Two days after the American far right’s failed fascist coup on January 6th, 2021 that left five people dead in Washington, DC, Twitter (finally) permanently banned the would-be dictator responsible for inciting the mob from their platform. Shortly thereafter, the social media network most closely affiliated with the racist reactionaries, Parler, was kicked off its cloud provider’s hosting platform, Amazon AWS. This meant Parler’s servers were shut down, bringing the social media platform down with them, at least temporarily. While de-platforming Trump and Parler is undoubtedly a good thing in the short term (and should have happened a long time ago), the sheer visibility of such high-profile bans is likely to dramatically accelerate the adoption of certain communication technologies that are much harder to shut down the same way Parler was.
Subscribe to our blog.
In the last half century, computing power made at least three great migrations. The pendulum swung from centralized to decentralized, and then back to (kind of) centralized again. Next time the pendulum swings—and it will—what might the catalyzing event be? What shape might the networks that connect our modern world take? And to what ends might we apply such a shift in compute power?
Translations: de, it, es-AR.
We already have the power, the materials and the motive to win back the Internet. But we have to start with the first step first: owning our own infrastructure.
Trump lost. Last weekend we celebrated the electoral defeat of a US president undeniably behaving as an openly fascist dictator. Yet we must remember that elections are for choosing the targets of our political pressure, not for choosing our saviors. Only we the people, not the president-elect, can meaningfully bring that pressure to bear.
In April 2001, five months before 9/11, Bram Cohen began designing a new file sharing protocol that would almost single-handedly change the face of the music, TV, and movie industries for the next two decades. The technology was not in itself a completely new idea. After all, similar technologies like the well-known File Transfer Protocol (FTP) had been designed and deployed for copying files between computers before. What made this one so potent was the way it reflected the fractured, organic structure of its underlying medium, the Internet itself.