Advocate for Independent Web Publishing
Why Is Everyone Calling Out Facebook and Twitter?
openweb currentevents politics WWW
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I'm not so sure I agree with making social media networks the problem when it comes to such shannanigans as apparently played by the Russians. It's more of a manipulation of advertising services than "Facebook" when it comes to the Russians buying ads. It's more of a manipulation of the population than it is of Twitter's "user base".

Screen capture of a tweet by CBS News incriminating social media

Hey CBS, how many times were you played by companies manipulating people to spend money on cars and toilet paper?

Before the Internet people bought ads on TV and radio. And before Facebook and Twitter people bought display ads on the raw WWW, if they did not outright build websites themselves (for younger visitors, a "website" is similar to a "Facebook Page").

I am not sure why the drum beat is to corner Twitter and Facebook into "doing something" to somehow screen the communication of digital humanity taking place in their 'hoods unless it is purposeful pressure to apply yet a little more control and containment of free interaction in general.

The mainstream media, I've theorized for some time, is poised to begin taking pot shots at social media giants whenever it can with the hopes of bogging down their economics and reputation. Making them the focal point in the Russian propaganda campaign strikes me as just one example.

Showing Off Your Rocks Online Gets Harder
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Graphic depicting https with an arrow over it.

Showing your junk, rocks, car, beany baby collection -- whatever -- on your own terms is now going to be harder to do without shame.

Google is going to begin hardwiring a warning to all non-https websites in Chrome.

Obviously this is good for a broader and more secure web (and Google Chrome may not even be the only one doing this), but it bothers me that it also pushes up the cost of publishing an information-only website or even a single web page. Nobody is talking about the other side of the coin which is that it further diminishes the capacity for independent web publishing.

Security certificates that are responsible for making a website work with and display "https" cost about 50 dollars per year. If you're a person who just wants to show off your rock collection without any need for authentication or e-commerce activity, your little website will now spook visitors into thinking you're up to something unless you pay up.

The choice for an info-only webmaster looking to avoid the stigma of illegitimacy is to simply pay the 50 or whatever bucks and then of course engage in the sometimes complex process of making the security certificate work. They must also then be sure to keep up with its subscription (those things expire). It's basically a yearly tax expense on top of everything else an independent web publisher pays for.

But of course most will think this line of concern folly. Why wouldn't an avid rock collector eager to show off his rocks simply post them on Facebook or Instagram? After all, isn't that how people share on the web?

Yes, it's how people "share on the web" because of crap like stigmatizing and complicating open web publishing. A true purist is equally interested in controlling all rights to their exhibition as well as any data from traffic he or she may be concerned about. They don't want to put their rock collection in a place dead smack in the middle of a presentation they don't fundamentally control.

So the end result with this move is either pay more money, loosen one's attachment to independent web publishing yet more (the continued process of turning the current web into the new dark web), or shrug shoulders hoping that the fact that your website screams an ominous warning to users doesn't scare them away.

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