Andrew Marantz doesn’t have any confidence in the ability of progressive liberalism to win in the online space in the marketplace of ideas. He is demanding that Mark Zuckerberg assume the role of gatekeeper which is a dangerous place for a company as hegemonic as Facebook.
“When a public figure spends too much time repeating a particular platitude, strenuously pledging to be for that which no one could possibly be against, it’s a sign that the public figure is being evasive, disingenuous, or worse. On Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg, the C.E.O. of Facebook, gave a speech at Georgetown University. Facebook’s official P.R. blog posted Zuckerberg’s prepared remarks under the headline “Mark Zuckerberg Stands for Voice and Free Expression”; a subtitle added that Zuckerberg endorsed “the importance of protecting free expression.” That’s one repetition, even before clicking through to read. …
Of course, everyone apart from Kim Jong Un agrees with this; the question is whether free speech is the only good worth pursuing, and whether it leads inexorably to truth and progress. “The ability to speak freely has been central in the fight for democracy worldwide,” Zuckerberg said. “When people are finally able to speak, they often call for change.”
“Just out of curiosity, how would you define trolling?
I think it’s evolved like a lot of things, like almost any internet term has evolved. This was what made it kind of hard to write a glossary for this book, much less to use terms accurately in the book. Because as I get into in the book, terminology evolves quickly in life and especially on the internet, and it gets pushed in directions by propagandists that it wouldn’t have gone in otherwise. So the term “fake news” means something very different after Trump gets his hands on it than it did even three-months prior. And there’s a similar thing with trolling or with any internet-adjacent term.
In the good old halcyon days, back when these problems already were manifestly in existence, but before most people began to think about them, trolling just meant trying to get a reaction out of someone. Pranking them, trying to incite them into caring more than they were supposed to care, because the aesthetic of the internet is to be cool, is to not care about anything. And trolling was designed to incite a reaction out of people. Nowadays it has all kinds of other ancillary meanings baked into it.
I spent a lot of time with the founders of Reddit and embedded in their headquarters in San Francisco for many, many hours. Those guys, when they were growing up on the internet and acting as starry-eyed techno-utopians, they told me that they considered themselves trolls, and then obviously they tried to put an asterisk on that and say, “Of course, now that trolling has all these connotations of abuse and vicious misogyny and all the rest of it, now of course we don’t consider ourselves that.” That was only one tiny corner of the way that those guys evolved. They also evolved from free-speech absolutists into reluctant gatekeepers who let me sit in the room as they decided which Nazi subreddits to ban and which Nazi subreddits to not ban. So that was an act of internet curation and internet gatekeeping, that they, I don’t think, would ever have foreseen themselves undertaking in the early days of Reddit.”
Andrew Marantz tellingly isn’t afraid of conservative liberalism or what we call the cuckservative Right. The Left has nothing to fear from the Brad Polumbos or the David Frenches of the world. Why would you fear the Washington Generals of the culture war?
Just as we are deplatformed for being a real threat, cuckservatives like French are given platforms by the mainstream media precisely because they are not a threat and neuter and demoralize the Right. It is becoming a huge problem for the Left that people like David French or their counterparts in the GOP like Mitt Romney have lost legitimacy.
If I was on the Left, this is the opposition I would want to face too. That’s the way it was for over forty years and why nothing but tax cuts was conserved over that period.
Times have changed.
Social media has given a voice to people who used to silenced by gatekeepers like Andrew Marantz and William F. Buckley. That’s largely due to the “disruption” created by people like Zuck and Jack Dorsey. We’ve moved on from the television age to the digital age.
If Jews lose control of the internet, Andrew Marantz believes they are f**ked.
How do you shutdown the internet though? These people panicked Zuck and other key players in Silicon Valley into give them veto power over the internet. The result of their takeover was mass censorship which has created an enormous headache for the GOP with their own voters. Elizabeth Warren wants to break up Facebook though and is far more likely to do it.
So what do you do? Do you appease Andrew Marantz and the ADL or the GOP to get Blompf and the conservatives off your back?