Reason Roundup

Facebook Cripples Community Organizing With Overzealous Attempts to Stop Russian Trolls: Reason Roundup

Plus: Trump changes his mind about military spending and why Rand Paul hates Trump's new attorney general pick.

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Fallout from new Facebook policies. Facebook's hamfisted efforts to stop "disinformation" and "foreign influence" have made it much more difficult for political activists, community groups, and ideologically aligned communities to coalesce and organize. "The social network's rules on political advertising burden nonprofits and are impossible to understand," states the Wall Street Journal.

Facebook's new "measures have been poorly executed and inconsistently applied," complains Daniel Gallant in the Journal op-ed.

This is something I've experienced firsthand in trying to navigate Facebook for the libertarian feminist group I co-founded, Feminists for Liberty. Whether it's the word feminism, the word liberty, or both, Facebook has coded the group as inherently political, even though we're a nonprofit and certainly not organizing around candidates, ballot issues, or elections. As such, we're subject to heightened scrutiny—including requests for all sorts of private personal and financial information—in order to ask for donations, promote events (even a happy hour), or do other things that pages and causes deemed non-political can do.

These new hoops were enacted after Facebook faced pressure from regulators over Russian troll farms running U.S. political pages and groups on the site. In the grand scheme of Facebook, their numbers and influence were very small. But American paranoia (and desire to blame Trump's presidency on anyone but ourselves) created a demand for Facebook to Do! Something!, and making it harder for small nonprofits to organize and easier to suppress political speech is the approach the company took.

Facebook's new measures "unfairly burden charitable organizations and small businesses, yet are easy for organized or well-funded actors to circumvent," writes Gallant. More:

Several paid advertising campaigns run by my colleagues and clients have been inexplicably obstructed by Facebook's policing in the past several months. Facebook refused to allow my New York cultural nonprofit, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, to pay to promote a post encouraging people to vote in the midterms because our page was not "authorized to run ads related to politics." A campaign promoting a lecture about sculpture at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts was blocked because Facebook's censors mistakenly believed it was intended to influence an election in Ireland….

The problem is widespread. The Atlantic reported on Nov. 2 that Facebook's election-security policies have caused it to block advertising campaigns from organizations including community centers, national parks and charities that serve wounded veterans.

Facebook's new policies regarding sexual content (another development at least somewhat spawned by meddling politicians and bureaucrats) are causing consternation too. "It wouldn't be a stretch to think that asking 'Netflix and chill?' could run afoul" of Facebook's new sexual solicitation policy, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warns.

Most Facebook users will be able to carry on as usual—undetected and unreported even if they do use "sexual slang" or slide into someone's DMs to make a pass. But expansive content rules and their inevitably uneven enforcement leaves a lot of room for these policies to be weaponized.

"With such broadly sweeping rules, online trolls can take advantage of reporting mechanisms to punish groups they don't like," writes EFF's Elliot Harmon. "Combined with opaque and one-sided flagging and reporting systems, overly restrictive rules can incentivize abuse from bullies and other bad actors."

Harmon continues:

It's not just individual trolls either: state actors have systematically abused Facebook's flagging process to censor political enemies. With these new rules, organizing that type of attack just became a lot easier. A few reports can drag a user into Facebook's labyrinthine enforcement regime, which can result in having a group page deactivated or even being banned from Facebook entirely. This process gives the user no meaningful opportunity to appeal a bad decision.

Given the rules' focus on sexual interests and activities, it's easy to imagine who would be the easiest targets: sex workers (including those who work lawfully), members of the LGBTQ community, and others who congregate online to discuss issues relating to sex. What makes the policy so dangerous to those communities is that it forbids the very things they gather online to discuss.

Even before the recent changes at Facebook and Tumblr, we'd seen trolls exploit similar policies to target the LGBTQ community and censor sexual health resources. Entire harassment campaigns have organized to use payment processors' reporting systems to cut off sex workers' income. When online platforms adopt moderation policies and reporting processes, it's essential that they consider how those policies and systems might be weaponized against marginalized groups.

FREE MINDS

Paul slams Sessions-replacement choice. President Donald Trump's pick to replace Jeff Sessions as head of the Department of Justice is a "big fan" of civil asset forfeiture, Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) lamented on Meet the Press yesterday morning. Nominee William Barr—who served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993—was also enthusiastic about mass surveillance. Barr "even went so far as to say the PATRIOT Act was pretty good [but] we should go much further," noted Paul.

FREE MARKETS

China mad at Canada for holding tech exec on U.S. orders over Iran sales. Got that? "The controversy over Huawei Technologies…escalated over the weekend after the Chinese government warned Canada it would face 'severe consequences' if it didn't release the Chinese telecommunications giant's finance chief," reports the Wall Street Journal. Canada is holding Huawei's Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice, which is investigating whether the company violated laws against trading with Iranians. Now, two big British banks—HSBC and Standard Chartered—are also "ensnared" in the international saga.

FOREVER WAR

Trump has changed his mind about cutting military spending. The president's new budget proposal reportedly seeks $750 billion for Pentagon spending in 2020. This budget "would dwarf the $733 billion budget proposal Mattis and other top military leaders have been fighting to preserve and would represent a stunning about-face for a president," notes Politico. Trump previously called a $716 billion military budget "crazy" and suggested cuts.

QUICK HITS

• Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner offered public relations advice to Saudi Crown Prince Mohmammed bin Salman after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

• Echoing Eric Garner, another man unjustly killed by thugs, Khashoggi's last words were "I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I can't breathe," according to CNN. The network's information comes from a "source briefed on the investigation" who has viewed a transcript of Khashoggi's killing.

• The U.K. can give up on Brexit without approval from other European Union member states, the European Court of Justice ruled today.

• Former Vice and Proud Boys head Gavin McInnes is the latest personality to leave the newly merged Conservative Review and The Blaze, which is now going by Blaze TV. Michelle Malkin left last week.

• "Boosting—basically one person playing on another's account to rank them up—is going to be a criminal offense in South Korea with some stiff punishments awaiting the booster," reports Polygon.

• The feds could "help foster children find permanent homes by lowering barriers to adopting children across state lines and prohibiting discrimination against religious organizations," writes American Enterprise Insttiute fellow Naomi Schaefer Riley.

• Incarceration nation:

NEXT: "Ruling on Iranian Law" in California Courts

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  1. Paul slams Sessions-replacement choice.

    Give it up, Rand. It’s going to be an attorney of some sort.

    1. Hello.

      I can’t believe that call against the Eagles on the opening play. Can’t. Fuck the Cowboys. They could barely beat a practice squad yesterday.

      1. In these days of outrage, I wish NFL had a team called the Indians.

        **Monday Night Football** Cowboys and Indians.

        1. I would start a league and make sure all the names are offensive:

          The Retards
          The Colonialists
          The Patriarchs
          The Whites
          The White Supremes
          The….

          1. The Washington Waterboarders
            The Russian Trolls
            The Facebook Users
            The Trump Voters
            The Starbucks Customers

            1. The Christ Zombies
              The Presidential Felons
              The Grand Old Limp Dicks
              The Gerrymanders

              1. The Slavers
                The segregationists
                The KKK

            2. The Kneel Grab Ass Titans

          2. “The Whites” haha. I Laughed hard on that one.

            Da Hillary vs Da Trump. Superbowl!

      2. The officials were very pro-Cowboy last week against the Saints also.

      3. The Cowboys are like the Clintons, they’ll get all the crooked help in the world but they’ll never reach the promised land again

        1. Listening to the sports pundits talk them up disgusts me.

          They got lucky right down to the last play.

          1. they did. refs called game wrong in both directions though so even-steven. vamos caballeros!

            1. I want to yell at you for both sidsing, but 3rd down conversions had a much greater impact than the refs, regardless of their direction

    1. Students from the university who witnessed the killing were taken immediately to a “psychological cell” where Mr Dowling’s fellow professors were also treated for shock.

      Deserved punishment, for your witnessing of events, and … er … someone please tell me this means something else in Irish/English?

      1. It appears to be a bad translation. I would use the term “private room” or maybe “office” instead. It would be more accurate.

    2. ‘He produced a drawing, which he showed off in class, insulting the Prophet Mohammed,’ Ali said, according to Ms Denis.

      Despite this claim, Ms Denis said ‘nobody remembers such an incident.’

      Sound familiar?

      ‘We don’t have proof of radicalization, but rather a feeling that we’re dealing with someone who is very religious, very pious, very practicing.’

      So, a *feeling* of radicalization?

      1. So, I’m guessing authorities have no clue why the murderer did it.

    3. Religion of peace. Clearly.

    4. What kind of sick monster wouldn’t link to a Daily Mail article when one is available?

    5. I’m flirt with favoring killing Religious Crazies but does make me crazy too? Whenever I feel this way I intimately understand the enemy.

      1. Disregard the ‘m.

        1. Religious crazies, like the religion of “climate change is going to kill us all five years ago”?

          Or the religion of 72 genders?

          Or the religion of the wage gap?

          Or the religion of “things with a beating heart aren’t alive”?

          Or the religion of intersectionality?

          I dunno who you think your ‘enemy’ is but I guarantee your ‘enemy’ is overall more tolerant than progressives

  2. Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner offered public relations advice to Saudi Crown Prince Mohmammed bin Salman after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

    Wait until he realizes the advice is coming from a Jew.

    1. MbS obviously didn’t take the advice since there was no string of 3 a.m. tweets calling his critics sad losers who didn’t want to make Saudi Arabia great again.

      1. no string of 3 a.m. tweets calling his critics sad losers
        What would you call Erdogan?

      2. It was not uncommon for Islamic rulers to have Jewish advisors in the Middle Ages.

    2. It was not uncommon for Islamic rulers to have Jewish advisors in the Middle Ages.

      And If ever there was a throwback to the Middle Ages it’s Saudi Arabia.

      (This is where I intended this comment to be.)

  3. Blaze Media no longer has a relationship with Gavin McInnes, and per company policy, cannot comment on personnel matters.

    i can’t untie my hands while i tie them for crying out loud

    1. Did McInnes go over the line finally?

      Is he still part of CRTV?

      Personally, I would have stayed clear of all the violence crap. While there’s nothing sweeter than seeing Antifa get their asses kicked, it’s better to not glorify it. In the end, he was gonna end up looking in the wrong. He tried to play and fight fire with fire and seems to have bitten off more than he can chew.

      I like when he did segments and should stick to it.

  4. Echoing Eric Garner, another man unjustly killed by thugs, Khashoggi’s last words were “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” according to CNN.

    And like the NYPD, the House of Saud wants the world to know it can breathe.

  5. Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner offered public relations advice to Saudi Crown Prince Mohmammed bin Salman after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

    the constanza do-the-opposite approach?

    1. To be fair, Trump’s “Costanza do-the-opposite approach” did get him elected.

  6. The Blaze? Like Glenn Beck’s The Blaze?

  7. Blaze Media no longer has a relationship with Gavin McInnes, and per company policy, cannot comment on personnel matters.
    ? BlazeTV (@CRTV) December 9, 2018

    Someone knows when he’s been unpersoned?

    1. is a tweet about an ended relationship also a comment on personnel matters?

  8. It’s sad. If MSM really wanted to damage Trump, they would spend their time calling him out on actual mistakes like the military budget rather than the Mueller nonsense.
    A simple compilation of his pre-election platform reviewed against his actual policies should be more than enough to get him fired in 2020.
    Instead, we’re calling him names and making him a victim.

    1. Suddenly, the army corps of engineers has the money for a huge pile of bricks and mortar down at the border for “practice”.

      1. That’s one way to do it. 😀

      1. Are you claiming being forced to read all about Trump’s Twitters all the damn time isn’t a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding?

        1. I would literally rather do anything than read all of those stupi … Oh. OoooOOOooh. [/edith]

      2. Trump also promised he would “Bring back Jobs”… but Jobs is still dead, and Apple is failing.

  9. China mad at Canada for holding tech exec on U.S. orders over Iran sales.

    iran-gotcha scandal

    1. China is claiming US law enforcement doesn’t have universal jurisdiction? No anchor babies for them then! Hell, even Central American peasants have figured out that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” isn’t a bad thing.

  10. A new study from Cornell University estimates that 6.5 million adults ? 1 in 38 ? in the U.S. currently have an immediate family member incarcerated.

    More at @washingtonpost: https://t.co/R9yJwNW4Xu
    ? The Marshall Project (@MarshallProj) December 6, 2018

    And the other 37 vote consistently to keep it that way.

  11. “The social network’s rules on political advertising burden nonprofits and are impossible to understand,” states the Wall Street Journal.

    never have they felt more nationalized than now.

  12. Boosting?basically one person playing on another’s account to rank them up?is going to be a criminal offense in South Korea with some stiff punishments awaiting the booster…

    An arrow to the knee.

  13. Most Facebook users will be able to carry on as usual?undetected and unreported even if they do use “sexual slang” or slide into someone’s DMs to make a pass.

    just don’t become a problem in a way that isn’t illegal and no one will have a reason to look into it

    1. Is it still free speech if no one can hear you?

    2. or slide into someone’s DMs to make a pass.

      I don’t even know what that means, but it sure sounds hot.

      1. I do it all the time.
        (I get slapped a lot)

  14. Facebook’s hamfisted efforts to stop “disinformation” and “foreign influence” have made it much more difficult for political activists, community groups, and ideologically aligned communities to coalesce and organize.

    Oh, NO!! They’ll be confined to the use of e-mail, telephones, snail-mail, radio, TV, lectures, soapboxes, ….

    1. I’m certainly not one to conflate libertarianism with anti-collectivism but when I hear that a privacy-marketing crony tech giant is flubbing free speech by hamstringing its political activists and community groups I have trouble mustering much more than an “and?”.

  15. Democrats Are Just Too Darned Smart
    I wish I had the answer to that because one of the things that we, Democrats, have a really hard time is connecting to people’s hearts.? But we have a really hard time doing that and one of the reasons it was told to me at one of our retreats was that we Democrats know so much, that is true. And we have kind of have to tell everyone how smart we are and so we have a tendency to be very left brain.? That is not how people make decisions.

  16. Democrats Are Just Too Darned Smart
    I wish I had the answer to that because one of the things that we, Democrats, have a really hard time is connecting to people’s hearts.? But we have a really hard time doing that and one of the reasons it was told to me at one of our retreats was that we Democrats know so much, that is true. And we have kind of have to tell everyone how smart we are and so we have a tendency to be very left brain.? That is not how people make decisions.

    1. From comments:

      The claim that Democrats are just too smart is hilarious coming from Mazie Hirono, who is definitely a few pineapples short of a luau.

      Poi for brains

      Maybe we can toss her into a volcano to appease the Hawaiian gods.

    2. we, Democrats, have a really hard time is connecting to people’s hearts.

      One supposes that’s why they constantly practice delivering the FEELZ.

    3. A person who has to tell everyone how smart they are, probably is not as smart as they think they are

      1. smart people aren’t always intelligent people.

  17. FB Cripples Community Organizing With Overzealous Attempts to Stop Russian Trolls

    You know who else tried to stop Russian trolls (with or without cripples)?

    1. German Orcs?

    2. “Facebook Cripples Community”

      Do they have a group page?

  18. BREAKING: Comey confirms he never directed FBI agents interviewing Hillary to ask her about the tarmac meeting just days earlier b/t her husband & AG Lynch, even tho he claims the meeting bothered him so much he made insubordinate move to cut Lynch out of plans to clear Hillary

    ? Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) December 9, 2018

    1. “No reasonable investigator would bring such a question.”

    2. “I’ll show her!”

  19. The feds could “help foster children find permanent homes by lowering barriers to adopting children across state lines and prohibiting discrimination against religious organizations,” writes American Enterprise Insttiute fellow Naomi Schaefer Riley.

    The same feds whose enforcement arm once actually purposely hosted child pornography. “For the children” is really just a disingenuous justification for things feds wanted to do anyway.

  20. Remember this whenever you hear MOAR GOVERNMENT will help distribute wealth more equitably.
    U.S. Census Bureau

    @uscensusbureau
    Highest counties by median household income (2013-2017):
    -Loudoun County, Va.
    -Fairfax County, Va.
    -Howard County, Md.
    -Falls Church City, Va.
    -Arlington County, Va.
    https://go.usa.gov/xPuUe
    #ACSdata
    9:25 AM – 6 Dec 2018

    1. It must be all that manufacturing in the DC area that is creating all that wealth.

      You know… manufacturing more ways to graft money from the areas of the country actually producing something.

    2. The wealth concentration is due to the all the immigrants running food trucks there.

      1. And massive spending on buttsex toys.

  21. For the “they are private companies” brigade:

    Tim Cook of Apple: We Want to Ban the Bad People From Using Our Products
    Apple CEO Tim Cook suggests it’s “a sin” to not ban certain people from social media and technology platforms: “We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division, and violence: You have no place on our platforms. You have no home here.”

    Are You Ready for the ‘Inevitable’ Clampdown on Tech and the Media?
    But the facts on the ground?however disputed they might be?are irrelevant when titans of industry, such as Cook, declare that “the free market is not working” and that regulation is “inevitable.” His opinion carries more weight than yours or mine. And he’s not alone. Earlier this year, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg embraced increased government control in anticipation of sitting down before Congress. “The question is more what is the right regulation rather than ‘yes or no should we be regulated?'” he told Wired.

    When actually talking to Congress, Zuck even volunteered to help write the regulations, while noting that the more Facebook and social media are regulated, the less likely it is that a rival will emerge.

    1. “The question is more what is the right regulation rather than ‘yes or no should we be regulated?'” he told Wired.

      “If we are to trust some men with arbitrary power, prove first of all that these men are formed of a different clay from other mortals; that they in their turn will not be acted upon by the fatal principle of self-interest; and the, placed in a situation that excludes the idea of any curbs any effective opposition, their judgments will be exempt from error, their hands from capacity, and their hearts from covetousness.” — C. F. Bastiat

    2. Meesa propose… that the senate give immediately emergency powers to the supreme chancellor.

    3. Okay, Mr. Longstorso.

      If you are invited into my house, and you start spewing pro-Trump propaganda, I should have the right to kick you off my property for that reason alone. Agreed?

      But, if you are invited into Mr. Cook’s ‘house’ in terms of his online forums, and you start spewing pro-Trump propaganda, it seems that you believe you should not be kicked off his property for that reason alone.

      So what is the threshold for when someone gets to be ‘too big’ for which the normal rules of property rights apply?

      1. It would be best if we all broke into our own little groups and excluded others.

      2. Read the parts about those same companies wanting ‘regulation’, and the history of things like Operation Choke Point, and then tell me this is purely a private enterprise initiative.

        Can the cell phone companies get together and deny service to anyone they deem politically unreliable?

        1. I think it is a case of corporate rent-seeking, nothing more, nothing less.

          Can the cell phone companies get together and deny service to anyone they deem politically unreliable?

          Well, if you regard them as a ‘common carrier’, then no. Should Apple be regarded as a ‘common carrier’?

      3. If Trump cannot kick Lefties off his private tweeter feed, then Apple cannot kick people off its “public” online forum.

        1. So wait… we’re FOR public accommodation laws again? I can’t keep track of our positions any more.

          1. What we want is consistency. Turning laws, like public accommodation laws, into political weapons is a perfectly legit thing to object to. I’ve lost count of the # of people trying to argue that if I oppose a law I should be happy to see it unenforced, even if that unenforcement is totally selective.

            You oppose a law? Then you should be happy when Dems and only Dems skate.

            1. So are you in favor of public accommodation laws, or not?

              1. I’m in favor of them being enforced consistently if they are to be enforced at all.

                Are you in favor of selective enforcement? You sound like you are.

                1. You aren’t answering the question, because you don’t want to hold yourself to any particular principle.

                  Quite frankly I don’t think you really give a damn about public accommodation laws. You just like using the issue as one to bash the left with.

                2. Your question is designed to defend selective enforcement. Repeal them or enforce them against the left also. I oppose enforcing them only against the non-left as the left wants it.

                  How hard is that to understand?

                  1. It’s not hard to understand. You’ve demonstrated that you’re actually FOR public accommodation laws when they benefit you as a protected class of people. It’s blatant hypocrisy.

                  2. No I get it. Principles are for cucks, amirite?

                    Your question is designed to defend selective enforcement.

                    Actually, it is designed to get you to take a stand one way or another. But instead, you are the one who is treating the law as just another tactical device – useful as a club when used against your opponent, and useful as a tool to elicit the sympathy of victimization when it is used against you. I guess that is what the modern right has devolved into. Laws do not reflect principles or values, they are only tactical instruments of war against the enemy.

                  3. If you were to say “I oppose public accommodation laws” then you would not be able to use them as a weapon against the Left.

                    If you were to say “I favor public accommodation laws, including protecting me as a protected class”, then that would mean you would be finding some degree of common cause with the Left.

                    But the way you have chosen, you get to have it both ways. You get to point out how awful the Left is when they use public accommodation laws for purposes of their own identity politics (“isn’t it just monstrous how the Left divides itself up into these separate tribal blocs?”), but then you also get to point out how awful the Left is when they use public accommodation laws to go after Team Red (“isn’t it just monstrous how the Left won’t recognize my own tribal bloc?”)

                    Standards and principles don’t matter. Instead, just use whatever convenient argument is at hand to “destroy the Left”.

          2. Unlike YOU Leo, Us Libertarians are against public accommodation laws.

            It was a joke, since some people who visit Reason are against Rule of Law too.

            1. I guess I didn’t get the joke. So are you fine with government forcing companies to platform speech they don’t like or not? You’re really hard to pin down on positions… what with the jokes and all.

              some people who visit Reason are against Rule of Law too.
              I’m not aware of a law that forces Apple to serve as a platform for political speech it doesn’t agree with. Political speakers aren’t a protected class under either the Civil Rights Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act. Although some may argue that certain political speech might fall under the latter?

              1. Evidently there is this conservative idea that platforms must be “content-neutral” or else they lose their special status, or something. I guess it is the Republican version of “Net Neutrality”.

          3. And again–the cultish, NPC blather.

            We have said, REPEATEDLY that we are AGAINST ALL PUBLIC ACCOMODATION LAWS.

            All caps. As if you might grasp anything that’s outside the limits of your programming.

            However, the people are not with us on this. There ARE public accommodation laws.

            Therefore, we demand that they be applied across the board or not at all.

            Our stance remains the same–We oppose all public accommodation laws.

            When dealing with the cards we’ve been dealt–If there are public accommodation laws they need to be applied to everyone, in the same fashion, or, by preference, not applied to anyone.

            It is not hypocrisy to demand that if one’s actions are deemed a crime then someone who supports one’s actions being deemed a crime that undertakes those same actions ALSO be deemed to have committed a crime.

            1. Therefore, we demand that they be applied across the board or not at all.

              So you demand that an unjust law be applied across the board? Where is the justice in that?

              If the law is unjust, you should not want to compound the injustice.

              Or – as I suspect is closer to the case – you don’t really care if the law is just or unjust or not, you just want to see your enemies suffer under its burden.

              1. Because those are the conditions that must be dealt with.

                Do you not understand the simplest things?

                You can fight for what you want, but you have to deal with what you’ve got.

                And what I’ve got, chem, is you and your cronies using public accommodation laws against ME, while allowing those that agree with you to blithely ignore those same laws.

                A ‘double standard’, if you will.

                I’m going to fight for what I want in any case–but until I win and you are a rotting corpse in the dusbin of history, I demand that the laws be applied equally–or and here are some caps ‘cos you keep missing this– NOT AT ALL.

      4. How much of Johnnies tax dollars go towards your mortgage payment?

        I think it’s reasonable to expect a company that takes taxpayer dollars answer to the taxpayer.

        1. What are the taxpayer dollars that Apple receives?

          1. They get millions in subsidies. A google search will provide plenty of info

            1. And yes it’s ironic I said “google” instead of the many alternatives

            2. Instead of making me search the entire Internet in an attempt to prove your vague claim, perhaps you should add substance to your vague claim by providing the evidence yourself.

      5. This right here is why you get called ‘cultist’ or ‘NPC’, chem–

        If you are invited into my house, and you start spewing pro-Trump propaganda, I should have the right to kick you off my property for that reason alone. Agreed?

        But, if you are invited into Mr. Cook’s ‘house’ in terms of his online forums, and you start spewing pro-Trump propaganda, it seems that you believe you should not be kicked off his property for that reason alone.

        You keep repeating this again and again even though everyone has pointed out that the difference is that YOU can do what you want, with YOUR house, but it’s NOT ‘Mr Cook’s’ house. It’s a venue, rented to Mr Cook, for a very special rate, provided that he let everyone speak their minds in it.

        Mr Cook gets to make his money, and he gets to operate with very little restriction IN EXCHANGE FOR letting everyone speak their mind.

        For the hyperboleth time, can you understand that?

        1. It’s a venue, rented to Mr Cook, for a very special rate, provided that he let everyone speak their minds in it.

          But it’s not. It’s Apple’s servers, Apple’s software, Apple’s products, Apple’s rules. If you are referring to Section 230 immunity, that immunity is NOT conditional on ‘evenhandedness’ or ‘impartiality’ or anything else like that.

          Please cite the relevant law (case law or otherwise) which backs up your claim.

          1. Incorporation law is, by itself, a “cheap rent” situation that shields Mr. Cook from all sorts of risk to his very large fortune.

  22. These new hoops were enacted after Facebook faced pressure from regulators over Russian troll farms running U.S. political pages and groups on the site.

    When Russia hacked our 2016 election and installed a President who may have been a Kremlin asset since 1987, it pulled off the biggest, most sinister conspiracy in world history. This attack on the very foundation of our democracy must be understood in the context of other notorious events like Pearl Harbor or 9 / 11. And like those tragedies, #RussiaGate cannot go unanswered.

    I applaud Facebook for fighting back against this hostile foreign power. If there are some minor technical glitches in the early stages of this important battle against Putin, I’m willing to forgive them. Because doing nothing in the face of Russian interference simply isn’t an option.

    #TrumpRussia
    #LibertariansForGettingToughWithRussia

  23. More important to impotently whine and bitch about Facebook than to remove their no-longer-warranted protections from terrible laws as “content-neutral” platforms.

    1. You mean Section 230? Their immunity under Section 230 is not predicated upon being “content-neutral”.

      1. It’s predicated on being a platform which is, by definition, content-neutral. If it is not, then they are publishers, not a platform.

        1. No, it isn’t. There was a long discussion about this on Reason not long ago.

          http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230

          (c) Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material
          (1) Treatment of publisher or speaker

          No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

          It doesn’t say “…conditionally as long as the platform remains ‘content-neutral'”.

          1. If the service is actively censoring views…then they are no longer a platform.

            Book publishers don’t get platform protections because they are simply not platforms.

            The “provider” of the interactive computer service is the ISP, such as AT&T, XFinity, etc. Not publishers such as Facebook, which are now content providers.

            It’s not AT & T’s fault if Facebook puts anti-Semitic bullshit on their service.

            1. If the service is actively censoring views…then they are no longer a platform.

              Where does the law state this?

              Once again, Section 230 says nothing about immunity that is conditional on non-censorship.

  24. China mad at Canada for holding tech exec on U.S. orders over Iran sales.

    Our attic would rather anger China than the main floor.

  25. Facebook’s hamfisted efforts to stop “disinformation” and “foreign influence” have made it much more difficult for political activists, community groups, and ideologically aligned communities to coalesce and organize.

    DO YOU WANT HILLARY TO BE PRESIDENT OR NOT?

    1. Because of that damn Facebook, she *had* to set up a private server!

    2. IT WAS HER TURN !

  26. These Facebook posts… too accurate for Facebook losers. Only Russian trolls are so precise.

  27. libertarian feminist group

    That’s a punchline in need of a joke.

    1. We’ll allow you to say that, but we’re giving you a disapproving glare and telling you that’s not funny.

  28. Democracy dies in darkness:

    European Court of Justice rules UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 and halt Brexit
    The EU’s top court has ruled the UK can revoke Article 50 and halt Brexit without the permission of other member states.

    1. So what if those idiot citizens dared to vote for it?

    2. Of course, its perfectly reasonable that a psycho Lefty ex-girlfriend can veto your breakup with her.

      1. Well, after her false allegations have cost you your job and put you in jail, are you actually ‘broke up’ with her?

        1. They’ll use no cash bail to release to her address. If you leave, youre stuck in jail pending trial.

    3. It is simply amazing that an EU Court finds a legal way for the British political class to get out of having to do something they did not really want to do in the first place.

    4. If the Brit gov’t isn’t careful, they’re going to get a Donald Trump elected there, too.

  29. Article is a little old, but I imagine many of our border-restrictionist crowd here at Reason would find agreement with it.

    For the West to live, equality must die

    1. The should be equal opportunities, but there will never be equal outcomes.

      1. “I just need wider powers “

    1. I thought foreign interference with what people saw on FB is what invalidates the 2016 election.

    2. So Zuck will have a political officer to report to?

      1. Well, French, so he will but only for a total of 8 working hours every week, not including weeks off for holidays and political uprising.

      2. So Zuck will have a political officer to report to?

        No, Zuck is partnered with the political officer.

        1. So, Commissars are making a comeback?

          1. Political Commissars that is.

    3. the first time the wary tech giant has opened its doors in such a way

      The “wary” tech giant. What does that mean?

    4. If only France fought this hard against the Germans in WWII.

      1. That’s not fair. The French get a bad rap, but the German war machine was fucking amazing. The only reason the “good guys” (in quotes because, y’know, Stalin) won was that the Russians poured out blood like water on the Eastern Front, and we had the numbers to just smash them into paste on the Western Front, too. Paraphrased quote from some German tanker, “We’d kill ten of their tanks for every one of ours, but unfortunately, the Americans always had an eleventh tank ready to go…”

        The French put up a good fight, they were just massively outgunned, outmaneuvered, and out-equipped.

        Plenty of French blood was spilled trying to hold back the Hun. Just because they lost is no reason to denigrate them as weak or cowardly.

  30. “Facebook’s hamfisted efforts to stop “disinformation” and “foreign influence” have made it much more difficult for political activists, community groups, and ideologically aligned communities to coalesce and organize.”

    In what way do political activists, community groups, and ideologically aligned communities benefit advertisers or Facebook’s shareholders?

    1. Facebook *is* an ideologically aligned community group of political activists. They’re shutting down the competition.

      1. Facebook is an advertising platform, and advertisers don’t want to pay to have their advertisements associated with especially divisive shit–unless they somehow think it’s in their best interests to do so.

        The reason Kaepernick lost his endorsement deals is the reason advertisers don’t want their advertisements to appear to be endorsing some group devoted to banning abortion, selling guns, or anything else controversial.

        Have you ever seen something controversial in an advertisement for Coca-Cola? Starbucks doesn’t want to be on either side of the open carry debate. They want to sell coffee at a premium.

        1. Have you ever seen something controversial in an advertisement for Coca-Cola? Starbucks doesn’t want to be on either side of the open carry debate. They want to sell coffee at a premium.

          For once I agree with you. For the most part corporations are not “pro-SJW” or “anti-SJW”, instead they are just risk-averse.

        2. Have you ever seen something controversial in an advertisement for Coca-Cola?

          Define “controversial”.

          Last time I went to the movies, there was a Coke ad which featured a male couple, an interracial couple, and a woman of indeterminate sexual preference (but wearing rainbow colored stuff so presumably “queer” of some sort) identified by the pronoun “they”.

          There are plenty of people that would find that sort of thing “controversial”, I think. (As usual, I just found the last one confusing. “Wait, there’s only one person in frame… Oh, right.”)

          1. Everything is controversial to some people. For whatever reason, they want that kind of controversy. They don’t want other kinds. That’s really easy to understand. Some things sell. Others don’t. They don’t want their ads showing up on content they don’t or can’t control because it makes it look like they’re endorsing that shit.

            Very easy to understand.

            The one who pays the piper gets to call the tune, and advertisers are paying for network television and Facebook, so it’s their concerns that matter most. If you want to see controversial shit, you gotta go to pay TV. When the viewers (or commenters) are paying the piper, they get to call the tune, and what they want is tits, monsters, and high body count.

  31. FOREVER WAR
    Trump has changed his mind about cutting military spending. The president’s new budget proposal reportedly seeks $750 billion for Pentagon spending in 2020. This budget “would dwarf the $733 billion budget proposal Mattis and other top military leaders have been fighting to preserve and would represent a stunning about-face for a president,” notes Politico. Trump previously called a $716 billion military budget “crazy” and suggested cuts.

    So no context of military budgets, because TDS?
    Decades: 1990s 2000s 2010s
    Years: 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15

    Def Budget($B) 266 270 271 292 304 335 362 456 491 506 556 625 696 698 721 717 681 610 614 637
    Total Budget($T)1.58 1.64 1.69 1.78 1.82 1.96 2.09 2.27 2.41 2.58 2.78 2.86 3.32 4.08 3.48 3.51 3.58 3.48 3.64 3.97

    Defense Spending (% Change) -0.1 +1.6 +0.2 +7.8 +4.0 +10.1 +8.2 +26.0 +7.6 +3.1 +10.0 +12.5 +11.3 +0.2 +3.4 -0.6 -5.0 -10.5 +0.6 +3.8
    Military budget of USA

  32. “President Donald Trump’s pick to replace Jeff Sessions as head of the Department of Justice is a “big fan” of civil asset forfeiture, Sen. Rand Paul (R?Ky.) lamented on Meet the Press yesterday morning. Nominee William Barr?who served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993?was also enthusiastic about mass surveillance. Barr “even went so far as to say the PATRIOT Act was pretty good [but] we should go much further,” noted Paul.”

    1. The primary qualification for being Attorney General has been to watch the president’s back since Watergate. For Trump, this is especially so–seeing how the Justice Department and the FBI were actively undermining his candidacy before he even became president. If Trump had a slew of people he could trust not to stab him in the back to choose from, I’d understand getting picky, but that isn’t the case.

      Incidentally, there isn’t anything to read into Trump’s pick of an Attorney General for precisely that reason. Trump didn’t choose Sessions because Trump wanted to end the legalization of marijuana in the states. He picked Sessions because he thought he could trust since Session supported him during his candidacy. Trump didn’t pick Larry Kudlow to be his economic adviser because he believed in Larry Kudlow’s free trade ideology either. Trump didn’t pick John Bolton because Trump decided to be a neocon either–John Bolton was Trump’s aid during his campaign in 2016.

      If Trump didn’t take the loyalty of his new pick for Attorney General into consideration considering that he may be facing impeachment hearings as soon as Mueller wraps up his investigation, then Trump would be dumber than Lou Ferrigno.

      1. Your point is well taken , but why cast shade on Lou Ferrigno?

        1. It’s not a knock on Lou really. Lou isn’t dumb. He just . . . couldn’t speak properly, which is why he had to take a back seat to Arnie back in the day. Lou would just take non-speaking roles. Later in life, he overcame his speech problems, and I got nothing but respect for that.

          Anyway, Lou wasn’t dumb because he was stupid. And I’m not making fun of him for not being able to speak.

          I’m making fun of people who were “dumber” in their way than he was in his.

          And now that I’ve had to explain the funny, it’s not so funny anymore.

          : (

          1. He was nearly deaf. That’s the reaaon he spoke like he was nearly deaf.

            1. And the guy on first base is named “Hoo”. “Waat” is on second, and “Idunoe” plays third base.

              Pointing that out ruins the joke. You must be a lot of fun at parties.

            2. Did you know that literal interpretations and miscomprehension of nuance are common symptoms of Asperger syndrome?

              Have you ever been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome?

              1. “Have you ever been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome?”

                You’re the guy who just took 4 posts to explain a joke.

                That wasn’t funny and not much of a joke.

                1. You’re the guy still doesn’t get it after four posts!

          2. Oh, and it wasn’t funny before you explained it.

            1. Yes it was.

              1. No, it wasn’t.

            2. Its especially funny since Trump can play 1st, 2nd, and 3rd bases along with home plate.

  33. “Canada is holding Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice, which is investigating whether the company violated laws against trading with Iranians. Now, two big British banks?HSBC and Standard Chartered?are also “ensnared” in the international saga.”

    The accusation is that HSBC and Standard Chartered were the victims of fraud by doing business with a front corporation wholly owned by Huawei. Meng Wanzhou apparently personally verified that the company they were doing business with had no ties to the front company, and the front company was selling technology to China–in violation of sanctions against Iran.

    This, inadvertently, made HSBC and Standard Chartered violate sanctions against Iran and effectively facilitate unauthorized technology transfers as well as effectively launder money for Iran to get around sanctions. If and when Meng Wanzhou is tried, HSBC and Standard Chartered will almost surely testify that they were the victims of fraud.

    Watch the press on this, and bookmark their overreactions against the Trump administration for fucking up negotiations with China over this. If and when charges against her are suddenly dropped and/or Trump pardons her in order to facilitate a trade deal with China, the same buffoons will start screaming about how she was guilty as sin–and Trump never should have let her go.

    1. Shit Ken, you just took three paragraphs to lay out what would have taken three Reason editorial board meetings to decide.

      Way to spoil the punchline.

  34. How big can snowflakes get?

    Well just looking around this country, snowflakes can get really really big.

    1. I’ve personally seen some 600 pounders. I was astonished they could still walk.

  35. A number of observations about what’s going on in entertainment these days.

    First of all, let’s mention Nightflyers.

    I think J. R. R. Martin may be screwing his brand with this one. First, people like GoT because of the complicated plots, the fully developed characters, great dialogue. Without that stuff, it’s basically Red Sonja

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUHsZEo4I24

    Nightflyers doesn’t have any of that stuff.

    And, worst of all, it’s starting on a plot point that’s so absurd, I’m not sure it can recover. They basically jumped the shark in the third episode. That’s like halfway through the movie!

    ***SPOILER ALERT***

    If you were Steve Jobs type genius building the first interstellar spaceship, why would you upload your dead mother onto the ship’s computer? Just so you can have an adventure where she fucks everything up in the third episode? That’s stupid. Why would you use that for the ship’s computer? It doesn’t make any sense.

    Anyway, it’s basically 2001: A Space Odyssey meets The Neuromancer meets Star Trek so far. I’m waiting for Neelix to show up at any time. When we get to see the aliens, the chances of it working out to be like Alien pay 1-9. Yeah, you win like ten cents for every dollar you put down.

    1. Just “Neuromancer” no “The”.

    2. That could be because J.R.R. Martin is a hack and his fans have all been tricked into watching Days of Our Lives, but hey what do I know.

      1. OK, first of all, it’s GRRM. George R. R. Martin.

        Secondly, GRRM has no business working on anything until GoT is finished.

        I wonder if he’d concede my point (15 years later) that I’m being reasonable not reading any of the damn books until he’s done writing them. Although, I like Sanderson, and I hear he did a good job finishing the Wheel of Time stuff, so, maybe they’d hire him to write the end to GRRMs blood porn series. He was sure pissed when I told him that at the time, though. Then again, I did say I was still buying them, just not reading them yet. I hate having to wait for a series to come out with a next episode.

        Which hasn’t stopped me from reading Sanderson’s stuff, but damn, that dude can fucking write. Same awesome “tells five interlaced stories all at once” style that I love about Tad Williams, without just telling the same story with different characters over and over again. (I was disappointed by Williams’ last series.)

  36. , Facebook has coded the group as inherently political, even though we’re a nonprofit and certainly not organizing around candidates

    Any one of these things or all of them together doesn’t mean a group is non-political. Just sayin’

  37. Streaming–couple of observations there, and some questions, too.

    I”ve been using DirectTV Now, which has been pretty great, but since I get my news from other sources, can’t stand ESPN most of the time, I’m really digging on Philo. You get live TV without major networks (I have an antenna and a Tablo system for that anyway), and Philo doesn’t give you news (no MSNBC, no Fox News, no CNN) or sports. Like I said, I get most of that stuff from other sources anyway. I’ve got the Reuters TV app, Bloomberg app, and SkyNews, and I get all my sports through NFL Sunday Ticket, NHL Center Ice, and the baseball one–not that the Padres have been worth watching. Anyway, where DirectTV Now, YouTubeTV, Sling, et. al streaming services will cost you upwards of $45 a month for live TV, Philo is just $16! I can afford DirectTV, it’s just that . . . I’m a cheap bastard, and I love the idea of sticking it to CNN, ESPN, and the other bundling bastards.

    On black Friday, Hulu ran a special for 99 cents a month! Hell yeah, I got that, just for Chip and Joanne.

    1. Wow, you must watch a lot of tv.

      1. Wow, you must not pay any bills.

  38. Last but not least, somebody explain to me how the “kanopy” app gets away with what they’re doing. If you have a library card, you can sign up for the service for free, and they appear to be streaming every goddamn film that exists anywhere in a library anywhere in the country for free. Do libraries have an exclusion to copyright laws? I mean, kanopy appears to offer the entire Criterion Collection for free! They seem to have more and better movies than Amazon or Vudu. I don’t know how they get away with it. There’s no fees or advertising. They’re better than Megaupload.

  39. ? “Boosting?basically one person playing on another’s account to rank them up?is going to be a criminal offense in South Korea with some stiff punishments awaiting the booster,” reports Polygon.

    Fucking gamers are turning out to be the biggest enemies of freedom.

    1. Is it gamers who are the enemies or the companies who make the boosted games?

      1. Gamers. Just like the whole lootbox fiasco. Gamers tend to not like loot boxes, or perhaps one might say there’s a very vocal segment of the gaming community that don’t like lootboxes. They dislike them so much they got lawmakers in the EU and have been chipping away at lawmakers in the US to pass laws banning them.

        Gamers don’t like them because they see it as “gambling” and the gaming community seems to have accepted that Gambling should be illegal.

        1. Lootboxes really basically are gambling, and the issue is that there are too many little kids who end up with gambling issue due to them.

          There’s a reason you can’t sell scratchers to 5 year olds.

      2. I haven’t read the details of the South Korea law, but from what I understand, if I’m a medicore player, gamers don’t like it when I enlist my hotshot friend to play under my account and win me all sorts of loot and gear– or get scores and wins I normally wouldn’t get. Gamers hate that shit. And to be fair, a lot of the stuff gamers as a group dislike I also dislike. But the idea of getting a legislature to pass a law is quite horrifying to me. Not so much with gamers. I suspect because most gamers skew young and there’s the much-discussed trend with the younger generation to run to authority figures to get them to curb behaviors they don’t like. Make of that what you will.

        1. That and stupid kids dont put two-and-two together that bringing government in to ban something YOU dont like now can be used against YOU later when someone doesnt like something YOU are doing.

        2. That is fucking stupid, though. I dragged my housemate’s character along on a Diablo 3 run yesterday, to help level his char and get him some “phat l00t”, not because he’s incapable, but because it’ll make it a lot more fun when the all of us get together to play on the weekend if he’s closer in rank to the rest of us who don’t have two jobs.

          1. Gamers invited the devil into the living room with their hatred of lootboxes. Now he refuses to leave. Surprise surprise.

    2. I’m just baffled on that one. It’s a fucking game. If you are that invested in some video game that you think a law is necessary, you really need to examine your life and priorities. Are they going to start shooting people who steal from the bank in Monopoly next?

  40. >>>much more difficult for political activists, community groups, and ideologically aligned communities to coalesce and organize

    because outside is too far?

  41. Well, crippling community organizing of the electronic type might not be a bad thing.
    Community organizers should be out in the community organizing, not posting a bunch of hate on social media.

  42. But expansive content rules and their inevitably uneven enforcement leaves a lot of room for these policies to be weaponized.

    To be sure, as a private company, Facebook can do whatever they want. ?\_(?)_/?

    1. Agreed. Up to and including agreeing to embed regulators and censors to combat hate and other undesirable forms of speech.


  43. China mad at Canada for holding tech exec on U.S. orders over Iran sales.

    I’m sure the ban on ‘older’ iPhone models being sold in China is simply coincidence. Ain’t mutually assured economic destruction grand? If we ‘break up’ with China, they lose one of their biggest customers and we lose most of our production capacity. I wonder who comes out worse?

    1. Are we still their biggest customer? They have a hell of a domestic market. God is on the side of the largest divisions, and China has a fuck ton of people.

      We could restart our domestic production capacity. Oh, wait, no we couldn’t. The EPA would forbid it. Never mind. I think we lose this one.

      1. Well, we could restart our domestic production with EPA approval, but the problem is no one wants to spend $6700 on an iPhone, so you’re correct, it’ll never happen.

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