If it's free, you're the product – again

A tough discussion but one I think we should be having.

Matthew Wright

As the twenty-first century approaches its third decade I am deeply worried about the nature of how social media is served to us. It didn’t really exist twenty years ago when everybody was worried about the ‘millennium bug’ destroying everything.

Today it’s engaged by a really significant chunk of every human alive on the planet, but the services are dominated by faceless monoliths that don’t engage with their customers (yes, I’m talking about YOU, Facebook, and is your name really the oxymoron it appears to be?).

That’s the thing. Social media is a great way to connect with people globally, but the service frameworks around which it’s offered are those of amoral corporates who have monetised the system to their own benefit. And that is quite without considering the way that their ‘algorithms’ work – mathematical tools designed to take the place of human judgement. These don’t just create ‘validation…

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