With Uber apologising today for getting things wrong (in the past mind), this piece by John Naughton is pretty timely.
Add to this Mark Zuckerberg's willingness to hand over data related to advertising during the 2016 US election; outcry today from YouTube bloggers suddenly declared 'not suitable for advertising'; and a general discomfort with the way that platforms, governments and businesses 'weaponise' data.
Does this mean that the system is catching up? Or just a coincidental cluster of stories? The former I think. We're entering a era of mass consumerism driven by artificial intelligence. The legislators are on the case - GDPR, for example, is just the tip of the iceberg.
What’s more interesting are various straws in the wind that show how digital behemoths are losing their shine. Many of these relate to Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, and to the dawning of a realisation that Google and Facebook in particular may have played some role in these political earthquakes. This was not because the leadership of the two companies actively sought these outcomes, but because people began to realise that the infrastructure they had built for their core business of extracting users’ data and selling it to companies for ad-targeting purposes could be – and was – “weaponised” by political actors in order to achieve political goals.