The Internet is a beautiful place. It’s a place where everyone has access to unlimited information, where everyone is free to voice their opinion, and where a regular old Joe can talk to a celebrity on Twitter. But nothing gold can stay. Facebook, Twitter, and Apple are creating new systems that will build a wall between the average person and those with status. It’s an old-media style for the new-media age and it could destroy the egalitarian Internet as we know it.
Facebook is the big new offender. The social media titan rolled out a new service called Live, which provides nearly real-time video for users to watch. It’s a cool, modern idea that takes major cues from apps like Meerkat and Periscope, but the problem is that Facebook’s Live service only lets certain people broadcast content. That’s right, unless your last name is Kardashian you can forget about using Live to broadcast your life. Everyone can watch a live stream, but only the elite have the ability to broadcast.
Twitter has long been giving “verified” accounts an advantage over regular folks. A verified account means that it’s the account that truly belongs to a celebrity as opposed to the numerous imposters that litter the social network. Celebrity accounts have always had access to more features, such as tracking stats and seeing more user information, but Twitter is now allowing verified accounts to filter out content from non-verified accounts. Basically, it filters out the noise of the rabble and lets a celebrity only see and engage with other celebrities.
Apple is guilty, too. Its new Apple Music service has a feature called Connect that separates users into two camps: “artists” and “fans”. Artists are given the option to use the service with “zero interference”. Like Twitter, this system is a way to make sure celebrities never have to see what the public is saying. The “fans” now get the privilege of being passive consumers once again.
This is a worrisome trend that could easily lead to an Internet caste system that seeks to milk consumers for all their worth.
Read the full article here: How Facebook, Apple and Twitter Are Ending Online Equality