The current iteration of the internet has brought us many amazing tools and platforms. They make our lives easier and allow us to connect faster and more broadly than ever before. However, these technologies are not perfect, and a closer look has begun to reveal cracks in the perfect picture that major tech companies have painted.
Low Consumer Trust
Chief among these current problems is consumer trust. It’s a sign of the times when Mark Zuckerberg has to testify before Congress to explain how his platform has become a part of foreign disinformation campaigns. The data Facebook provided to outside entities gives a tiny glimpse into what is surely a huge world of data sharing with shady customers behind closed doors. Consumers have recognized this troubling trend and are starting to withdraw from services they do not trust.
Surrender Control Over Data
When you use Web 2.0 platforms, you have to submit your data to intermediary institutions in order to accomplish anything online. Once you hand over your personal data, it’s hard to say what happens to it. Tech companies closely guard their secrets, and it’s impossible to figure out all the ways your data is used and mixed together with data from other users. Even if you delete your account, there’s no way to truly be sure the data is deleted, or that the organization has the capability of deleting it even if they wanted to.
Vulnerability to Attack
The sheer number of data breaches, denial-of-service attacks, and outright hacks that happen on today’s Web 2.0 applications should give users pause about engaging with these services. Your data is likely not as safe as you think, and your applications aren’t as reliable as you need them to be. The cybersecurity war is only heating up, and international and nation-state actors will increasingly use cyber attacks as a way to make a statement — and even wage war.
Monetization of Data & Attention
Consumers have realized in recent years that tech companies are not their friends. If a service is free to use, you and your data are likely the product that the company is selling to other entities. The implications of this relationship are far-reaching. Most noticeably, however, it has led to many users questioning their relationships with major tech companies and wondering whether they can trust Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon with their data.
As a result, many users have deleted their social media accounts or adjusted their privacy settings to the maximum. It’s clear that tech companies don’t have users’ best interests at heart. They’ve even designed ways to keep your attention longer and get you to hand over more data in exchange for ephemeral content and constant scrolling. For those that are still using these platforms, most of them are asking for reform and threatening to switch to alternatives if changes aren’t made soon.