HomeSocial MediaWikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger calls for a social media boycott on July 4 and 5
July 3, 2019
Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger calls for a social media boycott on July 4 and 5
“We are calling for a boycott, or strike, of the big, centralized social media networks on July 4 and/or 5. As this new Declaration of Digital Independence states, we possess the digital rights of free speech, privacy, and security. Like old King George, Big Social Media have systematically abused our rights.”
Depending on who you ask, social media could be considered one of the greatest technological advancements of our time, or the bane of our collective existence. Whichever camp you happen to fall into, it’s clear that the social media industry has changed the world; whether that’s a good or a bad thing is up to each individual to decide.
However, Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger certainly seems to hold the latter viewpoint — at least, in regards to social media’s current state. Sanger recently published a Change.org petition that calls for a complete social media boycott on July 4 and July 5.
Though the petition does outline Sanger’s grievances with social media — such as the improper use of personal user information by tech giants and the cold, detached nature of algorithms — his personal blog is a better place to read his full “Declaration of Digital Independence.” The Declaration is intended to act as a tool of persuasion, which can be used to convince “as many people as possible” to “join together and [reform]” the social networks that we have today.
Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger.
Sanger wants to return to the early days of the internet, where instead of giant social media “empires,” we had many decentralized networks, run by independent individuals who didn’t stand to profit from the sale or sharing of personal user information. Sanger summarizes his feelings in the following quote:
We are calling for a boycott, or strike, of the big, centralized social media networks on July 4 and/or 5. As this new Declaration of Digital Independence states, we possess the digital rights of free speech, privacy, and security. Like old King George, Big Social Media have systematically abused our rights. They have centrally collected and control the data we individually own. We should declare our independence of them by demanding a new system of decentralized social media in which we own and control our own data, and the networks are made fully interoperable. Let’s tear down the silos. Sign the Declaration, and strike!
Sanger didn’t stop with a petition and Declaration alone — he also took the time to put together 9 comprehensive “principles” that we should judge social networks on. “We free individuals should be able to publish our data freely, without having to answer to any corporation,” one principle reads (you can see the full list here).