This year, the internet experienced the consequences of its actions from hacking, fake news and poisonous online communication. As result, internet users also suffered from the internet’s tragic flaw which is optimism or in simple terms, arrogance.
The first issue is hacking which could have been avoided if the internet has been designed with more security; however, the creators prioritized openness. The growth of the internet was very fast because people immediately saw its usefulness. The creators of the internet were very optimistic that it connected people who trusted each other. Now, the internet has become an ideal pasture for hackers.
The second issue is the proliferation of fake news. The idea of Google, Twitter and Facebook is to organize the world’s information, to provide people with a forum where they can exercise freedom of speech and to connect people from all parts of world. The business model was left until later but the platforms soon found out that the only sustainable model is advertising.
Everything was free for people but it also meant engagement that eclipsed all other considerations like truth, decency and respect. People spent a lot of time using online services but the internet is now dominated by harsh and vicious comments and outrageous stories became viral.
The more information that social media platforms knew about a user, the more profitable it became for them. Social media often reminds you of old memories or when a friend has joined Instagram. An item of clothing that you Googled will follow you patiently as you browse the internet with advertisements and newsfeeds on your email.
If information is interesting to advertisements, more so with the government who has access to your internet history. Information is also interesting to hackers because it has become easily accessible. The right solution is to be a less trusting and to treat each other better online.
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