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Social Media Is Burning: Post-Censorship And The New Virtual World (Arden las redes)

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Original Language: Spanish | 288 pp. | April 2017

2 Seas Represents: Dutch and North American Rights

NON-FICTION

Twitter keeps us constantly updated with the controversy of the day, infuriating thousands of users while they blow on their morning coffee. This rage can be unleashed for a number of reasons: the homophobic views of an archbishop, the sexist sarcasm of a TV presenter or a councilor’s single tweet. The result is always the same, a mass of internet users who share their indignation and make a fuss in their ideologically attuned playpens, until the polemic blows up through various media channels.

This climate of constant irritation has generated a new type of censorship, which applies its prohibitions in an organic, unpredictable and chaotic way. While those in power, discredited and weakened, attempt to shield themselves with repressive laws like the gag, social networks try to redefine taboos, contributing to an increasingly divided society.

This new censorship is paradoxical because the outcome is not silence, but permanent scandal. In the midst of violent noise, individuals feel scared to express certain ideas but are incapable of remaining silent. We talk and talk and talk. We all participate in the controversies, drawn by the thirst for recognition, made dizzy by too much information and confused by the relativism of truth, while certain voices disappear, frightened by the possibility of humiliation.

In a very short time, we have created compact communities of individuals who are scared by their own thoughts and participate in dogged mutual vigilance. The new censorship, therefore, not only threatens freedom of expression, but is laying a red carpet leading to dangerous forms of populism that no-one knows how to restrain.

 

Juan Soto Ivars is a columnist for El Confidencial. The author of several novels, including Chess for A Rookie Detective (Young Ateneo de Sevilla Prize 2013) and Siberia (Storm Award for Best Author Revelation 2012). He has published many reports and articles in places such as  El Mundo, Temptations, or Vice Time magazine.