Virtual Attacks on Disapproved-of Businesses

That’s what Facebook is planning to allow regarding merchants that advertise on Facebook.

The social-media giant is rolling out a new feature that lets people leave feedback about their shopping experience after viewing a Facebook ad. The company said it is warning businesses that receive a high volume of negative feedback to give them a chance to address the grievances. If feedback doesn’t improve over time, Facebook will reduce the number of ads that businesses can deliver and could eventually ban them from the platform.

With this, Facebook is allowing “customers” to harm a business of whose ideology they disapprove simply by flooding that business with “negative feedback” on Facebook’s pages.

Free Speech

…British style.  There is a trial in progress in Leeds (northern England, a bit up the road northeast of Manchester) concerning a

Muslim gang on trial for raping and grooming hundreds of victims, some as young as eleven.

Tommy Robinson, a British activist-journalist, was arrested and hauled off to prison for the heinous crime of reporting information about the defendants—public information, mind you.

British media are forbidden from reporting on certain trials….

The rationalization is that reporting might taint the jury.  Because some juries are more easily tainted than other juries on other trials.  Cue Bill the Cat.

Free Speech of the Left

Recall Kanye West’s remarks supporting President Donald Trump, even though he disagrees with Trump on a number of questions, and West’s further remarks saying that 400 years of slavery was a choice—and his follow-on statement that the latter remark was “just an idea.”  Just an idea that Americans who happen to be black don’t all have to think alike—they’re as free to think and speak their own minds rather than engaging in Left-approved group think as any other American.

In a clear demonstration of West’s point, we get this from a pair of denizens of the Left:

Battle Against Hate Speech?

Bob Pearson, co-author of Countering Hate and CIO of W2O Group says that AI is able to identify hate speech today.

All human beings follow patterns online.  You can see what language, content, channel, and people matter to them. You can see which words trigger information seeking, which language is most associated with hate topics or sites, which people are the most important influencers and you can see a range of behavioral characteristics.

A Judicial Miss

Recall the Marquette University case wherein a graduate-student instructor, Cheryl Abbate, shut down debate on the subject of gay marriage, arguing that views that didn’t accept such things were “homophobic and unwelcome in her classroom.”  Tenured Political Science Professor John McAdams objected, in blunt terms, to the evident bigotry demonstrated by Abbate in a personal post on his personal blog.  Marquette disciplined him for disagreeing—that’s a violation of Marquette “speech” policy.  McAdams demurred and took Marquette to court.

Milwaukee County Circuit judge sided with the university. The judge, David Hansher, wrote that academic freedom “does not mean that a faculty member can harass, threaten, intimidate, ridicule, or impose his or her views on students.”

Free Speech

The Supreme Court has taken up the case of National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (Nifla) v Becerra, whose proximate subject centers on abortion rights but whose real subject is freedom of  speech.

California’s Reproductive FACT Act, the law in question in NIFLA, requires pro-life centers to advise their clients of the availability of abortion centers.  This is forced speech, and it destroys the 1st Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech, since speech cannot be freely spoken if it cannot also be freely not spoken.  This is as true for factual speech as it is for opinion speech.

Progressive-Democrats and Free Speech

The DoJ and several States are moving to protect free speech on college campuses, with three States moving to pass legislation explicitly for the purpose, and ten others with legislation already pending.

Liberals and their Progressive-Democrats object.

Many Democrats say the Constitution already protects free speech, and that states have no need to micromanage how colleges handle student demonstrations and speakers.

This is just cynical, though.  Or, 8th-grade Civics wasn’t a safe space for them, and they were triggered into not listening.  These Progressive-Democrats are ignoring the fact that the mere existence of our Constitution is no protection at all; it must be actively enforced.

Distraction

Top Democrats are calling on Facebook and Twitter to investigate and release information behind potential Russian-linked accounts pushing for the release of a sealed congressional memo allegedly containing details on US government surveillance abuses.

It couldn’t possibly be that there really is a broad public hue and cry to that information released.  Us uninformed voters, denizens of fly-over country, couldn’t possibly know enough to demand the release on our own.

No, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D, CA) and Congressman Adam Schiff (D, CA), the two “top Democrats” in the quote, are desperate to have a distraction.  Us uninformed might find out too much.

Free Speech Turkey-Style

Enes Kanter, a Center for the New York Knicks, has expressed his opinion of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and a Turkish prosecutor has indicted him in absentia for this heinous crime and wants Kantor jailed for four years.  Among other things, Kantor has said that Erdogan is the “Hitler of our century,” in the aftermath of the Turkish government’s revocation of his passport and its having forced his father, still in Turkey, to disown him—and then was thrown into jail, anyway.  All because Kanter supports the equally Erdogan-hated Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.

Here’s Kanter:

PRC Censorship

…is reaching into other nations to deprecate their free speech.

Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics at Australia’s Charles Sturt University has written a book, Silent Invasion, that details the breadth of influence the People’s Republic of China has achieved within Australia.  His publisher, Allen & Unwin, has decided to “delay” release of the book because the PRC is threatening “defamation action” against the publisher.

What defamation, exactly (and how does a private citizen defame a foreign government, anyway)?  Hamilton says his book is

“very factual, very deeply researched,”…the “first comprehensive national study of Beijing’s program of exerting influence on another nation.”