This past week we’ve seen Social Media pages go dark, groups catch irrevocable bans, and websites be taken down entirely by their hosting services, all in the ‘name’ of stopping seditious speech. This is an evolution on the highly zealous efforts of tech across social media to cut down on “Fake News” that went so far as to threaten places like the ever truthful Babylon Bee…
[For anyone unaware, the Bee is a known Satirical (they make up parody stories to be funny and occasionally make social points) News network, like the Onion was.]
How do we navigate tech right now and continue engaging in discourse?
More specifically, how do we avoid having our tech based groups shut down like ARFCOM and Guns.com were this week. Message board type webspaces are especially vulnerable due to the amount of user generated content they have, but anywhere a discussion could spiral is at great risk and anywhere that touches on the topics of survival and firearms is under scrutiny.
This means comment sections of blogs, forums, and YouTube channels.
This means product reviews, even on retail websites.
Even if there is no public comment section on the blog or product page, the risk is there simply due to the content’s association. The rapid crusade Big Tech is currently waging has no space for nuance. They are in a ” Digitally Nuke First, ask questions never.” state of mind where they will use every advantage they have as the hosting entity to crush the site, to remove the allegedly offending content immediately. Then they deal with any legal fallout (emphasis on any because hosts hold all the ‘terms of service’ cards) from de-platforming the site afterward.
Meanwhile, the communication lifeblood that connects the site to their user and customer base is wiped out, scorched digital earth. The company is left scrambling to boot contingency plans (if they had any, or could have any) to get back online and in communication again.
What Should You Do?
As reader, a consumer, a social media or forum participant, you should do two things.
- Sign up for direct email lists
- Anyone you care to stay in contact with in the firearm and communications news spaces, sign up for their emails or direct to desktop notifications. These are the safest form of information exchange and as a direct message they are not under the scrutiny of public forums and comments sections
- Companies tend to put their best info and offers into their own mailers anyway. Even if you only use 1 or 2 in a given year it may save you money, or nab you a giveaway item, while keeping you in the loop of goings on.
- Mind your P’s and Q’s
- Any forum that hasn’t been ban hammered is being put under extreme pressure. Mods (comment section moderators) are getting messages threatening total group and forum removals if members do not behave.
- The mods do not get to choose what “behaving” is, that is entirely up to the host. Mods are placed in a position of having to ban individuals to save the forum or risk the forum’s permanent removal.
- Being an extra polite participant, no matter your frustration levels at the current situations, can save your groups. Be very slow to take offense.
What if you own, or work for, a digital property or company with a digital property that could be at risk?
There are professional options for assessing risks and steps that can be taken to guard against de-platforming.
Anyone with digital property needs to be doing this assessment right now.