Almost every content creator rationalists follow owns their platform: podcasters like Sam Harris and the Julia Galef, bloggers like Scott (and myself), all the nerdy webcomics. And yet, outside the rationalsphere every creator seems engaged in an endless fight against censorship and harassment by the platforms that are supposed to enable them: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Patreon… So why do they stay on those platforms? Other than Sam Harris giving Patreon the middle finger, no one else seems to do much except protest platforms on the platforms themselves.
This questions really came up for me after reading the saga of Pewdiepie and YouTube. Currently, pewdiepie.com redirects to his YouTube page, where he posts videos protesting YouTube. This is crazy. The technology that YouTube provides was hard to build when YouTube started a decade and a half ago, but surely today it’s not a huge challenge. PDP has 20 billion total views. He doesn’t need traffic from the algorithm suggesting his videos, everyone else is trying to game the algorithm to get redirected by PDP! Switching to his own platform would allow him to capture a higher percentage of revenue, be immune to any kind of censorship, and make him a legend if he starts an exodus from YouTube. He can host all the other non-PC comedians on his own platform. How is that not worth losing a bit of traffic as viewers readjust?