If you are on the interwebs these days then you are under assault by nefarious companies that are all too willing to give you something for free while taking something of value in exchange.
What’s the value?
Privacy. Google and Facebook are advertising companies. They exist to generate revenue and profits. Their methodologies are much the same. You get to use free software (Google search, Google apps, et al; Facebook’s social networks with a few billion users) and you give up information about yourself, what you do, where you are, how much money you make, where you spend it, who your friends are, and what habits you have.
That’s a short list of what Google and Facebook collect.
As much as the interwebs is a free and open entity and perhaps the last frontier until humankind heads off into outer space, humans have yet to be trained on how to deal with the onslaught of information and content.
There is a way.
Curation and censorship.
Curation comes two ways. Someone else curates what you see. Or, you curate what you see. Using both is better, which I why I have killed a few news apps and rely on merely a handful– including Apple News– and a carefully selected list of RSS feeds; all intended to weed out fake news and give me a more balanced perspective on the world.
Censorship is somewhat different. We all want completely free speech, right? In the U.S., free speech is a constitutional right, right?
Uh, no. While the government cannot silence citizens from speaking out (I see plenty of governmental intimidation that definitely smacks of such an intent), that freedom does not carry over into the rest of the world.
Yes, you can say whatever you want to anyone about anything, but there are consequences in the real world. I’m thinking slander, defamation, and libel.
That tells me that a degree of censorship– either self imposed, or directing imposed– can be good for humanity. Guess who wants to get involved in self censorship?
Guy Rosen has all the details in this recent company news post.
Protecting Facebook Live from Abuse and Investing in Manipulated Media Research
That seems like a good start but more is involved.
Facebook is more aggressively and systematically cracking down on bad actors to curtail nefarious content.
The social media network has nearly 2.5-billion users. Many of them are alive and use Facebook regularly, yet the platform– along with Twitter and others– has been home to dirty deeds groups who agitate the world with alt-right and alt-left propaganda.
What is Facebook doing?
Facebook has always been hesitant to punish users, so banning some — even indefinitely — shows that its priorities might be changing from sheer expansion to creating a healthy environment for its users.
That sounds exactly like curation and censorship.
Facebook is getting healthy. Apple curates and censors; that’s why the company is called a Walled Garden Ecosystem, a Disneyesque environment.
What of Google?