The Ban

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The ban from Twitter heard (or not heard) round the world. An interesting case of “private” versus “public” property, business, and serving the public. Can we trust the ban from tech no matter where or who it is?

Parler, a “conservative” alternative to Facebook, is banned by Apple, Google, and Amazon. The reason, supposedly, is for the fact that there is no “moderation” of the site and the planning of the WA DC riot took place on this venue.

I have seen some of my friends talking about this stuff on social media and saying that such bans don’t violate the 1st Amendment and the Freedom of Speech because the clause specifically refers to protection from oppression of private citizens by the government. That is true.

But over the years, that protection has been expanded beyond just the government oppression of citizens and been used to protect lots of different situations where people were upset with something someone said. Protections was extended to protect what people say because of the “marketplace of ideas” concept.

So there are some real contradictions when you see a private business (whom obviously serves a wider audience than just the public or private citizen, AND us a publicly help corporation) decided who can and who can’t use their service. The issue become rather problematic when you start applying the standards to some, but not others.

A friend posted on Facebook the other day (in regards to Parler), “…They are all privately owned businesses who can do business with whomever they choose. Would you as a business owner,…, like to be ‘forced’ to do business with someone who didn’t match your companies [sic] values?…”

Apparently this justification of “freedom to do business with whomever I please” is appropriate to apply on some situations when it fits the liberal narrative, but not the conservative narrative.

A few situations come to mind:

  • Shall I be forced to create a flower arrangement or bake a cake for a same-sex union if it doesn’t fit with my company’s values?
  • Shall I be forced to pay for abortions or provide health coverage that includes the abortion pill if it doesn’t fit with my company’s values?

In the cases above, the government has forced people and companies to “serve the public” even though the people they were going to be forced to serve were clearly going to go against the company’s values. For all intents and purposes, the lawsuits filed against the owners of these companies were basically told they couldn’t discriminate against people who had different values than they did.

Isn’t that what we have going on here when we talk about banning a service that is used by people who differ in “values?”

Liberals and liberal companies discriminating against conservatives and conservative companies?

Clearly, when violence, threats of violence, or breaking the law is at the heart of the service being provided, then a company should be able to limit those who have violated “community standards.” Did the president do this? Maybe. But, did the vast majority of users on Parler do this? Likely not. We’re talking about a small portion of the community, but the whole community was punished.

The result is you appear to be silencing an entire group of people simply because you don’t agree with their perspective, their opinions, or their beliefs.

There is dangerous precedent in this.

The big deal here is that if it happens here, where else can it happen and who else or what else can they do?

Suppression

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Did you see that post from yesterday? The one where I asked people not to vote if…

I am guessing probably not.

Wonder why I ask? Because I believe WordPress is suppressing it.

I can’t think of any other reason why it wouldn’t have gotten at least five times as many views (I don’t ask for much, really). Honestly, wouldn’t people be interested just to see what it is about? I click on stuff to read all the time just because I wanna know what point of view the author is coming from, even if I don’t agree. Am I the only person who does this now? Do you only read the headline and move on without giving it even another thought or shred of curiousity?

As of this morning, it only had TWO views. Of those two views, none of them were from the Reader – those people (roughly, there is a lot of spam) who actually have followed the blog. There are no views on it today yet either.

I can only come to one conclusion…it’s being suppressed because it is telling people not to vote. Well, not exactly, but essentially that is the suggestion if you can’t meet certain qualifications, most of which are pretty straight-forward and common sense.

I guess asking for people who are educated, well informed, and have common sense to vote is wrong.

Interesting. How the politics of free speech play out on social media and other platforms, right?

Take down

woman in black long sleeve shirt and black pants sitting on brown wooden armchair

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I did something yesterday I thought I would never do, and I don’t know how I feel about it. It seemed necessary but I still question whether it was the right thing to do. I suppose it can be undone, but I am not sure how to do it so the same thing doesn’t happen.

I took down (as in deleted) a post I wrote on my other blog.

It was a pretty good post, at least I thought it was.

Apparently, other people thought so too, except for the wrong reasons.

It got some traffic after I wrote it two years ago, but not much. But I started noticing a lot of traffic to this particular post late last year. It was getting between 15-30 hits per month. I thought maybe it was because of the image. I could have been. I thought maybe it was because people were starting to make some logical sense of the topic, or maybe they just appreciated my take on the topic.

The last two months have had over a 100 and over 150 respectively. Hmmmm….

So, I Googled the title. It was third on the list of search results. Usually this would be a great thing and most of the time we would be flattered to be ranked so highly in a Google search because it means our writing is getting exposure. But…

That’s when I discovered that maybe the increase in traffic was because it had suddenly become the flash point, rallying cry, support, ammunition, (whatever you want to call it) for a group I have no association with, nor do I want to have. I don’t want to have something I have written be co-opted and used as propaganda to their “cause.”

I debated what I should do. How do I get it to NOT show up as part of the search for this group? Do I change the title? Would that help? Do I rewrite it so the phraseology changes the search algorithm? Do I remove the image or change it? Do I just put a disclaimer on it saying that I am in no way associated with or want to be associated with the group in the search results?

I finally decided to change the title first, but couldn’t come up with an equally good title. But, I did it anyway. I then updated and published it. Yeah, that didn’t/doesn’t seem to make a difference. It still shows up in the search results with the old title. It’s just when you click on the link that it takes you to the newly edited post. Doesn’t appear as though that would work.

So, I deleted it.

I searched again. Still there in the search results. Only now when you click on the title, it gives you a 404 error message…but if you click on the cached link, it still takes you to the post. UGH. Now what? I am not sure how long it will be there (or if it will ever go away).

I hate censoring myself in this manner, but I also don’t want something I wrote about historical matters to be used in the wrong way or by a group I don’t want to be associated with. Know what I mean?

Anyone have advice on this?

Musically debatable

black cassette tape on top of red and yellow surface

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The music industry is rather strange when it comes to censorship, or self-censorship.

One country group, Lady Antebellum, has decided that it’s name needs to be changed because of the offense it may cause. So they have now officially decided to go by Lady A instead their original name.

OK, I get it. That is their right and they are certainly being sensitive to the times and their fans (or potential fans). For them, it makes sense and I certainly won’t stop listening to them when they come on the radio because they decided to change their name.

The interesting thing about the music industry is that they seem to have a double standard when it comes to language. Musicians are now using explicit language in their music a lot more often than they used to.

It’s a strange trend, really, with the rise of streaming services and ways to get music delivered to you without having to purchase something the entire general public might listen to.

Regular old radio broadcasts never had such language or it was “bleeped” out. CDs eventually had the “explicit” label on the cover so people knew what they were buying. Streaming services today even let you filter your music so that you don’t have to play explicit songs on the stations you are listening to. All perfect examples of ways to make sure the public gets the music they want without having to listen to things they don’t want.

WHAT I DON’T GET

What I don’t get is how the music industry continues to allow artists to publish and distribute music with the N-WORD in it.

How is this still a thing if there is such a debate about the use of the word?

If nearly everyone finds it offensive and people are being publicly tarred and feathered on social media if they have ever uttered the word at some point in their past, then how are current artists still allowed to use it?

Certain genres even seem to thrive on the use of the N-WORD.

I’m not talking about artists from last decade or several decades ago (though they still seem to use it also). I am talking about current household names, modern, up-to-date, people who in certain settings object to the use of the word and then turn around and use it in their own music. Double standard much?

Why aren’t music studios taking a stand on this? Why aren’t streaming services taking a stand on this? Why aren’t artists calling out other artists for the use of the N-WORD? Why does the music industry continue to perpetuate the use of the word by continuing to allow it? Is it offensive or not?

Don’t even get into the whole “freedom of expression” or “artist’s voice” arguments. We all know of instances where freedom of expression has been suppressed and publicly shamed for a myriad of circumstances, so that doesn’t really apply. Right? Or is there a double standard in the music industry?

This is a subject I guess I’ll never understand.

 

 

Pardon me

book business calendar close up

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Pardon me, but your agenda is showing.

Some companies are good at hiding it. Others not so much. Some blatantly censor content (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube), some do not. Some quietly push a liberal agenda and some quietly push a conservative agenda (though this is becoming more rare).

If you take a look at the Discover feed, here on WordPress (parent company Automattic), you will see that over time their agenda is beginning to show. It isn’t about highlighting good content, though it may be to some, it’s about highlighting only one side of the content – that which fits their agenda.

Thus, I have found myself skipping Discover because there isn’t necessarily good writing or salient points of view, just agenda. A confirmation bias of politically correct, social “justice” agenda. I wanna see ALL points of view. I wanna see ALL manners of opinion. I wanna see an agenda-less feed of good writing, art, history, politics, food, humor, entertainment, DIY, outdoors, and hobbies.

Is that too much to ask?