Censorship? Mais Non!

January 12th 2021

As we wait to see if Congress and the Senate can actually remove the president (my answer is no), more discussions on if twitter suspending him from twitter is censorship.

This is a difficult question. Should we live in a world where there are no limits to free speech. Should everyone have total freedom all the time? Wonderwoman 1984 seeks to explore this with it's plot of wishing. SPOILER ALERT: There needs to be a balance that limits freedom. Otherwise you can oppress others with your freedoms. Sometimes the freedom to do what you want does irreparable harm to other people.

As some cartoons have pointed out, to have freedom of expression you have to not tolerate hate speech. For example if you are behaving in a nazi like or totalitarian way oppressing others and advocating for more of this, you shouldn't be surprised if people call you a Nazi. Renaming yourself the Alt-right doesn't change my perception that you are a Nazi. Especially when you have your "super secret symbols" to show your Nazi mates that you are on their side. You just want to hide that from the "sheeple" Likewise if you are opposed to vaccinating your children and putting others at risk when you refuse to keep your unvaccinated little darlings at home, don't be surprised if we call you Anti-vaxxers.

There's a reason why people like that seek to define themselves differently to who they actually are. We have history to point back to. We can point and say "see this behaviour now? That's what the Nazi's did and other authoritarian regimes like the Nazis, who were allied with the Nazis. Oh yes Fascists, of course the USSR were Communist, but they were an authoritarian regime who in the beginning sided with the Nazis. Call a spade a shovel, call the Alt-right Nazis. Because that is what they are.

Again I can see why some Americans support Amazon, Twitters and other members of big tech deciding to enforce their TOS. But they are responsible for this shitshow. They should have either Suspended Trump early on, or left him up. Same with Parler and AWS. The only reason why those TOS are enforced now is Because those companies are trying to limit the blowback from government etc.

This is why we need decentralised networks. This is why our discourse needs to be on independently hosted providers. AWS is a virtual monopoly. For years the capitalistic model of the startup depends on using outside providers to manage your infrastructure so you can concentrate on core business. After all they are too big to fail. What startups don't seem to realise is that once you tie yourself into that infrastructure you are stuck there. Through inertia and sometimes APIs. Amazons and the Bitnamis of the world have made it easy to integrate with their infrastructure. But if you are a business on the internet you should be thinking globally. Where do your customers get their access to your services from? What jurisdiction does that cover? Are you liable for criminal proceedings on your services. What parler showed me is that you can have very little idea of those issues and other physical issues and get VC investment, it's like the .com bubble all over again. A grifters paradise with the main gold being your data. VCs invest to make money, they don't care about free speech, they don't care about accessibility or an internet for the massess. All VCs care about is money, and how to make the maximum money that they can and then move on.

While removing Trump, and taking down Parler is censorship, Twitter gave itself no choice. We gave twitter that power over our public discourse the moment we started to use the network, same with whatsapp. Its hard to strike the balance for everyone to be happy. But the way we limit censorship, the way we limit the power of Silicon Valley is to not buy services from the cheapest bulk providers. If you care about freedom of speech, if you care about not being beholden to a monopoly, now is the time to put your money where your mouth is. Buy local, be prepared to pay for service, and look at FLOSS and decentralised alternatives.