Saturday, November 16, 2019

YouTube now has a new twist in its community guidelines, grown out of pure tribalism

Matt Christiansen has reported that he received a very bizarre message from YouTube early Nov. 13 warning him that one of his livestreams must be marked private because it could create “a credible threat to life”, presumably in the whistleblower case.
He did not get a community guidelines strike, and YT said that in these unusual circumstances it did not know how to apply its normal rules, because the context is so unusual. But then it suggested that it remove “misleading tags” and the like.
Apparently other creators, including Tim Pool, received the email too.
Christiansen showed normal media outlet stories (although they are “mid-sized” possibly conservative sites (Heavy and Real Clear Politics), not major media) that had named the person and he redacted the name and image.  (Personal note: the image in Heavy site is familiar to me, but I get around and travel to other cities a lot.  I won’t give more details now.)

It is almost unprecedented for a platform to imply that one user could "get somebody killed" (with the attendant moral culpability) outside of the more familiar context of organized crime and hired hitmen ("The Godfather" movies, etc).  The issue comes up with providing certain kinds of information (usually weapons) or in the Paladin Press book controversy in the 1990s (or possibly Turner Diaries). This is more of a moral precept we associate with hyper-tribalism, in opposition to the narrow libertarian idea that you are responsible (only) for the results of your own personal actions. That idea has really lost traction since 2016. 
The idea that a side, blog (set) or video channel is “misleading” or not transparent as to purpose is becoming more significant. For example, a lot of my content is spread across several platforms and sometimes duplicated, going back to legacy flat websites I set up around 1997 at the time of my first book.  Some are kept available but not often updated. The possibility of some items being on more than one place grew out of the idea that redundancy would keep content available when one site was down, in the early days.  I now have to contemplate reducing redundancies (which happen when new technology is introduced and it isn’t practical to move everything) and making the entrypoints much clearer to the public because of these concerns, which relate to the radicalization issue at least indirectly.

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