Haste Makes Waste

Deplatforming Myself: A Tech Manifesto

17 October 2023

The internet has become one big roach motel.

I lay the blame for this development solely at the feet of The Platform; the proliferation of venture-capitalist backed walled gardens, which are incentivized to trap users inside and milk them like cattle.

They inflict violence on us when we use them, and again when they die. In between, they seek to become inextricably tied to our lives, as difficult to leave as possible, right up until the very moment they decide they’re done with us, and the owners abscond with a bag stuffed full of all the things we made for them.

And they’ve been dying one after another, recently. Faster than usual. We’ve been doing this technofuedalism thing long enough now to see the edges of The Platform life cycle.

I won’t mourn them. But it is undeniable that every time this happens, someone gets left behind. It’s usually the same someones.

This has me re-evaluating my relationship with The Platform, what I want out of the Internet, and who its meant to benefit.

I’ve decided: I think I want out.

The Magic Box

The first thing that you have to understand, is that you and I do not experience the same internet.

Not because we inhabit different corners of it; we almost certainly don’t. Perhaps we did once, decades ago, when the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan forum in which I might have made my home existed separately from your cooking blog. But not anymore.

To quote Tom Eastman, the internet is now roughly four websites, each filled with screenshots from the other three.

You probably use some combination of Twitter, or Reddit, or Facebook, or Instagram. So do I. If the internet had physical space to occupy, we would be closer than we’ve ever been.

And yet despite our proximity, you and I are functionally separated. If I scream, you may never hear it. On the internet of today, two people can exist in the same space but never perceive each other. Because I am no longer in control of who or what I see. And crucially: neither are you.

Those decisions are made by another being, its geometry eldritch and reasoning unknowable. It is named The Algorithm, and it is both god and king in its domain.

Algorithmic curation of content was invented, or if you prefer, inflicted by Facebook in 2011 as an update to its news feed. Instead of displaying your friend’s activity in a simple, reverse-chronological order, Facebook would first sort it on the backend to keep “the most interesting stuff at the top”. The specific details of how they calculated this, or indeed what interesting even meant in this context, were not provided. From the moment of its conception, the inner workings of the newborn Algorithm were closely guarded.

Attribution and academic discourse on this topic is tricky, because while it is clear that The Algorithm has changed many, many times in the years since, it is for the large part impossible to pinpoint precisely when or in what way. This lack of transparency is by design.

What we do know is that today the Algorithm has been given control over not only the order in which a set number of things appear, but whether a given thing can appear at all, and in a manner which often supersedes user preferences. The feed is infinite. It scrolls forever. And only some of what’s in it is actually for you, in your best interests or serving your needs. Connect with your neighbor if you want, but you might not hear anything they say if The Algorithm isn’t convinced you care.

By July 2022, CEO Mark Zuckerberg estimated in an earnings call that about 15% of the average user’s feed was comprised of algorithmically selected recommendations, from entities that they had not explicitly followed. The company’s stated goal is to more than double this percentage by the end of this year.

There’s a legitimate problem to be solved in this space. As Facebook themselves described it way back when, there was more content on the platform than any one person could consume. Things that were interesting to users were getting lost in the noise. Noise which Facebook chose to make, so you might say they created the problem, too.

But rather than empowering users to solve that problem for themselves, by giving them direct control of their reading experience and allowing them to curate it, Facebook decided it knew better. Or, more honestly, that it was financially beneficial for them to claim that they did, and shape it themselves.

And today, most of the major players on the internet have followed Facebook’s example, building The Algorithm’s of their very own. When we visit Youtube, what is shown to you versus what is available to me is determined by The Algorithm at the moment it is observed. In this way, the internet as a whole has become non-deterministic, in that even if you and I do the same thing, we will get different results. Hell, if you do the same thing twice, there’s a chance you get different results.

It’s Many Worlds theory made manifest, an endless series of parallel universes, your instance of Twitter and mine, arbitrarily constructed and destroyed by a pocket of code on a server somewhere with motives you will never be permitted to know. Because that’s someone’s IP.

The modern web is constantly, endlessly hoovering up massive amounts of data about you, only some of which is correct, and then feeding you its best guess of what will glue your eyeballs to the screen just a little bit longer, no matter what that is, whether it’s actually good for you or not.

There’s no explanation for its decisions, and you will never hold The Algorithm accountable. Its value to its owners stems from its inscrutability, and from the control it gives them over you. The asymmetry of it all is the point.

Everywhere you go, your “experience” is constantly being “personalized”, just not by you. Not even for you, even though they all like to say that. When you use the internet today, you are visiting a bespoke, ephemeral snow globe which has been arranged just so, because it’s convenient for someone somewhere that you will never meet, and the instant they’re done with it they will smash it on the floor so if you ever wanted to go back to that particular snow globe, too bad, fuck you, but wait don’t go you might also like…

Honestly, our concept of “the internet” as a singular entity is outdated. It always was, a little bit, just from the sheer scale of the thing, but it’s especially true now, because at even the granular level of the individual web page, there’s no telling whether we’re even looking at the same thing.

Not only are you and I on different internets, our internets are not equal.

The Dollar Bean Problem

See, the benefit of The Algorithm to its owners is that now they have something to sell. Namely, your attention, on your behalf, and often in the form of ad space. Ads aren’t new, but this method of targeted distribution is. The owners have some data that they claim can predict your behavior, specifically, and although they will never allow this claim to be falsified, they will sell access to it. Just a peek here and there, a glimpse for brands that want something from you.

Which means that the owners are financially incentivized not only to show you the things which you say you want, and which ostensibly make you happy, but things that make brands happy. And they’re similarly incentivized to minimize exposure to the things that brands don’t want to be associated with, regardless of your needs. At any given time, the (again, top-secret, completely opaque) Algorithm is being fiddled with to make the owners as much money as possible. That is, in fact, its entire purpose.

It’s not to provide exposure to new ideas, or spread opportunity. Opportunity on The Platform is more concentrated than it’s ever been, echo chambers abound. That’s all a con. The algorithm exists because money. It creates asymmetry of information, and shifts the balance of power to the person who owns it. It’s three card monte but you play it with a blindfold.

And whether it is explicitly intended or not, the result of this con is that the human beings who are already in society’s margins are disproportionately punished, and uninvited from participating fully in society.

Let’s have an example.

TikTok claims to have at least 150 million US users. Some of them are queer. And those queer users have learned that their posts will be suppressed if they talk openly about their queerness. But they’re still queer, and they still need to talk about it. It’s a communication platform, after all.

So they’ve developed Aesopian code phrases, algospeak, to get the message across contextually, substituting “lesbian” with “le dollar bean” or “legbutt” when they mean “LGBT” in order to avoid inciting the wrath of The all-seeing Algorithm. And this works for a while, until a brand gets pissed that their ad for holy water or whatever was displayed next to a video of a gay man living his best life, god forbid. And so the censors get updated, and the community invents new euphemisms and evades bans, and this bizarre game of 1337speak whack a mole continues in perpetuity.

The stakes are higher for these users than just burying a video diary, and this phenomenon is not restricted to TikTok. Youtube began mass demonetizing videos with LGBTQ subject matter to placate brands in 2017, in an event dubbed the adpocalypse by its community. Even when some of those rules were rolled back, it continues to have a chilling effect on creators to this day, who rely on this site to pay their bills and are now self-censoring everything that could conceivably be objectionable, prematurely, in order to protect their livelihood. One side, and only one side, can destroy the other at whim.

And so we all do this little dance, for our god king The Algorithm, who won’t tell us what it wants, ever, or what it intends to punish, so we have to guess. We have to guess what it wants today, and what it will want tomorrow, based entirely on superstition and personal anecdote.

Step out of line, break one of the unwritten rules, and you’re boned. You won’t even know it happened if your content is simply de-ranked. You have to guess from performance stats, if your corporate masters even deign to share those with you. Not just when it happened, but if it happened, so indistinguishable is de-ranking from just being unpopular or bad at your job.

And I just so happen to live at the intersection of several identities like this which are a) not particularly profitable, b) controversial to idiots, and c) impossible for me to switch off.

As a trans person, my very existence has become political. Any space that I am permitted to occupy becomes a statement to alt-right fascists (who apparently sit around all day thinking about other people’s genitals), and if there’s one thing no company wants to do, it’s stand for anything. To stand for one thing means to oppose others, and others have money, and companies can’t have just some of the money, they want all of it. So algorithms are swift and punitive when I talk about myself, and if I make enough fascists angry, which I always aspire to do, then The Algorithm determines that I am not 100% profitable, which may as well be 0% profitable, and therefore not worth seeing.

Or, consider the journalist, who exists to speak truth to power. If there’s a second thing no company wants to do, it’s have its power spoken to. That’s why The Algorithm is kept in The Box. If you knew how it worked, you might have opinions about it. Opinions are great when they they’re about other people, when they generate engagement and clicks and ad revenue, but not if they hold us accountable. Go hold somebody else accountable instead, and don’t forget to like and subscribe and smash that bell and Tweet about it when you do!

What I have found, through my own experimentation, is that I instantly become invisible when I cross the threshold into any community governed by The Algorithm. I can see everyone else, listen to their conversations, but they cannot hear me. I cannot touch them. I can pour out my heart as much as I like, but only to myself. I am a ghost. The internet becomes this lonely place, at once full to bursting with people and yet completely, soul-wrenchingly isolating.

I have experienced this on Twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on Youtube and countless others. Within the boundaries of those spaces, I cease to exist. I vanish. Poof.

But then, the moment I step foot in a community that sorts its content statically, chronologically, when I am given the same weight as everyone else, and users are permitted the agency to decide for themselves if they’re interested in what I’m doing, suddenly I exist again. This was the default of ye olde PHPbb forums, and more recently, on Mastodon. In those spaces, I can have meaningful conversations, participate in them fully, speak my mind without regard for the Great Internet Content Panopticon, and when I do, people seem to enjoy interacting with me. Sometimes they wonder where I have been all this time. And the answer, functionally, is the Ethereal Plane. Some asshole cast Blink on me I couldn’t turn it off.

The algorithm does not improve visibility. It was never meant to. It’s the bell in Pavlov’s hand, reinforcing behavior that its owner finds beneficial.

In the domain of The Algorithm, the common folk whisper its name in respect, and in fear. Whatever we think it wants, we do it, and we’ll bend ourselves into whatever shape we think we need to, hack off whatever limbs don’t fit, in order to appease it this week, because the consequence is exile. We are un-personed.

The internet used to be punk. It used to be a place for marginalized people to congregate and share things they were passionate about. Mostly cats, and hentai.

Now it’s just a conveyor belt. Of cats and hentai.

At some point we all became employees of a company we can’t even identify, that doesn’t even pay us for our labor. And nobody noticed the switch until it was too late.

Because that’s the other thing; they closed the door behind us.

The Prison Cell

The second reason that the modern internet no longer serves my needs, is its propensity to lock me in a room, before switching off the lights, and running away with my shit.

The one-sided nature of relationships with The Platform mean that once it has established your dependence upon it, it can change the nature of that agreement at any time, without recourse. Actually, that’s worth unpacking, because a non-zero percentage of people will read that word and lose all sympathy. Somewhere out there, someone just said, it’s your own fault for doomscrolling, loser, and that’s weird, why are you talking to your monitor? But also addiction isn’t the the only, or even primary way that The Platform facilitates dependence.

By centralizing a critical piece of infrastructure, by making its use ubiquitous in an industry or to some facet of everyday life, The Platform constructs a new, digital world where not using it constitutes a disadvantage. The steady consolidation of corporations only serves to amplify this. Am I describing The Platform, or the economic concept of monopoly? Yes.

Payment processing is a great example. I can make all the art in the world, but the instant I want to sell it and make a living, I must choose a The Platform to share a percentage of the profit with. Barring setting up my own payment processing company, I have no choice in this matter. I can choose Patreon, or I can choose Square, or I can choose Stripe, but one way or another I am tying my livelihood to another company. From that moment, their priorities and their decisions now impact me directly, and they are under no obligation to communicate when those change.

Crucially, I am not exchanging my power when I do this. It’s entirely one way. I am now, to some degree, at the mercy of Patreon; I must pray that they do not alter the deal, but there is no decision I could make which would affect them in turn. They can always tell me no and point to their TOS, and if I tried that, their lawyers would laugh at me. Well, probably they would just ignore it, but if they noticed the attempt I’m sure they’d find it very funny.

It’s not just payment processing that functions this way. The same can be said of any live service. It’s everything, every individual little thing that you need or do, and they all want a piece. If I have an Adobe Creative Cloud account to use my (haha “my”) copy of Photoshop, and they decide renewing my subscription costs triple this year, my options are to learn and fully transition to another tool very quickly, or pony up. If my audience has chosen Instagram as their favorite hangout spot, I am dependent on the (non existent) benevolence of Meta in order to eat.

Even if I research diligently, make smart choices as a consumer, I will inevitably get bitten by this. The longer a Platform behaves itself, and the longer my network is given to settle in, the harder it becomes to sever the relationship when the warning signs begin.

Even if a Platform I use to function in modern society reveals its Q3 roadmap is to implement AI generated NFT’s in the Metaverse, as long as they hold enough people or enough functionality hostage, there’s fuck all I can do about it beyond hang on tight and ride it out or take only what I can carry and flee.

Gloriously enlightened Neo-liberal types will tell me that’s just the free market baby, vote with your wallet and use another service, but ah ah ah! Another service, see? I actually don’t have any power in the end, except to whom I want to give power over me. It might have been a free market once, for somebody, but now it’s a free* market. A…fee…market? Free market (Pejorative)?

I’m not great at coming up with pithy names for these, but do you know who is?

Author Corey Doctorow observed this of the lifecycle of The Platform:

…First, they 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.

He named this process enshittification, and chances are you knew that already. There’s a good reason the term has been adopted so widely, and so quickly. It’s concise, it’s accurate, and I don’t think I stand to improve upon it. In fact, at some point in the lifetime of his blog he has probably said everything I’ve said here, but better, so in the spirit of the old internet, and not locking the door behind users, here’s some traffic: if you’re enjoying this piece, then maybe you should go and read Pluralistic instead.

The Nazi Bar

Even if I had confidence that you and I were seeing the same thing, even if you solved the dollar bean problem, and even if platform owners weren’t blocking the fire escapes as they set the building alight, there is still one more crucial problem core to The Platform which necessitates my rethinking of my relationship to them.

The owners keep letting all their asshole friends in.

Much like their product roadmaps, making my home on a platform means that I need to trust the moderation strategy of the owners. And I don’t.

This was always a foolish thing to do. To the extent that any Platform is being steered at all, they are steered by executives and venture capitalists. Now personally, I believe that empathy is inherently incompatible with any position that hoards that much wealth. If you had even a shred of it, you wouldn’t be a CEO in the first place, for the same reason you wouldn’t be a cop. In that way, The Platform self-selects for the worst possible moderation decisions and the worldview of the very worst kind of person.

Plus, capitalists have this nasty habit of leaning ever more conservative as their hoard grows, because conservative policymakers promise to protect that hoard. Conservative leaning folks also happen to be the ones that so often want me, specifically, to die, and they just can’t seem to stop themselves from committing acts of neoreactionary and stochastic terrorism.

It used to be that if I got it in my head that I wanted to build a community around something, I could just do that, and I would get to make decisions about what I would and would not tolerate. But the moderation policy of The Platform is as opaque as the algorithms which manage its daily operation. I have no say over what is permissible, nor am I empowered with any way to verify whether the terms we (haha “we”) agreed to are actually being enforced.

Not even in the communities that I make within them; Reddit admins literally just seized multiple, user-created subreddits during the API pricing protests, on the grounds that actually, they’re all our subreddits, even the communities you built for products you own, we’ve been graciously letting you borrow them. And we can take them back whenever we want, for any reason, or no reason at all.

So even if I was allowed to speak my mind without fear of reprisal, and even if every single service in existence wasn’t cannibalizing itself trying to become the next 10x Silicon Valley unicorn money-printer and cash out, the fact remains that I have no say in the rules of The Platforms I join today.

To invest in The Platform is to subject yourself to the whims and morals of an organization that only cares about money, and will absolutely sell access to you for hate crime purposes if they can get away with it legally.

Over time, the Platform is doomed to tolerate the extremely specific set of all people who would revel in the opportunity to make me less happy and/or alive. Any platform that isn’t there yet, is only ever one leadership change away from it.

And it’s their house, their rules, remember. If you don’t like it, your only option is to leave, light an effigy to win the favor of The Invisible Hand, and choose another Platform to start over. And over. And over. And…

Or, We Could Stop This Madness

I think it’s time for creators to reassess our relationships to The Platform, begin to defend ourselves, and dare to imagine something better.

This is the one place where I disagree with Doctorow, who is much much smarter than I am but is also much much more optimistic that any legal body would willingly pass the required legislation to facilitate the deep changes we need.

To be clear, I’m not saying we should not work on that; I believe that while we do, we will have better luck starving The Platform; by building the better systems we actually want to use, by refusing the play the game, and by depriving the machine of our labor. That way, when the government is done failing spectacularly, we are at least in the middle of plan B.

What might an internet which meets our needs look like, then? It sure as hell isn’t this.

Well, my ideal internet would be open, with knowledge accessible to all. I’d like it to be interoperable, too. You should be able to set your own boundaries in how you use it and engage with others. Its development roadmap would be set or at least influenced by you, and if your experience is “personalized”, it’s because you personalized it, on purpose, and to meet your own goals. It should be private, that goes without saying. And above all it must be transparent, able to be taken apart, examined, and put back together to your satisfaction.

That’s a lot of things. And let’s be realistic, there’s no way I can personally deconstruct and reconstruct the entirety of the internet’s functionality to that specification, even if I had my whole life to do it. I just don’t have the skills necessary. The best I can program is terminal-tic-tac-toe, and that’s on a good day.

But what I can do, is clean up my own house. Bit by bit, I can cut my ties with Platforms and Algorithms and migrate to systems I own, control, and understand. That can be my contribution.

If enough of us did this, we could reverse the consolidation and enshittification of the modern internet organically. This could be the result of collective action, too, but honestly at this point I’m just going to start with me and see how it goes.

Okay, But How?

From now on, I’m making a point to avoid all Platforms on principle. I will resist creating accounts for any software that relies on The Algorithm to serve recommended content. I will replace each live service that I use today with open source alternatives, as soon as it is efficient and financially viable to do so. Where I must use closed source commercial tooling, I’ll opt for things I can pay for once, and chuck anything that pivots to a rent-seeking subscription model, not even because of the money, but because verifying whether or not I’ve paid my protection dues necessitates surveillance and control over my devices, which should be mine and serve me alone.

Since I’m already here and they’re adjacent topics, ads can blow me and so can DRM. I hereby give you, the reader, permission to steal the things you need if that’s the only way you can get it. When they arrest you tell them Val said it was okay and I dunno maybe they’ll be so stunned that you thought that would work, they’ll let you go.

And as an added benefit of all this, if I pull this off I’ll probably also leak a bit less of my personal data across the internet. That’d be nice.

There Are Risks

For one, people might just decide not to follow me. The core value add for users of The Platform is that all your friends are already there, after all. I will almost certainly be a smaller creator, forever.

But if people don’t want to visit my corner of the internet, and I end up talking to myself, that’s not really any different than my current experience on The Platform, now is it? I’m already not seeing those promises of lowering friction or increasing discoverability fulfilled. By taking this into my own hands, I can hardly do worse than the nothing I’m getting from the current deal.

And anyway, the whole of the internet used to work like this, so obviously, it is possible. One of my fondest memories of using the internet in a way that served me, and brought me joy, was the StumbleUpon Sleepover. Back then, it was a browser extension. My best friend and I stayed up literally all night and morning just showing each other cool stuff we found, hopping from one blog to another and developing new niche interests. The internet seemed so vast, and not just because we was younger, but because there were things to be found everywhere, linking to each other, that weren’t afraid to let users leave and which hadn’t had their rough edges sanded off by the need to be mass-marketable.

Incidentally, do you know what ended up happening to StumbleUpon? They took investment capital, wiped all their user-submitted content in 2011, became a shitty Social Media Platform, of course! And then they died.

So yeah, as an invisible nobody, a hit to my non-existent discoverability is a risk I am willing to take. Next!

Another risk is that everything in my workflow will become just a little bit harder, and that will add up to impact my workflow. Not gonna lie, this one is legit.

Open source software doesn’t have Google money behind it, and this shows when it comes to UX, speed of development cycles, and yeah, sometimes quality. There will be bugs, things will break or slow down or become incompatible, there probably won’t be as many resources or tutorials to help me grow, and there will probably be some things I just can’t do.

But in exchange, I get to drive. It won’t matter what stupid shit Google decides to pull this quarter, because I won’t depend on them anymore. Fewer organizations will have the power to force changes in my behavior. What I lose in short-term stability, I will gain in the long term. While we’re using Google as an example, I also won’t necessarily be at any more of a risk of support for my tools being deprecated; they strangle at least a few things in the cradle per year.

I also figure that sometimes good things spring from limitations, too. Like dithering in classic pixel art, or the badass arpeggio of 8-bit chiptunes. In a world where everything is polished and shiny and uniform, maybe I’ll come to enjoy being a little grungy. My work might even benefit.

And technically, any problem I run into with open source software is within my power to fix, if I just got off my ass and submitted a PR myself.

So while I consider this to be the more substantial risk, it’s still one worth taking on.

How’s That Been Going For You?

Well, I’ve managed to make a lot of healthy replacements already; Mastodon, Firefox, Fastmail, Godot, Affinity Designer, and Scrivener, to name a few. I still have a ways to go. I’m desperately clinging to Atom, which is inadvisable as it was deprecated in December. I should really make finding another IDE I like a priority. I haven’t tried using Gitlab yet, either.

I’ve made a few, extremely minor contributions to the Veilid framework, which from a mission statement perspective is absolutely my kind of shit. I intend to continue volunteering with them when I have more time.

I’m also curious about building a Linux machine someday, which I’m sure I will regret immediately, but I’m also tired of nervously watching Microsoft chip away at the idea that I’m just renting my computer— oh, sorry, I mean “this PC”.

Platforms relevant to my work that I’ve sidestepped entirely include Medium and Substack. I’m sure eventually Discord will cross the rainbow bridge, too; it hasn’t been enshittified for my purposes yet but it’s threatened to before. When it’s finally time to replace, I think I’ll stand up an old phpBB forum instead. If you can’t tell, I miss them and I’m weirdly looking forward to it, even though I’m sure I’ll lose most of my audience when it happens. They’re just cozy, familiar lil’ guys, and they remain searchable and useful to non-members for a very long time.

Unfortunately I’m pretty well entangled with Steam at this point. If you aren’t yet, take a look at GoG and itch instead. Spotify though, I could work on that, and start owning my albums again. I already yeeted Netflix into the sun after The Closer and never really cared for TV.

That leaves my biggest points of failure today: Patreon, and Youtube. I don’t have a solid answer for either.

Patreon is by far the biggest risk to me personally. It’s raised a lot of investment, and has started to signal product panic in a way that is all too familiar to me as a TPM. The rollercoaster ride to the bottom seems increasingly inevitable. Trouble is, payment processing is one of those things you can’t currently do on your own. One thing I can do to help mitigate it, is keep prioritizing my own website, and pointing readers there whenever possible. If I only rely on Patreon for payment processing, and not as a portfolio like they’ve been pushing for, I can avoid at least some of the pain they will invariably inflict upon me.

I had cut Google out of my life a couple years ago for unrelated reasons, and so I only recently developed any need for Youtube at all, when I decided to start publishing video essays. There are a few semi-viable alternatives like Peertube, but they would necessitate sorting out my own hosting and would likely result in an extra decline in readership that I’m not sure is worth the trade. I’ve got my eye out for solutions but this one will take some time to bake. For now my mitigation is not to rely on Youtube for income. I may even opt out of ad revenue sharing if that’s an option. My understanding is it’s a pittance, and since I’m trans they were never going to recommend my work much anyway. I’ll rely on word of mouth.

The Internet Didn’t Always Suck

And I believe it can not-suck again.

I feel like I’ve been sleep-walking through its decline, but the domino collapse of Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit have snapped me out of it. It’s like realizing you’ve been playing that same MMO out of habit but have long stopped having fun with it.

It’s amazing to me that we can spend all this time and money and effort building technology that at the end of the day doesn’t even help the people it was designed for. It’s not like Facebook is the best we can do; we’ve been to the goddamn moon, we’re sequencing the human genome. If we really wanted to make a public-good communication platform that wasn’t especially useful for organizing genocides, we could absolutely do that. The trouble is just that there are all these grubby hyper capitalist systems in the way.

If “progress is inevitable” when it comes to things that actively do not do any of the things they’re hyped to, like LLM’s, then why doesn’t anyone ever say that with technology that we already have, which is failing in basic ways and could be improved? No, don’t answer that, I know the answer. LLM’s let businesses cut salaries, discipline workers, and pocket more money.

I can’t fix all of these problem on my own, but I can at least reduce my dependency on the corporations that manufactured them.

Maybe if I build a safe little corner of the internet, that imagines what the net could be rather than what it is, other people will find it and want to do the same. Or at least hang out for a while.

Citations

Alexander, Julia. “The Golden Age of YouTube Is Over.” The Verge, 5 Apr. 2019, www.theverge.com/2019/4/5/18287318/youtube-logan-paul-pewdiepie-demonetization-adpocalypse-premium-influencers-creators

Chung, Anna. “News Feeds, Old Content: A Brief History of Algorithmically Curated Feeds on Facebook and Twitter” Medium, 29 Apr. 2019, https://medium.com/@annawchung/news-feeds-old-content-a-brief-history-of-algorithmically-curated-feeds-on-facebook-and-twitter-85b5e5d8e30a

Doctorow, Corey. “Tiktok’s enshittification” Pluralistic, 21 Jan. 2023, https://pluralistic.net/2023/01/21/potemkin-ai/

Kan, Michael. “Facebook, Instagram To Show You More Content From People You Don’t Follow” PCMag, 28 Jun. 2022, https://www.pcmag.com/news/facebook-instagram-to-show-you-more-content-from-people-you-dont-follow

Lorenz, Taylor. “Internet ‘algospeak’ is changing our language in real time, from ‘nip nops’ to ‘le dollar bean’” The Washington Post, 08 Apr. 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/04/08/algospeak-tiktok-le-dollar-bean/

Oremus, Will & Alcantara, Chris & Merrill, Jeremy B. & Galocha, Arthur. “How Facebook shapes your feed.” The Washington Post, 26 Oct. 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/interactive/2021/how-facebook-algorithm-works/

Tonkelowitz, Mark. “Interesting News, Any Time You Visit” Facebook, 20 Sep. 2011, https://web.archive.org/web/20110925211838/http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=10150286921207131