#Web3 Weekly: Jan. 10–16, 2021

Even as democracy ails in the “real” world, it continues to thrive online

Photo by Simon Abrams via Unsplash

Re-sharing below the latest edition of #Web3 Weekly, my regular newsletter about decentralization. If you’d like to get it in your inbox every Sunday, subscribe here.

Like a lot of Americans, I’m concerned about the health of my country’s democracy heading into the inauguration of a new president this Wednesday. On the other hand, I’m happy to report that democracy is very much alive online. That comes through loud and clear in the latest headlines, I think:

  • A muscular official response to the siege of the U.S. capitol took shape both online and off. Authorities collared dozens of rioters across the country and anticipate more arrests in the weeks ahead, aided in part by information gleaned from social networks. Parler, which had become a digital gathering spot for right-wing extremists, remained shuttered after being banned from major Big Tech platforms. However, an independent researcher told Gizmodo that prior to Parler’s shutdown she archived all its users’ public posts from Jan. 6, the day of the capitol siege. The trove is now likely to become a fertile hunting ground for law enforcement. Separately, Facebook’s own employees complained that the platform has been showing ads for military products alongside news about the Washington insurrection.

That’s it for now. Thanks for spending some time with the newsletter today! If you’d like to get updates like this in your inbox every Sunday, please join our email list here.

— Peter A. McKay