What I learned when Linkedin suppressed my post

The lack of transparency is what makes suppression work.

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I've been warning for years about how social media suppresses views that aren't popular in Silicon Valley. Until recently, though, I hadn't found myself on the receiving end of its power.  Now I have. So this take on Silicon Valley speech suppression is more personal than usual.

Let's start with the Hunter Biden laptop story.

I know. You're probably already scoffing. Certainly my mostly liberal (and even some conservative) friends are convinced the whole thing is bogus, of interest only to denizens of the Trump fever swamp.  They remember that the laptop was never verified, that it was widely suspected of being a product of Russian hacking and disinformation, and even if true, that it was simply a wallow in Hunter Biden's many personal failings that told us nothing about his father's fitness for office.

Most of those widespread views are wrong. They are contradicted by a long and detailed story in the UK's Daily Mail. The "Russian disinformation" claim never stood up to much scrutiny, consisting as it did mainly of assertions that faking a laptop was the kind of thing the Russians would do. Now, however, the Daily Mail has validated the laptop and its contents, both obtaining a former FBI agent's forensic judgment and conducting a detailed examination of the laptop's contents. The sheer volume of material makes it highly unlikely that the laptop itself was a fabrication. There are 103,000 text messages, including many intimate (and heart-breaking) father-son exchanges, 154,000 emails, and over 2,000 photos, including numerous nude or sexual pictures of Biden and others. (That leaves open the possibility that someone, perhaps even Russian intelligence, might have added a few fake documents to the real ones – a possibility that would seem to call for detailed examination of the laptop's contents, something no mainstream media outlet has deigned to conduct.)

As for its relevance to President Biden's fitness, earlier reporting disclosed correspondence suggesting that Hunter's unsavory businesses exploited or even benefited his father. And the Daily Mail claims that Hunter was getting some form of Secret Service protection long after the agency claimed to have ended its work for the Biden family. Maybe these stories will fall apart on examination, but there can be little doubt that they deserve investigation. And little doubt that such an investigation could have influenced the 2020 election campaign, when the laptop first surfaced.

What the laptop story got was the opposite of examination. Relying on the unsupported "Russian hacking" conspiracy theory, Twitter blocked the New York Post article. Indeed it blocked the New York Post's Twitter account for weeks because the Post refused to retract its original tweet about the story. Facebook also limited distribution of the story. The threat was clear enough. Even an established media outlet could lose reach and ad revenue if it reported on the story.  And the threat worked; no mainstream publication followed up on the Post article, except for a New York Times article that put the knife in by reporting on controversy over the story's publication in the Post newsroom. When the story came up during the Presidential debates, candidate Biden was able to dismiss it unchallenged as "a Russian plan [and] a bunch of garbage."

To my mind, this treatment of the Biden laptop story tells us a lot about the role that Silicon Valley intends to play in future elections. Companies like Twitter were so fearful of a second Trump victory that they seized on a dubious hacking claim to suppress the story. That act of censorship may well have changed the outcome of the election. So when the Daily Mail showed that the hacking excuse for suppressing the story was specious, I posted a link to the Daily Mail story on Twitter and Linkedin, with this introduction:

"The social media giants that won't let you say the 2020 election was rigged are the people who did their best to rig it: Hunter Biden laptop was genuine and scandalous—Daily Mail"

Linkedin (but not Twitter) decided that I couldn't say that. It sent me this message:

This is a forbidding message, as it's intended to be. If you follow the "Learn more" link you eventually come to the standards for restricting or removing accounts, which tells you, "If we determine that an account, or content posted to that account, violates the Professional Community Policies or the User Agreement, we may remove the content or place a restriction on your account. Depending on the severity of the violation, your account may be restricted indefinitely." (Emphasis added). In short, Linkedin was telling me that it might lock me out of its service if I repeated my offense.

The Linkedin message worried me.  I've got more than 5000 contacts on Linkedin, and I use it in business almost every day. Losing my account would be a blow.

Nonetheless. I hadn't been bullied by such a clueless authoritarian since high school. So instead of moving on to some less fraught topic I doubled down, posting five variants of my original post. The idea was to see exactly what it was about my original post that triggered Linkedin's antibodies. I began by simply posting "The straight news version: The Hunter Biden laptop was genuine and scandalous, according to the Daily Mail." Then I added a link to the Daily Mail story. Then I added commentary: "Social media suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop story in the middle of the 2020 election campaign. Now we know that the story they suppressed was true." In the fifth post, I was more pointed: "Social media won't let you talk about election interference in 2020. Maybe that's because it was social media that interfered in the election by suppressing a true story that would have hurt Joe Biden." And, finally, I reposted the original, which said the same thing as the fifth, but talked about "rigging" rather than "interfering with" the election.

I thought there was a real possibility that Linkedin would deplatform me for the same reason the vice principal used to discipline me in high school – my palpable lack of respect for authority. But it was a risk I was willing to take in the name of science – trying to figure out exactly what triggered Linkedin's content suppression machinery. To cut to the chase, Linkedin left up all of my posts except the one that repeated the original post. That came down, and I again was warned about Linkedin's professional standards.

What did I learn? First, I am grateful to Linkedin for a chance to recapture my youth, if only for a few hours. Second, Linkedin and its corporate parent, Microsoft, has some explaining to do. (Brad Smith, I'm talking to you.) The most charitable assessment of its policy is that it adopted a lame algorithm that suppresses claims of election rigging of any kind, no matter whether they are charges that Venezuela tampered with our voting machines or arguments that Silicon Valley used its platform power to defeat Trump. The scariest possibility is that, having first joined in suppressing stories that hurt Biden in 2020, Linkedin is now suppressing stories that criticize its role in suppressing stories that hurt Biden.

I'm guessing that a lame algorithm is the real culprit.  But frankly, I and anyone else censored by Linkedin deserves to know how that happened. That's why we need laws requiring social media to provide far more transparency and better appeal procedures when they suppress content. But such laws alone do not seem adequate to the threat.

To be clear, Linkedin, or some algorithm, or some contract employee in Arizona or the Philippines, decided that there were some views about an American Presidential election that I could not express, even to my friends. Really? That's the real offense to American free speech values. Linkedin added insult to injury when it failed to say why it didn't like my speech, but that insult carried an injury of its own: It chilled (or tried to) anything I might say in future on that topic. A prudent man wouldn't have put up any of my followon posts.

That chilling effect probably helps explain why no American media did a story on the Biden laptop after Twitter took down the Post's coverage. Even a reporter or newspaper who thinks there could be a great story in the laptop had to ask what would happen once the story went on line. If Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube suppressed it, the story would go from bombshell to bomb. It would get no reach and attract no ads. The ambiguity raises the already high cost of doing investigative journalism on this topic.

Such suppression is a recent phenomenon, less than ten years old, but Silicon Valley is not done yet.  One of my rules about the Valley is "You won't know how evil a technology can be until the engineers who maintain it begin to fear for their jobs."

Right now, social media is printing money. No one fears for their jobs, or even their yachts. But if the move to rein in social media really gathers steam, I'm confident the content suppression tools that protected Joe Biden will be used with even more enthusiasm to protect Silicon Valley itself.

Of course, at that point it will be foolish to complain. No one will hear you anyway.

NEXT: Classes #25: Second Amendment III and Landlord-Tenant Relationship I

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  1. Why are there no comments on this post? Could it be ………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    1. Stop kidding around.

      The assets of these disloyal tech billionaires should be seized in civil forfeiture for the billions of federal crimes committed on their platforms. Then, auction them off like the Ferrari of a drug dealer.

      To deter.

      1. All should be sued to retrieve the value of the personal information of the users. I estimate that to be half of revenues since inception. The terms of use agreements are unconscionable and void.

        1. I can see why someone whose legal training is from a mail order diploma mill would think so.

          1. Hi, David. That is a brilliant legal analysis. I don’t understand it. Perhaps you can explain it in simpler terms to the class.

            1. David, everyone here would love to see you say something in cyberlaw. Go for it.

      2. I’m not exactly against seizing the assets of the rich and powerful, in theory, but conservatives and/or libertarians demanding it because of the mild inconvenience of trying to post a story, failing, then posting it again succesfully along with a string of complaints about it and then writing a lengthy blog post about this epic struggle against the blind authoritarianism of dumb filters is hilariously on-brand.

        1. Even you must admit that all Tech colluded to run cover for Biden. That being the case, how can any rational person not understand conservatives being rightly be alarmed.

          1. No, I can only admit that the stuff coming out of Trump became so wildlly untenable it was too irresponsible even for big tech to provide a platform – in a limited sense. It isn’t as if conspiracy theories about big tech running cover for Biden weren’t all over social media. By all means do not trust big tech, that is rational, they will eat the planet hollow, but rational conservatives should be alarmed at what is coming out of conservatism, if there are any rational conservatives left.

            1. The Post story came from the Post, not Trump, and as the recent Daily Mail story shows, it was far from ” wildly untenable”. Try again.

              1. The story stank to high heaven.

                1. That’s not what the Daily Mail report says, nor what you initially claimed (“the stuff coming out of Trump became so wildly untenable it was too irresponsible even for big tech to provide a platform”). Try again.

                  1. Were you born this month or have you been stricken with amnesia? Or a tragic but usefully obtuse combination of both?

            2. YouTube censored a video of a sitting governor talking with experts about Covid because it went against the government sponsored propaganda. This isnt about Trump.

              1. Yes, the entire conservative movement is completely off the rails.

                1. I see you’ve been reduced to ridiculous assertions in lieu of any actual arguments.

                  1. Some notable strains of recent conservative thought: Trump is still president, Dr Seuss got cancelled, mass shootings: just get over them!

  2. Even if you are right about social media companies refusing to carry stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop, that is *not* election rigging. Election rigging means ballot box stuffing, false counts, vote buying or other plainly fraudulent activity in the conduct of the election. Merely exercising the right of free speech in ways you disagree with is not that.

    1. Why can’t election rigging involve coordinated efforts to lie to the public about major stories involving the candidates?

      1. It does. Except, of course, to those who approve of such shenanigans.

      2. You guys really crack me up, you know.

        I think that LinkedIn and the Daily Mail are both businesses seeking to maximise their profits by providing what customers want. LinkedIn believe that hosting bogus claims about rigged elections will harm their profits because their customers don’t want to read that. Meanwhile the Daily Mail believe that publishing such stories will increase their profits. I think that both of these companies are behaving like capitalists in free markets are supposed to behave.

        Sooner or later every loser in the market place of ideas jumps to the conclusion that the reason *their* ideas are losing is because of some conspiracy by the media. It’s the only possible explanation! That explains why the truth about [socialism/libertarianism/flat-earthism/creationism/anti-vaxism/insert-your-ism] hasn’t swept the world!

        Which is why you sound *exactly* like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalist_propaganda#Ideological_hegemony

        1. How does LinkedIn make this determination of what their customers want and do not want? If the item is never presented to the customer, how can they know of the customer wants it or not? Was there market analysis such as focus group testing? Did LinkedIn ask its customers? I also have an account, I have never been asked.

          The profit motive does not explain this action.

          1. You think that LinkedIn is going to do a survey of all it’s users before it takes any decision at all? Remind me never to invest in any business you are involved in. Managers have to take lots of decisions every day without 100% certainty.

            I have no visibility into LinkedIn’s decision making process. Maybe they did a focus group. Maybe they applied sentiment analysis to identify political views that seemed to create anger and resentment. Maybe they did a market segment analysis and decided that political extremists were not a profitable market segment for their business. Maybe some middle manager just used their skill and judgement to write a policy for implementation by the content moderation team.

            Any of those things might have happened. All are consistent with a profit-seeking company. You seem to be making an argument from ignorance: “I don’t understand this. Therefore it must be a conspiracy”. That is a fallacy.

          2. The profit motive explains it, but not financial profit, political profit: The people running LinkedIn could take their profit as money, but then they’d have to pay taxes, and any stock holders might wonder why they were paid so extravagantly.

            Or they can run LinkedIn so as to, in effect, make a huge in kind donation to their favorite political party, and neither taxes nor contribution limits need concern them, and the fiduciary responsibilities of management towards stockholders are very rarely enforced outside cases of outright embezzlement.

            LinkedIn’s management is managing the company badly from a financial standpoint, in order to rake in political profits.

            Pretty common dynamic in media companies, actually.

            1. In which case you should be able to make a ton of money by creating a better-run alternative to LinkedIn that does what it’s users want rather than what the media elite want. Let me know when you start it; I’ll bring the popcorn.

            2. More likely to be a branding issue. The utter screeching bulshit that passes for conservative discourse is occasionally too toxic and the ratfucking too blatant even for big tech social media who, let us not forget, provided a platform for Trump, a breeding ground for Qanon and still wrap Trump’s base in warm cosy bubbles. Have you tried 4chan? Is 4chan still around?

    2. Was the precise definition of words the point of this post? No. Did you miss the point or are you actively trying to help facts be surprised?

      1. This is a legal blog. People here consider precise meanings important.

        1. So precisely define “election rigging”, such that it does what you want. Is threatening people on their way to, or at, the polls “election rigging”? Is a mass conspiracy to say “Trids vote Tuesday, everyone else votes Wednesday” — and suppressing people who say “no, everyone still votes Tuesday” — election rigging? Is changing the rules with the intent to facilitate illegal voting, even if you don’t directly coordinate with ballot-box stuffers, election rigging?

          1. rigging noun [U] (DISHONESTLY ARRANGE)
            the act of arranging dishonestly for the result of something, for example an election, to be changed:
            “ballot rigging”
            “Opposition parties have protested over alleged vote rigging in the election.”

            https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/rigging

            1. That definition does not seem to exclude the act of suppressing a story damaging to a candidate so the result of the election is changed, and making ex-post facto dishonest excuses about why it was done,

    3. Exercising the right of free speech is qualitatively different from suppressing the free speech of others.

      Private companies can legally suppress speech on their platform without violating the First Amendment but that does not make their choice to suppress moral, ethical or right for society.

      1. I’ve replied to this, but for some reason that reply is being held “pending moderation” for about 10 hours now.

        Oh noes! I’m being censored! Oh, the humanity!

        1. Correction, 4.5 hours.

          1. Did the post contain more than one URL?

            1. Yes. Here is the text without URLs. Go to http://www.techdirt.com and search for Parler to see the history.

              Lots of people think it would be a good idea to have a social media site that doesn’t do content moderation, but when they try to build one they discover that their site just becomes a sinkhole of trolling and bile. The trolls stay because they enjoy throwing excrement at each other, and everyone else leaves for somewhere that doesn’t stink.

              Quote by Parler’s CEO: “When you disagree with someone, posting pictures of your fecal matter in the comment section WILL NOT BE TOLERATED “.

          2. If you had more than one hyperlink in your comment, it will be pending moderation until the heat death of the universe.

  3. Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertari. . . never mind

    1. He’s not urging government regulation to solve this problem. I see no inconsistency.

      1. Sure.

        “That’s why we need laws requiring social media to provide far more transparency and better appeal procedures when they suppress content.”

        1. transparency is a libertarian concept.

          You can’t have free markets and free minds without transparency.

          1. Unfortunately transparency is not a free market concept.

            1. Libertarians are against fraud as a concept. When a platform puts up a TOS it should enforce it evenhandedly and when they de-platform someone that has invested a lot of time building an audience on that platform, they should know why.

        2. When he said that, I was confused as that is not what I would ever suggest either. A change in the law? I was instead hoping he would write something about LinkedIn violating its own Terms of Service and challenging them on that basis, not the threat of some government action.

    2. “Often libertari. . . never mind…”

      You’re… not familiar with Mr. Baker, I see.

  4. I’ve got more than 5000 contacts on Linkedin, and I use it in business almost every day. Losing my account would be a blow.

    You need to address this vulnerability and, at a minimum, to develop a backup plan. You wouldn’t deposit your money in a bank which claimed the right to confiscate your deposits on a whim. You wouldn’t rent from a landlord who reserved the right to forcibly evict you without notice and due process.

    But — as you’re clearly already aware — the price you’re paying for these “free” social media accounts is exactly that unacceptable price.

    You certainly may, and indeed should, continue to campaign in the courts of public opinion for social media companies to be more transparent, etc. But as you already know, if your disputes with any of them ever come to that point, then in the courts of justice, you’re going to get shunted to mandatory binding arbitration, probably in a state where you don’t live, where you’ll pay an extravagant fee to the arbitrators who’ll absolutely, positively confirm the social media platform’s essentially unlimited and irremediable discretion to treat you like dog-crap scraped off their shoes.

    1. That’s a really good idea. As a start, download an archive of your info from your settings page. At least it will give you a copy of what they keep on you.

  5. I’m going to be way more cynical — they found this:
    https://nationalsecurity.gmu.edu/stewart-baker/

    It took me all of 3 seconds to find that, and I was doing a manual boolean search on just your name and your firm — big tech is a *lot* more efficient than that, and there has got to be enough data out there for the idiot in his pajamas to find this.

    And is he going to screw with you? Does his employer want him screwing with you? — based just on the above URL, I’m guessing that you could make Twatter or Farcebook’s life rather miserable if you really wanted to do so.

    Not “would” but “could” — think people presuming that you are every bit as unethical as they *are*, and that you *would* do anything that they *could* were they you.

    The thing to remember is that all bullies are inherent cowards and I think this extends to institutions as well as people — my guess is that they *knew* what you were doing but didn’t know what you might do if they’d banned all five posts.

    Kinda like “is that state trooper *really* asleep in that cruiser (at 3AM) or should I slow down because he might be pretending to be…”

    1. What honest and decent people often fail to understand is that there are people in the world who are neither.

      I’ve made that mistake more than once.

      And what I’ve seen with the left is that they don’t have morals because the personal and political are so commingled in their minds that it merely a question of what will advance the cause…

      1. It’s worse than that: They do have morals, and their morals tell them that advancing the cause is the greatest good, for which all means are acceptable. They’d actually feel guilty about having scruples.

        1. True, and thank you for pointing that out.

          And it’s actually worse — Bill Clinton wasn’t the worst.

          A lot of women believe that they are obligated to — well — submit to being raped if the rapist is a supporter of the right causes. And the first few times, perhaps my innocence was the best — the basic “you have got to be kidding” and she wasn’t….

        2. You guys elected Trump.

          1. Yeah, so? While he’s far from perfect, (I was actually a Rand Paul supporter during the primaries.) he wasn’t going around attacking enumerated civil liberties, or threatening to pack the Supreme court.

            And he kept a lot fewer children in cages, too. Democrats used to pretend they cared about that.

            1. The party of law and order and family values and national security and patriotism voted for a fraudster and a welcher and a philanderer with incredibly dodgy international connections, so you don’t get to lecture anyone on honesty, decency, morals or scruples. You did it precisely so you could trample civil liberties through voter supression, not to mention launching a war on the press, bungle the pandemic response, openly and endlessly lie about everything, pack the courts full of young ideologues, refuse to accept the results of the election and continue to enrich himself through fundraising off conspiracy theories and xenophobia. Republicans used to be in favour of kids in cages. But only when Trump does it?

              1. Wouldnt that also describe Hillary Clinton?

                1. Only for the profoundly confused.

                2. fraudster – check
                  philanderer – check
                  dodgy connections – check
                  dishonest, indecent, immoral – check, check, check

                  1. Hilary Clinton drinking the blood of trafficked orphans doesn’t count because it’s not real.

                    1. I don’t see that on the list above.
                      What specifically do you dispute about Clinton being a fraudster, philanderer, having dodgy connections, or being dishonest, indecent, and immoral?

                    2. It’s just repeating a string of worrds that I used to accurately describe Trump.

    2. Yeah, I don’t think a tech company would want Baker to have a personal interest in fcking with them. He might do it as an academic exercise, whereas they’d have to pay cash for their own lawyers.

      Something about arguing with someone who buys ink by the barrel.

      1. Except that the tech companies own the ink company and the paper supplier. And the cost of crushing Baker in a lawsuit would be pocket change for these companies.

        1. Also known as “death by discovery.” I’ve litigated a few cases where that was part of the opposition strategy. It is an abuse of the system, but judges let parties get away with it.

  6. Didn’t Hunter Biden’s lawyer John Mac demand the laptop back? Seems to at least lend something to the argument it was actually Hunter Biden’s laptop.
    Of course in his new book, Hunter Biden partially admits it may have been his all along.

    1. He said on Marc Maron’s podcast WTF that there are significant chunks of his recent life that he simply can’t remember due to drug use, and that he has no idea whether or not he left a laptop at a computer repair store. It’s actually a pretty fascinating interview, I thought.

      1. I don’t remember profiting off of my dad’s connections?

      2. That sort of thing always amazes me. That interview would have had the police at my front door the next day. That laptop would have put me in prison for the rest of my life.

        Hunter Biden can confess multiple felonies, the FBI can have a laptop that proves he committed them, and nothing happens. We’re discussing the reporting on it, not the fact that he’s still walking around a free man, while any of us would have ended up in the grey bar hotel for decades.

        We’ve gotten so jaded about this sort of double standard, we hardly even bother bringing it up.

        1. That interview would have had the police at my front door the next day. That laptop would have put me in prison for the rest of my life.

          Um, what? It’s illegal to own a laptop?

          1. Read again. Slowly. It’s in the second paragraph.

    2. I’ve yet to see anything tying this laptop to HB. Its quite possible that some third party trying to influence (NOT “rig”) the election got hold of an on-line backup, salted it with half a dozen smoking guns, restored it to a second hand Mac, and dropped it off at a known Republican-sympathising Useful Idiot.

      This scenario seems to me to be a bigger concern than the small details of LinkedIn’s moderation practices.

      1. And, of course, unless the FBI can exclude that scenario the laptop is useless as evidence.

  7. How many apologies have you seen from people who told or repeated the lies?

    The ones who haven’t apologized for lying are the ones who speak and write without regard to facts or truth.

  8. “That’s why we need laws requiring social media to provide far more transparency and better appeal procedures when they suppress content.”

    Y’all have deleted my comments on this website before. There was no appeal process.

    1. There’s a bit of a difference between this little message board and Linked In or Twitter.

      It’s like the difference between a kid running messages across town for you and AT&T…

      1. AT&T ran into that little antitrust problem about 40 years ago….

        1. Dr. Ed 2, totally an aside but recall, AT&T was a government created monopoly. It was a highly regulated monopoly which was granted exclusive rights to provide long distance service to the country.

          The anti-trust case against AT&T was really one branch of government (federal court) telling another branch of government (FCC and congress) to stop supporting this monopoly. The consequences of this case is an entirely different matter.

        2. You mean they ran into an antitrust solution. Anyway, the alleged violation of antitrust had nothing to do with denial of service. The DOJ thought AT&T was using its subsidiary (Western Electric, who had monopoly profits) to subsidize AT&T’s networks (a pro-consumer effect). Re: the Western Electric monopoly, a lot has been said about its pro-consumer effects, too. Which is one reason that antitrust law has shifted so drastically from 1974 (when the DOJ initiated their antitrust case against AT&T) and today. As an example, although tying was treated as a per se antitrust violation, advances in economic theory have informed us that tying can have consumer benefits. And so you have something like Jefferson Parish v. Hyde (1985) raising the standard on antitrust violations for tying. Much work remains to be done.

          Back to Western Electric. AT&T was requiring everybody to use Western Electric telephones, and if customers wanted to use other phones, they found a way to charge them fees through leasebacks or other means. One of the consequences of AT&T’s tying arrangement was that local phone services were inexpensive, because it functionally subsidized telephone service. As part of its overall package, Bell sold a lifetime promise on its (Western Electric) phones, and promised to refurbish or repair them at no cost to the customer. As a result, Western Electric phone engineers were incentivized (by management) to produce telephones with extraordinary longevity, since Bell had promised its customers it would pay to replace them. This had good and bad effects. The good effects were that customers had phones that lasted forever. The bad effect is that competitors did not have incentive to invent new phones, since Bell was prepared to lose money on its phones so it could sell forever-phones to customers at a loss (below profit).

          Beyond that, the AT&T example isn’t really apt for the reasons Michael D stated. The government busting up a government-created monopoly is not the same thing as the government seeking to regulate an unregulated company (LinkedIn). As per usual you’re engaged category errors.

          1. “telephones with extraordinary longevity”

            No kidding. IIRC, they didn’t really sell you a phone with a lifetime guarantee, they leased the phone to you for a couple of bucks a month (and hassled people with third party phones in various ways). In any event, sometime in the late 70’s you could keep paying the rent, or outright buy your existing phone for $15 or something. I did so, and still have it in all its rotary dial glory. It still works; periodically I get it out and plug it in for the amusement of the younger generations.

            Before cell phones, it was pretty spiffy during power outages too, when everyone else’s modern cordless handsets were hors de combat. I’d pull it out and set up the neighborhood messaging center.

      2. Ok, I’ll bite. Why do you think Linked In or Twitter are more like AT&T than they are like a kid running messages across town for you?

    2. Y’all have deleted my comments on this website before. There was no appeal process.

      Probably shouldn’t have tried to post the nuclear launch codes.

  9. To cut to the chase, Linkedin left up all of my posts except the one that repeated the original post. That came down, and I again was warned about Linkedin’s professional standards.

    This was a LOT of words to basically whine that you somehow triggered a filter with your post and you were able to repost it successfully.

    1. His point is that stupid filters can be as harmful as intentional ones.

      1. No, I think they were running for cover…

      2. No, that would be a good point, if not a new one, but the point here was more ‘I never knew true horror or pain until I, too, was the victim of an automatic filter, which I got around immediately, THIS IS WHY THE HUNTER BIDEN STORY FAILED!’

    2. Why were they filtering it in the first place?

  10. The criticism of the Hunter Biden laptop story is the implausibility of:
    1. A circa 2017 Apple laptop being unencrypted
    2. Dropped off to a computer repair shop on the other side of the country
    3. The repair shop unnecessarily (and unethically) digging through files on such a device.
    4. The repair shop happening to have a line of communication to Rudy Giuliani.

    1. Yeah, that’s weird but LOTS of people don’t use passwords on their laptops, or give their passwords to the tech guy they hired to repair it.

      No one actually has a second layer of encryption on their files.

      Using a repair shop on the other side of country makes a lot of sense if you know it’s full of incriminating shit, but you aren’t willing to just scrap it.

      1. 3. And, oh by the way, there was no unethical digging through the laptop. The owner of the repair shop did nothing until, in accordance with the service contract, the unpaid fees caused title to the laptop to transfer to the owner. At that point the (new) owner dug through his own laptop.
        4. Everybody up there has a line to Rudi – – – – – – –

    2. 2. “on the other side of the country” from where? Until it closed, The Mac Shop was closer to his dad’s house (or at least the center of Greenville — I don’t know the Bidens’ actual address) than the nearest Apple Store. Something like 3 miles from the center of Greenville, versus 10 miles. Wilmington’s suburbs are small, so Greenville doesn’t stretch for miles and miles.

  11. Look at who runs these tech companies and their background..it pretty much tells the story. These cultural marxists have been doing this for decades…in the main stream media and NPR…now they run Big Tech…

    1. You know that using word soup like “cultural marxist” just marks you as a loon, right?

      1. ‘cultural marxist’ is a phase that is not to permitted to be used or discussed.

  12. The Washington Post’s comments moderation is equally arbitrary and equally opaque, ironic in an organization whose motto is “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” Comments that Trump is a traitor, that he is controlled by Putin, that he should die, that his wife is a whore–all not only permissible but published thousands of times. Comments discussing Hunter Biden or Joe Biden’s cognitive difficulties, what Joe learned about honesty from his father the used car salesman or any number of other topics of interest–sometimes left up, sometimes deleted by moderators. And of course on stories like the Administration’s determination to use language for illegal aliens that deviates from statutory language or the autopsy report on Brian Sicknick that shows he died from strokes, no comments permitted at all. The Post doesn’t want to take any chances on readers having their say.

  13. I predict that pretty soon a human will notice the other four posts and your account on LinkedIn will be at least suspended.

    Remember that LinkedIn is not a neutral party in the culture war. In fact it was LinkedIn that “taught” the course telling Coca-Cola’s employees to “be less white.”

    The good news is that Gab, Parler, and other new-tech sites are out there on which you can argue politics freely. The bad news is that, to my knowledge, LinkedIn has no competitors in its job-market role (yet).

    I expect that to change. Adam Smith’s invisible hand will bring us some. But in the meantime I would move everything political off LinkedIn.

  14. Nonetheless. I hadn’t been bullied by such a clueless authoritarian since high school.

    Game recognizes game.

  15. Download contact information for everybody immediately. Forward contact information to everybody in your contacts list, immediately.

    You’re not just being held hostage by Linkedin, you’re cooperating in being held hostage. That is, no way to say this nicely, stupid.

    It’s just replicating the behavior that got Republicans in this very dangerous position to begin with. Stop relying on your enemies to spare you, stop waiting idly for the blow to fall. It’s going to fall, if not over this, over SOMETHING.

    1. Too late! Stewart Baker was found, face frozen in a rictus of terror, arms outstretched to ward off the blow as the LinkedIn filter keyed to stories about Hilary Clinton’s spirit cooking kicks in and bloodily salughters another post. There was nothing actually wrong with him, he just sat like that for an hour to get into the vibe for his next blog post.

  16. Daily Mail, ever the pinnacle of information.

    Maybe you’ve been “silenced” because you’re peddling bullshit and have absolutely no right to do so on someone else’s private property?

    Get fucked snowflake.

  17. It makes me laugh because all you snowflakes bitch about being “censored” and “silenced.”

    Fine- go make your own shitty platform. There’s gab, there’s parler, etc. Oh? Not a big enough audience? Maybe it’s because your ideas and your arguments are pure bullshit.

    You’ve got no right to anyone else’s private property and on a libertarian site that should be well known.

    1. Libertarian?

      Often libertarian?

      Libertarianish?

      Stood behind a libertarian in line for a drink at a reception?

    2. Ever heard of the concept of a public utility or common carrier? Ever heard of antitrust?

      If you write a post on Linkedin or Facebook about how a gay man is a hero for letting another man shoot off in his tuchis, you’ll be applauded as a hero.

  18. LinkedIn (and Twitter and Facebook) have basically taken Carte Blanche on censorship since … well … they have seen no penalties for this behavior.

    See https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/censoring-science-ari-trachtenberg

  19. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but the Daily Mail is a garbage tabloid only slightly more reliable than The National Enquirer. They’ve been caught falsifying interviews, manipulating images, and faking their own articles from their archives numerous times. Even opinion pieces can’t be relied upon to accurately reflect the words of their supposed authors. Do not trust the Daily Mail on any subject for any reason.

    1. How are they any different than CBS, NBC, ABC or CNN? You can throw in Fox if you can point out something fake as well . All of the above have proven histories of manipulation, suppression and distortions. The NYT and Washington Post too. Even NPR!

      1. Whataboutism, also known as whataboutery, is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whataboutism

        1. “Whataboutism” is just an insertion of context, unwelcome where somebody wants to level an accusation without it being noted that they’re just as guilty. Accusations of it are especially common in political discussions, because political contests are zero sum, and if you can accuse your opponent of something while keeping your own guilty off limits, you score a net win.

          When somebody says your shit stinks, “whataboutism” is pointing out that theirs does, too.

          1. The proper response to ‘whataboutism’ isn’t to shout, “Whataboutism” and refuse to address your own conduct.

            The proper response is to place the two sets of conduct side by side, and discuss if they really are comparable.

            1. The proper response to “whataboutism” is to completely ignore the response, and say “We are talking about X topic. If you would like to discuss Y topic we can do that later. What is your opinion about X topic?”

              Redirect the conversation to what was being discussed. The stuff being brought up is completely irrelevant.

              1. except is most often completely relevent to the issue at hand.

  20. What the LinkedIn aspect of this story represents is the fact that you posted a story in a way that triggered a filter and then you posted the story in a way that did not trigger a filter and that made you feel like a hero. What the Hunter Biden story represents is the fact is that sometimes you fuck the rat and sometimes the rat fucks you.

  21. The big tech companies should be seized as enemies of the American people.

    1. They kowtow to the Chinese Commies for that market, to entich themselves. China is winning its war against using them inside our country and the Democrat Party.

      1. The Democrat Party is a collection of parasites and traitors. Most of them should be rounded up and institutionalized.

      2. Oh dear, what terrible evil capitalists they are!

  22. How does an authoritarian right-wing crank become a regular contributor to an ostensibly, self-described libertarian publication?

    1. Baker really is the worst. All of his tech takes are just so bad. I’m not sure he understands half of what he writes about on a technical level.

  23. Why shouldn’t sourcing your arguments to the Daily Mail be bannable? It’s a sensationalist tabloid that has a news category named “Kardashian.”

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