In this episode, we explore various types of censorship and some of the web3 tools to deal with it. Censorship is most commonly thought of as almost a caricature of some prudish authority figure at the top burning books and punishing people for what they say. However, with the advancement of technology, censorship has taken on more subtle approaches such as agenda-setting theory, algorithmic exclusion, and shadow banning. The inner workings of these types of censorship are behind a veil controlled by centralized entities. Not all censorship is terrible; however, it should be a more democratic and transparent process. With web3, we hope to tear down this veil and let this process be transparent to all through decentralization using web3 tools.
This episode will focus specifically on censorship. Censorship is most commonly known by the obvious censorship attempts by the ‘Washington Wives,’ a group that set out to increase censorship in music in 1985 and fought against by Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, Jon Denver, and Frank Zappa. Then again, in 1988, with NWA vs. the FBI with the song Fuck the Police, among other cases. In the 90s, famous censorship debates raged when censorship took the form of Joe Biden wanting to ban PGP encrypted e-mail (which was previously military-grade encryption) and wanted back door access into everyone’s computers via the “Clipper Chip” in which the cypherpunks fought hard against and won.
As we progress and innovate in technology, new forms of censorship emerge. We are also being faced with protocol-level censorship.
Legit forms of censorship: Fact-checking, misinformation, pornography, anti-money laundering, anti-spam/scam. But who is in control of those tools?
Is the desire for ad revenue an inadvertent form of censorship? Are the agenda setting and topic of the content driven by the need for clicks and likes for revenue? Does this drown out the ability of journalists to focus on a topic like local news, investigative, and policy?
What are current tools to fight against censorship?
Will censorship be automated through AI? What does that look like?