Enshittification of the Internet

Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by exchemist, Feb 18, 2024.

  1. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    This was the American Dialect Society's word of the year for 2023. It was coined by Cory Doctorow to describe the process whereby internet platforms suppress competition and gain users' dependence on them by loss leaders and good service offerings and then switch to exploitation by reducing quality, adding charges for previously free services etc.

    There is a very amusing and insightful transcript here of a lecture Doctorow gave on the subject in January: https://doctorow.medium.com/my-mcluhan-lecture-on-enshittification-ea343342b9bc

    Did you know that Faecebook originated as a forum for rating - without their consent - the fuckability of Harvard undergraduates? Classy.

    Doctorow muses that we may be entering the Enshittocene era of humanity.

    Anyway, worth a read I think.

    P.S. We have a minor example of enshittification on this very forum, courtesy of Google Ad Sense at the moment, which I have made a thread about in the Site Feedback section.
     
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah. I just heard it used the other day. Great word.

    The film was illuminating.
     
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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    So you did know about the sleazy origin of Facebook, then, I take it. But the lecture is about a lot more than Facebook. Google, Amazon....and others all have the same extractive business model and it hurts both users/customers and also the suppliers on the other side of the deal.
     
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    It started from Facemash, which was to compare two photos to find the "hottest" one. The University shut that down. Facebook came from "TheFacebook" which was a social platform for college student.
     
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I worked at a place where they got into processing Big Data. They started scraping billions of tweets and posts of users, calculating their "sentiments" (I like/hate product X), and selling that intel directly to the corps.

    I quit.
     
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  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    That, indeed, is one of the ways people fight back against enshittification, according to Doctorow.
     
  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Very interesting talk/article.
     
  11. LaurieAG Registered Senior Member

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    While I agree with the general sentiment of the talk/article I was a bit disappointed that calling that bastard Rupert Murdoch an Australian in 2006, when he renounced his Australian citizenship in 1985 to become a naturalized US citizen, is concerning with regards to the accuracy of some of the finer points made.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch
    On another note I expect that the internet will become even more enshittified when the new ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) Chairman takes over, it's bad enough already.
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-01-24/kim-williams-endorsed-as-new-abc-chair-newscorp/103382554
    So take your pick, either Murdochs changed his spots or the erstwhile left wing Australian political party has swung massively to the right with Murdochs assistance and he hasn't changed his spots at all.
     
  12. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Share your general sentiments about the Dirty Digger, but I don't quite follow this. In Australia, is it the Broadcasting Commission that sets standards for the internet? In the UK it is split among various agencies for advertising standards, competition issues etc.
     
  13. LaurieAG Registered Senior Member

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    No, In Australia the ABC is the governments TV station like the BBC is in the UK. The ABC has 4-5 different channels and there's also the SBS, the Special Broadcasting Service, which is a multicultural and multilingual national broadcaster with 4-5 TV channels. Both have another 5 or so digital radio channels although some just provide copies of BBC channels.

    Unfortunately our politicians have avoided all responsibility for advertising standards as Ad content in Australia is regulated through a system of 'self-regulation'. This means that the ad industry, through the Australian Association of National Advertisers, writes the rules that advertisers must follow.

    Also, as there's never been any political will to change the status quo, there has never been any requirement for truth in political advertising so the internet scammers and our politicians share a very close profile with similar results. Oh and the Australian Competition Commission can prosecute deceitful advertisers too, as long as their budget allows them to and somebody complains to them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2024
  14. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Well no, the BBC is not the government's station. I expect the constitution of the ABC is similar to that of the BBC, viz. separate from the government with an independent board and executive.

    But you are talking about TV stations. The phenomenon is of enshittification concerns the behaviour towards users and suppliers of internet platforms.
     
  15. LaurieAG Registered Senior Member

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    Government/taxpayer funded TV station or QUANGO (QUasi Autonomous Non Government Organisation) would be the correct term.

     
  16. LaurieAG Registered Senior Member

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    When TV stations mistake opinion for news and their internet arms just spew the same biased political rubbish the only difference in their contribution to the enshittification of the internet is who gets to pay for it, taxpayers or customers.
     

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