During the latest episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, Andrew Doyle, the comedian behind the popular Twitter parody account Titania McGrath, blasted the increasingly dystopian practices used by police and corporations when investigating people’s online activity.
Rogan and Doyle began the discussion of these dystopian practices by talking about the UK police’s practice of investigating “non-crime hate incidents.”
More than 87,000 of these incidents have been logged over the past five years, despite the police accepting they’re not crimes.
Doyle highlighted how one of these non-crime hate incidents involved the police investigating a retweet from Harry The Owl where the police officer admitted there was no crime but told him: “I need to check your thinking.”
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“Just the phrase check your thinking. By a police officer no less?” Rogan responded in shock. “Who’s qualified to check your thinking?”
Doyle then asked Rogan to guess how many people had been arrested in the UK for offensive online comments every year.
“Let me say 300,” Rogan guessed.
“3,000,” Doyle replied. “Every year right. And that’s not including all the many thousands of non-crime hate incidents that are logged.”
Doyle added that some of these arrests are for jokes and cited the example of YouTuber Count Dankula being arrested and convicted of a hate crime for a joke where he trained his girlfriend’s pug to perform a Nazi salute and then uploaded the video to YouTube.
Rogan’s producer Jamie then pointed out that these dystopian practices extend far beyond law enforcement investigations and talked about the recent case of a Twitter user whose employer did a creepy background check on his Twitter account.
The background check was conducted by FAMA, a company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to “screen toxic workplace behavior,” and resulted in a 300+ page report being produced which contained tweets the user had liked along with a “good” or “bad” flag.
Many of these tweets were jokes the user had liked and the software appeared to indiscriminately flag certain words as bad without accounting for context.
Rogan and Doyle were stunned as they saw some of the liked tweets that had been flagged by the software.
“There’s nothing offensive about that whatsoever,” said Rogan in response to one of the flagged tweets.
Doyle added: “I actually don’t understand why that would be an issue.”
The duo then discussed how it’s “crazy” that such extensive background checks were being performed on liked tweets.
“I like things by mistake sometimes because I’ve got fat thumbs,” Doyle said. “It’s bad enough that people sort of trawl through everything you’ve ever wrote.”
Rogan and Doyle finished the discussion of these dystopian investigative techniques by pointing to their inherent problems.
“They just scan you to make sure you pass a purity test which no one will, no one with any sense of humor,” Rogan said
Doyle added that if this creepy trend continues, no one will be safe: “There is no way that there’s anyone on the planet who couldn’t be canceled if you had unlimited access to their private texts and tweets.”