Ian Bogost on how technology platforms police content. Global internet services were designed to work this way, and there might be no escape from their grip. The internet was designed to resist the efforts of any central authority to control its content—even when a few large, wealthy companies control the channels by which most users access information.
But the internet separates images from context and action from intention, and then it spreads those messages quickly among billions of people scattered all around the globe.
It’s easy to say that technology companies can do better. They can, and should. But ultimately, that’s not the problem. The problem is the media ecosystem they have created. The only surprise is that anyone would still be surprised that social media produce this tragic abyss, for this is what social media are supposed to do, what they were designed to do: spread the images and messages that accelerate interest, without check, and absent concern for their consequences. It’s worth remembering that “viral” spread once referred to contagious disease, not to images and ideas. As long as technology platforms drive the spread of global information, they can’t help but carry it like a plague.
SOURCE: The Atlantic