Heh, and I thought I would be making these kinds of posts more often. I have got to start being more mindful of when I write a blog post versus when I make a Mastodon and other social media post and why. Let’s go through the rundown:
Why I switched away from Cloudflare
For those who may not know, Cloudflare is a United States-based tech company which offers services for Internet content delivery and the mitigation of DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks. Most U.S. companies which offer Internet services have very specific policies and regulations that they have developed over the decades which must walk a very fine line between encouraging the freedoms of peace, press, and privacy. Cloudflare was no exception.
When a Canadian activist for transgender issues and a former target of doxxing and harassment from users of a forum called Kiwi Farms applied pressure to Cloudflare for continuing to provide services to them as a client, Cloudflare responded in a blog post at the end of August which explained their reasoning without specifically naming Kiwi Farms as the case example mentioned in the post.
This was not received well by humans rights activists whose area of focus has been eliminating the presence of racism, sexism, and other -isms in society; Cloudflare responded to the criticism by reversing their stance.
Masnick wrote a post which I feel does a good job explaining the foundations for the two different stances company took.
But, before we discuss the final decision, I want to go back to the original statement from last Wednesday. It is worth reading and considering, even as tons of smart people were screaming about it being ridiculous. Even if you disagree with it, I think it’s hard to argue that the statement is ridiculous. It actually lays out the nuances and challenges involved in its position.
This is actually unlike most companies’ statements on content moderation, which are vague and post-hoc rationalization for decisions. Cloudflare’s statement actually lays out an understandable set of principles and a framework for how to think about things.
It notes, correctly, that Cloudflare has a number of different product offerings and services, some of which are closer to the edge, and some of which are deeper in the infrastructure layer. It even lays out this nice graphic displaying not just the way it views the different layers, and where Cloudflare plays within those layers, but also where content moderation comes into play as compared to where legal due process comes into play (and it’s interesting to see how these things are represented as almost the opposite of one another).(Masnick, 2022)
A preliminary skim has me thinking of specific strategies which were mentioned in some of the papers for my strategic communications classes; this says to me that I am on the right track when I am delving into communications theory papers for literature I can use for my research project.
It is at this time when I am relieved to have such a good working relationship with my webmaster (who is also my spouse) for not only did he bring this issue to my attention but he made the process of moving away Cloudflare pretty painless.
Combatting the model minority myth in the face of tragedy
When I heard that a gunman had entered and shot up a ballroom dance studio in Monterey Park, Calif., the first thing I did was to text my mom, dad, and older sister to ask if anyone they knew may have been affected. I was relieved to hear and to see in my social media feeds that no one I knew had family members who had been injured or who died—but I should not have been surprised.
Due to how I was raised, for most of my life being Asian was something that I felt was a part of me as an afterthought. I remember with the hubris of youth how proud I was to say that I was an American, not an Asian. And if I ever came up against the casual and/or childish form of discrimination one experiences in elementary school and middle school, I was very insistent that if folks were going to tease me for being Asian, they’d better at least get my ethnicity correct.
Because my family settled in North Orange County and not just over the border into East Los Angeles County where my mom’s relatives lived, I didn’t have as many Asian friends growing up as those cousins did. Ours was a two-income household; both my sister and I were encouraged to speak English before Tagalog, to go as far in our education as we could, and to be studious and diligent employees for the same company for decades. I surrounded myself with the suburban middle class dream of acceptance and constantly measured myself up against my white peers; therefore, when I finally graduated with a post-secondary degree in English but no solid career plans, I ended up feeling a little bit lost, untethered, and unsuccessful for a while. And then, there’s this thought:
The stereotype of Asians as hard-working and studious comes with great expectations—and a steeper fall if things don’t go according to the script. And it’s hardly just external pressure. Asian immigrants’ dreams for their children are often expressed as an extension of professional ambition—“You can be anything you want, as long as it’s a doctor or lawyer”—versus what such jobs actually represent: stability, acceptance, and the achievement of the American Dream.(Mitra Kalita, 2023)
These thoughts and more which were inspired by this opinion article at Time are bubbling up to my surface thoughts as I continue to navigate what I will be doing going forward as an Asian-American activist, an anti-racism accomplice for Black and Indigenous people, and a good daughter for my parents who sacrificed so much when they chose to settle in the United States.
Masnick, M. (2022, September 6). Everyone’s Mad At Cloudflare; Is There Room For Principled Takes On Moderation? Techdirt. https://www.techdirt.com/2022/09/06/everyones-mad-at-cloudflare-is-there-room-for-principled-takes-on-moderation-when-everyone-wants-what-feels-right-to-them/
Mitra Kalita, S. (2023, January 31). The US Values Asian Work More Than Asian Lives. Time. https://time.com/charter/6251395/the-us-values-asian-work-more-than-asian-lives/