Technology + Censorship
Just some thoughts...
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I will try to be more active again. I just like to take my breaks from time-to-time.
Michel Foucault, in his publication discipline & punish, talked about Panopticism. Now, in the context of the pandemic, everything on broadly the internet is under the image of his entire contention. What I mean by that is effectively that this panopticon creates a requirement on the part of the Big Tech for observation around the talks of covid. Now these measures are essentially imposed with the intent of safeguarding the society from mis & disinformation. However, this is backfiring & really limiting the quality of discussion and open conversation in the internet. Foucault’s discipline and punish, is easily played out here, where the disciplinary society isn't really one with a panopticon in each road: it is one where the state controls such strategies for pressure and works them all through society. A lot of people make a living on the internet, i.e., Substack etc. When they censor via algorithmic changes it drastically effects the person’s career. A lot of journalists then get censored as an effect of the same.
Daniel Schmachtenberger & Tristan Harris talk about this a lot. I think Democracy at large as a framework is under threat by the hands of these social media companies. These media outlets creates an illusion of problem-solving by the users online. Take for example, issues around women rights, amongst younger people, lets say age groups of somewhere between 10 to 16 or 17, there’s a strong illusion that sharing posts around these issues, in this case women rights, and making the same trend- takes away the issue entirely from the society to a larger extent if not all. Well, this isn’t true in the real world. These big tech companies drive these narratives that using their platform for voicing their opinion is actually awarding them with a medal- and hence, also giving them the authority and power they need.
Another example would be propaganda, you can take away the ex-president of US out of twitter, but you can’t let all of the republicans who talk about propaganda away. So even if this is a win, it’s really not that effective. Anything that happens at large on a smaller scale has a mass effect like small atoms coming together to form matter.
Social media companies are also creating a polarisation effect. And I think people at some extent have become aware of the same. What I mean by this is that the content we like, is effectively what is constantly visible to us at all times. Let’s say I like watching turtle videos, now all the AI driven algorhymic power will be driven towards me watching those videos, in turn suspending any other content being circulated. Now this exactly can to some extent be applicable to politics and what I would call sneaky censorship. Because if a political movement breaks out, all we see is two different sides getting two narratives.