DEF CON 31 - An Audacious Plan to Halt the Internet's Enshittification - Cory Doctorow

The enshittification of the internet follows a predictable trajectory: first, platforms are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die. It doesn’t have to be this way. Enshittification occurs when companies gobble each other up in an orgy of mergers and acquisitions, reducing the internet to “five giant websites filled with screenshots of text from the other four” (credit to Tom Eastman!), which lets them endlessly tweak their back-ends to continue to shift value from users and business-customers to themselves. The government gets in on the act by banning tweaking by users - reverse-engineering, scraping, bots and other user-side self-help measures - leaving users helpless before the march of enshittification. We don’t have to accept this! Disenshittifying the internet will require antitrust, limits on corporate tweaking - through privacy laws and other protections - and aggressive self-help measures from alternative app stores to ad blockers and beyond!

makeasnek , avatar

The solution to this is decentralized and federated platforms. Federated platforms can’t monopolize a userbase like centralized ones can. Decentralized platforms enable the users themselves to control their own data and enable things like revenue sharing models where user’s can vote on if the platform should have ads and how money from those ads should be spent (perhaps on users who create content or on medical research or whatever they want).

JGrffn ,

Let’s not forget that email is technically a defederated platform and it was monopolized by Google anyway. It can and will be done if allowed to be done by complacency.

HoloPengin ,

I don’t know if I’d call it monopolized exactly. It’s not like we can’t get alternative email accounts from other companies to corporate to encrypted to private server, etc.

Google absolutely has the most say in what’s correct about the protocol/security because they’re the de-facto standard for individual user accounts, but literally nothing is stopping you from running your own server.

JGrffn ,

but literally nothing is stopping you from running your own server.

Nothing except gmail’s very strict and hard to follow guidelines for spam filtering. Whether it’s a byproduct of spam filtering or whether it’s the intended result, the fact that Google essentially controls email traffic means you’re not gonna have a good time communicating with others using your self-hosted email. This issue has been raised by self-hosters getting blacklisted, all the way to companies getting rate limited. If your intended use is to communicate with your everyday person, and considering the everyday person probably uses Gmail, you’re in for a bad time at some point down the line.

PuppyOSAndCoffee , avatar

why is youtube the vehicle for this message?

akwd169 ,

I know right, it has its uses but for me at least the written word is so much more efficient… I almost never watch YouTube videos but I consume hundreds of articles every week

steal_your_face , avatar

AI summary from Kagi:

Cory Doctorow gives a talk about how platforms like Facebook start out benefiting users but eventually abuse them to extract more value for shareholders. He calls this process “insidification” and outlines the 3 stages platforms go through. Doctorow advocates for policies that promote adversarial interoperability between services to limit consolidation and give users more choice. He argues this can help build a new, better internet by decentralizing control away from giant companies. Doctorow is optimistic that recent antitrust actions may help reverse the trend of insidification. However, more remains to be done to establish strong constraints on companies that prevent them from abusing their users and customers.

tias ,

The message needs to reach as many people as possible, especially non-techies. The question is why aren’t more platforms used as vehicles?

utopiah ,

Indeed, would have been better to share ……/DEF CON 31 - An Audacious Plan to H… and a PeerTube mirror.

nix , avatar

The defcon link exists for people who don’t want to use YouTube. I like the message reaching more people so I like that YouTube is also used.

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