Q: Do you think we should be more concerned the web is largely controlled by monopolies, specifically Amazon, Google and Facebook? A: Absolutely.

Rachel Botsman asks the questions for Financial Review*. I answer.

Continuing the above quote:

To mangle a quote in Rebecca MacKinnon’s excellent book, Consent of the Networked, we know how power works offline, but we don’t know how it works on the web. These organisations sift the content we see when we traverse the web. They effectively act as the captain of our ship on the ocean of online information. If knowledge is power, they hold the keys.

More than that, who are the people making the decisions that affect how we make and perform relationships, what we buy and what knowledge we have access to? What are their politics, their ideals, their mottos, their philosophies? That’s what I’m interested in.

Here’s another:

You are given the task of explaining to a class of teenagers how the web has changed the concept of privacy. How do you explain the loss of control of information we give away? I’d rather talk to people about how to recognise that the job applicant they’ve just looked up on Google or Facebook may be the same physical person in the photos, but whatever they’re doing and whatever they’ve put online might not be the same psychological person they’re making assumptions about.

More at Interface: Untangling the web (paywall).

Buy Untangling the Web at the Guardian bookshop (get 50% off with code UTW07FG), on the Faber & Faber website, on UK Amazon or on US Amazon. Other territories are available too!

* Australians! I’ll be in Sydney from 29 July to 4 August at the Wired for Wonder conference.