Monopoly, multiculturalism, and freedom of speech on the Internet

To what extent has a lack of diversity influenced the development of the internet? How does this lack of diversity harm societies and individuals?

"Light Emitting Diversions" by jah~ is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 .

Currently, the dividing line between the Internet and society has been increasingly blurred. However, the integration of the Internet into human life is also accompanied by a potential crisis in the seemingly flourishing Internet. To a large extent, the Internet results in a lack of diversity, which is detrimental to both society and individuals due to the blurring of boundaries between the Internet and life. In recent years, the development of the Internet has contributed to such issues as the monopoly of internet companies, the monoculture of stereotypes, and the lack of freedom of expression, which has detrimental effects on society and the public.

The unfair competition of the Internet

App Store” by dirkvorderstrasse is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 .

By pioneering a range of innovative and groundbreaking Internet technologies in the web 2.0 era, some Internet companies have accumulated a certain amount of users, which creates a “first mover” advantage. Besides, when these platforms are in expansion, their users receive more benefits. As a result, they will also accumulate more users at a later stage, which leads to scale economics (Mansell & Steinmueller, 2020) However, the evolution of these phenomena has also created a legacy of the Internet’s history. In the current web 3.0 era, these firms have become Internet giants with exclusive technology and numerous consumers, which means a market monopoly. In turn, the technological and economic monopoly of these Internet companies has resulted in the lack of fair competition online.

In 2020, the European Commission launched an investigation into the rules enforced across Apple’s App Store. This was triggered by the competition of Apple with other music streaming providers in the App Store. By imposing stringent rules on the operation of the App Store, competing music streaming services were left at disadvantage, which allowed Apple to distort competition by denying its users other cheaper music streaming options. This is evidenced by a high commission paid by competitors for each transaction conducted within the App Store.

From an economic perspective, the market is expected to maintain innovation and competition. Undoubtedly, a monopoly such as that of Apple would lead to unfair competition for other businesses, which not only creates an illegal competitive advantage for the monopolistic businesses in the industry but also puts potential entrants off the Internet. Instead, it only serves the interests of those abusing the monopoly, thus undermining the order of competition for legal businesses.

The absence of competition in the Internet industry is also damaging to society and consumers. This is because monopolies interfere with the regulation of how products are priced in the industry, which forces consumers into paying more for the same products than they would in a sufficiently competitive market. This is a response made to the fact that “Apple, by forcing app developers to accept the App Store’s proprietary in-app purchase system and charging a 30% commission on all subscriptions and purchases of those apps, making the app marketplace more expensive for customers.” Apart from that, the losses suffered by consumers are transferred to the monopoly as profits are generated out of the monopoly, as conspicuously exploited by the monopolist.

The price-fixing imposed by the monopolists solidifies the monopoly-related benefits received from the Internet market, which reduces the willingness of companies to innovate. This is adverse to the technological progress made for society.

Australian media enterprises that have been white for too long

KSC-2015-2430” by NASAKennedy is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 .

As one of the essential factors in the diversity of the Internet, multiculturalism has been emphasized in recent years by Australia. It is undeniable that Australia has made plenty of efforts in this respect as one of the government’s top priorities. However, multiculturalism is regrettably not reflected in the Internet industry and media companies across Australian Australian Australia. The lack of multiculturalism could even be described as a lack of media companies. According to the new research conducted by the Media Diversity Association of Australia (MDA): Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories?

  • 100% of free-to-air television national news directors in Australia have an Anglo-Celtic background (and they are also all male).
  • More than 75% of presenters, commentators, and reporters have an Anglo-Celtic background.
  • As low as 6% of presenters, commentators, and reporters have either an Indigenous or non-European background.

Such hopeless statistics mirror the plain fact that in Australia where multiculturalism is promoted, the voices of minority communities and Aboriginal people in news production have been marginalized by the Internet and the current media structure. There is the appearance of multiculturalism neither in the media nor on the Internet.

African gangs running riot, terrorising, wreaking

The lack of diversity on the internet has, above all, contributed to the misrepresentation and under-representation of minority groups when it comes to news coverage. In recent years, there has been no shortage of bigoted and discriminatory reporting in the Australian mainstream media. From a racist and racially stereotypical perspective, such reporting is tantamount to white people working in the Australian media making fun of and insulting people of African descent. Besides, the display of such content in the Australian mainstream media reflects the attitude held by the Australian media towards multiculturalism.

This has also led to a lack of confidence in the multiculturalism of Australia across the migrant community, as the MDA survey reveals that as many as 77% of those with CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) backgrounds view their backgrounds as what prevents them from career progression.

These figures even caused disappointment among the non-white people expecting to work in the Australian media. Due to the scarcity of talented and ambitious globally minded professionals in the Australian Internet and media industry, businesses will become less creative, less innovative, and less able to offer various services without the support of talents who have diverse skill sets. Consequently, the non-white Australian public has less willingness to support and consume the services provided by Australian media and Internet companies. Ultimately, there is a less engaged media audience getting.

Suffering that is invisible cannot be considered as suffering?

Freedom of Speech” by Thomas Hawk is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 .

With the boom of the Internet industry at present, there is also a lack of diversity facing some countries in the policies and governance of the Internet. This is especially true when it comes to the restrictions placed on the freedom of speech online. China has always enforced strict “Chinese government censorship” in its Internet management and policies, which is due to complex political reasons, rather than the original intention to uphold national security, public order, public health, or morality.  Beyond Covid-19, the flaws of the ‘Authoritarian internet’ have revealed how disappointing and frightening it is to over-regulate the entitlement of the public to freedom of expression online, as demonstrated in the case of the recent events occurring in Xinjiang, China.

Since the outbreak of the Xinjiang epidemic, the Xinjiang blockade has rarely been discussed in public due to the strict censorship online.

All posts about the Xinjiang outbreak are prohibited, even though they are more about the rescue of Xinjiang people. In the current web 3.0 era, the Internet allows information to be spread so widely and quickly that celebrity messages can be viewed instantly after posting. However, Internet users are unable to give a voice to such ordinary people with sufferings. Creating the illusion that “suffering that cannot be seen is not suffering”, the Chinese Internet shows not only the lack of diversity on the Internet, but also a microcosm of Chinese social policy and governance. With the continuation of Internet censorship in China, the loss of freedom of expression online further reflects the loss of human rights in the Chinese society.

Freedom and openness on the internet are of vital importance. It is hoped that the door to freedom of speech will be opened on China’s Internet in the future. Instead of viewing the restrictions placed on freedom of speech as a prerequisite to protect national security, the freedom of speech should be regarded as crucial to upholding human rights and individual interests. Besides, it is impossible to safeguard national security without promoting and recognizing human rights.


The lack of diversity has an impact on all aspects of the Internet to a large extent. Most of these problems arise from the economic, political, and cultural complexities of reality, which affect the Internet and, once again, society and individuals to different degrees. People can also be any number of characters online. Therefore, the lack of diversity is what everyone should try to compensate for through their existing rights and identities. This is because every one of us can be affected by the lack of diversity online in the Internet era.


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Budarick, J. (2018b, August 1). Why the media are to blame for racializing and racializing Melbourne’s “African gang” problem. The Conversation.

Johansson, E. (2021b, April 30). “Apple has a monopoly” – EU accuses Cupertino of choking competition. Verdict.

Mansell, R., & Steinmueller, W. E. (2020b). Advanced introduction to platform economics. Edward Elgar Publishing.

O’Hara, K., Hall, W., & Cerf, V. (2021). Four internets. Oxford University Press.

Zhao, I. (2022, September 14). Uyghurs living under COVID-19 lockdowns in Xinjiang face food shortages and family separations. ABC News.