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12 days

Can Blocking Someone On Social Media Suppress Free Speech?

I made a blog about this a very long time ago, but I never followed up with a video or anything. The blog was viral on Minds and given my topic today was on dealing with negative commentators I also wanted to put an emphasis on whether or not it's some form of censorship to block people. I absolutely think you should delete comments or block people who are aggressive and hostile, harassing you, threatening you, abusing you, etc. The issue is when someone is slightly offensive in their response or rude, I don't believe it warrants a deleted comment or blocking the user. We can't only allow people to comment if they are the nicest person in existence having the best day ever. A lot of times people will make a slightly offensive remark and I will approach them with empathy and compassion they will completely change their approach and apologize. I've had this happen more than not and the conversation can even be productive and useful afterwards. I think the biggest concern is when you block and delete someone who disagrees with you. Sometimes it's hard to draw that line, so in this video I encourage you to assume good intentions and give that person a chance before you approach them with hostility or delete their comment and block them.

This is a link to the original blog I did on this in July recently after joining Minds: https://www.minds.com/blog/view/853473370921140224

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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76 comments
José Zueco...™
You must always think about what you are saying...
20
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Of course, and my question is how quick should we be to block others?
José Zueco...™
Scott Cunningham, after 3 times ...
6
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
José Zueco...™, well I appreciate that you've got a plan laid out, how did you come to 3?
José Zueco...™
Scott Cunningham, 42 is somewhat high...
1
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
José Zueco...™, I mean yeah lol
Unknown
Hunny, I blocked you because you constantly spam low quality content with the equivalence of a YouTube gamer. Sadly, it didn't work since sola is a broken app, so I constantly see your spam. Just like in the real world, how when an annoying child keeps rambling on and on as though the people it's rambling to care, but really they've blocked it out. You post your opinions, and then refuse to hear peoples counter arguments. As though you're the only person with ideas that matter. You're a hypocrite, and so I've attempted to block you.
12
Joey
This seems a bit excessive.
12
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Deleted by comment owner
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Well I'm here listening to what you're saying, but you're not really saying anything 👂🤔👀
Unknown
Scott Cunningham, hun. If you're gonna reply sassily at least be literate. On your card about male empowerment I commented, and you decided all my information on why you were wrong and your statistics were corrupt were ignored by you as you endorsed people who were getting mad at me for the pure fact that I dare to use reason and they have *big dicks* If you're trying to use my example of an adult and a blabbering child, you could at least be more original. Nothing worse than a sassy person who has to use scraps.
20
Unknown
Joey, what's excessive is someone posting a multi paragraph explanation of why they're butthurt that people block them. And then following that they go on about how they're reasonable and do basic human things, when I've interacted with this person enough to know that it's a damn lie. What's excessive is the amount of pettiness that this grown man has.
15
Joey
Unknown, I don't think I saw the other card. Your comment above focused on spam. I didn't think that was the case. There's obviously more to the story.
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Unknown, I don't recall. But I didn't block you or delete your comments no? So how is that what I've done? I am not upset about being blocked. This isn't about me. I've never had this issue. I am here to speak on something I think is important. It was one of the first blogs I did on Minds as I said and it was very popular and people wanted to discuss it. It just so happens that is the case now too. I didn't know I wasn't literate. Am I being petty? You said you blocked me and yet here you are to complain that I'm complaining. No one else seems bothered and they seem to have taken quite an interest in this discussion. Also no one was getting mad or acting rude to you the way you are now. I didn't ignore anything. I tried to address every comment as I always do. Just because you disagree with the statistics I shared doesn't mean I've done anything wrong. You are misdirecting your anger at the facts towards me. There is a reason it was wildly unpopular and the Gillette response ad did so well....
5
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Joey, there really isn't much more. They are just trying to find anyway to troll. Though here we are allowing free speech to do its thing.
Unknown
Scott Cunningham, you're not responding to the things I've said, you are assuming, you're making up things to respond to. I'm not mad at the facts. I'm mad that you didn't stop to think about the truth behind those statistics. That you didn't respond to my facts once, you only responded to the people saying I was a butthurt female. And you responded by praising them. What's rude is you not paying attention to thw things you do yourself, and then lying on social media about you being a *good person*. It bothers me that someone would act how you act on social media, and constantly defend themselves like they don't realize that others perceive them. You're a pompous asshole.
1
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Unknown, I mean I don't go around saying I'm a good person look at me lol. If it bothers you so much then you should have blocked me like you said you did a few days ago. You say I'm petty, but you block me and then came back just to hurl insults at me. It's honestly generous that I leave your comments up here in my opinion. They weren't calling you a butthurt female... they debunked your arguments. I did infact respond to what you said, and if you feel that I didn't then go to the comment on that card and tag me and I'll go back to it. Just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I've done anything wrong. What's the "truth behind statistics?" If I can recall correctly you said something like "well men are the ones killing other men, so men are the problem." Well that doesn't mean that it's any more safe to be a man.... you're still more likely to get murdered. I believe you also said something like "the only reason men have a 60% higher suicide rate is because they're violent and kill themselves with a gun." That still doesn't take away from the fact that men are suffering more from mental health issues. One of the reasons is because when someone points out that men are suffering, someone like you calls them a pompous asshole. If you weren't the one who made those claims then that's fine since I can't remember off the top of my head, but again please tag me where you made comments and I can address them. Using ad hominems isn't helping your case.
Unknown
Scott Cunningham, https://sola.ai/unknown_sola/what-was-that-again-N2FkNWR?r=unknown_sola Hun you've been muted and blocked. For days. Like I have commentes on other cards, this is a broken app.
1
Unknown
Scott Cunningham, every single time you just quoted me, it was wrong. Painfully wrong.
1
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Unknown, oh odd you can still comment on my stuff and I can still see all of yours. Interesting.
Unknown
Scott Cunningham, Are you literate? The app is broken.
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Unknown, Yes I saw, hence why I said what I just said?...
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Unknown, Feel free to respond on the correct card then. Maybe I was quoting someone else from that discussion. Tag me on the previous discussion and point out the points I missed to acknowledge or ignored.
Unknown
Scott Cunningham, I interpreted it as you still being sassy and not actually reading my comments. I apologize.
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Unknown, I'm trying to be as genuine and understanding as possible with you sincerely.
🎺CommanderB...
Pro Creator
Because we are not government agencies, because SOLA or Facebook or any other type of social media is our own content and nit printed fir the masses nor are we paid to do it, it us nit censorship.
8
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
I didn't say censorship 👀 if you watch the video I explain why it's a problem and that it's not censorship but it still controls other people's free speech
🎺CommanderB...
Pro Creator
Scott Cunningham, free speech does not mean free hearing. With few notable exceptions, a person can say anything they want. Nobody is compelled to listen.
10
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
🎺CommanderB..., yes and if someone prevents you from saying something on a post that is suppressing your ability to freely speak. If they delete your comments it's not about them listening as they prevent others from seeing what you say thus silencing your speech
🎺CommanderB...
Pro Creator
Scott Cunningham, on their own post, what we do here on SOLA is not open to the public. Anybody can join SOLA, but only SOLA people can see what is written here.
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
🎺CommanderB..., Well for example, if SOLA was the go to social platform and you had the number one post and people were all weighing in with opinions and comments and you just delete every opinion that comes from a person a specific race. Again you still wouldn't consider that free speech suppression? Just being within the SOLA community shouldn't change the approach as to how freely someone should be allowed to share their opinions. Like I said in the video I believe the post is yours, but the comment section is a shared space.
🎺CommanderB...
Pro Creator
Scott Cunningham, i don't agree. For reasons stated.
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
🎺CommanderB..., Fair enough I guess we agree to disagree
Joey
Blocking is not infringing free speech. However, if you want an app that promotes the free exchange of ideas the devs and mods need to limit the ability to block people to hostile behavior. In a massive platform like Twitter, unrestricted blocking may be warranted because the sheer size and the inability of mods to handle the situation. On a small app, like Sola, it seems more like laziness.
7
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Yeah it's not infringing but preventing people from responding to comments and posts is suppressing free speech even if not in the manner of law
Joey
Scott Cunningham, I disagree. No one has a right to platform, especially a platform owned by private interests. I would add that this is my opinion and, as you point out, this is the law.
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Joey, again I'm not saying anything about having a right to. We aren't talking about law though. Individuals blocking others has nothing to do with law. It does still have to do with your ability to speak freely and not be silenced
Joey
Scott Cunningham, fair enough. What's your solution? We can hope people make the "right" choice or force companies to provide a platform. I don't see much in between those.
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Joey, Yes and I'm not proposing we go to action here, this is more an awareness and push for better moral judgement when deciding to block/delete/silence other users on our posts. It's actually better to have the fools out in the open so you know what's going on and they can receive their social consequences for their actions rather than forcing them to appear neutral while they really are not. The main point of the card is really to generate discussion and get people thinking about this. I feel that the mantra of "my post, my rules" isn't the most productive mindset to subscribe to.
Joey
Scott Cunningham, the my card my rules mantra is childish. Some people use it like a sledgehammer.
10
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Joey, exactly and that's the rhetoric this post aims to address
🍼🏍🔥Garsbriel❓
Pro Creator
Some common points with a card of mine. What's the role of an internet troll? The https://sola.ai/best_internal_travel/what-s-the-role-of-an-internet-troll-MjA2YTFl?r=garsbriel The one who does everything to provoke you, to make you lose your calm, and to discredit your word... What to do with a troll chasing you from one comment to another, from one card to another? If not, after all, block another user, who does it bother the most? The author of the card who blocks another user, because the heated controversy is unmanageable? Or the one that's blocked? Here, everyone can answer a polemic on the original map of the polemic. Or on another card if it is prevented from doing so due to a blockage...
10
🍼🏍🔥Garsbriel❓
Pro Creator
[Scott Cunningham. This card is the first of yours that I read entirely, and that I don't swipe down]
20
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
🍼🏍🔥Garsbriel❓, as I said you should absolutely stop harassment etc right away 😊👍
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
🍼🏍🔥Garsbriel❓, thanks for diving into it
Joey
🍼🏍🔥Garsbriel❓, I agree with you to a certain extent. On an app as relatively small as Sola, the devs and mods could (and maybe should) make an effort to intervene without giving the users the ability to close themselves off to others. Look at Unknown's comment above. She is blocking Scott because she doesn't like what he has to say and it has nothing to do with harassment or inappropriate content. Even though she calls Scott's cards spam, there's an effort to create something in each card. If anything, his vibe is different from the typical Sola vibe and that's not necessarily a bad thing. You even found something of value in this card. Had you blocked Scott, you would have missed it.
10
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Joey, yeah I mean I don't think it's as much of something that can be solved by staff as much as a general shift in attitude towards how people address blocking that would have to change and I'm slowly but surely advocating for that. We must lead by example for the companies that are censoring content to show them that we won't support it even on an individual basis. I appreciate you pointing out that I put effort into my posts. I don't know why Unknown considers it spam and said I don't let people make counter arguments but I'm not blocking anyone or deleting anything 🤔
Joey
Scott Cunningham, it's for that reason that I don't block or mute anyone here. I've asked one person to stay away from me, but that's because her behavior was becoming harassment.
6
🍼🏍🔥Garsbriel❓
Pro Creator
Joey There're different possibilities to block someone. And I think you know them all, even if you don't use them. Blocking cards emitted by a specific user is different than blocking someone to comment on your cards. It's also different than to delete comments from a user on your card. Even if someone blocks you from commenting on his/her cards, that doesn't mean that you can't respond and have no way to tell freely what you want. You can post a card on this topic and link your card with the one of the user who deleted your comments or blocked you to comments on her/his cards. In every case, you stay free to say what you want. "My card, my rules" is also a freedom for the card author to master her/his cards as she/he wants to do it.
4
🍼🏍🔥Garsbriel❓
Pro Creator
Scott Cunningham Here is a specific equilibrium between speech freedom and self protection of the cards authors. It solves also the moderation problems, with a minimum interventions of modos to solve quarrels between users. In my opinion, it's not a so bad one.
10
Joey
🍼🏍🔥Garsbriel❓, like I said, I agree with you to a certain extent. I wish the conversation wasn't so easy to shut down and the mods took on more responsibility in dealing with bad behavior.
7
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Joey, Yeah for sure, if anyone harasses you by all means block them
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
🍼🏍🔥Garsbriel❓, I mean I don't think mods really have to intervene ever. If you are being harassed, obviously block them. While you are right that you can make your own post etc. Let's say someone with little to no reach is being prevented from commenting on popular posts because they don't want their opinion there. This isn't a big issue, but it could be. Also this wasn't just for SOLA, but all social platforms. In any platform you can prevent people from being able to comment on your post. I feel it becomes more egregious, the more influence the card owner has because you have the ability to reach more people and control the narrative with more ease. I think there should actually be less centralization. Also because once a comment is deleted, you can't see what it originally said, we as the audience cannot even verify as to why someone was silenced. Was it spam? Was it harassment? Or did they just disagree? My concern is how easy it is to shut people down on your own content. Again I know it's "my content, my rules," but I feel that's a selfish way to navigate social platforms. For example if someone writes a book and shares it with everyone, are they allowed to delete reviews of the book that they don't agree with because it's "their book, their rules?" Keep in mind, it could be a free book and that would be about the same as just making a post or writing an article. The difference is on social media, you can police the feedback to appear whatever way you desire. Gillette deleted thousands upon thousands of negative comments from their "short film" on YouTube. Is it censorship? No. Is it suppressing free speech? Yes. It's a commercial and the comment section reflects the public's review of it. Why are we allowed to hold movie ratings, book ratings, amazon reviews to a high legitimacy, but have no issue with social media comments being policed and curated as per their needs?
🍼🏍🔥Garsbriel❓
Pro Creator
Nothing related to that card subject
1
🍼🏍🔥Garsbriel❓
Pro Creator
Your two comments are pure spams. I reported you for spamming
5
Farmer Jeff
I block spammers 100% of the time. I don’t block people for differing opinions. I will block people after they’ve passed a certain threshold of insults and/or offensiveness, but that’s usually not permanent. And I warn them well in advance.
10
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Farmer Jeff, That's awesome and I commend you for your tolerance and patience. I am usually the same way, I wouldn't block someone unless they are being very offensive and continually going back to ad hominems descending into discourse.
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Oops misspelled "suppress"
Abdul Barak
বার বার কেন?
Doug Cutler
empowr has banned me from everywhere they can to keep me from exposing their scam-site. I don't think it right any of these scams can block us from our opinion when it is to warn others about corrupt, rip offs etc.
1
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Doug Cutler, exactly why we should try to avoid blocking if possible
Ann
I don't see anything wrong with deleting comments on your own cards if you don't like them, or blocking someone from your fb account, thats your personal choice. If someone wants to say something they can say it on their own card, but if you don't want to hear them you should have the right to ignore them. Mods coming in and blocking people is a different story. If all they are doing is saying their opinion i don't care. but doxxing or threats to harm stuff like that, is dangerous. although how you stop that idk, probably not possible if they are intent they can find a way despite best efforts
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Agreed and I said that anything illegal or abusive you should obviously remove, but it's more about aiming for a better community, not enforcing this ideal. The main concern is silencing those with opposing views
🎺CommanderB...
Pro Creator
Scott Cunningham, I've been blocked by HRM Escape and a particular far left leaning Canadian women for my center-right views on their cards.
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
🎺CommanderB..., Yeah Escape blocked me for sharing statistics on male privilege not being real.
🎺CommanderB...
Pro Creator
Scott Cunningham, she wallows in her own juices of atheistic irony. She can't even see it. I hope she is doing better, I understand she was/is quite ill.
Ann
Some people aren't ready for opposing views and maybe never will be. Their echo chamber is their happy place. I struggle with the idea of people thinking f'd up stuff (imo its f'd up), but the reason I like a decentralised system is that everyone has a voice even if no one likes your voice you have one, they may kick you off their feed but you can still be out there saying whatever you want, your opinions can be challenged or ignored too :) I think it's interesting to see all the different replies on your post here, but it's your choice not to delete them, btw glad you didn't.
Scott Cunningham
Pro Creator
Author
Ann, I 100% believe in that you should be able to do as you please and would never advocate to change that rather I'm more interested in pushing for the ideals of free speech where we would try to be as open as possible with letting people speak their mind within reason
3
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