Tech Pioneer: Google and Facebook Are ‘Choking’ the Web

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by the US Congress last month but sent one of his executives to answer questions posed by the House of Commons culture and media committee
CHIP SOMODEVILLA/AFP

Basecamp co-founder and CTO David Heinemeier Hansson, who created the popular “Ruby on Rails” web application framework, discussed the state of the modern internet in a recent interview, stating that a handful of companies like Google and Facebook have “colonized the web, and they’re choking it.” According to Hansson, “We need stringent and overdue legislation, we need to break up monopolies, and we need to give consumers better alternatives.”

In a recent interview with Fast Company, Basecamp co-founder and tech leader David Heinemeier Hansson discussed the state of the current internet and the market dominance of tech firms such as Google and Facebook. “A handful of companies have colonized the web, and they’re choking it,” Hansson told Fast Company.

In response to the growing control of these firms, Hansson and Basecamp co-founder and CEO Jason Fried recently launched a $99 per-year email service called Hey which aims to protect users from the invasive surveillance tactics that other Silicon Valley tech giants regularly use.

In December 2018, after running a series of targeted ads on Facebook and finding it “disgusting” how invasive the platform could be, Hansson announced that Basecamp would soon be a “Facebook-free” business meaning no Facebook ads, no presence on any of Facebook’s platforms, and no Facebook-based login option.

Hansson testified before Congress in January of 2020 about online platforms and market powers alongside three other technology business leaders. “At first I was a little cynical, to be honest, that I was just going to show up and deliver my little speech,” Hansson told Fast Company. “When you’re on Twitter a lot, you’re in the bubble of thinking that everyone is paying attention to the same things you know. Then you get into the real world. It felt like we were delivering new information to Congress.”

Hansson stated that the event gave him a new sense of purpose. “We need stringent and overdue legislation, we need to break up monopolies, and we need to give consumers better alternatives,” Hansson stated. “Abstinence-only advocacy doesn’t work. Effective advocacy needs to present compelling alternatives.”

Discussing his new venture’s focus on email, Hansson stated: “Email is getting turned into the [Facebook] News Feed. It’s an editorialized inbox that the likes of Google have designed for you. We’re turning that on its head,” he said. “The only curation in your inbox is what you do through your choices.”

Read more at Fast Company here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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