We Need Reslient and Decentralized Information Sharing Systems
Imagine that every piece of technology and social infrastructure on which you rely had its apparent political polarity reversed. Would this harm you or help you?
Disclaimer: i don’t believe this election was stolen (that is, corruption and organized fraud sufficient enough to make a difference in the result). i haven’t seen credible evidence of it, and i’ve looked and asked those I know to be MAGA true-believers to show me their best argument.
Smaller Disclaimer: This post was written in early January, 2021 and written from that point of view in time.
Imagine the situation is reversed. It’s inauguration season 2025, Biden is president, Parler is the number one social media application, many of the large tech companies are run by very pro-Trump indivduals. You have reason to believe that Trump - or someone worse - and his followers have somehow unfairly corrupted the election in his favor and it’s looking like he’s going to be sworn-in soon. You’re terrified. As far as you can tell, by following a few heavily-moderated and ridiculed pro-democracy threads on Parler and whatever other dark corners of the internet democrats are able to get together, you are convinced that Trump is about to perform an ostensibly legal coup and all the neo-nazis and sedetionists are screaming at you for your conspiracy theories for the threat they pose to “legitimate democracy”.
I feel this bears repeating here: I believe the 2020 election was fairly won and I’m happy about it. Back to the upside-down world:
Biden is on social media and public rallies warning about the threat of this fascist takeover. But all the mainstream news media, with their big MAGA banners all over their feeds, are calling him a dangerous liar and hinting at treason. When you turn on the TV, the news anchors are often scary-looking, large, white men with angry expressions. Most acceptable social media posts are celebrating the steal, while the ones that are taken down and blocked are the ones with evidence that Biden’s second term has been aborted by a dangerous regime.
Now to the real point: Parler removes Biden’s account. Your Democrat friends’ accounts start going dark on all the big platforms. Even cell phone and internet provider companies - all run by Trump supporters - begin banning and removing any forms of communcation you relied on to maintain democracy.
Imagine the apparent political ideology of every piece of technology and social infrastructure you rely on was exactly the opposite of what it is. This can happen.
Are you horrified yet?
We need resilient, a-political, decentralized information-sharing mechanisms. These things are out there, but they’re typically ignored by “normal people” who aren’t worried about stories like the one above. But there’s a parallel story playing out in the real world as I write this, and if you can properly imagine the tables turned, you should be very freaked out right now.
Free, open, trustless and decentralized services are out there. I’ll update this post with recommendations when I’m not in a rush to publish it. All I ask of you right now is that you take these alternate services seriously today and begin integrating them into your life before it’s too late.