You don't need cash to search Google or to use Facebook, but they're not free. We pay for these services with our attention and with our data.
While advertising-supported media was once confined to a small part of our lives like newspapers and radio,our work and lives are increasingly online and ads take the front row in our daily lives. This business model can have a democratizing effect: it makes products and information accessible to many more people, who might otherwise be priced out. But it also means that the main audience for these companies is not you - the person using their services - but rather, advertisers who keep the lights on.
History is punctuated by acts of refusal and outright revolt against this model, from the invention of the remote control, to the more recent rise of cord-cutting and ad-blocking software. Yet, whenever the attention merchants have seemed to lose their charm, they've always found a way to reinvent themselves and to recapture us.
What does this mean for the future of the open Internet? What can we, as Mozillians who ourselves live largely off of advertising revenues today, do?
Join us for a conversation with Tim Wu, historian, policy advocate and professor who coined the term “net neutrality, as he traces the history of the dynamics between advertisers, media and audiences, and calls on us to reevaluate what we are getting (or giving up) in exchange for our attention, especially in today's always-on Internet.
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