Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Consistently Stupid U.S. Administration Solicits Complaints of ‘Bias’ by Websites

Tony Romm, Washington Post:

The White House on Wednesday escalated its war against Silicon Valley when it announced an unprecedented campaign asking Internet users to share if they had been censored on Facebook, Google and Twitter, tapping into President Trump’s long-running claim that tech giants are biased against conservatives.

The effort, which the White House said on Twitter was directed at users “no matter your views,” seeks to collect names, contact information and other details from Americans. The survey asks whether they have encountered problems on Facebook, Instagram, Google-owned YouTube, Twitter or other social media sites — companies the president frequently takes aim at for alleged political censorship.

This, on the very same day that the Trump administration announced it would not sign a statement pledging to take action to combat and avoid amplifying violent extremist rhetoric on what is ostensibly First Amendment grounds. I’m not saying that they should necessarily sign such a statement as I understand the free speech concerns — though the pledge does not require that government signatories do anything that would curtail freedom of expression — but the contrast is notable.

It’s horseshit anyway because this is pretty obviously a means to build the Trump 2020 campaign’s email list. Also, the U.S. government can’t require private companies to change how they moderate user behaviour because that would be a violation of the First Amendment — but you knew that.

Update: Casey Newton:

In the meantime, “bias” is defined ever downward. In conservative parlance, it now refers to any instance in which the user of a social platform did not have a desired outcome. You didn’t appear high enough in search results? Your video wasn’t promoted by an algorithm? You were suspended for threatening to kill someone? It’s all just “bias” now.

Far enough down the conspiracy hole, everything has meaning, which means nothing really does.