After several years of writer's block I finally had a longer piece published today:

Many thanks to @redecentralize for carrying it, @tomasino,, and Gerben for reviewing and editing it into shape.

The piece has also been published on :


After the violent events at the US Capitol the question isn’t how monopolist social media platforms should wield their power - the question is whether they should have such power in the first place.

We should break down the walls of social media monopolists, regulate them, and make monetising toxic engagement spilling into public discourse as onerous as dumping toxic waste into a river.

And a shout-out to @Argus , whose fantastic talk "Decentralized Social Networks vs. The Trolls" was a crucial piece of the puzzle really tied the post together.

Seriously, watch that talk:

@rysiek I actually disagree with a lot of the banning and de-platforming, but I do agree with you that people should shift over to smaller, decentralized solutions.

I wrote a similar post to yours a while back:

I got some criticism for it because, human beings like centralizing and hierarchy. It helps with discovery, and it would be difficult to get people to really migrate to these platforms. I did a follow up post a bit later with legislative solutions to preventing the types of censorship we're currently seeing:

@djsumdog my main problem with your Section 230 post is that it still feels like a post set in the "social media is both media and the infrastructure" kind of thinking.

We really need to split these two apart, and until we do, we will not be able to have a way forward, because infrastructure related examples (AT&T, etc) will directly oppose any accountability ideas.

and I do think social media should be allowed to editorialize, as long as it's on an open protocol. I do not see why a blog can't be a part of a social media network. Can it?

If it can, can *my* blog be a part of a social media network?

If it can, can I editorialize on my own blog?

I feel I should be allowed to do that. And thus, social media instances should, too. The reason we feel this is problematic is because how big, walled off, and monopolistic Fb and :birdsite: are.

@rysiek If I post up some content on someone else's service, they really shouldn't be allowed to add more crap to it. Most of these "fact checks" are straight up propaganda. This includes those stupid blue circles on Twitter or Facebook putting large banners on videos. What gives them the right to be the arbitrator of truth? Their recent moves put them straight into 1984 style Orwellian Ministries of Truth.

Honestly I think it's better people are just deleting/moving away from Facebook/Twitter.

@djsumdog ah, but if a Mastodon or Pleroma instance started doing that, people would go somewhere else, because they can in an open network like the Fediverse.

That's my point. You don't need that kind of an explicit ban if you make sure the network is open and users can move about and choose their own adventure.

What gives to be the arbiter of truth on their instance? The same thing that gives me that power on (say), for example. Why take that away from me?


> Now, alt-right trolls and white supremacists are all but limited to a corner of the Fediverse almost nobody else talks to

You're seeing a fraction of the fediverse from your instance. This is the problem with huge block lists and instance wide bans: it creates terrible filter bubbles and echo chambers.
@djsumdog @rysiek Going to concur with this, what may seem like a small and isolated pocket of the network to you is more like a hydra with regenerating heads. Censorship in this instance is 100% a losing battle so you need to invest in other ways around deradicalization and meeting people where they are.

@allison @djsumdog oh, that we need to do also. But the fact that we can have such a calm and compose conversation about this without the alt-right folk derailing it immediately is a testament to how much better it works here compared to the walled gardens...

@rysiek @allison You're on You can't see, freespeechextremists,, and literally hundreds of other instances. isn't even "alt-right" they're just conservative. You're literally missing out on over 50% of the conversation depending on where you sit in the fediverse. I mean, it's okay if you're fine with your echo chamber, but recognize that it is one.

@djsumdog @allison I never said there isn't one. I only said I don't see a problem with that, at least not as much of a problem as I see with centralized walled gardens pushing alt-right content on all their users, because that drives engagement.

@rysiek @djsumdog Yeah that's honestly the biggest issue, virality engine optimizing for whatever gets it the most engagement, consequences be damned. Fedi, for all the problems it may have, doesn't even come *close* to that because there's no real algorithmic curation to speak of.
@allison @rysiek Reverse chronological is the way to go. It should always be the default option. Fedi is more like a chat room. The danger with Reddit/HackerNews/Facebook/Twitter is their ranking algos help determine what you see, which determines what people think.

You know what the human mind is fractured now? Because there are a lot of people who tune out the news and social media and don't live in this fear-porn reality they keep pushing.

@allison @djsumdog monopolised, centralized social media is a monoculture where mind viruses can spread unchecked.

@rysiek @allison @djsumdog

…how much better it works here compared to the walled gardens…

But you’re in a walled garden now? Being on that particular instance, known for being heavily instance block happy, results in a distorted view of the overall network, no?

@wolfie @allison @djsumdog "distorted view" is not a "walled garden". Everyone's view is distorted. But I have the option of creating other accounts in other fractured parts of that network - and that's something I do not have on centralized social media.

I choose not to do so because I *don't want* to deal with fascists on an everyday basis. Another thing I have no say over on centralized walled gardens.

@wolfie @allison @djsumdog and you likewise in yours!

Glad we were able to reach each other for this moment in time, bridging our respective echo chambers. What a fortuitous happenstance, my word!

@djsumdog I don't think it does, really. And even if, I prefer these bubbles (where I *can* have accounts in different bubbles) to a centralized network where anything goes and I am exposed constantly to right-wing harassment and lies.

It is, to some extent, about bringing some friction to how news (be it real or fake) spreads, and making it harder for viral alt-right content to be put in front of more eyeballs, without having a central authority impose such rules explicitly.

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