Thomas L. Knapp: @Yesyoureracist crowdsources social preferencing

Thomas L. Knapp at the Garrison Center:

IPR note: The author has run for office several times as a Libertarian Party candidate and served multiple terms on LP exec comms at various levels.

The Twitter account @YesYoureRacist went up in 2012, but jumped from about 65,000 followers to more than 350,000 in the days following Virginia’s “Battle of Charlottesville.” After an army of white nationalists rioted to “Unite the Right,” murdering one and injuring dozens, @YesYoureRacist admin Logan Smith swung into action to identify, then “name and shame,” the attendees.

He’s getting lots of help. As photos of the thugs go up, the leads come in. At least one of the Charlottesville marchers is looking for a new job after his employer learned what he was doing on his time off. At least one family has disowned an outed “white nationalist.” There will likely be more of both.

@YesYoureRacist is a crowdsourced, social media powered implementation of “Social Preferencing” — the name given by Paul and Kitty Antonik Wakfer of The Self-Sovereign Individual Project (selfsip.org) for a process of “effectively extending market preferencing to all aspects of human interaction.”

There’s nothing new about Social Preferencing as such. Simply put, it amounts to rewarding people by befriending and trading with them, or punishing people with personal and economic ostracism. Human implementations of the practice precede recorded history. It’s a natural behavior.

But the Wakfers’ use of it presciently — they developed their framework before social media as we know it was born — comes in the context of a “Natural Social Contract” requiring “full openness concerning one’s Societal InterPersonal Relationships and the strong Social Preferencing that will be enabled and promoted by such accessible Personal disclosure.” Enter Twitter.

Projects like @YesYoureRacist make the information needed for rational Social Preferencing decisions more widely available and more easily accessed. Ostracism (and its opposite) need no longer be handled retail, by word of mouth at the barber shop and on the phone. We’re all just a click away from being, if not famous, at least easily known in some detail to anyone who has reason to care and to look.

Are there likely pitfalls to a society in which social media boosts our ability to engage in informed Social Preferencing? Yes, there are. There are going to be mistaken identities. There are going to be false claims. But then, there are mistaken identities and false claims now, aren’t there? Presumably massive crowdsourcing will minimize such things by bringing multiple sources to bear.

The main objection to @YesYoureRacist doesn’t cut much ice with me. The project is not an “invasion of privacy” or a “violation of rights.” The Charlottesville marchers engaged in public action with the explicit purpose of attracting attention. Mission accomplished. They got noticed. Now they want the rest of us to forget what we saw, or at least refrain from acting based on what we saw. That’s not going to happen.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

23 thoughts on “Thomas L. Knapp: @Yesyoureracist crowdsources social preferencing

  1. Tony From Long Island

    As long as someone is positively identified I have absolutely no problem with this. If you want to call it “doxing,” oh well. Human scum need to be called on their crap. . . . .

    However, if someone says “I dunno, that sorta looks like joe schmo,” that’s not cool.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp

    Tony,

    There have been cases of mistaken identity and false claims from the beginning of time.

    Yes, social media combined with crowdsourcing will likely increase the number of such things.

    But those same tools will also make it easier to discover that an identity WAS mistaken or that a claim WAS false.

  3. paulie

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2017/08/17/facebook-bans-white-nationalist-accounts-over-hate-speech/0Y359546xMoKaeStccsNRP/story.html

    Christopher Cantwell, who is seen in the documentary denouncing Jews and declaring, “a lot more people are gonna die before we’re done here,” has two outstanding warrants stemming from the rally where a counterprotester was killed last weekend.

    Officials from the Virginia Commonwealth Attorney’s Office said Thursday that Cantwell is wanted for illegal use of gases, and injury by caustic agent or explosive. Both are felony charges, officials said.

  4. Tony From Long Island

    That scum bag is apparently from Long Island – Stony Brook. . . . . What an embarrassment to Long Island

  5. robert capozzi

    gb, thanks for the Young Turks link.

    Amazing.

    I note that CC says in the first clip that he “didn’t initiate force.” I sense he retains some of his NAPster roots to this day.

    I’m no psychologist, but that vid is of a person who needs some help, bigly.

  6. paulie

    http://heavy.com/news/2017/08/christopher-cantwell-white-supremacist-charlottesville-vice-crying/

    On August 17, Catnwell wrote on his website that he’s in an “undisclosed location just outside of Virginia, preparing to turn myself in to the University of Virginia police.”

    ….

    “I was informed by the FBI that there is a warrant for my arrest there, presumably for the brawl which followed the torch march from Friday night,” Cantwell wrote. “I was uncertain if this warrant was real, since I had only heard it as a rumor until the FBI confirmed it last night. Right now I am seeking an attorney, and a trustworthy person nearby to hold onto my property. Once I have those things straightened out, I’ll be on my way to surrender myself.”

    Cantwell confirmed that his YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts have all been closed. He also wrote that PayPal, the “most important part of my financial life,” has shut him out.

  7. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    I bet Augustus Invictus is glad now he didn’t get all the attention he TRIED to get in Charlottesville. ha ha ha

    I saw him trying on his FB page live feed. I see now he’s forwarding others’ complaints about the doxxing and people getting kicked off facebook.

    But it is worrisome. I hope they don’t go after me for my lady liberty secession icon and FB pages, even though I eek political correctness… here and there…

  8. paulie

    Invictus will probably try to one-up Cantwell in Gainesville. He’s already announced another run for US Senate, this time as a Republican (at least he is not sullying the LP anymore).

  9. Thomas L. Knapp

    “PayPal, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram have all banned Christopher Cantwell for obvious reasons.”

    While I don’t believe the state should require it, I do hope that these institutions either start to act like, or are replaced by institutions that consider themselves, something like “common carriers.” I don’t need Facebook to tell me who I can listen to, PayPal to tell me who I can send money to, etc.

  10. dL

    While I don’t believe the state should require it, I do hope that these institutions either start to act like, or are replaced by institutions that consider themselves, something like “common carriers.” I don’t need Facebook to tell me who I can listen to, PayPal to tell me who I can send money to, etc.

    Common carrier generally applies at the network layer, not the application layer. So, ISPs, phone service, not facebook.

  11. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    So you want to keep a state to regulate “common carriers” (and have easier power to tell them who NOT to carry)? What happened to regulation by reputation? And freedom of association for businesses. In a free market SOMEONE will be willing to carry little chris.

  12. dL

    So you want to keep a state to regulate “common carriers” (and have easier power to tell them who NOT to carry)? What happened to regulation by reputation? And freedom of association for businesses. In a free market SOMEONE will be willing to carry little chris.

    No, Thomas does not want the state to demand common carrier behavior in apps by fiat. He wants it to be the default behavior in practice. However, typically, that type of behavior is not the practice by design. Social networking apps by design surveil users…

  13. Darcy G Richardson

    “Invictus will probably try to one-up Cantwell in Gainesville. He’s already announced another run for US Senate, this time as a Republican (at least he is not sullying the LP anymore).” — Paulie

    While Augustus Invictus appears to be an almost perfect fit for the GOP, unless he formally switched his Florida party registration from Libertarian to Republican as of April 30th of this year, he’ll be barred from running in next year’s August 28th Republican U.S. Senate primary.

    In 2011, the Florida legislature amended the state’s election statutes, restricting anybody who had been a registered member of any other political party at any time in the 365 day-period prior to the beginning of the qualifying period (April 30-May 4, 2018) from running in their adopted party’s primary.

  14. paulie

    That’s a good point, Darcy. I don’t know when he changed his registration or whether he knows this aspect of the law, but I do know that he announced what he thinks is a US Senate run as a Republican. He will most likely act as if he is running even if he is not technically allowed to. And maybe his party registration switch was earlier than his public announcement of it. Regardless, he will probably try to gather a bunch of publicity whether or not he actually appears on the ballot. I don’t think his ego will allow him to play second fiddle to the likes of Cantwell. After all it was Invictus, not Cantwell, who wrote the original draft of the Charlottesville Statement which Richard Spencer calls the Port Huron Statement of the Alt Right (better known as the altreich).

  15. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    Here’s link to Spence on the writing of the Charlottesville statement and link to statement itself. https://altright.com/2017/08/11/a-note-on-the-charlottesville-statement/

    Which is: https://altright.com/2017/08/11/what-it-means-to-be-alt-right/ ” What It Means To Be Alt-Right:
    A meta-political manifesto for the Alt-Right movement.”

    So much bull, so many snarky comments and mocking memes that could be made. But I’m trying to concentrate on more.

    The good news is they do NOT mention secession at all. So they’re outing themselves as REAL national socialists and not just fighting for right to do their own stupid thing.

  16. Darcy G Richardson

    Agreed, Paulie.

    If Invictus did indeed switch his party affiliation in time to qualify for next year’s Republican U.S. Senate primary, I have to admit that it would be rather entertaining watching him run against prohibitive favorite Rick Scott, a mean-spirited former insurance industry executive and Wall Street lackey who has never tired of pummeling Florida’s most vulnerable citizens during his nearly eight years as governor — a Trump-loving guy, incidentally, who as CEO of Columbia/HCA was responsible for the largest Medicare fraud in U.S. history at the time, resulting in a $1.7 billion fine when he really deserved to be in the slammer.

    A colorful fascist versus a Martian-looking fraudster. It sort of epitomizes the current state of the Republican Party.

  17. paulie

    A colorful fascist versus a Martian-looking fraudster. It sort of epitomizes the current state of the Republican Party.

    Given that Trump is the epitome of both it’s no wonder he won their presidential nomination so easily.

  18. Thomas L. Knapp

    Carol,

    I don’t want the state to regulate anything. In fact, I don’t want the state to exist.

    What I do want, as I explain in my follow-up column, is for the market to produce an outcome in which service providers who CHOOSE to act like “common carriers” are more successful than service providers who CHOOSE to impose their views on content in ways that resemble censorship in effect.

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