Wikipedia founder calls for a social media STRIKE to demand ‘manipulative corporations give us back control over our data, privacy, and user experience’
- Wikipedia founder wants social media users to protest corporations in charge
- On July 4-5, Larry Sanger wants users to take a break from social media sites
- Demonstrations are meant to protest privacy practices on social platforms
- Users should own their own data according to a blog post by Sanger
- Calls for more privacy mirror an ongoing movement among users and regulators
The founder of Wikipedia is calling for a global social media strike this week to protest breaches of privacy and abuses of user data.
In a blog post, Larry Sanger, the founder of online encyclopedia Wikipedia, is encouraging users to take a hiatus from social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a two-day period between July 4-5
‘This means we will not use social media on those days, except to post notices that we are on strike. We’re going to make a lot of noise,’ he wrote.
The founder of Wikipedia is calling for a global social media strike this week to protest breaches of privacy and abuses of user data. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is shown above, file photo
‘Nobody will be able to ignore what’s happening. We’re going to flex our collective muscles and demand that giant, manipulative corporations give us back control over our data, privacy, and user experience.’
Through the demonstration, Sanger said he hopes that tech companies will rethink their policies towards users’ personal data, which is often times harvested and used by companies like Facebook for marketing, advertising and other metrics.
Wikipedia founder Larry Sanger (pictured above) wants users to pressure social media websites to make their platforms more decentralized.
In what Sanger is calling the Declaration of Digital Independence, the Wikipedia founder is calling for a fundamental shift in the attitude towards data ownership.
‘Each of us individually owns our own data. Each of us individually controls it, just as we have control over our email, text messages, and blogs,’ wrote Sanger in the post.
‘It can be totally private, courtesy end-to-end encryption, or totally public; the choice is up to us.’
Sanger also adds that he hopes that social media websites will be pressured to become more ‘interoperable’ as a result.
‘Social media services stop acting as silos but become interoperable,’ wrote Sanger. ‘If we make a post on one service, it can appear on another service.’
Calls for wholesale changes in the attitude of social media giants mirrors a growing wave of skepticism toward big tech that has been stoked by a slew of miscues throughout the last several years.
Twitter hasn’t been immune to increased scrutiny with users and politicians accusing the company of allowing hate speech on its platform
Facebook in particular has been addled by privacy breaches, the most significant of which allowed the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to leverage the private data of 50 million Facebook users in an attempt to sway the 2016 presidential election in favor of President Donald Trump.
As a result of several privacy scandals and increased pressure from both users and regulators, Facebook and Google — the two companies arguably at the center of tech-focused privacy concerns — have begun to noticeably shift their tone.
In a recent keynote, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared that ‘the future is private’ and has begun rolling out end-to-end encryption across its messaging services while Google announced that it will allow users to begin auto-deleting their location data and offer more protections against companies who track users’ web browsing.
HOW DOES FACEBOOK PLAN TO IMPROVE PRIVACY?
In a March 6 blog post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised to rebuild based on six ‘privacy-focused’ principles:
- Private interactions
- Reducing permanence
- Secure data storage
Zuckerberg promised end-to-end encryption for all of its messaging services, which will be combined in a way that allows users to communicate across WhatsApp, Instagram Direct, and Facebook Messenger.
This he refers to as ‘interoperability.’
He also said moving forward, the firm won’t hold onto messages or stories for ‘longer than necessary’ or ‘longer than people want them.’
This could mean, for example, that users set messages to auto-delete after a month or even a few minutes.
‘Interoperability’ will ensure messages remain encrypted even when jumping from one messaging service, such as WhatsApp, to another, like Instagram, Zuckerberg says.
Facebook also hopes to improve users’ trust in how it stores their data.
Zuckerberg promised the site ‘won’t store sensitive data in countries with weak records on human rights like privacy and freedom of expression in order to protect data from being improperly accessed.’