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The End of the Free Internet Is Near by Declan Mccullagh (Reason.com)

So far, at least, the U.S. government has yet to appoint a chief censor. But Silicon Valley’s coastal elites have been eager to volunteer their services gratis.

The last year has marked a dispiriting new low in the “deplatforming,” or banning from various online channels, of dissident voices. The ax fell on Infowars’ Alex Jones, actor James Woods, the editorial director of AntiWar.com, the director of the Ron Paul Institute, and radio talk show host Jesse Kelly. (Some of these accounts have since been reinstated.)

Lawmakers have encouraged these social media bans. Congressional hearings have been called to interrogate tech execs on how their products are being used. Last August, Sen. Chris Murphy (D–Conn.) urged an even broader crackdown, proclaiming on Twitter that “the survival of our democracy depends on it.”

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D–Miss.), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, must have been listening. In March, Thompson sent a letter to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Microsoft insisting that they remove “toxic and violent” content, even if it is legal to distribute in the United States. (The platforms already prohibit illegal content.) If the companies are “unwilling” to do so voluntarily, Thompson warned, Congress will “consider policies” to compel their cooperation. Left unexplained was how any such requirement could comply with the First Amendment.

Using FreshRSS to “Like” blog posts via Webmention by ruk.ca

Although it took some fiddling to make all this happens, now that the fiddling is fiddled, it just works: I click the star in FreshRSS and the favourite appears on this list, in this RSS feed, and, should the blog I favourited the link from support Webmentions, as a “like” on the original post.

Peter, this is excellent work. I love how these IndieWeb technologies can enhance a website. Out of curiosity, I’ll take a look at FreshRSS but I doubt that many RSS readers support it. Maybe someday, things like this will be trivial for the non-technologist (aka people who don’t do their own oil changes).