WALL OF TEXT: META
WALL OF TEXT: META. Facebook’s name is not changing. Only its parent company. Facebook’s founder seems to want a Ready Player One future, in which we let the real world go to crap so let’s focus on a virtual world instead. No thought for who is going to maintain the servers and where the electricity is coming from. Yeah, mankind will ascend into a Utopian, virtual society, but it still needs an underclass of peasants to keep the systems running. There’s also the question of whether a platform should moderate what kind of communication happens on its servers. Is Facebook comfortable with neonazis coordinating activity? Is Telegram happy with revolutionaries using its platform to try to overthrow governments? At what point do these apps and websites cease to be neutral? That’s not what worries me. A far greater problem is how social media works: it shows you only what you have interacted with in the past. Anything outside of that becomes excluded. This is what drives engagement, but it’s not how society should function. Algorithms are showing us only what we want to see, what we already agree with, what we have engaged with before. As many have pointed out already, this is not how things should work. True engagement should inform us of the wider world, challenge us to experience things we have never considered, push us to understand things outside our bubble of information. This is the problem with social media and why we should walk away from it. We should not accept what algorithms show us. We should be exposed to things outside our preconceived ideas of reality. “Meta’s” intended vision of the internet would see everyone divided into individual bubbles of content, happy with whatever the algorithm shows us. Don’t settle for that. Previous generations had to learn how to turn off the TV. Today’s generation must learn how to close social media and seek our own understanding of the world. We must accept the reality that media platforms are inherently not neutral. Broadcast media knew they weren’t, which is why their content was regulated. Broadcasters knew they had an influence, and they took that responsibility seriously. There used to be laws on the books that protected neutrality and balance and independence. All of that is gone, and new generations of media don’t see themselves as having any part in the conversation, merely the platform, but that has never been true. The platform is very much part of the conversation, and it needs oversight if it is to remain in place. There was a time when the internet was neutral: one had to deliberately look for things, and everything was independently produced and created. Now content comes to us, things are increasingly consolidated under fewer and fewer companies, pushing other voices out, and we accept algorithms show us only what we need to see. I think we need to bring back individual websites and webrings and screw social media pushing us alerts. Please, can we bring back the early days of the internet, with individual web pages independently produced? Must capitalism consolidate the web into a single website showing us only what we want to see? It shouldn’t. Seek other sites. Seek experiences outside your bubble of information. There is more to reality than what the algorithm is willing to show us.
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