Social media strike causes Reddit to take down /tech subreddit

Reddit users will not be able to access the platform for a few hours. According to personal data protection specialists, the subreddit r/technology will be offline for at least the next 24 hours, in an attempt of supporting the social media strike driven by Larry Sanger, one of Wikipedia’s founders.

“We will join the Sanger’s call, the /r/technology subreddit will be restored within 5 days as part of the movement known as #SocialMediaStrike,” the platform’s managers announced.

This strike, driven by Sanger, is primarily a reason to demand digital independence from social media platforms. In other words, it aims for users to stop using any of these platforms to pressure companies and improve the way people’s data is shared and stored online. “We will demand large technology companies to return control of sensitive information to users, which will significantly improve our online privacy experience”, Sanger says.

The movement’s drivers seek to implement better controls for user privacy and protection against surveillance and monitoring by government agencies, commercial entities and criminal groups, say experts in protection of personal data. Sange says that greater interoperability between different social media platforms is also sought, which would reinforce “digital plurality”.

Sanger criticized current social media usage policies, including the removal of certain content in specific areas, the implementation of algorithms to facilitate the collection, processing and disclosure of personal data, among others. “Most of these practices only pursue profit, protecting themselves behind the excuse of analyzing user behavior to provide more comprehensive and personalized services,” he said.

Experts on the protection of personal data of the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) mention that the strike will be taking place today and tomorrow; there is still no consensus on the real impact this movement can have, although no major consequences are expected in the short term.   

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