T Nation

Info Wars "Deplatformed" What Say Ye?


#1

Want to avoid qualitative discussion of Alex Jones or infowars and focus on the more interesting questions behind private censorship. Not sure what to think about all this, wanted to bounce it off you guys.

As far as I know not one of the tech companies listed Infowars as “hate speech”, merely misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Some observations and topics for discussion:

  1. This has nothing to do with the first amendment (should go without saying). Private companies can do what they want.

  2. It was downright weird how coordinated this was. All the firms did it at the same time. It seems like you wouldn’t want to hand a conspiracy theorist a colluded attack on a silver platter.

3.The media all celebrated it and asked for more censorship. That’s weird… news outlets ADVOCATING for censorship. Seems kind of tone deaf with how journalists are treated in parts of the world. Maybe we’re too coddled with our first amendment here and don’t know what we’re risking.

  1. Did they inadvertantly make a martyr of Alex Jones? By targeting him have they given him a bigger soap box and made him more money (see link below)? The infowars app is currently beating all the big dogs in popularity now (CNN/FOX/NYT). Sort of reminiscent of targeting Trump backfiring.

  2. How do people who are ardent defenders of net neutrality (@pfury and others) feel about private censorship or “deplatforming”. Is an ISP throttling Netflix analagous to a content platform banning content they don’t like? As a libertarian, the only consistent position I can think of is throttling must be okay because it’s a private company and private censorship must be okay for the same reason… even more so with deplatforming because often times with ISP’s they’re government-sponsored monopolies… not so with Youtube/Twitter/Apple. So if people are that mad about content manipulation by silicon valley then other firms will emerge in the free market to serve them.

  3. Is this a bad precedent to set? The platforms have been getting better but groups like Islamic State still have accounts and Google is helping China oppress it’s own people. It seems odd that a handful of tech companies are now the moral authority that decides what discourse looks like.

  4. A big part of the whole worldwide “forgotten man” right wing push has been a disdain of elites telling commoners how they should think/act/vote. Banning people they disagree with won’t win the elites any friends.

  5. I heard an analogy made that this is the modern day equivalent of “book burning”. While initially I thought that was absurd… they are attempting to destroy ideas they find dangerous. Thoughts?


#2

Agreed. Personally I think they joined forces for this. Nobody wanted to be the only platform to ban him. They have stock prices to consider and the public is stoopid.

This becomes useless when iOS or Android does an update that the app can’t keep up with. It’ll brick the app.

To me the difference is because Alex Jones (et al) are a direct hit on the business model of places like FB/YT/etc.

We saw it with fox n friends and the NFL this year, but advertisers pulling revenue based on YT personalities personal opinion is both not new and not unexpected. It’s been happening constantly for years now, and has recently ramped up on political discussions (when previously a large driving factor was ‘adult material’)

Not imo, as other platforms exist. Net neutrality happens in areas where choice and competition aren’t actually a thing.

This is the issue. Other firms emerging irt net neutrality isn’t always possible, due to oligopolies and govt corruption.

I think it’s patently absurd. The knowledge hasn’t been taken, just moved. The books moved libraries, not burned.

Edit: hell and they moved to a library next door. It doesn’t even increase the travel time if you know how to use your legs


#3

Jones has always been a fringe element of “media” if you will. I don’t see this making him a martyr. The people that follow him will continue to follow him (whereever that may be) and those that don’t (or haven’t heard of him) won’t even notice.

Seems dramatic to me.

That said, I’m surprised a new social platform hasn’t emerged that doesn’t ban anything that isn’t illegal? Seems like there’s a market for something like that with FB and Twitter being all PC these days.


#4

This will backfire on them. He brought in a lot of money for one, but let’s just pretend this was all done on altruistic principles for a moment. As noted, his popularity is probably going to surge and so will the sales of his supplements that grant you the vitality you need to protect you from the globalist pedophile overlords.

The more and more people they decide should be banned for the greater good, the less compelling these platforms will get. I don’t use twitter, but how many people would still frequent the site if it was just a bunch of left-leaning people agreeing with each other or, perhaps, arguing over who is more oppressed.

I’m not holding out for any sort of consistency with how this gets applied, so if more and more conservatives get de-platformed, I would expect that new platforms will arise, which brings me back to my biggest gripe about this whole thing.

Facebook, Youtube, et al are no longer neutral platform providers. If I recall correctly, that was a big part of their mission statement. They are now in the business of publishing, so to speak. That’s a really big difference and people will notice.

Also this. From wikipedia:

Between 21 April and 4 May 2018, Google removed the motto from the preface, leaving a mention in the final line: “And remember… don’t be evil, and if you see something that you think isn’t right – speak up!”[6][13]

Speak up like this guy did?


#5

Maybe it was a conspiracy, of sorts, and they aren’t afraid to let the world know.

Which media? Genuinely asking.

Is Jones a journalist? He himself, under oath, said he was a performance artist. So I can see how actual journalists would have a problem with him being considered a journalist.

I doubt it. His fans, 99% of whom are probably suffering some mental illness, will always be there for him and his detractors will always see him for the scumbag that he is. Maybe I’m biased because I live in CT, but anyone who would call Sandy Hook a hoax just to put money in his pockets is a piece of garbage.

No. Those platforms were intended for teenage girls to gossip and college students to hook up. Let the news and the “news” use their own platforms. Let the propagandists use their own platforms.

That disdain goes both ways. Peasants were peasants for a reason.

I consider Jones’ ideas to be more repugnant than dangerous. Besides the books that were burned came from intellectuals, not performance artists. That’s what made the ideas dangerous; they came from smart people. There’s a reason why dictators kill professors and intellectuals first and people like Jones are useful idiots.


#6

CNN is also asking to close the apps on iTunes and Google Play.

No not Jones. If your a journalist (CNN) then your livelihood depends on the free exchange of information. It would seem shortsighted to try and shut down your opponents by putting pressure on silicon valley. That has a tenancy to bite you in the butt later.


#7

On a somewhat related note, I’ve been a fan of youtube for a long time now and there’s quite a few channels I’m a big fan of that have nothing whatsoever to do with politics. Even these guys are getting demonetized by youtube. One example is skallagrim, who makes really cool videos talking about medieval weaponry, which youtube considers violent in nature and thus demonetizes it.

The irony in all of this is he now resorts to doing in-video advertisements for mobile gaming apps, which almost certainly do a lot more harm by encouraging sedentary lifestyles. I don’t recall anyone being wounded when their chainmail was punctured by a halbred in my area, but I might be mistaken. I definitely know a lot of people who sit on their ass playing games with most of time.


#8

This is the hippocracy of “ad-mogeddon” to me. YT was happy with revenue from the traffic ISIS, Antifa, KKK accounts were generating until it turned against them.


#9

If you are CNN, a business, then getting rid of the competition is necessary for survival. I think that’s the real issue.


#10

Well that’s cute and all. But cutting access to infowars doesn’t bring the lost viewers back to cable news. Good point though.


#11

Yeah. Its not like anybody would say “Alex is gone? Well back to CNN for me!”.

Also seems like it would alienate people that aren’t necessarily Alex Jones fans, but Really don’t like seeing those kinds of coercive tactics used against people.


#12

No, making content that people want to consume is how you survive. At least in a capitalist system…


#13

Seriously, can anyone suggest we’re better off without access to this kind of stuff?


#14

They were? What IS IS YT channels were also monetized to be applicable for ads?


#15

Okay, just one more.


#16

The problem is that the news should not be considered consumer content, it’s the news, not entertainment. But people are less able to think critically, or maybe it’s the same number of people as always but now, because of democracy and public education, everyone has access to ideas but lack the cognitive ability to actually process them. People talk about common sense. Common sense is not sticking your hand in a pot of boiling water. It’s not driving drunk. It’s not swimming with sharks. Common sense does not apply when it comes to information that requires an ability to think abstractly and critically. So the news has to appeal to those least able to think for themselves.


#17

Of course it is consumer content. That’s why even CNN is a beacon of objectivity compared to, say Chinese state-run media. If you don’t like it, go to whatever outlet you choose. Some people choose confirmation bias, some seek objectivity, some seek spectacle. I’d rather have those choices than not.

No it doesn’t, but that’s what the long-standing and slowly dying format of cable news lends itself to. You need to be able to condense complex and nuanced issues into short sound bytes that can fit in between a lot of advertisements.

Look at how podcasts are doing in popularity. 3 hour long discussions aren’t exactly catering to simpletons.


#18

It shouldn’t be. It should not be driven by profit. Profit should come from being driven by the truth. Unfortunately, people don’t want the truth.

In order to appease short attention spans.

How many people are actually listening? I bet it pales in comparison to what Walter Cronkite averaged.


#19

Okay. What’s your plan? How does the news get produced?

A lot. One of my favorites is Joe Rogan. Not all of his guests talk about politics, but many of them do. Last I heard he was over 90 million downloads a month. That’s just one guy.

Look at youtube too. A lot of channels are killing it. Steven Crowder is a conservative comedian and he’s got over two million subscribers who get notified every time he posts a video. Fox News, the most popular cable news show, has roughly the same number of nightly viewers. And again, that’s just one show.


#20

Name a news source in the US in the last 242 years that wasn’t. What golden age of state funded journalism are you harkening back to? Newspapers always needed to make money.