Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger has slammed Facebook and Twitter for abusing their power to create an “appalling” Internet while advocating “decentralized” social networks as the solution.

“They can shape your experience, they can control what you see, when you see it and you become essentially a cog in their machine,” Sanger told CNBC.

Sanger said that it was “appalling frankly” how the Internet had developed since 2001, with companies exploiting users’ data to make vast profits at the cost of “massive violations” of privacy.

He directly called out Mark Zuckerberg as being “too controlling” and having no idea about “bottom up” networks.

“The internet wouldn’t have been created by people like Mark Zuckerberg, or any of the sort of corporate executives in Silicon Valley today,” said Sanger.

Sanger’s solution, outlined in his Declaration of Digital Independence, is that these “vast digital empires” need to be replaced by networks of decentralized individuals.

This would return the Internet to becoming “freer,” the very foundation on which it was created in the first place, according to the Wikipedia co-founder.

“These networks would, for example, allow individuals to publish information online without going through a central organization, like a corporation. In the same way that bitcoin is a “decentralized” asset not subject to authorities like central banks, decentralized social networks would mean no single platform could control users’ data online,” reports CNBC.


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