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Twitter Capitulates To Governments, Censors Users

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the cost-of-doing-business-with-hitler dept.

Censorship 91

An anonymous reader writes "Twitter made a public stance in 2011 to remain a platform for free speech, having helped fuel movements such as the Arab Spring. This past week, however, Twitter is shown to have complied with Russian government demands to block a pro-Ukrainian Twitter feed from reaching Russian citizens, with Turkish government demands that it remove content that the Turkish government wants removed, and with a Pakistani bureaucrat's request that content he considers blasphemous and unethical be censored in Pakistan. Given Twitter's role in the democratic uprisings of the past few years, what do these capitulations bode for future movements? Will other platforms take Twitter's place? Or is the importance to democracy of platforms such as Twitter overblown?"

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Blasphemer! (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 4 months ago | (#47091623)

Never again can you say on Twitter "Look, I'd had a lovely supper, and all I said to my wife was: That piece of halibut was good enough for Allah."

Re:Blasphemer! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091695)

What has the Pythons ever done for us?

Re:Blasphemer! (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#47091817)

Pythons.. you keep using that word..

Re:Blasphemer! (3, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#47091841)

For the Judeans? Apparently a lot! [wikipedia.org]

Re:Blasphemer! (1)

matbury (3458347) | about 4 months ago | (#47093527)

Brian: Please, please, please listen! I've got one or two things to say.

The Crowd: Tell us! Tell us both of them!

Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't NEED to follow ME, You don't NEED to follow ANYBODY! You've got to think for your selves! You're ALL individuals!

The Crowd: Yes! We're all individuals!

Brian: You're all different!

The Crowd: Yes, we ARE all different!

Man in crowd: I'm not...

The Crowd: Sch!

Re: The questions in the post...

What do these capitulations bode for future movements? - Nothing. Polical movements happen on the ground, amongst the people, with real people doing real things. A broadcast medium doesn't make a movement (unless it's PR and marketing movements like Kony2012). People are aware that public channels are monitored and use other technologies for "real" organising.

Will other platforms take Twitter's place? - Yes. if internet history is anything to go by.

Is the importance to democracy of platforms such as Twitter overblown? - Yes, see above.

Follow the money (4, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | about 4 months ago | (#47091633)

When your little boutique startup catches fire enough to go IPO and get listed on the NYSE, then you may have to make a few ethical and moral compromises to keep that Mercedes.

everybody planning ipo raise your mouses (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091809)

thanks, both of you may be surprised... the # of perfect balance digits required to board the great hereafter cruise (here now) is 3 as opposed to the previously promised 2, along with some monkeys gargoyles & virgins who ride for 'free' following deception is guaranteed fatal to the mind body & spirit,, someone or thing else gets our 'reward' every time... try the new solar magnet powered star cars, also made in germany etc....

Re:Follow the money (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#47091825)

The shackles of wealth, then?

Heavy is the head that bears the crown.

Re:Follow the money (2)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 4 months ago | (#47092861)

The shackles of wealth, then?

Heavy is the head that bears the crown.

That refers to the burden of being a ruler. Has nothing to do with wealth.

Re:Follow the money (1)

RR (64484) | about 4 months ago | (#47093533)

The shackles of wealth, then?

Heavy is the head that bears the crown.

That refers to the burden of being a ruler. Has nothing to do with wealth.

What difference does that make in contemporary capitalism?

Re:Follow the money (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 4 months ago | (#47094561)

Plenty of wealthy people aren't rulers, just wealthy fucktards.

Re:Follow the money (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47092893)

The shackles of wealth, then?
Heavy is the head that bears the crown.

No, fickle are the principles of the wallet that pockets the cash.

Re:Follow the money (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 4 months ago | (#47091871)

Compromise, n.: see cop-out.

Re:Follow the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091999)

Spoken well, In-Q-Tel

We have a local pol running for Jack Kingston's seat in the House (Jack's running for Senate), Supposedly a Tea-Partier, Bob Johnson averred that he'd rather see another terrorist attack than lose more freedoms to a police state. O_M_G. You'd have thought he'd come out four-square for crapping in the pool or something. The (mostly media-hyped, that I can tell) furor was unbelievable. Sadly I do not have the Twitter feed available, but at any rate he duly apologized and the local establishment's favorite, a former local burgomeister and pharmacist member of the petit-bourgeoisie, who's biggest platform plank is consistently "we need to call more people drug abusers so we can lock them up and throw away the key" got the most votes in the primary. There's hope, though. There's to be a runoff, so Mr Johnson still has a chance to say, "Look, (morons), obviously nobody wants another terror attack, but, by damn, I stand by my statement, and I refuse to apologize for it!" Could even garner a vote or two, which would of course might be pandering, but if you're you're going to pander to electorates, why not take the high road, eh?

Good thing Republicans are so opposed to political correctness, though, huh?
---
"What difference, at this point, DOES IT MAKE?!"

Re:Follow the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47092399)

Twitter is, was, and always will be LAME.

Re: Follow the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47092869)

It's called "compromise", to better serve their ideals (in the long term) and the people. Or at least that's what Mozilla said.

Re: Follow the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47093163)

It's called "compromise", to better serve their ideals (in the long term) and the people. Or at least that's what Mozilla said.

Oh you are quite the comedian today! Stop making me laugh...it hurts my stitches.

Re:Follow the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47095441)

we have a term for this: selling out.

they claimed the moral high ground, then took billions in IPO and are now willing to do what 'the man' tells them to. brutally complete sellout, quite stomach turning imho.

problem is, ethics and morals get in the way of the short term bottom line. in the new america that don't float.

'america is great because she is good. when she ceases to be good she will cease to be great.' (or something like that...)

Re:Follow the money (1)

ayesnymous (3665205) | about 4 months ago | (#47096325)

When your little boutique startup catches fire enough to go IPO and get listed on the NYSE, then you may have to make a few ethical and moral compromises to keep that Mercedes.

Except that after the IPO, you already have all their money, so why compromise?

It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091637)

Of course it's going to be censored. Who would expect anything else?

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | about 4 months ago | (#47091755)

Sure, a centralized system is always prone to "deletion".

Why then not design a variant that is decentralized and no single party is in control of the data? Just like the internet, problem --> route around it.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 4 months ago | (#47091781)

We have that; it's called XMPP.

The real problem is that centralized proprietary shit like Twitter and Facebook have marketing departments and open standards do not.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (4, Informative)

Arker (91948) | about 4 months ago | (#47092135)

"The real problem is that centralized proprietary shit like Twitter and Facebook have marketing departments and open standards do not."

The real problem is that most people are affected by marketing. Their intellectual growth is stunted early for this very purpose, leaving them ignorant and vulnerable.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47093027)

> The real problem is that most people are affected by marketing.
> Their intellectual growth is stunted early for this very
> purpose, leaving them ignorant and vulnerable.

Don't blind yourself with righteousness and self-congratulations. It isn't about being sheeple, it is about not being an expert. Nobody has the time to be an expert in all the things that affect our lives. We have to make a trade-off between the amount of time we can put into research and effort and the personal cost of getting it wrong. In the case of centralized messaging services, the overwhelming majority of users would not directly benefit from using some more decentralized. For them it just isn't worth taking the less-traveled road. As a society we would certainly benefit from a better system. but on a personal level few of us would and so their choice is entirely rationale.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (2)

Arker (91948) | about 4 months ago | (#47093763)

I see your school taught you well.

"It isn't about being sheeple, it is about not being an expert."

It's about using 'I am not an expert' as a mantra to avoid thinking, actually.

Sure, you arent an expert. Guess what? You do not have to be an expert to know that the value of an offer has an *inverse* relationship to the amount of advertising you are bombarded with for it. A child can easily understand that. Yet people continue to buy what the TV tells them to buy, and as a result marketing people whose *only function* is to destroy language in order to lie more effectively continue to ply their trade in greater numbers than ever before. Young people who have the capacity to become productive members of society are in fact being directed to marketing instead.

"In the case of centralized messaging services, the overwhelming majority of users would not directly benefit from using some more decentralized."

Another anti-intellectual lesson the schools are obviously very good at teaching. Only consider direct immediate benefits! Keep that attention span very short and do not over-use your brain young man!

You dont need to be an expert or even really smart to understand that indirect effects are sometimes much more important than direct benefits.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47093923)

> Sure, you arent an expert. Guess what? You do not have to be an
> expert to know that the value of an offer has an *inverse*
> relationship to the amount of advertising you are bombarded with
> for it.

Actually that is a major sheeple statement right there. Value has nothing to do with how much advertising is associated with it - that presumes that a product has equal value to every person and that is demonstrably untrue. As a simplistic example, consider tampons. They have significantly less value to a post-menopausal woman than they do to a premenopausal woman.

The problem here is that you are a sucker who was sold the myth of the randian uberman and that's stunted your intellectual development, robbed you of the ability to understand that world is not black and white and that your own personal experiences are not particularly representative of humanity as a whole and as a result you have nothing even approaching a monopoly on truth. You are an exemplar of the very thing you detest in others.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (1)

Arker (91948) | about 4 months ago | (#47094327)

"Value has nothing to do with how much advertising is associated with it"

You're using language to blur rather than delineate meaning here. Value is not *determined* by advertising, in general that is true. Advertising may be used as a rough statistical indicator of value, nonetheless. There is a clear (and well understood) statistical correlation here, which someone attempting to rationally deal with the 'no time to be an expert on everything' problem rather than simply use it as an excuse to roll over and die would be interested in leveraging. You see, a good product at a good price does not need advertising. Spectacularly bad deals, on the other hand - those need (and often receive) expensive 'campaigns' to succeed.

"As a simplistic example, consider tampons. They have significantly less value to a post-menopausal woman than they do to a premenopausal woman."

I must congratulate you, unlike the typical poster your understanding of economics appears to have at least caught up with the 19th century and let go of the labour theory of value. Well done.

Now consider that when we talk about aggregate market behaviour the 'value' we refer to here is the clearance price - the price at which all the sellers and all the buyers will match up and everyone will be happy. The individual value you place on a good does not always have a direct effect on the market value set by the crowd in aggregate, except in a purely negative sense, e.g. your women who do not use tampons simply dont figure into THAT market valuation at all, excepting when they are the ones selling them of course.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47094585)

> There is a clear (and well understood) statistical correlation here,

Lol, all you are doing is stating the conclusion as your premise. Typical for the cult of the randian uberman.

> 'value' we refer to here is the clearance price

Oh, so I'm the one "using language to blur" here? Price and value are not even close to the same thing. ESPECIALLY when talking about an advertising supported service like twitter.

As usual with black and white thinkers, all you've done is try to redefine away those inconvenient greys. Enjoy your raging at the sheeple, it's totally unproductive and will never improve the situation, but at least it makes you feel good about yourself and that's what's really important.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (2)

wealthychef (584778) | about 4 months ago | (#47092785)

Facebook did not start with a marketing department. It caught on because it delivered something people wanted and was easy to use. Same with twitter. They started making money and used the money to grow their product. The open source model does not follow that process. Getting angry and whining does not get you anywhere. To increase usage, you have to provide something people want and understand how to use. Saying "use xmpp" is not going to work. You need to say "use this cute app to chat with your friends anonymously" Leave the jargon out of it.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 4 months ago | (#47093111)

How is XMPP in any way comparable to Twitter?

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47098347)

XMPP is for chat, not for publishing. The right comparison would be to OStatus (eg identi.ca) or Atom. But it's hard to discuss this with people who grew up in a world of walled gardens and apps and don't even know what open means.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47093645)

XMPP is shit. Same as all the other pseudo-decentralised systems.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (2)

RR (64484) | about 4 months ago | (#47093879)

We have that; it's called XMPP. ... open standards ...

XMPP is almost as centralized as Twitter. You still communicate through a server that can be shut down. The only difference is that, if you lose access to one server, you can switch to another server, or start your own if you have enough money. (The other difference is that XMPP is not a broadcast medium.)

A proper uncensorable platform would be peer-to-peer. That's where IPv4's lack of true end-to-end connectivity has irritated me for years. There are attempts to work around this problem using, for example, BitTorrent's distributed hash table protocol [bittorrent.com] or Bitcoin's blockchain [bitmessage.org] or both [twister.net.co] or Onion routing. [freedomboxfoundation.org] The problem is that there is no money in a truly peer-to-peer communications system, so development has always been slower than centralized systems.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (1)

tkotz (3646593) | about 4 months ago | (#47100661)

Slashdot is already a trusted, social media entity. They already collect member's XMPP/Jabber IDs. They could probably run there own XMPP service that uses people's Slashdot ID. It could be set up to forward anonymously to people's own XMPP service. It would get a lot of technical people on XMPP. A lot of whom may decide to create their own federated XMPP server. I had hoped Google would do this until they started their weird fire-walling of XMPP traffic. Conversely, maybe being able to send personal messages on Slashdot would negatively impact the karma/flame war balance.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091923)

Are you serious? Usenet has existed since 1980.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47092015)

Are you serious? Usenet has existed since 1980.

USENET used to be a viable communications platform until it became Googlified. I pine for the days of Usenet and newsreaders unencumbered by web browsers, providing a means of sharing information, asking questions and receiving knowledgeable answers all from the comfort of my glowing green/blue/orange/red terminal.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (1)

Arker (91948) | about 4 months ago | (#47092117)

"USENET used to be a viable communications platform until it became Googlified. I pine for the days of Usenet and newsreaders unencumbered by web browsers, providing a means of sharing information, asking questions and receiving knowledgeable answers all from the comfort of my glowing green/blue/orange/red terminal."

Google has a browser interface to an archive. They dont and cant keep you from firing up a newsreader and using it like normal.

Usenet lives; Google Groups is just an interface (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47092341)

Huh ??

Google Groups is just an interface to Usenet. I suggest you search for slrn and use that or one of the other terminal clients if you want traditional Usenet access.

I'm an active Usenet poster and _all_ of my postings are done from a xterm/pterm using slrn.

Also, if you want access to Usenet outside of Google, then use Eternal September (which works just fine with slrn) and is my current Usenet access method of choice.

OTOH, I do agree with you about one thing - Google's web Usenet client does horrible things to Usenet postings, including double spacing them and not respecting the 72/80 column posting width conventions.

(Oh and BTW, on the latter, if Google Mail can format the plain text version of emails to stay within those limits, then Google Groups should bloody well use the same code for Usenet. :-()

Re:Usenet lives; Google Groups is just an interfac (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47093173)

Don't you realise Google took control of Usenet a few years ago and the quality of the postings dropped dramatically with the flood of AOL-minded simpletons and "sexy girl wants date" advertisements.

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 4 months ago | (#47092245)

Are you serious? Usenet has existed since 1980.

not sure if serious...... you know how usenet censorship works? it works in the way that to get warez/xxx groups you pay for access and certain content is all censored.

Try GNU/Social (1)

elwin_windleaf (643442) | about 4 months ago | (#47092653)

Unlike the other replies, I'd like to point you to an ACTUAL twitter-like service.

GNU/Social [gnu.io] is a PHP-based microblogging platform that you can install and maintain yourself. It uses OStatus to communicate between instances, and has a small following already.

If you'd like to try it out, you could most definitely find an instance (like Quitter [quitter.se] ) that you could try. :)

Re:It isn't designed as an uncensorable platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47110333)

Why then not design a variant that is decentralized and no single party is in control of the data? Just like the internet, problem --> route around it.

It's called "Twister" (http://twister.net.co) and uses technology from both Bitcoin and BitTorrent.

A movement in the right direction. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091639)

Censoring verbal diarrhea is a move in the right direction.

Re:A movement in the right direction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091729)

You think censorship is a good thing. Obviously you don't believe in freedom of speech or is that speech you only like or agree with.

twitter is probably used to imprison dissidents (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091641)

more often than to promote uprising. in China theres a girl who got a year in a labor camp for a joke tweet she made.

the whole 'free speech' thing may have been a PR gimmick. twitter, like facebook, allows massive spying and encourages people to destroy their own privacy.

twitter is the illusion of free speech. the only really free speech is private speech, and there is no such thing as private electronic speech.

Re:twitter is probably used to imprison dissidents (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091711)

Exactly.

Freedom of speech belongs to the owners of the presses.

Or, as Lehrer put it, "All their rights respected - until somebody we like gets elected."

Twitter's a platform for surveillance which will be left alone as long as people are saying the right things, the useful idiots guided by mainstream media to say the right things: it's fucking easy to sway the 140-character crowd.

Twitter is also the illusion of doing something... (1)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 4 months ago | (#47092401)

What I find sad is that so many people feel like they are doing something when they tweet [twitter.com] .

- Ms. Obama could have taken action against radical Islamic organizations. Instead, a sharpie, a piece of paper, a tweet - and she's done. Thanks, Michelle, good job.

- Ms. Obama could have a chat with her hubby about the way the USA supports terrorist organizations [thedailybeast.com] even giving aid to organization like Al Qaeda [globalresearch.ca] that the US is supposedly fighting.

But no, that would require actual effort and taking a genuine stand. Whereas Twitter costs nothing, risks nothing and does nothing - but you can pretend otherwise.

Re:Twitter is also the illusion of doing something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47095205)

Maybe you could learn to read, the dailybeast article doesn't say anything close to "the USA supports terrorist organizations".
And about globalresearch.ca, just don't, it's propaganda trash.

Re:twitter is probably used to imprison dissidents (1)

marvinglenn (195135) | about 4 months ago | (#47093857)

the only really free speech is private speech

No, the only real free speech is anonymous speech. (Ask Donald Sterling how that "private" speech worked out for him.)

curated communications (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091681)

The problem is that everybody has been favoring curated communications services where it is all under control of one party, Facebook or Twitter say. When you do that you are at the mercy of what that party wants to allow.

That is contrary to the original intent of the internet to "route around censorship". Which it could still do.... if people didn't all flock to curated services.

Re:curated communications (2)

currently_awake (1248758) | about 4 months ago | (#47091829)

A lack of a censorship means you get burried under mountains of spam.

Re:curated communications (3, Insightful)

BonThomme (239873) | about 4 months ago | (#47091913)

A prevalence of a censorship means you get buried under mountains of spam.

Internet, censorship, damage and all. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091703)

The Internet, it has been said, regards censorship as damage and routes around it.

Nowadays, in consumerist capitalism, consumers choose centralized services over decentralized ones because decentralized stuff is "too hard". Besides, business models are just too invested into centralizing.

We humans seem to be too stupid for our own good. And we software designers are working hard to keep users as stupid as ever.

Freed^^^^^Oh! Shiny!

Re:Internet, censorship, damage and all. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#47091763)

Graph theory to the rescue? I mean, p2p services are cooler than bow ties.

Graph theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091865)

Yes, you're right. But how do we get the users on that?

Fact is the infrastructure could do is, and what has been built on top of that can't. Because we're all sheep. Bah.

In the end, money matters most (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091713)

Only fools could think otherwise

Sad Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091721)

Twitter has sold its soul for what it believes will be future profits. In the end Twitter will fade into irrelevancy as people who have something worthwhile to communicate will move to another platform that hasn't sold out.

Who? (2)

symes (835608) | about 4 months ago | (#47091731)

Trying to find out whose twitter feed is causing all the commotion, but no joy. It would seem entirely appropriate to simply retweet the tweets.

another chop on the tree of freedom (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 4 months ago | (#47091741)

killing free speech on the internet one domain at a time, fuck you twitter i hope you become irrelevant and a truly free speech enabled domain takes your place allowing all users anonymous free speech

Re:another chop on the tree of freedom (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#47091899)

If they capitulate to the government in Russia, an arguably unavoidable cost of doing business there, what is the likelihood other nations will not soon demand the same accommodation?

Re:another chop on the tree of freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091989)

Uh, other nations, including Western ones, have demanded that Twitter block, close accounts, and/or notify authorities of tweets deemed illegal in those countries. Twitter's actions here are nothing new. They've capitulated in the past and they capitulate now. Hell, they even honor DCMA takedowns as well, so I'm not sure why this seems to be a surprise to anyone.

Re:another chop on the tree of freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47092119)

If a tree fell in the forest and there's no one around to chop it up, is it really dead?

Nothing to see here, move along. (4, Insightful)

ZeRu (1486391) | about 4 months ago | (#47091761)

This shouldn't surprise anyone. Wasn't there a case years ago where Yahoo helped Chinese authorities arrest a blogger?
Even the "Don't be evil" company would happily turn you to authorities if you happen to use their search engine to find out how to construct a homemade bomb (their "autocomplete/suggestion" feature isn't really your best friend), and it doesn't matter if you live in a 3rd world country or not, since a suspicion of terrorism is enough to have you detained indefinitely even in a "land of the free".

changes like the 'weather' keeps the truth at bay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091783)

from now on http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wmd+media+weather+censorship until we reach escapes velocity http://youtu.be/C3PB1jWO3_E the great hereafter is here now & after do not miss it

I get the feeling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091801)

that big gov ok'd that. It's part of negotiations between Washington and the Kremlin I'd say. Just my opinion.
Sorry Wall St. & the Kremlin..

No different to Slashdot idiots... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091811)

... who mod people down (in order to try to HIDE their comments) who say that the 'holocaust' never happened, that Jews have taken over our governments, banks and media, or that mass immigration is genocide of the white race...

www.nazigassings.com

http://www.john-friend.net/

etc.etc. It's all over the internet now - what will the Eternal Jew do?

never ending holycost winding down? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091851)

as soon as there's no one left to kill the WMD on credit (from god?) zionic nazi neogods will feel safe for a time.. we can take solace in knowing we provided our rulers with enough defense from us to last for decades 'til kingdumb comes again. hang on to your hymens & hemispheres.... once the show is started......

Using Copyrights to apply Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47091863)

Other way that government does is hire a copyright firm to censor people that are against it. If you twitter or blog post has a copyrighted picture or logo, they try to take down your post with this firms.

The old days of the Internet seems so far away... (2, Interesting)

burnttoy (754394) | about 4 months ago | (#47091875)

Flame wars with white supremacists, generally antagonising and goading friends, and enemies, on Usenet. Pointless navel gazing arguments about the nature of nothing and everything. Using rude words, racial epithets, the shout down, the noise... maybe even anarchy.

Now everyone seems to be out there busy judging everybody, involving the authorities and more.

Frankly, possibly unfairly, most of the peeps on the net in the early 90s and before understood it was the wild-west of communications... If someone was being a cunt you told them so. If it turned out to be you several folks would probably tell you. These folk were different - I guess, maybe, it went with the territory. It was new and the folks out there bleeding edgers.

It was no place for bruisable egos, political correctness et al - yet, to me, it felt right. People didn't get fired over righteous indignation from some pointless corner of the net. 140 character vomit was not front page news.

The media at large really think that one persons opinion on Twitter is worthy of news... in the old days it was just flotsam and jetsam... if they were being an arse they got called that and that was, usually, that. Either that or the media just see a cheap story in repeating someone's anally generated hyperbole.

*meh*

Re:The old days of the Internet seems so far away. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47092471)

What do you expect when every Tom, Dick, Harry, Mary and Sally is on the internet? It's no longer the playground of the university educated male nerds anymore. The average person isn't too bright and is easily offended and expects things to be censored just like their TV shows and movies are. Everything has to be made family friendly and non-disturbing. Think rated G for general just like your Disney Movies. They expect the nanny state to intervene and all kinds of laws to be passed so their children can play on the internet and never come across anything met for adults. You don't expect them to supervise their own children do you? The internet is for family entertainment now. It soon will be just like TV if the internet/cell phone/cable companies have their way.

Re:The old days of the Internet seems so far away. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#47092485)

You call those the old days? I remember sharing data, getting work done, no spam and rarely a flame war.

Re:The old days of the Internet seems so far away. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47092521)

You obviously didn't hang out in UseNet much.

Rights != Democracy (4, Informative)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 4 months ago | (#47091931)

From the summary:

Twitter made a public stance in 2011 to remain a platform for free speech [snip] Or is the importance to democracy of platforms such as Twitter overblown?

There are two different things being discussed here, and it's important to keep them separate.

Free speech is a right, i.e., something that governments should not be able to restrict arbitrarily -- whether those governments are democratic, communist, monarchies, whatever.

Democracy is a form of government, and history has shown us that democracy is very capable of taking away rights, just like any other form of government. There is a reason that many philosophers from the ancient Greeks up to the Founders of the U.S. and beyond were afraid of "mob rule." When governmental policy is just determined by majority vote, there are plenty of times when the majority will vote away "fundamental rights" for various reasons (for example, to try to prevent some fear or threat to security).

Free speech is generally a necessary component to promote change in government -- whether that government is democratic or aristocratic or whatever. Thus, the fight for free speech should be about rights, regardless of the form of government. There are all sorts of "democratic" countries in the world who lack a lot of fundamental freedoms, including free speech. And, as recent history has shown us, simply "rebranding" a country as a "democracy" does NOT automatically make it "more free."

Re:Rights != Democracy (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 months ago | (#47092497)

Good post. Its nice to see some understands the difference.

In fact, it's such a refreshing post on slashdot, I'm just going to stop reading for the rest of the day. Leave on a high note, if you will.

Re:Rights != Democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47092929)

The problem is, Twitter found that it didn't actually like the free speech it was standing up for. It never turned out to be the force for a populist communist revolution they hoped for. So, when it started getting pressure from governments to censor the speech it was getting, they decided to comply.

Re:Rights != Democracy (2)

mrvan (973822) | about 4 months ago | (#47093841)

I agree with this distinction, and free speech and democracy are certainly not the same. Democracy in its most basal form is majority rule, e.g. distribution of power via some sort of election system. In a sense this is more than a "form of government", since it entails the rights to elect and to be elected.

However, political scientists generally agree that for democracy to have meaning there is a cluster of other rights that are needed to make sure that people can actually elect someone based on their preferences or interests, and these rights include freedom of speech, of organization/congregation, rule of law, some form of minority protection, etc. Of course, these rights are generally not seen as absolute, and no democratic society that I know allows you to falsely accuse someone in public of being a child molester or yell "fire" in a cinema without fear of persecution.

Moreover, history has shown us that free speech is most under threat in the less democratic countries. The first thing a modern dictator does is grab control over the "old" centralized media, and controlling new media is a logical next step for the more tech-savvy dictators. If you compare the "freedom of the press" and "freedom house" reports, it is hard not to see the correlation (e.g. http://imgs.ntd.tv/content/201... [imgs.ntd.tv] vs http://rsf.org/index2014/data/... [rsf.org] )

In other words: yes democracy and freedom of speech are separate concepts, but they are very strongly related.

(also, the importance to democracy of platforms such as twitter is *vastly* overblown, but that is a different discussion :))

(note that geeks often have difficulty understanding non-absolute rights. There is a big difference between free speech in Russia and in Britain, even if Britain curbs free speech with strong libel laws. Interpreting and upholding the non-absolute rights requires strong institutions including independent judiciary, responsive politics, and critical media. No country has a fully independent judiciary, fully responsive politics, or fully critical media, but for the love of god go visit Russia (or Algeria, or Uzbekistan, or China) and tell me how much you appreciate the US/European judiciary, politics, and media. "Our" institutions go out of line sometimes, but there are strong mechanisms for keeping them in check if they wander too far from what is deemed acceptable)

Re:Rights != Democracy (2)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 4 months ago | (#47094473)

However, political scientists generally agree that for democracy to have meaning there is a cluster of other rights that are needed to make sure that people can actually elect someone based on their preferences or interests, and these rights include freedom of speech, of organization/congregation, rule of law, some form of minority protection, etc.

While of course you're right, I think that's stacking the deck in favor of desirable features of democracies, rather than actual features of historical democracies. Philosophers for thousands of years have pointed out the potential for democracies to degrade into tyranny or other totalitarian states by voluntary vote of the population, and it's happened historically quite a few times (though generally by stages). It's not the freedom to vote and choose that protects rights -- it's the status of rights AS rights, i.e., things that are inviolate and CANNOT BE VOTED ON.

I've heard it said that what really determines the strength of a democracy and its role in keeping people free is not simply whether people can vote, but what things are NOT up for a vote. (And this includes both making sure people are actually free to cast votes for their choices, as well as restricting those votes so that they cannot violate things like fundamental rights.)

Of course, these rights are generally not seen as absolute, and no democratic society that I know allows you to falsely accuse someone in public of being a child molester

Umm, I'm pretty sure you can get away with that in the U.S., as long as the target of the accusation is a "public figure." The important precedent is here [wikipedia.org] , and a case I can think of that's more directly on point is in the movie The Aristocrats, where Sarah Silverman accused Joe Franklin of raping her, implying (if I remember correctly) as a minor. Franklin threatened to sue, I think, but stopped -- probably because he knew the likelihood of winning was small, given existing precedent and the likely appearance of parody in a comedy film.

Basically, the statements against a public figure require "actual malice" to win a libel suit; for a private person as a target of the accusation, it requires at least gross negligence. And that's libel -- I think the standard is even higher if you were to try to claim defamation just on the ground of a verbal accusation.

Re:Rights != Democracy (1)

mrvan (973822) | about 4 months ago | (#47106525)

It's not the freedom to vote and choose that protects rights -- it's the status of rights AS rights, i.e., things that are inviolate and CANNOT BE VOTED ON.

I've heard it said that what really determines the strength of a democracy and its role in keeping people free is not simply whether people can vote, but what things are NOT up for a vote. (And this includes both making sure people are actually free to cast votes for their choices, as well as restricting those votes so that they cannot violate things like fundamental rights.)

This is exactly the tension between majority rule and other rights that I tried to paint. As it is, any democracy that I know about has a mechanism for updating its constitution (or whatever passes for it). In the US, that means a supermajority in congress plus 75% of the states. In the Netherlands, it requires two votes in Parliament with an election in between, the second vote needing a supermajority. Many countries require some sort of referendum. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org] . Point is, the current "solution" to the tension between vote-democracy and guaranteed rights is to require a larger than majority consensus and often extra barriers to make sure that they can be voted on, but not easily.

Of course, these rights are generally not seen as absolute, and no democratic society that I know allows you to falsely accuse someone in public of being a child molester

Umm, I'm pretty sure you can get away with that in the U.S., as long as the target of the accusation is a "public figure." The important precedent is here [wikipedia.org]

The keyword here is 'falsely'. The precedent is about whether a public figure should be protected from emotional distress, not from slander. From your link: "the Court found that reasonable people would not have interpreted the parody to contain factual claims". So, the defense was that there were no factual claims, and hence no false factual claims.

Basically, the statements against a public figure require "actual malice" to win a libel suit; for a private person as a target of the accusation, it requires at least gross negligence. And that's libel -- I think the standard is even higher if you were to try to claim defamation just on the ground of a verbal accusation.

IAMAL (and certainly not an American one), but afaiu in the US case truth is an absolute defense, but a false claim with malintent and harmful consequences can be prosecuted. And the US has very strong free speech rights, e.g. in the Netherlands truth is not an absolute defense with a tradeoff being made (ultimately by the judge) between the 'slandered' individual's privacy and good reputation, the 'slanderes' right to free speech, and the public's right to know. From what I understand the UK also has much stronger libel laws/precedent than the US.

The whole point was that rights are never absolute. Your free speech is limited by public safety and defamation lows. Your right to bear arms (if you're American) is limited by a whole set of laws barring you from having machine guns, jet fighters, and nuclear submarines. Your property rights are limited by expropriation laws (eminent domain) and also in a way by laws like zoning laws (which prohibit you from doing certain things with your property), etc etc.

Has public speech ever been truly wide open? (2)

swb (14022) | about 4 months ago | (#47091967)

I'm pretty sure for Twitter this all boils down to money and investors and the usual capitalist bullshit, which seems kind of sad.

But it also seems predictable, because has public speech other than the soapbox in a park or printing your own newspaper ever been truly uncensored? Or has some kind of censorship always prevailed, whether it was relatively benign (and occasionally insidious) decorum, popularity/lack of popularity, commercial, or even the more onerous state/institutional imposed?

It'd be nice to see Twitter stand up against censorship, especially the particularly noxious kind imposed with a mixture of religious ignorance and state authority.

But I can't say I'm surprised at all.

They're Moving Over (1)

Gonoff (88518) | about 4 months ago | (#47092247)

Twitter may be, unconsciously, moving out of the way so that someone can replace it with something better and less susceptible to the control of oxygen thieves.

haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47092423)

profit > freedom

Twitter as engine of social change? (1)

stevez67 (2374822) | about 4 months ago | (#47092859)

If your social revolution depends on Twitter, you've already lost.

Re:Twitter as engine of social change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47094149)

Sounds like you suck a dick for Allah.
 
Faggots for Islam would be proud.

When money gets involved (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 4 months ago | (#47093033)

Your concept of right and wrong change, often in radical ways. Don't want to lose out on major world markets due to some antiqued concept of morality.

Well, duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47093289)

Or is the importance to democracy of platforms such as Twitter overblown?"

News reporters and anchors start using something like this, find they like it, then attribute WAY too much importance to it.

Censored from the beginning (1)

jmcvetta (153563) | about 4 months ago | (#47093769)

This Twitter has been censored for a long time, at least since 2007. I know this first-hand. If you don't believe that, then obviously you've never tried to tweet anything worth censoring.

Afraid to read? (1)

amightywind (691887) | about 4 months ago | (#47094333)

What are the Ruskies afraid they are going to read? Putin is a queer.

Forget Twitter, use twister P2P microblogging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47094391)

Twister is the fully decentralized P2P microblogging platform leveraging from the free software implementations of Bitcoin and BitTorrent protocols.
For more, go to http://twister.net.co/

Twitter's censorship is a fig leaf -- by design (2)

JonZittrain (628028) | about 4 months ago | (#47094857)

Twitter's implementation of localized censorship is leaky by design. Users can specify in their settings what country they're in -- and that overrides any guess that Twitter might make about location from, say, IP address. So any Russian who wants to see what's missing -- after conveniently being alerted by Twitter that a given tweet is not accessible in that country -- can just switch to another country. Seems a pretty pragmatic move to prevent Twitter engineers from being arrested or money from being seized in a local jurisdiction while making tweets trivially available worldwide.

Free speech doesn't imply free delivery! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47099411)

Freedom of speech is one thing, but there's also a difference between standing on a soapbox speaking your own mind, vs having a third-party read your message for you. If somebody asked you as an indivdual, "Hey go read this manifesto on the quad for me," and you decide to change a few key points along the way... well... isn't it YOUR speech at that point?

Nothing wrong with that... but then, you can't really attribute it to the first party anymore at that point. And that's kinda the point here...

Erosion of democracy. (1)

lbanting (780910) | about 4 months ago | (#47102253)

This is why many have signed onto Social media like Twitter and Facebook, to express their anger with their governments and plight for democracy. It is these vehicles we all learn the cries and plights of others across the world. Now these very same Social Media services are working to stiffel this movement. Makes one wonder if there is a movement towards so called World Order.
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