We'll be debating content moderation 50 years from now.
On Sunday, journalist Taylor Lorenz reached out to me for comment on the “Nazi controversy” at Substack. I responded to her via email with a page and a half of thoughts.
For background: journalist and Substack writer Jonathan Katz has been publishing articles on this platform, and one in The Atlantic, arguing that Substack allows people with Nazi ideology—such as the controversial Richard Hanania—to make money here. He makes the case that Substack profits off it, and calls them to task for hypocrisy.
My perspective doesn’t seem to fit either of the two narratives battling it out in public right now. No surprise: none of the comments I shared with Taylor made it into the article that she and her colleague Will Oremus published in the Washington Post today.
The timing of the request was particularly interesting. I had just hosted the co-founder of Substack, Hamish McKenzie, at an event that I organized in DC in November, where he participated in a panel titled “EVEN BETTER THAN THE REAL THING: The New Media Landscape” (the full video can be viewed here—it got very spicy).
So these thoughts have been brewing for some time. A few of the questions we’ll have to deal with in this new media landscape: Should content be moderated? And, if so, how? And most importantly: by whom? Or by what? And last but not least: should mimesis be regulated and controlled?
I’m sharing the comments that I sent to Taylor Lorenz below, and I’ll be back very soon with non-current-news-cycle stuff, as you’ve come to expect here, with my apologies for the mimetic digression.