"I Shouldn't Have to Publish This in The New York Times": my op-ed from the future

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/06/24/fix-the-net-or-fix-big-tech.html


What if we’d put a halt to the practice, re-establishing the traditional antitrust rules against “mergers to monopoly” and acquiring your nascent competitors? What if we’d established an absolute legal defense for new market entrants seeking to compete with established monopolists?

What if we posted links to copies of our work outside the walled-gardens of the NYT?

Again, what is all this codswallop?

You don’t have a need or a right to load unfiltered live video to YouTube, and anyone who says you do is mad or trying to sell you something.

“… which we have decided to solve the problems of Big Tech by making them liable for what their users say and do, thus all our speech is vetted by algorithms that delete anything that looks like misinformation, harassment, copyright infringement, incitement to terrorism, etc – with the result that the only place where you can discuss anything of import is newspapers themselves.”

Uh, if big tech uses algorithms to do the vetting, it will be bad. If big tech uses humans to do the vetting, it will be better. And why again does the idea that Facebook has to be responsible always come down to ‘that way lies fascism?’ Why can’t Facebook just hire people to vet content?

I like newspapers because they’re written by people smarter than I am, with different interests; I buy the Sunday NYT to learn about the world above and beyond my limited purview. The idea that treating publishers like publishers will lead to the end of the Net and intellectual freedom is some nonsense, and the kind of nonsense that only techutopians can come up with.

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The idea that it’s somehow wrong to charge money for content is the direct cause of the informational Exxon Valdez disaster that is Facebook et al.


Our first mistake was giving the platforms the right to decide who could speak and what they could say. Our second mistake was giving them the duty to make that call, a billion times a day.

Idpol church ladies: Censor Nazis!
Twitter, Facebook: OK, fine, we’re censoring Nazis.
Idpol church ladies: Nooo! Me am play gods!

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Can’t be fixed, or backed-down-from.

The cat is out of the proverbial bag. The toothpaste has been squeezed out of the tube. The water has boiled away and the eggs are burning, and man do they stink.

Because it would very quickly get extremely expensive to do it right – as demonstrated by the woeful inadequacy of their current methods.

Did it say in @doctorow’s piece that you SHOULD have a right to publish whatever you want on Youtube? I didn’t read that. I read a piece arguing that we should be very, very careful of what we wish for when demanding regulation (especially government regulation) of speech. I usually think Cory goes too far in a lot of his political rants, but I’m pretty on board with this one.

Facebook already DOES hire thousands of people to vet content. And they do almost as shitty a job as the algorithms, but with the added bonus of inflicting mental illness on thousands of humans who are forced to sit at a computer all day staring at the most horrid content imaginable.

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Again, I don’t care if it’s expensive for Google; they can afford to do it right.

I’m always told 'we can’t have human eyes on everything that goes up on the net because there’s so much of it." But do we need all of it? All of it?

Sure, and if instead they decide not to take a serious hit to their profits, we can just boycott them and use some other service, right?

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