My stance on free speech
I am sick and tired of the constant assault on free speech on the internet. I should be able to say what I want without being censored, or without fear of significant retribution. The internet should be a place of free and healthy discussion, but when corporations and the mob are suddenly dictating what I can and cannot say, I am disillusioned.
I personally pinpoint the day that Tumblr banned NSFW content from their platform as the day that free speech on the mainstream internet died. These two may be seemingly unrelated, but I shall explain.
The banning of porn on Tumblr was in and of itself an attack on free speech (or a type of free speech, as I shall explain later). People who consumed and didn't consume porn were rightfully outraged at this decision. I can come up with two main reasons for this banning: 1, that Tumblr was trying to get child porn off their site, and decided to ban all porn instead of combatting it; and 2, there is a prevalence of bot accounts that solely exist to promote porn sites, and in an effort to eradicate this, they again banned all porn.
None of this worked. To this day in 2022, porn is still very much prevalent on the site, as well as the porn bot accounts. But the exodus that ensued afterwards set the stage for the landscape of the internet as we know it today.
Becoming disillusioned, people whom occupied Tumblr flocked to different social media platforms, notably Reddit and Twitter. Admittedly, I have no factual evidence to back this up - only circumstantial, but this should be enough to prove my point.
You see, Tumblr was notorious for harboring extreme views on gender, sexuality, race, and economics. This sentiment was shared among porn and non-porn consumers on the site. However, these views were largely contained within the site, away from more mainstream platforms. The banning of porn sent a lot of these users to these mainstream platforms and allowed their ideology to infect the norm.
As mentioned before, these people mainly flocked to Twitter and Reddit. Why? Because these platforms had lenient restrictions on the posting of NSFW content. There are tons upon tons of porn subreddits and porn accounts. It was a safe-haven for those whom have had their right to posting porn taken away from them. They finally had a place to express their type of free speech.
And that type includes the extreme views on gender, sexuality, race, and economics that were prevalent on Tumblr.
These people flocked in their droves to the mainstream, vocalizing their views in the most loud and proud way. Someway, somehow, more and more people started sharing their sentiments (because if discrimination of x is bad, then discrimination of y and z is bad too!) and the virus multiplied. The most normal, sane people, started parroting these views without a critical thought.
Now we are not allowed to question one's identity when it comes to gender and sexuality. We must simply accept. We cannot support Kyle Rittenhouse at any cost, even though he was acting in self defense. We must simply accept. The rich must be taxed, have all their wealth stolen, and guillotined, no matter the way they gained that money. And why should we question it? We must simply accept.
I acknowlege that these examples spill out into the real world rather than being contained on the internet. That is because these views are so much more prevalent and mainstream now, that it can't help but spill out into the real world. The internet is used by EVERYONE. And these fringe viewpoints are being imposed on EVERYONE.
And how dare you question it! Anyone who raises questions about the culture of the internet today and the viewpoints prevalent on it are labelled as far-right bigots who want to genocide the Jews again. Dude, I wasn't even talking about Jews, and you're out here calling me a Nazi and white supremacist?
Worse still, since these extreme views have become the vocal majority, mega corporations are getting their slimy hands on the game and propagating these viewpoints further. Cases in point: Twitter and Reddit. Such strict laws on hate speech that even mild criticism and questioning gets you banned and deplatformed.
And deplatforming is the biggest threat to free speech in the post-industrial revolution world. All these corporations can decide that you're not worth having a voice, and remove you from all of their platforms. Your right to speech is taken away. Not hate speech, not free speech, not even normal speech, just speech. You are no longer allowed to say anything. In a capitalist world, this also means you're not allowed to send or receive money thanks to payment processors cashing in on the trend. For harboring slightly different views, well, forget your right to speech. You're not allowed to sustain yourself, to make a living.
Heck, you're not even allowed to live.
A perfect example of this is the forum Kiwi Farms. Considered a far-right hate site by the mainstream, its primary purpose as stated on the site is to make fun of "lolcows", eccentric individuals that one can "milk" for entertainment. Most people say that its purpose is to harass people and bully them off the internet. It should be noted that the site has a strict "look don't touch" rule, actively discouraging users from formulating and executing trolling plans upon forum subjects. Moreover, the site also has a strict "archive everything" rule, making use of internet archiving sites to make sure everything they post is available for the public to see in an alternate form.
It is claimed that most of the people who have threads on the site are women and minorities, mainly LGBTQ+ and non-white people. Some of the most popular threads are indeed on people who identify as transgender, however there are many popular threads on those who are straight white males. DarkSydePhil, Russell Greer, MovieBob, Douglas Walker (Nostalgia Critic), even Chris Chan depending on what you think he is. A lot of threads made on women are within the "Lolcow Salon" subforum, where it is generally considered the subforum most frequented by women.
Due to the multiple controversies the site has garnered over the years (of which an entirely different article is needed to explain them all), the forum is unable to accept payments in fiat currency. It relies on cryptocurrency to sustain the site and pay for its infrastructure. The site is constantly subject to illegal DDoS attacks despite this.
A recent effort to deplatform the site from someone accused of sexual assault and openly flaunts his degenerate sexual fetishes has received periodic success. It goes to show that free speech is actively subject to attack on the internet. A lot of people "familiar" with Kiwi Farms may think that they deserve this censorship due to the "vile" content being posted there. I hate to get into "whataboutism", but there are sites on the internet hosting much more vile content than Kiwi Farms is. Just because it's not on the clearnet doesn't mean it's not there. The "evilness" of Kiwi Farms, I should say, is far less than the happenings you are not aware of.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't be allowed to express these extreme viewpoints on gender, sexuality, etc. I'm not saying you should stop having such a porn-infested brain. And I'm not saying you should become a Nazi. Say what you want.
But don't censor others for saying what they want to.
Where the Sidewalk Ends: The Death of the Internet
The Consortium Imposing the Growing Censorship Regime -- and Our New Live, Prime-Time Rumble Program
The Internet Is Not Facebook: Why Infrastructure Providers Should Stay Out of Content Policing
What is Freedom of Speech? - FSE Blog