Thursday, May 16, 2019

Trump seems surprisingly supportive of individual free speech; Tim Pool invites others to join his news revolution

Makena Kelly reports in The Verge (Vox) that the Trump administration has uploaded a form for web content creators to report unfair censorship by platforms.   The form is here.  It is expected that it would be mostly “conservatives” who would need it.
This in some ways is encouraging. When Trump won the election in 2016, he seemed hostile to the Internet and some feared he would actually tramp down on amateur speech. Instead, he has demonstrated antipathy to mainstream media (and look at their blunders recently, like the Covington Kids).
Furthermore, last winter some writers (like in the Atlantic) had speculated that Trump’s threats of “national emergency” declarations, despite limited application with multiple instances in the past with other presidents (like after 9/11) could lead to social media crackdowns (as happens in other countries).  Yesterday Trump declared one regarding using China’s technology companies (Huawei and ZTE), but there seem to be no other implications (International Issues blog).

Then, as Emily Stewart of Vox reported yesterday, Trump won’t sign an international pledge (related to Christchurch) to combat violent extremism.  Last night, Chris Cuomo argued on CNN that the Christchurch video in itself as an incitement to act. He did not mention the "manifesto", possession of which is banned in New Zealand. In the past few weeks, there has been discussion of "quarantining" certain ideas or ideology, as Carlos Maza supported on Twitter recently. 

In the past few days, CNN has produced several stories of alarming increases especially of anti-Semitism online and domestic US (and EU) right wing hate speech in the US, as compared to past concerns over radical Islamist recruiting which had, in practice, been much easier for tech companies to identify and remove.

All of this happens about the same time that Tim Pool announces intended expansion of his Subverse independent journalism network and encourages others to contact him with pitches.  He made his announcement around 4 PM on Tuesday, Mary 14.  There were some jokes that he waited so as not to move markets! (Pool is too young to run for president by about six weeks;  I rather like Chris Hughes now.) 

It is titled, “I’m starting a news revolution, I need you to come work with us”.
He filmed it from a workspace in Connecticut.  It will send a reply myself, I expect later today, to “pitch at subverse dot net”.  That is the only correct place to respond, given the volume expected.
I may have more details about this in the next few weeks or so.  Stay tuned.

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