This week (week of 8/5/2018) a major blow was dealt to Free Speech on the internet. Alex Jones, a prominent figure known for inflammatory statements was banned from virtually every prominent social media platform on the internet using very vague Terms of Service violations to accomplish this coordinated banning. Attempts to find concrete evidence to justify these bans by third party individuals has been rendered virtually impossible due to the erasure of all of Alex Jones’s content on those platforms.
I personally don’t much trust Alex Jones as he has made several statements that, to me, have rung too strongly of tin-foil hattery. Jones’ comments aside, his coordinated banning by the big tech giants of social media (Google/YouTube, Apple, Facebook, Discus, LinkedIn, and others) with the coordinated pressure from mainstream media sources (CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, ABC News, etc.) should raise extremely large red flags for everyone who values freedom of speech.
I’m not going to bring up the “private company” argument because it is irrelevant. My personal belief is that all people should have the right to decide for themselves what sources they trust and what news they believe. I take great exception to the notion that any one person or group should have the ability to dictate what sources is considered “trustworthy.” Trust should be earned not declared. It’s like someone introducing themselves as “Honest John.” The red flag should immediately fly up whenever that is the introduction given. This is straight out of 1984 by George Orwell. It’s called being made an “Unperson.” And that is exactly what has happened with Alex Jones.
I made a post regarding free speech before, condemning the actions taken by Google/YouTube almost a year to the day in August of 2017. A post that can be read here…
My points in that post still stand and are largely relevant to my stance regarding the coordinated banning of Alex Jones. So now the question is…
“What can I do?”
There are a few options available to us. The first would be to get AdBlock (adblockplus.org/) for your computer/phone/tablet/all personal devices. AdBlock prevents the showing of ads and is basically a means of free viewing without the pesky ads. Denying YouTube and other groups ad views denies them ad revenue.
Additionally, I would recommend getting Substratum (substratum.net/). Substratum is a means of encrypting your web use, allowing you to invisibly surf the web while bypassing censors. Substratum is currently in Beta at the moment but will eventually be a first in that it will pay its users in Cryptocurrency. What you can do is download the program (maybe a couple dozen MB so it’s very small) and when not needing to use the internet, you can set your computer to be one of millions of computers worldwide that helps to encrypt web access and bypass censors that might exist. When you need to use it just flip a switch and you can start using it anonymously. There’s more information on their website and I would highly recommend you consider visiting it for a much clearer cut idea of how it works.
As for alternative social media platforms, there are a few options. I do need to warn you, that the prospect of Free Speech means all speech is allowed, even speech that most in polite society would find horrifying. It’s the tradeoff for embracing the idea of free speech so using these alternative platforms will mean encountering some extreme and/or pornographic content and ideas. In most cases you can pick and choose what you see. And in regards to the pornographic content when permitted, the sites have been very good about keeping the porn legal (I.e. no child porn, rape, etc).
Let’s start with the alternate to YouTube: BitChute (www.bitchute.com/). BitChute uses similar technology as torrents to allow for video streaming. You don’t need to worry about pornographic content but there is always the risk of explicit or extreme content. You can pick and choose who to follow.
Next there are two suggestions for an alternative to Facebook/Twitter. We’ll start with Minds (www.minds.com). Minds is fairly similar to Facebook and others but does allow for pornographic content in addition to the extreme content. At the moment, Minds is the only one of these social media options that has easily acquired apps from places like Apple and Google. Similarly to Substratum, Minds uses a sort of monetization for its users which can be used to boost content you create or enjoy so that more people can see it.
Finally there’s Gab (gab.ai/home). Gab is similar to Minds although some have said that Gab is better as it truly embraces Free Speech. Gab does have the very extreme content that some have expressed concern about and also includes pornographic content. However you can mute the users that make such posts and never see them again.
And while gaming focused, I also recommend Discord (discordapp.com/) as an alternative to Google Hangouts or Skype. Discord allows you to make your own server and make it as free or as controlled as you’d like. Allow porn or not. It also comes with voice and video chat features. The only news Discord features is some gaming news, typically regarding program updates and patches and also features a quick launcher for games you have installed on your PC.
So that’s my stance on Free Speech. Whether you take my suggestions is up to you. I do have accounts on all of these services but with the exception of Discord, I do not use them for my fanfiction/fiction works. Some of my content on these sites are NSFW and I would strongly advise discretion if you choose to look me up on them.
You can rest assured though that my fanfiction/fiction/DeviantArt works will remain family friendly and accessible to all.
So to close out this post, I end with a quote from the Game of Thrones by author George R. R. Martin who, although I’ve taken no interest in the Game of Thrones universe, has made this very poignant and appropriate statement on the subject of censorship…
“When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”
Keep R&Ring and say NO to Censorship.