Why You Can’t “Just Build Your Own Twitter”

Why You Can’t “Just Build Your Own Twitter”. By Robert Mariani.

The balance of two opposing forces — military-industrial surveillance capitalism and progressive cultural hegemony — once formed an equilibrium that gave the average Joe some options in life. That equilibrium was on its way out for a while, but it collapsed with the Capitol riots. The progressive camp has swallowed up its rival — or maybe the other way around. Anyway, who cares. …

We’re seeing the beginnings of what unambiguous power looks like. Corporate donors are dropping the GOP, throwing away an intimate, decades-long DD/lg relationship. But perhaps more important is the wave of unprecedented internet censorship that included the digital death penalty for Trump and his allies, and also for any users who continue to make claims of election fraud. This was seemingly coordinated among the entire now-private public square, and private companies are of course allowed to do whatever they want.

Average Joe might feel like he’s living on the edge of a knife.

Don’t like it? Why not just create your own social media website that competes with Twitter in moderation policies? This is America, right?

But to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. Here are the interconnecting layers of the internet that you’ll need to recreate yourself.

1. Build Your Own Website …

2. Build Your Own Mobile OS and App Store …

3. Build Your Own Hosting Infrastructure …

4. Build Your Own DDoS Mitigation …

5. Build Your Own Domain Registrar …

6. Build Your Own Search Engine …

7. Build Your Own Payment Processor …

8. Build Your Own Bank …

We can finally do it! We can finally implement a social media website with a moderation policy different from Facebook and Google! We acted on the advice of Very Smart online commenters and simply outcompeted every multibillion- and multitrillion-dollar company at every layer of the internet and financial sectors of the global economy. Voila! All it took was creating a vertically integrated monopoly, the likes of which the world has never seen.

Not so fast. …

9. Build Your Own Government

Here we are, at the bottom of the stack. Here we find enlightenment: everything is interconnected, no company is truly “private,” and the government is laundering political favoritism through several degrees of separation. There’s no escape from this web of interdependence. It’s just like the acid trip told us.

We hinted at ways that the federal government deputizes private actors to circumvent constitutional limits of its power, but there’s more. Businesses face legal penalties in the form of hostile workplace litigation if they don’t police employee speech, very often in a partisan direction. …

With cultural domination in one hand and financial muscle in the other, power is assuming its final, undivided form. American progressivism has gone mask-off and revealed itself to be little more than pink libertarianism.

The interests of working people take a backseat to two symbiotic concerns: increasingly radical social crusades, and the apparently sacred property rights of megacorporations that insulate social crusades from opposition. … For social media giants, an expensive, complex, and mandatory moderation regime serves as a tall barrier to entry.