How does SAFE stop censorship?


Now that is splitting hair. Search is not a technology (unless you’re the one implementing it), it’s a feature. Size does matter, as usability. The proposed idea is so lacking that it would be a serious barrier for adoption.

Granted, search is not directly about “censorship” (which is clearly impossible on the Safe Network, so: case closed) but, being one of the few things that will make or break the Safe Network, neither does it belong to an off-topic thread as you suggest.


That’s not what I’m saying. I just happen to like technology/features that obey me, preferably by default, rather than “help” me in unpredictable ways. But I’m sure all kinds of searches for different needs will be possible on the Safe Network.

I have no idea what Google’s search algorithms look like. I do, however, know that I often end up with pages that do not contain my search terms, regardless of me using quotes. But this really is a different topic.


There will always be a bigger number. Not to be outdone, I would go for Hilbert’s lobby or something like that in reference to Hilberts’s Infinite Hotel.



Good discussion happening.

I suppose what I take from this is we cannot claim SAFE is censorship free because content managers can “manage” their content but that certain parts of the network e.g. specific apps and sites will censorship free because SAFE has anti censorship ability built in?

On the search side. This is very important I agree. Google we can say what we want about them are part of the reason the web became such a popular medium. Before Google, Search was terrible. And to anyone that uses Tor or things like OpenBazzar, search is just as crap on these networks. I’d almost go so far as saying if SAFE is to be successful it needs to have great search engine.


Like the term waterproof which used to mean you could put into a shallow dish of water and now everything is water resistant or waterproof to xxx meters. So SAFE can be considered censorship resistant/proof but depending on the APP can appear to not be.

Censorship can be prevented on SAFE it you want it to be. In other words if you store a file then no one can censor it by removing it from the network. Nor can they block your access to it.

Now the resistant part. APPs can be written that can hide or effectively remove the file’s presence. Or blog or comment if written in immutable data. You can store a “file”/comment in a mutable data and have it changed.

So really the censorship proof applies to the immutable files. And APPs can do as they please meaning they can censor if written to do so.


@goindeep I think you are conflating curation of a publication with censorship of the medium: SAFE Network itself.

SAFE Network is censorship proof (to borrow @neo’s word), but 100%, not just to a reasonable degree.

The editor of a publication could be said to censor their writers, and contributors to the letters page etc. But that isn’t actually censorship unless that publication dominates all discourse, state controlled media for example.

Nobody can censor what others can do on SAFE Network, but everyone can curate their own domain.


Hi @happybeing

I am considering how the likes of Twitter, YouTube, Facebook will operate.

These are user generated content sites.

In these modern times as @neo says:

This to Joe critic reads as censorship. I understand what you are saying. But, this is how he sees “The Internet” he literally sees the web as these sites. So if SAFE grows and we start to have these big user generated content sites, these sites will perhaps dominate the SAFE news. So it is good we are having these discussions now.

My prediction however is this will likely not happen (censorship prone sites) because the people being attracted to SAFE are of alternative mind-sets, censorship free etc. which means the hubs that begin being built from the beginning will (I hope) cater and model themselves towards free content models and people.

I may make a small list of types of censorship from how we currently understand them and we can discuss.



  • YouTube account suspended.
    I believe this is possible on SAFE.

  • YouTube account demonetized.
    Depends on how the app writes its monetization model. However I doubt it because content users should be able to directly pay content producers.

  • Twitter tick removal.
    Seems possible.

  • Twitter account suspension.
    Seems possible.

  • Facebook account blocked/suspended.
    Seems possible.

  • Facebook content blocked/banned.
    Hmm, not entirely sure on this one. What happens when you share a picture, link or video from one platform to another?

  • Fake news appearing in search results.
    Seems possible.

  • Having an app pulled from app or play store.
    Does not seem possible. The network operates app uploads and downloads

  • Payment processors disallowing transactions or blocking access.
    Will be impossible with SAFE coin.

  • Host deleting website.

  • Content blocks/filters
    Impossible via Internet provider but potentially possible from user gen content sites.


Then you can approach it as the big monopolies will censor your experience and will toe the government line to censor political sensitive material.

BUT with safe there will be other large APPs that will not censor your experience and no amount of pressure from governments or authorities can censor it. The reason being that SAFE itself is censorship proof because articles and files cannot be deleted or hidden. Only the APPs that toe the censorship line will hide the material, but the other APPs will not. This spells the end to the government censorship toeing monopolies.

For Youtube yes.

But not for an APP like youtube that does not implement censorship into its code.

Same for the others

Only if the user uses them. The user is not under any obligation to use them.

Only if the sheeplie continue to use google or apple play stores.

In Summary
This is the point SAFE will have censorship proof APPs that will work like the current sites, and if the user wants a censored view then they run the censored APP that uses the same data. That way both have access to all the data but one censors the viewing.


Not really:

Condescending much? Have you been there when Gopher was the web? Anyway, I can still act like average Joe so that the great revolution wouldn’t leave most users behind.

When I wrote that to me “Google is the internet” it was meant metaphorically, in the explicit direct context of search: Google is most internet user’s #1 tool to find what they are looking for. Yes, I know there’s a class of elite netizens who look down on us.

I imagine most APPs will be tools that collect and filter user generated data (MDs and immutable blocks), and help adding such new entries in the format they can understand.

I can’t really imagine how else to do it, unless the APP “forces” the user to relinquishing ownership of the posted content. (I put “force” in quotes because why would anybody want to use that APP in the first place.)

What this means is content filtering is in the hands of the user, not in the hands of the APP developer.


This doesn’t make sense for a youtube like APP

For youtube the vids will be immutable files so there is no ownership of the actual file.

Yes a non-censorship APP can do filtering, but it does not filter out according to a censorship list does it.

Just like a library that does not censor, the drawers of index cards are there to help find the books but the indexes does not censor


… referring to my previous sentence (how an APP would work) not talking about how to implement censorship.



I’m not talking about you bro.

I’m talking about the universal “Average Joe”. You know, the same Joe as “Joe Sixpack” and they’re buddy “Joey Lunchbucket”.


Sure. But there is still a level of control that achieves the same, just via a different way. More than one way to skin a cat.

If I own a funny video site and a user joins that starts to post porn, I can still shut him down on my platform and that is as good as censorship on my platform.


Yes you might, but then as you said you can be forced to censor by some “authority”.

But there will be APPs that do not allow censorship and use the vids on your site and perhaps other sites too. Therein is competition as to have the better APP. The vids are public files after all and if Pay-the-Provider is implemented then the people who upload the vids will be the ones paid when the vid is viewed and the APP developer will be paid for the loading of the APP.

The difference is that with the SAFE network it is possible to create APPs that cannot be made to censor. So there will youtube style of APPs that cannot censor. Searching of course but not censoring.


I think this is why there is a fair bit of research into RDF going on. It makes the data the key thing as opposed to the app/site.


In which case you’d have no way of stopping someone who wanted to destroy your site through spam or disinformation.

Censorship is where an overwhelmingly powerful entity such as a government , power bloc or corporate cartel blocks something. The great firewall of China blocks any mention of Tiananmen Square and blocks any criticism of the government. That’s censorship.

The Google / YouTube / FB examples I would not really class as censorship, at least in the West, as alternative places exist where you can see what you like and as businesses they are entitled to their own editorial policy. However, given their near monopoly positions in many parts of the world I would see it is censorship-lite. Certainly in parts of the world where Facebook is the internet (because access is through Facebook Free Basics) then it is censorship pure and simple,

The way these companies have been able to grow so dominant is through their control of vast data sets. This sort of centralisation of power will be much more difficult on SAFE and so these monopolies shouldn’t be such a problem. That’s not to say that one app might not become much more popular than another alternative app, but that app will find it much harder to consolidate its hold through manipulating its users.


@goindeep I think we both understand the issue. In summary:

Anyone can control what appears in their little, or big, domain.

If I chose to publish on your domain and you block my ability to do that, I can call it censorship. But it is a different thing for an authority (eg government) to force a third party to block all my content, or for the great firewall to filter it out.

The network is built in such a way that those approaches should not be possible. And that’s the valid claim to be censorship free.

If you take censorship free to mean that nobody can stop anyone else publishing anything anywhere (I can’t stop you publishing anything you like on my domain), you have both an impossible goal and an unusable network. Call that censorship if you like, but I think it makes the word meaningless.

It’s like saying graffiti artists are being censored because I don’t allow them to paint whatever they like on my house. Technically that is censorship, but it is ‘good’ sensible censorship, whereas when we say SAFE stops censorship obviously people will understand that we mean undesirable oppressive censorship. SAFE is about inclusiveness (everyone) being able to access and publish.

At the same time there is a grey area that people will argue over between what is or isn’t desirable, and we may need to have our response to that question, but we don’t have to take an extreme position. When the debate gets nuanced, we can safely point to the case where SAFE is clearly undermining oppressive censorship:

  1. ‘great firewall’ filters won’t work
  2. unassailable domain ownership
  3. DDoS immunity
  4. technically secure anonymity
  • etc

If somebody says, but Patter took down my post, well that’s not censorship. If defeating censorship requires that you have control over what can appear on my Patter domain, we’ve just broken point 2., and you cannot have both.


Lol no worries. My apologies then :sweat_smile:


Thanks guys. Really good points and insights I may even quote something you said @happybeing