CHOICE membership

Fixing the Web


One man’s prejudice, hate or disinformation is another man’s opinion or fact.

We should be cautious about

a) accepting that there is anything to fix

b) allowing a fix that comes at too high a price

c) allowing governments to exercise even greater surveillance and control over our lives

We should be very clear on what we would be prepared to give up in order to have, maybe, fewer scammers etc.

Scammers and bad actors

Have always existed and will always exist. Only their tools have changed. The internet is a mirror of society.

governments should impose an immediate ban on targeted political advertising to restore trust in our public discourse

How is that going to be even close to constitutional in, say, the US or Australia?

Would this ban extend to advertising by political parties? Perhaps politicians should get their own house in order before seeking to extend their power.

If anyone really wants a government-sanitised internet then please make a second internet, do what you like with it, go there, but leave me out of it.


I think it behooves all of us to call out crap when we see it. On facebook, so many graphics with no verifiable links, with hate and misinformation, and I have two friends who have propagated this sh*t. I call it out and provide links to other information in the hope that others who read will not buy into it. It seems to be working, theres been far less of it this year in my newsfeed, than there used to be. Hopefully, it will stop,


Pardon the analogy, but for us to ‘call out the crap’ is like telling a druggie not to inject. In the case of the internet nobody is listening, yet. Using FB as an example they have publicly pushed back in favour of politicians and peoples rights to publish outright lies. Twitter? Ha!

The reality is the ‘consumers’ of the rubbish are inclined to believe it and propagate it at face value.

I am continually appalled at ‘friends’ who fact check and especially fact check whatever they might not want to agree with, but when they see something, especially political, that reinforces their personal bias, off it goes to everyone without a thought. I call it out but supportive comments continue, demonstrating people don’t read beyond the headlines.

I’ll agree but it has been marginal in my circle. My observation has been that most people will not turn this BS off and it gets more pervasive from what they deem ‘news’ sites that have definitive biases and lack of integrity it has become the norm for an increasing number. When they see and ingest it from those ‘news’ sites they feel vindicated and are reinforced their message is getting out, so they get a bit quieter.

In other cases a few are starting to see through the lies in specific instances, but they tend to move on to other topics :frowning:


Hints: Unfriend, Or suppress their posts from your newsfeed while keeping them as nominal ‘friends’ if that would be more politic.

I suppose this is a fundamental ideological divide between us. I don’t see it as appropriate for me to silence anyone, whether a ‘friend’ or not. In the good old days, if you didn’t like what is on TV, you turned it off. Only the technology has changed.

Social media is relatively new. Working out how to manage that in a social sense is a work in progress. I don’t however want to invite companies or governments into my social life to manage it for me.


Not for real life friends. and I’m not silencing them, I’m simply pointing them away from the crap. for example, a few years ago there was a post circulatng (and it still does from time to time) which claimed that refugees/asylum seekers were able to get larger payments from the Aus government, than locals. All one had to do was go to the government site responsible, which listed what they could get in terms of income etc, to show that it simply was not true. Those are the kind of links I send. I also periodically link to Hoax-slayer or snopes to dispute various claims. If people feel silenced by that, then they have a real problem, and it isnt me.


The reference to “silencing” was not specifically directed at you, more to the totality of the topic e.g. the initial post (from the man who really did invent the web, but not the internet) which almost certainly does include “silencing”.

Added: To the overall topic, if this is truly to be a Contract, or a Compact, or an Accord then it is dead in the water, and idealistic (my opinion).

Governments will never agree to their part.

Companies, whose business model depends on aspects that are inconsistent with the Contract, will most likely cheat and obfuscate. Nor will governments have the spine to strengthen laws in favour of individuals.


Sadly, we quickly run up against Brandolini’s Law. There’s just too much of it and life’s too short.

On Facebook, I’ve only ever had to block one (former) “friend”. Until recently, my blocklist was practically nonexistent. Then came September’s Climate Strikes and all hell broke loose. I simply couldn’t keep up with the BS. The abuse got a little wearing as well. In self-defence, I had to begin blocking in bulk.

The nutters are still raging (I see other people’s responses to them), but I don’t hear them. That means I’m operating in a bit of a bubble, which doesn’t please me.

You’re not alone:

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But governments’ influence is restricted to building digital infrastructure (such as fast broadband), facilitating online access, removing illegal content and maintaining data security.

How naive is that?

It seems everyone has an agenda, someone to blame and hence someone to target.

I’ve never seen the platforms as that much of an issue.

Don’t like Facebook? Don’t use it. Go back to vanilla email (not gmail et al) to communicate with your friends. Then you will be spared all advertising, whether political, whether targeted. You will also get less sharing of rubbish “graphics” and “memes” and articles, since a friend has to be a bit more motivated to share it on.

I get what you are saying but the reality is that we are all friends with people whose political views we disagree with but who are otherwise real friends (not just the accumulation of barely-friends that Facebook encourages). How you deal with that is up to you.

If you mostly ignore friends that you disagree with then I have the suspicion that Facebook automatically reduces the amount of their feed that you see. So engaging with “crap” as @SueW suggests may be counterproductive. Facebook will think that you talk to these people a lot and show you more of their stuff. :slight_smile:


A concern I have is that so-called ‘social media’ seems to be rapidly shifting ‘us’ back to the collective social group that existed long ago in small communities and away from the level individuality people had more recently. At worst and seemingly all too often this becomes mob mentality - plenty of examples on ‘social media’ scroll past every day, examples that bleed out into other media with reckless abandon further blurring the boundaries between real and ridiculous. There was a time when the people we socialised with were typically in separate groups with little overlap - people in the family (at various degrees of separation), at the sporting club, work, church, pub, etc would rarely if ever meet, and could potentially have different perceptions of any given individual. Now, for most ‘social media’ users, these people, and in some cases many that are barely known, are all in the same room - not only seeing all sides of their common friend, but often interacting with each other. Add to that the impersonal bravery of being behind a keyboard and … I reckon we’re screwed …

It’s all on the record as well. Sure we can delete stuff, but there’s plenty of evidence it never goes away - and even when we segregate our ‘friends’ into appropriate groups, our ‘social media’ owners still see and own the big picture often across multiple platforms.

Some years ago I knew a person who was of the view that ‘most people just want to be peasants’ - they want to be told what to do, when to do it, how to do it, why to do it, who to do it with - they don’t want to be under pressure to make decisions other than about things that don’t really matter and just enough to retain the illusion of being in control. Keep life simple - or fat dumb and happy as the cliche says. As a generalisation it could appear to fit way too well with this disease called ‘social media’ - and I had thought he was way more cynical than I :wink: to abuse a quote from Marx - the opiate of the masses, next generation …

… or as Waters wrote - ‘this species has amused itself to death’.

No, I don’t hold out much hope. Just my view.


I experience the same.


At least an individual can chose not to join…but just wish others appreciated this choice as sometimes one feels a little like an isolationist when everyone knows what everyone else is doing every minute of the day…which is something I have no real interest in knowing.

In relation to trying to fix the web, it is a little to late…many governments are trying to clamp down the screws with little, if any effect. Any changes they make are quickly met with technological solutions/workarounds.


A respectable choice.

However one that leads to different views never seeing the light of day. And a select few directing the thinking of the many? :thinking:

For boys,
It’s no different to young school kids on the playground organising a lunchtime game of footy. One select group always seemed to choose who played in which team, and thus which team always won. There was a choice to participate, welcome variable based on ‘street cred’, or to not bother. Once on the outside, only a supreme display of perfect skill might see you asked back in. To which team? No need to answer that one.

Some of us never forget our childhoods. Others appear never to leave it.

Assume others may also have their own versions of how this evolved for their generation, gender and school yard. :wink:

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Twitter’s most valuable product - I mean customer - is a highly intelligent and very stable ‘ruler of the Western World’.

Isn’t that similar to the idea that a lie can run around the world while the truth is putting its shoes on (or similar variants)? In other words, I don’t think Brandolini can claim credit.

I’m not! :wink: (Obligatory Monty Python reference.)

Which is why much as I detest her ideas I forced myself to read a bit of Ayn Rand. (Unfortunately she is too poor a writer for me to have been able to finish the book - regardless of her ‘ideas’.)


I make no apology … :rofl:


Absolute classic. Bohemian Rhapsody and the paradoy.



Brilliant. Poor Tim Berners-Lee, he must hate what his invention has become.


Not necessarily?

The power of a parable to deliver a message such that the masses can relate has been valued by some for many thousands of years.

That we are mostly slow learners seems self evident if we simply dismiss this latest work as just another comic ‘parody’.

Should poor Tim still be wondering? It’s probably the same for the guy who made the first wheel. Is someone else making a copy in a different style a bad thing? Or do two wheels a cart make? :wink:

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OK let me put it a different way. I hate what his invention has become. I’m old enough to have been using the internet before the web and I detest with a passion the commercialism that has arisen. It cant be helped, it was inevitable, but I still hate it.


That isn’t what he is complaining about though. His actual complaint is in part quite insidious and, in my opinion, should be rejected.

Also, Sir TimBL invented the web, not the internet. He may well hate what the web has become.