After being dropped from their app stores by Google and Apple without notice just days after the Capital protests, hosting provider Amazon announced yesterday that they will be removing free-speech site Parler from the Internet today citing posts that are alleged to contain violent content. As no examples where given, it is unclear if that content was any different than incendiary posts found on Twitter and Facebook during the BLM protests this summer.
Parler, a home for thousands of refugees who have been de-personed from Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, had grown 10x since the US election to the 216th largest US website as of yesterday. While Parler hopes to be able to move to another hosting provider in the next week or so, it remains to be seen if that will be enough to keep the site available. It is possible that activists will also target domain name registrars, banks, and other services required to maintain a high-traffic website.
A Trump supporter might ask: Was this action warranted? Is there a double standard being played out for Trump and BLM/ANTIFA/Biden supporters? Do Big Tech platforms like Google, Amazon, and Apple, with a near-monopoly on online communication, have any obligation to be politically agnostic? Where does this lead?
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There are many alternative social media options, but none are on par with Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and none that are mixed in some way with Amazon and Google. Big tech not only dominates the playing field, it's becoming more apparent that they dominate the rule book as well.
Now, I'm perfectly ok with Twitter running their site however they see fit. I'm not ok with the competition getting squashed under the guise of the protection of public safety. This may or may not be what happened, but Parler getting the plug pulled so quickly as well as in unison between Apple and Android was quite a stunning display as to the amount of power these companies have.
It makes me wonder what will happen if our government takes this attack on the Capitol as the ultimate "justification" to control all of online activities and communications. Big tech already leans left, if this happens, I don't see any viable online communication options left for those who support Trump.
I've seen two different responses to this:
Personally, I don't think Trump is as much of the cause of the extremism as the Democratic representatives that won't treat Trump supporters with the same delicacy they treated the months on end of BLM protesters. I'm not saying violence is justified. I'm saying it will most likely get worse if silencing dissenters is the only option they continually choose to take.
We value the First Amendment (@TheMiddleWay), but you are right it isn't a 1st Amendment issue because it is not government that doing the purging. Now, if the government told those platforms that unless they get the extremists off their site the site will be punished, then despite being private, they are defacto controlled by government and that would make it a 1st Amendment issue - but that is not what is happening.
So, there are alternatives but all social media rely on the network effect and the alternatives at this point do not have the benefit. But I've been on all social media since close to their inception and saw them when they were small. I'm a heavy internet user and have been online since before the web (I got online in 1987, had my own website since 1996).
I do believe Google has monopoly power in a couple of segments. But you can still use the internet without it. I equate the current state as a company that comes out for BLM and tells Trump supporters they are deplorable - lots of people will boycott the company but it doesn't care (enough) to change. People can go find substitutes but there is a reason they didn't prior to the dustup, they preferred the company's products.
So, I ignore the 'incitements', I ignore the purges, and I don't engage in the handwringing. All that said, it is clear that political ideology has become the most divisive thing in our society today - far outstripping racism.
it's hilarious this is the number one conservative grievance and talking point, more important than anything else to the right is the ability to howl on the Internet - and the total PRETENCE that
( a ) the LEFT owns the internet
( b ) only the RIGHT suffers from bans etc.
totally whipped up by dog-brained pundits like steven crowder etc, and you all fall for it and think it's "1984" etc - it's so funny how utterly entitled you are with your desire to spread your QAnon nonsense.
edit: trump is being banned as he's a danger : and it's bad for business. that's all the companies care about is making a profit, and being seen to be bad impacts that. it's capitalism entirely.
Private corporations are protected by law and over the years have been able to shed more and more regulations. Private corporations are going to pursue what is most profitable. If leaning left is more profitable that is the way they will lean. It is just a matter of economics and an indicator of who has the most influence. Fair or not corporations will follow the money. It should prompt the right to ask what are we doing or not doing that gives the left more power? Are you for or against the government regulating corporations.
The issue is not one of creating a website and having servers, more of how do you connect uses with the platform. As Apple and Google own the operating systems used by 90% of the planet for phones, end users have no control and have self-subjected to these tech giants. An alternate operating system(s) must be created to run the phones and break free.
Twitter has benefitted greatly by POTUS 80+million followers, FB too. The next few days will be interesting for their stock. I dumped FB today and Twitter yesterday. Have a call with my broker tomorrow. Hopefully they screwed themselves but I’m not too hopeful.
As far as I'm concerned, privately owned entities should be able to do as they please with their intellectual properties. If I disagree with a particular platform's policy(s), then I am always free to move on to another site. In reality no one is keeping me silenced, I'm still able to speak freely minus any fear of going to prison over such. When IDW.Community launched their mobile app for Android, Google didn't want to publish the app at first, and at this point I've not much doubt SLUG will eventually run into the same issue, in which at that point guess we will have to access SLUG via a web browser.
Free speech has been dead for a while. The first Amendment does two things in regards speech -- it recognizes an unalienable right to it, and prohibits the government, the only organization truly powerful enough at the time of the authoring, from restricting it. Now, and even in recent times, there are many organizations powerful enough and inescapable enough, to restrict speech. We can't speak our honest minds for fear of "consequences". Oh, they can't put us in jail for it like Government can, but short of that they can absolutely destroy us, and without any reasonable recourse or avenue of redress.
Free speech was always something of immense value and fragility, an ideal worth fighting for but also needing nurture and protection. The internet is not the vehicle or protector of free speech, no more than the printing press, or the illuminated manuscripts or the incantations of priests. Youll never find true democracy or reasoning on the internet its a technology in the service of Babylon.
Two years ago I saw censoring coming and started to collect links to alternative platforms and websites where the people and organizations that I follow fled to. I started to look less at facebook and hardly make a remark on that platform. I wait and see here everybody goes and follow them, Ramzpaul brought me to Slug. This will automatically create some sort of anti globalist dark web.
Politics and cancel culture aside, we need to look at alternatives for open source social media platforms and others that aren't besides Twitter, FB (WhatsApp) and YouTube. If people look into these sites or already have with any of them we can communicate the pros and cons with eachother.
We may all have to download TOR to commumicate without the nSa tracking.
I saw SO many of my left leaning friends expressing extreme views being temp or perma banned from FB last year it was an almost daily event.
Similarly, my right leaning friends over the past few months.
Being a moderate and thus actively seeking people on the left and right on my FB associations, I am perhaps in the minority who can see that FB has in fact acted against the Left and the Right when they act extremely.
The problem and this is a critical point is that people on the right with only right friends will see their friends being banned and come to the incorrect conclusion that only the right is being banned.
Interestingly, this is the same conclusion that people who only had friends on the left seeing their friends get banned were saying this time last year!!!!
Free Speech ends when YOU let it end. There is, and will continue to be, a way to communicate on the web. American Patriots are not the idiots, the Libtards that believe they can silence them are. We have a voice, we will continue to use that voice. Take one platform down, we will raise another one! Take that one down and we will build another, and another. Suck it liberals! We are here, we are loud, and we are strong, and most importantly YOU can't stop us!
In regards Parler, this is too good a business opportunity for the tech giants as well as an ideological one, to crush a possible rival. In ordinary times, this would be seen as the anti-competitive move that it is and opposed on those grounds. But, now we have a crisis, a heavily pushed narrative that it's so bad these steps are warranted, and here we are.
We have viable alternatives, but they require more work from the users, and that means only a small group of people will ever use them.
Keybase has the right idea, but they're becoming, if not have not already become, untrustworthy because of who bought them.
There is twister, a distributed twitter replacement.
There are various facebook replacements based on mastodon. Gab is another replacement for facebook, but it's not even open source, but then neither is slug ...
Even if there are alternative social sites, they will just be labeled, defined, and touted as place for a bunch of kooks and haters.
For example, one YouTuber I follow had to start cross-posting to BitChute, Odysee, and more because his videos were being removed by YouTube. When looking up BitChute online, a Wikipedia page popped up and defined, "BitChute is a video hosting service known for accommodating far-right individuals and conspiracy theorists, and for hosting hateful material."
Basically, the rest is just libelous labeling against the platform and users as a whole.