The Pillow Dude’s ‘Free Speech’ Social Media Website Will Moderate ‘Swear Words’ Because Of Course It Will

It seems like every few months a new social media app comes on the scene, promising to be the “free speech” social media app that says it won’t “censor” (by which they mean moderate) anything. And those of us who have been in this space for more than two seconds laugh. Because every single internet service that allows third party speech sooner or later realizes that moderation is not optional — it’s necessary to keep any site running. At a basic level, it starts with spam. Leaving up spam makes a site unusable. After that, there are things that you are legally required to remove, including child sexual abuse material and (in some cases) copyright infringing material.

Sooner or later, though, every such site realizes that it has to go through the content moderation learning curve. That doesn’t mean they all need to follow the same rules or do the same thing, but they do need to recognize that content moderation questions are always there. This includes things like “how do you deal with abuse and harassment” and just generally how do you deal with trolls who are clearly up to no good. There are many different approaches to this, but insisting that you’re the “free speech” site that will “do nothing” is not a realistic statement. It’s one that demonstrates ignorance.

Enter the MyPillow dude, Mike Lindell. Last month Lindell announced that he was building his own social media site, with a tagline “voices of free speech.” I’m not even sure what that means. He insisted that people will have “10 times more followers” on his janky platform, and that Twitter and Google will “be a thing of the past,” which shows a bit of bravado, I guess.

Of course, the “free speech” part of his “voices of free speech” is apparently a lot more limited than is implied. Lindell has now announced that
“the four swear words” will not be allowed. There are just four?

“You don’t get to use the four swear words: the c-word, the n-word, the f-word, or God’s name in vain,” Lindell says in the video.

Huh. So, I’m not even convinced which “c-word” is being used here, and I note that “the s-word” is apparently allowed? From what was said it sounds like Lindell and whatever programmer he’s pulled into this wacky scheme have implemented a lame keyword filter, which anyone who has done work in content moderation will tell you does not work nearly as well as people expect it to. People who want to use that words will quickly find alternatives, g-d dammit. I mean, f0ck, who doesn’t know that s#it?

Anyway, this has all the hallmarks of yet another social media train wreck, but I look forward to Lindell and Trump fighting it out for users of their new social networks, when they’re not in court relying on Section 230 to protect them from legal liability of whatever crazy things their users are posting.

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