Disclaimer/Trigger Warning/Whatever: This is a rant. Feel free not to read it.
I’ve got time on my hands so, I decided to “get political” again. I just read a Daily Wire story (yes, they’re conservative) called WATCH: Laura Loomer Banned From Twitter For Criticizing Rep. Ilhan Omar, Islam. Here’s Her Response.
Up until a few minutes ago, I had no idea who Laura Loomer was, and I’m a little surprised that both twitter and Facebook banned her for life for criticizing Ilhan Omar. After all, political figures are criticized on social media all the time without such a drastic result. I myself have criticized Ms. Omar for her anti-Israel and antisemitic positions, and yet I am allowed to remain on social media.
Apparently even political scientist and columnist Ian Bremmer, though not a supporter of Loomer, commented on twitter that banning her seemed a little harsh. Of course there were many others, including The Jewish Voice who were more critical of twitter’s and Facebook’s actions.
So what did Loomer say that was so totally offensive? If you clicked on the link leading to Bremmer’s twitter account, you already know the answer, but I’ll post a screen capture just for giggles.
According to Amanda Prestigiacomo at the Daily Wire:
The tweet apparently violated Twitter’s “rules against hateful conduct,” which seem to be applied fast and loose and mostly dependent on your political ideology. Loomer, who is Jewish, had accumulated over 260,000 on Twitter before she was effectively silenced.
It took Facebook less than 24 hours to issue a suspension against Loomer.
I didn’t watch the video posted on the Daily Wire article, but apparently, Loomer took to alternate social media site Gab and issued a response:
I know that there are some conservative voices who have said that twitter is becoming increasingly unfriendly to conservatives (ironically stating this on twitter), not just super-extremist alt-right people, but more “average” conservatives, the ordinary guy or gal who just doesn’t happen to fawn all over Hillary Clinton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or even Ilhan Omar for whatever reason. From their perspective, twitter is becoming an “echo chamber” for the left, which twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted in an interview with the Washington Post, though he went on to say that it doesn’t affect company policy.
Since Prestigiacomo stated that Gab describes itself as “the free speech network,” and I happen to like free speech, I considered creating an account there for a few moments. But I like to do research, so I turned to Wikipedia (I know, I know) and read this:
Gab is an English-language social media website, known for its far-right user base. The site allows its users to read and write multimedia messages of up to 300 characters, called “gabs”. The site stated conservative, libertarian, nationalists and populist internet users as its target markets. Gab has been described as “extremist friendly” or a “safe haven” for neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the alt-right.
Yikes. I don’t equate conservatives and libertarians with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, but based on this paragraph, perhaps Wikipedia does (which is horrifying). However, Pittsburgh Synagogue shooter Robert Gregory Bowers used Gab so there is that, and without excessively quoting from the article, they cite some of the users and content as:
The site is a favorite of “alt-right” users who have been banned or suspended from other services, including former Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos, formerly anonymous Twitter user “Ricky Vaughn”, and white supremacists such as Richard B. Spencer, Tila Tequila, Vox Day, and Britain First. Andrew Torba, the CEO of Gab.ai, was himself removed from the Y Combinator alumni network because of harassment concerns, starting when he used “build the wall” to insult a Latino CEO. Until 2016, Torba was registered as a Democrat, although he voted for Donald Trump and other Republicans.
I’d rather not be associated with any sort of extremist group, so I’ll probably steer clear of Gab (though I suspect that among the so-called extremists are just a bunch of ordinary people who happen to be conservative and who are tired of being called various names in more liberal biased venues), and so far, my encounters on twitter, for the most part, have been pretty benign, but then again, I’m not a high-profile anything, so I’m easily ignored.
So people like Ms. Loomer may make themselves lightning rods for controversy, and indeed, that could be part of their professional “branding,” but what I see happening more generally is that all political viewpoints seem to have become more radicalized, polarized, and extremist. That’s pretty distressing to me, because relative to all this, I view myself as more or less a moderate leaning toward conservative and with a few libertarian values.
If twitter becomes increasingly leftist and Gab is the alt-right counterpart, where do “real” people meet and talk within the realm of social media? Also, is it wrong to call out antisemitism when you see it and (gasp) to oppose the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (although I guess it is, since some Federal Judge said it was unconstitutional to ban the practice)?
Of course, I do live in a world where at least some people think the classic animated film A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is racist (though fortunately, African-American journalist Jeremy Hilligar provided a sane voice on the matter).
33 thoughts on “Which “Echo Chamber” Should I Choose?”
Ok, first, my dude: Wikipedia? Seriously? That’s like -1,000,000 points right there. 😉
But as for Gab when it first launched I created an account over there but soon abandoned it as it became overrun with far-right extremists who are no better than the far-left extremists.
Twitter and Facebook are silencing conservative voices. I’ve been banned for a week, shadow-banned for weeks at a time and had several posts just mysteriously vanish into the blue nowhere with no explanation. James Woods recently got into a showdown with Twitter and actually got his account restored without giving an inch to their demands (although they just deleted the tweet in question for him).
And it is disheartening to see open season declared on people to the right of center on these platforms with no repercussions to the offending posters while even the slightest rebuke aimed at those on the left is immediately removed and the poster just as swiftly punished.
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I too created a Gab account when it first hit the scene, but any utility and “free speech” was overwhelmed by the actual, literal, Hitler-worshipping retards, neo-Pagan LARPers, and Daily Stormer types who seemed to flood the site. It was a shame, because I liked the interface and rather enjoyed some of the normal people there.
That the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter used Gab is irrelevant as to whether you should use it or not. Plenty of people who do heinous things are on Twitter, and nobody seems to draw the same connections. The shooter also hated Donald Trump, something the media conveniently left out of every story on the incident.
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Even “free” speech has to have some limits, such as not yelling “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater just to watch the stampede. I suspect without any limitations whatsoever, Gab, which may have started out with good intentions (though there’s no way to know for sure), probably ended up being an echo chamber for the far right, including racists and neo-Nazis. Not my kind of crowd.
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Exactly. That’s more on its founder Andrew Torba, who refused to police libel and porn and other disgusting stuff. I think “unlimited free speech” is a pipe dream. I just want rules equally applied.
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And that’s my point, Alex. Thanks.
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It did quickly degenerate into that, which is why I checked out of it.
“Degenerate” is indeed the correct verb. In the 1960s a movement on the Berkeley campus, called the “Free Speech Movement”, degenerated into “the Filthy Speech Movement”, because that was deemed the strongest response against people who insisted that common majority-cultural morality should constrain and characterize speech, and sexuality was a hot-button issue of the era. Now, of course, it is the left that wishes to constrain the speech of those who would like to “conserve” whatever remains of such cultural morality, along with classic notions of American liberty and responsibility under natural law, replacing it with their own version of political correctness.
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Yeah, I know. Wikipedia is fast and dirty, but it does give me a certain “perspective” on topical events.
Thank you for confirming my concerns about the biases of popular social media. It seems the technology industry is the same as entertainment in terms of their social and political bent. It would be nice to find a venue that’s truly neutral, but like news sources, those are extremely rare.
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Sadly, they are extremely rare indeed. I keep sending messages to Facebook and Twitter that, as an adult, I am perfectly capable of deciding what is true and what is not, as well as what I want to read and what I don’t. I don’t need the Government, or corporations, telling me otherwise.
As I said to Marleen, the people running twitter have the right to set forth conditions for standards of use. Heck, Microsoft does that with its software, and so does every other app I’ve ever experienced. However, I also told her that I hope they apply those standards more impartially, which I’m not convinced that they do. As far as Gab goes, if they have no standards or policing of their content, then it’ll be a free for all, degrading to the lowest common denominator of humanity, which is pretty barbaric.
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The animated film “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” was produced at a time when most likely it deliberately included a subtle attempt to raise consciousness about racial attitudes. Hence any distinctiveness about its black character Franklin, due to placing him opposite all the other characters at the table, was likely intended to highlight the fact that he was included at all, to stimulate viewer thinking about how that ought to be perfectly appropriate and not evocative of any negative comment. Hence, later attempts to look at it as a negative racist statement are extremely short-sighted and irrational.
However, the film was an artistic product, and its inclusion of subtle messages is therefore to be expected. The twitterverse, on the other hand, must be regarded as artless in the extreme. Nevertheless, in neither environment should there exist any censure to constrain what opinions or political shadings are offered.
I agree on both the animated film and twitter. I did read a commentary that in other Peanuts animated films, the character of Franklin was seated with the other characters and in the same sort of chair, so we may not know for sure what motivations, if any, the artists had for Franklin’s Thanksgiving seating. Given that the world has so many other more critical problems, a decades old cartoon seems to be a rather minor thing to complain about.
I don’t know how I found out the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter not only was a Nazi type but also hated Trump for not being enough of a Nazi soon enough for him if the media didn’t report what he said (or it was left out of every story). Also, sharia is conservative. And, in case you missed the reporting, Facebook hired right-wing slandering liars to protect their image (all about the money/capitalism). Finally, what is missing is regulation (aaugh).
I may not be getting your point, Marleen. What is missing regulation?
These are private companies, and the libertarian [or what used to be called conservative, while the terms are a jumble now] mode of them being able to do their own thing stands (otherwise regulation isn’t from hell).
I never said twitter couldn’t have standards of use and police their environment. I would just hope they’d apply their standards more impartially.
I don’t think it’s been demonstrated that Twitter isn’t impartial in their policy — other than their perhaps seeming to be after right wingers when what they want is to reduce is danger.
But here is the supposed conservative not standing by the private entity(ies) having their own policies and practices. Yelling fire doesn’t count when you call yourself conservative.
Loomer, who touts herself as an investigative journalist, said her Twitter suspension is a threat to the First Amendment.
In Wednesday’s YouTube video, she pleaded to President Donald Trump to take action.
“If you want to win in 2020 you have to ensure your supporters have a voice on social media,” Loomer said.
Isn’t the issue at hand a matter of what policies and practices are applied by a given private entity? Either there is respect for free expression, regardless of political shading, or there is not. Either there is respect for liberty, or there is not. Either there is respect for humanity, or there is not. In the case of Ms. Loomer’s criticism of Islam and its favor by a newly-elected public representative, there is a serious question of disfavoring both liberty and humanity that is worthy of discussion and criticism. A private entity that deliberately censors those who attempt to conduct such a discussion is taking a political stance contrary to both these American values that include the Constitution’s first Amendment. Would a lawsuit against the behavior of a private corporation succeed in obtaining redress for such victims? I think it would be difficult to bring a criminal charge, but a civil suit for damages might have some merit as a means to punish a corporation found guilty of consistently denying cherished American civil rights to an entire class of people. It remains to be seen whether the politicians in question may yet be impeached for violating American law in matters of such rights as are enshrined therein.
Loomer is unabashedly conservative and I suspect deliberately makes herself a lightning rod for controversy, so no, she’s not impartial, and that’s not the issue. This issue, or rather the question, is whether or not, liberal bias aside, twitter can apply its own standards impartially to both liberals and conservatives? Oh, on twitter and Facebook, I criticized a Duke University affiliated radio talk show host for quoting from the Bible and referencing it relative to God being “patriarchal” without understand any of the underlying interpretation. Normally, people like him just ignore me, but he decided to snap back, and in doing so, revealed that he had no idea that Judaism recognizes both male and female aspects of the Almighty, while at the same time understanding that God has no gender, being a spirit. I’ll probably write a “Part 2” to this blog post in a bit.
I didn’t see any politicians making such violations under this topic, PL; it was about the companies (allegedly doing so). But, again, what we would be looking at as a possible “remedy” would be regulation.
My reference to politicians, Marleen, was actually a reflection of Loomer’s criticism of an Islamic one.
I suppose it is a question, whether Loomer is a politician since she’s so partisan.
She’s a reporter. Anyone can have a bias.
And like I said, I don’t think it’s been demonstrated that Twitter isn’t impartial (or consistent in what it’s trying to do — reduce danger or the shouting of “fire” rather than clear discussion).
I also don’t give people passes as supposed or unabashed conservatives for voting to put Trump in office or pushing to get Republican wins. I believe we’ve seen enough to know that’s not sound..
I have, in the past, shaken my head at the extremes both parties and both sides have taken over matters that are, sometimes, too small and unimportant to really get worked up over. However, this seems to be very extreme: both the banning of the journalist and the general feel of the current US administration and many of the population.
Scary might even be the word.
Good post. A lot to think about.
So… there was one politician — not politicians — pinpointed by Loomer. This is why I tried to make sense of what PL said. We did already know Laura’s bias. And then, yet, we hadn’t analyzed her lack of cred.
That one politician, Ilhan, hasn’t taken away anyone’s rights or done anything for which to contemplate impeaching her. So it seems to me that the ilk criticizing Twitter over Loomer are engaging in ad hominem.
Now — that said — it is indeed the case that religion can encroach on American liberties. And I do agree with being watchful of all office-holders. In congress, in the white house, in state government, etc.
I just asked one of my sons what he thinks of Twitter banning people. I told him nothing of what I’m reading or saying here. He pointed out the obvious (which is so ubiquitous as to be forgettable until reminded). They aren’t consistent if they haven’t banned Donald Trump yet.
I imagine it’s pretty hard to ban the President of the United States, though I have no idea what “the Donald” would do if they did. Technically, he has no more rights relative to twitter than anyone else.
Apparently the banning of conservatives is continuing, and this time, Jesse Kelly says he doesn’t know why. That said, from what little I know about him, he’s another “lightning rod” for controversy, however it would be nice to know exactly what he said/did that rubbed twitter the wrong way.
Sheesh. Being banned from Twitter should be compared to being in a gulag? And the president not being allowed to block U.S. citizens is supposed to be bad compared to Twitter running their company (being worse)? A bunch of dumb people, and then some with moderating voices.