Freedom of Speech Does Not Require an Editor! Why We Decentralize or Die!

in Hive Marketing5 months ago

We are told by Elon Musk and various others who run Silicon Valley Web2 social networks that, on the topic of censorship, it is unreasonable to think of 'free speech' as literally meaning 'free speech'. Instead, we hear the mantra "Freedom of Speech Isn't Freedom of Reach" or similar, meaning that you can say what you want, but don't expect anyone to be able to hear you - but is that free speech?

As users of the only decentralised, free speech network in existence (The Hive blockchain) are already well aware, the topic of free speech is a very hot one indeed. There are no shortage of politically motivated groups trying to deliberately (and maliciously) 'adjust' the ideas that individuals come into contact with. Since public book burnings went out of style following the collapse of the Nazi regime in Germany, circa 1945, (well, mostly - Canadian schools are close to bringing them back it seems) these groups have looked to alternative approaches.

In the internet age, there is (ironically) no more effective way to bury ideas than to control the flow of information online. The irony here is that the web also serves as one of humanity's greatest tools in sharing information - but it is only as free as it is allowed to be, given the people who control it's infrastructure and websites. As long as internet traffic is centralised into a small number of giant websites (such as Facebook/Twitter/Instagram etc.) then it is much easier to blind humanity to actual reality in ways that serve a certain agenda or agendas.

Free Speech Absolutism?

Against this backdrop, someone such as Elon Musk buying Twitter with claims of delivering real free speech captivated the minds of some people. The more seasoned among us, such as those who help to run the Hive blockchain and eco-system of websites (dedicated to actual free speech) are much more sceptical - since most of us know how slippery the goal of real free speech is as long as the technology involved in centralised. Hint: It's 100% impossible to have real free speech when using centralised technology such as Facebook, Twitter and others because nefarious influences can and will apply covert pressure to prevent it.

Elon Musk has said, among others things, that:

“By ‘free speech,’ I simply mean that which matches the law,”
“I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law.”

So we can immediately see that Elon Musk is not advocating for 'absolute' free speech, despite his previous claims to be a 'free speech absolutist'. Considering the importance of the topic and considering this massive 'flip flop', we need to be very wary of his claims on the topic.

In June 2023, CNBC quoted X CEO, Linda Yaccarino said:

To “drive civilization forward, people need access to an unfiltered exchange of information and open dialogue about the things that matter most to us.”

Given that her background is with the World Economic Forum, easily one of the world's least trustworthy organisations when it comes to transparency and being respectful of the free will of humans - we should not be surprised that she says one thing while doing another.

Absolute Freedom of Speech?

So we get to the crux of the issue. If we don't have absolute free speech, which implies that anyone can say anything and it is for each individual to decide to use their own right to freedom of association to either walk away (not listen) or to listen/reply - then what do we have?

Each online social website has the capacity to censor anyone at any time - even without anyone being informed. This means that social sites are a massive threat to humanity, in that they can be co-opted as a weapon of mind control. This is absolutely what the largest ones have been used as by a variety of agencies since their inception. The techniques used are many, ranging from outright deletion of accounts, to more subtle 'shadow banning' and even direct social engineering through real conversations and interactions carried out by agents against users.

The more nefarious of these policies are hard to measure from the outside and are always heavily denied. While we should never forget or ignore them, we should definitely start by looking at the publicly stated policies of each of the social sites that we ourselves use. We need to at least understand to what degree the information we are seeing has been filtered before we see it.

I feel to point out here that while those of very dubious intent within the legacy media and silicon valley social media corporations might try to deflect by saying that 'anyone who wants absolute free speech is dangerous', pure logic dictates that in reality the opposite is true. As soon as someone has the power to obscure parts of reality before we even know what is happening, they have power over us in a serious way. If this lasts long enough, entire generations of people can find they are living in an artificial reality based on lies (please read/watch George Orwell's 1984 for a clear picture of this in action).

For me, choosing to create real free speech is an act of noble heroism and nothing else. Being free to say anything at all and to then face the consequences is absolute free speech. Being only free to say some things in some circumstances and to have a third party silence you before anyone hears it is not absolute free speech and I will argue it is not free speech at all.

Freedom of Reach?

So we hear that Twitter/X will 'give' you freedom of speech, but not freedom of Reach - what does this mean?

In practice, this means that you can write whatever you want in a post on their network, but unless it conforms to their tastes and preferences, very few people will ever see it. Most intelligent people will conclude this is not real free speech at all - because it isn't.

While it is true that freedom of speech doesn't guarantee freedom of reach in that no-one is obliged to listen to what you are saying at any given moment.. Simultaneously, freedom of speech DOES REQUIRE that no third party inserts itself between you and potential audiences.

Choose Real Free Speech Or Die!

As soon as you use a technology that includes a third party preventing others from hearing you, you are not only being denied true free speech, but you are also literally limiting your own destiny and even human evolution itself.

Human evolution responds to real world events. We have free will and as we experience events, we change our thinking and behaviour appropriately. We cannot do this if our view of reality is warped. Instead, we bias our destiny towards the thinking of others. This is VERY alluring for power-mongers and very bad for everyone else.

I challenge you, if you still think that using sites such as X and Facebook is a good idea and is not infringing on your own rights and destiny, try this:

  • Spend 2 weeks doing deep dives into the most controversial topics you can find. Search everywhere you can, go far beyond Google, Facebook, X and Instagram. Read old forum posts, read books. Learn the views you don't normally see, hear or consider.
  • Pick a topic that particularly draws you in. Identify evidence and views that are controversial but that you personally consider to be true.

If the denied truths that you hold dear are likely to cause powerful entities in the world to lose power when widely disseminated - then try to post them on legacy social media sites like X, Facebook and Instagram. See how far you get!

Does your engagement drop drastically compared to other posts? Do you find that your friends don't see your posts any more?

It is likely that you will find all of this and more happens quite quickly, as the Artificial Intelligence 'editors' step in to 'protect the world' from your words.

It is not until we cross such lines that we realise just how tight the binds are around our information world. Imagine just how many people and how much information has never been heard because centralised power brokers find the outcome of that information to be detrimental to their own goals!

The ONLY possibly fair and healthy solution to this is DECENTRALISATION!

Decentralised Technology

Systems like Facebook, governments, traditional banks and so on are all centralised. This means that they take the form of a power pyramid and those at the top call the shots - resulting in their decisions affecting many people below them.

Decentralised systems, on the other hand, are less pyramid shaped and more circular - in that everyone involved has more access to power and is treated more fairly.

Despite thousands of projects emerging during the web 3 and cryptocurrency/blockchain boom of recent years, that claim to be decentralised - few really are. In the world of social networking, there is only one project that is actually decentralised and where those involved go to great lengths to keep it that way - The Hive Blockchain.

Despite Elon Musk falsely claiming that decentralised social networks are impossible at scale - Hive (and previously Steem) strongly suggest he is incorrect. We incentivise the public to participate in hosting the network and as the requirements grow, so too does the capacity of the network's members to support it.

A deep dive into the technology of Hive is beyond the scope here, but mark my words (freely), we are entering into a time where real freedom of speech will be recognised as the absolute foundation of human group survival. If we are to use technology, we can only thrive with tech that respects both this truth and our own sovereignty.

I urge you to explore Hive and see what you think - make friends, get involved and feel the difference between genuine web 3 free speech and everything else you have known! See the links below this post for a user guide and a way to easily create a new account.

Wishing you well,
Ura Soul

Read My User Guide for Hive Here

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Powerful insights into the Hive blockchain are available at my website, Hive Alive.
Including the only way to track downvotes on Hive - The Untrending report

Crucial Web, digital marketing agency in Norwich, UK
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Elonk is another actor who is part of the same show. But he is someone quite dangerous because he presents himself to the masses as a potential hero of change.

Now more than ever we must make our network continue to strengthen its infrastructure, therefore its social networks, an open space to express ideas and questions freely. Sooner rather than later people will take refuge from censorship and the whole apparatus of blackmail and repression, so we must be prepared for the next waves of users who will come in search of absolute freedom of expression.

We must be clear that only certain platforms allow censorship via downvote. Down votes, for example do not affect trending on 3speak and many other platforms too. In the near future, once the offchain Union indexer systems are integrated from SPKnetwork trending will be far more customisable and eventually the power to affect trending will be both in the hands of the user directly or on community social token layer two systems where prominent down votes abusers will likely be excluded completely

What method is used to suppress speech does not at all matter to whether or not it is censorial. EVERY means of suppressing speech is censorship, from hanging by the neck until dead to a wink and a nod to advertisers. Twatter doesn't take any action that directly touches creators they censor. All they do is remove their content from the feeds of those that might seek to hear their content. Nigel Farage has been debanked. All of HRC's 'friends' have been executed. HW downvotes every post and comment of whoever they choose.

All of these methods suppress speech. All of these methods are censorship. Censorship is critically necessary to social media because it is necessary to prevent spam, scams, and plagiarism so that society can interact meaningfully, and those things will degrade social interactions if they aren't censored. Deploying any censorship outside of spam, scams, or plagiarism also degrades social interactions, and denying it is censorship doesn't affect it's censorial affect.

I greatly appreciate every attempt to limit toxic censorship while permitting beneficial censorship to continue.


Downvotes are not censorship, though. There is a fundamental difference between the two. The fact that platforms or account settings can prevent low-reputation users and negative-reward posts from being hidden is just another one of the reasons our decentralized structure is censorship-resistant.

Yes, agreed

So seizing the bank accounts of politicians isn't censorship either, nor is double tapping to the back of the head.

Censorship is defined as any suppression of speech. DV's are blatantly within that definition, and you are just in denial. DV's are essential to the function of Hive, because they are wholly competent to eliminate spam, scams, and plagiarism, and they are only able to do that because they are potent censorial technology.

As I have said previously in numerous posts, it is less important what I or you think about downvoting, but more important what the public perception in web 2 land is. Only yesterday I heard Jimmy Dore in conversation with Last American Vagabond (iirc) and they mentioned that demonetisation is censorship. I personally agree with this because in a competition for attention, money is used to increase the odds of winning (which basically means your content is read/viewed by other people) and so payouts are relevant. If it costs money to get views then those with the least money experience the same situation as if they were blatantly and overtly censored. If money is deliberately withheld based on ideology, then that is literally censorship.

Again, although we seem to disagree on this - it is more relevant what other non Hive users think and it seems that generally (at least among the people I listen to on web 2) they see demonetisation as a form of deliberate censorship at times.

For me, the solution is layer 2 communities that can self govern to solve the problems associated with bad actors misusing downvotes. Note: Originally, on Steem, downvotes were a last resort only - yet somehow on Hive some people have ignored this and just used them for ideological reasons to nuke accounts (including mine), without much comeback. Layer 2 technology correctly designed will eliminate this problem and make for the most secure and reliable free speech communities that are possible. :)

Yes, also the better the layer two economy and economic model, the more easily it will be able to use profits to buy layer one

Absolutely, yes, it's almost perfect and I'm excited to see it take shape. I want people to learn more from the world of open source software, where sharing means the easy ability to completely disassociate with the versions that came before and start again if you want to. If people want to benefit from the shared effort of Hive overall, then they need to respect that other people think differently to them and work with them in an productive way - otherwise, face the consequence of the community fragmenting and it's overall momentum being stunted.

The other thing here is that the stakes which have clearly abused their downvote privelages won’t likely be included in some community social token drops. Should these communities build great economies for themselves, it means they will be able to buy up the layer one and nullify what they see as down vote abuse on the layer one too.

I am inclined to agree with you about Elon, yes. The brain implant technology is the massive red flag there for me.

Well said, yes, communication, education and orchestration of people for efficiency are important here - but sometimes a challenge to delivery effectively in a decentralised environment!

"As soon as you use a technology that includes a third party preventing others from hearing you, you are not only being denied true free speech, but you are also literally limiting your own destiny and even human evolution itself."

So, the internet then, a physical infrastructure wholly owned by enemies of free speech.


Yes, I agree - it is important to develop alternatives to the underlying infrastructure. Decentralised DNS is step 1, then more hardware related systems - Mesh networking is the main alternative at this point, but I'm sure there will be more.

I recently noted that Qortal has abandoned it's original intention to create a mesh network that didn't depend on legacy infrastructure. Something like Starlink would work.

It's not really something I keep up with at this point because a lot of the problems can be tackled at the software / app layer - but we will probably reach a point where that isn't enough.

Starlink presents the same problem as the legacy hardware, in that it is controlled by a central organisation/individual. We have some way to go before we have a decentralised space agency! :)

Dao funded rockets for bypassing the DNS issue (with satellites on them), I wonder if this is when the various “space forces” of the fiat nations will be called into action to “defend”

haha, the real space programs are secret and way in advance of what we see publicly. i have no doubt that any Hive satellites would mysteriously fail as soon as they start to bypass controls.

"Starlink presents the same problem as the legacy hardware, in that it is controlled by a central organisation/individual. We have some way to go before we have a decentralised space agency!"

Well, I'm fine with other folks having their own infrastructure, but we should have our own, and that is what I mean to state. I'm willing to kick in. I bet most folks would be to have a network that enables personal speech at will, and currency transactions as well. I dunno that Hive has the wherewithal itself to fund such a platform, but I'd also bet there's plenty of folks that aren't on Hive that would be just as willing to kick in.

We'd have to agree that sovereign individuals' speech would be sacred, inviolable, and our transactions too. I'm willing to agree to that. I wonder if there's enough folks that would also to provide nominal resources to attain to a decentralized satellite network.

Well, I think the total market cap of crypto as a whole is sufficient to get going at least, but it's clearly a very complicated concept to map out, let alone implement.
I think avoiding physical infrastructure and relying on full decentralisation by use of smartphones and devices as the actual nodes is by far the most sensible approach - at least to begin with... So that pretty much means something along the lines of mesh networks.
I haven't really looked into mesh networks much, but I imagine the incentivising people to participate in a similar way to the way that blockchains mine new blocks could work to solve some of the issues.

"...mesh networks..."

I also saw this potential, including piggy-backing offensively on extant commercial surveillance networks like LoRa, Bluetooth local,and etc., as well as independent mechanisms like Qortal, but am disappointed so far as Qortal has apparently abandoned it's attempt create such a mesh network, and other than Nostr nothing has afflicted commercially operated surveillance mesh networks, and infesting BTC makes rocking that network with censorship able to kill both those birds with one stone. I haven't kept an eye on Beechat well enough to have meaningful comment at present, but I should.

So, I have graduated to looking to actual physical infrastructure, and satellite is likely the most cost effective option today, as is suggested by the ongoing investments in that sector. I don't see wired networks as possible today. Even with satellite infrastructure a mesh network is still the best form of implementation potential, IMHO.

Either we break out some kind of mesh network, whether parasitic on legacy infrastructure or using novel infrastructure, or we get broken, IMHO. So, I completely agree with your thesis in the OP.

I'm sure some folks will eagerly insist downvotes are censorship equal to Facebook and Twitter shadowbans. There are whales who throw their weight around, and downvotes trails I find objectionable. Nonetheless, I'm glad to embrace our system where nothing can be memory-holed and no true gatekeepers exist.

Please see my reply above to @yonnathang. I hope this helps respond constructively to your comment

I Imagine that many of the layer II communities will see the information on the blockchain layer one and be able to limit down vote abuse from the initial drops alone. Up to the communities themselves ultimately