Techno Feudalist Governance: Not a Signal, a Rave Sound Track

January 31, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

One of the UK’s watchdog outfits published a 30-page report titled “One Click Away: A Study on the Prevalence of Non-Suicidal Self Injury, Suicide, and Eating Disorder Content Accessible by Search Engines.” I suggest that you download the report if you are interested in what the consequences of poor corporate governance are. I recommend reading the document while watching your young children or grand children playing with their mobile phones or tablet devices.

Let me summarize the document for you because its contents provide some color and context for the upcoming US government hearings with a handful of techno feudalist companies:

Web search engines and social media services are one-click gateways to self-harm and other content some parents and guardians might deem inappropriate.

Does this report convey information relevant to the upcoming testimony of selected large US technology companies in the Senate? I want to say, “Yes.” However, the realistic answer is, “No.”

Techmeme, an online information service, displayed its interest in the testimony with these headlines on January 31, 2024:


Screenshots are often difficult to read. The main story is from the weird orange newspaper whose content is presented under this Techmeme headline:

Ahead of the Senate Hearing, Mark Zuckerberg Calls for Requiring Apple and Google to Verify Ages via App Stores…

Ah, ha, is this a red herring intended to point the finger at outfits not on the hot seat in the true blue Senate hearing room?

The New York Times reports on a popular DC activity: A document reveal:

Ahead of the Senate Hearing, US Lawmakers Release 90 Pages of Internal Meta Emails…

And to remind everyone that an allegedly China linked social media service wants to do the right thing (of course!), Bloomberg’s angle is:

In Prepared Senate Testimony, TikTok CEO Shou Chew Says the Company Plans to Spend $2B+ in 2024 on Trust and Safety Globally…

Therefore, the Senate hearing on January 31, 2024 is moving forward.

What will be the major take-away from today’s event? I would suggest an opportunity for those testifying to say, “Senator, thank you for the question” and “I don’t have that information. I will provide that information when I return to my office.”

And the UK report? What? And the internal governance of certain decisions related to safety in the techno feudal firms? Secondary to generating revenue perhaps?

Stephen E Arnold, January 31, 2024


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