Saturday, March 30, 2019

"YouTube's Messy Fight": Carlos Maza (in 2017) covers a growing existential threat to independent journalism and newbie self-broadcast free speech, post Charlottesville



YouTube’s Messy Fight with Its Most Extreme Creators”, by Carlos Maza (and Coleman Lowndes).


This video dates back to late 2017 (after Charlottesville) but it right on topic as to the problems with censorship and particularly ad demonetization and showdowbanning of recently some right-wing content.

Maza’s Strikethrough series on Vox is one of my favorites.  Maza is humorous, but sometimes on Twitter goes overboard on how he characterizes some specific people (like Tucker Carlson).
Maza explains that the importance of YouTube (and Blogger and even most hosting plans) is the low barrier to entry and the absence of regulation familiar in broadcast (although in cable the regulation is less).

In the past two years, since Trump’s election, there has developed the idea that gratuitous content (free), or patronage content or channels based on ad-clicks, have become vulnerable to manipulation not only by religious extremism (radical Islam, as a few years ago) but especially by the “alt-right” (for want of a better name) and the particular relation that ideology has to U.S. history.
I used to dismiss the “alt-Right’s” rants as just silly.  If you want to call a particularly vocal teenager (about gun control reform) a crisis actor and then call him an extraterrestrial alien, you’re just making the teenager look powerful, like a future Clark Kent. You’re just being silly. You’re helping the teen get rich before starting college.
  
But there is also a problem that disturbed individuals with grievances know that if they act out, vloggers and even “for free” bloggers (like me) would want to be perceived as valid libertarian-oriented journalists, have to talk about them and what they did (even if they don’t name them repeatedly). That’s an inevitable artefact of free entry.  I try to isolate the worst cases on this particular blog.

I even feel that if someone who “acted out” published a particular grievance about someone like me (not just for LGBT issues itself but for more subtle things like childlessness and intellectualism) I need to know about it and be prepared to respond to it.  I can’t just join a “group” to protect me.  

There is a moral question about “too much talk” without “action”  -- “skin in the game” – but now even the “Take Action” buttons on non-profit sites could be misconstrued.  We are heading into an environment where, as we have seen (with FOSTA, terror content, and now copyright issues in Europe) there is pressure to take away downstream liability protections from platforms, with a belief that amateur speech (as YouTube and even this Blogger platform) should no longer be encouraged – people need to join up and enlist and work together in groups and support each other – which introverts like me don’t do very well.
  
We’ll come back to some of the legislative proposals with another video just for this blog soon.  But Maza has gotten a needed conversation started with this particular video.


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