On #FreeMilo And Free Speech Online

Yesterday, it came to my attention (by everyone and their dog tweeting about it) that Milo Yiannopoulos has been permanently banned from Twitter. Aparently (allegedly?) he made a comment about a black actress being a monkey (?), which was the last straw. If he didn’t do it, than yeah, something’s amiss. But if he did, and this was the final response, then whatever. Were all bound by the TOS. Deal with it. 

What interests me more, are the reactions. Stupidity coming from 2 sides (for the most part). From #FreeMilo , you have the typical false persecution complex come to life. Free Speech absolutist’s coming out against Twitter. And from #FuckMilo , for the most part, applause. Some free speech hypocrisy. 

All very typical for a social media firestorm. 2 groups clashing over differences in 2 largely prefabricated options. The nuance typicly never overcoming the popular dicotamies. All in all, I don’t really give a shit. Milo can say what he wants. But he has to follow the same rules as the rest of us. If not, than his account should be treated no differently than mine. Or yours. 

Unfortunately for the netzins of the world, pretty much the entire internet was privitized long ago. From platform to ISP (for the most part), the path your packets travel is under corprate (or at least, private) control. This has lead to some interesting problems (growing pains) in the last few years as the internet has grown up and matured into the indispensable tool that it is today. One of those problems being increasing bandwidth usage of users causing increasing (and prolonged) traffic loads all over the internet. Another, being the problem of increasingly influential and utilized platforms of online communication being run with private rules, often guided by mainstream public appeal. The internet is the new public square. But being many of its platforms are private, the primary focus is on the majority, those that do not rock the boat. As such, those that DO like to stir the pot at times have to deal with consequences (be they deserved or not). I do not like it. That is just how it is. 

 I have explored both of these concepts in the past year. Free speech, after a friend wrote a piece that I decided to expand beyond a dichotomy. And bandwidth, because of net neutrality (more, a want to expand beyond the dichotomy presented there). 

Bandwidth 

Free Speech 1

Free Speech 2

Since people don’t like reading novels anymore, I will summarize. Well, for the most part.

Like it or not, being that social media is private sector, your more of a renter than a true owner of your space. Which unfortunately can lead to bans. No matter what one thinks about this reality (or how one thinks it SHOULD be), at the moment, this is what we have to work with. 

The solution as I see it, is in exploring options for a new type of platform. The internet itself is essentially a public space, when you get away from the corporate influences. Imagine a number of businesses in an area as the platforms, and the sidewalls and streets inbetween as the internet. Both spaces are “public”, open to public interaction. But since businesses are not public property, they can also apply (and enforce) a set of rules of their own for their patrons. Failure to abide by these rules can justify eventual removal from the premises. 

This false uproar about free speech reminds me of a similar uproar in some places where either open or concealed carrying of a weapon is permitted. Some businesses (many being corporate franchises or company stores) decided to make their locations gun free zones, as is their choice (right?). 

Unfortunately, many gun carriers do not like this, at times viewing it as an encroachment on their 2ed amendment rights. Even though it is not. Since those rights apply on PUBLIC property. Private property owners can do what they please. Leaving you with the option of the alternative (if you don’t like this place, go elsewhere!).

I get that this isn’t always so smoothly transitioned into the online realm. Many of the platforms are at this point, essentially monopolies that you must deal with. And even if outside options are considered, you would lose a HUGE majority of your possible audience right off the bat. For example, though Daily Motion is an option as an alternative to Google’s YouTube, you have the audience drop off. 

The overall reaction to this behavior seems to be a utopian Sanders-esk pipe dream of how the internet should be. It is the new public square, so it should be governed more as a public entity than as a corporate owned business. 

I get that. As much as this would go against what people like Milo believe (the private sector can adapt. Except in this case, apparently), more socialized control and\or influence of the ENTIRE internet would benefit all. From technical growth freedom unencumbered by corporate ISPs refusing to invest in infrastructure upgrades, to more publicly oriented platforms (less resistance to the unpopular little guy). The internet is a good place for more socialism. 

Unfortunately, we have as much of an uphill battle to make that happen as Sanders did\does in bringing in single player health care. And for the very same reason. $¥£¢. Money.

The private insurers, hospital’s, clinics, medical equipment manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and everyone else with a finger in the financial health care pie have a lot both invested AND to lose, should single payer become reality. Unless the insurance industry finds more diverse ways to stay in business, it would instantly shrink to almost nothing. More shrinkage would occur as redundancies elsewhere are eliminated (unnecessary hospital’s and clinics?). And profits for both medical manufacturing and pharmaceuticals would likely take a hit as better deals are inked. 

Though I love the ideals of Bernie and what he managed to accomplish (hopefully the start of an awakening), the battle is steeply uphill. The same goes for, whatever it is that people are asking of social media platforms. Maybe in past years it could have been probable. But now that IPOs have made billionaires out of platform and app creators, again, good luck. 

Unlike the Medicare dillemema however, there is a feasible option. Anyone can create a space online, so one can build the utopia they desire. A place where the masses (regressives, theists, idiots, whatever!) do not matter, because it is a place that their numbers do not control. A free speech zone, if you will. 

Now, this may not be easy (or cheap). To guarantee most control would mean starting from scratch, likely right down to coding. Unless you pay for someone to do it for you. There is startup capital required for servers and space for them. On going rent, electricity and broadband costs. Upgrades as the site grows (no doubt VERY quickly, being the sentiment of many). 

Though not as simplified as one would like, being in a free market does not guarantee that success will come with ease. You have to spend money to make money. Or in this case, you may have to spend money to gain the free and open internet you desire. Whether or not users feel it’s worth paying for free speech (and thus, whether the platform lasts), will come later. But you won’t know unless you try. 

So, how about it Milo, and other people with a love of free speech and a hatred of platforms that do not accept it as it should be? How about considering investment in such a platform? 

Milo recently wrote somewhere (Facebook?), something along the lines of “Twitter is done for conservatives and libertarians. They are at war with free speech”. 

First of all, coming from a so called libertarian, this is hilarious. And 2ed, there is no war on free speech. Companies can self police however they please, as is their right as property owners. Users can either abide, or fuck off. It does not matter if every idiot on earth without a CLUE about the whole topic of free speech is in agreement. Your playing in someone else’s playground. You are bound to their rules. 

I have outlined a way to possibly rectify this problem in our favor. Though neither easy OR cheap, it is possible. Rather than wishful thinking, it is a potential solution. 

In fact, I can think of at least one YouTuber that has tried to make such a dream happen. And from what I’ve heard, it was a success at least for a little while. Until the money ran out. 

I have acknowledged the problem. I have proposed a solution. So one can either fight an uphill (and unfair) battle against platforms of current. Or one can look to a solution. It’s our choice.

Just quit whining about the war on free speech. 

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