Big tech have turned many public opinion leaders into cyber-refugees. Their ideas are considered risky, their content is considered in some type of violation to some type of rules, and their funding is being drained in spite of the backers will. This wave of censorship was not the first, and it will not be the last. I have previously explained how this type of censorship is being monetized, and I think a complete echo system is now being setup so that anybody can be censored risk-free to the censors.
Some of those activists have found a viable solution to avoid any type of typical censorship in the future, and many others recognize that their digital communities has been torn apart. They are lost in the cyberspace but still refuse to accept their new refugee status.
Whitney Webb is one of my favorite researchers, and in a very important interview on the Corbett Report, she made a side comment on the current status of many activists: “We are going to be hopping from platform to platform.” I agree with Whitney. People who want to remain in the past will always try to re-live their memories. For example, they will hop to Odysee because it reminds them of YouTube, and will possibly look for a similar thing after the next purge on Odysee.
Platform hoppers, or cyber-wanderers as I like to say, realize, by their experience, that centralization is bad, and they can explain the benefits of decentralization way better that I could ever do, but when it is time to take action, they choose to hop from a centralized platform to another. Things get worse when some people promote cyber-wandering as their implementation of decentralization, effectively branding Recentralization as Decentralization.
In the beginning, the growth of YouTube, Patreon, Twitter, Facebook, and all the censorship platforms was driven by loyal followers, long before businesses started using them. Those were normal people who used twitter and facebook, then invited their friends and the people they know to join these services. Nowadays I see many cyber-wanderers inviting other people to follow them on other platforms, which might look similar to the early days of social networking, but in fact it is not. Many cyber-wanderers have their own brands, their own websites, and I have no idea why those choose to promote Odysee or Minds or Telegram instead of their own websites. Instead of “Follow me on x platform”, I think that a more reasonable message would be: “If you follow me on x platform, please follow me on my site, signup to my email newsletter, subscribe to my RSS feed, and accept my browser notifications”. And this is not some wild idea, it is in fact the message of the most successful independent researcher I follow, James Corbett.
A Rigged game
I understand that people flocked to these centralized platforms to use their free services. Now everybody knows that these services were not really free of charge, they came with compliance conditions. The business model for anybody on these platforms was and is still “I comply with their conditions, and I expect to get their services”. Experience have proven that this business model is not viable. Compliance, obedience, and self censorship might help you avoid the current purge, but what about the next one?
Rigging the game reached a higher level with the new crypto-supported platforms like Minds and LBRY/Odysee. Those platforms give you free crypto currencies for just logging in and using their services. Am I the only one who wonders why? Where is the catch?
You can’t win a rigged game by following the rules. You can either break the rules to win, or play your own game. Instead of cyber-wandering, activists who want to win the rigged game can ask questions like: “How can I use x platform without complying with its rules,” “Are there other platforms that provide the same services with better conditions”, or “What can I do to independently create the same benefits I used to get from Y platform.”
Naturally, those questions will lead to real decentralization conversations, and most probably to innovative solutions that have the potential to disrupt the rigged game.
Many activists try to justify their recentralization efforts by saying "I am reaching out to people". I see their point, but I wonder why would they not reach out to people on the decentralized platforms? Why should reaching out be limited to recentralization, not decentralization.
There are millions of people on the Fediverse, Many of them are open minded and not so brainwashed, and many activist messages would resonate more with a Fediverse audience than with a recentralized audience. Therefore, Even the "Reaching out" excuse is not really valid unless a real "reaching out" effort is done across all platforms.
Where to follow?
As a non-activist who follows activists, I can also discuss the other side of the relationship, Where to follow my favorite activists? Obviously I advocate following them on their websites, and that’s why I have my own RSS Aggregator. But what social networks should I choose to follow activists on? Personally, I am very happy to follow decentralized platforms, like the new PeerTube and Mastodon at the Anti Neocon report. I am also very happy to follow local communities while being careful before joining a non-local platform. I have joined some recentralization platforms in order to explore them, and I frankly liked using them more than I liked YouTube and Facebook in the past. Even though, I still prefer to follow direct links from my aggregator to the official sites of the content authors.
Followers can have a say in this relationship, and those of us who really advocate decentralization should contribute to the decentralization debate in some way, possibly by creating a blog like I did. And in All cases, we can refuse to wander between the recentralization platforms following a cyber-wanderer.
The Unweb Developer