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The Internet Is A Potemkin Village: Proof Of Dead Internet Theory?

AnonymousNVP

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This thread explores potential proof of Dead Internet Theory as mentioned in posts by IlluminatiPirate, who notes, "This theory was originally written by several anons on /x/ & wizardchan."

The basic idea behind Dead Internet Theory is that the internet as it exists now is empty, devoid of real people, and that the U.S. government is using the power of AI to gaslight the entire world population.

Now, you may be thinking: That's a pretty wild theory, but if it's true there should be more proof than an overabundance of seemingly repetitive news articles about the moon and various government contracts with Google, Facebook, Amazon, et al. After all, why wouldn't our government want to utilize the best technology platforms available? Is that really proof of some nefarious attempt at worldwide manipulation?

The internet was always supposed to be a place where people who create content could share that content with a worldwide audience. As such, it makes logical sense that the internet has grown exponentially since the 1990's - the 'truth' of it is rarely even questioned. So, is there anything grounded in reality to suggest that maybe the internet is actually shrinking? Well, if it was shrinking that might explain so-called 'Internet Rot' and studies showing that about 50% of links cited in court opinions since 1996 as well as 75% of links in the Harvard Law Review no longer work anymore! But surely this is just the result of a natural cycle of older content getting removed or relocated, newer content taking its place, and links not getting updated right? ...right?

What if that truth has been in front of us all along, but most of us just don't even know where to look? Well, here's a suggestion fit for our times: Google it!

Google what? As you'll discover, it doesn't even really matter what. Google anything that should have tons of results - climate change, Michael Jackson, COVID, even the word 'anything'! For this example, I'll use Climate Change. No matter what you believe about climate change, it's been called the existential crisis of our times, and it's been about 50 years since scientists first warned about it. So, the internet - ie. modern humanity's library - should have decades worth of information about climate change, right?

So, your first search is going to look something like this:
1AScreenshot 2021-09-01 12.27.22 PM.png


942 MILLION results?! Gnarly, right! This feels about right for something that basically everyone in the world has heard about - something that many people think poses an existential threat to the entire human race. It only took .72 seconds for Google to search the farthest corners of the internet and return 942 million results. Eat your heart out, dewey decimal system! Of course, despite the promise of millions of results, most of us never go past the first page of results, am I right?

Sometimes, something funny happens when you go to page 2 of a Google search:

2AScreenshot 2021-09-01 12.31.32 PM.png


Wait, now there's only 725 million results!? What happened to the over 200 million more we were promised on the first page? Well, in fairness, we were never really going to look at those last two hundred million anyway, right? Besides, 725 million results is still more than enough! And this search was even quicker - 0.67 seconds! Maybe it just overlooked a couple. No biggie, there's still totally decades worth of human knowledge about this threat at our fingertips, accessible any time we want... until we get to page 19:

19AScreenshot 2021-09-01 12.35.13 PM.png


Wait, what? Only 189 results? About CLIMATE CHANGE?? On the most used search engine in the world?? How could this happen?!?!?! A quick trip to the bottom of the page provides a potential explanation:

19BScreenshot 2021-09-01 12.36.27 PM.png


Ah, okay, I see what you did there, Google. You just omitted 'some' of the results, because the other 725 million (or maybe 942 million) of those results were really very similar to the first 189. There sure have been a lot of news stories for decades now about rising sea levels and melting ice caps, so why not? It makes sense, but it also feels a bit overgeneralized, Google. What if the details of what we know about rising sea levels or melting ice caps have changed over time (spoiler: they have). How do we know if we can trust Google's opinion of how similar all those results really are? Ok, I'll play along Google, let's 'repeat the search with the omitted results included', please and thank you:

1A-s2-Screenshot 2021-09-01 12.37.47 PM.png


Okay, my repeated search has 860 million results. That's somewhere between the estimates on our first and second search pages before, and yet another nice round number that in no way feels like a contrived estimate. Moreover, this time I should have ALL of that knowledge at my fingertips, with none of the results omitted by an overzealous algorithm. ...Except, something happens when moving from page 43 to page 44, see if you can spot the difference:

43A-s2-Screenshot 2021-09-01 12.45.32 PM.png


44A-s2-Screenshot 2021-09-01 12.47.30 PM.png


Wait, why are there only 438 results now?? And, just how many of those ARE fundamentally the same or similar to the original 189 displayed? How can the most widely used search engine in the world only have 438 total results about one of the most widely discussed issues in the world? How can there only be 438 results - including duplicates - about an issue that stands to impact the entire world and all of humanity? Is this just another error of omission?

44B-s2-Screenshot 2021-09-01 12.48.23 PM.png


Seemingly not. No more comforting message assures us that some of the results have been omitted. This is, essentially, the 'end of the line'.

I scrolled back through the 44 pages of results, curious to see what 438 results Google had curated for its users about climate change. Notably, of the results that were dated on Google's search pages, the only ones prior to 2016 (and there were only a handful) were from various government websites, the IPCC, university research branches, and scientific publications. Personal blogs, web pages, and any content created by individuals not affiliated with the media or government entities were curiously absent.

Now, we should certainly be asking what on earth has happened to the undoubtedly millions of pages of content that people have created over the years about the various aspects of, dangers, and sentiments around climate change. Are they actually there somewhere, in the background, but for some reason inaccessible through Google search? Are they really just gone? We should also be asking: why would Google want everyone to think there are hundreds of millions more results out there than there actually are? In both politics and economics, a Potemkin village is any construction (literal or figurative) whose sole purpose is to provide an external façade to a country which is faring poorly, making people believe that the country is faring better. Is Google Search - the foundational product for a company worth $1682 billion in July 2021 - really just a Potemkin village for either the US as a country, the Internet, or Google itself? I mean, it is just Google, right?

1AScreenshot 2021-09-01 1.10.41 PM.png


The number two most used search engine is Bing, so they should be reliable, right? Ah, 19.2 million results. Not nearly as much as Google claimed to have, but certainly a respectable number... as long as it pans out. Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but by page 48:

48ABScreenshot 2021-09-01 1.15.39 PM.png


Despite still claiming to have 19.2 million results, only three were displayed on page 48. Interestingly, unlike Google's approach, Bing makes it look like there are more pages of results available beyond this one - 49, 50, perhaps more. Unfortunately, when one tries to click on them or click the 'next' icon, it simply reloads page 48. There's no mention of omissions, but we can not access more than 651 of the supposedly 19.2 million results even if we try. Of course, Bing is a Microsoft product. Whether ultimately due to programming laziness, corporate greed, or secret arrangements with government agencies, maybe it's all just a 'big tech' thing?

DuckDuckGo is probably the most well known 'privacy browser' out there. They've built a good reputation for taking the privacy of their users seriously because big tech never did. I considered posting screen shots of my 'climate change' search on DuckDuckGo, but decided against it for three reasons: First, they don't promise a particular number of search results on the first page of returned results. Second, instead of displaying a number of pages at the bottom of the results like other searches do, they have a bland 'show more' button. Third, clicking 'show more' yielded a second page of results, and there was no 'show more' at the bottom of page two. So, basically, only two pages of results. About an existential threat to humanity. That's it.

These steps and their disturbing results can be repeated easily enough by searching for virtually any term, person, brand, you name it. Search engines will claim to return millions if not billions of results which suddenly evaporate into thin air if you try to pursue them. The vast majority of visible results will be from 2016 onward (within the past 5 years, as of this posting) with most being from the past year or two. Is this proof of Dead Internet Theory? I stumbled across it a couple years ago, and frankly I'm not sure what exactly it's proof of... but isn't it significant... and a little creepy? Whether or not Dead Internet Theory is right about how and why this is going on, search engines are behaving in a way that seems to support the basic idea that there's not really as much on the internet as we're being led to believe - or, if that content really does exist, it has been made inaccessible to the vast majority of users.
 
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ZinRicky

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It should be noted that DuckDuckGo heavily relies on Bing to come up with search results, so any "Potemkin" bias Bing has is translated into DDG in some form.
 
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Ruby Hexagon

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It should be noted that DuckDuckGo heavily relies on Bing to come up with search results, so any "Potemkin" bias Bing has is translated into DDG in some form.
Every "private" search engine I've used takes either Google or Bing and proxy them. This is issue is unavoidable, and even if you think your data is secure, you're still going to be dealing with censored and ""curated"" results. The days of discovering random websites with just a search is over. TV-like centralization is the future (present?) of the internet.

There's Brave Search coming soon, but I don't think it will work any different.
 
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Sweet n' Comfy

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Haven't you tried something like SearX? I heard it doesn't need of google or bing to get the results.
 
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Ruby Hexagon

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Haven't you tried something like SearX? I heard it doesn't need of google or bing to get the results.
SearX uses an amalgation of search engines that can be configured according to the user's preference. It uses Google as a default.
 
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vaporwavemaster1

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これが、すべての人間の情報を民営化することが危険である理由です。私たちがインターネットから感じる現実は、物事の本質ではないのではないかと思うことがあります。それは気がかりな考えです。すべての情報が同じ検索エンジンからのものである場合、検索エンジンを介して誤った情報を広めるのは簡単です。
 
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Deepwaterjew

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it's not like we can do anything about it, they're big tech, we can only fedpost
 
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Merek

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This is worth pointing out, especially in such a clear way, although anyone who's been paying attention (or is older than a zoomer) knows Google has been heavily censoring their search results for years, much earlier than the 2016 elections or Occupy. Initially, it was just PangeRank (the idea that made Google dominant) applied over crawled content. Nice and even and simple. Then they started fucking with it.

First they yanked out results due to DMCA claims of piracy, linking to a list of the takedowns at first but eventually quietly phasing out even this (remember "Chilling Effect?") Then there was "right to be forgotten," where the elite could scrub any mention of their wrong-doings from media and search engines under the guise of "anti-harassment."

More insidiously though, Google started "tweaking" the results with layers and layers of new "algorithms" as time went on. Initially the intent was somewhat innocent: try to anticipate what people are actually looking for, and give them better results. Pore over mountains of search and click-through data and start refining search so people get more relevant results faster. Build a better mouse trap. Nothing wrong with that.

Problem was, once they started tweaking the pure, base search, opaquely and without warning or any way to opt out, it didn't stop at "serve the user better." The tweaks were almost immediately used to start mind-fucking people in all kinds of ways to sell more ads. And once Google decided it was the moral arbiter of the world (possibly "encouraged" by some established power structures), it turned this power full force against any politics or philosophy it didn't like.

And don't even get me started on Google Reverse Image Search. When it first came it the tool was amazing: a near instant backward search across almost everything on the net. If Reverse Image couldn't find it, there was a good chance the image was extremely rare or just uploaded for the first time, and it thus used to be held up as proof that an upload was original (and still is by clueless people). These days, Reverse Image has been so hobbled by censorship, copyright, political, or otherwise, that it's essentially worthless. Half the the images you give it will simply come up with a generic topic search. Meanwhile, Yandex's Reverse search is even more powerful than the original Google one ever was thanks to advances in Neural Net shit, and seems to be almost completely uncensored, at least for things unrelated to Russian politics. What a fucking world where we have to go to the corrupt ruskies for free access to information.
 
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Sweet n' Comfy

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Do you know what we need? We need those old link list websites, we need more decentralization. Maybe we should make our own internet: a new renaissance away from the companies and the government.
 
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Hraelth

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Every modern search engine is built to send people to the same few sites (that they're probably connected to) on page 1 or 2. For most people that's the entirety of the internet, because everything after the first few pages of search results is basically gibberish. But truthfully people shouldn't be too reliant on search engines for everything... many websites of the past connected together and finding them was like going down a rabbit hole. Reject google, retvrn to webrings.
 
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Merek

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Do you know what we need? We need those old link list websites, we need more decentralization. Maybe we should make our own internet: a new renaissance away from the companies and the government.
Not to pick on you, but I think this is an important idea to clarify:

Every time a discussion like this comes up someone inevitably brings up "decentralization" (often accompanied by some vague reference to crypto or blockchain tech). While it's usually well-meaning, this kind of phrasing is a mistake because it frames things wrong.

Centralization is good. Centralization means you have a community with a hierarchy and gatekeeping of some kind. This very forum is CENTRALIZED: it exists on one server, has one set of admins, and has a standard for what is and is not acceptable. Every successful organization in the history of mankind has been "centralized." "Decentralization" is impossible, because as soon as you abandon a rigid power structure things fall apart. It LOOKS really attractive from the outside, but it's an enormous waste of resources to pursue because it's a dream based on gibberish.

Centralization is not the enemy. Having a defined power structure is not the enemy. The enemy is either:

1. Having shitty people in charge (the culture sucks) or
2. Having too many people (the culture can't be absorbed)

These problems can't be solved by technology. They can't be solved by creating some wacky new arrangement. Flat org structures don't work (see Valve). Open offices don't work. Communism sure as hell doesn't work. What does work? Getting new leadership, and a new, smaller (but still centralized!) place to call home.

For reasons that still aren't entirely clear, an ancient civilization called the Cucuteni-Trypillian used to periodically burn their settlements to the ground, roughly once every 60-80 years. Maybe they understood what we need to re-learn: every so often things just get too rotten, and you have to start over.
 
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Sweet n' Comfy

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Not to pick on you, but I think this is an important idea to clarify:

Every time a discussion like this comes up someone inevitably brings up "decentralization" (often accompanied by some vague reference to crypto or blockchain tech). While it's usually well-meaning, this kind of phrasing is a mistake because it frames things wrong.

Centralization is good. Centralization means you have a community with a hierarchy and gatekeeping of some kind. This very forum is CENTRALIZED: it exists on one server, has one set of admins, and has a standard for what is and is not acceptable. Every successful organization in the history of mankind has been "centralized." "Decentralization" is impossible, because as soon as you abandon a rigid power structure things fall apart. It LOOKS really attractive from the outside, but it's an enormous waste of resources to pursue because it's a dream based on gibberish.

Centralization is not the enemy. Having a defined power structure is not the enemy. The enemy is either:

1. Having shitty people in charge (the culture sucks) or
2. Having too many people (the culture can't be absorbed)

These problems can't be solved by technology. They can't be solved by creating some wacky new arrangement. Flat org structures don't work (see Valve). Open offices don't work. Communism sure as hell doesn't work. What does work? Getting new leadership, and a new, smaller (but still centralized!) place to call home.

For reasons that still aren't entirely clear, an ancient civilization called the Cucuteni-Trypillian used to periodically burn their settlements to the ground, roughly once every 60-80 years. Maybe they understood what we need to re-learn: every so often things just get too rotten, and you have to start over.
I was talking about using different services, websites and stuff; making the internet not only facebook twitter google and youtube. That doesn't necessarily mean blockchain. Each of the services can work under a centralized structure but as such the internet wouldn't be limited only to the same five websites that's what I'm trying to say. Sorry for my loose use of terminology.
 
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Merek

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I was talking about using different services, websites and stuff; making the internet not only facebook twitter google and youtube. That doesn't necessarily mean blockchain. Each of the services can work under a centralized structure but as such the internet wouldn't be limited only to the same five websites that's what I'm trying to say. Sorry for my loose use of terminology.
Like I said, no hard feelings. I've said similar things on threads in the past. I just thing "decentralize" as an idea has pulled a lot of people in, and led to a lot of wasted energy. What we really need to do, if possible, is move to better, smaller sites, which is, I think, mostly what you were saying.
 
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kola

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Not to pick on you, but I think this is an important idea to clarify:

Every time a discussion like this comes up someone inevitably brings up "decentralization" (often accompanied by some vague reference to crypto or blockchain tech). While it's usually well-meaning, this kind of phrasing is a mistake because it frames things wrong.

Centralization is good. Centralization means you have a community with a hierarchy and gatekeeping of some kind. This very forum is CENTRALIZED: it exists on one server, has one set of admins, and has a standard for what is and is not acceptable. Every successful organization in the history of mankind has been "centralized." "Decentralization" is impossible, because as soon as you abandon a rigid power structure things fall apart. It LOOKS really attractive from the outside, but it's an enormous waste of resources to pursue because it's a dream based on gibberish.

Centralization is not the enemy. Having a defined power structure is not the enemy. The enemy is either:

1. Having shitty people in charge (the culture sucks) or
2. Having too many people (the culture can't be absorbed)

These problems can't be solved by technology. They can't be solved by creating some wacky new arrangement. Flat org structures don't work (see Valve). Open offices don't work. Communism sure as hell doesn't work. What does work? Getting new leadership, and a new, smaller (but still centralized!) place to call home.

For reasons that still aren't entirely clear, an ancient civilization called the Cucuteni-Trypillian used to periodically burn their settlements to the ground, roughly once every 60-80 years. Maybe they understood what we need to re-learn: every so often things just get too rotten, and you have to start over.
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We'll never have non-shitty people in charge of anything for long. Once things get to big they tend to break apart, you're right about that.
I don't know what the fix is. Probably a little centralization, a little decentralization, and a little from columns c and d as well, whatever they might be.
 
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kola

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Do you know what we need? We need those old link list websites, we need more decentralization. Maybe we should make our own internet: a new renaissance away from the companies and the government.
I would love those old link sites back ;;
 
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Pangolin

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The old internet protocols are still around in some form or another. You could certainly make your own internet protocol or maybe use something that already exists like gopherspace or geminispace.

In case of government censorship there is the tor network. Whether you trust the tor network is another question.

As someone who wasn't around to experience the old net, what were the old link websites like? Do you have images?
 
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kola

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The old internet protocols are still around in some form or another. You could certainly make your own internet protocol or maybe use something that already exists like gopherspace or geminispace.

In case of government censorship there is the tor network. Whether you trust the tor network is another question.

As someone who wasn't around to experience the old net, what were the old link websites like? Do you have images?
I looked for about half an hour earlier tonight using duckduckgo, but I couldn't find an example. Then I kind of forgot until now when I saw this tab. It's even hard to picture the "whole" site in my mind, but I can picture very clearly a couple of images in my mind, a list of blue (not purple yet :)) links, and sort of the layout of the site. White background. There were a couple of ways you could order the links, by newest, by popularity, but only a couple of options, and it was all hard coded of course. If you're familiar with ReactJS, or if you've used facebook/netflix, you know that the searches, the order of the results, etc, are very "dynamic."

It was all hard coded in html. No databases. No sorting results based on criteria or search box, although sites had search boxes of course, that's not the sites we're talking about here. Not exactly, or at least not yet, as I review my memory. Someone hard-coded a bunch of <a> tags with links, with some spacing and alignment and margins, no css yet. When a new site was found, someone had to edit the .htm/l file and add another <a> tag.

The html wasn't just an empty body, and then a bunch of scripts in the footer.

You could click on "newest," or "most popular,", and maybe a couple of other options in the header of the website (like the header of this site) or maybe in a sidebar of the website, but there were limited options, because each one had to be hard-coded separately. So your few search options were sort of a present from the dev now that I think about it. They were typing, or copying, the same <a> tags and links, in different configurations, just to make their site better so you'd use it instead of another.

I mean, just look at the example given in this thread. Google has a billion results, oh wait it's actually only three pages. Who knows what has been censored by google, by the government, by private interests, etc, etc. And of the three pages, pages two and three are repetitive. And all three pages are almost certainly propaganda, whatever "political" "issue" you decide to use for this experiment. These results are not lovingly handpicked and the served to you with care. They are the mere table scraps, intellectually, of the real data, carefully curated by an algorithm at worst (best?), and nefarious actors at best (worst?), to keep you not only ignorant, but completely misinformed.

All I want is to be proven wrong. All I want is to wake up from this nightmare. Human beings deserve better than this.
 
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vale-aroma

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Do you know what we need? We need those old link list websites, we need more decentralization. Maybe we should make our own internet: a new renaissance away from the companies and the government.
When centralized social media is becoming a locked-down garden of nothing, retreat into the deep web - no indexing, no centralization, just a long circular net of hyperlinks leading to each other.
 
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Jessica3cho

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So, interesting thing I just tried:

I went to Google, I google'd 'Football'. 2,660,000,000 results. Incredible! But by page 18, there were only 2,100,000,000! To be sure, a drop in the bucket compared to 2 billion, but still.... 560 million results vanished from one page to the other? Then of course, I hit page 27 and suddenly the total dropped to 270 results with 'omitted results'. So I searched again without omitting results! And what sort of final total did this lead me too???

A whopping 462 results on page 47.

Now you may be thinking: "Who would even go to page 47 of Google when googling football normie shit anyways? Why does it matter?", because, honestly, I thought the same for a second.
But then I remembered something. I went to my Google setting, I went to my search settings, and then I did the most blasphemous thing one could do to Google. I changed the settings to display 100 results per page. And what was I met with?

Hmm.png


Fascinating... Requests that violate the Terms of Service? What did I do? Ask Google to show me 100 football results per page? I find it astonishing to think that choosing a setting Google comes pre-packaged with would be a violation of the Terms of Service... Unless there was something they didn't want you to see...

OhISee.png

Maybe, just maybe they pretend to be receiving fetch requests that "violate the terms of service" because they do not like how this makes their search engine look?...

Fascinating.png


I apologize for my poorly formatted screencaps and I hope you find this additive to the idea that Google has, indeed, created a Potemkim Village for itself.
 
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Sweet n' Comfy

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I'm really beginning to seriously think that maybe the internet isn't as big as they make it look, we're limited to the same websites of always. We should be trying to get out of the normieweb and get into the deepweb and what google won't show because true freedom is there. Stuff like this is what I'm talking about: wiby.me
 
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