Arbiters of Wider Communication

fanboat
What do you think of this whole youtube/apple/etc dropping alex jones?
As I understand it he’s terrible and probably a poison to modern democracy, but I think people are way too into jumping behind these companies in shutting him down while almost exclusively citing the argument that “they’re allowed to because it’s their platform”

P
Yeah that’s pretty much where I stand

fanboat
These big tech companies are more and more every day the gatekeepers of modern discourse. If you had a grievance against them then they’d have just as much of a right to shut you down, and your millions of youtube views would be reduced to ones of views of your projector in a free speech zone near city hall
I don’t suggest that they’re obligated to host Alex Jones’ content but I am uncomfortable with their influence and few else seem to be.

P
Yeah that’s what I was about to say. It’s very much not in the spirit of net neutrality. But the important difference (which I’m sure people will point out) is that these services are not literally the gatekeepers, unlike ISPs
They’re just gatekeepers by popularity

fanboat
Yeah people bring up the comparison to ISPs and I agree that’s only useful partially, it’s not a complete or totally fair comparison
but Bell corporation was only in control by popularity, too. Power begets power and control begets control. They’ll only become more influential and it’s easier than ever to convince congress that they don’t need to be regulated or require competition.
It’s just the state of the whole mess, not any particular thing, that I find alarming.
Plenty of devs or companies could make a platform better than youtube, at least in specific metrics. But no one will supplant them because they’re it, they’re the platform, they’re the place you go.

P
Yeah idk. I started typing out a long paragraph about how a lot of this stuff is new with the internet, but then I realized it’s really not that new. Centralized sources of information have been a thing for over a century, they’re just taking a slightly different form now

fanboat
Yeah. I suppose there’s probably a history of politically charged books being unsupported by the library system or something. I wonder if there’s much historical analogues like that
But people will immediately dismiss most of those due to the fact that this isn’t the government
It would need to be an issue of private control over a strong majority of information channels. I guess Bell was pretty close.
lol I commented it something about it on a thread where people post that free speech show-you-the-door xkcd comic that was mysteriously absent from the net neutrality debate

P
ugh
Even the mention of that comic annoys me

fanboat
lol

[….]

fanboat
It’s just more about the uh, the fundamental workings of what brings about the outcomes to me, I guess. This Alex Jones things is like, imagine if instead of him being taken off the platform, he was killed by a drunk driver. Similar outcome, right? The guy was making the world a worse place, hands down. He added nothing of value and made normal operation impossible for many instances of social interaction. So how can anyone sit here and say “it was wrong of that guy to drink and drive”?
Well, because it could have happened to any-damn-one else is why.
The big difference in this case being it was unintentional by the DD. In the real world it was done because it benefited shareholders and furthered corporate interests.

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