[News] The Internet Was a Mistake

A thread for updates on the various ways the internet is destroying everything and the undying hellsites of social media. Let's all laugh at the abyss.

"Single purpose hate channel" would be a smashing name for a band.

California just passed a law that requires social media companies to publicly provide quarterly enforcement reports on the outcomes of their moderation process or face fines. It's not prescribing any specific definition of hate speech or the use of any specific moderation processes (the companies are left to decide that for themselves, they just have to make their decisions public information), and the fines are for failure to submit the report, not failure to moderate.
It's not going to directly fix any of the problems detailed in this thread, but it's not really meant to. It seems more like it's meant to make companies stop hiding information about how most of their moderation policies are not working and to identify those policies (if any) that actually do work, and also to get companies to stop selectively enforcing their policies.

There are definitely times like this where I am proud to live in CA...

Stengah wrote:

It's not going to directly fix any of the problems detailed in this thread, but it's not really meant to. It seems more like it's meant to make companies stop hiding information about how most of their moderation policies are not working and to identify those policies (if any) that actually do work, and also to get companies to stop selectively enforcing their policies.

Exactly. It's a transparency law. It makes it so social media sites can't claim publicly to be taking out the trash, while letting the trash flow behind closed doors. In my estimation, it's made to facilitate public pressure.

I promise I'll stop posting Garbage Day bits, but this, on how the new leader of Italy is also a LotR fanfic writer and related stuff is very strong, to me:

Populism Updates, a great Twitter account for covering, well, populism, has been following Meloni closely all summer and recently pointed out that she regularly shares anime fan art of herself, usually using the hashtag #MeloniChan. It’s a classic far-right populism tactic to build a cyber army of obsessive otakus who will harass journalists and activists for free, but there’s more to it than that. If you search the #MeloniChan hashtag on her Facebook page, you find photos she posted from Romics, a Rome comic convention, and a post she wrote about the anime Fist of the North Star.

Also, Tumblr users recently found Meloni’s self-insert Lord Of The Rings fanfic. “No one bullied Giorgia Meloni enough when she was writing Tolkien self-insert dragon fan fiction in the late 90s and now she's the first fascist PM in Italy since Mussolini,” Tumblr user thehharpy wrote. Here’s a link to an archive of it if you’re curious (It’s bad).

We spent a while in the Garbage Day Discord this morning talking about all this stuff. And I’ve spent all weekend trying to articulate that particular kind of mortified liberal millennial exasperation I tend to feel every time I come across yet another fascist nerd like this. And there's a lot of them. In fact, I’ve even wondered if there’s just something fascist about like science fiction, fantasy, or anime. I don’t think there is, but I don’t think it’s unrelated either.

When I last wrote about Meloni a few months ago, I wrote that you can’t defeat fascists with memes because all memes can and will be co-opted by fascists. But I think it goes further than that.

Younger, savvier members of the global far-right movement like Meloni understand a few things innately that most leftists and liberals still do not want to accept. First, nostalgia is a weapon. Whether that’s nostalgia for a fictitious national past or nostalgia for Saturday morning cartoons, both can be used to foment division and anger. Second, anyone under the age of 50 right now grew up in a world of anime, video games, nerd culture, and, more recently, the internet. And third, everything now is content and any content is better than no content, no matter how cringe.

And I’ve spent all weekend trying to articulate that particular kind of mortified liberal millennial exasperation I tend to feel every time I come across yet another fascist nerd like this. And there's a lot of them. In fact, I’ve even wondered if there’s just something fascist about like science fiction, fantasy, or anime. I don’t think there is, but I don’t think it’s unrelated either.

It's not inherent to the genres, but there are many common sci-fi & fantasy tropes and concepts that are either appealing to fascists or can be distorted into seeming like they are advocating for fascism. Also, even when the fascists are clearly the bad guys, if they look cooler or have better powers than the good guys, you'll probably get more people pretending to be them over the good guys. And when you have fans who base big parts of their identity and personality on "the thing they like", it can end with them looking for people who are most like the bad guys from "the thing they like" but in the real world.

Stengah wrote:

Also, even when the fascists are clearly the bad guys, if they look cooler or have better powers than the good guys, you'll probably get more people pretending to be them over the good guys.

Ah yes, the "Warhammer 40K Paradox"

There are non-fascists in Warhammer 40k?

There's a relevant video about the 40k problem I found to be quite insightful about the whole thing. I've always really enjoyed the Warhammer setting but hated most the fans, so it was a bit of a surprising and refreshing take to see.

hbi2k wrote:

There are non-fascists in Warhammer 40k?

Tyranids?

Redwing wrote:

There's a relevant video about the 40k problem I found to be quite insightful about the whole thing. I've always really enjoyed the Warhammer setting but hated most the fans, so it was a bit of a surprising and refreshing take to see.

Quite liked that, if they went that way, I'd probably buy my first book. Because, yeah, if you've had to release multiple "our game isn't for fascists" statements... I'm not saying you gotta retcon everything and make it into Steven Universe, but you gotta reconsider some stuff, right?

The Tau aren't fascist I don't believe...

I will say that the 40K world revolves around space expansion which lends itself to empires and empire building, expansion and maintenance. Democracies deal with internal issues. I don't know how a democracy would deal with expansion. Does it then become an empire? The American Empire is run through (spheres of influence) money, bases in other countries, and intel ops, right?

Prederick wrote:
Populism Updates, a great Twitter account for covering, well, populism, has been following Meloni closely all summer and recently pointed out that she regularly shares anime fan art of herself, usually using the hashtag #MeloniChan. It’s a classic far-right populism tactic to build a cyber army of obsessive otakus who will harass journalists and activists for free

This was even a plot point in The Boys. The character Stormfront had her own little meme army.

It's a real-life tactic that's been used for a while now. Duterte used it quite well in the Philippines, as did Shinzo Abe in Japan.

"Remember, remember, the 5th of November, the gunpowder treason and plot."

A coroner in the UK has listed Instagram's algorithm as a contributing cause in a teenager's death.
The coroner concluded the 2019 death couldn't be ruled a suicide, but instead was "an act of self-harm whilst suffering from depression and the negative effects of online content." The teen viewed thousands of posts on Instagram and Pintrest that promoted self-harm in the months leading up to her death, some of which the coroner found "almost impossible to watch."
To it's credit, Pintrest apologized and said they didn't have access to the tools they now have to moderate content, and has since greatly improved its moderation of content that promotes self-harm. Instagram's parent company Meta took a different approach and insisted in court that it considers the content she viewed as safe by their standards, and offered the ridiculous argument that moderating content that promoted self-harm would harm free speech and somehow prevent people from seeking help for issues relating to self-harm.