A report from the Christchurch Call, where the future of "anti-extremist" moderation was debated at the highest levels

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/05/16/fourth-horseman-rising.html


Most disturbing, though, was a commitment to requiring algorithmic filters of human expression

After watching people try to use software to control speech on the web for 20 years, I can tell you, people will learn to evade detection. They always do. “1337 speak” being one of the classic examples.

A more recent example: my kids play Roblox; Roblox censors any arabic numerals typed in chat, to avoid kids sharing ages/addresses/phone numbers. Guess what the kids do? Use roman numerals. If 10 year olds can crowdsource a solution to working around filters like this, it goes without saying everyone else can as well.

As a slightly more relevant example, reddit’s r/frenworld has been a hot topic lately. It’s a meme sub full of hateful dog whistles, rendered in baby-talk. For example, the infamous white supremacist 14 words is bowdlerized into “We must secure the existence of frens and a future for fren children”. Good luck classifying that stuff with your algorithmic filters.


The push to legally encode this moderation scares me. I absolutely think Nazi content needs to be stopped, but legal solutions have a particularly nasty way of ignoring hateful extremist content that supports those in power while falling heavily on marginalized communities.Compare the treatment of the Black Panthers and the Klan for examples. Any algorithmic enforcement of those laws is going to have an even bigger problem because of the fluid nature of language and the imbalance of power. You can see this in the way Twitter handles TERF abuse and the trans community. The bigots can shift their language into a form that doesn’t trigger the algorithms and abuse someone until they react negatively using heated language and then mass report. A call for algorithmic enforcement of legal speech controls is pretty much a recipe for oppression of those already most oppressed.


One minor comment on her article - the alt-right terrorist was an Australian, not a New Zealander, though he had lived among us for a couple of years, planning this, likely because New Zealand’s gun laws were far more lax that Australia’s


Infamously (and you were probably referring to the same incident), Reagan passed gun control in california in direct response to the Black Panthers. Laws often disproportionately impact minorities.

In 1993, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that African Americans were arrested at five times the rate of whites for gun possession, despite white men owning guns at much higher rates


Sounds like the Trump administration was right about the first amendment concerns.

The gun control thing fits, but I was really thinking about the direct assasinations and incredibly long solitary confinement sentences.


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