You Can’t Say That on the Internet – NYTimes.com

A BASTION of openness and counterculture, Silicon Valley imagines itself as the un-Chick-fil-A. But its hyper-tolerant facade often masks deeply conservative, outdated norms that digital culture discreetly imposes on billions of technology users worldwide.

What is the vehicle for this new prudishness? Dour, one-dimensional algorithms, the mathematical constructs that automatically determine the limits of what is culturally acceptable.

via You Can’t Say That on the Internet – NYTimes.com.

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2 thoughts on “You Can’t Say That on the Internet – NYTimes.com

  1. I’ve been pondering this question of censorship in regards to the US lately, I don’t know why. I have major questions about what research actually show that saying curse words actual damages a child’s brain or makes citizens dumber? Just a guess: none that are credible. Some of the major issues with censorship is keeping developing minds from information. I would think of it like racism, quoting Morgan Freeman. “If you want to stop racism, stop talking about it.” I think that might be paraphrasing but it’s close. These words wouldn’t need to be censored if we stopped talking about them as “bad words,” their origins may be bad but I don’t think anyone considers these meanings when using the words. At the deepest level they are just waves of air compression. Why must we continue to call them “bad words” when intellectuals of all types use these words for color and entertainment? Additional, technology doesn’t give companies any more of a right to censor than any other form of distribution. I am not surprised that Apple is doing this, but then again I wouldn’t surprised if any US company would censor words like the anatomical correctness of “Vagina.”

  2. While I’m not normally a proponent of censorship (I don’t think that the cartoon mentioned in the article should have been blocked from Facebook), I don’t find the argument very compelling when it comes to search terms. I really can’t think of a single reason that “Fuck” should autocomplete in a Google search, and that’s coming from someone who uses the word all the time. If someone is searching for that, or any other banned word, odds are they know how to type it. Conversely, if a class full of fifth graders is searching for the word “Full” and it autocomletes to “Fuck,” the teacher is just going to have a room full of snickering and distracted kids. Autocompleting curse words is not really beneficial to anybody, but could be negative in some cases.

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