Straits Times is going bankrupt, so they made a paywall -- Straits Times Premium. Immediately r/Singapore on Reddit built a bot to repost the blockaded content for all to enjoy. The problem is, traditional businesses do not get the internet. Hell, even teenagers do not get the internet. Let's get started on a rant piece.
The internet is hugely polarizing. On the one hand, we have the bulk of the world who have very much been liberated by the internet. These internet-natives live a second life on the internet, posting snippets of themselves on a daily or even hourly basis on the internet.
Then there are the internet-nerds. These people made the internet. We grew up with the internet. Better yet, some of us made the internet for what it is today. I consider myself to be part of this troupe.
Ephemeral is a lie
Snapchat invented the concept of ephemeral content with "disappearing snaps." So teens sent nudes thinking the pictures will disappear after ten seconds. Ten seconds later, a Snapchat employee has it, in his hard disk, forever.
Facebook popularized photo uploading in my era. You could tag your friends' faces in your pictures. Shortly, I released Picturebook for you to get any pictures of anyone tagged with photos on Facebook. (It has since stopped working)
I am not sure if you follow the theme, but everything you share on the internet is permanent.
Privacy filters, paywalls, disappearing content, moderation, and firewall. These techniques assure that the right pair of eyes view your content.
None of these techniques work because a simple screenshot will bypass these techniques.
We choose to be stupid
We know that these methods are not fool-proof. This is why we google "Reddit <straits times article title>" when we encounter a Straits Times Premium article. The entire "premium" paywall is made useless with a Ctrl+C keyboard shortcut.
Similar workarounds exist for various paywalls and privacy filters on the internet. Why so businesses and internet-natives continue uploading content on the internet thinking that they get to control their viewership?
As we march into an internet that is increasing demarcated with fake "moderation walls," I suspect there might be a business opportunity here.
But mostly, I am annoyed with the internet. The internet used to be free and open. I am working on a tool that I hope will knock down these walls permanently.