Twitter Users Share Responsibility for Creating a Cesspool

created May 29, 2019

Twitter has been nicknamed the "Cesspool of the Internet." From what little I have experienced with Twitter, and from what I have read about Twitter's problems, it's a well-earned moniker.

Using Twitter to bitch about Twitter not doing more to reduce the service's toxicity approaches insanity. These Twitter whiners are partly to blame for Twitter vermin being allowed to run roughshod over users.

If the Twitter complainers wanted real change with Twitter, then they should delete their Twitter accounts and say goodbye to their narcissistic following counts.

Taking a sabbatical won't accomplish anything. Real activism involves users deleting their Twitter accounts and embracing the open internet: personal websites, feeds, and email.

If tens of millions of Twitter users deleted their accounts in dramatic fashion by announcing their intentions and informing users where to find their content, then this might get the attention of Wall Street, which would get the attention of Twitter's board of directors, which might get the attention of Twitter's management.

If Twitter miraculously changed for the better, then the people who deleted their Twitter accounts might rejoin and use Twitter along with their own websites. Or maybe these former Twitter users would realize that the open internet works better for their needs, and they wouldn't need Twitter v2.0.

Twitter is in the outrage business. If decent people continue to waste their time complaining about Twitter ignoring the harassers, then that complaining is a form of engagement that benefits Twitter's bottom line.

Twitter finally made a profit over the past year. Twitter won't make drastic changes to improve the "health" of the service because major changes could decrease overall engagement, which would ultimately upset Wall Street.

As along as Wall Street is satisfied, then Twitter's changes will be small scale, token-like modifications that accomplish little.

May 29, 2019

vice.com - Twitter Has Started Researching Whether White Supremacists Belong on Twitter

Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's head of trust and safety, legal and public policy, said:

"Is it the right approach to deplatform these individuals? Is the right approach to try and engage with these individuals? How should we be thinking about this? What actually works?"

Mediagazer link for the vice.com story.

Twitter management believes that it needs to research how purveyors of hate and violence use Twitter.

These were some of the reactions, attached to the Mediagazer link.

Tweet

Here's something that Twitter doesn't seem to understand: There's vast financial incentive for extremists to become more extreme on these platforms, by the very nature of interaction-based algorithmic growth. There's no financial incentive for humanity.

But I'm certain that Twitter understands the financial incentive for Twitter to permit engagement of all kinds.

Tweet

Moving the Overton Window and having the most unique/outrageous/contrarian take is the very backbone of YouTube political personalities. Directing blame at specific characters/caricatures and going against the grain of the mainstream at every turn is the best way to monetize.

Tweet

When the strategy for dealing with hate speech is "counterspeech", you're putting the onus of producing counterspeech on the people most affected by hate speech.

A tweet by Mike Monteiro appeared with the Mediagazer discussion. I thought of him when I saw this story on Mediagazer. Mike's tweet was a response to the vice.com headline: "Twitter Has Started Researching Whether White Supremacists Belong on Twitter".

Mike's tweet:

Weird, because Twitter users have NEVER mentioned wanting this.

The above comments and many more attached to the Mediagazer link were good observations, but nearly all of the individual reactions were posted at ... Twitter. How is that good?

Recently, I finished reading Mike's entertaining, informative, and enraging 2019 book, titled Ruined by Design.

In his book, Mike wants employees to change their websites, services, and products for the better from within, and if that's impossible, then Mike advises those employees to leave their companies for ethical reasons.

But for two companies, Mike said that it's better to leave and not try to change the businesses for the better. From page 10 of Mike's book with my emphasis added:

The goal of this book is to help you do the right thing in environments designed to make it easier to do the wrong thing. (If you work at Uber or Twitter, just quit. We'll also be talking about when to walk away later in this book.)

But in my opinion, Twitter users, like Mike, are not blameless. If enough people quit Twitter, especially journalists, then in my opinion, that would shake Twitter's management awake to "fix" the service by erecting barriers, such as charging a monthly or yearly fee. Twitter should add more opt-in features for users, instead of always making content producers block people.

People can find anything useful. Plenty of Twitter users view Twitter as a great utility. If Twitter users don't care or are clueless about Twitter's cesspool qualities, then those users probably never complain about Twitter's problems, and this post is not about those people.

But in my opinion, using Twitter to bitch about Twitter is asinine. And all of these Twitter users are responsible for Twitter being the cesspool. It's highly probable that these Twitter users have been aware of Twitter's toxicity for many years, yet they continue to use Twitter. Their Twitter engagement helps Twitter to earn revenue. Their usage encourages Twitter to do nothing serious. These Twitter users have become part of the problem, not only for enabling Twitter's cesspool reputation but also by hastening the demise of the open web/internet.

Obviously, Twitter users have failed to get drastic changes made with Twitter during Twitter's 13 years of existence. 13 years. How much more time do users like Mike need to realize that they failed? The next solution is for concerned Twitter users to delete their accounts.

These cesspool-enablers should migrate to their own websites, hosted at the their domain names, and interop with micro.blog and/or with other services that are not owned by ad-based silos.

Jun 5, 2019

Twitter users contribute to Twitter being a misinformation machine.

symantec.com - Twitterbots: Anatomy of a Propaganda Campaign

Jun 16, 2019

Mediagazer headline ...

David Neiwert remains suspended by Twitter for his header image of KKK hoods from his book cover; he says Twitter punishes the fight against white supremacism

... for this Jun 14, 2019 dailykos.com story

Journalists use the same platform, Twitter, that is used by white supremacists who apparently have Twitter's blessing. It's all about engagement and not the content. Anybody using Twitter is partly to blame for this behavior by Twitter.

Naturally, the reactions to that Mediagazer link were tweets.

Ashton Pittman / @ashtonpittman: KKK Grand Wizard David Duke still has an active @Twitter account, but Twitter, which allows actual white supremacists to thrive, suspended journalist @DavidNeiwert because of the illustration on the cover of his book about American white supremacists. Trash,

Forget everything else about this story. The real question is why does user Ashton Pittman continue to use Twitter? He's a journalist. Ashton Pittman gets some of the blame for Twitter's cesspool nature, especially since he's whining about Twitter management's behavior. This behavior appears embarrassingly dumb.

Jun 26, 2019

HN thread titled Twitter has an algorithm that creates harassment all by itself that pointed too ... a tweet that was a part of the dreadful tweetstorm, which has to be the second worst way to make a web post. The worst method is when users, for some unknown moronic reason, type a blob of text in an editor or something like that and then take a screen capture of the text and post the image in a tweet. It gets around Twitter's character limit per tweet. I guess that the tweetstorm users and the image-blob-text users have never heard of Blogger that launched in 1999.

Anyway, back to some comments from the HN thread.

By far the most engaged stuff is the most controversial where people begin to fight and attack each other.

Well, duh. If people are fighting they are definitely "engaged", but not in a good way. Defining that more engagement equals more success is what made social networks so toxic. The current state that more eyeballs equals more ad money needs to change.

Aug 11, 2019

Society would be improved if Twitter disappeared. Well, "improvement" is relative. In my opinion, with no pile of data to support my opinion, society has been made worse by Twitter's existence, which began in 2006.

Mediagazer headline

Dueling hashtags on Twitter, blaming Clintons and Trump for Epstein's death, predictably amplified by the media, show how poisoned our information ecosystem is

Aug 11, 2019 nytimes.com story

At the heart of Saturday’s fiasco is Twitter, which has come to largely program the political conversation and much of the press. Twitter is magnetic during massive breaking stories; news junkies flock to it for up-to-the-second information. But early on, there’s often a vast discrepancy between the attention that is directed at the platform and the available information about the developing story. That gap is filled by speculation and, via its worst users, rumor-mongering and conspiracy theories.

News junkies? Twitter "news junkies" equals misinformed breaking news fans.

The author supports my belief that "breaking news" is synonymous with "incorrect news." Too many media orgs partake in the breaking news model.

More from the NY Times opinion/article:

On Saturday afternoon, computational propaganda researcher Renée DiResta noted that the media’s close relationship with Twitter creates an incentive for propagandists and partisans to artificially inflate given hashtags.

It's great to see others finally catching up to what some of us have known or at least suspected for a long time.

#ClintonBodyCount began trending on Saturday, journalists took note and began lamenting the spread of this conspiracy theory — effectively turning it into a news story, and further amplifying the trend. “Any wayward tweet … can be elevated to an opinion worth paying attention to,” Ms. DiResta wrote. “If you make it trend, you make it true.”

Saturday’s online toxicity may have felt novel, but it’s part of a familiar cycle: What cannot be easily explained is answered by convenient untruths. The worst voices are rewarded for growing louder and gain outsize influence directing narratives. With each cycle, the outrage and contempt for the other builds. Each extreme becomes certain its enemy has manipulated public perception; each side is the victim, but each is also, inexplicably, winning. The poison spreads.

Twitter is in the fear and rage business. The media peddles fear and rage. That's why Twitter and journalists are a perfect match. Meanwhile, society loses. Great job, journalists. It's easy to see why many people have a low opinion of journalism.

This is a stunning but correct observation by a media person.

twitter's trending topics are a mess unpopular opinion: a lot of journalists' agita about social media, directed at Facebook, is just an expression of their daily experience with the mess that is Twitter starting to wonder which is now a bigger threat to democracy

Good observations by others under that tweet.

Are most journalists expected by their employers to be active on twitter? If not, why do it? It seems like a lot of work for many of them.

Another:

It's complicated, right? FB has more than 10x the DAUs of Twitter. But Twitter engages the press more and they find and amplify the nightmares on here.

Another:

Twitter breaking the brains of journalists really maximizes its harm.

Mediagazer discussion:

Discussion:
Christopher Mims / @mims: twitter's trending topics are a mess unpopular opinion: a lot of journalists' agita about social media, directed at Facebook, is just an expression of their daily experience with the mess that is Twitter starting to wonder which is now a bigger threat to democracy
Hamza Shaban / @hshaban: Two compelling takes on coverage of Epstein's death. They examine the grim logic of Twitter driving conspiracy theories and attention-seeking that's validated and amplified by the press. https://www.nytimes.com/... by @cwarzel https://www.washingtonpost.com/ ... by @abbyohlheiser https://twitter.com/...
Dylan Matthews / Vox: The conspiracy theories about the Clintons and Jeffrey Epstein's death, explained
Sierra Juarez / The Daily Dot: TrumpsBodyCount pins blame on Trump for mass shooting and migrant deaths
Tim O'Donnell / The Week: William Barr asks Inspector General to open investigation into Jeffrey Epstein's death
Renee DiResta / @noupside: The problem with Twitter is inseparable from how the media engages with Twitter. Any wayward tweet by a rando egg can be elevated to an opinion worth paying attention to. Every gamed trend is a meaningful thing we have to analyze and assess in the context of the culture war https://twitter.com/...
Bari Weiss / @bariweiss: Strong column by @cwarzel. Begs the question: would things improve if all journalists got off Twitter? https://www.nytimes.com/...
Charlie Warzel / @cwarzel: New from me: I wrote about the Epstein conspiracies yesterday and how our information ecosystem is poisoned. https://www.nytimes.com/... https://twitter.com/...
Jay Rosen / @jayrosen_nyu: “It's increasingly apparent that our information delivery systems were not built for our current moment.” True. https://www.nytimes.com/... We have to persuade more journalists to recognize that fact. (Please don't @ me with “NOW they realize this?” Thanks.)
Emily Pothast / @emilypothast: Interesting take. Though, as a historian of print media, I'd dispute the notion that the “news” was ever more objective than it is now. (In 1605 Johann Carolus, the world's very first newspaper publisher, faced threat of closure if he didn't censor the news.) https://twitter.com/...
Dare Obasanjo / @carnage4life: As @mims pointed out yesterday, a key problem with modern journalism is how much journalists source their narratives from Twitter. This leads to news cycles based on Trump's latest insults and whatever the trending topics algorithm says is popular today https://www.nytimes.com/...
Kelsey Tamborrino / Politico: Kellyanne Conway on Epstein's death: Trump wants everything investigated

Good observation:

tweet

The problem with Twitter is inseparable from how the media engages with Twitter. Any wayward tweet by a rando egg can be elevated to an opinion worth paying attention to. Every gamed trend is a meaningful thing we have to analyze and assess in the context of the culture war

tweet

Strong column by @cwarzel. Begs the question: would things improve if all journalists got off Twitter?

If you have to ask that, then you may be too far gone for help. Of course the answer is YES, things would improve everywhere, including with Twitter because Wall Street would get outraged at journalists bailing on Twitter, which would force Twitter to make drastic changes.

Good one:

tweet

As @mims pointed out yesterday, a key problem with modern journalism is how much journalists source their narratives from Twitter. This leads to news cycles based on Trump's latest insults and whatever the trending topics algorithm says is popular today

That ain't journalism. That's garbage, and it does not deserve to be funded nor saved in any manner by readers. Modern journalism and modern web design are horrible experiences.

Interesting historical perspective, not related to this post.

tweet

Emily Pothast / @emilypothast: Interesting take. Though, as a historian of print media, I'd dispute the notion that the “news” was ever more objective than it is now. (In 1605 Johann Carolus, the world's very first newspaper publisher, faced threat of closure if he didn't censor

In the Mediagazer discussion attached to Warzel's article, I highlighted the following tweet:

Two compelling takes on coverage of Epstein's death. They examine the grim logic of Twitter driving conspiracy theories and attention-seeking that's validated and amplified by the press.

Twitter management, its board, and Wall Street probably saw only dollar signs over the past couple weekends, due to the major U.S. stories. Engagement or usage, that's all that matters to Twitter/Wall Street, regardless of the toxicity and stupidity.

Stupidly, journalists continue to claim that Twitter has utility. Twitter's goal is not to be useful.

Twitter's only goal is engagement, encouraging as many people as possible to waste their time, spreading misinformation, hate, violence, harassment, and all of the other qualities that make Twitter a cesspool.

Twitter and the media highlight the few intelligent nuggets of info posted to Twitter to paint a false image of Twitter's usefulness.

Charlie Warzel wrote the above Aug 11, 2019 NY Times opinion. Below are excerpts from my 2019 post, titled The Media's War on the Open Web that included a tweet by Warzel.

Here's a tweet, related to that same NBC News story.

there’s a very good case that it’s irresponsible for us all to be using this website if the platform is this irresponsible. maybe we should all seriously think about what it means to post all our stuff alongside an increasing volume of garbage

Yep. Why do journalists love to use a silo that promotes hate, violence, and misinformation? They could post their thoughts at their own domain names. Depending upon whether or how they accept comments, the journalists could be the only ones posting content to their sites. Even if they permitted Webmention comments, they could remove the garbage ones. They would be in charge of what occurs on their websites.

My February 2019 post : Should Journalists Stop Using Twitter

Aug 13, 2019

This is the best media opinion that Margaret Sullivan has written, during her time at WaPo.

Mediagazr link

The Twitter-fed misinformation disaster following Epstein's death makes a case for slow news consumption, where readers disengage from breaking news

Aug 12, 2019 washingtonpost.com post
by media observer Margaret Sullivan that was associated with that Mediagazer link.

We welcome Margaret to the dark side.

sawv.org - Slow News Movement

Twitter is ALWAYS a misinformation disaster. It was not a one-weekend aberration.

Aug 15, 2019

I stumbled upon this tweet by Pinboard.

Thanks, Twitter, for showing me a promoted tweet by a Chinese propaganda agency spreading disinformation about the situation in Hong Kong

Pinboard.in provides a useful service. It's focused on speed and utility.

Aug 19, 2019

Mediagazer title:

[Thread] Twitter has been running ads from Chinese state news agency Xinhua that aim to discredit protesters in Hong-Kong

Unfortunately, the link points to the dreaded tweetstorm, which, again, is one of the dumbest methods for posting text to the web.

tweet

Anyway, this highlights why Twitter is one of the worst services on the web, and it's because nearly every journalist uses Twitter. Bogus information gets amplified by the journalists covering it. The media does not realize that they are a tool being used by misinformation campaigns.

Here's another Aug 19, 2019 story that appeared at Mediagazer.com.

How journalists can avoid amplifying misinformation, given their reporting can improve search engine rankings and increase the visibility for bad info

firstdraftnews.org story

If the media stopped using social media for referral traffic to support their moronic, ad-based business models, and if journalists stopped using Twitter, then it would it would be harder, not impossible, for misinformation to spread.

Misinformation relies on speed. If journalists, media orgs, and the rest of us posted primarily on our own websites, then it's likely that lies would take longer to spread, and it's likely that we would see the debunking before seeing the falsehood.

The Slow Web Movement and the Slow News Movement would deny misinformation the speed that it needs to thrive.

Back to the Pinboard tweetstorm about the Chinese state news agency buying ads on Twitter to spread lies ...

Aug 19, 2019 techcrunch.com story

fastcompany.com story

A journalist tweeted

Thread which points up the dilemma of ad-dependent orgs in a world where authoritarian governments can buy ads too. It will sound trite, but imagine 1936-8 with social networks, taking ads from anyone to make unverified propaganda claims.

Another journalists tweeted

It's very clear that China is using Western freedom as a tool against Western freedom. But what can free and open democracies do about it? Should they do anything about it? What role can or should the companies play? I don't have answers, but I'd love to hear practical ideas

Are journalists proud to be using the same service that is used by authoritarian governments, terrorists, trolls, and hate-mongerers?

Forget looking to companies to provide solutions. The journalists should act on their own by deleting their Twitter accounts. That would get Twitter's attention. Twitter would make massive changes if ALL journalists deleted their Twitter accounts.

The last thing that silo services like Facebook and Twitter want is for the masses to embrace the open web. That's a reason why Google shutdown its Reader feed reading app back in 2013. Google did not want to offer users any option to its Google+ social network, which Google shutdown in the past year or so.

Aug 20, 2019

Memeorandum link

Mediagazer link

Twitter says it will no longer accept advertising from state-controlled news media entities, but the rule does not apply to “taxpayer-funded entities”

Twitter blog post titled Updating our advertising policies on state media

Aug 19, 2019 theintercept.com story titled Twitter Helped Chinese Government Promote Disinformation on Repression of Muslims

Aug 27, 2019

This is embarrassingly classless and infantile behavior by a NY Times columnist.

thedailybeast.com post titled NY Times Columnist to Twitter Critic: ‘Come to My Home’ and ‘Call Me a Bedbug to My Face’

New York Times op-ed columnist Bret Stephens, who last month wrote a column comparing mean tweets directed at him to the French Reign of Terror, emailed George Washington University associate professor Dave Karpf and the university’s provost on Monday to complain about the professor’s tweet calling Stephens a bedbug.

Holy crap. Being called a "bedbug" is almost a compliment. A bedbug? I was called worst in elementary school, especially at the bus stop by an older bully. I ignored it.

Stephens responded to his latest brush with viral infamy by shutting down his Twitter account. Before the account was deactivated, Mediaite reported that Stephens fired one last salvo:

“Twitter is a sewer. It brings out the worst in humanity. I sincerely apologize for any part I’ve played in making it worse, and to anyone I’ve ever hurt. Thanks to all of my followers, but I’m deactivating this account.”

Great day in the morning. That's awesome. That's exactly the proper behavior for journalists: deactivating their Twitter accounts.

The columnist did a good thing by deactivating his account, but this still seems bizarre, ridiculous, and over-blown.

Shortly after deactivating his Twitter account, Stephens appeared on MSNBC and discussed his blowup at Karpf over the Twitter joke. Stephens said that “Twitter brings out the worst in its users” before grousing that being called a bedbug is “dehumanizing and totally unacceptable no matter where it comes from.”

That's a serious over-reaction. That's major hyperbole. But it's his choice. And then he tattletales.

The Times columnist went on to defend his email to Karpf and the provost, insisting that it was “very civil” and that he “had no intention whatsoever to get him in any kind of professional trouble.” After MSNBC host Chris Jansing wondered aloud if this was really the worst thing Stephens had been called on social media, he compared the insult to totalitarian action.

Using Twitter to call someone a bedbug is a totalitarian action. ?!?! How is this chap qualified to be a columnist for the NY Times?

“All I would say is that using dehumanizing rhetoric like bedbugs or, you know, analogizing people to insects, is always wrong,” Stephens declared. “There’s a bad history of being analogized to insects that goes back to a lot of totalitarian regimes in the past. I’ve been called worse. I wrote this guy a personal note. Now it’s out there for everyone to see.”

Man, lighten up, Francis. Since I like insects, I would not mind being called an insect. I'd like to be called a Scissor-grinder Cicada.

Oct 14, 2019

The author uses a silo to describe the alleged importance of the cesspool silo. Bad takes here.

https://gen.medium.com/maybe-twitter-is-real-life-771077760e0e

https://mobile.twitter.com/NGrossman81/status/1183737861994176512?p=p

Oct 17, 2019

Man, the top media-whining story over the past couple days at Mediagazer is one about Facebook and political ads, and blah, blah, blah.

Facebook is the media's favorite entity to whine about. The intellectually feeble part about this whining is that journalists use Twitter, a cesspool, to bitch about Facebook. Hello, Stupidity.

Zuckerberg gives a full-throated defense of Facebook as a champion of free expression and defends Facebook policy to opt out of fact-checking political ads

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/17/business/zuckerberg-facebook-free-speech.html

https://mediagazer.com/191017/p12#a191017p12

The so-called discussion that was attached to that Mediagazer link:

Be A King / @berniceking: I heard #MarkZuckerberg's ‘free expression’ speech, in which he referenced my father. I'd like to help Facebook better understand the challenges #MLK faced from disinformation campaigns launched by politicians. These campaigns created an atmosphere for his assassination. pic.twitter.com/h97gvVmtSZ
Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg Stands for Voice and Free Expression
Sherrilyn Ifill / Washington Post: Mark Zuckerberg doesn't know his civil rights history
Tony Romm / Washington Post: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says in interview he fears ‘erosion of truth’ …
Zoe Schiffer / The Verge: Mark Zuckerberg on lies in political ads: 'I don't think it's right for a private company to censor politicians'
Renee DiResta / @noupside: This is quite a statement from Zuckerberg given that it took sustained public outcry and demand for Congressional hearings to get FB to publicly acknowledge the extent of what was on its platform. https://www.washingtonpost.com/ ... https://twitter.com/...
Mark Sullivan / Fast Company: Facebook's double standard for political ads shows its true intentions
Janell Ross / NBC News: Civil rights leaders criticize Zuckerberg's free speech address
Elizabeth Warren / @ewarren: Mark Zuckerberg's speech today shows how little he learned from 2016, and how unprepared Facebook is to handle the 2020 election. https://www.nytimes.com/...
@anildash: You get a cheaper price for distribution of your speech on Facebook if you post the kind of inflammatory lies that drive “engagement”. To justify a corporate subsidy of incitements to hate by evoking King's Letter From a Birmingham Jail is reprehensible, and inexcusable.
Casey Newton / The Verge: What Mark Zuckerberg's big talk about free speech left out
Sarah Frier / @sarahfrier: I'm on airplane WiFi but seeing the tweets and have a q: Is Zuckerberg making any distinction between the right to speak and the right to have that speech amplified? Political ads, algorithmic ordering, many FB debates happen a step after speech itself.
Rat King / @mikeisaac: talked to mark zuckerberg earlier this week about why he's doing this speech now and what's behind it. heres me story with @ceciliakang https://www.nytimes.com/...
Ben Collins / @oneunderscore__: At the end of it, the top ten comments on Mark Zuckerberg's free-speech Facebook livestream are all dictator-at-a-mandatory-parade- level congratulatory. Here's the most-liked one: “Thank u for best programme &also Thank u best service for humanity. congratulation 😍” https://twitter.com/...
Joe Bernstein / @bernstein: Mark Zuckerberg just publicly retrofit the reason for founding Facebook from a tool that could rate the attractiveness of female college students to an attempt to right the wrongs of the leadup to the Iraq War. You can't make this up
Mark Zuckerberg / Facebook: Standing for Voice and Free Expression
Janko Roettgers / Variety: Zuckerberg Defends Facebook's Approach to Free Speech, Says Politicians Will Be Allowed to Lie
Shira Ovide / @shiraovide: Well, @KurtWagner8 has a good piece about how Facebook gets relatively little revenue from political ads that are sure to cause one zillion dollars worth of grief. So maybe Facebook shouldn't take political ads. https://www.bloomberg.com/...
Sean Burch / The Wrap: Mark Zuckerberg on Censorship: 'People Should Decide What's Credible, Not Tech Companies'
Charlie Warzel / @cwarzel: appreciate zuckerberg putting extensive thoughts on the record re: speech. but my biggest worry is the thing he'll never address, which is how the architecture of the platform gives a natural advantage to the worst, most divisive actors https://www.nytimes.com/...
Tony Romm / Washington Post: Zuckerberg: Standing For Voice and Free Expression
NewsLab: 5 Key Parts of Mark Zuckerberg's Talk on Free Speech at Georgetown University
Angela Doland / Ad Age: Airbnb rents out a Barbie Dreamhouse in (of course) Malibu: Friday Wake-Up Call
Josh Hawley / @hawleymo: Interesting. Now that Facebook is shut out of China, Zuck champions free speech. But he told me in our meeting when I asked about Chinese censorship that Facebook “always complies with local laws,” and offered this as explanation for why FB was ready to censor in Chinese mkt https://twitter.com/...
Charlotte Jee / MIT Technology Review: Mark Zuckerberg has defended Facebook's decision to let politicians lie in ads
Rob Price / Business Insider: Mark Zuckerberg suggests Facebook might have helped prevent the war in Iraq
Rat King / @mikeisaac: to me, this speech fundamentally amounts to an optimist's defense of the internet (or the internet as defined by FB)
Kara Swisher / @karaswisher: Mark is doing a lot of word salad rather than give a really sharp answer to a complex question. Let me boil it down: They cannot control it really except for shutting it down. Taking so long in Myanmar was a “mistake.” Yeah, a mistake.
Balaji S. Srinivasan / @balajis: Here is the transcript of Zuck's speech. Worth reading if you are at all interested in free speech and censorship on social networks: https://www.facebook.com/...
Donie O'Sullivan / @donie: Yes, important point. I had thought this was the global figure, but it's US only. So Facebook is making even more money. https://twitter.com/...
Zeynep Tufekci / @zeynep: I was ready to agree or disagree or just ponder if the speech moved the ball in any direction. I can't find anything, really.
Vanita Gupta / @vanitaguptacr: This is an important oped from ⁦@Sifill_LDF⁩ - please read: Mark Zuckerberg doesn't know his civil rights history. https://www.washingtonpost.com/ ...
@naacp_ldf: Mark Zuckerberg's speech today defending Facebook's controversial decision to exempt politicians from its misinformation policies, is a disappointing reminder of how far the company has to go to fully understand the power & responsibility of its platform. https://www.washingtonpost.com/ ...
Donie O'Sullivan / @donie: Over the last 17 months, $835,433,100 (almost a billion bucks) has been spent on political and issue ads on Facebook. https://twitter.com/...
Gabriel Snyder / @gabrielsnyder: No, people don't want to live in a world where just ONE tech company decides what people can say pic.twitter.com/DpQRFNOHF2
Ezra Klein / @ezraklein: Great line from @ranimolla: “Of course, people will be mad no matter what Facebook does. It appears that in reaction, Facebook is choosing not to do much of anything.” https://www.vox.com/...
Guy Rosen / @guyro: For my teams that work on content issues, these values have meant we err on the side of leaving things up. For the technical crowd, it means that as we build these systems our goal is to operate at high precision, and then work over time to increase recall.
Sriram Krishnan / @sriramk: Mark's speech today is well worth your morning read. One nit: it's so long and nuanced that I wish he would split it out into separate themes/topics over multiple speeches/events to get each its own air time and discussion. https://www.facebook.com/...
Scott Galloway / @profgalloway: So we've gone from delay and obfuscation into straight-up bullshit. Delivered in person in DC. Yeah that should play well. That will show them. Meanwhile we'll foment outrage and spread hatred, racism & Russian propaganda. Rubles welcome. https://www.facebook.com/...
Laura Ingraham / @ingrahamangle: Liberals campaign tirelessly against free speech: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg rejects Dem calls for Trump's social media to be shut down https://www.foxnews.com/...
Kara Swisher / @karaswisher: Here's ⁦@nytimestech⁩ story on Zuckerberg speech at Georgetown, but having been there this is the very exciting and clear version of a slow, hard to follow, word salad of a speech that needed another run through the edit machine: https://www.nytimes.com/... via @NYTimes
Guy Rosen / @guyro: That means limiting the amount of false positives (i.e., mistaken takedowns) while we work to detect more harmful content.
@anildash: It is not giving more people a voice to allow white supremacists to pay to promote their message on Facebook. It is giving fewer people a voice. And stopping voter disenfranchisement is only a “political outcome” if we believe voter suppression is a legitimate political goal.
Guy Rosen / @guyro: Important talk from Mark @Georgetown on voice and free expression today: https://newsroom.fb.com/...
Balaji S. Srinivasan / @balajis: One thing I find interesting is that several (most?) of the hot takes on Zuck's speech don't link to the transcript. They call it the media because it mediates your experience of reality. But the internet disintermediates. https://twitter.com/...
Casey Newton / @caseynewton: It's about reach, not speech — this and other things missing from Zuckerberg's speech today https://www.getrevue.co/... pic.twitter.com/a6kRbJf1FQ
Ellen K. Pao / @ekp: This whole thread. Facebook just doesn't listen and learn when it comes to issues that matter to Black and brown people, to LGBTQIA people, to women, and especially anyone in intersections of these groups. Here they fall short again, ignoring the inevitable impacts on us, again https://twitter.com/...
Oliver Darcy / @oliverdarcy: quite the headline here https://www.washingtonpost.com/ ... https://twitter.com/...
Zeynep Tufekci / @zeynep: Everyone agrees speech (including misinformation & hate speech) and harm need to be balanced. Even Zuckerberg—"of course, no voter suppression." But where is that line under 21st century conditions? It's thorny and not any one company's decision. But the past cannot answer this.
Joan Donovan, PhD / @bostonjoan: Important reply to Zuckerberg's speech today. Historically, disinformation spoken by politicians & reprinted by the press against racial and ethnic groups fueled violence against MLK, The Black Panthers, and the Civil Rights Movement. America needs a cap on Corp profits. https://twitter.com/...
Zeynep Tufekci / @zeynep: With just “and of course we don't allow voter suppression”, Zuckerberg smashes the (ahistorical) points he made until then—and seems unaware. Also, Trump campaign said they had “three major voter suppression operations” on Facebook in 2016 and we have had no disclosures about it. https://twitter.com/...
Miguel de Icaza / @migueldeicaza: I read this and translated to English so you don't have to. Mark wants you to use Facebook services so he can charge money for ads. You are welcome. https://twitter.com/...
Kristen Clarke / @kristenclarkejd: Mark Zuckerberg invokes Frederick Douglass & MLK while defending Facebook's policy allowing politicians to spread misinformation and make FALSE statements on their platform. This undermines democracy and runs contrary to everything that Douglass & King stood for. #ZuckerbergatGU https://twitter.com/...
Andi Zeisler / @andizeisler: He invented the site so he could rate his female classmates' looks but okay, sure https://twitter.com/...
@anildash: This is the core lie of Zuck's statement, an intentionally intellectually dishonest framing that allows him to maximize profitability while avoiding accountability. https://twitter.com/... https://twitter.com/...
Adrianne Jeffries / @adrjeffries: this always happens when zuck streams on facebook, it's super weird. you can check some of his old streams and find the same kind of comments. ex. https://www.facebook.com/... pic.twitter.com/J540i2ykpA
Brian Beutler / @brianbeutler: There's no principle here, other than to say whatever he needs to say at any given moment to maximize power and wealth. Predatory in the exact same way Trump and the GOP are predatory. https://www.nytimes.com/...
Vijay Ravindran / @vijayravindran: The idea that Facebook was made to allow college kids to discuss the war in Iraq is one amazing retcon: https://www.facebook.com/...
Brian Stelter / @brianstelter: Zuckerberg says he worries about “erosion of truth. At the same time, I don't think people want to live in a world where you can only say things that tech companies decide are 100% true. And I think that those tensions are something we have to live with.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/ ...
Tony Romm / @tonyromm: Important tidbit: Zuckerberg tells me Facebook is rethinking its policy around deepfakes, acknowledging the Pelosi video exposed gaps in policy, but declined to share specifics for now. https://www.washingtonpost.com/ ...
Laura Rosenberger / @rosenbergerlm: Amazing that Zuckerberg bemoans the erosion of truth without recognizing his role in facilitating it. https://twitter.com/...
Catherine Rampell / @crampell: Zuckerberg: “People worry, and I worry deeply, too, about an erosion of truth ... At the same time, I don't think people want to live in a world where you can only say things that tech companies decide are 100 percent true.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/ ...
@jamieogrady: Guys, here's an idea: DELETE YOUR FACEBOOK ACCOUNTS. There are other ways to keep in touch with friends and family, including calling them, texting them, emailing them, or (gasp) spending time with them. https://twitter.com/...
@chanders: Major kudos to both Facebook and Twitter this week. Clearly expressed speech philosophies and speech protocols are far better than hedging and dithering. Now the conversation- about what we should actually do about all of it- can advance.
@bw: This is one rapidly spiraling PR problem that Facebook could solve quickly and simply: It could stop selling political ads https://www.bloomberg.com/...
Rat King / @mikeisaac: @ceciliakang fwiw i asked him directly if FB given up on entering china and (smartly) he wont say it outright, probably bc he doesnt want to tank the stock but between the lines this speech sure seems like giving up on FB China (it is also politically expedient) https://www.nytimes.com/...
Saagar Enjeti / @esaagar: Big change for a man who once implied he would let Xi Jingping name his first born child https://www.telegraph.co.uk/ ... https://twitter.com/...
@iethics: “Mark Zuckerberg is co-opting civil rights history to try to justify #Facebook's policies that do long-term damage to our democracy... The company is in denial about what's happening”—V. Gupta, pres. of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: https://www.nytimes.com/...
Mike Ananny / @ananny: Predictably, this confuses an individual right to speak with a public right to hear. https://www.nytimes.com/...
Michelle Jaconi / @jaconi: Asked about how an @ewarren win would affect @facebook, #ZuckerbergatGU pivots but says breaking up tech companies would make addressing threats he outlined in his speech harder. Says he has more confidence in the US than ever. pic.twitter.com/D3a2IrcZEN
Michelle Jaconi / @jaconi: Student asks about anti-conservative bias and another asks about anti-liberal bias. Zuckerberg says they can't be both and turns to audience and says Facebook is doing a “good job” at getting everyone mad at them. #ZuckerbergatGU with moderator ⁦@MoElleithee⁩ pic.twitter.com/XOMLxtgFnA
Michelle Jaconi / @jaconi: “How do you draw line to prevent hatred & bullying & your obligation to free speech?” Zuckerberg: we need to address modern concern that giving more people a voice is “bad for democracy.” He says he is worried people pushing for political outcomes they want instead of our ideals.
Owen Daugherty / The Hill: Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter knocks Zuckerberg for invoking her father while defending Facebook
Rat King / @mikeisaac: Zuck calling Facebook and social platforms “the Fifth Estate” is going to stick
Rat King / @mikeisaac: this china stuff is important. Zuckerberg is saying — without explicitly saying — that Facebook has at least for now given up on entering China. a HUGE reversal from basically most of FB's entire history. also a stark reversal on this toll from 2016 https://www.nytimes.com/...
Rat King / @mikeisaac: again, Zuckerberg tacitly calls for regulation of his company — i can see why this makes sense strategically b/c it shifts the burden onto the govt rather than making facebook responsible for what “should and shouldn't” be on FB (not sure other techco's are happy abt it...)
Rat King / @mikeisaac: Zuckerberg says he's considered killing political ads, since they are a negligible amount of FB's Biz. but says decided against it b/c he considers political ads part of “voice,” and that it's a slippery slope on what should be considered a political ad vs issue
Sarah Frier / @sarahfrier: Sounds like nope. In which case, Zuckerberg is framing the content debate as about censorship and American speech values vs China, instead of about the big questions (what to do about political & medical misinformation, violent live video, election interference etc going viral)
Mathew Ingram / @mathewi: He did mention that they deliberately prevent certain types of misinformation — anti-vaxx etc. — from going viral
Kara Swisher / @karaswisher: Next question is on extremism versus free speech. He would “push back” on the characterization that minimizing some speech might be good.
Kara Swisher / @karaswisher: Talking about a Supreme Court of Content at FB. I wrote about it today in @nytopinion: https://www.nytimes.com/...
Kara Swisher / @karaswisher: “Whether you like Facebook or not, I think we need to come together and stand for voice and free expression,” he concludes. Is it a binary choice? Oh man, opportunity missed but I do give Mark props for trying so hard and so earnestly. But he needs to be a better thinker.
Kara Swisher / @karaswisher: Essentially Mark is wrapping himself in the First Amendment, but not in a fresh new way. One interesting thing is to talk about social tension and pulling back on free expression.
Staci D Kramer / @sdkstl: Catching up on #ZuckerbergatGU via @karaswisher https://twitter.com/... @MikeIsaac https://twitter.com/... Michelle @jaconi (scroll TL) https://twitter.com/... @TonyRomm https://twitter.com/...
Tony Romm / @tonyromm: NEW: I spoke with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg before speech. He worries about “erosion of truth” but defends allowing political ads that contain lies. But we also talk misinfo, 2020, new policy coming on deepfakes and more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/ ... tip @Techmeme
Charlie Warzel / @cwarzel: Anyhow, it seems like he's worried that people believe he's not thinking critically enough about speech. But I think peoples' real concern is that he built something whose architecture and scale is incompatible with many of our values
Alex Stamos / @alexstamos: Facebook declining direct electioneering ads would be a reasonable idea, except that the politicians who are loudest about FB's ad policies have also benefited immensely from the platform and would flip out. https://twitter.com/...
Kevin Drum / Mother Jones: Free Speech Applies to Social Media Too
Nicole Karlis / Salon: Facebook's rationale for allowing lies in political ads makes no sense
Casey Newton / The Interface: Mark Zuckerberg's Fifth Estate
Peter Kafka / @pkafka: More precise : political ads accounted for 0.5% of Facebook ad revenue last year, per @KurtWagner8. https://www.bloomberg.com/...
Fortune: Mark Zuckerberg Calls Facebook a Free-Speech Zone as Critics Demand More Restrictions
Jillian C. York / VICE: Mark Zuckerberg's Promise to Respect Free Expression Is So Far Just Empty Words
Rani Molla / Vox: Mark Zuckerberg said a lot of nothing in his big speech
Sissi Cao / Observer: Mark Zuckerberg Warns China and Tik Tok Are ‘Major Threats’ to Future Internet
Mark Zuckerberg / Wall Street Journal: Facebook Stands for Free Expression
Angelo Carusone / Media Matters for America: With Mark Zuckerberg giving an interview to Fox News, it is clear that Facebook is actively biased …

Anil Dash was a blogger and an open web supporter back in the aught years. His Facebook thoughts (sadly, posted as tweets) from above also apply to Twitter. It's nearly impossible to take seriously the whining from people who post their opinions on the cesspool of the internet.

Twitter permits hate and harassment because Twitter needs engagement to make a profit. All silos that are free to use need engagement, regardless of the type of content and the related consequences.

My additions made in bolded brackets:

@anildash: You get a cheaper price for distribution of your speech on Facebook [Twitter] if you post the kind of inflammatory lies that drive “engagement”. To justify a corporate subsidy of incitements to hate by evoking King's Letter From a Birmingham Jail is reprehensible, and inexcusable.

@anildash: It is not giving more people a voice to allow white supremacists to pay to promote their message on Facebook [Twitter]. It is giving fewer people a voice [That's Twitter, according to Mike Monteiro]. And stopping voter disenfranchisement is only a “political outcome” if we believe voter suppression is a legitimate political goal.

@anildash: This is the core lie of Zuck's [Dorsey's] statement, an intentionally intellectually dishonest framing that allows him to maximize profitability while avoiding accountability [That's also Twitter!!!].

It's stunning how these Twitter users cannot see that what they are whining about, regarding Facebook (engagement, harassment, lies, revenue) applies to their favorite silo, Twitter.

Laura Rosenberger / @rosenbergerlm: Amazing that Zuckerberg bemoans the erosion of truth without recognizing his role in facilitating it.

The erosion of truth, that's also Twitter, and in my opinion, Twitter's role in making society worse is facilitated by Twitter users, such as Anil Dash and Laura Rosenberger.

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