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The Web2 problem: How the power to create has gone astray

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By no means earlier than in human historical past has a single technological innovation so utterly disrupted the best way we talk, collaborate, and conduct enterprise than it has with the web. The invention of the World Extensive Net in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee modified every thing, connecting individuals and organizations across the globe in ways in which have been as soon as unimaginable.

The net as we all know it at this time is basically based mostly on what has come to be often called “net 2.0” ideas — a platform for collaboration and user-generated content material that has spawned a number of the hottest and influential websites on the web, akin to Fb, Google, and YouTube.

However whereas Web2 was a revolution in its personal proper, it’s now clear that it was solely step one towards a really related international group. On this article, we’ll discover the rise of Web2 and the components which have led to its discreditation.

The age of knowledge

The early days of the web have been dominated by a number of massive companies, akin to AOL and Yahoo!, who managed the movement of knowledge and charged customers for entry to their platforms.


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This started to alter within the late Nineteen Nineties with the arrival of Web2, which ushered in a brand new period of user-generated content material and collaboration. Web2 websites like Wikipedia and YouTube allowed anybody with an web connection to share their ideas and concepts with the world.

This was a stark distinction to the earlier mannequin, the place solely a choose few might management what info was shared with the lots. The rise of social media platforms like Fb and Twitter additional democratized the web, giving people a robust device for sharing their views with the world.

The facility of the person

The rise of Web2 marked a shift in energy from establishments to people. For the primary time, common individuals had a platform for sharing their ideas and concepts with the world. This had a profound impression on society, because it gave rise to new actions and campaigns that might not have been potential with out the web.

The Arab Spring, for instance, was a collection of pro-democracy protests that swept throughout the Center East and North Africa from 2010 to 2013. These protests wouldn’t have been potential with out using social media to prepare and share info between protesters.

How Web2 went flawed

Regardless of the constructive impression it has had on the world, Web2 has additionally led to some critical issues — issues related to this new means to share info freely and with out consequence. The primary issues, after all, are the next:

Ethical and political arbitration

Whereas Web2 was a serious step ahead for the web, it’s now clear that it has reached its restrict. The centralized nature of at this time’s platforms implies that they’re topic to the whims of their house owners, who can select to censor or take away content material that they don’t agree with.

This was evident within the 2016 US presidential election when Fb was accused of intentionally suppressing conservative information tales.

The Fb-Cambridge Analytical information scandal uncovered the issues with at this time’s platforms, because it confirmed how consumer information might be mishandled and used to govern public opinion. It additionally uncovered the centralized nature of those platforms, which provides the house owners full management over what customers see and don’t see.

It’s clear that we’d like a brand new mannequin for the web — one that’s decentralized and based mostly on the precept of information possession. Underneath this mannequin, customers would have full management over their information, and platform house owners wouldn’t have the ability to promote or use it with out their consent.

This might create a extra degree enjoying area, as small startups would have the ability to compete with massive companies for customers’ consideration.

Combating within the shadows

One other issue that has led to the corruption of Web2 is the rise of the surveillance state. Within the wake of the 9/11 assaults, the U.S. authorities launched into a large program of home surveillance, amassing information on thousands and thousands of harmless People.

This program was uncovered by Edward Snowden in 2013, and it confirmed how the federal government was utilizing these platforms to spy on its residents. Since then, now we have seen a gentle erosion of privateness rights, as the federal government has continued to gather information on our on-line actions.

On the opposite aspect of the equation is reckless anonymity, which has given rise to a brand new breed of web troll. These trolls cover behind nameless accounts and use the web to harass and threaten individuals.

This drawback was highlighted in 2014 and 2015 when girls within the online game business, together with Anita Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu, Zoe Quinn and others have been harassed and threatened by an nameless group of trolls utilizing the hashtag “#Gamergate.”

Elections in international locations just like the Philippines have suffered due to wide-scale disinformation campaigns that use social media to unfold false info to distort the picture of sure political candidates, whether or not in exaltation or shame. 

What to anticipate

This op-ed is supposed to be an introduction to the components which have led to the downfall of the second iteration of the web. You possibly can clearly see that these issues are centered across the tenets of centralization, the commoditization of information, reckless anonymity and unmitigated human greed.

Within the subsequent few articles of this collection, we’ll start to discover how a brand new model of the web — one which is decentralized and based mostly on the ideas of information possession — can handle these issues. 

Partly 2, we’ll discover the idea of free speech, attitudes towards censoriousness and ethical arbitration by large tech. 

To conclude, Web2 has allowed customers the facility to create, to have the ability to take part within the ebbs and flows of the worldwide dialog, nevertheless it has gone too far in giving these with the largest megaphones probably the most energy. Decentralization is vital to night out the enjoying area and giving everybody a voice.

Daniel Saito is CEO and cofounder of StrongNode.

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