Inside the triumphant Alex Jones banned everywhere story is a worrying nuance about free speech and platform dominance


The only worrying nuance is that these platforms have supported him this long, complicit in allowing his puke to infest masses of people with weak minds.


Did you read the article?

Just look at Cambodia, where the local brutal dictator has mastered the rules of Facebook that are supposed to prevent harassment by forcing users to go by their real names. In Cambodia, dissidents have two choices: go by their real names on the platforms and risk being arrested and tortured, or stay silent. There just isn’t any way to reach the Cambodian population if you aren’t on Facebook, and the local autocrat will get you booted from Facebook if you don’t use your real name.

On a global network, irresponsible use of the banhammer can be just as harmful as irresponsible restraint. More than anything, the Alex Jones episode should illustrate that social media is a cornerstone of global communication now, whether you like it or not. You can’t dismiss it all as frivolous gossip anymore.

(Do I need to say that banning Alex Jones is a clear example of a responsible banhammer?)


(Please excuse any spelling or grammar issues, I’m typing this on my phone that dosen’t have any spell check software)

This is what matters: Jones is a moderatly succesful blow hard, it dosen’t matter that 99% of what he said is objective bullshit that melts like an ice cube in a volcano, he has/had 2 million fallowers on Youtube, half a million fallowers on twitter and just as many on facebook. Jones makes threats towards Robert Muller and transgenders and finally Google and Facebook drop the axe.

Thus turning Jones into a mayter and proving him right. Gee maybe there Scott podesta IS involvded in child sex trafficing. Maybe GWB did have a hand in 9/11. Maybe Obama is a socalist plant to end gun ownership and Chritsianity in America.

Never, never underestitmate stupidity in large groups of people. When Trump became the nomanie I knew that he had at 50% chance of becoming President. People who don’t regularly watch the news and have poor reasoning skills are suddenly hearing about this online flamboyant personality who is suddenly deplantform will go to Infowars, they will read his bullshit, and they will swallow it without water.

He will be heard, he will gain popularity, and one of his mindless thralls will try to start a Civil War that could acually happen.


Before any ‘debate’ about the “33% Facebook” part of my original post gets out of hand please bear in mind that my intent was only to try to jokily illustrate the unhealthy extent to which FB dominates and influences people’s lives and behaviours. Of course it’s a stupid suggestion and I knew it when I made it.

I responded, to what looked like comments treating it as a semi-serious idea, by trying to address serious concern about the ways voting rights and opportunities can be manipulated. I wonder if it is possible to have any eligibility criteria that cannot be manipulated thus. The topic of agreeing equitable and non-discriminatory eligibility criteria is an issue, for sure. Selectively enforcing or otherwise manipulating voting entitlements whatever they are is surely a larger issue.

Hopefully this minor detour, whilst linked to the question of platform dominance in people’s lives, can draw to a close (or move to a separate topic) and the thread can focus more on the topic of free speech and platform dominance. Although perhaps not - is a right to vote a free speech issue and if so is platform dominance healthy?

(Damn, that last question seems to have brought me back to similar thoughts to those originally inspired by the Gracchus post - noting concern re the affect FB has on fellow citizens/voters, even if many of us here appear to be exceptions from the billions who use only FB to get their news - that I first responded to.)

ETA, upon reading this back, that agreeing the extent of the right to vote and who gets it is of course a critical issue. The recent celebrations of the anniversary of women’s suffrage in UK reminded us of that. The point I was trying to make is that who is entitled to vote ought to be clear whether or not we agree with its extent or want to amend it (e.g. the whole women’s suffrage movement at the time; more recent debates about whether incarcerated prisoners ought to retain the right; etc) whilst the shenanigans that go on behind and around the scenes to somehow target and disenfranchise some subset of those who the rules clearly state ought to be able to vote (selective enforcement) is perhaps a ‘bigger’ issue because it is not usually out in the open and is harder to defend against.

I wish these worms would stop wriggling over the edge of the can. :wink:


Yes. I did.

There is a difference in the government controlling social media to decide who uses it and how and the company that owns it deciding who uses it and how.

Again. Social media is NOT a public utility. It IS an optional personal communication tool. And should be treated as such. It is their product and there should be guide rails for conduct and content, just as with the BBS boards. Stay in the rails and everything is fine. Touch the third rail and things are definitively not fine.


I’d say all that is fine as long as your first and second sentences hold good.

If matters progress to a stage where the only realistic way to take part in public/social life is via one of these platforms, then those principles can no longer apply.

I don’t think most of the world is there yet but Cory makes the point in his article about the situation in Cambodia where he claims:

I don’t know the details of that but I can say that up until a year or so ago here in my neck of the woods if you wanted to take part in any sort of social activity (sports club, etc.), 90% at least of the the coordination and dissemination of information would have been via a Facebook group.

If you weren’t on Facebook, you didn’t get to know about whatever is going on, meet times, etc.

Nowadays, I suspect whatsapp takes over a lot of that - but since I don’t use that, I wouldn’t know. But guess what - that’s Facebook too.

At present not being on Facebook is merely an annoyance in most circumstances but if at some point the choice is between being on whichever the dominant platform is or having no social intercourse at all other than with whichever poor sods you bump into in the flesh then there will need to be some sort of regulation/ oversight of their decision making processes.

We’re not there yet and may never get there but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth putting some thought into what the rules should be.


This is why net neutrality is so important, the public space is the internet itself. You have the right to build your own site if you find yourself getting banned from other people’s sites.

I’m seriously thinking about setting up my own mastodon server at home for friends and family to use.


I agree with your general thrust but the argument above always irks me. Let me fix it for you:

You could always ask someone via some other method, I’m sure. Talking to people or even using email or SMS is always implicitly presented, in arguments like the above, as if they have become terribly gauche or have gone out of fashion, at best, or are capabilities we have lost, at worst.

Use it or lose it. I don’t use Facebook. I hope it gets ‘lost’.
/trivial rant.

When whatever learned body of psychologists adds Facebook aversion syndrome to the list of medically recognised afflictions, people who only communicate via FB, or make it a de facto requirement of some sort for communication or eligibility, might find themselves on the wrong end of disability discrimination legislation. Well, I can daydream, can’t I?


Theoretically this is true. It is even true in practice. But…

I think you underestimate the level of annoyance and inconvenience it causes. Not to the non-Facebook (or whatever) user but to the people who do use it and don’t see any reason why someone else wouldn’t.

There is a limit to how often they are prepared to go to the extra effort of emailing the one person who doesn’t do Facebook or to phone them or whatever.

Your description is quite right - not using Facebook or whatever is (was?) terribly gauche. It is not the fashion. It inconveniences others, thus making it actively impolite not to use it.

Whether we like that or not, it was (is?) true.

My mother, to take a random example, is certainly capable of emailing and using the telephone but she bugs me about why I’m not on whatsapp - it would be so much more convenient.

Even though she can’t explain how it would be more convenient :slight_smile:

But everyone else she knows and is in contact with uses whatsapp so she does and so should I.


Mothers, eh? They used to complain that we never phoned and now when we do they complain we’re not on WhatsApp. It’s a no-win situation. :wink:

Maybe I do underestimate the level of annoyance, etc. Maybe I don’t care. Hypothetically, if people choose to exclude me by their deliberate, knowing (in)actions, and cannot see why this troubles me when I explain it, then they’re no better than those who serve me what everyone else is being served when they know I’m a vegetarian. If you can’t make allowances for your alleged friends, are you their friend? Apparently not, if you haven’t friended on FB.


I think if anything annoyed more than anything else about Facebook, it’s how they redefined “friend” to mean “vague social acquaintance”. :rage:

I worry that this is the only kind of job offering that will be left to me at some point:


Mind you, sounds quite nice actually. Bit cold in winter though.


Plus assuming that even real friends wanted to overshare every aspect of their lives, in public. But, yes, a “private” person is becoming as rare as that hermit. I’ll join you in the queue of applicants.


It also potentially disenfranchises disabled people who can’t meet with their friends often.


You do realise this is the status quo.


Phone-enforced mistyping, etc. is forgiven, but whilst I did understand your points, I still could not figure out what was actually intended by “deplantform”. I mean, he IS no better than a form of plant life - a pernicious, invasive weed - but I doubt that was your point.

ETA several hours later it may have dawned on me. De-platformed?


There’s also the uses and abuses of ubiquitous monopolistic platforms like PayPal which (on the surface) has nothing to do with free speech since it’s just moving money around, right? However, when applied punitively to groups or individuals becomes a way of stifling their abilities to operate online and be heard. Some cases in point: PayPal and credit card companies shutting down payments to Wikileaks - and PayPal closing and banning sex workers. Here’s a recent one:


Alternative because we never want to disenfranchise anyone…how about two extra votes for those of us who spend 0.0 percent of time on facebag, twatter or their successors.

“Benevolent tyrant” is of course an oxymoron, but you already know that.


Yes. I might have said benevolent dictator. :wink:


The manager of one of my kid’s sportsball teams tried to standardize on Facebook. The size of the “NOPE!” she received from parents was so big it had it’s own time zone.


Big picture: the idea of “freedom” in an environment that’s owned from top to bottom is a powder keg. On the one hand, agreed, yes, but, OTOH, rational people shouldn’t expect to find “freedom” or “public good” while staring into a device that was built in some factory by what amounts to modern-day slaves. That should be, like, uh, the first tip off.