The Diversity of the Web

On the web there are a number of leaders in mass communication. From streaming television to Internet search, a few institutions control various aspects of the digital world. These organizations are not yet monopolies in the economic sense because they face competition in their respective industries; however, they dominate audience attention and use.

What is believed to be a democratic Internet, with its low barrier to entry and diversity of voices, may not be that democratic after all.  Google controls search, Amazon dominates e-commerce, Netflix has quickly grown to lead the television streaming industry, Facebook is the ruling social network and a few news outlets get audience attention.

Over the next decade, each of these companies will undoubtedly adapt. Their respective features and influence will change along with the effects of these quasi-monopolies on Internet users. Personalization will reduce the diversity of what is seen on the web and privacy concerns will grow. While these concerns are necessary, it is possible that the money garnered by these companies because of their success allowed them to take the innovative risks that led to the current digital landscape. The future of these leaders and their consequences needs to be speculated in order to understand if and how changes should be made.




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