A woman quit Facebook today, after saying goodbye to her friends. She’d have enough of the growing incivility. I admit some of the messages on my news feed sound like word bombs from Syria. Surprisingly, much of this foaming at the mouth comes from liberal democrats who are screaming at other liberal democrats because they aren’t liberal enough.
Those who profit most from this wrangling are media ad departments, nonprofits raising money, and our dear leader who sweats fear to rally his political base. Oh, I forgot. Our foreign enemies are also delighted. Of course, social media is in absolute ecstasy. Once they’ve got us addicted to rancor, as if it were chocolate, they record our furor and sell it to commercial interests – and probably a few Russians.
Looking back at the history of the internet, we erred when we allowed chunks of it to be sold to private corporations. In 1993, Al Gore championed this idea. He predicted the private sector would build and pay for the information highway. Sadly, he was right and, even as he spoke, companies like MCI, Verizon, and Sprint were pouring thousands of dollars into the Democratic Party’s coffers. (“Escape From Facebookistan,” by Micah L. Sifry, The New Republic, June 2018, pg. 13.)
When our government allowed privatization, it encouraged commercial ghettos to grow along the superhighway. To enter one, an individual uses a password and agrees to relinquish personal information. What once was private becomes the property of the ghetto owner. He then sells it to other enterprises. Together, buyers and sellers to grow fat and powerful enough to narrow the flow of information within the ghetto walls. They call it, “giving the customers what they want.”
Free space still exists, of course. Think Wikipedia. No passwords, not privacy incursions, no ads. That’s how it should be. After all, taxpayer money paid for the system our government helped create. (Click)
Options remain for those who wish to escape the narcotic hype of the ghettos. Check out ClickFix, OurCommonPlace, PlaceSpeak and Neighborhoodland. If you’re tired of being treated like one of Pavlov’s dogs, trained to salivate according to what you’re fed, try one of these platforms.
(First published 7/19/2018)