The Web Will Not Set You Free

I’ve an essay in Standpoint on the failure of the hopes that the Internet would bring in a new age of free speech and critical inquiry in which I argue

For its utopian boosters, the Web cannot be just another form of publishing. The new medium brings a new message and that is: censorship is doomed because banned material can flit round cyberspace as informed people fact-check online and expose the mistakes of the complacent mainstream.
Unfortunately, there is barely a word of truth in either claim. Traditional censors are finding it surprisingly easy to operate on the internet and stunted party-line thinking has never been so prevalent.

Go read the whole thing

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One thought on “The Web Will Not Set You Free

  1. That is not quite the point. Once long ago there was a press that presented a multitude of viewpoints. As the giants of the press devoured everything and consolidated into each other, millions of people were reduced to one or two accesses to news and comment. Rupert Murdoch, or Robber Murder as I prefer to call him, has repeatedly stated that in his view sixty million Britons should be content with three newspapers – The Sun, The Times, and The Daily Telegraph. By the time the internet came along, the Press and the media had forgotten their function as bearers of a plurality of views; the closest one got to it was the token opposition columnists published in the Sunday newspapers to prove their “inclusivity.” The Internet may have reinforced the voice of the fanatics, but it has also multiplied the number of voices. As for people reading only what they agree with, well, welcome to planet Earth. What do you think newspapers readers have always done?

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