Democracy Media Outlets Quora Social Media Suppression of Free Speech

Quora Suppresses & Bans Critical Questions

If you visit Quora’s website and take a look at their “about” page, you’ll see the following mission statement:

Quora’s mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge. A vast amount of the knowledge that would be valuable to many people is currently only available to a few — either locked in people’s heads or only accessible to select groups. We want to connect the people who have the knowledge to the people who need it, to bring together people with different perspectives so they can understand each other better, and to empower everyone to share their knowledge for the benefit of the rest of the world.

And since I am very well interested in sharing my ideas with the world, I decided to give their website a try and post some of my content there. Then I get an invitation to join their Partner Program to monetize my content, which sounded great of course and surely kept me motivated to compose more posts. Little I knew that considering the critical nature of my posts and my progressive spirit as a critical thinker, I was doomed to failure from the very beginning.

After around a week, I received my first “warning” that some of my content violated Quora’s “Be Nice, Be Respectful” policy. The two words nice and respectful are very relative and therefore can be interpreted as Quora wants to interpret them since there’s no universal authority out there that decided on such standards. As I read carefully through their policy, I immediately understood that I am at the mercy of Quora’s opinions or those of the first user to take advantage of the Quora’s policy to report me or my content as a violation to “being nice.”

Just three days after the first warning, they sent me an email saying that Quora Moderation blocked me from adding content on Quora for a period of two weeks. They cited this reason: Repeated policy violations.

As you can tell from the email, which looks automated, they didn’t provide details about the content(s) that violated their policies or how many times the violation took place. The “repeated violation” could mean two or a dozen or more out of the hundreds of questions or answers that I shared on their website. Therefore, I wrote them back asking the following:

Dear Quora,
I received an email from Moderation Team telling me that they blocked me from editing on Quora. The reason they cited for the block is “Repeated policy violations.” As you can tell from my account, I have been busy adding content on Quora this week, and I have added as of now a total of 299 Answers and 171 Questions. Please help me understand which Answer or Question violated your policy so I can learn from my mistakes and prevent any possible violation of your policies in the future.
Let’s work together to fix this regretful situation.
What I need to know from you is the following:
1. The specific Question or Answer that violated your policy(s).
2. The number of times I violated your policy(s).
3. The specific policy(s) being violated.

Kind regards,
Ali

After just three hours from replying to them, and instead of receiving constructive feedback, I get a terminal rejection.

I have been banned from Quora. That’s it. All over. No answers were given.

All the hours I spent adding content are cruelly discarded and it didn’t matter to them. After accessing Quora’s platform from a different account I realized that they deleted all the answers that I have written. All 299 Answers are deleted. All my hard work is gone.

This is how my account looks like now:

They kept the questions that I asked and I think they only kept them because they were monetized, which would corrupt their financial settlements with their advertisers if they delete them. Not out of pity for me, I doubt.

Reading their major policies and guidelines, you’ll find the bullet that had my name written on it all along: “The primary intention of a question should be to obtain information, not to argue a point or make a statement.” Under this rule, and knowing that I am a critical thinker and anything I share is automatically oozing with criticism or critical points, I had no chance from the beginning to progress on Quora’s website.

Quora isn’t interested in critical questions or even those purely philosophical ones that entice critical thinking. The #1 rule you’ll read in their Question Policies strangles any critical question in its cradle.

As for the dollars I generated from the questions I asked on Quora’s platform, and from the looks of it, it’s theirs to keep.

I completely understand that Quora is a private platform and they can do whatever they want. And I know that from their perspective, I violated their rules and I deserve to be kicked out. The point I’m making by writing this article is to highlight the grim situation in which free speech is suppressed not by governments but by corporations. And knowing that almost every media outlet today is a private platform, the American constitutional rights for the freedom of speech and the press became nothing more than a cynical joke. When was the last time you received your news from a public or government-owned platform? They are almost all private.

In theory, writers and journalists in the United States enjoy the freedom of speech and the press, but in practice, unfortunately, such liberties are suppressed. Independent writers are oppressed or shut down while the establishment-owned writers shine or are marketed.

In practice, our constitutional rights to speak and write critically or independently are meaningless if a website like Quora can delete content and ban writers as it pleases.

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