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Free Speech Problems

Evan Williams, a Twitter and Medium founder:

“I thought once everybody could speak freely and exchange information and ideas, the world is automatically going to be a better place,” Mr. Williams says. “I was wrong about that.”

Other quotes from the same article:

“The notion that you’re going to succeed as a writing site simply by putting quality first is not compatible with venture capital revenue expectations,” said Bill Rosenblatt, a media technology consultant. “No one would have funded this if it weren’t by Ev Williams.” ...
Writers want readers and, usually, money. Readers want to be entertained, instructed or outraged. Publishers need revenues and profits. Yet no one has come up with a satisfactory and sustainable way of harnessing the internet to satisfy all these parties without descending into sleaze and clickbait. ...
“Ad-driven systems can only reward attention,” Mr. Williams says. “They can’t reward the right answer. Consumer-paid systems can. They can reward value. The inevitable solution: People will have to pay for quality content.” ...
“Medium feels like the perfect Obama-era platform: minimal, distinguished, self-important, elevated,” Mr. Watson says. ... “But... [the] post-Obama world holds no room for minimalist, distinguished, self-important, elevated thoughtfulness.” ...
Medium maintains it is doing well by the metrics it cares about. The company says that the number of posts on the site quadrupled in 2016, and that it has 60 million unique monthly readers. After raising $130 million from investors, it had a valuation of $600 million last year.
- DAVID STREITFELD, ‘The Internet Is Broken’: @ev Is Trying to Salvage It, NYT, MAY 20, 2017


At Google, Sundar Pichai, the chief executive, said in an email on Monday that Mr. Damore was fired for violations of the company’s code of conduct, specifically his perpetuation of “harmful gender stereotypes” in the workplace. Mr. Damore had argued that biological reasons might explain the underrepresentation of women in the tech industry, causing widespread outrage inside and outside Google. In his defense, Mr. Damore said he had a right to express himself and said he was considering legal action against Google for firing him.
- NICK WINGFIELD, The Culture Wars Have Come to Silicon Valley, NYT, AUG. 8, 2017


President Trump threatened on Wednesday to use the federal government’s power to license television airwaves to target NBC in response to a report by the network’s news division that he contemplated a dramatic increase in the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

In a story aired and posted online Wednesday morning, NBC reported that Mr. Trump said during a meeting in July that he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, stunning some members of his national security team. It was after this meeting that Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson reportedly said Mr. Trump was a “moron.”

Mr. Trump objected to the report in a series of Twitter messages over the course of the day and threatened to use the authority of the federal government to retaliate.

He repeated his complaint later in the day, when reporters arrived in the Oval Office to cover his meeting with the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau. “It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write and people should look into it,” Mr. Trump said.
- PETER BAKER and CECILIA KANG, Trump Threatens NBC Over Nuclear Weapons Report, NYT, OCT. 11, 2017


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