Wednesday, April 10, 2019

House holds hearings on Internet hate speech and right-wing extremism online; YouTube lifestream intercepts vitriolic comments; the problem with meta-speech

The House Judiciary Committee held hearings on hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. 

CNN was so preoccupied with Trump and Barr that it didn’t get around to showing this.
Candace Owens (who got things wrong on the Covington Kids in the past) had a particularly interesting exchange.

Tony Room has an article on p. A15 of the Wednesday, April 10, 2019 Washington Post, “A flood online of hate speech greets lawmakers probing Facebook and Google about white nationalism”. The point of the article, of course, was the comments. They’re still out there.  I wouldn’t say they are all that awful. 

I will have to play the entire hearing later. The speakers claim that YouTube and Facebook are piping vitriolic hate into homes. The trouble is, you can find what you want to find, because the algorithms send you content you were looking at. I rarely see much of this, except in intellectual introspections from a distance (like from Sargon of Akkad, etc).  You find offensive content because you want to be offended.

There is particularly a problem with “meta-speech”.  A lot of viewers don’t have the literacy or even intellect to differentiate between speech “about” something and speech that actually incites or promote something.  Recently there have been some videos by Internet personalities like David Pakman and the techie and normally upbeat Thio Joe that so many users are simply “stupid” and are babies (like Trump and the orange balloons).  There is a serious cognition gap across society, in the streets, in the military (although that’s gotten better), and in the online world.

Here’s an example of Twitter censorship of meta-speech, of journalist Sandi Bachom (injured in the Charlottesville incident before the car attack), for a post that happened to include an image of an obscure neo-Nazi symbol in reporting the march. Some of the others mentioned in her post are now in prison. 

There is even the idea, as in Joshua Greene’s 2013 book “Moral Tribes”, which I will review soon, that you can rationalize anything, based on your own idea of metamorality.
Picture: there was a conservative forum at National Harbor Gaylord Hotel in late February. There was a recent potential (radical Islam) terror threat at NH stopped by the FBI (various news reports) by police intercepting a stolen vehicle.

Update:  April 11 

Hunter Avallone reports having his YouTube channel suddenly suspended with no previous community guidelines strikes on Monday, the day before these hearings;  it was restored seven hours later.  I sampled his videos and found nothing that is normally understood to be hate speech (although some people on the Left wing fringe would see his being critical of some individuals with personal issues as "hateful").  It's ironic because YouTube had announced it would always give creators a courtesy warning (Verge story). 

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