Month in Tech
Welcome to 2021’s first Month in Tech, a roughly once-a-month column on Misintelligence featuring dahliaOS, IPFS, Matrix, the Fediverse, and other major developments in the technology and Internet world. You can find the article from December here.
- Multiple single sign-on providers: there appears to be a curated list of sign-in providers now
- Rooms as groups has had some development
- Threading: this is implemented (to some degree?) by the Matrix team in Dendrite.
- Cerulean. Apparently this didn’t make it into December’s Month in Tech, even though this is dated before I wrote it.
dahliaOS now has an OpenCollective. You can donate to its development here, which will be used to buy Fuchsia-compatible development devices and cover website expenses.
The Problem of Deplatforming
From January 6 and over the four days that followed, these things happened:
- Twitter banned then-President Donald Trump, citing his incitement of violence and the risk of further violence.
- Pretty much every other platform he held an account on also banned him.
- The app of Parler, the favorite spot of QAnon and other right-wing extremist groups, was pulled from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
- Parler was shut down by their host, Amazon, due to their
failurerefusal to moderate literal incitements of violence.
The alt-right was ultimately kicked from the Internet. Twitter’s ban of the former President for what boils down to making them mad is intolerable, and it spotlights the ultimate and arbitrary powers of Big Tech. Further, Parler’s ban also spotlights the overreaching powers of companies to basically shut down whoever they don’t like.
But that’s not the worst of it. Deplatforming extremists forces them to seek thicker echo chambers. Parler is, of course, guilty of banning users it doesn’t like, which in their case means anyone center or left on the political spectrum, or anyone who tries to call out Parler for anything. The problem isn’t that they ban people, or even the reasons they do it, but that they still claim to be a “free speech” platform, while still censoring voices they disagree with. That thickens the echo chamber that QAnon and friends are putting themselves in. So much for civil discourse.
That’s not even the strangest story of the month! In late January, r/WallStreetBets managed to somehow rally the entire Internet around a few dying stocks. The first one of note was GameStop. AMC and American Airlines are also among the companies that hedge funds are being coerced to invest into.
Robinhood has also seized the stocks of many, many investors who want to ride this bubble. As a result, many are looking for alternatives (maybe try Public? That’s just the one I can think of off the top of my head) and even filing a class action lawsuit.
That’s it for January’s Month in Tech. Come back sometime in February for a summary of next month’s major happenings in the internet and technology world.