It seems like a new social media app comes out every few months that promises to be the “Free Speech” social media app that says it doesn’t “censor” anything (by which they mean moderate) . And those of us who have been in this room for more than two seconds laugh. Since every single Internet service that sooner or later allows third-party speech to be made recognizes that moderation is not optional, every website has to stay running. Basically, it starts with spam. If you leave spam, a website becomes unusable. After that, there are things that you must legally remove, including child sexual abuse material and (in some cases) material that is against copyright law.
Sooner or later, however, any such site realizes that it has to go through the content moderation learning curve. That doesn’t mean they all have to follow or do the same thing, but they do need to recognize that questions about content moderation are always there. This includes things like “How do you deal with abuse and harassment?” And in general, how do you deal with trolls who are clearly doing no good. There are many different approaches, but to insist that you are the free speech website that “does nothing” is not a realistic proposition. It is one that shows ignorance.
Enter the MyPillow guy Mike Lindell. Last month, Lindell announced that he was creating his own social media site with the slogan “Voices of Free Speech”. I’m not even sure what that means. He insisted that people have “ten times more followers” on his jerky platform and that Twitter and Google are “a thing of the past” which shows a bit of bravado I think.
Of course, the “free speech” portion of his “voices of free speech” is apparently much more limited than implied. Lindell has now announced that “the four swear words” are not allowed. Is it only four?
“You can’t use the four swear words: the C-word, the N-word, the F-word or the name of God for free,” says Lindell in the video.
Huh. So I’m not even convinced which “C-word” is being used here, and I find that “the S-word” is apparently allowed? From all that has been said, it sounds like Lindell and every programmer he dragged into this crazy scheme implemented a lame keyword filter that everyone who’s worked in content moderation says it doesn’t work nowhere near as well as people expect. People who want to use those words will find alternatives quickly, damn it. I mean damn who doesn’t know this is it?
Anyway, this has all the hallmarks of another social media train wreck, but I look forward to Lindell and Trump fighting for users of their new social networks if they don’t rely on Section 230 in court to keep them legal Problems protect liability for all the crazy things their users post.
The Pillow Dude’s “Free Speech” social media website will of course moderate “swear words”
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