Concerns over Free Speech and censorship has always been an issue but never has any monarch had the reach or power to silence as many people as Big Tech.
The sheer size of modern social media platforms is staggering and nearly unfathomable. Even more staggering than Fair Go Casino’s amazing odds. What’s worse, it seems that power is going to their heads- and that’s terrifying.
To this day, social media platforms get the protection of a law known as Section 230. The law makes the platform immune to the consequences of what’s posted on it.
A similar regulation applies to other ‘platforms’, such as the phone company. You can’t sue AT&T because people used their service to sell drugs or something.
However, this comes with the caveat that the platform doesn’t restrict what is put on their platform like a publisher would. And THAT is the grey line that has gone from blurry to nonexistent.
Obviously, platforms cannot leave up illegal content. Facebook has to take down Kiddy Porn, as they should, and they don’t allow pornography in general. Since it’s indecent, no one really minds those kinds of restrictions.
Then the platforms started becoming more active, removing conspiracy theories and hate speech, and the line went blurred. Sure, nobody wants to see actual nazis post in their feed, but at the same time, don’t they have the right to speak their mind?
Regardless, they were pushed off the major platforms and not really cared all that much.
Nowadays, however, these platforms have far overreached. In the past few weeks, social media platforms have censored the New York Post, the United States Press Secretary, and even the President of the United States himself.
I mean, what was the last organization that had the audacity, the arrogance, to censor someone as powerful as the sitting President? I’m reminded of when the church excommunicated Henry IV, to all three history buffs out there that get the reference.
So all this ranting is to explain the big social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google, suck. Google once wrote in their policy, “Don’t be Evil”, then removed it.
However, not all hope is lost as I am far from the first to point out the problems with big tech. There are loads of smaller social media platforms that do respect the little things, like Free Speech and privacy and deserve your attention.
To borrow a description from Democratic Senator Richard Painter, Twitter is a “dumpster fire”. It’s just absolutely terrible.
Imagine a thousand people screaming their opinions into the void, telling each other how much they suck, and each trying to constantly outdo each other with snappy one liners that don’t make sense anywhere but on Twitter.
People use the platform regularly to demonize anyone they don’t like, and a severe Twitter backlash can cost someone their job.
Also, when the Hunter Biden story dropped a couple of weeks ago, they locked the New York Times out of their account. They literally censored the fourth most circulated Newspaper in the United States unless they took down their top headline of the day!
Anyone else who attempted to talk about it got ‘errors’ when trying to send their tweets. It’s truly disgusting that Twitter has the gumption to decide that YOUR concerns about the son of the man who might be the next President have to be silenced.
A popular alternative that’s been gaining traction during all this is a platform known as Parler. It’s similar to Twitter but is explicitly anti-censorship. So much so, disenfranchised citizens from third world countries that do not have the right to speak their mind use the platform to express themselves.
They don’t comply with censorship rules just to get into the Chinese market, unlike a certain other multi-billion dollar industry I could name.
Parler beats twitter in just about every desirable category and is well worth switching to. Thanks to Twitter’s blatant bias and censorship policies, Parler’s userbase has blown up exponentially in the past two months.
Facebook is pretty… blech. Out of all the Big Tech platforms, I think Facebook’s probably gonna be the first to die out since the next generation really doesn’t use it all that much (so far as I know).
It’s also run by a man who is a cross between a lizard and Lieutenant Commander Data, and you can’t tell me otherwise.
Facebook has been provably throttling the accounts of users they disapprove of and use dubious fact-checkers to determine what’s acceptable on their platform or not.
They pioneered the Data-Mining industry and rake in millions by selling every scrap of information they collect about you. (Google, Twitter, and other social media platforms do this too, but Facebook is particularly infamous for it).
Also, Facebook seems to have a considerable quantity of users who believe in just the worst ideas and will argue to the death over them. Flat Earthers, Anti-vaxxers, and Karens, the lot of them.
If you want a more open and free alternative to Facebook, look no further than Gab. Gab was created as an almost direct response to censorship after the 2016 election and has been steadily growing in popularity since.
What’s really cool is their Gab-Dissenter plugin that can be used on other sites. It’s a comment section for websites with no comments or sites that engage in censorship in their comment sections (read: CNN). This plugin allows you to get around these sites and say what you really think about these things.
Did I mention how sucky Facebook is? Well, they also have a really annoying habit of buying out really cool companies. Instagram, Oculus Rift, and, more relevantly, WhatsApp. Are you worried about data mining? Well, you can bet your butt that Facebook is using all their subsidiaries to steal your data.
Privacy is out the windows with all these platforms. Should anyone decide to, Facebook can read through every text you have ever sent through their services.
Allow me to introduce Telegram– the Whatsapp alternative to those who like their privacy. When it comes to privacy, Telegram has really gone all the way to guarantee it.
They host their servers in Russia and only use them to relay messages between users. Nothing is stored on their end, so they couldn’t look at your messages even if they wanted to, nor can they turn over that data to, say, a shady government organization with vested interests.
Also, if you’re a developer, Telegram has an API and free source code access for the creation of compatible plugins and applications. Neat!
Ah, Google. The Silicon Valley juggernaut. Google truly is an incredible piece of technology. It’s so influential, ‘Googling’ is now a word in our vocabulary. It’s the number one search engine globally, followed by Bing as a distant second (whose number one most searched term is ‘Google’).
As the number one search engine, Google has a lot of influence and power, and recently that’s become more and more pronounced.
It’s not just some nutty conspiracy theory either. Google has been actively proven to be suppressing search results and weighing the algorithms to favor “Authoritative Sources”.
A leaked video of Google’s top executive meetings showed them literally crying after Donald Trump won the presidency back in 2016. Investigative journalists from Project Veritas caught Google’s Head of Responsible Innovations, Jen Jennai, say that Google was not “going to let a person like Trump ever be elected as President again.”
In 2018, a little something called Project Dragonfly was leaked. Project Dragonfly was a special search engine designed to abide completely by China’s censorship laws and hide any information that the Chinese government disapproved of.
Google nixed the project after it was exposed, which I’m not sure is much better. They’re okay with China’s market and money, so long as no one in the West knows about it?
Yeah, that’s not shady at all.
DuckDuckGo is a search engine that was created after concerns over privacy and as a push back against data-mining. Since then, I have found it an invaluable resource to get around Google’s biased algorithms.
DuckDuckGo has, more often than not, come up with more relevant and reliable results for political topics and doesn’t suppress alternate news sources. While Google will aggressively push websites like the Guardian, CNN, and the Independent, DuckDuckGo brings up links to far more trustworthy websites.
If someone held a gun to my head and demanded my highest praise of Chrome, I would point to Chrome’s inline translation capabilities. As someone who has to jump between languages pretty regularly, Chrome beats out every other browser on that front.
And that’s about it.
Since Google owns Chrome, all of my critiques of Google apply to Chrome too. On top of that, Chrome uses an absurd amount of RAM for what it does. Unlike Google, which is still a competent tool when the algorithms don’t get in the way… Chrome isn’t.
Firefox is my go-to alternative browser. I have basically zero complaints, other than the translation thing. Even then, Firefox supports user-created extensions and plugins that include translation software, ad-blockers, styles, and more.
It runs better, it’s open-source, and it protects your data.
Now, I’m a little bit biased. There are plenty of other browsers that are equally good, if not superior, in some ways. Opera comes to mind on that front, which I absolutely recommend too.
However, I have been using Firefox by default for over a decade, so I gotta stick with my home team and recommend it. It’s great!