Book Review: Novelist and blogger Cory Doctorow pens a manual for destroying Big Tech

Sept. 12, 2023

By FRANK BAJAK

As a leading blogger in the pre-Substack era, novelist and public-interest technologist Cory Doctorow often warned that Big Tech was rendering of cyberspace a polluted, dystopian, crassly commercial and often hostile world of limited options.

Now it’s happened. Facebook, Instagram and other walled fiefdoms of surveillance capitalism distract discourse with scrolls of targeted ads and trending video reels. More genteel competitors were long ago muscled out.

Hateful trolls, violent speech and addictive algorithms thrive. And when a user account is mistakenly or unjustly shuttered, platform automation means the aggrieved will encounter callous indifference. It’s gotten to where anti-Big Tech initiatives enjoy bipartisan backing in an otherwise teetering U.S. democracy.

“There is no fixing Big Tech,” Doctorow, who blogged for years on the website “Boing Boing,” writes in his new book “The Internet Con: How To Seize The Means of Computation.” The breezily written 173-page manifesto is for people who want to destroy it.

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