DHH+ Your Authors @dhh Creator of Ruby on Rails, Founder & CTO at Basecamp, NYT best-selling author, and Le Mans 24h class-winning racing driver. Feb. 25, 2019 1 min read + Your Authors

You don't have to be a luddite to think that maybe, just maybe, having these vast centralized platforms built on user-generated content and optimized for engagement was the internet taking a dark turn for the worse.

As someone said, the problem isn't the "free speech", it's the "free reach". These how-to-cut-your-wrists-effectively kids videos aren't exactly being found by sharing direct urls. They're dug up by algorithms, served up on a platter to kids following the recommendation trail.

YouTube and Facebook and other platforms built on strip-mining the most "engaging" content from the depths of human depravity may be on the web, but they're not _of_ the web. A future without this pestilence is indeed possible.

This laser focus on decreasing friction is partly to blame. Maybe it just SHOULDN'T BE SO EASY! Maybe the world would indeed be better off if vitality was better contained. If "engaging" content didn't travel with such turbocharged velocity.

In fact, I kinda hate to be arguing the other side of this, but maybe the European experiment of holding social media companies liable for user content isn't actually the worst thing in the world. It may well destroy their business model, but perhaps that's not bad?

Of course, the slippery slope could slide straight into a dystopian, repressive regime. But it could also simply take us back to a place before extreme centralization. Where one company wasn't trying to police the voice of 1.5 billion people at once.

You can follow @dhh.


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