We witnessed an unprecedented threat to American democracy last week, but it wasn't in the White House. It was online.
A handful of unelected, billionaire, elites in Silicon Valley took it upon themselves to decide that they alone have a right to control the exchange of information between 330,000,000 American citizens, including the current sitting president of the United States of America.
You do not need to like the president to find this behavior alarming. Was it not just a few years ago that we learned Mark Zuckerberg called us all "dumb f*cks" when he thought we can't hear him? To give this man the control over the free exchange of ideas is to jump from an orange strongman to a pale one.
Many people believe that these companies acted and continue to act in a concerted fashion in uniformly blocking the president. The unique attention tech companies gave to Trump's statements throughout the election and its aftermath essentially guaranteed that a subset of people will believe this election is stolen forever. Using censorship to break social media bubbles does not pop them but only serves to create a plethora of smaller ones.
I would know. I'm the CEO of Odysee.com, which aims to democratize publishing so thoroughly that this behavior of blocking or banning someone is literally impossible. Odysee is built on the LBRY blockchain, which has no central control over the publishing process, similar to what Bitcoin does to money.
Our welcoming stance to creators of all beliefs and persuasions has brought some people to our platform who have beliefs I personally find kooky, like flat-earthers. But flat-earthers remain flat-earthers when they talk to flat-earthers. Sometimes, when they talk to round-earth Trumpers, they change their mind.
The proper response to absurd speech is laughter. The proper response to terrible speech is better speech.
Indeed, a cynical person might think this is the real reason for Silicon Valley's censorship. To create a permanent caste of Dalits, too disgusting to be allowed near us righteous Brahmins. After all, if Trump wanted to continue to speak to the people, what could have stopped him? Minds, Odysee, and additional alternative social media platforms exist, and will continue to be made. No social media site is actually sophisticated enough in their design to prevent the spreading of links if people are willing to type them in.
The only set of facts that fits what we witnessed last week was a group of powerful people finding a way to accumulate even more power to themselves. If we care about the future of democracy, we must use services where this power does not exist.
Jeremy Kauffman is the CEO of Odysee, a video sharing platform built on decentralized tech for geeks, nerds, and the gen-z. Jeremy is passionate about the revival of the true indie creator over and above the fatuous 'influencer' and 'selfie-gimmick' creator. Odysee is the fastest growing decentralized video sharing platform in the US and is currently seeing tremendous growth in the Taiwan market.