Viewpoint: Digital colonialism is threatening the Global South
Friday, March 15, 2019
By Michael Kwet
Silicon Valley corporations are taking over the digital economy in the Global South, and nobody is paying attention.
In South Africa, Google and Facebook dominate the online advertising industry, and are considered anexistential threat to local media. Uber has captured so much of the traditional taxi industry that drivers have been petrol bombed in the “South African taxi wars”. Similar battles have broken out in Kenya.
Meanwhile, Netflix is not only pulling subscribers away from local television services, they are buying up content in Africa. The streaming giant is now thenumber one source of Internet traffic across the world.
In India, Facebook was forced to cancel its “Free Basics” programme that gave the social media giant control over the Internet experience on mobile phones. Indians protested that the service deepened Facebook’s monopoly power and subjected them censorship and surveillance. Nevertheless, Facebook is expanding in most countries, including India, and Free Basics is active in over sixty countries. Through the project, Facebook has retained its influence in countries like Kenya and Ghana.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.