The Feudal Nature of the Internet

The Feudal Nature of the Internet

The internet is dominated by feudal lords, say Google, Facebook, Reddit, Snapchat etc.  These noble lords have great tracts of cyber real estate which they control in much the same way medieval feudal lords controlled the land in Europe. 

These organizations and web sites make strict rules that they enforce within their ecosystem to hold their users accountable to a sometimes published list of practices and principles.  But sometimes the list is unpublished and obscure.

This is undoubtedly the same as feudalism.  All the tenants of an estate were subject to the whim of the Lords, more or less, even though there was a bailiff and a token court system to sometimes appeal to.

The similarity is that the Lords themselves were not held accountable by much.  Thus you have phenomena like the Marquis de Sade or Bluebeard with the feudal lord preying on the peasants and getting away with it.

Reddit, for instance, is a feudal lord who has decreed that it won’t tolerate peasants from small web tenant farms coming to its grand web estate to do what it calls “Self-promotion.”  Sometimes they call this “Blog Spam.”  That means you have your blog or your web site and you post links to it on Reddit hoping people will visit your web site.

Reddit does not want that.  Reddit wants you to stay in Reddit.

However, it occurs to me that Reddit is itself nothing but a collection of blog-spam.  Reddit appeared and gained popularity after people posted things from Reddit on other sites like facebook or google, and the visitors increased on Reddit.

In other words, it is the thing that it prohibits.

In a similar way, Google allows only advertisements on Google Adwords that fit in with the standards and practices of some obscure code of ethics.  It is not ethics, at all, but the whimsy of some unseen and never spoken to office full of advertising censors who will decide whether you are allowed to give Google money to advertise.  This, if you’ve ever gotten caught in it, is a bureaucratic nightmare like something out of Kafka.

Some of the things that Google doesn’t want in the ads are unreasonable extravagant or dangerous claims.  Of course, if you go on google and use its search feature, most of what comes up organically is indeed unreasonable extravagant and dangerous, as well as being debased discourse, fake news, and outright lies.  Google purports to circumscribe the very thing that it is.

Here we have the contradiction that shows up again and again in the feudal structure of the internet – these feudal lords are the very things they purport to despise.

It was the same in the medieval times.  What, after all, were these peasant-despising Noble Lords?  They were peasants themselves of course.  They had moved up in the world and they were now pretending to be better than the common folk.  But of course they were not.

If you are a businessman whose local or regional business relies on ad words for you and your family’s survival, I wish you good luck.  One day Google may suddenly stop allowing you to run your ads because you have somehow vaguely violated one of their whims.

A peasant could be thrown out without much explanation back in medieval times.  Many of them starved to death, of course.  Many business owners fail when Google prohibits them from advertising on so-called ethical grounds.  History is repeating itself. 

The system of feudal oppression seems to be the first one that arises after a technological transformation in lets say agriculture or production of goods.  Then later the feudal system is thrown off and the feudal lords are slowly divested of their arbitrary, hypocritical power.

One day, the lords of Reddit, Facebook, Google, Amazon may find their cyber territories overrun by the marauding masses.  Their heads might be chopped off and paraded around on long sticks.  There might be a reign of terror, then a liberal democracy on the internet that lasts for some time, until the contradictions of capitalism again assert themselves, and the internet will become socialist.

The great estates of Google and so on that stretched as far as the eye could see across the cyber expanse will be nothing but a memory.

We will all be huddled together in tower blocks protected by walled gardens.   We will be safer.  But the world will be perhaps less grand.

Please do not attempt to blogspam this on Reddit, or to advertise this claim on Google, for it is an unreasonable claim, I’m quite sure.  Although it is quite reasonable to assume that history will continue to repeat itself during this advanced technological age in the most backward and feudal way possible.

But I will allow this – should you ever be blog spammed or adblocked, please feel free to copy and paste this to the unseen, Kafkaesque feudal bureaucrats who have arbitrarily determined your fate – not as a threat or a warning.  But just a good old-fashioned fuck you.










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