"There is a strong chance could become the international face of the movement to constrain , in much the same way her predecessor became the international face of the anti-nuclear movement in the 1980s."
Richard Harman

Nuclear weapons (and even the waste from nuclear power) kill people in huge numbers, through catalysing systemic diseases like cancer. What does it tell us when people are comparing social media to this?


What I desperately want to know is, what do these politicians and pundits mean when they say "social media"? Are they talking specifically about ad-selling, corporate-owned like FB, YT, and the birdsite? Or they using it in its technical sense, where it distinguishes platforms for user-generated media (including the ) from media where the ability to publish is controlled by editors and other gatekeepers?

There is both a risk and an opportunity in the current political sabre-rattling against "social media" in multiple countries. The will attempt to capture any new regulation and twist it into anti-competitive forms that disproportionately target smaller players, and even non-commercial ones like most instances (eg ). But if we can educate politicians enough, they might begin dismantling the datafarming revenue model that gives their dominance (eg ).

@strypey I doubt they make any distinctions. What they fear are social movements able to challenge the powerful organizing through social media of any form.

@bob this is my fear too. But to state it that way sounds like a conspiracy theory; who is the ominous "they" in this equation? My question is, how do we distinguish between regulators who have sincere concerns about privacy, election interference, terrorist recruitment, and so on, and those who have an agenda to suppress grassroots voices (I agree they're out there)? How do we provider the former with an effective digital tech education to help them stand up to the latter?

@strypey @bob it's not a conspiracy theory, it's a system, otherwise Marx would had been a conspiracy theorist. "They" are: finantial corporations like BlackRock and Goldman Sachs, criminal international organizations like WTO, NATO, IMF, OCSE and EU, private and opaque groups like Trilateral Commission and Bilderberg Group and big names of industry and finance. What did you expect in a neoliberist regime? A Web for people?

@alexl @strypey Yes it's not really a conspiracy theory. There are academic studies of how China controls social media, and what they specifically try to suppress are things with "social action potential". i.e. developing movements which could challenge the power of the government. Individuals criticizing the government in isolation or people doing things which don't have cascading consequences they don't care about.

@alexl this is another example of presenting the issue in the mode of conspiracy theory. My biases against the orgs you list are the same as yours. But the statements you've made are a) not falsifiable, and b) offer no information on which we can act at a human scale. It's like arguing for by talking about Dupont's role in suppressing cannabis to get rid of hemp as a competitor to plastic. There may be truth in it, but it's not convincing to anyone outside the choir. (1/2)

@alexl @bob if we want to be effective in turning the current backlash against corporate "" to our benefit (and I think we can) we need to tell political decision-makers a story restricted to verifiable, referenced claims that specific pieces of policy can be designed to address. We need to tell the public a story that convincingly shows them how corporate datafarming has led to bad stuff online, and how they can participate in new styles of internet maintenance and governance. (2/2)

@strypey @alexl From my point of view I am a "decision-maker". Politicians are notoriously not interested in verifiable claims or evidence, but they are interested in "truthiness" and things which will get them re-elected or make them more powerful.

If politicians were at all interested in evidence then many things would be different. There would be no drug war or "hostile environment" or immigration detention centers and renewable energy production would have been expanded rather than shut down.

> From my point of view I am a "decision-maker"

Sure. From the POV of laws enforced by massive, armed organizations called states, not so much ;)

> Politicians are notoriously not interested in verifiable claims or evidence

All generalizations are false. I come from a *very* small country where activists I know have been elected as representatives. None of these generalizations apply to them. None of them apply to . What do you hope to gain by broadcasting defeatism?

@strypey @bob lol Julia Reda is in the only fake Parliament in the history, even if the entire European Parliament was populated by clones of Reda they can't do anything. Again, UE is a regime. There is no point in fighting for (digital) rights in the EU, one just have to focus on dismantle the EU first.

> There is no point in fighting for (digital) rights in the EU

This is measurably wrong. The is already resulting in practical changes in the use of user data by commercial entites, not only in the EU, but across the whole internet. There are rules about that haven't even been tested yet. If user protection rules that were similar (or stronger) were passed in other jurisdictions, or even better in an international treaty, that would be a huge win for users.

@alexl don't get me wrong, I'm no uncritical fan of the . There are many legitimate criticisms of its current "neoliberal" shape. But it's a , it's taken that shape because it's member governments were and are still mired in "neoliberalist" assumptions. That doesn't mean important threat fires can't be put out at EU level, and fighting them there avoids from having to fight the same fires over and over in multiple countries.

> "We have also argued that the European Union needs to change. Sinn Féin wants a social Europe, which promotes peace, demilitarisation, economic and social justice, international solidarity and greater democratic accountability."

@strypey @alexl I think we should fight for digital rights within the EU when it's possible, although I am sympathetic towards the "Oh god, more centralized garbage. Can't we push this entire thing into the ocean?" approach.

GDPR is a bit of a mixed bag and I see a whole lot of faux compliance, but things in that style which are proactively trying to defend what tiny glimmers of freedom remain would be ok. Most new internet legislation has been coming from the usual offenders on the copyright vulture vortex and anything which *isn't* that might be an improvement.

But lobbying giant bureaucracies is seriously difficult and requires actual Capital - something which most of us don't have. Also we shouldn't be under any illusions that politicians are rational utility maximizers operating on the basis of evidence. To even hope to play in that space means adopting the same tactics of truthy narratives and buzzwords even if they don't have a lot of grounding in reality.

> I am sympathetic towards the "Oh god, more centralized garbage. Can't we push this entire thing into the ocean?" approach.

Yeah me too ;) But sadly, after more than 20 years of trying, the answer appears to be "no". We have to engage with the existing hubs of power, even if only as a holding action to stop them being used to concentrate even more power, while we work on building out decentralized replacements. (1/2)

As a specific example, there's a fascinating discussion going on in the .io GH issues about to what degree ought to engage with the . I've dealt with the same strategic questions many times in other projects like and the . We want to model best practice (use , federated systems etc) but there's no point preaching to the choir. The people we need to reach are the ones most engaged with the existing, centralized systems. (2/2)
@bob @alexl

> lobbying giant bureaucracies is seriously difficult and requires actual Capital

It only requires large pools of capital if you don't have genuine grassroots support you can mobilize (volunteers, crowdfunding etc). Using existing decentralized comms and documentation tools to organize against centralized power (eg regulatory capture by tech corporations) is a great way to a) eat our own dogfood and identify pain points, and b) improve the tools and increase their

@strypey @bob EU is a regime, stop. You can't change a regime with its own rules. You can discuss all the day about digital rights, if you don't understand neoliberist regimes like USA and EU your efforts are useless, now and forever.

@alexl I don't think we're going to agree on this, especially if all you do is repeat the same generalizations over and over again. Thanks for dropping by :)

@strypey @bob that's the point, you still talk like we are in a democracy. We are in a regime, you can't expect laws for people even for their digital lives.

@alexl you are still stuck in a conspiracy mode of thinking. It's a trap! If it is possible to enact laws that benefit people over corporations (I think is an example) , one of the most effective ways to suppress the social movements required to make that happen is to seed the public conversation with defeatist statements. The Orange Menace didn't win in 2016 by getting more people to vote for him, but by discouraging his opponents from voting at all, skewing the result.

@alexl @strypey @bob I agree with this. As much as I want to see some things codified into law; actions speak louder than any form of word enforcement. History shows this.

@strypey @alexl @bob before me opening that link - I want to highlight that I'm saying acting first (or at all) has been more reliable in getting change (which can be retroactively applied into legislation, societal norms, etc). I'm not going to claim to have answers but strongly encourage us to revisit history for answers

@strypey @alexl @bob okay now have read that - I think it might help for us to have more F/LOSS lawyers promoting, encouraging and wanting to enforce open-force models on software or even going as far as requiring social software to be released in a permissive licensing model.

@jalcine @strypey @bob no, we need people to understand laws, if one think Reda is a real politician in a real Parliament we have a much bigger problem: mass media spread neoliberist propaganda and make people think that UE and USA are democracies while they are regimes. EU treaties in particular literally code a dictatorship. If one wants to change things in any area have to realise this and study how to get out of these regimes.

@alexl so you're advocating that the EU is a dictatorship and a "regime", that Julia Reda is not a "real" pollitician in a real parilament and that mass-media spread "neoliberist" (no idea what this is, btw) propaganda. Are you sure you're not a conspiracy theorist? (this question is not sarcasm)

Can you explain what you mean? At least the bit about Julia Reda.

@mariusor if you don't know what liberist means search for it, no?

A Parliament that can't make laws... is that a real Parliament? The Commission makes laws but what happens if the Parliament don't endorse a Commission? Don't waste time searching: jurists from all over Europe speculated on it for years and disagree on the answer, the treaties are too intricate.

@mariusor P.S. I'm not advocating EU is a regime, it's a regime. If you can't see it it's just your fault.

@alexl OK, it's my fault. Help me overcome this shortsightedness, by explaining what you mean.

@mariusor I know zero resources in English, in my language there are many prolific authors so I never cared to look for equivalents in English. But an organization once translated a couple of Italian TV shows in English and one of them got viral the day of Brexit referendum with millions of views in UK (more than the difference between YES and NO voters).
First (viral one): youtu.be/i9cLwoTkWes
Second: youtu.be/LUIsLZJM8wI

> requiring social software to be released in a permissive licensing

OK, so now you have an actionable goal. So how do we convince law-makers to take that action? What do they need to understand and how can we communicate it?
model.@alexl @bob

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