And it's wrong to want people to hurt police – even if they're instigating a riot.
Look, this is a strange, challenging time. And I'm not in any position to tell anyone what's right and wrong – but I do think it's worth reminding people sometimes, of the basics that can get lost in the crazy situation. Let's not lose track of ourselves. And when something is wrong, we should say so, and not let our voices be crowded out by the bad in the world.
It's bad to want people to be hurt. Don't get me wrong, violence is sometimes necessary, but it stinks. It's bad to want it.
It's also bad to, say, call up someone and say, I will bring the violence and take control if you have difficulty meeting my standard for how much violence there ought to be.
I think the Posse Comitatus Act will prevent some of the worst injustices promised here. The military should not engage in crowd control – but at least they wouldn't be instigating the riots, shooting peaceful protestors, or anything like that. The military is trained about the use of force.
But advocating injustice and martial law are bad. I used to live in Taiwan, and was always deeply skeptical of the modern political party there that ruled during The White Terror. Why would you ever trust them again? Martial law, like wanting people hurt, is bad.
And if you threaten someone, to try to get them to use violence, it might not work (still bad). They might, for instance, be aware of the Posse Comitatus Act. But making the threat public escalates the threat – perhaps only by a small amount, but it does. The private comment can be ignored. When it's made public, it can't be.
When we think about Twitter and Facebook's content moderation policies, it might be worth asking, do we want this stuff?
Will this message do any harm? Probably not much – now we have to go through the motions to stop American federalism from collapsing, where before the comments would just be ignored.
I guess the thing that sucks most is the President threatening a Governor to get him to use more violence. The message describing it doesn't suck that much and Zuckerberg wanted people to have a warning of what was to come. That's the standard Facebook has chosen to use in their moderation efforts.
But they spend a lot on moderation.
Everyone should make their own choices. But let's not pretend this is anything it isn't – however you moderate, what's happening is wrong. Even Twitter let the original message remain, with a label that says, essentially, this sucks.
Because when someone is wrong, we should say so, and not have our voice be crowded out by the bad in the world.