Posted by: jhager | October 23, 2017

Social media tools for a citizen-centered Internet

With the FCC a prime target of regulatory capture, and an avowedly anti-regulation administration in the White House, it is likely that Title II protections for Internet consumers will soon be gutted. These protections prohibit Internet providers from blocking, throttling, and introducing prioritization of parts of the Internet, and are often called Net Neutrality. In “Social Media and the Activist Toolkit,” the authors concluded that governments and corporations are unlikely to support the freedom and anonymity that Net users have grown used to (and often require for their own safety).

The most interesting of the ways the authors’ propose for preserving user freedom is aggressively supporting new social networks and technologies that meet those demands. This regulation-free, free market approach has the drawback of relying on generous groups to develop these new platforms, while dropping the profit-driven aspects of current networks. These “civic technologies,” as the activist Jonathan Zittrain calls them, require us to be more than “merely voters or consumers” on the Net, but contributors and activists ourselves. This would be a return to an early model of the Internet, when data-mining users (and the advertising possibilities it brings) was in the future, and areas of the Net related as communities-to-communities than consumers-to-corporations. A reversal of Net corporatization is no longer possible, but should we take the authors’ message to heart in protecting what free forms of communication remain, and lend our support to those groups still willing to enhance our human freedoms first, and their own profits second?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: