Category Archives: Censorship

What Netflix can teach Universities

By Vinay Prasad, May 17, 2022

A lesson in courage

During the COVID19 pandemic, I looked around for universities to host debates or roundtables on school closure, mask mandates, business closure, lockdown, the varied interpretations of the IFR— in other words: the biggest policy issues of our day. And what did I find?

A single debate for JAMA, a couple of videos from across the pond (BMJ), and a debate for Johns Hopkins hosted by the great humanitarian & thinker Stef Baral. What about Stanford? Nothing; Yale? Crickets. Princeton? Harvard? Zilch.

Why did the most prestigious universities abdicate the responsibility to host debates? And worse: why do they still abdicate it? There are no debates on boosting 5-11 year olds, vaccine mandates for college kids, or the evidence FDA should demand for a yearly COVID shot.

The answer is simple: University administrators are jellyfish (spineless), and they are scared that some fraction of their faculty, staff, or students will label some position as harmful. Ergo, they do not want to host a debate, lest some fraction of their body be offended or hurt by a “harmful” idea.

What does that mean? Our society further slides into the abyss, making bad policy choices, and universities forfeit their position to podcasts and videos, such as Plenary Session, which do push a range of COVID19 ideas and guests.

Enter Netflix. Netflix recently told its employees.

Not everyone will like—or agree with—everything on our service. While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: we support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.

As employees we support the principle that Netflix offers a diversity of stories, even if we find some titles counter to our own personal values. Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful. If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.

This is exactly the memo that universities should be sending their own faculty, students and staff.

“I know some of you like school closure, and some of you think it is a bad idea. We are going to debate it here. If you’d find it hard to support holding open debates, Stanford may not be the best place for you.”

“I know some of you favor mandatory college boosters, and some of you think it is a bad idea. We are going to debate it here. If you’d find it hard to support holding open debates, Yale may not be the best place for you.”

“I know some of you think boosting a healthy 5 year old who just had omicron is a genius move, and some of you think that only a moron would do it. We are going to debate it here. If you’d find it hard to support holding open debates, Harvard may not be the best place for you.”

University administrators need to marshal the courage to tell their staff, faculty and students to shut up, and hear a range of opinions. So we can make progress as a people. And if they won’t, I have one more letter to send:

“I know some administrators fear confrontation and prefer to avoid making trouble. As such, they capitulate to a noisy group on campus. If this is you, being an administrator may not be the best job for you.”

Vinay Prasad’s Observations and Thoughts is going to be the best newsletter you read. Sign up today, so you don’t miss a post.

https://vinayprasadmdmph.substack.com/p/what-netflix-can-teach-universities?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoyODc2Mzg5NSwicG9zdF9pZCI6NTUyNTcxMDAsIl8iOiJyT0t6cCIsImlhdCI6MTY1Mjg4MTQ1OCwiZXhwIjoxNjUyODg1MDU4LCJpc3MiOiJwdWItMjMxNzkyIiwic3ViIjoicG9zdC1yZWFjdGlvbiJ9.ZPBzQLtwatMOmNZoJK7SRFZoLj8CIXnQY45A_vwmi_E&s=r

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What Netflix can teach Universities

5/17/2022 by Vinay Prasad

During the COVID19 pandemic, I looked around for universities to host debates or roundtables on school closure, mask mandates, business closure, lockdown, the varied interpretations of the IFR— in other words: the biggest policy issues of our day. And what did I find?

A single debate for JAMA, a couple of videos from across the pond (BMJ), and a debate for Johns Hopkins hosted by the great humanitarian & thinker Stef Baral. What about Stanford? Nothing; Yale? Crickets. Princeton? Harvard? Zilch.

Why did the most prestigious universities abdicate the responsibility to host debates? And worse: why do they still abdicate it? There are no debates on boosting 5-11 year olds, vaccine mandates for college kids, or the evidence FDA should demand for a yearly COVID shot.

The answer is simple: University administrators are jellyfish (spineless), and they are scared that some fraction of their faculty, staff, or students will label some position as harmful. Ergo, they do not want to host a debate, lest some fraction of their body be offended or hurt by a “harmful” idea.

What does that mean? Our society further slides into the abyss, making bad policy choices, and universities forfeit their position to podcasts and videos, such as Plenary Session, which do push a range of COVID19 ideas and guests.

Enter Netflix. Netflix recently told its employees.

Not everyone will like—or agree with—everything on our service. While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: we support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.

As employees we support the principle that Netflix offers a diversity of stories, even if we find some titles counter to our own personal values. Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful. If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.

“You will want to subscribe to my news letter”—vp

This is exactly the memo that universities should be sending their own faculty, students and staff.

“I know some of you like school closure, and some of you think it is a bad idea. We are going to debate it here. If you’d find it hard to support holding open debates, Stanford may not be the best place for you.”

“I know some of you favor mandatory college boosters, and some of you think it is a bad idea. We are going to debate it here. If you’d find it hard to support holding open debates, Yale may not be the best place for you.”

“I know some of you think boosting a healthy 5 year old who just had omicron is a genius move, and some of you think that only a moron would do it. We are going to debate it here. If you’d find it hard to support holding open debates, Harvard may not be the best place for you.”

University administrators need to marshal the courage to tell their staff, faculty and students to shut up, and hear a range of opinions. So we can make progress as a people. And if they won’t, I have one more letter to send:

“I know some administrators fear confrontation and prefer to avoid making trouble. As such, they capitulate to a noisy group on campus. If this is you, being an administrator may not be the best job for you.”

https://vinayprasadmdmph.substack.com/p/what-netflix-can-teach-universities?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoyODc2Mzg5NSwicG9zdF9pZCI6NTUyNTcxMDAsIl8iOiJtWk02biIsImlhdCI6MTY1Mjc4OTY4MCwiZXhwIjoxNjUyNzkzMjgwLCJpc3MiOiJwdWItMjMxNzkyIiwic3ViIjoicG9zdC1yZWFjdGlvbiJ9.W5dMmu0goWvAHlcgqJQl5733iX8kjdWqIPFkUhbbdys&s=r

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Wikipedia Deletes Hunter Biden Investment Firm Entry

Hmm. I will think three times about supporting Wikipedia in the future. mrossol

The Epoch Times, 4/24/2022

 

Wikipedia editors deleted an entry for Hunter Biden’s investment company Rosemont Seneca Partners, according to comments on the Talk Page of the entry.

Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, co-founded U.S. investment and advisory firm Rosemont Seneca Partners in 2009, along with Chris Heinz, the stepson of former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and Devon Archer, one of his business partners. The firm has been under congressional scrutiny and has faced questions about the younger Biden’s overseas business dealings.

According to the Wikipedia Talk Page, the Rosemont Seneca entry was deleted on April 20. Some editors said the entry was “not notable” and suggested that it was thin on details.

“This organization is only mentioned in connection with its famous founders, Hunter Biden and Christopher Heinz,” said Wikipedia editor “Alex,” who claimed that “keeping [the page] around” could turn it into “a magnet for conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden.” That editor didn’t elaborate or provide any evidence.

 

“It’s a non-notable company with a tangential connection to some conspiracy-related thing that didn’t happen,” another wrote.

Other editors, meanwhile, suggested the entire page be merged with the main Hunter Biden entry, which briefly mentions his involvement with Rosemont Seneca. However, arguments in favor of merging the pages were rejected, according to the Talk page.

“There are no in-depth references that discuss the company, only passing references with a mention here and there of a transaction,” one editor wrote. “That fails our criteria for establishing notability. The Hunter Biden article already mentions this firm so I don’t see any need for a Merge or Redirect.”

Rosemont Seneca Partners became a shareholder of a Chinese investment fund called Bohai Harvest RST (BHR), which was incorporated in Shanghai in 2013. Biden resigned from his seat on BHR’s board of directors in 2019.

Curtis Houck, of the Media Research Center, told the New York Post that the decision suggests a double standard.

“If a Trump-linked company had its Wikipedia page wiped or one from the Russia probe, it’s more than a safe bet to say that CNN would be dedicating multiple reporters to following the internet trail,” he told the outlet.

The decision is sure to draw further criticism against Wikipedia’s editors, who have often been accused, including by one of its founders, Larry Sanger, of tilting far to the left.

“There’s a very big, nasty, complex game being played behind the scenes to make the article say what somebody wants them to say,” Sanger said in 2021, accusing the website of disseminating “propaganda.”

For example, editors have attempted to delete the page “Mass killings under communist regimes,” which includes documented atrocities committed by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, Chinese Communist Party founder Mao Zedong, Ethiopian communist leader Mengistu Haile Mariam, Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, and North Korean founder Kim Il-Sung.

Representatives of Wikipedia didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/

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Life threats on Twitter deemed not a violation of platforms policy

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On Thursday, April 21st, Libs of TikTok, an anonymous account whose identity was recently revealed by the Washington Post, posted screenshots of another tweet showing a post calling for her assassination.

The post also revealed that Twitter deemed that the threatening post did not violent the platforms’ user guidelines. Tagging Twitter Safety in the post, Libs of TikTok tweeted:

“Apparently threatening to assassinate someone doesn’t violate Twitter’s policies. But conservatives get suspended for stating biological facts.”

One of the tweets that Libs Of TikTok shared said:

“ASSASSINATION MODE ACTIVATED; ACTIVATION WORD LIBS OF TIKTOK; TARGET: [ALLEGED ACCOUNT OPERATOR’S NAME]; BEGIN OPERATION.”

The tweet also included a video of various guns being reloaded and assembled by people in all-black tactical gear. Libs of TikTok included a second photo, which was of the response the account received from Twitter Support after reporting the tweet:

“Hello, Thanks for reaching out. We’ve reviewed the content and didn’t find a violation of our policies, so no action will be taken at this time.”

Twitter’s violent threats policy very clearly states that it forbids “threatening to kill someone” on its platform.

The assassination threat and post comes just days after an article in the Washington Post written by Taylor Lorenz who revealed the operator behind the Libs of TikTok account, including private work details and address.

Reportedly, that link was later deleted and the Washington Post released a statement claiming they didn’t “publish or link to any details about her personal life.” The entire statement is below:

“Taylor Lorenz is an accomplished and diligent journalist whose reporting methods comport entirely with The Washington Post’s professional standards. Chaya Raichik, in her management of the Libs of TikTok Twitter account and in media interviews, has had significant impact on public discourse and her identity had become public knowledge on social media. We did not publish or link to any details about her personal life.”

https://fundourpolice.com/

The New York Post reported that Lorenz defender her decision to reveal the woman’s identity, tweeting:

“Reporters make phone calls, send messages, show up places, and knock on doors when reporting out a story.”

She added:

“I reported this story out extensively, using every tool I had, to ensure I had the correct woman.”

In response to criticism that she targeted a private citizen who wished to remain anonymous, Lorenz tweeted that the social media user, “isn’t just some average woman with a social media account” but is instead a “powerful influencer operating a massively impactful right wing media shaping discourse around LGBTQ+ rights.”

Another woman with the same name, Chaya Raichik also took to social media stating on Instagram that since the Washington Post article, she has been harassed and that her family is terrified. People began attacking her online, believing and assuming that she is the same person as the one behind Libs of TikTok.

One comment on her account allegedly said:

“You are what’s wrong with this world. You’re vile and disgusting. Your children should be taken away from you and put in a safer home. May you rot in (expletive).”

Other comments included her being called a “Nazi scum,” someone saying, “your [sic] so disgusting we will find you evil trump supporter,” and “you are (expletive) bigoted trash. Your children should be ashamed of you.”

https://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/life-threats-on-twitter-deemed-not-a-violation-of-platforms-policy/

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