As these platforms have increasingly become monopolies, their impact on the political future of the country has become far more extensive than current legal remedies were designed to resolve. Google (including its subsidiary, YouTube) can effectively make a website disappear. Twitter and Facebook (including its subsidiaries, such as Instagram and WhatsApp) can become an effective government censorship or propaganda tool—not altogether unlike how social media is leveraged in China. Amazon, as we saw earlier this year, can effectively ban books.
Religious groups that speak on controversial topics are at risk of being removed from social media platforms and need to prepare, a legal education group says.
While a “de-platforming” event can pose significant operational problems, there are also ways to organize broad-based efforts to respond when a group faces sanctions from influential internet companies such as Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter.
Zoom, once the darling of the quarantined remote worker, has been slammed for poor privacy, and has suffered a data breach in which 500,000 user accounts were offered for sale on the dark web. Meanwhile, Google and Apple have pooled their resources for contact tracing, highlighting the amount of information that Big Tech monoliths hold on their customers.
This, then, should surely be the moment for Web3 to sweep in and save the day, with its promise to wrest power from centralized entities and restore privacy to the masses. But it hasn’t. Not a single Web3 decentralized app (dapp) has gone truly mainstream during the coronavirus pandemic.