Monday, January 11, 2021

The Night(s) of the Social Media Long Knives

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and perhaps other social media platforms have banned Donald Trump and other major Trumpist figures, and it's probably not going to stop there.

Amazon Web Services is refusing to host the web site of, and Google/Android and Apple the phone apps for, Parler.

This isn't a "left/right" thing. It's a combination of Big Tech wanting to please the establishment and Big Tech wanting to be the establishment.

Social media platforms which want to be/remain open to contrasting political views (and not just on Trump -- COVID-19 fascism has also been a problem, to name one) are going to have to start thinking more carefully about how they operate. Some suggestions:

  1. Be web-based and cross-platform. iOS and Android are "walled gardens." It's possible to get over the walls with side-loading or whatever, but most users can't be expected to put in a lot of effort.
  2. Self-host, or at the very least find offshore web hosting with companies that aren't too concerned with pleasing any US political faction.
  3. Register/redirect multiple domain names with multiple registrars (and consider alt domains) so that if GoDaddy, NameCheap, et al. decide to come at you from that direction you've got backup access routes.
  4. Set up as a hard financial target by accepting cryptocurrency for any paid services you offer (premium access plans, advertising, everything). Do NOT rely on custodial wallets/exchanges or on third party payment processors who can cut you off. Especially not ones who can cut you off while they, not you, have possession of your crypto balances.
It's going to be a tough row to hoe regardless, but the big platforms are not going to win.

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