Vaibhav Aparimit

@v_aparimit

Maintaining a secular silence is not an option for tech companies anymore

After Charlottesville, tech companies have ditched The Daily Stormer. Daily Stormer is a neo-nazi propaganda magazine and publishes one of the vilest nonsense on internet. Clouldfare recently joined the bandwagon, in addition to the other tech companies like Sendgrid, GoDaddy.

This, as far as I can remember, is the first instance where tech companies have colluded to choke internet for a publisher. This has routinely happened in China and other dictatorial regimes. In democratic countries, institutions always put a brake on government censorships and hence the the authority to adjudicate on what gets published and what not, is devolved.

In theory this means there will be freedom of speech on internet. In practice however internet companies of the world are either monopolies or monopolistic. The scale economics in internet world favour winner take all kind of situations. For example Google becomes better at search as more people use it. More people using Google, means more data Google collects to better its algorithms, user experience and further strengthen its search results quality. Better search results quality means ultimately more people using Google.

So this means powers to regulate on internet is really not devolved. Few internet companies control the internet and hence real power now is concentrated in the hands of few corporations, which basically means their CEOs and powerful board members.

Barring Daily Stormer from using their services, by tech companies is a bad move. Daily Stormer is a lowlife, scumbag of a publication. There remains no doubt about that. However with this move, will the tech companies now suspend/terminate services of all pro-Jihadi, pro-radical islam websites. Such sites do flourish and why are tech companies allowing this kind of nonsense to sustain.

What to regulate is always very difficult to define. So anything that does not adhere to the left, hippie ethos of tech will be shunned ? If not shunned, now questions will be asked, why are they not taking affirmative action. Maintaining a secular silence is not an option for tech companies anymore.

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