Nota Bene: Twitter, Neo-Nazis, and the GOP

In March of this year, Twitter had an all-hands meeting at which an employee asked why the company can’t do as good a job of keeping white supremacist material off the site as they have done with ISIS propaganda?

According to Motherboard, another employee provided a simple explanation:

With every sort of content filter, there is a tradeoff, he explained. When a platform aggressively enforces against ISIS content, for instance, it can also flag innocent accounts as well, such as Arabic language broadcasters. Society, in general, accepts the benefit of banning ISIS for inconveniencing some others, he said…

The employee argued that, on a technical level, content from Republican politicians could get swept up by algorithms aggressively removing white supremacist material. Banning politicians wouldn’t be accepted by society as a trade-off for flagging all of the white supremacist propaganda, he argued…

Reader’s Corner: ‘Strangers in Their Own Land’ – Fury and Crisis in Trump’s America

donald_trump_with_supporters_30040691671
(photo: Gage Skidmore)

It’s hard to look at today’s chaotic political and cultural landscape and not wonder—among many, many other things—in deference to Joan Walsh’s book from a couple years back: “What’s the matter with white people“?

strangers_in_their_own_land_finalA part of the answer can be found in Arlie Russell Hochschild’s fantastic new book Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right. It came out last month and is necessary reading to understand what is and has been going on in America for the past couple decades.

My review is at PopMatters:

When Arlie Russell Hochschild set out in 2011 to research her perceptive ethnography of the frustrated white American conservative, Strangers in Their Own Land, she didn’t realize how many of her subjects would later be driving off a cliff in a fume- and insult-spewing conveyance with “Trump 2016” stenciled on the side. How could she? Few of us knew it would come to this…

Here’s an interview with Hochschild from Vox. where she talks about spending five years among the people who would form the base of Donald Trump’s nationalistic insurgency.