In the 21st century, when the Internet has wholly entered people’s lives, its essence has changed dramatically. The Internet has become lacking in diversity due to its large number of participants and stakeholders, and this quality has had a negative impact on the Internet environment, individuals, and society. The Internet is no longer a platform for free speech and lacks the inclusiveness that initially set it up.
Impact on Internet development
The emergence of the Internet has provided a broader platform for the exchange of information. The Internet was originally created to provide a more democratic and freer utopian sphere of communication (Korvela, 2021). Nevertheless, as the Internet has progressed, it has expanded the functions it can provide, not only in the exchange of ideas but also in people’s daily lives, such as shopping and travel. The multi-functional and multi-disciplinary expansion of the Internet has enabled it to yield more benefits which have led to a shift in the purpose of the development of the Internet itself and the purpose of its use by users. Internet conspiracies, information fraud, or cyber violence have become a daily occurrence on the Internet, and as a result, the Internet has been regulated in many ways. Different regulatory regimes and the profit-driven nature of the Internet have made it less all-inclusive of information, making it lack the quality of diversity. To be more specific, the Internet’s lack of diversity has made its online environment tend to be unhealthy, even malignant. For example, during COVID-19, conspiracy theories that 5G cell phone signals would spread new crown viruses festered on the Internet and created social panic. Conspiracy theories with different purposes festered through the Internet, and the sheer volume of users made it difficult to manage speech which made the Internet an area that cannot be trusted. Violations of user privacy resulting from the sale and trade of personal data on the Internet are a regular occurrence in today’s online environment. For example, the personal data of thousands of Australian women were found to be available for as little as $60. This suggests that multiple interests associated with the Internet are making profits through the Internet. Thus, leading users to opt out of disclosing ideas that might expose their privacy on the Web for their own safety. It also means that user participation on the Internet has become more restrictive, reducing the diversity of speech, and making the online environment less peaceful.
Influences on individuals.
Algorithms as an important part of the functioning of the Internet, they search and filter information for the Internet. The recommended ability of algorithms makes it easier for users to find information. However, it also closes the circle of information to which the user has access. Parise (2011) suggests that the recommendatory algorithms of social media create filtering bubbles that isolate people from their own interests and ideas. (Parise, 2011)
Algorithmic personalization limits the diversity of the Internet and leads to biased user values. For instance, users’ aesthetic standards are assimilated by beauty filters in social media. Users achieve alignment with popular social norms through the display of elements of online identity (Marwick, 2013). The recommended ability of the algorithm serves as a tool to make it easier for users to gain more attention for their identity on the Internet and to achieve a sense of social identity. However, does it have a positive impact on individuals to have the same aesthetic for everyone? Individuals’ worldviews and one-sided understanding of events can create increasingly closed egos and personalities, creating cognitive errors until they become a solipsism group. The lack of diversity on the Internet affects the one-sidedness of people’s ideas and cultural reserves, and thus the diversity of human development in the real world.
THE PROBLEM WITH SOCIAL MEDIA FILTERS (mental health, colorism, unhealthy beauty standards) by Toni Bryanne TV. All right reserved. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wByiJGw7Z7o
Gender equality has always been a highly controversial topic in the labor market. For the technology or Internet industry, the percentage of women in the workforce shows much smaller odds. Some data show that the percentage of men in the technology industry is as high as 75%. The scarcity of female employees in the tech industry makes the lack of a feminine perspective on the Internet, thus giving the biased male perspective the opportunity to dominate tech design, which then has a detrimental effect on women. Furthermore, women in the male-dominated Internet industry are paid 50% less than men and are treated unfairly. This is one of the reasons for the lack of female representation in the tech industry.
Gender inequality on the Internet is gradually affecting real life due to the lack of female perspective of employees within the Internet. For example, a search for images of work in Google Images reveals that only a quarter of images are of women (Fabris et al., 2020). Since the communication and use of the Internet have taken up a large part of people’s lives, the Internet industry led by male employees subconsciously allows the male perspective to penetrate the Internet information search, thus creating stereotypes about gender inequality among users, and patriarchal consciousness gradually penetrates through the Internet, causing prejudiced groups to deepen their discrimination against women in the workplace. The lack of diversity of opinions on the Internet exacerbates the contradiction of gender inequality in society and affects young people’s perception of gender equality in society.
The Internet has led to a boom in social media platforms that allow every citizen to speak out. However, for indigenous peoples, social media has instead become a tool for them to experience violence. Rather than bringing about a culture of interracial peace and diversity, social media has weakened the voice of Indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples in Australia choose to hide their Indigenous identity because Indigenous-identified social media platforms tend to be filled with racism and verbal attacks (Carlson & Kennedy, 2021). Indigenous peoples are unable to gain interracial respect and support through the Internet, and the questioning of Indigenous identity on the Internet reduces Indigenous desire to share, thus reducing Indigenous perspectives and Indigenous cultural output on the Internet. In addition to this, computer games as a product of the Internet have been found to be a conduit for racial slurs. Computer games about racism deepen the racism and prejudice of users. The lax regulation of the Internet leads to an anti-utopian trend in the online environment, reduces the development of diversity on the Internet, deprives indigenous people of their social identity in the Internet, increases the undesirable class nature of social identity, and enhances inter-racial conflicts.
The development of the Internet has facilitated the development of the Internet economy and has created technology giants with the most resources and the most data and interests. The formation of technology giants has allowed the Internet to be used to some extent as a tool to exchange benefits and to create economic monopolies. For example, Facebook has 2.4 billion users and controls more than half of all online advertising. This makes Facebook a powerful regulator of user data control. The powerful power of tech giants may not be a good thing for users. The overwhelming Internet monopoly of the tech giants gives them greater sovereignty over Internet management, and in the interest of profit will exploit Internet users to make a profit. For example, Facebook has been repeatedly exposed for leaking user information. And another intervenor in the Internet economy is the government which needs the data provided by the tech giants for national security surveillance (Popiel, 2018). Therefore, the rampant presence of tech giants on the Internet has made the Internet economy more hegemonic, and the lack of effective regulation has left the Internet with single regulatory sovereignty that is more likely to harm society.
While the development of the Internet has brought great benefits to people, it also faces its lack of diversity. The lack of diversity on the Internet has brought about many negative effects on individuals’ perceptions and the social environment as well as the economy. The development of the Internet needs more effective improvements and reasonable regulation to increase its freedom and diversity and create a utopian Internet environment.
This work is licence https://www.arin2610.net.au/2022/10/14/to-what-extent-h…d-individuals-35/
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