Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Facebook is killing the open web?

Hossein Derakshan says Facebook and Instagram are creating bubbles of personal comfort:
Zuckerberg killed links (and the web) because he has created a space that is more like the future of television rather than the internet. Unlike what he preaches, Facebook has divided us into small personal bubbles of comfort. We don’t need to do anything, but to swipe with our thumbs (soon even that wouldn’t be necessary with eyeball detection systems).
All the videos, images, and articles we see in our newsfeeds are picked for us based on our habits, based on our previous likes and reshares, which have taught Facebook about our preferences. Naturally, most of us only like what or who we agree with, and Facebook therefore rarely upsets, challenges, or surprises us.
While Zuckerberg laments at walls and admires bridges, the fact is that his Facebook algorithms have created billions of these comfort bubbles that are even more isolating than walls. Also, he has destroyed the most powerful bridges that perhaps ever existed in the human history, the hyperlinks.
Remember AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy? Those services dominated the internet back in the early 90's. You paid a monthly subscription fee, and they provided internet access along with their own content feeds: news, stocks, weather, forums, etc. You could reach the early Web, but only after passing their portals.

Two things changed that: the spread of local ISP's, and the Netscape browser. ISP competition lowered subscription prices and increased innovation. Having a cheap browser meant people could break away from the big ISP's portals. They could go anywhere on the Web (even AOL's and Compuserve's sites).

That's about the time that content creation took off as well.

I agree with Derakshan that Facebook is a bad deal, for many of the same reasons those early service providers were a bad deal. But Facebook has something they didn't: networking.