Jul 6, 2017

The Death of the Free Internet

You can easily see, that recently my posts in all of my blogs are seldom.
That has something to do with teh social media sites. We know for long: Using social media kills blogging, right?
But it isn't that easy. There is a cascade of problems that emerges out of it.

Why social media is taking over blogging

First of all easiness. Retweeting/Sharing is all over the place. Just share stuff with a preview of the site or a photo, nicely presented right on your timeline with one click. Enter your own short opinion about it or not. Boom!
With blogging, it's not nearly as easy in both technical or legal procedures. Think about just pulling a preview of a photo and article header from a news agency right into your blog. Well you've got a problem in most parts of the world. You need to get permissions. It's timely and depressing. Why can't a blog have the same status than things you post on social media?
Then the technical site. There is no "share" button with preview etc. You only share a link to your blog. You need to do everything on your own. How does the post look like etc.

Then there are expectations. People seem to think you need to write a long article. Even if the thing you want to say fits into 140 chars. Ineffective! Don't write unnecessary words.
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert Einstein

Why this is a bad thing

Companies like Facebook and Google are under immense pressure from governments all over the world. They openly admitted to censor things, even in the so-called free world.
In Germany laws have been applied that literally force those companies to delete things in 24 hours when "illegal". No judge necessary. So they need to decide on their own. Google said they rather will delete anything quickly than face the immense fine they have to pay otherwise.

People lose control over their own rights. The thing is, if you do something illegal, you have to face the consequences. But you can't be stopped to do so, if you're sure you're doing the right thing. Often, putting out information and opinions are at first not okay, later on they are valuable legal writings.
Think about what happened in the past if you could control a pen and only let you write things the government liked. Now pens are irrelevant. The Internet are. And if you hand over the control of free speech on the Internet to companies that get pushed by the governments, we lose our ability to write freely. We may do so by law, but we can't.

Bloggers are being hunted everywhere

Read those news before? "Blogger in <type in shady country here> got arrested".
Well you can say that in Europe, bloggers are hunted by the governments. They are under immense pressure and have to fear getting personally ruined. It's more subtle, you aren't get killed. But your life can get ruined quickly.
Imprint rules are taking away safety and privacy of the blogger. More and more legal restrictions putting them in a situation where you better just blog about cats, or else you are getting financially ruined by fines and compensation. Or worse, having one foot in jail if you have the wrong opinion, even in many "western" countries.
Those things are easily overseen.
So, it's no wonder why people just sharing stuff on social networks. You have apparently more rights there. Apparently, because although you have the rights, action will be taken to delete or mute your posts & videos.
Yes, it's easy. Very easy. But that comes with the cost of losing your right to express yourself freely. Think again.

The Internet is under attack. Using laws on private companies to suppress "unwanted" opinions is a clear sign for that. If we lose the Internet, we lose free speech. Because even now, but much more in the future, it's irrelevant what you say, until you can find it in the global network of people.