Friday Reads: The Internet Con by Cory Doctorow

A Big Tech Disassembly Manual

Here is how platforms die: 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.

We’re in the final stages of enshittification. Every platform is turning into a pile of shit. It’s time to stop trying to figure out how to save the platforms. It’s time to start evacuating them.

How? With interoperability. We plug new services – better ones, run by co-ops, nonprofits, startups, communities, individual tinkerers – into the silos. We blast exits in the walled gardens. We make it possible to leave the platform without losing the things they use to hold you prisoners. We give you back the technical self-determination that is your birthright, which the platforms stole from you.

You get to leave the social media platform – but continue to exchange messages with the family, friends, communities, and customers who stay behind. You get to leave your mobile platform, but keep the media, apps, and contacts that shackled you to it. You get to leave Audible – but keep your books.

As the platforms burn, policymakers are scrambling for an answer. Some of them are still trying to get the platforms to clean up their act. They’re wrong. The problem with Mark Zuckerberg isn’t that he’s the wrong guy to be in charge of four billion peoples’ online lives – it’s that no one should have that job. We don’t need to fix Zuck.

We need to abolish Zuck.

This is a book that delivers a detailed policy prescription for building evacuation routes for the platforms, using interoperability. It’s a book that explains what those policies should be, what how to get them, and how to administer them so that the tech companies can’t wriggle off the hook or cheat their way to glory (again).

It’s a book that explains how we can stem the tide of enshittification and seize the means of computation!

Source: Kickstarter

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