Doctorow's position is that you have to fix the Internet and not the platforms

Doctorow's stance

Cory Doctorow is a Canadian blogger and writer. Strong defender of the free dissemination of knowledge using licenses such as Creative Commons, no one in their right mind can take it by a Trump sympathizer, white supremacy, or any other "face" entity

Here at the website of the Electronic Frontier Foundation established its position based on the events related to the censorship of Donald Trump.

It begins by pointing out:

It is certain that nobody is delighted with the moderation policies of the big technological platforms (I am not). But while we all agree that technology has a moderation problem, there is much less consensus on what to do about it.

Doctorow marks two main trends; the first is to impose reforms on the tech giants and the second is to reform the Internet.

Doctorow's stance

Defenders of the first position pThey establish rules and structures for platforms to interact with their users: clear moderation policies, due process for moderates, transparency and accountability.

However, Doctorow doesn't like it because he takes it for granted that big tech is inevitable and the only thing possible is to transform them into benevolent dictators or enlightened despots.

The second alternative, which he supports, is to reform the Internet. Lhe people behind this movement want a dynamic Internet, in which There are many different ways to talk with friends, organize a political movement, attend virtual schools, exchange money for goods and services, discuss politics, and share creations.

Says Doctorow:

Of course we want virtual spaces to be well managed, responsible and transparent, but we also want there to be other places where users can go when they are not.

The administrators of the platforms can be wrong, and, when this happens, the user must be able to pick up and leave, and continue to reach out to their friends, showing and selling their art, and defending their causes.

The problem is not (simply) that CEOs of large tech companies are not equipped to make decisions that govern the digital lives of billions of people. It is that nobody is qualified to make those decisions.

Interoperability is the key

There is an obstacle to switching from a partner networkly is the so-called "network effect"

If you like the moderation policies of another site more than those of Twitter, you may follow on Twitter, because that is where all the people you want to talk to are. What's more, the people you want to talk to follow on Twitter because you're there. It's kind of mutual hostage-taking

If there was interoperability users could switch to platforms whose moderation policies match. Platforms whose definitions of "hate speech" or "harassment" or "rudeness" conform to your own standards. And, the change would be made without losing contact with the colleagues and friends they interact with, or the strangers they follow or follow.

The negative aspects of interoperability

However, Doctorow's stance in favor of Interoperability does not prevent him from seeing its negative aspects:

The first is that in With a decentralized and interoperable Internet, it is much more difficult to enforce policies that affect billions of people at once.

Another drawback is that if users can easily switch platforms without giving up access to their social circles, thens Platforms that allow harmful or undesirable speech will accumulate users who enjoy that kind of thing.

Doctorow wonders:

But what about the illegal expression? Fraud, non-consensual pornography, gross incitement to violence?

And it is answered

Well, all of this is still illegal, and courts and prosecutors (as well as individuals, in many cases) have the legal right to punish people who use the platforms to spread this illegal speech. Furthermore, depending on the type of speech and the platform's complicity in it, the platform itself may share responsibility for the criminal speech.


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  1.   Miguel Rodríguez said

    Well, I started to investigate and I found his blog, then I sent him an email proposing as a suggestion instead of interoperability, the strict respect of what users accept in terms of use, forcing social network service providers to maintain old usage policies as long as the user rejects the new ones, something I have discussed here previously.

    1.    Diego German Gonzalez said

      It is interesting what you contribute, but it is easier to achieve interoperability than to have users read the terms of use that they accept.

      1.    Miguel Rodríguez said

        What about privacy and data leakage because of it? As I understand it, the joke is that they want to preserve "freedom of expression" by violating the private property of everyone, both companies (their infrastructure) and user data that could basically be shared by all platforms and send personal messages from one platform to another to "stay in touch"; destroying both competition and privacy in the process as a result of the fact that no social network can guarantee the security of the data since it cannot ensure how it will be used if there is interoperability, since data is shared.

        On the other hand, it does not solve the problem of "freedom of expression" if the regulation of content on social networks is legally binding. What I propose would increase competition between social networks and open competition between the services that the same company maintains since if very few opt for a new contract but keep the old one, they will have to limit new contract updates and update user interface templates. In the old contracts, in addition to destroying what politicians in total ignorance of how Law and Information Systems work end up legislating any nonsense that occurs to them because companies and users will scream to the sky with greater determination.

        With the current model it is easy for any company to force you to accept the terms of use because if you decline, it removes you from the platform while still keeping your data in it, in the same way the legislators (who are "geniuses") can make regulations that will end yes or yes (depending on the location of the service provider) in the terms of use; When you request a service, the interested parties are you as the client and the company, but there must be a win-win relationship, since currently you do not have real power to decide, since you are not given the way to object and maintain the conditions that they seem more favorable to you, you need Freedom to Decide, not that your data be shared between companies. Also, I do not see the current problem solved even with the interoperative model, since many social networks began offering a decent moderation and privacy protection, but now they are completely different from what they once were.