The Internet Con

How to Seize the Means of Computation

5.28 X 7.95 X 1.18 inches | 0.74 pounds, 192 pages

English language

Published Sept. 4, 2023 by Verso.

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3 stars (3 reviews)

When the tech platforms promised a future of "connection," they were lying. They said their "walled gardens" would keep us safe, but those were prison walls.

The platforms locked us into their systems and made us easy pickings, ripe for extraction. Twitter, Facebook and other Big Tech platforms hard to leave by design. They hold hostage the people we love, the communities that matter to us, the audiences and customers we rely on. The impossibility of staying connected to these people after you delete your account has nothing to do with technological limitations: it's a business strategy in service to commodifying your personal life and relationships.

We can - we must - dismantle the tech platforms. In The Internet Con , Cory Doctorow explains how to seize the means of computation, by forcing Silicon Valley to do the thing it fears most: interoperate. Interoperability will tear down the walls between …

1 edition

Essential, but rushed at the end

3 stars

(em português com links → )

"The Internet Con" (2023) is the latest non-fiction book by Cory Doctorow, who also writes great speculative fiction.

I don't think it's an exaggeration to call it "con". People are held hostage, abused and only the perpetrators win.

Cory was the one who coined a term that is now common to understand a central aspect of this scam: "enshittification". This suggestive language ended up having a lot of appeal to what many people already feel. For example, using Instagram or Twitter sucks, but people continue because there isn't much choice. Once everyone is a hostage, it becomes a kind of extortion.

The book details the context, the history and the ins and outs of the scam, including many recent illustrations of the antics of companies like Apple or Google, or the complicity of governments in the domination of monopoly trusts which, not limited …

Misleading title

3 stars

While being a very concise walk though of the systemic nature of the problems of big tech, I found the title: "How to seize the means of computation" and the blurb: "A Shovel-Ready Plan to Fight Enshittification" to lead me to expect some activist-first analysis. Instead it's "solutions" are very much recommendation to congress or government level policy-types. There is nothing in it that tells me what to do. I have nothing against this - the title and the blurb is just misleading. The analysis is very good though. So if you don't already know Doctorows analysis, it's great. Just don't expect any shovels to grab.

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4 stars


  • internet
  • antitrust
  • social media
  • World Wide Web
  • Technology Studies
  • Public Policy - Science & Technology Policy
  • Privacy & Surveillance
  • Political Science - Privacy & Surveillance