Before the centralization of information to social media platforms people created content inside a wide array flourishing, nuanced communities on websites and blogs across the Internet. Social media was an important but not primary method for creating or even surfacing content.
Today, however the landscape is much different. A small number of social monoliths have centralized access to much of the world’s information. This centralization has had disastrous results on a global scale with previously unimaginable network effects. These include flat earth conspiracies, anti-vaccination crusades and their subsequent deadly measles outbreaks, ubiquitous hacking and online harassment campaigns, and ethnic cleansing to name a few.
The most noticeable difference in the Internet is the shift in discovery of content from decentralized, self-contained, and self-moderated systems controlled by technology creators owned and maintained to a reliance on placement and space rented from social media companies. As a result of this centralization, once vibrant and diverse Internet communities have been forced into precut molds to grow at a phenomenal scale.