The decentralization movement aims to limit the increasing centralization of the internet and digital resources into a small number of powerful platform companies. In doing so, they hope to promote free expression and resilience.
In this report, we dive into the history of public investment in technologies at the foundation of Big Tech, and the imbalances between these investments and the returns to the public sector. We delve into the problematic labor and user relations underlining the value-creation machine Big Tech has assembled, and the perverse social and environmental costs of these socio-technical systems. We set out arguments for why Big Tech should be defunded, and offer potential actions Big Tech companies, governments and policymakers, tech workers, researchers, civil society organizations, social movements and individual citizens could take to redirect resources. We end by offering prospects for what refunding community could look like, how another tech is possible.
netCommons is a Horizon2020 research project, which follows a novel transdisciplinary methodology on treating network infrastructure as commons, for resiliency, sustainability, self-determination, and social integration.
Momentum is a training institute and movement incubator. We give progressive organizers the tools and frameworks to build massive, decentralized social movements.
By combining and systematizing best practices from past movements, critical movement theory, and applicable skills, we encourage organizers to dream about big change, and give them the tools to make it happen.
The Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) is a free software project that aims to empower decentralized efforts in increasing transparency of internet censorship around the world. You can run OONI Probe to collect evidence of internet censorship.
The Markup made a browser extension that restores search result pages to organic results.
We built a browser extension, Simple Search, to show you just the “traditional” search results. The extension places them in a box above the plethora of search engine products. You can tab through pages of results, submit new queries, and go back to the full results page easily. It is available for Firefox and Chrome browsers and works for both Google and Bing search engines.
The extension lets you travel back to a time when online search operated a little differently.
We want to change the way the internet enables the spread of news and information so it serves the public good over corporate and political interests. The business models of Big Tech companies – data aggregators, social platforms and online media – expose the internet to unprecedented levels of hate speech, disinformation and polarisation. We can stop this and ensure these companies work for democracy rather than against it.
We must reset the rules and standards for the products and services that are at the centre of these issues. And we must raise public expectations about how the internet can better support democracy, by explaining what’s wrong, exposing why it’s happening and offering solutions. We believe the internet can once again become a force for good, not a marketplace for manipulation by the highest bidder.