Back in 2006, a Colombia Law School professor, Tim Wu predicted that within 10 years, the internet would fragment into many pieces with nations taking over the local systems and enacting social norms that governments follow – in short, the internet would become localized.
Clearly Professor Wu was right, but he now admits that his spot on prediction was off on timing, It will take more like 20 years and not 10 years, and both Wu and many who are now controlling the internet are aware of this fact because many governments are looking closely at names like Facebook.
By his very actions the CEO of Facebook is concerned about future government action. Mr Zuckerberg is talking openly about government support and intervention in his company. He sees the writing on the wall.
The reasons that are being tabled are as follows. There have been gruesome videos that have been loaded on Facebook that showed a young woman in one, committing suicide. The other was a man in Indonesia killing himself on live stream. But the most influential piece recently was the hit on mosques in New Zealand which seems to have changed not only live streaming but also general news globally.
Note that around the globe, Facebook sees 72,000 videos and live streams per day uploaded into the system. So the New Zealand incident will likely trigger government to censor (they are already starting) and block content that they feel does not meet the expectations of the top brass at these media companies.
Governments are now writing up and driving through laws, laws that protect some groups in society that government feel need to be protected.
Think about the freedoms that were won from the 1700s and 1800s that we have used until now to live in open and just neighborhoods, and towns. For the future these hard-won freedoms will be gone – or will someone save these freedoms from authoritarian attacks as governments focus on the internet. Imagine if all freedoms are just taken away. One can go to jail for watching videos now.
The 2018 and 2019 period might be the pivot of the global internet and a new wave of attacks on free speech. Governments want to take over the internet and control speech, the UK is leading the world in these attacks. But the question is just how will the public react in the coming months and years.