Wednesday, October 17

1) You're Confusing The First Amendment With The Fifth. 2) If You're Going To Do So, Opt For Silence.

"Reddit will not ban 'distasteful' content, chief executive says". October 17

THAT would be Reddit CEO Yishan Wong, who is described as a former Facebook engineer. The optimist in me had previously imagined that "former Facebook engineer" was mostly seen on autopsy reports as a contributing cause of death.

Oh well. Can we just note here that the distressing thing about the Michael Brutsch affair, which is, otherwise, just a marginally entertaining diversion for the First Amendment absolutist with a well-developed sense of poetic justice, has been the bullshit First Amendment defense? If you wanna defend the First Amendment, try telling the fucking truth:
"We also think that if someday, in the far future, we do become a universal platform for human discourse, it would not do if in our youth, we decided to censor things simply because they were distasteful."

Apart from the things you already censored when widespread public exposure--the sort of thing Free Speech is supposed to encourage--threatened your corporate asses? Oh, and:
However, Mr Wong - who used to be an engineer at Facebook - said the website would continue to enforce a policy to not allow "doxxing", a term given to the process of outing a member by posting personal details online.

"We will ban the posting of personal information, because it incites violence and harassment against specific individuals," Mr Wong said.

Some Speech is freer than others.

I know, I know, I'm hardly the first to revel in the hypocrisy. Reddit has bravely stood up for the integrity of the cow it milks, and fuck the people who own the pasture they're grazing it on. Its habitu├ęs defend the sacred right of anonymity--which ain't anywhere in the Bill of Rights, kids--without which they'd face consequences or something. As one prominent over-ripe juvenile just did.

From Wong's memo to the troops:
"We stand for free speech," he wrote. "This means we are not going to ban distasteful subreddits. We will not ban legal content even if we find it odious or if we personally condemn it. Not because that's the law in the United States - because as many people have pointed out, privately-owned forums are under no obligation to uphold it - but because we believe in that ideal independently, and that's what we want to promote on our platform.


"We are clarifying that now because in the past it wasn't clear, and (to be honest) in the past we were not completely independent and there were other pressures acting on reddit. Now it's just reddit, and we serve the community, we serve the ideals of free speech, and we hope to ultimately be a universal platform for human discourse (cat pictures are a form of discourse)."

The only possible sense in which some future world will be better off for free sharing of information is if that includes all types of information. And that includes identity. If you wanna defend a principle then live by it.

Also, sir, the only way to defend the First Amendment is to understand it. All content is legal. If you're simply the publisher, or the agitator, or the provocateur, then you've no First Amendment excuse for banning anything. Just potential legal fallout to protect the delicate tissues of your rectum from. You're not fighting for free speech. You're fighting for the scheme you came up with to make a buck off it. Otherwise you'd dig in your heels with Creepshow. This is the standard, and sad, libertoonian routine:  proclaim your undying support for absolute freedom, but don't return your Social Security checks.

And, y'know, if you really think this is a fight (or that yet another organization with corporate megalomania is going to remain "true" to its "values" when there's a breech in the vicinity of the bottom line), champion the right to privacy, in the Constitutional sense, and fund the fight against the sort of economic tyranny which allowed Mr. Brutsch's employer to fire him for exercising his God-given right to invade the privacy of young girls, and make anonymous racist comments because he found them amusing. And because you find them so uplifting to the Human Condition.

Oh, and above all: thanks for bravely making this stuff available on the internet. Dunno what I'd do without ya.


2 comments:

DWhite said...

Of course the 1st amendment only protects us from the government restricting speech, not corporations

R. Porrofatto said...

Its habitu├ęs defend the sacred right of anonymity--which ain't anywhere in the Bill of Rights, kids--without which they'd face consequences or something.
This. As the kids say. And...
You're not fighting for free speech. You're fighting for the scheme you came up with to make a buck off it.
This. And...
This is the standard, and sad, libertoonian routine: proclaim your undying support for absolute freedom, but don't return your Social Security checks.
This.
Oh fuck it. If I keep going I'll just quote the whole damn thing.