Web3 shows how our online lives are increasingly being monetized. It’s time to take democratic control of the internet — turning the platforms we all use into free public services.
James Muldoon is senior lecturer in political science at the University of Exeter and author of the forthcoming Platform Socialism: How to Reclaim Our Digital Future From Big Tech.
Web3 is touted as the next generation of the internet, promising to break the grip of giants like Google and Facebook. But far from empowering ordinary users, its token-based model threatens to commodify our online lives even further.
Mark Zuckerberg’s turn toward the “metaverse” claims to put an extra digital layer on top of the real world. But Facebook’s new Meta brand isn’t augmenting your reality — it just wants to suck more money out of it.
From today, food platforms in Spain will have to recognize delivery riders as workers, not bogus self-employed contractors. But businesses are already defying the law — showing the need to break corporate control over the sector as a whole.
We should be concerned about the power big tech firms have in our lives. But antitrust lawsuits against tech monopolies are just a Band-Aid for the real problem: the need to free the social networks we use from private profit and the drive to sell our data.
Platforms like Airbnb claim to be building online “communities” — even as their business undermines the real communities in cities. But the history of cooperatives shows that it really is possible to democratize the services we use — so long as it’s connected to a wider redistribution of power in society.
Denounced and then lost to history, the radical Karl Kautsky’s thought still offers a compelling vision of how to democratize all aspects of our lives.