Sunday, January 28, 2018

Shadow banning and Demonetization.

Most conservatives probably think the left is just demonetizing the right on YouTube but they are doing it to almost everyone including some popular gamer YouTubers, people talking about Star Trek and Star Wars and even popular arts and crafts YouTubers!?! Similar things are happening on Facebook and Twitter and even some of the art sites like Pinterest. 

Something more than just left verses right bias is happening. I think a key part of their algorithm is broken. All these sites are trying to take out Islamist's content on their sites; It is reasonable to expect a counter attack from the Islamists. The simplest counter attack is to get everything else banned too. Reporting sites both conservative and profitable as spam, porn, terrorist and otherwise contrary to the the allowed policy. There is no way all reported material can be reviewed in two or three days. It is definitional of social media that there is too much for any human to screen. The Algorithms them selves are vulnerable to trolling and abuse.

So Islamists are reporting anything and everything, while people on the left are reporting conservative and right wing stuff as say porn when its not. It is interestingly rare for people on the right to falsely report the left even for genuinely offensive material. To the right such things should be seen both to rally the cause and to some extent because they are seen as signs of desperation on the left.

The algorithm bans reported pages etc automatically or demonetizes the YouTube account. It is Guilty until proven innocent and if you don't complain to the overworked people in the head office then human eyes never check the post that's reported or the channel that's demonetized. Both Facebook and YouTube is losing money as a result.

Worse still with content in some parts of Asia, the people checking the content there are sub contractors in Pakistan and other predominantly Islamic countries. India is priced out of the market and don't know the languages. So you have Muslims looking at and trying to screen content for Islamic terrorism and porn!

There is only one solution. Social media needs to drop anonymous reporting and switch to pseudo-anonymous reporting with a rating system for reports. Those found to be reporting non porn sites as porn should be down-rated and ignored when they reach a threshold.
Like wise anyone that is falsely reporting  sites as somehow unacceptable need to be logged, down-rated and ignored. Those who report terrorist, crime and real nasty porn should be up rated too and given priority on the ban/ block.

This will not fully solve the bias in the social media screeners but a second rating algorithm is needed in that case. If non porn but “insensitive” material flags are used this is where we get the biggest political problem.

The bulk of social media screeners are university educated young people and so tend to be on the left. (The universities may be greatly reformed soon but that is a different matter.) Many will also grow out of their leftist positions as they get smashed in the face by hard reality. Many on the left can't afford to live in California any more.

The first solution is to check the number of likes. A site with truly insensitive material should not have a lot of public likes. Prager university will have millions of likes where as some random holocaust denier will have only a few dozen. A pro terrorist jihad site will have a low base in the English world while a site critical of Islamic terrorism will have a much larger base, even though the same video may appear on both: one is a warning and so, like the naked victims of the holocaust, must be seen. 

Then jury the question across several people in the public network. The dislike button should have some weight but there is a problem. People use that if they like the context but disagree with its conclusion. It is possible to be both very popular, widely shared with 70% dislikes. A like but disagree button may help.

If neutrality is genuinely desired by these companies then this should suffice. If however the staff of Google, Facebook, YouTube and twitter are genuinely left of centre then there is little that can be done to save these businesses. Capital and advertising are both very capitalist things. Competition is arising: Gab, Twitch TV, Wistia, Vidyard, Brightcove, SproutVideo, Vimeo. This is just for YouTube.

That said Facebook and YouTube have seen a drop off in views and I suspect the Chief Financial Officer will over rule and political bias on the board. Left wing CEO's and their companies are quickly separated.

So I think vetting the people trolling social media will be implemented. If, as I suspect, Islamists and trolls are attacking western social media itself even the left wing staff of YouTube and Facebook will grasp that they need to vet the anonymous reports of content and ignore the false reports.

All the ELUA's will need to be changed with a line or two on gaming the system added. Some countries my also need to change legislation.

Wesley Bruce