MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Kevin McCarthy Shows Why the Government Shouldn't Regulate Social Media

The House majority leader doesn't understand how Twitter works.

Renee C. Byer/TNS/NewscomRenee C. Byer/TNS/NewscomHouse Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) accused Twitter last week of censoring content from Fox News host Laura Ingraham. It turns out that McCarthy's own account settings were to blame.

On Friday, McCarthy posted a screenshot of an Ingraham tweet that blamed a rise in violent crime in Sweden on migration from the Middle East. The tweet's content wasn't showing up "because it includes potentially sensitive content."

As multiple users pointed out, Twitter was not in fact censoring Ingraham. McCarthy simply had to change his settings to allow "sensitive content."

Among those who mocked McCarthy for not understanding Twitter was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.):

McCarthy fired back at his Democratic counterpart, claiming she "has no idea what is going on." The California Republican also argued that Ingraham's original post shouldn't have been "considered 'potentially sensitive content'" in the first place.

This isn't the first time McCarthy has accused Twitter of an anti-conservative slant. After Vice reported late last month that Twitter was "shadow-banning" several conservative leaders, McCarthy said: "The bias has to stop." Twitter pushed back on the "shadow-banning" allegations, and CEO Jack Dorsey has maintained that though his individual employees are more likely to lean left, the platform itself does not censor conservatives.

In this case, a McCarthy spokesperson tells the Washington Examiner that he was simply trying to point out the extra step users needed to take in order to see Ingraham's tweet. But even if we accept that rather loose use of the word censored, a little digging would show that conservatives aren't exactly the only people running into this problem. The underlying issue here is that Twitter is really bad at identifying "sensitive content," even as various constituencies demand that it do more to shield them from content they dislike.

But lawmakers like McCarthy don't care about Twitter's general inability to curate content competently—not when there's partisan grandstanding to be done. McCarthy wants to control Twitter, but he doesn't even understand how the platform works. Add that to the general problem that technology tends to move more quickly than the rules devised to govern it, and this little affair becomes a deeper lesson in the dangers of lawmakers regulating internet platforms.

Photo Credit: Renee C. Byer/TNS/Newscom

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • TLBD||

    Ummm.

    Not sure how that still isn't censoring, by definition.

  • Happy Chandler||

    1) By definition, censoring is done by the government.
    2) The tweet is still there. You can just choose if you want to see it or not.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    By who's definition?

    I look a few online dictionaries and none mention the government.

  • David Nolan||

    By who's definition?

    Merriam-Webster, among others

    I look a few online dictionaries and none mention the government.

    Most do,

    censorship
    noun cen·sor·ship \ ˈsen(t)-sər-ˌship \

    1 a : the institution, system, or practice of censoring They oppose government censorship.
    b : the actions or practices of censors; especially : censorial control exercised repressively
    censorship that has … permitted a very limited dispersion of facts —Philip Wylie
    2 : the office, power, or term of a Roman censor

    Only government can be "repressive" of speech (or assassins)

    Definition of censor
    1 : a person who supervises conduct and morals: such as
    a : an official who examines materials (such as publications or films) for objectionable matter Government censors deleted all references to the protest.
    b : an official (as in time of war) who reads communications (such as letters) and deletes material considered sensitive or harmful
    2 : one of two magistrates of early Rome acting as census takers, assessors, and inspectors of morals and conduct
    Cato the Censor accused Africanus and his senior officers of running an army riddled with moral laxity —Colleen McCulloug

    Facts and reality can be SO incon-veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen-yent, in tribal warfare.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    Despite the fact that none of those definitions state that it can only be done by government?

    I'm sure the Hays code wasn't censorship, right Mike?

  • David Nolan||

    They all say government or equivalent.
    None of them say it cannot be done by you. Or by a giraffe.

    I'm sure the Hays code wasn't censorship, right Mike?

    It's spelled M e r r i a m - W e b s t e r
    not M i k e

    Calling the Hays code censorship is like saying Facebook is censoring.
    Or MILLIONS of web sites and publications who monitor their comments. Are all you people so clueless on standard Internet practice from the very beginning?

    BREITBART "CENSORS"! (omfg)
    Without limiting the forgoing, you agree not to:use the Services in any way that abuses, defames, stalks, annoys, threatens, harasses or violates the rights of privacy, publicity, intellectual property or other legal rights of a person or entity (now or hereafter recognized) or which encourages conduct which would violate any law or give rise to civil or criminal liability or post, publish, transmit, distribute, disseminate or upload any inappropriate, infringing, defamatory, profane, indecent, obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent or illegal/unlawful material or matters, including, without limitation, information, topics, names or other material
  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    Except that it is generally agreed that yes, the Hays code was a means of censorship. Those standard internet practices are censorship; censorship that the users generally agree to, yes, but still censorship.

    Now give it up, Mike, we all know it's you.

  • David Nolan||

    REPEAT FOR ANYONE IN SEVERE DENIAL BREITBART "CENSORS"! (omfg)
    Without limiting the forgoing, you agree not to:use the Services in any way that abuses, defames, stalks, annoys, threatens, harasses or violates the rights of privacy, publicity, intellectual property or other legal rights of a person or entity (now or hereafter recognized) or which encourages conduct which would violate any law or give rise to civil or criminal liability or post, publish, transmit, distribute, disseminate or upload any inappropriate, infringing, defamatory, profane, indecent, obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent or illegal/unlawful material or matters, including, without limitation, information, topics, names or other material
  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    Yes, Breitbart censors. Thanks for proving everybody else's point that it's not only the government that has the power to censor.

  • David Nolan||

    Giant Realistic Flying Tiger|8.20.18 @ 3:45PM
    Yes, Breitbart censors.

    Look again. I said Breitbart "censors" So you're also ignorant of what it means to put words in quotes.

    Thanks for proving everybody else's point that it's not only the government that has the power to censor.

    Whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooosh
    Most say Facebook should not be allowed to do what Breitbart does.

    And I've posted the dictionary definition twice, plus linked to it three times.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    I'm sorry, what the hell are you arguing about anyway? Is the argument that only government can censor? Because that is proven bullshit, you pus-filled canker sore. Or is the argument that Facebook should act as censors in the same way Breitbart does? Because if so, come out and say that instead of beating around the bush. Or are you just here to fill the page with boldface and bullshit?

  • David Nolan||

    I'm sorry, what the hell are you arguing about anyway?

    I shamefully confess to admit ridiculing the mentally handicapped.

    Is the argument that only government can censor?

    That's what the dictionary says/

    because that is proven bullshit, you pus-filled canker sore

    I AM THE ONLY ONE WHO POSTED "PROOF" -- I LINK TO A DICTIONARY FIVE TIMES ON THIS PAGE ... VERSUS YOUR INFANTILE WHINING ABOUT ....CANKER SORES!!!
    Shame on you.

    . Or is the argument that Facebook should act as censors in the same way Breitbart does?

    One more time .. I have RIDICULED the crazy notion that Facebook should not be allowed to do what Breitbatt does.

    AND I HAVE STATED THAT THE INTERNET HAS "MODERATED" CONTENT BY READERS FOR A QUARTER-OF-A-FUCKING CENTURY.

    Because if so, come out and say that instead of beating around the bush

    HOW MANY TIMES????

    Ridiculing the handicapped is rude, so I shall stop This is clearly beyond your mental capabilities, and exactly what I predicted

    "Don't forget to sneeringly ridicule "the left" for shouting down offensive views, while ... shouting down offensive views. Because Reason's comment sections is your Safe Space."

    Right-wing snowflakes ... now 36 personal attacks on this page.

    Left - Right = Zero

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    Geez, Michael, learn to read. Just because the examples given involve government censorship, does not mean that only the government can censor. It's pretty obvious because the definition itself doesn't say that only the government can censor. Otherwise, if their examples of usage are definitional, I can assume that monkeys only exist on people's backs, and that idiots can only be named Michael Hihn, c.f. the following examples:

    Monkey, n; a drug addiction, in slang parlance; He's got a monkey on his back.

    Idiot, n; a person of much ignorance and idiocy; Michael Hihn is a complete idiot.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""1 : a person who supervises conduct and morals: such as""

    It says "such as"

    It gives one example and you equate that to the totality.

  • David Nolan||

    TrickyVic -- who still FAILS to defend his original lie.
    And now lies about what I said!

    It says "such as"

    It gives one example and you equate that to the totality

    It gives two examples, both governmental

    Again provijng me correct:

    "Don't forget to sneeringly ridicule "the left" for shouting down offensive views, while ... shouting down offensive views. Because Reason's comment sections is your Safe Space."
  • perlchpr||

    I look forward to the time when someone shuts this robot off permanently.

  • David Nolan||

    MOAR PROOF!!!!

    "Don't forget to sneeringly ridicule "the left" for shouting down offensive views, while ... shouting down offensive views. Because Reason's comment sections is your Safe Space."

    I look forward to the time when someone shuts this robot off permanently.

    Says the triggered snowflake!

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    So is a snarky remark now shouting? Because if that's the case, I'm forming a death metal band.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    """1 a : the institution, system, or practice of censoring They oppose government censorship."""

    This give the definition, then provides and example. It's not limited to the example.

    A censor is, the institution, system, or practice of censoring.

    b : the actions or practices of censors; especially : censorial control exercised repressively
    censorship that has … permitted a very limited dispersion of facts —Philip Wylie

    Government not mention.

  • David Nolan||

    TrickyVic AGAIN lies about the definition as cited .. and AGAIN lies about what I said.

    A censor is, the institution, system, or practice of censoring.

    Now lies about.....HIS OWN COMMENT!!! .... IMMEDIATELY ABOVE!

    a person who supervises conduct and morals: such as

    Called out as a.iar, adds MOAR lies.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    a.iar is a very competent Hihnblock application, and I revile your slandering of its name.

  • TLBD||

    Sure, and the rap song is out there with all the f bombs, you just have to go get it.

    And as TrickyVic said, no definition requires government.

    I'd be embarrassed if I was as stupid as you.

  • DesigNate||

    Chandler is too stupid to be embarrassed by it.

  • David Nolan||

    Both of you are PROVEN wrong just above Along with TrickyVic, who you WANT to beleeb.

    Is DesigNate intelligent enough to be embarrassed?

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    So Mike, are you arguing that the government is the only one with the power to censor? Because the fact that you got banned from here about a month(?) ago signals that Reason® also has the ability to censor; after all, it censored your dumb ass.

  • David Nolan||

    (lol) I'm saying it's not censorship unless government does it.
    NOW is it clear?

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    You can use a definition that nobody else does, sure. That just makes it plain that you're incapable of communicating clearly or arguing logically.

  • David Nolan||

    Giant Realistic Flying Tiger
    You can use a definition that nobody else does, sure.

    The link is to Merriam-Webster ...which is a DICTIONARY!

    More proof of what I predicted below about right-wing snowflakes

    Don't forget to sneeringly ridicule "the left" for shouting down offensive views, while ... shouting down offensive views. Because Reason's comment sections is your Safe Space. Except when they publish lefties, SJWs and other parts of the vast left-wing conspiracy.

    They can't help themselves.
    Right-Wing snowflakes are triggered as easily as Berkeley students.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Both of you are PROVEN wrong just above Along with TrickyVic, who you WANT to beleeb.""

    Doesn't know what "such as" means.

  • David Nolan||

    "Both of you are PROVEN wrong just above Along with TrickyVic, who you WANT to beleeb.""
    TrickyVic (old school)|8.20.18 @ 3:51PM|#
    Doesn't know what "such as" means.

    TrickyVic repeats the same discredited lie -- now his sixth

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    Well, it's like...a trip into the soul, you know? But not like a human soul, more like an outside soul. Because when you try to speak to the senses, you can become blind. I think people need love to survive, so how can you write a song when you're still asleep? It's all conductive, you know?

    Hihn, not only are you not good at arguing, you're not even good at disguising your writing style. If you're going to use a sock, at least try and make it appear like a separate entity.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    1) By definition, censoring is done by the government.
    2) The tweet is still there. You can just choose if you want to see it or not.

    You know who else called a tweet that wasn't censored by government and was still there and could be seen if the user wanted censorship?

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    Try again. You said it exactly backwards.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    The government shouldn't regulate anything. They're just as clueless about everything else.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I don't know. It seems like the staffer running Pelosi's social media presence kind of figured it out.

  • Eddy||

    "The California Republican also argued that Ingraham's original post shouldn't have been "considered 'potentially sensitive content'" in the first place."

    Bingo.

    "Ha ha, all this Luddite Congressman had to do to receive Ingraham's political tweets was to say he wants to receive sensitive material."

    Bear in mind that Twitter and the others have been pressured by governments all over the world to limit users' access to certain material. So this may be a response to government pressure for all we know.

    Imagine a statute that to get Communist literature in the mail you had to specifically file a request at the post office. Actually that was a real statute, and it was the first federal statute to get struck down by the Supreme Court on First Amendment grounds.

  • Eddy||

    ...and I bet it wouldn't have been considered "sensitive material" for some imam to tweet that Muslim immigration to Sweden improved the economy, the culture, and the law-and-order situation.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    I'm quite sure you believe that conspiracy. too.

    Are you equally clueless that Breitbart censors? Or do all you people worship the Almighty God Of The Double Standard.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    Mike, you might want to switch it up every now and then. Instead of using characters from Rand all the time for your socks, maybe try Heinlein or something.

  • TLBD||

    Imagine a statute that to get Communist literature in the mail you had to specifically file a request at the post office. Actually that was a real statute, and it was the first federal statute to get struck down by the Supreme Court on First Amendment grounds.

    "...an attempt by a State to impose a burden on the exercise of a right under the Twenty-fourth Amendment."

    But according to Reason, it is okay if the State does so by blatantly obvious, but indirect, means.

  • Eddy||

    "Held: The Act as construed and applied is unconstitutional since it imposes on the addressee an affirmative obligation which amounts to an unconstitutional limitation of his rights under the First Amendment."

  • Eddy||

    (The poll tax case was a precedent cited by the Supreme Court to illustrate the principle of the decision)

  • TLBD||

    Yes, should have been more clear on that. Thanks.

  • SusanM||

    "Twitter's general inability to curate content competently"

    There's only so much three guys in Hyderabad can do, after all.

  • Eddy||

  • SusanM||

    :)

  • Dillinger||

    "potentially sensitive" wtf

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    If I was in charge of one of social media platforms, I'd ban all politicians from using the site since all politicians lie and they're the ones demanding the end of fake news. I'd setup a system that allows them to challenge this publically but if anyone can showed they lied to the public once then the ban stays.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Why? The idea for social media platforms is to get as much social media traffic as possible.

    All the talk of bans, actual bans, and talk about politicians is getting social media platforms exactly what they want.

    Web traffic.

  • David Nolan||

    Why? The idea for social media platforms is to get as much social media traffic as possible.

    Tolerating negative behavior by a few ... drives away the majority of traffic ... as proven by this commentariat. (the ONLY unmoderated major political web site)

    I was taught that in 1992, as the moderator for the very first online libertarian forum, at Compuserve. Traffic was far more critical then because web access was sold by the hour. Today, the same applies, indirectly, for advertising revenues ... and Reason gets a tiny fraction of visitors, compared with ALL other major political web sites. So they lose thousands of dollars per month. The losses would be FAR greater more major social sites, in the millions

    You who live in either tribal cave, cannot seem to grasp that a majority of Americans, or close to it, detest ALL partisan political speech, and how it now overwhelms EVERYTHING. That's why the pro-Trump Russians used phony surveys to gather their database of 50 million users on Facebook.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    So you're saying that Reason made the right move by deleting all your unHihnged, boldface-abusing, nonsensical, cyberbullying posts, correct? After all, you're just one person. Logically, your negative behavior drove away (and continues to drive away) a lot of web traffic.

  • David Nolan||

    (sigh) PAY ATTENTION
    1) REASON CAN DO THAT FOR WHATEVER REASON THEY CHOOSE ... AS CAN FACEBOOOK
    2) Somewhat obviously, they have not done that to me or .... what did you respond to?

  • David Nolan||

    How many snowflakes will this trigger? I'll come back later, to see how many conspiracy nuts want Setyon to be censored! The war on conservatives, like the war on Christianity, is a core belief to the alt-right and the Cult of Donald ,(same people), plus the threat posed by all Muslims, the deep state and George Soros.

    Libertarians were the first to show how the political class seeks and holds power by stoking hysteria and constructing grave threats to all of humanity that only they (the elites) can save us from. Here he comes to save the day!

    "Just give me votes, money and power and I alone can save humanity from this grave threat."

    And Hillary's emails (while Trump insists on using an unsecured smart phone) Don't forget to sneeringly ridicule "the left" for shouting down offensive views, while ... shouting down offensive views. Because Reason's comment sections is your Safe Space. Except when they publish lefties, SJWs and other parts of the vast left-wing conspiracy.

    Nothing new: Left - Right = Zero

  • Eddy||

    If it's a safe space, what are you doing here?

  • John||

    That is one of the funnier things leftists will do. They will say something really stupid, you will then explain why you think what they said was stupid, and their response will be "you are just a snowflake". If actually expecting my opponents to make rational and truthful arguments makes me a "snowflake", I guess being one isn't such an insult.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Lefties dont understand why THEY are being called snowflakes, so they figure throwing it back has the same effect.

  • David Nolan||

    ANOTHER ONE!!

    "Don't forget to sneeringly ridicule "the left" for shouting down offensive views, while ... shouting down offensive views. Because Reason's comment sections is your Safe Space."
    loveconstitution1789|8.20.18 @ 1:10PM
    Lefties dont understand why THEY are being called snowflakes, so they figure throwing it back has the same effect.

    As he PROVES me correct!
    (these are NOT the brightest bulbs on the tree, are they?)

  • Azathoth!!||

    Michael, you're the only one shouting.

    Please stop.

  • David Nolan||

    Don't forget to sneeringly ridicule "the left" for shouting down offensive views, while ... shouting down offensive views
    That is one of the funnier things leftists will do

    Thanks for proving my point!
    ONLY "the left" does not totally and mindlessly conform to all their diktats!!

    to the alt-right and the Cult of Donald ,(same people),
    If actually expecting my opponents to make rational and truthful arguments makes me a "snowflake",

    SEE! To the alt-right and the Cult of Donald, name-calling (leftists) is a 'rational and truthful argument"
    (Nobody could INVENT anything so wacky!!!)

    I've learned to count on them always proving me correct, brilliant tacticians that they are.
    And because: Left - Right = Zero

  • John||

    SEE! To the alt-right and the Cult of Donald, name-calling (leftists) is a 'rational and truthful argument"
    (Nobody could INVENT anything so wacky!!!)

    No. There is nothing in my post that would cause anyone to conclude that. Rational arguments and facts that you don't like are not name calling you half wit.

  • David Nolan||

    ANOTHER LIE!!!!

    That is one of the funnier things leftists will do.

    SEE! To the alt-right and the Cult of Donald, name-calling (leftists) is a 'rational and truthful argument" (Nobody could INVENT anything so wacky!!!)
    No. There is nothing in my post that would cause anyone to conclude that. Rational arguments and facts that you don't like are not name calling you half wit.

    1) ANOTHER NAME-CALL. I said 'leftists' was the first
    2) STILL no "rational arguments or facts."

    Left - Right DOES = Zero

  • perlchpr||

    Goddamnit, someone renamed the "Michael Hihn" bot for shitposting and goat sodomy and turned down the bold tag frequency, but otherwise left it intact.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    I wonder if I should tell him how to get his Hihn name back?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Hihn's not even trying to hide anymore.

  • David Nolan||

    IT NEVER STOPS!

    Because Reason's comment sections is your Safe Space. Except when they publish lefties, SJWs and other parts of the vast left-wing conspiracy.
    Eddy|8.20.18 @ 12:35PM|#
    If it's a safe space, what are you doing here?

    1) Proving that it's not your safe space
    2) Counting how many times you people will humiliate yourselves! (now six, and counting.

    Precisiely as I said:

    "Don't forget to sneeringly ridicule "the left" for shouting down offensive views, while ... shouting down offensive views.

    STILL true, over and over and over again ... for 50 years and counting: Left- Right = Zero

  • Eddy||

    If it's a safe space, what are *you* doing here?

  • David Nolan||

    Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm,
    When *I* say "you," I am NOT talking about myself!

    It REALLY never ends for right-wing snowflakes. (OMFG)

    Still confused, I'm the ONLY one in this therad saying this is NOT a safe space.
    And the only one who doesn't NEED OR WANT a safe space.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    David Nolan|8.20.18 @ 12:24PM|#
    Because Reason's comment sections is your Safe Space.

    You're the only one claiming it's a safe space. And when *I* say "you", I'm talking about...you. (OMFG.)

  • John||

    while Trump insists on using an unsecured smart phone

    Unless there is classified information on it, there is nothing wrong with that. Had Hillary not stored any classified information on that server and not deleted 30,000 emails before letting anyone see what was on it, she would have been guilty of a petty violation of the records and archive requirements.

    Stop lying and pretending these two things are like one another. They are not. And Twitter admits it is biased and bans conservatives. There is no denying it. You can debate if that is their right or not, but only a partisan lying idiot would claim it wasn't true.

  • David Nolan||

    You don;t know what a smartphone is? And how it works?

  • John||

    You don't know what classified information is? Unless you show me Trump is putting classified information on that smartphone, his using it doesn't mean shit.

    Stop pretending everyone else is as dumb as you appear to be and come back when you have a rational point to make.

  • David Nolan||

    ANOTHER GOTCHA!!!!

    First set the trap:

    while Trump insists on using an unsecured smart phone
    Unless there is classified information on it, there is nothing wrong with that. Had Hillary not stored any classified information on that server

    The PULL THE LEVER!

    Unless you show me Trump is putting classified information on that smartphone, his using it doesn't mean shit.

    Unless YOU can show HILLARY stored classified information ... you just proved me right again!

    Stop pretending everyone else is as dumb as you appear to be

    I got you to make a total public fool of yourself ... as you reveal the TOTAL moral hypocrisy of "it's only okay when MY tribe does it"

    Left - Right = Zero

  • John||

    WTF? The point still stands. You really are a complete lunatic.

  • David Nolan||

    Unless you show me Trump is putting classified information on that smartphone, his using it doesn't mean shit.

    Unless YOU can show HILLARY stored classified information ... you just proved me right again!
    WTF?

    You got BURNED
    Now AGAIN!

    The point still stands.

    Called out as a moral hypocrite, REFUSES to prove his lie that Hillary had classified information ,.... and his FOURTH name-call (OMFG)

    You really are a complete lunatic.

    Was THIS "a rational argument and facts"? Or ....ANOTHER VICTORY FOR LIBERTARIANS?

    Don't forget to sneeringly ridicule "the left" for shouting down offensive views, while ... shouting down offensive views.

    COUNT all the attacks in my thread,
    EXACTLY as I stated ... right-wing snowflakes ... attacking and assaulting opposing views. AND PROUD OF IT.

    (No, alt-right hucksters, I am NOT defending Hillary. I am defending the same standards for all, which is what libertarians have been doing for 50 years. And counting)

    Left - Right = Zero
    PROVEN yet again.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    Unless you show me Trump is putting classified information on that smartphone, his using it doesn't mean shit.
    Unless YOU can show HILLARY stored classified information ... you just proved me right again!

    WTF?

    Hihn's a DUMBASS
    Now AGAIN!

    The point still stands.

    Hihn is a total hypocrite, REFUSES to understand technology in the slightest before hurling around baseless accusations ,.... and YET AGAIN name-calls (OMFG)

    He really is a complete lunatic.

    Can HE engage in "a rational argument and facts"? Or ....ANY DEBATE WHERE HE DOESN'T INVOKE THE NO TRUE SCOTSMAN FALLACY?

    He never forgets to sneer and yell at "everyone who debates him" for not being libertarians, while ... never providing a definition besides "I AM A LIBERTARIAN".

    COUNT all the attacks he's made on this thread,
    EXACTLY as he stated ... Michael Hihn is a snowflake ... attacking and assaulting opposing views. AND PROUD OF IT.

    (No, people visiting Reason, he is NOT representative of libertarians. He is genuinely deranged and thinks of himself as the only true libertarian out there. Ignore him)

    Michael Hihn ≤ Zero
    PROVEN yet again.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Oh, Michael, you don't know what a smartphone is--or how one works. You think it's a wonderful science fiction device like the ones you see in your police procedurals.

  • John||

    This is one of those responses that makes me think Hihn really is nuts rather than just the usual stupid leftist. He says "but Trump is using an unsecured phone". I say "but unlike Hillary's server, there is no evidence he is transmitting or storing classified information with it or withholding or deleting information on it to avoid the archive and public access laws".

    Hihn's response is "you don't know how a smartphone works, do you". I am sorry, but that is just crazy. It is a completely irrational response. It is not a mendacious response or a wrong response, it is a nonsensical response. It is the kind of response that only a crazy person could make.

  • David Nolan||

    PROVE a liar!!!
    What he said

    Had Hillary not stored any classified information on that server and not deleted 30,000 emails before letting anyone see what was on it, she would have been guilty of a petty violation of the records and archive requirements.

    Now reversed to hide his MASSIVE screwup!

    I say "but unlike Hillary's server, there is no evidence he is transmitting or storing classified information with it or withholding or deleting information on it to avoid the archive and public access laws".

    HE NEVER SAID THAT!!!
    ThUs AGAIN proving my original point!

    "Don't forget to sneeringly ridicule "the left" for shouting down offensive views, while ... shouting down offensive views. Because Reason's comment sections is your Safe Space."

    (Now he'll bellow that he DID say that!!)

  • John||

    And that is another crazy response. Unless Trump is using the smartphone to transmit classified data or to avoid the FOIA laws, there is nothing wrong with him using it, just like there would have been nothing wrong with Hillary using a private server if she hadn't stored classified data and used it as a means to avoid FOIA.

    You really are insane. You can't fake this sort of insanity. I used to enjoy picking on you. But now I just feel sorry for you and find you more than a bit scary.

  • perlchpr||

    Don't feel bad. It's not actually a person. It's just an unsophisticated markov chain generator with a pre-fed database.

    That's why it often seems completely nonsensical. It's not actually anywhere near capable of passing a Turing test.

    I still can't figure out what the purpose of programming it to sodomize goats was, though.

  • TLBD||

    Left - Right = Zero

    Yet spends all his time defending the left.

  • David Nolan||

    Thanks for proving me correct!

    Don't forget to sneeringly ridicule "the left" for shouting down offensive views, while ... shouting down offensive views

    Yet spends all his time defending the left.

    Libertarians are neither right nor left. For merely 50 years now.

    Are you publicly admitting your ignorance that this applies to both left and right?

    Libertarians were the first to show how the political class seeks and holds power by stoking hysteria and constructing grave threats to all of humanity that only they (the elites) can save us from. Here he comes to save the day!

    You also missed this:

    to the alt-right and the Cult of Donald ,(same people),

    Because
    1) ONLY "the left" does not totally conform to all their diktats!!
    2) Left - Right = Zero

  • TLBD||

    Sorry Hihn, I don't speak crazy.

    Anyone translate for me?

  • John||

    None of those responses make any sense. You are a dangerous nut Hihn. Get some help.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Libertarians were the first to show how the political class seeks and holds power by stoking hysteria and constructing grave threats to all of humanity that only they (the elites) can save us from.""

    Cite?

  • John||

    Because everyone knows that governments and elites would never call their critics who point out their means of control "hysterical" or anything.

  • TLBD||

    He actually isn't wrong. Bastiat would be my favorite.

    Problem is, unHihnged has so much cognitive dissonance he doesn't see that he is one of the worst perpetrators on these boards with his extreme TDS.

  • John||

    He also doesn't see that the "hysteria" is used to discredit critics of the powers that be. As usual, Hihn gets it exactly opposite of the truth. Everything he says is literally the opposite of the truth. The guy is just nuts.

  • TLBD||

    He is a classic concern troll.

    a person who disingenuously expresses concern about an issue with the intention of undermining or derailing genuine discussion.

  • John||

    His post here is straight out of the newspeak playbook. It is so nuts on so many levels. Here you have what amounts to an oligarchy of a few tech giants trying to ensure that people with unpopular opinions no longer have a platform from which to speak. People rightfully stand up and express concern over the effects of this on free speech and inquiry in society. And Hihn calls that concern "hysteria stoked by the elites to maintain control". How does wanting facebook and youtube to give anyone a platform help maintain the elite's power? Hihn never considers that question. And he never notices that a few big tech companies making it impossible for unpopular views reaching a wide audience is exactly what the powers that be would want to maintain control. Yet, somehow it is the people who are concerned about that who are the ones just trying to keep the elites in power, whoever they are.

    What a fucking moron.

  • TLBD||

    Fact: Facebook, Google, Twitter, other big tech, those who run them, and those they run with, are the elites in this country.

    In Hihn's mind, criticizing them somehow keeps them in power... or something. Guy is scary batshit.

  • John||

    His response above about smartphones is utterly crazy. He really is batshit insane.

  • David Nolan||

    "Don't forget to sneeringly ridicule "the left" for shouting down offensive views, while ... shouting down offensive views. Because Reason's comment sections is your Safe Space."
  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""He actually isn't wrong. Bastiat would be my favorite."'

    I don't think libertarians were the first to point it out.

  • TLBD||

    Well no, the term libertarian is fairly new. So you're right.

    It was really probably some ancient Greek that was first to put the idea into writing.

  • DesigNate||

    Hihnsano is gonna be pissed when he see's you stole his tagline.

  • David Nolan||

  • DesigNate||

    I had no idea you had gotten so unhinged that you created a new account under a different name so you could yell at us some more.

    Oh, and I made a jab at Chandler's intelligence, not his actual point (didn't mention a damn thing about the definition of censorship), so how exactly did you embarrass me?

  • David Nolan||

    Liar.

  • David Nolan||

    As I predcited

    Don't forget to sneeringly ridicule "the left" for shouting down offensive views, while ... shouting down offensive views. Because Reason's comment sections is your Safe Space.

    28 personal attacks so far, by right-wing snowflake. Cuz they're ENTITLED!!.

    Mass movements do not need a god, but they do need a devil. Hatred unifies the True Believers."
    -Eric Hoffer, "The True Believer" (1951)

    Throughout human history, the worst moral atrocities have been committed by those manipulated to BELIEVE they are defending some "greater good" -- the Collective, the State, the Master Race, the Party or a God. Zealots and fanatics. The militant self-righteous.
  • David Nolan||

    PREDICTED!

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    If debating your assertions is "shouting down", then what the fuck is you coming in here and bitching nonsensically? Personally, I'm gonna file that under "cyberbullying."

  • David Nolan||

    ONE comment by me ... top of this thread ....36 personal attacks -- count them -- in this thread alone.
    The right-wing snowflakes I predicted

    Don't forget to sneeringly ridicule "the left" for shouting down offensive views, while ... shouting down offensive views. Because Reason's comment sections is your Safe Space.

    Nothing new ....

    Mass movements do not need a god, but they do need a devil. Hatred unifies the True Believers."
    -Eric Hoffer, "The True Believer" (1951)

    Throughout human history, the worst moral atrocities have been committed by those manipulated to BELIEVE they are defending some "greater good" -- the Collective, the State, the Master Race, the Party or a God. Zealots and fanatics. The militant self-righteous.

    Behold their Entitlement Mentality (also like Berkley students)
    Left - Right = Zero

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    So what greater good are you defending? Your schtick consists entirely of coming in with assertions, and when challenged on them, yelling at whomever challenged you. Looking through this page, you're the most hateful person here. So what is your "greater good", you fanatical canker sore?

  • John Galt Jr||

    Your schtick consists entirely of coming in with assertions, and when challenged on them, yelling at whomever challenged you

    Liar.
    I JAMMED the dictionary definition up your bullying ass THREE TIMES.

    Calling you out as a liar (again).Give us a link of me "yelling" that's NOT in self-defense. Umm, like this!
    (snort)

    you fanatical canker sore

    That's VERY stupid ... when you're WHINING that the hateful one is ME. (The FIRST time he said I'm a "puss-filled" canker sore -- NOT the brightest bulb on the tree!)
    (sneer)

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    So you change your sock and then immediately assert yourself as the same fucking Michael Hihn.

    That level of stupid is hard to top, but I'm sure you'll give it the ol' college try.

  • David Nolan||

    You're a proven liar either way.

  • FreeRadical||

    If it's marked as "sensitive", then it is shadow banning. Especially if blocking that content is the default setting. What's needed to determine bias is to do a large study as to which content gets marked as such.

    My intuition is that you would find a clear bias against conservative and libertarian content.

    But regardless, it's not censorship.

  • John||

    It is, however, massive consumer fraud. Twitter is sold as a content-neutral platform and tells its users that it has a set of standards that determine what is appropriate for the platform and what will get you banned. People sign up for Twitter in reliance upon that promise. Twitter breaking that promise and banning people for their politics and not for breaking the standards of behavior is fraud. The State AGs need to launch a class action suit against Twitter for fraud and unfair trade practices.

  • Tony||

    Twitter is free, yo. Ever consider not being part of an insane conspiracy-mongering political cult?

  • John||

    Twitter is not "free". You trade your personal information and availability for advertising in return for access to the platform. You are the product. And anyone who uses Twitter agrees to be that product based upon the promises made in the TOS. If they don't abide by the TOS, that is fraud. And since it is a fraud that does a large harm in the aggregate but a small amount of harm individually, it is exactly the sort of thing that class action suits were created to address.

  • FreeRadical||

    I find that train of thought interesting and prosecution of fraud is a legitimate function of government in my view.

    However, how does fraud work in the case where you haven't paid for anything?

  • John||

    The transaction is that you are selling your information and eyes to Twitter in return for the platform. You could use other platforms. You choose to use Twitter because they promise to be content neutral and abide by their TOS.

  • Eddy||

    Imagine a left-wing Twit who said "The biggest driver going into the Swedish election is Islamophbia. Sweden's far right is demagoguing about 'crime in the streets' just like Nixon and George Wallace." Would that have been censored?

  • Eddy||

    Oops, not censored, just minimized due to sensitivity and so on.

  • MasterThief||

    It's limited and less blatant censorship, but still censorship. You could make an argument that it is filtering content based on user preference, but this seems to have been blocked due to politics and not what could reasonably be considered the point of that filtering (from a user perspective). I find the author to be disingenuous since the subject of this is more right than wrong.

  • Alcibiades||

    Twitter breaking that promise and banning people for their politics and not for breaking the standards of behavior is fraud. The State AGs need to launch a class action suit against Twitter for fraud and unfair trade practices.

    I've a feeling Twitter's attorneys have that covered in Twitter's TOS.

  • John||

    No they don't. Go read the TOS. It is content neutral. Nothing in the TOS says they get to make decisions based on politics. Moreover, it has to be content neutral or they risk becoming content creators and liable for what is on their platform.

    Dipshit Chandler is forever claiming that the TOS is a dead letter and gives Twitter the power to do whatever it wants. Like everything else he says, that is a lie. The TOS is carefully worded but absolutely says that they will only ban you for abusive content, not unpopular politics. And it says nothing about shadow banning.

  • Alcibiades||

    The TOS is carefully worded but absolutely says that they will only ban you for abusive content, not unpopular politics. And it says nothing about shadow banning.

    I've a feeling that some of the biggest media companies around have the best legal counsel money can buy.
    Still, I would like to read what an attorney or legal academic that specializes in this area has to say here.

  • John||

    I've a feeling that some of the biggest media companies around have the best legal counsel money can buy.

    Sure they do. But having great legal advice is no guarantee that the company will follow it. Twitter never went to their lawyers and said: "write us a TOS that will allow us to ban evil conservatives". If they had, they would have gotten a TOS that made it clear they could do that. Twitter went to their lawyers and said: "give us a TOS that will let us ban inappropriate or illegal content". And that is what their lawyers gave them.

    The problem is that Twitter wanted the former but didn't want the public to know. So they took the latter advice and just ignored it.

  • Alcibiades||

    This would make a great topic for Prof. Volokh to comment on.

  • John||

    http://help.twitter.com/en/rul.....tter-rules

    Here are the rules for content which are referenced in the TOS. I don't see anything in them that says Twitter will ban people for having unpopular views as long as they are expressed in a non abusive way.

  • Alcibiades||

    Here are the rules for content which are referenced in the TOS. I don't see anything in them that says Twitter will ban people for having unpopular views as long as they are expressed in a non abusive way.

    They may not feel as if they needed to.
    Still, with the rise of these social media companies this could be an emerging area of US jurisprudence.

  • Overt||

    Having worked with these people daily for the last 15 years, I can tell you that they never set out to "ban evil conservatives." They are just so firmly entrenched in their bubbles, that they cannot step back and see what has happened.

    We all give the benefit of the doubt to our "friends" and hold our "enemies" to the highest standard- often referred to "we judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions." Machine learning is super sensitive to this subtle bias. The trainers see a liberal say something uncooth, and they think "man that was ill advised, but that person shouldn't be banned." And you see a conservative say something basically the same and say "Well, in this case the post was pretty bad, so they had it coming." Eventually the system gets the message: give lattitude to people with liberal leanings, but hold conservatives to account.

    I'm not excusing the system in place. I'm just pointing out that it wasn't a conspiracy. Just a bunch of group think without appropriate safeguards that has resulted in a major mess.

  • TLBD||

    I'd believe you if it weren't for the Infowars thing, among others.

    Seems to me that the algorithms only compound the issue, they are not the source of it by any means.

  • ||

    I can tell you that they never set out to "ban evil conservatives."

    Also, Hitler didn't run on a platform of murdering 12 million Germans and Stalin's 5-yr. plan didn't specifically say, starve half of Ukrainians.

    Sometimes, it's not the intentions that make you evil.

  • John||

    You don't have to be a great lawyer to write a TOS that says "we can ban you for any reason and don't have to even apply the same standards to you that we do to other people". It is very easy. But writing such a TOS is bad for business. So that is not what Twitter had their lawyers write even though that is really what they wanted and how they have applied the TOS in practice.

  • perlchpr||

    But writing such a TOS is bad for business.

    Would it really be? Who would ever know? It's not like anyone actually reads the fucking things before clicking the tickybox and pushing "OK".

  • John||

    I don't know. But clearly Twitter thought so or they would have had such a TOS.

  • John Galt Jr||

    BREITBART TOS (omfg)
    Without limiting the forgoing, you agree not to:use the Services in any way that abuses, defames, stalks, annoys, threatens, harasses or violates the rights of privacy, publicity, intellectual property or other legal rights of a person or entity (now or hereafter recognized) or which encourages conduct which would violate any law or give rise to civil or criminal liability or post, publish, transmit, distribute, disseminate or upload any inappropriate, infringing, defamatory, profane, indecent, obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent or illegal/unlawful material or matters, including, without limitation, information, topics, names or other material
  • Eddy||

    Do they have an arbitration provision? I don't use Twitter and I'd have to enroll to check on it.

  • TLBD||

  • John||

    And the TOS references the Twitter rules found here

    http://help.twitter.com/en/rul.....tter-rules

    If you read those rules, there is not a single thing about politics. It says you can't put up violent or graphic or abusive content or illegal content. There is no way you can square discriminating on the basis of political views with the rules as they are written.

  • Eddy||

    Hmmm...I see some disclaimers of liability, which I suppose is the part they'll lean on, but I don't know what a court would do with it.

  • TLBD||

    Yeah, which is close to useless legally for things within their control, isn't it?

  • John||

    The "no warranty" clauses are just to keep people from suing Twitter for lost business or harm that result if the platform goes down.

  • John Galt Jr||

    Right-wingnuts say Facebook should not do what Breitbart does!

    BREITBART TOS (omfg)
    Without limiting the forgoing, you agree not to:use the Services in any way that abuses, defames, stalks, annoys, threatens, harasses or violates the rights of privacy, publicity, intellectual property or other legal rights of a person or entity (now or hereafter recognized) or which encourages conduct which would violate any law or give rise to civil or criminal liability or post, publish, transmit, distribute, disseminate or upload any inappropriate, infringing, defamatory, profane, indecent, obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent or illegal/unlawful material or matters, including, without limitation, information, topics, names or other material

    All hail the Almighty God of Double Standards

  • MasterThief||

    It's a bit of a mix regarding who is right in the situation, but I find that the congressman is more right than wrong. If he assumed the tweet was being blocked outright but it wasn't showing due to him choosing a limited viewing setting then that is a mistake on his part.
    Since I don't use twitter, I'm unaware of most of how it operates. I would assume that a setting to limit "sensitive material" would block content that is sexual, violent, or gruesome. I could also believe that it would block profanity or anything else that might be inappropriate for children. The content that I see is a factual statement even if worded as a controversial take with a link to a right wing news outlet. It doesn't fall under the parameters of what I'd consider to be "sensitive." What it is is a right wing political statement and realistically a barely disputed claim based on the evidence. To pretend that this isn't a method of political censorship is to feign ignorance. It might be soft censorship by a private entity, but it is an example of bias in the entity's choice of what content isn't suitable for everyone.

  • John||

    That is a great explanation of what is going on here Theif. It is too bad that the author wasn't bright enough or honest enough to write what you just did.

  • TLBD||

    This is exactly the reason the left spends so much time redefining words.

  • ||

    Also, I'm not aware specifically how Twitter works in this regard, but there's also the caveat of the congressman activating the content filter himself vs. having it activated by default.

    If he went in and turned it on and it blocked something he thought it wouldn't, it's his fault and Twitter is content neutral. If twitter turned it on then it's pretty clearly a form of (private) censorship and falls into the content-generation process.

  • MasterThief||

    There certainly is a difference if this setting is the default as it is sneakily hiding content they disapprove.
    If the parameters on what content should be blocked (censored) by this setting aren't clearly communicated then it is the fault of twitter. If those parameters are clearly communicated and the material falls within them, then it's the user's fault for not understanding. My cursory glance tells me that blocking the tweet because it contains "sensitive material" is wrong (personal take) but otherwise highly subjective. I'd have to see a clearer definition of what they define as "sensitive material" and examples of it being evenly applied before I can be ok with how it is used here.

  • ||

    I guess I'm thinking more from an UI perspective rather than a strictly legal one.

    If the user had to turn the feature on, was told to expect it to block content, and once blocked content was encountered, contained instructions to turn the feature off (It looks like you're using an ad blocker!), it starts to get back to a beta-production, user-responsibility, content-neutral style interaction IMO.

    The fact that all of this is rather wide spread and industry standard makes me think that Twitter is between negligent and mendacious in the idea that they weren't curating content.

  • John||

    To build on what Mater Theif said above, declaring controversial political views that are expressed without profanity to be "insensitive" in the same way profane or explicit sex or violence is "sensitive" is a problem with Twitter not with this guy not understanding how Twitter works. All this post says is "he should have known that evil conservative views are the same thing as explicit violence and sex". Ah, no.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    It's kinda funny how desperately the Left tries, through various means, to squash dissenting speech. After all, they constantly tell us they are the smartest people *ever* and any arguments against them are totally stupid and evil. If that's the case it would seem they have nothing to fear. But fear they do.

  • John||

    They totally fear it. And the left being incompetent, are not going to succeed in stopping their opponents from having their say. They are just going to make their opponents seem more reasonable and the platforms that band them less attractive and important.

  • Alcibiades||

    It's kinda funny how desperately the Left tries, through various means, to squash dissenting speech. After all, they constantly tell us they are the smartest people *ever* and any arguments against them are totally stupid and evil. If that's the case it would seem they have nothing to fear. But fear they do.

    It's classic Dunning-Kruger syndrome.

  • John Galt Jr||

    Right-wing snowflakes DEMAND that Facebokk cannot do what Breitbart does!

    BREITBART TOS (omfg)
    Without limiting the forgoing, you agree not to:use the Services in any way that abuses, defames, stalks, annoys, threatens, harasses or violates the rights of privacy, publicity, intellectual property or other legal rights of a person or entity (now or hereafter recognized) or which encourages conduct which would violate any law or give rise to civil or criminal liability or post, publish, transmit, distribute, disseminate or upload any inappropriate, infringing, defamatory, profane, indecent, obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent or illegal/unlawful material or matters, including, without limitation, information, topics, names or other material

    All hail the Almighty God of Double Standards, and the Archangel of Moral Hypocrisy!!

    For you kids, web sites have been moderating reader comments for over 25 years.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    There's a lot to interpret here, and it seems that McCarthy's point might be missed here. Also, do we have Nancy Pelosi on record as not wanting to regulate the Social Media companies?

    Unfortunately I don't know enough about the players involved to judge.

  • Elilis Wyatt||

    His point isn't missed. it;s downright crazy. Breitbart can monitor, but Facebook cannot?

  • John Galt Jr||

    Only libruls are evil! Harrumph

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online