Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Facebook explains its banning of Tommy Robinson and creates more concern; WSJ reports on how Paypal bans some accounts

Wow, the last 24 hours. 

First, Tommy Robinson (whom I’ve paid little attention to, said to be a far-right person in Britain) is banned from Facebook and Instagram. 

NBC News has a basic story on the incident, but it is so disturbing that Facebook found it necessary to write a corporate blog post just on its reasoning, “removing Tommy Robinson’s page for violating ourcommunity standards”. 

I have to note some concern personally for this. The text reads “Our rules also make it clear that individuals and organizations that are engaged in “organized hate” are not allowed on the platform, and praise and support for these figures is also “banned”. That is, Facebook says it will ban a page or account that “pays or supports” another entity that generally believed to be promoting hate. Project Veritas has a story about controversies in Facebook's content moderation policies. 

This can be a very slippery slope.  Media reports on groups or individuals often turn out to be wrong, as we found out from the recent Covington Boys news scandal – and the supposed “hate” seemed to be in the eyes of the beholders of partial videos (how someone interprets a “smirk”, no less). People would believe that a group or individual is an enemy more based on tribal belief than actual facts.  The Jussie Smollett affair so far seems to have some of the same problems in reporting. 

Could someone be removed for having, for example, reviewed Milo Yiannopoulos’s book “Dangerous” based on Milo’s reputation as an "enemy" of some on the Left? The book itself doesn’t cross any boundaries of what we are used to as acceptable,  True, Wikipedia has some disturbing claims about his alleged behavior since then (as well as the Twitter ban).  This concept (“praise or support”) could be leveraged to remove someone from the Internet completely by a notion of contagion. 
There are people out there who claim that saying you won’t date a trans person is hate speech – hence Martin Goldberg’s video yesterday would cause trouble. (Twitter has a rule regarding preferred pronouns, misgendering and deadnaming.)  We simply don’t have much rationality on this beyond obviously making threats or doxing. 

Then, today, Tim Pool reports on reports in the Wall Street Journal (Pete Rudegeair, paywall) and Breitbart (Charlie Nash) about Paypall’s removal of accounts from fringe groups. 

Tim Pool released a video today that is quite disturbing.  At 2:00 he even says that “libertarians” could be banned.  Does that mean candidates for the Libertarian Party or all of their supporters?  

Pool also plans a video soon on “parallel economies” which presumably means crypto currency (Monday’s post) as more people might get shut out of the normal one.

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