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For several years, we have seen several people invest time, energy to create a community and lose everything because of censorship. Indeed, whether you are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn, there is a good chance that you will lose everything you have built one day. This article will show how to create an online audience “virtually” safe from censorship. We will first see the recommendations for creating a “healthy” community. Next, we’ll give you practical steps to protect yourself better.
What are the reasons sometimes mentioned when accounts are blocked?
Digital and social media platforms can block or suspend accounts for numerous reasons, usually related to violations of their terms of service or content policies. Here are some of the most common reasons:
1 Hateful or discriminatory content
Most platforms have strict policies against promoting hate or discrimination. Usually, social media rates are based on
- of the breed,
- of the kind,
- sexual orientation,
- of age,
- of national origin,
- disability, etc.
Online harassment, including targeted harassment of individuals or groups, may lead to account suspension or blocking.
3. Violent or graphic content
Posting violent, graphic, or violent content that incites violence can lead to censorship.
4. Sexually Explicit Content
Sexually explicit content is frequently prohibited, especially regarding pornography or content involving minors.
5. Privacy Breaches
Posting other people’s private information without their consent can also lead to account suspension.
6. False information
Some platforms have policies to fight misinformation, especially around sensitive topics like elections, health, etc.
Accounts that send unwanted or misleading messages or manipulate the platform’s algorithm may be blocked.
8. Copyright Infringement
Posting content that infringes another’s copyright may also lead to account suspension.
Accounts that deceptively impersonate other people or organizations may be blocked.
10. Illegal Activities
Any account involved in promoting or facilitating illegal activities may be suspended. Before posting content, reading and understanding each platform’s policies is always a good idea.
Here’s how to create a healthy audience free from censorship
Building an audience virtually free from censorship can be a challenge, especially in a digital environment where platforms have their content policies. However, here are some steps you can take to work around this issue:
1. Use multiple platforms
If you are present on multiple platforms, censorship or blocking on one does not mean the end of your online presence. This could include social media, blogs, podcasts, email newsletters, etc.
2. Have a personal website
Owning your website gives you absolute control over your content. It’s a space where you can post whatever you want, whenever you want, without following other platforms’ content policies.
3. Create a Mailing List
An email distribution list is a great way to communicate directly with your audience without intermediaries. Be sure to obtain the necessary permissions to comply with data protection laws in your country or region.
4. Use decentralized platforms
Decentralized platforms are designed to resist censorship, as they do not have a central authority that controls the content. Examples of this can be blockchain or peer-to-peer networks.
5. Create an offline community
If possible, consider creating an offline community. In-person meetings, conferences, workshops, etc., can be an effective way to build an audience that is not subject to online censorship.
6. Respect the rules of the platform
It seems obvious, but understanding and respecting the forum’s laws can help avoid censorship. If you are aware of the limits, you can work around them.
7. Promote respectful and healthy dialogue
Platforms are often more likely to censor hateful, discriminatory or violent content. Promoting open and respectful dialogue can reduce the risk of censorship. Remember, it’s essential to be transparent and honest with your audience about the possibility of censorship and offer them different ways to stay connected with you.
Here are six steps to follow to create and grow your community. Prepare a recovery plan.
If you want to create a community that stands out while implementing a recovery approach, here are the steps to follow:
- Set up a backup option for your content
- Create a personal website (independent, third-party platform)
- Adopt a multichannel strategy
- Comply as best you can with the policies of the platforms you use
- Create a list of audiences
- Opt for a community outside of social media
How to set up a backup option for your content
Backing up your content is critical to prevent the consequences of censorship and other risks, such as technical failures. Here are some suggestions for creating an adequate backup of your social media content:
1. Manual backup
Please copy and paste your content into a Word document, Google Docs or other text editor and save it on your computer or an external hard drive. For images, videos or other media, download and keep them too.
2. Online backup services
Use cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc. These services often allow you to create automatic backups and usually offer a certain amount of free storage space.
Screenshotting is a different quick-save method for controversial posts or likely to be deleted. This can be especially useful for keeping evidence of comments or replies.
Create a personal website.
If you have a website or blog, consider publishing your content more on your site and social media. This creates a backup for your content and can help drive more traffic to your site. Creating your website is a great way to control your content and avoid censorship by social media platforms. Here are the general steps to follow to make your website:
Choose a domain name.
A domain name is the web address that people will use to access your site (for example, www.yourname.com). It should be unique and generally related to your title or site’s subject.
Buy web hosting
Web hosting is the service that allows your website to be accessible online. There are many hosting providers, such as Bluehost, Hostgator, GoDaddy, etc. They offer different plans depending on your needs.
Install a content management system (CMS)
A CMS allows you to create and manage your website without knowing to code. WordPress is one of the most popular CMSs and is often included with web hosting plans.
Choose a theme
A theme is a pre-made design that determines how your site looks. WordPress offers thousands of free and paid themes that you can use.
Customize your site
Use the CMS to add content to your site, such as blog posts, images, videos, etc. You can also add features with plugins, like a contact form, photo gallery, forum, etc.
Optimize for SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is optimizing your site to appear higher in search engine results. This includes using relevant keywords, building quality links, improving your site speed, and more.
Launch your site
Once you are happy with your site, you can publish it online. Be sure to announce its launch to your audience on social media, email, etc.
It’s essential to keep your site updated by regularly adding new content and ensuring it runs smoothly. Website builders like Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly offer drag-and-drop solutions, which may be easier for beginners. However, they generally provide fewer customizations compared to CMSs like WordPress. You can also work with experts to help you create your website.
Adopt a multichannel strategy.
Adopting a multichannel strategy is a great way to diversify your online presence and minimize the risks of relying on a single platform. If one of your platforms is censored or blocked, you will always have other channels to reach your audience. Here are some steps to implement a multichannel strategy:
Choose your channels
Social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest. There are blogging platforms like Medium or WordPress and podcasting platforms like Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Choose the platforms that best match your target audience.
Create relevant content
Each platform has its preferred content formats. For example, Instagram is great for sharp images and videos, while Medium is excellent for long-form posts. Be sure to create content that is suitable for each platform.
Use each channel to promote your content on other media. For example, you can share your blog posts on Twitter or announce your latest podcast on Instagram.
Despite the differences between platforms, it is essential to maintain a consistent brand image. This includes using similar logos, colours, styles, and a consistent brand voice.
Engage with your audience.
Don’t just post content — engage with your audience by responding to comments, participating in discussions, and thanking people for their support.
Analyze your results
Use each platform’s analytics tools to understand what works and what doesn’t. Use this information to refine your strategy.
Keep a backup of your content.
As mentioned earlier, keeping a copy of all your content is crucial in case of censorship or blocking. Finally, remember that quality is more important than quantity. It is better to be active and engaged on a few platforms than to have a weak presence on many media.
Conclusion and final thought
From the perspective of building community, it is crucial to remember that respect is paramount. Indeed, beyond wanting to flee censorship, you must ensure that your content respects a set of rules. To know :
- avoid discrimination,
- the harassment,
- or even a violation of privacy.
In addition, authenticity and transparency are essential values to create and maintain trust within your community. Providing quality, informative and relevant content will contribute to the growth and resilience of your community. It is also vital to adopt a multichannel strategy for the distribution of your content and to ensure that it is regularly backed up. Thus, you reinforce the durability of your online presence and the reach of your message. Censorship is challenging, but following this principle can build a strong, engaged, sustainable community.