Over the past few years, I’ve come to realize that the Internet as we know it is utterly broken. Lately, I’ve also been pondering how participants in the modern Internet have enabled and perpetuated harm to society at large. Repeatedly, we have seen the independence of the commons chipped away by powerful men who wish for participants to serve their own whims, while those who raise concernswith these developments are either shunned, banned or doxed.
On Friday, October 28th, we will see another demonstration of these structural injustices where the commons takes another loss to the whims of a powerful man. Last time, it was freenode’s takeover by Andrew Lee, and this time it will be Twitter’s takeover by Elon Musk. No, really, the deal is already concluded: TWTR will be delisted from NASDAQ on Friday.
Will this be the end of Twitter? Probably not, but it will be the end of the current relationship the commons shares with Twitter. Instead of acting as a self-described “public square,” it will further evolve into a chaotic cacophony of trolling and counter-trolling driven in the name of algorithmic engagement. Some will move to other microblogging services and networks, and will likely discover that everything which made Twitter horrible likely applies in some way to the replacement.