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Who decides what's offensive?

(17 Posts)
BovaryX Thu 13-Feb-20 04:55:44

The Daily Mail has an article about government plans to appoint Ofcom to police internet content. In an era where freedom of speech is facing an existential threat in academia and beyond, when people are sacked for expressing views which were uncontroversial five years ago and when the police investigated 87,000 non crime incidents over five years, it is imperative that we ask who will decide what is offensive? What are their motivations? To remove offensive, criminal content? Or to enforce rigid, political conformity?

But the big question the Government’s plans raise, as with all attempts to monitor or restrict what we can watch, read or write, is this: who decides where to draw the line? Who decides what content is considered harmful? After all, one person’s offensive post could be another’s risqué but essentially harmless joke.Let’s not forget that Ofcom is an unelected, unaccountable quango staffed by Government appointees. Its new chief executive, Dame Melanie Dawes, is a civil service mandarin hailed as a ‘diversity and inclusion champion’ – the very embodiment of political correctness.

BovaryX Thu 13-Feb-20 04:58:04

www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-7997555/MICK-HUME-argues-new-powers-protect-children-online-lead-censorship.html?ito=native_share_article-masthead

isitpossibleto Thu 13-Feb-20 05:00:15

Men.

Whatisthisfuckery Thu 13-Feb-20 08:52:44

Don’t be silly OP, it’s white men who subscribe to the correct woke view point. If you’re white and male and you can demonstrate enough woke credentials you can say whatever the fuck you like, and whatever offence you take is therefore legitimate.

TWAW, but women are cunts, but those women you understand, not the special women who are definitely women just not that kind of women.

You can’t say anything homophobic, unless it’s only harmful to lesbians, but only the lesbians who are actually lesbians and not the special lesbians who are definitely lesbians, just not that kind of lesbians.

You can’t say anything racist, apart from if the racist thing you’re saying is to affirm the womanhood of the women who are definitely women but not the kind of women you’d be willing to fuck, even though they are definitely women.

MrsPear Thu 13-Feb-20 19:48:38

Beardy White woke men who are women on Wednesdays.

Alltheprettyseahorses Thu 13-Feb-20 20:21:56

Do you know what - I decide. We decide. These offensive and bigoted MC white wokebeards and MPs need to be told how offensive and bigoted they are. The law works for us the same as it does for anyone else and we are the protected characteristic.

TheRealMcKenna Thu 13-Feb-20 21:34:42

In a bid to try to understand why Twitter bans people for misgendering, I went on a bit of a Youtube journey. I came across an interview with Joe Rogan between Jack Dorsey and some ‘niceness and kindness’ person from Twitter and Tim Pool (American Republican commentator). The aim was to try to understand why Twitter seems to have such a left-wing bias when it comes to banning people.

Numerous examples of lifetime bans were cited. Some were totally understandable based on the evidence given (Milo Yiannopoulos and Sargon of Akkad), but some were obviously political (Meghan Murphy) based on clearly political ideology. The ‘judges’ of what counted as ‘hate groups’ obviously used politically biased sources - so left-wing violent groups such as Antifa are allowed but other groups are banned. Dealing with ‘hate speech’ seems to depend on who’s making the claim.

The summary of the discussion was that Twitter really don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to identifying and dealing with unpleasant behaviour in an unbiased way. They just kept saying ‘we need to do better’. They use ‘sources’ that are clearly ‘dodgy’ when defining extremists (including the one Maajid Nawaz sued).

The irony of this is that the recommendation of Tim Pool, a Republican and free speech advocate was that government regulation would be needed to ensure that tech giants such as YouTube and Twitter were not unduly affecting political discourse by ‘silencing’ voices based on their own political leanings.

It was a good podcast, although very long (3.5 hours).

BovaryX Fri 14-Feb-20 05:39:00

WhattheFuckery
That is a great point. Apparently it's okay to insult, abuse and bully women who don't conform to woke dictates. It's incredible that rampant misogyny is explicit and not only acceptable, but encouraged.

TherealMcKenna
That sounds like a really interesting podcast. Douglas Murray discusses the political tribalism and bias of the internet and how search engines are designed to produce and promote certain results. What bizarre times we live in, where freedom of speech seems to face myriad, serious challenges and whose supporters are often besieged.

mement0mori Fri 14-Feb-20 09:05:24

Under the Government’s proposals, every online publisher which allows users to post content and comment – whether it is Facebook, Google, Mail Online, Trip Advisor or a personal blog – will have a legal duty to ‘react to concerns over harmful content and improve the safety of their users’

Honestly you can just see where this may lead us. With 2 (or 3?) of the current Labour leadership candidates (all women) signing the Trans Rights Pledge which advocates to "organise and fight against transphobic organisations such as Women's Place UK [and] LGB Alliance". Labour are not a party who are prepared to stand up for freedom of speech and if they were in power one can imagine how they might use a law such as this to further shut down debate.

And yet it is the Conservative government proposing this change in law.

You are right OP freedom of speech is facing an existential threat. And it always amazes me how people are only prepared to defend it when they agree with what is being said and suddenly go off the idea once they find something offensive.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 14-Feb-20 09:42:10

I'd like to see OfCom intervening in issues damaging to children, in particular hosting illegal material such as child porn, which from what I've read is the actual focus (not a crackdown on whatever adults may find 'offensive')

In the light of the last couple of days events on Twitter, maybe they should also be looking hard at manipulation of politics by these tech giants (mostly foreign). Interfering with the #expelme hashtag seems like a case of trying to quash political dissent, for instance.

Anyway, this idea may well get kicked into the long grass - front page article from yesterday's Times:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/pm-set-to-water-down-curbs-on-tech-giants-xvd0dr08z?shareToken=dcf299f53dd183d5f80df4d07f9eb5ea

Just one day after this:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/tech-giants-risk-fines-or-ban-for-failing-to-protect-children-lnjfdnmp0?shareToken=769e11aa8bea7e765c4b142bf825150c

ProclivitiesMcManus Fri 14-Feb-20 18:06:11

The person who is offended. It's a purely subjective conceptive. It has no objective meaning.

xxyzz Fri 14-Feb-20 18:19:59

I don't see why we need to police who is offended, or why that is relevant. Unlike the US, where officially anything goes in terms of free speech (except when it doesn't), in the UK we have always had perfectly workable laws regarding freedom of speech. In a nutshell, you can say whatever the hell you like, no matter who is offended, BUT your rights to free speech end with the incitement to violence, which is illegal.

That is a perfectly workable guideline which has served us fine in the UK. I can't see any reason for changing it.

Thus in the Glinner thread, someone was very exercised over the supposed 'right' of Count Dankula to post a video with their dog doing a Heil Hitler salute. Which I thought was offensive but (as a Jewish person) equally felt should not be prosecutable. However, when in the course of the thread, it came out that actually the video was not just a dog doing stupid things but an adult man repeatedly saying 'Gas the Jews', this clearly changed things as it meant it was an incitement to violence and this is (and was correctly found to be) against the law.

Similarly, all those 'Punch a T***' posts ought to be prosecutable as they clearly incitement to violence.

Meanwhile, merely having a different opinion to someone, misgendering them, etc, while possibly upsetting to some, are not, contrary to ludicrous claims, 'literal violence'. They are 'metaphorical violence' at most, and this is not covered by laws concerning incitement to violence.

So in a nutshell - say what you like - fine.

Threaten violence against people - not fine.

Seems quite straightforward to me.

mement0mori Fri 14-Feb-20 20:20:57

Count Dancula wasn't convicted of incitement to violence.
He was convicted of causing gross offence under the Communications Act.

mement0mori Fri 14-Feb-20 20:32:54

Which, I think is the same law that Kate Scottow has just fallen fowl of.

BovaryX Fri 14-Feb-20 20:33:56

I don't see why we need to police who is offended, or why that is relevant.

Who determines what constitutes a hate crime?Why isn't misogyny a hate crime? What's to prevent spurious accusations of hate crimes motivated by political bias and devoid of evidence?

Goosefoot Fri 14-Feb-20 22:30:10

I think there are different ways people talk about offensive material.

At the moment we tend to think about people saying things like "All blonds are sex maniacs". Frankly I don't think we should have any legal concern for that at all.

But then there are things like pornography that have traditionally been considered offensive material. Swearing on the radio, showing the faces of dead soldiers in the media, that sort of thing. That's a different use of the word but difficult to define what would count. It often comes down to "I know it's offensive if I see it."

BovaryX Fri 14-Feb-20 22:43:32

The evidence of Professor Stock shows that the Claimant is far from alone in a debate which is complex and multi-faceted. Mrs B profoundly disagrees with his views, but such is the nature of free speech in a democracy. Professor Stock's evidence demonstrates how quickly some involved in the transgender debate are prepared to accuse others with whom they disagree of showing hatred, or as being transphobic when they are not, but simply hold a different view

It is good to see that the judgement in Harry's case acknowledges Professor Kathleen Stock's analysis of the hostile environment for gender critical feminists.

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