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<nettime> web networks and the assault on our critical capacities
allan siegel on Wed, 1 Jun 2016 22:28:15 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> web networks and the assault on our critical capacities


web networks and the assault on our critical capacities

The incessant, ravenous, hoovering of data by the likes of Facebook are
well-known; the insidious nature of this corporate practice continues to
be well described on this forum; if we were to relate this kind of
behaviour to some being within the animal kingdom it could only be a
creature of ferocious bestiality. An animal, or insect, that flourishes
in what Braudel called the highest levels of monopolistic capitalist
competition; a corporate space that appears benign on the surface but in
actuality is some kind of barbaric war-zone. Within this contentious
territory, the corporate players feed-off (to tame a description) the
various work related, social related, and pleasure related routines - or
their intermingling combinations - that describe the complex information
and data flows that define the internet as an everyday utility - like an
electricity or gas utility. To focus simply on one behemoth, like
Facebook (the most visible of the corporate warlords in this combat
zone) certainly has its points but Facebook is only one link in a chain
of voracious enablers. It thrives not only on it own carnivorous data
collection habits but also it capacity to coerce others into sharing in
its dietary regimen. 

What has now become ubiquitous is the constant re-generation and
spawning of internet accounts using Facebook or Twitter passwords (or
any other platform that has achieved some kind of critical mass within
the marketplace). This ability to make setting-up new accounts on new
platforms easier is an aspect of the benign, user friendly, surface of
corporate space. A two-way mirror by which corporations analyse, ingest
and sort consumer data and then redistribute and channel it to maximise
profitability and perpetuate the routines characteristic of 1st world
consumerist sensibilities. This represents not simply a process of
social conditioning; it normalises those incestuous corporate
relationships that are part of the web infrastructure. It neutralises
our ability to find alternative communication routes beyond the
restrictive realms of Facebook/Twitter/Microsoft etc.  It dulls our
critical capacities to be able to mediate the relationships between
corporate and public space. To be able to think critically and
creatively beyond the insular and asocial boundaries of neoliberal
social space.


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