The biggest danger for the Republic, Republicans and Democrats has both shouted in recent months, are tech companies like Google and Facebook. They use too much power over free speech and commerce, go the argument and must therefore be broken up into smaller, weaker companies to reduce their hold on us.
Then came last Friday's massacre of 50 innocents at two New Zealand mosques, streaming live on Facebook from the suspect's body camera – an attack Kewin Roose, the New York Times called the world's first "internet native mass shooting."
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The new complaint was that the big technology was not & # 39; t strong enough to block the slider's videos from being displayed online. Although Facebook deleted 1.5 million of first-person videos within 24 hours, and Google's YouTube boasted of " unprecedented " scale and speed by deleting videos (one per second!) And temporarily disabling search features, neither the service could keep up with the uploaders. Some users subtly changed the videos to slip during automated screening processes.
At least two British tabloids ran edited footage from the suspect's body chambers and one released its 84-page "manifesto", but they quickly censored the material out of their websites. The Australian television company probably spoke to most media companies that limited their graphic coverage when it explained that it had deliberately denied the suspect a "platform" because his attacks were "targeting the audience of traditional news organizations, but reaching and triggering nebulized and often extremely online audiences. "ABC continued," His every move seems to have been deliberate, calculated, expert and designed to capture attention. "The Aussie television company seems to say it didn't want to to reward the suspected media effort and thereby encourage further chaos.
But limited coverage does not mean zero coverage. Every major media organization flooded the New Zealand story with journalists and photographers who told the story in square detail. You may think this would be a counterproductive thank you for the news media whose depletion of the suspect and limitation of the scope of his propaganda goals were intended. And you would be right. Far from "protecting" the impressionable from the suspected racist and murderous message, the press reported it everywhere. This allows the press to get it both ways – to claim an envisaged moral victory by not using the video and the manifest directly, but by extracting all of the essential reporting details from them. The "nebulized and often extreme online audience" who clicked through to read the temperate cover of Christchurch killings in the New York Times or watch it on CNN certainly got the suspect's message.
So why charade? I can understand why Google and Facebook would like to resist delivering maximum destruction, blood and massacres. They are in the advertising industry. But journalists have to be hell-bent on chasing all the angles of a story, to fail by telling too much rather than not enough, to reveal and not hide, aren't they? Suppression of the news is the censor's game.
I can understand why New Zealand journalists set themselves apart: The New Zealand government pleaded its powers to ban "offensive and limited material" and thereby criminalize the sharing of the video. And the government acted on the ban. A person arrested for sharing the video faces 28 years of imprisonment. Both New Zealand and Australian internet providers have blocked sites like 4chan hosting the videos.
But no such law prevented the US press from running the videos.
When the terrorists struck 9/11, the network lived the cruelty of American living rooms, including the human demolition of desperate people who jumped from high windows to escape the flames. This attack was just as deliberate, calculated and web-savvy as the Christchurch attack, but the press did not retreat to concerns that coverage could encourage a new attack. No one said We can't be free to publish this material because we have to do everything possible to be safe first! To this day, YouTube finds such journalistic significance in the jumpers videos that they still host them in easily searchable form. So much for their "standards".
The crime of murder crime, which requires journalists to limit their coverage so that they do not inspire new villains to gather the gun, is leaky. As Paul Farhi of Washington Post noted in 2012, what should we do about the fact that some killings, such as Columbine, have apparently inspired further killings, but others who attacked the Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who left six dead, didn't? "The school game has grown and decreased for more than 100 years; shootings in postal facilities are all unknown these days," writes Farhi. It is magical thinking to imagine that violent violence will disappear if only the press can be persuaded to report it in small doses.
If the logic of frightening the Christchurch video is to prevent another attack – which I can find doubtful – have the censors thought through the unintended consequences of their plan? Although the video has been underground, it can still be found and shared, and the banned status will only lend the extra cache to specific audiences. Call it a bloody version of the Streisand effect.
The sensor is never someone who will not see things. He would love to see salacious and disturbing things! He just thinks it's his call to prevent his neighbors from seeing the same material. When everyone is a potential publisher – something millions of video downloads counted by Facebook and Google help confirm-today's censor can only delay and distort. Information may not, despite what Whole Earth Catalog founder Steward Brand once said, will be free. But some free people will have access to it – even though it's unpleasantly unpleasant to consume.
Sharp eyes will notice that I shook the excellent line "We can't be free because we need to be safe," from the movie ] Page 8 in the third from the last paragraph. Send your favorite movie lines to Shafer.Politico@gmail.com. My email alerts have seen all of John Ford's work. Min Twitter feed fantasies Budd Boetticher's Westerns. My RSS feed wants to go to a "19459037] The Wild Bunch" re-enactor camp and play the role of either Lyle or Tector Gorch.