How Will Technology Be the New Autocracy?
Perhaps, 2020 turned out to be a year that shook the entire world with unprecedented events surrounded with “Red Flags” that has now successfully managed to draw the attention of the world on the issues which might have been taken lightly initially by the people.
“Almost 4.66 billion people were active internet users as of October 2020, encompassing 59 percent of the global population. Mobile has now become the most important channel for internet access worldwide as mobile internet users account for 91 percent of total internet users”- Statista report.
The sensational news of Donald Trump getting banned from Twitter instigated severe shocking reactions from people around the world. Adding to this, a few days later another social media platform is known as, “Parler” was subsequently removed from the three of the biggest online marketplaces owned by- “Google”, “Apple” & “ Amazon”. Moreover, as per the reports the CEO of Parler, John Matze, had to go underground due to the death threats for not adhering to the footsteps of the tech giants.
John Matze, reports in his declaration in support of Parler’s TRO motion that many Parler employees are suffering harassment and hostility, fear for their safety and that of their families, and in some cases have fled their home state to escape persecution,” the filing read.
Considering the ever-increasing dependence of our contemporary generation on technology has gradually paved a way for some of the tech giants for absolute monopoly. Moreover, the question is whether it is or isn’t a dangerous threat to society? “With great power comes great responsibility”, and to curtail the abuse of the power, checks & balances might be the burning prerequisite of the hour.
It is evident that the recent U.S Presidential elections have stirred a lot of unusual shocking reactions from the countries specifically designated to their internal security. For instance- Uganda banning social media until their presidential elections, etc, and a stark increase in the users of alternate applications such as Signal and Telegram.
Durov further adds, “People no longer want to exchange their privacy for free services. They no longer want to be held hostage by tech monopolies that seem to think they can get away with anything as long as their apps have a critical mass of users”. Although people are contesting over the morality of whether a tech giant can leverage their control on the communication, people are also calling them out for deliberately silencing any view that would challenge their interest.
The fact that there are still a billion people who aren’t on these particular websites, the amount of influence these websites hold is extremely massive. For instance, the profiles can be banned, books can be stopped from publishing, your opinion can be censored, you can be banned from social media or the fact that you could even lose your job, perhaps, could be decided within a few minutes by a mere Twitter war amidst the clash of ideologies. Moreover, some people are left divided in forming their conclusion whether banning Trump was a correct measure or was a despotic measure.
A section of the society advocates that there can be differences of opinions, and people can talk with each other without hating or judging one another. It is imperative to have discussions on subjects in order for us to continuously evolve as a person and eventually form a sound-decisions in our lives by developing a broader perspective on a particular issue.
As per the reports on January 16, Republican North Dakota State Rep. Tom Kading in his conversation with Fox & Friends discussed a bill that would allow the users in North Dakota to sue social media channels, if their speech is restricted, censored, or suppressed,” unless it was “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.”
He further said, “I’m frankly shocked at what’s happening to our country, and censoring does not create unity, it does not help the situation of division in our country, and it does not de-escalate the situation,” Kading stated. “All it really does is make those who have been silenced dig in deeper and be more suspicious of what’s going on.”
Regardless, of whoever will have the last laugh in this chaotic episode, the rest of the world has started to gear up in order to prevent such an episode from happening within their own region.