“The British government released proposals this week to hold online and social media platforms responsible for harmful content. A few decades ago, we might have scoffed at anyone who even thought they could regulate what people say on the internet. No longer,” Elaine Ou writes for Bloomberg. “Today, the centralization of platforms and service providers makes enforcement surprisingly easy. It’s just a matter of picking which layer of the tech stack to hold accountable.”

“If lawmakers want to prevent the dissemination of certain content on social media, they can cover most of the U.S. population with a phone call to Facebook and Twitter,” Ou writes. “If governments want more comprehensive coverage, they can hit up the handful of cloud providers that serve up over half the internet. Problematic websites effectively vanish if deleted from Google, which handles 90 percent of search activity, and apps can be rendered unfindable if Apple and Google simply remove them from their app stores.”

“Those who want to ban harmful content generally aren’t after the content itself. The artificial crime of ‘hate speech’ had to be invented because more direct and traditional methods of enforcing certain goals yielded little result. The thing that we really want to get rid of is the fact that some people believe nutty things, sometimes people really don’t like each other, and some people have political views that are simply unacceptable to others,” Ou writes. “Censorship tends not to create a world of tolerance. In fact, the idea of restricting “hate speech” was originally championed by the Soviet Union in an effort to silence those who might agitate in favor of capitalism and liberal democracy.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Certainly too few gatekeepers, including Apple, is a major concern. A decentralized internet, by definition, ceases to exist when centralized with power in too few hands.

As always, our boilerplate regarding “news” consumption: The best way to consume “news” is to cast a wide net.

As always, readers of “news” need to consider the sources and interpret what they are being told accordingly. The more disparate sources you can find, the better. And we don’t mean different newspaper, network, website brands that are all owned by the same conglomerate. Determining the actual ownership of your “news” sources is an investment that requires a bit of time, but it is very enlightening. — MacDailyNews Take, June 17, 2015

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