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Does social media censor?

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Here is an ARI video about the subject. I thought it was pretty good, except for what I consider a big fumble at the outset.

Since when did Ayn Rand or the ARI have a monopoly on the meaning of words? Here is a typical dictionary definition:

censorship - the process of removing parts of books, movies, letters, etc. that are considered inappropriate for moral, religious, or political reasons

I believe it would have improved the video, and would better engage somebody not already in the "choir" if the following were the approach. 

Let G-censorship mean censorship by a government. Let P-censorship mean censorship by a private person and even a platform such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. It seems to me the communication would be clearer and the conversation more productive. 

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The problem is, since when did Merlin Jetton gain a monopoly on the meaning of words? Tu quoque, dude! The question should be, what is the objective meaning of “censorship” or “censor” (qua verb) in the English language? And how do you establish an objective fact? Generally, we observe reality to determine what the facts are, for example I observe actual dogs to answer the question of whether dogs have eight legs or four. Likewise with spiders. There are two things that can be actually observed: dictionaries, and speakers of English. Dictionaries are based on observation of speakers, though (1) the observations (the actual research) are typically quite dated and (2) they are usually based on a select subset of speakers (from written form and not colloquial language). Personal observation of English speakers, on the other hand, is usually anecdotal and IMO scientifically unreliable, since most people are not engaged in the specialized science of discerning word meaning in the surrounding language.

There are two competing views of “the meaning” of censor: one that it refers to restricting expression based on moral etc. considerations and the other that it refers to such actions when done by the government. We can study dictionary definitions extensively and see what they say; we can engage in population polling. Both methods have their problems. Inventing new terms is close to the last thing that should be done – an expression like P-censorship vs. G-censorship is communicatively dysfunctional because there are no such words. I agree that your definition of “censorship” is the one adopted most widely and that the “by government” limitation is not how most people currently understand the term. However, if we constantly cede word-meanings to the progressive movement (cf. equality, justice, rights) then we won’t even be able to communicate amongst ourselves, since all of the words will have been redefined underneath our feet. Their use of “censorship” is correct and not archaic to the point of being confusing. It is pointed, which is better than being pointless.

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46 minutes ago, DavidOdden said:

The problem is, since when did Merlin Jetton gain a monopoly on the meaning of words? Tu quoque, dude!

...

The question should be, what is the objective meaning of “censorship” or “censor” (qua verb) in the English language?

....

Their use of “censorship” is correct and not archaic to the point of being confusing. It is pointed, which is better than being pointless.

I do not claim or act like I have a monopoly on the meaning of any word. 

The question should be, what is an objective meaning of “censorship” or “censor” (qua verb) in the English language?

I did not say their meaning of “censorship” or “censor” was incorrect or pointless. I do say it is confusing because it conflates censorship by government, a religious org, or even in a business. They also talk as if censorship is exclusively a government prerogative.

Consider the words joint, plane, pan, and trunk. Each has several different meanings. Context matters. Many other words have multiple meanings.

 

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20 hours ago, merjet said:

Since when did Ayn Rand or the ARI have a monopoly on the meaning of words? Here is a typical dictionary definition:

No one respects this kind of rhetorical strategy, and it isn't making the point you think it is

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ARI and Rand also do not claim to have a monopoly on word meaning. Their use (in that video) is entirely consistent with an objective meaning of the word, and is not at all confusing. Hair-splitting is more confusing than under-differentiation, and making up nonexistent words is particularly confusing. Are you seriously disagreeing with them because they didn't say "G-censorship"? Confusion on their message is utterly impossible.

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21 hours ago, merjet said:

I believe it would have improved the video, and would better engage somebody not already in the "choir" if the following were the approach. 

What would change? It's easy enough to understand right away that they are referring to government censorship, and/or censorship that qualifies as initiation of force. The video isn't about trying to define the objective meaning of the word "censorship". They defined their terms, even if you think you have a better idea for which terms to use. 

Is there a particular portion of the video that you think is worth watching and talking about?

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29 minutes ago, DavidOdden said:

ARI and Rand also do not claim to have a monopoly on word meaning. 

I disagree.

Bayer and Simpson claim that only a government can censor.  

"It is not a mere semantic issue nor a matter of arbitrary choice. The meaning ascribed to the word "selfishness" in popular use is not merely wrong [.]" (The Virtue of Selfishness, vii).

 

Edited by merjet
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I'm ignorant on these matters, Section 230 and so on, but this clause caught my eye. When Government tries to "preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists" suspicions are raised of protectionist policies..

(b)Policy

It is the policy of the United States

(1)
to promote the continued development of the Internet and other interactive computer services and other interactive media;
(2)
to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation;
Edited by whYNOT
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When an industry is granted and enjoys special protection by the government is that not intervention, initiatory force, and therefore, since operating under the auspices of government, actual "censorship" when acted upon and people get blocked from social media?

The link codifying Section 230: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230

Edited by whYNOT
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26 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

I'm ignorant on these matters, Section 230 and so on, but this clause caught my eye. [snip]

Section 230 was passed in 1996. How the Internet was used before then -- see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230#Background_and_passage -- versus now are very different.

Pre-1996: Popular content was message boards and porn. (Porn was pretty mild then compared to now.)

Now: Facebook, Twitter, fake news, extremists.

Edited by merjet
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5 minutes ago, merjet said:

Section 230 was passed in 1996. How the Internet was used before then -- see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230#Background_and_passage -- versus now are very different.

Pre-1996: Popular content was message boards and porn. Porn was pretty mild then compared to now.

Now: Facebook, Twitter, fake news, extremists.

I knew there was good reason to altogether stay away from social media...

The consuming one now is "hate speech", however our Big Tech Moral Guardians wish to define it. One man's facts are someone else's "hate speech".

 

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1 minute ago, whYNOT said:

I knew there was good reason to altogether stay away from social media...

The consuming one now is "hate speech", however our Big Tech Moral Guardians wish to define it. One man's facts are someone else's "hate speech".

Yeah, I didn't think to include that term.

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Isn't this forum considered social media? I just looked up the definition online, and from that it would seem so.

Tony, apparently, you are on social media right here.

I've not been on Twitter, and it just wouldn't be for me. I've really enjoyed being on Facebook for several years. I was able to reconnect and keep up with a number of cousins, co-workers, hs classmates, Objectivist/libertarian types, and far-flung immediate family and friends. People use it for different things. Some use it to preach politics or religion or cultural viewpoints. Some use it primarily to show pictures of cats. I use my page there for what's happening with me in physical-work home life, scholarly projects, past travels, and sharing music. I've never used it to get news, and was surprised to learn people would do that there. Anyway, the great thing about the capabilities for the FB user is that you can p-censor, within whatever P-censoring they are doing (invisible to me--I've never been P-censored there), to make it an enjoyable experience for yourself and others (if that's the sort of thing you like to do). You can get rid of FB "friends" who just friended you to be part of an audience for them to preach at. And you can block anyone you wish not to see anything you post (and vice-versa), so you can have conversations on mutual friends' pages without interference from them. And you can eliminate any post that someone puts on your own page that you do not want. Nice design in these p-censorship respects.

 

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Whoa! Some serious hyperbole and lack of firm libertarian and free-trade principles here at the Heartland think tank. Hollering and calling for governmental reorganization of electronic communication networks and making private firms out to be of the same feather as governmental censorship in totalitarian states is very meagre and very pretzel thinking.

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22 hours ago, Boydstun said:

Isn't this forum considered social media? I just looked up the definition online, and from that it would seem so.

Tony, apparently, you are on social media right here.

 

 

Ha, I knew this would bounce back. Right, I should have been specific.

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