Social Media Biggies vs. Remarkable Upstart MeWe on Free Speech
The social media biggies have become the 10,000-pound gorillas threatening everyone on their platforms with their machismo censorship. Frighteningly, these bullies are throwing their weight around more every day — stomping down free speech and democracy.
Facebook, Twitter, and the other social giants appear more and more eager to expunge their platforms of any users, groups, or content that don’t fit in neatly with their own biases, kicking out good users and taking down harmless pages and groups, often without warning. Their strict censorship agenda runs counter to the whole purpose of social networking.
Social media was intended to be an environment where good people of all stripes could gather to express themselves freely and exchange ideas, share opinions, or just have fun hanging out with friends, all with common sense rules of decency. Instead, today’s top social networks have become authoritarian echo chambers, where the platforms themselves are active-duty thought police, dictating what is acceptable speech, and what’s not, based on the personal beliefs of their leadership teams.
The war against censorship in America is nothing new. In fact, it predates there even being an America. Take England’s Stamp Act of 1765. It levied a tax on all printed documents, which many colonists viewed as an attempt to squash political debate. That didn’t turn out so well for England. The moral is when people recognize blatant censorship, they fight back with a vengeance. The problem in the digital age is that many people don’t realize this censorship is even happening — until it happens to them, or their favorite influencer, group or page.
What’s happening on social media today would make George Orwell dizzy. The rampant censorship knows no bounds and is interfering with countless conversations between individuals and communities, including: conservatives; progressives; farmers, livestock and dairy; news sites; the LGBTQ community; African Americans; vaccine skeptics and advocates for alternative medicine; vegans; Christians; and countless others.
For just a few jaw-dropping examples of the totally unfair and unjustified censorship happening across the Web, consider the following cases from just the last 18 months:
· Facebook bans popular financial news site Zero Hedge after the site publishes articles criticizing FB in 2019
· Google “satisfies” the Russian communications regulator’s demands to censor web searches in 2019
· PayPal kicks people off its platform based on its CEO’s political ideology in 2019
· YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest suppress users who question vaccines in 2019
· Facebook purges 800 USA-based pages that span the political spectrum in 2018
· Etsy shuts down popular “Pro-Black, Anti-Bullshit” store without just cause in 2018
· Facebook deletes the page for vegan documentary ‘Cowspiracy’ as part of an apparent purge of ‘alternative health’ outlets in 2018
· Twitter, Facebook, Google accused of ‘shadow banning’ conservatives and other users, blocking them from the platform without explanation or notification in 2018
· Facebook changes community standards to ban LGBT users from expressing their sexual preferences in 2018
· Facebook censors black activist for calling out racism in 2017
Censorship isn’t just affecting the aforementioned individuals and communities — it harms everyone who uses social media. All of the current social media giants employ newsfeed manipulation, which manipulates the minds of their users. Everything that social media users see is going through a biased censorship filter designed to trick them and serve the desires of the social networks.
It’s puzzling why the mainstream social media companies censor so many good, law-abiding users. Don’t these companies recognize how disconcerting their censorship is to the principles of democracy? Or do they just not care? I am one of the founders of social networking — and it was never envisioned this way.
Today it has grown to become the de facto public square for discourse worldwide as people connect with their families, friends, like-minded groups, explore new ideas, and more.
Equally important, it’s evolved into the biggest news source for America’s population, with 68% of Americans reporting they use social networks for news, according to a recent Pew survey. That’s why it’s so vital for people to have a social media platform that protects the ideals of freedom of speech, where people can share openly within a safe and secure environment that they control. That is what MeWe is all about.
MeWe believes that censorship denies freedom and stunts progress. It tells only one side of a story and makes healthy debate extinct. “Rightness” about a position, whether it is related to politics, medicine, health, fitness, spirituality, science, or anything else, has often been reversed or changed over time.
Should social media platforms censor conversations about political points of view, or shut down discussions regarding the merits of current or experimental medical treatments, diets, exercise regimens, supplements, lifestyles, etc.? Is that the job of a social media company? How absurd.
At MeWe the idea of political bias, shadow banning, and censorship of Terms of Service-abiding members runs contrary to the company’s core beliefs. The premise of democracy is the freedom to discuss issues. And since MeWe has no advertising, no targeting, no newsfeed manipulation, and no way to “boost” anything (therefore no way to boost any opinion), MeWe members can have real-life authentic discussions and choose what and whom they want to listen to, follow, and participate in, without concerns of being covertly or overtly manipulated.
MeWe has no political agenda, and a member’s politics, lifestyle, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc., are none of the company’s business. MeWe’s TOS is clear: haters, bullies, lawbreakers, and people promoting threats and violence are not welcome. MeWe is unlike “anything goes” sites and apps. Rather, MeWe is for good people everywhere in the world who want a safe, enjoyable social network with cutting edge features where privacy is paramount and members are treasured as customers to serve, not voices to censor and data to sell.
As censorship on mainstream social media sites grows more extreme and draconian, people around the world are now starting to take notice and fight back, which helps to explain why Facebook has lost millions of members over the last couple years as it has cranked up the dial on its bizarre censorship amidst countless privacy infractions. Facebook’s kimono has been lifted and the emperor has no clothes.
All the while, MeWe is thriving with 405% growth in 2018, and already in 2019 its membership is growing twice as fast on an average daily basis than in 2018. MeWe is now the leading platform where people are free to enjoy and express themselves authentically, with privacy and control, and without concern of newsfeed manipulation or being censored due to any political agenda.
MeWe is social done right, the way social media was envisioned from the beginning — in the spirit of free speech supported by the US Constitution and democracy worldwide.
Mark Weinstein is a leading privacy advocate and the CEO of MeWe, the award-winning social network with a Privacy Bill of Rights and the №1 Trending Social Site.
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