The Internet isn’t the outlet of freedom and prosperity it used to be. The truth of the matter is that big name companies such as Google, Apple and Microsoft control and censor what we see online. As noted by Tristan Louis at Forbes, an individual can’t reach a majority of Internet users without the approval of a large company. If Google or Apple deem an application isn’t suitable, they can keep it out of their mobile app stores — and the same can happen with a webpage if it’s unlisted on Google or even Bing.
“For a brief period, starting in the early 1990s and ending in the late 2000s, there was a widespread belief that the Internet ought to stay open, allowing anyone with a good idea to present it online and have it evaluated based on its own merit and not on the size of the wallet supporting it,” Louis wrote. “This led to an explosive era of creativity and the generation of new businesses that displaced and reshaped companies that had been running for generations. With a more level playing field, it was possibly for any good concept to get tested and presented without backing from an incumbent.”
Louis notes that as companies began to create services that were easier and more convenient for the general public, the Internet slowly began its downward spiral. For example, Twitter, a relatively easy service to use, has changed the way people share news and has slowly killed RSS feeds, a more complicated service.
“If we let convenience blind us to the fact that things could get locked up, we could be denying future generation a chance to build the next great businesses,” Louis warns. “And in doing so, we could be denying ourselves a chance to support great advances in the way not only business runs but also in the way our society operates.”