A Note on Social Media

As I head into retirement, I am excited to see many of the technologies I worked on and demonstrated coming to fruition. However, in recent times I have become quite unhappy with big social media, as I believe it should be a distributed architecture like the Web itself, thus preventing any single entity from imposing its will or invented truth. I feel the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has fallen down on the job in this respect.

Those of us who “pioneered” the Internet dreamt of a global, distributed, level, and free marketplace of ideas and information that could interoperate across a mix of profit and non-profit players, where the best enlightened scientific truth would naturally rise to the fore from the crucible of collaboration and debate. The hypocritical shareholder driven centralized power and profit that a few large monopolies such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon have pursued in the name of good (“don’t be evil”, “bring the world closer together”) is antithetical to this original, perhaps naive, idealism.

I believe there is NO technical reason why social media can not be distributed and open, and not the purview of a few individuals who hold their station and power by pure luck.