It’s impossible, so it must be done quickly

Content moderation at scale is impossible, unless you want it to be random to a certain degree. This is not a surprise and yet politicians demand that tech companies do it anyway – like the German NetzDG law.

NetzDG demands that large online platforms delete “manifestly unlawful content” within 24 hours of receiving a complaint, and other unlawful content within 7 days. So, “manifestly” must be very easy to determine, then, and the rest of the unlawful content can just needs a few more days, apparently.

Well, except if you want to be correct:

Jacob Mchangama continues:

While recognizing the differences between national criminal law and procedure and private content moderation, it is relevant to assess how the time limits prescribed for private platforms by national governments compare to the length of domestic criminal proceedings in hate speech cases. Large discrepancies may suggest that very short notice and takedown time limits for private platforms result in systemic “collateral damage” to online freedom of expression, as determined by the French Constitutional Council and noted by David Kaye. Platforms may be incentivized to err on the side of removal rather than shielding the speech of their users against censorious governments. Platforms may respond by developing less speech-protective terms of service and more aggressive content moderation enforcement mechanisms that are geared toward limiting the risk of liability rather than providing voice to the users. Indeed, since the adoption of the NetzDG, platforms such as Facebook have expanded the definition of hate speech and dramatically increased the quantity of deleted content.
— Jacob Mchangama: “Rushing to Judgment: Examining Government Mandated Content Moderation

This isn’t even touching on the problem that “hate speech” is a new way for government to suppress opinions they don’t approve of. Now, hate speech does exist and in its true form is illegal in most Western countries: The encouragement of violence against others. Other than that, hate speech doesn’t actually exist:

The more I study net regulation, the more of a free-speech absolutist I become. To think that speech is harmful is almost inevitably a third-person effect: believing that everyone else — but not you — is vulnerable to bad words and ideas and that protecting them from it will cure their ignorance. There is but one cure for ignorance: education. The goal of education is to prepare the mind to wrestle with lies and hatred and idiocy … and win.
— Jeff Jarvis, “Speech is not harmful: A lesson to be relearned

The British politicians and authorities seem hell-bent on proven just how bad hate speech laws can be. From the police calling an old lady because she tweeted something that is politically incorrect, over the police claiming that just “being offensive” is an offense to the Scottish justice secretary proposing a law to prosecute anything deemed hateful, even when happening within the private homes of citizens.

It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.
— Stephen Fry

What is another word for governments suppressing opinions they don’t like?

I mean, if it’s a danger to your government that people write what they think, maybe the problem isn’t what people write.










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