No doubt, some will find the idea of engineering platforms to promote diversity or adapting existing laws to curb online harassment unsettling and paternalistic, but such criticism ignores the ways online spaces are already contrived with specific outcomes in mind—they are designed to serve Silicon Valley venture capitalists, who want a return on investment, and advertisers, who want to sell us things. The term ‘platform,’ which implies a smooth surface, misleads us, obscuring the ways technology companies shape our online lives, prioritizing and upraising certain purposes over others.
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