Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

1 year ago · 2 min. reading time · ~100 ·

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Censoring Platforms

Censoring Platforms


This article was inspired by Greg’s article on censorship. I may not share his tact, but as this is a relevant topic directly related to my work, I feel I should write something about, beyond just comments on his article (which I invite you to read when you have a moment). The topic of this article here is two-fold: it relates to platforms that censor their members, but it also has to do with us censoring particular platforms.

Censorship is the act of limiting the exposure or the flow of information because the latter is deemed inappropriate or otherwise problematic. If, for example, an image contains nudity or gore, it may be censored to protect the more impressionable viewers.

This image, for example, is bound to be censored by certain platforms, because of “gore” content.


Censorship becomes a problem when what's censored shouldn't be censored, and when what should be censored isn't. Of course, it’s not always easy to know what should and what shouldn’t be censored, while the two kinds of errors involved (type I and type II) don’t carry the same weight. In other words, if you err on the side of not censoring much, you are better off. Not many people would have an issue with a platform showing the occasional nude picture by accident. However, some fans of the visual arts may find it problematic if a particular drawing is censored because it portrays a naked model.

Platforms that censor content willy-nilly are often shunned for good reason. It's not uncommon to view them as authoritarian while "abuse of power" is on the top of their list of defects. It's a shame if you think about it because these are platforms that have refined their infrastructure over the years and have accumulated a large variety of content on their servers. So, by screwing up censoring this way, they are shooting themselves on the foot with an Anzio Ironworks 20mm rifle! Such an act is not only catastrophic for the aforementioned foot but also bad for the environment, since it's bound to create a crater and even cause a minor earthquake. So much for these platforms being eco-friendly!

Censoring platforms like these may seem like our only option, given the circumstances. If merely mentioning censorship on them is enough to get you banned (a form of direct censorship) or shadow-banned (a more sly kind of censorship), then what else can you do? This attitude is akin to staying in a hotel, and upon filing a complaint about the room you are in, the reception hangs up on you or puts you on a black list, warning other residents to avoid you. If a hotel were to employ this policy, it wouldn't last long. So, why is such an attitude permitted for a communication platform?

Censoring platforms can take place in different ways, generally grouped in two broad strategies: passive censoring and active censoring. Passively censoring these platforms is probably the easiest thing you can do and involves just ignoring them. You don't react to them; you just refuse to play their game. If enough people were to do this, the platforms wouldn't have an audience for the ads they serve, making it harder to get any revenue from the marketing companies that sponsor them. Active censoring is taking it a step further: not only do you avoid using them, but you write about them, exposing their hypocrisy. Naturally, this may have short-term effects since censoring platforms are like the mafia members: they protect each other. However, there are enough free-speech-oriented platforms out there that you can get the word out to enough people.

Abusing censoring has never paid off in the long term, which is why these censoring platforms are a transient phenomenon. Just like there were communication platforms in the older days of the internet that have gone into oblivion now (does anyone remember Orkut or Friendster?), these platforms that are dominant today may be a thing of the past before long. The sense of superiority that comes with power (stemming from popularity) may make them think of themselves as invincible. However, nothing of this world lasts forever, and they too will fade away, along with their censoring policies. Let's make sure this happens sooner rather than later!

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Preston 🐝 Vander Ven

1 year ago #16

Censorship has become a weapon in this world. It is become propaganda, in which only certain information is allowed to show a certain point a view. When more information gets through, one of two things happen: either the framing effect ( using that information to support the narrative) or the ostrich effect (just ignoring the information exists). 

Renée 🐝 Cormier

1 year ago #15

Thank you @Javier 🐝 CR for adding the editing feature to comments!

Renée 🐝 Cormier

1 year ago #14

I like your humour. Nevertheless, I recognize that you are aware it is a very complex topic. I am disturbed that the traditional media is all about free speech but new media exercises selective censorship all while manipulating algorithms to give us exposure to content they deem relevant to us. A simple conversation about anything can trigger ads and articles on that subject to appear so frequently you would think it's a trend. Then it becomes a hot topic and in your world, at least, it's playing a major role in your decisions. Seems to me if you're going to act us the moral police for people then you should at least behave morally.

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

1 year ago #13

Javier 🐝 CR

1 year ago #12

Should be this content censored ?


I did it just to generate controversy ... without elaborate data and recognizing that fencing is not clearly known where it comes from ... and if it is false that fencing is of Spanish origin ? Should it be censored ? 

Javier 🐝 CR

1 year ago #11

By the way, 90% of politicians lie in my opinion, whether they belong to one side or the other.

Javier 🐝 CR

1 year ago #10

It is complex but it is censored in dictatorial countries and big media are used to manipulate the population's thinking. Probably people like Trump (not only him because there are people who lie but they don't take away their ccount because they are not Trump) use twitter to spread falsehoods, but I still think that freedom of speech must be exercised and that people must differentiate what is true from what is not. As @Jim Murray  says there are many people who don't do it because we are in a world full of sheep. My opinion is that censorship is common in dictatorial regimes like cuba , russia and china , and it worries me that supposedly free democracies exercise it(except for what @Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris zacharias explicitly says like violence , crime and content not suitable for minors ).

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

1 year ago #9

Jim Murray

1 year ago #8

<Censorship becomes a problem when what's censored shouldn't be censored, and when what should be censored isn't.>  These are your own words, and in them is the strong implication that some things should be censored.  Although you did not mention them, you are undoubtedly referring to Facebook and Twitter. These are not public sector companies. They have owners, and they have liability that is always being put to the test. The whole issue of censorship would not even exist if it weren't for people in positions of power using these sites to post lies and hatespeak. They used these lies and hatespeak as a recruitment tool and as such were very effective. Then one day, the site owners realized that if a violent act was incited by something that appeared on their site, it was possible for them to be held responsible and sued. A very common occurrence in lawyer rich countries like America. So they acted well within their rights and started removing the people who were causing the potential damage. I would argue that any business owner whose livlihood was threatened by lies and hatespeak would have done the same. The principle is that everyone should be free to make up their own mind what's real and what it not. But as we have seen very clearly by the preponderance of lies and hatespeak, many people have no idea of how to differentiate between truth and lies anymore. I guess what I'm saying is that this censorship, in many cases, is not a political, but a business decision. Ask Javier what he would do if Trump opened an account on beBee and started spewing his usual lies and hatespeak.

Javier 🐝 CR

1 year ago #7

Jerry Fletcher

1 year ago #6

Zacharias, Back in my college days, along with fellow students, we took on a group bent on censoring books. Our most powerful weapon was standing up in their proselytizing meetings and one after another from different points in the crowd yelling, “Who decides?”  In my view the answer should always be each individual on their own. And so it goes.

Greg Rolfe

1 year ago #5

Nice post. I like the perspective from which you approached it.

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

1 year ago #4

There was an issue with one of the images in the article (fixed now). I hope it wasn't because of censorship! :-)

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

1 year ago #2

Thank you very much friend! 

Debasish Majumder

1 year ago #1

lovely insightful buzz @Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris ! enjoyed read and shared. thank you for the buzz.

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