I went down the whole "Flat Earth" rabbit hole the other day, and I feel it's a good example to use for the bigger issues of censorship and conspiracy theories in general. In particular, I was interested in the subset of flat earth people who go BACK to believing that the Earth is indeed not flat because of someone telling them a rather simplistic argument. E.g., one of my parents told me they met a flat Earther and they simply asked, "But if you go to the Southern hemisphere, you'll see a completely different sky and constellation, how do you explain that?" and it just stopped them in their tracks and that was enough to convince them. How do they not end up hearing that argument? And, after watching a few videos of people 'debunking' flat Earth, I think I realized why they never heard that argument. for one, 'debunkers' are some of the most smug assholes, and they don't ACTUALLY provide counterarguments, and secondly, I think the way most Big Tech promotes and deranks certain content has something to do with this.
You know the Barbara Streisand effect, where if you try to censor something, you're much more likely to get extra publicity for it. I think there's something similar not just to publicity of an idea, but people accepting an idea. I don't know a name for this, so I'll call it "The Koresh Effect." Imagine you were in on Koresh's cult, you were sort of on the fringes, but you weren't really believing that the end days were coming. Then, one day, you're surrounded by the ATF and are besieged by the government. You're not going to think, "Oh my god, this guy is wacko, I've involved myself in a cult and now I'm being surrounded by the ATF." Being on the edge of believing him, you're going to think, "Oh my god, I thought this guy was crazy but we really ARE surrounded by demons and the end days really are coming!" In other words, the very act of censorship not only gives free publicity, but via the Koresh Effect it also increases the number of fervent believers.
Case in point, now imagine you follow the flat Earth stuff. You don't really believe it, but you find the mysticism really 'fun,' and you like how they keep saying that, "Our ideas are constantly pushed out by Big Tech, MSM, and the government!" Then, one day you do your search for flat Earth, and instead of following your favorite wacko, you can't see him in the results. Instead, it's JUST people debunking flat Earth AND there are extra "context" warning bubblePost too long. Click here to view the full text.