[NetBehaviour] Free speech

Edward Picot julian.lesaux at gmail.com
Fri Jan 8 21:08:03 CET 2021

I'm genuinely conflicted about it.

It occurs to me to wonder how the algorithms work - if I look at a video 
about conspiracy theories on YouTube, for example, am I then presented 
with a lot more videos about conspiracy theories next time I visit? I 
think the answer to this is probably yes, because I looked at a video of 
Trump doing his YMCA dance (which apparently he does quite frequently at 
the end of his rallies), thinking about re-using it for satirical 
purposes, and now every time I go to YouTube it wants me to look at more 
videos of Trump dancing.

I think the algorithms are one of the most insidious and damaging 
aspects of Web 2 - instead of genuinely exploring the web and coming 
across new things, which I seem to remember we used to do in the early 
2000s, we now find ourselves in a commercialised feedback-loop which 
presents us over and over again with amplified (and monetized) versions 
of whatever beliefs and ideas and interests we had in the first place. 
Perhaps there's some mileage in legislating against the algorithms.


On 08/01/2021 19:16, Alan Sondheim via NetBehaviour wrote:
> I think some safeguards need to be put into place; if you look at the 
> propaganda-machine-work in Nazi Germany, it can do terrible harm. But 
> in the U.S. under Reagen, the fairness doctrine was scrapped, which 
> meant local news outlets of all sorts could be grabbed up by 
> opinionated multi-nationals, and you get people like Rush Linbaugh 
> spreading hatred unchallenged in rural areas - probably the biggest 
> swatch of territory in the country. That's where "these people" get 
> their news, unchallenged. It's far-right-wing money. I also think hate 
> speech might be covered more directly - one of the tshirts at the riot 
> said in abbreviated form - 6 million is not enough. What do you do 
> with that?
> Best, Alan (mind you I've been censored on YouTube and elsewhere 
> myself, I think unfairly, so you might make a counter-argument that 
> it's all in the eye/ear of the beholder. It's an aporia.)
> On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 2:07 PM Edward Picot via NetBehaviour 
> <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org 
> <mailto:netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>> wrote:
>     What do people think - have we reached the point at which social
>     media
>     companies should be prosecuted for allowing hate-speech,
>     incitements to
>     violence, demonstrable untruths and conspiracy theories to be
>     uploaded
>     onto their sites?
>     Should they be regarded as publishers, and therefore legally
>     responsible
>     for their content?
>     I'm genuinely torn, but I think maybe we've now reached that
>     point. I'd
>     be very interested to hear what others think.
>     Edward
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