If you’re just hearing about the Intellectual Dark Web, or if you’ve heard the term but never delved into its meaning, you might think there is an entire parallel internet out there, filled with subversive content that is too politically incorrect to weather the shadowbans and deboosting algorithms in our well lit, mainstream online world.
Nothing like that exists. The intellectual dark web, such as it is, is indeed a collection of politically incorrect websites, videos, podcasts, and the personalities who fill them with content, but it exists alongside everything else online, however vapidly popular, mainstream and vanilla, safely prurient, angry in all the prescribed ways, funny in all the approved modes.
That’s too bad, perhaps, because the intellectual dark web is not immune to shadowbans, deboosts, detrends, demonetizing, throttling down, or expulsion. These willfully transgressive purveyors of anti-pablum build their audiences while tiptoeing gingerly among the censors, hoping not to cross lines of conduct that are often invisible, shift unpredictably, and are drawn differently depending on who you are. Who are these censors? Not an oppressive government, but instead the private quasi monopolies that control all online communication – the social media and video platforms, the providers of membership services, and the payment processors. Piss them off? Disappear into actual darkness.