Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s legal counsel Vijaya Gadde, Youtuber Joe Rogan and independent journalist Tim Pool engaged in a wide ranging debate on censorship and free speech over more than three hours.
Pool accused Twitter of being biased against conservatives, with the award winning video journalist claiming there’s wholistic censorship that goes far beyond Twitter.
“Me mentioning Chase, PayPal, MasterCard, terrifies me,” Pool said after stating people were having their bank accounts shut down after criticizing the providers.
“There was a reporter… with Big League Politics who said that after reporting on PayPal negatively, they banned him. That’s terrifying,” Pool said.
“So I see these big tech monopolies, I see Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, MasterCard, and they’re doing it [censoring] and they all say they’re doing the right thing, but all of these little things they’re doing are adding up to something nightmarish.”
Dorsey said they’re not going around saying they’re doing the right thing, but are trying to explain why are they doing it, trying to rationalize it.
The context is the cultural war, but the net was cast more widely to cover things like algorithmic bias, the significant influence Twitter and other such massive platforms might have on the government, the role advertising might play whereby they might withdraw ads if there’s what Pool calls an “outrage culture” primarily on the left, and so on.
It ends with Pool saying he wants to see the blockchain of Twitter, but can the blockchain solve these complex matters?
Free Money, Free Speech
Things like bitcoin or ethereum can solve some problems where financial services by centralized entities like PayPal or MasterCard are withdrawn.
The weakness however is the general requirement for cryptos to be converted into fiat because there aren’t that many places that accept crypto payments.
That is slowly changing with adoption gradually increasing across the globe, but arguably it is not at a level where you can live on bitcoin without some considerable inconvenience.
It is an option, however, if centralized financial entities do misbehave, with the existence of that option in itself likely to minimize such misbehavior.
A Blockchain Twitter?
It exists, sort of. PeepEth for example is kind of a twitter clone, but sort of running on the blockchain with crypto monetization incentives.
There’s Minds, which has its own ethereum based token used to incentivize publishers and readers through some fairly complex crypto-economics.
Akasha is a new social network that isn’t quite like Twitter or Facebook, but a next generation attempt to create a web3 platform.
Akasha is more decentralized than some other networks because it has its own node through which you can access the platform. It also has a website front, with this project in development for now three years.
There are many other blockchain based social networks with different degrees of decentralization, but there is no version of Reddit yet as far as we are aware.
There’s also attempts to create a decentralized Google, with most of these blockchain platforms at the very early stages where some refinement is needed to get the convenience of centralized platforms while being decentralized at least to the point where no one individual can for example change someone else’s comment as Reddit’s co-founder did.
So rather than a nightmarish future, any rise in censorship might instead through necessity refine alternatives to the point coders tell their non-tech friends to use the blockchain based platforms because they’re better.
That “coolness” factor mainly created by “geeks” can potentially overcome any network effects or inertia, so tech giants are only monopolies by consent.
There is, however, one factor that wasn’t mentioned on the show and that’s what effect Venture Capital funding and its restriction to only the rich by the Securities Act 1933 has on the speed with which these new platforms improve or indeed on whether they are built at all.
That’s because obviously resources are required to build these platforms, but if such resources come from very few individuals primarily in Silicon Valley who might have the same views, then innovative projects might not go to market because VCs might think you just can’t take on Twitter or because they’re perhaps invested in Twitter themselves.
The ICO boom of 2017 addresses some of those aspects with a number of projects flush with cash, but the door has generally been closed to new ones at least in US.
So things might not be built or improved as fast as they could have, but although censorship is on the rise, it is also the case that free alternatives are also increasing.
Meaning this is good for bitcoin because the more get kicked out of centralized platforms or services, the more the numbers of cryptonians working towards a freer future.