In this article “The US Capitol riot risks supercharging a new age of political repression“, the case is made that repression is endemic on all sides. Biden could be worse in this respect and I hope that does not come to pass.
While I disagree with those that say the capital event was only a ‘simple’ riot by well meaning persons, I think it is a far stretch to believe that it is rooted an “heavily organized” domestic terrorist or insurrectionist groups. That in itself is yet another baseless conspiracy theory. On the contrary, I think it is the result of the cult like Trump personality fueled by out of control conspiracy theories all enabled by an out of control and heavily concentrated social media industry.
I am not sure of the solution, but repression of voices is certainly not the way.
Jack Dorsey stated the Trump ban was the right decision, but sets a dangerous president
I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here. After a clear warning we’d take this action, we made a decision with the best information we had based on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter. Was this correct?. I believe this was the right decision for Twitter. We faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety. Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all. That said, having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications. While there are clear and obvious exceptions, I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation. And a time for us to reflect on our operations and the environment around us. Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation. They divide us. They limit the potential for clarification, redemption, and learning. And sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.
(Too bad Jack couldn’t focus his 13 tweet thread and had to plug bitcoin.)
We have a real dilemma facing us in the US. We have the ongoing abuse of the Patriot Act by all parties, an out of control and high concentrated social media industry, and whack job conspiracists abusing it all.
Trump was a master at Twitter no doubt. The question is whether Biden will be a master at repression. While I have no love for Trump and his ilk, I have more disdain for those that seek to repress free speech and the right to protest injustice.
I many respects, social media’s focus on “scale at all costs” is at the root of the problem. I doubt moderation of the conversation at existing social media companies will work and in fact will, more than likely, backfire. The sheer scale these companies makes tweets/stories go viral at incredible speeds whether baseless or not.
All this lends credence to the arguments I made numerous times: these companies are monopolists. And as the economic downside of monopolies has been documented throughout history, what is new and what we are learning, is the downside of social media concentration.
Perhaps breakup the big social media companies and have a set of open smaller ones. It is better than repression any day and may work better than any Section 230 rule change.