Does Taking Down Content Lead Ignorant People To Believe It's More Likely To Be True?

from the well-that's-a-tough-question dept

Harpers has a giant and fascinating article by Barrett Swanson entitled The Anxiety of Influencers that has received some attention online. Most of the reactions are the kind of typical tut tutting about the existence of TikTok/Instagram influencers whose entire (quite short) careers as “influencers” are based on their ability to get famous on social media for influencing. I do understand why people — especially older folks (a category I now inhabit myself) — look down upon these stories and shake their heads and wonder “what has happened to the children these days?” However, I’m more in the camp of recognizing this kind of thing happens in every generation, and I don’t begrudge kids these days from trying to chase a dream, even if it feels like a silly one to someone not of that generation. There will always be young people chasing dreams, and along with it old people complaining about the kids these days. I don’t think that approach is particularly useful, so I’ll just say that the article is an interesting window into some of the “collab houses” that have sprung up all over (though mostly in LA), full of kids trying to become famous as influencers.

The reason this is here on Techdirt is one tiny bit of the article that touches on content moderation. At one point in the article, Swanson — who deftly alternates between chronicling “the kids these days,” envying some of their fame and attention, and recognizing just how preposterous all of this is — is talking with Chase Zwernemann, who (perhaps somewhat incredibly) is one of the “adults” in the collab house space at a geezerly 21 years old, enabling him to be “VP of talent management” for what he and his colleagues want to suggest is an academy to produce influencers. And Chase appears to have some interesting views about the state of the world, and what he learns online.

Chase, the media liaison and self-described ?influencing professor,? agrees. Later that day, he will tell me that ?we?ve been kind of lucky to have these outlets across the last few months because we?ve been more exposed to what?s really going on.? For instance, just a few weeks ago, he was at home scrolling through his phone as a ritual of pre-sleep entertainment, at which point he stumbled upon ?some kind of documentary? about the apparently rampant levels of Satanism in the U.S. entertainment industry. The documentary offered a detailed exegesis of demonic iconography, which supposedly many directors embed in their TV shows and movies. ?It freaked me out, one hundred percent,? Chase says, ?because I?ve seen those types of things?those signs and symbols?in these entertainment people?s offices, and so then to see this documentary and to start putting the pieces together, I mean, it?s nuts, man.?

At this point, I nonchalantly inquire as to whether Chase could maybe brandish his smartphone and pull up the video in question, and I?m soon made to view something called ?Out of Shadows,? which has been posted on YouTube by an account called?I shit you not?Thinqing QAnon. Later, when I ask Chase whether he?s ever heard about the QAnon conspiracy, he says no, but explains that the video must be legit because ?it?s gotten deleted multiple times off the internet, which is insane.? Epistemologically, this is where we are as a country: when content gets expurgated because of blatant misinformation, it is taken as a sure sign of that source?s truthfulness.

And… frankly… I’m not quite sure how to respond to that. Sure, there’s an element of The Streisand Effect in there, which I understand pretty well. But, this is a slight veering off from the Streisand Effect — assuming that every takedown via content moderation must only be done because of the “hidden truths” the content reveals.

This certainly gets to the heart of some of the cultish conspiracy theory nonsense that goes around these days. In this view, nothing can be proven false, because merely attempting to do so somehow validates it. We’ve seen this before, with other conspiracy theories, but it makes me wonder if the scale is different in this case.

And that then opens up the question of what, if anything, should be done in such a situation. Leaving up blatantly false disinformation that is sucking people in with nonsense and lies is obviously problematic. But so is recognizing that removing the disinformation may lead people to believe in it more strongly. How do you square those two things and come up with a plan to respond? Part of it, obviously, is that different people react to things in different ways. Clearly, young Chase’s reaction to finding out this content keeps getting deleted is not the way everyone (or even most people) will respond. But it’s unclear how many others would fall into that camp. Or what to do about the Chases of this world that are taking information that should be seen as evidence that they’re mainlining disinformation, and interpreting it instead as evidence that the misinformation is true.

To some extent, this brings me back to a point that I’ve been making for years concerning questions of content moderation: we can’t expect “someone else” (government, big companies, journalists, fact checkers, etc.) to solve every problem. That’s just not how it works. To some extent, at some point, there needs to be some personal responsibility and some level of media literacy for the people who consume all this stuff. And clearly we’ve got a long way to go on that front.

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Comments on “Does Taking Down Content Lead Ignorant People To Believe It's More Likely To Be True?”

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It’s my opinion that if you take something down, even if it’s unture it plants the idea in some people’s minds that what they said MUST be true and is being told to shut up and make them believe it more.

It’s the same logic conspiracy theorists run on. By taking down content relating to what they believe it only makes them hunker down more and in their minds VALIDATE their viewpoint.


I prefer the methods outlined in "David’s Sling" in the data duels. Rather than removing the bad information, it’s tagged with details of it’s problems, links to supporting sources for correct information and the results of applying the corrected information to the argument the bad information was supposed to be in support of. This allows a response to the "think/do-the-research for yourself" line from the conspiracy theorists: "We did, and here’s what we came up with.".


Lets see.

The idea that the only people you see elected were on TV?
That newspapers and TV news always tell the truth?
The cross over of pointing fingers and claiming ‘Facts’ that no one can find or Prove.
A Video that keeps disappearing? Making people search for it? It pops up and 1 million Jump to it, to find it gone? trying to prove or disprove ‘Facts’ they have heard.

Strangest Fact that many dont realize. That Most of nature and architecture, is based on the female body, and the phallic geometry.
And once you see it, you see it Everywhere.

Samuel Abramsays:

Re: Re: The Dunning–Kruger effect

Except they’re not millennials. I’m an older Millenial and I’m going to turn 39 this month. The Younger ones are are 27 or so. If anything, the person quoted who is in their teens is Generation Z, a.k.a. a "Zoomer" (which is derived from "[Generation] Z" + "[B]oomer").

Thank you. Class dismissed.


  • However, I’m more in the camp of recognizing this kind of thing happens in every generation, and I don’t begrudge kids these days from trying to chase a dream, even if it feels like a silly one to someone not of that generation.*

I’m more in the camp of thinking influencers (or whatever description we choose) throughout all human existence are crap. This is just a contemporary style.


content moderation

current "content moderation" panic is simply the age old impulse to control what other people think and do, by subjectively filtering what they see and hear.
It’s an extremely strong impulse in some fearful people and political cultures.

that there "needs to be some personal responsibility and some level of media literacy" is basically correct but somewhat timid.
Individualism & Liberty are the key concepts.

which political movements/ideologies today seek to control the masses and which foster personal responsibility in population?


Re: Re: content moderation

racism has been around anywhere there have been humans.
it’s a routine fact of life, not something to hide from people
it’s a reality and not even close to the worst realities in human lives.

try making a prioritized list of all the bad stuff in life that you think needs to be hidden from people.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re: Re: content moderation

" racism has been around anywhere there have been humans."

And when a racist starts spouting their bullshit on private property, whether it’s in a home, a bar, or a social media platform, those racists usually get shown the door because anti-racists have also been around for as long as there have been humans. No one is obligated to extend tolerance to those who won’t extend that tolerance to others. It’s that simple.

"it’s a routine fact of life, not something to hide from people
it’s a reality and not even close to the worst realities in human lives."

And completely unacceptable, which is why racists, like other vermin, is not welcome in society proper. Be as racist as you like. But you will face the condemnation of society when you are.

"try making a prioritized list of all the bad stuff in life that you think needs to be hidden from people."

Hidden? That’s an interesting word to use instead of "Not given a soapbox and a safe space in someone else’s home".

You had any more talking points as to why the baying pests from Stormfront need to be allowed a platform on other people’s property?

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: content moderation

"which political movements/ideologies today seek to control the masses…"

That would be the US extreme right these days. Or as they’re currently called, the GOP. Mind you this isn’t any longer about their "ideology" but due to the fact that they don’t have any and so manipulating the citizenry becomes their only lever to retain power. When one party tries to make voting harder and the other party seeks to make voting easier you don’t need to look further to find who tries to control the masses.

"…and which foster personal responsibility in population?"

That’s a tougher one. All the old-style republicans from the days of Eisenhower are today right-wing or centrist democrats…but they’re really the minority in that massive tent which has today become the refuge of anyone not malicious or insane. Neither party can be said to be "fostering personal responsibility" but at least the dems don’t actively oppose it.

"that there "needs to be some personal responsibility and some level of media literacy" is basically correct but somewhat timid. Individualism & Liberty are the key concepts."

And you get neither when what you pass off as "education" is underpaid and overburdened grade school teachers, fairy tales about how the coming of the white man was a blessing for the native americans and the imported plantation workers, and "home-schooling" based on the teachings of Qanon.


Re: content moderation

I see you must be new here. Your defense of free speech, personal responsibility, and the concept that there’s no such thing as a right to never be offended…

… well, that won’t fly here on Techdirt; They’re most censorious bunch of INGSOC apologists you’re ever likely to meet.

You’ve already got the head Masnick’s head pedo (That One Guy) and his top "KILL WHITEY" terrorist (Scary Devil) all worked up. Just wait until you get the chief buggerer (Stone) on your tail.


I'm now trying to imagine....

…. how our generation might have responded if twenty years ago a political movement had latched on to say, Time Cube as a core expression of their ideology, and had pushed it all over Livejournal, MSN Messenger, and mIRC, and kept putting out blogs and the like explaining the details of how and why Time Cube was true and was being covered up by the Clinton administration, and this kept getting press coverage as political candidates expressed their belief in it.


Problem ID'd and Solution presented....

Seems to me the issue is a complete abdication of critical thinking. How to think for oneself, question authority with an understanding of innate truths, fundamental workings of things mechanical and procedural.
We (everyone) clearly have failed in educating our citizens (everywhere) in how to deal with the massive onslaught of information they are subjected to or capable of seeking.
What do we do about this?
Some ideas have been experiemented and suggested, data duels certainly a worthy one along the lines of Mike’s "More Speech" mantra.
We really need to take a honest look at our education system and its priorities.
As someone educated by Jesuits I feel somewhat armed with the ability to manage this current situation. But when I was young plenty of people called me paranoid or pessimistic as many/most had little access to broad amounts of information beyond the local/regional newspapers, magazines and encyclopedias and didn’t dig as much as some of us. Yet now, 30-40 years later, folks like myself have been shoved out by the "truthers" and their toxic blend of stupid meeting bat shit crazy.
So society must figure out how to teach the fundamentals of critical thought, logic, ability to sort and categorize data, the ability to process and weight data, skills in research and analysis. To the masses. And fast.
Because people seem to be getting dumber and dumber and more and more easily manipulated. And its costing us dearly.
Remember this "truth" or colloquialism in my line of work. "It only takes ONE {moron} employee to hand over their password or actually call the 800 number on the flashy pop-up to undo tens of thousands of hours and $$ spent defending the network….

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Problem ID'd and Solution presented....

"We really need to take a honest look at our education system and its priorities. "

That’s gonna be a tough sell, given that the US has so far operated on the assumption that children must be taught they’re living in the best possible nation in the best of all possible worlds and that anyone uttering a word of criticism is an anti-american traitor or a foreign communist.

As a european I attended a german grade school for a year back when i was 8 or so. What was taught in societal studies and history was The Holocaust, Germany’s role in it, and the events leading up to it, including the failures of the german people to stop it. Schooling, even in a quiet rural area of bavaria, was all about critical thinking and "lest we forget". And at least up until the merger with old East Germany the Bundesrepublik was a place where nazism had no fertile soil to root in.

The US, even today, is finding any accurate accounting of its dark and bloody past an unthinkable act of treason. This generation…is gone.

"Because people seem to be getting dumber and dumber and more and more easily manipulated. And its costing us dearly. "

As some have noted; We live in this, the stupidest of times. Down the end of this dismal road I can see the Idiocracy. At least the EU isn’t yet as affected by this as the US even if the seeds of rot have certainly been firmly planted.

That Anonymous Cowardsays:

Telling a Q follower they are wrong, no matter your intentions or how nice/mean you do it, only serves to drive them deeper.

You can tell me I am wrong, but I ask you then why did the Patriot Act get reupped & expanded when it has nothing to show for all of the rights we shredded to it so we added a few more.

Because despite reality of it doesn’t work, politicians are terrified of someone being able to claim they are soft on terror (while causing much more of it here than outside forces).

That horrible woman Kash Hill wrote about who has spend every waking moment posting horrible accusations about people who she thinks have crossed her the take away that was most telling was the people who read the horrible lies, knew they were lies, but still in the back of their mind thought but what if it was true.

Look at the freakout over the Hunter Biden Laptop.
There literally is nothing there that withstands any scrutiny, from how dude got it to what it allegedly contains, & the thousands of logic leaps that x means y & z!!!
Because they tried to kill this bullshit, they made the bullshit more important.
If it wasn’t true they wouldn’t try to get rid of it, a simple and stupid thought.

Its fallout from the political battles in this country.
Benghazi was a bad thing, but because they kept it in the news over & over & over people believe that Hillary shot those citizens in the head herself, even though every single slanted report couldn’t manage to support that idea.
The flip side is the quick response when oh I dunno someone running for POTUS is in the pocket of foriegn agents he can just claim its all a hit job & no evidence will change minds. We could have a video of Trump getting a suitcase of cash directly from Putin and people would still claim its all fake because Trump said so.

Rarely do people think for themselves, its much easier to pick a pundit with a line of BS you like & let them think for you.
(See also Tucker Carlson. He lies, his employer admitted he lies, in a lawsuit the lawyer said only a freaking moron would believe what he says is true… he still has a major following.)

Is this an extension of FOMO?
People afraid that they are missing out on "truth" that "someone" doesn’t want them to know about, so they embrace it & assume anything that says different is a massive CIA plot to target them.
(See also Tiffany.)

Everyone lies, the trick is to not put blind faith in anyone.
I live in a realm of my own making where I lie…. a lot.
I am not meant to be trusted at my word in everything, but when its important some people have faith in what I am telling them.
Am I immortal?
Am I a sociopath?
But if I tell you something about copyright trolls, I’ve got enough of a reputation that you’ll accept what I say but still double check my homework and I expect you to.
All I have is my word & my reputation.
Not all of my words are true, but when it matters they always are.
My reputation is all you can judge me by, so it actually matters to me.
I own my mistakes and incorrect assumptions (not as many as you might think) at the same time talking about how Nero’s horse kept screwing up the parties while shitting everywhere.

I am my own asterisk, you might like what I am saying but you should verify what I say. (And yes that damn horse did shit everywhere, you feed a horse wine it gets sick!)

QAnon isn’t actually new, its the same old ideas in a newer trendier wrapper. Everyone else is out to get you, only staying with us can you be safe, they eat babies, lets put on our costumes and carry signs outside of someones home to try to drive them out. (Burning crosses are so passe)
QAnon tell you its never your fault, it is the fault of the ‘others’.
That they manage to target each and every little person in the country to make their life harder but still couldn’t manage to rig an entire election ticket. o_O

While just slapping down the QAnon conspiracies sounds like the right way to deal with it, you only make more people wonder what the man doesn’t want them to know and they gain converts because the content will always find a home online.
A tag stating these facts are disputed & a link to facts disproving the crazy would be more effective. It shows we aren’t hiding the crazy because we’re the man, it shows we dispute this & this is the reason why. Q might still win a few small minds, but removing the immediate just crush the lie means some might not.

Not saying embrace Q and Qspiracy, but we’ve moved away from the idea that more speech is the answer to speech you disagree with. While people will pretend that if we don’t ban people for saying the N word will let the neo-nazis win, how many others will go looking to see why it gets such a response and end up in the algorithmic rabbit hole explaining how its the evil BLM people forcing platforms to stop you from having your rights… and it makes sense when dressed up with a few more mistruths & lies that "could" be true if they weren’t why can we not talk about them openly.

Saying killing people is bad.
Trying to protect everyones feelings because a word might make them feel bad, opens the rabbit hole.
The platforms cannot and should not be Big Brother protecting us from thinking.
I’d rather they spent their time trying to find where the next Jan 6th raid is being planned than making sure no one on the platform can say faggot and upset me. I can block that word from appearing, I can block the people who use it, I can yell at them, but if you just smack people for using the word you give them a reason to use it more.



Well, yes, That Anonymous Coward, that does clear up a few things.

Like you’re a nutcase. You’re totally Texas. You know what that means, right?


That Benghazi hearing tomorrow will feature crowds of reporters, partisan attacks, presidential campaign spin. In short, it will be totally Texas.


Wait; what – Texas?

SHAPIRO: Texas, Audie.

CORNISH: I’m not getting it.



SHAPIRO: Listen. As somebody who recently lived in Europe and has moved back to the United States in the last couple months, let me explain to you. When Norwegians say something is Texas, they mean it’s nuts, crazy.

CORNISH: Wait. So basically, you just insulted the entire state of Texas – because I’m not going to do a letter segment filled with all-caps notes from angry Texans next week.

SHAPIRO: OK. Let me hand this off to an actual Norwegian. This is Anne Ekern of the Norwegian consulate in Houston.

ANNE EKERN: This, historically, you know, goes back to Norwegians, you know, watching cowboy movies and reading literature about the wild West, you know? And the wild West held, I think with most Norwegians, held strong Texas association. So when we use the expression Texas, we think about – you know, most of us think about a lot of action, a lot fun and a lot of things going on.

CORNISH: All right. It’s not that bad. But what do Texans think of it?

SHAPIRO: Well, Audie, I’m glad you asked that because we happen to have an actual Texan here on tape. This is Dan Solomon, who broke this story for Texas Monthly yesterday. He says he’s gotten some negative feedback, mostly the kind that we can’t air on public radio. By and large, though, he says Texans are mostly taking this in stride.

DAN SOLOMON: I think that most Texans, especially with a sense of humor, kind of take that as a mark of pride that, you know, if you go to a party and things are raging and you say it was Texas, that’s all right. That seems like a thing we can live with.

SHAPIRO: See, Audie – so nothing to worry about. But if you still have concerns about Norway-Texas diplomatic relations…

CORNISH: Which I do.

SHAPIRO: It goes back to the 1970s when you were but a wee babe.

CORNISH: Yes, I was. But what about someone like Anne Ekern who is Norwegian and lives in Texas?

EKERN: I think it’s fair to say – I think since I moved to Texas, I haven’t really used that expression. But I’ve heard my mother use it when I’ve been home visiting.


Anyone that reads news articles from legit sources would be very cautious about accepting anything that mentions q, anon
as being real or even close to the truth.
I think many young people just watch videos on YouTube, tik Tok etc
they don’t watch TV news or read many old style news like the
guardian or new York Times
And the problem is its hard to prove a negative
There’s no weird conspiracy in Hollywood to do x
Or some famous person wants to implant chips etc etc
It’s seems the problem in western country’s is some people will
believe anything they read
Removing content to some people will make it more likely that it might be true

That One Guysays:

Only one thing to do...

Time to make a series of videos pointing out how vaccines absolutely work and are a great way to cut down on avoidable death and suffering, eating healthy is a good thing along with exercise and you should always strive to verify what someone’s telling you and maintain a healthy sense of skepticism. After this I’ll find some way to get the videos taken down(slipping in a few seconds of copyrighted music or video should do the trick nicely) and I’ll then use the fact that the videos were removed as evidence that what’s in them is true.


You know who I admire as an "influencer"? Alan D Albright of Waco TX! Imagine being him, sitting on the bench, knowing that just a small smile at the right time or maybe pursing his lips or letting go a little fart could change everyone’s thinking about the matter under discussion. I LOVE THAT! I’m probably too old to be a Judge now, and my friend Donald J. Trump isn’t President anymore, but maybe he will COME BACK AGAIN! That would be great. Then I could be an influencer, too! I’d have to go to law school first, of course, but I could do that!

Why is it that this site only seems to attack really good people, like me and the Judge and the aspiring Senator? Does that make me a Conspiracy Theorist? Or am I just pointing out the obvious, that this is a nest of communists trying to forward their communist agenda on behalf of the "community".

Cowards, snakes and scum, the lot of you.



Stephen! Wow, it’s so funny you should bring that up. I lost my meds, actually, they were working fine and then I dunno what happened, they just disappeared.

BUT after that I had a dream ABOUT YOU! That’s right, in that dream, I was The Honorable Alan D _ Albright (fill in the blank for yourself). AND I was sitting on the bench, presiding over a BIG patent case, and YOUR NAME came up. Amazing coincidence, no? Life is like that.


It went on like that a long time, you know what I mean, being a dream and all.

Maybe it was a premonition, that’s what Judge Webster told me in my dreams.

Gotta go find my meds, maybe you’re right about that.



Stephen! It’s more than one dream. I keep dreaming I am Judge Alan D (fill in the blank) Albright. Night after night, I slave away at the bench, doing markman after markman, discovery dispute after discovery dispute, like a human tornado, processing papers hundreds at a time, all in the air, whirling around like dervishes. You know what I mean, right? Everybody has this dream, I think.

Anyway, then I’m sitting on the bench, in my heavy silk robes and nothing else, and I have an itch. That’s so irritating! You probably don’t notice this much, but when you wear underwear, and you have an itch, you just shift a little and you’re fine. No underwear, only heavy silk against my skin, IT’S A PROBLEM! AND, everybody is watching your hands all the time, so there’s that problem about being a judge and all.

So there I am, with an itch I can’t scratch, and then I see YOU come sit down next to ME! Wow, there you are, big as life, RIGHT NEXT TO ME, but I’m a judge with an itch. That’s the main part of the dream. Then I scream in your ear and then … well … then … gosh I can’t quite remember. Maybe you pee your pants, was that it? Maybe you dissolve into dust like a Vampire?

Anyone? Had this dream before? I can’t be the only one.

Can I?


Re: Re: Re:

Hey in Texas we don’t talk about our "Poe" in public, our poop neither.

Let’s just put it this way: A Reality Check is Coming

Waco Texas is a real place with real people, and now you’ve made an issue regarding two of us Wacos. Yes, you can call us Wackos or Wacos or Waciens, that’s just fine, we don’t mind. We’re together on this, the judge and I, and Baylor University.

In spirit, that is, spiritually, I mean. Me and the Judge and Baylor. One spirit. You remember my story about the Hamilton Family, and my stories about the Constitution, and about Alexander and his hot temper, and the firearms my granddad gave me that I used to have mock duals with, and how that lead to my having to take a lot of medicine to stop running around with guns trying to shoot people? Do you remember that? Well, now I live in Texas and people like me are WELCOME here, thank god for that. I don’t actually run around with guns in my hands, but I could, that’s FINE here in Waco, do as you please. It’s America!

So, the judge and me, we’ll consider everything you have to say, carefully. We’ll do it together, spiritually connected as we are, both proud Americans, and both big fans of the Constitution. One spirit. One country. One God.

Come on, you Godless Heathens, bring forth whatever hellfire you are capable of. Then me and the judge, we’ll have our say. That’ll be that.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s a bit of a problem, really. I mean, here you have a troll, eager to spout inflammatory nonsense for a while in the hope of coming out with a "gotcha" at the end…

…and yet the joke’s on them; They sound neither better nor worse than the average Trump press secretary.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re: Trump Press Secretary

Either brand of malicious insanity will serve that bill; All Trump’s press secretaries were told to go and peddle blatantly obvious lies right in the face of a room full of journalists of which only a few were Trump cultists.

When they failed to successfully invoke mind control magics and make The Donald come across as the second coming of christ they got fired and whoever was dumb enough to take the job saddled with the continuation of the farce.

To be fair though; They usually were more coherent than Dear Leader.


Re: Re: Re: Trump Press Secretary

Hey Scary, did you say this: "This is why the US has so many Judges and DA’s willing to fawn and pander over crooked police, local corporations, batshit insane seventh adventist churches and the copyright cult. Because they aren’t in the business of justice or politics. They’re in the business of getting as persistent and generous sugar daddy as they can to pave their way into the next cushy job."

Do you really think Judge Alan D Albright is looking for a "generous sugar daddy"? Do you really think he’s not "in the business of justice"?

You’re going to run away and hide from this statement now, right? You’re not going to back it up, are you? Say you’re sorry, that would be wise.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trump Press Secretary

He probably is.

Though I’d have to say his trolling is just fscking weaksauce. I looked, I laughed, I moved on.

We’ve got enough verified alt-right morons and copyright cultists around here for me to pay much attention to some limpwristed joker coming in out of left field.


Hang on, try looking at things from a different angle.

Like, say, suppose you saw a video, or even a handful of videos claiming something horrible. Like, the CIA are kidnapping foreign nationals and torturing them at Guantanamo Bay. The invasion of Iraq is an oil grab and has nothing to do with WMDs. A good chunk of Hollywood’s higher-ups are engaged in sexual abuse. The entire food industry is involved in a massive cover-up to conceal the harmful effects of added sugar.

It may or may not be a convincing video, the evidence may or may not be solid, but a few days later, you go back to check it again…and it’s been removed for ‘violating rules’ or ‘spreading misinformation’ or whatnot. No rebuttal or link to where the given evidence/claim is analysed and explained.
No big deal, you find another copy of the video. That’s eventually taken down too. On all the big sites you go to, there seems to be an effort to stop any spread or discussion of this ‘conspiracy’.

How would you feel about that? If you saw a claim that Guantanamo Bay is being used for torturing detainees, but every Reddit thread on it is locked or deleted, Youtube videos are taken down, Twitter bans accounts that talk about it, rarely if ever addressing the claims beyond parroting a party line…would you think ‘huh, it must be nonsense’, or would you question the censorship and lack of counterargument?



You listed things that may have initially been scoffed at, but we have come to acknowledge are at least partially true since eventually the evidence came out. That often took way too long, but we’re talking decades here. The Christians have had at least 6,000 years, how much longer do we have to give them to produce some evidence of satan or god?

We’re not talking about a government conspiracy or an industry lying to make money. We’re talking about mentally ill people thinking every triangle in a logo is proof that person sacrifices the leftover babies to Satan that they don’t use as sex slaves. Meanwhile they’re too busy in their supernatural delusions to realize that some really bad things are actually happening around them.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re:

"You listed things that may have initially been scoffed at, but we have come to acknowledge are at least partially true…"

Actually all he listed has been verified as completely true. If anything most of it is even worse than what has become publicly known – recall that both when it came to gitmo and Abu Ghraib a lot of the evidence wasn’t even shown openly and the congresspeople who watched it all came out with pale faces.

"We’re talking about mentally ill people thinking every triangle in a logo is proof that person sacrifices the leftover babies to Satan that they don’t use as sex slaves."

That’s taking the easy way out. No, conspiracy religion isn’t a mental illness. It’s just the result of an upbringing priming you to disregard factual observation in favor of faith. The way to nip this in the bud is to make sure grade school starts being about critical thinking and rationality. This will see the next generation better prepared to disregard the odd lunatics, but this generation? Stick a fork in it, it’s done.


Re: Re: Re:

The interesting part about that particular list is that for sure people tried to prevent the information from getting out. But, once it was out, there was no coordinated effort to disappear it again. Or, if there was, it was very unsuccessful.
The Abu Graib pictures were all over, Weinstein accusers popped up on every streetcorner and plenty of books have been written about the run-up to Iraq II. It is also very easy to create an even longer list of scandals that came out like, the mother of them all, Watergate, but also Iran Contra, the Mi Lai massacre, Bill Cosby and so forth.
So, while dark secrets definitely exist, it is very difficult to control them once they’re out there. That, logically, actually speaks against the idea that once something is "censored" it must be true. Truth is difficult to censor.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"That, logically, actually speaks against the idea that once something is "censored" it must be true. Truth is difficult to censor."

That, right there. Eventually every shady plan will leak, and the more earthshattering, the harder it is to retain. If a US president can’t keep the lid on getting his dick quietly sucked in the privacy of the oval office then that speaks volumes on how likely it is that any more major conspiracy involving three or more people will be kept secret for long.

Every conspiracy, ever, was revealed in short order. Because it involves a great many people.



If it was only being spread via tiktok and youtube videos, reddit threads, and the like, I would probably assume either it is not very important or there is nothing to it. All those things you describe were reported by journalistic operations, so if the social media stuff gets taken down I can go read about it somewhere else. There is no shadow government with the power to erase damaging information from everywhere on the internet.


I can’t prove it, but I’m confident that being "censored" has become such a badge of honor in some communities that people are deleting their own posts and saying Big Tech did it, falsely claiming they’re shadowbanned, and engaging in other forms of manufactured victimhood to lend credibility to their conspiracy theories and lies and grift some more.



There was this shithead troll on Ars who edited his own posts into false accusations against Ars’s moderation.

It’s almost as pathetically transparent as Woody thinking that typing others’ names onto his comments would fool anybody.

Ot trolls there and here on Techdirt hallucinating conspiracies against them for being identified as trolls by the community.

Some Ars commenters show that these kinds of trolls show child-level intellects:

50me12 wrote:

I used to moderate a popular gaming forum. It was astonishing / maybe a little horrifying how often people’s reaction to any action by the mods was something to the effect of "out to get them".

The user always felt that they clearly had reasons for their actions / were justified, and they were unable to believe / understand that the moderator might also have reasons for their actions, aside from ‘bias’ or whatever random verb they selected.

99.99% of situations where someone went off about how the mods were out to get them, they were just full of it.

Human nature can be a pain.

Starke replied:

I moderate chat for a twitch stream. There’s a bot that posts a warning every 15 minutes not to backseat game. It’s the same message every time.

We had a kid in chat who went off on the bot, telling it to shut up and leave him alone. The streamer ran out of patience for it and banned them after the third time.

I read the ban appeal where this kid’s defense was basically, "Nightbot started it," and, "was saying mean things about me."

And here we have Woody keeps ranting about how the automated spam filter is doing its job correctly.


Wow in the wake of Fauci’s e-mails and the Wuhan lab leek the defenders of the State Censors at FB, YT, etc. are working on overdrive. ‘But muh private platform’ ended when Zuckerberg e-mailed Fauci a government bureaucrat directly. But we know that this state/private partnership has been going on far longer. Conspiracy against rights is a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison. It doesn’t matter if the people and ideas Fauci directed Zuckerberg to censor were right or wrong. Its still illegal.


Ignorance is the lack of knowledge to understand what one is being told and along with one’s preconceptions, and ignorant person doesn’t need any additional impetus to believe bullshit. Taking something down or leaving it up will make no difference. Leaving it up will allow an idiot to believe it’s true; taking it down will only result in the same idiot rationalizing the removal as a conspriacy to hide the truth. Someone who is incapable of using logic or engaging in critical thinking will find a way to believe in his/her preconceptions.


Corey Doctorow struggles sometimes to put up content.

Every once in a while, a person I respect finds his own content is ghosted by Twitter or a media service so only subscribers get to see it. When it’s someone like Doctorow who double checks on other accounts or non-accounts to see if he can see his work, these events get outed.

And it makes me paranoid as fuck.

Right now, anti-Capitalists are noticing some of their tweets and posts are getting ghosted or silenced. More generally, all my information coming from the Gaza Strip are from less-than-official sources (but man, video of soldiers brutalizing children is worth a dumpster-fire’s worth of words).

So of fucking course the MAGAs and Qs are going to capitalize on this trend that valid content is being suppressed to imply that because their own content is being suppressed, it must also be valid.

This is a problem when the ones doing the suppressing aren’t the good guys doing consistently according to rational rules.

Perhaps it’s just a moderation problem, but Doctorow seems to get moderated a conspicuous lot.


Broken feeds, broken news

So I just found an interesting quirk in using news feeds.
I got the title headline. And the blurb for it. But instead of the article I got a response comment, namely
? That Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Jun 2021 @ 3:49pm
Telling a Q follower they are wrong, no matter your intentions or how nice/mean you do it, only serves to drive them deeper?? by looking on site.

The feed in my reader looked like this:
?Does Taking Down Content Lead Ignorant People To Believe It’s More Likely To Be True? | Techdirt

Telling a Q follower they are wrong, no matter your intentions or how nice/mean you do it, only??

So I apologise to sites writers if I ever mistook a previous comment as the article
So I?ve now red both the referenced comment and the actual article.

Here?s a headline from yesterday
??Donald Trump said Bitcoin is a scam?
The story, however stating ??Bitcoin just seems like a scam,"

But with full context,

?Bitcoin just seems like a scam," he said, adding, "I don’t like it because it’s another currency competing against the dollar. I want the dollar to be the currency of the world; that’s what I’ve always said.?

Not to mention how old the tweet is to only get attention now.
But all three looks are very different.

The problem is there?s little in the way of straight fact news in the US today. It?s almost entirely opinion.
Where Fox and NYT, Breitbart, and Atlantic all slant. Others are pure propaganda.
Social media has gone to repeat the headline.

And most people simply don?t care.
The answer everyone who does care states, go look it up, is not an easy thing to do anymore. Look it up where. To know what a president says you need to go to the source and read a transcript.

Even there you get errors.
Fox ran a story the other day about someone bitching about errors in an Obama transcript being used as reason to undermine Michigan recall petitions. Don?t know, didn?t follow beyond it, don?t live in Michigan.
(The court tossed all challenges).

The reality right now is it?s hard to find facts when everything broadcast is through someone?s lens.

Stephen T. Stonesays:

Neutral journalism doesn?t exist, Lodos. You can?t separate bias from journalism. Someone must decide what to publish, what to distill out of the mass of available data, and what facts to check. The best any journalist/editor can do is hope they pick the right facts, the right data, and the right stories.

That One Guysays:


Not only doesn’t it exist I’d argue you don’t want it to, because trying to be strictly neutral would require giving all views equal treatment when they might really not be(‘This side says vaccines are safe, this side says they’re being used to inject the mark of the beast, we’ll let the readers decide’).


Re: Re:

Too bad, That One Guy. That?s exactly what I would hope for. Equal weight. All opinions.

?Such as the fda says it is safe and effective. The who says it is safe and effective. 99?8% of doctors say it is effective. That one guy says some people think it?s injecting the Mark of the beast. The President and his cabinet says it is effective.

It is not currently known from consistent data if direct contact immunity (previously hosting the virus) follows standard immunity relationships in humans and to what extent.?

That would be a proper neutral story!

?Israeli fired rockets into Gaza in what the government officials have called a ?preemptive strike?. Palestinian authorities called it ?an act of terrorism?. International reaction is divided.?
Another good neutral report.

?4 people state they had spotted a car driving upside down on the tunnel ceiling at Apx. 6am. The driver of the inverted vehicle is claimed to be a giant mouse. None of the other 18 drivers in the tunnel at the time report seeing the car. No video evidence of the claimed event exist?


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