It is widely known most forms of censorship are anti-democratic, so the lecture on this aspect will be spared. Instead, focus needs to be diverted to the unintentional impact big tech’s censorship has had.
In some regard, censorship and account terminations have been beneficial, for it has served as the wake-up call to force users off these websites for good. Not playing into their system and allowing oneself to be as free from their privacy intrusion is always a plus. However, occurring is a displacement of users (often controversial in nature), leading them to seek refuge elsewhere for sharing and interaction.
It is suspected there exists a sizable population of Neocities users (such as myself) who were displaced and seek to self-start and play by our own rules. It is time consuming and requires the acquisition of new skills, but ultimately worth it to be free of the disgusting practices and culture fostered on mainstream social media.
Others may find themselves seeking out forums, or Discord groups. Both are prone to administrative abuse, and in the case of Discord one’s data is not safe. It is in these spaces where fringe movements can grow. Rather than uphold freedom of speech and allow for controversy and discourse, social media’s insistence on banning slightly “problematic” individuals and groups typically has the adverse effect of putting them down a course of radicalization. Forced to now seek like minded individuals, there is a chance they may fall into hubs where a few outspoken radicals create a forum culture that fosters and spreads these ideas. Likewise, social media radicalizes itself in the opposite direction as they are sealed into a condoned echo chamber. As the remaining opposition on social media is condoned and attacked by the echo chamber, the sentiment felt on both sides only sours.
In a recent instance, social media’s ban wave of “QAnon” related posts and accounts has only fueled the conspiracy. After the publicized ban wave, individual’s interest in QAnon grew as they began to question why big tech would go through all of this just to suppress an allegedly untrue conspiracy. The surefire way to get people interested in something is to deny them an opportunity to have it. In that event alone big tech may have created more QAnon believers then would have been possible had it simply ran its course.
Big tech claims to be tolerant, but it is all a hypocrisy. So long as the ideology and posts of a user fall inline with that of big tech, they typically receive a free pass. Take Skai Jackson for instance. Under the guise of combatting racism, she and her fans engaged in the act of doxxing, a direct violation of Twitter’s terms of services. Additionally, Jackson and her fans had doxxed the wrong people in one instance, as well as ruin the life of a 13 year old and his family over an alleged joke post.
Ask yourself, had individuals on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum doxxed users threatening violence against the police, would they still be condoned on social media? Would the mainstream media sing the same praise for their actions? There should be no double standard when enforcing these policies. Their actions against users has only served to create a great rift between the ideologies, one that has led to bloodshed and ruined lives in the real world.
Just as a fringe is growing as a result of social media, the mainstream media is fueling their opposition similarly. Social media and the mainstream media go hand in hand in terms of promoting certain ideologies and narratives. Those too vocal against the abysmal standards and integrity of journalism today risk their account privileges.
With the rise in blatant click bait and fake news on both sides, many are rightfully losing faith in the news that is being sold to the general public. Of course this has always been the trend, yellow journalism never truly died but rather took on new tactics. This includes non-reporting (the act of simply refusing to give any attention to stories, typically when they present an uncomfortable truth.)
Non-reporting by the mainstream media has allowed for alternative media to form and cover stories that otherwise would not be printed or televised. Unfortunately, both the fringe and mainstream media still typically carry an ideological slant, rather than objectively report on current events.
The mainstream media is not a purely “left vs right” battle like many would like you to believe. While the corporate news has slightly perceivable ideological slants these are in place to appeal to demographics, and the core principles between the networks is the same. Anything benefiting themselves and similar corporations will be positively reported on or non-reported. They will gladly stoke the flames of an issue in order to keep or increase ratings. At its core, corporate news is simply entertainment and drama no different then a reality TV show. Upon looking at the core of the left and right, one will see that there is a fair amount of common ground, yet the corporate media and governments will let controlled opposition dominate mainstream discourse.
Fortunately I isolate myself from social media. With the exception of YouTube and Discord, anywhere that has not already banned the accounts I operate have been closed voluntarily. Here is to hoping that one day it will be possible to do what I enjoy doing on the World Wide Web without having to rely on any of these services. Self-operation is a goal all Netizens should strive for.