Twitter was going to ban conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Then Jack Dorsey intervened to save his account

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/09/03/twitter-was-going-to-ban-consp.html

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So basically twitter is run by goddamn Nazis. Even more schadenfreude to add onto my glad I never signed up there.

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Dorsey also tried to preserve the account well-known white nationalist and Nazi-lover (or, as the polite article puts it, “right-wing provocateur” – what a scamp!) Richard Spencer.

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I would boycott Twitter (not just for this, but for a lot of reasons), but I already am, sort of, having never had an account. Over to you, people who do use Twitter.

It mystifies me how addicted news people in particular are to this commercial product. And there’s only the one; if ever there was an age of Monopolies, we now live in it, where you get a monopoly, not after many decades of gradually overcoming all rivals, but right at once from the invention of a popular product.

It freaks me that everybody has just invented new verbs and everything, the silly-sounding term “tweet” now applied to the highest-level of quasi-official communications from heads of state. I just can’t imagine starting a sentence with the words “I tweeted…” with a straight face.

If the addicts cannot boycott, can they campaign or something? Have a day where nobody tweets anything except the words “Jack Dorsey should not protect Alex Jones. He is unworthy of protection.” Every hour on the hour. And no “re-tweets” no hashtags: make it so universal they are not needed to track that nearly everybody is doing it.

In the face of great concentrated power (Jack Dorsey, who controls a whole medium used by heads of state for communication) organization is the only answer that has ever worked. Twitter customers need to get organized and start subverting that power.

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when twitter started taking off in 2007 at least two companies moved to try and compete for the business space of twitter. pownce and plurk, each of which became live in early 2008. each had features which increased the social utility of the application over the original. however, within months of unveiling, pownce was bought by a larger company (six apart) which shuttered the service before themselves being purchased by an even larger company which forced them to focus almost entirely on the movable type brand. plurk is still in existence but iut never really caught on in the west. 70% of their subscribers are in taiwan and most of the rest are in japan and korea.

i liked plurk much better than twitter but i’m just one person.

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giphy%20(45)

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Thanks! About what I figured, that there were a few competitors that never took off. I think my point is made by the fact that you count as a deeply knowledgeable person to know those other two services ever existed.

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or dumb libertarians who don’t understand the whole point of being a rich libertarian ceo is a fiefdom where perky rules like free speech don’t apply

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I don’t know much about Alex Jones. He might be indefensible, but I’ll just put my thoughts here on the Big Picture and the mods can delete it if it breaks the rules, because whenever deplatforming comes up here on BoingBoing, it is almost always in the context of people or statements that cannot be defended, but the bloggers here are silent when defensible stuff gets deplatformed. The “argument from marginal cases”/“hard cases make bad law” thinking gets triggered, but we never get to talk about the bigger picture.

Freedom of expression is not just a legal concept, it is a cultural value that is vital to the survival of democracy. xkcd can be technically correct about a narrow legal issue that ignores democracy’s need for robust debate. Sure, your local grocery store doesn’t need to carry Playboy, Mayfair, or Fiesta, but when your grocer’s right to make that decision gets extrapolated to “let’s rid the world of nude pictures and sexual words one business at a time, one web domain at a time, one campus at a time, one domain registrar at a time, one planet at a time” it isn’t just about what xkcd is talking about anymore.

I remember that we used to say, if you don’t like what’s on a TV channel, change the channel or turn off the TV. In the internet age, clicking (or tapping) to something else is even easier. Isn’t it really “I don’t trust my neighbors?” when people start deplatforming? We want to limit our neighbors’ ability to access the messages of the crackpots. Guess what, some of them probably feel the same way about you and me and BoingBoing. Is this just to be about power and not principles?

Democracy means rule by the people and if we do not trust the people then what are we left with? The philosophical justification for democracy is that you can trust the people to do the right thing. If we no longer believe that then what? Boris Johnson–deplatform! Jeremy Corbyn, they say he is an antisemite–deplatform! I remember back when John McCain was running against Barack Obama, people pointed out that McCain never met a proposed airstrike that he didn’t like, war monger–deplatform! This is fun, we can go on all day.

Shall we all, Yanks and Brits just go back to a pre-Magna Carta situation and give up on democracy? I hear Charles is pretty progressive. /sarc

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Jack was just fine with banning other people from Twitter. The fact that he chose to go to bat for Jones suggests that he actually valued with this particular monster had to say.

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what a jackoff

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I’m not at surprised by news stations’ addiction to Twitter. It gives them worldwide reach without actually employing local journalists and the immediacy adds to the urgency required to maintain 24/7 rolling bollocks ‘news’ services on 30 minutes of new content each day.

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“Pownce and Plurk.” Sounds like the names of Malfoy’s bully-boys.

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To the surprise of nobody who has been following this, it turns out dorsey is a neo-nazi sympathiser and enabler.

Roger that!

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So did you have any suggestions on how to approach the paradox of tolerance or where you hoping that “in order to preserve democracy, we must make sure that people can talk about white genocide in every possible venue without the slightest hint of a repercussion” would be a slamdunk?

And if you didn’t know that about his beliefs, hey, guess what? Neither did I until just now! I looked at his wikipedia page. Took all of like, three seconds.

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Literally the only thing nudity and neo-facist conspiracy propaganda have in common is someone once tried to ban them. One point does not a strong analogy make. We fought and won the war for nudity. It’s innocuous, beautiful and harms no one. we’re allowed to feel differently about the latter…

…ok fine, they also start with “N,” so throw some flavorless herbs in that weak sauce…

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Your mind goes right to “white genocide.” Out of the millions of things people want to talk about, you focus on that. Why should that term be living rent-free in your mind any more than “gay frogs” or the price of tea and eggs in China?

That’s a key talking point of the white supremacist movement, that the “white” race is under attack by people of color, cultural marxists, SJW, and LBGQT people. It’s also, broadly speaking, not a thing that is actually happening - White straight christians are not being rounded up and shot, or being put into concentration camps (that’s actually a thing that has happened recently to Latino children at our southern border, though).

People like Bannon don’t get criticism for their views on taxes or trade (even if they’re wrong), they get criticism for spreading conspiracy theory laden lies. Everything they argue is really in service to spreading their lies about white genocide. It’s a long-standing tradition from the interwar period.

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Oooo, “neo-facist conspiracy propaganda” must have some wicked power. Maybe those teenagers who were stealing black cats to sacrifice on halloween were missing out on the real way to get that girl in their math class to go out with them. You seem to quaking in your boots that crackpot conspiracy theories will be so attractive and compelling if only people are exposed to them. I guess we should give up on democracy, then. The people are too stupid and gullible to govern themselves. /sarc

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We’re talking about Alex Jones, that’s one of the reasons people want him blocked from social media, not the price of tea or eggs in China.

Also I picked that rather than what he said about the victims of school shootings because that one is personally important to me, since the birth of non-white babies to white mothers is a central concern to the white genocide conspiracy and I am mixed race, so this conspiracy has a direct effect on how others perceive me and interact with me as a person in real life and online. it exacerbates the racism I already face and have faced since childhood.

Got any other neat tricks or did you want to address the paradox of tolerance now?

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