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Blizzard's Speech Suppression

Blizzard Gives 6-Month Ban To College Team That Held Up 'Free Hong Kong' Sign

Blizzard banned some US college Hearthstone players from competitions for 6 months after they held up a sign reading "FREE HONG KONG, BOYCOTT BLIZZ”. They did this on purpose, as a statement, after Blizzard banned a Hong Kong Hearthstone player for a year, and made him forfeit like 10k of prize money, for a pro Hong Kong statement, and also fired the two casters involved.

Blizzard wasn’t sure what to do at first and delayed a decision, but has now decided that it does want to punish Americans for their political speech in America that is in agreement with American values in general. It’s not even offensive speech in America, it’s just offensive to foreign communists.

Blizzard’s justification for the bans is:

a general rule that states the company can punish players for “engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image.”

This is an extremely generic, subjective rule. One can’t predict in advance what will be punished or how much it will be punished. A government with laws like this would be an oppressive tyranny. This is rule of man, not rule of law.

Elliot Temple on October 16, 2019

Messages (2)

Upper Echelon Gamers' criticisms of Gab

In "Deplatform the Dissent - PS5 and Xbox Series X" @ 8:11 (Nov 30, 2020), Upper Echelon Gamers (UEG) says:

> During my five-ish years on YouTube, I've had beef or conflict with a number of different YouTubers, even entire media publications and social media platforms like Gab, for example. I would guess that the number of times I've engaged in a sincere, like, kind of heavy back and forth would number above a dozen probably. And sometimes that leads to friendships, such as the case between myself and SidAlpha. I like to consider him actually close friend. Other times, it leads to a respectful, mutual understanding. And, worst case scenario, it leads to open hatred and disdain. Like Gab, for example. The guy who owns that platform is just a complete idiot. I have no respect for him or what he's created.

I wanted to see why UEG said that, so I searched the web for [upper echelon gab]. I found that, in December 2019, UEG put out a video called The Meltdown of Gab - Hypocrisy Overload. With the help of otter.ai, I made a lightly edited transcript.

Below is a summary of UEG's main criticisms of Gab from the "Meltdown" video. Note that I'm not trying to evaluate UEG's criticisms; I'm just trying to state them fairly so that they can be more easily evaluated. All quotes below are from the transcript.

UEG says Gab posted multiple (hundreds?) of tweets arguing that online pornography should either be banned outright or should only be viewable if the user provides a government ID. UEG says there are people who think anti-semitism is harmful and ban it for that reason. UEG says Gab bans pornography for the same reason, because they think it is harmful, as opposed to banning it for a reason based on U.S. law. UEG argues that all this doesn't square with Gab's motto of being "A social network that champions free speech, individual liberty and the free flow of information online. All are welcome."

> ... for a company branded as a Twitter free speech alternative prioritizing individual liberty, moderating from a top down level what can and cannot be shared, posted, or viewed under the claim that it is degeneracy or obscenity, when other content claimed as degeneracy, obscenity or prejudicial by a separate set of users remains allowed, it creates the exact same slippery slope that other big tech is accused of. It's just starting in a different location.

> Gab does not ban anti-semitic material on their platform, but they ban adult content.

UEG criticizes Gab's user data privacy document:

> [The wording of] Gab's user data privacy policy document ... is alarming. [The terms] can change with or without notifying users at any time. [Gab] can store all data, disclose it to whoever they want, whenever they want, for whatever reason they want, and they keep this information as a business asset even through liquidation or bankruptcy. Combine that with the now vocal perspective of desired restrictions on internet viewing based on verified ID checks, and what I see is a social media platform that is not just similar to those that exist elsewhere, it is worse.

> Let's consider those words, "individual liberty". Does that sound like it meshes well with the concept of ID verification to serve sections of the internet?

To sum up:

> Gab is not a free speech, individual liberty platform. It's a platform that allows for some things that its competitors don't but restricts others. In my criticism of left-leaning political activism, when that activism deliberately calls for the censorship of language that they simply disagree with, I need to also acknowledge that on the opposite end of the very same spectrum, though I might not see it quite as often, there is an equally delusional group who want the exact same thing. They just point the barrel somewhere else.

UEG argues that Gab falsely claims to be more pro-free-speech and pro-individual-liberty than its left-leaning competitors. UEG argues that, in fact, both Gab and its left-leaning competitors censor content that they regard as harmful *merely because they regard it as harmful*. Gab censors pornography while its left-leaning competitors censor so-called "hate speech".

Alisa at 6:16 PM on December 3, 2020 | #18950 | reply | quote

#18950 In tweets sent today and yesterday, Gab reiterated their view on porn and free speech:

Someone wrote:

> Anyone who knows the history of pornography laws should find such sentiments incredibly concerning coming from a "free speech" platform. It's a slippery slope of defining things as not speech in order to justify censoring them.

Gab replied:

> Pornography is not free speech.

> Full stop.

Yesterday, Gab wrote:

> If you think for one second that the Founding Fathers had “pornography in the hands of ten year old children” in mind when they wrote 1A you are insane.

Anonymous at 10:22 AM on January 11, 2021 | #19509 | reply | quote

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