Deplatforming Is a Dangerous Game

Paying customers may be the next targets for social media "deplatforming."


Silicon Valley's efforts to pull the plug on dissenting opinions began with Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, who have proven to be innovators in devising excuses to suspend ideologically disfavored accounts. Until now, the deleted or suspended accounts have mostly been unpaid users of social media—libertarian law professor Glenn Reynolds, actor James Woods, radio talk show host Jesse Kelly, Infowars provocateur Alex Jones. But paying customers may be the next targets for social media "deplatforming."

At a company-wide meeting in November, Amazon executives tried to fend off a revolt by employees upset about the company's decision to sell its facial recognition technology to U.S. police agencies and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Some Amazon workers also objected to Palantir, an analytics firm that relies on government contracts, being allowed to purchase Amazon cloud services.

This effort to deplatform paying customers has spread throughout the tech industry: Some 100 Microsoft employees signed an open letter complaining that, by providing email and calendar services, their company was "complicit" in ICE's border enforcement policies. Salesforce and Google employees have staged similar protests.

With the exception of Google suspending a Department of Defense contract, tech execs have thus far proven hesitant to turn away governmental and corporate customers willing to write checks totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, if not more. Workers have responded by accusing management of ignoring their complaints. "I don't think Amazon leadership addressed the concerns brought up in the question," an anonymous Amazon employee told BuzzFeed News after the company's November meeting. "There is no way [for us] to hold leadership responsible."

The first problem with this strategy is that deplatforming won't solve the issues tech workers are upset about. Civil libertarians have no love for ICE or the surveillance state, but facial recognition technology is likely here to stay. If Amazon won't sell it to law enforcement, someone else will. Haranguing any one company in hopes that it won't provide services that are perfectly legal only delays the inevitable, without addressing the fact that we need more oversight over how law enforcement agencies use surveillance technology.

There's another problem with deplatforming, which is that it's open-ended. If ICE can be denied contracts with tech companies, why not the Republican Party, which proclaims in its 2018 platform, "We support building a wall along our southern border"? Or the Libertarian Party, which holds views that differ from progressive shibboleths on the environment, education, Social Security, collective bargaining, and private employers' rights to hire and fire whoever they want, including members of protected classes?

The next deplatforming candidate could be groups advocating gun rights or religious freedom: Why should they have the privilege of purchasing services from Google Cloud, Microsoft OneDrive, or Amazon, especially when their views appear to be repugnant to so many people who work at those companies?

While we're at it, will Silicon Valley's progressives march around their pleasantly landscaped campuses to decry their employers' decision to accept ads and provide other paid services for President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans running for election in 2020?

It will be an unwelcome development in the culture wars if companies that today sell software or services to anyone who can afford them change their minds, and instead sell only to businesses or government agencies seen as politically aligned. Such an evolution would be worrisome whether it were a response to internal pressure from employees or external pressure from government officials. It was, after all, U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (D–Conn.) who once pressed Amazon to shut down WikiLeaks' website. To its discredit, and despite the absence of a law requiring the company to pull the plug, the e-commerce giant complied.

A ray of hope is that few, if any, company founders and CEOs are calling for deplatforming paying customers. Google co-founder Sergey Brin joined the January 2017 airport protests against Trump's initial—and poorly drafted—executive order on immigration. But Brin, who owns nearly half of the company's voting shares, has not endorsed his more radical employees' political demands. On the other hand, despite lamenting in a 2012 post that no matter what happened in that year's election, "our government will still be a giant bonfire of partisanship," Brin has not publicly criticized the deplatforming calls either. Among Silicon Valley's billionaires, political courage is in too-short supply.

NEXT: Trump's Dreamer-for-Wall Proposal Isn't a Good Faith Deal

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  1. Silicon Valley progressives expect their companies to defer hundreds of millions of dollars in income from the government or companies they don't like. When the layoffs start due to reduced company income, one hopes they'll be the first to go, thus teaching them an important lesson about how capitalism works.

    1. They could deplatform just enough of the vocal employees to account for the revenue loss.

    2. They could deplatform just enough of the vocal employees to account for the revenue loss.

    3. They could deplatform just enough of the vocal employees to account for the revenue loss.

  2. De-platforming is blatant censorship and I think should only be used in extreme cases with concrete legal basis for prohibiting them, such as inciting violence, credible threats, and child porn for instance, but like Gab does, unpopular, even hateful speech is free speech. One can argue private platforms don't have to host whatever content they choose, but major monopolies such as Google influence far and wide, and cover basic information that is being held back and slanted. This sets a very dangerous precedent when information is censored.

    1. Monopolies can't exist for any significant length of time without government help. Let all these platforms censor all they want. They will or won't survive based on their merits - my belief is that they won't survive, but if they do, who cares.

      The cost of starting a targeted social platform is lower than it's ever been, and it's tending towards free. That's the significant metric, and it's about as hopeful a trend as a libertarian could ever hope for.

  3. Markets will take care of the SJW, slowly but surely. Sucks to be collateral damage in the meantime.

    1. The marketplace of ideas has issued its verdict over a period of six or seven decades: American progresses in line with the preferences of the liberal-libertarian mainstream, and against the wishes and efforts of conservatives.

      Right-wingers get to mutter bitterly and whine inconsequentially, though, and can do so all they want in a free country.

      1. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|1.20.19 @ 10:26AM|#
        "The marketplace of ideas has issued its verdict..."

        Yes: Kirkland is a raging asshole.

      2. "American progresses in line with the preferences of the liberal-libertarian mainstream."

        This is hilarious. Setting aside the fact that libertarians have precious little in common with progressives, the libertarian party can barely break 5% in any national election. Couple that with the obvious global backlash against progressive totalitarianism (Brexit, Yellow Vest, Trump, the deflated Democrat "blue wave" in the midterms, Italy, Hungary...I could go on and on.

        Jesus, Kirkland is a caricature.

        1. Counting the milliseconds before Kirkland throws his idle hands up in the air (for lack of a substantive rebuttal) and calls us bigots or wing nuts. Yawn.

          1. Libertarians disdain (and agree with) Republicans and Democrats, and conservatives and liberals, in roughly equal measure.

            Faux libertarians, however, love right-wingers -- mostly because they are right-wingers.

            1. "American progresses in line with the preferences of the liberal-libertarian mainstream, and against the wishes and efforts of conservatives."

              "Libertarians disdain (and agree with) Republicans and Democrats, and conservatives and liberals, in roughly equal measure."

              Another Kirkland self-contradiction. If libertarians disdain everyone in equal measure, then there's no liberal-libertarian mainstream.

            2. Rev. Shithead knows as little about libertarians as it knows about anything else.

    2. Today's CEO's are far more concerned with social signaling to their upper class peers than with their companies bottom line.
      Boycotts are temporary, thanks to short consumer attention spans and can be weathered. Huge stock options mean even if their Boards weren't singing from the same hymnal, they're hard to remove. If they are removed, then glorious golden parachutes cushion their fall, and they immediately get picked up by other like-minded boards who admire their "bravery".
      The technocrats and Western oligarchy will never allow a fellow purebred to suffer for pissing on the plebs and telling them what pieces of shit they are, because they all believe it's true.

      So expect lots more deplatforming and hectoring advertising, because for the aristocracy there's no downside, no matter how the commoners moan.

      Also, fuck off Kirkland.

      1. You can yap all you want, Fancylad, so long as your continue to comply with the preferences of America's liberal-libertarian mainstream.

        Your obedience is appreciated.

  4. Always happy to see Reason take a stand against banning people from social media.

    1. Unfortunately Reason has banned some of its best commenters like Palin's Buttplug and Michael Hihn.

      1. Reason bans commenters?

        That would explain the otherwise curious relationship with the Volokh Conspiracy.

      2. They was witches - I seen 'em casting spells!

        1. From the way he talked Buttplug probably was a wiccan or something.

          1. And he's still here, socking away every day.

            1. Sometimes, a neighbor is better of after someone gives him a sock.

    2. Paddypower is covering bets for and against voters or Congress deplatforming The Don:
      https://www.paddypower.com/ (choose Trump USA specials)
      These are the bookies that helped the GOP recoup campaign spending by hedging with long odds against. I guess they're still using the same model, like climate scientists, christian scientists and creation scientists. But anyone who wants to back their predictions with cash can do so. (Offer void where prohibited by law)

    3. The best ban from social media is a self ban. Social media is not needed.

  5. Will Reason go another full day without reporting on the latest developments of the Buzzfeed Bombshell? The walls are closing in on the Drumpf regime!

    1. "The walls are closing in on the Drumpf regime!"

      If that's true, the walls must be the slowest pieces of human excrement in history. I've heard that line from progressives since before Trump was even nominated and it never materializes. It won't this time either.

      1. This time it's different. The Buzzfeed Bombshell is a game changer. Mueller will remove Drumpf from office by the end of this year.

        1. It's a book about Sarah Palin?

        2. Mueller can't remove Trump from office. That has to happen through impeachment. The stupid Republicans thought Lewinsky's blue dress was a game changer too. They got what they deserved by foolishly thinking the American people were with them.

          In the absence of an ACTUAL smoking gun, not a "bombshell" from a left-leaning blog, the Democrats will go the way of the late 90s Republicans if they pursue impeachment. Pelosi knows that and is wisely stuffing any talk of it where it belongs.

          If I had to guess, Trump would invite impeachment, knowing the blowback on the Democrats would be horrendous.

        3. Funny thing is Mueller's office says the story is not accurate. Try to keep up.

    2. They're following a precept of modern journalism, "ignore a debunking if it negatively affects the Democrats". Fact-checks should only be employed against populists.

      The other huge story Reason and the other literati are ignoring as hard as they can, is that Bruce Ohr just testified he had warned DOJ & FBI of the Steele dossier bias BEFORE its use for FISA warrant.
      This means that the FBI knew the dossier was a political attack, they knew its provenance and they already knew that it was fake, and they deliberately deceived a judge in order to get a warrant based on nothing.
      There's a lot of top level bureaucrats who should be heading for jail. But Reason won't report it.

      1. Great point. You'd think with the daily articles bitching about cops, that the top cops trying their hand at a coup might warrant a little coverage.
        Nope. Unless you count covering up as coverage.

        Also ignored:
        British politicians pissing on the plebs by fucking up Brexit negotiations so they can nullify the referendum.
        France using increasingly violent force to crack down on the plebs as yellow vests protests hit their 10th straight weekend, for the sake of global government's pet justification (climate change).

        1. "You'd think with the daily articles bitching about cops, that the top cops trying their hand at a coup might warrant a little coverage."

          Much of Reason's demonstrated mission is to advocate for open borders. The coup is going to remove the Bad Orange Man who is against open borders, so it must be allowed to run its course unremarked.

          None of the things you mention affect the rest of the mission, which is to whoop for pot, assex and food trucks. This explains the inattention.

          1. Correct, except Brexit does a bit. In a much less direct sense, so do the yellow vests.

            Brexit is about a popular demand to regain national sovereignty. That is anathema to the open borders/globalist/progress uber alles crowd that wants nothing more than one world governance and eradication of the middle class.
            The yellow vests are somewhat similar, if distinctly more socialist. Their movement too is nationalist, and the pictures I've seen show a striking absence of the multi culturalist flavor Reason would have us worship rather than liberty or individualism.

    3. Bullshit. Walls don't work, so how can they close in?
      Pick any stupid position you want, but stick with it.

      1. The Border Patrol disagrees with you.

      2. The Border Patrol disagrees with you.

    4. The walls are closing in on the Drumpf regime!

      But... I thought walls were bad!

  6. So on the one hand it's "bake the cake" but on the other hand it's "shut them up".

    A provider of services must on the one hand do something which is abhorrent to his personal beliefs if it's for the 'correct' crowd, but on the other hand may refuse to provide services which are abhorrent to personal beliefs if it's for the 'wrong' crowd.

    1. You've got it exactly backwards, but yes.

      1. I fail to see how I have this exactly backwards. While there are people on the right to support the baker to not bake the cake, it was leftists who coined the cry 'bake the cake'. And for the second case there has been no outcry from the right because they have not yet de-platformed paying customers. Only an outcry from progressive employees who work at the companies has occurred.

        But of course you're just trolling.

    2. forcing someone to go against their religious beliefs is okay, since the First Amendment was written a long time ago.

      Taking away the soapbox from someone saying things you don't like is okay for the same reason.

    3. Except the Baker wasnl baking the cakes, just not custom orders. Closer relevance would be a website maker refusing business, which would be allowed.

      1. Only if you accept that the goods and services in question are somehow different in value because of what they represent. If Good A is denied to Group A and Good B is denied to Group B, the goods and groups should be interchangeable. Are you taking the position that some goods or groups are more equal than others?

  7. "Until now, the deleted or suspended accounts have mostly been unpaid users of social media . . . but paying customers may be the next targets for social media "deplatforming."

    The paying customers of social media are the advertisers, and it's their concerns that are driving social media companies to deplatform content providers. The advertisers simply don't want their ads to appear to be endorsing controversial content, and that's the way it looks, for instance, to progressive viewers when they tune in. They see an ad tailored to them by their interactions online, so when they tune in to watch or read content that's anti-gay marriage, anti-immigration, pro-gun rights, etc., it appears that the ad they saw for XYZ corporation is endorsing those views and that content. Advertisers are the customers in social media, and they don't want to pay to have their products and brand names associated with that kind of content. In fact, they might pay not to have their name brands associated with that kind of content.

    It's isn't only that way with social media. It's been that way with all advertising supported media since forever. If TSOL singing about necrophilia ever made it onto the radio in the 1980s, it was only broadcast after midnight. If you listened to the radio, you were more likely to hear love songs and Bon Jovi. Want to see controversial content in visual media?

    1. Don't go to ABC, CBS, Fox, or NBC, which are mostly supported by advertising. Go to HBO or the movies, where the customer isn't the advertisers but the subscribers and the ticket buyers. And when they broadcast controversial movies on TV, what do they do? They cut out all the really controversial bits. The real force behind that isn't the censors. It's the advertisers.

      The solution is customer choice. When HBO and cable first emerged, there were big questions about whether people would pay for content when the broadcasters were giving it away for free to viewers. That's why if deplatforming is a long term threat to free speech, it's most significant aspect is by way of companies like PayPal and Patreon. It's one thing for platforms to bend to the will of advertisers. Quite another if companies like Paypal and Patreon make it practically impossible for viewers to pay for the content they want. I'm generally skeptical of antitrust claims because they're often baseless, but if companies are, in fact, colluding to make it practically impossible for content providers to reach any audience, then my opposition to those antitrust claims isn't that they're baseless anymore. It's that consumers may no longer have a choice.

      1. The shitlibs are pressuring the credit card companies to deplatform people they don't like now. This will not end well.

    2. This is a good enough reason for hostile Kleptocracy partisans to blend in with the whack jobs naturally attracted to the LP (and anything else they hope to use as a soapbox). By removing entry inspections from the migration plank, adding a vigilante murder plank and retaining the "good faith" plank throwing individual rights of half of overpopulating humanity under the speeding bus of Comstock Moral Majority and Dixiecrat prohibitionism, infiltrators are again (as in the late 1980s) turning the LP into a circus not unlike the party that once proudly elected JFK. To change bad laws we need spoiler votes, not idiotic planks written by socialist orators or pouting children. Infiltrators are adding vote repellent to our once-proud and effective platform.

    3. Except it largely isnt the advertisers. For example banks are still refusing to allow certain users, such as gun sellers, access to bank accounts. Visa has stopped allowing various entities to use their credit network. Etc. In these cases it is politicians and regulators using the threat of their power to change behavior, not advertisers. You can see in the recent attempted fox boycotts, advertisers are slowly realizing nobody gives a shit about Twitter boycotts.

      1. Paypal will drop you from their service if you use PayPal to buy any guns, ammunition, or gun accessories.

        I think that's for similar reasons to the advertisers. They don't want their brand name tarnished if and when some mass murdering psychopath perpetrates a mass shooting at a school with guns or ammunition purchased through a PayPal account. I oppose the government prohibiting banks from facilitating gun sales, but I'm not about to support the government compelling association either.

        PayPal doesn't want to be in that business, and if the government weren't prohibiting them from facilitating gun sales, they still wouldn't want to be in that business.

        For a long time, the mafia didn't want to be involved in heroin distribution for the same reason. Let people think we're into getting around alcohol prohibition, gambling, and prostitution. If people thought they were associated with heroin, it would have been bad for business. The Hells Angels raise money for Toys for Tots. They want the community to believe that if you're not giving them trouble, you don't need to fear their influence in the community. Even bad people don't want their brand names associated with bad things in the community, and some things are a bigger long term threat to the brand than the short term gain of a profit is worth.

        1. It's not brand name being tarnished. It's the company being run by people who happen to be anti-gun, who are treating the company as their own property.

          Look, if you're a manager at Dicks Sporting Goods, you can take pay in the form of money, and arrange to divert company assets into your own bank account, and at best the extent you can get away with it is limited, and at worse you might go to prison for embezzlement.

          Or you can warp company policy to advance your favorite social causes, dropping paying customers, and turning your employer's reputation to shit with a significant fraction of the population, and you face no legal liability at all. You're still embezzling company resources, but doing it this way is safe, even gets you credit in some circles, and the money you expend this way doesn't appear as income, no taxes to be paid on it.

          That's all that's happening here; If a manager pockets $60M, and donates it to the Brady Center, everybody knows what has happened, and that it's crime. But if he decides to piss off existing customers, and destroy already paid for merchandise to the extent of $60M, to advance exactly the same cause, he's legally safe and a hero in some circles.

          1. Dick's Sporting Goods CEO is Edward Stack. He has been CEO since 1984. So according to your hypothesis, Stack is an anti-gun zealot who has been happy to sell guns at his stores all the way from 1984 up until 2018, including throughout multiple mass shooting events that shocked the nation, including Columbine, Sandy Hook, Charleston, Virginia Tech, etc. So evidently he's a fairly lousy anti-gun zealot.

            What's more, your $60 million figure evidently comes from the difference between actual revenue and predicted revenue for 2Q 2018. Note that Dick's made their changes to gun sales policy in February 2018, in the first quarter, not the second. Furthermore, failing to meet the experts' predictions is not some rare thing, it happens all the time, and is certainly not indicative per se of some nefarious plot to wreck one's own company in support of some cause. And it certainly cannot be attributed to the single variable of changes in gun sales policy. Moreover, even if it was some plot to support a cause, that $60 million didn't actually make its way into the hands of a gun control group.

            So, he's a terrible anti-gun zealot who wrecked his own company in support of a cause, that didn't actually get any of the money.

            I think I will use Occam's Razor on this one and go with Ken Schulz's explanation that it was an exercise in protecting Dick's brand, in case the next mass shooter was discovered to have purchased guns or ammo from Dick's.

    4. This 100%. This is always the end-game for the ad-based business model - and no other model has ever worked for long when the 'product' is low-value information. For social media, the information is so low-value that all it is even intended to do is waste time while giving us the impression that we can control it. Every non-sociopath techie who works in that industry should be profoundly disturbed at what they are doing. Instead, like journalists of old, they decide not to question how they are manipulating people and instead are deciding that it's ok if they manipulate people 'for good ends'.

      I'm not sure there really is an easy solution. It's not just the advertisers who are the problem anymore. It is every single thing about Silicon Valley - since that is where the ethic is now deeply embedded and will pervade every single thing they do. And as these companies spread out to other tech centers, they are simply going to pollute them with that ethic as well.

      1. I've been using Slack lately as a friends and family alternative to Facebook with encouraging results (After a couple of weeks). People are participating. The prospect of being free from the prying eyes of Facebook doesn't motivate them, but the fact that I was able to bring the whole contact list into the immediate family team probably helped. What they fear from losing Facebook is the connections to the contacts. The ability to integrate apps is a huge bonus, too. I could never have gotten them to stop using Skype and start using Jitsi, but, now, because all of their family or friends Skype contacts are in Slack, they're using the Jitsi integration I put in Slack--rather than Skype.

        I thought the technical acumen necessary for Slack might be a barrier with grandma and grandpa, but that tech ability is only necessary for the person setting up the team. Thinking back, I remember when most of the people online still thought that AOL's website was the entirety of what was available on the interweb. If only one person in a group of friends or family has what it takes to set up a Slack team, that's probably enough. I don't like to sound like a Slack fanboy, but when it comes to close friends and family interacting, I think that technology (or something like it) will eat Facebook's lunch without being ad supported.

        1. I'm gonna bet it becomes more ad-based as it grows. I don't know the product but it looks like it is technology-based - in Silicon Valley - with all the VC financing that is going to force it into the ad-based model sooner or later.

          I remember Web 1.0 - when only search/directories were ad-based. The notion then was that 'online communities' would be able to transition to revenue streams beyond ads if they were successful at creating narrow and deep involvement. Problem was - tech itself went to broad/shallow chasing the VC/IPO/eyeballs dream - and there is nothing in that approach that can go beyond ad-based revenue. Until that 'dream' dies and is ground into dust and has been dead for long enough that it doesn't even motivate techies anymore, nothing can change. And long before that happens, they will do what every other successful industry does - get govt on its side to throw up a ton of roadblocks to any possible structurally competitive threat.

    5. TSOL

      Now that's a name I've not heard in a long time.

  8. "[L]ibertarian" Glenn Reynolds?

    Mr. McCullagh doesn't know a libertarian from a self-proclaimed movement conservative.

    Or, more accurate, he does, but figures telling the truth would interfere with his partisan advocacy.

    Carry on, clingers.

    1. I can't tell you exactly how much we all appreciate you alerting each of us to our partisan thoughts and processes. Coming from a pillar of secular thought like yourself it gives each of us great pause to consider how rant we have been in our ways.

      Drink bleach, slaver.

      1. Quit whimpering, clinger.

    2. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|1.20.19 @ 10:24AM|#
      "Carry on, clingers."

      Stuff it, asshole.

    3. Local Reverend Found Guilty

      Eunice Today

      By Joyce Billings

      March 3, 1996

      Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland told his parishioners they could benefit themselves while doing good if they invested in his Progressive Christian-based company lending small amounts of money to entrepreneurs in developing countries.

      Instead, a jury in Lafayette, LA agreed that Kirkland a defrauded his friends and flock out of thousands of dollars.
      Kirkland told investors they would make their money back with profit, all while fueling growth in developing countries. But that never happened.

      Kirkland's scheme was brought to light by Brenda Collingsworth, a parishioner, who told the police that Kirkland told her he loved her and wanted her to run away with him with the defrauded funds.

  9. Employee Lawsuit Reveals Google as Intolerant Race Cult


    Quotes (but read the whole article and linked complaint):
    Google engineer James Damore's class action complaint describes a creepy cult-like orthodoxy at Google, where dissent is smashed, and the color of your skin is far more important than the content of your character. Reading the complaint is a deep dive into wicked, racial groupthink, and a frightening reminder that it really can happen here. At Google, it does.
    This article cannot possibly capture all of the rancid, racialist, thuggish things going on at Google, so I'd urge you to take time to read the whole complaint. It's like reading Solzhenitsyn's travel log from Ekibastuze. It reveals nothing short of the psychologies of totalitarianism in their timeless forms. The purges. The moral relativism. The threats. The lists of enemies. The upside-down world of the wicked justifying their wickedness.
    --- End quote ---

  10. " "I don't think Amazon leadership addressed the concerns brought up in the question," an anonymous Amazon employee told BuzzFeed News after the company's November meeting. "There is no way [for us] to hold leadership responsible." "

    Anonymous Amazon Employee (and those who agree with her) can quit her job and go to work for (or start) a company not providing services to people she disapproves of, can't she?

    Of course, that would be a lot harder than just whining because you can't get your employer to do what you want him to, wouldn't it?

    1. Wait, there's another way? I thought whining is the universal 21st century solution.

    2. Well, we know for damn sure that the one thing these snowflakes will NOT do is buy enough stock with their own money to change the company direction.
      That would be capitalist.


  12. Deplatforming is easy and great. I deplatformed Twitter and Facebook from Day 1 and never thought twice about it.

    1. I've deplatformed Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and much of Google. Google is the hardest to rid myself of. I have to send email for work, some of which is presumably hosted by Google. Makes me sad to send email to a gmail address. I wish more people used Cloudflare or some other service for DNS.

      From a consumer standpoint, I love me some YouTube. On the other hand, I've got a test account for the /e/ foundation's de-Googled Android OS.


      I'm doing my best to get Google out of my life. It isn't as easy as people think. I'm still skeptical of antitrust arguments against Google, but avoiding their products and services is becoming increasingly difficult.

      1. Daytimer, handwritten letters, libraries (walk in only, no card), cash, how hard can it be?

      2. I've fortunately never been part of the Apple cult, but getting away from the other 4 horsemen has been harder. Facebook is where all of my friends are. And even the ones who are fed up with FB stay there, because... that's where all of their friends are.

        I'd have a hard time living without Amazon.

        And I just sold my soul to the borg, by getting a Google Fi phone account. Ah well. :-/

  13. Alex Jones exists for the same reason as the ku-klux Tea Party: as a fake miming just enough libertarian-sounding stuff to induce those who hate him to start disliking US as well. The most recent replacement for Alex is a blog called "The Classy Libertarian", which dovetails together male Romish Latino demands to force women to reproduce and insincere mixed-economy-moderate calls for "less" taxing and regulating. In parasitical mimesis, imitation is NOT a form of flattery.

    1. ku-klux Tea Party

      The Klan was always the militant wing of the DNC. Funny you'd associate it with a movement protesting government corporate bailouts.

    2. Fuck off hihn.

  14. Eh, I prefer private boycotts and deplatforming to the congressional flavor.

  15. My company has a word we call employees who advise us to voluntarily limit our customer base:


    If you don't want to be complicit in making missiles, don't work at a defense company.

  16. Yeesh. Just fire the employees who whine about whose ideas they publish, of whatever stripe. Reward the whining, and pretty soon your employees won't let you publish anybody.

  17. How about this:

    Amazon executive: "We understand that our workers have strong beliefs about this issue. As such, we will be instituting a program allowing employees to register their concern with the company. We will be acting on this interest by reducing the compensation of such concerned employees in total by the amount we estimate sales will be lowered by addressing this issue."

    Think that'd fly, or do SJWs only want to SJW when there's no personal cost to their beliefs?

  18. OT:
    "Diocese in Kentucky investigates after students in 'MAGA' hats mock Native American"
    "Videos circulating online show a youth staring at and standing extremely close to Nathan Phillips, a 64-year-old Native American man singing and playing a drum.
    Other students, some wearing Covington clothing and many wearing "Make America Great Again" hats and sweatshirts, surrounded them, chanting, laughing and jeering.
    She placed some of the blame on President Donald Trump, who has used Indian names like Pocahontas as an insult."

    Kids being obnoxious; Trump's fault!

    1. My news sources quote socialists as the ones who want people surrounded in public and yelled at for what they believe.

    2. Fake news.

    3. By the way, this has been debunked as fake news. CNN and other outlets naturally did not show large chunks of video that showed Nathan Phillips initiating the confrontation.

  19. So exactly how will it work when the shareholders meet and deplatform the whining snowflakes?
    Oh, wait; silicon valley.

    1. There's your in. Buy stock, sue because these policies reduce revenue.

  20. I dunno.

    Deplatforming could be seen as market differentiation. Supposing services/products are equal, why not go with the one that speaks to my ideological inner-child? One the surface, it may seem like turning away/alienating paying customers like ICE is bad for business, but unless the contract is worth more than all the other customers I could alienate, that may be the smart tactical move. Or I could be focusing on a smaller but far more loyal market share (hey, it works for Apple). Apparently not everybody's money is green.

    Libertarians often championed the right of association at the expense of markets for what ever fad du jour to be birching about the effects now. I mean its what-ever-mythilogical-company- that -doesn't-have-shareholders-or business partners decision right? Kill them all and the market sort them out.

  21. Hey, it's not the government doing the deplatforming, so why should a libertarian care? Private businesses are doing it, so it's just peachy because Muh Free Marketz.

  22. This effort to deplatform paying customers has spread throughout the tech industry: Some 100 Microsoft employees signed an open letter complaining that, by providing email and calendar services, their company was "complicit" in ICE's border enforcement policies. Salesforce and Google employees have staged similar protests.

    Deplatforming is completely unlike a baker refusing to design and bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

    It is just like a bakery supply shop refusing to sell flour to a same-sex couple because it might be used to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.

    Imagine if the employees of a bakery complained that by baking wedding cakes for same-sex couples, they are complicit in homosexuality.

    How would their employers respond?

  23. I'm fine with deplatforming exactly because I value freedom of speech and association. You can say anything you want and associate with anyone you want, and that includes protests, boycotts, avoidance, and, yes, even Facebook deciding who and what goes on their website.

    One of the reasons that I'm a libertarian is because I think that the marketplace of ideas works better than its alternatives, that people selecting what they see and what they don't, what they'll listen to and what they won't, who they'll platform and who they won't, who receives social stigma from who, is the most efficient way to handle this: the market gives me the best smart phone ever at reasonable prices, and I don't have to try too hard to avoid KKK sitcoms.

    And that is much preferable to repealing the first amendment.

    If these guys get too aggressive in their deplatforming, they'll create a unserved market that will probably get their own plat form, and become the most interesting place on the internet, if go no other reason than the crazy content allowed.

    1. +100
      Exactly. Let people be free to do what they wish. Markets will spontaneously arise to fill unmet needs.

  24. Deplatforming isn't a game. It's the opening salvos of the next civil war, to be conducted in cyberspace and in our financial networks. They're getting things organized so that anybody the left decides is an enemy can be instantly made into an unperson across as much of the economy and communications infrastructure as possible.

  25. "The next deplatforming candidate could be groups advocating gun rights" well well, it already is happening. Gov Cuomo has pressured credit card companies and banks in NY not to do business with the NRA or gun stores. Google has apparently deflected searches that would lead to Republican candidates in the last election and gave their ads a lower ranking. Patreon has dropped conservatives so they can't raise money.

  26. Deplatforming is freedom of association in action.

    1. Unsurprisingly, you directly contradict your stated reasoning for supporting open borders

      1. Umm, open borders is all about freedom of association, at least from a libertarian perspective.

    2. Communist fuckhead in favor of freedom of association, film at 11.

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  28. "There is no way [for us] to hold leadership responsible."

    Sure there is. If you object so strenuously, find another job.

    1. That's the "voting with your feet" option, recently supported by Volokh. Not surprisingly, it isn't actually practiced by any writer for Reason, which is based in California with many of it's contributors also living in "liberal" cities or states.

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  30. Wow - just wow

  31. From article, " Some Amazon workers also objected to Palantir, an analytics firm that relies on government contracts, being allowed to purchase Amazon cloud services."

    Gandalf, "A Palantir is a dangerous tool, Saruman!"

    Saruman, "Why? Why should we fear to use it?"

    TOP MEN.

    1. Didn't the Saudis give Trump one of those? They showed it to him anyway.

  32. Some 100 Microsoft employees signed an open letter complaining that, by providing email and calendar services, their company was "complicit" in ICE's border enforcement policies.

    That's exactly what those christian bakers said about providing a cake for a same sex wedding, and everyone called them idiots

  33. "It will be an unwelcome development in the culture wars if companies that today sell software or services to anyone who can afford them change their minds, and instead sell only to businesses or government agencies seen as politically aligned. "

    The Left practices relentless in group preference and out group attack. It's already started at the heart of the internet and financial services. They don't go after everyone, just the people on the Right who count.

  34. Start working at home with Google. It's the most-financially rewarding I've ever done. On tuesday I got a gorgeous BMW after having earned $8699 this last month. I actually started five months/ago and practically straight away was bringin in at least $96, per-hour. visit this site right here..... http://www.mesalary.com

  35. It will be an unwelcome development in the culture wars if companies that today sell software or services to anyone who can afford them change their minds, and instead sell only to businesses or government agencies seen as politically aligned.

    So what, "freedom of conscience" only applies to bakers?

    It's hard to believe y'all are actually principled about this stuff.

  36. I'm with the tech employees on this one. First of all, it's disingenuous to liken this situation to deplatforming, which is about the spread of ideas, not technology. It's also disingenuous to refer to governments merely as "paying customers" like any other. They are paying with stolen money. Finally, since technology can be used for good or evil, isn't it incumbent upon vendors of technology to limit sales to those who use it for good? Uncoupling moral choices from economic gain is not my brand of libertarianism.

  37. I wonder if the people at reason are familiar with the concept of the free market. How about conservatives? See, all of you people in favor of the free market and conservative thought in general could just start your own social platform(s). Of course, this would require enough belief in your ideas to actually invest money them, and some belief that there are enough people to, in some way, support those new platforms, either by paying, or from advertising.

    Or you can just devote yourselves to funding them. Putting your money where your mouths are. And of course it would require the smallest bit of tech talent and creativity. So.... What is keeping you from creating your own platforms? Stupidity? lack of faith? What!!??

  38. The next "Holocaust" will likely be the deplatforming of Jews, perhaps in combination with a social credit system. For Christians this latter might be seen as a fulfillment of "The Mark of the Beast."

    If this happens Western Antisemitism will have returned to the days of Edward Longshanks whose edicts on the kinds of trade Jews could carry out are, ironically, the basis for the stereotypes about Jews and money.

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