Who Should Control the Internet? – Rolling Stone
stock.adobe.com – Siarhei
We operate in a Web2 world. But what does it mean and why is it important to understand?
In today’s social Internet, a few powerful people control nearly all of our online experiences, as well as the vast amounts of relevant data that go along with those experiences. What you watch, what you like, who you tag, and where you are are not owned by you, but by a bunch of super big tech companies. You’ve heard of these companies: Facebook, Google, Twitter, and TikTok, and they’re all centralized Web2 platforms that “own” most of our online existence. While much of the Web3/decentralized internet talk seems like marketing hype right now, the core value proposition of Web3 is exciting. As the head of a privacy-first social company, I’ve seen a growing interest in online privacy issues over the past few years.
News story after news shows that companies have been poor stewards of our trust and privacy, which is why I think companies like Mastodon and my own MeWe have seen tremendous growth. People are tired of being manipulated to get their data.
Web3, if executed correctly, could fundamentally disrupt the consolidation of power we see today, moving from “big tech” to “people tech.”
Web3, or decentralized technology, allows ownership of digital data to be transferred from companies to their users. There are many potential benefits to this decentralized technology: new ways to make money, new forms of governance, and ultimately the promise of personal privacy and more control as the individual user of these tools. Decentralized social media fundamentally shifts the focus of control from the company to the user.
Perhaps the most obvious examples of how our digital privacy is being affected in our current Web2 world are the large social media platforms. Not recently Wall Street Journal interview With Frank McCourt, founder of the non-profit Project Liberty, which aims to transform the benefits of the internet to work and the digital economy, said: “Big tech knows more about me than my wife, and I didn’t give them that permission. “. The article goes on to share “the fact that several powerful Internet players are ‘collecting and exploiting’ users’ personal data, which is not only inherently unfair but also ‘socially corrosive.’ I couldn’t agree more.
Rolling Stone Cultural Council is an invitation-only community for influencers, innovators, and creators. Do I qualify?
There are too many barriers to crossing social media platforms today. If you are one 45 percent of users For anyone who’s considered leaving Facebook or other major platforms, you’ve probably felt the pain of what this means. leave the platform and leave your digital life too. If you leave, most of the time the company gets your “social graph,” a digital representation of your online connections.
The potential promise of Web3 is to be able to seamlessly move your digital “social graph” from platform to platform, allowing you to align your platform choices with your values.
The most popular Web3 companies today are usually crypto companies, but I think that as social media becomes decentralized, we can see the consumer benefits of this technology. From my perspective, many companies like Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok probably aren’t going to make this transition because their business models rely on selling user data to generate advertising revenue. Others, like Discord, may be leading the way in this transition because they don’t sell user data to collect advertising revenue. But in a decentralized world, each person can have their own “social graph” that allows them to maintain their connections regardless of the platform they use.
It’s clear that today’s social media isn’t as “free” as it seems. We pay for it to monitor and sell the most personal aspects of our lives: our likes, location and friends. But even if we feel manipulated, we are stuck because all our connections are there. Americans are concerned about how their data and information is collected and used by companies (79 percent) and governments (64 percent), according to the Pew Research Center. findings, and this created a moment of change. The Internet should be owned by its users, not by a few extremely large and powerful corporations.
Not long ago, this might have sounded like aspirational, techno-utopian dream language, but technology and dreams are becoming reality. It will take many entrepreneurs, business leaders and companies to bravely step into the unknown and take action to make it work. I, for one, am excited about what the future of the Internet, owned by the people, holds for all of us. The future of social media is decentralized, which means the future of social media is ours.