Sign up FAST! Login

Welcome to the Age of Digital Imperialism, by New York Times Magazine

<<... And if digital imperialism is happening — if smartphones and other gadgets are bearing cultural freight as they cross borders — there is little doubt as to which nation’s values are hiding in the hold. As of 2013, eight of the world’s top 10 Internet companies by audience were based in the United States, though 81 percent of their online visitors were not. (This fact was made painfully obvious to those users and their governments that same year, when Edward Snowden’s trove of N.S.A. documents showed just how low these American Internet giants had stooped to cooperate with surveillance demands.) Smartphones themselves, from their precision-milled exteriors to their tiled grids of apps on-screen, are patterned largely on Apple’s blueprint, even when designed and made by companies based in South Korea or China. The question is not whether the spread of technology is promulgating, as Hollywood once did, an American vision of what the world should be. Rather, the question is how the rest of the world will respond. ...>>

<<... In Silicon Valley, the notion that technology spreads values is part of the corporate culture — as evidenced in the manifesto that Facebook published, rather incongruously, in the filing papers for its $16 billion I.P.O. three years ago. Declaring at the outset that Facebook was “built to accomplish a social mission,” the document goes on to promise a sort of Facebook revolution: “By giving people the power to share, we are starting to see people make their voices heard on a different scale from what has historically been possible.” It continues: “Through this process, we believe that leaders will emerge across all countries who are pro-Internet and fight for the rights of their people, including the right to share what they want and the right to access all information that people want to share with them.” This evangelical stance, pervasive in the Valley, explains why a major part of Facebook’s and Google’s philanthropic efforts in the past two years has been concentrated on taking Internet access to the developing world. Executives of these companies genuinely believe that over the long run, information technology — including, naturally, the services they themselves provide — is crucial to bettering society. ...>>


Stashed in: Facebook!, Zuck!, Teh Internets, Winner take all., SOCIAL

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

"Built to accomplish a social mission" isn't necessarily a good thing.

Bringing Internet to developing nations has its good side (transparency, knowledge) and its bad side (now they'll be addicted to Internet too).

I don't think internet addiction is the issue there, the issue is that these USA companies impose through their websites/apps a particular vision of the world and how it should progress. This is not necessarily the best solution or at least not the one adapted to everyone.

But as they currently have a quasi monopole, they can dictate whatever they want, or people embrace it, or they stay away from the modern internet.

Hopefully new internet giants outside of the USA will appear in the in coming decades so the occidental internet can become more diverse and more representative of humanity's diversity.

Well said. Let's hope the Internet is not Winner Take All.

Also the picture is wrong. Downvotes are red or periwinkle not green. :)

I think it's a download symbol (arrow + line) rather than a downvote.

Ah! You're right! Not sure that makes sense in context of the article. 

You May Also Like: