Why Does Free Internet Mean “Exploitation?”

It is going without announcing that most content and services on the internet are absolutely free for customers: electronic mail, social networks, news portals… Yet have you ever idea ‘why’? Maybe you pay free of charge internet content a splendid deal extra than you can consider?


The illusion of “unfastened.”

Facebook, Google, and news website are simplified versions of most net users’ normal itineraries. This route is completely unfastened and truly secure: you pass from one destination to another nearly automatically. But what would show up if at some point you visited your preferred (unfastened!) news portal and determined out that you had been could not study a single article. Instead, you would be asked to pay in case you want to get admission to the substances.

Your exceptional walk could clearly be spoiled. “Why, for God’s sake, do I need to pay for it?” – many customers could exclaim. “Why can I use Google or Facebook completely unfastened? Who do the editors assume they may be, asking me for cash?” Many humans assume that people who work in such big corporations, like Google or Facebook, are passionately committed and enthusiastic volunteers, who ordinary sacrifice themselves in the name of “the consumer-orientated internet.” Well, numbers talk louder than words: in 2014, the yearly Facebook’s earnings turned into 12 billion dollars, Google – even extra, sixty-six billion dollars. Do you continue to believe within the “the consumer-oriented net” mission?

Our information portals can slightly consider such sums. “Not my issues, sorry” – atypical, added up by way of the miracles of the free internet user could state. “The truth that there are individuals who study their portal is already a huge success for them.” Such common sense proves that users do not comprehend that they’re involved in the technique of capital accumulation – and on this “sport,” their function is really unenviable. As a matter of truth, the internet isn’t always an area where all of us are identical; however, a hierarchical pyramid governed via those on the pinnacle.

To prove yourself that “the whole thing is free” is a mere illusion, you could wonder how come those “loose” services get a lot of money. The rule is easy: in case you do now not pay, any individual else does. This someone isn’t a beneficiant daddy, equipped to pay his last cent so that you may want to scroll via your information feed on Facebook or find in which to spend your evening on Google. This somebody is… Advertising.

To clean it up, if the websites dictate the policies from the top of the pyramid, advertising and marketing is its proprietor who creates these guidelines. Were you seeking out the location to have dinner? Awesome! Google will provide you with many romantic venues so you would for certain locate what you had been seeking out. Is that everyone? Sure it isn’t always: the next time you will be scrolling via your news feed, you may (marvel-marvel!) stumble into the photos of the place you’ve got visited, sending you pretty a linear message: revisit us! Alternatively, you can see the snapshots of other locations, implying that it’s miles excessive time you went somewhere out. It is the primary lure of “the illusion of unfastened” – you are tracked, and your non-public information is used without your permission.


The second trap is even extra risky – probable you do now not even recognize that; however, you’re away to produce capital for websites located at the top of the pyramid. Yes, no person pays yours for that. The stolen records are used to scouse borrow your attention – and it is marketing that does it. Ads are everywhere: in your private page, for your news feed, in search engines like Google, even for your email – nobody warned you approximately it, and no person asked whether you permit to use your private details for such purposes. Google and Facebook made this choice on your behalf and behalf of hundreds of thousands of other human beings: well, guys, we provide our offerings for free; we neglect your attention and get our billions for that. As simple as ABC.

The mechanism of exploitation on news websites is even extra uncanny. If earlier than the internet was a promise of the platform in which anybody is same, anyone can explicit their opinion (and could be heard), in which nearby and worldwide troubles are solved cooperatively. Available to anybody, media foster civil society; nowadays, as a lot of time has passed, this only places a sad smile on our faces. All of the cited goals might be achieved only in the situation that an individual might be respected. From the very second you open the information portal, you are not a person anymore – you turn out to be a part of site visitors.

“But is it so? I can remark, argue with others, ultimately, I can forestall visiting this website!” – one may argue. It is genuine, but, sadly, your opinion and arguments you offer are not any huge deal: inside the present device, you are both 1 or 0 – either you’re, or you aren’t. This is one more enticing of “the phantasm of free” – the illusion of participation. You are not anything but 1 – and there are lots of such 1s. You are neither a client nor a person; you are improper or incorrect; you are just a discerning part of site visitors. And yes, to procure it properly: your favorite information portal normally sells you to advertisers stealing your attention.

Should we blame the proprietors of information portals for it? No. In this sort of gadget, they don’t have any preference. Should we blame newshounds for low-first-class, ill-organized, and sometimes even stupid content? No, they do their activity so long as the effects satisfy their enterprise – advertising. You go to the web page – you become 1, you examine the material – over again time, you emerge as 1, you like or do not like what you have examined, and you’ve decided to percentage your thoughts – yes, you emerge as 1. The best way is nothing in the pyramid; what truly matters is the amount, your interest, you as 1, which can be converted without problems into dollars.

The outcome is that journalism, because the fourth strength, does not perform its essential social function – to inform the society and shape its self-recognition. Instead, it offers the illusion of participation that is, as we realize, a visitors-era tactic to draw advertisers. So, do you agree to hand over electricity to unfair advertising and marketing?


First and fundamental, the paid subscription has to be brought again (as with newspapers). We need to understand that, so long as somebody else will pay for us, any person else decides who you are and what you will read. To convey again paid subscription approach to rehabilitate first-rate analytic journalists and provide again journalism its legitimate strength. Paying for the content material, you grow to be one of the responsibilities for the information portal. While journalists will be stimulated to satisfy high requirements, you may get the most effective top-notch content material.


Alcohol scholar. Bacon fan. Internetaholic. Beer geek. Thinker. Coffee advocate. Reader. Have a strong interest in consulting about teddy bears in Nigeria. Spent 2001-2004 promoting glue in Pensacola, FL. My current pet project is testing the market for salsa in Las Vegas, NV. In 2008 I was getting to know birdhouses worldwide. Spent 2002-2008 buying and selling easy-bake-ovens in Bethesda, MD. Spent 2002-2009 marketing country music in the financial sector.