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Introducing RightTube

“Why it’s time for YouTube to ban the alt-right” is the latest piece in the New Statesman from the journalist and commentator Paul Mason, or Corbyn Ally Paul Mason to give him his full name.

Recent academic studies of alt-right sympathisers show that they are, indeed, divided into people prepared to glorify their own violence and those uneasy about it; rabid authoritarians completely sold on destroying democracy, and a wider group suffering from cultural insecurity. The political challenge is to defeat both, but in the process the task of preventing the evolution of the authoritarian conservative into the fascist is important.

I can think of no better way of doing this than excising the entire alt-right from YouTube. Hate speech is, in many countries illegal; incitement to rape and violence is a crime, so why does the world’s third biggest company, staffed largely by liberals, feminists and rationalists, want to make money by providing an echo chamber?

Some students of the alt-right argue that, by censoring them, we feed their narrative of paranoia. That is a danger. But YouTube is not a civil society in miniature: it is a business, and has business ethics and a reputation to maintain. It has already kicked the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones off the platform; it would be very easy to remove not just the open fascists but any of the useful idiot brigade who knowingly platform them and drive customers to their books and lectures.

To do this would require a mixture of redesigned algorithms and prudent human judgement, challenging the fiction that YouTube and other social networks are “platforms not publishers”. It would mean YouTube’s executives having to take an overt business decision that they do not want their platform to be the primary means of spreading far-right ideologies such as “race science” or anti-vaccination mythology.

The far-right would still be free to make videos and send them to each other. But by depriving them of network tools and incentives, the world’s primary online video platform would be taking a major stand in favour of democracy. And their sympathisers in the echo chamber would then face a choice: stop driving traffic and attention to the outright fascists, or lose access in the same way.

Depriving fascism of its platform online is, in current circumstances, even more important than confronting it on the streets. Its strategy is not a direct read-off from the Hitlerite playbook, which begins with street violence and ends with state power. Modern fascists are quite happy operating in the parallel universe of online influence, doxxing political targets, polluting the information society, acting as a provisional wing of authoritarian conservatism, while politicians like Trump, Salvini and Le Pen do the heavy lifting in thousand dollar suits.

So it is in the interest of all of us that YouTube’s executives develop an editorial and political morality. I doubt CEO Susan Wojcicki thinks it’s cool to be running the primary transmitter of racism, fascism and misogyny in the world. But it’s time to stop.

I would be the last to deny that as a private company YouTube has the right to ban ban banban banban like the Pearl & Dean theme tune if it wants to. But the results might not be to Mr Mason’s liking. Or YouTube’s. At present when YouTube bans an individual extreme right winger, or someone it thinks is an extreme right winger, the utility of YouTube to the average person looking for political content is not much changed. However if it were to excise a whole chunk of the the political spectrum – for make no mistake, any definition of “far-right” compiled with the assistance of Mr Mason will stretch a long way left – then, to adapt the sardonic remark that Charles Krauthammer once made about the success of Roger Ailes, the founder of Fox News, it would open up a niche market of half the world. Then you would have RightTube and LeftTube in all their Fallopian glory, and never more the twain would meet.

22 comments to Introducing RightTube

  • Julie near Chicago

    “…you would have RightTube and LeftTube in all their Fallopian glory….”

    Oh boy, Natalie. That hurts. 😆

    P.S. Great quote from C. Krauthammer.

  • Julie near Chicago

    To the issue: Found on YouTube, from Fox:

    “Mark Salvas not only a Democrat, but actually the head of the Allegheny County [mumble] Democratic Council.” –Tucker Carlson

    [He also kneels for the Cross. No wonder he’s in trouble! –J.]

    Fox description:

    “Democrat forced to resign over patriotic Facebook post

    “Allegheny County Democratic Party member Mark Salvas says he was asked to resign due to his ‘I stand for the flag’ post on Facebook. He speaks out on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sl3KEf_0aCo

  • bobby b

    Here are two facts about Youtube’s owner, Google, that need to be considered together:

    1. Google dropped out of the bidding for a rather huge ($10B, IIRC) computer systems project for the US Department of Defense, stating that working for the DoD violated their principles.

    2. Google is currently working with the Chinese government to develop a new search engine for China that will allow the Chinese government to censor subjects, track users performing searches, and redirect searches as they see fit.

    Google, and thus Youtube, must henceforth be considered to be an overt anti-American enterprise.

  • James Strong

    ‘rabid authoritarians completely sold on destroying democracy’ And this is a left-winger offering a description of the alt-right? Remarkable.

  • The Sage

    @James Strong — as a wise man once said, they always project.

    The trouble with a putative RightTube is that YouTube is a money loser, only kept afloat by the Google advertising revenues.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Three pieces about Facebook, Google, UT, and … George Soros.

    Very interesting, although I certainly don’t vouch for the accuracy of any reports, nor for the validity of any theories or opinions.

    (I do have antennae that occasionally quiver, though. I saw Ed Whelan’s “Bombshell!” piece, with photos and arguments, theorizing that one of those Garrett guys’ house was the real site of the alleged party in which J. Brett Kavanaugh was alleged to have attempted to rape Mrs. Ford; I was not at all surprised to see that he admitted he had made an huge error, and had taken the thing down.)

    1. “The great Facebook purge: Soros’s signature tactics and the crisis in social media.” This is an interesting theory, anyway, and could be right on the facts for all I know, even if Mr. Soros goals or his psychology isn’t quite right. With many links:

    https://libertyunyielding.com/2018/10/17/the-great-facebook-purge-soross-signature-tactics-and-the-crisis-in-social-media/

    2. ‘THE GOOD CENSOR’: Leaked Google Briefing Admits Abandonment of Free Speech for ‘Safety And Civility,’ with video and graphs:

    https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2018/10/09/the-good-censor-leaked-google-briefing-admits-abandonment-of-free-speech-for-safety-and-civility/

    3. Soros: “Remarks delivered at the World Economic Forum,” Davos, January 2018 [I think this is the object of a link in one of the articles above]:

    https://www.georgesoros.com/2018/01/25/remarks-delivered-at-the-world-economic-forum/

  • Julie near Chicago

    Related to the foregoing?

    “At Facebook, public funds join push to remove Zuckerberg as chairman.”

    H/T Vodkapundit Stephen Green, at Instapundit, who doesn’t think it will go anywhere. Per Reuters (below), it didn’t in 2017 either..

    (Interesting that one of the complainers is Illinois’ state treasurer…. I surely hope that Bruce Rauner, our Republican! governor, can manage to retain his seat next month. Because Richard swears he’s trying with all his might to improve the state of our miserable finances. And because he’s not a Democrat.)

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-shareholders/facebook-shareholders-back-proposal-to-remove-zuckerberg-as-chairman-idUSKCN1MR2GY

    And a little farther down on the October 18th page, Glenn Reynolds at 7:12 a.m. posted links to a couple more reports of Facebook shenanigans.

    https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/

  • Mr Ecks

    Very sick of hearing sanctimonious shite from human sewage like Mason who glories in his membership of a death cult with 150 million murders committed so far.

  • EdMJ

    but any of the useful idiot brigade who knowingly platform them

    Talk about pots and kettles!

    “The term [useful idiot] was originally used to describe non-Communists regarded as susceptible to Communist propaganda and manipulation.” Hmm, which modern organisation does that describe best? Hint, there are many of these idiots, not a few.

  • alt-right sympathisers show that they are, indeed, divided into people prepared to glorify their own violence and those uneasy about it

    Presumably unlike the ctl-left, who are instead divided into people prepared to glorify their own violence and those who merely hope for electoral benefit from the fellow-traveller violence they encourage. 🙂

    The ctl-left might be defined as precisely those who will read the New Statesman article without distaste. (Let us be glad there is also a left that would dislike the article, and sad they do not seem to have too much influence on the left’s public narrative at the moment. There is also a left of equally vile principles but who worry whether the net electoral benefit will be theirs or Donald’s.)

  • After reading the whole article, I find it’s most sinister part is its targeting not of such alt-righters as may resemble their caricatures, but of alt-righters and others who challenge them in debate. It is not Richard Spencer who is most hated but Sargon of Akkad, for debating him. ‘Thou shalt not eat the bread of unbelief’ does not even come near this determination that those whom the New Statesman names as enemies of the (politically-correct) people must be condemned unheard. To debate with them is to commit the vile sin of ‘normalising’ them. Their arguments are so absurd – and yet, the article’s logic implies, so seductive – that to hear them even alongside dissent from them is an abomination.

    I suppose the New Statesman’s logical next stage after this will be to imitate Stalin’s late-purge announcement that it was time to go after “the silent ones”, and demand that everyone remaining on YouTube be given the Taylor Swift experience.

  • Jim

    “Then you would have RightTube and LeftTube in all their Fallopian glory, and never more the twain would meet.”

    I disagree. You’d have LeftTube and FreeTube. The USP of FreeTube would be in its name – we don’t censor you. Which would attract everyone, not just those being banned by LeftTube. FreeTube would be everyone, LeftTube an echo chamber.

  • “Even the devil can cite scripture to his purpose” 🙂 – and even this New Statesman article can quote Hannah Arendt, and so unwittingly provide an interesting (to me, at least 🙂 ) meta-comment on its argument.

    “The sympathisers, who are to all appearances still innocuous fellow-citizens in a non-totalitarian society, can hardly be called single-minded fanatics; through them, the movements make their fantastic lies more generally acceptable, can spread their propaganda in milder, more respectable forms, until the whole atmosphere is poisoned with totalitarian elements which are hardly recognisable as such but appear to be normal political reactions or opinions.” (Hannah Arendt, ‘The Origins of Totalitarianism’)

    The most obvious idea Hannah was thinking about here is the imbecile notion that Jewish financiers were responsible for starting the first world war. The nearest analogy today is the idea that Israel is an apartheid state – not, I think, an idea the New Statesman wants to ban from its own pages, let alone from YouTube.

    The second most obvious was treating state limitation of free speech as legitimate, even desirable. Today’s analogy is obvious – and the New Statesman article is an example of it. Nazi and communist fellow-travellers in early 30s Germany did not argue for the level of suppression that would be achieved by Hitler and already had been by Stalin – which is an example of Hannah’s point – but they saw it as OK that, when nazis and communists were arrested under Weimar Germany’s hate-speech laws, they did not demand that the state should have no such power, just that it should use it on their enemies instead. That is a huge difference between Germany then and the anglosphere now. Show me an alt-righter who says openly, ‘Yes, the first amendment should be abridged, but by people like me not by those leftists’ and I’d be less contemptuous of the article’s abuse of Arendt.

  • Eric

    Banning “right wing” channels from Youtube wouldn’t hurt the bottom line much – almost all the top channels are nonpolitical. Youtube makes most of its money off pirated music and low rent Kardashian types.

    I’m not saying it wouldn’t hurt the company in other ways. It’s just that politics is more of a headache than a moneymaker.

    Also, this: Recent academic studies of alt-right sympathisers show that they are, indeed, divided into people prepared to glorify their own violence and those uneasy about it; rabid authoritarians completely sold on destroying democracy, and a wider group suffering from cultural insecurity.

    Academia seems to have jettisoned any commitment to free speech and the teaching of Western… anything, but one thing the campus Marxists can still do is create bullshit “studies” demonizing people they don’t like for the inclusion into news articles and “reports” by pressure groups.

  • Pat

    Substitute left for right in the quoted piece, and see where that leads.

  • JohnK

    Paul Mason really is the most awful shit.

    The one thing which cheers me up about him is that if his extreme leftist friends ever gained power, he would probably be one of the first to be shot.

    The revolution eats itself, comrade.

  • The one thing which cheers me up about him is that if his extreme leftist friends ever gained power, he would probably be one of the first to be shot. (JohnK, October 19, 2018 at 12:02 pm)

    One of the early ones, probably, but not before he’d helped them murder you, me and others here. As Burke remarked long ago, such revolutionaries

    always have their knives at each others’ throats after they have nearly blunted them on every honest man’s

    (quoted from memory, with the emphasis on ‘after’ added by me).

    So I don’t find it that cheering. 🙂

  • pete

    Mr Mason is just another insular old media person who is bewildered and appalled by the diversity of opinion that the internet has brought to everyone’s attention.

  • Rich Rostrom

    EdMJ: Terms like “useful idiot” and “fellow traveler” are effective terms of art, which can be applied in many different contexts. There are “fellow travelers” of jihadism, and “useful idiots” for “global warming”.

  • Paul Marks

    Paul Mason is a despicable liar – he pretends that any arguments against the left are “cultural insecurity” or “authoritarianism”.

    As for “violence” – as Paul Mason knowns very well, most violence comes from CORBYN SUPPORTERS.

    YouTube – Google.

    Of course they will get into bed with totalitarians like Paul Mason – and then (when he has used them) he will wipe them out as “greedy capitalists”.

    The tech people have lots of money and are very good with computers – but, they do not have much Common Sense. The left will USE them and then rob-and-kill them.

  • Chip

    Google seems increasingly undisciplined lately with their pandering to China and descent into SJW nuttiness.

    I wonder if it’s due to the absence of Larry Page, the real brain behind Google who hasn’t been seen much since 2015 as he focuses on the company’s more sci-if projects.

  • Paul Marks

    For years YouTube-Google has pushed (in all the ways it can) “The Young Turks” – it is a pathetic channel, for example it has recently declared that Elizabeth Warren is a “Native American” (what people used to call a Red Indian) and that President Trump should pay her the million Dollars he promised if she proved to be “an Indian” (President Trump used the old word) – this is in spite of genetic testing proving that Elizabeth Warren is LESS of a “Native American” than the average American – Warren is just about the most white person on the planet.

    Mostly people only watch “The Young Turks” in order to laugh at the delusional SJWs – but YouTube thinks that this is the opinion channel that everyone should watch and AGREE with. Other channels (run by people who actually have a brain in their head) are hated by YouTube-Google and it is staff is constantly putting pressure on them. Think about it – the staff of YouTube-Google think want to DESTROY most of the popular news and political opinion channels that exist on YouTube. They basically just want “mainstream media” (i.e. far left) stuff.

    Paul Mason knows he is pushing an open door – YouTube-Google staff basically agree with his totalitarianism.

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