Friday, November 08, 2019

Facebook and YouTube hide or block content "naming names" of whistleblowers ("coordinated harm" policies)

There is a lot of flak this evening about social media companies removing content that names “the” whistleblower(s) on Ukraine and possibly Epstein.

Actually, the facts are not quite hammered down. I think it is possible there is more than one, but that's another matter. 

But Facebook is removing posts that mention “the” name and YouTube is marking such videos “private”.

Since YouTube and Blogger belong to the same company, I have to presume for the moment that it is banned on Blogger.  I haven’t heard about Wordpress.

As a practical matter, visitors will find it very easy to get the name(s) right now so I don’t need to spell it out here.

Facebook says it will revisit the policy if public figures regularly name “they”.   But social medias have to grapple with the "amplification" effect which is related to radicalization (as they are now worried about it). On the other hand, "activists" (in FB's words) often want to be public.  And if an "activist" (SJW) falsely complains someone advocates white supremacy (and "opinion" in defamation law), what recourse should the target have (Rand Paul, helow). This slides back to tribalism. 
Facebook says its policy bans coordinating harm and facilitating crime, and it has to apply to policy in a neutral manner to protect ordinary users from being targeted if they become involved in an unusual or bizarre situation in some coincidental, unpredictable matter.  (This actually happened to me when I was working as a substitute teacher in the fall of 2005.)

Twitter as of now has not banned the naming.
There are good legal questions as to whether naming a protected whistleblower is a crime.  

Apparently it is not when testifying or giving a deposition. It doesn’t seem to be so for a president to do it. Or Congress. 

What about an ordinary journalist or blogger?  Could the Whistleblower Protection Act apply?

There are some articles with distant discussion, one in the Washington Post by Harry Litman  and another on CNN   David Pakman speculated that Donald Trump Jr., Breitbart, or even an ordinary blogger (if mentioning it) could be arrested and prosecuted. 
Both Tim Pool and Matt Christiansen have had YouTube videos marked private today (Pool also was hit by Facebook).  Matt’s is available on Bitchutel  Tim's should be available on Subverse or Minds. 

Sen. Rand Paul has argued that "the accused" (Trump) have a right to confront their accusers, but somehow feels that this situation is very different from Edward Snowden, who should have been protected.  

I also wanted to share a grim article by Andrew Sullivan in New York Magazine, "This is no ordinary impeachment", where Sullivan warns of a sinister cleavage in liberal democracy from tribalists who simply want to belong to their cults (that's true on both left and right). 

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