In thinking about the future, the question is whether these leaders on the web will do more bad or good for society. The control and personalization of content has real risks surrounding the diversity of information we see, and the desire to make a profit may cause personal data collection to spiral out of control. That being said, we live in an era of change, meaning someone will have to step up and lead the next series of innovations.
Crucial to the future of the Internet is a balance between domination and innovation. In terms of privacy, the Federal Trade Commission must require some amount of transparency from these leaders. Regarding content diversity, these quasi-monopolies are not the only groups with innovative ideas. Perhaps more startups should be following in SnapChat’s footsteps and remaining independent instead of allowing large corporations, namely Facebook or Google, to buy them out (Oremus). While this may not help the problem of personalization, it will at least give a little diversity to content providers. That being said, SnapChat has already attempted to expand its services with SnapCash (Constine), proving that in just a few years it could transform into a mobile monopoly.
Personalization will be the toughest element of the next decade to regulate. It is something that consumers desire because they enjoy having all the topics that interest them in one location. In order to provide a broader perspective, a technology could be created to make more diverse and potentially opposing views easy for consumers to access. Perhaps it will be a newsfeed of some sort that uses consumer data to provide information that a user is unlikely to normally see, giving them an entirely different perspective.
These leaders, and the problems that they create, will exist in some form for more than the next decade. Ensuring that these quasi-monopolies do not take over the Internet and ruin any chance of an open and diverse web is crucial, while still allowing them enough freedom to innovate the inevitable forthcoming change.
Constine, Josh. “Snapchat Now Lets You Send Money To Friends Through Snapcash Deal With Square Cash.” TechCrunch. N.p., 17 Nov. 2014. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.