OPINION: Don’t Try To Kill Social Media. Let It Die
Conservatives are rightly steamed at social media oligarchs Facebook, Twitter and YouTube/Google limiting vibrant, volatile nationwide political debate. Especially during election season, simple bias suspiciously resembles meddling.
Some frustrated otherwise clear thinkers are calling for a Bureau of Internet to stop tofu-eating potentates from viewpoint discrimination. This would be a mistake. It would entrench the powerful and place barriers to competitors already offering better solutions.
While the near future may be painful, market forces are shaping a nascent censorship-free idea bazaar.
Christian beliefs by Activist Mommy, kid-friendly comedy by Conservative Momma, all-American fare by Gay Patriot, pro-Life messages from Susan B. Anthony List and even educational videos by Prager University have all been suspended, banned, or demonetized through opaque terms-of-service violations.
A couple things make these fiat bannings infuriating. First is the multi-platform coordination that near-instantly decides someone’s online fate.
Another is the double standards. Anti-Semites Louis Farrakhan and Linda Sarsour swim in “hate speech.” Not only are their social media musings secure, but they meet future presidents, lead media-fawning rallies and get corporate support from Ben & Jerry’s.
The “go start your own media company” argument loses sting when one recalls how Facebook and especially Twitter sold themselves as free-speech paragons inducing users to spend years building up followings.
Yes, it’s unfair, but trying to kill social media biases will just make it worse. Lobbyists will craft rules and lawyers will interpret them most favorable to power players in the well-known Washington game of regulatory capture. With a little patience, the invisible hand will do its work.
It is hard in moments of marketplace dominance to accept consumer fickleness and the capitalist drive for efficiency and innovation. Sears catalogs were once staples of American life. Pan Am Clippers ruled the foreign skies. Eleven years ago, a Forbes Magazine cover wondered if anyone could catch Nokia, the “Cell Phone King.”
The social-media oligarchy will fall, too, unless government extends its reign.
Facebook has likely already peaked. As the first and the biggest, it will henceforth fight more nimble competitors that offer comparative advantages in privacy and chic. Telegram cares about user privacy. Minds is committed to free speech and transparency; last year, it achieved the fastest equity crowdfund raise in history.
It’s possible political pressure and SJW-induced internal strife will infest these platforms like they did Facebook and Twitter, but there is an even more powerful alternative just around the corner: the coming blockchain revolution loosely known as Web 3.0.
Blockchain will decentralize communication like nothing before in history. Immutable blockchains will soon store our personal data including our followings. Individual data control will mean no corporate authority can stop information flow shaped to personal taste.
Decentralized applications or dapps built on top of blockchains will replace the social-media oligarchy. Once data is recorded on a blockchain it cannot be duplicated or erased. It’s possible a dapp could ban a certain user but that decision would come from the users not a Silicon Valley C-Suite. And the user’s previous content and following would remain.
In this new world, Mark Zuckerberg can’t sell your every public thought to the highest bidder. @jack and his feminist-laden safety council couldn’t decide your speech is “hateful” and unworthy of the public square.
The new rules are currently being written. But for once, the Right can help shape them.
Conservatives can attend conferences. They can begin moving their content to forward-looking platforms like Minds, which is integrating with the Ethereum blockchain. And they can become familiar with privacy-focused digital currencies like Zcash and Monero.
Most importantly, conservatives should embrace this new world which will create history’s first open idea marketplace — and which will happen with or without them. The government won’t solve the idea bottleneck, but it can make things worse and forestall our impending exodus from the oligarchy.
Paul H. Jossey is a lawyer in Alexandria, Virginia focused on equity crowdfunding and blockchain. Please follow him on Twitter @paulhjossey
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.