Posting content on today’s internet works differently than it used to in the late 2000s. Emerging companies like YouTube and Facebook helped facilitate an exponentially growing marketplace of ideas—free expression and open dialogue weren’t suppressed; they were championed.
The virtual world is now radically different. Big Tech has placed stringent guidelines on constitutionally protected speech. Even people with moderate viewpoints are being censored by oppressive algorithms and false accusations of spreading misinformation.
It’s undeniable that a handful of individuals are spreading dangerous information online. Doxxing, libel, and other illegal or hazardous content should be banned. The problem is that sites such as Twitter and Facebook selectively censor statements that don’t fit their agenda while ignoring legitimately problematic and immoral posts.
There is no internet Bill of Rights to protect accounts from being terminated. Why is that? Why are Big Tech’s terms of services so inconsistent? Why are they applied unjustly and unfairly?
The first way to view it is from a business perspective. Naturally, the end goal of any business is profit; corporations do what they see fit to appease advertisers and (to an extent) their consumers. While serving a niche is a part of what makes businesses work, a problem arises when the methods of financial gain are corrupt. Securing a monopoly on free speech by forcefully shutting down the competition is not just. Putting algorithms in place that favor “advertiser-friendly content” and hurt those with unfavorable views is not just. Big social networks getting away with users publishing illegal content on their platforms while smaller companies are getting eradicated for “not enforcing their own rules quickly enough” is not just.
This isn’t about the rights of private companies. A free market is amazing in that it allows for an exchange of goods or services that is seen as fair by both the consumer and producer. What’s not amazing is this immoral system that favors wealthy, nefarious corporations.
The second way to look at it is from a power perspective. Social networks understand the need to uphold a uniform narrative so that they can maintain control over public opinion. By ridding their domains of diversity in thought, they are also pitting different ideologies against one another. They demonize certain people in the eyes of others so that it won’t be an issue when the “villains” get banned. Divide and conquer.
The internet is a collective of spheres. Users exist in various sections (spheres) of the web that consist of content they agree with. These spheres sometimes intersect through commonly viewed material which can lead to war between tribes. While people have always argued on the internet, the conflict has become more radical than ever. The people are divided and the oppressors are to blame. It has become harder for people to hear out rational points that challenge their views. There is an increasing number of people refusing to engage in a civil discussion with people who hold opposing beliefs. The reckless behavior of these corporations is only fueling violence and hatred. It needs to stop.
Having a personally owned platform is essential in putting an end to the tech oligarchy. The creation of this website is a first step in distancing myself from having all of my content erased overnight. There’s progress to be made, but I’m doing the best I can with what I have. I suggest every reader of this do the same. Build a platform so that even if you are vilified, you still have your voice.