I thought this essay from Cory Doctorow captured the essence of technology companies today.
I’ve personally experienced the decrease in quality on the major platforms over time: where simple things like search results have gone from magical to baffling.
I also learned a bit more about the relationship between Facebook and online journalism. Doctorow’s explanation went beyond advertising revenue and talked about the strategy which made the news dependent on Facebook: a fact which has real-world consequences.
Finally, the conclusion I drew from the essay was that making oddly specific guarantees is not as crazy as it sounds. If I guaranteed that my users would see the content they subscribe to, that might not make much sense until you read the essay and see how Facebook and other companies make money by not doing that. I would also guarantee to business partners that I’m not using a honeymoon algorithm to lure them to my platform. And, I won’t hold their customers for ransom: extorting a fee or refusing to allow interoperability. That’s part of the end-to-end principle mentioned in the essay.