Censorship?

This week music streaming service Spotify removed all music by Neil Young, at his request. He gave the company an ultimatum – either he or blogger Joe Rogan had to go.

He felt Rogan was spreading false information about COVID-19 vaccines. Young didn’t want to be associated in any way with Rogan’s position.

Spotify chose to keep Rogan, who is one of the most popular people online. Until this fuss though, I had never bothered to listen to him. Given the fuss, I thought I should check him out.

I listened to part of a couple of episodes. My overwhelming reaction was boredom. Why would anyone listen to a couple of hours of this stuff?

Maybe I chose my sample shows poorly. But I doubt it. My problem was more the sloppiness of the shows. There is a reason to edit interviews – it helps with listener interest. I generally don’t listen to rambling monologues or broadcasters who talk more about themselves than their interview guests.

Interestingly, when I searched for Joe Rogan and vaccines, I found a clip of him talking about the science of vaccines and how he had encouraged his parents and others to be vaccinated against COVID-19. I presume that wasn’t the misinformation Neil Young was objecting to.

You are propbably aware that many social media sites are removing posts about COVID-19 considered to contain misinformation. YouTube, Twitter and Facebook do so, maybe others. Of course there might be a problem with their definition of misinformation. All too often these days it seems attempts at honest discussion get shut down by those who share the majority position.

I am opposed to censorship, but have no problems with social media sites doing that. They are businesses, they aren’t charging those who use their services, they can set whatever rules they like. If I don’t like it, I can go elsewhere.

Friday I discovered that WordPress, which hosts this site, has a filter I didn’t know about. I received an email about a comment waiting for approval.

Bloggers can choose the controls, and I have never had to worry about inappropriate posts in the past, so my commenting rules are pretty loose. I did have to delete one comment a few years back, though in that case the person thought they were sending me a private message and I deleted it because they were criticizing their employer. I figured it was the least I could do.

Friday’s comment though was about vaccination. I don’t know if that was the word that triggered it, or if it was the coment being about twice as loing as the original post. Whichever, I was supposed to read and approve.

I read it three times. And in the end was leaning to not approving it. Partially due to its length – it was Joe Rogan boring. And partly because it was making scientific claims that are highly doubtful if not downright wrong. I didn’t want to spend the time pointing that out, and spurring further debate.

In the end though I didn’t have to make the decision. The comment vanished from my screen. I don’t know if that was WordPress, or maybe the poster deleted it. I could copy it from my email notification, but decided not to.

So now I find myself as a censor, of sorts. In this case though it wasn’t really out of disagreement with the person I am censoring. I agreed with most of what was said about government and much of what was said about vaccines.

Really though, the vaccine ship has sailed. Get them, don’t get them – that is a matter of personal choice. I’m not going to try and convince you to change your mind if you have a reasoned position. I’ll respect that you put some thought into your decision and let’s move on.

The matter of the assault on our rights is much more worrying to me. There has been so much government overreach during this pandemic – and it shows no signs of slowing down. Emergency measures are justifiable in an emergency. What we are facing is no longer an emergency.

Our politicians for some reason don’t seem to understand that.

3 comments

  1. WordPress.com says: “It is not possible to edit or delete any comments you have left on other WordPress.com blogs. Blog owners are in full control of the comments on their blogs, so you can try contacting the blog owner and ask them to edit or delete a comment for you. If the blog owner has not posted any contact information, you can try leaving a short comment asking how to contact them directly.”

  2. I guess Neil Young doesn’t need the money he gets from Spotify. I don’t think being on a platform endorses the opinions of others who use the same platform. There must be millions of people on WordPress – the odds are I disagree with some. Might even find some opinions repugnant. But I don’t think people are linking us.

    I’m only assuming a poster can delete a comment. You can delete Tweets, and I think you can delete Facebook comments, so it would make sense you can do so in a blog.

    Glad you enjoyed the post.

  3. My first thought… I didn’t know that commenters could delete their own comments. As a person with OCD, I sometimes make opinionated comments that I then obsess over for hours or days after I post them. In those situations it would be so nice to just be able to go back and delete the comment. I’ll go look that up. 2) I wrote pretty unpopular post about Spotigate. I criticized Young for his action. Mostly, I’m just pissed because I *just* joined Spotify last week and Young was the artist I was most excited about. But I agree, the vaccine ship has sailed (I may have even said that). I see Young’s move as the equivalent of CNN pulling out of a cable platform because it also includes Fox News. Said like that it just seems stupid. Enjoyed your post very much.

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