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[liberationtech] Facebook Asks - Hard Questions: Social Media and Democracy

carlo von lynX lynX at
Mon Jan 22 15:53:28 PST 2018

On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 01:01:30PM -0500, Richard Brooks wrote:
> A general concern should be who does the regulation and
> to what ends? The UN is questionable, since the majority
> of its members are autocrats. The non-autocrats are
> typically controlled by the large corporations.

Us. We can write the legislation and if it makes sense
to large chunks of society we can demand its enactment.

Just some years ago people like me wrote the law proposal
on how to handle the former airport of Tegel in Berlin.
And then the path from petition to referendum finally
made that proposal the current law.

I hear we have similar mechanisms in the EU. And if you
consider how TTIP fell because of public pressure, even
US Congress can listen to people from the Internet, if
they aggregate.

> I think the question of how to have a globally open
> forum for legitimate discourse is probably unsolvable,
> since I do not think we can have a consensus on what
> "legitimate discourse" is.

There are many groups working on such a definition and
I guess out of desperate need to do something some of
their work will be adopted. I for instance have gained
experience in doing liquid democratic organization and
have learned how to design a justice system so that
people in a group don't jump at each other's throats
as they try to get along.

> Should it allow antifa? Should it include racists?

If the rules of the discursive process are sufficiently
well defined, then everyone is inhibited from causing
damage or bring forward opinions that aren't compatible
with previous fundamental decisions such as human rights
etc. To ensure that rules are respected you need
moderators and to ensure that moderators aren't abusing
their powers you need judges. That's what it takes to
really have online democracy - simplifications may fail.

> I wonder, honestly, if an abuse resistant platform
> is possible. Also, I wonder if it would be desirable.

There are plenty of other spaces where you can speak
your mind in disrespectful ways of others etc, but in
a public democratic debating platform a democratic
structure is necessary.

> And, I have no good answers to any of these questions.

I've been researching these topics for years now,
that's why I dare to speak so matter-of-factly about
things I seriously learned.

On 01/22/2018 08:53 PM, Andrés Leopoldo Pacheco Sanfuentes wrote:
> I don’t believe that to betray democracy will ever be “technically impossible!!!!”

Depends on the degree of betrayal. I am saying that
we can have an Internet that by design is resistant
to surveillance and data mining. Therefore apps will
have to be paid by micropayment and the apps will not
be able to send user data back to the manufacturer -
they only exchange data with your social network in
a way you expect.

That's the other topic I've been working on since 2010
now, so I am kind of confident that this is real.

> It all boils down to ETHICS, not TECHNOLOGY.

In the early years of the net there was this meme that
technology can not fix social problems. It is profoundly
wrong. Technology can implement not only social norms,
it can even enact laws. I learned that as early as 1997
when I deployed a chat system that worked differently
than IRC. It was by design unsuited for operator wars etc.

> And ALL the “Social Network” COMMERCIAL platforms are NON-DEMOCRATIC BY DESIGN. They’re basically no different in that respect than traditional (corporate-controlled) broadcast stations.

Exactly. That is what the law would change. It would
require all social networks to operate out of your
personal device and have no central place of data

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