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Is free speech dead?

After being dropped from their app stores by Google and Apple without notice just days after the Capital protests, hosting provider Amazon announced yesterday that they will be removing free-speech site Parler from the Internet today citing posts that are alleged to contain violent content. As no examples where given, it is unclear if that content was any different than incendiary posts found on Twitter and Facebook during the BLM protests this summer.

Parler, a home for thousands of refugees who have been de-personed from Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, had grown 10x since the US election to the 216th largest US website as of yesterday. While Parler hopes to be able to move to another hosting provider in the next week or so, it remains to be seen if that will be enough to keep the site available. It is possible that activists will also target domain name registrars, banks, and other services required to maintain a high-traffic website.

A Trump supporter might ask: Was this action warranted? Is there a double standard being played out for Trump and BLM/ANTIFA/Biden supporters? Do Big Tech platforms like Google, Amazon, and Apple, with a near-monopoly on online communication, have any obligation to be politically agnostic? Where does this lead?

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Do Trump supporters and those who value the 1st Amendment have viable alternatives to Big Tech?

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Admin 8 Jan 10
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There are many alternative social media options, but none are on par with Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and none that are mixed in some way with Amazon and Google. Big tech not only dominates the playing field, it's becoming more apparent that they dominate the rule book as well.

Now, I'm perfectly ok with Twitter running their site however they see fit. I'm not ok with the competition getting squashed under the guise of the protection of public safety. This may or may not be what happened, but Parler getting the plug pulled so quickly as well as in unison between Apple and Android was quite a stunning display as to the amount of power these companies have.

It makes me wonder what will happen if our government takes this attack on the Capitol as the ultimate "justification" to control all of online activities and communications. Big tech already leans left, if this happens, I don't see any viable online communication options left for those who support Trump.

I've seen two different responses to this:

  1. Trump is instigating violence and him and his enablers need to not be allowed a platform in order to preserve public safety.
  2. Big tech has overplayed their hand, and this is an overreaction that will only cause more extremism within the pro Trump movement.

Personally, I don't think Trump is as much of the cause of the extremism as the Democratic representatives that won't treat Trump supporters with the same delicacy they treated the months on end of BLM protesters. I'm not saying violence is justified. I'm saying it will most likely get worse if silencing dissenters is the only option they continually choose to take.


We value the First Amendment (@TheMiddleWay), but you are right it isn't a 1st Amendment issue because it is not government that doing the purging. Now, if the government told those platforms that unless they get the extremists off their site the site will be punished, then despite being private, they are defacto controlled by government and that would make it a 1st Amendment issue - but that is not what is happening.

So, there are alternatives but all social media rely on the network effect and the alternatives at this point do not have the benefit. But I've been on all social media since close to their inception and saw them when they were small. I'm a heavy internet user and have been online since before the web (I got online in 1987, had my own website since 1996).

I do believe Google has monopoly power in a couple of segments. But you can still use the internet without it. I equate the current state as a company that comes out for BLM and tells Trump supporters they are deplorable - lots of people will boycott the company but it doesn't care (enough) to change. People can go find substitutes but there is a reason they didn't prior to the dustup, they preferred the company's products.

So, I ignore the 'incitements', I ignore the purges, and I don't engage in the handwringing. All that said, it is clear that political ideology has become the most divisive thing in our society today - far outstripping racism.

Well said.

@TheMiddleWay I started on BBS' in 1984. Boards in CT, VA, GA and a bunch in Chicago. I was pretty well known in the Chicago BBS community and socially amongst the membership of three large boards (50+ lines). I was not on MySpace or Compuserve but was aware of them - busy elsewhere. I was a beta tester for Quicken and an invited user for the initial rollout of Google email and Twitter. We had a #1 website in search via Yahoo and then when Google pulled out of Yahoo we were #1 for 6 years on Google Search (for our law firm regionally). I did all the SEO.


it's hilarious this is the number one conservative grievance and talking point, more important than anything else to the right is the ability to howl on the Internet - and the total PRETENCE that

( a ) the LEFT owns the internet

( b ) only the RIGHT suffers from bans etc.

totally whipped up by dog-brained pundits like steven crowder etc, and you all fall for it and think it's "1984" etc - it's so funny how utterly entitled you are with your desire to spread your QAnon nonsense.

edit: trump is being banned as he's a danger : and it's bad for business. that's all the companies care about is making a profit, and being seen to be bad impacts that. it's capitalism entirely.

bastion Level 7 Jan 10, 2021

Your opinion is worthless. You lie, you fail to recognize that this election was stolen, you deny the facts, you SOB have been harassing Trump for 4 years, you along with Clinton, Schummer and Steel are all fascist thugs. The MSM are no longer instruments of speech they are political parties in disguise. This is the NAZI in you. We beat you in 1940 and we will beat you again so watch your back because we are working to fix this. Free speech is where democracy BEGINS but you think it's your tool to abuse.

Trump is what? To you socialists who either can’t get out of bed in the morning to get to work or who are afraid the gravy train will end sometime soon are hilarious! Really? Jobs. Making a living. Those concepts might be alien to you but for most adults that is how they, dare I write it? Get ahead!

Oh shut up, you fucking moron.

You and the rest of your little goon squad should pool your IQs. Then you could be a single idiot.

@Edgework ... I'm not in a banning mood today as it's understandable that people are on edge recently. Please consider this when others push our comment guidelines. One of my biggest fears recently is a growing level of contempt people have to those with different opinions. it's the #1 precursor to divorce and violence 😟

I've been banned elsewhere. Might as well go for the trifecta. My tolerance for organized lies has reached zero. Do what you have to do.

@Rick-A All opinions are worthless. Fact prevails even if not believed. The trouble with ignoring fact is it will catch up with you in the end. It is best to pursue the facts so you will be better prepared when they poke their head up.

Hey bastion, you might be right about that and I am surprised to hear about it. Are you able to provide some names that this is happened to? This is a genuine question as I am interested.

Also, do you or any other person here know any statistics on the percentages around who has been banned particularly around left or right political opinions?

I wish these companies published this kind of stuff

@Pand0ro What are the facts you are referring to?

@Admin I have to agree with Admin, WE have to be civil with each other!!! Yes, I know I have had a few moment myself and I will apologize to anyone I have offended, here and now!!!
The inventors of the sites being discussed, ALL leaned LEFT before they created their sites!!!
THEIR belief system has made THEM all rich beyond anyone's dreams!!!
Why would WE expect THEM to change their business profile?????
Eliminating competition is how THEY got to the TOP!!!

@Rick-A All facts. Everything that is real. Not "alternative" facts which are not facts. Anything that is true, not what people claim as true, not what they believe is true, but is demonstrable, provable and replicable by independent observers. Every thing that is real. Everybody is misled at times because truth is often difficult to determine, goes against how we would like things to be and can be disappointing to us. Fantasy can be comfortable and satisfying but does us no good when reality intrudes its head.

@Pand0ro To buddy, I do not need a lecture on the definition of truth. I can read for myself, and is free and easy to use. How about elevating this conversation to a point of maturity and actually providing the "case in point" that you seem unable to articulate.

@Rick-A You seem to have missed the point.

@Rick-A lmao

@Pand0ro definitely agree with you. I argue with family and friends with facts because of all the derangement, lies, fraud etc we have seen in 4 years from the witch in the chair. She has created the hate, fed the hate and the MSM have been paid to drive to the extreme left, now to cover up and control.
Christians and Conservatives have to stand up and speak up. We are no longer the quiet polite ones. It is happening in Australia, we are so small in comparison to you in the US but the same is happening. We don’t have a witch in the chair but we have 3 left aligned states who lie, are supported by China and are preening themselves as they plump up their feathers


Private corporations are protected by law and over the years have been able to shed more and more regulations. Private corporations are going to pursue what is most profitable. If leaning left is more profitable that is the way they will lean. It is just a matter of economics and an indicator of who has the most influence. Fair or not corporations will follow the money. It should prompt the right to ask what are we doing or not doing that gives the left more power? Are you for or against the government regulating corporations.

Pand0ro Level 7 Jan 10, 2021
  • "Private corporations are going to pursue what is most profitable. If leaning left is more profitable that is the way they will lean. It is just a matter of economics and an indicator of who has the most influence."

This is what I'm having a hard time trying to discern. Is this a case of private corporations purely looking out for their bottom line, (in which case, they are free to run their sites however they want, even if I don't agree with it), or is this foreshadowing into greater governmental control over online activities, including stricter regulations akin to what we currently see on big tech social media sites.

I'm having a hard time separating the two because big tech has been at court numerous times over the years. While Republican representatives were making their cases of unfair censorship, Democratic representatives were making their cases that there isn't enough censorship. I don't want governmental control on either side.

There is also the issue of the monopolies. (Which I would like to see broken up) Big tech dominates and as much as they don't want to be broken up, I don't think our government wants them broken up either. The flow of online information is a powerful tool to have, and currently it's in the Democrats favor. If the monopolies can be broken up, and more alternative social media sites are able to thrive under less restrictions, that also still leaves the possibility of the government taking control of them as well under the guise of public safety.

I may just be getting ahead of myself, and my perception could be skewed, though. I'm really unsure. Any thoughts?

@saramarylop3z Follow the money. Legislators get the lion share of their money from the wealthy and corporations. There are always rumblings of how corporations need to be held in check yet over the past 30 years have gotten pretty much their own way. Companies only political ideology is and always has been the bottom line and whatever political action that enhances it will be taken.

@dd54 You're talking of government regulation of corporations?

@dd54 What laws could be enforced to stop corporations from acting on what gets them the greatest profit?


The issue is not one of creating a website and having servers, more of how do you connect uses with the platform. As Apple and Google own the operating systems used by 90% of the planet for phones, end users have no control and have self-subjected to these tech giants. An alternate operating system(s) must be created to run the phones and break free.


Twitter has benefitted greatly by POTUS 80+million followers, FB too. The next few days will be interesting for their stock. I dumped FB today and Twitter yesterday. Have a call with my broker tomorrow. Hopefully they screwed themselves but I’m not too hopeful. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ


Social censorship, it’s like the government, it’s just covert


As far as I'm concerned, privately owned entities should be able to do as they please with their intellectual properties. If I disagree with a particular platform's policy(s), then I am always free to move on to another site. In reality no one is keeping me silenced, I'm still able to speak freely minus any fear of going to prison over such. When IDW.Community launched their mobile app for Android, Google didn't want to publish the app at first, and at this point I've not much doubt SLUG will eventually run into the same issue, in which at that point guess we will have to access SLUG via a web browser.

For anyone interested, this is a decent site, and Minds is working on content creators being able to monetize their efforts-

Would you be open to reclassifying social media as public utilities, and subjecting them to special oversight, like airlines or power companies?

@GeeMac No, even as they offer a service to the public would still not remove the fact they are a private entity, and not sure more laws would even work.


Not dead, but taking heavy casualties.

Are there alternatives? Sure, but it's not easy taking on an oligopoly.


Dying not dead, the left will keep playing wack-a-mole until they face serious consequences.

Also the right needs to raise its game, not putting up with " I know its biased but I'm paying for it because......"

The game will have to be played more strategically, not just tactically, and especially not in spasms of ill-chosen actions that can be turned around against us.


Free speech has been dead for a while. The first Amendment does two things in regards speech -- it recognizes an unalienable right to it, and prohibits the government, the only organization truly powerful enough at the time of the authoring, from restricting it. Now, and even in recent times, there are many organizations powerful enough and inescapable enough, to restrict speech. We can't speak our honest minds for fear of "consequences". Oh, they can't put us in jail for it like Government can, but short of that they can absolutely destroy us, and without any reasonable recourse or avenue of redress.


I feel IDW is a viable alternative for civil discussion.

You and I both on that.


Free speech was always something of immense value and fragility, an ideal worth fighting for but also needing nurture and protection. The internet is not the vehicle or protector of free speech, no more than the printing press, or the illuminated manuscripts or the incantations of priests. Youll never find true democracy or reasoning on the internet its a technology in the service of Babylon.

N0DD Level 7 Jan 11, 2021

Not yet, but on life support. Viable alternatives to the censorious platforms will be developed.

Minds is another decent platform-


Two years ago I saw censoring coming and started to collect links to alternative platforms and websites where the people and organizations that I follow fled to. I started to look less at facebook and hardly make a remark on that platform. I wait and see here everybody goes and follow them, Ramzpaul brought me to Slug. This will automatically create some sort of anti globalist dark web.

Corjova Level 6 Jan 10, 2021

Freedom is not just about what you want, it is about making sure others views are also protected. such that your views will be protected too

day500 Level 5 Jan 10, 2021

These people can't even manage security, their products have become less efficient and usable overtime and people think they should be making decisions about the future course of history?

wolfhnd Level 8 Jan 10, 2021

Yes we have Slug, Brighteon, and Parlor (on browser), but without a close to equal mix of the two sides, it's not much more than an echo chamber.

It's unfortunately that almost every community has become an echo chamber.

@Admin It's no surprize. Polarization and divisiveness works like that. Some call Ad Hom and personal attacks, "debate" and often ignore the actual problem and concentrate on trying to undermine the oppositions position instead of strengthening their own with facts.

@maxmaccc Ad hom, personal attacks, trolling, venting, ranting... It's probably a hobby for many to come on social media to do those things because they can't do them in the real world. Lol


Free Speech ends when YOU let it end. There is, and will continue to be, a way to communicate on the web. American Patriots are not the idiots, the Libtards that believe they can silence them are. We have a voice, we will continue to use that voice. Take one platform down, we will raise another one! Take that one down and we will build another, and another. Suck it liberals! We are here, we are loud, and we are strong, and most importantly YOU can't stop us!

Is your goal to silence the libtards?

@Pand0ro no the Libtards will eventually silence themselves.


In regards Parler, this is too good a business opportunity for the tech giants as well as an ideological one, to crush a possible rival. In ordinary times, this would be seen as the anti-competitive move that it is and opposed on those grounds. But, now we have a crisis, a heavily pushed narrative that it's so bad these steps are warranted, and here we are.

Never let a crisis go to waste...

@dd54 The reaction overseas is somewhat interesting. Many in other countries are wondering why American corporations have the power to censor heads of state.

@dd54 Even if we don't (or politically can't) move to limit or break them up, other countries will. In addition, the ad revenue and profitability of these social media companies comes at the expense of local print/broadcasting media. Many countries were already upset at that.


We have viable alternatives, but they require more work from the users, and that means only a small group of people will ever use them.

Keybase has the right idea, but they're becoming, if not have not already become, untrustworthy because of who bought them.

There is twister, a distributed twitter replacement.

There are various facebook replacements based on mastodon. Gab is another replacement for facebook, but it's not even open source, but then neither is slug ...

Twistor sounds very interesting. Thanks for the reference.


Even if there are alternative social sites, they will just be labeled, defined, and touted as place for a bunch of kooks and haters.

For example, one YouTuber I follow had to start cross-posting to BitChute, Odysee, and more because his videos were being removed by YouTube. When looking up BitChute online, a Wikipedia page popped up and defined, "BitChute is a video hosting service known for accommodating far-right individuals and conspiracy theorists, and for hosting hateful material."

Basically, the rest is just libelous labeling against the platform and users as a whole.

@Starlight In all fairness, the alternatives are filled with "a bunch of kooks and haters". That's simple logic. The fringe is expelled from mainstream media, so alt-media is filed with fringe.

It takes the determination of mainstream free speech advocates to use alt-media to defeat that perception. The more "normies" who use alt-media, the less fringe it will be populated with by proportion.

@ZuzecaSape Agreed. What was learned after mySpace, is that all social software has a time limit. Though the big tech desperately try to renovate what they have in order to hold on, something with fresh ideas will eventually take their place. Fundamentally, we need changes to evolve and propel us forward.


Did you know that PayPal, one of the most convenient and secure methods for online payments, refuses to allow its services to be utilized for pornographic websites? The website Patreon used to let sex workers make money through subscribers, but then it updated its policies and kicked all sex workers off its platform. Instagram not only removes / bans nudity, but will even kick people off for implied sexuality or trying to promote their Only Fans pages. This is no different than what you see happening now with Parler or Trump or "stolen election" narratives - but since many Conservatives disagree with pornography and sex work, they never seemed to have an issue with it before.


Rico, two or more parties conspire to damage the business of a third party, called racketeering,
This will cost big tech billions,

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