The New York Times Magazine: “In this special Tech & Design Issue of The New York Times Magazine, we ponder the internet’s future at a time when that future has never felt more unsettled. It isn’t just about Facebook and the other American tech giants, which no longer enjoy the rapid growth that characterized their early days. The rise of the Chinese internet has threatened a geopolitical power shift, as a different government and national economy looks poised to become the center of the online world. Even governments that don’t “censor” the internet have begun to talk about regulating it in unprecedented ways — as with the European Union’s G.D.P.R. law, which already has given a huge swath of the developed world a subtly different set of online rules.
But perhaps the deepest shift has been a shift in attitudes: the breaking of a spell that seemed to protect Silicon Valley from distrust. After years in which questions about online privacy hardly penetrated the consumer consciousness, Americans have awakened to a feeling of deep suspicion about how companies are harvesting and using their data. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll earlier this year found that American adults, by double-digit margins, believed that social media does more to spread falsehoods than truths and more to divide the country than to unite it. Even the tech giants’ own employees have now become uneasy about the implications of their work, leading to some unusual labor movements among their highly compensated white-collar ranks…”