Net Censorship On The Rise

Most people seem to assume that tech giants like Google and Facebook are invincible.

It’s true that these companies have built an incredible “technology moat” that the competition needs to cross. These guys are light years ahead of the competition in terms of tech and ecosystem.

However, I think they have a serious chink in their armor. A growing weakness that could get worse…

Censorship

Google (GOOGL), Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and even Apple (AAPL) have recently started simultaneously censoring content.

You’ve probably heard about Alex Jones being banned from all these sites. But he was only one of at least 800 alternative news organizations and blogs that were purged permanently.

Independent media sites like Anti-Media were among the recent victims. Anti-Media had more than 2 million followers on Facebook before its account was deleted.

I’ve read this site before, and it’s a legitimate project. There was no need for Facebook to shut it down.

Facebook’s move has crippled Anti-Media’s business. But it’s fighting on and moving to blockchain-powered Steemit.com, where it can earn STEEM cryptocurrency for its posts.

TheFreeThoughtProject.com is another site that was recently banned. I happen to read this site occasionally, and it’s a legitimate independent news site. It had 3 million followers on Facebook. Then Facebook purged it.

These groups have the right to express their opinions. They weren’t doing anything illegal or immoral. The fact that social media platforms are snuffing out their voices is disturbing.

Inevitable Consequences

I first noticed Facebook’s bias during the 2012 presidential election. I was a Ron Paul supporter that year. During debate season, I’d go on to Facebook and search for Ron Paul groups to join. And I found nothing. Not one group showed in the results. The other candidates showed hundreds.

I learned later that there were large and active groups of Ron Paul supporters on Facebook. They just happened to be invisible during a critical time in the primary race. Facebook eventually fixed the problem and blamed it on a bug.

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Black Widow 1 month ago Member's comment

I don't think censorship is the answer. People just need to wisen up and not believe everything they read. And to not be so sensitive every time someone says something that's insulting or hateful. Giving up our free speech is a slippery slope. The trade-off is too much.

Moon Kil Woong 1 month ago Contributor's comment

Please stop dumping the problems of Facebook onto other social media companies. Facebook has always been peddling its bizarre brand of mind control/clout onto their users and sadly most of them are kids. There is a big difference between them and Google for instance. Likewise, Twitter is trying to prevent its product from becoming a mass dumping ground for attention grabbers/advertisers whether they be advertisers or political diatribe posters. I don't blame them.

In reality, I generally support the free market. If you don't like Facebook, don't use it and/or create your own company. I choose not to use it for the most part. If you don't like Google, use another browser. In reality, Google is designed show you what you are looking for, thus you are censoring yourself. However, if you don't like that, go to a less precise browser and take more time. If you don't like Twitter's handling of annoying posters or their reforming to prevent junk from clogging their system make or join another forum. Even Trump has not given it up despite fits that they are blocking opinion spammers.

In reality the fact is this is more angst than a real issue. And if there is a real issue it is more centered on Facebook which has been doing a lousy job of protecting its users from its founder and hackers among others. Also, the SEC should never have abandoned their rule preventing people from effectively controlling a company themselves when it goes private. Good luck to all those holding Facebook who want to see changes Mark Elliot Zuckerberg doesn't want to do. The SEC abandoned you to a megalomaniac who said customers who give him information are idiots. What do you expect from investing in a company run by such a person who the SEC let go public while preventing any shareholders from doing anything to stop him.

Duke Peters 1 month ago Member's comment

Fake News is far from only a Facebook problem, Moon. It's permeating everywhere. Even the mainstream media has occasionally picked up and help disseminate fake news.

Marcy Brown 1 month ago Member's comment

Moon, this is overly harsh. Censorship will always be a difficult problem - how to weigh freedom of speech against the need to protect people, especially children from hate and lies.

Moon Kil Woong 1 month ago Contributor's comment

I agree Facebook should have never been allowed to be peddled to kids. Poor kids and poor America.

Bindi Dhaduk 1 month ago Member's comment

Actually, I think more and more of today's youth are turning away from #Facebook and finding new, cooler, social media sites. Who wants to be on a site filled with your parents and all their friends? Facebook's time has come and went. It will still be around for awhile but in 10 years, it will be as dead as... whatever that site was that came before it than no one can remember :)

Angry Old Lady 1 month ago Member's comment

That would be MySpace my dear :)

David Reynolds 1 month ago Member's comment

Censorship is not the answer!

Angry Old Lady 1 month ago Member's comment

Nether is a free for all.

Howie Sandberg 1 month ago Member's comment

These blockchain alternatives sound interesting, but as they grow in popularity, won't they fall victim to the same problems as the larger tech giants like Facebook?

Bill Johnson 1 month ago Member's comment

Yes, #censorship is a real issue for every company, not just tech giants. But the answer isn't a wild west free for all without any censorship, which it sounds like you support. It's a very fine like between free speech and hate speech. I suspect that you would be opposed to a post calling for the violence against blacks or gays. What about a post that doesn't call out right for violence, but is deliberately published to incite hate which could lead to violence. It's a slippery slope.

Ayelet Wolf 1 month ago Member's comment

You make a good point. But I think the real problem is "fake news" which could lead to animosity against others. For example, I often see posts against immigrants, the police or other countries like Israel. How many times have I read an article about "police shooting an unarmed man" who turns out to be armed. Or pictures showing Palestinians victims of Israeli aggression only to later find out those pictures are from Syria.

It's easier than ever to propagate fake news to push a particular agenda. Many of these "new" sites, including those mentioned by the author as "legitimate" news sources are guilty of this.

Dick Kaplan 1 month ago Member's comment

Well said. While I don't frequent Anti-Media or TheFreeThoughtProject, I have read articles on the site which were highly biased and inaccurate. I would also argue that these are far from credible sources of news.

Personally I applaud Facebook's and others efforts to purge their sites of fake news and hate. But it's an impossible task. There will be innocent victims in the censorship war and some that are guilty will slip through the cracks.

Craig Newman 1 month ago Member's comment

Yes Facebook is better without those crap, hate spewing sites.