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Followup to this post.
I am grateful today that I have access to some smaller, more niche parts of the web. I am glad that I have a computer and feel comfortable using it. I think if I was raised on smartphones and tablets alone and just used to a few specific apps (and at worst, a functioning and optimized mobile browser view), I would feel very, very lonely and locked out right now without an account on the big socials. They'd be all I know and used to have access to. Now, they don't have to be, but it still sucks to be anyone online right now.
A few days ago, and again today, I wanted to check up on a music artist I enjoy. I don't have any accounts at Twitter, Instagram, or Tiktok.
I try to check their Twitter on my phone - login screen. I close it. It presents me with viral tweets, but not the profile I wanted to see. I try it on my laptop. Sometimes, they make a difference between desktop and smartphone. Not this time.
I try to check their Instagram page. Both mobile and desktop don't work.
I try to check their TikTok in a last ditch effort. Nope. Not working.
I wish I could say that it was just that artists profiles, but I can't see shit on anything, no matter what. Some of it is by design for anyone who isn't signed in, and some of it is because I use a VPN. Ugh.
This has been coming for a long time and still it makes me mad. It makes me mad that restaurants, orgs, public figures and other groups have opted to base their sole online existence on these services. With that choice, I can't even see news, holiday announcements, specials or menus from many many restaurants. I haven't been able to see any news of them really since people without accounts have been locked out from seeing stories anyway, but now I can't even see images or the bio. I can't contact any group or person that doesn't offer their email address and just asks you to send a DM.
I refuse to accommodate that and make an account just to access all this. It sucks! You should be accessible! It's not even hard today to maintain a website even on the side to your socials, just use wix, SquareSpace, or carrd.
It continues onward from that.
Services online being downright unusable without an adblocker, with ads being >50% of the site, often overlapping with the content you want to see, blaring autoplay music, and videos. A 5 minute YouTube video separated by 4 ads. Watching 1 of 5 ads before you can proceed to even start the video. Just to land on the sponsored content inside the video where another bought dummy will tell you about BetterHelp or HelloFresh for the 500th time now (thanks, SponsorBlock).
The arms race between websites, adblockers and paywall removal software. The threats of a three strikes policy for ad blocking. Making it impossible for maintainers of a private frontend service to continue their project (or attempting to; think: Nitter, Teddit, Invidious).
Anything - especially YouTube videos - mislabeled by a bot as NSFW, inaccessible without account (without nsfwyoutube as workaround).
People using the NSFW label as a spoiler even for things non-NSFW, inaccessible without account.
Entire profiles or subreddits marked as NSFW when their posts mostly aren't - inaccessible without account. And still, getting harassed and followed by pornbots.
Constant (extremely debatable to downright abusive) DMCA takedowns of content.
Decisions driven by money that have forced peoples hands into boycott, deleting decades old knowledge, locking knowledge, moving knowledge away. Dead links. Broken Twitter embeds in articles. Insane rate limits.
Absolute horseshit of a search function on most of these sites, retrieving nothing relevant. Even when I still had an account on Reddit and Tumblr, back then it was more successful to search on Google for a post than on their own platforms, and it hasn't gotten better.
Oh yeah, search! Googling anything results in what feels like 50% content marked as sponsored, 45% unmarked but very clearly ads and AI blogs, 5% (I am generous) actual usable, relevant content. It feels like Google is disregarding half of my search query and partially ignoring operators, too.
All the data scandals. Leaks and hacks, selling or aggregating of data you may or may not have agreed to. Dark patterns, hiding settings, misrepresenting opt-ins, default opt-ins, trusting that you won't read what you agree to.. Designing things around evoking the reaction in you to just close it or click OK.
All these damn malicious compliance cookie banners in which agreeing means being unbothered and proceeding to the website quickly, while disagreeing presents you with a list of 10-50 things to read and uncheck. And if you do that, sometimes it won't even work to save that as a setting. If you successfully disagree, sometimes it boots you off of the site or completely breaks it. And if that is enraging to users, everyone points to the GDPR for introducing that and not the absolute on-purpose-dogshit implementation these sites use. Not all do it this so shittily, so it is a choice.
I am so tired of all this. Using a lot of the internet right now feels like being rerouted and pushed into the same 5 services just to hit a wall. There is something akin to a flesh eating disease eating away at all the dominant forces online and it's leaving all the dead bits around the web.
I want diversity, I want access, I want freedom, I want clarity and user-friendly design.
𓇽 ° . ༻ 𓈒 ꒪ ๋ ° .𓏲⠀ ๋࣭ ♡ ͘ ࣭⠀⸰ ⋆ ֗ ִ ᨒ .⋆ﾟ. ͘ ࣭⠀⸰ ♡ 𓂂 ◌ 𓇽 ° . ๋ 𓂂 ⠀✼ 𓇽