How Free Speech Withers Away

I’m a big advocate of freedom and free speech.  Whatever you have to say, offensive or inoffensive, intelligent or stupid, speculative or well researched, whatever it may be, people have a right to say it, to express themselves, to be themselves.  As easily as people are offended these days, I’m sick of these whiners wanting to ban everyone and everything.   I worry about free speech online, or at least on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and others.

More and more, we see social media giants programming filters into their systems which essentially block certain types of content.  It’s not hard for these filtering systems to be abused, and they already are being used as political weapons.  Employees within these tech companies have an agenda, banning, and teaching machine learning algorithms to filter the sorts of content they personally disagree with.  Also, we have whiny SJWs crying about everything, and corporations reacting to them, pulling their advertisements, and demonetizing content left and right.

Like take this next video.  It just makes me sad.  Project Veritas secretly recorded undercover interviews with Twitter engineers in bars and other places, and in them the engineers freely admit that they’re programming these filtering algorithms into Twitter’s systems.  Like for example, they talk about “shadow banning”.  When a person is shadow banned, they are still allowed to post on their account and everything looks normal, but nobody gets to see their content.  It’s an invisible stealth ban.  Similar tactics are used to ban or filter posts that aren’t liked by Twitter employees, etc. The tool was originally created to filter out Nigerian scammers and other things like that, but it’s increasingly being used as a political weapon.

For example, we meet one Twitter employee who doesn’t care for Trump; he uses the excuse that conservative content is “offensive”, so he’s been going around shadow banning conservative accounts.  Others are training machine learning algorithms to filter out posts from anyone who talks about Jesus, who has a cross on their page, who features an American flag, who has pictures of guns, or any of a number of things like that.  Right now it’s them, but who’s next?  When these Twitter employees are called out on it, they say, “Oh, that’s just to filter out bots and to keep the Russians from interfering with our election.  They’re all fake accounts created by the Russians to create false excitement for Trump.”

It’s strange looking at the folks actively dismantling free speech.  They’re just ordinary dudes from southern California.  They’re typical software engineers talking in that valley accent, “And then like, yeah.  Trump supporters and shit.  And conservatives.  Like, yeah, we totally assign numeric values to that shit.  Like if there’s a gun on the page that’s 1.5 points.  If there’s an American flag, that’s 5 points.  And like, you know, if the total is like, above a certain threshold, we total just like filter them out and shit.  They’re totally designated as a bot.”  Then he jokes to the girls there with him, “Lol.  You should totally be an engineer.” That’s how free-speech is destroyed; some bot tallying up everything you do, point by point, and filtering you based on some arbitrary standard, probably set by some social justice warrior hired by their corporate diversity officer there in the Valley.

If you watch the video, you’ll have the joy of encountering engineer who has made it his mission to remove “mean” people from their platform.   He’s creating a bot which analyzes the speech patterns of offensive, mean, disrespectful people, and then plans to unleash it on the entire Twitter community.  If you happen to use those speech patterns, poof, your posts disappear, or maybe they’re even secretly shadow banned.  Who can tell?

Having studied a lot of artificial intelligence, and realizing the difficulty in programming a bot that actually deeply understands speech (anyone heard of the Turing test?), I know such a system can’t possibly work well, no matter how well intentioned this engineer is.  It’s going to end up as this confusing filter that’s banning things left and right, and nobody even knows or understand why.  Posts just disappear, being secretly flagged by some ineffective bot.  What a mess.  The same thing is going on today on Youtube as videos are being flagged for demonetization and nobody understands how the system works.

This is why I hate centralization.  I wish everyone had their own websites and systems.  That’s how the internet was originally designed.  Instead we now have everyone using a handful of websites and systems, and this sort of stuff happens.

This is the current attack on free-speech.  We’ll try to share our opinions online, but artificial intelligence bots will be looking over everything we do, filtering out anything that doesn’t line up with the whatever narrative has been programmed into them;  alongside them will be the armies of do-gooders, the control-freaks, clicking away, training the machine-learning algorithms what’s “good” and what’s “bad”.  Don’t ever allow ideas like this on the platform!

Why can’t people watch what they want to watch?  Why can’t they read what they want to read?  Listen to what they want to listen to?  Why is this so difficult?  Freedom.  Just give people the freedom to choose.  You want to watch it, watch it.  Don’t want to watch it?  Don’t watch it.  Nobody’s forcing you to do anything.  Don’t like the content on someone’s Facebook page, their Twitter account, their Youtube channel?  Quit going to that page.  Quit being everyone’s nanny.  They don’t need you filtering “harmful” content from them.  Is it really that hard?  Just close the web-browser, hit the back button, go to some other page.  But no, not these people.  They have to ban it, filter it, they have to control everything.  They’re control freaks.

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