πŸ“‘ Planning the Exodus from Platform Realism

Bookmarked Ben Grosser: Planning the Exodus from Platform Realism by Institute of Network Cultures | Geert Lovink (networkcultures.org)

We need a turn away from the private and a return to the public. Without a private profit motive, many of the problems with big tech platforms would fall away. I say this knowing full-well that making such systems public is by no means a solution by itself. We’ve seen unprecedented corruption of and new justified distrust in public institutions over the last many years. But big tech’s platforms are decidedly anti-public, and this positioning is part of what makes them so damaging to privacy, agency, and democracy.

Ben Grosser discusses the need to turn away from private for-profit platforms to more public entities whose interest is not profit. Associated with this, Grosser outlines a set of shared values to support this move:

SLOW β€” We need media that actively and intentionally works against the platform capitalist idea that speed and efficiency is always desirable and productive.
LESS β€” We need alternatives that advance an anti-scale, anti-more agenda. Facebook’s answer to the negative effects of platform scale post-2016 was to foreground Groups to β€œgive people the power to build community.” Four years later that platform-produced power propelled racism and authoritarianism to new heights, culminating (so far) in a violent insurrection at the US Capitol.
PUBLIC β€” Social media infrastructure for 3 billion+ users should never be driven by profit or controlled by single individuals. Ditto goods distribution (Amazon), information access (Google), etc.
DECOY β€” To help produce a culture of platform exodus we need new projects/works that get into the platforms and help users turn themselves away from them.

As a part of the Data Smart Schools project, Neil Selwyn reflects on what such a move might mean for education:

We might develop an LMS that does not continuously extract data and create profiles of students from their online activities, but occasionally invites students to divulge any information that they feel it is useful for their schools to know. We might have a system that only allows a student or teacher to access it for a finite number of times a week – meaning that people ration their use, and log-in only when really necessary or useful. We might have a system that only allows new messages or comments to be added during week-day mornings – thereby reducing the compulsion to check for new messages during the evenings or weekends …. other forms of technology are possible!

This reminds me of Jim Groom’s​ discusses the Next Generation Digital Learning Environments and the challenge of and managing our personal data online. I am also left thinking about the association with Eli Pariser’s idea of ‘public parks‘.

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