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Utopia Talk / Politics / Executive order to tackle Silicon valley
Tue Aug 13 15:22:49
White House drafting executive order to tackle Silicon Valley’s alleged anti-conservative bias

The White House is circulating drafts of a proposed executive order that would address allegations of anti-conservative bias by social media companies, according to a White House official and two other people familiar with the matter — a month after President Donald Trump pledged to explore "all regulatory and legislative solutions" on the issue.

None of the three would describe the contents of the order, which one person cautioned has already taken many different forms and remains in flux. But its existence, and the deliberations surrounding it, are evidence that the administration is taking a serious look at wielding the federal government’s power against Silicon Valley.

“If the internet is going to be presented as this egalitarian platform and most of Twitter is liberal cesspools of venom, then at least the president wants some fairness in the system,” the White House official said. “But look, we also think that social media plays a vital role. They have a vital role and an increasing responsibility to the culture that has helped make them so profitable and so prominent."

Two other people knowledgeable about the discussions also confirmed the existence of the draft order.

None of the three people could say what penalties, if any, the order would envision for companies deemed to be censoring political viewpoints. The order, which deals with other topics besides tech bias, is still in the early drafting stages and is not expected to be issued imminently.

"The President announced at this month’s social media summit that we were going to address this and the administration is exploring all policy solutions," a second White House official said Wednesday when asked about the draft order.

Accusations of anti-conservative bias have become a frequent rallying cry for Trump and his supporters, seizing on incidents in which tech platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube have banned people like InfoWars founder and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones or faced accusations of squelching posts by pro-Trump social media personalities Diamond and Silk.

The companies have denied the allegations of bias, though they say they have blocked or removed users who violate community standards policies. They have also faced complaints from liberal activists that they're too slow to remove hate speech, a category that some say includes Trump's own tweets.

The issue took center stage during a White House gathering in July in which Trump railed against censorship in front of a roomful of online conservative activists, and directed his administration to explore all “regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech and the free-speech rights of all Americans.” Just this week, Trump warned that he is “watching Google very closely,” citing the case of an engineer who has claimed the company fired him for his conservative views.

But the White House effort may be complicated by skepticism in some agencies involved in the discussions about tech policy. The Republicans at the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission have said publicly that they don’t see a role for their agencies in policing companies’ online content. The FCC and FTC have joined the Justice and Commerce departments in discussions about the potential bias crackdown.

“There’s very little in terms of direct regulation the federal government can do without congressional action, and frankly I think that’s a positive thing,” said John Morris, who handled internet policy issues at the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration before leaving in May.

He added: "Although the government may be able to support and assist online platforms’ efforts to reduce hate and violence online, the government should not try to impose speech regulations on private platforms. As politicians from both sides of the political spectrum have historically urged, the government should not be in the business of regulating speech."

One potential approach could involve using the government’s leverage over federal contractors, a tactic the Obama administration used to advance LGBT rights. A 2014 executive order prohibited federal contractors from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Trump earlier this year signed an executive order meant to promote free speech on college campuses by requiring schools to agree to promote free inquiry in order to receive federal research funding — something the schools were already supposed to do.

Concerns about harmful content online following last weekend's mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, could become part of the discussion around the draft order on tech bias. The suspected gunman has been linked to a racist manifesto that, shortly before the shooting, appeared on 8chan, a fringe website known as a hotbed of white supremacy. Online screeds tied to two other gunmen in mass shootings in California and New Zealand have also appeared on 8chan.

Trump said Monday that he wants the government to work with social media "to develop tools that can detect mass shooters before they strike,” and the White House has invited internet and technology companies for a discussion on violent online extremism with senior administration officials Friday.

The first White House official said the administration sees no conflict between demanding that online companies allow free speech while expecting them to scrutinize people for signs of violence.

“They have a role, if not a responsibility, to monitor the content on their sites to ensure that people aren’t threatened with violence or worse, and at the same time to provide a platform that protects and cherishes freedom and free speech, but at the same time does not allow it to descend into a platform for hate,” the first White House official said when asked about the draft executive order.

But the federal government’s options on combating online bias are limited by the First Amendment. Another obstacle is a provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which both protects online platforms from liability for content their users post and empowers the companies to remove content without fear of liability. That provision, Section 230, has increasingly come under fire from lawmakers of both parties frustrated with tech companies’ content moderation practices.

The administration could look to NTIA, the branch of the Commerce Department that handles communications policy, but that agency lacks regulatory authority and could simply convene interested parties to explore the issues.

And while the Justice Department has announced a sweeping antitrust review of whether tech giants are harming competition or stifling innovation, antitrust cases have not traditionally been used as tools to address complaints about online speech.

The prospects are also bleak at the independent agencies, the FCC and the FTC.

Section 230 doesn’t give the FCC a regulatory hook to act on, and the Republican commissioners who lead the agency have already taken a hard line against one major government effort to regulate broadband providers' conduct — the commission’s Obama-era net neutrality rules. And when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote an op-ed proposing the creation of “third-party bodies to set standards governing the distribution of harmful content,” Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr derided it as a plea for the government to police speech.

“Outsourcing censorship to the government is not just a bad idea, it would violate the First Amendment,” tweeted Carr, who is a Trump appointee. “I’m a no.”

Conservatives have also spent decades opposing any attempt to revive the FCC's old Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcasters to be balanced in their programming on controversial issues. "FCC bureaucrats can neither determine what is 'fair' nor enforce it," the Heritage Foundation said in 1993.

Republicans at the FTC, which punishes companies for unfair or deceptive acts, also have said they don’t see a role for the agency in policing allegations of social media bias.

During an FTC oversight hearing in the Senate last year, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) argued that a tech company could be considered “actively deceptive” if it appears to be a neutral public platform and then engages in censorship. But Republican Commissioner Noah Phillips said the FTC’s antitrust and consumer protection authorities are “not authorities to police the First Amendment itself.”

Tue Aug 13 15:27:29
Nobody should be surprised that the white House is considering blatantly unconstitutional executive orders. It's their specialty.
Tue Aug 13 15:40:33
”Somebody will say, 'Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.' These are foolish people." ~Trump
Tue Aug 13 17:57:56
Member Tue Aug 13 15:27:29
"Nobody should be surprised that the white House is considering blatantly unconstitutional executive orders. It's their specialty."

Maybe if it would help if you thought of it as speech control. Sorry, I mean speech safety.
Tue Aug 13 18:11:19
Do you get paid to be this retarded or have you truly devolved into subhuman intelligence?

2a: the right to bear arms (but not express banning of limiting this right)
1a: the express banning of government limiting legal speech (where illegal speech is expressly laid out in the law)

Either way, about as wrong as you can be.
Tue Aug 13 18:16:55

If you're going to be a semantic little shit about things, then the actual text of the First Amendment is "CONGRESS shall make no law"...

In any case, the doctrine of common carriers is well established in law, and there's no reason why major internet social media companies shouldn't be subject to the same duty to provide service as, say, telephone companies.
Tue Aug 13 18:22:42
Is "infringed" a weaker and more flexible word than "abridged"?

And is there a clause in the 1A defining illegal speech?
Tue Aug 13 18:24:04
"there's no reason why major internet social media companies shouldn't be subject to the same duty to provide service as, say, telephone companies."

This is where hood goes on a rant about how service providers are "more powerful and broad" than content providers, which is why net neutrality is not unconstitutional but content provider neutrality is. lulz
Tue Aug 13 18:33:16
The stupid just keeps on coming. Not only by suggesting that it's semantics to note established law (even ussc decisions), but also that the limitless nature of the internet is somehow equatable to very real infrastructure limitations on telephone wire.

I feel like I'm babysitting a 3 year old here.
Tue Aug 13 18:38:30
"And is there a clause in the 1A defining illegal speech?"

Established court precedent, retard.

"This is where hood goes on a rant"

Not at all. Common carrier has a specific definition as it pertains to telecommunications. There is literally nothing about social media that would bring them even close to common carrier.
Tue Aug 13 18:39:44
Yes, as we all know there are no infrastructure costs when it comes to the internet.

Funny how this so-called "limited nature of the internet" has nevertheless led to a small oligopoly of companies dominating the vast majority of all traffic on it.

Tue Aug 13 18:41:19
"Established court precedent, retard."

Ah. So not the amendment itself, as you first laid out.

"Common carrier has a specific definition"

In the 1A?
Tue Aug 13 19:05:06
"Yes, as we all know there are no infrastructure costs when it comes to the internet."

So you know that common carrier doesn't apply, nor would it ever logically apply.

"Ah. So not the amendment itself, as you first laid out."

The only kind of mind numbingly retarded "argument" available to you.

"In the 1A?"

What's that thing that's like a face palm but you instead slap the ever loving fuck out of someone else for being so stupid? The monty python fish slapping just doesn't go far enough here.
Tue Aug 13 19:05:40
Three not named people talking about a document with no details about what that document may or may not say.
We better get our panties in a bunch over this one!
Tue Aug 13 20:00:06
"The only kind of mind numbingly retarded "argument" available to you."

Look, you're the clown who wanted to call others retards and state what the amendments "expressly" do.

If what you meant to say is that a combination of amendments, federal code, and judicial and executive interpretation lay out such groundwork, feel free to amend (heh) it as such.
Wed Aug 14 02:07:22
You should look at this from a principle level, what the most basic components are and not dive into the jungle of laws, code and legal precedence.

Is it a good thing that a handful of corporations control the primary space where almost all political discourse is taking place? That one company and a proprietary and opaque algorithm controls the search results you get? These are issues unto themselves regardless of politics.
Wed Aug 14 11:55:25
Why would I look at this from a principle level, eschewing laws, code, and legal precedence, when the very nature of this discussion is spurred by an attempted legal action? It is extremely relevant to say "this shit that you're doing is blatantly illegal" when that shit is lawmaking in nature. Saying "bubububut the principle!!!" is not a good faith argument. It is throwing shit against the wall until something sticks, until a tiny foothold is gained, and thus victory can be claimed. It's tantamount to an evolution denier constantly bringing up corner cases, demanding that science provide a very specific explanation to each and every single case, until they reach a case not yet fully understood so that the denier can tell gotcha.

In a different discussion, one not prefaced with "Trump trying to circumvent the Constitution and Congress," I'd have this principled argument. In this discussion, Trump's actions will be blatantly illegal for whatever he proposes. And that is very relevant.
Fri Aug 16 14:58:31
Because slavery was legal and Abraham Lincoln trampled law, code and legal precedence to get rid of it. Because there are draconian laws on drug possession everywhere. History and the world is full of those instances and to solve complex problems you need to look at them from a principle level. For sure there is no in discussing something if we can't even agree there is a problem.

Nothing I asked really justified this tantrum you had. I told you months ago, I would rather social media got this act together without regulation. But at the same time I am aware how one side of this battle views the situation and that there is enough evidence to say that they have a point. A few corporations have full control of most speech and virtually all speech that matters and have an impact. The town hall, the town square, these place are nothing in comparison. That is a problem.
Fri Aug 16 15:15:11
Nim, you're trying to have an honest discussion. Look around at the people who inhabit this place. You're not going to get an honest discussion. Especially when the actual data concerning social networks indicate that they are heavily favored to conservative voices.
Fri Aug 16 16:32:30
I'd love to see some of that data.
Fri Aug 16 17:08:01
We talk with the people worth the time, we troll others and ignore some. It is what it is *shrugs* I consider you one of the first mentioned, for what it's worth.

I would also be interested in that data, considering all the data I see is that those hardest hit are right wingers and conservatives. And this bias really goes beyond just social media.


The days following two tragic mass shootings in Dayton, OH and El Paso, TX were extremely active for newsrooms nationwide. But readers who used Google to learn about the shootings may have seen an overwhelming majority of news from left-leaning media sources — CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post in particular — rather than a mix of news sources from the left, center, and right, according to a new audit by AllSides.

The audit was reviewed by a multipartisan team of individuals from the left and right. AllSides uses a multi-partisan, balanced, patented system for measuring bias.

AllSides assessed 522 news articles that were featured as one of the top three results in Google’s “Top Stories” section for 10 shooting-related queries over three days.

The audit found:

70% of results were from outlets that have an AllSides Media Bias Rating of Lean Left or Left.
18% of stories were from outlets that have a Center media bias.
4% of stories were from Lean Right or Right biased outlets.
8% of results came from outlets not rated by AllSides.

In addition, nearly half (46%) of results came from just three news websites. CNN (25%), the New York Times (14%) and the Washington Post (7%) appeared in the first three results of the “Top Stories” box most often.

In a time when people are worrying about foreign powers swaying elections. Who is worrying about the algorithms and the people who code it?
large member
Fri Aug 16 17:24:48
Sounds like CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times have paid for advertising.

But ultimately, may not the owner of a newsstand display papers as he wishes?
Fri Aug 16 17:34:41
Should we have antitrust laws and regulate anti-competitive behavior is that you question? Listen grampa, this ain't the news stand from your childhood, the world is different now. Go sit down before you faint.
Fri Aug 16 17:35:41
"We talk with the people worth the time, we troll others and ignore some. It is what it is *shrugs* I consider you one of the first mentioned, for what it's worth."

Sure. And I consider you a worthwhile discussion as well. I just don't find UP a worthwhile destination as a whole. Blame masochism or something for me still being here, but I find providing worthwhile contributions here to be fairly pointless. It's not worth the effort to honestly engage when trolly tards will dismiss it because their perception of reality is off-kilter.
Dickhead UPer
Fri Aug 16 17:42:40
Remember Ruggy is the champion of free speech....
large member
Fri Aug 16 17:42:48
Calm down, you silly goose.

The laws that regulate these things distinguish clearly between publisher and platform. The newstand analogy not only fits, it probably what the legislators were thinking of when they wrote the bills.
Fri Aug 16 17:49:37
In other threads I have opted for large asteroid as preferred choice.
I think large EMP event might be the answer to this problem. Naturally occurring of course not calling for some kind of attack.
Fri Aug 16 17:50:23
Fair enough.

The laws the regulate these things are not up to speed. The democratic process is slow and sluggish by design, releasing software updates is not. At the rate of innovation your argument is, muh second amendment!
Fri Aug 16 17:57:36
Or, public domain. In Sweden we have something called "allemansrätt".

In Sweden allemansrätten (lit. "the everyman's right") is a freedom granted by the Constitution of Sweden. Since 1994 the Instrument of Government says that notwithstanding the right to own property "everyone shall have access to nature in accordance with allemansrätten".[10] What this means is not further explicated on in the constitution, and only sparsely in other legislation.[11] In practice, allemansrätten is defined as actions that are not crimes, will not make a person liable to pay damages, nor can be prohibited by any authority.[12] As in other Nordic countries, the Swedish right to roam comes with an equal emphasis being placed upon the responsibility to look after the countryside; the maxim is "do not disturb, do not destroy".


If social media companies apply the laws that are in place for speech and not make up their own, this would not be an issue.
Sat Aug 17 09:17:07
Hood's lack of self-awareness is so stupendous that it's actually kind of shocking.

I can't even begin to count how many threads I've seen where he immediately resorts to insults and put-downs. Oftentimes his very first post a thread will consist of calling someone or something retarded/idiotic/a leaking vagina/etc. He never offers anything of substance and never backs up his assertions.

Just look at his second post here. "Do you get paid to be this retarded or have you truly devolved into subhuman intelligence?" High-quality argument, right there.

No one here takes him seriously because he's not a serious poster. He's a troll, and a bad one at that.
Sat Aug 17 09:33:33
Anyway, given that up until a week ago Hood believed that the CEO of Twitter was a Republican and that he was someone who was not Jack Dorsey, it's abundantly clear that he's completely ill-informed on the issue of social media companies and internet censorship. Keep that in mind when he makes claims like "actual data concerning social networks indicate that they are heavily favored to conservative voices." I'd ask for a link on that, but I'm not holding my breath.
Sat Aug 17 09:37:58
LoL, the metrics which social media companies use to judge success massively favors conservatives. It's all about "engagement" which is drawing people with poor mental filters into a deeper and deeper hall of extremist conspiracy theories.

You can google plenty of articles about it, but I bet you never take iniative and just go to the same dumbass websites which lead you down the same far-right rabbit hole over and over and over again until your mind is gone.
Sat Aug 17 09:50:53

Wrong. I actually did attempt to search for claims that social media companies actually favor conservative voices. What I found are studies by Media Matters (a progressive organization, btw) which determined that conservative channels tend to have equal or higher viewer counts on their posts/videos than liberal channels.

Which, fair enough. Conservative ideas are popular, and people want to see them.

What those studies did not look at was the issue of bans, shadowbans, suspensions, post removals, and demonitizations of conservative users, which is the whole basis for the "social media is biased against conservatives" argument. Conservatives may not have an issue getting views on the videos/posts that are allowed to stay up, but that's rather useless if you're not allowed to express your opinion in the first place.

In short, you are literally failing to debate the point here.
Sat Aug 17 10:01:07
"Hood's lack of self-awareness is so stupendous that it's actually kind of shocking."


"waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah he's calling me bad names instead trying to argue honestly when all I do is call people bad names anyway."

Yeah, not interested. If basement-dweller-IQ twatwaffles like yourself had anything of substance to say instead of just insults combined with "bububububut victimization!" it might make for real discussions.

"I'd ask for a link on that, but I'm not holding my breath."

No, please do. Keep on holding it, don't mind that blue in your cheeks. Nazis look good in blue too, so I hear.
Sat Aug 17 10:03:37
Great rebuttal.
Sat Aug 17 10:06:41
I can hold my breath for a long time I've practiced for many years with all the cocks I've handled
Memory Lane
Sat Aug 17 10:07:37
Remember when Rugian wanted to ban free speech on UP? Good times.
Sat Aug 17 13:08:57
If by favor we mean they get alot of hits, it depends, on youtube this is true because youtube is popular among rightwingers and men. So the user base is majority male and rightwingers. Twitter is dominated by blue check marks mostly journalists, left wing journalists. The make up of the community is immaterial to the issue. I mean for all I know google does may not really like that about youtube and wants to steer it in another direction.

In general they seem to want to steer it away abit from politics in general. So the algorithm update now ranks news and political commentary lower. That is probably good, an artificial bubble where news begets news that begets news. All bad news mind you, fear mongering opinion pieces left and right, not healthy. But in addition the update slaughtered independent sources LEFT and RIGHT in favor of main stream corporate news.

I think that is important for the rightwing/conservative posters to see, this is largely an issue of corporate fuckery. One big corporation is giving other big corporations a reach around. Having said that, the bias that does exist in silicon valley will and does punish right wingers more. Because rightwing and conservative opinions goes against the sensibilities of socially liberal individuals that form the majority of these companies.

So when the community rules with the goal of being inclusive to all (maximize user base) forbids ”misgendering”, it isn’t obvious to them that this stakes a position against the conservative view that there are only 2 genders.

When the google algorithm ranks liberal outlets over conservative ones on mass shootings searches, it stakes a position against pro gun ownership and conservative voices and narrative.

When youtube (majority rightwingers and popular) community rules by default demonetizes >any and all< videos on mass shootings and gun nerd videos, that is staking a position against.. well you get the point.

I think this is a tough one, I usually believe ”muh private ownership”, but there are many areas I have already made concessions on this. Universal health care for instance, something progressives/liberals should keep in mind. That will require essentially the destruction of most of the private insurance industry. Maybe a political bargain can be struck, universal health care for social media under public domain.

Anarchist Prime
Mon Aug 19 12:03:02
Latest 'Google Whistleblower' To Prove Anti-Conservative Bias Doesn't Prove Anything And Appears To Be Bigoted Conspiracy Theorist

State Department
Mon Aug 19 21:35:51
Bond villain Max Zorin had the right kind of plans, schemes, and frankly, machinations, for dealing with Silicon Valley.
Wed Aug 21 01:25:45
There really is no legitimate right-wing journalism anymore in the US. They simply lie to much. Nimatzo would know this from going to their websites often. Which "independent" right-wing site claims climate change as real?

In the UK and European states, the consensus is so great that some of the far-right sites do accept climate change as real but the US is full of idiots.

This is but one example. It shouldn't matter where you get your news. Facts are facts.

Now cue Nim talking about misgendering which nobody gives a shit about except the far right.
Wed Aug 21 07:29:17

Investigation by a private law firm headed by a former Republican senator finds no evidence of bias against right wing ideology or Republicans on Facebook, despite a heavy bent in surveyed people perceiving such a bias.

So Google doesn't do it, Facebook doesn't do it... Do we even need to look at Twitter? Seems like the evidence is in.
Wed Aug 21 09:30:06
That is not what the report says at all, in fact I don't even know what it says or what values it has, to call it an "audit" is laughable.

This is a worse hatched job than gizmodo did on the google memo.

No data analysis, nothing of the sort, which they don't set out to do, just gather complaints, some of them reasonable, like the Facebook reliance on leftwing fact checkers and hate group designators.

I implore you to read it and explain to me, someone who has done audits, how you audit something without clear criteria to verify against? What are the criteria this audit has been conducted against? How do you audit something without full transparency. If I go to a factory to preform an audit against the EU Construction Products regulation, I get full access to all the relevant documents. Who audited the Facebook algorithm?
Wed Aug 21 10:38:38
It's an initial report of findings, not the full scope of their investigation.
Wed Aug 21 11:38:31
Ok, sounds good.

So far:

"As our discussions with Facebook progressed, Facebook identified some areas where it could make progress or commit to changes immediately."

One of such points being:

Ensuring Oversight Board viewpoint diversity:
A majority of our interviewees were concerned that Facebook employees—many of whom reside in Silicon Valley—hold left-of-center viewpoints that impact the creation and implementation of content policies
and algorithms. Recognizing this, Facebook has said that it will ensure that its oversight board represents a diverse range of intellectual viewpoints, as one mechanism for
providing an external check on any biases that may be present internally at Facebook.


This policy resulted in the rejection of pro-life ads focused on survival stories of infants born before full-term. Facebook has adjusted its enforcement of this policy to
focus on prohibiting ads only when the ad shows someone in visible pain or distress or where blood and bruising is visible.

So, it will be interesting to read the full report, concluding it failed to find anything, is a bit premature wouldn't you say? Especially when it concludes:

"Indeed, conservatives consistently expressed the view that, while platform users should be protected from harm, no one has a right to not feel offended or to be immune from criticism. Facebook has recognized the importance of
our assessment and has taken some steps to address the concerns we uncovered. But there is still significant work to be done to satisfy the concerns we heard from conservatives."

I think everyone should read the changes and commitments facebook has agreed to do. Many are about transparency, which is good for everyone, not just conservatives and will act to unravel false beliefs about bias in Facebook. If the idea is that these companies are, in a systematic way, "out to get" right wingers and conservatives, I don't believe that is true.
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