"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Links - 7th May 2019 (2) (Big Tech and Censorship)

YouTube Explores Censorship of 'Dislikes' After 'Rewind' Humiliation - "YouTube is considering removing or limiting its users’ ability to use the “dislike” button to indicate their distaste for content after one of the platform’s own official videos — the infamous “Rewind 2018” annual recap — became the most disliked YouTube video in history... The dislike button has evolved into a popular way for ordinary YouTube users to express their disapproval with progressive propaganda. The trailer for the all-female Ghostubusters reboot, a box-office bomb and progressive cause celebre, became the most disliked movie trailer on YouTube with over 600,000 dislikes. More recently, Gillette received 1.3 million dislikes on its controversial ad about “toxic masculinity,” widely pilloried as sexist against men.All of those numbers pale in comparison to YouTube’s “Rewind 2018,” a video released by the platform at the end of last year. Meant to highlight the year’s most viral moments, the video was sharply criticized for excluding top YouTube stars in favor of elite-approved old media celebrities like Will Smith and John Oliver, along with a smattering of uncontroversial yet obscure YouTubers.With 15 million dislikes, “Rewind 2018” is the most disliked video in YouTube’s history. It even displaced Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” which was the most disliked video on the platform for nearly nine years. YouTube’s most-subscribed star, PewDiePie, known for his opposition to political correctness, was excluded from “Rewind 2018.” In response, he published an alternative Rewind, titled “YouTube Rewind 2018 But It’s Actually Good.” The video featured numerous viral moments that didn’t appear in YouTube’s official video, including Logan Paul’s infamous Japanese suicide forest video and Kanye West’s Oval Office meeting with President Trump. It’s no surprise that YouTube is considering doing away with the dislike button. It’s part of a wider trend that could be described as a war on popular feedback. Mechanisms for the expression of popular opinion, from dislike buttons and comment sections to the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump have all come under attack from elites over the past two years.Elections have been delegitimatized, with elites accusing them of being the results of foreign manipulation. Open communication platforms have been recast by the media as breeding grounds for hatred. The same media is busy repeating YouTube’s framing of dislikes as a problem of “mobs,” and praising YouTube for deciding to “fix” the feature.The same tech journalists also failed to cover Breitbart News’ scoop last month, which revealed that the platform manipulates search results for politically sensitive search terms, including “abortion” and “David Hogg.”... YouTube appears to be increasingly out of step with the values of its own users. The platform’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, is one of the most progressive executives in Silicon Valley, someone who believes there can be “too much freedom of speech”, and who personally joined the chorus of SJW outrage at Google demanding that viewpoint diversity advocate James Damore be fired in 2017. And yet, it is critics of progressivism who have won the support of YouTube’s audience. PewDiePie, the most popular YouTuber on the platform, is a politically incorrect comedian who has criticized left-wing propaganda like the bogus “gender pay gap.” When YouTube’s ordinary users are allowed to express their preferences, they unambiguously signal their opposition to the progressive value-systems of the platform’s executives. Little wonder those executives want to put a stop to it."

Google Manager Said Company Must Stop 'Fake News' Because 'That's How Trump Won' - "A manager at Google allegedly cautioned a lower-level employee for questioning the company’s stance on “fake news,” telling him that the company had to stop fake news and “hate speech,” because “that’s how Trump won,” according to a post aired publicly by another Google employee on social media... The employee also alleged the existence of official training courses at Google dedicated to “bashing conservatives and Trump supporters.”... his attempts to address the matter did not resolve his concerns.“Bluntly, I do not trust Google’s ability to properly prevent and handle these sorts of incidents,” said Wacker.“The distrust extends to its leadership, its management, and especially to its HR department.”"

Lawsuit: Google Instructed Managers that 'Individual Achievement' and 'Objectivity' Were Examples of 'White Dominant Culture' - "A document brought to light by James Damore’s class-action lawsuit against Google and drafted by the company’s HR department instructing managers at the company on how to be “inclusive” cautioned managers against rewarding employees for traits “valued by the U.S. white/male dominant culture”, including individual achievement, and meritocracy... unlike James Damore, who was fired after he referenced studies on gender differences, the document’s author “was never reprimanded for promoting harmful racial and gender stereotypes of Google-disfavored races and males.” “Rather, this program became part of Google’s indoctrination of its management staff.”"

Google employees will sit-in to protest retaliation culture - "Leaders of that protest say they've since faced retaliation and that they're not alone. Two major employee protests in a six-month period isn't an especially good look for Google. We'll see how the company responds."

Logic, Empathy, Honesty - Posts - "When you employ people with a strong ideological bias, and force out people who dont buy into victim narratives and social justice, you end up with a workforce who care more about protesting perceived slights than they do about getting their jobs done.
Google is lying in a bed of it's own making."

Instagram and Facebook Ban Infowars, Far-Right Extremists - "In an effort to contain misinformation and extremism that have spread across the platforms, Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, have banned Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and Paul Nehlen under their policies against dangerous individuals and organizations. They also banned the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has repeatedly made anti-Semitic statements."

Is Facebook a publisher? In public it says no, but in court it says yes - "Facebook has long had the same public response when questioned about its disruption of the news industry: it is a tech platform, not a publisher or a media company.But in a small courtroom in California’s Redwood City on Monday, attorneys for the social media company presented a different message from the one executives have made to Congress, in interviews and in speeches: Facebook, they repeatedly argued, is a publisher, and a company that makes editorial decisions, which are protected by the first amendment... In the Six4Three case, Facebook has also cited Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, US legislation that paved the way for the modern internet by asserting that platforms cannot be liable for content users post on their sites. In court filings, Facebook quoted the law saying providers of a “computer service” should not be “treated as the publisher” of information from others.“It just strikes me as fundamentally problematic,” said Jane Kirtley, a professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota. “On one hand, you’re trying to argue you’re this publisher making editorial judgments. But then they turn around and claim they are protected under [Section 230] because they are not publishers.”

Facebook begins to shift from being a free and open platform into a responsible public utility - "Facebook wields societal power on an unprecedented scale. The company’s decisions about what behaviors, words and accounts it will allow govern billions of private interactions, shape public opinion and affect people’s confidence in democratic institutions... What the public expects from a technology company is substantially different from what people expect in, say, a water company or the landline telephone company. Utility companies need to be accountable to the public, offering transparency about their operations, providing accountability when things go wrong, allowing verification of their claims and obedience to regulations meant to protect the public interest... Technological advances mean what used to be extra services – like internet access and social media – are now necessary parts of modern life. Internet service providers are facing similar transitions, as the net neutrality policy debate lays ground rules for the future of an open internet."

Facebook apologises for blocking Prager University's videos - "Prager University had said some of the clips had been falsely accused of containing hate speech... The Los Angeles-based institution has previously clashed with Google... The incident comes a month after Facebook executive Monika Bickert was summoned to appear before Congress to answer claims that the social network was biased against conservative voices.She said Facebook wanted to host "the broadest spectrum of free expression" and noted that it had incorrectly removed content from both sides of the political spectrum in the past. But she also took time to give a "personal apology" to two high profile Trump-supporting vloggers - Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, also known as Diamond and Silk.Facebook had sent them a message in April telling them their content was "dangerous" and "unsafe to the community", only for it to acknowledge the judgement had been "inaccurate" when they complained"

Facebook says Zero Hedge ban was a 'mistake' amid uproar over big tech censorship of conservative content

Big tech's censorship of conservative users is alive and well - "72 percent of the American public thinks it “likely that social media platforms actively censor political views that those companies find objectionable.”

It Isn’t Your Imagination: Twitter Treats Conservatives More Harshly Than Liberals - "To see whether there is an empirical basis for such claims, I decided to look into the issue of Twitter bias by putting together a database of prominent, politically active users who are known to have been temporarily or permanently suspended from the platform. My results make it difficult to take claims of political neutrality seriously. Of 22 prominent, politically active individuals who are known to have been suspended since 2005 and who expressed a preference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, 21 supported Donald Trump... Twitter debuted in 2006. Yet I could not find a case of the company suspending or banning a prominent person before May 2015. While this may be due to deficiencies in reporting, it also may reflect Twitter’s claim at the time that it was “the free speech wing of the free speech party.”... of the 22 suspended individuals, only one was a Clinton supporter. This was actress-turned-activist Rose McGowan, who temporarily lost access to her account in 2017 for posting someone’s private phone number. Note that this is an unambiguous violation of Twitter’s rules, so the platform had little choice in this case. The platform does not seem to have suspended a single prominent Clinton supporter based on the substantive content of his or her expressed views... assuming some randomness in enforcement unrelated to bias, one would have to assume that conservatives were at least four times as likely as liberals to violate Twitter’s neutrally applied terms of service to produce even a 5% chance (the standard benchmark) that a 22-data point sample would yield a result as skewed as 21-1. Are prominent Trump supporters more likely to break neutrally applied social media terms of service agreements than other voters? Perhaps. But are they four or more times as likely? That doesn’t seem credible.Indeed, it is not difficult to find cases of liberals engaging in speech that appears to cross the line while not being punished for their transgressions. This includes the case of Sarah Jeong... When conservative activist Candace Owens copied some of Jeong’s tweets and replaced the word “white” with “Jewish,” she was suspended from the platform. Perhaps realizing how hypocritical this looked after they had not taken any action against Jeong, Twitter allowed Owens back on, but only after she deleted the offending tweets. Interestingly, if you search “Sarah Jeong” in Google, you get no auto-complete suggestions regarding her controversial tweets, despite this being the source of considerable infamy. On Bing and Yahoo!, “Sarah Jeong racist” is the first offered search suggestion when her name is typed in... Another particularly shocking case is that of Kathy Griffin, who demanded that her followers make public the names of the Covington High School students who were falsely accused of aggressively harassing a Native American activist. Despite this explicit call to harass minors, she has not been sanctioned by Twitter... Are we to believe that while prominent figures on the left encourage uncivil and even violent tactics, both on and off college campuses, their online behaviour is, with the solitary exception of Rose McGowan, universally exemplary?... While social media platforms are private companies, anti-discrimination laws generally allow legislators avenues to address businesses that exhibit unacceptable biases in how they treat the public.It is unthinkable that we would allow a telephone or electricity company to prevent those on one side of the political aisle from using its services. Why would we allow social media companies to do the same?"

Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter - "Fan pages for Hezbollah & Hamas are still allowed on @facebook. So is the official page for Maduro, who is killing his own citizens. So the bans aren't actually about "safety." Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘hate ban’ isn’t about safety — it’s about his own ego"

Aussie Man Reported To Twitter For Death Threat Against Shapiro. Twitter's Response: Crickets. - "Shapiro is far from the only conservative who has been the target of death threats on Twitter and seen Twitter simply ignore what was going on. Author and pundit Dana Loesch has been targeted for years for her support of the NRA; in August 2018, as Peter Hasson of The Daily Caller noted, a Twitter user threatened her children, writing, “The only way these people learn is if it affects them directly. So if Dana Loesch has to have her children murdered before she’ll understand, I guess that’s what needs to happen.” Hasson pointed out that Twitter initially ruled that the user had not violated its rules against abusive behavior, but after outrage erupted, changed its decision. RedState reported in April 2018 of a man who made a series of death threats against Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and for at least a week Twitter didn’t suspend his account or remove the tweets. In an interview last September, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted conservatives at his company didn’t “feel safe to express their opinions at the company.”"
Liberal logic - if a company's employees' racial profile does not match that of the general population, minorities are being discriminated against and this will inevitably show up in the company being racist. But the lack of ideological diversity in tech companies doesn't affect their impartiality.

James Woods Banned from Twitter Amid Silicon Valley’s Conservative Blacklisting Campaign - "James Woods, one of the few conservative stars in Hollywood, has been locked out of his Twitter account for over a week now for “abusive behavior,” once again demonstrating the double standard the tech giant holds when it comes to enforcing rules. Twitter suspended Woods for a tweet that read, “‘If you try to kill the King, you best not miss’ #HangThemAll”... The quote is from Ralph Waldo Emerson and has been used in various forms in movies and TV shows like The Wire. Nevertheless, this post apparently met the threshold on Twitter for “abusive behavior.” Twitter does not appear to have the same standard for leftists. As Breitbart News has reported, there are several examples of actual violent threats going unchecked by the social media company.
Twitter allowed a number of verified accounts to participate in doxxing and violent threats against teenagers from Covington Catholic high school in January.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was on the receiving end of vicious sexist Twitter abuse after she defended Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Actor Peter Fonda said that Barron Trump should be taken away from his Melania and put in a cage with pedophiles. Fonda also called for Kirstjen Nielsen to be whipped. He later apologized.
Hollywood star Jim Carrey posted a drawing of Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. getting bludgeoned to death by an elephant last year. The tweet is still up.
In 2016, various accounts called for and cheered on the shooting of police officers.
Woods has been locked out of his account before for posting a meme."

Robert Barnes on Twitter - "Differences between the baker & Big Tech:
1. The baker doesn't offer a public service inviting political speech on his platform;
2. The baker doesn't have special federal immunity from suit for anything he publishes;
3. The baker doesn't have a monopoly on the public square."
Besides the utility argument, the platform (vs publisher) argument is another good reason why Big Tech would be legally - not just morally - wrong to censor dissenting political views

PayPal’s corporate censorship - "PayPal’s bans have the potential to severely limit the ability of activists and groups to raise funds online, curtailing their activity in the real world. It is alarming that decisions which might make or break a political group’s ability to operate can now be taken behind closed doors by unaccountable private entities – and in some cases, this is what activists and commentators are actively campaigning for, or at least cheering on. For instance, antifa groups have objected strongly to being lumped in with the Tommy Robinsons and Proud Boys of this world, whom they vehemently oppose. But they have no grounds to complain. The Guardian reports that these same activists welcomed PayPal’s ban on McInnes. They are all too comfortable with big corporates policing political activity, they just want other people to be policed."

Forget Facebook, They Want to Revoke Your Access to Banking - "The biggest threat that social media censorship poses is not you being unable to access Facebook or Twitter, it’s you not being able to get a mortgage or have a bank account... We have already seen numerous instances of people being deplatformed by BANKS for the political opinions, from Mastercard telling Patreon to remove Robert Spencer’s account, to Martina Markota and Enrique Tarrio having services terminated by Chase Bank over their support for Trump. Mastercard also recently indicated that it would hold a vote on whether to cut off payments to “global far-right political leaders”. But this will extend to everyone. Mastercard will ‘monitor’ your financial activity for indications of dissident behavior. That’s chilling...
I was banned by Facebook under the same designation which bans users from the platform who engage in the following behavior;
– Terrorist activity
– Organised hate
– Mass or serial murder
– Human trafficking
– Organised violence or criminal activity
Once marked as an “extremist,” this designation is then intended to apply to every other area of your life.This is the ultimate nightmare scenario – a Communist Chinese-style social credit system where you will be denied banking, loans and given poor credit rating if you associate with people or espouse views deemed “dangerous” by the establishment, which at this point is anything that counters their narrative. Facebook already announced it will ban people merely for mentioning people like Alex Jones or Gavin McInnes or sharing their content without simultaneously denouncing it. In the near future, AI will make this process instantaneous... This is nothing less than one giant digital re-education camp.The Paypal ban against Infowars was handed down just weeks after George Soros-funded group Right Wing Watch published an article demanding that PayPal terminate its agreement with Infowars for “egregious violations of the platform’s own terms of service.”With PayPal now buying up global credit card payment processors and moving into conventional banking, we are approaching a time when a handful of corporations will control all banking just as a handful of Silicon Valley giants now control free speech."
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