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Social media giants are meeting with Justice Department to discuss suppression of free...

By Greg S ยท 13 replies
Sep 6, 2018
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  1. Users of social media are now realizing that their personal information is widely available, but the latest concerns are now over whether all viewpoints are being fairly treated by platform owners. The Department of Justice has called a meeting for September 25 to help determine whether social media sites are "intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms."

    Ultimately, President Trump is responsible for this call to action against social media firms. Complaints about Twitter for shadow banning hundreds of thousands of users and alleging that conservative views are less visible has brought about a formal investigation. Social media companies are adamant that no such bias exists.

    Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently testified before the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the issue of bias. Dorsey admitted that some algorithms did cause lower prominence of certain individuals, but that the mistake has been remedied.

    Hearings on Wednesday featured social media personalities that have been banned or suspended from social media platforms. Alex Jones and Laura Loomer were both in attendance, although Loomer was escorted out for shouting at Dorsey and refusing to stop interrupting discussions.

    Stock prices of Facebook and Twitter both dipped following the hearings. Investors may be fearful of new regulations being passed that would require greater transparency of how social media platforms operate.

    Even though there are partisan viewpoints casting shadows, American citizens of all political backgrounds mostly agree that social media sites are likely suppressing the free exchange of ideas. Survey results do not indicate whether a particular viewpoint is being hidden, only that respondents believed at least one ideology is less visible as a result of platform censorship.

    Permalink to story.

  2. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 688   +527

    "Social media companies are adamant that no such bias exists"
    "some algorithms did cause lower prominence of certain individuals, but that the mistake has been remedied"

    Uhh... So, openly lying? At least they are honest. Oh wait, not...

    This needs to be for all sites, not just social media. Blocking people from this on any site is a hit against free speech. It is effectively walking up to someone on the street and putting duct tape over their mouth. I agree some probably need it. ;) Although you are free to avoid it.
  3. Johndoedoedoe

    Johndoedoedoe TS Enthusiast Posts: 28   +22

    Corporations that run social media are private entities and are not subject to the 1st amendment. The 1st amendment only applies to the government. Why is this hard to understand?

    Trump is merely behaving like a dictator.
    dogofwars likes this.
  4. HotToz

    HotToz TS Rookie

    Social medias companies (SMC) are private companies and they have their right ban users based on their message. Imagine some people going to WcDonalds and start talking to other customers. This store has the right to remove this customer and ban it for life. It is the same SMC are private and those messages and chats are hosted in SMC own servers, so they have the right to decide what information is store and whom have right to store information there
  5. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,427   +991

    The problem is that they claim they support free speech, but it can be proven that they're lying.

    Private company or not, you shouldn't be claiming one thing, and doing another...
    Reehahs likes this.
  6. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 688   +527

    But companies don't have the right to refuse baking a gay cake? What a messed up world we live in.

    I don't think a public company can ban someone unless they are breaking the law on premises?
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,266   +4,935

    Just one of the many discussions to dismantle the constitution.
  8. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,499   +514

    Wow I googled if you could make racists billboards out of curiosity and you can... Anyways if you are using a platform like Techspot you have to abide by their rules. Social media is no different. If you disagree with their rules don't use it. Make or find one that caters to what your about.
  9. dogofwars

    dogofwars TS Addict Posts: 175   +71

    It is "free" service, they stop making money when you stop using it... well there could be some residual effect you don't change of behavior so they can count on that but anyway when you start to become a poison to their platform it's in their best interest to flush you out. They don't owe you any services unless you pay with money but then again they can still ban you if you are causing them problem.
  10. Johndoedoedoe

    Johndoedoedoe TS Enthusiast Posts: 28   +22

    Companies do have the right and a guy actually beat a gay couple in court who tried making him bake a cake which violated his religious beliefs. I commend the verdict, myself!
  11. Johndoedoedoe

    Johndoedoedoe TS Enthusiast Posts: 28   +22

    Cite your claim or your claim as no weight. I don't see it anywhere on ANY social media platform where it states that anyone can say things that violate their terms of service.

    Sorry if you feel the government should have control over a private entities terms of service, but not sorry.
  12. quadibloc

    quadibloc TS Booster Posts: 64   +32

    It certainly is true that private companies have the right to set terms for access to their services.
    However, if there is a systematic and pervasive bias against legitimate views by the majority of major web platforms, that would have an adverse effect on public debate. So circumstances could exist under which an investigation of this type would be legitimate.
    That this does not appear to be the case at this time, with Trump equating entirely appropriate sanctions against racists as an attack on him, Republicans, and conservatives, may well be true, but it is separate from the general issue of whether, in principle, it is legitimate for the government to look into the thing it is claiming to be looking into now.
  13. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,427   +991

    Oh, so you're ok if a company publicly claims one thing and does another? Go be a sheep somewhere else because I'm not googling obvious facts for you (and some of them are already pointed out in the article lol).
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
  14. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,835   +2,184

    The thing with that ruling was that the court found that the State was prejudiced against the guy baking the cake in the State's ruling. If the State had not been prejudiced against the baker, the ruling could easily have gone the other way. Give it time, another court case will come along and the ruling, this time, might not be the same.
    Because their algorithm was causing a lowered prominence of certain individuals is not evidence that it was deliberate, and, therefore, not evidence that they were lying. All computer algorithms must have conditions on which they act. Something like these algorithms are far trickier to code than others. These algorithms are along the lines of AI.
    There are rules that go beyond that. From what I have seen, most supporters of the First Amendment seem to believe that the FA means that you can say anything you like at any time you like in any context that you like. That is not at all true and there are exceptions. The FA does not cover inciting violence in cases where violence is likely to occur and SCOTUS has ruled as such. Here's a case from Ohio that cites the SCOTUS ruling and makes a point about the determination of whether such violence is likely to occur - https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/395/444 In this particular case, SCOTUS ruled 8-0 for the group in question because they said that in this case, the suggested violence was not a clear and present danger, and this is likely why you can publish a racist billboard.

    There is good coverage of exceptions to the FA at Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exceptions

    There does not, as you note, appear to be a systematic and pervasive bias against the legitimate views of the majority.

    As the old saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. To me, those on the extreme ends of the spectrum are making the most noise and getting the most publicity.

    Those near those ends then latch onto these cases and overgeneralize by saying ALL on right or ALL on the left are being suppressed - which is not the case.

    If ALL on either "side" were being suppressed by any web site, that would be absolute evidence of that systematic and pervasive bias exists; as I see it, however, those with the loudest mouths are the ones that seem to think they are being suppressed. As I see it, the behavior that Twitter is using to ban Alex Jones is covered in one of the exceptions to the FA as discussed in the Wikipedia link above - look for "Fighting Words".

    Whether US citizens of any political flavor like it or not, SCOTUS has placed limits on free speech within the context of the FA.

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