Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Reblogged:The Reputation They Deserve

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I wouldn't rely on this... (Image by Markus Spiske, via Unsplash, license.)
For whatever reason, YouTube has been removing "dislikes" from a video of Joe Biden's acceptance speech.

Just the News reports two possible reasons for the mass removal of downvotes: (1) an honest attempt to combat a bot campaign to make the speech look like it was viewed less favorably than it actually was, and (2) a dishonest attempt to make Joe Biden look like he fared better than he actually did. Both sound plausible to me, the second only because I keep hearing about such shenanigans as YouTube demonetizing non-leftists or making material that isn't left-wing orthodox hard to find.

Frankly, I find the whole idea of trying to game the voting system one way or the other very odd: I'll make up my own damned mind about whom (if anyone) to vote for based on myriad considerations. One speech -- barring something so good or bad I'd listen to it myself anyway -- isn't going to matter in isolation.

And as for how many other people like or dislike it, that number is meaningless in a vacuum. A high number either way could mean anything. Perhaps a bunch of Democrats heard it was good and showed up to watch it for themselves. Perhaps it was so bad that conservatives crawled out of the woodwork to get a laugh. I could even see upvotes for it on the basis of comedic value in that case.

In any event, the story centers on some pro-Trumper who is so wound up about this that she is -- incorrectly -- shouting "CENSORSHIP" (her all-caps), despite the fact that only governments can perform censorship. As Ayn Rand once explained:
"Censorship" is a term pertaining only to governmental action. No private action is censorship. No private individual or agency can silence a man or suppress a publication; only the government can do so. The freedom of speech of private individuals includes the right not to agree, not to listen and not to finance one's own antagonists.
This isn't to say that YouTube, arguendo, posing as a neutral platform, but manipulating its voting and algorithms to thwart or promote a given ideology is a-okay. And what everyone seems to be forgetting is that anyone doing this -- be it a platform or a political campaign -- is damaging an important asset: its reputation.

So what is it? Is Trump such a poor choice that his supporters feel a need for bots to downvote Biden's acceptance speech? Is Biden so incapable that the first hint of opposition will doom him to defeat? And do the people who stoop to such tactics realize they are insulting our intelligence?

The proper response to an attempt to distort the truth is to be grateful that the culprits can exercise their freedom of speech -- that we might know them for the asses that they are. Current attempts to regulate social media threaten both freedom of speech and property rights, and in turn threaten to deprive us of such information, for starters.

Why did YouTube change these numbers? I have no idea, but their past behavior in other areas doesn't reassure me. Time will tell whether YouTube deserves to be known as a neutral platform deserving of its audience and advertisers. And if it doesn't, one should hope we still live in a free country where competition can fill that void.

-- CAV

Link to Original

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...