Archives for posts with tag: Twitter

Social media discourse is a lightning rod for political alignment. The right sees it as an opportunity for radicalization while simultaneously decrying it as “woke” cancel culture where conservative voices are marginalized and red-lined. So far as I can tell, the left doesn’t actually have a coherent opinion on it; some celebrate cancel culture as establishing consequences for anti-social behaviour, much in the same way a dinner guest would be asked to leave if they loudly called another guest a racial slur. Others prefer to see a democratization of social media processes so that we could collectively agree on what the rules are rather than allow corporate moderators or the mob to determine dinner party etiquette. What I’m interested in today is the centrist position: where those corporate moderators are wildly celebrated for their autocratic role in sifting out acceptable discourse.

If only the companies that profit from polarization would do a better job of stamping out polarizing content!

Let’s let the company that profits off of polarization manage the stamping out of polarizing content!

There is, of course, reason to be concerned with the content of social media discourse. The coup in Myanmar is widely held to be somewhat to blame on social media. The rise of right-wing populist movements like Trumpism in America, Brexit in the UK, and Modi‘s government in India are linked to social media disinformation campaigns. Reasonable people agree: the echo chambers of increasing extremism must be stopped. The methods of doing so are obviously up for debate: solutions ranging from a socialist revolution against social media corporations to the libertarian hellscape where we all cackle with glee as the social media inferno engulfs our world. As always, the reasonable centrist sees the solution somewhere in the middle: get those corporations to ban and lockdown the uncouth!

Despite me wanting to write this for a long time, contemporary examples have manifested themselves for me. Facebook has blocked Russian state media on its platform in light of their unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and reversed some of its previous decisions by unblocking praise for the neo-Nazi Azov military battalion – if you’re very specific in praising them for their resistance against said Russians. This is a brilliant move by Facebook because empowering far-right revolutionaries against a Russian invasion worked so well in Afghanistan! I’m not saying such censorship is right or wrong; my point is that there is legitimate criticism to be made of how the discourse is being managed, and this decision was made unilaterally by a corporation with a pretty shifty track record.

Ukraine officially incorporated this overtly Nazi militia into its military after the Russians annexed Crimea. I'm not saying invading Ukraine was an appropriate way to "de-Nazi" the country, but they clearly have some work to do with their own far right elements. Nuance!

Ukraine officially incorporated this overtly Nazi militia into its military after Russia annexed Crimea. I’m not saying invading Ukraine was an appropriate way to “de-Nazi” the country, but they clearly have some work to do with their own far right elements. Nuance!

There will always be political positions you disagree with, even find abhorrent. But allowing some emperor to dictate what is allowable discourse in a particular space is just as absurd as the coffeehouse bans enforced by the Ottomans and by Charles II hoping to rein in political dissent and “false news”. But that is the demand! WhatsApp needs to regulate the discourse on its App because right now it’s too secret! Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg need to personally review every single post to make sure that reading it won’t summon Sadako out of our phone screens in seven days. To dominate the bogeyman, we need a powerful ally, and there are none more powerful than the social media overlords.

This is bad. The right cries about social media censorship all the time, and… they’re not wrong! It’s tempting to say that it doesn’t count as censorship if the government isn’t doing it, and the irony is certainly amusing when otherwise pro-business ideologues are hurt and betrayed by business decisions against their personal interest, because, to be clear, these are businesses looking out for their bottom line. They’re not “woke“; they’re capitalists. They are making decisions based on what will make them the most money, and overt hate speech isn’t as lucrative as it used to be. But corporations are quickly becoming our new feudal lords, so their iron fist restricting the online commons is just as much a cause for alarm as any government cracking down on dissent. What makes money may shift over time if far right populism continue to grow in popularity!

The next Tickle Me Elmo to sweep the nation!

The next Tickle Me Elmo to sweep the nation!

Long time readers will know I’m not a free speech advocate. There is plenty of speech that is counter-intuitive to dialogue, but restricting spaces for speech is different than applying appropriate codes of conduct that lead to the most productive dialogical output. Cracking down on the the coffeehouses isn’t the solution. If we’re looking for solutions, it’s important to know what the actual problem is. The problem isn’t idiots who are too stupid to critically digest controversial opinions so they need to be protected from dangerous ideas, it’s zealotry. Social media has become a space for what amount to digital cults to flourish. I think cults are an important symbol for what’s happening because with cults, the people aren’t stupid, they just want to belong.

A combination of photos shows the crowds attending the inauguration ceremonies of U.S. President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama

If you think that the photo on the left has more people in it than the one on the right, you probably believe that more people voted for Trump than for Biden in the 2020 election. What’s one more alternative fact? It’s not that Trumpists can’t count, it’s that believing Trump’s lies has been imbued into their communal identity. Saying the photo on the right has more people is not a factual refutation, it becomes an ad hominem attack.

The difference between a community and a cult is an ability to question sources, whether the ideology is seen as a fundamental value and a part of who you are versus a passion or interest, and the amount of exposure a member has to the world outside of that group. It is perfectly within the realm of possibility to maintain a social media presence and adhere to the right side of that balance. Most people do it, and there is actually evidence that greater internet use is not completely driving modern political polarization. When social media cults do appear though, are they any different than cults in the analog world?

If we see the discourse problem of social media as potential breeding grounds for cults, then trying to overpower them through force is more likely to lead to Waco-style consequences rather than cross-partisan healing. If they’re cults, then they need de-programming solutions. Far-right social media enclaves are like toxic relationships, and a sense of belonging is obtained from hazing-style abuse. A lot of the reason the right is so angry despite not actually having any real political demands is because they’re constantly being told that the world hates them and thinks they’re stupid. That’s gas-lighting 101, but it sure works to keep recruits dependent. That’s why “basket of deplorables” caught on as a rallying cry for Trumpists because it vindicated the narrative of spiteful isolation that the radicalization process inured. Remember when Steve Bannon was telling a crowd to embrace being called a racist as a badge of honour? The worse the behaviour, the more isolated you are from the rest of society, the more embedded into the fold of the far right you become. Anything telling you otherwise is fake news.

Bear with me

Bear with me

As a quick aside, despite frequent “both sides” rhetoric from usually right-wing speakers, the issue of polarization is a right-wing issue. The left has been basically the same for like, over a hundred years, and even spine-chilling philosophies like defunding the police have been around since 1974. Traditional conservatives today are being defenestrated from their own parties because they’re not bootlicking fascism hard enough. Today’s right-wing is off the political spectrum. Please note my distinction between conservatives and the right-wing, as conservatives are basically today’s centrists that I’m castigating for wanting social media elites to regulate our social sphere. To be clear, cultist tendencies can and do arise on the left, but the specific issue of polarization is emphatically a right-wing issue and the increasing extremity of right-wing cults is the alarm bell I’m reacting to.

Anyway, back to it!

The solution to cults isn’t to barricade them out of their bunkers to scurry to another dark corner, it’s to open the world up to them. Give them a broader community to belong to. This is where my apologism for social media ends, because their algorithms sow divisiveness to ensure cults can never connect to ideologies outside of their own. Taiwan released a social media platform where the algorithm linked people through commonality rather than outrage, and it led to genuine solutions to otherwise intransigent problems. Immerse in hobbies or volunteer activities where there is exposure to other people different from oneself! Follow a variety of news outlets with different bents at their source, and don’t rely on social media to determine what you are presented with! When diverse groups of people connect, it pulls us out of our zealotry.


If Christian Bale isn’t personally delivering you your news, you’re probably being radicalized.

Whether social media pulls us into a cult or not, it’s easy to agree that the current manifestation of how we engage on the internet is broken. It doesn’t have to be this way. Spaces to communicate dissent are necessary; society is far from perfect and there are powerful interests hoping to keep it that way. Spaces to disagree don’t have to be toxic or held hostage by disinformation.

Social media corporations profit by engagement, and it’s easy to get rich off passionate emotions. It’s not the platforms, it’s the platform owners. Capitalists have turned communities into cults because that’s the most efficient way to get a return on their capital. I don’t want capitalists fixated on profits to solve polarization because their solution will always be what profits them the most.

If we want a better social media, we need to determine and hold accountable the processes that produce our social media feeds. My guess is most people would agree to a methodology that fosters connection over divisiveness, that encourages people to disconnect from the digital rather than continuously pull “engagement”, so maybe people should be the ones who say how our public sphere is managed. I guess I’m one of those lefties who advocates for a socialist democratization of social media platforms. Who could have guessed!

Back in 1985, which, for you math whizzes out there, is one more than 1984, Neil Postman wrote a book detailing his fears that the authoritarian dystopia featured in the novel 1984 was not nearly so prophetic as the Aldous Huxley novel, Brave New World. It was titled Amusing Ourselves to Death, and it analyzes the dizzying amount of information glutted upon us by television at that time. The thesis of the book is that the medium through which an idea is communicated intrinsically impacts the very content of that idea. His formative example is that one cannot communicate deep, philosophical dialectic through smoke signals.

Postman then goes on to describe the greatness of the written word. One of his arguments is that typography necessarily requires statements that bear an inherent truth or falsity. For example, an advertisement that claims, “Drinking this beverage will make attractive people desperately want to have sex with you” is either true or false. Compare that to an image of a celebrity holding a beverage which is neither true nor false, but empty of any real content.


“Beyonce is holding a beverage and pointing at it.” That is the textual equivalent to this image. Doesn’t work so great in text, but as an image it conveys something beyond rational argument.

Images, and television which is simply a series of them, don’t convey truth but rather emotion. Beyonce holding a Pepsi and pointing at it makes you feel a certain way, and Pepsi is hoping that feeling is going to be associated with their product. The two ways of communicating, differences innocuous at first, are radically distinct. One necessarily requires rational argument (however blatantly absurd the propositions within it may be), the other requires entertainment value.

Postman goes into significantly more detail than I have here, and offers many more examples, but I just wanted to give an idea as to how the medium of an idea affects the type of communication available within it. The written word requires context and logic; television requires quick cuts and soundtracks. However, 1985 was a long time ago, and communication has come a long way. How does the medium of social media define the content of ideas within it?

Those familiar with this blog will know that I have shown many different limitations imbued within the communication framework of social media, but I want to discuss one thing further that is quite topical in today’s news. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that data firm Cambridge Analytica gathered information on 50 million Facebook users without their consent (stole it, hacked it, whichever), and then used that information to aid both the Trump presidential campaign and the Brexit Leave campaign. Social Media is notorious for selling its users’ data to advertisers, so allowing it to be harvested for political gain, regardless of consent, is not all that surprising.


By reading this blog, you are telling whichever organization that’s tracking your online habits that you are a chump. Sell that to the Russians, Zuckerberg you pasty-faced twat!

In addition to this, Twitter tends toward fake news, and YouTube’s algorithms tend toward conspiracy. The explanation for this seems to be that far-fetched ideas are more entertaining, and thus receive more hits. Getting more hits means it’s more popular, and popular things receive more attention from data algorithms. Conspiracy nuts like InfoWars can take advantage of this, and get away with promulgating stories like Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are operating a sex-trafficking ring out of a pizza parlour. Bullshit sells, and so the owners of social media allow this manipulation to dominate their programming because social media is ultimately a business.

Which brings us to how the medium of social media determines the content of the ideas within it. Social media are owned by monopolies that make their business by harvesting information that people willingly give them, and then manipulate those people based on that information. A collection of Facebook ‘likes’ can predict personality better than a person’s spouse, and that information is owned by an amoral, profit-driven monolith. Those who communicate within the medium of social media are inherently being driven by behind-the-scenes machinations of whoever has the money to do so, be it advertisers, political parties, or foreign influences. The content is inherently bent, the longer we participate. It is no longer our message, but becomes that of another.

This is not entirely new. He who owned the printing press determined the content of its papers. The oligarchy that developed from media consolidation owns American news media, and they determine what we consume in traditional media. The difference with social media is that we are the content creators. The manipulation of communication has become far more intimate. We determine what is produced, therefore we must become the thing determined by others.

One of the greatest tragedies of the modern age is social media: a technology that begs for greater human connection seems only to divide and isolate us. We have unprecedented access to one another, and we use that access to police behaviour and get in furious arguments about female Ghostbusters. Further tragedy is that the “debate” of the digital age is not about privacy and security since we all seem fairly blasé about that access being sold to advertisers and stolen by defense companies, but instead we “debate” free speech and censorship. I would be air-quoting the shit out of “debate” if I were vocally delivering this message, but this is text, so I hope the intense sarcasm that I’m intending is conveyed in regular quotation marks.

It’s not a debate. It’s idiots howling at one another in futile rage and impotence. It’s one side getting upset that they can’t publicly hate women anymore, and the other getting people’s lives ruined for a misinterpreted joke. The defendants of free speech are championing the hatred of women since to condemn it would obviously be censorship. The prosecutors of hatred see it everywhere, and use the public commons of social media to use their collective power to silence it, regardless of its legitimacy as actual hatred. They are warring groups of ravenous wolves that have a collective intellect smaller than those same groups of wolves.

I’ve written about free speech before, and don’t intend to dwell on it this time. I want to look instead at censorship as it relates to social media since the greatest attack on libtard regressives, feminazis, SJWs, and leftist cucks is their blind acceptance of the elimination of a basic human freedom: freedom of speech. The elimination of free speech is to some extent rightly decried as fascist, and so accusations of hypocrisy are leveled at those who use the same criticism against Donald Trump and his followers.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the left is promoting censorship. They are. It’s not a difficult assumption. But let’s assume it is censorship to such a degree that it is a fascist repression of hapless misogynists who have a God-given right to hate whomever they please. Censorship in the context of fascism is used to maintain the grossly imbalanced power structures of society. Dictators censor newspapers because they don’t want dissenting opinions contradicting their rule. If a ruler tried to discredit the media when they are critical of him, or tried to change the laws to reduce their effectiveness, that would be fascist censorship.

So what about those on social media? Fascism necessitates the clandestine perpetuation of power, so which power structures are being maintained by libtards on Twitter? What kind of power do ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ community, women, etc. have that they would use censorship to maintain? And I don’t mean shit like ‘Obama was president for eight years,’ because Obama is not the King of the Blacks. Since leftist cucks started oppressing poor, defenseless bigots, has the percentage of black people in prisons gone down? Have transgendered people gained a significant influx in senate seats? Are fewer women being grabbed by the pussy? How have poverty rates changed along gender and racial lines? What are the statistics saying? Given that hate crimes are on the rise against these demographics, I would say that the power that they’re perpetuating is depressingly inconsequential.

That’s not to say it isn’t completely negligible. On an individual level, people are losing their jobs. Their lives are being scrutinized, pilloried, and publicly shamed by a mob justice that relies solely on sensationalized stories that are very unlikely to be a reflection of real events or attitudes. This mob justice even has some degree of power on the mezzo level, as organizations will often pay the proper lip service in order to maintain appropriate PR. However, this mezzo level is only a veneer of appeasement. Companies and politicians will claim to be feminist or whatever, and might even put out memes to present an image of conformity to the ideological rigidity of the social media left, but in practice will continue as they always have. It does not take much to soothe the vitriol of morons if you get in early enough. Beyonce could shoot someone on 5th avenue alongside Donald Trump and lose just as many followers. Since the only demand is ideological conformity and not any significant change, most companies and leaders are content to say whatever the mob desires, since their behaviour will always escape unscathed.

You know, shifting the social dialogue to focus on SJWs on Youtube and Twitter and how they’re stamping out free speech instead of parsing the admittedly deeply buried subtext of what they’re trying to say could be a way of maintaining dominant power structures that are victimizing minorities in the first place. Which group holds power when we purposefully ignore what the disenfranchised are saying? If we found a way to distract from what the left is saying, rather than address it, then the status quo could very well continue unabated. Which censorship is thus the more fascist? The censorship, or the censorship of the censorship?

So no, fascist censorship does not exist on social media, sorry. If you’re worried about the stifling of intellectual debate, since the merits of white supremacy surely require that degree of respect, don’t fucking have an intellectual debate on social media.