Why The People Who Cry "Hate Speech!" Are The Biggest Haters
WATCH: Elon Musk pushes back against censorship Karens at BBC
Twitter owner Elon Musk yesterday sat down with BBC technology reporter, James Clayton. Here’s a snippet.
James Clayton, BBC: We've spoken to people very recently who were involved in moderation, and they just say there's just not enough people to police this stuff, particularly around hate speech, in the company.
Elon Musk: What hate speech are you talking about? You use Twitter, right? Do you see a rise in hate speech? I mean, just a personal anecdote.
Clayton: Personally, in my, “For You” [recommendations section of the Twitter News Feed] I would see, I get more, of that kind of content, personally. But I'm not going to talk for the rest of Twitter.
Musk: You see more hate speech?
Clayton: Personally, I would say I see more hateful content.
Mustk: Content you don't like? Or hateful? What do you mean to describe as “hate”?
Clayton: I mean, you know, content that will solicit a reaction. Something that may include something that is slightly racist or slightly sexist. Those kinds of, those kinds of things.
Musk: So you think if something is slightly sexist, it should be banned?
Clayton: I, no. I'm —
Musk: Is that what you're saying?
Clayton: I'm not saying anything. I'm saying.
Musk: Well, I'm just curious what you mean by hateful content and I'm asking for specific examples, and you just said that if something is slightly sexist, that's “hateful content.” Does that mean that it should be banned?
Clayton: Well, you've asked me, you've asked me whether my feed, whether it's got less or more. I'd say it's got slightly more.
Musk: That's why I'm asking for examples. Can you name one example?
Clayton: I honestly don't need. I honestly.. I don't…
Musk: You can't name a single example.
Clayton: I'll tell you why. Because I don't actually use that “For You” feed anymore because I just don't particularly like it. A lot of people, are quite similar. I only look at my followers.
Musk: Hang on a second. You said you see more hateful content, but you can't name a single example. Not even one.
Clayton: I'm not sure I've used that feed for the last three or four weeks.
Musk: Well then how did you see that “hateful content”?
Clayton: Because I've been, I've been using, I've been using Twitter since you've taken over for the last six months.
Elon: Okay. So then you must have at some point seen the “For You” “hateful content.” And I'm asking for one example. Right? And you can't give us a single one. You don't know what you're talking about.
Elon: Yes. Because you can't give a single example of hateful content. Not even one tweet! And yet you claimed that the hateful content was high. That's a false. You just lied!
Clayton: No. What I claimed was there are many organizations that say that that kind of information is on the rise. The Institute for Strategic Dialogue in the UK, they will say that.
Elon: People will say all sorts of nonsense. I'm literally asking for a single example and you can't name one.
Clayton: And as as I already said, I don't use that feed.
Musk: How would you know, then?
Clayton: I don't think this is getting anywhere.
Musk: You literally said you experienced more hateful content. And then couldn't name a single example. That's absurd.
Clayton: I haven't, I haven't actually looked at that feed.
Musk: Then how would you know there’s hateful content?
Clayton: Because I'm saying that's what I saw a few weeks ago. I can't give you an exact example. Let's move on.
It’s a deeply uncomfortable exchange to watch, and many no doubt felt bad for the BBC reporter, James Clayton, who was plainly unprepared to go head-to-head with Musk.
At the same time, Clayton’s lack of preparation, and his uncritical acceptance of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s recent report, which accused Musk of allowing more anti-Semitism and hate speech on Twitter, are precisely the problem.
We focus a lot at Public on the major leaders of the Censorship Industrial Complex: former CIA “Fellow” Renee DiResta, her Stanford Internet Observatory boss Alex Stamos, and their partner-in-censorship, Chris Krebs.
But it’s the work-a-day journalists like Clayton at places like BBC, NPR, and Washington Post who are the good soldiers in the elites’ “war on disinformation.” In fact, it is often the journalists at NPR, Washington Post, and Associated Press, and the staff of places like the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, who painstakingly compile reports documenting the alleged “climate denialism” of Jordan Peterson, Bjorn Lomborg, and me, who are the leading censorship advocates.
It is those two groups, elite “journalists” and “think tank” researchers, who are the ones most demanding that social media companies censor us.
Who are the censorship Karens? What’s driving their desire to censor others? And how can we reduce their power?
Public is leading the movement to defend free speech, which is under attack from the Censorship Industrial Complex. We can’t do it alone. We need your support now more than ever.