THREAD: there's a lot of justifiable anger at OnlyFans right now for betraying the sex workers who made them rich. That's justified. In the end tho, like most tech issues, the root of this problem is monopoly power. OF was running a business in a "store" they rent instead of own.
From what has been publicly reported, it seems that OnlyFans made it's decision to "pivot" (aka throw sex workers under the bus) based on a few factors:

1) pressure from payment processors / big banks
2) pressure from Big Tech giants like Apple
3) pressure from investors
The third problem is perhaps tough to solve without ... idk abolishing capitalism or whatever. But the first two are the direct result of rightwing evangelicals posing as anti-trafficking activists (ie Exodus Cry) exploiting vulnerabilities in centralized Internet infrastructure.
Payment processing has long provided a convenient choke-point for censorship. I'm old enough to remember when Palestine activists & support committees for prisoners like Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier were unceremoniously booted from PayPal in the early days of the service.
And Apple's puritanical (and inequitably enforced) "no porn" rule for its App Store is arguably an even bigger infrastructure issue. Since the company uses its app store monopoly to maintain a stranglehold on what software millions of people can and can't run on their iPhones.
Folks like @jilliancyork have excellent pieces about the dangers of pushing for content moderation at the infrastructure layer of the tech stack. (There's a lot of consensus about this at ISP level, that's #NetNeutrality, but we need to think beyond that)…
I have argued, loudly, that pushing for more aggressive content moderation, especially from infrastructure-like entities like payment processors, web hosts, CDNs, etc, is a terrible idea that will always backfire against marginalized people and social movements. But...
... the reality is that that ship has maybe sailed. There is practically an entire industry now around pushing narratives like "Why is XYZ web service hosting ABC terrible thing? This is an outrage!" (and well-intentioned but misguided journalists happy to uncritically amplify)
So we can do harm reduction by pushing back against bad decisions like the ones that OnlyFans just made, and exposing the true intentions of groups that are doing their damnedest to chase sex workers off the Internet knowing full well that it puts people's lives in danger...
... but as long as businesses like OnlyFans are reliant on centralized tech infrastructure, they will always behave like businesses that are "renting" & not "owning," and they'll always be scared that their landlords (Mastercard/Visa, Paypal, Amazon Web Services) will evict them
There will likely be a ton of "OnlyFans alternatives" that will spring up in the coming days. Some that will be total scams or run by bros with a savior complex, and some that are genuine attempts to create decentralized options for people engaged in consensual sexual expression.
There is a lot of (legitimate!) skepticism from folks within the sex worker community and broader progressive communities toward #cryptocurrency and decentralized tech projects. But I will say that this OnlyFans news is exactly why I care about decentralized tech and finance.
I do not think that a world where governments can easily shut down platforms or where platforms can be forced to shut down by right wing moral panic targeting payment processors or other infrastructure providers is a better or safer world than one with uncensorable private money.
So, I'm as skeptical of the next person of reply-guys claiming "Blockchain will fix this." Because these are complex problems driven by intersecting oppressive systems and no one single piece of technology is going to fix them. But I hope this serves as a wake-up call to folks...
...when you dismiss cryptocurrencies or decentralized tech as "all a scam" or "just for criminals and money laundering," you're helping solidify a narrative that governments will use to kill off what could be our best chance to have a better, less fucked up Internet
Cryptocurrency is not magic, and there are plenty of scams and jerks floating around out there. But this is one scenario where it genuinely helps. Depressing to see folks who consider themselves on the left oppose tech that could enable an uncensorable worker-owned OF alternative

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More from @evan_greer

1 Sep
i don't want to take attention away from the need to support repro justice groups in Texas, but after a quick read of SB8 I am struck that the only thing preventing this law from effectively forcing social media platforms to censor speech about abortion access is Section 230
I've spoken with a number of reproductive justice advocates in the past who are extremely concerned that weakening Sec 230 would lead to a flood of lawsuits from anti-abortion assholes who would love nothing more than to see info about abortion access scrubbed from social media
The Texas law is clearly designed to have a massive chilling effect on speech. It potentially opens up INDIVIDUALS who post information about abortion and reproductive health to lawsuits. But without Section 230, platforms would just pre-emptively take that stuff down or get sued
Read 8 tweets
5 Aug
THREAD: The Biden admin has been talking a big game about being "tough on Big Tech" and Silicon Valley monopolies. But right now they're quietly defending a provision in the #InfrastructureBill that targets software developers who are trying to build alternatives to Big Tech
Here's what's going on: the administration has been pushing a "pay-for" measure in the bipartisan infrastructure package that would expand US government surveillance of #cryptocurrency projects. @EFF has a good summary of concerns with the provision here:…
The provision has been sold as being about taxes. But it's so poorly written that it would create reporting requirements that would demand people like software developers and even volunteers within decentralized tech projects hand over data or conduct surveillance of their users.
Read 16 tweets
22 Jul
THREAD: some quick thoughts on @amyklobuchar's new bill, which would allow the government to define speech as "health misinformation" and then revoke platforms' Section 230 protections if they algorithmically amplify that speech… (spoiler: it's a bad idea)
First: I get it. Medical misinformation, especially around COVID safety measures and vaccines, is a real problem. Lives are at stake. And, there are real concerns with the ways that Big Tech companies like Facebook and YouTube artificially algorithmically amplify harmful content.
But this bill won't address any of those problems. And in fact, it could make them even worse. It also almost certainly violates the First Amendment, and would never hold up in court. Which is frustrating, because as I just said, this is a real problem, and we need real solutions
Read 27 tweets
15 Jul
Saying that decentralized tech like cryptocurrency is “inherently right wing” is like saying socialism is “inherently authoritarian” because you can point to examples of authoritarian governments that claim to be socialist. Yes, there are a lot of crypto bro scams and BS, but…
Decentralization is our best bet for having a future internet that’s not based on surveillance capitalism and where people have basic rights. Cryptocurrencies are just sort of the tip of the iceberg, messy (and often scammy) proofs of concept for something much more important
So go ahead and retweet the Dogecoin guy with an axe to grind because his thread confirms your biases or makes you feel righteous, but know that what you’re really dunking on is the potential to have a Spotify owned by artists, uncensorable private Twitter with no Jack Dorsey etc
Read 8 tweets
13 Jul
So @MayorJohnDennis of West Lafayette, IN says that he will veto an ordinance to ban #facialrecognition despite widespread evidence it's ineffective & discriminatory. Then gives an interview to the local paper showing he has no clue how this tech works 🤦‍♀️…
Let's break this down a bit. @MayorJohnDennis says he'd veto the ordinance, which was brought forward by concerned residents, despite widespread concern from civil rights groups and experts about the ways this technology exacerbates discrimination & harm…
Here's an actual Mayor of an actual city describing to @jconline what he thinks recognition does:

Notably, nearly twenty other cities across the US have already banned this technology.
Read 5 tweets
13 Jul
THREAD: I'll be following along with the House Judiciary Committee hearing on #facialrecognition today:…

Will be on the lookout for lawmakers parroting talking points fed to them by tech industry lobbyists and law enforcement shills. #BanFacialRecognition
Only a few minutes into the hearing and we've already heard a ton of excuses for why lawmakers aren't just moving quickly to ban this technology. The language they're using around "oversight" & "regulatory frameworks" fed to them directly from tech lobbyists opposing moratorium
Good to hear @RepJerryNadler acknowledge the harm of private use of facial recognition as well as government / law enforcement use. @fightfortheftr supports a ban on the vast majority of private use of facial recognition:…
Read 51 tweets

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