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Did Twitter's Orwellian 'Trust and Safety' Council Get Robert Stacy McCain Banned?

Prominent GamerGate figure clashed with council member Anita Sarkeesian. Now he's gone.

Remember a few days ago, when Twitter elevated anti-GamerGate leader Anita Sarkeesian to its “Trust and Safety Council,” an imperious-sounding committee with Robespierre-esque powers to police discussion on the social media platform? The goal, according to Twitter, was to make it easier for users to express themselves freely and safely.

One user who won’t be expressing himself at all is Robert Stacy McCain: a conservative journalist, blogger, self-described anti-feminist, and prominent GamerGate figure who was banned from Twitter on Friday night. Clicking on his page redirects to this “account suspended” message that encourages users to re-read Twitter’s policies on abusive behavior.

But as with other Twitter suspensions, it’s impossible to tell which specific policy McCain is accused of violating, or which of his tweets were flagged as abusive. McCain is an animated and uncompromising opponent of leftist views. His statements are extreme, and I don’t often agree with them, but I would be reluctant to label them as abusive (at least the ones I’ve seen).

In a response to his banning that is in many ways emblematic of his worldview and behavior, McCain explicitly blamed Sarkeesian and her crew:

This is why you can’t even state FACTS about these people on Twitter without being accused of “harassment.” Facts are harassment and truth is hate and Oceania Has Always Been at War With Eastasia. Sarkesian is anti-freedom because she is anti-truth. She and her little squad of soi-disant “feminists” are just hustlers looking for a free ride, and the only way they can get that ride is to silence anyone who speaks the truth about them and calls them out as the cheap bullshit artists they actually are.

McCain did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He concluded the above post with a statement, “fuck ‘social justice’.” He despises leftists and feminists, and doesn’t hold back his hate.

But there’s a difference between using strong language to disagree with people, and abusing them. If McCain has crossed that line, I’m not aware of it.

Twitter is a private company, of course, and if it wants to outlaw strong language, it can. In fact, it’s well within its rights to have one set of rules for Robert Stacy McCain, and another set of rules for everyone else. It’s allowed to ban McCain for no reason other than its bosses don’t like him. If Twitter wants to take a side in the online culture war, it can. It can confiscate Milo Yiannopoulos’s blue checkmark. This is not about the First Amendment.

But if that’s what Twitter is doing, it’s certainly not being honest about it—and its many, many customers who value the ethos of free speech would certainly object. In constructing its Trust and Safety Council, the social media platform explicitly claimed it was trying to strike a balance between allowing free speech and prohibiting harassment and abuse. But its selections for this committee were entirely one-sided—there’s not a single uncompromising anti-censorship figure or group on the list. It looks like Twitter gave control of its harassment policy to a bunch of ideologues, and now their enemies are being excluded from the platform.

Banning McCain wasn’t even Twitter’s only questionable activity last night. It seems that Twitter also suppressed the pro-McCain hashtag subsequently created by his supporters, #FreeStacy. After it started trending, Twitter made it so that the hashtag wouldn’t autocomplete when people typed it. “The #FreeStacy tag would be in the US top 10 now, but Twitter has scrubbed it,” wrote Popehat’s Patrick on Twitter.

Another Popehat author, Ken White, has been skeptical that Twitter’s censorship of certain conservative figures is actually coming from a place of malice. In response to Yiannopoulos getting de-verified, he wrote:

Big companies, even when run by ideologues, tend to make decisions like big companies, not like individuals. The decision-making looks less cinematic and more cynical. The focus tends to be on branding, but mostly on money-making, avoidance of unpleasantness, reduction of cost, and ease of use. Twitter's line employees are almost certainly disproportionately liberal, and by assigning command-and-control of individual account decisions to them, the impact is probably that evaluations of abuse complaints will have a liberal bias. Similarly, if you make a corporate decision to police harassment (or at least pretend to), and the people doing the policing have a bias, then the results will have a bias. But that's not the same as a deliberate decision to take sides; it's a cost-driven, practicality-driven decision.

If Twitter wants to go full-on Ministry of Truth, it can. But its user have the right to raise hell about it—to call out the platform for punishing dissident alt-right figures while empowering their adversaries. I’m not convinced that’s what’s happening, but the exclusion of Robert Stacy McCain—a mere 10 days after the Trust and Safety council came into existence—is cause for concern.

Photo Credit: Twitter

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  • ||

    Fuck Twitter.

    Fuck Facebook.

    Fuck 'em all.

  • fish||

    What?!?! No "Hello"?

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    That's canuckispeak for always geving been at war with East Asia ^W^WFree Speech.

  • todaytechspot||

    In our modern life various Today TechSpot and many technologies we are used, which helps to improve our life and easy going. Use of technology has a kind of the gift, which we can see in our society as well as our life also ...
    http://todaytechspot.com/

  • ||

    I TAKE WEEK-ENDS OFF AS STIPULATED IN MY CONTRACT.

  • Agammamon||

    The contract has been altered. Pray Trudeau doesn't alter it further.

  • Heedless||

    I'M ON MY LUNCH BREAK! OK?

    Stuffs greasy roast beef back into his mouth.

  • Steve G||

    #goodbye...?

  • Finrod||

    I would say 'fuck the SJWs' except I wouldn't get within 10 yards of one even if I was wearing a full-body condom.

  • True Neutral Paladin||

    Luckily, your common-variety SJW is usually easy to spot due to their official uniform:

    - dyed hair (the brighter the more committed)
    - thick-rimmed black glasses, or "stylishly gaudy" frames
    - hipster apparel
    - too much makeup
    - perpetual "I have something stuck up my ass" look

    If in doubt, just ask yourself, is she hot or even kinda cute? If so, chances are good that she's not a SJW.

  • rodent||

    Long time lurker and finally registering just to post this.

    I work in the belly of the beast being discussed in this article and I can say it's depressing as shit to see what's happening on the inside. I have to do a kind of song and dance to seek out like minded people in the office and so far none of us want to upset the applecart and speak out internally due to the backlash that you can imagine. I would say that the majority on the engineering side are fairly libertarian but elsewhere most people are pretty far to the left and the derp is strong.

    * Obviously I don't speak for my employer.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Get the fuck out while you can. Life's too short to waste it working with SJW assholes and wondering if the wrong word at the wrong time will destroy your career.

  • Finrod||

    Amen to that. Get out while you can still get a good reference from someone there.

  • KevinP||

    Hi rodent:

    Have you considered being an agent for liberty from inside the belly of the beast?

    Without jeopardizing your job or violating any laws, can you smuggle out useful information to the outside, to friends of liberty who can make use of it without revealing your identity?

    Milo Yiannopoulos is a journalist who already has a source in Twitter and could use a few more:
    http://www.breitbart.com/tech/.....e-sources/

    You can use the Tor browser from outside the company premises to stay anonymous - not even the NSA can crack it.

    https://www.torproject.org

    Ultimately, only you can make this decision. But consider being a agent of liberty!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It looks like Twitter gave control of its harassment policy to a bunch of ideologues, and now their enemies are being excluded from the platform.

    Whilst I have nothing against Twitter or people who twit regularly, I will not cry if this turns out to be the beginning of its inevitable downfall as the next platform is no doubt ready to take social media by storm.

  • ||

    Exactly what I was thinking (though I personally despise Twitter). But man, creating a "Trust and Safety Council" that bans anyone who looks at them cross-eyed is probably the stupidest thing they could have ever done. They just signed their death warrant. I'm stunned they were this stupid. Why would anyone use Twitter when they can be banned from it at the drop of a hat by pathetically thin-skinned psychopaths?

    Oh man, I can't wait until they ban someone *really* famous. Oh please oh please let it be Ashton Kutcher oh please.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    TWTR $18.32

    I'm looking forward to it.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    And the order is in.

  • ||

    I still don't really understand how Twitter actually makes money. Does it actually make money?

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    They made negative $90 million last quarter.

  • ||

    A truly amazing business model. Where can I drop off my cash to them? Or should I just burn it instead?

  • ||

    What's amazing with companies like Twit and Facebook is people invest in the stock more based on the idea and the belief they will figure out how to monetize it down the road. Hence, such inflated prices. I guess Tesla falls under this too.

    I wouldn't touch them.

    Amazon on the other hand...

    https://ycharts.com/companies/AMZN/profit_margin

  • ||

    Or the investors think that the stock will go up from their purchase point because others will keep riding it up.

    Twitter does not have to ever show a profit for an investor to make one.

  • ||

    Twitter doesn't make money but the Twits who work there do get paychecks.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    They will purify their echosphere to the point that it fractures from dissent over how many angles can fit on the head of a pin. Thus it ever was with ideologues, thus it ever will be.

  • ||

    Most definitely, but man, this is extra crispy fried stupid. But of course, Twitter is one of the stupidest *business* ideas I've ever seen, and I thought the same thing when it blew up in 2009. It quite literally has almost no way to make money.

  • Agammamon||

    Its intended to make money the same way Facebook makes money. Watch what you do, say, and talk to - then sell that info (along with ad space) to advertisers.

  • Hi there!||

    Angles on the head of a pin? Being a bit obtuse, are we?

  • koenigsking||

    Touche, sir

  • Paulpemb||

    So would there be any motivation for Twitter's leadership to just deliberately trash the company? This is starting to look like a Silicon Valley remake of 'The Producers'.

  • PapayaSF||

    Politics is the mindkiller. Clearly Twitter management lives in the prog/PC bubble, and they think they are Doing Good and Fighting for Social Justice.

  • Root Boy||

    Yep, that quote by Popehat makes no sense. He says the prog employees in charge of banning people will ban conservatives (and libertarians eventually) but the C suite just cares about money. Bullshit, they set up the Truth council to specifically ban people they disagree with.

  • JWW||

    Trump ban as soon as he secures the nomination....

  • Cdr Lytton||

    creating a "Trust and Safety Council" that bans anyone who looks at them cross-eyed is probably the stupidest thing they could have ever done

    Until they put someone like Anita Sarkeesian on it. Why oh why would you put someone like that on such a council? Other than stupidity.

    Hey Robbie, you SF'd that first link.

  • commodious spittoon||

    Why would anyone use Twitter when they can be banned from it at the drop of a hat by pathetically thin-skinned psychopaths?

    Twitter just gave progressives a literal social signal to demonstrate their rightthinkful credentials. If you're verified on Twitter, you can't be literally Hitler.

  • blcartwright||

    Adam Baldwin linked to this article 4 hours ago. I'm sure Nick Searcy's right there with him.

  • Long Woodchippers||

    and today, after Baldwin used McCain's pic for his profile, his timeline is only showing one post

  • ||

    "But that's not the same as a deliberate decision to take sides; it's a cost-driven, practicality-driven decision."

    Yes it is exactly a deliberate decision to take sides. They bet that taking this side was the money making move vs. having a free for all venue.

    They hired who they hired for the "Trust and Safety Council" knowing what those individuals were.

    That is a deliberate decision.

  • NearFutureZek||

    They are betting that their side is big enough to be profitable, or that they'll be subsidized by progressive trusts (assuming there's anything left after the trusts get done propping up PBS and NPR).

  • Finrod||

    I hope they ban Donald Trump.

    The resulting pissing match would be glorious.

  • Lee G||

    I'm not seeing how this helps pay the bills in any way, shape, or form. I can't wait for the bubble to burst so we can be rid of these SJW corporations.

  • ||

    Didn't gofundme change their policy for the worse after people funded those meanies who refused to bake a cake?

    I mean, how could they have allowed that, right?

  • Lee G||

    Yes. And it was a incredibly stupid decision. Conservative Christians contribute more and more often than most.

  • ||

    Will it hurt in the long-run is the question.

    It's amazing how they - like Twitter- fall into these false narratives that could impact business negatively.

  • Lee G||

    One of the side effects of a bubble is misplaced priorities.

  • ||

    I remember the 'new paradigm' talk of tech companies in late 90s and then POOF.

  • Jerryskids||

    You mean Forbes? They used to have that one columnist at the back that kept insisting the new tech paradigm was a bubble and you should get the hell out of the market - all the while Forbes was pushing the idea that history didn't matter and you couldn't go by the old metrics of things like P/E ratios and such with eCommerce or whatever the hell they were calling it. Sure these companies were losing money on each transaction but they were going to make it up in volume. They finally fired that guy and that's when I canceled my subscription.

    To their credit, Forbes did see the housing bubble for what it was early on and preached the gospel of getting the hell away from Fannie and Freddie because all that was propping the whole thing up was the faith that Uncle Sucker was going to come riding to the rescue astride the back of the American taxpayer.

  • ||

    Yes, I remember them saying P/E was passe.

    I was broker back then and we ignored this madness. We limited our tech exposure to 10% and treated it like any other industry not listening to the noise.

  • Brochettaward||

    See, the people running Twitter don't even really seem to care about silly things like profits or staying in business. They have their own interesting metrics by which to judge themselves and bigger goals:

    “Traditional predictors of success apply no longer,” said Adam Sharp of Twitter. “Money raised and spent, endorsements received, years-old field infrastructure are now all secondary to the ability to deliver a compelling message directly to the voter base. We are in a new age of retail politics, where the one-to-one intimacy and authenticity of the handshake and ask for a vote can be executed at scale as candidates turn to Twitter and other tools to bypass the wholesale channels of the last half-century of campaign craft.”

    Called “the human embodiment of Twitter” by the New York Times, Sharp joined the company in November 2010 as its first hire in Washington, DC. Now based in New York, he is the longest-serving member of Twitter’s global media partnerships team.

    But that’s not all. The bio goes on to say that Sharp also served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for a Democrat senator in Louisiana in 2008, and that he is also a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

  • ||

    As I mentioned above, I recall tech execs talking this way back in the bubble tech days and then everything went, like, all traditional and reality.

    The snapping up of software companies worth shit with worse products was insane turning people into millionaires over night.

    Didn't Cuban make his money this way; through a buy out?

  • ||

    Cuban's company actually had a product though. I think it was radio.com

    He put traditional radio stations on the internet.

  • Steve G||

    “the human embodiment of Twitter”
    If someone referred to me this way, I would take it as insult.

  • Jerryskids||

    I thought Trump was the human embodiment of Twitter, sound and fury signifying nothing and all that. More to be mocked than to be feared and you wouldn't want to step in it if you saw it laying on the sidewalk.

  • Cloudbuster||

    I have a theory that if every member of the CFR suddenly dropped dead tomorrow, it would improve the political landscape immensely. But, to be fair, pretty much any large number of politicians and political influence peddlers dropping dead would do the same thing.

  • ||

    Have you look at their stock price? Twitter haven't been making money at all, and their stock price is tanking. So their solution to their unprofitability is to go full MiniTru. Good luck.

  • EMD||

    The P/E predictions look like one of those divers in Acapulco.

  • R C Dean||

    the social media platform explicitly claimed it was trying to strike a balance between allowing free speech and prohibiting harassment and abuse.

    Ah, yes, the old "I support free speech, but . . . "

    More accurately, this should be "the social media platform explicitly claimed it has created a Trust and Safety Council that will limit free speech by prohibiting "harassment and abuse", without giving those whose speech has been penalized any notice of the reasons why or opportunities to respond".

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    Hahaha, that didn't take long. Assuming this checks out.

  • Ra's al Gore||

    Find me the campaign finance law that prevents corporations from doing favors for particular candidates at financial cost (this will ultimately hurt revenue).

  • Jerryskids||

    Look, we need a Trust and Safety Squad, if you're in favor of allowing people to tell other people to shut up, you need to be told to shut up. If you claim that other people's opinions don't matter, your opinion doesn't matter. If you think it's okay to whack people upside the head, you need to be...*WHACK* Ouch! What the hell are you whacking me upside the head for? I didn't mean me! I meant other people should get whacked upside the head. Always a surprise when the mob realizes the witch-hunters burn just as good as the witches.

  • EMD||

    I belong to a Sit Back and Mock Quietly Council.

  • SusanM||

    Is there any way that Brave New World can be used in place of 1984? What's going on now is far closer to the World State's aversion to unpleasantness and passion than Oceania's extreme brutality.

  • Zombie Jimbo||

    Given a choice of dystopias, I would choose the one with Soma capsules and lots of sex over the one with shrinking chocolate rations, and face shaped rat cages.

    Freedom would be nice, but I'm not sure if it is still on the menu of choices.

  • SimonD||

    It seems more like Animal Farm to me; even including the bleating sheep and the hypocritical lefty pigs.

  • Gasherbrum||

    Time to replay the Southpark Safe Space segment.

  • ||

    Yeah, they're going to try to turn Twitter into a "safe space", basically.

  • Jayburd||

    They should do like H&R and allow open carry.

  • Brian||

    They basically want to run the.m company on the adice of Lena Dunham. Is she on the Safe Space Pussy Committee?

    Smart business move, Twitter. Get in touch with the sensitive puss puss in all of us.

  • GILMORE™||

    "His statements are extreme, and I don’t often agree with them, "

    I'm sure you'll let everyone know the instances where you do.

  • Aloysious||

    I wonder what Robby's Hair thinks about RSM and his extreme statements.

  • GILMORE™||

    "" Feminists mainly hate @Nero because his hair is so much better than theirs.@ScrubOneHD @StevenErtelt @instapundit https://t.co/snJaAVMrL3

    — Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) February 18, 2016"

    This must be one of the few things Robby agrees with RSM about.

  • Aloysious||

    Heh. Now that's funny.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Wonder if Robby and Milo trade hair care tips.

  • prathohabu||

    A­f­ter be­­­­in­­g fir­­ed from my old job 5 months ago, i've had luck to learn about this great company online that was a lifesaver for me... They offer online home-based w0rk. My last month payment after working with them for 5 months was 12000 bucks... Great thi­ng ab­out it wa­s th­at only requirement for the job is basic typing and reliable int­ernet...If you th­ink this co­uld b­e for you th­en find o­ut more he­re…....awh............

    ----- www.workprospects.com

  • fish||

    I'd so ban you from Twitter......

  • techgump||

    Hahaha, oh ya.

  • Mike Lorrey||

    How about an election by Reason users to propose an addition to Twitters Ministry of Truth Commission? Show that Twitter has no intent to allow even token representation of all views.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I nominate Trump

  • JWatts||

    I nominate Napoleon and Squealer.

  • Cloudbuster||

    I nominate a Salsco Commerical Woodchipper.

  • ||

    A libertarian wouldn't do it without getting paid.

    That's part of the problem. Progressives are willing to oppress people for FREE.
    It's way harder to put up with shit and resist the temptation to use the banhammer.
    To find people willing to do it right, you would have to pay them.

  • Number 2||

    So the Trust and Safety Council declared him UNMUTUAL?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "But if that’s what Twitter is doing, it’s certainly not being honest about it—and its many, many customers who value the ethos of free speech would certainly object."

    As libertarians, we know that private enterprise delivers better services than government. That's true of censorship, too, and Twitters' customers may prefer censorship.

    The San Francisco Chronicle censors anti-gay comments. That makes a lot of sense. The San Francisco Chronicle makes its money selling subscriptions to gay customers and advertising to companies that want to market themselves to gay customers. If censoring anti-gay comments helps their business model more than a free speech model would, then it would be foolish of them to tolerate homophobic comments.

  • Brochettaward||

    The assumption here is that Twitter is operating by such quaint incentives. Their motivation seems to be far more political. They are burying conservative users and news links. High ranking employees are on record saying they want to influence elections and how politicians campaign.

    A libertarian should be worried even if it is a private actor here. The government isn't involved, and I'm hardly advocating government intervention. Yet, it is troubling to say the least to see what were bastions of free speech slowly brought into line by governments and small fringe elements.

    I hope Twitter gets some competition that recognizes the value of allowing free expression and giving a voice to the little guy of all stripes. That is what made Twitter successful - it flattened society in a way. You remove the free speech element and begin to try to control that top down, you are essentially trying to do away with that. Twitter needs a competitor that fills this small niche.

  • Lee G||

    Twitter purported to be for freedom of expression, particularly for international markets. I remember people using Twitter during the Arab Spring for the organization of street protests. By picking political sides, Twitter is putting themselves right in the crosshairs of governments everywhere as either collaborators or enemies.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's always been like that.

    Check out this book: Read this article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02.....gel-t.html

    Written by a former dissident from Belarus.

    The reason the NSA didn't track our phone calls and emails before was because they didn't have the technology and/or it was cost prohibitive to do so.

    Social media can be used by Arab Spring protesters to organize protests like they never could before. Social media can also be used by vicious dictators to track the relationships of dissidents to people they never would have suspected of being disloyal--like they never could before.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Tools are probably neither moral nor immoral. Guns don't shoot people; people shoot people. Nuclear technology can be used to power hospitals or destroy them. Radio, newspapers, and television can be used to inform free voters--or to propagandize populations and keep them ignorant like they were used in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

    Same thing with BookFace and Twit.

    The idea that technology can make us free is probably a farce. There may seem to be some exceptions--but that's mostly due to the lag of governments coming up with ways to exploit the technology.

    Imagine the. warp drive. Surely we could escape the government with one?

    But an oppressive government could use that for purposes of subjugation, too. And that process has played out before.

    The colonists were relatively free from the British crown because of technological limitations. My grandfather was born in the days of horse and buggy. His father was a missionary to China. It took them months to get to Shanghai. He lived to fly to Hong Kong overnight on an airplane. What freedom!

    That technological advance also eliminated the inability of governments to project their power over oceans and continents. The British couldn't control what was happening on the eastern seaboard. Now the eastern seaboard projects its power across the ocean, across the European continent, and into central Asia.

    Twitter won't save us. We must learn to love freedom and choose to save themselves.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Is that you, Tulpa?

  • ||

    Ken I'm not sure what it is but I'm really curious who could find fault with your post.

    Maybe someone who believe guns kill people even when no one is around to pull the trigger ?

  • GILMORE™||

    "A libertarian should be worried even if it is a private actor here."

    The thing that would concern me is the lack of transparency around WHY someone was banned.

    I have no problem with a private entity making and enforcing its own rules and saying "We don't like X kind of speech" (even saying that they have explicit political bias)

    If the reasons for banning people remain unknown, and the process they engage in to make those determinations opaque, it has a chilling effect.

    There are lots of media people who rely on twitter as part of their business. Being banned could have a serious impact on their livelihood and profession. if its not clear where the red lines are, the effect will be to chill speech and could potentially spill over into other mediums.

    What happens when you use twitter to LINK to something that's "offensive" to someone somewhere? what happens when you RT something ?

    i don't care if they weed out the most-active-people who spend 24hrs a day using their Twitter account to do nothing but harass the poor snowflake-set. However if they don't clarify their criteria for bans and make them transparent, the effect is far wider reaching than limiting those few people, and has knock-on effects silencing anyone who might sympathize with that person's POV

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    One may argue that the chilling effect is precisely the goal of keeping policy ambiguous

  • ||

    If Twitter starts banning the wrong kind of people then they are going to have a problem.

    Can you see Twitter banning #blacklivesmatter crowd even if they say something that is abusive to others ?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I hope Twitter gets some competition that recognizes the value of allowing free expression and giving a voice to the little guy of all stripes."

    Read that Bloomberg link I posted below, and look at this chart from that link:

    http://assets.bwbx.io/images/i...../-1x-1.png

    Here's another blurb from that article:

    "Meanwhile, social-media competitors like Instagram and Snapchat are amassing larger audiences and focusing their products more on what Twitter does best: real-time news and information. Larger rivals, like Facebook and Google, have built out real-time advertising capabilities, too.

    . . .

    “They were the only game in town for live ads a while ago -- even a year ago,” said Jonathan Adams, chief digital officer at Maxus, a media agency. “Their share is eroding relative to the gains their competitors are making.”

    Twitter is reeling, and it's all about subscriber growth.

    They may find that censorship actually helps them with subscriber growth. I don't know. But I wouldn't worry too much about a paucity of options for conservatives to communicate. Individuals have more options to reach more people than anyone has ever had in history. Platforms like Twitter will be crushed if they overplay the wrong hand. And their competitors will continue to benefit from their mistakes.

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    You agonize over something ephemeral that markets will adjust to. The more they fence themselves in, the more they also fence out reality, and markets will work around that.

    To worry about this, to call it troubling, leaves the impression that you think markets will not correct this imbalance in the force. Markets are like gravity; defiance extracts a cost which can't be borne forever, weakens those who try, and makes entrance that much easier for newcomers who may or may not remember the lesson when they become entrenched.

  • Brochettaward||

    I do buy the government angle to an extent. A lot of these companies end up bringing in high ranking political campaigners. Silicon Valley is loaded with progressive derp. The government gets cozier with the big companies over time. Regulations will mount. I certainly do worry that the internet will be brought into line to some extent. There is a real push to sanitize it.

    It's not just Twitter.

    And a corporation may censor based on their customer's tastes, but often times people just live with the suck whether it be from the large corporate entity or the government. A lot of people don't make the distinction. And a lot of corporations have shown a willingness to overreact to a small, shrill minority. Not just with the SJW crowd and of late, but historically with TV, radio, and every other media platform.

  • Root Boy||

    Did you see John effin Kerry meeting with Studio Execs in Hollywood recently -- to help them get the message out that ISIS is bad, mmmkay?

  • LynchPin1477||

    As libertarians, we know that private enterprise delivers better services than government. That's true of censorship, too, and Twitters' customers may prefer censorship.

    The ends don't justify the means, but neither do the means necessarily justify the ends.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I do not understand, and understand not, I do.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Personally, I'd prefer a Twitter platform where everyone's views are respected equally, and the only speech that was censored was only censored because it violated someone's rights.

    The point shouldn't be lost, however, that companies do a better job of censoring to fit the tastes of their customers--better than the government. Among the other problems with agencies like the FCC is that it does a poor job of censorship. It censors things people want to see and lets through things that people find offensive. That's because government agencies are both unresponsive and unaccountable to customers.

    If Twitter makes a mistake with censorship, on the other hand, it'll show up on their bottom line. And they've already got enough problems.

    "Twitter Woes Deepen as Lack of User Growth Threatens Sales"

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/.....fall-short

  • Jerryskids||

    I believe Twitter's business model is what's referred to as an "echo chamber". Run off anybody whose head doen't echo when they open their mouth - it's the standard model.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    In constructing its Trust and Safety Council, the social media platform explicitly claimed it was trying to strike a balance between allowing free speech and prohibiting harassment and abuse.

    Harassment and abuse being defined as any speech I disagree with.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Now I'm going to need to drop my Twitter account.

    Wait...

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Shouting out your car window isn't the same as twitter. Similar, but not the same.

  • GILMORE™||

  • Ken Shultz||

    This is probably a great time to pipe in, too . . .

    I think we're an impressive bunch--as an online community goes.

    Maybe Reason staff doesn't think so, but I think we do a pretty good job of censoring ourselves and each other.

    Other websites that have as little in the way of censorship and moderation as we do are much, much worse than Reason.com.

    People who aren't as familiar with online communities and how they work may not agree, but that's probably becasue they don't know what it's like in other online communities where the rules are this lax.

    We should congratulate ourselves for being so awesome.

    I saw an NPR thread a few weeks ago where someone wrote something like, "Those people over at Reason.com think they're smarter than everyone else". My first response (in my head) was, "Well, we are".

    I wondered if NPR prog trolls would flood the site to try to show us up after that post. Maybe they did. I suppose if they did, we just embarrassed them back under their little bridges.

    Censorship is like a community effort around here. We shame people who need to be shamed. We embarrass people who need to be embarrassed. We ostracize people who need to be ostracized. And we end up with a better, more diverse, larger, more censorship free community than you'll likely find anywhere else in the whole wide world.

  • Jerryskids||

    Good lord, that sounds just like something Tulpa would say.

  • GILMORE™||

    I don't necessarily agree with your reasons ...

    e.g.
    " We shame people who need to be shamed. We embarrass people who need to be embarrassed. We ostracize people who need to be ostracized...."

    ...but i think your observation is correct about the end result.

    My suspicion is that H&R is 'better' because of other reasons. But that it is 'better', there is no question.

  • ||

    Other reasons, such as?

  • GILMORE™||

    i think its a confluence of things that characterize the people who come here, any one of which would seem by itself meaningless.

    but i think the demographics ('higher average age, higher-educational attainment, higher-income, etc')... combined with the specific internet-behaviors that people here tend to share (an actual interest in philosophical debate for its own sake - a higher degree of previous experience with online communities)... tend to be more significant than the actual communal "policing" behaviors.

    The fact that "Reasonable" exists is a good example of how people here DONT need to do that sort of active community-enforcement-stuff. Most people just filter out the things they don't like. "Not feeding the trolls" is generally more effective than trying to shame or shun them. (*and i confess, i have a weakness for beating up the sockpuppets which helps no one)

    I think this place does not attract the sorts of misanthropes that other online forums do partly because a) they will be ignored, and b) they tend to be wildly outgunned.

    The odd-sods that H&R does attract (Tulpa, Amsoc, Joe, White Indian/Mary, etc) are a strange, strange breed that all seem to share some intense combination of megalomania and masochism, and nothing we do (or don't do) has any apparent effect.

  • ||

    Yeah, I consider self-selection to be of greater importance than policing.

    Do you think this place is too homogeneous?

  • GILMORE™||

    no, i think we're just the right amount of gay

    in seriousness -

    depending on who you ask you will probably get a variety of views on that.

    Some seem to think there are too many 'republicans' and not enough 'real libertarians'

    then again - i'm not sure the magazine itself itself aims to be "real libertarian" so much as appeal to a range of potential-leaners

    I myself would have gotten bored a long time ago if the range of views were *too* narrow.

  • ||

    It's homogeneous in that it seems to attract people with reasoning ability and principles and an ethics derived rationally from first principles. It's one of the few places outside of an evangelical revival meeting where you'll see "evil" and "liar" mentioned freely and frequently and with no apology. Where words are treated as meaning something, and where everyone's first response to idiocy is to make fun of it and second response is to try to reason with it. With the folks here, speech seems to serve two purposes--it is an artistic medium and a medium for the conveyance of information. Quite easily, as psychologist and philologist, I can say that almost nowhere else are those among its prevalent uses. As far as selection goes, I think they aren't so much self-selected as that everyone who is afraid of freedom will tend to flee a forum like this fast as he can first time some assiduous little prig with an incomprehensible webchat appears to them. Not only is it uncontrolled, if anyone made a concerted effort to control it, he would either fail miserably, or everyone would leave. He can't control free men.

  • ||

    Well, we're all pretty sexy.

  • GILMORE™||

    and that

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    Fuck you, Ken. You should be banned for that shit. Why doesn't Reason censor viewpoints I disagree with?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Ken, stop being such a cunt.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I keed, I keed.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I know!

    That's part of my point.

    How could a censor--who isn't part of the community--know that was more of an in joke and not a flagrant example of bullying, intimidation, and abuse?

    They couldn't.

    They'd read it and think, "Oh my, that FdA is being so abusive! Let's rush in and save poor little Ken".

    Meanwhile, "poor little Ken" is lol 'cause it was funny.

  • Jayburd||

    "Ken, stop being such a cunt." Reason style "counterspeech".

  • Steve G||

    I'm just thankful for this site. Without it I wouldn't know among others, Sargon, Popehat, iowahawk, and now RSM. Dog bless you guys, and dog bless confirmation bias!

  • ||

    There is no censoring here. Shame is brought on by dorks needlessly, folks who ought to be ostracised instead get invited to the debate, and the only people the commenters is embarrassing is themselves, except that they are a bunch of insensitive arsehools and so never feel it.

  • EMD||

    Feel what?

  • Jayburd||

    All you woodchippers need to subscribe to this Council member- http://dangerousspeech.org/

  • Jayburd||

    A Soros thangy

  • Alcibiades||

    "Inflammatory public speech rises steadily before outbreaks of mass violence, suggesting that it is a precursor of, or even a prerequisite for violence. In many cases, a few influential figures turn their own people against another group, using speech that has a special capacity to inspire violence: Dangerous Speech. Found in myriad languages, cultures, and religions, Dangerous Speech is uncannily similar across them. For example, it often refers to people as insects, vermin, aliens, threats, or pollution.

    Violence may be prevented by diminishing such speech, or by making it less compelling to its audiences - without harming freedom of expression. The Dangerous Speech Project works to find the best ways to do this."

    By turns banal, sinister and incoherent.

  • ||

    Eh, they mostly seem harmless to me, simply because their method of dealing with "dangerous" speech is to speak out against it. They engage private, not government, actors to get them to speak out in favor of their values. If they were helping governments construct lists of behaviors or viewpoints to "monitor", I'd be more worried.

  • Jayburd||

    Twitter is posturing for something.

  • EMD||

    The best tonic for bad speech is more speech.

  • ||

    This is great. The SJWs are exposing themselves to be exactly the kind of totalitarian thugs that everyone suspects them of being. it puts us all on notice: as soon as they get power, they turn into ban-happy tyrants.

  • ||

    Anyone who was paying the slightest attention knew exactly what they are from day one.

  • Alcibiades||

    Relax, with all those "hate speech" laws Europe will soon be a peace love and harmony paradise. Just wait and see.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Twitter is a private company, of course, and if it wants to outlaw strong language, it can[...] This is not about the First Amendment.


    Yes Robby, it is. Social media is one of the primary ways that people communicate with each other and share ideas today -- Twitter and Facebook being the leading infrastructure for this. This is not getting uninvited for trespassing; this is the closest to being banned from the public square that is possible in this day and age; arguably worse even than printing presses banning Enlightenment-era tracts and publications back in the Bad Old Days when no one even expected the right to a fair hearing in the court of public opinion.

    The only reason that this has not extended into government is because the First Amendment is still too entrenched -- but look at Europe and the rest of the world. We are atypical in our commitment to free speech; once things like the Trust and Safety Council are entrenched and a cultural norm, that exceptionalism ceases to be. There are communists, fascists, racists, conservatives, and all sorts of people on Twitter; this should always be the case and their self-expression should be unequivocally supported.

    I hope that every libertarian and libertarian-leaner will fully support Robert Stacy McCain and anyone else who is so banned from the internet's equivalent of the commons. It is a cultural issue of paramount importance; much more so than proscribed "tolerance" and technological advancement.

  • GILMORE™||

    ""The German and US governments have been leaning hard on twitter and facebook to ban 'hate speech'"

    Of course the first thing that happens in those cases is that "hate speech" becomes coded and hides in plain sight.

    Its better to leave it out in the open where there is no doubt about what it is.

  • JWatts||

    I'm conflicted on this issue, but I think that The Immaculate Trouser makes a good point. If this issue get's publiclized, at least everyone will know about it, but if it just keeps quietly happening in the background, then it becomes a pernicious issue. I think articles like this are the correct solution, but only if they get a lot of eyeballs.

    So kudos on writing this story Robby and I hope it gets picked up and spread widely.

  • ||

    Thick libertarianism vs. thin.

    Twitter has a right to ban whomever it pleases. That doesn't mean we shouldn't promote a culture of tolerance and open dialogue.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    More simply put:

    They are doing nothing illegal, but they are being shitbags.

  • ||

    Thick libertarianism vs. thin.

    Twitter has a right to ban whomever it pleases. That doesn't mean we shouldn't promote a culture of tolerance and open dialogue.

  • Homple||

    I see they haven't managed to ban the squirrels yet.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Twitter does have that right. This is precisely why libertarians must condemn their actions in the strongest of terms; it is one of the only tools we allow ourselves to have in this circumstance. We don't need to strongly condemn murder; it is socially condemned and we approve state action to curtail murder.

    I don't know where I fall in the thick vs thin argument (mostly because I don't know what either extreme contributes to the discussion), but I know that whoever supports free expression over the most popular social media is on the right track, and whoever abides shutting down such speech in ideological terms is setting themselves up for government to do the same thing further along the track.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Condemn them by not buying their service.

    Better yet, compete with them by doing what they do without the censorship.

  • Raven Nation||

    I don't know that I disagree with Immaculate Trouser but a little devil's advocate...

    i) Historically the First Amendment (like all elements of the BoR) was written to specify rights held by the people against which the government may not act. So, it was explicitly about the overreach of state (not private power).

    ii) Would applying the BoR to corporations have some negative effect? To give one (sort of) example, the old Fairness Doctrine could be construed as an means to say that broadcasters must grant First Amendment rights to anyone who wants them.

    Again, I'm not sure I disagree with Immaculate's post, just kickin' around some alternatives.

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    Jesus. Lighten up, Francis.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I wonder if this persons twitter account is suspended?

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/.....t-men-too/

  • John||

    I would love to hear Robby is still not convinced that McCain was banned for his views. I see no evidence it was anything but that. What other than just a commitment to give Twitter the benefit of any doubt could cause Robby to still not be convinced.

  • PapayaSF||

    Robby's tone was a tad too generous. AFAIK McCain is not one to make physical threats, incite violence, etc. The banning is purely ideological/"muh feelings."

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    Why won't he just jump to conclusions and express some rage!? He's giving Twitter the benefit of the doubt? ARGH!!!

  • John||

    What has Twitter done to deserve the benefit of the doubt? Nothing but since you hate McCain for some strange reason you come on here and pretend they do.

    You do realize how pathetic and transparent you are? Right?

  • Finrod||

    If there was any doubt, the #FreeStacy hashtag started to trend then *poof* it disappeared from the list of trending hashtags.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    I'm not on social media, so this has little effect upon me.

    One would not expect to read a well-reasoned argument for abortion on a pro-life website, or a well-reasoned argument against abortion on a pro-choice website. Just as the Daily Worker would never allow an anti-communist article or Der Sturmer would never allow an anti-Nazi article, so it should come as no surprise that a progressive media outlet would reject anti-progressive article.

    This little incident just illustrates that much of social media is, in fact, media for progressive propaganda.

    Iowahawk puts it nicely: "I'd actually be proud if Twitter was shadowbanning me, it's like being on the Nixon enemies list."

  • EMD||

    " so it should come as no surprise that a progressive media outlet would reject anti-progressive article."

    Twitter has never sold it itself as a particular political platform. The Daily Worker, however, is very obvious about its political intents.

  • gg412||

    This new censorship notwithstanding, Twitter is an assinine platform that encourages thoughtlessness and stupidity. Every other week some idiot blows themselves up because of something they put on Twitter. I wish somebody would short the stock relentlessly and put Twitter out of its misery.

  • ||

    Agreed. Who ever thought that a conversation composed entirely of 140 character one-liners was going to promote anything but vapid posturing?

  • John||

    It says something about the sorry state of the media that journalists are the main users of Twitter.

  • ||

    An even better question was and is: how the fuck can you make money with that? I can't tell you how many people I talked to in 2009 who wanted to invest or thought it was going to be the next Google, and I kept asking them "where is the profit made?" Their response was essentially:

    1. Create Twitter
    2. ???
    3. PROFIT

  • John||

    Selling the personal data and preferences of users? I am completely pulling that out of my ass but I have never understood their business model either.

  • Raven Nation||

    Same with Facebook. To me, the best way to make money from them seemed to be: buy the stocks early and sell almost immediately.

  • John||

    I have heard FACEBOOK has a massive ad revenue stream. I never could figure out their business model either but unlike Twitter, FACEBOOK seems to have actual cash flow.

  • Steve G||

    I do see a handful of 'promoted' tweets on my feed that sumbody must be paying for

  • John||

    Not enough to pay the bills I don't think. I am pretty sure Twitter has never turned a profit.

  • GILMORE™||

    "To me, the best way to make money from them seemed to be: buy the stocks early and sell almost immediately."

    Actually, with most 'unicorn' IPOs, the best way to make money was to wait 6 months for the lockup period to expire, then buy it, wait about a year, THEN sell & short.

  • PapayaSF||

    To be fair, it's possible (and not rare) for 140 characters to be witty and pithy, and Twitter has those. E.g. "My favorite part of the Obama era is all the racial healing."

  • GILMORE™||

    ""I wish somebody would short the stock relentlessly and put Twitter out of its misery.""

    I'm afraid you're a little late to that brainwave

    its been a thing for 2 years now.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    Gamergate again? I'd just as soon discuss...

    26 celebrities at Sundance comment on Chicago-style deep dish pizza

  • Jordan||

    In response to this mess, I saw a guy advocate hanging all conservatives from lampposts on Twitter. The Trust and Safety Council seems not to have noticed.

  • Jayburd||

    That actually made it a SAFER space. Is called "counterspeech".

  • Notorious UGCC||

    Questioning Circumcision Is Common Among Young Jews In America

    "Young Jewish parents are working with supportive Jewish clergy to create ritual alternatives.

    "Mark Reiss, MD., a Jewish doctor and influential intactivist manages a list of more than 130 Rabbis (plus many cantors and other Jewish leaders) all over the world (including the US, UK, and Israel), who officiate at Jewish covenant ceremonies without circumcision."

  • ||

    Here's something to worry about:

    Remember how The Onion started publishing pro-Hillary stories as soon as one of her backers bought a controlling stake in it?

    If they're willing to use ownership stakes in popular media outlets to promote their political candidates, how long before they move beyond just publishing propaganda and start banning conservative commenters?

  • PapayaSF||

    The trend towards pulling commenting entirely is a part of that.

  • Gray Ghost||

    I didn't realize earlier this was a thing---media outlets jettisoning their comments sections---but I've started noticing it more and more for local news sites. They all used to have their own comments, which frequently had better, more accurate news than the original story, and with their latest website redesigns, most have gotten rid of their Discus or Viafoura or other comments.

    Disappointing. The article may or may not have been useful, but their'd usually be a commenter or two below who'd have some additional interesting context to the article.

  • Root Boy||

    Yes, and I noticed most comments on the various "mainstream" papers I read are pretty right of center or anti-obama/hillary. Even the UK papers on line seem to follow that trend. Don't read the Guardian though.

    I think since most "mainstream" is left of center or outright leftist, it makes sense they just want to shitcan comments because it's not a lovefest for their favorite themes.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I didn't realize earlier this was a thing---media outlets jettisoning their comments sections---but I've started noticing it more and more for local news sites.

    Check out a lot of the Vox-type sites that push left-wing narratives and you'll see that almost all of them eliminated their comment sections. That's hardly an accident, although to be fair Fox did this too.

    News outlets are becoming increasingly thin-skinned about their readers calling them out on their bullshit in public and getting rid of the comments is part of that.

  • GILMORE™||

    "how long before they move beyond just publishing propaganda and start banning conservative commenters?"

    This is already the case in a wide variety of media.

    The fact is that "newspapers" were born in the late 19th century as entirely partisan propaganda outlets
    (using lurid 'clickbait' news-reporting about rapes, murders, and gossip to attract people, then pushing the political propaganda as their core product)

    the pretense of news-media as 'unbiased, non-partisan, objective and principled' has always been barely skin-deep. I suppose it only even came into being with the birth of Television.

    I don't think openly partisan media is something "to worry about" because i think its probably *better* than the fake-pretense than news orgs *aren't* biased.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The only time anyone had pretensions about the news media being "non-biased" was right after WW2 when the country had much stronger social and cultural bonds. They've always pushed a line, though, even if they weren't being overt about it. The idea of a non-biased media started to crack apart when Cronkite preemptively declared defeat in Vietnam.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    Funeral Mass for Antonin Scalia

    "“God bless dad for his faith,” said the Rev. Paul Scalia, one of Justice Scalia's nine children, who led the service at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. “The deeper he went in his faith, the better public servant he was. God bless dad for his love of his family.”

    "The roughly two-hour-long service was attended by such leaders in government and law as Vice President Joe Biden, former GOP Vice President Dick Cheney and the remaining eight high court justices.

    "Among them were Justice Clarence Thomas who read from the New Testament."

  • Notorious UGCC||

    "Scalia, a Catholic priest serving the diocese of Arlington, Va., said his father once unknowingly stood in his line to confess sins, a Roman Catholic sacrament.

    “"‘Like heck I’m confessing to you,’ ” Scalia recalled his father later saying. “The feeling was mutual.”"

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    So...

    Assuming they are actually going to ban anyone who holds a different opinion than they AND assuming that left and right leaning individuals use the service equally, they've just opened the door for a competitor to take roughly 50% of their market share.

    This is a FOX News opportunity for someone inclined to start their own business.

  • Homple||

    Brings to mind the wisecrack about Roger Ailes, "He found a niche market-half the country".

  • Feiel||

    Your first assumption is idiotic, though.

  • ||

    "Banning McCain wasn’t even Twitter’s only questionable activity last night. It seems that Twitter also suppressed the pro-McCain hashtag subsequently created by his supporters, #FreeStacy." Charming. Was it handled by the Deception and Shadow Council? They should get cool hats. (Ironically, trust and deception don't entirely match.)

    Robby, have you ever heard back on your inquiry regarding the composition of that Safety Council?

  • ||

    Anna Merlan will be on it.

  • Feiel||

    How did they suppress it?

  • Root Boy||

    the autocomplete function when you start typing "freest..." never gives freestacy as a suggestion.

  • 0x90||

    Private enterprise? But -- the infrastructure supporting its operation, well, Twitter didn't build that. And further, it cannot be argued that Twitter doesn't affect interstate commerce. And besides, it's not Twitter itself that creates any value, it's the people who use it. Just because you woke up one morning with the idea to let people broadcast about how their hemorrhoids are flaring up this morning, in 140 characters or less, doesn't mean that you should get to be rich and powerful, forever -- that's an idea that anyone could've come up with. For these reasons, any right-thinking person would agree, Twitter is in no position to censor speech, and should be prosecuted, if not nationalized outright, for attempting to do so.

  • Jayburd||

    The real danger is the opposite will happen.

  • Paulpemb||

    "Twitter is a private company, of course, and if it wants to outlaw strong language, it can. In fact, it’s well within its rights to have one set of rules for Robert Stacy McCain, and another set of rules for everyone else. It’s allowed to ban McCain for no reason other than its bosses don’t like him. If Twitter wants to take a side in the online culture war, it can. It can confiscate Milo Yiannopoulos’s blue checkmark. This is not about the First Amendment."

    Sure. Just like a baker can refuse to bake a cake for a same sex wedding.

  • Feiel||

    If the customer walked in and started screaming and pissing off other customers, they would certainly be well within their rights to refuse.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Twitter allows that stuff all the time. It's just selective about who it throws out.

  • JWW||

    Or how you are allowed to choose which pronouns you use to refer to a transgendered person.

  • Feiel||

    Right, and you are.

  • ||

    Shut up Tulpa.

    Crawl back into your hole.

  • PapayaSF||

    I'm still disappointed they didn't name it "the Committee for Public Safety."

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It's often misunderstood precisely how post-Constantine Christianity became so entrenched in the framework of the pagan Roman Empire. Many wrongly believe that it was a Bolshevik-style upending of the institutions -- nothing could be farther from the truth. Instead, it started much like what is happening on Twitter: a ban on witchcraft, for example (something recognized as morally wrong by much of the pagan world), instead of an outright ban on paganism. This caused two things to happen: it shrunk the spaces in which paganism could operate, and it staffed their replacements in the public square with those most committed to the Christian doctrine. Pagan Senators were not removed from their posts for being pagan; they were removed for insulting the Virgin or witchcraft or somesuch. Neoplatonic academies were not shuttered for believing in Plato's doctrine; they were closed for teaching Evil with a capital E, on terms that even many pagans would have agreed with. In roughly 150 years, Christianity was so entrenched in the mechanics of the Roman empire and its ideas so integrated in its populace, that it was Rome who fell and Christianity that lived on and thrived. Many of the "moderate" pagans who saw witchcraft as a social evil, or who may have preferred not to insult the Virgin or the Christ, found themselves living in a different world where they were not welcome and their views were not heard.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    The same story can be said of many minorities which became socially dominant -- some directly and through government sanction, others without. Hell, some of those groups might even be ones you agree with -- for example, I'd consider myself a Christian myself (the pathogen spreads easily, heh).

    The moral of the story is that the public square has to be zealously guarded according to what you think society should be up to. In the case of the pagan Romans, it might have served them well if they'd seen this -- say, by supporting a Julian the Apostate and pushing back against a Theodosian back when the local cults and superstitions constituted some 85% of the Empire's population. In the case of libertarians, our goals are more modest -- we merely ask for a good faith attempt at a neutral public square to the best of our ability. Modest though the goal is, we have to defend the goal: whenever the attempt is bad faith or not engaged at all, it's our charge to point it out and fight like hell against those who want something else.

  • ||

    Did you write this?

  • John||

    MY guess is he did. Trouser is one of the smarter people on here.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Yes, I did. This is what happens when you take my beer away for a weekend.

  • ||

    +1 George Costanza without sex.

  • ||

    No one should ever have to undergo such torture as a weekend without beer.

    Who did it too you Trouser ?.

    The Twitter Anti-Beer Social InJustice League ?

  • John||

    McCain is an animated and uncompromising opponent of leftist views. His statements are extreme, and I don’t often agree with them, but I would be reluctant to label them as abusive (at least the ones I’ve seen).

    I think Robby is just wrong about this. There is nothing "extreme" about McCain's statements. Sarkesian is anti-freedom. I don't see how telling the truth is "extreme", or least how it is unless you consider lying to be the normal order of things. And why is Robby "reluctant to label them as abusive"? Clearly, Robby has read McCain's writing or he wouldn't claim to disagree with it. Either he finds McCain's statements abusive in his view or he doesn't. I am not saying Robby should or should not. Abusive is a relative term and Robby is free to define it as he wishes. Robby should, however, if he is going to write about this story, define it and state an opinion about whether McCain's writing is or is not abusive.

    I get the feeling that Robby understands that McCain is right here but it just pains him to no end to have to defend McCain. Why all the mealy mouthed language? Why is Robby reluctant to find McCain abusive, as opposed to just calling the charge ridiculous and at the same time is "still not convinced" Twitter is in the wrong here?

  • Feiel||

    McCain blocks people at his site, that alone concedes any high ground.

  • GILMORE™||

    McCain's site isn't an internet service with millions of users last i checked.

  • Feiel||

    Why does that matter? We're talking about supposed censorship, so it should apply regardless of the size of the service.

    What you're now talking about is a platform, and no one is entitled to that.

    So, you can either be principled and admit there is nothing here about principles, or back your guy McCain in his hypocrisy.

  • GILMORE™||

    "So, you can either be principled and admit there is nothing here about principles, or back your guy McCain in his hypocrisy.

    I'm not "backing my guy" at all. I've never heard of him before today.

    My point was that his deleting your comments from his site isn't in any way infringing on your ability to speak. You could have always tweeted at him to your hearts content. (*too late, apparently). And your expectation to have your views hosted by a person you are directly criticizing is an unreasonable expectation, whereas using Twitter - a supposedly neutral service offered to all comers - has an entirely different set of standards and interests involved.

    I just don't think you have any valid point, is all.

  • Feiel||

    But your point hinges on the idea that Twitter owes him some sort of right to tweet, yet he doesn't owe his users the right to post?

    I'm sorry, but that isn't a principled stance for the freedom of speech. Twitter isn't the only way to speak, and it is completely voluntary. It has every right to be treated like a private company with all the rights that infers.

  • GILMORE™||

    "your point hinges on the idea that Twitter owes him some sort of right to tweet, yet he doesn't owe his users the right to post?"

    There's no claim to anyone's "rights" here at all. Rights are (at least in my view) negative.

    Twitter markets itself as a service for the general public, he doesn't. He markets his own content, which you can take or leave. I would have thought that was clear from my very first post.

  • GILMORE™||

    Twitter can certainly ban him if they want. I do think (as noted above) they should post what their specific polices are and what the criteria for bans entail, but only as a good-business practice as a speech-platform, given that they market themselves as a communications service for any and all takers.

    If they want to reserve the right to be entirely arbitrary then they should say so, rather than make some false claims about their free speech concerns, and very ostentatiously appointing a "Trust and Safety Council" who are in fact just political-censors.

    RSM, by contrast, doesn't owe anyone anything and can do whatever they fuck he wants with his website. He never pretended to be offering a service to anyone or make any claim to impartiality.

    My point was simply to note that your claim of 'hypocrisy', trying to draw some equivalence between the two, has no merit.

  • Feiel||

    You know as well as I do that Twitter never marketed itself as a general forum, not that it would matter here. This is mind-numbingly obvious by their 140 character limit, the stratification of users by verification, their privacy settings, and their revenue sources. You can pay to promote tweets. You can pay to promote hashtags. These are features of a private service trying to make a profit, not a forum for the general public.

    There is no fundamental difference between McCain offering his website with a comment section and Twitter offering its services with their ToS when it comes to the obligations of the proprietors to their users. The only difference between these situations is that some people obviously feel entitled to behaving however they wish with a company's private property.

    Short version: "RSM, by contrast, doesn't owe anyone anything" - Neither does Twitter.

  • John||

    No it doesn't. Not in a battle with a company that claims to be a content neutral public forum.

  • Feiel||

    you can be content neutral and anti-harassment at the same time. Twitter is private and is clear that they will enforce ambiguous rules on people's behavior when they believe it is better for their platform.

    Good for them.

  • John||

    you can be content neutral and anti-harassment at the same time

    Except hat nothing McCain did constituted harassment by any reasonable definition.

    Thanks for outing yourself as a Prog troll who thinks any view point you disagree with is harassment.

    Thanks for playing but the entire board knows to ignore you.

  • PapayaSF||

    I think "Feiel" is a new Tulpa or Mary handle.

  • ||

    Duh.

  • ||

    Shut up Tulpa.

  • Homple||

    It would hard for Robby to think of McCain's statements as anything other than extreme since he grew up marinated in political correctness: in the education system from preschool through college; media; entertainment; and polite society in general. He might get over the prejudices of his upbringing some day but it will take some work and reflection.

  • John||

    There seems to be an inbuilt bias that groups on the left really can't be that bad. Well yeah sometimes they are.

    I would love to know if he considers Sarkesian's views extreme and if not why he doesn't yet considers McCain's views extreme.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Just hooked up my new Unifi access point. I'm downloading at 15MB a second right now. FUCK YEAH

  • Steve G||

    First post on Monday's AM lynx or it didn't happen

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    It's for bandwidth, not latency.

  • Jerryskids||

    So you wanted bigger, not faster? Who know who else likes bigger but not faster?

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Actually, it's not bigger than my last.
    https://www.ubnt.com/unifi/unifi-ap-ac-lr/

    Faster? Yes.

  • GILMORE™||

    Dr Ruth?

  • DK||

    What good is it when your internet seems to go out every Saturday, Sep-Dec.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    I think I'm good there:
    http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/5103407666

    I throttle my upload at the firewall, though.

  • John||

    I know that anti-trust laws are controversial among Libertarians and for good reason. Love them or loath them, anti trust laws are still on the books. Obviously Obama will never do it, but I really think that Facebook, Google, and Twitter all three are in gross violation of anti-trust laws. These companies have become monopolists. All three are becoming increasingly oppressive and partisan with their uses of their monopoly power. Break them up like we did the old phone company and and create competitors that they have to subsidize until they are on a firm footing.

    Not a Libertarian solution for sure. But a a solution that is properly enforcing the law as written and one that the people running these companies would applaud if it were applied to someone else.

  • Feiel||

    If you think Twitter is a monopoly, you probably just think you're a libertarian

  • John||

    No. I know what words mean. Twitter is clearly monopoly. What is and is not a monopoly is a function of how widely you define the market. If you define the market as "social media", no it is not. But doing that assumes a service like Facebook or Instagram is in the same business as Twitter. Clearly they are not. There is only one service that does what Twitter does and they are it.

    I will remind you that this board is filled with people who actually know things. So, if you don't know much, and it appears you don't, you might want to be a bit more careful about who you call out on here.

  • Feiel||

    A monopoly has nothing to do with how YOU define the market. Twitter does not preclude other social media companies from competing or existing. Until anti-trust laws exist that try to attack network effects, which won't happen because it would be so far reaching, then Twitter is NOT a monopoly in the eyes of anti-trust laws, which is the context in which you put it.

    You might as well just be arguing that Twitter has a monopoly on tweets, which is a stupid and irrelevant thing to say, but you're right about that.

  • John||

    A monopoly has nothing to do with how YOU define the market. Twitter does not preclude other social media companies from competing or existing.

    Yes it does. The fact that it is so dominant makes entering the the market impossible. Go back and look at t he Microsoft case. There was nothing preventing other people form making browsers. It was just that microsoft was so dominant that it including a browser with its OS effectively prevented it. Same thing here.

  • Mr. Flanders||

    Cause, you know, Internet Explorer is totally the dominant internet browser of today. *rolls eyes*

  • ThomasD||

    not sure if sarc, or not...

  • Homple||

    It's difficult to call Twitter a monopoly but even if it is one, it is a contestable monopoly with plenty of competition from other platforms.

  • John||

    They are no less of a monopoly than Microsoft was in the mid 1990s. And Microsoft didn't escape the wrath of DOJ.

  • Feiel||

    You are so utterly incorrect it's sad.

  • ThomasD||

    Exactly, nothing was stopping anyone from string wire right next to Ma Bell's...

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    How the hell are facebook and twitter monopolies? How could you "break them up?" A facebook for the east coast, distinct from the west coast? A twitter for teenagers, a twitter for the middle-aged?

    What the fuck?

  • John||

    They are monopolies because they are the only ones who do what they do. And you don't break them up. You make them form and subsidize independent competitors. There used to be and might still be a Myspace that did the same thing as Facebook. Make Facebook cede some its market share to Myspace or create a new competitor. And then let the systems link in with each other so that the competitors users get access to their friends on facebook.

    Those are extreme remedies, but most anti-trust remedies are.

  • Feiel||

    You don't understand the concept of substitutability, do you? Every single product on earth is heterogenous in someway, that doesn't mean that every product on earth is being sold by a monopoly.

    Your brain cannot function if you think in such a uselessly structured way.

  • John||

    Yes I do. But that is an argument against anti-trust law in general. And it is one I am sympathetic to. But, under anti-trust law as it is, it doesn't mean Twitter is not a monopoly.

  • Root Boy||

    It's a network monopoly within it's own network.

    There is some linking between networks, but hard for a new social network similar to Twitter to start.

    I did hear about a competitor to Facebook, but also heard it just got bought by FB.

    FB will consume twitter with wattsapp and instagram though, so I think this issue will transfer to them soon enough (if not already considering the German censorship supposedly going on).

  • 0x90||

  • GILMORE™||

    = "Sybella/17/lun, luns, lunself/queer/fluid between sparrowkin, pastelkin, and spacekin/virgo/non gender conforming/radfem/white but anti white/pro sex worker anti sex industry"

    By tumblr standards this seems like the same as "SWM seeking SWF"

  • Notorious UGCC||

    You spelled "crazy" wrong.

  • ||

    I'll do anything for money seems to be the message.

  • PapayaSF||

    DO NOT FOLLOW IF:

    Cis white male
    Vegan
    White AND proud of it
    You appropriate culture
    You watch porn for pleasure
    You are Christian
    Anti sjw/feminist
    YOU ARE A SATIRE BLOG, I FIND JOKES LIKE THAT JUST PLAIN OFFENSIVE
    If you are against self dxing

    "Vegan" is the puzzler there...

  • GILMORE™||

    i think the point of the original post was to suggest its a troll.

    the actual content of the blog also suggests its a troll

    "My shitty neighbourhood

    WARNING: IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE TO ANIMAL ABUSE AND SOCIAL INJUSTICES PLEASE STOP READING.

    So I was walking to the store today to get more bird feed (it helps me express my sparrowkin type if I have some in my pocket at all times and I can peck at it when I’m doing human activies) I really didn’t want to leave my nest today because it was cold and I get really upset when I can’t fly south but I was really all out of bird feed so I forced myself out.

    I live in a pretty quiet neighbourhood but it’s not free from bigots and of course I met one on the way to the store -.-

    She was this little old lady and I ended up beside her when we were about to cross the street when this cat walked in front of us and she HAD THE AUDACITY to say “it’s good luck if a black cat walks by”

    I told her straight away that by saying ‘black cat’ she was being extremely racist told her that it was a COC (cat of color) we had just seen.

    Not only did she REFUSE TO APOLOGISE but she even LAUGHED AT ME and said she ‘DIDN’T UNDERSTAND YOUNG PEOPLE’????

    LIKE THAT’S AN EXCUSE TO STAY RACIST??

    I put my bloody tampon through her letterbox this afternoon since she obviously likes white blood so much."

  • GILMORE™||

    """Vegan" is the puzzler there...""

    ""why does veganism trigger you?

    Being sparrowkin when someone tells me not to eat meat I get strong dysphoria bc eating worms is part of how I express my kin type uwu"

  • GILMORE™||

    ""Triggers

    Alexa suffers from PTSD due to choking on a fish bone. For this reason we request that you tag fish, bones, PTSD and eating.

    Saitama suffers from depression due to his dysphoria so requests that you tag any posts mentioning depression, super-strength, super-powers, super-heroes, cats stuck up trees, suicide, capes or the anime, One Punch Man.

    Political Views

    We despise capitalism and do not buy any branded goods. We support the shop lifting community, so long as they are lifting branded goods and not local produce. We are active in our local communist community and frequently engage in their political rallies. "

  • Arroway||

    A true case of Poe's Law: I cannot imagine a parody written about these people that would be at all distinguishable from their actual statements.

  • Feiel||

    McCain blocks people at his site, how is this deserving of sympathy? He went as far as using his admin privileges on Disqus to post my name and email address when he didn't like my comments.

  • John||

    McCain doesn't claim to be a neutral platform for conversation. He runs a private site that is there to put forth his view point. If Twitter wants to claim they are now a service that caters to the SJW point of view only, good for them. The problem is they don't do that. They claim to be content neutral and then ban people they disagree with under the slanderous reasoning that they are "abusive" or "extreme".

    The heart of the issue is not that Twitter banned McCain. They have a right to do that. It is that they banned him for obviously ideological reasons yet claim they are offering a public square.

  • Lord Rollingpin||

    Where these comments well thought out, carefully crafted arguments or just retarded shit slinging? Because the latter will get you kicked out of most places.

  • ThomasD||

    You gotta ask?

  • Finrod||

    And now it comes out. People that make jackasses out of themselves get banned at The Other McCain, and there are a lot of leftist jackasses out there. Thanks for letting us know that you're a leftist jackass.

  • Nativist, Racist & Xenophobe||

  • ||

    Israel seeking an international solution to suppress hate-speech on social media: http://tinyurl.com/israel-socialmedia -- Twitter's Council seems a little light on Jews. Are they counted as oppressors (too successful), perchance, or did Twitter simply get carried away with excitement over feminism?

  • Real American||

    Fuck Social Justice. It is the polar opposite of real, actual justice.

  • Feiel||

    Isn't fighting for McCain's right to tweet kind of a stupid social justice cause? I mean, it's not pro-speech, it's pro-platform provided by a private company.

    Not only that, but he dude bans people from his blog all the time.

  • GILMORE™||

    no

  • Finrod||

    Shut up, whiny leftist asshole.

  • Rational Exuberance||

    Twitter has painted itself into a corner: they have become a platform for immature, arrogant, rude lefties and a few people who get a kick out of trolling the lefties. That's what their brand name stands for until they go out of business or get acquired. They can't change no matter how much they want to.

  • gah87||

    Just because Twitter is a private company does not mean it can arbitrarily exclude whomever it pleases based on their views, no more than a shopping mall owner can arbitrarily exclude certain shoppers based on their views. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12......html?_r=0
    This *is* about First Amendment rights, and should be treated accordingly.

  • Rational Exuberance||

    The First Amendment says "government shall make no laws...".

    Your idea that the government can compel private companies to publish speech they disagree with is utterly incompatible with free speech and simply idiotic.

  • Cloudbuster||

    It's not quite clear to me why every lover of free speech hasn't deleted their Twitter account.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Since when has Twitter attracted people with even minimally average intelligence?

  • Deep Lurker||

    I’m not convinced that’s what’s happening, [Twitter going full on Ministry of Truth]

    OK then, what would convince you?

  • SDN||

    It has been a generally agreed on thing that a Christian baker can be forced by the government to provide a service delivering a message he does not agree with as the price of doing business.

    Why can't Twitter also be forced to deliver a message they don't agree with and why isn't it a 14th Amendment equal treatment issue if the government doesn't force Twitter to do exactly that?

  • Rational Exuberance||

    The Christian baker was forced to do this under civil rights protection laws, the same laws that, incidentally, also let Christians force others to serve them.

    Currently, there are no laws on the books under which Twitter could be compelled to deliver messages they don't agree with, since they are not discriminating against anybody based on being a member of one of the classes protected by civil rights laws. You're welcome to try (1) to make a claim of discrimination against Christians under civil rights laws, or (2) get new laws passed passed under which you could compel Twitter. I don't see how (1) would fit, so you're down to (2). You're right that such laws might not be found unconstitutional in the current legal climate, the just happen not to exist.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The Christian baker was forced to do this under civil rights protection laws, the same laws that, incidentally, also let Christians force others to serve them.

    Citation needed.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Christians pushed through the Prohibition Amendment using tax dollars to exorcise the Demon Rum, gleefully cheered when dry agents shot people and added methanol to alcohol to deliberately blind and kill drinkers, exploited the income tax they, progressives and socialists also dumped into the Constitution to destroy the economy via asset-forfeiture enforced by Herbert Hoover. A Liberal Party formed in 1930 to pressure the Dems to push for repeal. Then Christian influence moved to Germany, where positive Christianity and National Socialism used government money and power to enforce altruism. Need more?

  • ThomasD||

    " being a member of one of the classes protected by civil rights laws."

    The only rightly libertarian protected classes being persons, or perhaps citizens.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The libertarian platform is opposed to such bullying. Anyone opposed to such coercion need only vote LIB on the ballot.

  • True Neutral Paladin||

    Twitter is one of most popular communication platforms in the world, and it is a significant battleground in the "culture war". SJWs realize this; that is why they want this policy. They've realized, probably in large part due to Gamergate, that in an open market of ideas, very large numbers of people reject their ideology, and also that they don't have the numbers to bully their opponents into submission. They want to "win" at any cost and will gleefully sacrifice freedom of speech, which they don't value anyway, to do it.


    I don't know what the best solution is: User pressure, an alternative platform, something else? But I do think it's something that we should be concerned about and not dismiss as irrelevant. The more cultural influence these assholes gain, the easier it will be for them to pass laws that will affect us, even if we aren't using Twitter.

  • andythomas1233||

    My friend's ex-wife makes $86 /hour on the internet . She has been fired for 5 months but last month her income was $21442 just working on the internet for a few hours. look at here...

    [][][][][][][] http://www.Wage90.com

  • andythomas1233||

    My friend's ex-wife makes $86 /hour on the internet . She has been fired for 5 months but last month her income was $21442 just working on the internet for a few hours. look at here...

    [][][][][][][] http://www.Wage90.com

  • Ron||

    whenever some one tries to limit someones activities, be it guns, drugs or speech, all you end up doing is forcing those activities underground where you can monitor it or even debate it. the closing of doors is a two way street and harms everyone involved

  • lisasmith1258||

    just before I looked at the bank draft 4 $4970 , I accept ...that...my father in law was like they say actualie making money in there spare time from their laptop. . there great aunt had bean doing this for less than thirteen months and at present paid the mortgage on there condo and purchased a brand new Volkswagen Golf GTI . check out here....

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  • Ein Vogel-frei||

    there is a "Twitterverse" as we all know well, because it's the place the Kardashians inhabit, and shows up prominently on E, in People Magazine, all your favorite mainstream media make references to it, all your favorite DemoProgUnionMedia party figures use it.

    There is another universe where the dialogue is much more libertarian. It's just not hyped from Hollywood to the Hamptons, from La Jolla to Hilton Head. It's not secret - it's just not trendy and cool. And the more its denizens are kicked out of Twitterland, the more they show up in Galt's Gulch. Those who want to find it, can do so easily. The truth is out there.

  • lisasmith1258||

    just before I looked at the bank draft 4 $4970 , I accept ...that...my father in law was like they say actualie making money in there spare time from their laptop. . there great aunt had bean doing this for less than thirteen months and at present paid the mortgage on there condo and purchased a brand new Volkswagen Golf GTI . check out here....

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  • Hank Phillips||

    Did Anita Bryant remarry?

  • trigusophe||

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  • Cyto||

    You point out that Twitter can do as they like, being a private entity.

    But don't they run the risk of losing their safe-harbor protections? If they edit content for political reasons, aren't they thereby claiming ownership over all of their tweets - risking libel suits? Also, wouldn't politically targeted exclusions run afoul of federal and state election laws? Won't they need to report all of these in-kind contributions? Tying it to one particular candidate might be difficult, so the individual campaign limits might not be in play absent a smoking gun memo, but showing a pattern might be enough to do some serious damage.

  • davidvolta||

    i hate twotter

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