“Humanity has been contemptuously used by vast digital empires.”
Thus begins Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger’s “Declaration of Digital Independence,” a new manifesto of sorts advocating for the decentralization of “Big Social Media.” He is asking for digital dissenters to sign it — and strike.
In a separate blog post, Sanger calls for a two-day #SocialMediaStrike from Thursday, the 4th of July, through Friday, in the name of privacy protection and as part of “an effort to pressure the networks into restoring control of personal data to users.”
“We will not use social media on those days, except to post notices that we are on strike,” Sanger writes, before detailing his predictions for how the strike will go.
“Feeds will be absolutely flooded with strike notices,” Sanger writes. Those who post about matters besides the strike will be considered scabs, he says, and strikers will call them out.
The blog post and call to arms have generated some traction on Reddit, but a tweet about it from Sanger has garnered just 149 retweets. Plus, a Change.org petition that’s been up for six days has a goal of just 1,500 signatures, which it has not yet reached.
Besides a vague push for decentralization, the goals Sanger lays out for the #SocialMediaStrike are unclear, and Facebook and Instagram are only mentioned in an FAQ post. Twitter is not mentioned anywhere.
In terms of concrete goals, Sanger mentions the choice of having end-to-end encryption, for social media to be “interoperable” with posts to one platform appearing on another, and for a universal set of protocols.
“In this way, social media would work the way websites, email, text messages, and blog hosting and readers work: as neutral service providers,” Sanger writes, although these platforms have also been critiqued for withholding data and privacy issues as well.