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Westlake Legal Group > Censorship

TikTok Blocks Teen Who Posted About China’s Detention Camps

Westlake Legal Group 26tiktok-facebookJumbo TikTok Blocks Teen Who Posted About China’s Detention Camps Uighurs (Chinese Ethnic Group) TikTok (ByteDance) Social Media China Censorship

SHANGHAI — The teenage girl, pink eyelash curler in hand, begins her video innocently: “Hi, guys. I’m going to teach you guys how to get long lashes.”

After a few seconds, she asks viewers to put down their curlers. “Use your phone that you’re using right now to search up what’s happening in China, how they’re getting concentration camps, throwing innocent Muslims in there,” she says.

The sly bait-and-switch puts a serious topic — the mass detentions of minority Muslims in northwest China — in front of an audience that might not have known about it before. The 40-second clip has amassed more than 498,000 likes on TikTok, a social platform where the users skew young and the videos skew silly.

But the video’s creator, Feroza Aziz, said this week that TikTok had suspended her account after she posted the clip. That added to a widespread fear about the platform: that its owner, the Chinese social media giant ByteDance, censors or punishes videos that China’s government might not like.

A ByteDance spokesman, Josh Gartner, said Ms. Aziz had been blocked from her TikTok account because she used a previous account to post a video that contained an image of Osama bin Laden. This violated TikTok’s policies against terrorist content, Mr. Gartner said, which is why the platform banned both her account and the devices from which she was posting.

“If she tries to use the device that she used last time, she will probably have a problem,” Mr. Gartner said.

Ms. Aziz, a 17-year-old Muslim high school student in New Jersey, told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday that this was not the first time TikTok had taken down her account or removed her videos in which she talked about her religion. She did not respond to The New York Times’s requests to comment on the specifics of her situation.

In recent months, United States lawmakers have expressed concerns that TikTok censors video content at Beijing’s behest and shares user data with the Chinese authorities.

The head of TikTok, Alex Zhu, denied those accusations in an interview with The Times this month. Mr. Zhu said that Chinese regulators did not influence TikTok in any way, and that even ByteDance could not control TikTok’s policies for managing video content in the United States.

But episodes such as Ms. Aziz’s show how difficult it might be for TikTok to escape the fog of suspicion that surrounds it and other Chinese tech companies.

China’s government rigidly controls the internet within the nation’s borders. It exerts influence, sometimes subtly, over the activities of private businesses. The concern is that, when companies like ByteDance and the telecom equipment maker Huawei expand overseas, Beijing’s long arm follows them.

China would certainly prefer that the world did not talk about its clampdown on Muslims. Over the past few years, the government has corralled as many as one million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps and prisons.

Chinese leaders have presented their efforts as a mild and benevolent campaign to fight Islamic extremism. But internal Communist Party documents reported by The Times this month provided an inside glimpse at the crackdown and confirmed its coercive nature.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington that the documents showed “brutal detention and systematic repression” of Uighurs and called on China to immediately release those who were detained.

Davey Alba contributed reporting from New York and Edward Wong from Austin, Texas.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

TikTok Blocks Teen Who Posted About China’s Detention Camps

Westlake Legal Group 26tiktok-facebookJumbo TikTok Blocks Teen Who Posted About China’s Detention Camps Uighurs (Chinese Ethnic Group) TikTok (ByteDance) Social Media China Censorship

SHANGHAI — The teenage girl, pink eyelash curler in hand, begins her video innocently: “Hi, guys. I’m going to teach you guys how to get long lashes.”

After a few seconds, she asks viewers to put down their curlers. “Use your phone that you’re using right now to search up what’s happening in China, how they’re getting concentration camps, throwing innocent Muslims in there,” she says.

The sly bait-and-switch puts a serious topic — the mass detentions of minority Muslims in northwest China — in front of an audience that might not have known about it before. The 40-second clip has amassed more than 498,000 likes on TikTok, a social platform where the users skew young and the videos skew silly.

But the video’s creator, Feroza Aziz, said this week that TikTok had suspended her account after she posted the clip. That added to a widespread fear about the platform: that its owner, the Chinese social media giant ByteDance, censors or punishes videos that China’s government might not like.

A ByteDance spokesman, Josh Gartner, said Ms. Aziz had been blocked from her TikTok account because she used a previous account to post a video that contained an image of Osama bin Laden. This violated TikTok’s policies against terrorist content, Mr. Gartner said, which is why the platform banned both her account and the devices from which she was posting.

“If she tries to use the device that she used last time, she will probably have a problem,” Mr. Gartner said.

Ms. Aziz, a 17-year-old Muslim high school student in New Jersey, told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday that this was not the first time TikTok had taken down her account or removed her videos in which she talked about her religion. She did not respond to The New York Times’s requests to comment on the specifics of her situation.

In recent months, United States lawmakers have expressed concerns that TikTok censors video content at Beijing’s behest and shares user data with the Chinese authorities.

The head of TikTok, Alex Zhu, denied those accusations in an interview with The Times this month. Mr. Zhu said that Chinese regulators did not influence TikTok in any way, and that even ByteDance could not control TikTok’s policies for managing video content in the United States.

But episodes such as Ms. Aziz’s show how difficult it might be for TikTok to escape the fog of suspicion that surrounds it and other Chinese tech companies.

China’s government rigidly controls the internet within the nation’s borders. It exerts influence, sometimes subtly, over the activities of private businesses. The concern is that, when companies like ByteDance and the telecom equipment maker Huawei expand overseas, Beijing’s long arm follows them.

China would certainly prefer that the world did not talk about its clampdown on Muslims. Over the past few years, the government has corralled as many as one million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps and prisons.

Chinese leaders have presented their efforts as a mild and benevolent campaign to fight Islamic extremism. But internal Communist Party documents reported by The Times this month provided an inside glimpse at the crackdown and confirmed its coercive nature.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington that the documents showed “brutal detention and systematic repression” of Uighurs and called on China to immediately release those who were detained.

Davey Alba contributed reporting from New York and Edward Wong from Austin, Texas.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

TikTok Blocks Teen Who Posted About China’s Detention Camps

Westlake Legal Group 26tiktok-facebookJumbo TikTok Blocks Teen Who Posted About China’s Detention Camps Uighurs (Chinese Ethnic Group) TikTok (ByteDance) Social Media China Censorship

SHANGHAI — The teenage girl, pink eyelash curler in hand, begins her video innocently: “Hi, guys. I’m going to teach you guys how to get long lashes.”

After a few seconds, she asks viewers to put down their curlers. “Use your phone that you’re using right now to search up what’s happening in China, how they’re getting concentration camps, throwing innocent Muslims in there,” she says.

The sly bait-and-switch puts a serious topic — the mass detentions of minority Muslims in northwest China — in front of an audience that might not have known about it before. The 40-second clip has amassed more than 498,000 likes on TikTok, a social platform where the users skew young and the videos skew silly.

But the video’s creator, Feroza Aziz, said this week that TikTok had suspended her account after she posted the clip. That added to a widespread fear about the platform: that its owner, the Chinese social media giant ByteDance, censors or punishes videos that China’s government might not like.

A ByteDance spokesman, Josh Gartner, said Ms. Aziz had been blocked from her TikTok account because she used a previous account to post a video that contained an image of Osama bin Laden. This violated TikTok’s policies against terrorist content, Mr. Gartner said, which is why the platform banned both her account and the devices from which she was posting.

“If she tries to use the device that she used last time, she will probably have a problem,” Mr. Gartner said.

Ms. Aziz, a 17-year-old Muslim high school student in New Jersey, told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday that this was not the first time TikTok had taken down her account or removed her videos in which she talked about her religion. She did not respond to The New York Times’s requests to comment on the specifics of her situation.

In recent months, United States lawmakers have expressed concerns that TikTok censors video content at Beijing’s behest and shares user data with the Chinese authorities.

The head of TikTok, Alex Zhu, denied those accusations in an interview with The Times this month. Mr. Zhu said that Chinese regulators did not influence TikTok in any way, and that even ByteDance could not control TikTok’s policies for managing video content in the United States.

But episodes such as Ms. Aziz’s show how difficult it might be for TikTok to escape the fog of suspicion that surrounds it and other Chinese tech companies.

China’s government rigidly controls the internet within the nation’s borders. It exerts influence, sometimes subtly, over the activities of private businesses. The concern is that, when companies like ByteDance and the telecom equipment maker Huawei expand overseas, Beijing’s long arm follows them.

China would certainly prefer that the world did not talk about its clampdown on Muslims. Over the past few years, the government has corralled as many as one million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps and prisons.

Chinese leaders have presented their efforts as a mild and benevolent campaign to fight Islamic extremism. But internal Communist Party documents reported by The Times this month provided an inside glimpse at the crackdown and confirmed its coercive nature.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington that the documents showed “brutal detention and systematic repression” of Uighurs and called on China to immediately release those who were detained.

Davey Alba contributed reporting from New York and Edward Wong from Austin, Texas.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Majority of Millennials Want First Amendment Rewritten to Curb “Hate Speech”

Westlake Legal Group conservatives-silenced-620x326 Majority of Millennials Want First Amendment Rewritten to Curb “Hate Speech” Politics millennials Front Page Stories Free Speech First Amendment Featured Story Constitution Censorship Allow Media Exception

A new poll found that a majority of millennials want the moral equivalent of eating a Tide pod.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the Campaign for Free Speech found that just over half of Millennials felt that the First Amendment — your right to free speech — should be altered a bit so that “hate speech” is punishable by law:

More than 60 percent of Americans agree on restricting speech in some way, while a slim majority, 51 percent, want to see the First Amendment rewritten to “reflect the cultural norms of today.” The Campaign for Free Speech, which conducted the survey, said the results “indicate free speech is under more threat than previously believed.”

“The findings are frankly extraordinary,” executive director Bob Lystad told the Washington Free Beacon. “Our free speech rights and our free press rights have evolved well over 200 years, and people now seem to be rethinking them.”

Millennials seem to believe that the Constitution “goes too far” when it comes to allowing certain kinds of speech, and over half believe jail time is a proper punishment for speaking out of line:

Nearly 60 percent of Millennials—respondents between the ages of 21 and 38—agreed that the Constitution “goes too far in allowing hate speech in modern America” and should be rewritten, compared to 48 percent of Gen Xers and 47 percent of Baby Boomers. A majority of Millennials also supported laws that would make “hate speech” a crime—of those supporters, 54 percent said violators should face jail time.

If I had a week I couldn’t tell you all the reasons why this is a bad idea, and I’ll keep it to the main point as much as possible.

Too many in my generation seem to not only have little in the way of foresight, but they also can’t seem to see what’s happening right under their nose. What is and isn’t considered to be taboo, hateful, or non-PC has changed so many times throughout the last decade that they’ve likely forgotten more things they were outraged about than they think.

People just living their lives are suddenly guilty of things like cultural appropriation, homophobia, transphobia and more. A person simply stating that a man isn’t a woman is suddenly suspended from social media platforms, and if the mob is willing enough, he may even lose his job.

These are very recent occurrences and all of them have been labeled hate speech at one point or another.

I can’t trust that the public can even define what hate speech is, and I’m not sure I ever will. The term is so nebulous and it shifts from one thing to another almost by the month. They want to ban hate speech, but I doubt that any of them can actually tell me what it is, and even if they good, I’m willing to bet that they only want those rules to apply to certain kinds of people in certain kinds of situations.

You can get a glimpse of this very thing during Steven Crowder’s “Change My Mind” video surrounding hate speech. Many seemed to know what hate speech was until they were asked to really define it. Many seemed to think that things like racist or homophobic speech really did equate to violence.

Racist and homophobic speech occurs every day, and likely more often than people think. I see more racism and sexism against white men in the mainstream media itself. I doubt many of these people would even stop to consider that racist and sexist because they don’t consider it racist or sexist to talk about how horrible white men are. Herein lies my point.

They can’t seem to define it and they’d certainly be unwilling to apply the rules across the board. What’s more, what is considered “hate speech” changes with the wind, and before you know it, you may very well be caught in a legal proceeding because you said something that qualifies as “hate speech” on Wednesday that didn’t apply on Tuesday.

The First Amendment is fine how it is.

The post Majority of Millennials Want First Amendment Rewritten to Curb “Hate Speech” appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group conservatives-silenced-300x158 Majority of Millennials Want First Amendment Rewritten to Curb “Hate Speech” Politics millennials Front Page Stories Free Speech First Amendment Featured Story Constitution Censorship Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

NBA Legend Speaks Out for Free Speech and American Values In Midst of China Controversy

Westlake Legal Group AP_16298608286362 NBA Legend Speaks Out for Free Speech and American Values In Midst of China Controversy Sports shaquille o'neal NBA Human Rights Hong Kong Front Page Stories Front Page Free Speech Featured Story Featured Post China Censorship Allow Media Exception

FILE – In this Sept. 9, 2016, file photo, basketball Hall of Fame inductee Shaquille O’Neal speaks during induction ceremonies in Springfield, Mass. Krispy Kreme announced on Oct. 24, 2016, that O’Neal is now a part-owner of one of the company’s locations in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

NBA officials and players have either seemed supportive of China or refused to comment over the controversy involving free speech, supporting Hong Kong protesters and the oppression by the Chinese Communist government.

Big names like Lebron James even attacked Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for daring to be supportive of the protesters and kicking off the controversy in tweeting that support.

But there is one big name who isn’t kowtowing. Perhaps because he’s so big he doesn’t have to kowtow to anyone.

Legendary great Shaquille O’Neal spoke out and wasn’t afraid to be supportive of Morey.

From CNBC:

“Daryl Morey was right. Whenever you see something wrong going on anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say, ‘That’s not right.’ And that’s what he did. But again, sometimes in business you have to tiptoe around things,” O’Neal, a former NBA center, said Tuesday night.

“They understand our values, we understand their values. And here, we have the right to speak, especially with social media. We’re going to say whatever we want to say whenever we want to say it,” said O’Neal, who was speaking on TNT’s pregame show before NBA opened its regular season with a game between the Toronto Raptors and New Orleans Pelicans.

While the NBA has bent over a lot, they didn’t do one thing that the Chinese asked and that was fire Daryl Morey. If Morey had been canned for expressing his opinion, the NBA must have known the anger of the fans could not be contained.

Commissioner Adam Silver admitted the NBA has taken a big financial hit because of the controversy, with some of the pregames and Tuesday’s opening games not being televised in China.

Last week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver admitted that the league suffered “substantial” financial losses as the rift intensified. The NBA’s salary cap also could suffer if the losses continue, two league executives told CNBC.

“I don’t know where we go from here,” Silver said at an event hosted by Time magazine in New York. “The financial consequences have been and may continue to be fairly dramatic.”

Shaq said that the Chinese are just going to have to deal with it.

“We as American people, we do a lot of business in China, and they know and understand our values, and we understand their values. And one of our best values here in America is free speech,” O’Neal said. “We’ re allowed to say what we want to say, and we’re allowed to speak up about injustices, and that’s just how it goes. And if people don’t understand that, that’s just something they have to deal with it.”

Amen, Shaq!

The post NBA Legend Speaks Out for Free Speech and American Values In Midst of China Controversy appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group AP_16298608286362-300x179 NBA Legend Speaks Out for Free Speech and American Values In Midst of China Controversy Sports shaquille o'neal NBA Human Rights Hong Kong Front Page Stories Front Page Free Speech Featured Story Featured Post China Censorship Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Marble Halls & Silver Screens w/Sarah Lee Ep. 11: The ‘Watchmen Shifts Stories, Barr Shifts Focus & Campuses Shift On Free Speech’ Edition

Westlake Legal Group Watchmen_graffiti_3-620x412 Marble Halls & Silver Screens w/Sarah Lee Ep. 11: The ‘Watchmen Shifts Stories, Barr Shifts Focus & Campuses Shift On Free Speech’ Edition Watchmen Safe spaces Russia collusion Russia Hollywood Front Page Stories First Amendment Featured Story Entertainment Culture college campuses Censorship bill barr Alan Moore

Second Narrows Watchmen Graffiti (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The great genius of Alan Moore’s Watchmen graphic novel series is how in 12 issues it gives us an alternate history in which the world is protected by superheroes who are not particularly super nor heroic. Dr. Manhattan, Ozymandias, Rorschach and the rest are flawed and complicated, make questionable moral decisions, and are ultimately mostly human.

But they believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.

The reboot on HBO — which Moore wants nothing to do with but his writing partner Dave Gibbons is a consultant for — continues that world and the morally ambiguous characters and plot lines in a fascinating pilot episode that, if the trend continues, should be a fun and thought-provoking watch.

And it comes at a good time, as modern America churns like the Watchmen graffiti up at the top of the page. On the podcast, I discuss at least two other areas where morality gets a bit hazy for people who — like the Rorschach of the original series and the white supremacist group that has adopted his mask in the new series — see the world only in ever-shifting blobs of black and white.

It makes for the perfect background for today’s show discussion of Attorney General Barr’s shifting focus toward the former head of CIA John Brennan in his investigation of the origins of the Russia collusion probe, and a chat about the upcoming documentary “No Safe Spaces” about the campus-led assault on free speech.

The Watchmen reboot is sandwiched between these two topics, possibly as a link between things that have no apparent common ground except the chaos that surrounds them.

Which, if you’re familiar with Moore’s work (and which you’ll notice immediately about the new show), is pretty much what Watchmen was about: Chaos. And how we live it and try to make sense of it when perhaps we’d be better off simply embracing it.

Listen to the show in full below on Spotify. You can also find me at iHeart radio, Apple Podcasts and FCB Radio’s Spreaker.

The post Marble Halls & Silver Screens w/Sarah Lee Ep. 11: The ‘Watchmen Shifts Stories, Barr Shifts Focus & Campuses Shift On Free Speech’ Edition appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Marble-Halls-logo-1-300x300 Marble Halls & Silver Screens w/Sarah Lee Ep. 11: The ‘Watchmen Shifts Stories, Barr Shifts Focus & Campuses Shift On Free Speech’ Edition Watchmen Safe spaces Russia collusion Russia Hollywood Front Page Stories First Amendment Featured Story Entertainment Culture college campuses Censorship bill barr Alan Moore   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Australian Media Outlets ‘Redact’ Front Pages In Protest of New Government Censorship Laws

Westlake Legal Group press-300x163 Australian Media Outlets ‘Redact’ Front Pages In Protest of New Government Censorship Laws redacted protest press International Affairs Front Page Stories Free Speech Featured Story Censorship Australia

Australian news corporations are in full revolt after their parliament instituted new and heavier laws restricting reporting and effectively censoring news outlets and reporters.

Much like in America, Australia has several competing and ideologically opposed media outlets. In a rare show of solidarity, typically warring media entities coordinated their headlines Monday to reflect the new censorship laws. Their front pages appeared to be “redacted” in the typical black-line fashion one sees in redacted government reports.

Australia does not have basic free speech rights the way we understand them in America. In the past they have added safeguards for whistleblowers. Journalists are suggesting their profession needs similar protections given recent events.

The issue came to a boil soon after the May re-election of Australia’s Liberal-led conservative government, when police raided the head office of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in Sydney and the home of a News Corp editor on suspicion of receiving national secrets.

The raids, which involved police examination of about 9,000 computer files at the ABC and sifting through the female News Corp editor’s underwear drawer, drew international condemnation.

The British Broadcasting Corporation called the raids “deeply troubling”.

Earlier this year Australia’s oppressive reporting laws came to light internationally after outlets were prevented from reporting on a child sex abuse scandal involving the former Vatican treasurer.

Global attention turned to media freedoms in Australia early this year when a court order prevented media from reporting that the former Vatican treasurer, Cardinal George Pell, had been found guilty on child sex abuse charges.

Some Australian outlets reported that an unidentified person had been convicted but some foreign media companies identified Pell because they were outside Australia’s jurisdiction.

Prosecutors are now seeking fines and jail sentences for three dozen Australian journalists and publishers for their trial coverage. Pell is appealing against his convictions.

The head of Australia’s media union expressed his disgust for the new, harsher measures.

“Journalism is a fundamental pillar of our democracy,” said Paul Murphy, the chief executive of the industry union.

“It exists to scrutinise the powerful, shine a light on wrongdoing and hold governments to account, but the Australian public is being kept in the dark,” he said in a statement.

Australia is an ally, a proud and prosperous country. We think of them as a free country. This is a stark reminder that the American brand of freedom is not only unique but a wholly foreign concept to people outside of our framework.

The post Australian Media Outlets ‘Redact’ Front Pages In Protest of New Government Censorship Laws appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group press-300x163 Australian Media Outlets ‘Redact’ Front Pages In Protest of New Government Censorship Laws redacted protest press International Affairs Front Page Stories Free Speech Featured Story Censorship Australia   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hundreds of Fans Protest NBA and China at Nets-Raptors Game, Even Winnie the Pooh Comes Out

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-19-at-11.41.48-AM Hundreds of Fans Protest NBA and China at Nets-Raptors Game, Even Winnie the Pooh Comes Out Sports NBA Human Rights Hong Kong Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post communism China Censorship Allow Media Exception

Screenshot from this video:

The controversy over the NBA and China has followed the Brooklyn Nets back home to the Barclays Center.

Fans are not letting them forget it and let their voices be heard at the Nets-Raptors game on Friday.

Hundreds of fans attended the preseason game wearing black shirts saying “Stand with Hong Kong,” carrying signs, “Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong” and calling on the NBA to be supportive. Some wore face masks as the protesters in Hong Kong do. At least two of the protesters wore Winnie the Pooh costumes as a way of mocking Chinese President Xi Jinping because he was supposedly upset that someone compared him physically to the cartoon character. There was also a smaller but quite vocal contingent calling to “Free Tibet” sitting in Section 1 diagonally across from the Nets’ bench.

Author Chen Pokong explained why the issue was so important, not just to folks from Hong Kong, but to Americans as well, saying that Chinese government incursion on speech must be stopped now.

From NY Post:

“We want to use our performance art to show our support for Hong Kong and the NBA,” one organizer, author Chen Pokong, 55, told The Post.

“They want to take away freedom of speech and now spread dictatorship to America,” he said of China.

“It seems like NBA people cannot choose their words. So if we don’t stop them, they not only will do bad things in China, they will do bad things in America.”

Hollywood producer Andrew Duncan, who was one of the organizers of the protest, blasted Lebron James. James had attacked Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for a tweet to support Hong Kong. That was the tweet that kicked off the China controversy and demonstrated how much control that China seemed to have over the speech of American businesses and entertainment.

“Lebron needs to take time on this issue,” Duncan declared. “Why is he not supporting democracy? I think the King has made a royal mistake.”

The owner of the nets, Joe Tsai, who is one of the founders of Alibaba, has said that such issues of territorial integrity are “third rail” issues for China that are “non-negotiable.”

That may be true. But it’s their own treatment of the people of Hong Kong that turned a protest against denial of rights into a broader freedom movement. And it’s a “third rail” issue in the United States that our own government, much less foreign governments, don’t have a right to tell us what we can say or how we can think. And until the NBA figures that out, they’re going to hear more of it.

The post Hundreds of Fans Protest NBA and China at Nets-Raptors Game, Even Winnie the Pooh Comes Out appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-10-19-at-11.41.48-AM-300x175 Hundreds of Fans Protest NBA and China at Nets-Raptors Game, Even Winnie the Pooh Comes Out Sports NBA Human Rights Hong Kong Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post communism China Censorship Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Left’s Reaction to Mark Zuckerberg’s Comments on Political Speech Shows Their True Agenda Is to Silence Their Opponents

Yesterday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was scheduled to give a speech on the future of free speech and free expression at Georgetown University. It was an interesting speech from a number of points of view.

He outlines some of the threats faced by free speech and expression on the internet. While he deserves credit for doing what Google will not do, that is, refuse to cooperate with the Chinese government in developing tools to enforce political conformity on a large population, he backhandedly admits that his own company has a huge issue with free speech and imagines that it has a role as a gatekeeper to keep free speech with acceptable boundaries.

(Read the whole speech)

To me, the contrast between Zuckerberg’s professed respect for free speech and the way Facebook actually operates is simply not reconcilable. In fact, Zuckerberg’s idea of free speech policed by a regime of contracted and highly partisan fact checkers enforcing ambiguous “hate speech” rules is clearly out of Noam Chomsky’s playbook (The Common Good, pg. 43):

The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum—even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.

That is exactly what has been created. While Zuckerberg may have refused to be co-opted by the Chinese, he has created his very own little fascist empire in which there is free speech so long as you agree with the worldview and opinions of the vicious corps of SJW net-nannies that he has chosen to employ. The way the pro-life group Live Action was squashed because Facebook allowed pro-aborts to classify videos as having false information when they were true (there is literally no medical reason for an abortion) but strayed outside the pro-abort orthodoxy required by Facebook shows just how meaningless Zuckerberg’s statements are if they are not read through the lens of Chomsky.

I’ve made no secret of my hope that a brigade of vicious spiteful anti-trust lawyers who are compensated solely on the basis of the damage they inflict shows up at Facebook headquarters with a SWAT team and a 18-wheeler load of subpoenas and blank, signed arrest warrants. So I was taken a bit aback when the major criticism of Zuckerberg came from the left, the people who are net beneficiaries of his scheme.

Oddly enough, of all the problematic concepts that he touts as smoothly as any NewSpeak speech by Big Brother, the one that got the hormones flowing on the left was this:

We recently clarified our policies to ensure people can see primary source speech from political figures that shapes civic discourse. Political advertising is more transparent on Facebook than anywhere else — we keep all political and issue ads in an archive so everyone can scrutinize them, and no TV or print does that. We don’t fact-check political ads. We don’t do this to help politicians, but because we think people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying. And if content is newsworthy, we also won’t take it down even if it would otherwise conflict with many of our standards.

I know many people disagree, but, in general, I don’t think it’s right for a private company to censor politicians or the news in a democracy. And we’re not an outlier here. The other major internet platforms and the vast majority of media also run these same ads.

This apparently is a new development because in 2018, Facebook censored campaign videos by Elizabeth Heng which referred to her family’s escape from the kind of repressive dictatorship the Democrats are well on their way to establishing in California, see Facebook Blocks Republican Candidate Ad For Daring To Show Horrors Of Communism.

For instance, this is some of the criticism:

In a way this is a stunning level of dumbf***ery. Federal law currently makes it illegal for a broadcast station to alter or censor (that word, ‘censor,’ is in the law, so you libertarians who keep claiming that private business can’t censor, take a seat and be quiet) any ad by a political candidate. So long as the speech in the candidate ad is not illegal, per se, it is required to be run. The very idea that Facebook ever had any authority to police candidate ads is simply balderdash and it is quite an indictment of Department of Justice that they sat idly by and let this go on. The idea that any society, much less an ostensibly free one, should tolerate a corporation with a track record of lying to the public and constructing extremely opaque practices to punish WrongThink to control the speech of candidates for election in abhorrent.

It also gives away the real game. The fascists of the totalitarian left have given up on trying to convince people based on arguments, now they are going straight on to silencing ideas they can’t stand. Even Zuckerberg recognizes this impulse.

Increasingly, we’re seeing people try to define more speech as dangerous because it may lead to political outcomes they see as unacceptable. Some hold the view that since the stakes are so high, they can no longer trust their fellow citizens with the power to communicate and decide what to believe for themselves.

Make no mistake about it, I think that at its core, Facebook is at least as hostile to American values as China but in a different way. I also think the sooner the federal government acts to demolish Facebook the safer our freedoms will be. I also think that Zuckerberg’s change of direction on federal candidate ads is driven by fear of federal government action rather than his love of free speech because I think he’s as much of a SJW as any that he employs. As they say, a fish rots from the head down. What is illustrative about this is that the left is actually showing its true colors. It holds free speech and freedom of religion at least in as much disdain as it does the Second Amendment and the Electoral College and any other part of the Constitution that restricts their ability to impose their worldview on the rest of us.

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The post The Left’s Reaction to Mark Zuckerberg’s Comments on Political Speech Shows Their True Agenda Is to Silence Their Opponents appeared first on RedState.

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Defiant Zuckerberg Says Facebook Won’t Police Political Speech

Westlake Legal Group 17zuckerberg-sub-facebookJumbo Defiant Zuckerberg Says Facebook Won’t Police Political Speech Zuckerberg, Mark E United States Politics and Government Social Media Presidential Election of 2020 Freedom of Speech and Expression Facebook Inc Civil Rights and Liberties Censorship

WASHINGTON — Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday gave a full-throated defense of Facebook as a champion of free expression, fighting the idea that the social network needs to be an arbiter of speech even as it has faced blowback for leaving up false political ads going into the 2020 presidential election.

In a winding, 35-minute speech at Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall — where presidents and foreign heads of state have delivered addresses — the Facebook chief executive said the social network had been founded to give people a voice and bring them together, and that critics who had assailed the company for doing so were setting a dangerous example.

To make his case, Mr. Zuckerberg invoked Frederick Douglass, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Vietnam War and the First Amendment. He contrasted Facebook’s position with that of China, where the authorities control and censor speech, and which he tried unsuccessfully for years to enter to turbocharge his company’s business.

“People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world — a Fifth Estate alongside the other power structures of society,” Mr. Zuckerberg, 35, said.

He added that despite the messiness of free speech, “the long journey towards greater progress requires confronting ideas that challenge us. I’m here today because I believe we must continue to stand for free expression.”

The address by the tech billionaire was an unusually public doubling down on free expression online as debate over that stance has ramped up. It was a sign that Mr. Zuckerberg was going on the offense against critics who have accused Facebook of being an amplifier of disinformation, hate speech and violent content.

Mr. Zuckerberg made his stand as Facebook has grappled with a firestorm over political speech in recent weeks. Last month, the company unveiled a sweeping policy in which it said it would not moderate politicians’ speech or fact-check their political ads because the comments by political leaders, even if false, were newsworthy and in the public’s interest to hear and debate.

That quickly drew condemnation. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, accused Facebook of being a “disinformation-for-profit machine.” Marc Benioff, chief executive of the software company Salesforce, said the social network “needs to be held accountable for propaganda on its platform.” And civil rights groups censured the company for allowing lies and falsehoods to appear on its site.

On Thursday, Mr. Zuckerberg’s speech was also lambasted.

“Zuckerberg attempted to use the Constitution as a shield for his company’s bottom line, and his choice to cloak Facebook’s policy in a feigned concern for free expression demonstrates how unprepared his company is for this unique moment in our history and how little it has learned over the past few years,” said Bill Russo, a spokesman for the presidential campaign of Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Facebook’s position on political speech is part of a growing divide between social media companies and traditional media companies. Twitter, too, has said it will not remove accounts of politicians who appear to violate its policies against violent speech because the posts add to discourse.

In contrast, traditional media companies — including cable channels like CNN, MSNBC and CNBC — have taken a harder line by declining to air political ads with false content.

Facebook’s policy on political speech was put to the test this month when the Trump campaign released a 30-second video ad that falsely claimed Mr. Biden committed corrupt acts in Ukraine. The ad played across social media outlets and on some broadcast networks; CNN and NBCU declined to air it because they said the ad violated their standards.

When Mr. Biden’s campaign asked Facebook to take down the false ad, the social network refused. Ms. Warren later dared Facebook by deliberately creating an inaccurate political ad that said Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg were backing Mr. Trump’s re-election, even though neither Mr. Zuckerberg nor his company have announced their support of a candidate.

“We decided to see just how far it goes,” Ms. Warren wrote on Twitter of her move.

Civil rights groups said they were stunned by how hands-off Facebook was being on political speech. By giving politicians free rein to post any material — even lies — that potentially sets up the social network for more disinformation efforts ahead of the 2020 election, they said.

Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition representing 220 civil rights groups, said she spoke to Mr. Zuckerberg last week to express alarm about the policy. She said he told her the public could make its own determinations about false statements and racially divisive content from politicians.

“Mark Zuckerberg is co-opting civil rights history to try to justify Facebook’s policies that do long-term damage to our democracy,” Ms. Gupta said. “The company is in denial about what’s happening.”

Neil Chilson, a senior research fellow at Stand Together, an organization within the Koch Network, said Facebook’s free speech position was “a very reasonable policy choice.” When Mr. Trump speaks, reporters then fact-check what he says, showing “that the cure to a politician’s misstatement is more speech, not to shut it down,” Mr. Chilson said.

Mr. Zuckerberg decided in recent days to publicly speak at Georgetown University as the debate over Facebook’s position on political discourse became louder. On Wednesday, he posted on Facebook that he was writing a speech that was “the most comprehensive take I’ve written about my views, why I believe voice is important.”

He will continue his public offensive on Friday, when he plans to be interviewed by Dana Perino of Fox News. Next week, he will be in Washington for a hearing on the company’s cryptocurrency project, called Libra. It will be his second time testifying in front of Congress after April 2018, when he answered lawmakers’ questions on Facebook’s treatment of user data.

In an interview at Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters on Tuesday, Mr. Zuckerberg laid out more of the reasoning behind his speech. He repeatedly cited Facebook’s role as an American company and how it would be viewed over time.

“Today, the state of the global internet around the world is primarily defined by American companies and platforms with strong free expression values,” he said. “There’s just no guarantee that will win out over time.”

In his speech, he said he had considered banning political ads from Facebook. But he said political advertising could be considered part of speech and that the slope of deciding which issues were political and which were not would be too slippery to navigate. He added that political ads were a negligible amount of Facebook’s $55.8 billion in annual revenue.

Mr. Zuckerberg acknowledged in the interview that his position would not satisfy everyone. But he said he wrote the address to lay out his broader views and how he wanted his company to operate long into the future — including the far-off day when he is no longer running Facebook.

“I hope this is a moment for us to put our place in history in perspective,” he said.

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