Wikipedia Co-Founder Calls for Social
Media Strike July 4 – 5
A co-founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, is urging people to stop using social media for up to 48 hours on July 4 -5 in order to convince social media companies to let users have the final say on how their personal data is used.
The BBC reports Dr. Larry Sanger, an American internet project developer, wrote in his blog that such a two-day strike (#SocialMediaStrike) by users would show the “massive demand” for change and that users have a “serious grievance” against the networks.
“We’re going to make a lot of noise,” Sanger wrote in a blog telling of his reasons for calling the two-day boycott.
“We’re going to flex our collective muscles and demand that giant, manipulative corporations give us back control over our data, privacy, and user experience,” he wrote.
“We will not use social media on those days, except to post notices that we are on strike,” Sanger explained.
Sanger hopes the boycott would prompt social networks to change their policies and grant users more control over their data.
He also envisions social networks becoming more open in the future and more interoperatable, allowing a post made on one network to show up on others.
“This is how social media should have been developed from the beginning, rather than walled off in separate, competing networks,” Sanger said.
All users who join the boycott are being asked to sign Sanger’s Declaration of Digital Independence. Drafted by Sanger, the declaration calls for social networks to be decentralized and structured so they will respect users rights, including free speech, privacy and security.
Sanger’s call for a boycott of social media has been widely circulated on several networks, including Reddit, Twitter and others, according to the BBC.
Despite the online interest, some have questioned what impact such a boycot would have.
One user on the Hacker News list, a website that shares tech headlines, wrote: “I feel that even if everybody who cared went on strike, the difference in daily visitors would probably be in the error margin.”
“I think most people who really care have already left the centralised social media or scaled it down to the point that a non-strike day is an exception,” the user noted.