Everyone should have a blog.
I have been thinking a lot about this post by Mikkel Andersson, “Når Facebook dræber samfundsdebatten“, about a public discussion disappearing because 1) it happened as comments to a post on Facebook and 2) Facebook chose to delete the post and the discussion, because of a complaint.
Yes, they later resurrected the post and discussion, stating that the deletion was a mistake, but this specific example is just an example of what happens again and again.
If you post something important on Twitter or Facebook or any other feudal part of the web, this happens:
- Search will be disabled. While some search engines have some access to some posts, most content will be locked away in the land of the feudal lord.
- Archives will be limited. Try looking for an old post in the Facebook or Twitter timeline of someone else. I know, because I have tried.
- Control over the lifetime of that post has been given the feudal lord.
The platforms’ version of policing bad speech is sloppy, capricious and arbitrary. People get censored for discussing terrorist atrocities, while actual videos of terrorist atrocities stay up. Millions of accounts are disconnected for being bots, with no recourse for actual activists who are caught like dolphins in that big ole tuna net. Real protests are delisted for being “inauthentic,” while Nazis organize in the open.
Greene has a very, very modest proposal for how the platforms should conduct censorship, based on the widely accepted “Santa Clara Principles” on Transparency and Accountability in Content Moderation:
1. The companies should publish up-to-date stats on which posts and accounts they’ve shut down;
2. The companies should notify you when your post or account is flagged or removed;
3. You should have a right to appeal takedowns, and the rules should be evenhandedly enforced.
Of course, getting a blog is not enough. If WordPress shuts down, all my content here will be gone in an instant. I am sure those that blogged at Harvard, on one of the earliest blogging platforms thought the university would keep them running, but that turned out to be wrong. I am thinking a lot more about the options of a small, safe and physically self-hosted blogging platform.