To a large extent that a lack of diversity influenced the development of the internet

How does this lack of diversity harm societies and individuals?

The contemporary Internet has communication barriers, creating an open world with simple, instant, unlimited communication practices and possibilities. Art, knowledge and cultural processes are easily spread around the world. The Internet has tremendously impacted society due to its interactivity and widespread use. However, the lack of diversity on the internet has gradually become apparent as the Internet has become more widespread and accessible. In this article, I will present examples of how the lack of diversity largely influenced the development of the Internet from three perspectives: economic, cultural, and political.

“Wordle Cloud of the Internet Marketing Blog – 08/15/08” by DavidErickson is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Platform Economy
In economic aspects, the contemporary platform economy is prevalent, and the lack of diversity can lead to a monopoly position by a few platforms, thus, to a large extent affecting the development of variety on the internet. Platform societies primarily operate in social and economic activities as a form of emerging communities. Platforms’ social, economic, and interpersonal flows are guided by a global online media ecosystem and driven by data through algorithmic organisations (Van, 2018). At the same time, it allows the public, consumers, and governments to share resources or sell products. The platform economy is controversial, as major American ecosystems, such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter, and dominant technology companies, are active participants of state and civil society actors in managing the platform society (Van, 2018). When they are involved in privacy and personal protection issues, the administrators have to balance private and public benefits in searching for solutions. Thus, the adoption of platforms has led to a conflict between stakeholders on shared values and the need to examine the role of online platforms in organising a society in the globalised world order.

“Facebook network graph” by euphoria is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

For example, Facebook has been the subject of scrutiny as well as criticism, and the issue of internet privacy, including unlimited recording of user information and automatic facial recognition software, has been a controversial topic. Besides, Facebook’s operation is also full of loopholes, censorship policy, tax avoidance and other issues that have been highlighted and reported by several media. The lack of diversity in the internet platform has led to the monopoly position of Facebook, so even though Facebook receives many lawsuits, it has survived. When there are significant problems with Facebook’s regulation, it always solves these troubles through compensation, so the issues litigated by the masses have not been solved. When public and personal benefits conflict, the one who holds the monopoly position economically is the prominent leader, thus influencing the market share. Once these companies become more influential, they will influence their platform regulation. Thus, the regulation brings about personal and public problems that affect the development of the internet.

Labor Force
In terms of culture, the lack of diversity in the workforce not only brings negative comments to the company, such as the impact on the public regarding democracy and multiculturalism. It may also not promote faster growth, so if a large number of companies cannot achieve diversity in hiring, it will affect the progress of individuals and society to a large extent. With the globalisation of the modern economy, it is wise to diversify the workforce. Technology companies are facing increasing pressure to diversify their labour force. Many companies have a disproportionate workforce, and it is evident that most technology companies have a predominantly white and male workforce. A recent Fortune survey of the top 9 tech companies in Silicon Valley showed that, on average, women represent only about a third of the workforce. In an effort to address its commitment to increasing diversity, Pinterest shared its 2016 hiring goals for women and minorities, as well as plans and initiatives to support the achievement of these stated goals. Still, it is apparent that very little progress has been made. The fundamental problem with the lack of diversity in the labour force is hidden and often in the tech industry.

“Stop Racial Profiling” by Overpass Light Brigade is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Gender and racial bias are pervasive in the tech industry that, to a considerable extent, affects society and individuals in ways that are not beneficial to anyone. Because of the lack of diversity, the company’s employees are basically people of similar backgrounds. Due to their similar mindsets, there is a limited exchange of unique perspectives and stimulation of new ideas. In addition, the lack of diversity reduces efficiency and corporate productivity resulting in slow progress on the internet and society. Moreover, it is difficult to prove that a homogeneous team can increase productivity because a diverse group of employees is more likely to understand customers’ needs and come up with ideas to satisfy them. Finally, the lack of a labour force of different backgrounds, and languages, makes it difficult for companies to attract a broad target market and connect with consumers from various fields and segments.

“Gender Equality – President Obama Quote” by USAID_IMAGES is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Filter Bubble
In terms of politics, filter bubbles can contribute to political polarisation. When a user’s behaviour on the internet is detected, it is automatically categorised by algorithms and systems into different political positions. When the system adds specific labels to users, information additional from their political positions is automatically filtered out, and other views are invisible on social media. All people see are views that fit their situations. In other words, the lack of diversity in politics leads to a filter bubble, and the internet can quickly become a tool to dominate and exploit people’s political views. A filter bubble is a situation where internet users only encounter information and opinions that conform to and reinforce their beliefs. This is politically dangerous, and whenever people are surrounded only by ideas they agree with and are not influenced by opposing views, they find themselves in a filter bubble. Filter bubbles distort the understanding of politics and hinder their ability to make balanced decisions. Also, algorithms push hostile, one-sided narratives into users’ social media feeds, search results and recommendations, and the same happens to people on the other side of the ideological fence. As people only support what they believe or are biased about and reject information that does not fit their views, this deepens and increases the polarisation of opinions. While it is debatable whether the impact of Internet segregation on political polarisation is significant, there are examples where it does have some effect on politics. In the United States, where Facebook is now one of the critical election battlegrounds, 60% of its users are unaware that filtering algorithms only show them one viewpoint and that these votes can affect the outcome of an election, which is one of the key reasons why it is essential to understand the filter bubble. Thus, the filter bubble is indeed a striking example of a political lack of diversity, where the personalisation of the Web can gradually isolate individual users into their filter bubbles, distorting or limiting the information that individual users see on the Internet, which can lead to cognitive biases and shortcuts that magnify their negative impact on people’s ability to think logically and critically. This leads to the appearance of cognitive biases and shortcuts that exaggerate their negative effect on people’s ability to think logically and critically.

“Unwanted politicians: Clinton AND Trump” by Can Pac Swire is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

In conclusion, the lack of diversity will, to a large extent, affect the development of the Internet and harm society and individuals. From the economic point of view, the lack of diversity leads to a monopolistic situation in the platform economy, which cannot be solved by the irreplaceable nature of these companies when their regulation has problems. Culturally, when a company’s culture is problematic, the composition of the labour force becomes difficult, and discrimination and bias lead to a homogenous and non-diverse workforce, which affects the progress of the company, society and the individual. Regarding politics, filter bubbles can contribute to political polarisation.




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