Why Big Tech deplatforming should be deeply disturbing for everyone, regardless of your politics

An illustration of Big Tech governing speech through its power as a monopoly.

So many of today’s issues are viewed through a political lens, and that includes Big Tech deplatforming. But in reality, deplatforming is a problem worthy of deeper critical reflection as it touches on topics that are fundamental to democracy itself. 

Once thought of as an untameable jungle of free speech, the internet is now a walled garden, increasingly monitored and controlled by a handful of unregulated monopolies. The gatekeepers to the walled garden, companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, serve as the judge, jury, and executioner for the internet.

The latest display of their power came on late Jan. 29, when Google banned Element, a chat application that uses the federated Matrix chat protocol. Without warning, and through no fault of its own, Element was cut off from the Google Play Store, losing access to the 2.5 billion mobile devices that run on Android globally. Google claimed there was “abusive content somewhere on Matrix,” but this is like banning web browsers because there is abusive content somewhere on the internet.

After a public outcry, Google reversed its decision less than 48 hours later, saying the ban was made in error. Yet “errors” like this have become disturbingly common. There are hundreds of cases of these “inadvertent bans” by Big Tech. Google has also mistakenly blocked Reddit and podcast apps

Regardless of your politics, all instances of deplatforming should be deeply disturbing, even when some might think it’s justified, like in the case of Parler and Trump. The problem is not that Trump (or any other individual) was deplatformed but that deplatforming is possible in the first place. It is a deep societal problem that the public town squares of the 21st century, which are essential for civil discourse, are entirely controlled by a small number of unelected tech oligarchs. 

Google, Big Tech, and deplatforming: How we got here

Deplatforming sits at the intersection of free speech, technology, and antitrust, each of which is a highly complex issue on its own. There is undoubtedly a need for some level of content moderation, and even free speech has limits (for example, one cannot shout “Fire” in a crowded theater). But it is equally important to examine who has the power to decide who is heard and who isn’t.

Under current law, Big Tech platforms have the final word on their services. They have the right to decide which thinkers, politicians, and businesses are allowed onto their platform and which they will expel. This might seem reasonable until you consider Big Tech’s scale and how fundamental the internet is to modern-day life.

Most businesses can’t survive without an internet presence, which is subject to just a few gatekeepers. Facebook and Twitter can destroy a company’s social media presence, and Google and Apple can decide which companies can exist on mobile devices. Meanwhile, critical internet infrastructure companies, like Amazon Web Services, can determine the fate of a company’s entire online presence. 

This is a precarious position. Big Tech companies have repeatedly proven they will ruthlessly pursue their own interests at all costs. These companies allow misinformation on their platforms to increase user engagement. They constantly spy on their users, trying to find new ways to access previously private data, because the more data they collect, the more they can monetize.

How did it get to be this way? Part of the issue is the revolutionary aspect of the internet and the speed of technology. Regulators are always playing catch-up. However, Big Tech could not have accrued this power without the woeful dereliction of duty by the governments of the world’s major democracies. Politicians on both the right and left have allowed Big Tech to buy up their competition, use their platforms to favor their services over their competitors’, and even clone their competitors’ goods and undercut on price. 

Absent any regulation, Big Tech companies continue to expand their invasive reach. Facebook is trying to launch a new cryptocurrency, Google is moving into wearable smart devices, Apple is taking on health care, and Amazon is attempting to wring dollars out of the last few brick-and-mortar shops still standing. Any competitor standing in their way faces getting bought out, deplatformed, or chased out of the market by predatory pricing.

Thanks to this colossal failure, Big Tech now dominates the internet. And they continue working to consolidate their power. Big Tech is now the largest lobbying force in Washington DC. This corruption is present on both sides of the political spectrum. For example, the reported front-runner to head the Biden Justice Department’s antitrust division, Renata Hesse, is a former lawyer who has advised Google and Amazon and whose husband’s firm still works for Google. 

The problem, as clearly stated by Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister of Economy, is that when it comes to Big Tech, “The regulation of the digital world cannot be done by the digital oligarchy.” Unfortunately, the tech giants have increasingly captured the regulators and politicians who are supposed to be representing the interests of the people. 

Big Tech has created an internet and political system that primarily benefits the monopolists. But it does not have to be this way.

What we do now will determine the internet — and the world’s — future

We are faced with a starkly binary choice as we consider the internet’s future:

  • Leave its governance entirely up to Big Tech and concede that the internet will only serve a handful of companies going forward
  • Implement laws, passed through a democratic process, that regulate what tech giants can and can’t do on the internet and return power to the people

Democracy cannot survive an internet under the thumb of Big Tech. Monopolists ignore the proliferation of fake news and the chilling effect constant surveillance has on free speech in the pursuit of ever-greater profits, and they are eroding the foundation of democracy. Politicians around the world need to reassume their role of regulating monopolies and serving the interests of the citizens who have elected them.

While some people take pause at the mention of regulation, it is much preferable to the current system. Democracies are made up of elected representatives and are therefore accountable to the people. Without strong regulation, the tech oligarchs are accountable to no one, and they will only shape the internet to their own benefit.

The solution: strong antitrust laws and people willing to enforce them

Stronger legislation is needed so that businesses can feel confident that a monopolist won’t unfairly undermine them and regulators can step in to ensure that Big Tech follows rules that ensure a fair and open internet. 

However, the real solution is to eliminate the monopolies altogether. Progress is being made, and there are things you can do to fight back:

  1. While it is not perfect, we support the European Union’s proposal, the Digital Markets Act. If vigorously and swiftly enforced, it could effectively curb Google’s and the other monopolists’ anticompetitive behavior. If you live in Europe, write or call your MEP and tell them you are in favor of a strong DMA.
  2. And we are encouraged by the dozens of US state attorneys general who have filed suit against Google, Facebook, and other Big Tech companies for antitrust violations. If you live in the United States, write or call your elected representatives and tell them you are in favor of strong antitrust investigations into Big Tech.
  3. Finally, you can choose to do business with companies and organizations that respect your privacy and freedom.

We must hold our elected representatives accountable for defending our interests, as opposed to Big Tech’s interests. If we fail to do so, we will only have ourselves to blame when tech giants continue to put profits over fundamental human rights.

We can make the internet free and fair once more, but there is not a moment to spare. This is not just a fight to rein in monopolies and allow innovation and the markets to flourish; It is a fight to preserve democracy.

Updated Feb. 22, 2021


Feel free to share your feedback and questions with us via our official social media channels on Twitter and Reddit. Note that while blog comments also remain open, questions and feedback will not be responded to individually. Where relevant, we will incorporate the most frequently asked questions or comments into a blog update.

About the Author

Andy Yen

Andy is the Founder and CEO of Proton, the company behind ProtonMail and ProtonVPN. He is a long time advocate of privacy rights and has spoken at TED, SXSW, and the Asian Investigative Journalism Conference about online privacy issues. Previously, Andy was a research scientist at CERN and has a PhD in Particle Physics from Harvard University. You can watch his TED talk online to learn more about our mission.

 

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102 comments on “Why Big Tech deplatforming should be deeply disturbing for everyone, regardless of your politics

  • “even when it might seem justified, like in the case of Parler and Trump. ”

    A totally unprofessional statement. It’s shocking to see how unprofessional a company ProtonMail really is.

    Reply
    • No, that’s not what he said. He said, “some might think it’s justified,” which is a true statement even if you (like myself) do not believe so.

      Reply
  • by the way, the real solution is very simple: ad blockers. They will crash the entire business model of many of these companies. If they can’t display ads, they won’t make money, and tracking won’t make any sense, either.

    Reply
  • Alex, protonmail is professional and about “Parler and Mr former USA president Donald Trump”, considering all facts, it had to be done.
    Now it is not just by adblocking. Because these adblocks developers hardly receive donations and can’t run for long on their own means. Majority comply with tech. giants, so that specific trackers or add are being let through in exchange of finance. All of this contribute in profiling you.

    In the case adblocks become purely transparent, some sites will break, restrict access or just block services.

    What should be done is to call out the injustice, sensitize our relatives about the threat and do as Protonmail stated.

    Cause No One is above the law.

    Reply
  • @Alex I don’t think that’s an unprofessional statement, he said “might seem” he clearly didn’t take a stance on the issue. He was simply tying the article into current events.

    Reply
  • So Protonmail.com is an alt-right platform. Scary what a stranglehold mentally ill and personality disordered people have over freedom to speak on internet. Right! We should be able to teach other theories like how the world is flat, Jews cause all the problems, God created the world in 7 days and illegal immigrants are coming to take all the jobs/security away. One day the alt-right will pay a high price for enabling this I hope.

    Reply
  • I think the real long term solution should be decentralization. Letting the government tell companies what they can and cannot do does not give power back to the people, it’s just continuing to pass along the hot-potato ticking time-bomb that is corruption due to power. This is why we need to support companies like Twitter’s new project Blue-sky, and non-profits like Signal

    Reply
  • I cannot agree with the statement regarding being justified to delist or take Parler off and even Trump. Any ‘justification’ would then be based on the view of the platform which is why we are having these freedom rights removed and isn’t this what your main premise or complaint is about. And I agree with what you are saying in principle.

    Reply
  • We need an alternative for all these companies. The Big Tech is full of talk about democracy and rights, yet they rule like dictators. People can easily make an impact just by stop buying their products and services. The only way to bring them down is to hit them where it hurts – their money.

    Reply
  • Alex, what you have written is an example of quoting out of context.

    The full quote from the article is the following:

    “Regardless of your politics, all instances of deplatforming should be deeply disturbing, even when it might seem justified, like in the case of Parler and Trump. ”

    It should be pretty clear that Proton’s position is that “all instances of deplatforming should be deeply disturbing”, including the deplatforming of Trump.

    Reply
  • This statement, “even when some might think it’s justified, like in the case of Parler and Trump,” does not prove or disprove Andy’s political position. Even if Andy turns out to be a liberal, it sounds like he understands the core values of privacy, freedom of speech, and respect for differing opinions. This is where we need to get back to as a nation. Agreeing to disagree. Honoring one’s freedom to choose. Making laws that stop monopolies. Protecting privacy, freedoms and liberties.

    I enjoyed and agree with this blog.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  • Realmente tudo isso é muito perturbador. A matéria vai ao cerne da questão e nos remete a profundas reflexões sobre novas posturas devemos adotar enquanto cidadãos usuários da internet. Por outro lado, tenho notado em diversos artigos sobre as Big Tech, nos quais são frequentemente citados o Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon e até Apple, mas não me lembro de ter visto nenhuma referência à Microsoft. A omissão à essa Big Tech significa que ela trata com mais respeito a privacidade dos seus usuários?

    Reply
    • Oi Marcos. É mais que a Microsoft realmente não fornece uma plataforma pública, como tal, da maneira que as outras empresas mencionadas fazem.

      Hi Marcos. It’s more that Microsoft doesn’t really provide a public platform, as such, in the way that the other companies mentioned do. Edit. My apologies to Marcos and thanks to Cassidy for pointing out that my initial response was in the wrong language.

      Reply
  • So glad to see ProtonMail taking the ‘right’ approach here, instead of some embarrassing stances like the ones taken by some so-called freedom fighters… *cough cough* like Mozilla *cough cough*.

    Reply
  • I would disagree with the need for laws regulating big tech. When the government gets involved here, inevitably it will be big tech that benefits. They have the lobbyists and the large compliance teams, whereas small startups don’t and will get choked out of the marketplace. We are already seeing alternatives to big tech appear, which may not survive in an environment of regulation. I think the free-market is the best response to deplatforming.

    Reply
  • Thanks for the info. I am currently de-googlizing and reducing and carefully using the internet due to 5 eyes and other eyes. I have been into computers since the late 60s. I have seen a lot of change. I am careful about limiting my electronic usage overall, so as not to be ruled by technology.

    Reply
  • While I agree with the sentiment and overall objective, I disagree with the soft view on censorship. No, censoring Parler and Trump was not acceptable. End of story. Please read up on Schneck v US and Justice Holmes Jr’s later opinions on the matter before BSing us about shouting fire in a theatre. Because compromising even the slightest shows that you don’t care about the principle of free speech; the banned entities did nothing more egregious than typical. Taking a soft approach on 1A shows weakness, and exposes the reality that you’re willing to cave to political pressure. If you agree that censoring Trump or Parler was okay, or deplatforming anyone without sue process, then your opinion is just wrong, and you are don’t really stand for a censorship-free Internet (you stand for a mildly censored internet) and you should resign from any position defending free speech. The right to share your political thoughts is absolute. Anyone who disagrees with that is an enemy to freedom, and this is a topic I’m willing to die over. Too bad the leadership we have online doesn’t go as far as that, and even says that de-platform If can be just.

    Reply
  • Frankly, my trust in ProtonMail has decreased after reading this article. I previously thought of maybe buying a paid subscription but now I’ll probably start looking for a different email provider. Because this article is written by their CEO, and this CEO advocates MORE government regulations and control. I hate any and all kinds of governments. They are worse than the tech giants this CEO is suggesting to regulate. Nothing good ever comes out of government regulations. The reason I’m using ProtonMail is because I don’t want governments in my life! ProtonMail is an email you want if don’t want governments in your life. Now, after this article, I don’t know what this company is about anymore.

    The Tech Giants are dinosaurs who have grown to gigantic scale and are riddled with internal bureaucracy and inefficiency. Just give them some time, and they will crumble under their own weight. Yes, they are monstrosities, but their days are numbered.

    In fact, I don’t care what happens to Google or Facebook. If we weren’t in an everything-bubble, I’d rather short their stock. What I don’t like is that in a company I trusted there is another pro-regulation CEO. Can someone fire this Andy Yen guy? If you can, please do, since he obviously has a wrong picture of what his company’s customers want.

    Reply
  • Thanks for the post for discussion. IMHO, the issue here is that the platforms are not enforcing their own Terms of Service, which any at-will customer (or vendor) has the right to do. And there is no (for US) “free speech” argument, as the 1st Amendment about what the Government must allow, not private businesses. We all know that Google’s (83%) and Facebook’s (97%) revenue comes from ads, and their AI pushes dopamine-laced content that optimizes for Time On Site KPIs that create that ad revenue. Sadly, even with 2B AdBlock downloads by users, their ad revenues went up again in 2020.
    If they’d just enforced their TOS’ consistently from the start, then they would not have had to take the ‘politicized’ action they took in January. Sad to see that because of that, Proton is being tagged as alt-right or antifa yourself for just stating a POV. As an anti-surveillance and privacy consultant, I’m with Proton even when I don’t agree w/your view. Let’s keep working for a decentralized internet and keep getting people to walk away from Google, FB and Twitter.

    Reply
  • I strongly suspect that the damage to democracy caused by de-platforming is more extensive than what a terse examination of the issue exposes. It is a level of tyrannical corruption that only comes out of absolute power. We need to help bring about its demise. The practice must be exclusively reserved to stop criminal active and enterprises such as terrorists and human traffickers. AND such actions should only be taken after consultation and confirmation with the appropriate crime-fighting agencies such as Interpol or the FBI.

    Reply
  • What is this trend with people adding “Big” to things they don’t like? Big government, Big pharma, Big tech…. and what did they expect from a free service whose business model is based on selling user data? I stopped using Facebook and Twitter 5 years ago and don’t regret it. If something is trending on Twitter I directly open the hashtag using my browser.

    The best solution to this “big” tech problem is to use decentralized platforms like Mastodon and Friendica. Think about it, if the US govt self-hosts all politicians on Mastodon, they can decide if they wish to put up with the BS spewed by Trump.

    Reply
  • A note to Andy Yen. . .

    If you haven’t already, make sure to keep an eye on Bruce Schneier’s blog — schneier dot com

    You and he are probably the two leading consumer’s advocates (who actually know what they are talking about) for internet privacy and freedom.

    Cheers.

    Reply
  • I appreciate this thorough analysis and you raise important questions. However, I think there’s some key context missing here: big tech is not a public service.

    Most folks have become so conditioned to expect Gmail to handle their email, Facebook to handle chatting with friends and posting pictures of their eggs Benedict in the morning, and so forth, that we are bowled over when they say no. And that’s where we get the present-day obsession with, and apoplexy over, getting “canceled”.

    Facebook is a private venue. It’s not owned by the public, it’s not paid for by the public (other than by leasing the marketing-sensitive regions of our brains for a few hours a day). As it stands, it’s private property, no different than a hotel lobby. If I walk into a hotel lobby and start pontificating about how the election was stolen, and that doesn’t resonate with the ownership, they’re liable to kick me out. That’s what Facebook is doing, in essence.

    If I take to the streets with the same rhetoric and secret police showed up and hauled me off to a detention center, that would be a problem.

    We can’t treat Facebook like a public service, or any tech company for that matter, because they have a mission that runs contrary to the public good: turning private profits. Some of the things big tech provides could arguably become public infrastructure (Google Maps can be a life-saving tool if you’re in an emergency, for example); Facebook, not so much, in my mind. But I respectfully disagree that the state has a moral imperative to moderate social tech content.

    Antitrust/”how big is too big” is another story. These companies are absolutely too big and atomizing them will help, but my cynical guess is that the broken-down units will still collude to make the same profits. More competition will help, but anyone arguing that a freer market is going to address the gaping, historic, unconscionable wealth gap in the world today, which is ruining lives at the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder.

    Reply
  • Andy, I was wondering, …can you suggest a safe hosting service (Switzerland?) that would secure all the data of all of its users? Can’t really do that in the US, unless I go with the dark web. Does ProtonMail have a server service like that?

    There is a real requirement now to have an alternate platform for unbiased open information. It is a worldwide problem. The News in the US is no longer news. It’s just opinion. I hardly know anyone that tunes into it anymore. Everyone is eager for a better alternatives.

    I really like your product. I’ve directed a few people to get accounts at Proton. I use Fastmail as my primary (only because it has been around longer than you guys) and Proton mail as my anonymous mail. I will continue to recommend your product to all the businesses I work with.

    Reply
  • Protonmail we would very much like you to develop an app like Twitter, but with the well-known standards of quality and moderate freedom of speech of course. I believe that you are the ideal company for this. We cannot be at the mercy of big techs. someone needs to make an App for this.

    Reply
  • I agree that anti-trust laws should be enforced and adapted to the times. Equating free speech with deplatforming is an over-reach. Oligarchs? Misinformation spreads on the internet because it takes advantage of human nature of fear — even though the truth was just as readily available. Trump still has freedom of speech; the ban from Twitter doesn’t affect that. Claiming that his ban removes him from the digital town square is a fantasy because the internet is no town square. A town square has social rules as well as repercussions for breaking those rules — none exist on the internet. Google et al allowed the spread of misinformation but they also tried to control it — driven by user demands; especially when lack of control results in real-world violence. “Cancel culture” is another way of avoiding responsibility for one’s actions. Trump was banned from Twitter and rightly so.

    Reply
  • None of these are monopolies. A monopoly is when a single entity controls a resource that is necessary for everyone. That isn’t the case here. Nobody has to use a computer or smartphone, and nobody is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to use Facebook or Twitter or any other anti-social network. Nobody is forcing you to buy Apple or Android, or Windows. There are options and alternatives. One alternative is none of the above. All of these are given power by every individual who CHOOSES to use them. I created and deleted a Facebook account more than 10 years ago. I all but stopped using Twitter 2 or 3 years ago. I’m very careful with my Android settings, and am always mindful of what I’m giving up versus what I’m getting when I’m using one of these devices. I run Linux on all my computers. Everybody else is free to do the same. If they choose not to, that’s their choice, and they have no right to gripe about the power they are consciously giving to these companies.

    And speaking of companies, they are choosing to outsource functions that are insanely stupid to outsource. Again, if they want to have control over anything, they need to take control by taking care of their business themselves and not complain that a third party isn’t handling things the way they like. The responsibility is theirs alone, not somebody else’s.

    This is the fundamental problem eith the world today: everybody is lazy and greedy and refuses to take responsibility for themselves or admit that they deserve the consequences of their own bad decisions. Outsourcing always has far, far higher costs than the (always biased and very selective) alleged financial analysis might indicate.

    Reply
  • Andy,

    I love this blog and support your position. Yet you too are partially buying into the problem. That you allow ProtonVPN to go out on F-Droid is awesome yet, as far as I can tell, your Android and iPhone apps are only available through the proprietary app stores you decry.

    Having been an early adopter of Gmail and grandfathered in on a free 50 seat Google Workplace domain I was part of the problem. I am now part of the resistance, de-Googling myself and, once I have a workable environment for them, my very non-technical family.

    I’m running CalyxOS on my phone, have installed ProtonMail and ProtonCalendar using Aurora Store to protect and regain my privacy. I’ve been involved in Linux since 1993 and work for an open source software company. I was part of the initial LineageOS volunteer crew and personally compiled the builds of LineageOS 14 for the AT&T One m8 for myself and the community until the official Lineage team had their build servers up (my builds are still out there on Android File Host which makes me smile a bit). If it sounds like I think I’m special, I don’t, I’m just one geek among many, trying to make the world a better place. I’ve met some of the really smart ones, worked with a few of them, I’m not one of them except through friendship. But we moderately crafty big tech resisters are the exact right people to be engaged in your beta program yet we’re excluded because we refuse to bow down to Google. Please let us help. Set up access to the beta through your own site or F-Droid. I’m paying for a professional ProtonMail account, let me and people like me help more.

    Sincerely,
    Chuck

    Reply
  • An excellent article. All Americans (and elsewhere) should read this.

    I clicked to share this! and my options are – Twitter, Facebook … — how ironic if they decided to block my sharing of an article that describes how they censor alternate speech.

    Reply
  • The biggest culprit is the American Congress which has granted exemptions from First Amendment accountability and protections, no doubt after millions spent by Big Tech to lobby and buy influence. Big Tech is best compared with regulated utilities which cannot discriminate in services, because they are mediums, not really private in making service decisions. Customarily, they are electric, phone, and to a degree cable TV which is franchised by governments. I think the best analogy is land line phone and power regulation, which seems a good model. The companies are private but the public control is substantial.

    I disagree with Mr, Yen to the extent he opens the door to any regulation; loopholes are abused, and Big Tech has the money and power to exploit them like they do now. Censorship cannot be cabined off, in my opinion.

    Reply
  • I also enjoyed reading this article and agree with it’s stance, however unpopular today.

    This stance is anathema to bought-and-paid-for politicians, entrenched media, elite academia, and certainly big tech…a sad state and a disgusting cycle ever hungry for power, control, and personal gain.

    Thank you ProtonMail for providing we-the-people with daily choices to help break that cycle, and to Mr. Yen for again demonstrating the courage to express the hard truths.

    Reply
  • I am not a techie, but I did get deplatformed from Medium.com, after many articles published there since 2019, for their tagging my response to a comment on an article on covid as unacceptable as per their policies.

    Could these giants be converted from platforms to a structure similar to email, which is more private? Could we then have setting options for what feed we want and don’t want?

    Reply
  • I think that Protonmail and other independent email services should set up their own app stores etc so that we could form various multifunction alliances to stand against any state, corporate, and vigilante censors that may attack our freedoms.

    Reply
  • Government is the problem, not the solution. Govt has done much more than simply indemnifying big tech. That is why big tech is getting away with this behavior. It is not “dereliction of duty.” It is the inevitable point of failure in all govt that people eventually call regulatory capture despite the historical fact that regulatory capture is a govt function, not a govt prevented danger.

    The major attacks on freedom executed by big tech over the last half a decade were all directly coordinated with political agenda. The faction behind that political agenda is now controlling the west and their big tech allies are part of that faction.

    How exactly do you imagine voting, which has been indisputably compromised since the deployment of electronic voting machines (not that ballot voting was ever perfectly safe) is going to fix this? How could this possibly be fixed by just appealing and trusting in the same govt organizations that didn’t merely _fail to prevent us_ from getting to this point, but directly colluded to bring us here?

    Protonmail advertises itself as a safe platform with almost the entire point being “safe from govt misbehavior.” That appears to have been trashed as a concept and it is quite disappointing.

    Reply
  • I am in total agreement. Although I do not intend to use proton mail extensively (yet), I am impressed enough to upgrade to a paid account. Keep up the crusade.

    Reply
  • I have closed down two Twitter accounts and my Facebook account. Both which had been in use for a long time, going back to when they first went public. The reason: so-called “fact checking” in any post that had keywords that the respective corporations’ staffs considered offensive or “untrue.” All of my posts were my opinion and posted to my followers which were almost exclusively friends and family; they should have been allowed to remain. I have since moved my social media presence to the clone of Facebook, MeWe. From USA Today:

    “People all over the world are leaving Facebook and Twitter in droves because they are fed up with the relentless privacy violations, surveillance capitalism, political bias, targeting and newsfeed manipulation by these companies . . . MeWe follows its Privacy Bill of Rights which states the platform does not manipulate, filter or change the order of users’ newsfeeds or use facial recognition technology.”

    Best of all, for me, is no advertising on my timeline. Almost 50% or more of the posts on my Facebook timeline were ads. And there have been no hacking attempts or attempts to clone my account, which happened frequently on Facebook.

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  • Did ya’ll notice that the U. S. Congress is moving at warp speed to create legislation that will reign in the Big Tech companies? (Me too. My money is on the lobbyists.)

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  • I think people need to take a stance against big tech monopolies. Stop ignoring people who have been trying to educate on importance of privacy and security, I often hear people refer to them as paranoid or conspiracy theorists. You don’t have to leave under a rock or stop using modern technology (well some you should not), but simply take steps to prevent giving information to tech giants that build index and your online finger printing. At first it might be inconvenient, but overtime it becomes as second nature. For example: compartmentalize your online activities under multiple browsers (mozila, duckduckgo, brave, etc…), avoid using iphones, stop using free email services (Gmail, Yahoo mail, hotmail, aolmail, etc…) unless it’s for junk, use degoogled phones, avoid using smart in home speakers with AI (alexa, google and apple), use VPN, https everywhere, use signal for texting and most importantly delete all facebook apps (facebook, messenger, instagram and WhatsApp). Yes that sounds like a lot to take on, but try to do that gradually and you will see that it is not so bad. People give up so much information for convenience and with a little social engineering they will give up information to someone with bed intensions. This is good practice to keep big techs out of our personal lives and be aware of suspicious activities. I’m taking those steps and noticing the difference in my life, however if more people participate we can make an effect on this tech giants.

    Reply
  • I’m grateful that Protonmail provides an alternative to conventional email services. Because of the overreach of Big Tech, and abuse of deplatforming, I’ve chosen Proton for its encrypted email. I hope more people become a part of your community to exchange information in privacy. For now, I appreciate having one of your email accounts as the back-up should I get barred from the current provider.

    Reply
  • I think everyone here on Proton has do so, because of Big Tech. Love Parler and Trump, or hate them both. We are all in this together. I lean conservative, but would gladly take up the fight along side my liberal counterpart. Politics aside, the real enemy of freedom is Big Tech.

    Reply
  • I agree with much of this article. Deplatforming is a massive affront to free speech and a tool for the consolidation of immense political & economic power. But I’m not persuaded that heavy, centralized regulation is the solution.

    Regulation, as much as deregulation, is what has allowed financial institutions & Big Tech to grow into the cartel of oligarchic entities they are. Sweeping, thousand-page bills largely written by the very industries they’re meant to regulate has helped multi-national behemoths grow at the expense of smaller companies which are intentionally smothered by regulations they don’t have the resources to manage. This does not happen by accident and this problem with corruption existed long before Big Tech came along.

    Many years of following politics & an evolving political philosophy has taught me that it is incredibly naive to believe our so-called representatives in national government can actually be trusted to craft legislation to keep power in the hands of ordinary people & limit the power of the oligarchs.

    Breaking up these Big Tech monopolies? Sure. I’d support that. Heavy regulation of what tech companies can & cannot do and the bureaucracies to oversee their compliance? No. Keep it simple. Among other things we’re going to need innovation, a few ‘true believer’ philanthropists, and most importantly of all for the masses to realize nothing is free. If you want liberty & privacy it comes at a cost.

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  • All that is great but the main problem is lack of good (free) big tech service alternatives. For instance, I want to migrate fully from Gmail to Protonmail but PM disadvantage is 500mb (this is ridiculously small) storage for free accounts and the fact that many options considered free in Gmail are paid in PM. If you want to ‘eliminate the monopolies altogether’ you need to offer equally attractive services as monopolies. Metaphorically speaking its like you want to beat (in basketball) ‘dream team’ giants with a team of short-height players.

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  • these have been my deep concerns also. eg. I also rail at youtube omniscience – the uk bbc is capable i think, of setting up an alternative …i have suggested this to them…there are others like vimeo and some quite dodgy looking ones but we need good respectable entities to compete with beasts like youtube…it is intensively irritating to have deal with youtube/google registration/signon/incomplete and misleading cookie/analytic/management processes which are convoluted and interminable. Consequently, having stopped using google nearly ten yrs back I have also stopped using youtube – they are too intrusive.
    I could go on for ever on this….
    Thanks for good people like you

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  • Andy, you nailed it. As stupid or misinformed are some things that show up on the internet and social media are, shouldn’t the people decide what is good or not for themselves to read or believe? We’re not China yet, but I’ve read some of these comments and it’s almost like they want that….unbelievable.

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  • Our politicians have long since sold us down the river. They are at once beholden to and terrified of big tech. As a lover of liberty, I never click on a google ad, I don’t buy from Amazon, I do not use Facebook, nor Apple products, and I limit my use of google to non-personal unimportant searches, anything important is done on Duck..My important email communication is all done thru Protonmail. I’ve watched as google and the rest of the oligarchs went from being truly helpful to liberty and the sharing of information to being increasingly dictatorial and promoting false narratives and falsehoods. No thanks.

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  • I agree with you. However, I find it quite humorous that after appropriately excoriating Twitter and Facebook, you offer a “Share This!” Option that includes Twitter and Facebook.

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  • Andy Yen, WOW. Amazingly articulated. Profound. Thank you for your intelligent, forward thinking call-to-action. The alternative is scary.

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  • It does seem odd that an article about privacy and free speech would imply that it was justified that Parler and Donald Trump were rightly platformed. Why take such a partisan stance in this article? It was disappointing for me, personally, to read that.

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  • Lol… Big Tech are all publicly traded companies owned collectively by government through majority shares held which means they vote in the board members who hire the CEO’s who direct various managers to operate the company how they want it to be operated. Which now is the active silencing of voices of dissent against approved narratives.

    So in what universe does government police itself?

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  • When you think free speech has limits, you soon find yourself limited. We had limits in the US on credible threats of violence and calls to overthrow the existing government. Now it seems those limits keep growing to things that certain groups of people find distasteful. You will be amazed how quickly your “freedom loving” speech will be labeled dangerous “hate speech” that must be censored.

    Remember this post.

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  • Nothing will change. Morons will wear devices that track and monitor every movement and choice. The internet of things will order new pizzas when the microwave scans the last one. Your dietary intake will affect your insurance premium. Facebook is already scanned to identify high risk behaviour. The DNA you sent for your family tree which luckily also caught a related serial killer will also doom your grandkids to a genetic risk score. Most people are too stupid to realise the risk. If you are moronic enough to post the beach you were on during your sick day from work then you are too stupid to understand how you are being shaped, sold and ultimately herded into building your own prison.

    I can find emails on the web that I wrote in 1987. The web is forever and always,

    The politicians will take their kickbacks, bribes and campaign funds from the tech giants and there will be tinkering at
    the edges but nothing to really threaten their control. Just as Rupert Murdoch once owned UK politicians so will
    the tech giants have their own leashes.

    Put the FBI, CIA and NSA in with them and you have the ultimate corporate fascist state where one day your phone has child porn on it and the next minute your door gets knocked down.

    Roger stone could have been mailed a subpoena but instead a 70 year old couple got helicopters, a SWAT team with night vision gear and CNN setting up cameras 10 mins ahead of time from the tipoff.

    Reform is a nice fantasy but real power is a deadly game. Thanks for playing.

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  • Who here has heard of Hyde Park in London?
    Hyde Park has a centuries-long tradition of permitting free speech on its premises. The idea is that anyone can walk into the park with a soapbox or milkcrate or some other small platform, set it down, stand on top of it, and talk about anything they choose.
    There are some limitations. THe speaker cannot openly incite criminality along the lines of “EVERYONE! Join me this second and we’ll march on Joe’s house across the street and KILL HIM! LET’S GO! RAAAAAAAUGGH!” That’s not allowed. Also, the speaker cannot use their platform to sell illegal narcotics. THese kinds of very stark violations of the law are prohibited.
    Other than that, however, the speaker can say WHATEVER THEY PLEASE. They can criticize the government and call for its overthrow – Yes, Really! They can espouse the idea that all political leaders are secretly controlled by aliens thru little chips planted in their brains while they sleep. It’s OPEN SEASON with regards to the speaker’s right to say whatever they want.

    THat was the original espoused intent of Social Media companies. Unfortunately, they have strayed from that and believe themselves worthy of arbitrating what is allowed to be said or posted on the internet, per their own personal preferences/opinions/prejudices. They are also currently allowed to pick and choose their own legal rights and protections as both a ‘public square’ and an editorialized content provider. In other words, from a legal standpoint, they can make their cake and eat it too.

    This is the heart of the problem. If they are part of the public square, this both grants them certain legal protections but also entails certain legal responsibilities. If they are editorialized content providers, they have a DIFFERENT set of legal rights and obligations. They must be forced to CHOOSE.

    For my part, I don’t use FB, Twitter, Google or Amazon. I use all the alternatives I can find.

    The rest of you can either ‘vote’ with your own choices, press your political representation to take action (though they’ll most likely just use their leverage to extort the current near-monopoly social media outfits to favor them with public support and campaign contributions while passing a few weak laws as window dressing), or conform like a good little e-slave. The choice is yours.

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  • Excellent post. The principles of freedom and privacy should be a universal idea across the political spectrum. I believe the best solution is for people to the best of their ability walk away from big tech and use open source and decentralized tech. Why wait for government to step up. It is better for people themselves to take the lead.

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  • “even free speech has limits (for example, one cannot shout “Fire” in a crowded theater).”

    Being a slightly older American, the thought of a limitation on free speech makes me vomit in the back of my throat a little bit…

    One cannot shout ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater, not because of a perceived limitation of free speech, but because of an actual limitation on interfering with another’s right to engage in and execute a contract… the contract that exists between a theater owner and his patrons.

    Just sayin’

    Still love you…

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  • Free speech does NOT have it’s limits. If ANY speech is regulated, then ALL speech CAN be regulated. That’s like saying, “I support free speech except when…”

    Which is exactly what the problem we’re current facing is all about.

    Some one in a position of power has decided ‘Even free speech has it’s limits’.

    I do agree, deplatforming should be universally disturbing.

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  • Legislation is most certainly not the solution. We have ample evidence to show that without a doubt monopolies cannot stand without government intervention. People are brainwashed by American education into thinking the government can protect them from monopoly. Remember all the companies in favor of “Net Neutrality”? Many people are surprised to find that these are the very companies trying to censor the internet. I am not surprised in the slightest, because Net Neutrality was just another example of government backed monopoly masked as “legislation to protect people from monopolies”.

    Stop advocating for a government solution and become the solution. The reason I am here posting this now is because I canceled my Gmail account and all of my other Google services. I canceled Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon (who I spent over $30,000 with last year). The only solution is to stop patronizing these evil companies. Now instead of my money funding these companies it is going to other companies with better values like Protonmail and Signal.

    The government will make this problem worse. It is guaranteed. Shake off the anti-trust propaganda you’ve been spoon-fed your entire life. The government ruined the nation telecom industry in the US. The last thing we need is the internet going the same route.

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  • I’m waiting for protonmail to come out with their own social media also built with the same privacy-based functionality that the protonmail suite of products currently has. The only way to prevent deplatforming is to be able to get the app somewhere other than the major play stores, and be able to have agreements in place that server space will not be wiped out, and or to have the servers physically located outside of the United States of America. I love protonmail. And I am so excited that they keep building fantastic products. Bring us a social media we can trust.

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  • A good way to enforce obedience to Big Tech would be to threaten to remove them from under the copyright umbrella. A country or an association thereof, such as the European Union, may announce that for some time now the resources of a particular platform may be freely downloaded and used for any purpose as long as the download tool is located in that country or association.

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  • To me this comes across as a facile and frankly uninformed opinion from somebody more focused on alarmism rather than on solutions. Moving the free and open internet that exists now into an internet more controlled by government regulations is frankly the strategy that China would agree with readily, but that western countries should avoid. Even if I was to agree with your concerns about the concentrated power of ‘big tech’ – your solution is to instead concentrate power into big government bureaucrats, who are even more open to corruption, nepotism and self-dealing behaviour, so that they can choose which companies to favour based on what favours or lobbying they receive. This is the wrong direction.

    The better solution here is for governments to eliminate regulations that protect big tech and that have enabled them to become as big as they have. This includes protection from libel and defamation and other content on their sites that they currently are protected from (famously in the US by Bill 230, and in other countries as well). Further, privacy protections for consumers are necessary but not in the wildly bureaucratic manner of the GDPR in the EU – but by forcing tech companies to require consent EVERY TIME THEY ACCESS USER DATA.

    In any case – the solutions won’t be contained in this response to an article calling for the internet to move in the direction of China and North Korea… but it is important to address the falsehoods in your position.

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  • You guys at Proton tech are our heroes. :) That is why I gladly use Proton VPN paid and have my email in paid account as well. What is a hundred or so bucks per year to fight for freedom, privacy, and a free Internet? :)

    Thanks for all you do!

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  • Trusting governments– even democratic ones– to solve all of the world’s problems isn’t the answer. Like another commenter said, all that does is centralize power. In this case you’re just shifting power from Big Tech to Big Government. The answer lies in decentralization of power and free markets.

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  • So often we hear concerns about practices of Big Tech companies influencing our bying habits through ads etc and that this is endangering our privacy. These can simply be bypassed by adblockers. The real concern (of which deplatforming which Andy illustrates is a clear example) is the enormous amounts of censure that has increasingly come to exist on the internet. Information has become more and more controlled on the internet, as it has been for a long time on TV and in newspapers. You are not just being tracked to get you to buy a product, but to collect data about everything you do, say, and think. To be used for what, and when? Good question, and a very naive notion would be that it is just about making money off you. When anyone speaks of a 1984 situation they are immediately labelled as conspiracy theorist, without giving it a single thought of what is meant by such a statement.
    The problem is not about selling products and commercialism (although effectively destroying brick and mortar businesses and other small to medium scale ‘middle class’ ventures — including cultural expressions such as arts and musical performance — definitely is a huge problem; in this day and age it is obvious that governments have resorted to other ways of accomplishing that), a much more pervasive problem is that an artificial reality is being/has been programmed into citizens as being the truth, and asking questions has become, if not a terrorist act then at least a ridiculous practice of idiots (“one of those”).

    Our current world situation is a clear example of mass hysteria through brainwashing, where huge lies have become unquestioned truth and reality for the masses as a direct result of monopolizing information and censure. Main-stream media has been fulfilling the propaganda role for a long time, but in contrast to say 10 years ago, the internet is no longer the place to go to for more objective information because of the increasing censure. This is one reason why it has proven to be so easy to stage world wide catastrophies and fool the masses into believing anything they are being told. Changes can move at rapid speed as a result, but who is looking?
    Measures that took power hungry rulers 80 to 90 years ago 9 years to accomplish, are now being put in place in merely one year….and not just in a single country but around the world!

    Information is power, and so is witholding information…the ruling politicians along with their ‘friends’, CEO’s of powerful lobbying industries, bought scientists and academia, know this all too well and use this knowledge to the extreme. Fortunately more and more people are waking up and connecting the dots. It feels like a race; are enough going to wake up on time to stop the global tyrrany that is actively being launched as we speak?

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  • Thank you for a sensible stance on this topic. The answer is for the people to have a reasonable level of oversight via democratic means. It’s not the wild west anymore—a few oul barons, so to speak, have taken over. Their power must be tamed.

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  • Excellent and necessary blog post. One quibble: you state that “for example, one cannot shout “Fire” in a crowded theater.” If there is a fire in a theater, it is indeed legal to shout “Fire” and we all would want to be alerted in this way. You should have added the caveat “when there is no actual fire occurring.”

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  • Reading this article has made me realize that ProtonMail is a left wing activist organization. I’m not cool supporting thing and will cancel my pro membership.

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  • Andy, keep up the good fight against Big Tech…our freedoms are NON-POLITICAL…and everyone needs to fight the growing monopolies of Big Tech. Please continue to share your views on de-platforming and the dangers of Big Tech monopolies!

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  • It’s interesting to see people in the comments talking about this article from different viewpoints. I think that this article spotlights an important issue with the ambiguity of the internet as a space. Should it be considered as a format, like a book or pamphlets as a way of distributing information? Or as a space, like a “town square” (as Andy called it) where people come to express their opinions, share gossip, and tell stories about their day. Currently, social media has taken over the role of the town square while inheriting none of the innate limitation that a real-life, physical space has. Online, there are no “public roads” where a user can look around and see different “businesses” (websites and platforms) regardless of anyone’s intentions. Google’s search engine came the closest to replicating an intermediary platform, but they’re still a company:
    A company of people with unrestricted power over the index, who use that power to pick and choose who is visible and who isn’t. On the internet, we’re all a bunch of blind people trying to find a restaurant for dinner, and web indexers/search engines are the only people with a list of ones in the area. What’s to stop them from “forgetting” to mention the 5-star Italian place on main street?

    The issue is exacerbated by the sheer size of the internet. At the speed of light, there’s no geographical restrictions: The entire internet is always available, 100% of the time (to an unrestricted user). There’s simply too much information for people to process and choose which parts of the internet to congregate in.

    People turn to the internet first when they want to share an opinion or plan an event. Say there are two people with opposing views. One is deplatformed, while the other has free reign on the internet. Which do you think is going to convince more people, faster to join their cause? Tech giant social media platforms have a firm, sweaty hold of our voices and the voices of alternative platforms. Without intentional intervention, we will continue to remain in this oligarchic state, as a country (USA here), and globally.

    Someone in the comments said that putting laws in place to regulate deplatforming would be “just continuing to pass along the hot-potato ticking time-bomb that is corruption due to power.” and they’re not entirely wrong. Corruption persists wherever there is power. But I think that, in lieu of natural restrictions, artificial ones must be put in place to protect freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble. Right now, the power to impose those restrictions lies with the government.

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  • I agree with your point that some people, too many people, have politicized and see this issue in binary only.
    If one says he is anti-censorship and doesn’t agree to ban people, then immediately others say he is agreeing with banned people and therefore he is to be dismissed too.
    I mean, too many people nowadays are conditioned by too much tv.
    Wake up, there are other ways…

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  • “Monopolists ignore the proliferation of fake news and the chilling effect constant surveillance has on free speech in the pursuit of ever-greater profits…”

    This is doublespeak. If you favor the control of “fake news,” then you do not believe in either free speech or a free press. In a society founded on free speech, it is up to the individual, not a gatekeeper, to decide what is and isn’t fake. And that decision can only be made when information is allowed to flow freely.

    I remember what it was like before the Internet, how information was tightly controlled by a small group of gatekeepers, and I have no desire to return to it. Having to sift the wheat from the chaff is infinitely preferable to controlled news.

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  • Like many such arguments, I find that this seems to operate from a mildly erroneous base assumption. People are steadily coming to think (as this article appears to) that Google is the only way to navigate, and that DNS doesn’t actually exist. It’s understandable – after all, when you load up a browser, the address bar is no longer an address bar but a search bar, and if you stick with the default (usually Google), then whatever you type in there feeds into their search, and may or may not take you to a website with an IP address.

    But, web addresses, IP addresses, DNS resolvers, and on and on, do all still exist. And they – not Google, let alone, ha, facebook – are still the architecture of the Internet. Remove the search, type in a web address, and boom. There you are.

    Facebook is not obligated to give me space on its servers (and in fact I don’t want it to). I pay for my own server space, because I’m lucky enough to have a little money to do that with. (Not a lot – it’s marginally more expensive than a UK TV license.) Facebook cannot stop me from writing whatever I want on my own website. And, I cannot stop facebook from writing whatever it wants on its own website. Nor – unless the web address my browser is telling me I’m at is a total lie – can facebook stop me from coming here and reading protonmail.com’s blog. And nor can Google. (I guess Amazon can if you’re using their web hosting, which would seem pretty heavily opposed to Protonmail’s ethos?) When I used to post on the Minas Tirith forums (now sadly dead, it seems), I was allowed to post, but certainly had no right to, and could have been banned by any of the moderators as they saw fit. Surely that’s acceptable?

    After this it becomes a matter of scale. Is it the case, then, that past a certain “number of users” (how do you even tell how many active non-bot users a site has?) a company that has little to do with the Internet architecture becomes in some way “the Internet”? (I know Google does have its own DNS service, but I don’t use that either. :p) If there are enough comments to the Protonmail blog, does Protonmail become forced to host any and all of those comments, including the ones containing child porn, or advocating murder/suicide?

    Facebook is fat, and has its tentacles everywhere. But it’s just another forum site like we all used to post on back in the day, with extra code to cut down the number of posts any one user sees. It’s a forum site lots of people use, and lots of people are lazy enough not to bother going anywhere else, but it’s still basically just a forum. There are plenty of arguments for making people drag their asses off it and go to other, better websites. But what criteria can you possibly use to distinguish it from any other forum site?

    Similarly, Google and the Android phone. You can install another OS on any phone you please, but even if you don’t, a few clicks of the browser (which need not be Chrome; mine’s currently using Firefox) gets you anywhere you want to go. It’s long been possible to sideload whatever programs you want onto Android, as well – there’s an option to turn off the restrictions and load your own programs tucked away in most settings.

    All of this is not to say that there aren’t issues with the amount of control some of these companies can exert over their users, but those users did choose to be there. And can choose not to be at any time. It’s entirely plausible that the sheer scale and all-encompassing reach of Google’s many, many, many services is a concern; or that the fact that everyone has a strange obsession with facebook (hey, remember Myspace? Livejournal?) gives it a weird and probably unhealthy amount of power over them. But neither Google, nor Facebook, nor Twitter, nor Protonmail.com, nor my own tiny little website, can throw any person off the Internet. All they can do is decide that they, personally, don’t want to host that person’s comments. The person can still go set up a website just like anybody else – you don’t get assigned a Magic Personal Facebook Forever Account at birth that governs everything you do on the Internet forever more (though I’m sure facebook would love that); if you did, then the issue of “Facebook doesn’t want to host your shit” would be a real problem. As it is, it’s simply a problem of some people’s laziness and other people’s sense of entitlement.

    TL;DR: Facebook/Google/etc. are not, in fact, the Internet. And Protonmail, of all organisations, should know that. (Isn’t the whole ethos here to have a nice private encrypted email unlike the one that Google offers? Or does Proton actually just provide a flash-looking wrapper over a bunch of Gmail addresses?! XD)

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  • I wish I had the answer to these monopolies. If the US gov’t imposes laws/regulations re: free speech and information harvesting we have just moved the issue from the monopolies to a gov’t agency (the thought police). The political party in power can and probably will slant the news and issues to favour their views. The old problem of who’s watching the watchers.

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  • The only thing that makes me more afraid of platforms controlled by the people who own them are platforms that are converted by well meaning laws into a nascent, mega-conglomerate, state run media. Even the USA, which is supposed to be the world’s ultimate example of a self-balanced republic, has suffered McCarthyism and Trumpism. Imagine if Trump could have used US law to exercise even modest control over the entire social media network! My stomach churns at the thought.

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  • You claim no ties to politics, but the article you linked to “Parler and Trump” is extremely politically biased. That is concerning, but hopefully ProtonMail doesn’t start canceling users like big tech is doing.

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  • Andy I admire your stance over privacy and we need more people like you. Most people however are not concerned about these issues. Just look at any review of for example which email service to use or which video chat service to use. I checked out VC services yesterday and found not a mention of Wire, Wickr Element or Vsee. I have personally spent a lot of time trying to get people away from FB, Skype, Google Whatsapp to almost zero effect. Everybody thinks these issues are nothing to do with them since “we are not doing anything wrong” we will not be affected. Something has to be done but by who? The only organisation(s) who have the power to deal with this are Governments who can be trusted even less that big tech! They will however move eventually. They will sit on the sidelines for a while longer then ride in on a big white horse and “SAVE” us by bringing in legislation. At the same time we will then have passed total control to the Government and ended up with exactly what we fear and have been trying to avoid. BIG BROTHER!

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  • Very informative with detail written clearly and concisely. Also, thank you for not only stating problems but possible solutions and proposed actions. While the deplatforming actions so far seem to be one-sided politically oriented, even if it were not, deplatforming gives too much power to too few people.

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  • @Heike Hey.

    1. The entire sentence is literally “Regardless of your politics, all instances of deplatforming should be deeply disturbing, even when some might think it’s justified, like in the case of Parler and Trump.” The article writer is bringing up an example from current news and tying it in with his article. His views and political siding is completely in the dark per this article, which is made even clearer that his views are vague when both you, @Heike and @Alex piss yourselves from opposite sides of the political spectrum over what you THINK the writer is actually saying. (@Heike – “it’s an alt-right statement!”, @Alex – “it’s a left wing statement!”)

    2. I am someone who has what you call a “mental illness” and a “personality disorder”. Yet, I am about as open-minded as they come. I am extremely left. I do not appreciate the uneducated and misinformed such as yourself lumping me and people like me in with those who are so ignorant they seem to lack common compassion and common sense, and those who are so stupid they can’t see where their actions would lead them. You can check the statistics and research for yourself, mental “illness”, as you call it, is NOT the link between someone and violence. The links continue to be socio-demographic, economic, and education. In actuality, I am more at risk of violence from someone such as yourself who’s got so much prejudice shoved into their tiny little body that you can’t even see straight. You literally just exhibited your own prejudice for my group in the beginning of your comment, and then went against prejudice for others i.e. immigrants, in the end of your comment! Are you that unaware of yourself or are you just a child? Additionally, I do hate the terms “illness” and “disorder” or “disability” considering they paint a picture of something broken. I am not broken, I am neurodivergent. You are neurotypical. There are some good things that come with being the way I am, it’s not all doom & gloom & sh*t. For example, those with ADHD (a learning difference or some other word, not “disability”) liken their ability to hyperfocus on something to a superpower. I sure as hell am not going to allow anyone, especially someone as ignorant as yourself to make me feel as if I am broken. As politely as I can, I am telling you to think before you speak or type.

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  • Hello! Sir,
    You do realize that most people who think the way you think a libertarian and or conservative. And that your most likely decenters are liberal.
    Over…

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  • I have to say I disagree.
    Some countries Will ban people sites etc. because it messes with their philosophy you cant stop them. Having said that I think there should be limits on free speech. i dont know where we got this notion (I think USA) that free speech is the cats pajamas, but I don’t think it is. I think that the world is in crises now because of these freedoms. When a few crazy people gather together from around the world it will equal 1000’s of people. which makes you think its a mass of people, creating some sort of false Inertia.

    Just my thoughts
    Regards

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  • You want to replace one gorilla with another. I view business in a free market as more representative than government. Every day people who do business with a company are voting their approval of it. If your don’t like the way a company is doing business you can choose some other one or start your own. Democratic governments follow only what the majority want, business can give options for all. Governments don’t solve problems, people do.

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  • I keep coming back to this post, and I’m still conflicted. It really seems like we would’ve been well served by de-platforming in the cases of extremist rhetoric; not just the events of January 6, but the rise in anti-Asian racism, harmful anti-trans discourse, repeated revelations of law enforcement belonging to racist Facebook groups… it’s a different ballgame when extremism is involved.

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