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!
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,