• William Hastings

Social Media Censorship And What It Means For Indie Creators

When I first started out trying to get my book published I created several social media accounts. This wasn't something I wanted to do, as many of you know. I'm a very anxious person and social media exacerbates that to a degree. However when I made the decision to go independent with The Crimson Spark, those social media accounts proved an invaluable tool to find and grow my audience.

I've been thinking about this a lot over the past few weeks. Social media, and youtube in particular, is a powerful tool for independent creators to get their names out there and their products into people's hands. Which is why I'm writing this today. Those of you who know me know that I'm not political, a phrase that I've noticed upsets more and more people every day. But it's getting impossible for me to ignore the current content purges going on. Many indie creators, large and small are having their channels throttled, their content shadow banned, or their ability to post simply taken away.

I watch a lot of stuff on youtube and many of my favorite channels are starting to get picked off. It starts out very small. You don't get a notification when a creator you like posts a new video. Or you do, and the video just doesn't show up in your subscriptions.

After that it gets worse. My editor, Kat Rocha and her husband J. Ishiro Finney run a wonderful youtube channel, one that I've appeared on many times. They do streams talking about writing, and just general goings on, and Kat also does a series of comic book reviews. Their channel has been completely shadow-banned. What that means is that the youtube algorithm doesn't recommend them to anyone, even with similar interests. As such the channel has barely grown at all over the time I've known them.

I've seen this for many popular channels, but generally only those with a certain perspective on the creative process. These are channels that go against mainstream narratives. Most recently the purge has come for Stefan Molyneux. He's the philosopher whose content on the effects of abuse on the developing mind helped shape The Crimson Spark into what it is. He was banned completely from youtube, lost his entire channel, thousands of videos, nearly a million subscribers. This is after earlier this year, when he was kicked off of mailchimp, and lost his following there as well.

And it's not just happening on Youtube. Twitter, Twitch, Instagram, Facebook, and most frighting of all, Amazon, all have gotten caught in some kind of censorship scandal lately. This is likely because it's an election year but I would argue that purging all of these creators, hiding their ideas, that isn't worth whatever these companies perceive to gain.

So my editor has been shadowbanned on youtube and twitter. The philosopher who's research helped me write my book has been completely purged from youtube and mailchimp. I'm a small time creator, but it feels very close now. Will they come for me? And if they do, what then? I lose my social media, I can't show my books to new people. Well at least my books are still on Amazon. Unless Amazon decides, as they have in the past, that some books are dangerous to the narrative. Then I'm gone from there. I can send people to my mailing list, I don't use mailchimp for that exact reason. But there's no promise that my own mailing service won't begin to purge users as well.

Even though I'm not political my work, specifically The Crimson Spark and the rest of Vagabond Legacy, would be considered something that challenges mainstream narratives, intentional or not. How long will it be before I can't share that with people anymore? How long until I'm shadowbanned, my followers purged, etc.? Will it just be until the election is over? Somehow I doubt that. This thing that they call the culture war is heating up exponentially. Molyneux is a culture warrior. Many of the people being banned are. But it's progressing at such a pace that it's going to soon start effecting people who never even involved themselves in it. And I worry that might mean me.

If you're reading, following me on social media, or subscribed to my mailing list, I want to thank you personally. I will always try to keep you abreast of everything that's going on in my production schedule. If this stuff comes for me, I'll adapt to it. It will be hard but I promise you all, I will never stop writing my books. Even if I have to print them out myself and sell them on street corners. This is my passion and I appreciate your support in helping me realize it.

Thanks for reading,


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