No, the Internet is not really democratic.

Subha Wijesiriwardena, from an excellent t post at the World Wide Web Foundation:

The internet was supposed to be a blueprint for a truly free, fair, equal and democratic society.

However, unsurprising to some of us, over the years it has become evident that the internet is not really fair and democratic as we once believed it could be. The online world is really just a reflection and a parallel of the so-called offline world. This means, misogyny prevails; marginalisation prevails. Violence prevails.

Online, the people who wield power and make decisions are often the same as those who do so offline. It is therefore also the same persons and groups of persons who are most vulnerable to harassment and violence offline, that face the same reality online. While women and girls are not the only groups who are disproportionately targeted in online violence, I will focus today on women and girls.

It is depressing that we are still having this conversation.

There is nothing inherently democratic about the web or any other technology platform or toolset.

The fact that there are still a bunch of mostly white, mostly male, mostly heterosexual people shouting (and they are always shouting) about how information wants to be free and everyone is equal online only proves that they are willfully ignorant of how power structures work.

Go read the whole thing.

Show Comments