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The gentrification of the internet

This is an essay about technology, power relations and basic dignity.  It is about the commercialization of online platforms and the difficulties of retaining individual power and autonomy online.  It is about the gentrification of the internet. When I call the internet gentrified, I’m describing shifts in power and control that limit what we can do online. I’m also calling out an economy and industry that prioritize corporate profits over public good, and pointing to the ways that some forms of online behavior have become the “right” way to use the Web, while other forms of behavior get labeled backwards or out of date. In the early days, the Web was driven by experiments in technology, DIY community building and curiosity around connecting with strangers from across the world. The Web we have now is guided by different principles, like business models that rely on a constant transfer of data from people to marketers, social norms of consumption and self-promotion, and black boxing the algorithms that structure the platforms we use. The internet is increasingly making us more isolated, less democratic, and beholden to major corporations and their shareholders. In other words, the internet is increasingly gentrified.

What do you think?

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Posted by frate


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