Given that Google has been one of the staunchest supporters of net neutrality, its recent filing with the FCC came as somewhat of a surprise. In response to a customer’s request that the company amend its terms and conditions for service, Google this week filed a document with the FCC stating that customers of its fibre to the home (FTTH) network were restricted in what type of customer premise equipment or end user applications they could utilize over the network. This move is in direct contradiction of Google’s previous stance that service providers should not be allowed to act as gatekeepers, in essence preventing consumers from enjoying the full range of innovation and choice available through the open Internet. What do you think of this development?
I think it is fair to say that social networks have become a lot less friendlier in recent times. It was inevitable that social media giants would abolish the open API’s (application program interfaces) that allowed their users to share content across network. This move is seen as necessary for these companies to increasingly monetize their ads and promoted tweets and posts. But while the walled garden approach by Facebook, Twitter and other networks makes perfect business sense, it largely removes the social aspect of their platforms.
The outcome is a splintered ecosystem; one where the ability to communicate with the entire social media landscape at once has been nullified. One where the bridging of gaps between users and companies, and the creation of dynamic and diverse interactions, no longer exists.
However, as the tensions between social media networks have flared up, a parallel industry has emerged. Disgruntled users and organizations are turning to social media management systems, software tools that provide unfettered access to all the large social networks from a single interface (one such company is HootSuite). At the linked URL, HootSuite illustrates the social media wars by transforming Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and Tumblr in Game of Thrones houses. Quite entertaining!
Basically our conundrum is this: As larger numbers of individuals get their news and information from personalized feeds similar to Facebook and Google, the more important content becomes obscured. In this environment of information blitzkrieg that we live in, content about issues like economic crash, energy crises, food security or human rights will be overrun by stupid celebrity news reels, non-sensical viral videos, and other techno-garbage. Breaking out of the filter bubble is key to staying in touch with our common problems and defining applicable solutions. See the the hyperlink below for a more illustrative definition of the filter bubble. Hopefully you’ll recognize the negative impacts of it, and decide to consciously break out!