In case you haven’t noticed, censorship has been rising to whole new levels on the internet recently. Entire social media sites are taking positions against those who may be more critical and less positive in their messages – instead taking the sides of social media users who feel “harassed” by negative comments.
It isn’t harassment if you’re just voicing your opinion and your opinion is that you don’t agree or think what someone is doing is good. You know that, I know that, pretty much everyone on the right knows that. There’s this thing called free speech that seems to be thrown to the wayside when social justice warriors cry victim, and it seems to be getting a lot worse.
Each and every single one of us should know what happened to Milo on Twitter at this point. Banned for “hateful conduct,” he’s been censored by Twitter, but far from silenced. You don’t need a Twitter account to make your voice heard.
The problem is not just Twitter; the issue of censorship is an epidemic of the internet that simply becomes especially obvious when examples like these take light. A high-profile Twitter user banned just for voicing his opinions in a way not deemed to be rainbows-and-butterflies enough? Milo’s fans got out of hand so he’s held responsible? I’m sorry, no matter what way you spin this – it’s a matter of censorship and that we all know never would have happened if Milo had been a social justice warrior harassing someone for some nonsensical little tripe (like having a Hawaiian bobble head on a car dashboard?). I’m not here to judge the message, though – I don’t want the social justice warriors to be silenced just as much as I don’t want those on the right to be silenced – free speech should be dealt to absolutely everyone no matter what they’re trying to communicate. So long as the way a person communicates that message is not physically harming or threatening anyone, I don’t think a person should be censored. And no, emotionally causing “harm” by “hurting your feelings” does not count as a reason to strip away someone’s right to free speech. Burning property that’s not yours – not a way to communicate I can get behind, sorry; but a social justice warrior yelling at the top of their lungs, or Tweeting aggressively away at those who do not agree with them – yes. Perfectly fine. They have the right to, just as much as we have the right to.
Yesterday, I was depressed to wake up to an episode of my favourite (mostly) lighthearted news show on YouTube, the Philip DeFranco Show, showing me that things were once again changing for the worst when it came to censorship on the net. The title of the video, “YouTube Is Shutting Down My Channel and I’m Not Sure What To Do,” prepared me somewhat for what was coming but didn’t stop me from feeling sick as I watched, and re-watched, this blatant assault on free speech. YouTube cracking down on removing monetization on videos that break their Terms of Service, which include, “Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown”? You’re not allowed to talk about the news if you want to monetize videos on YouTube? This is more than a little disheartening.
Another area of the YouTube Terms of Service is even more disheartening. Covered under what is not acceptable is: “Inappropriate language, including harassment, profanity and vulgar language.” What constitutes as harassment? Who gets to decide? I guess if you’re criticized in a YouTube video you can ask for it to be pulled or demonetized these days, and that’s just how it works. Frustrating as hell.
DeFranco received a lot of comments essentially arguing that YouTube may be censoring people who don’t happen to agree with what social justice warriors are saying – DeFranco says that this doesn’t seem to be the case right now, as people who are quite liberal in their political views on YouTube are still being hit with demonetization. That doesn’t mean that they couldn’t crack down on anti-liberal/anti-SJW videos, but that right now that does not seem to be the issue.
Regardless, DeFranco insists – and rightly so – that this is bad news. If you hit a content creator in their pocket, it makes it so that they’re unable to keep producing that content. You’re taking away free speech, not by removing the video, but by making it so the creator’s means of funding for their hard work on their channels dries up – which is still censorship, though not in the same way as blatantly removing users from your website, as Twitter did.
Whatever the reason these social media sites come up with, the levels of censorship are increasing to whole new levels on the net. And, in my opinion, there’s only one way to make sure your favourite content creators are “safe” from these actions of social media and other sites – which we cannot control.
Yes, you can follow your favourite content creators on all social media sites you are a part of, so that in case one censors, the content creator can still be heard over the others – but even that’s a bit useless seeing as how Facebook changes their algorithm multiple times a year making it harder and harder for pages to reach you with their messages, let alone Twitter banning, and now YouTube going on a de-monetization streak and possibly an outright ban streak later. A content creator may lose all their means of communicating over a few short months.
So what can you do to make sure your favourite content creators are not censored? Subscribe directly by email.
Just this past week, we pulled Survival Pulse, the daily survival and preparedness news site we took over back in February 2015, underground. Blacked the entire website out; took down everything that used to be on it – all the old news we’d linked to, gone. We’ve converted our format to an email newsletter only – with no website, no nothing. Why? When people access our website, it’s usually through search, through social media, through various factors that we have no control over. If Google changes their algorithm, if we get hit with a penalty, if the social media sites change their algorithm, if we get outright banned on those social media sites – we can no longer communicate with you guys. This way – subscribed by email – we can. We can still get our message out no matter what happens with all these other sites that our out of our control.
It’s a matter of being able to combat censorship before it happens; as I see it – the prepper way. Reacting to being hit by something later on when we’re no longer able to reach you is a terrible way of dealing with things – if we react preemptively, we can keep you guys in the loop from the start and work on sending you the updates you’d like without any hiccups. We can make sure that no matter what happens in this complicated world of the web, we are still able to reach out to those of you who’d like us to. Email is the only assured way.
And so if you’re interested in always receiving More Than Just Surviving updates, subscribe to our email newsletter (we have forms under all our posts and in our sidebar at all times). If you’re interested in always receiving updates from Prepper Website or any of your favourite survival blogs – subscribe to them by email if they’ve got email forms. Don’t want the emails to clutter your inbox? Sign up for a gmail account that allows you to sort and move the newsletters away from your Primary tab. At least you’re still getting the news that way, and you can refer back to the old news if/when you need it.
For Survival Pulse, a site that merely links out to important news stories and articles in our industry, this was the absolute only way we could see ourselves being completely safe from censorship, and yes, it is something we worry about – maybe not because there is a direct threat right now, but there’s a good chance that something will happen to censor those in our industry in the future. And we want to be ready. We want to make sure we aren’t hit. We want to make sure we can still reach those who want to be reached. This honestly is the only way to 100% guarantee that.
If you’d like to subscribe to Survival Pulse, you can do so here. If you’d like to subscribe to More Than Just Surviving, do so below. Remember, you always have to confirm subscriptions, so check your email for confirmation messages once you’ve entered your information, and hit the link to opt-in link within those emails
Don’t let censorship affect you. They can force us underground, but there, they can’t touch us.
Fight censorship by getting the updates you deem important directly from the source – and by not going around getting it through social media sites that your favourite content creators have no control over and may ultimately be censored by in the future. Use email subscribe forms – that’s what they’re there for.
This was a great article Elise. I’ve been following SxePhil for about 8 years and never miss an upload. Glad to see that someone else loves him too.
Earlier this year I gave away all my social media accounts. I stopped seeing the need for them. It has made keeping up with some friends a little more difficult, but the ones that I’m really friends with, we rarely used Social Media to keep in touch. You could say it was a good way to sort the wheat from the chaff.
That being said, yes, it disturbed me greatly watching Phil’s uploads and subsequent uploads about the YouTube “Hero” Campaign. WTF was that pile of pants? The big part about all of these platforms that we have to remember is that most if not all have very little regulation other than to do with pornography and copyrighted material in most cases (and even then their pretty loose with those). Suffice it to say the restrictions that YouTube and other platforms are putting in are targeted at those with the biggest voices. It’s either “Follow our line or GTFO”. And my reasoning for this is something you pointed out. It makes little difference to a bloke like me if I get banned. I can just create a new account with a new email, but for someone that has millions of followers, like Phil, they instantly lose a platform they have spent years of hard work developing and usually worked with the platform that is banning them. And it doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with what’s being said. Everyone deserves the right to say it. Just as everyone has the right to ignore it.
Censoring people for having an opinion is also a great way for Vimeo to become way more popular than it already is.
On another note, have you and Thomas considered starting a YouTube channel?
Elise Xavier says
I haven’t been around long enough to have known him as SxePhil haha, but I’ve been on board with his news show the past year or two. His content has really come a long way from what I’ve seen of his old stuff.
I’m glad the Hero campaign bull didn’t seem to get very far / change YouTube much so far, though the only way to know if going forward there’s going to be more censorship is to live through it. I’m also glad they seem to have made the changes to the community that Pewdiepie literally pushed for for years (especially the one making it obvious when the actual content creator has written a comment, versus copycat accounts making it look like they’re the video creator).
I agree with you of course on the banning thing, which is why I’ve always thought it very important to build up your social media channels on every platform possible if you’re a content creator. That way, you’ll be hurt, but won’t be taken out completely if you are taken down from your main source of traffic.
I hope that in the future more will take free speech seriously. I really do, but I mean it doesn’t seem to be the way things are headed. I think Twitter is a hard lesson learned that even when censorship does happen, it will take a long time for people to jump ship because honestly, most really don’t notice when one or two people are censored. Life goes on – except for those creators who actually had their content pulled.
Thomas and I have considered starting a YouTube channel, though more of a vlogging one than a specifically survival + gear related one. Thing is, there’s not much more we can say about the topics we talk about than we already write in our articles, so it wouldn’t make sense to make videos regurgitating the same content. But vlogs we might do eventually. I do feel the world needs more conservative vloggers, if that makes any sense. I know I’d want to watch more of those..
…and then there’s TOR and onion sites. Publish on the dark Web and propagate to a regular WWW site, with the .onion address prominently displayed for all to see.
Thomas Xavier says
Sadly, most people are not comfortable using hidden services. :( Otherwise I would jump on board. Speed is also an issue with the sheer amount of images we use.
Thanks for dropping by Peter, appreciate it.
Thanks for another great (yet sad) article!
I agree the private sites should be allowed to make and enforce their own rules. It is because of the way they do make and enforce their rules that I choose not to use them. I am thankful for the work you put into your blog and the emails advising of new posts.
Another great post would be a post with names of useful blogs to subscribe to by email. Thanks again for all you do!
Thomas Xavier says
Thanks Todd, appreciate the support. I don’t have a linkedin or personal facebook accounts. It just makes me uncomfortable- glad to hear I am not the only one.
For a second then i was thinking “when did i write this?” Cool name you got there mate.
Thomas Xavier says
I got confused too! Thankfully the avatars are different.
I agree with your concerns about censorship, but form me (in Canada) I’m more upset about the biases and ‘censorship’ perpetrated by a publicly (tax payer) subsidized media outlet – The CBC. I’m a strong believer in Free Speech, but I don’t get upset that private social networks create (and enforce) they’re own set of rules. They built the platform (the users didn’t), it’s free to use (if you don’t count the insideous marketing bombardment) and if you don’t like it, don’t use it. It’s like borrowing a megaphone from someone and then being mad when they want it back. Frustrating for sure, but not surprising. I’m glad you’ve taken the steps to protect Survival Pulse via subscription. However I won’t be upset or surprised the day when I can’t login to my gmail account, to find that it’s been ‘closed’.
Thomas Xavier says
The issue RS is that 50% of people get their news from Facebook exclusively- we are getting dangerously close to a situation where a handful of individuals can control the mainstream narrative for millions of people.
I prefer to circumvent that nonsense entirely. I would argue that the users DID build the platform- you can create your own facebook/twitter right now with free scripts (diaspora etc.) but it won’t have an impact without users. When it comes to these online giants- they monetize us and thus should respect us. When we don’t buy something, we are the product and consequently they need us more than we need them- sadly, they don’t respect that unspoken agreement.
100% with you on CBC, we just moved to the UK from Canada in May. Publicly owned broadcasting corps are a joke these days.
I thought about this with the “megaphone” idea you mentioned and remembered a podcast i listened to on NPR called “how i built this – Instagram” and it followed along with how when instagram started, it had about 25,000 subs in the first few days but never really hit until celebrities jumped on board. And you are absolutely right that they built the platform but i think there is an argument that the platform would not be what it is with some of those users with massive follower counts. Twitter is a perfect example of this. they have stagnated because to zero percent progression in recent weeks however their big name subscribers are not losing sub numbers that noticably. Kind of a chicken and the egg sort of thing.