As a web developer with a few years under the belt I can say "it sure seems to be rigged" Before you dismiss me as a conspiracy theorist or delusional and jaded from spending too much time online, let me explain my case for this article.
Today a literal handful of giant corporations control with an absolute monopoly and vice-like grip the flow of internet traffic and the access to and spread of information on it, and more so now the permissible activity and behavior of people on the internet. It is for this very reason that China, Russia, India and a few other countries are developing their own internets - which of course are just as rigged and controlled as our version, but are not dependent on the western government model.
Another confirmation that the internet has been annexed, why is it that the European Union is so keen to tax these internet giants, the obvious answer being they control the flow of commerce on it. There have also been sporadic feeble calls to break up the internet giants for anti-monopoly reasons, why no follow through then.
I am not accusing the internet controlling corporations of foul play in any way, they gained their positions of hegemony legitimately through vision, investment, brainpower, manhours and millions of dollars in ad spend. They thoroughly deserve the fruits of their labors. The only reason they now look down on us from lofty hights is because of mass consumer behavior by the general public, we have all enabled this situation by our browsing and spending habits.
However, as we all very well know how power corrupts. Once these corporations get in bed with the law makers then we the people have a big problem. The internet is no longer a level playing field as it was intended to be, but just another managed utility like electricity or gas that is licensed and divvy up amongst a select few players who can then make the rules and set the prices as they see fit. It's no longer a case of supply and demand determining the price as in an open marketplace, it's now rigged to their advantage.
The huge problem is that one search engine controls the flow of 90% of all internet traffic. I believe that even Google will admit that this is an unhealthy situation, they are not going to dismantle themselves though. We obviously need fantastic services like those provided by Google and others, however when there is essentially only one gate keeper it is a massive disadvantage to competitors and all those with little or no marketing budget which is the majority of the public.
SEO is supposed to guarantee fair access to internet traffic by competing for page rank, in reality only companies with deep pockets to spend on constant SEO tweaking and paid ad campaigns dominate the first pages of search results. The same goes for Facebook and other social platforms, for real results you need to pay for targeted ads.
Internet traffic and not Bitcoin is the real digital gold, no wonder Google et al guard their stakes as they do. Internet traffic is online oil and Google is the only member of OPEC, you get the idea. Is it not a curious thing that we have come to accept and allow a few corporations to weild such sway on the internet.
The insidious trend is not just the cost of access and dispersion of information (getting quality internet traffic via SEO and paid search advertising), but it is now the filtering and censorship of the information itself that threatens our fundamental freedoms. Exactly who should decide what you think and how you express yourself? There are already laws for anti-social behavior, we don't need an elite few making up our minds for us. Especially when these power hungry types are often caught in gross hypocrisy themselves, this activity is not just dominating the social narrative, it is also invading our personal space and is psychological abuse.
The list goes on, where are all the alternatives and counter movements to balance out the trends above? They are few and far between and are hard to find by intention, they have been muscled out by the giants. Many have just given up the fight for market share, or have given in (been acquired), if you are perceived as being counter the mainstream social narrative in even the smallest way then it becomes simply too difficult and too expensive to generate any real internet traction and traffic to your web properties.
We're referring here to people who would have been described as perfectly normal and socially adjusted just a decade or so ago, but have now been cancelled and sentenced to wallow in PC purgatory until they can redeem themselves by either confessing self-loathing or performing public virtue signaling which we see performed in the media everyday.
Oftentimes these PC cancelled people are not criminals or dangerous, they simply have different views and thoughts on sociopolitical issues. And the majority are not demanding any particular behavior or attitude from anybody.
The world wide web was intended to be a tool to free the masses in respect to self-expression, social interaction, access to information and to the marketplace of ideas. The internet is no longer that, there are now gate keepers with set rules. They decide what information you are privy to, in what way you can express yourself and how effectively you can reach others. You have to "pay to play" and you pay in more ways than one if you want real results.
"Hello Alexa..., Siri... et al" The end game of the internet giants is total ownership of you, your habits, your intentions, your thoughts, your emotions and eventually even your dreams. You are the product they trade in and therefor you need to be managed as such. Soon we will think that we are still acting autonomously and are free agents when in reality we are being micro-managed and led around by the nose by algorithms, artificial intelligence and augmented reality. Do some cursory research into the aims of our internet overlords and you will see that they openly publicize their aspirations for us, as it is all for our convenience and ultimate good.
Let's be reminded that these fairly recent online social engineering trends are perpetrated by a very small minority of the general population. Yes, they have reach and influence out of all proportion to their numbers, they definitely do not represent the majority of us though. It's time for the silent majority to be heard again, the so called moral majority need to start making wiser choices on how they spend their money and time. Again, the only reason we have this situation is because we have allowed it to progress by our lazy and apathetic viewing and spending habits. They see it as a battle for our minds and we see it as a passing fad, it's time to wake up.
Below are a few things we can do to counter our locked-down and locked-in cyber lives.
Why should you care? Most people don't have the time and energy to care about these trends and that is the reason why we have them. With more and more business and communication taking place online, maybe its worth paying closer attention to how you are being packaged and traded as a product by evermore intrusive and sophisticated technologies. In the minds of our technocrat overlords, a passive public doesn't deserve the right to autonomy and actually even prefer being loyal subjects and treated as such, do you.
Our platform has no political agenda or social preferences, rather it values every individual's fundamental right to freedom of expression and association, they are the person's sole business and none of our business. Showing mutual respect with authenticity, sincerity and reciprocation are our networks tenants. Our platform is a tool for networking and promoting your business, venture or enterprise without the interference from user tracking and manipulation, community policing, bot and auto posting, fake users and vanity metrics.
Our vision is to help legitimate entrepreneurs and small business owners generate more internet publicity for their principal business, and to facilitate networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs in their location and around the world.
View the Social Engineering Today article that covers similar trends.