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posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 25 2023, @03:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the circle-of-life dept.

Here is how platforms die: first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.

I call this enshittification, and it is a seemingly inevitable consequence arising from the combination of the ease of changing how a platform allocates value, combined with the nature of a "two sided market," where a platform sits between buyers and sellers, hold each hostage to the other, raking off an ever-larger share of the value that passes between them.

[...] Search Amazon for "cat beds" and the entire first screen is ads, including ads for products Amazon cloned from its own sellers, putting them out of business (third parties have to pay 45% in junk fees to Amazon, but Amazon doesn't charge itself these fees). All told, the first five screens of results for "cat bed" are 50% ads.

This is enshittification: surpluses are first directed to users; then, once they're locked in, surpluses go to suppliers; then once they're locked in, the surplus is handed to shareholders and the platform becomes a useless pile of shit. From mobile app stores to Steam, from Facebook to Twitter, this is the enshittification lifecycle.

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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday January 26 2023, @01:19PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 26 2023, @01:19PM (#1288691) Journal

    But at the end of the day businesses can freely choose who they do business with.

    Except of course under a variety of circumstances such as providing a public space (restricting their ability to restrict political speech, for example) or advertising their openness for who they do business with. My take is that this is in large part a bait and switch. This arbitrary censorship and massive personal data collecting isn't what users signed up for, but that's what they're getting now.

    And if they're censoring people in exchange for benefits from a US-based government, the First Amendment comes into play. So no, there are constraints on that freedom. I think some of those come into play for major social media sites.

    Perhaps if you change enough minds you can convince advertisers to look the other way while they facilitate altering the outcome of an election.