Be careful what you wish for

Weaponizing Censorship

Hey Friends,

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably a free speech advocate.

As a person born in Iran—a place where free speech doesn’t exist—I deeply value our ability to publicly state our opinions without being blocked by a central power.

Unfortunately, we’ve started to see cracks in this narrative.

Thanks to Cancel Culture, the central power has been replaced by an angry online mob.

Even before Trump incited insurrection, it was pretty common for me to see people on Twitter demanding that Jack Dorsey de-platform “the Donald.”

And then it happened.

Trump took it too far and was banned for life, and people celebrated the momentous win for the “good guys.”

But, as David Sacks said, censorship starts as something you like but eventually turns into something you don’t.

The same forces that blocked Trump were recently used to ban a bunch of Redditors in order to protect hedge funds, the apex predators of capitalism.

Melvin Capital had its back against the ropes by r/wallstreetbets—regular Joe’s who watched their parents drown next to underwater mortgages during the financial crash while hedge funders popped champagne.

Unfortunately, the regular Joe’s were quickly outgunned by central powers.

First, they were locked out of their broker accounts—Robinhood and other platforms blocked them from buying certain securities.

Next, they were kicked off Discord for “hate speech, glorifying violence, and spreading misinformation.”

There was no proof that they were using hate speech or that their spewed language was different from what you would hear on a Wallstreet trading floor.

However, there was ample evidence that a group of outsiders—WallStreetBets—was about to dethrone the establishment. The latter figured out how to channel the momentum in cancel culture and censorship into a formidable defense, causing GameStop shares to plunge alongside the underdogs' hopes and dreams.

Wall Street has just learned that organized social networks can threaten their control of the Monopoly board. The party in power benefits from increased censorship and repression of political dissent by labeling it “hate speech” and “disinformation.”

Censorship may have been necessary when our former president was inciting riots. Still, if we’re not careful, it can quickly turn into a lethal weapon for protecting the world’s most powerful people at the cost of your freedom.

This post was inspired by The Insider’s Game by David Sacks.

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