On <DEMONETIZED> and censorship

Published: by Vika

Just to warn you, this post will be touching some very sensitive topics, like depression, self-harm and suicide. If you're feeling depressed or you have some sort of PTSD, maybe it's best to skip it and read something else. But if you're okay with reading such things, then go ahead.

We're going to live in a digital era. The age of information has already come, and in times of quarantine due to the pandemic, most of us are essentially living our lives on the internet, to save our fleshy shells from catching the virus. We're breathing in content from social network platforms, we speak our minds into the Void.ย 

But sometimes, people running this void for us reject our voices.

Today I'm gonna talk about censorship on the internet. On social networks like Facebook and Instagram, on YouTube, TikTok... everywhere. And I feel like my website is the only real platform where I can post it, because if I start talking anywhere else, I'm afraid I'd be quickly silenced.

Some topics are best not to be touched in the void of the internet, or the moderators will speak their minds, overriding your thoughts. The content we're breathing in is highly regulated, and all that is "toxic" gets deleted. But sometimes, the moderation goes too far. Voices which need to be heard are deleted with everything else. The social network becomes a happy idyllic place. But this ataraxia is fake.

"Fake it 'til you make it", say people, referring to building confidence. Platforms like Instagram try to help us live a happier life, but they do it in the wrong, mistaken way. They just silence unhappy people until everyone becomes happy. Don't you think it's weird?

The happiness that people want to produce with their services gets forced on us. Every time someone struggles through tough feelings and maybe wants to do something horrific with their life out of despair, this pops out.

And nothing more. Their voice just gets silenced, their screams in the void left unheard. The Void rejected their cries for help to fake happiness instead. They offer "resources" and tell that they want to "help", but as far as I know, they just care about money flowing in from ads and their resources sometimes aren't that helpful. There's a lot of stories on the internet, particularly by minority groups such as trans people, telling that suicide hotlines didn't help them, instead offering generic answers that felt like jokes, like rubbing salt into the wound. Rubbing very firmly and professionally.

Do we have a moral right to silence those voices? People can die if they aren't heard. We can't fake happiness by simply erasing everyone who's unhappy. It's immoral to do so. We can't be the judges here.

But we are judging. And who do I mean by "we"? Social network moderation platforms and advertisers. You see, if you allow people to post their content and speak their minds freely, advertisement platforms won't buy ad spaces next to these posts, which means the site's revenue drops. All of our world is built around advertisements, and advertising companies have become monarchs of this new digital world.

Can we trust them with this power? I don't think so.

Ad companies only care about revenue. They don't care about people, they don't care about happiness. Capitalism has led us to an antiutopia full of people faking happy thoughts so they won't get erased off the internet. Is there even any alternative?

There might be. Setting up your own website under your own domain name, and encouraging everyone else to do the same. That way we'll become independent from social networking sites with their predatory guidelines on what can be posted and what cannot be.

This is the only way to speak into the void freely. Build your own void. And this void has a name, and it has been named The IndieWeb.