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posted by cmn32480 on Friday March 18 2016, @06:18AM   Printer-friendly
from the like-AOL-in-the-good-old-days dept.

There's a a growing trend to close off publishing platforms by demanding a login in order to view the content. Which is a move away from an open web. In December 2015 Facebook launched its own in-app browser, which is basically a web-view that loads links you tap on using the Facebook app. It may provide convenience for some but the primary goal is to keep users inside the application longer. This opens up more advertising exposure and associated revenue. This poses a challenge to the open web because this overrides the user's default mobile browser keeps the eyeballs in a closed ecosystem. The feature Instant Articles for publishers is done such that it loads articles available nearly instantly in the app compared to a mobile browser. This opens up for monetizing viewing and privacy invasions by Facebook on users. The in-app browser lack decent privacy controls.

Facebook is trying to accomplish a closed version of the internet. The Free Basics initiative with Facebook as the gatekeeper offers users free access to select websites. This initiative made privacy advocates in India, who play an instrumental role in the makeup of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to vote on 2016-02-08 that all data pricing must be equal, and that companies cannot offer cheaper rates than others for certain content. The decision favours net neutrality and essentially bans Facebook's initiative in that country. The Indian TRAI ruling states that pricing must be content agnostic. Facebook has become a monolithic platform that tries to mimic existing services by offering video uploads (YouTube), money transfers (PayPal) etc. Facebook is expanding like a invasive species similar to the Borg from Star Trek trying to absorb everything that touches their sphere of interest.

In the future, could resistance be futile because you will miss out essential information?


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by pTamok on Friday March 18 2016, @11:50AM

    by pTamok (3042) on Friday March 18 2016, @11:50AM (#319944)

    This on-going commercial capture of the Internet commons worries me. Already I have seen local government start to use Facebook as the primary means of interaction - and while I am pretty certain that it was set up by people who did not understand the full implications of what they were doing, the end result is that we are approaching a point where Facebook inserts itself into the ability to transact business, and people will have no other option to use as organisations will take the practical view of using Facebook rather than developing their own Internet capabilities. Handing the problems of authentication and data management over to a third party is very tempting, even though it is a Faustian bargain.

    Most people won't care that they are obliged to use Facebook to buy certain things online, and probably won't mind if they are obliged to use Facebook to pay local taxes or claim benefits from their local government organisation. So you can end up with a 'tyrannical' majority that mean that those who prefer not to use Facebook have no other choice. Which, of course, is what Facebook wants.

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  • (Score: 2) by bitstream on Friday March 18 2016, @12:43PM

    by bitstream (6144) on Friday March 18 2016, @12:43PM (#319960) Journal

    Already I have seen local government start to use Facebook as the primary means of interaction - and while I am pretty certain that it was set up by people who did not understand the full implications of what they were doing, the end result is that we are approaching a point where Facebook inserts itself into the ability to transact business,

    I'll noticed the same tendency. Any ideas on how to counter this?

    • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Friday March 18 2016, @01:14PM

      by Nerdfest (80) on Friday March 18 2016, @01:14PM (#319964)

      Avoid non-open protocols, formats, and APIs. Apple would have done the same thing if Android hadn't forced them to compete. Microsoft is pushing that way as well.

      • (Score: 2) by bitstream on Friday March 18 2016, @05:33PM

        by bitstream (6144) on Friday March 18 2016, @05:33PM (#320068) Journal

        The problem is market domination.

        • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Friday March 18 2016, @09:30PM

          by Nerdfest (80) on Friday March 18 2016, @09:30PM (#320179)

          More like the result, I think. If people continue to lock themselves into these walled gardens where a single company has complete control over everything it will continue to happen. People are still over-paying IBM for mainframes and that wasn't even quite as bad as some of the stuff going on now.

    • (Score: 1) by harmless on Friday March 18 2016, @03:38PM

      by harmless (1048) on Friday March 18 2016, @03:38PM (#320009) Homepage

      I'll noticed the same tendency. Any ideas on how to counter this?

      Sure. Refuse to use Facebook.

      If it's a government entity there are probably statutes that mandate that information has to accessible to everyone. Call in and demand to be given an option that does not need a Facebook account.

      If it's a private entity you can ask them; but you ultimately might just have to do without that specific offer. But if it's a corporation that is offering something they aren't doing that just to be nice. They want to profit from it in some fashion. So it might help to let them know that assuming everyone has a Facebook account just lost them some business.

      Of course, if you give in and create a Facebook account just for that occasion you just affirmed that this approach works and they (whoever they are) will continue doing it this way.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mcgrew on Friday March 18 2016, @03:34PM

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday March 18 2016, @03:34PM (#320006) Homepage Journal

    Not just Facebook. I don't enter radio contests but I listen to KSHE. "95th to call" became "950th to text", and they just announced that they're dropping their text line and will now have contests on TWITTER. What is a twitter? A device to turn normal people into twits.

    I'm only on facebook to get more readers of my books and stories, my daughter convinced me. But the free web is still in existence, my site has no ads, no cookies, and the only scripting is to redirect phones to the page that doesn't suck on a phone. Here's the code:

    <script type="text/javascript">
        <!--
        if (screen.width <= 500) {
            window.location = "mobile.html";
        }
        //-->
    </script>

    It suffers from a problem on an iPad -- a iPad unfortunately follows the rule I proposed for phones and loads mobile.html instead of index.html, and index.html is fine on a tablet and mobile.html is shitty on a tablet. I need to do more thinking and researching, I guess.

    --
    Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 2) by Urlax on Saturday March 19 2016, @04:49PM

      by Urlax (3027) on Saturday March 19 2016, @04:49PM (#320476)

      Thats a shitty way to detect mobile users, as most recent phones have full HD resolution, or higher.
      (Although the viewport has less pixels)

      It also breaks on browsers running without JavaScript.

      There's at least a dozen libraries that detect the user agent string and take 5 minutes to implement on the server side. Some can even distinguish the feature grade of the browser.
      (Example of grades:https://jquerymobile.com/browser-support/1.4 )

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Saturday March 19 2016, @05:42PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday March 19 2016, @05:42PM (#320492) Homepage Journal

        All the ways I've found are shitty for one reason or another. Yes, it will break on browsers without javascript and on higher end phones, that's why I left the link to the mobile version.

        My host already has and offers jquery, but that would entail rewriting the entire site, hundreds of web pages, when I only need to redirect three of them. The rest are fine on any device without any scripting at all.

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]