I’ll begin with a disclaimer. The author of the article to which I am about to link, though going by the name ‘Frank’, is not me. I wish I had his ability to construct an argument. He is in fact Frank Kennan, the owner of Roundwood House, a rescued Georgian home, now an upmarket hotel and restaurant a few miles from my home. Within the grounds Frank has established a library dedicated to “a general understanding of the development of civilisation and to celebrate those individuals who successfully climbed onto the shoulders of millions to give us something new and beautiful.”
Frank has a blog on the house’s website called ‘the library blog’. In this, his most recent post, he looks at the impact of technology, and the corporations who use it to control our lives. He is especially exercised about the way in which individuals, and certain groups, are able to post controversial material anonymously. As someone who uses technology to share my own thoughts and opinions with the wider world, as, of course, does Frank, I care about free speech and the fact that technology enables me to distribute my beliefs and opinions in a way that would not have been available in past times.
I remember the first time I contributed a ‘Letter to the Editor’. It was to a professional journal and complained about changes in the requirements for qualification in the profession. I received a friendly response from the editor of the publication asking for clarification, which I provided. The letter, in modified form, was published in the next edition of the journal.
In the six decades since then, I have contributed many such letters to various magazines and newspapers, most of which have been published. The point, however, is that they are never anonymous (they might appear in the publication under a pseudonym, but the editor knows who you are and can reveal your name and address to anyone with your permission, or to the police in the event that a law is percieved to have been broken.) And they always have to meet the editorial requirements of the publication and may be changed by the editor.
Here I can say what I like. There is no external moderation. Readers are free to disagree in the comments. The only comments I disallow are those that are abusive towards others or are blatant attempts to sell something to my readers.
The sale to advertisers, by social media companies, of our personal details is a significant source of income for them and, in my opinion, ought not to be permitted. It is done without our explicit permission. Use of the site is deemed to imply a willingness to share such data. I consider myself old enough and wise enough to resist targetted advertising. Not everyone is, as is evidenced by the prevalence of stories about scam emails.