In social media’s early heyday—the time of Occupy and the Arab Spring—big tech was heralded in the mainstream as a democratizing force, but it’s become clear that these commercial platforms aren’t serving the public good. In fact, these platforms consolidate the worst extremes of neoliberal ideology. While users are turned into products, the ruling class becomes increasingly powerful and unaccountable to the people.
Digital infrastructure offers no true space for dissent when it is privately owned. Online activism only serves to direct atomized attention to advertisers. This process mirrors the shift of public wealth to private hands, whereby what were once shared resources (e.g. libraries) become data-optimized, privatized operations. Work and life are merged entirely and solidarity disappears behind corporate smokescreens. Underneath the technophilic rhetoric of progress lies a race for information, financial, and labor control that ensures growth is the domain of only the rich and the few.