Last week Facebook announced and released a new mission statement. If the debate of Facebook as an utility was iffy before it certainly is no longer. It envisions itself as the global social infrastructure and its billionaire owner has climbed down to re-educate us the user in his own image. Making users effectively citizens in a dictatorship no one asked for.
By streamlining our old tech communication tools (aim, group email, evites, rss feeds, etc), weyy have concentrated power. Facebook is one of mine only remaining social apps as it has become for others. I knew the cost in privacy for myself but not in terms of ad revenues and other economic standards. I will most likely be deleting my account soon. I try not to support Monopoly.
Barry C. Lynn published a piece in Washington Monthly illustrating that robber barons are indeed back just not perhaps as always visible as the old captains of industry. Yet even Sanders, the Good Socialist himself, ignored the inherent monopolistic tendencies of the modern internet. At what point does a social network become infrastructure and what power does that give the people. The tech stewards of course believe their souls to be pure and thus they are their own best watchman. The hidden algorithms that both feed their wallets and manipulate our realities cannot simply be transparent as the code is the only value of the network itself besides the data it sells. The debate of de-concentrating the web isn’t simple. Concentration is most of any one sites power not the content as some contest. Perhaps it should be treated like the national grid but nationalizing an international network isn’t possible. Breaking up the railroads challenged a previous generation, today we must grapple with the importance that the virtual has become. The Man has come for Liberty Valance.