The enshittification of the web in one image

In 2022, Cory Doctorow described the decline of many internet platforms as “enshittification” in his post Social Quitting.

As described by Wikipedia:

Enshittification is the pattern of decreasing quality of online platforms that act as two-sided markets. Examples of enshittification include services and products provided by Big Tech companies like Amazon, Bandcamp, Facebook, Google, Reddit, Twitter, and Unity.

I don’t need to tell you any more about it, because either you’ve already experienced it or you’re going to follow the links above.

But this screenshot right here of the Financial Times site posting a Cory Doctorow article about enshittification is a work of art. Yes, we’ve proven that quality news needs to be paid. Yes, subscriptions are a good way to do that. And yes, cookies do often keep your computer secure. But putting an article on enshittification behind both a paywall and a giant cookie management dialog asking you to accept cookies from FT and their 27 technology partners? Chef’s kiss right there.

A screenshot of the Financial Times article enshittification is coming for absolutely everything indicating that the article is blocked by a paywall and the cookies dialog. the cookies dialog mentioned that the financial times has 27 technology partners storing cookies on their site.
It’s not the cookies, FT, it’s the 27 tech partners providing the cookies.

The question for those of us who are designers: how do we stop the slow slide to ridiculous behavior? How do we get people back on track to a good experience when business decisions are the ones driving the enshittification?

God knows I don’t have the answers, but I certainly have questions.

Author: Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is a Senior Staff Product Designer and General Troublemaker working on design systems from outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She's an editor and writer at The Interconnected. She is also published at A List Apart and The Pastry Box, and publishes short fiction when she's not persuading the terriers to stop wrecking things. (The terriers are winning.)