One approach to better empowering users and upstart services to avoid Big Tech censorship, suppression, and control is to build capabilities into the browser for mashing up and mixing in complementary services. This would provide a client-side (browser based) approach for third party complementary services to extend incumbent services without needing the incumbent’s authorization or cooperation. This would be one element of building Future Distributed Applications. Enhance the browser to support composition of services and data.
Using this approach, social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, etc.) that enforce authoritarian content moderation policies can be complemented by alternative services. Content from prohibited users can be composed into the Big Tech content. Users could see the conversation with content merged from every desired source beyond Big Tech control. This approach for distributing comments that form a single conversation would be applicable to many services.
- Comment on content where a user’s comments would be suppressed.
- Annotate or review an article where commenting is not enabled. Allow an annotation to link precisely to a specific range of text, so it can be presented inline.
- Add links to relevant content not referenced by the original.
This paradigm would enable end users to control how content is consumed, so that Web sites cannot censor or bias what information is presented about controversial topics.
Applying browser add-ons that mix-in complementary services would also enable end users to take information and process it in personalized ways, such as for fact-checking, reputation, rating, gaining insights through analytics, and discovering related (or contrarian) information. Complementary content could be presented by injecting HTML, or by rendering additional layers, frames, tabs, or windows, as appropriate.
Browser add-ons are only supported on the desktop, not mobile devices. Mobile devices would need to be supported for this paradigm to become broadly useful.