L. Neil Smith's THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 886, August 21, 2016
The Fall of Social Media
by Sean Gangol
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
For those of you who haven‘t been keeping up, the social media site known as Twitter has had financial problems due to fewer people tweeting on the network. This has led to the company losing market share and their stock is starting to plummet. This has led to many executives, including the CEO to jump off of the sinking ship. Why are fewer people tweeting you may ask. Nobody knows for certain, but the people who have inherited this mess seem to believe that it is because of internet trolls and online harassers who discourage others from expressing themselves.
So what is their solution to this problem? Start tightening rules and crackdown on harassers. Never mind that conventional wisdom tells me that tightening the rules, would actually make it harder for users to express themselves. Don‘t worry, it gets even better. They have decided to create a panel of advisors to judge which tweets constitute harassment. On the panel is Anita Sarkeesian, a video game hating feminist who considers all forms of criticism to be harassment, which is why you can add Professional Victim to her list of credentials. This is a woman who has told deliberate lies about video games so that they would fit her narrative about how these games encourage misogyny. Then she acted like there was some misogynist conspiracy launched against her when her lies were exposed. Yeah, this is the type of woman I would want on a panel about online harassment.
Though to be fair I can‘t blame the entire shortcomings of the panel on Sarkeesian. I think its biggest shortcomings is that it doesn‘t have any representation for conservatives or libertarians. This has led to conservatives on Twitter having their accounts deleted for no apparent reason. Even prominent conservatives like Milo Yiannopoulos have fallen victim to the Twitter Purge. Adam Baldwin who led the Gamergate campaign has decided to quite Twitter all together and has encouraged other conservatives to fellow suit. Nice work, Twitter. You managed to alienate a large portion of America‘s population. I‘m sure that it is going to bold well for your bottom line.
Sadly Twitter isn‘t the only major social media network that uses these same invasive practices. I have heard of several conservatives and libertarians who have had been suspended and even banned from Facebook due to complaints of hate speech from other users. In the case of libertarian activist Christopher Cantwell it seems as if he has spent more time suspended from Facebook, then actually having a functional page. Even the owner of the site has said that he will do everything that he can do to discourage hate speech, which could mean anything from making racist comments to simply having a disagreement about letting Syrian refugees into your country.
Before anyone starts sending me emails about how these are privately owned sites and that they can do whatever they want, I want you to know that I am well aware of that. However, people may be put off by the fact that these sites promote themselves as places of free expression, while creating rules that actually make it harder for their users to express themselves. Twitter is starting to learn this the hard way. Facebook is still going strong, but if they keeping throwing their users under the bus because of some arbitrary complaints, then people will eventually find other outlets. Just because you guys are the biggest honchos at the moment, it doesn‘t mean that it will always be this way. Social media sites come and go every day. Remember MySpace? You guys could very well share the same fate. Hell, Twitter already has a good head start.
Update: I actually began writing this article about two or three months ago. This was before the recent incident that got Milo Yiannopoulos banned for life from Twitter. The incident involved a member of the cast of the Ghostbusters remake, who was battling it out with trolls who to be fair were tweeting remarks that were pretty racist and disparaging. Yet, Milo who only criticized the woman for being a professional victim found himself permanently banned. Never mind that he had nothing to do with the trolls making racist remarks. I know that there are some who claim that Yiannopoulos had somehow orchestrated these attacks, but there is absolutely no evidence for this assertion. That woman was already fighting with the trolls long before Milo got involved. Apparently it made no difference to the Twitter management, who is standing by their decision, despite the formation of the “Free Milo” movement, who are demanding that his ban be overturned. Once again it seems as if Twitter is doing everything it can to share the same fate as MySpace.
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