Here’s Watson’s video announcing his deplatforming:
As anyone who is even remotely familiar with my work knows, I don’t side with either of them ideologically; and further, I have no problem with Social Media’s banning of people they disapprove of per se, because the owner of the platform can ban or accept anyone for any reason, as all business owners should be allowed to do, whether regarding employees or customers (but aren’t any longer, in this free country of ours). It’s called the freedom of association (or, obviously, disassociation), and is a human right possessed by all individuals.
Rather, the problem I have is with the owners of the platform dictating what user content allowed (short of what may be deemed illegal, but that’s a whole-nuther discussion), rather than simply providing the platform for users to use, as was initially intended. And besides, if their actions truly were in the interest of user safety or experience, in order to reduce offensive content and improve user experience—then why have a block function, or the ability to unfriend someone or unlike a page, or even to create your own custom newsfeed which only shows posts from the friends and pages you wish to see?
So no, it’s not about user safety or experience, what it boils down to is that they’re simply abusing their power.
And is it any wonder the titans of social media are now clamoring for government regulation, so as to shore up their monopolies, skyrocket the cost of entry, and thus reduce any potential competition? Can anyone say, “regulatory capture“…?
But again, they are well within their right to ban/deplatform whomever they wish, or to dictate what content can or cannot be published on their platform.
It’s up to the patrons to…well, stop patronizing them, and take their business elsewhere.
And when you consider the reality that we are not their customers, we are their product which they are selling to their customers, then you understand the enormous power users could actually wild over the social media companies—if they’d just flex it.
But for whatever reason, they don’t.
I’ve been advocating for a solution to this dilemma for some time now, thinking a decentralized, peer-to-peer social networking platform (such as Telegram) would solve the problem. But, as a good friend point out in recent discussions about this idea, it only solves half the problem (at least for the liberty community): such networks would be private, and closed off from public access, so there’d be no way of spreading the message / ideology / principles of liberty to the public, and recruiting newcomers into the movement.
And generally, there’d be no discussion/debate of differing ideas/viewpoints—the entire point of the freedom of speech so critical to a free, peaceful, and prosperous society. Instead, we’d all simply be living in our own self-created filter bubble, or echo chamber.
We’d all just be preaching to the choir.
So simply developing a decentralized, peer-to-peer social networking app won’t solve the problem, either (though it would be a start). Somehow, it would need to enable users to cross-post across multiple networks, in order to expose others to new ideas and viewpoints, if they choose to be.
So…where do we go from here?
Side Note: Perhaps new social media upstarts are doing it wrong…I mean, what’s the incentive to attract users away from Facebook and other giants in the industry, and to their platform instead?
The social media giants make the bulk of their money—to the tune of a hundred billion dollars annually—via advertising revenue (essentially, selling their users’ data, or consumer profile, to other companies). So why not set aside a couple hundred million, or a cool billion, out of those profits, to pay users to join and use their platform?
Make it a contract: “Here’s the data we collect, and here’s your annual compensation for using our platform. Do you agree to terms?”
Now there’s a thought!