Jacob Silverman | Longreads | May 2018 | 9 minutes (2,206 words)



For the better part of two decades, an important set of assumptions has underwritten our use of the internet. In exchange for being monitored — to what degree, many people still have no idea — we would receive free digital services. We would give up our privacy, but our data and our rights, unarticulated though they might be, would be respected. This is the simple bargain that drove the development of the social web and rewarded its pioneers — Facebook, Google, and the many apps and services they’ve swallowed up — with global user bases and multi-billion-dollar fortunes.

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