Beneath the layers of apologia from the tech bros in charge of these companies, not to mention the hand-wringing over a red herring version of Free Speech, remember that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms managed to get rid of ISIS and most Islamic extremist groups very easily. They can get rid of white supremacists and far-right content, too. They just don't want to. I'll let you decide whether it's because they're sympathetic or because it would cut into their revenue too deeply.

Deplatforming works. It forces these people into the dark underbelly of the internet where people have to actively seek them out. And people will. White supremacists will go find the other white supremacists even if they're banned from Facebook. The point is to prevent them from being able to spread their messages to people who aren't already white supremacists.
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Normal kids using Twitter or watching YouTube videos or whatever.

If it doesn't work, why are these sites so militant about keeping al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups off the sites? If we need a "free exchange of all viewpoints" then let them back on YouTube. If not, then admit that we're picking and choosing because we don't perceive white supremacy as terrorism.

13 thoughts on “DEPLATFORMING”

  • I agree, we should deplatform, but the problem is that most of your ISIS posters were (I imagine) not US citizens with First Amendment rights. So an ISIS agent posting "Christians are a scourge occupying our land, we must strike terror into their hearts and save Mecca!" you can ban. An idiot in a McMansion outside Atlanta posts "Islamic hordes are a scourge on our soil, we must make them feel unwelcome and save the American Way!"–can you ban that guy? Can Twitter deplatform Tucker, Pirro, Ben Shapiro, the President without raising hell?

    The platforms are privately owned, so if they're willing to spend enough money to carry out and defend the effort, they can ban anyone. Some clown will sue them because gosh, everyone they're banning is white, and that's racism! Watch Kavanaugh rule on that one. Watch how many "independent" grandparents get even angrier when "Facebook threw me off because I posted a cartoon! A cartoon!" Not to mention all the death threats rolling into the Twitter office, the Google campus — some lunatic driving a dumptruck down a sidewalk in a gentrified techbro city (for freedom!). The idiots accused of terrorism will respond by ramping up the terrorism–and their demand will be that they not be called terrorists. What's the government's role in that, and how does John Q Slightly Racist Public react to the government? Deplatforming has pitfalls.

  • "Christians are a scourge occupying our land, we must strike terror into their hearts and save Mecca!"

    As you say, they're not US. What they do in other places, not subject to U.S. law–we can only make them change by force of arms or diplomacy.

    "what's the government's role in that, and how does John Q Slightly Racist Public react to the government? Deplatforming has pitfalls."

    We're not talking slightly racist. Not even close.

  • What strikes me about this whole argument, something that doesn't seem to get mentioned – absolutely NOONE is entitled to a platform. You can demand the ability to say whatever you want, but you can't demand somebody else give you a megaphone.

    Social media is, in effect, mass media (from one to many.) The first amendment, at least in my reading of it, does not guarantee access to mass media.

    Besides which, all of these companies have user agreements that one is obligate to abide by just by using their services. As such, I don't know how there could ever be any legal standing to sue if you get deplatformed for being a hateful bigot.

    @gromet – not to be too pedantic, but what about those few islamist assholes who happen to be American citizens? Surely even a lawyer sympathetic to the punchable likes of tucker and spencer and gavin would warn them of the pitfalls of their success – I.E. a brown person could use a successful court decision to broadcast the superiority of the levantine and/or muslim man.

  • If a platform is the main way that messages get out, shouldn't there be some 1A protection for it. I understand that the 1A protects you against gov't interference, but now instead of the gov't regulating speech we have Mark Z? Not a great trade. The fairness doctrine used to try and deal with this before the proliferation of social media and when there was only three news stations, essentially regulating the platforms where speech got out. While I have no desire to have white supremacists have a bigger megaphone, I also don't want the likes of a silicon valley bajillionaire making 1A decisions.

  • Gromet, the First Amendment is irrelevant. It only applies to government actions. Facebook, Twitter, ect., are governed by their terms of service agreement.

  • I mean, yes? Like any market interference this stuff just privileges the already-established and the self-interested morality they cook up to justify themselves.

  • Seratain:

    When they wanted the native americans offa their land, it was Manifest Destiny.

    When they want to pen up the OTHER, it's Manisfest Density.

  • The Confederate Hammerskins never use #woke before posting their cloud computing diatribes. White clouds, no less.

  • Safety Man! says:

    Way, way back, YouTube could have easily banned all the copyright infringement music videos, but choose not to because they needed the traffic. This is no different.

  • Prairie Bear says:

    This is a really old post, and I don't know if you read these, and you may have seen this already, but thought I would share. I don't know if it's appropriate, maybe would have tweeted it? But you blocked me there. I don't know why, my twit didn't seem that bad.

    Have a reasonably not terrible at every moment kind of day.

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