To what extent has a lack of diversity influenced the development of the internet? How does this lack of diversity harm societies and individuals?
The lack of diversity in the online economy is reflected in the technology itself, and the gap in network development is getting bigger and bigger. Take the Internet search engine as an example, google search owns 92% of all the evil networks in the world, and is used by nearly two-thirds of the world’s users. （McCarthy，2022）Search engines or certain business platforms, such as facebook, are in a monopoly position, resulting in their excessive power and market monopoly.
One of the consequences of the lack of diversity lies in the increasingly evident presence of flitter bubbles, which sometimes help misinformation to spread more widely. People searching are more likely to accept opinions that are the same as theirs. Studies have shown that the drop in vaccination rates in the US in 2014 was due to the increased probability of people searching for vaccine side effects and the success of anti-vaccine groups in spreading misinformation. The more people searched for content related to vaccine side effects, the more the data provided on the web emphasized the horrors of vaccines. As a result, people became more convinced of the misinformation.
Another real-world example of the lack of diversity on the web affecting the growth of the Internet is geek culture. Reddit, one of the more popular platforms, has been pointed out for promoting white men because of its gender and racial stereotypes. Geek masculinity encompasses a spirit of cyber-liberalism that values the concept of rational, autonomous individuals and elitist idealism (Turner, 2006). However, it also makes it difficult for more women or people of color to participate in this structural disorder. As a result, Spaces devoted to geek culture and STEM interests (such as Reddit) may tend to view women as objects of sexual desire or unwelcome interlopers. The lack of diversity in the audience of the network platform makes the development of the network limited by the limitation of the structure.
Massanari, Adrienne (2017) #Gamergate and The Fappening: How Reddit’s algorithm, governance, and culture support toxic technocultures. New Media & Society, 19(3): 329–346.
Pubmed Central. (2016). The filter bubble and its effect on online personal health information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4937233/