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World & Current Events > Conspiracy Theorists, Holocaust Deniers: Okay on Facebook/Twitter/YouTube? Free speech, hate speech, or ad money-maker?

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message 1: by Alex (last edited Jul 19, 2018 10:36PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Infowars is the main conspiracy theorist subject here.

I think that one of the misconceptions is conflating holocaust denial with a conspiracy theory.

I thought that this CNET article provided a broader view:

https://www.cnet.com/news/facebooks-i...

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl...


message 2: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Infowars should be banned, for the simple reason that, by spreading willfully misinformation, they often cause many people to mistrust/hate certain ethnic groups or types of people because they are made to believe via the misinformation that those ethnic groups/types of people did some misdeeds ('Jews did the 9/11 attacks', or 'no plane slammed into the Pentagon', or 'Obama was not an American-born citizen'). That misinformation amounts too often to 'incitement to hatred'. Why does Infowars and other groups do that? Simple: for money. The more audience they can capture with their loony tunes theory, the more publicity royalties they can collect. I have no patience for such misinformation sites and not much more patience for the gullible ones who believe their lies.


message 3: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13796 comments I think Facebook and others should take corporate stance and assume responsibility. You can't be a gigantic, omnipotent organization and pretend to be just a 'platform' that doesn't interfere with anything. Good for business, bad for business, there are things that are just more important than that. They should have better corporate policies.


message 4: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan From my POV, there are no 'dis-interested,' parties. Everyone has agendas. Anyone such as Zuckerberg with a big platform has an agenda and he's gonna play it out as best he can.

I don't pretend to know what his agendas are, but someone in his position says - 'We're just a platform," he's being disingenuous.


message 5: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) Graeme wrote: "From my POV, there are no 'dis-interested,' parties. Everyone has agendas. Anyone such as Zuckerberg with a big platform has an agenda and he's gonna play it out as best he can.

I don't pretend to..."


He's making money that's his only interest same with Google, Apple and Amazon everything else is just hot air. Social responsibility does not even rate a mention


message 6: by Holly (new)

Holly (goldikova) While I certainly have no interest in Infowars, their freedom of speech is a protected right. Anyone who would strip away the freedoms of another needs to be prepared to lose their own.


message 7: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin When that freedom of speech is used to incite hatred or hostility towards others, then those people should lose their right to freedom of speech, the same way that thieves and murderers lose their freedom because they committed a crime. No 'right' should be absolute and you should suffer the consequences of your acts.


message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9779 comments Freedom of speech is a right to be valued, but with it comes the obligation to be a reasonable citizen. In my opinion the best defence against the conspiracies, etc is to require evidence to back up claims that assert facts. We have to be very careful about imposing "consequences" because that is the first step towards totalitarian control.


message 9: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Hi Michel,

There is nothing within the concept of freedom of speech that implies a lack of accountability for what people say or write.

The two ideas, freedom and accountability are defined separately, but have a necessary relationship.


message 10: by Graeme (last edited Jul 20, 2018 04:04PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan First accountability:

If what you say or write causes a demonstrable harm, then you should be held accountable for causing that harm.

The test is "demonstrable harm."

We have laws for libel, slander, etc that cover this. There is the famous example of "Shouting FIRE! in a crowded theatre and causing a panic (when there is no fire)."

Clearly, that would cause harm as people get injured and killed in the ensuing crush at the exits.

While everyone is "free," to libel, slander and shout FIRE! in a crowded theater, that freedom does not mean that they are free from being held accountable for the consequences of their words.

(Aka: "This is Sparta!")


message 11: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Rights: My POV is this.

Human rights are an abstract, cultural concept, and the only reason we have them is because we define them, emotionally invest in them and take real actions to instantiate them in our lives.

They are not given by God, or the State. They occur because the people choose to live them in their lives, and they will persist as long as enough people continue to believe in them and live them out in their lives.

Now as a culture we have a choice. We EITHER define human rights as UNIVERSAL, i.e. everyone has them all the time, OR, they are LIMITED, i.e. sometimes you have a right and sometimes you don't.

If we determine that human rights are limited, then we have to determine who gets rights and who doesn't, where, when and why. Which is an absolute POWER transaction for whoever is doing the 'determination.'

That POWER will be fought over, because it's such a huge honey-pot for whoever has it, and you can guarantee that sooner of later someone you disagree with will have that POWER.

The only way to guarantee that you will always have rights is to ensure that rights are UNIVERSAL and while your culture lives, they can't be taken away from you.

For me Freedom of Speech is a UNIVERSAL right, not limited, but like all words and actions, bounded by accountability for causing harm.

I hope I've made my position clear.


message 12: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5532 comments Graeme said, "For me Freedom of Speech is a UNIVERSAL right, not limited, but like all words and actions, bounded by accountability for causing harm." I agree.


message 13: by Mike (new)

Mike Takac | 27 comments Graeme wrote: "Human rights are an abstract, cultural concept, and the only reason we have them is because we define them, emotionally invest in them and take real actions to instantiate ..."

Relative to the latest research on the science of rights, when this discovery (aka the physical constructal law) becomes part of science curricula will aid in the evolution of a civil society.
https://www.academia.edu/37021128/Sci...


message 14: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13796 comments Holly wrote: "While I certainly have no interest in Infowars, their freedom of speech is a protected right. Anyone who would strip away the freedoms of another needs to be prepared to lose their own."

Not sure it should be about a freedom of speech that much, as Facebook is a corporation and can have its stance and policies.. Not sure it's a sound analogy, but, for example, we see Apple with its closed IOS platform with access subject to Apple's scrutiny, or censorship if you may, while Android is open to anyone..
Or like here on Goodreads - they have rules, limiting what can or cannot be said: https://www.goodreads.com/about/terms


message 15: by Holly (new)

Holly (goldikova) Nik wrote: "Holly wrote: "While I certainly have no interest in Infowars, their freedom of speech is a protected right. Anyone who would strip away the freedoms of another needs to be prepared to lose their ow..."

Yeah, I was referring to a free society, not Facebook.

As I stated, people who would silence the words of others should know that their own voices will be silenced as well. Just a little consequence for those who favor censorship.......traffic flows both ways on that street.


message 16: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9779 comments I think any given platform has a right to make rules about what anyone can put on it. If you don't like the rules, find another platform. I think you have the right to freedom of speech, but you do not have the right to impose what you say on someone else's platform, especially when you know they do not agree. As an example, a platform advocating the giving up of smoking surely has a right to forbid tobacco ads, or statements the are the next best thing to ads.


message 17: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan A platform is like property, if the owner wants to ban something they can ban it. If someone is unhappy with a ban, they can go somewhere else, even if that is a street corner to express their message.

Can you imagine this site with unrestricted spamming?

Having orderly interactions with each other requires, rules, customs, traditions, i.e. a framework of shared expectations of how to behave in a given context, aka a culture.

Of course, any framework ** should be ** open to examination and questioning, and where there is strong enough agreement, modification.


message 18: by Graeme (last edited Jul 22, 2018 07:26PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Holly wrote: "As I stated, people who would silence the words of others should know that their own voices will be silenced as well. Just a little consequence for those who favor censorship.......traffic flows both ways on that street...."

Universal Freedom of Speech is Tyranny's kryptonite, by the same token, Censorship is the first tool (not the only tool) reached for by tyrants.

Of course, freedom of speech (as all actions) must be bounded by accountability for causing demonstrable harm.


message 19: by Mike (new)

Mike Takac | 27 comments Graeme wrote: "Universal Freedom of Speech is the Tyranny's kryptonite, by the same token, Censorship is the first tool (not the only tool) reached for by tyrants..."

In a civil society, one should ethically have respect for the individual. In a letter to H. Tiffany, April 4, 1819, Thomas Jefferson wrote:

“Of liberty then I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will: but rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights [“unalienable Rights”] of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’; because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.”


message 20: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments Fascinating discussion.

Free speech is an important thing, but so is the responsibility that comes with it. Clearly we won't all ever agree with each other about everything, but for me the line is drawn when harm occurs as a result of bad information promulgated by sites such as Infowars.

As someone working in mainstream health, this is something we see all too frequently. Much of it is due to unthinking 'sharing' of memes/videos and statements on social media. Frequently such misinformation is shared without people taking the time to check it.

Sometimes it's simply due to an inability to understand the principles behind it, or to wish to do so.

Liberty is terrific, but as others have said, with liberty comes great responsibility.


message 21: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5532 comments Mike quoted Jefferson: “Of liberty then I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will: but rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights [“unalienable Rights”] of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’; because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.” I think we're all in agreement.


message 22: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9779 comments It is all very well for Jefferson to have proclaimed equal rights [“unalienable Rights”] of others. Recall he kept quite a number of slaves, and apparently had coloured descendants.


message 23: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5532 comments I knew that was coming. I'd ask that you consider the quote itself.


message 24: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Ian wrote: "It is all very well for Jefferson to have proclaimed equal rights [“unalienable Rights”] of others. Recall he kept quite a number of slaves, and apparently had coloured descendants."

Indeed. Imagine if he'd freed the slaves at the point of Independence from England. Very different world going forward.


message 25: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Scout wrote: "I knew that was coming. I'd ask that you consider the quote itself."

The key is to never consider the messenger part of the message.

If Satan walked into a room and shouted, "The Sky is Blue!" Does it make sense to discount the message given the bearer or do we just check for ourselves the value of the message.

Jefferson makes a sound point. The fact he owned slaves is an unfortunate feature of the time and place in which he lived.


message 26: by Mike (new)

Mike Takac | 27 comments Ian wrote: "It is all very well for Jefferson to have proclaimed equal rights [“unalienable Rights”] of others. Recall he kept quite a number of slaves, and apparently had coloured descendants."

Good point Ian!

Unbeknownst to Jefferson, he discovered the constructal law from his celebrated claim of “unalienable Rights.” These innate rights have a one-to-one mapping to the constructal law (The Science of Rights).

It is true, during the period of the US founding Thomas Jefferson owned “slaves.” Slavery, along with the social standing of woman, and the treatment of indigenous tribes, etc., was part of the cultural reality of that time. Cultural norms do not change overnight. Applying the philosophy of natural law, the founders drafted a Constitutional design based on embracing unalienable rights. Over time, this design removed cultural ills as decreed by the omnipotent nature of the constructal law, the law of evolution. As a result, slavery, the treatment of women, conflict with indigenous tribes, and American culture itself evolved (and continues to evolve today), guided by our unalienable rights (aka the constructal law).

On the topic of slavery, we should not be so righteous! Perhaps, the clothes you wear were made in some foreign slave labor camp. We have sex slaves today coming across the US border. My friend, slavery is alive today throughout the world. Our tax system is a form of bondage to the government. For those who have a job, many are in bondage for a half a year to pay their taxes. And on that note, in time, the global society will evolved in the direction of civility as a function of the constructal law (aka “unalienable Rights”) moving humanity further from the Dark Ages. Thank you Thomas Jefferson!


message 27: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin To say that the tax system is a form of bondage to the government is a gross deformation and exageration, in my opinion. Slaves worked for no pay and zero benefits, apart from getting minimal food and lodging. We pay taxes and get in return all the public services (police, fire dept, sewage, water, etc.) we enjoy, plus a military force to defend us from assailants. That is not bondage: it is fair trade of money for services and protection.

I however agree that slavery still exist, both in its traditional form of forced, unpaid labor in certain countries of Africa and Asia, and (a lot more commonly) in the form of sexual slavery (child brides, imported sex workers, child and women trafficking, etc.).


message 28: by Mike (new)

Mike Takac | 27 comments Michel wrote: "To say that the tax system is a form of bondage to the government is a gross deformation and exageration, in my opinion. Slaves worked for no pay and zero benefits, apart from getting minimal food ..."

I support taxes for representation (police, fire, … military), however, taxes for no representation is in bondage to another by the tyranny of government.


message 29: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9779 comments Hey, I know Jefferson was a man of his time, as we are of ours. My point was that sometimes we don't always realise the consequences of some of the things we say. My personal view is the US is a lot better off for having Jefferson, although just possibly John Adams wouldn't agree completely.

Taxes are there to allow the government to do what it has been formed to do. Whether you support them or not depends on your personality. The argument that governments waste citizen's money cuts little ice with me. Yes they do, but from what i can make out, citizens waste an awful lot more. By and large, governments usually think what they are spending money on is worth while, and if it is not, it is the citizens obligation to speak up and show the politicians where what they are doing is wrong. Obviously on social welfare not everyone will agree, but if you believe in unalienable rights, I believe that extends to the community looking after those who were give a rough draw in the lottery of birth. It is not their fault their body doesn't work as well as it might. Some will disagree. So be it.


message 30: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5532 comments Thanks, Graeme, for seeing the truth in Jefferson's statement about liberty. Despite his personal faults, where would we be as a country without his great ability to speak what we all feel is the truth?


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