Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger calls for a social media boycott on July 4 and 5


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Depending on who you ask, social media could be considered one of the greatest technological advancements of our time, or the bane of our collective existence. Whichever camp you happen to fall into, it's clear that the social media industry has changed the world; whether that's a good or a bad thing is up to each individual to decide.

However, Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger certainly seems to hold the latter viewpoint -- at least, in regards to social media's current state. Sanger recently published a petition that calls for a complete social media boycott on July 4 and July 5.

Though the petition does outline Sanger's grievances with social media -- such as the improper use of personal user information by tech giants and the cold, detached nature of algorithms -- his personal blog is a better place to read his full "Declaration of Digital Independence." The Declaration is intended to act as a tool of persuasion, which can be used to convince "as many people as possible" to "join together and [reform]" the social networks that we have today.

Sanger wants to return to the early days of the internet, where instead of giant social media "empires," we had many decentralized networks, run by independent individuals who didn't stand to profit from the sale or sharing of personal user information. Sanger summarizes his feelings in the following quote:

We are calling for a boycott, or strike, of the big, centralized social media networks on July 4 and/or 5. As this new Declaration of Digital Independence states, we possess the digital rights of free speech, privacy, and security. Like old King George, Big Social Media have systematically abused our rights. They have centrally collected and control the data we individually own. We should declare our independence of them by demanding a new system of decentralized social media in which we own and control our own data, and the networks are made fully interoperable. Let's tear down the silos. Sign the Declaration, and strike!

Sanger didn't stop with a petition and Declaration alone -- he also took the time to put together 9 comprehensive "principles" that we should judge social networks on. "We free individuals should be able to publish our data freely, without having to answer to any corporation," one principle reads (you can see the full list here).

What do you think of Sanger's opinions on the social media industry? Let us know in the comments below.

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Posts: 3,145   +3,264
I agree completely. We had it better in the days of ICQ, AIM and email - much less stressful and we weren't obsessing over every "bloink!" on our gadgets. Its insane that people blindly click agreements that give these companies full ownership of user-created content, which is what drives people to these networks in the first place. Then they spy on us in order to better market us to death and compromise our online safety - for profit. Social networks and tracking are digital cancer. I know you can't turn back time but MAN I miss my Blackberry and the simpler, safer and saner times of just a little over a decade ago.


Posts: 74   +75
Yet Wikipedia is part of censoring and deciding what is truth and what is not. I think he needs to consider that as well.
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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,201   +5,588
While I agree with him I'm wondering what he's smoking and if I could get a barrel of it, just for "testing" purposes ......
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Posts: 1,512   +839
Anyone who is participating should take it one step further and uninstall their social media apps from their phones. Not logging in is one thing, and easily explained away or smoothed over by middle management to upper management; 'we do not know how many of these people were just busy being with their friends and family for the holiday'. Uninstall an app though, that is an active step one can take and is much harder to explain away - especially if you don't re-install on the 6th. I would love to see that graph, of user installs spiking downward, and see how a manager at Facebook would try to explain that one to Zuckerberg.


Posts: 5,172   +5,478
Yet Wikipedia is part of censoring and deciding what is truth and what is not. I think he needs to consider that as well.
Wikipedia does not decide what is truth. It's a collaborative process in which a group of people discuss the topic and come to a consensus on what to put down. It's not always perfect but it's a heck of a lot better then having any one person at a time make edits to a page based on their own perspective.

If you have a problem with a page, join as a contributor. Just know that no decisions are made alone. You'll be discussing the topic at hand at length and you'll be required to vet your knowledge on the subject.

There are many tools in place to prevent abuse. Some people bash Wikipedia but they by far have the best system in place to prevent abuse. There is no other source of information that even comes close to wikipedia.


Posts: 31   +28
I haven't used Facebook since 2007 (used it briefly to keep in touch with friends after high school) and don't own a Twitter account. Never really understood the desire for social media platforms.

kira setsu

Posts: 282   +211
His fight is a losing cause.

people will always migrate to the simplest platform. we had multiple outlets in the past and it led us here, not just for social media, but many things have proven this point from walmart and amazon to car services, simplicity will always win out even if it comes with giving up something in return, ie privacy, people will consider that a fair trade for convenience.

he's not dealing with scholars and people with time to burn, he's approaching avg joes with a form of work that'll inconvenience them in some way, wont work.