Mozilla wants to fix the problems with the invention we all hold dear with its new “Unfck The Internet” campaign.
The internet is not in a healthy state. Last year, Tim Berners-Lee – creator of the World Wide Web – launched a “contract” to fix it. Needless to say, a lot more still needs to be done.
COVID-19 has brought to light some of the best and worst aspects of the internet. The internet has helped us to remain connected in difficult times, but it’s also enabled things like misinformation to spread like wildfire.
In a press release, Mozilla wrote:
“You might be wondering, what exactly is wrong with the internet? It works. It does what it’s supposed to do by connecting billions of people around the world together and is an amazing, magical portal into the human experience. It’s also a place filled with misinformation, corruption and greed.
It’s time we all took a stance to take control back from Big Tech, governments and bad actors who are working to take away our privacy all for the sake of selling us more stuff we don’t really need. It’s time to stop companies like Facebook and YouTube from contributing to the disastrous spread of misinformation and political manipulation of their platform.
It’s time for all of us to make a choice and not have the algorithm feed us whatever it wants.”
We’re now a month away from an election that will shape the world for at least the next four years. Whoever you’re backing, you should want to know the election was as fair and free of manipulation as possible.
Mozilla’s campaign calls on people to watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix—which I can also wholeheartedly recommend. While most people reading this will likely have some awareness of how social media is used for manipulation; the full extent of it is truly staggering.
We all know platforms like Facebook want to keep users engaged for as long as possible. A person who interacts more with left-wing content will be served more of the same—and vice-versa for those interacting more with right-wing.
This creates an echo chamber where people are predominantly seeing one particular view and they cannot understand how anyone can possibly think different. Increasingly bitter and divided camps emerge as a result with very little middle ground. Here in the UK, we very much saw this during the Brexit campaign.
In an audio ad for its campaign, Mozilla says:
“Fuck it: that’s what we all say when we accept their Terms of Service. It’s also what they’ve done to the internet, replacing the magic we all hope to find with whatever the trackers, ad dollars, and algorithms want us to see.
Eff that. Firefox is the only web browser backed by a non-profit with a mission to unfck the internet. So the web you find is more like the place you’ve always loved.”
Mozilla wants people to install an extension which allows users to share the political ads they see to a public database to help counter disinformation.
Another extension, launched by Mozilla itself, is a ‘Facebook Container’ which prevents the social giant from tracking users across the web.
Unfck The Internet is certainly an interesting – albeit rather youth-orientated – campaign from Mozilla. Let’s hope it works.
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