Friday, October 26, 2018

Mashable uses stories of Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones to justify regular de-platforming

I found a slightly older story on Mashable (from August) with the catchy headline, “Alex Jones’ future will look a lot like Milo Yiannopoulos’ “  and later states that “de-platforming hate-mongering Internet celebrities actually works”. 

It's important to remember that de-platforming on large social media works differently from de-platforming through domain registrars or webhosts.  Most discussions on this topic ignore that fact. 

Milo is still on Facebook and his “Dangerous” site is still up and he seems to ask for subscriptions at $3.95 a month. Obviously he has taken a huge hit, financially and in terms of credible influence, but beyond that any specific guesses as to how much would be speculation.

The Mashable article summary of Milo’s history, while largely correct on the surface, may be a little misleading as to how some details are interpreted.  I read an reviewed his book (and Pam Geller’s, which he helped publish) and found both a lot more reasonable than public rumors admit. Some of his metaphors do go over the line for some people, admittedly.  When I read their work, I don’t find any plan to implement something like “white supremacy”.

What seems to be at issue, in large part, is Milo’s unusually graphic criticism of the far Left’s (and radical Islam's) combativeness, and reducing all debate to stopping oppression of any intersectional group that can be construed as a “people”.  The Left is right in wanting to question the misuse of unearned wealth and in noting that the extreme capitalism in the US in the past two decades has left more people of average means behind. The Left contradicts its own moral sense in over focus on intersectional groups. But it is possible to discuss policy remedies in terms of what out to be expected of individuals who are better off, regardless of what group(s) or tribe(s) they belong to.

But even in terms of these remedies, the idea of having ungated or unregulated access to a world wide megaphone can (in comparison to how the Internet grew, especially with the help of Section 230 in the US) be tied to external behavior of those with more privilege, more proof of giving back, more community engagement.  But that also makes supporting “de-platforming” such as “dangerous” (Milo’s own word) idea indeed.
See the Timcast on the TV Blog Sept 5, 2018.  As for the embed above, I make no apologies. But – No, Alex, David Hogg is not an alien from 125 light years away. Nor is Mark Zuckerberg.

Update: Oct. 27

I want to add - I will often link to provocative articles by people like Milo and others to rebut them or even point out the partial truths. Besides myself, a number of other bloggers and vlogger channels (some of them tend to be "conservative") do this; my own audience can tell which other commentators I watch a lot.  Yet, a significant "combative" minority of the public thinks this practice is gratuitous and actually puts others in danger (possibly myself, family, others in oppressed groups) because most visitors will not understand the point of any argument I make, they will feel merely presenting him again validates him,.  Yes, there is an Internet literacy issue here -- that drove many of the problems of Facebook.  But many on the far Left, at least, and maybe some conservatives, think someone like me should take his turn subservient to others in the soup line and have to experience what everyone else experiences -- before being allowed a platform at all.  This Marxist thinking is getting more common and is plain dangerous.  I could say this might follow the line of Umair Haque's columns on Eudaimonia Medium.  Or you could put a "conservative" spin on it and invoke Nassin Nicholas Taleb's "skin in the game".  For someone like me, who doesn't compete very well on social groups or tribes, lowballing or outflanking them online is just irresistible.

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