How to fix the internet


🔗 a linked post to technologyreview.com » — originally shared here on

I swear my blog isn’t going to just be links to think pieces about why the internet sucks these days.

It just so happens that there was a wave of these pieces published last year and I’m finally getting around to them in my Instapaper queue.

Two pull quotes stood out to me:

“Humans were never meant to exist in a society that contains 2 billion individuals,” says Yoel Roth, a technology policy fellow at UC Berkeley and former head of trust and safety for Twitter. “And if you consider that Instagram is a society in some twisted definition, we have tasked a company with governing a society bigger than any that has ever existed in the course of human history. Of course they’re going to fail.”

I’ve seen a few good posts about the difficulties of content moderation at scale.

On the one hand, most of the abundance and privilege we’ve built for ourselves wouldn’t be possible without the massive scale that large conglomerates can achieve.

On the other hand, if something gets so large that we are unable to keep your head wrapped around it, maybe that’s the point where it’s okay to let it collapse in on itself.

The destruction and collapse of large entities is awful, with very real consequences for people.

But it’s out of the ashes of these organizations when we're presented with an opportunity to take the lessons we learned and build something new. We get to try again.

The fix for the internet isn’t to shut down Facebook or log off or go outside and touch grass. The solution to the internet is more internet: more apps, more spaces to go, more money sloshing around to fund more good things in more variety, more people engaging thoughtfully in places they like. More utility, more voices, more joy. 

My toxic trait is I can’t shake that naïve optimism of the early internet. Mistakes were made, a lot of things went sideways, and there have undeniably been a lot of pain and misery and bad things that came from the social era. The mistake now would be not to learn from them. 

Keep the internet small and weird, my friends. ❤️

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