Online History War: The Struggle Over Ads, Data, and Internet Regulation

by | Aug 23, 2023

The internet has become a battleground for preserving online history and the urgent need for internet regulation. The constant bombardment of ads raises concerns about the effects of this advertising overload on our minds.

The internet was once seen as a platform that would level the playing field and reduce profit-driven motives. However, it still struggles with power dynamics and advertising. Thomas Germain, a senior reporter at Gizmodo, highlighted these pressing issues in a recent interview.

CNET, a tech news website, caused a stir when it deleted old content to improve its performance on Google. Writing for the internet is no longer just for humans; it also targets algorithms that decide search rankings. This has turned search engine optimization (SEO) into a game to boost content.

Even Google, the dominant search engine, has suggested that removing underperforming content could improve a website’s performance. As a result, CNET has been redirecting or removing underperforming pages. However, this encouragement to erase information from the internet has raised concerns.

Deleting old material from websites like CNET has serious consequences. Losing valuable public information and journalism threatens the historical record. Journalism is often seen as the first draft of history, and preserving old articles and conducting archival research are crucial for understanding the past.

This is where organizations like the Internet Archive come in. The Internet Archive preserves webpages through its Wayback Machine tool. Recognizing the importance of preservation, CNET notifies the Internet Archive before deleting content.

The erasure of online content poses challenges for journalists who rely on a record of their work for portfolios and job prospects. It also has a negative impact on the public record and historical understanding, potentially distorting our collective memory.

While the Internet Archive preserves online content, its long-term existence is uncertain. Preserving online content is crucial for the general public, historians, and journalists. Without proper regulation and support, the risk of losing valuable information is high.

Internet regulation is a complex and multifaceted issue. Current laws struggle to keep up with internet changes and are often outdated. Regulators and politicians face the challenge of understanding the complexities of the internet.

Efforts to catch up with internet regulation are underway, but progress is slow. Organizations like FAIR advocate for comprehensive regulation with the support of generous contributors. The battle for internet regulation requires collaboration from all stakeholders.

Targeted ads, fueled by data collection, complicate the landscape further. While profitable for companies, they raise concerns about privacy and data security. Technology giants like Google and Apple have limited data collection in anticipation of external regulation.

However, to compensate for limited data, companies bombard users with more ads across platforms. Balancing privacy and the economy requires effective internet regulation.

As we navigate the digital age, it is crucial to address the impact of ads, preserve online history, and regulate the internet. The battle for preserving online content and comprehensive internet regulation will shape information access and historical understanding.

In a world with thousands of ads daily, the fight for a balanced online ecosystem and preserving our digital heritage is vital. Collective efforts are necessary to ensure the internet remains a space where information is freely accessible, history is preserved, and the interests of users and content creators are protected.