With the (not so) new medium of the internet a shift in power social relations has taken place, one which the movement has yet to realise and adapt to. These change according to the exact type of page you are viewing, whether it be a forum, a webpage, a facebook group but similarities exist and invertible new power dynamics are created, some groups (which I will not name) recognise this and use it to their advantage to further their own agendas over that of the users. Thus the main two groups of the internet are the content users and content providers, the providers can easily become the oppressors and in many cases do, they are the censors, they have control over what content the user can view and interact with, usually unaccountable and unopposed. This hierarchical position is naturally an extension of how the bourgeoisie control us through the idea of hegemony, the internet was not created by the worker, it was created by the DARPA and the CIA, the imperialists, so it stands to reason their agendas were inbuilt it the structure we so readily use. Though its not all doom and gloom, there is a kind of “content-electoral-democracy” that takes place, where we are given a set of boxes and we just have to tick, i.e we can choose from a list of what content we interact with, though this content will always be controlled and censored by a single party, with its own agenda and belief system.
Forums have become a very popular medium on the internet to discuss ideas, actions and one exists for pretty much every kind of thing that we interact with on a daily basis. Here a kind of new “state” has arisen, they each have their own rules and code of conduct, their judicial system and lastly their own government. They are ruled by a group of admins, who then have underneath them a group of mods, these enforce what law they see fit and are for the most part completely unaccountable to the rank and file members, they are usually not elected and hold a kind of “dictatorship over the content user”. This is the central committee of the modern age and as have many groups recognised a brilliant way to control the flow of information while giving an illusion of freedom. To counter this admins and mods should have fixed term positions (power corrupts and the longer they have this power over information the more likely they will become corrupt due to the power dynamics). Everyone who is a contributing member should be in a “lottery” where admins and mods are chosen at random to ensure that everyone takes part in the power structure, removing the status control and the benefits that come with it.
What of a website? A website is even easier to control than a forum, it will like a forum have a small team but unlike a forum its less interactive and even easier to moderate because for the most part unless chosen to be so, website creators are in the dark, in the shadows, you won’t know them or their agendas. The information you receive then is solely in the hands off that person, the only positive is you can choose which website to view, read and thus believe. The main problems arise when forums are linked to websites, status comes into play and a website will start to gain more power. The pluralist idea is the only thing that can counter act this and that is solely down to the content user and their wishes.
Finally social networking sites a bastion of information, a stalkers fantasy turn reality. Not only is it possible to bully your enemies through this (i.e if you are a member of a forum and they get your personal data, they can then begin a campaign against you because you go against their paradigm), it is also possible for group pages to be deleted by the site, comments can be deleted, censorship is a big part of the social networking idea, from the creators of the site and the creators of the page. All the while an illusion of choice is rammed down your throat, and a popular culture spreads its tentacles through the social-power dynamic of you and your friends, one that for the most part the majority of people are unaware of. A new form of socialisation thus has arisen, the social network.
In conclusion, the government has made a few mistakes with the internet file sharing being the biggest one at the moment, and also the free-flow of information (though this serves as disinformation which is why its allowed), it has empowered people who for the most part would not be empowered but a new dynamic has arisen and one that needs and has not yet been addressed, which is counter productive and it is imperative that as our dependence on the internet grows that these problems are addressed, otherwise a new greater (unrealised) form of oppression will be allowed to grow unheeded, this will hamper the flow of ideas.
[On a side note, the notion of a troll is a defence mechanism against this oppression, it’s the inner rebel shouting back at the oppression brought on through silly acts of disobedience, defiance and general idiocy so that two fingers can be stuck up to the established internet order. Well there is that, and attention seeking alienated people of the masses]