How Ephemeral Messaging Threatens History

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[Commentary] Our thoughts are still being documented more than ever. In a world where we’re increasingly communicating through our phones rather than in person, app developers are making it easier than ever to communicate exactly what we want to exactly who we want. The most successful apps, moreover, are the ones which most effectively reward the greatest quantity of communication: we’ve been trained by highly sophisticated Silicon Valley behaviorists to tweet or Snap or otherwise communicate almost every thing—really, everything—we think or feel or see.

But those thoughts will not be archived, will not be searchable, will not, in years to come, be capable of bringing down the malign and powerful. They will evaporate into digital nothingness, and justice will not be served.

[Felix Salmon hosts the Slate Money podcast and the Cause & Effect blog.]


How Ephemeral Messaging Threatens History