[Discussion] The Inconceivable Power of Trolls in Social Media

This is a follow-on to the nearly two year old topic "Trouble at the Kool-Aid Point." The intention is to provide a place to discuss the unreasonable power social media trolls have over women and minorities, with a primary focus on video games (though other examples are certainly welcome).

Yeah, I've mentioned on here before, in my early 20s, I was definitely borderline depressed, working a crap job that I hated with zero romantic prospects, and I could've absolutely become an incel/MRA-type, except I found all of them as people and their expressed ideology so wholly reprehensible and hateful as people that I couldn't go that far.

But that's not me being smarter than everyone else, that's a "there but for the grace of God go I" situation, because I definitely held some fairly misogynistic views and better salesmen almost certainly could've pulled me in way deeper. And there are much better salesmen out there now. The pitch is now far, FAR more potent and pervasive and YouTube will serve it, and 150 more videos like it (or worse) on a platter.

Like, I know what Pew's polling says, but some days I'll see what's happening on YT and I am genuinely afraid for the future.

I think I lucked out when I was a teenager. I just did stuff like go to class with make-up on my face like Adam Ant and wear safety pins in my ears. And then I also found a copy of the Satanic bible so would display it and draw inverted pentagrams just to see what people's reaction would be. Just silly stuff like that, and it was really just me for the most part since I wasn't involved in any particular groups and just floating around between the different ones as I got along with nearly all of them. Nowadays though, people probably wouldn't even blink an eye at any of the above antics. I did try reading Mein Kampf a couple times (not to learn how to be a Nazi but because I was interested in the history of WW2), but it kept putting me to sleep.

bekkilyn wrote:

I did try reading Mein Kampf a couple times (not to learn how to be a Nazi but because I was interested in the history of WW2), but it kept putting me to sleep.

A couple sections of the Mein Kampf should be required reading in High School. He walks through his plan to demonize journalists and skew popular support with propaganda in easily followable terms that show the tactics for the mechanical power grabs they are. Given how widely used those tactics are I think it's an incredibly important lesson to teach kids.

Conspiracy theorists took a "Five Jobs I've Had" tweet from James Comey and turned it into a coded terrorist threat against a fundraising festival for a charter school in Nevada County, California.

Organizers cancelled the event, though not because they feared Comey was going to attack them. They cancelled because other f*cking idiots believed the conspiracy and contacted the school through Twitter and email, warning them that something bad would happen, and even posted pictures and videos of the school's students. The president of the charter school and organizer of the festival said "It became very personal, very frightening."

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/mMUb4ed.png)

Man, the right-wingers are really pushing the "investigating the campaign was spying" thing.

Also, Comey's post already showed that he was a scab high school teacher, though I guess the right-wing yahoos are fine with that so they have to invent new ways to read tea-leaves to find the next pizza shop to hold hostage.

I literally groaned audibly at the translation of "jobs I've had" into jihad. W...T...F...

What is an "FF" message?

I believe it is a False Flag alert. They are saying the Comey is, for some unknown reason, alerting the public to a false flag operation. You know, because only literals actually shoot up schools.

Oh, anything QAnon people don't like is immediately a false flag. It is, by the kindest standards, batsh*t insane boomer internet brain stuff.

The entire premise, basically, is that basically Trump is something fairly close to the Messiah and he is battling a cabal of literal baby-eating, child-raping Satanists that form the Deep State, which just happens to be made up of basically a collection of prominent Democrats/Liberals. Trump, the genius he is, has been secretly arresting all of them for treason and various other stuff, and will one day reveal their crimes to the world and have all of his political opposition executed, ushering in a new Golden Age of humanity.

There is not a single exaggeration in my description.

@travis_view does a great job keeping track of this stuff. It's... it's a lot. Like, a major pillar of this thing for a significant number of followers is that JFK Jr. is alive and helping Trump take down the Deep State from behind the scenes, and has been doing so for like 20 years.

He's clearly a super genius playing 8-dimensional chess with his enemies despite not understanding many basic political functions and thinking that the human body functions like a battery.

I swear, Twitter has become an incredibly efficient machine at ruining my day these days.

YouTube’s Newest Far-Right, Foul-Mouthed, Red-Pilling Star Is A 14-Year-Old Girl

What does a 14-year-old girl dressed in a chador have to say on YouTube to amass more than 800,000 followers?

How about this: “I’ve become a devout follower of the prophet Muhammad. Suffice to say, I’ve been having a f*ck ton of fun. Of course, I get raped by my 40-year-old husband every so often and I have to worship a black cube to indirectly please an ancient Canaanite god, but at least I get to go to San Fran and stone the sh*t out of some gays and the cops can’t do anything about it because California is a crypto-caliphate.”

Or how about, simply, “Kill yourself, f****t.”

Yes, if you want a vision of the future YouTube is midwifing, imagine a cherubic white girl mocking Islamic dress, while lecturing her hundreds of thousands of followers about Muslim “rape gangs,” social justice “homos,” and the evils wrought by George Soros, under the thin guise of edgy internet comedy, forever.

Actually, don’t imagine it. Watch it. It’s already here.

The video is called “Be Not Afraid,” and it may be the clearest manifestation yet of the culture the executives of Alphabet’s video monster are delivering to millions of kids around the world, now via children incubated in that selfsame culture. To understand just how bad things have gotten on the platform, you need to see it for yourself.

Users, and more importantly to YouTube, advertisers, have over the past year started to hold the platform accountable for enabling the exploitation of children and exposing them to disturbing content. But this video reveals an entirely different way the platform is harming kids: By letting them express extreme views in front of the entire world. This is what indoctrination looks like when it’s reflected back by the indoctrinated.

A twenty-minute, unbroken and hyper-articulate tirade ostensibly about ignoring criticism online, “Be Not Afraid” stars a high school freshman from the Bay Area who goes by the name Soph on YouTube. (She edits and scores the videos, which she says are comedic, as well.) Through videos like these, she’s become a rising star — with more than 800,000 followers — in the universe of conspiracy theorists, racists, and demagogues that owes its big bang to YouTube.

The video platform for years has incentivized such content through algorithms favoring sensational videos, and as recent reporting has revealed, has deliberately ignored toxic content as a growth strategy.

Soph’s scripts, which she says she writes with a collaborator, are familiar: A mix of hatred towards Muslims, anti-black racism, byzantine fearmongering about pedophilia, tissue thin incel evolutionary psychology, and reflexive misanthropy that could have been copy and pasted from a thousand different 4chan posts. Of course, it’s all presented in the terminally ironic style popularized by boundary-pushing comedy groups like the influential Million Dollar Extreme and adopted of late by white supremacist mass shooters in Christchurch and San Diego.

(Soph is even more explicitly hateful on Discord, the gaming chat app, where she recently admitted to writing under the username “lutenant baggins” that she hoped for “A Hitler for Muslims” to “gas them all.”)

By now, we’re used to this stuff coming from grown men — some of whom have even used the platform as a launching pad for political aspirations. But Soph is a child. Despite the vitriol of her words and her confidence in delivering them, she’s still just a 14-year-old kid. And hearing this language lisped through braces, with the odd word mispronounced as if read but never before said, is clarifying.

Think of Jonathan Krohn, the conservative child prodigy who addressed CPAC in 2013, at age 13. Today he’s a freelance journalist who writes about extremism for liberal magazines, and has disowned his past views. Or think of Lynx and Lamb Gaede, who became media sensations as 11-year-old white nationalist twin pop singers in the mid aughts. Today they’ve renounced racism and taken up marijuana legalization activism. Part of being a young person, maybe especially for a rhetorically gifted one, is testing out ideas and identities — even ones we later find anathema. That’s not to excuse anything Soph says; but it is to say children often don’t understand the weight of the words they use. (Neither Soph nor her father responded to requests for comment.)

Interviews with Soph and asides in her videos reveal a young person whose identity is obviously still being formed. She didn’t start as a politics caster but, predictably, as a profane 9-year-old (nine!) game streamer called LtCorbis. Influential YouTubers Pyrocynical and Keemstar promoted her early work, which ripped on YouTube culture and the indignities of being a fifth grader instead of minorities and liberals. (A 2016 Daily Dot story about her bore the unintentionally profound headline, “This sweary, savvy, 11-year-old gamer girl is the future of YouTube.”) In more recent videos, Soph discloses a health issue that kept her out of class for long stretches. She confesses to being unhappy in school. She talks about a move from New York to California. She identifies by turns as “right-wing” and “anarcho-capitalist.” She’s 14, precocious, isolated, and pissed off, a combination that has produced a lot of bad behavior over the years, but not all of it monetized through preroll ads and a Patreon, and not all of it streamed to millions.

YouTube’s kid problem is well-known. From disturbing auto-generated cartoons, to parents who play act violence with their children for clicks, to a network of users exploiting videos of children for sexual content, the company has consistently failed at protecting the young users who are its most valuable assets. But Soph’s popularity raises another, perhaps more difficult question, about whether YouTube has an obligation to protect such users from themselves — and each other.

Prederick wrote:

Like, I know what Pew's polling says, but some days I'll see what's happening on YT and I am genuinely afraid for the future.

Prederick wrote:

I swear, Twitter has become an incredibly efficient machine at ruining my day these days.

YouTube’s Newest Far-Right, Foul-Mouthed, Red-Pilling Star Is A 14-Year-Old Girl

What does a 14-year-old girl dressed in a chador have to say on YouTube to amass more than 800,000 followers?

How about this: “I’ve become a devout follower of the prophet Muhammad. Suffice to say, I’ve been having a f*ck ton of fun. Of course, I get raped by my 40-year-old husband every so often and I have to worship a black cube to indirectly please an ancient Canaanite god, but at least I get to go to San Fran and stone the sh*t out of some gays and the cops can’t do anything about it because California is a crypto-caliphate.”

Or how about, simply, “Kill yourself, f****t.”

Yes, if you want a vision of the future YouTube is midwifing, imagine a cherubic white girl mocking Islamic dress, while lecturing her hundreds of thousands of followers about Muslim “rape gangs,” social justice “homos,” and the evils wrought by George Soros, under the thin guise of edgy internet comedy, forever.

Actually, don’t imagine it. Watch it. It’s already here.

The video is called “Be Not Afraid,” and it may be the clearest manifestation yet of the culture the executives of Alphabet’s video monster are delivering to millions of kids around the world, now via children incubated in that selfsame culture. To understand just how bad things have gotten on the platform, you need to see it for yourself.

Users, and more importantly to YouTube, advertisers, have over the past year started to hold the platform accountable for enabling the exploitation of children and exposing them to disturbing content. But this video reveals an entirely different way the platform is harming kids: By letting them express extreme views in front of the entire world. This is what indoctrination looks like when it’s reflected back by the indoctrinated.

A twenty-minute, unbroken and hyper-articulate tirade ostensibly about ignoring criticism online, “Be Not Afraid” stars a high school freshman from the Bay Area who goes by the name Soph on YouTube. (She edits and scores the videos, which she says are comedic, as well.) Through videos like these, she’s become a rising star — with more than 800,000 followers — in the universe of conspiracy theorists, racists, and demagogues that owes its big bang to YouTube.

The video platform for years has incentivized such content through algorithms favoring sensational videos, and as recent reporting has revealed, has deliberately ignored toxic content as a growth strategy.

Soph’s scripts, which she says she writes with a collaborator, are familiar: A mix of hatred towards Muslims, anti-black racism, byzantine fearmongering about pedophilia, tissue thin incel evolutionary psychology, and reflexive misanthropy that could have been copy and pasted from a thousand different 4chan posts. Of course, it’s all presented in the terminally ironic style popularized by boundary-pushing comedy groups like the influential Million Dollar Extreme and adopted of late by white supremacist mass shooters in Christchurch and San Diego.

(Soph is even more explicitly hateful on Discord, the gaming chat app, where she recently admitted to writing under the username “lutenant baggins” that she hoped for “A Hitler for Muslims” to “gas them all.”)

By now, we’re used to this stuff coming from grown men — some of whom have even used the platform as a launching pad for political aspirations. But Soph is a child. Despite the vitriol of her words and her confidence in delivering them, she’s still just a 14-year-old kid. And hearing this language lisped through braces, with the odd word mispronounced as if read but never before said, is clarifying.

Think of Jonathan Krohn, the conservative child prodigy who addressed CPAC in 2013, at age 13. Today he’s a freelance journalist who writes about extremism for liberal magazines, and has disowned his past views. Or think of Lynx and Lamb Gaede, who became media sensations as 11-year-old white nationalist twin pop singers in the mid aughts. Today they’ve renounced racism and taken up marijuana legalization activism. Part of being a young person, maybe especially for a rhetorically gifted one, is testing out ideas and identities — even ones we later find anathema. That’s not to excuse anything Soph says; but it is to say children often don’t understand the weight of the words they use. (Neither Soph nor her father responded to requests for comment.)

Interviews with Soph and asides in her videos reveal a young person whose identity is obviously still being formed. She didn’t start as a politics caster but, predictably, as a profane 9-year-old (nine!) game streamer called LtCorbis. Influential YouTubers Pyrocynical and Keemstar promoted her early work, which ripped on YouTube culture and the indignities of being a fifth grader instead of minorities and liberals. (A 2016 Daily Dot story about her bore the unintentionally profound headline, “This sweary, savvy, 11-year-old gamer girl is the future of YouTube.”) In more recent videos, Soph discloses a health issue that kept her out of class for long stretches. She confesses to being unhappy in school. She talks about a move from New York to California. She identifies by turns as “right-wing” and “anarcho-capitalist.” She’s 14, precocious, isolated, and pissed off, a combination that has produced a lot of bad behavior over the years, but not all of it monetized through preroll ads and a Patreon, and not all of it streamed to millions.

YouTube’s kid problem is well-known. From disturbing auto-generated cartoons, to parents who play act violence with their children for clicks, to a network of users exploiting videos of children for sexual content, the company has consistently failed at protecting the young users who are its most valuable assets. But Soph’s popularity raises another, perhaps more difficult question, about whether YouTube has an obligation to protect such users from themselves — and each other.

Prederick wrote:

Like, I know what Pew's polling says, but some days I'll see what's happening on YT and I am genuinely afraid for the future.

Reported her Patreon account.

It's also illustrative of something I saw some reporters who follow the far-right mention on Twitter recently, that basically, the far-right has figured out how to game YouTube's rules and that you can espouse a whole bunch of, let us say, "controversial" ideologies as long as you're not caught saying certain things by the mods.

Prederick wrote:

It's also illustrative of something I saw some reporters who follow the far-right mention on Twitter recently, that basically, the far-right has figured out how to game YouTube's rules and that you can espouse a whole bunch of, let us say, "controversial" ideologies as long as you're not caught saying certain things by the mods.

Not only have far right blowhards been expert at skirting rules for some time, they are able to exploit that ability to make themselves more popular. Like "look what we can get away with."

Reported her Patreon account.

Got a link to be able to do that? I couldn’t find it (could be because I'm not logged in).

*deep sigh*

A Popular YouTuber Read the Christchurch ‘Manifesto’ to Half a Million Subscribers

A popular farming, agriculture, and welding DIY YouTuber with more than 600,000 followers suddenly began posting openly white nationalist content on his channel and said he has been trying to subtly "red pill" his audience over the course of months. The YouTuber posted a video of himself reading the Christchurch shooter's "manifesto" and a second video in which he describes himself as a white ethno-nationalist. The hard pivot comes after the YouTuber spent a decade posting videos about welding troubleshooting, tractor repair, and "planting oats."

The new uploads come months after an attacker killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

As Motherboard previously reported, an internal Google email said moderating the so-called manifesto of the Christchurch attacker would be "particularly challenging," and told moderators to flag all material related to the attack as "Terrorist Content." But YouTube left this particular video online for over two days, allowing it to rake in tens of thousands of views; the company also first demonetized the video and put it behind a content warning, but did not immediately delete it.

Because the video and a follow-up that was also removed were allowed to get so many views, the YouTuber's pivot to far-right content has become a topic of conversation among other far-right YouTubers, who are praising him. Motherboard is not naming the specific YouTuber who posted the videos in order to avoid directing more people to the person's channel.

The news shows not only the failure of YouTube to keep clearly offending content off of its platform, even when users have already reported it for violating the site's policies, but also how popular YouTubers can be in an advantageous position to spread messages of hate if they choose to.

The YouTuber in question spent a decade posting 1,600 videos about welding and agricultural machinery, some of which have more than a million views.

While the YouTuber said that he doesn't "necessarily" support all of the attacker's actions, they veered off at several points to add his own thoughts in the video. In the video, he said he printed out the manifesto on the day of the attack, and was reading it for the purpose so others may have an easier time finding an "audiobook" version of the document.

After the Christchurch attacks, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter faced a wave of users trying to upload sections of or links to the full manifesto. Over a month afterwards, some videos of the attack were still available on social media sites. Google previously said in an email that non-Educational, Documentary, Scientific, or Artistic (EDSA) sharing of the manifesto is against the company's Community Guidelines. This means if the video is not EDSA in context, it should be marked as terrorist content and likely removed.

But YouTube originally flagged the reading video as "inappropriate or offensive to some audiences," seemingly after a number of user generated reports against the clip. On Monday, days after the upload, YouTube removed the clip for violating its Terms of Service.

In a second video uploaded shortly after the reading, the YouTuber made his views much more explicit, and defended his earlier upload.

"I've been a far-right, ethno-nationalist since about 2014 or so," he said, as well as a series of other hateful statements that violate YouTube's policies. While writing this piece, the second video was still online, with the disclaimer that "The following content has been identified by the YouTube community as inappropriate or offensive to some audiences." On Monday, YouTube removed the clip, and replaced it with the text "This video has been removed for violating YouTube's policy on hate speech," and a link to the site's policies.

"This example shows yet again how influencers play a crucial role in spreading white supremacist propaganda. This YouTuber already had hundreds of thousands of subscribers, so he was in a position of broadcasting power to spread ideas to his fans," Becca Lewis, a research affiliate at Data & Society who has researched YouTube's role in spreading such material, said in an online chat.

"Since he already had a sizeable fanbase, this creator could also point his audience to other platforms for viewing the content after YouTube removed it. When platforms are slow to respond in their content moderation practices, creators can take advantage of their cross-platform influence," she added.

The video of the reading and subsequent fallout has spread across YouTube and other sites, including Reddit. Other YouTube channels with a more explicit focus on white supremacy and hate are discussing and aggregating the video, with some including snippets from the original YouTuber's video itself. One far-right YouTuber suggested that the man "may have just jumped started the white awakening."

After a Motherboard investigation showed Facebook banned white supremacy while allowing white nationalism, the tech giant decided to ban support of the latter. Although this particular video of the Christchurch manifesto did violate YouTube's policies, the company previously refused to commit to banning white nationalism in general.

Google did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Nuke YouTube from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

And countries where hate speech is illegal need to prosecute these jackasses.

Wink_and_the_Gun wrote:
Reported her Patreon account.

Got a link to be able to do that? I couldn’t find it (could be because I'm not logged in).

Go directly to her page and tap "more". I specifically reported her latest YT video, selecting "Something they've done outside of Patreon" / "This creator is harmful" / "This creator engages in hate speech"

BadKen wrote:

Nuke YouTube from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

And countries where hate speech is illegal need to prosecute these jackasses.

Sincerely. I joke all the time that the best thing a rich person like Tom Steyer could co (rather than running ridiculous ads) would be to spend their billions shutting down Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

US says it will not join Christchurch Call against online terror

The US has declined to join an international initiative aimed at tackling the spread of terror online.

The White House said on Wednesday it supported the Christchurch Call's aims but was "not in a position to join", citing the need for freedom of speech.

The comments came as five of the world's biggest tech companies pledged to tackle extremist material.

The Christchurch Call was launched in response to a deadly terror attack that was live streamed on Facebook.

The March attack launched by a lone gunman on two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch left 51 people dead.

......................

Without directly highlighting any issues with the initiative, the statement stressed the need to protect free speech.

"We continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online while also continuing to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press," it said.

"We encourage technology companies to enforce their terms of service and community standards that forbid the use of their platforms for terrorist purposes."

"We maintain that the best tool to defeat terrorist speech is productive speech and thus we emphasise the importance of promoting credible, alternative narratives as the primary means by which we can defeat terrorist messaging," it added.

I am a billion percent sure that last sentence is also how they want to approach Islamic extremism. Absolutely sure.

In a more explanatory addendum, the White House has just launched a tool for people to report if they feel they were censored by social media platforms.

@sarafischer wrote:

It goes thru Qs about who u are, if ur a citizen, how to contact u, what happened, etc. At end it asks:
“We want to keep you posted on Pres Trump's fight for free speech. Can we add you to our email newsletters so we can update you without relying on platforms like FB & Twitter?”

White House declines to move against its base. Noted.

@sarafischer wrote:

It goes thru Qs about who u are, if ur a citizen, how to contact u, what happened, etc. At end it asks:
“We want to keep you posted on Pres Trump's fight for free speech. Can we add you to our email newsletters so we can update you without relying on platforms like FB & Twitter?

This sounds familiar.

Prederick wrote:

A Popular YouTuber Read the Christchurch ‘Manifesto’ to Half a Million Subscribers

"Since he already had a sizeable fanbase, this creator could also point his audience to other platforms for viewing the content after YouTube removed it. When platforms are slow to respond in their content moderation practices, creators can take advantage of their cross-platform influence," she added.

Oh, that's why.

Agnotology and Epistemological Fragmentation

Fancy-sounding title, yes, but it's a great piece about the particular informational quandary we find ourselves in.

I love the librarian community. You all are deeply committed to producing, curating, and enabling access to knowledge. Many of you embraced the internet with glee, recognizing the potential to help so many more people access critical information. Many of you also saw the democratic and civic potential of this new technology, not to mention the importance of an informed citizenry in a democratic world. Yet, slowly, and systematically, a virus has spread, using technology to systematically tear at the social fabric of public life.

This shouldn’t be surprising. After all, most of Silicon Valley in the late 90s and early aughts was obsessed with Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. How did they not recognize that this book was dystopian?

Epistemology is the term that describes how we know what we know. Most people who think about knowledge think about the processes of obtaining it. Ignorance is often assumed to be not-yet-knowledgeable. But what if ignorance is strategically manufactured? What if the tools of knowledge production are perverted to enable ignorance? In 1995, Robert Proctor and Iain Boal coined the term “agnotology” to describe the strategic and purposeful production of ignorance. In an edited volume called Agnotology, Proctor and Londa Schiebinger collect essays detailing how agnotology is achieved. Whether we’re talking about the erasure of history or the undoing of scientific knowledge, agnotology is a tool of oppression by the powerful.

Swirling all around us are conversations about how social media platforms must get better at content management. Last week, Congress held hearings on the dynamics of white supremacy online and the perception that technology companies engage in anti-conservative bias. Many people who are steeped in history and committed to evidence-based decision-making are experiencing a collective sense of being gaslit—the concept that emerges from a film on domestic violence to explain how someone’s sense of reality can be intentionally destabilized by an abuser. How do you process a black conservative commentator testifying before the House that the Southern strategy never happened and that white nationalism is an invention of the Democrats to “scare black people”? Keep in mind that this commentator was intentionally trolled by the terrorist in Christchurch; she responded to this atrocity with tweets containing “LOL” and “HAHA.”

Speaking of Christchurch, let’s talk about Christchurch. We all know the basic narrative. A terrorist espousing white nationalist messages livestreamed himself brutally murdering 50 people worshipping in a New Zealand mosque. The video was framed like a first-person shooter from a video game. Beyond the atrocity itself, what else was happening?

This terrorist understood the vulnerabilities of both social media and news media. The message he posted on 8chan announcing his intention included links to his manifesto and other sites, but it did not include a direct link to Facebook; he didn’t want Facebook to know that the traffic came from 8chan. The video included many minutes of him driving around, presumably to build audience but also, quite likely, in an effort to evade any content moderators that might be looking. He titled his manifesto with a well-known white nationalist call sign, knowing that the news media would cover the name of the manifesto, which in turn, would prompt people to search for that concept. And when they did, they’d find a treasure trove of anti-Semitic and white nationalist propaganda. This is the exploitation of what’s called a “data void.” He also trolled numerous people in his manifesto, knowing full well that the media would shine a spotlight on them and create distractions and retractions and more news cycles. He produced a media spectacle. And he learned how to do it by exploiting the information ecosystem we’re currently in. Afterwards, every social platform was inundated with millions and millions of copies and alterations of the video uploaded through a range of fake accounts, either to burn the resources of technology companies, shame them, or test their guardrails for future exploits.

What’s most notable about this terrorist is that he’s explicit in his white nationalist commitments. Most of those who are propagating white supremacist logics are not. Whether we’re talking about the so-called “alt-right” who simply ask questions like “Are jews people?” or the range of people who argue online for racial realism based on long-debunked fabricated science, there’s an increasing number of people who are propagating conspiracy theories or simply asking questions as a way of enabling and magnifying white supremacy. This is agnotology at work.

What’s at stake right now is not simply about hate speech vs. free speech or the role of state-sponsored bots in political activity. It’s much more basic. It’s about purposefully and intentionally seeding doubt to fragment society.

Jihadis Go to Jail, White Supremacists Go Free

Unlike the rigorous online policing of jihadi groups and their potential recruits, there has been a reticence on the part of social media companies to challenge right-wing extremism. Jihad has no mainstream political support in any liberal democracy—and the views and online networks of jihadis are rightly countered, disrupted, and even shut down with government and private sector cooperation.

There is a widespread consensus that the free speech implications of such shutdowns are dwarfed by the need to keep jihadi ideology out of the public sphere. When it comes to right-wing extremism, white supremacy, and white nationalism, however, there is no such consensus. Instead, right-wing views are defended on free speech grounds, giving extremists space to spread their ideologies. The latest example of this double standard comes from the White House, which refused on Tuesday to join an international effort to clamp down on online hate speech.

..............

The online experiences of white supremacist terrorists suggest that there is a decentralized process by which individuals find so-called truth in the white genocide conspiracy and other mythologies and act on them on their own. It is not a form of lone-wolf terrorism; such acts are fostered and approved by a culture of hate online.

Surveillance of these spaces resembling the monitoring of spaces used by jihadis is necessary, but the political will to establish such surveillance with the resources and tools needed to make it work is unlikely, given that politicians and CEOs continue to prioritize the free speech rights of white supremacists over the security of their potential victims. And in an online culture that reveres nihilistic irony and ambivalence, it is sometimes difficult to discern the actual threats. Surveillance itself might help prevent a few cases of violence, but it is unlikely to eliminate the problem. The real problem is how to police digital hate culture as a whole and to develop the political consensus needed to disrupt it.

The one video by YouTuber soph has been removed but, like, there's plenty more there if you're looking to horrify yourself.

The one where she threatened to shoot the YouTube CEO was removed, but not any others, which is a kind of perfect summation of YouTube's content moderation at the moment.

https://twitter.com/bluejay_712/stat...

Is there a way I can mass block anyone with a Pepe the frog as their avatar?

Parents are poisoning their children with bleach to 'cure' autism. These moms are trying to stop it.

I just..........

When they aren’t working or taking care of their autistic children, Melissa Eaton and Amanda Seigler are moles.

Eaton, 39, a single mother from Salisbury, North Carolina, and Seigler, 38, a mom to six in Lake Worth, Florida, have spent much of their free time in the last three years infiltrating more than a dozen private Facebook groups for parents of autistic kids. In some of these groups, members describe using dubious, dangerous methods to try to “heal” their children’s autism — a condition with no medically known cause or cure.

The parents in many of these groups, which have ranged from tens to tens of thousands of members, believe that autism is caused by a hodgepodge of phenomena, including viruses, bacteria, fungal infections, parasites, heavy metal poisoning from vaccines, general inflammation, allergies, gluten and even the moon.

The so-called treatments are equally confused. Some parents credit turpentine or their children’s own urine as the secret miracle drug for reversing autism. One of the most sought-after chemicals is chlorine dioxide — a compound that the Food and Drug Administration warns amounts to industrial bleach, and doctors say can cause permanent harm. Parents still give it to their children orally, through enemas, and in baths. Proponents of chlorine dioxide profit off these parents’ fears and hopes by selling books about the supposed “cure,” marketing the chemicals and posting how-to videos.

“It really weighs on you, but kids are being abused,” Eaton said. “You see it. You have the choice of doing something about it or letting it go. And I’m not the kind of person who can see something like that and just forget about it.”

To gain entrance to these groups, Eaton and Seigler disguise themselves as desperate parents looking for answers to their child’s autism. Once they’re in, they take screenshots of posts from parents who describe giving these chemicals to their children, often with disastrous results.

This story is terrible for about 500,000 reasons, but I at least got a giggle out of the bolded part, as if autism is like being a werewolf.

Sawbones had an episode on that recently:
https://www.maximumfun.org/sawbones/...

How horrible! It's not even rational to think that pouring bleach down a child's throat (and I know I'm exaggerating a bit) could even be remotely beneficial.