist orgs screaming about monopolization and centralization for the last decade? Because this isn't something the left is just...

              Really? You haven't seen the EFF and FFTF and a dozen smaller activist orgs screaming about monopolization and centralization for the last decade? Because this isn't something the left is just sitting down and taking, nor have we been.

              11 votes
              1. JakeTheDog
                Link Parent
                Oh yes, but I’m talking about forums with mainly left-leaning users, not organizations that actually watch for this (that’s a given). Heck, even the ACLU called out Twitter and Facebook for the bans.

                Oh yes, but I’m talking about forums with mainly left-leaning users, not organizations that actually watch for this (that’s a given). Heck, even the ACLU called out Twitter and Facebook for the bans.

                1 vote
        2. TheJorro
          Link Parent
          I suppose the question is if they're actually implying that at all, or if that's a misread based on them only expressing one side of the coin in those comments while holding back the other for a...

          I suppose the question is if they're actually implying that at all, or if that's a misread based on them only expressing one side of the coin in those comments while holding back the other for a more appropriate discussion area.

          I've been railing against social media and its influence since around 2010 when I perceived attention spans dropping across the internet and then across real life as more and more people got sucked into social media. But in the last few days, I was only doing a merry little jig over Trump getting banned finally. But my overall feelings towards social media and its insidious power over society hasn't changed at all, they're just two different concepts at the moment.

          7 votes
        3. soks_n_sandals
          Link Parent
          I think it's rational to argue that the de-platforming of Trump should've come sooner, given that Twitter is/was applying its own Terms of Service differently to different users. I respectfully...

          I think it's rational to argue that the de-platforming of Trump should've come sooner, given that Twitter is/was applying its own Terms of Service differently to different users. I respectfully disagree with their choice to allow him to remain as an exception when so much of the content he generated was not befitting to the President of the United States and was outright inflammatory or false.

          As for the long term effects, hopefully this raises a large and actionable conversation about the power that these companies have amassed, thus leading to substantial regulation to prevent this power from being abused. Right now, tech companies act when their users are a press liability, not necessarily when it's the ethically correct decision.

          2 votes
    5. [3]
      xnaas
      Link Parent
      I honestly thought maybe I was going nuts reading all the support for the action. Sure, we all like that Trump was finally shut up, but I don't think people are gonna be as happy about it when...

      It also worries me that this is frequently being celebrated on left-leaning forums such as Tildes.

      I honestly thought maybe I was going nuts reading all the support for the action. Sure, we all like that Trump was finally shut up, but I don't think people are gonna be as happy about it when it's someone else next time.

      The precedent set is terrifying, to me. We've taken a plunge into a new, dark abyss and I don't think we'll like everything we find in here.

      3 votes
      1. tindall
        Link Parent
        There is no new precedent. This is the same thing they've been doing to Leftist activists and marginalized people since the beginning. I got suspended from Twitter for 12 hours, same as the...

        The precedent set is terrifying, to me. We've taken a plunge into a new, dark abyss and I don't think we'll like everything we find in here.

        There is no new precedent. This is the same thing they've been doing to Leftist activists and marginalized people since the beginning. I got suspended from Twitter for 12 hours, same as the president (the first time), for telling someone to "shut the fuck up" after they called me a slur. People I know have been banned from Facebook for saying politicians should be "removed" from office - no threat of violence there, just "removed".

        This is only new to the right.

        16 votes
      2. suspended
        Link Parent
        IMHO, this is an extreme view since these tech platforms made their decisions based on money.

        We've taken a plunge into a new, dark abyss...

        IMHO, this is an extreme view since these tech platforms made their decisions based on money.

        6 votes
    6. teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      I am glad for it and would be glad for them to go further. But at the same time I welcome new regulations that could make communication platforms treated like utilities.

      I am glad for it and would be glad for them to go further. But at the same time I welcome new regulations that could make communication platforms treated like utilities.

      2 votes
  5. [13]
    stu2b50
    Link
    I feel like there are real issues with #BigTech, but they are not actually fullfilled by both the ejection of Trump and the removal of Parler. First, I think there are two angles: one, certain...

    I feel like there are real issues with #BigTech, but they are not actually fullfilled by both the ejection of Trump and the removal of Parler.

    First, I think there are two angles: one, certain tech companies are so large, that they have a oversized amount of power; by threatening refusing service to a customer, they can exert great influence on those customers. Two, that there should be some kind of 1A like Free Speech regulation applied to media companies.


    1. I really don't think "monopoly" really matters for de-Trumping, because it wasn't one company - it was like 20 companies that decided to throw Trump off. If Facebook were split into Facebook and Instagram and Whatsapp, no company would have more than 30% of Social media marketshare. Yet it would change absolutely nothing, as instagram would likely also ban Trump from their platform independently anyway.

    Additionally, what really muzzled Trump is the Twitter ban, which makes no sense because he has literally an entire press room besides Twitter like y'know every other President has used instead but regardless, and Twitter is far from a monopoly. According to Pew, only 22% of Adults in the US use Twitter, and that's "use at least once this year". It's really a very small site compared to actual social media giants - ffs it's slightly below linkedin.

    So I think there are real issues, in particular with Apple having the appstore is the only gateway to the iPhone and Zuck's control on social media advertising, but only Apple kinda matters in the Parler situation. But again, Parler's demise came from, as their CEO says, every service from server to SMS to their old lawyers ditching them. That's not monopoly power.

    --

    1. This is just a whole ass rabbit hole. First, let's examine what would happen if blanket 1A-style regulations were on all media platforms. Well, Instagram couldn't prevent porn from being posted anymore, and it would no doubt flood the site. The subreddit dedicated to knitting couldn't prevent people talking about politics. The only things you could prevent were hate speech about protected groups.

    Okay, probably not a great idea - so it needs to be finely grained regulation. Add political alignment as a protected class and enforce no bans for that reason, perhaps? But who decides what is actually a political alignment issue? If I say my political alignment is based on the belief that football is better than basketball, is banning me from /r/nba legitimate when I talk about that?

    Is there a government agency that watches over bans? Does the banned user have to sue in civil court?

    The Government having finely grained control over who is and isn't banned is also a Free Speech issue, and I'd argue it's an even bigger one! It's literally a 1st amendment violation, right? I have yet to see an actual proposal of regulations that is not a huge 1st amendment issue wherein the government has this giant say in the speech of online communities.

    11 votes
    1. [12]
      soks_n_sandals
      Link Parent
      The first part of your post is very clear regarding the argument of monopoly power. But, can you clarify the second part? I think I'm understanding that you're advocating against the...

      The first part of your post is very clear regarding the argument of monopoly power. But, can you clarify the second part? I think I'm understanding that you're advocating against the implementation of 1A protections on tech?

      2 votes
      1. [10]
        stu2b50
        Link Parent
        Yes, I think blanked 1A protections would be a disaster - because there's a laundry list of mundane reasons why users are banned. A simple one is being off-topic: if you want a community that's...

        Yes, I think blanked 1A protections would be a disaster - because there's a laundry list of mundane reasons why users are banned. A simple one is being off-topic: if you want a community that's dedicated to cat pictures, should you not be able to do remove posts that are not about cat pictures? Or being obscene - should sites that want to be PG 13, not be able to remove obscene content?

        And finely grained speech regulation is a first amendment issue because the government is now controlling speech. Controlling bans is like 50% of the way there to controlling speech.

        11 votes
        1. Autoxidation
          Link Parent
          Yeah, imagine a group of nazi sympathizers/fascists here on Tildes, with no power to remove them or do anything because of some internet 1A rule. Tildes would be forced to host content they don't...

          Yeah, imagine a group of nazi sympathizers/fascists here on Tildes, with no power to remove them or do anything because of some internet 1A rule. Tildes would be forced to host content they don't agree with/don't want.

          7 votes
        2. [7]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          It seems reasonable to have some sort of law against banning entire accounts for bad behavior in an unrelated service. So, for example, behaving badly on YouTube shouldn’t mean you lose access to...

          It seems reasonable to have some sort of law against banning entire accounts for bad behavior in an unrelated service. So, for example, behaving badly on YouTube shouldn’t mean you lose access to Gmail or Photos.

          But the question is how to define “unrelated.” If it’s too fine-grained then it becomes a game of wack-a-mole where every Reddit group needs to ban the same user each time.

          There is a question about how information about bad users is shared, both within a company and across companies. When should people be able to escape their reputation?

          It doesn’t really apply for celebrities the whole world knows about, though. You don’t need a credit score when you can read the news.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            stu2b50
            Link Parent
            But that really gets at the source of moderating power - namely that it's arbitrary. Twitter and FB make a show of applying rules, but those are self-applied rules. The actual source of power is...

            But that really gets at the source of moderating power - namely that it's arbitrary. Twitter and FB make a show of applying rules, but those are self-applied rules. The actual source of power is my way or the high way. Which, again, is the same power that allows my cat pictures blog and comments to ban dog pictures.

            So when it really comes down to "I don't want you here", how does regulating against being banned for bad behavior on another platform work? If I just don't like you, if you weren't banned by Youtube, I could ban you because I don't like you, but now that you were banned by Youtube, I am liable for it? Is there a statue of limitations when it's no long correlated?

            For most reasonable cases, antitrust would most massage this. In the case of inciting violence, and having abhorrent, wildly disagreeable rhetoric, it wouldn't, but that's because you're universally abhorred. And even then Parler still found a new nameserver and host.

            5 votes
            1. skybrian
              Link Parent
              Yes, I don't think it really works for unrelated sites. I was thinking more for the big tech sites that group a lot of unrelated services under a single login, including third-party sites. It...

              Yes, I don't think it really works for unrelated sites. I was thinking more for the big tech sites that group a lot of unrelated services under a single login, including third-party sites.

              It seems like only partially disabling suspect accounts would minimize damage in case of a false positive? Like, revoking sharing privileges, but you can still look at and download your own photos, and third-party logins still work.

              But then, what if the third-party site decides to block all logins from partially-disabled accounts because that's a pretty strong signal? I guess that's up to them.

              At issue here is the ability of people who have moderating power to outsource their decision-making. As soon as you allow delegation, centralization can happen if they all delegate to the same place.

              2 votes
          2. Flashynuff
            Link Parent
            I get where you're coming from but a law like this would quickly make the internet unusable.

            It seems reasonable to have some sort of law against banning entire accounts for bad behavior in an unrelated service.

            I get where you're coming from but a law like this would quickly make the internet unusable.

            4 votes
          3. [3]
            tindall
            Link Parent
            Or - just maybe - we shouldn't let a few companies run the entire internet.

            Or - just maybe - we shouldn't let a few companies run the entire internet.

            3 votes
            1. [2]
              skybrian
              Link Parent
              The problem would still exist without big tech. Centralized decision-making is often a deliberate response to the problems of decentralization. This is what credit scores are for, to share...

              The problem would still exist without big tech. Centralized decision-making is often a deliberate response to the problems of decentralization. This is what credit scores are for, to share information allowing small businesses to know more about new customers than they can learn on their own. (The big companies have more data to begin with.)

              There are similar issues with spam block lists and ad block lists. The maintainers of a list have a lot of power, if it's used widely. Who appointed them? The people who use the list.

              (Do Mastodon sites have lists like this yet?)

              Even if you had a totally decentralized algorithm making the decision, who fixes the algorithm when it goes wrong?

              2 votes
              1. tindall
                Link Parent
                This is a wonderful example, because no, they largely do not. In the beginning, there were a few, and there are still a couple of well-distributed _allow_lists stemming from a small subgraph that...

                There are similar issues with spam block lists and ad block lists. The maintainers of a list have a lot of power, if it's used widely. Who appointed them? The people who use the list.

                (Do Mastodon sites have lists like this yet?)

                This is a wonderful example, because no, they largely do not. In the beginning, there were a few, and there are still a couple of well-distributed _allow_lists stemming from a small subgraph that is highly connected and largely isolated. There is also #FediBlock, a hashtag people add to posts where the present the reasons they are de-federating (usually suspending) from an instance, but it's largely on moderators of individual instances to choose whether or not to do the same. The point of federation is to actually decentralize things, not create the kind of distributed centralization we get with, say, the BitTorrent DHT. A Fediverse instance is exactly as engaged with the rest of the fedi as its users (who make connections) and its admins (who can unilaterally break them, or limit them) decide.

                2 votes
        3. soks_n_sandals
          Link Parent
          Ah, I see more clearly. That's what I figured, in which case I agree. Free-speech absolutism leads to exactly what kind of behavior occurs on Parler.

          Ah, I see more clearly. That's what I figured, in which case I agree. Free-speech absolutism leads to exactly what kind of behavior occurs on Parler.

          1 vote
      2. teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        You know that doomer guy on the street corner with the megaphone that can’t be stopped because of the first amendment? Should we take that imbalance of power where the speaker trumps the listener...

        You know that doomer guy on the street corner with the megaphone that can’t be stopped because of the first amendment? Should we take that imbalance of power where the speaker trumps the listener and apply it online, too?

        2 votes
  6. [2]
    ImmobileVoyager
    Link
    I like this phrase. I'm stealing it. I will re-use it. I do not like this hyperbole. A quick research seems to indicate that at least 5 billions Earthlings do not have access to the internet, let...

    a handful of callow young tech titans

    I like this phrase. I'm stealing it. I will re-use it.

    social media tools available to most other people on earth

    I do not like this hyperbole. A quick research seems to indicate that at least 5 billions Earthlings do not have access to the internet, let alone to Fakebook et al.

    1 vote
    1. TeMPOraL
      Link Parent
      Fair, but I think more important chart for these discussions is this one - percentage of users by country. In the US, it was 87% in 2014, and I don't think it went down over the past 6 years....

      A quick research seems to indicate that at least 5 billions Earthlings do not have access to the internet, let alone to Fakebook et al.

      Fair, but I think more important chart for these discussions is this one - percentage of users by country. In the US, it was 87% in 2014, and I don't think it went down over the past 6 years. Sure, it was 10% in Bangladesh, but Bangladesh also doesn't have nukes, or an outsized influence on global economy and culture.

      3 votes