In 2018, two significant long-term trends eventually struck in a very public manner.
The first trend was the over-centralization of online websites. For a long time, Facebook, Google, and others accrued power and influence by centralizing user behaviour. Products offered freely to users generated closed systems and echo chambers meant to retain users within closed ecosystems. In turn, websites repackaged these netted users into profitable advertising products, creating an oligopoly.
The other trend was the erosion of data privacy. The lack of transparency on how data was used, shared, and protected by websites and institutions led to some dramatic revelations. First, Cambridge Analytica whistle-blowers exposed how Facebook data was misused to target people during political campaigns. The rest of the year was full of news stories of massive data breaches, hacking cover-ups, and yes, even more, terrifying Facebook revelations.
So why did everything explode in 2018? The truth is that these trends have been converging for a very long time. Most of the most horrifying headlines of 2018 concerned vulnerabilities that have been there for long. The only thing about 2019 is that we finally started to realize. And probably that is the scariest thing of all.
The recent Google update has reportedly affected many cryptocurrency news websites regarding their SEO traffic.
CCN attributed its shutdown to declining invisibility from the search engine, which in turn exposed a flock of disgruntled crypto news sites. This is what CCN said regarding the crackdown: “Google’s June 2019 Core Update rolled out on June 3, 2019, and CNN’s traffic from Google searches declined more than 71% on mobile overnight.”
Further, they added that their daily revenue dropped by 90% overnight. Other major crypto news websites also experienced significant declines in visibility with Coindesk reporting a 34.6% drop and Cointelegraph seeing a drop of 21.1% on mobile. The Daily Mail, a giant news site that also covers cryptocurrency in the UK, also reported a 50% drop in visibility after the update.
This is how Google reacted to these allegations of crypto news site targeting:
“With any update, some websites might not perform as well as in the past, while other sites might perform better.” The company further said that some websites, at times, may experience better results after updates because they were not previously benefiting from their high relevance.
Decentralization as a Solution
Decentralization of information has gained many admirers, and a much stronger understanding in the digital space thanks to blockchain technology. Blockchain is one of the most functional and acceptable decentralizing gears for almost any space and sector.
Cyber is a consensus network that allows for computing of provably suitable solutions without any biased black-box intermediaries, like Google, Amazon, or Facebook. Stateless, content-based peer-to-peer communication networks, like IPFS, and stateful consensus networks, like Ethereum, are limited in the provision of solutions to Google’s digital authoritarianism. Cyber is based on a simple concept of content defined information graphs, created by web3-agents through cyber links- a simple, yet a robust semantic foundation for building an analytical model of the universe.
Decentralizing the internet disrupts the big data business model. It modifies the way apps compete: instead of attracting new users by already having a lot of data regarding current users, they will have to convince clients with invention, e.g. a user-friendly interface, the best customer service, flawless data security, etc. and, more importantly, they will also have generate revenue through other means, for instance, by charging a yearly subscription fee. Or perhaps some will give users the option to pay a fee or to (consciously) sell users’ data. The point is that this way of thinking creates choice and diversity, and thereby prospect.
Earlier protocols of the Internet, such as TCP/IP, DNS, URL, and HTTP/S have brought the web to a stale point, where it is located as of now. Considering all the advantages that these protocols have created for the initial development of the internet, along with them, they have brought significant obstacles to the table.
Globality- being an essential aspect of the web is under a real threat since its inception. The speed of the connection keeps degrading while the network itself keeps growing, and because of pervasive government interventions. The latter causes privacy to become an existential threat to human rights.
However, just being decentralized is not enough for most people- you must provide them with something tangible that they cannot get on a centralized web. We believe that something is permanence.
Data is the ‘new oil’ that drives our economy, but recent data breaches show that we should perhaps be wary of sharing our information. The way to regain control over personal data is to return to a decentralized web, a win-win solution for both consumers and internet service providers.