From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Internet and related terms
Mains level : Paper 3- Social media and related issues
Internet has transformed our life like no other technologies. However, it has created several problems as well. The article analyses such issues.
Examining the role of social media
- The first reason for the examination of role is the impending US presidential election.
- Ghosts of Cambridge Analytica, are returning to haunt us again.
- The second reason is the COVID pandemic.
- Social media has emerged as a force for good, with effective communication and lockdown entertainment, but also for evil, being used effectively by anti-vaxxers and the #Unmask movement to proselytize their dangerous agenda.
Understanding the problems associated with social media
- The big problem with social networks is their business model.
- The internet was created as a distributed set of computers communicating with one another, and sharing the load of managing the network.
- This was Web 1.0, and it worked very well. But it had one big problem—there was no way to make money off it.
- The internet got monetized, Web 2.0 was born.
- Come 2020, search and social media advertising has crossed $200 billion, rocketing past print at $65 billion, and TV at $180 billion.
- This business model has led to a “winner-takes-all” industry structure, creating natural monopolies and centralizing the once-decentralized internet.
- The emergence of Web 3.0, a revolution that promises to return the internet to users.
- One principle of the new model is to allow users explicit control of their data, an initiative aided by Europe-like data protection regulation.
- Another is to grant creators of content—artists, musicians, photographers, —a portion of revenues, instead of platforms taking it all (or most).
- The technologies that Web 3.0 leverages are newer ones, like blockchains, which are inherently decentralized.
- They have technology protection against the accumulation of power and data in the hands of a few.
- Digital currencies enabled by these technologies offer a business model of users paying for services and content with micro-transactions, as an alternative to advertiser-pays.
The path to success for these new kinds of democratic networks will be arduous. But a revolution has begun, and it is our revulsion of current models that could relieve us of our social dilemmas.