Guardian Watch, Kit, latest, The web they want
Comments 38

The Web They Want: How a twitter wordsearch justifies internet censorship


by Kit

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Earlier this year the Guardian launched their new campaign – “The Web We Want”. It’s an agenda driven campaign to suppress free speech and protect the ancien media regime from the alt-news revolution, in the name of protecting ethnic minorities, female writers and the LGBT community from the all the hate that pours out of the privileged fingertips of all the white men on the internet.

We have written extensively on what the Guardian really means by “the web they want”. We know their statistics are a farce and can see through their editorial double talk. Their place in a planned roll out of an idea is obvious, coinciding with political climbers from all parties making speeches attacking free speech in the name of freedom. Banning liberty because…won’t somebody please think of the children!

When the Guardian talks about “taking action” against internet abuse, we know what they mean. They mean censorship. There’s nothing more need be said. But this latest story cries out for a response.

Apparently by tracking the number of tweets that use the word “slut” or “whore” you can track the “huge scale” of social media misogyny. Yes, seriously:

The study monitored the use of the words “slut” and “whore” by UK Twitter users over three weeks from the end of April. It found that 6,500 individuals were targeted by 10,000 aggressive and misogynistic tweets in that period.

The study, conveniently published the day before Yvette Cooper launches here “Reclaim the Internet” movement, is rather vague on the details. We don’t know how they collected their data, or what their criteria for inclusion/exclusion were. Bearing that in mind we’re going to have to make some educated guesses: Since rough estimates put the number of twitter users in Britain at between 12 and 20 million people, 6,500 is roughly 1/2000th. You have, apparently, a 1/2000 chance of being “targeted” by a tweet using the word slut or whore. Personally, that is a risk I am willing to take.

The study is not clear on how they select “aggressive” tweets, so we’ll have to assume they just collate all the tweets containing the word “slut” and/or “whore”. We don’t know how many of these uses are truly abusive – many may have been jokes – but it does not really matter.

Another interesting caveat:

…more than half of the offenders were women.

Yes. It seems women are the biggest misogynists of all. An interesting fact, buried in the article, made even more interesting with some context. Firstly, women make up considerably less than half of the twitter users in the UK. Less than half of the users, more than half the misogyny. Secondly, over 1/3 twitter users in Britain are between 15-24. With this context you can paint a rather more accurate picture – that the bulk of this “online misogyny” is made up of young women, aged 15-24, calling each other names (possibly in jest).

That this qualifies as a “study” at all is ludicrous, that the Guardian can try to peddle it as “shocking” is, frankly, laughable. The figures are meaningless.

Of course, this is the Guardian, so a poorly done, lazily explained statistical study must be followed by an editorial from whichever member of the Guardian’s insipid, pre-programmed writing staff happens to pull the day shift. In this instance it’s Polly Toynbee. “Why we need a feminist internet”, the headline declares, “feminist” in this instance meaning “controlled”.

She paints a picture of a dank, dark internet. A squalid, David Fincher-directed world, full of unwashed slug-like life-forms crawling over each other in an effort to spread slime and shit to every corner of the civilised world. She has nothing new to say. She repeats tired memes about free speech bullying “victims” into silence, about “trauma” and “safe spaces” and the “need to act.” She explains that women abusing each other on twitter is actually the fault of the Patriarchy, because female anger is all based on being unable to match the ideal woman presented in the media.

Like all Guardian editorials, you can discard the majority. It is designed to seed an idea, and can be reduced down to one key paragraph that pushes its agenda:

The internet has turned all discourse rougher, pushing politics and all views towards extremes. It can make individuals feel inadequate and vulnerable and let them lash out to express their own insecurities. As the Guardian’s the web we want project explores, it is in our hands to shape a civilising internet that serves us well, not one that tears civilisation apart.

There are important questions posed here: What does Toynbee mean by “our hands”? Who will this “reshaped” internet be “serving well”? What does “serves us well” mean? Does she really believe that teenaged name calling on twitter could “tear civilisation apart”? What does she really mean by “civilisation?”

To whom, or what, does a free internet REALLY pose a threat?

You’d be forgiven for reading “rougher” as slang for “more honest”, for reading “extreme” as “less controlled”. You might say the “individuals” it makes feel “inadequate”, are the workaday hacks who so consistently have their inaccurate agitprop ridiculed and corrected below the line.

With this paragraph you get the feeling of an organism protecting itself, like watching a pillbug curl in upon itself. The above is a plea for compliance. They want permission to enact a policy that leaves the definitions of “rough discourse” (see:honesty) and “civilisation” (see:establishment) open for interpretation. The repeated patterns and tired prose of the “web we want” sections have an increasing air of desperation. Again and again they wheel out the same faces to sell the same snake oil. Rather like the pillbug, it seems the Guardian’s last line of defense is to stick its head up its ass.


38 Comments

  1. proximity1 says

    The thing that strikes me is that the managers and editors of the paper are really too intelligent–aren’t they?— to fail to understand that they are being outrageously dishonest. With many readers directly pointing out the glaring flaws in both their methodology and their premises and conclusions, how are we to account for their stubborn mendacity in this!?

    Like

    • Don’t underestimate the power of group-think and good old human self-delusion. The purveyors of propaganda defend their untenable positions by resorting to siege-mentality, “us and them” rationales and complex conspiracy theories in which anyone questioning their assumptions are dismissed as “Putinbots” or similar. With such strategic usage it’s relatively easy to avoid understanding how dishonest their cause really is.

      Liked by 1 person

    • wardropper says

      I fear intelligence, as it used to be defined, is no longer required by today’s media.
      Dressing smartly and pressing all the usual buttons on their iPads once an hour is all that is required for our editors-in-chief to appear intelligent enough to run a department.

      Like

    • Richard Le Sarcophage says

      They are psychopaths. Forty years of total dominance by the Right has purged the upper ranks of society, particularly in politics, the MSM and business, of all but psychopaths, only varying in the floridity of their moral and psychological disease.

      Like

  2. HeeeresJohnny says

    The Guardian knows that people, thanks to the internet, have alternative sources of news that stray from the right-wing consensus of which the Graun is now a part, save for its token socially liberal pieces designed to keep the long-term readers coming back.

    Liked by 2 people

    • wardropper says

      It doesn’t act as if it knew that…
      Large numbers of people who know more than the Graun’s entire editorial office can’t be a good thing for staff morale…

      Like

  3. DerekB says

    The other thing that struck me, and it’s only a click or three deep, is that the study (I use the word advisedly) being cited is dated 2014. Long lead time for peer review? I very much doubt it, just suits the current agenda to make it ‘news” now. I lived in apartheid era South Africa and the crudeness of the propaganda then takes some beating, deeply depressing to see it all over again thirty years later.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jen says

      The original Demos researchers themselves admitted the 2014 study, from which the information was drawn for the benefit of anti-Corbyn Labour MP Yvette Cooper’s Internet crusade, was itself limited and they need to do more research, presumably to see if the original results obtained can be upheld using the same algorithm, a different research tool or a different sample of Tweets from another time period.

      So in other words the “research” that Cooper and The Guardian rely on and which sends Polly Toynbee into her helium-filled stratosphere is still yet to be substantiated and cannot be used to make assumptions about people’s behaviour on Twitter. Perhaps that’s why there’s been no peer review – there’s more work to be done.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We realise that the Graun’s “Wed We Want” campaign is just a red herring to justify their increased censorship on their own comments. The increase of intolerance of anyone questioning their “exceptionalist” agenda.

    In fact it just reflects their narrowing perspective regarding differing opinions and their increasingly conservative journalistic content, dressed up as a savvy media model. A pure presentational thing which many don’t buy.

    It is no surprise that investigative journalists with a track record of exposing the truth hidden behind the constant barrage of misinformation hardly ever appear on its pages these days. Such analysis is now consigned to the alternative media.

    As a self fulfilling prophesy at the Graun, these alternative media outlets have to be labelled as somehow deviant. So this is the process we see here, put lots of dots out there so people don’t have the time always to connect the right ones. Label those that do as belonging to a vaguely defined deviant group and suspend their comment accounts accordingly.

    All along deceiving yourself you are protecting freedom of expression…

    Like

  5. Luther Blissett says

    Keeping in mind that actual stalking has never been dealt with in any significant way ever, the desire of a few female writers to curb online anonymity wouldn’t be enough to get an @ mention, except that this happens to coincide with what the media wants, and now we have the two vectors summing to form a public health crisis. “Cyberbullying is a huge problem!” Yes, but not because it is hurtful, HA! no one cares about your feelings– but because criticism makes women want to be more private– and the privacy of the women is bad. The women have to be online, they do most of the clicking and receive most of the clicks. Anonymous cyberbullying is a barrier to increasing consumption, it’s gotta go.

    http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2014/05/cyberbll.html#more

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jen says

      Yes it’s curious that the self-proclaimed “feminists” like Polly Toynbee over at The Guardian don’t seem to address issues of real importance like actual stalking to women and young women in particular, unless these issues can be made to conform to an agenda decided by their bosses.

      Well that would be a real irony, that The Guardian’s “feminists” are themselves victims of a more insidious kind of abuse.

      Like

      • Tesla Valve says

        As one Ciffer put it; “Ironically, there is a patriarchy of sorts, but it’s not what they say it is, and they actually serve it.”

        I was reading one of their ‘Transexuals should have access to your toilets’ articles the other day. The opinions of the (presumably) actual transexuals below the line was largely ‘we tend to just use the disabled toilets, anyway.’ So a practical solution would be simply to have more toilets for the disabled. We are regularly told that about a 1/3 of the population has some sort of disability. Now, according to one Guardian article, a speech impediment counts as a disability. So, for the sake of argument, lets divide that number by 10. That’s still a lot more than the (probably untrue) official number of transexuals (less than 1/2 %) So why are there so few articles sticking up for disabled people, particularly when hate crimes against disabled people are on the rise? I suspect these psy-ops are eugenics by stealth, and eugenicists tend to not like disabled people. If I’m wrong, though, expect to see a series of articles arguing that all able-bodied people are bigots who need to be more disabled.

        Like

  6. Jen says

    “… Yes. It seems women are the biggest misogynists of all. An interesting fact, buried in the article, made even more interesting with some context. Firstly, women make up considerably less than half of the twitter users in the UK. Less than half of the users, more than half the misogyny. Secondly, over 1/3 twitter users in Britain are between 15-24. With this context you can paint a rather more accurate picture – that the bulk of this “online misogyny” is made up of young women, aged 15-24, calling each other names (possibly in jest) …”

    I am not sure from the above paragraph alone that we can justifiably say that the bulk of the “online misogyny” comes from women aged 15 to 24 years of age, let alone say that they were calling one another names either to hurt one another or to be joking.

    I’d be more interested to know what percentage of the abuse comes from what percentage of the 15 – 24 year age group and what percentage of women Twitter users. I suspect some version of the 80/20 rule (that 80% of X comes from 20% of Y) might apply here, as in 80% of the abuse, especially abuse using a few keywords like “slut” and “whore”, is coming from 20% of female Twitter users or Twitter users aged 15 – 24 years – or even just Twitter users in the UK generally.

    Also the fact that Twitter only accepts comments with a maximum of 140 characters must surely be a factor in influencing the type of online abuse that occurs on that site. Short comments might encourage a shallow level of conversation and more readily slant users towards making quick and nasty cheap shots.

    Like

  7. Well, I didn’t have the data to confirm it until today, but I always suspected that the rates of both misandry and misogyny were higher among women than among men, and now I know that it’s true. Nothing about this shocks me and, indeed, the results of this study vindicate me in my good judgement and instincts. Deep down, I always knew that men were better than women, morally speaking. What a bunch of fucking cunts. Thank you “Guardian.”

    Like

  8. For me, the Guardian lost all credibility when the story broke about the PM – Mr Pig-fucker and his tax dodging dad (tax dodging which – incicdentally bought pig-fucker’s fancy uniform in which he fucked pigs @ Oxford) – no comments allowed – why? Probably because the wave of hate and disgust by people that visit the Guardian would have been perhaps too much for them to stomach. Inj my view, they lost it the day Hugo Young died.

    Like

  9. Yes, I saw this report on the BBC site–I’ve given up on the Graun except for football–and dismissed it as being essentially fact-free, along with an agenda whose import I didn’t care to explore or consider. Not too surprising in an era when universities are among the most enthusiastic suppressors of free speech.

    Like

  10. Bevin, I stopped reading the guardian because I think it’s a racist homophobic newspaper, and unlike the Mail it does it subtly.

    And guess what? I haven’t missed it, in fact I’ve come to realise that it’s “views” are irrelevant to pretty much every non guardian reader in the world. I’ve also come to realise that that piddly little newspaper couldn’t take on the Internet and win even if it tried. In fact I should say that it will be defunct within 18 months.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mihangel apYrs says

      I started reading the Grauniad 42 years ago. I stopped last year when I was banned from commenting (for calling some of their feminists to account.

      I miss what it used to be

      Liked by 1 person

      • They’re not feminists, honestly, they wouldn’t know what feminism is if you stood up next to them and said

        “EXCUSE ME – THERE ARE WOMEN BEING PAID LESS THAN MINIMUM WAGE AND KEPT LIKE SLAVES IN THE HOUSES OF WEALTHY FAMILIES IN JOHNS WOOD, WE MUST STAND TOGETHER AND FIGHT THIS INJUSTICE”

        In fact when they realise that meant they’d have to give up the Latvian au pair they keep locked in their cellar in Hampstead fucking garden suburb try’s quickly shriek Anti-trans-misoginanti-sem

        Like

  11. John says

    I recently wrote a contribution on a blog in which I said the USA was the whore of zionism.
    Would this have been banned by The Guardian?

    Like

    • Seamus Padraig says

      Surely you jest! A comment like that would get you pre-modded by The Graun from now till Kingdom Come.

      Like

  12. bevin says

    This is the crudest projection on The Guardian’s part.

    They know how “The internet has turned all discourse rougher, pushing politics and all views towards extremes. It can make individuals feel inadequate and vulnerable and let them lash out to express their own insecurities….”
    And they know it because, whether or not it really happens on the internet, it is precisely how The Guardian has protected its intellectual patrons and their shoddy ideas (free trade, punishing paupers, running an empire despite the interests of the population being plundered and humiliated, rubbishing socialists, Shutting down criticism…) since its founding as the house organ of Manchester’s Big Bourgeoisie.

    That is how La Toynbee (is that misongyny, Ma?) operates. Its how they erase all comments critical of Israel from CiF and it is how they will be apologising for Blair and Straw when the Chilcott Enquiry reports.

    And then: Boy, do they resent the way that the internet has cut into their monopoly of directing public discussion.

    Twenty years ago if Toynbee had published a piece like this it would have gone unanswered. And that is what they really hate. Hate so much that they will throw up Free Speech, the central principle in their belief system, to gratify their resentment.
    Fuck them!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bevin,

      Yep, you sum it up well with: “Fuck them”, which is how I feel – these fuckers at The Guardian with their faux Social Warrior Progressive bollocks in all reality could not care less about the agenda’s they purport to support. Indeed, and as I draw attention too constantly, not one of the SWP’s gushing forth crass views at The Grauniad came out to voice any concerns whatsoever about 250 peers at Guardian Media Group being dismissed in order that these twats can continue to enjoy rather large salaries as they pursue their censorious real concerns, namely a move to full censorship of the Internet.

      Liked by 1 person

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