May 17, 2022

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Usbek & Rica – From social networks to the metaverse, how will technology reshape the way we engage with society?

In 2030, social networks are more present than ever, allowing the world to be more interconnected. Areas that were poorly covered in the past, including much of sub-Saharan Africa, are now covered thanks to submarine internet cables irrigating the continent and satellite towers funded by the major players in Silicon Valley.

Tens of thousands of devices are now orbiting the Earth, helping to reduce the digital divide to a small extent. In many countries, these satellites are the main way to access the web and thus build online links, increasing the influence of US and Chinese platforms on the web.

If social networks attempt to reform and refine the techniques of moderation, many experts continue to denounce their rather negative impact on society and human relations. Survey after survey shows societies are increasingly polarized on all issues, including politics. Deep fissures pose unprecedented difficulties in the exercise of democracy.

Especially since the increasingly aggressive and effective moderation methods of Facebook and Twitter have alienated many users, who, returning to other niche social networks, shut down and become more difficult to control. Thus, there is an explosion in the landscape in many highly privileged communities of netizens, with the echo chamber phenomenon increasing the tribe’s stakes. As a result, with each election, social engineering phenomena of the type Cambridge Analytica, which were previously exceptional, are now common, facilitated by this segmentation which gives groups of Internet users easy to identify and target.