Tag Archives: Social Media

The Despicables, Eric Peters

The big social media companies have asserted their rights as private businesses to choose who gets to use their service. Fair enough, but why are other businesses who want to exercise their rights as private businesses and choose either to mandate masks and social distancing or not called out and demonized by the social media companies? From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

 
 

One of the nuggets to be mined from the wholesale cancelling of politically unapproved speech by the Tech Oligarchs – soon to be empowered by government oligarchs, if the “kraken” doesn’t somehow prevent it – is how obvious their pathological dishonesty has become.

Amazon, Facebook and Twitter have asserted that, as private businesses, they have the right to decide with whom to do business – and not do business with. But do they feel the same way about the right of other private businesses to practice what they preach?

Only when it conforms with what they preach.

Consider the religious tenets of the Sickness Cult; specifically, the dogma that requires all to wear a Face Burqa within a privately owned business, even if the owner isn’t religious and isn’t interested in proselytizing to his customers, much less insisting they show respect for a religion he doesn’t subscribe to.

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The Democrat-Big Tech censorship alliance just ran a masterclass in media control for dictators around the world, by Graham Dockery

This is how totalitarianism announces itself. From Graham Dockery a rt.news:

The Democrat-Big Tech censorship alliance just ran a masterclass in media control for dictators around the world
 
Despite the mewling of the spineless American media, the real coup this week wasn’t committed by President Trump’s supporters, but by his opponents. They’re writing a manual on modern regime change, and it’s ready for export.

When President Donald Trump’s supporters forced their way inside the US Capitol on Wednesday, they did not act as a unified force bent on seizing power. Instead they snapped selfies, looted souvenirs, and engaged in petty vandalism. While the rampage ended in tragedy for the protester shot dead by police, the police officer fatally injured, and the three others who suffered “medical emergencies” and died, it was soon snuffed out and Congress returned to work that evening to certify Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

Their ringleader even urged them to go home and committed himself to the “seamless” transition of power to Joe Biden. Worst. Coup. Ever.

Yet politicians on all sides and their enablers in the media swiftly declared it an “armed insurrection,” a “coup attempt,” and an example of “domestic terrorism.” ‘Never Trump’ Republican Kurt Bardella described Wednesday’s events as “symbolically worse than Pearl Harbor or 9/11,” while pundits described the littering and hooliganism as an assault on the “temple of our democracy”  – you know, the same temple where respectable politicians vote on which foreign land their young soldiers will die in next.

 

The Cultural Purge is Now in Overdrive, by Mark E. Jeftovic

All improper thoughts and improper thinkers will be eliminated. From Mark E. Jeftovic at outofthecave.io:

Four years ago, after the unthinkable happened and the wrong guy won the US election of 2016. I wrote an article about how I had feared a type of “cultural purge” from within the corporate media, Big Tech and cancel culture spheres. Like everybody else, I didn’t expect Trump to win (like most other Libertarians, I was holding my nose and pulling for Gary Johnson, whose running mate, Bill Weld, endorsed Hillary Clinton during the election campaign).

What I expected then, after Trump would have unceremoniously lost the 2016 election,  was a type of cultural purge against anybody and everybody who enabled his run or supported him. What surprised me was that after he won the cultural purge proceeded anyway. In retrospect it seems obvious, at the time it blindsided me.

For the next four years we watched any (remaining) semblance of objectivity and impartiality wither away from the mainstream media. Even more troubling, was that it was also happening within Big Tech. Everything polarized and all judgement calls became characteristically asymmetrical. As I noted on occasion, that compared to the post 9/11 era when the Neocons controlled the narrative and the word “liberal” was a slur, everything flipped. Now it was the word “conservative” that was unusable and being a single micron to the right of centre was equated with being “literally Hitler”.

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The Threat of Authoritarianism in the U.S. is Very Real, and Has Nothing To Do With Trump, by Glenn Greenwald

They’ve been calling Trump an authoritarian fascist for four years, but they’ll authoritarian fascists are the Joe Biden crowd. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

The COVID-driven centralization of economic power and information control in the hands of a few corporate monopolies poses enduring threats to political freedom.

(L-R): Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY,TOBIAS SCHWARZ,ANGELA WEISS,MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Asserting that Donald Trump is a fascist-like dictator threatening the previously sturdy foundations of U.S. democracy has been a virtual requirement over the last four years to obtain entrance to cable news Green Rooms, sinecures as mainstream newspaper columnists, and popularity in faculty lounges. Yet it has proven to be a preposterous farce.

In 2020 alone, Trump had two perfectly crafted opportunities to seize authoritarian power — a global health pandemic and sprawling protests and sustained riots throughout American cities — and yet did virtually nothing to exploit those opportunities. Actual would-be despots such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán quickly seized on the virus to declare martial law, while even prior U.S. presidents, to say nothing of foreign tyrants, have used the pretext of much less civil unrest than what we saw this summer to deploy the military in the streets to pacify their own citizenry.

But early in the pandemic, Trump was criticized, especially by Democrats, for failing to assert the draconian powers he had, such as commandeering the means of industrial production under the Defense Production Act of 1950, invoked by Truman to force industry to produce materials needed for the Korean War. In March, The Washington Post reported that “Governors, Democrats in Congress and some Senate Republicans have been urging Trump for at least a week to invoke the act, and his potential 2020 opponent, Joe Biden, came out in favor of it, too,” yet “Trump [gave] a variety of reasons for not doing so.” Rejecting demands to exploit a public health pandemic to assert extraordinary powers is not exactly what one expects from a striving dictator.

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Big Media: Selling the Narrative and Crushing Dissent for Fun and Profit, by Charles Hugh Smith

The legacy and social media companies and our rulers and betters all swim together in a giant cesspool. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

The profit-maximizing Big Tech / Big Media Totalitarian regime hasn’t just strangled free speech and civil liberties; it’s also strangled democracy.

The U.S. has entered an extremely dangerous time, and the danger has nothing to do with the Covid virus. Indeed, the danger long preceded the pandemic, which has served to highlight how far down the road to ruin we have come.

The danger we are ill-prepared to deal with is the consolidation of the private-sector media and its unification of content into one Approved Narrative which is for sale to the highest bidders. This is the perfection of for-profit Totalitarianism in which dissent is crushed, dissenters punished and billions of dollars are reaped in managing the data and content flow of the one Approved Narrative.

So don’t post content containing the words (censored), (censored) or (censored), or you’ll be banned, shadow-banned, demonetized, demonized and marginalized. Your voice will be erased from public access via the Big Media platforms and you will effectively be disappeared but without any visible mess or evidence–or recourse in the courts.

That’s the competitive advantage of for-profit Totalitarianism–no legal recourse against the suppression of free speech and dissent. And if you’re shadow-banned as I was, you won’t even know just how severely your free speech has been suppressed because the Big Tech platforms are black boxes: no one outside the profit-maximizing corporation knows what its algorithms and filters actually do or exactly what happens to the disappeared / shadow-banned.

Shadow-banning is an invisible toxin to free speech: if you’re shadow-banned, you won’t even know that the audience for your posts, tweets, etc. has plummeted to near-zero and others can no longer retweet your content. You only see your post is online as usual, because this is the whole point of shadow-banning: you assume your speech is still free even as its been strangled to death by Big Tech black box platforms.

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Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine, by Adrienne LaFrance

I was on Facebook briefly but decided I just wasn’t very interested in my Facebook friends’ pets, diets, exercise routines, grandchildren, or frankly, their lives. The lack of a downvote function was also a disincentive. So I got off with no regrets. I’ve never been on any other social media, but it must have some sort of allure, judging from the millions who are on it. From Adrienne LaFrance at theatlantic.com:

The Doomsday Machine was never supposed to exist. It was meant to be a thought experiment that went like this: Imagine a device built with the sole purpose of destroying all human life. Now suppose that machine is buried deep underground, but connected to a computer, which is in turn hooked up to sensors in cities and towns across the United States.

The sensors are designed to sniff out signs of the impending apocalypse—not to prevent the end of the world, but to complete it. If radiation levels suggest nuclear explosions in, say, three American cities simultaneously, the sensors notify the Doomsday Machine, which is programmed to detonate several nuclear warheads in response. At that point, there is no going back. The fission chain reaction that produces an atomic explosion is initiated enough times over to extinguish all life on Earth. There is a terrible flash of light, a great booming sound, then a sustained roar. We have a word for the scale of destruction that the Doomsday Machine would unleash: megadeath.

Nobody is pining for megadeath. But megadeath is not the only thing that makes the Doomsday Machine petrifying. The real terror is in its autonomy, this idea that it would be programmed to detect a series of environmental inputs, then to act, without human interference. “There is no chance of human intervention, control, and final decision,” wrote the military strategist Herman Kahn in his 1960 book, On Thermonuclear War, which laid out the hypothetical for a Doomsday Machine. The concept was to render nuclear war unwinnable, and therefore unthinkable.

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The dehumanising danger of social media, by Josephine Bartosch

The internet has turned many people into slaves of social media and online porn. From Josephine Bartosch at thecritic.co.uk:

Josephine Bartosch says that far from facilitating an enriching meeting of minds, the online world is producing a dystopian world that is breaking us apart

The pandemic has been a technologist’s wet dream: forcing people online has accelerated what were already inevitable changes. Social distancing started a long time before the threat of contagion, sometime around 2005 with the spread of high-speed internet. In the previous decade, technologists shared a utopian vision of the digital world as a space where, freed from prejudice, mind could meet mind.

John Perry Barlow’s stirring 1996 Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace described it as a world “both everywhere and nowhere … not where bodies live”. The unmooring of mind from body has left people adrift, navigating a turbulent online world without the reassuring markers humans evolved to recognise.

This internet-fuelled crisis of sexuality and identity is pulling in youth across the world

Infamously in 2014 Facebook changed the site to offer 72 “gender options” rather than the two sexes. Brielle Harrison, a software engineer quoted at the time, claimed: “People are given this binary option, do you want to be male or female? What is your gender? And it’s kind of disheartening because none of those let us tell others who we really are.” It seems “who we really are” is now determined by how one chooses to present on social media, what we “want” rather than what we are. One year later and Facebook changed the “gender” option to an open text box for self-description: the ultimate individualised identity.

To the bafflement of many older lesbian, gay and bisexual people, increasing numbers of those under 30 now identify as “queer”. The Guardian recently launched a series called “Genderqueer Generation” on “the children and young adults who are rejecting traditional gender identities”. One interviewee in the series, a teenager called River, explains: “I discovered the whole LGBTQ community online around 2017 when I started using social media more often … The internet had a big role in me discovering myself. Online, I felt understood. I felt helped. I feel like the internet tells us stuff that we can’t learn in real life.”

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The Collectivist Nature of Social Media Platforms and Big Tech, by Mark E. Jeftovic

The social media hive mind is essentially collectivist. From Mark E. Jeftovic at outofthecave.io:

Never before in history have we seen such fertile ground and incentives toward groupthink and mass histrionics as we have today with total saturation of social media. Once our mobile phones were converted into near Star Trek level tricorders, and WiFi became ubiquitous we found ourselves swimming in “The Spew”, without even realizing that we had become like fish in a digital aquarium.

While I would be loathe to dispute the benefits the advent of the Internet bestowed on humanity, those of us who have watched it evolve over the past few decades or even had a minor hand in shaping and building it can’t help but wonder if somewhere along the way, things took a bad turn.

The great enablers of digitized groupthink are the social media platforms.

All that time you spend on Facebook, arguing politics with people you’ll never meet or care about. It can take over your life and you end up having those same arguments with the  people who truly matter in your own life: your friends and family.

All of that time, all those threads, tweetstorms, pile-ons, trending hashtags, updating your avatar in conformance with the issue de jour, at some point you have to ask yourself why you are expending the bulk of your mental energy chiming in with your opinion on things that are for the most part completely out of your control and that you’ll never be able to impact in any meaningful way.

Whose ends are you serving by participating in that? Certainly not your own. You don’t actually gain anything from going along with this, and if you actually consider the opportunity cost you begin to see the possibilities of what you could accomplish in your own life, for yourself and your family, if you spent your time doing something else.

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How to Limit Social Media’s Power without Growing Government, by Peter St. Onge

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 distinguishes between online platforms and publishers. Platforms are supposed to take all comers and are exempt from defamation and other laws to which publishers are subject. However, social media platforms are acting like publishers, and its time to force them to make a choice: go back to being platforms or be considered publishers, which would destroy their business plans. From Peter St. Onge at mises.org:

Censorship by private companies is a topic that divides free marketers but has suddenly become important in the wake of Twitter and Facebook’s recent attempts to squash a New York Post story alleging corruption in the Biden family. Last year, economist James Miller argued that just as the power company can’t turn off your electricity for being a Trump supporter, social media companies shouldn’t be able to silence you for your political opinions. Others have argued that companies can silence whomever they like because it’s their company. This is a red herring that misses the fact that reform would actually reduce government intervention by narrowing something called Section 230 immunity.

First, what free marketers agree on: regulation of speech by government is both unconstitutional and a very bad idea. From 1949 to 1987, the so-called fairness doctrine was used to utterly silence the Right—Rush Limbaugh was a salesman for the Kansas City Royals until Reagan finally repealed the rule, and Murray Rothbard famously could fit the entire libertarian movement in a living room. The doctrine’s repeal opened the floodgates for talk radio, then Fox News, and now content from the Mises Institute to Praeger University to the Babylon Bee. Given that the vast majority of federal workers remain partisan Democrats—the “Deep State,” if you will, hasn’t changed its colors. Reimposing regulation of speech likely means a return to socialist domination of speech.

However, actual solutions being proposed involve not more regulation, but less. In particular, narrowing an immunity that was granted to online platforms in Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. This was a special immunity from liability for user-posted content so long as the company was acting as a platform open to all comers—think “common carrier” rules like with the phone company.

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Try 2021, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

If you think 2020 is weird, wait until 2021 rolls out. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

Had a little email exchange with Dave Collum this week. We go way back, more than two weeks even. It’s been a while though, Twitter cut me off from Dave’s tweets ages ago for some reason, and that’s just one person I know they did that with; how many others, no clue. My Twitter followers, @AutomaticEarth, have been just below the same certain number for years.

Regularly a few hundred are shaved off, and then they slowly revert back to just below that number. I don’t even care anymore. No more than I care about Facebook shutting down our account without any explanation. Let them be. We should not depend on these people, that’s just a bad idea.

Anyway, so Dave was reacting to a mail I sent him of the October 26 Debt Rattle -he’s always remained on one of my mailing lists- and that’s how we started talking again. Dave:

I have never spent a year so completely baffled by the world as this year. Nothing makes sense to me without invoking some seriously bizarre thinking (which I am not averse to doing.)

My reaction:

The game hasn’t even started yet. We’re still just warming up. Still, baseball is not the right analogy, that’s a civilized sport, this will feel much more like gladiators in the Forum fighting to the death. Biden has neither the energy not the -killer- instinct for that.

Yes, Dave, like Jim Kunstler, and like me, and many other people, have changed our views and positions on American politics quite a bit over the past 4-5 years. Mostly independently of each other. We just recognize the same patterns. I think it’s fair to say that we all realize that there may be a million things wrong with Donald Trump, but there’s a lot more wrong with collusion to unseat a fairly elected president.

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