3 Stories You Should Read 4/8/2019: Alex Jones, Pete Buttigieg, Randolph Alles
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In the category of: Who will do his bidding and who won’t.
“There is a near-systematic purge happening at the nation’s second-largest national security agency,” one senior administration official says.
In the category of: Can I steak to your boss?
Buttigieg to Pence: ‘If you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator’
Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg on Sunday again took on Vice President Mike Pence — whose stances on LGBTQ issues have faced criticism from gay rights activists — saying that if Pence has “a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, made the comments while speaking at the LGBTQ Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch in Washington. He reflected on his personal struggles with his sexuality, his decision to come out in 2015 and the fact that his being gay is not the result of a personal decision.
“If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade,” Buttigieg said. “And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
In the category of: There really might be a limit on crazy.
After years of dithering, Twitter banned Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos. The result has been astounding—and, dare I say, rather nice. So how come Facebook is still dragging its heels?
In recent weeks, tech companies in Silicon Valley have seemed like they’ve finally started to grow a conscience—albeit a small one. Twitter, for one, said it is exploring labeling offensive tweets—including those published by the president. Then there was Pinterest, which took the brave, if insanely obvious, step of blocking search results related to vaccination on its platform, snuffing out the entire anti-vaxxer community, and, in turn, forcing Facebook (which has always complained about how hard it is to stop such volatile conversations) to do something similar. Now Facebook is finally doing something about Nazis and white nationalists, by pointing them to nonprofits that help people leave hate groups.
And yet, the leaders of these social platforms need to do more. A lot more. The Internet was designed to be an open space for free expression, where power might, for once in human history, be controlled by people. Go watch any of the early interviews and talks by Jack Dorsey and you will see him genuinely professing that Twitter was going to connect people and their elected officials in engaging ways. Along the way, however, that power was co-opted by some of the worst people in this world—not just extremists and trolls and hackers who wish us evil, but also the C.E.O.s of social platforms like Facebook and Twitter and YouTube, who don’t seem to think it’s their responsibility to police what people say on their platforms.
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