In 2014, Twitter slacktivists viralized a picture of a bunch of cats strapped into scary looking racks with a caption that read, “Retweet if you say NO to animal testing.” Thousands of keyboard jockeys dutifully retweeted the photo, unaware that the entire campaign was a hoax. In reality, the photo depicted cats that had been rescued from an abusive hoarder and were waiting to be spayed and neutered by veterinary students at the University of Florida.
Early this year, Hollywood actor Shia LaBeouf, launched a livestream in Queens, New York, during President Trump’s inauguration billed as a participatory performance that would be broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the entirety of President Trump’s 4-year term in office. The “art” project consisted of glassy-eyed SJW zombies chanting in monk-like monotone before a camera, “He will not divide us.
Trump supporters and trolls soon overtook the event. The pushback so fried LaBeouf’s circuits that he was arrested by the NYPD for allegedly attacking one of the hoaxsters in anger. Weeks later, the Museum shut down the display, citing the ongoing public safety hazard and violent altercations that were occurring at the site.
While relatively harmless, the two events and thousands of others like them underscore a more dangerous trend that threatens to destroy the free and open internet: We are awash in shallow and substance-free internet campaigns pushed by well-funded do-gooders and embraced by lazy SJW’s (social justice warriors) that increasingly provoke actual changes in the very structure of the internet.
Consider the rise in internet censorship of late. In an effort to crack down on so-called “hate speech,” companies like Facebook and Google are implementing new algorithms to filter out and block speech that they deem offensive. The companies of course claim they are simply responding to user backlash. In reality, a relatively small but vocal group of anhedonically grim fun-sucks who seem to live in a perpetual state of dreary outrage over mere offending words on the Interwebz typically launch the pressure campaigns to incite the changes. While Silicon Valley, already leftist in its worldview, is all-too-often happy to comply, the results can frequently backfire spectacularly.
Google for instance, recently launched a new initiative called the Perspective API that supposedly uses advanced machine learning to help moderators filter toxic comments. But as Liel Liebowitz recently noted in Tablet, the new API often finds even straightforward statements of fact verboten. “Three Israelis were murdered last night by a knife-wielding Palestinian terrorist who yelled 'Alla hu Akbar'” received a 92 percent “toxic” rating by the API according to Liebowitz.
Facebook, which uses teams of human reviewers and algorithms to block offending content, often censors the very content that SJW’s would most approve of. Last month, the San Francisco chapter of Dykes for Bikes was banned from Facebook during San Francisco’s Pride Week ostensibly for using the forbidden word “Dyke” in their post.
While the two examples may elicit a certain degree of schadenfreude from those who have been warning about the dire consequences of internet censorship, they also point to the increasing pitfalls of trying to reengineer the free and open internet in a way that doesn’t offend the delicate sensibilities of online SJW slacktivists.
Not surprisingly, new companies and initiatives are springing up in response to the SJW censorship campaigns that truly understand the value (and the business opportunity) of maintaining a truly free and open internet.
Gab.ai, created as an alternative to social networks like Facebook and Twitter is grabbing market share by pledging not to engage in the sorts of controversial censorship now plaguing the dominant social nanny networks. Last week Twitter shares tanked after the company announced that it had added NO new users in the last quarter. Gab.ai meanwhile, has over 200,000 users.
New browsers like Brave, ironically launched by Brendan Eich after he was forced out of Mozilla for donating $100 to an anti-gay marriage initiative in California, are challenging the dominant Silicon Valley players by blocking website trackers, removing internet ads and improving online privacy by sharing less of your personal data with advertisers.
Even video sites like minds.com, vid.me and liveleak.com are emerging as SJW-free alternatives to dominant players like YouTube. Does some of the content include conspiracy theories, racial hatemongering, and other lunacy? Absolutely. But driving such hateful speech underground as SJW’s seem intent on doing, only drives the hatemongers underground, where they can multiply freely without pushback in the forum of ideas.
For now, Silicon Valley is free to kowtow to SJW’s who only want an internet that closely resembles their limited socialist worldview. But they do so at their peril. Because new companies that understand the value proposition of a truly free and open internet are always willing to step into the breach.
Christie-Lee McNally is the founder of Free Our Internet. She was the Maine Statewide Director for Donald J. Trump for President in 2016, is a concealed weapons permit holder, and a USAW Certified Olympic Lifting Coach. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.
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