Roger Stone plans to sue Twitter

At the dawn of the weekend, Twitter banned infamous political brawler Roger Stone. The curiously-bleached trumpkin had responded to news of charges in the Russia probe with an abusive meltdown, in which he called CNN's Don Lemon a "covksucker" and issued vaguely threatening remarks to all and sundry. Now, Stone plans to sue Twitter for turfing him out — but on what grounds?

Stone later vowed to bring legal action against the social media platform, though he did not specify beyond saying he was communicating with "prominent telecommunication attorneys."

"The battle against free speech has just begun," Stone told Politico in response to the ban. "This is a strange way to do business and part and parcel of the systematic effort by the tech left to censor and silence conservative voices."

Bravo to Twitter for ridding itself of him.

Twitter is Twitter's speech, not yours. Speechcropping there gives you no rights, only a borrowed void to scream into. Read the rest

Reddit rids itself of Nazi subreddits

Reddit embarked on a purge of violence-advocating content today, the targets generally being Nazis and their friends, but also at least one animal abuse subreddit and one targeting white people.

The newly banned and removed pages include r/NationalSocialism, r/Nazi, r/whitesarecriminals and r/far_right.

Reddit's new policy says: "Do not post content that encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people."

Read the rest

NYT on Twitter: "hate speech bounded only by a character limit"

If it seems rough that the New York Times would publish an op-ed so plainly holding Twitter responsible for publishing hate speech, remember that it's 2016 and the gloves are off.

It warns users they may not “threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender” and various other traits. Yet it often fumbles the enforcement. Charlie Warzel of BuzzFeed News unearthed a doozy last week.

After a user who identified herself as Kathleen posted a tweet criticizing the Trump campaign, a Twitter member going by Adorable Deplorable directed a message back at her featuring a photograph of a beheaded man — apparently an ISIS victim — and the words, “Your [sic] heading for a deep hole.”

Twitter forced the photo’s removal after BuzzFeed’s inquiries, but it initially told Kathleen that the post did not violate its policies. This is apparently common. In a BuzzFeed survey of Twitter users, about 90 percent of those who said they had reported abuse said their complaints went unheeded.

The odd part, in a nutshell: Twitter seems able to quickly and comprehensively squelch stuff that offends brands and governments, so why is it so slow to deal with abuse? Read the rest

Facebook bans famous war photo because the screaming, napalmed child's genitals are offensive

Facebook has banned one of the most famous images of the Vietnam war—then 9-year-old Kim Phuc running naked from a napalm attack on her village—for contravening the site's prohibition on "nudity." It even removed a posting of it by the Norwegian Prime Minister.

The editor of Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten said the entire post, which was about iconic war imagery, was later deleted and the account of the reporter behind it suspended.

Espen Egil Hansen has accused Mark Zuckerberg of "an abuse of power".

Facebook said it has to restrict nudity for cultural reasons.

Mr Hansen said the image of Kim Phuc, then aged nine, was removed less than 24 hours after the newspaper received a request from the firm to either take down the image or pixelate it and before it had responded.

Phuc suffered horrific burns in the attack, which she described as "a blast of heat which felt like someone had opened the door of an oven." Though it was unlikely she'd survive, journalists Nick Ut (who shot the photo) and Christopher Wain took her to hospital and she pulled through. She lives in pain to this day, and the photograph is part of the world's cultural heritage, a powerful warning of the horror of war.

Facebook's won: it doesn't have to pretend to care anymore about being the "public square" it sometimes affects to be. But let's hope it can be convinced to reconsider this one.

It's time for expectations to change, though. Nobly declaring "I shall not comply with your requirement to remove this picture" only highlights to whom publishers have ceded their power, given that Facebook already removed the picture. Read the rest

Billy Corgan upset that "the wrong racial epithet" could destroy his career

Billy Corgan, of the Smashing Pumpkins, laments the fact he can't say a certain word without becoming unpopular, which is the result of social justice groups shutting down free speech.

"It's pretty remarkable that I could say one word right now that would destroy my career," he said, as the screen displayed images of Michael Richards and Paula Deen, both of whom faced derision after using the N-word. "I could use the wrong racial epithet or say the wrong thing to you or look down at the wrong part of your body and be castigated and it's a meme and I'm a horrible person. Every day through the media, through advertising, we see people being degraded, we see people doing all sorts of things that we should be horrified at as a culture. So we've normalized all sorts of things, but we live in a world where one word could destroy your life but it's OK to, if you're a social-justice warrior, spit in somebody's face."

Yet, he says, such groups "don't have power." The epiphany: always hovering just out of view. Good luck sticking to the right racial epithets, Billy. Read the rest