There’s a growing sense that the internet and people participating on it as part of “social media” are today in such a bad shape as free individuals freely expressing themselves – that they must somehow reinvent, or rediscover, their free digital roots.
And also, that this should happen before it’s too late for anyone to fix the problem.
But the social media portion of the internet industry is at this point so dominated by big players who built it the way it is by the powerful, established, and power-aligned tech giants, that “social” has become an exceedingly hard nut to crack as a business model – or any kind of a meaningful presence.
Even a giant with its tentacles in every corner of the tech business, like Google, tried, and then abysmally failed with its doomed “Google+” product.
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Then there’s more – platforms like Patreon, offering a crowdfunding subscription model to creators – but also lately often hitting the wall of arbitrarily imposed acceptable and unacceptable ideological bias on the web, i.e., of censorship.
Anybody interested in the efforts of balancing and countering all this turmoil of “free speech” and related troubles on the web might want to check out ThinkSpot, the new “free speech platform,” its founder Jordan Peterson recently suggested on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
Peterson, a popular psychologist, told Rogan that the nascent subscription-based platform will combine the best of Patreon, Facebook, and YouTube – while leaving censorship out of the equation.
Peterson is touting freedom as the front-and-center concern of the platform, where users could only ever see their content removed through takedowns coming directly from “a US court of law.”
That looks more straight-forward that content standards promoted of late by established giants like YouTube, and Facebook’s image sharing platform Instagram, who have all separately been making the distinction between their own terms of service and community guidelines – and what constitutes for violations in any given case – ever more murky.
But Peterson is aware that rules need to be in place in order to maintain a sustainable social media platform of any kind. To this end, he has devised a rule meant to keep trolls and their ilk off ThinkSpot – considering that, if let loose, they have the capacity to quickly spoil any well-meaning, or otherwise, platform.
ThinkSpot looks to be seeking ways to foster to-the-point, yet uncensored content – albeit in a way very different to what Twitter used to do, deciding to allow a maximum of 140 characters per tweet.
ThinkSpot, Peterson revealed, will require a minimum of 50 words in any comment.
“If minimum comment length is 50 words, you’re gonna have to put a little thought into it. Even if you’re being a troll, you’ll be a quasi-witty troll,” he said.
Other ideas are being floated around, Peterson said, but have not yet been decided on, such as whether a 50/50, or some other ratio, would hide upvoted/downvoted comments – while keeping them on the platform and available to readers who choose to click on them.
The new platform is now scheduled for launch in August 2019 – and needs beta testers to ensure a smooth rollout. Among those who have pledged to help in this effort are Dave Rubin, Michael Shermer, and Carl Benjamin.
Peterson also took to Twitter to call on anyone willing to test ThinkSpot help ahead of its launch.
In December 2018, we reported that Peterson and The Rubin Report’s Dave Rubin had announced plans to launch a rival to Patreon, fresh after the popular crowdfunding website had banned Carl Benjamin, aka, Sargon of Akkad.
But the banning of Benjamin at the time on hate speech grounds – which he argued was arbitrary, rather than following the platform’s own community guidelines – stirred up a controversy, with many creators leaving the platform over what they perceived as censorship.
Peterson and Rubin referenced the controversy as being behind the idea to build a bullet-proof anti-censorship and free expression alternative to the platform.
Back in December, Peterson warned that simply picking another commercial service, like SubscribeStar, wouldn’t cut it for those users wishing to have a real alternative to Patreon – as SubscribeStar had its PayPal account closed soon after the Benjamin controversy.