Twitter is looking down the wrong end of the telescope

Confused, looking into the wrong end of a telescope. This is a genuine 19th-century naval leather-and-brass instrument. Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III.

Confused, looking into the wrong end of a telescope.

Do you know how to catch an elephant? You need a telescope, a matchbox and a pair of tweezers. As soon as you see the elephant pick up the telescope and look at the elephant through the wrong end. Then using the tweezers carefully pick up the elephant and put it inside the matchbox.

Twitter thinks it can tackle a large problem by changing how it views it but the more Twitter censors its users and clamps down on so-called hate speech the more ineffective and one-sided they become. Almost anything can be flagged as offensive or disrespectful as anybody can choose to be offended by anything. Likewise, the  recent changes that allow users to report anyone who directs hate against a race, religion, gender or orientation  can easily be used to shut down fact-based criticism by labeling it hate. The more rules they add the bigger the problem becomes  and the harder it becomes to police it. The problem is already insurmountable as they simply do not have enough staff to handle the volume of complaints.

This tweet for example against well-known Ben Shapiro should have resulted in the user being suspended immediately.

screenshot-whaleoil.co.nz

screenshot-whaleoil.co.nz

In reality, it took more than a month and an opinion piece in the Washington Post before any action was taken. Twitter’s censorship model is broken and the more they try to fix it the less free the social media platform becomes.

screenshot-whaleoil.co.nz

screenshot-whaleoil.co.nz

New Social media platform Gab, on the other hand, has kept it simple. Instead of acting as the man in the middle between users it has given the power directly to the users. Legal porn, for example, is allowed on Gab but I never see it because I use their #SeeNoEvil feature.

screenshot-whaleoil.co.nz

screenshot-whaleoil.co.nz

All you have to do is to add the words and topics you do not want in your feed and you will never see them. While you can also mute individual users or unfollow them, muting keywords are much more effective. Internet trolls tend to use the same abusive words and phrases and by muting them it means that they will never have the opportunity to upset you because you will never get to see what they say. This takes away their power because the motivation for doing it is to upset you. What is the point of abuse if your target will never see it?  Gab’s see no evil feature emasculates trolls and other abusive users.

If I was a Progressive I could add the word “Trump” so I wouldn’t get triggered. If I was a famous person who often had death threats or threats of violence or rape I could add the appropriate words so that none of them would get through. Over time I would refine my list.

This function alone is why Gab has the freest speech on the Internet. Everyone gets to say what they want but equally, everyone gets to control what they view. As CEO and founder, Andrew Torba said,” Gab gives everyone a voice and empowers them to speak freely.”

“We have very simple guidelines we don’t have anything like hate speech or harassment rules because in 2016 that type of stuff has largely become a subjective definition by whoever is deeming something hateful speech. So our guidelines are very simple we have three.

1. No illegal pornography

2. Zero tolerance policy for threats and terrorism.

3. No posting other users private information.

-wearechange.org

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