The Coming Fight for Control of the Internet

I have been blogging very little, as I have been swamped with a big and exciting work project. As the peak effort on that is now past, I look forward to writing more on Continuations again, as well as taking another turn revising my book The World After Capital. In the meantime, here are some observations on the most recent iteration of the debate around regulating large tech companies generally, the role of Section 230 specifically and how these relate to speech on the Internet. Topics that I have been writing about for many years.

First, information cascades are real and have been known to be a problem for a long time. Both through low effort enduser actions (such as a retweet) and through algorithmic amplification (one user’s like winds up on others’ timelines) “news” travels fast. As has been well studied the more outrageous it is, the faster it travels.

Second, this problem has been known for a long time and one of Twitter’s and Facebook’s biggest failings has been to do nothing about it, while at the same time suppressing third party efforts. Twitter’s handling of some links last week by simply not allowing them to be posted was a ham fisted attempt to rectify this last minute before an election. A later and broader iteration aimed at slowing down retweets is more of a step in the right direction.

Third, it is clear that Facebook is back to selling out everyone else with Zuckerberg’s support for undoing (Read more...)