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Time to take back the internet


Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

Centralized online services such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Threads (although they claim to be joining the ActivityPub-based federated universe, a.k.a. fediverse), and TikTok, all collect your data for profit. In addition, their machine learning models push whatever is inferred as posts that maximizes their revenue (not your interests), which, unfortunately, are mostly hate-speech and disinformation/misinformation posts.

During the pre-surveillance internet era, that is, before Google and Facebook, having personal websites and blogs were the thing. One establishes their presence on the internet without giving away their online behavior, their data, and not being censored by someone else (except for posting something illegal), in other words, you own and control your content. Non-surveillance, contextual advertisement provided a little revenue for websites and blog owners. Those pesky and annoying ads were added to websites and blogs were entirely dependent on the owner’s taste and greed.

To take back the internet, start establishing (or for some, re-establishing) your website and/or blog. This will cost you, of course, but the cost of freedom from all these surveillance, content manipulation and privacy issues is very well worth it. For a cost of a Starbucks frappe per month, you can have your own internet presence (WordPress.com offers P160 to P200 per month, Micro.blog offers USD50/year, around PhP250+/month), so it really is not that expensive. Self-hosting is another option, but it is not for everyone. Once you have your own website/blog, post the URL on all your social media network to inform your friends – until you are ready to leave those sites!

Speaking of social media, it is time to loosen the grip of Meta, X, and TikTok, and use online applications and services that federate, e.g., Mastodon, Calckey, Misskey, to name three, which are often not incentivised to collect your data and use it to generate revenue. What is good about this is that if your server/instance starts to misalign with your interests, you can pack-up and move your account to another, something Meta, X and TikTok don’t allow. The federated universe remains true to what the internet is, a network of diverse servers!

We, the users, have the ability to steer the future of the internet to be better, and this require that we stay true to decentralizing services. Be wary of companies that subscribe to the enshi*ification plan (see https://pluralistic.net/2023/01/21/potemkin-ai/#hey-guys ) – so not everything that is free is good for you.

Let’s take back the internet!

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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