Clarification of the recent de-platforming

I’m going to put some points out there in no particular order and I’ll let you take from it what you like.

  1. When left wing people like me were saying “they’re a private company and thus they’re first of all not censoring since they’re not the government secondly as a private organisation they’re under no obligation to provide you with a platform” we weren’t defending but rather holding those de-platformed to the very same standard that they themselves set. It was the right, during the law suit between a baker who refused to bake a wedding for a same sex couple and the same sex couple where they (the right wing) would argue that the business has a right to refuse to serve who ever they want – that they’re under no obligation. Well, that is a standard they set for themselves and those of us on the left are merely holding them to that exact standard they (the right wing) set for themselves – as a corner stone of what amounts to their political ideology. The reality is that their ideology is more a list of reactionary grievances amounting to “if I’m not impacted by it then it is fair game but as soon as I’m impacted by it then it suddenly becomes a matter of persecution”.
  2. Is it concerning that modern day public square is under the control of private business interests? Yes it is because it’ll eventually come back to bite the left in the backside even the business itself decides a few sacrificial lambs are worth throwing out there to demonstrate that they’re happy to play the game of false equivalency when kicking right wing talking heads off their respective platform. In an ideal world the internet would be dominated by things like Diaspora and Mastodon but alas such services will be always fighting an uphill battle against well funded and established players like Twitter and Facebook.
  3. The fight to remove these ‘extremist’ element is a fig leaf for the fact that the mess was created by the platform’s own algorithms and default settings in the first place. I’ll give a good example of how a system is supposed to be setup, in OpenBSD when you install it the whole operating system is locked down by default meaning that if you want to setup a web server you have to install it and then enable it – in other words it is an ‘opt in’ system so that only the services that you want are enabled because you’ve gone out of your way to enable it rather than enabling everything by default then expecting you as the administration to lock the platform down (which was was Windows Server was originally configured – everything enabled by default and you as the administrator were expected to disable what you didn’t want or need). How does that relate to social media platforms? when you setup an account with Facebook and add friends you are automatically subscribed to their feed meaning that any brain fart your friend may have turns up – you then like it and then that is broadcast over all your friends who are subscribed to you thus is the start of something going viral. If you want to break the virality of undesirable propagation of undesirable views then don’t automatically subscribe people when one adds someone as a friend. Then there is algorithms – get rid of them, if you want to make content easier to discover then allow people to refine their searches better but don’t curate using algorithms or otherwise you end up having a situation where the system leads the user down the garden path to more and more extreme videos because the algorithm assumes that “hey, the user likes x so I should find more videos that around x”. Long story short, the social media platforms created the problem and rather than fixing the source of the problem they decide that de-platforming is easier instead thus leaving the problematic nature of the system unchanged.

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