To clarify, the Closed Net is the name I've given the internet and I will treat it as the name implies. The mission of this manifesto is to out Silicon Valley and provide alternatives, tackling social media as a whole. Here you will see why Big Brother exists in this timeline, alternatives to keep his prying eyes from you, and ways you can take back control. In school you might've read a short story called The Censors, or you may have read 1984 and possibly got called crazy. Whether or not you ever listened to such warnings, this manifesto should disperse many, if not all, myths and preconceptions of social media in general.
Ultimately, this manifesto is a bid to help those are still believing the myths that are told by Silicon Valley. I hope it helps.
The Closed Net is what we have today: Youtube, Facebook, and a myriad of other services and apps that take up the majority of our days on the internet. They are most often controlled by media moguls or otherwise greedy or heavily politically biased people. This is what turned the faith in technology to turn on its head. Slowly clamping down with seemingly benign rules and regulations, perverted to serve the ill will of the owners, these services sell what you speak, what you see, and what you hear, all for that extra cramped pocket or vault they keep overseas to evade paying legal tax.
"What you see is what you get" they say. However, the rules are often so draconian in nature that the owner can stretch it far beyond its supposed maximum limit. That's how they stay within their rules: there might as well not be any rules, but rather mindless yammering on a sheet of paper that convinces you that everything done is for your own good. I often let it rip on the topic of such things as "social media" because of what they have become, and their unequivocal and seemingly infinite lack of regret over letting these otherwise benign services mutate in such disastrous ways.
However, you may still ask yourself: what is the Closed Net? I will tell you. The Closed Net is what the internet turned into, obsoleting the WWW. The NSA illegally began spying on American citizens, and an information based economy was born. Thanks to the mental destruction of the populace, the people were convinced that the Closed Net was the future of the internet, and blindly dove into services like Youtube, Facebook and so on. Originally benign, human greed took over and they participated in the information economy, which was so profitable that it was effectively a deal with the DEVIL. Mark Zuckerberg put his wildly popular social media, Facebook to task while Google greedily forced Youtube out of Viacom's hands to use in the information economy.
However, there's another reason they did this. Order as a business model. After the shock that ensued when the Twin Towers fell, order was desired by many, and the media moguls were the first to bring that order. They were seen as saviors, if not gods. We were fooled. So utterly fooled that I considered it a cardinal sin. Look at what it has become! You're scrolling through Facebook, Doomscrolling it's called, just praying for the Zuck to give you another hit of dopamine, a source which isn't even legitimate! And what about Youtube? If you're a creator, then you're likely suffering from the draconian rules that get stretched to no end! If you're a viewer, then the removal of the dislike count means you can end up zapping yourself, burning yourself, or worse if you're trying to fix something for example! Why? It could be fake, but you wouldn't know until you find comments berating the methods attached or praising the efficacy of such. But that's too much for a normal net denizen, right? You want those answers right away, and it's a universal "gotcha" mechanic.
And yet, most people don't even realize this simple fact: They've been duped. Lied to. Bamboozled. It's this simple fact that they cannot accept because the lies have been so hammered into them that it blots out the truth! We desire facts and truth at a moment's notice, and since there's no faster way of establishing a truth we substitute the lies as truth instead! However, if you did break out of this mindset, you're probably asking yourself "how in GOD's GREEN EARTH did I fall for that?" Simple: far too many people are content with getting the first or second result right away, so going deeper is a Herculean ask. You were one of them.
How, exactly, would you know this if you were intoxicated by social media? You likely wouldn't because the very definition of "truth" and "lie" has been subverted, which God CERTAINLY didn't want to happen. Say you were with another person and a red barn is in front of you. That person unequivocally believes the barn is painted blue, which is clearly untrue, but argue as you might, you can't change his mind. That is a seemingly benign example, but remember that one example can cover a huge portion of a topic, which it does here. Many denizens are stricken by this ill deception and it can be particularly destructive to their perception of the world if you just plop the truth in front of them.
In short, social media has twisted the definition of "truth" and "lie" so completely that most people won't even be able to tell the truth, and will likely reject differing opinions and beliefs the moment you utter the topic.
No I didn't go off into a Madness or Halo tangent. This is what I see when it comes to the Closed Net. What I mean by hyperlethal is basically the logical extreme of Darwinism combined with the 9 balls that are your usual net denizens believing what they see and hear alone. So, I posit this: Person X is mad at Person Y for being a white male. Person X brigades and convinces others that Person Y is the worst the planet has to offer, and he gets his life ruined because of it. Likewise, Person Y can easily do the same and get a spotlight grubber out of the way, but it's no less destructive.
This hostile and toxic environment is most often fostered by the desire to get a leg up and overall get more popular by any means necessary. Bots, clickbait etc. Why is this environment here? Glad you asked. It's because of social media moguls. They want you to fight each other, get mad at each other for excessively superficial things. They restrict so many topics that it becomes a series of echo chambers, and as a denizen, you feel the "need" to join one to follow the crowd. The deceptive UI tricks you so profoundly, with Twitter never including a dislike button and having the like button use a heart emoji, Facebook banning all but the most dystopian doom and gloom, Google's claim of not being evil etc. It's all bait. Take the bait and you'll be stuck getting mad at superficial things such as skin color and ideology, including political lean.
THAT is how you get caught in these infinite loops. It happens so often that you forget there are good people on such sites, and it's saddening to see how EASILY shock and awe can drum up entire armies when the provocation is successful, and more so if evidence is ignored. Sure you may break some people out of their stupor "OKAY, how did I fall for that", but the majority just won't listen. That's how people get utterly destroyed. That's how people suffer through weeks if not years of brigading. Just look at Dragon Ball Super Broly voice actor Vic Mignogna. He was a great dude even when he got embroiled in the business end of a blame game orchestrated by Bulma VA Monica Rial and Vegeta VA Chris Sabat. This was before a lot of people realized that most accusations like this really lack evidence, so he got Guilty Gear Destroyed over it and was constantly banned from anime conventions, but clearly that publicity stunt didn't work, as Vic was still signing lots of accessories from fans of his Broly voice over. His stand-in, another great voice actor, respected Vic and wanted to live up to the badassery that was his Broly.
So yes, you CAN survive getting brigaded online. Still painful though. The next chapter explains further how this behavior is fostered and reinforced.
4.1: User Interface
Twitter is scarily deceptive in its user interface. There are 4 buttons at the bottom of a post: Comment, Repost, Like (heart), and Share. Notice the lack of a Dislike button? I mentioned this before, but it's really hard to notice, even for me. This causes most people to think that most people don't really hate or generally dislike the content posted, and you can get blindsided when someone tells you they really dislike a certain topic, which may get deleted before you see it, so you might think whoever pinged you in DMs is a troll.
For one, you can't even SEE the rest of Facebook without signing up. That means you can't tell if it's good or not, and yet that sign-in box is sitting there seductively, waiting to bite. However, public accounts directly linked work, so that is some cheap blocking. The bottom bar for a post houses the following: Like, Comment, Share. AGAIN, that missing dislike button, causing the same shenanigans as above. Unlike Twitter, it also shows a hot comment below the bar with the top used emojis on it. That single comment can leave a fair bit of ambiguity over the overall mood on the subject matter of the post. Most would just take that single comment and run with it as if that's the general opinion, even though it can be one of 3 things: overwhelming agreement, a clash between agreement and disagreement, or a majority disagreement over a topic. Of course there's also going way off topic.
In many social medias, more is better. More views, more comments, more likes, more everything supposedly positive. However, one thing many social media share are blocking mechanisms for sensitive topics, even if they are from reputable independent news outlets. This leads to the need to conform in order to stay on the platform, even if you have to work your way back to caveman speech and super simplistic drawings if you want to dodge unjust banning. Those who want to conform want to do so in the best way possible, and thus find themselves at odds with other users doing the same thing, and instinctively they want to fight for that so-called "glory". However, what's worse is the draconian nature of it all. It's like I said, draconian rules can be stretched over incredible distances, and that's how a majority of social media enforce what they want you to believe. Dystopia was already here. We didn't know it until it was too late.
Doomscrolling is defined as consuming a large patch of negative posts and/or news at once. We are wired to scan for dangers and has helped us survive ever since we humans were first brought upon the earth. However, too much of this leads to doomscrolling as defined, and can, for one, cause major mood damage and excess of personal fears. Facebook is most known for taking this act and running with it. It keeps you searching for something good for once in hopes of a fake hit of dopamine. It's why many people are overly negative. "This world is done for" is a light way for one of them to put it, but in reality, while something might have indeed gone horribly wrong, it doesn't usually affect the rest of the world to such a degree that they're all feeling the burn. If something REALLY went wrong, and I mean utterly haywire, you would know it the moment it happens, or if you're on the other side of the world, a little after ground zero. There is a difference between being cautious and being paranoid. That, and solutions to problems are often more peace-inducing.
5.2: The Chase for Dopamine
Dopamine is the material that is understood to allow happy thoughts to flow through our brain. It's basically a euphoric kickstart that says you did something right and/or difficult, giving you a sense of fulfillment and aforementioned happiness. A dangerous lack of dopamine can mean depression, lack of will to do anything, and you can't really function to your fullest. The reason THIS subchapter is here is because of its prevalence in actively harming the natural dopamine release processes. While you can get dopamine from tough tasks, the mind also looks for easier dopamine release. Give it that and good grief you screwed up. This is where social media comes in.
This is perhaps the *WORST* offender listed in this entire manifesto. Social media in general has taken such massive advantage of this (see TikTok as the latest offender) that entire generations don't find enjoyment in tough or otherwise stressful tasks anymore. It also doesn't help if you haven't been able to go outside to get necessary vitamins from the sun because that means less energy, and you are already running on fumes by comparison. In short: leave your phone for a while and touch grass. It'll really help.
Here I will list solutions for 1. dopamine problems, 2. being mentally stuck and 3. critical thinking improvements.
Whip your body into shape, even if it's difficult at first. Martial arts and Indian exercises are a good start as an all-around pick-me-up, but target body parts you realize are falling behind. I personally love Capoeira as it kicks your --- the first time around. Also, ensure you know what you're doing, which exercises to do, and how intense you can go. Going too far on the word go can result in some disastrous injuries.
If you want to keep your phone, shut it the f--- up and use it for music, preferably inspirational, aggressive, focused, or maybe a playlist of 2 or more of these types. Likely as not you'll probably need it. Fight hard, so that your future is at least good, if not prosperous. Oh, and make sure to eat healthy, OK? A lot of your time is going to waste if you keep your current habits, unless you're already eating healthy. (Research healthy eating too. Lots of fakes and scams out there)
6.2: Mental improvements
Get outside more often. Being stuck in your room promotes a sense of cramped space (even if you cleaned it up). If you're in an urban area and would rather avoid getting jumped, mugged or otherwise attacked, a good hike outside the city will help. May be a bit of a trip, but it's well worth it. If you want to stay inside the city limits however, there are a lot of urban sports to partake: parkour, aggressive inline, maybe you'd fancy a bit of soaping, skateboarding etc. Be sure to wear safety gear when starting out. The pros didn't abandon their gear on the word go after all.
If you CANNOT go outside for any reason, then there's one thing you can do to stay on your toes: Dance Dance Revolution and Pump It Up. "Uh, HOW!?" you might ask. There are a LOT of third party controllers, from beginner floormats to good quality metal plates that you can get at reasonable prices, although you might be waiting longer than expected with some brands. One dude who was stuck in quarantine played a lot of DDR via Project Outfox and all I can say is... (Ron Simmons impression) *DAMN~!* He is much stronger than I realized now.
There's also indoor exercise equipment if that's not your style.
6.3: Critical thinking
If you're having trouble thinking due to the lies you got shoved down your gullet, here are a few thing that might help. Otherwise, do the best research you can because good grief there are so many liars on the internet.
1. Set up a weekly schedule. Work it around your situation, be it a job or volunteer work. Keep it from getting stale, make it dynamic.
2. Learn something new. Maybe a game genre you haven't tried before? Perhaps a new hobby is in order? Maybe you're interested in old British microcomputers. Who knows!? Haha!
3. You may be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome where you're feeling sympathy for previous captors and don't want to think negatively of them nor harm them. This is particularly true of social media if you have fallen into an addiction with it. Medical help may vary because 1. Stockholm affects people differently, and 2. disorders like PTSD can stack on top of that. Ensure that you find yourself a medical professional who can help with this.
Here is laid out a comprehensive list of alternatives if you 1. still need to contact people, and 2. want to get away from the toxic environment of the Closed Net. A word of caution though: if you see lots and lots of conservative and otherwise non-liberal points of view, that's primarily because many denizens still use Youtube, Facebook etc, and don't exactly have the desire to break out of their slumber. One thing I did NOT expect was for this chapter to be the longest of all of the chapters here in this manifesto, so bear with me.
7.1: Video sharing platforms
Odysee is an implementation of the LBRY crypto that lives on an immutable blockchain, and thus it cannot be censored easily. While some people like myself were a bit worried about Odysee as a group, they seem to have held their own and is thus a viable alternative. There's one extra hoop, but it's not really a hassle if you just want to view videos and comment: Odysee uses the LBRY cryptocurrency meant to be an alternative way to support yourself and others on the platform. If you want to start content creation here, you're given a bit of that for the platform to show you the ropes. It's easy enough. Clicking around, watching videos etc will net you bits and bobs of this crypto that you can spend on tipping creators you like, investing in yourself (to enable streaming for example). While the latter sounds a bit scammy, I haven't had any problems doing so, because that investment lets you be more easily seen. Besides, your subscribers get all notifications unlike Youtube.
For rules, I will quote Odysee's terms:
f) You will not use the Services to distribute or publish Content that:
is unlawful, for example, copyrighted works, underage sexual content, revenge pornography, or any other content illegal under US or state law.
would constitute, encourage or provide instructions for a criminal offense, violate the rights of any party, or that would otherwise create liability or violate any applicable local, state, national or international law;
infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other intellectual or proprietary right of any party;
impersonates any person or entity or otherwise misrepresents your affiliation with a person or entity;
contains sensitive personal information, including "protected health information," as defined under HIPAA and its implementing rules; “cardholder data," as defined by the PCI DSS; “personal information" of a “child" as such terms are defined under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and its implementing rules; or personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, and the processing of genetic data, biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person, data concerning health or data concerning a natural person's sex life or sexual orientation;
contains viruses, corrupted data or other harmful, disruptive or destructive files; UNLESS CLEARLY LABELED AS SUCH
in the sole judgment of the Company, is objectionable or which restricts or inhibits any other person from using or enjoying Odysee or the Services, or which may expose the Company or its users to any harm or liability of any type.
USD equivalent of Odysee Credits [LBC] is determined by 3rd party markets such as Bittrex and Poloniex, not Odysee INC.
Pretty much a veteran of the anger over Youtube's restrictive policies, they lay down a clear list of rules which are the least draconian I've ever seen, compared to Youtube, whose rules are so draconian that there might as well be no rules. They had updated their community guidelines, and while it's exhaustive, it can be easily abbreviated here.
Here is what they DON'T want you to post:
Child abuse and endangerment
Harrassment according to English law
Harmful content (dangerous substances, self-harm, anything that leads to anyone getting seriously injured)
Inciting hatred (in accordance with Section 368E Subsection (1) of the UK Communications Act 2003)
Sexual content (Defined as real, simulated or otherwise portrayed content containing sexual intercourse, sexual acts or sexual arousal.)
Terrorism and lethal extremism (Bitchute aggregates a list of blocked terrorists and related entities from the UK, US, Australia, Canada, NZ, UN and EU that are absolutely not allowed on the platform)
Threats and inciting violence
Bitview is an interesting one. They harken back to the days of old before Viacom lost control of Youtube. In those days, Viacom was actually quite chill, and people posted the stuff they liked, from cats to Y2K aesthetics to some Call of Duty. This has that same vibe and is for sure one of the better platforms. However, like the old days you hit a few roadbumps, like videos needing to be less than 2GB in size (100MB with the old uploader) and limited to 15 minutes. Thing is, most people don't really go beyond 5 minutes unless it's a sponsored thing, which happens a lot more on Youtube, a platform that's had streams and radios go on for long periods of time.
7.2: Social messaging
Social messaging can be a PITA to find if you're sifting through Google. I'll make it clear here tho.
So, you might be thinking: "Is this a source of Gabber genre music?" Nope. It's a social media that doesn't slap or choke you for wrongthink. Founded by Andrew Torba, a devout Christian, the core of Gab is free speech as protected by the United States of America's 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights, part of the Constitution. That means you won't be arbitrarily censored, only by concrete situations like copyright takedowns and breaking the law.
It's styled after Twitter, with a grey and green paint job, but has a lot more going for it. You can actually explore, see what other people are saying, instead of being hammered with propaganda after propaganda (although you might see propaganda from individuals from time to time [and bots]). Long story short, best place to go if you're familiar with Twitter. Feel free to speak. That should've been what was allowed in the first place.
While Minds was attacked from time to time with accusations of being a scam and/or taken over by Silicon Valley, the fact it still stands is a testament to the fight they put up. I don't use it personally, but it has a currency that is distributed to you for looking around the site, posting and generally spending time on it, which is the same thing Odysee does. They tout themselves proponents of freedom of speech, which holds up as I haven't seen any reports that would break the deal for someone trying to get away from Facebook, which it's modeled after for familiarity's sake.
Given the sheer STATE of the constant censorship, blogging is at its weakest, because if you make one wrong move or fail to censor something you're likely going to end up in internet gulag. Here are some options for you bloggers out there.
The sister project of Bitview, Spacehey reminds you of Myspace and is a great blogging platform if you're focusing on text. They don't take kindly to lawbreakers and network attacks like DDOSing or otherwise disrupting the platform's funciton. Otherwise, you're free to chat. It's good stuff and would indeed be a good pick. Oh, and personal profile customization is amazing turns out.
Tumblr is a company owned multimedia blogging platform that can be seen as abhorrent to open source purists. However, you don't need a phone number and so far Tumblr hasn't been reported to arbitrarily censor people and their terms are clearly laid out. Their terms also say that you have full rights to your own intellectual property and they won't try and hijack original works. They also won't do extra stuff to your content that may surprise you. This is also perhaps THE longest subchapter in this chapter, given the expansive TOS.
Here's what violates their rules:
IRL and photorealistic adult content (To quote Tumblr, "nice try").
Violence, threats to violence, critical injury and mutilation
Popularity schemes (follow trains ["follow me and get more follows"], fake reblogs, bulk and indiscriminate use of features etc.)
Deceptive and fraudulent links (scams, impersonation etc) (includes putting the incorrect source in a post)
Mis-attributing and not attributing (you need to give proper links and names of who or what you're quoting. They do not allow links that go back to your blog, that steals attention from the original post.)
Username and URL abuse, racketing and squatting (In short, they don't want you to pull stunts [be it stockpiling or embezzling usernames/URLs] or zealously guard your usernames, and instead let them be naturally acquired and released as blog lifespans come and go.)
Sleeper accounts (AKA account dormancy. They release your username and archive your blogs if you have been inactive for a really long time. I say "sleeper accounts" because this is usually a tactic used by Discord scammers. Let them wait, and then run up on whatever unsuspecting server they joined.)
Third party themes (given the nature of allowing third parties to change the look of things, Tumblr made the choice to funnel everything through https://tumblr.com/themes as a means of preventing rogue code from invading your blog because they can review it at publish time down to release time and then some. This is one of a few number of times that closed source actually helps clamp down on network and computer invasions.
Mass registration and automation (IN SHORT, they HATE botnets. It's such a common tactic for various objectives hackers may have and it's very destructive.)
Unauthorized contests, sweepstakes etc. (they want to make sure you aren't trying to pull a fast one, and tell you to go to https://www.tumblr.com/policy/en/contest-guidelines before trying any of these.)
Clear cut and dubious copyright violation (they want you to respect your legal restrictions and overall avoid breaking copyright law. They understand it's tricky and so they focus on identifying whether or not there are actually grounds for deletion of a blog. If you get your post taken down by a DMCA, they'll provide information about the claimant and their complaint, so you can determine what their objective was and whether or not it was legitimate. The claims are also reviewed by actual people, not bots.)
Impersonation and not being genuine (the former most often happens in Discord, with bots claiming free Discord Nitro is available. Be yourself in other words, even as you can ridicule, parody and talk about someone etc.).
Harrassment and outright bullying (includes sexual harrassment and unwanted sexualization. Tumblr encourages you to be proactive by reporting and blocking the tar out of those who are harrassing you under the aforementioned situations, and to not try and circumvent the block to further converse with whoever blocked you.)
Privacy violations (espionage of identity, doxxing, posting private information about an individual, etc. Basically, let users that don't want to be identified stay anonymous.)
Disrupting and exploiting Tumblr (an act of bad faith, but also damaging for anyone stuck in a hacker's warpath, and even more harmful to everyone else on the site in the case of a DDOS.)
Unlawful use and content (regulated drugs, weapons, weapon parts (including 3D printed) regulated goods and anything else that's designed to hurt people are not to be bought, instructed on manufacture, nor sold on the platform. Fraud, phishing and other scams are also not allowed.)
Election integrity (this is one I didn't expect to see. Defrauding and impeding the United States Census and the people involved, as well as elections on all levels are not allowed. Includes fake instructions on how to vote, time to vote and where. While this is a hot topic, I'm glad Tumblr addressed the best way they can.)
Human trafficking and prostitution (self-explanatory, and ties in with the adult content and violence rules.)
*WHEW* that was a lot to cover. On to the next option.
7.3C Make your own!
Be it through Neocities or a domain you have, with some .css and .html knowledge you can quickly whip up as basic or as nice looking a blog as you want. I know I do. The Gemini Protocol is another nice option if you just want text and ASCII art, and its markup is STUPID SIMPLE. This can tie into Chapter 6.3 very nicely and damn is it fun. Many Neocities sites are either nice looking blogs or have good-looking blogs as part of their site. You can pay a bit to upload music files, archives, and games (such as a project you're working on) in Neocities, and can really help spice things up. If you're uploading media somewhere else, you can just link it in your blogs, or embed it if applicable (see my Starfighter blog post).
The world beyond the proverbial Blackwall of Cyberpunk fame is a wide one, full of adventure and the ability for you to speak without arbitrary censorship. While all of the solutions listed here come with their own rules about copyright and law, they are concrete and prevents most if not all draconic actions taken against their users. From the simplest of solutions to the most grand of bastions, there's something for everyone's tastes, and freedom of speech is so much more natural than being restricted so utterly you probably can't speak anymore. If you find you have become much healthier because of the solutions listed in this manifesto, a word of thanks is appreciated, but I don't see it as necessary.