Big Tech social media platforms: Howto balance free speech & moderation, deplatforming practices?

No more Trump on Twitter

Accusations of censorship

Hacker news

One of the comments on Hacker News: U.S. Capitol Locked Down Amid Escalating Protests | Hacker News

How did we arrive to this point where a huge chunk of the population is in one reality and another huge chunk of the population is in another reality? Segregation of information sources? Politicization of media outlets? Self-reinforcing social bubbles? A combination of all of them and more?

How much power do they have?

“Budget for legal lobbying in US Congress and EU parliament is larger than GDP of the entire country”

Controversial opinion

Big Tech companies have so much global power, much more than little islands that go underwater.

Old days breaking up:

New days I was thinking about creating a “ministry of Big Tech”?

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(Note: I changed the topic title from “Twitter banning readDonaldTrump - ministry of Big Tech?” to avoid discussion on that particular fact. Specific political events are beyond the scope of this community, while we focus on the underlying technology aspects)

Specific aspects to be considered:

  • Society is increasingly demanding concrete action by governments and Big Tech itself to moderate or otherwise limit certain forms of expression on social media platforms.
  • The platforms themselves are increasingly acting on their own, moderating, suspending and deplatforming in rather arbitrary ways, not seldom acting from (commercial) self-interest, i.e. by deplatforming a competitor or censoring news about competing technologies.
  • The services provided by these platforms are in such widespread used, creating incredible network effects, that they can almost be considered ‘utility services’. You can’t do without them without blocking yourself off from parts of society.

In addition to examples mentioned by @marsrobertson here’s some random news items currently trending:

Numerous other examples exist and occur on a day-to-day basis. Sellers that are suddenly pushed off of Amazon, Influencers from YouTube / Facebook / TikTok, etc. People lose their livelyhoods. People are censored, sometimes righfully so, sometimes unjustly, their voices suppressed.

How can this situation be improved? What are best-practices to be adopted to get things right?

It is not at all easy. Very complex subject matter. I saw an interesting case made on the ActivityPub Conference (the open protocol of the Fediverse):

The big social media will NEVER be able to do effective moderation, given the amount of people on their centralized platforms.

In the decentralized Fediverse with 1,000’s of servers, the problem of moderation is also decentralized and more manageable. The concept is explained in this great video from the conference: