Social Media, Censorship & The Need For ‘Talk’
By: Dan Asmussen
The term “social media” began in 1997 with sixdegrees.com, the first social media site of its kind, where people could communicate, share ideas, and learn from the vast amount of information available for the first time at one’s fingertips. Then came Friendster in 2002, MySpace in 2003, Twitter in 2006, and so on…
Fast forward to July 4th, 2021, when the newest social media kid on the block was born. It’s name is TLBTalk, and it sprang out of necessity because it’s what the world desperately needs right now.
When the internet was originally created, it was meant to be a utopic space where people could communicate and learn free of restrictions. That was true in the beginning, but it soon became apparent that the general public was learning and increasing their overall knowledge at a rate that was more than others bargained for.
Here we are 30 years later, and sharing knowledge and educating one’s self is not something that the elitists want the general public engaging in. It must be stifled, hindered, regulated, controlled, and ultimately censored. After all, knowledge is power, and you cannot control a populace that is on an equal playing field with their masters.
The issue of social media censorship rests on several interrelated concepts, foremost of which is free speech, a term that is used interchangeably with free expression. Central to the concept of free speech is that people have a legitimate expectation to articulate their ideas freely, without limitation or interference. While the form of expression can literally be verbally speaking what is on one’s mind, the terms “speech” and “expression” apply broadly to most any form of communication, including writing, bodily gestures, artistic creations, and photographic images.
Today free speech is an inherent right that we take for granted until the issue of censorship arises, which then gains widespread attention and sparks public debate.
There are a few areas where censorship is a recurring issue, and perhaps the most prominent one is book censorship. More than any other type of media, books have become symbols of free expression. This is partly because books have the capacity of recording our thoughts on every possible subject, from the most innocent idea to the most scandalous. Book publication holds open the possibility of reaching a wider audience than we could in most other ways, such as through public speaking engagements or local television appearances. Historically controversial books have been rounded up by governments and enraged citizens, and even ceremonially burned in town squares. Here are just a sample of famous quotations denouncing book burning and what it represents:
“Every burned book enlightens the world.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson
“What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books.”—Sigmund Freud
“We all know that books burn, yet we have the greater knowledge that books cannot be killed by fire. People die, but books never die.”—Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.” —Heinrich Hein
“The paper burns, but the words fly away.”—Akiba ben Joseph
In today’s world, the importance of being able to express one’s thoughts and ideas in a public forum is crucial when communicating to a wide audience, especially when attempting to share information that would benefit that audience. Today however, the flow of information is regulated and controlled by big tech companies who would suffer financial losses if the general public was allowed full access to certain information.
This is called virtual book burning.
Enter Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, four companies that have taken online censorship and virtual book burning to a whole new level. Every post or comment is now “fact checked”, scrutinized, analyzed, and given approval or disapproval depending whether or not it violates THEIR standards, translated: we don’t think you should have access to information that could harm us monetarily or jeopardize the relationship with our advertisers (think vaccine manufacturers and political lobbyists).
Did you know you can’t even post a picture of someone protesting against vaccines, or this so-called “pandemic” without getting banned for 30 days on Facebook? It’s gotten to the point where something had to be done to combat big tech corporatocracy.
Hence, the necessity for a censor free social media platform (TLBTalk) where freedom of speech is paramount.
One of the consequences of social media censorship and other challenges to free speech is that it creates an environment that intimidates people into constraining themselves, sometimes more than is even necessary. This is self-censorship: people consciously restricting their own expression out of fear of possible punishment. If I see that someone else has been taken to court, publicly ostracized, or thrown in social media virtual jail because of a freely expressed view, I will be more inclined to play it safe and keep my mouth closed. The term chilling effect is used to describe the repressed atmosphere that censorship creates: it discourages the exercise of free expression in a way that makes us shiver with numbness.
Today, it is vitally important that We the People be allowed to communicate freely in an open forum without imposed restrictions on information, ideas, and opinions. It is important because big tech corporate censorship has gotten us to the point where the truth has become the lie, and the lie has become their truth. Until people become conscious of the truth they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.
About the articles Author: Dan Asmussen is the Director of Membership & Community for TLBTalk.com and has been a TLB Project contributor for well over a decade.
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