Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger has been very active lately in his efforts to highlight the problems that plague the internet, and offer his ideas for solutions.
Sanger recently authored his Declaration of Digital Independence, calling for a decentralized internet that would put the power and control back in the hands of its users and away from big corporations that dominate it today.
And then, to demonstrate his dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, he called for a two-day social media strike, urging users of social media platforms with grievances about the way they operate to not use them on July 4 and 5.
The plan was to use hashtag #SocialMediaStrike and post only messages stating that a user was on strike, and to urge others to join the strike, and sign the Declaration.
The purpose of the strike was to show support for a new, decentralized form of social media, and, as Sanger is reporting, it attracted a lot of attention from major media outlets.
The internet pioneer makes a note that despite the large number of articles about the planned strike, and interest shown by the BBC and Tucker Carlson of Fox News – the story about the strike never managed to trend on Twitter.
But that’s not all – as the strike appears to have attracted the attention of Twitter, too, where much of this activity was taking place. And Sanger doesn’t mince words: he accuses Twitter of throttling the campaign.
Why do I think they’re throttling it? First, they are hiding it behind a “sensitive content“ warning for some people. Second, there is a hell of a lot more interest in the strike now than there was when we did the first poll, and after a few days it has fewer votes than the 1st.
— Larry Sanger (@lsanger) July 3, 2019
The social media giant decided to put the “sensitive content” warning in front of tweets about the strike, even when they contained Twitter’s own memes and the strike hashtag.
And, Sanger said, it was never explained what merited the use of “sensitive content” filtering on tweets related to the boycott.
He also sums up the effects of the strike, to describe it as a grassroots effort that did receive support from some well-known users of Twitter – but that there was no backing from prominent politicians of any ideological persuasion, Silicon Valley figures, YouTubers or pundits. In other words, the establishment, by and large, ignored the event, Sanger said.