by Elizabeth Vos, Disobedient Media
I am no expert in crypto-currency, and I am brand new on Steemit. Though I’m still in the beginning stages of learning the ropes of a platform based on cryptocurrency, like Steemit, I want to bring the platform to the attention of as many people as possible for a few specific reasons.
First, as Disobedient Media previously reported, social media giants including Facebook and Twitter have heavily censored political content and independent media over the course of the last year. Youtube, and its owner, mega-company Google, have likewise strangled the reach of independent news sources and commentary.
Youtube has severely demonetized any and all independent political thought, in an apparent attempt to choke content creators to death via their wallets.
In response to this, independent media have pivoted to other platforms including Steemit. Why?
Because it differs from Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter in a few extremely important ways. Where these legacy social media giants have censored content creators tremendously, Steemit not only offers a reprieve from censorship. The platform protects a user’s content within blockchain.
For those, like me, who are less tech-literate, this essentially means that you are not only free from censorship of the kind imposed on social media, but also that what you produce can never be deleted or altered by an outside entity. This is of particular importance for independent journalists or citizen investigators who cover sensitive and highly censored topics.
Steemit’s video counterpart, D.tube, provides similar protection for video content as a fantastic alternative to youtube, which has become infamous for its extensive censorship, especially after it came under the purview of Google. Other alternatives to Youtube including Bitchute have also gained traction in recent months. Kim Dotcom recently remarked on the deep-state supporting effects of Google’s ownership of Youtube:
Because YouTube belongs to Google and Google is the biggest supplier of user data to the US Govt. Everything you do on any Google service, any search, any email, ends up in the NSA spy cloud. And Google provides custom search technology to the Govt to spy on you better. #Pirates t.co/GPqy7L5lvr
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) February 5, 2018
In addition to the unique and inherent value for independent journalists when their work can be protected within blockchain, Steemit pays its content creators with a unique form of cryptocurrency. What must be noted here is that instead of media empires like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest, and others effectively profiting from users’ content, and then arbitrarily censoring that content – Steemit provides protection from censorship and reverses the profit model of the legacy social media platforms.
If any platform could be described as anti-establishment to its bones, it would be Steemit.
Disobedient Media previously reported on Facebook’s crackdown on the independent press, as well as censorship imposed by Google, Youtube and others. As described by Wikileaks, the interconnection between Google and the ‘deep state’ is incredibly strong. This enmeshment may, to some extent, explain the extreme censorship that has occurred on platforms owned or affiliated with Google, including Youtube.
As previously reported by this author, the cobweb of associations between corporate power, the intelligence community and media outlets have developed to a worrying extent, epitomized by the relationship between Jeff Bezos’ ownership of the Washington Post, in light of his financial ties with the CIA through its contract with Amazon. Bezos was also an ‘angel investor’ in Google.
In light of all this, it is no wonder that independent media do not face ‘friendly’ conditions on the platforms owned by the establishment that we collectively rail against every single day. This problem has put independent media in an increasingly painful catch-22 over recent months. Thankfully, Steemit provides not only a feasible solution to this issue, but one that turns the entire establishment media model on its head by paying users instead of profiting from the theft of their content.
The latest shift is not the first time that anti-establishment voices have turned to cryptocurrencies in the face of an establishment crackdown. Wikileaks and Assange were early adopters of Bitcoin, with Assange calling the currency “The real Occupy Wallstreet.”
That the value of Bitcoin sharply declined after making considerable gains in the last months of 2017 is hardly surprising given its significance to anti-establishment movements and organizations like Wikileaks. One hopes that other currencies like that of Steemit will not be faced with similar attacks, or will be strong enough to withstand them.
The floodgates of independent media turning to Steemit were opened primarily by Suzie Dawson, a journalist, activist, and current leader of the Internet Party of New Zealand. At her instigation, a new wave of independent journalists joined the platform, after facing severe censorship on establishment-backed platforms like Facebook.
Along with myself and Dawson, anti-establishment journalists including Caitlin Johnstone, Redacted Tonight’s Lee Camp, HA Goodman, and many others have joined the platform and begun to publish or re-publish their work there. The move has made waves within Steemit, with one prominent user devoting an entire article to the shift.
Fantastic article by a Steemit 'whale' about all the new indy media people flocking to the Steemit platform: absolute must read (he very generously shouts me, @caitoz and @elizabethleavos out as well as countless other great accounts to follow & support) t.co/oE7Qslmtd6
— Suzie Dawson (@Suzi3D) February 5, 2018
The user, known as V4VAPID, wrote: “In recent days, and weeks, the alternative media community on Steemit has surged to new heights with a flood of new converts. Among those finding a new home on the platform are journalists, researchers and activists with established name recognition and fan bases from multiple platforms.” They went on to give short descriptions of the indie media that have recently joined the platform, as well as describe members of the Steemit community who have helped we new recruits.
Musician Ben Lee also shared his thoughts on bringing entire new communities to Steemit, emphasizing the importance of positivity and supportiveness, which Steemit shares with new users in spades. He also addressed the importance of viewing Steemit as an investment as opposed to a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme.
I would like to take a moment to personally thank all of the Steemit users who have been so extremely kind and helpful during my own first week using the platform. It has been an honor to join the community on Steemit, and I hope that as more people escape the chains of legacy social media – as they largely have the shackles of establishment press – that the Steemit community and new platforms like it will not lose the amazing sense of warmth and mutual support that exists there now.
In this author’s opinion, Steemit embodies one of the crucial answers to the problems raised by establishment censorship on multiple fronts. I hope and sincerely believe that Steemit and platforms like it are a glimmer of a brighter future for the independent press and the public at large. It protects us, it pays us in a currency that the establishment doesn’t control, and it allows us respite in the face of blatant censorship elsewhere. For that and more, I am thankful.
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