Start your weekend with some happy news


Graham Linehan, the ‘noxious transphobe and serial harasser of trans folk, has finally been banned from Twitter.

This is a remarkable turn of events because all of the big social media companies have been remarkably resistant to actually doing anything about the trolls and haters and racists and misogynists that dwell happily within their services. They just spewing and spewing, their targets report them, and the companies come back with some feeble comment that Nazis and bigots don’t “violate their terms of service.”

So what’s going on? It would be nice to believe that corporate executives were hit by a lightning bolt, reflected on their misspent lives, and decided to put up a facade of human decency. This is not the case, however. They’re just looking at their spreadsheets and seeing that their blinkered neglect of civilized behavior is projected to cause them to lose lots of money. They won’t be “cool” anymore.

Facebook leads the way.

Zuck’s social network continues to hemorrhage users, new research suggests.

Facebook has an estimated 15 million fewer U.S. users today than it did in 2017, according to a study released Wednesday by Edison Research and Triton Digital. The share of people 12 and over using Facebook was 67% in 2017, but declined to 62% in 2018 and 61% this year.

Zuckerberg probably has nightmares about his cash cow becoming the MySpace of the 2020s. It could happen.

Facebook on Thursday posted the largest one-day loss in market value by any company in U.S. stock market history after releasing a disastrous quarterly report.

The social media giant’s market capitalization plummeted by $119 billion to $510 billion as its stock price plummeted by 19 percent. At Wednesday’s close, Facebook’s market cap had totaled nearly $630 billion, according to FactSet.

Don’t cry for them, they’re still worth $500 billion. They’re not the future, though, and Twitter is probably glancing nervously at Facebook, wondering if they’re next, hence the sudden interest in cleaning up the shambolic mess of their service. They’re probably also looking to differentiate themselves from their new “competitor”, Parler, where all the right-wingers are flocking.

Parler sounds lovely, if you like wallowing in anti-semitism while pretending to be a bold independent spirit standing up for liberty, like most right-wingers.

The Parler website even has a “Declaration Of Internet Independence” slamming the “Technofascism” of Silicon Valley and Twitter and claiming that “millions”—yes, millions—have been banned for their political ideology. “We The People have had enough!” they cry, demanding “Free Speech” and “Liberties” and other good things with Randomly Capitalized Letters.

Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful company?

In reality, the largest group of accounts targeted for suspension from Twitter have been bots and terrorists, like the tens of millions of fake accounts removed after the scale of Russian interference in the 2016 election became clear, or the roughly 250,000 accounts associated with ISIS/ISIL removed after the 2015 terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.

Graham Linehan is just the latest victim of an effort to clean up the rubbish. Maybe he should set up a Parler account?

Comments

  1. ospalh says

    He had started his own Mastodon instance, glindr dot org, a while ago.
    I think he took the gap code, instead of the standard Mastodon version, which might be for pure esthetic reasons, but might not have been.

  2. raven says

    Zuckerberg probably has nightmares about his cash cow becoming the MySpace of the 2020s.

    That could definitely happen.

    Without troll control, it has happened on the internet since the internet was invented.
    I’ve been on the net since the 1990’s.
    First it was DARPA Usenet, many of which forums got overrun by trolls and died.
    Then it was AOL, which was overrun by trolls and died.
    Then Yahoo got overrrun with trolls and died.
    Since then, some of my favorite websites have been…overrun by trolls and become unreadable.
    A lot of these forums still exist but there is little new content, a lot of trolls, and zero reason to go there.

    The experiments have been done and the conclusions are clear.
    Without troll control, any open forum on the internet will be overrun and become useless.

  3. says

    I was told this earlier today but the only news links that showed were from a few days ago (removal of his “tick” and another suspension). It seems they’ve finally taken action – three years after they should have.

    Cue the inevitable whining about “freeze peach” on a privately owned website.

  4. raven says

    I’m one of the Facebook leavers.
    Never spend much time there anyway.

    I had an account on Facebook for maybe a decade.
    And then a few years ago, their fascist thug security AI bots kicked me off.
    This is despite the fact that my account was read only and never once posted even a single letter.

    My crime was having a nym account.
    Because of death threats, I can’t post anything anywhere under my real name.
    Facebook doesn’t permit nym accounts because they can’t monetize them.
    They couldn’t package personal data and sell it because there wasn’t much even though they still were making some money off of the account.

    No big deal getting kicked off of Facebook though.
    For some reason, almost no one I know has an active Facebook account.

    The idea of Facebook is good and should be popular and useful.
    Everyone gets their own website to write their journal in and posts pictures of their cats and garden and so on.
    Zuckerberg’s implementation of Facebook isn’t good and doesn’t work for a lot of potential users.

  5. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    Want to start the timer until Parler has to restrict child porn, or porn, or doxxing, or something, and they can’t just blame it on the left and thus limit speech thus exposing the peachers as both childishly selfish and childishly utopian?

  6. Rich Woods says

    @Frederic #6:

    Parler’s community guidelines and terms of service already impose those restrictions you mention, and more. Whether the likes of Katie Hopkins or Donald Trump Jr has bothered to read them is a separate matter, as is how closely the guidelines might be enforced.

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    I look forward to seeing Zuckerberg, Dorsey, et alia on the streets, holding signs that say

    Will spread

    raw bigotry,

    malicious lies, and

    specious rumors

    for food

  8. wzrd1 says

    raven #5, yeah, I disabled my FB account just before the big campaign to boycott advertisers there, tired of all the fascist bullshit.

    What is laughable is the projection by the bastards. They get their new lair, then complain that people on the left are fascists, not them, while behaving like the nasty little fascists that they are.

    In other news, the Bunker Boy canceled his trip to NJ to steal more taxpayer dollars by billing his protective detail for the privilege of protecting him. It seems, he’s been begging his staffers to protecting from that nasty, evil little virus that he’s been fostering.
    Frankenstein is being chased by his monster. Pity that Trumpenstein’s monster isn’t as a delightful a creature as Frankenstein’s was.
    Still, fitting. Frankenstein and his monster were quite literate, Trumpenstein and his monster are, fittingly, illiterate.
    Shit, stop the world and let me off.

  9. Owlmirror says

    I know nothing of these things, but I thought to see “Gab” rather than this new-to-me “Parler”. What happened to the promise of Gab, for the right?

    Eh, I can probably search for it:

    https://www.dailydot.com/debug/what-is-parler-free-speech-social-media-app/

    What Parler is trying to do (the site didn’t respond to a request for comment) by creating a moderation-light “anything goes” environment, where conservatives can speak freely, might sound familiar to users of another right-wing focused Twitter knockoff, the controversial and troubled app Gab. But while Parler is still something of a blank slate, Gab already pulls a train of baggage behind it, due to its embrace by the alt-right and anti-Semites. Launched in 2016, Gab was quickly embraced by controversial right-wing figures banned from more mainstream sites.

    That initial surge petered out when Gab was overwhelmed by bans from payment sites, deplatforming by servers, and financial problems. It also took a massive hit when it was revealed as the platform of choice by Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers, who announced on Gab that he was “going in” to the Tree of Life to commit mass murder.

    Parler has had no such incidents holding it back in the marketplace of ideas, and has so far managed to keep a lid on outright racism and anti-Semitism. For that reason, Gab has gone on the offensive against the site (on Twitter, naturally), by mocking it for not being able to handle its usage surge.

    In early June, Gab founder Andrew Torba told the Daily Beast that Parler was merely “a social network for Z-list MAGA celebrities” that “nobody uses.” Both appear to be competing for attention from Trump’s orbit, hoping that the president himself will migrate over to one platform or the other.

    Ultimately, Parler and Gab appear to be fighting for the same niche audience of social media users, and despite that audience complaining endlessly about Twitter, they don’t seem particularly inclined to actually leave Twitter.

    And given Trump’s engagement on Twitter, and the low usage numbers both sites have, the idea of his operation moving over to one site or the other appears to be a pipe dream.

    Hard numbers of subscribers are difficult to pin down, but a recent FEC filing pinned Gab’s user base at around 635,000; with Matze claiming Parler had about 100,000 users in May. And despite the constant griping by conservative media figures about the odious censorship and banning by mainstream social media, neither site is exactly thriving. Gab’s usage by the mainstream far-right has gone fairly stagnant, and while a lot of far-right figures publicly praised Parler, that hasn’t translated to usage yet.

    Even Candace Owens, the conservative pundit who put Parler on the map in December, appears to have just as quickly tired of it.

    She has just 13 posts and hasn’t used Parler since January.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/maga-social-media-networks-gab-and-parler-are-at-war-with-each-over-a-potential-trump-account

    Faced with the prospect of a competing social network getting a veritable Trump endorsement, Gab has gone on the offensive. In an email to The Daily Beast, the site’s founder Andrew Torba suggested that Parler is a dead social network popular only with minor Trumpworld hangers-on.

    “We aspire to be much more than just a social network for Z-list MAGA celebrities,” Torba told The Daily Beast. “We want to create a place for free thought online for the entire world.”

    […]

    While Gab is more established than Parler, conservative personalities appear to have grown leery with the older site because of its reputation as a haven for neo-Nazis and other extremist groups who gravitated there after being kicked off of Facebook and Twitter. Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect Robert Bowers, for instance, allegedly announced his intention to commit the massacre on Gab, and after that shooting the site temporarily went offline when tech companies cut ties with it.

    Both Gab and Parler have faced technical issues. Gab has been accused of inflating its user figures, and Parler still remains difficult to use even after the press positioned it as a viable Twitter alternative. Amid the initial rush of attention in December, Parler frequently went entirely offline under the weight of its new users.

    Parler has also faced more mundane issues. While the site’s name was originally supposed to be pronounced parlay like the French word “to speak”—parler—its CEO John Matze soon realized that the site’s audience wasn’t realizing that. So he relented and changed the site’s pronunciation to be like “parlor.”

    […]

    Torba claims that, despite its claims to be the free speech social network, Parler could start censoring content once it faces controversy.

    “It will be interesting to see whether Parler can survive a genuine controversy, which it hasn’t had—since nobody uses it,” Torba told The Daily Beast.

  10. says

    I’m happy that people with awful beliefs, manner of thinking, and actions are concentrating themselves into their own social space. They can concentrate their problems among themselves and be subjects of study.

  11. says

    Re: article Owlmirror posted at 10
    “Ultimately, Parler and Gab appear to be fighting for the same niche audience of social media users, and despite that audience complaining endlessly about Twitter, [they don’t seem particularly inclined to actually leave Twitter.]”
    Because bigotry is about social dominance and if the bigots move who will they micro- and macro- aggression against?

  12. R. L. Foster says

    It really saddens me to learn this about Graham Linehan. He wrote and directed one of my all-time favorite Brit sitcoms, the IT Crowd. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit to this, but I’ve lit up the bong more than once as I watched that show and even now, after many watchings, it makes laugh like a madman. Now that I know what a transphobe he is this certainly takes the shine off of it. Drat. Darn. Eff it all.

  13. unclefrogy says

    whats funny is people like Zuckerberg don’t seem to realize or at least don’t act like they realize that their business owes much of it’s success to fashion and newness. He did not invent social interaction it is to large part what makes us humans. He was just in the right place at the right time, with emphasis on time. I hope he has diversified his holdings because there is nothing about his business is permanent.
    uncle frogy

  14. brianl says

    Yes, I do think FB is well on its way to being the next MySpace unless it does a relatively simple course correction.
    2016 was an absolutely awful year on FB. It was actually stressful to read all the shit memes cascading across the feed. The occational weird/out of place thing is to be expected, but it can’t all be that way or you stop using the system.
    So I pulled all of my personal information and deleted my history. I took off all the media I liked. Most importantly, I blocked the hell out of anybody (and I mean anybody) who was posting shit memes (that includes a couple of left-leaning friends but it was almost exclusively MAGAs). If their timeline was mostly MAGA stuff, I unfriended and blocked them. Not much of a loss, which got thrown into sharp relief after one of those little spurts of friend recommends whet you connect with one person from a certain period in your life and suddenly the other dozen people from that same block appear. After I added a couple, a few days later I realized, “Oh right, you were always an asshole, weren’t you?” Block.
    I’m delighted to see the advertiser boycott starting, and I hope it spreads much more widely. I’m going to press my company to join it. But. We get a lot of inquiries through FB. Despite everything, it still does perform its “useful” function very effectively for small and medium sized businesses. And it still has the best event management tools for 20-400 people even though they’re horrible. The only thing that’s going to dislodge all that is if the negative cost of using FB exceeds the returns. It feels like the tipping point is close, but it’s still hard to tell.
    Really all they’d need to do is (oddly enough) ban the damn Nazis like people have been asking for the past several years.

  15. Alt-X says

    Left FB awhile ago, glad to hear other people and advertisers are leaving too. The good thing to come out of Trump’s presidency. All deplorables had the confidence to spew their crap online, which has finally caused these sites to kick them off.

    Will never go back to FB tho. But it might be time to give Twitter another go.

  16. says

    @16 What’s funny about them is that they each think they’re a Randian polymath ubermensch for whom success is just a matter of willpower. They don’t want to admit to the blatantly obvious roles privilege and chance play in life.

  17. John Morales says

    Susan @19, interesting speculation, but unwarranted.

    Part of their success is taking advantage of the “blatantly obvious roles privilege and chance play”. Gotta be in the right place at the right time, but to then take advantage of the that opportunity, that’s not nothing. And then to leverage that to obscene riches, that’s not nothing, either.

  18. chrislawson says

    RL Foster @15–

    Yeah, but the anti-trans element was present in IT Crowd. IMO the best A-story of the entire series (the one where Moss and Roy convince the company that they have the box that runs the internet) with the worst B-story (the one where young Reynholm falls in love with a woman not realising she’s trans). When I first saw it I thought it was clumsy but at least the joke was directed at Reynholm for allowing his transphobia to ruin the only good relationship in his life. But the lazy stereotyping was still there. And Linehan’s post-IT Crowd behaviour makes it clear that he is deeply and hatefully transphobic. I would not be surprised to learn that Linehan thinks he was being very generous to trans people in the IT Crowd episode because he dialed down what he really thinks.

  19. says

    @20 That depends on the person. In Zuckerberg’s case, it was a total accident. Facebook was originally just him sharing random women’s pictures with his pals. It’s success as a medium was entirely unintentional.

    If all he wanted to do with that was say “Hey, I fell ass-backwards into a big pile of cash! What a country!” and leave it at that, well then fine. Him trying to spin it as this cunning business plan – and by extension himself a cunning can-do businessman – because of that accidental success becomes a bit of a problem. It comes off like a lottery winner claiming his success was the result of his Irish heritage and hard work.

  20. says

    @21 The vibe I get off of Linehan is that he’s not necessarily “deeply and hatefully” transphobic but feels that the apology he could have Tweeted to have ended the matter would have caused him to lose face with the yobbos who he counts as fans.

  21. says

    Apparently Glinner has sent some unsolicited dick pics to some users over at Momsnet which just how deep his concern for the safety of women goes. All it takes is a little bump in the road for the mask to slip right off.

    I’m curious how long Parler will last because it’ll have the same issues Gab has – the people with more reach and followers on Twitter will miss those (I think it was Milo, possibly another, who was whining over a few measly thousand), and nobody likes Nazis and the site will be inundated with them.

  22. wzrd1 says

    I’ll simply say, if you’re a vulnerable group or threatened group, keep your heads down.
    My spider network (no, PZ, not your spiders, internet search spiders) suggest a few things.
    I monitor left, right, far right, far left and things of concern and interest.
    From what I’ve been able to ascertain, Trump’s damned near losing what little suggestion of a mind that he still has left. Scandals, more scandals, outright treason in any other country, possible treason in a few cases and more felonies than I could carry in a one cuibic yard square wheelbarrow. Add in political pressure. Add in public worship that’s not only flagging, but attacking.
    Frankly, given both side wingnuts and Trump, the only damned thing keeping a civil war at bay is distribution.
    The first civil war had geography to define it, the moron brigade’s civil war is national, which just don’t work, that’s the work of a resistance movement.
    But, I’ll simply say, I’m entirely uncertain if Trump will complete his first term.
    But, I am nervous, which is quite unusual for me.
    It’s just that insanely fucked up.

  23. latsot says

    @Tabby Lavalamp:

    Apparently Glinner has sent some unsolicited dick pics to some users over at Momsnet which just how deep his concern for the safety of women goes.

    As far as I can tell, this is not true. There were some faked screenshots doing the rounds, but I think that’s it.

  24. ambarnag says

    The decline of FB may have more to do with kids not wanting to be on the same platform as their parents and teachers than to do with trolling and bigotry? They might be moving to Instagram, unfortunately also owned by Facebook.

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