In a stunning list reviewing the most dangerous internet denizens of the past decade, Wired listed President Trump first among oppressive foreign leaders, terrorists and others.
Wired painted a foreboding cyberpunk future of the new decade -- a world where “authoritarian governments have turned the internet to their own purposes in the form of propaganda, disinformation, and cyberwar” and “[e]xtremists have coopted [sic] and corrupted social media to spread hatred and advocate violence.” It even cited how Big Tech companies “that once seemed like innovative underdogs now loom over the economy as vast, unaccountable monopolies.”
Wired explained how, in this annual list of the internet’s most dangerous people, the website has “highlighted actual despots, terrorists, and saboteurs who pose a serious threat to lives around the world.” This article The Most Dangerous People on the Internet This Decade included those who “we believe best characterize the dangers that emerged from the online world in the last 10 years—many of whom show no signs of becoming any less dangerous in the decade to come.”
The article included politicians both foreign and domestic, American citizens, and various others ranging from hackers to terrorists.
“For the fifth year in a row, Donald Trump tops our list,” Wired wrote, “demonstrating what happens when the most powerful person on the planet is given an unmediated channel to broadcast his every thought, and uses it largely to lie, spin, insult, threaten, distract, and boast.”
“Regardless of the outcome of the 2020 election, Trump's use of social media as an unfiltered, un-factchecked megaphone has unlocked a new era of idiocratic politics, one that will likely never again be constrained to press conferences and official statements. In some contexts, that could be refreshing. With Trump, it's corrosive.”
China’s Xi Jinping was condemned for having “undertaken some of the worst human rights violations in the world against its own people,” including “a campaign of oppression against its Muslim population in the Western region of Xinjiang that is believed to have imprisoned a million people in re-education camp.”
Wired included ISIS as a “violent Islamist group,” which “integrated terrorism with the internet like no one else in history.” Wired observed that it manipulated social media platforms and “convinced many young Muslims across the globe to rally to its cause, turning Iraq and Syria into magnets for juvenile, misguided bloodletting and forcing every tech company to consider how the most violent humans in the world might misuse their services.”
The same article also cited other figures, including Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg, whose platforms have come under fire from the left for taking a stand for free speech in 2019. Wired accused the Big Tech magnate for spreading “mass disinformation, from hate speech that fueled the massacre of Rohingya muslims in Myanmar to WhatsApp propaganda that helped elected far-right Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, to troll armies tasked with attacking the enemies of Philippines [sic] president Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump.”
Wired also blasted entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel for creating and investing in companies whose data is now being used to protect American rule of law.
Palantir, which Thiel co-founded, was declared by Wired to have “become the world's most active embodiment of Silicon Valley's partnership with surveillance agencies, controversially offering up its data-mining software and services for undocumented immigrant-hunting at ICE.”
Wired also slammed Thiel for investing in Palmer Luckey’s Anduril, which reportedly
“sells surveillance technologies designed for the southern border to Customs and Border Protection.”
The article also included Vladimir Putin, Julian Assange, Lazarus, NSO Group, Xenotime, Cody Wilson, and Anonymous.
One would hope that a tech magazine would be more responsible than lumping in the president of the United States and those who have policy opinions they appear to disagree -- like protecting free speech online and defending the American border -- with communist dictators, hackers and terrorists.