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IPFS News Link • Censorship

The Closing of the Internet Mind

• By Jeffrey A. Tucker, Debbie Lerman, Aaron Kheriat

And on Facebook, you are likely inundated by links to official sources to correct any errors you might carry in your head, as well as links to corrections to posts as made by any number of fact-checking organizations.

You have likely also heard of YouTube videos being taken down, apps deleted from stores, and accounts being canceled across a variety of platforms.

You might have even adjusted your behavior in light of all of this. It is part of the new culture of Internet engagement. The line you cannot cross is invisible. You are like a dog with an electric shock collar. You have to figure it out on your own, which means exercising caution when you post, pulling back on hard claims that might shock, paying attention to media culture to discern what is sayable and what is not, and generally trying to avoid controversy as best you can in order to earn the privilege of not being canceled.

Despite all the revelations regarding the Censorship Industrial Complex, and the wide involvement of government in these efforts, plus the resulting lawsuits that claim that this is all censorship, the walls are clearly closing in further by the day.

Users are growing accustomed to it, for fear of losing their accounts. For example, YouTube (which feeds 55 percent of all video content online) allows three strikes before your account is deleted permanently. One strike is devastating and two existential. You are frozen in place and forced to relinquish everything–including your ability to earn a living if your content is monetized–if you make one or two wrong moves.

No one needs to censor you at that point. You censor yourself.

It was not always this way. It was not even supposed to be this way.

It's possible to trace the dramatic change from the past to the present by following the trajectory of various Declarations that have been issued over the years. The tone was set at the dawn of the World Wide Web in 1996 by digital guru, Grateful Dead lyricist, and Harvard University fellow John Perry Barlow, who died in 2018.