Once upon a time, the internet was seen as a wondrous fount of knowledge and information, empowering users and spreading democracy. This utopian view resonated widely with early adopters in the 1990s, after the end of the Cold War, but it resonated much more broadly around the world in 2011, during the Arab Spring. There were always dark shadows noted by observers, as in Gene Rochlin’s 1997 book, “Trapped in the Net,” but collectively we’ve been blindsided and bewildered by how different the online experience has become — how much of a marketplace for rumor, fear, conspiracy theories and polarized worldviews, all watched over by purportedly neutral platform manipulations bringing us exactly what we’re told we want.
Read more, https://www.salon.com/2020/07/18/remember-when-the-internet-was-supposed-to-be-transparent-and-democratic-theres-still-hope/
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