The Original Sin

A lot of people are screaming at the tech companies because the attacks in Christchurch were streamed. I’m not an expert on the matter, but I just don’t know how they are supposed to track every live feed. Maybe shutting them down could have been done faster. I don’t know.

To me, though, the real sin is that they have allowed these toxic communities to grow and prosper. Not only have they allowed it, they have monetized it and profited from it. It shouldn’t take a fucking groundswell of public anger to shut down /incel.






130 replies
  1. 1
    Another Scott says:

    A couple of quick thoughts:

    1) They could post videos on a 5 minute delay instead of “live”. What’s the rush to make everything instant?

    2) Gunshots have characteristic audio signatures. They could easily run video/audio through some software during those 5 minutes to see if there was any signs of things like that occurring and hold it for human approval.

    Agreed that too many of these “social network” companies insist that anything that generates clicks is good, no matter how toxic it is to society. It’s time that they stop.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    It wasn’t that long ago that all the cool kids were . massive libertarians when it comes to tech, so it’s a little hard to blame tech companies for taking advantage of the situation.

  3. 3
    ScottS says:

    Well, you’ll never get Twitter to ban the Nazis, ’cause Jack is a Nazi. You won’t get Facebook to ban them because it’d make the Russians angry. I guess they only way YouTube would ban them would be if Justin Bieber posted an anti-Nazi video.

  4. 4
    Betty Cracker says:

    When we replace the foreign-owned white nationalist demagogue in the White House with an American president, I hope she’ll fund efforts to identify and root out these online radicalization groups.

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Need Congress for funding, but otherwise I agree.

  6. 6
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    Attacks? Wha?

    Guys, I’ve been kind of blocked out from news all week during the days and too tired to catch up on things at night. I’m only beginning to catch up. What happened in Christchurch?

    And who are we looking forward to being indicted on this Indictment Friday, this Second Indictment Friday of Lent?

  7. 7
    MobiusKlein says:

    I worked on one of the earlier live streaming cell phone apps way back in 2007.
    We did it because we could, and because it was fun.
    Doing live content moderation? That is and was impossible to do right. Maybe in 10 years we will be able to.

  8. 8
    Another Scott says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-47578798

    Horrible. :-(

    Dunno about Indictment Friday. We’ll have to wait and see.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Baud: It doesn’t work like that anymore — haven’t you heard?

  10. 10
    MattF says:

    It’s pretty well understood that Facebook’s business model involves broadening the definition of ‘social’ to include ‘addictive’ and ‘pathological’. They want users to feel they must use Facebook. And then, of course, sell that information to anyone who puts up the bucks.

  11. 11
    WaterGirl says:

    @Betty Cracker: You are on fire this morning, and understandably so. It’s nice to have someone channeling my outrage.

  12. 12
    Brickley Paiste says:

    Yes, and everyone who logs into Facebook is complicit.

  13. 13
    Vhh says:

    Er, we could also go back to shunning and shaming would-be Nazis and other authoritarians and electing people would do the same publicly. You know, like we did consistently from 1940 to 1964 and, periodically, mostly during Dem administrations, since then. We could also prosecute people who commit hate crimes, including some in law enforcement.

  14. 14
    tokyokie says:

    Live-streaming a massacre strikes me as being essentially the same as snuff porn. Make those who stream such crap accessories to the crime.

  15. 15
    Cermet says:

    @tokyokie: Essentially?

  16. 16
    Baud says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    The tree of GOP principles just needs to be watered with the election of Democrats.

  17. 17
    rikyrah says:

    When I found out that he had livestreamed it…I was too done :(

  18. 18
    rikyrah says:

    @Baud:

    GOP principles ?

    don’t exist, other than for evil

  19. 19
    Ksmiami says:

    @Brickley Paiste: burn Facebook to the ground it serves no purpose and can easily be replaced

  20. 20
    Momentary says:

    Youtube and Facebook should just flat out disable video upload for 24 or even 48 hours after something like this. They could look at enabling curated or verified uploaders sooner, but they are basically fighting a DDOS attack with human review and that is never going to work.

  21. 21

    Regulation. These companies need to be regulated up the ass. Take a fucking proctoscope to them, all of them. My hope is that we’re going to reach that point before too long. How many more people need to die before it happens–well, I wouldn’t presume to guess.

  22. 22
    WindyCityCat says:

    @MattF: I know that Facebook does this, because every time I got a few days without logging in, I start getting bombarded with emails from Facebook begging me to come see what my acquaintances have shared or posted or telling me how many missed notifications I have. The sooner it gets broken up the better.

  23. 23
    Baud says:

    BTW, while tech reform is important, let’s not forget that the right wants to punish Google and Facebook because of the false belief that they discriminate against right-wing content. Be wary of “allies” in this fight.

  24. 24
    Mike R says:

    Oh come on, break up facebook. What do you people expect us to do, meet people face to face and have direct interactions. This for purpose of clarity is snark.

  25. 25
    gene108 says:

    I think there might be a market for a social media site that won’t sell all your information. You can share pictures of your friends and family, without worrying about relentless data mining. There’ll probably be some level of data tracking to sell ads for revenue, but it won’t get crazy like Facebook.

    I’m thinking, for example, if you put in a women’s name, you’ll get ads targeted towards things women are more likely to use / buy, such as bras, for example. The site wouldn’t try to sell you travel to ‘x’ place, because you posted pictures of going to ‘y’ place, which is similar to ‘x’.

    Kind of like what gets advertised on various T.V. shows. Some level of targeting, but nothing terribly intrusive.

  26. 26
    tobie says:

    I gather that the radicalization occurred on 4chan and 8chan, which seem to be the preferred mediums for fringe political movements. I don’t know enough about these message boards to say anything intelligent, but it seems like they play a huge role in exporting rightwing terrorist ideology and any discussion of digital propaganda has to include them.

  27. 27
    Momentary says:

    @tobie: Yes, I think any hosting service that hosts 8chan needs to be forced to shut them down. They’ll just move to the dark web, but it won’t be so easy for dumb kids to find them there.

  28. 28
    James E Powell says:

    Americans – the politicians, the elites, the people – have never made a commitment to eradicate white supremacy and bigotry. We really ought to make a central component of the Democratic Party argument. The white bigots already call us the party of the [whoever they hate] anyway. Let’s stop trying to placate the Real Americans® who will never vote for us and take a stand for the people we depend on to win elections.

  29. 29
    tobie says:

    @Momentary: Your comment reminds me that I really need to look up how these message boards work. I have no clue. Wasn’t 8chan the place where Qanon’s conspiracy theories were first aired?

  30. 30
    Ruckus says:

    @WindyCityCat:
    I used to check out my FB page several times a day, to keep up with friends.
    I check FB now on about a once every 2-3 month schedule. I’ve never received an email from them about my absence. We must have set up our pages differently. I never give out any more info than the absolute min necessary. With FB that’s way too much but one still doesn’t have to give out everything. OTOH I know people who have set up elaborate fake personas to have an account and have gone years without being found out. So none of their real life is on FB.

  31. 31
    Ruckus says:

    @James E Powell:
    That may be because it is so wide spread that there is a fear that adequate support for the rest of our policies won’t be enough to get elected. I think that is changing, we seem to be actually in the majority, the non haters or at least the non flaming haters.

  32. 32
    kindness says:

    Sadly because the activity of haters creates the traffic these tech companies thrive upon, they don’t seem to be too keen to cut off a revenue stream they currently possess.

    The answer is obviously to make this commerce cost them rather than enrich them. I don’t know how to do that. Set up laws allowing victims family’s to sue the web companies maybe? Somehow we have to take the profit out of it because corporations are now soul-less creatures.

  33. 33
    chris says:

    I had hoped to spend the day enjoying the young folks’ climate protest. It’s huge and worldwide. Instead we get yet another massacre in an unexpected place. And this:

    This is a staggering story from @AmyAHarder, who asked Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT) about his claim that the Green New Deal was nearly “tantamount to genocide.”AXIOS: How is the Green New Deal like genocide?BISHOP: I’m an ethnic. I’m a westerner. https://t.co/2IOhvBl2Ia— Robinson Meyer (@yayitsrob) March 14, 2019

    Gonna take my dog out in the heat (8C!!!) and watch the snow melt for a while.

  34. 34

    @tobie: they’re dirt-simple threaded bulletin board sites. One step above Usenet.

  35. 35
    Baud says:

    @James E Powell:

    We really ought to make a central component of the Democratic Party argument. The white bigots already call us the party of the [whoever they hate] anyway. Let’s stop trying to placate the Real Americans® who will never vote for us and take a stand for the people we depend on to win elections.

    You realize a large part of Hillary’s campaign was calling out Trump’s white supremacy. She was criticized for not focusing more on “policy.”

  36. 36
    Brickley Paiste says:

    @Ksmiami:

    Yes as long as people are lazy and stupid and value keeping up to date with their Antique Typewriter Facebook Group more than they value a functioning democracy- there will be problems

    But a regulation that requires explicit informed consent for every act of data collection would asphyxiate Fuckbook in a few months.

  37. 37
    tobie says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Oh…I was a bit confused because they’re called ‘image boards’ and I thought they might be more sophisticated looking than reddit. I guess not. What a squalid sewer where fanatics takes their daily dumps.

  38. 38

    @tobie: I mean, you can attach images to your posts.

  39. 39
    john b says:

    @Another Scott:
    A live feed on a 5-minute delay defeats the purpose and seriously degrades the possibility of engagement with people watching your stream.

  40. 40
    jimmiraybob says:

    Wow. I went to Breitbart to see what Trump’s base thinks and in no time flat ran into rabid hatin’ on the Muslims. And they are convinced that the shooter was a liberal commie socialist AOC-loving fascist. You could almost hear the veins throbbing with anger, resentment, grievance and blood lust – kinda like their late beloved leader, Andy, after a wee bit too much o’ the spirits.

    Without the actual transcript of the manifest as reference it’s impossible to discern made up bull shit.

  41. 41
    Wapiti says:

    @tokyokie: Exactly like snuff porn.

    What controls do online companyies have to prevent that from being streamed? What laws do we have in place? (That’s not to you – it’s my outrage and a little fuckifino how we’re supposed to be protected.)

  42. 42
    jimmiraybob says:

    @Baud:

    You realize a large part of Hillary’s campaign was calling out Trump’s white supremacy. She was criticized for not focusing more on “policy.”

    Can’t be said often enough.

  43. 43

    @Baud: The press corspe reached for their fainting couches after the deplorable speech.

  44. 44
    Llelldorin says:

    @tokyokie:

    Live-streaming a massacre strikes me as being essentially the same as snuff porn. Make those who stream such crap accessories to the crime.

    Live-streaming your own massacre is snuff porn. Live-streaming a government massacre is journalism. Tools that would block the former would immediately be used as tools by governments to block reportage of their internal issues.

    There’s probably a correct way to thread those concerns, but I’m not at all sure what it is.

    (Full disclosure—I’m a low-level engineer at YouTube, so I have a dog in this fight. These are my own opinions, though—I certainly can’t speak for YouTube itself!)

  45. 45
    Duane says:

    @Baud: GOP principles? Supporting Nazis. Promoting racism. Lie, cheat and steal. Nice principles you got there. Shame if they get you put in jail.

  46. 46
    HalfAssedHomesteader says:

    @Betty Cracker: Once upon a time the Dept. of Homeland Security had that as part of it’s mission. But ya know gotta secure that border.

  47. 47
    Momentary says:

    I do not believe that the tech companies see content like this as a profit stream, having myself been there and on the inside of this problem. What I do believe is that they are clinging to the belief that getting rid of this content is a problem that can be solved with flagging, post publication review, and AI breakthroughs. Because the alternative means accepting that the era of open upload publishing platforms has to come to an end, that it is an experiment that has not survived the current state of the world. And that is a pretty sad thing to accept, with far reaching implications. It means that publishing platforms must have editors, who have editorial skills and editorial responsibility and commensurate paychecks (i.e. not farms of entry level employees following crude decision trees and paid minimum wage). And that means the rate of publication of good stuff will also take a real hit. But I now believe that’s where we need to be.

  48. 48
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Baud: It was likely a factor in Clinton’s loss too, though it’s impossible to quantify. I know fellow white folks who aren’t Republicans who found Clinton’s focus on the Mothers of the Movement disturbing, who are offended by athletes kneeling during the anthem, etc. It was brave and necessary for Clinton to make anti-racism and rejection of bigotry of all types central to her campaign, but there was definitely a political cost attached then and there will be in 2020.

  49. 49
    WhatsMyNym says:

    but I just don’t know how they are supposed to track every live feed.

    Maybe check their social media and pay attention to uploads that are reported (and news reports). If they didn’t pull/pause it within a minute of it being reported, they just aren’t making an effort.

  50. 50
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Llelldorin & @Momentary: Interesting insider perspectives — thank you!

  51. 51
    Llelldorin says:

    @Betty Cracker: I was surprised by that too—there’s a huge group of people whose basic view on racism and sexism seems to be that if women and minorities would just stop complaining then they wouldn’t feel guilty and everything would be perfect.

    It’s such a bizarre argument that it’s hard to believe that it’s widely held, but here we are.

  52. 52
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Llelldorin:
    It’s a perfectly rational, if, evil, argument. I’d just put it a little differently: “If our victims stop complaining, then we can go on being racist and sexist. WIN!”

  53. 53
    WhatsMyNym says:

    @Momentary:

    And that means the rate of publication of good stuff will also take a real hit.

    Doesn’t seem to concern Youtube when it comes to making money though. The push by them to demonetize lower view youtubers was pretty rapid. That has it made harder for folks to get a foothold on the platform, while encouraging channels to look for viewership rather quality in their videos.

  54. 54
    Momentary says:

    @WhatsMyNym: I am sure there are all sorts of stupid metric driven decisions being made about that sort of thing. Again, viewership is measurable by a dumb algorithm, but assessing quality requires a qualified editor. So viewership gets treated as a proxy for quality =P

  55. 55
    Mike in NC says:

    We’d live in a nicer world without Facebook and Twitter. The less exposure to Fat Bastard’s mental illness, the better

  56. 56
    Bill Arnold says:

    For those of strong mind who haven’t read the manifesto yet, here’s a pdf. Note no guarantees that it’s not trapped somehow (though no reports), so i viewed it in a jailed obscure pdf viewer. Probably overkill, am paranoid. (Apologies if already linked somewhere here.)
    The section “Why did you carry out the attack?” on page 5 is interesting. (He helpfully spiked his own demented intended influence operation with it, assuming his motive is as stated.)

  57. 57
    HalfAssedHomesteader says:

    @chris: And that is totally not a hair hat he’s wearing. Not a hat I say!

  58. 58
    joel hanes says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I remember nascent communities of haters growing on Usenet, back when we thought that cross-posting to irrelevant newsgroups was a consequential sin. You’d see it raise its head in every gun-control thread. Some of the spam that eventually destroyed the usefulness ofso many groups was a foretaste of 4chan etc.

  59. 59
    snoey says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    Bellingcat has a good take on the manifesto:

    this manifesto is a trap itself, laid for journalists searching for the meaning behind this horrific crime. There is truth in there, and valuable clues to the shooter’s radicalization, but it is buried beneath a great deal of, for lack of a better word, “shitposting”

  60. 60
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brickley Paiste:

    But not the people who glamorize guns and downplay mass shootings. Those people are total innocents in this whole thing, amirite?

  61. 61
    germy says:

    The height of privilege is offering up “thoughts and prayers” when people get murdered for how they think and pray.— Drew Morgan (@drewmorgcomedy) March 15, 2019

  62. 62
    Kelly says:

    @Llelldorin:

    Live-streaming a government massacre is journalism

    and live streaming black people’s police encounters could save their lives.

  63. 63
    Momentary says:

    Looks like Tucows and CloudFlare deserve some of the pressure/scrutiny here…

    /whois 8ch.net
    Domain Name: 8CH.NET
    Registrar: Tucows Domains Inc.
    Name Server: BEN.NS.CLOUDFLARE.COM
    Name Server: ISLA.NS.CLOUDFLARE.COM

  64. 64
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Mike in NC: We’d also live in a world with someone else currently in the Oval office. :)

    Obama and Seth Meyers would’ve still been able to pile on at the WHCD however.

  65. 65
    Kay says:

    The truth is they’re not tracking this type of terrorism, though. There have been lots and lots of far Right attacks in the US. My God, we just had an actual terrorist threatening to attack every DC Democrat. Those are some powerful people. They were targeted for assassination by a guy with Trump shit all over his van. Not only was nothing done to track them, but the far Right in the US have managed to convince political media that they are some kind of maligned minority group who are targeted by Nancy Pelosi. It’s opposite land. As far as I’m concerned we’re not only not dealing with it, we’re actively encouraging it because to prevent it would hurt Rand Paul and Ben Sasse’s feelings.
    The fringe won in this country. They’ve all but declared victory. We’re all walking around weighing the odds and hoping they don’t get mad. It’s now just baked into our lives.

  66. 66
    catclub says:

    OT for the Florida man series.

    “Long was later charged with fraud at a freshwater fishing tournament, which is a third-degree felony in Texas.”

  67. 67
    Bill Arnold says:

    @snoey:
    The bellingcat piece is OK as an early effort; at least it’s trying to look at meta levels.
    This bit is interesting. Anyone know any more? (Drilling, but somebody must have already done some digging.)

    Did the groups you support/are aligned with order or promote your attack? No.No group ordered my attack, I make the decision myself. Though I did contact the reborn Knights Templar for a blessing in support of the attack, which was given.

    There’s a Sorcha Faal piece I won’t link (bad rep for misinformation) but maybe something else?

  68. 68
    Ruckus says:

    @Momentary:
    What you are saying is that the mass of humanity is just a mass and that not everyone is Shakespeare or even Steven King. That the ravings of the mass isn’t nearly as interesting nor as calming as say, that Steven King novel. That there is a lot of hate and glory to still being that cave person who knocks other people over the head with clubs. Or in this case modern clubs with projectiles. And does it for no other realistic reason other than he can.

  69. 69
    Kay says:

    I (obviously) don’t speak for young people, but I completely get why young people would want a sea change in US political leadership, why they would back a Sanders or a Yang.

    They think we have big problems! They’re not wrong! Another tax deferred savings account probably isn’t going to cut it!

    “Naive” isn’t the worst thing to be. The worst thing to be would be for us to think this situation is sustainable. It’s not. This doesn’t end well. Unless something big changes this goes no where but down. I mean, I’m a traditionalist, a process person, the “party faithful”, but I completely get why younger liberals would be looking for big changes. This must look DIRE to them. An active emergency. And it is!

  70. 70
    Bill Arnold says:

    @snoey:

    There is truth in there, and valuable clues to the shooter’s radicalization, but it is buried beneath a great deal of, for lack of a better word, “shitposting”

    True BTW. It will take me at least a day or two and lots of google (and etc) to confidently read it.

  71. 71
    Ruckus says:

    @germy:
    MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE BETTER THAN YOUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS!

    Sorry about the yelling, thought it might be appropriate in this instance……

  72. 72
    Momentary says:

    @Ruckus: I think humans are inherently status monkeys, and that when we structure society so that status has a huge effect on quality of life, then that triggers hugely amplified panicked angry status seeking behaviours in many humans. And that makes for competitive hate factories, and open access publishing platforms provide infinite ground for factory building.

  73. 73
    Anya says:

    The tech companies lack of responsibility and serious action is disappointing. The only way they will do anything if white supremacy and Nazism becomes unprofitable.

    One thing that puzzles me about the terrorist is him crediting Candice Owen as someone who radicalized him. This bit is so confusing. I don’t seek out Candice Owen but from the stuff I see on my Tumblr dash or twitter timeline she is just a grifter. She posts about Blaxit and about how Democrats are the real racist and true white supremacists. Still, I don’t understand how an African American rightwing grifter (honestly believe she’s just in it for the money), as loathsome as she is can inspire an extremist rightwing violent terrorist?

    I am beginning to think he just names her to get as wide a coverage as possible for his ‘manifesto’. I mean, the American media only pay attention to these incidents (unless the perpetrator is Muslim) if we’re somehow part of it.

    What am I missing?

  74. 74
    Kay says:

    Is anyone going to confront the President directly on the FACT that he threatened the MILLIONS of people who are his political opponents yesterday? I mean, WTF was THAT if not “radicalization”?

    The threat is coming not only from “inside the house” but “inside the White House”. He’s ginning this up deliberately to protect his own sorry ass from prosecution. Malice. He acts with malignant intent. I want him checked by the massive law enforcement apparatus I pay. They need to tell the president in no uncertain terms that he may NOT threaten the public.

  75. 75

    @Kay: It looks dire TO ME. The president of the US is stirring up hatred because it both benefits him politically and satisfies his own base instinct. I know the problem extends beyond that, but this presidential part of it is new in my quite long lifetime.

  76. 76
    Mary G says:

    I don’t wanna read it.

    The trouble with trying to rein in social media is the same thing that happened with TV and print media – the right will scream bloody murder at the slightest thing.

    This may be an unpopular opinion, but I’m a bit leery about the “shut ’em all down” idea. Controls on content are used by all the world’s authoritarians and it is a weapon that could easily be turned against us by Trump.

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @snoey:

    Here’s the thing about shitposting, though: it’s almost always the truth, in that it’s shit that the person doing the posting actually believes. It’s just that they pretend that they’re joking or just trying to piss people off so they can have plausible deniability.

    Nobody posts shit about the Holocaust being fake without believing on some level that Jews are liars who deserved to die. Period.

  78. 78
    Ruckus says:

    @Kay:
    It is and it has been for a long time. Politics as practiced in this country for my lifetime has been not to rock the boat, to get along. And yet that getting along was wrong because the status quo was wrong. Racism, misoginism, were/are practiced with fervor and it was wrong. This country has real possibilities to be a better place and yet it wasn’t run like that. Oh sure we’ve had our moments and gone one step forward, two steps back on several occasions. But the olds, and whomever makes up the olds at any one point in time are generally masters of the no changes in our lifetimes, we like things the way they are, because we’ve spent a lifetime of getting to where we are, good or bad and no youngsters are going to come along and change that. But we, the olds, have stood in the way for far too long. It’s way past time for this country to live up to the concepts that it was founded upon, not the ones that look like they have taken over, but which are basically the same ones that have been in charge for ever, with just new paint every so often.
    We can do better, we are at a crossroads of same ole same or a new direction. That new direction looks far better to this old fart than the old one.

  79. 79
    mr gravity says:

    Social media. Like whales at feeding time.

    Who’s for lunch? All of us.

  80. 80
    rikyrah says:

    1/ No @realDonaldTrump 49 people did not “die senselessly.” They were massacred by a right wing racist terrorist inspired by people you amplify and refuse to condemn. They were slaughtered Bc they were Muslim: the kind of folks you would like to ban from the US

    — Tim Wise (@timjacobwise) March 15, 2019

  81. 81
    tobie says:

    @Kay: I’d say everyone who posts here thinks we’re living through an emergency and there’s good reason to fear that things will get worse. That doesn’t mean we flock to Sanders or Yang, or look for a political messiah, or think that if you just burn everything down it can be rebuilt as a perfect social science experiment.

  82. 82
    Ruckus says:

    @Momentary:
    Agreed.

  83. 83
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Anya: The Bellingcat piece snoey links at #59 has a decent explanation of how this particular type of terrorist sows misinformation in content. I don’t know, but I suspect he called out Owens to foment infighting and perhaps, as you noted, to ensure maximum coverage in the U.S.

    @Kay: Same. I also understand the longing for a radical change in direction because the status quo is not sustainable. On our side, it’s Green New Deal, Medicare for All, etc. On the GOP side, the radical change in direction is Trump, who is basically a nuclear-armed 8chan poster who commands a decaying super power’s military. Scary shit.

  84. 84
    Kay says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    I don’t know Donald Trump personally. Are the millions of people the president threatened just supposed to trust that he didn’t mean it?
    It’s fucking ridiculous that the President casually tosses off a threat towards the people and it’s treated as if he’s some charming maverick, especially given the terrorist attacks we’ve seen from supporters of far Right ideology both here and overseas.
    Check him. Rein him in. He’s not a godammned king and I’m not his punching bag.

  85. 85
    trollhattan says:

    NPR spoke with NBC’s Ben Collins, who was new to me, about social media’s role in the massacre. He seemed very savvy and had good points about steps not taken to stanch radicalism on the web, including a great compare-and-contrast between our domestic white supremacists and ISIS. i.e., why were we able to kick ISIS off social media while not doing the same with these folks?

  86. 86
    Mary G says:

    @Kay: Preach! This!

  87. 87
    karen marie says:

    @Ruckus: I deleted my “real” fb account a couple years ago when I learned they had embedded with the Trump campaign and tried to do the same with Clinton, who turned them down. I have two fake accounts, completely locked down, that I use for online games that require being tied to fb.

    Deleting your account is easy. You can download and save all the content if you have stuff you don’t want to lose, like photos that may not be anywhere else.

  88. 88
    trollhattan says:

    @catclub:

    which is a third-degree felony in Texas.

    What in the actual fuck? Does that hold promise for getting more time than Manafort?

    “Mister Green, you seem wholly unrepentant for egregiously filling that bass with birdshot and risking permanent damage to the reputation of the Pro Bass Fishing League itself. Further, you seem only to regret being caught and losing your prize award of the Honda V-6 outboard engine, a very fine engine if I do say so myself. Too bad for you, I instead award you twelve years to consider your choices, Mister Green!”

  89. 89
    karen marie says:

    @WhatsMyNym: Twitter was certainly quick enough to suspend my account for calling some one an ignorant ugly bitch.

  90. 90
    Mike in DC says:

    I will vote for whichever presidential candidate promises a crackdown on rightwing extremists. Period. Full stop. I will donate to whichever presidential campaign promises to work on media reform. I will volunteer for whichever presidential candidate promises to reform social media itself.

  91. 91
    Searcher says:

    @trollhattan: oh hey, natural experiment.

    Have internet sanctions measurably hurt ISIS’s recruitment and operations relative to white/Xtianist supremacists?

  92. 92
    trollhattan says:

    @Searcher:
    Magic 8 Ball says “Certainly yes”

  93. 93
    Brachiator says:

    @trollhattan:

    why were we able to kick ISIS off social media while not doing the same with these folks?

    Have we really kicked ISIS off social media, or simply found some ways to track them?

    The Internet is by design, an effective communication tool. Unless you shut it down entirely or monitor it obsessively, noxious and hateful material will slip through.

    Obviously, you have to do the best you can with regulation and layers of law enforcement, etc.

  94. 94
    Ruckus says:

    @tobie:
    I think we are living in a time that we have exposure to a lot of stuff that was only living in some one’s head and is now spread as far and wide as the person whose head it was in wants it to be spread. The emergency is that we are seeing, live and in living blood, the thoughts and conspiracies that were hidden. We’ve always had morons and crackpots among the throng, they just have a place to say it out loud and to show that they are serious. This is a relatively very new thing. Not the morons or bigots, we’ve always had those, it’s the immediate publishing of their bullshit and actions that is new. And yes it’s scary because it seems like it’s overwhelming and new. It’s not new. It’s humans. Look at this blog, right now we have people from thousands of miles distance commenting or at least reading this. This makes our humanity, or lack of it, available for all to see, right now. And that is/can be very scary. Yesterday we could have watched a murder of 49 people take place as it happened. That’s scary. Most of us didn’t want to see that, didn’t need to see that, we have no trouble believing that it happened. 50 yrs ago most people would ask how could that happen, now we just believe it can and does, because we can see it for our selves. We want to know why. And the answer is humans. Most of us are better than this level but not anywhere near all of us. And most of us are capable of this if we put our minds to it, if we work on it, if we want it bad enough. The people that believe we need this have convinced themselves, with probably not that much effort, that we do need this. They are all around us, there is no group that is unable to provide soldiers for the battles that most of us see as wrong, that we don’t even see as battles in the first place. But these people are us and we need to ask why they are who they are, to find out why they are and to work to change that so their power is far, far reduced, rather than strengthened. I think that bigotry exists because of survival, an instinct that we all have most of the time. It drives us in strange ways sometimes, that some think we survive because others don’t or shouldn’t.

  95. 95
    Betty Cracker says:

    @karen marie: I did the same — fake account with no posts, no real info. It’s a big fat hassle to have no FB account at all. It locks you out of all kinds of neighborhood markets, local business sites, etc. On purpose, of course.

  96. 96
    bemused says:

    @Kay:

    At the very least, he is giving a shout out to his miserable base, giving them even more license to ratchet up protecting their morally bankrupt culture without giving a damn what they may do. Same goes for the GOP.

  97. 97
    trollhattan says:

    @Brachiator:
    Yes, and yes. And it took worldwide cooperation to stanch their presence.

  98. 98

    @Momentary:

    Youtube and Facebook should just flat out disable video upload for 24 or even 48 hours after something like this. They could look at enabling curated or verified uploaders sooner, but they are basically fighting a DDOS attack with human review and that is never going to work.

    I think there’s real value to live- or at least low latency- streaming. It gives a platform for things like live competitions that are too small to get on broadcast. You also have to consider cases like police brutality or other official misconduct, where the ability to get the news out in real time without censorship is invaluable. There has to be some way of maintaining that value while minimizing the technology’s value to evil people.

  99. 99
    Ruckus says:

    @karen marie:
    Yes, I know.
    But like a lot of things, there is always a side angle. I have friends on FB that I really don’t have much other way of keeping some track of. And yes, if I didn’t keep track of those friends would I be any worse or better off? Not that long ago I wouldn’t have been able to even ask that question. I attended my 50th HS reunion only because I heard about it on FB. I wouldn’t even have had a place to find out about it without FB or something like it.

  100. 100
    Ruckus says:

    @Roger Moore:

    There has to be some way of maintaining that value while minimizing the technology’s value to evil people.

    Isn’t that the downside to a free society? That we don’t control all the hate and bigotry that the world has to offer? This is the result of having actually very limited public restrictions on speech. And in a lot of ways it is a very good thing. We get to see that not everyone is a nice person, that a lot of the speech in the world isn’t good. It’s knowledge and the key to knowledge is how we use it, how it uses us, how we deal with the fallout from it. Atomic energy is just knowledge, making weapons from it was misuse of that knowledge. Possibly even making energy from it was/is a misuse of that knowledge. It’s not the knowledge that is wrong.

  101. 101
    cain says:

    So is this a good time to bring up the company I work for? https://puri.sm/? I work for a social purpose company as you guys know I was laid off twice now in the past 3 years. I joined this company last year, as a marketing dude, and now I’m running marketing for the company. But I really found my place here, it has the mission of a non-profit, but also we make money.. kind of like Penzey’s Spices.

    The mission is privacy and security, to counteract the googles, amazons, and everything else. Everything is about a digital civil rights and all that hoopla. I dont’ have to explain how things have gotten creepy of late with all these tech companies. But we’re going to be putting out some interesting stuff here in about a month and I’ll see if I can give folks here a deal especially if you want to get away from surveillance capitalism.

    If you got questions, let me know.. also if you think our marketing sucks on the page, let me know that too :D

  102. 102
    Momentary says:

    @Roger Moore: Agreed, but I think the only way to thread that needle is to revert to having editors. Having real time editors available to instantly approve such things is doable, it’s what journalism does when it works right.

    Edited to add: that is, when I said they should shut down uploads for 24 hours, I meant that as an emergency patch on the current system, versus the drastic change that I think is actually needed.

  103. 103

    @Llelldorin:

    I was surprised by that too—there’s a huge group of people whose basic view on racism and sexism seems to be that if women and minorities would just stop complaining then they wouldn’t feel guilty and everything would be perfect.

    I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.”

    –Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

  104. 104
    Momentary says:

    @Ruckus: “…they just have a place to say it out loud and to show that they are serious.” and to compete and and push each other to be more and more extreme, which I fear is the new part =(

  105. 105
    tobie says:

    @Ruckus: I don’t doubt for a second that digital media have made it far easier to whip up hate around the globe. But I do think that the absence of self-censorship in the political world (Trump being the prime example) and in traditional media outlets (FOX and talk radio being the prime examples) has made voicing racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and sexist opinions a lot more acceptable. I don’t know enough about social media to have anything of value to say about how to regulate it. I do know we have to vote the GOP out at all levels. They’ve made our discourse toxic.

  106. 106
    Momentary says:

    @cain: You appear to be offering a Linux laptop with hardened software and good hardware security (I like the hardware kill switch for the mic and camera). That’s nice but I don’t see much relevance to the issues with Google, FB, Amazon…?

  107. 107

    @Betty Cracker:

    I did the same — fake account with no posts, no real info.

    Unfortunately, that isn’t going to help. They’re still tracking everything you do online. Every time you view a web page with one of those little Facebook logos on it so you can share the page on Facebook, and any time you view a page that contains a Facebook ad, Facebook knows about it. They can combine all that information and very likely suss out your identity and a whole lot more, even if everything you gave them when you registered is bogus. Even worse, even if you have deliberately avoided getting an account, they’re still tracking you.

  108. 108
    Brachiator says:

    @Roger Moore:

    There has to be some way of maintaining that value while minimizing the technology’s value to evil people.

    If only it were easy. Yeh, there are some near universal understandings about what is evil. But still to a large degree, some evil is in the eye of the beholder. This is why Russia, Iran, China, and other nations want to shut down the Internet.

    And this is why Congress here, both liberals and conservatives, are hot to regulate the Internet, to install backdoors on phones and other devices, to impose limits. They come to you and blandly say, “You are obviously a good person. So you have nothing to hide. Why don’t you let us look into your device when we want? We only want to get the bad guys.”

    And in the age of Trump, the enemies of the people are always people Trump doesn’t like.

  109. 109
    opiejeanne says:

    @rikyrah: I just now found out it was live-streamed. I am in shock, I really am. Such evil, such brutality

  110. 110
    Ruckus says:

    @Momentary:
    Well my point was that the new part is being exposed to how much there really is, that we didn’t know about or could previously ignore.
    @tobie:
    Yes.
    But.
    Our discourse has always been somewhat toxic. We just didn’t see as much of it or see it as soon. We are now inundated with bullshit 24 hrs a day. Most of it is unnecessary in any way, except it’s there, it’s toxic and we like the interaction, even if not the subject matter. We are social animals, most of us actually like other social animals. But we’d like a lot of them a lot more if we don’t have to actually listen to what they think. That thinking hasn’t really changed, we just get to hear and see what we didn’t have the option to do, not all that long ago. This country had a rather different approach 200+ yrs ago. Free speech. Our first underlying premise, the first amendment, that we couldn’t restrict free speech. What we are talking about is what that means. We are at a junction in this concept. How do we deal with the freedom of speech when it changes minds in such a negative way? Bigotry? Religious hate, your secular leader is not my secular leader, therefore you must be destroyed? And how is that new? It’s not, we are just being exposed to it in a new fashion and at a much faster pace. And that exposure can and probably will lead to new and not so great new exposures. How do we deal with this? Being better people towards others will help, removing as much of the weapons from open acceptance will help. Not glorifying the shit will certainly not hurt. But this is a question that we have to figure out answers to in more than just 5 minute discussions. It is a question of more than just free countries have to ask, Russia has this as a problem from the other direction, the government controls all the content and puts it’s own slant on everything.

  111. 111
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Baud:: I remember her major speech identifying Trump as an “alt-right” person and his extensive contact with them was basically laughed off as “Just attacking Trump, no substance there at all and just more Democrats calling Republicans racist waah”.

    EDIT: This was targeted towards the wrong comment for some reason.

  112. 112
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:
    In every age the enemies of the people are always the opposite of the people in power.

  113. 113
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Apparently part of his manifesto (I have not read it) states “Muslims are invading and taking over my lands”. He was an Australian of British Ancestry killing in New Zealand so unless he can show me a DNA test showing Aboriginal or Maori heritage he can shut his white supremesist ass TFU.

  114. 114
    Chris Johnson says:

    @Anya: The media will only cover mass murder if it’s a nonwhite person’s fault

  115. 115
    Martin says:

    To me, though, the real sin is that they have allowed these toxic communities to grow and prosper

    Don’t disagree, but I don’t think people understand how impossible this task is. Here’s an example.

    Teens told me they use Google Docs to chat just about any time they need to put their phone away but know their friends will be on computers. Sometimes they’ll use the service’s live-chat function, which doesn’t open by default, and which many teachers don’t even know exists. Or they’ll take advantage of the fact that Google allows users to highlight certain phrases or words, then comment on them via a pop-up box on the right side: They’ll clone a teacher’s shared Google document, then chat in the comments, so it appears to the casual viewer that they’re just making notes on the lesson plan. If a teacher approaches to take a closer look, they can click the Resolve button, and the entire thread will disappear.

    I take this back to the source – exchange of information has zero marginal cost. It used to take a stamp or a dime for a phone call, but now it’s zero. And as such there are an infinite number of services that provide a free communication channel. A hate group could completely set up and organize within a single google doc. Or inside a video game clan chat. Literally anywhere.

    The tech companies know this so the efforts to ban them are from a societal perspective, pointless. From their view the only reason to ban them is for their own PR. Within minutes they’ll be set up somewhere else, so other than the inconvenience to the group, they’ve accomplished nothing.

    I don’t think they fail to care about the problem, but because their success was based on their recognition that zero marginal cost communication allowed new business opportunities (and new good social opportunities) they understand better than anyone what can’t be done here. And we can’t stop them through this mechanism. It will require a different approach. Should they still try? Sure. But understand they’re also going to get this wrong and ban some people that are trying to study hate groups or whatever.

  116. 116

    @Martin:
    I agree with some of what you’re saying, but I think you’re missing something important. What those kids are doing is basically improvising a group chat system. That’s easy to to with any system that lets people share information. What they’re doing is little different from what we used to do by passing notes in class; it’s just a bit more subtle and easier to avoid detection.

    Social networking sites go beyond that. They not only provide a forum for like-minded people to share information; they provide a means to steer people toward those forums. And some of them seem to be deliberately steering people toward the fever swamps, though it’s unclear if that is a result of the sites themselves being biased in favor of the fever swamps or of the fever swamp denizens being good at manipulating their steering algorithms. It’s that steering function that makes social networking sites something much more than just a massive scale group chat.

  117. 117
    Momentary says:

    @Roger Moore: Agreed. Martin makes good points, but there is a useful distinction between publication and communication, which has generally been reflected in law and policy. The phone company is generally not liable for what is communicated over their phone lines, but the newspaper is liable for what is printed in their pages. Internet platforms have long argued that because they are neutral and not exercising editorial control, they should be protected from liability in the same way as the phone company. I suspect they will eventually lose that argument. And if the hate factories were forced to be password protected and members only for their content, that would be a real improvement.

  118. 118
    Brachiator says:

    @Martin: Yeah. I saw the google docs story the other day, and just loved it.

    One thing, of course, is that kids use it for good and for bullying and other stuff. We can teach them ethics, but then we have to hope they grow out of wanting to be mean kids.

  119. 119
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Brickley Paiste: That’s rich coming from our principal gun-humper and apologist for the arms industry. You are mighty quick to blame social media for all the ills of society, but squall like a scalded cat every time someone talks about regulating the kinds of guns used in this type of massacre. “I should be able to buy whatever instrument of death I want INSTANTLY because FREEDOM but OMG that Facebook is so eeeevvilllll!!”

    Fuck off, clown. You add nothing, absolutely nothing – worse than nothing, negative value – to any conversation here that you sully with your presence.

  120. 120
    Ivan X says:

    @Ruckus: I think this is an incredibly honest and insightful comment. I agree. Thanks.

  121. 121
    TerryC says:

    Not to discount the negatives, but my life is so enriched by social media that I consciously feel grateful several times a day. I was born in 1947 and I am living a life that then aincouod not even dream about. I have access to every book p, every magazine, and millions of conversations.

    I have 2,300 Facebook friends and even more LinkedIn connections. Can’t say that I find LinkedIn to be useful but Facebook allows me so much that I could not otherwise do that I do NOT want it to do away.

    It’s usefulness to try to explain to me, “cybersplain” to me, that I can’t possibly have that many valuable and meaningful connections or friends. I do. Sucks to be you if you can’t accept that. And in the last couple of years, I am 71, I am extending my friends around the world due to volunteer activities for the Professional Disc Golf Association Europe, which would not be possible in 2019 without Facebook.

  122. 122
    TerryC says:

    You know what, I was recently revisiting part of my life as a sort of campus planner and realized that in terms of Facilities Management, or Space Management, managers of cyberspacers have ignored maintenance costs and have built up a huge balloon of Deferred Maintenance.

  123. 123
    Momentary says:

    @TerryC: You speak the truth =)

  124. 124
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Roger Moore:

    They’re still tracking everything you do online. Every time you view a web page with one of those little Facebook logos on it so you can share the page on Facebook, and any time you view a page that contains a Facebook ad, Facebook knows about it.

    There’s a solution for this[1] [which, admittedly, would require that users opt-in, but still, it’s a solution]: Imagine if a browser-plugin intercepted the FB cookie, and sent it to a “tumbler” that kept (say) the last 100 (1k, whatever) cookies it had received, and for each cookie it receives, it serves you back one — the oldest one it’s retained. A “first-in first-out” cookie queue. Instantly, FB’s tracking is *useless*. *Useless*.

    And of course, you could disable the plugin when you actually wanted to login to FB.

    I’m a systems jock, and if I learned enough about browsers and plugins I could write this. But it’s not my area of expertise. It seems obvious enough as a trick.

    [1] By “this” I of course mean this little technical issue. Not the bigger problem of social-media-mediated amplification of toxic politics (writ large, writ bloody, writ murderous).

  125. 125
    John Thomson says:

    @Llelldorin: Spot on.

  126. 126
    Jay says:

    @Roger Moore:
    @Momentary:
    @Martin:

    Y’all might want to read this article:

    https://sullyville.substack.com/p/pigs-a-million-different-ones?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy

    It talks about how and why some people go from Candice Owens et. al to The Deep End. And points out some ways to cut that path off.

  127. 127
    James E Powell says:

    @Baud:

    You realize a large part of Hillary’s campaign was calling out Trump’s white supremacy. She was criticized for not focusing more on “policy.”

    That “You realize” is demeaning and off-putting. But sure, I remember it well. And she had Mothers of the Movement and Khizr Khan at the convention. Took guts. May have cost her the election. But I’m not talking about Hillary, I’m talking about the Democratic Party which has not been vocal or consistent with condemnations of racism in all its forms.

  128. 128
    cain says:

    @Momentary:
    We are going to offer services later. But the point here is that all the software is free software/open source and so there is no back doors, no binary blobs etc. You can trust the OS unlike Microsoft and Apple.

  129. 129
    different-church-lady says:

    @MobiusKlein:

    We did it because we could, and because it was fun.

    Which is pretty much the #1 reason why most horrible things happen nowadays.

  130. 130
    different-church-lady says:

    @Roger Moore: In the end the algorithms don’t make a fucking difference. It isn’t about whether they serve the hate and disinformation to you. It isn’t about whether they know where you’ve been and what you think. It’s about the fact that any old asshole can spread their hate and they don’t give a shit. Because being manipulative digital-sociopaths is what made them rich in the first place.

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