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Tech Companies Are Reconsidering an Old Enemy

A completely frictionless internet has its own dangers

As the midterm election season kicks into high gear, platforms across the web will begin rolling out enhanced protections to guard against digital threats to the democratic process. While every platform has different policies and approaches—from warnings and educational reminders at the top of news feeds to limitations on replies and reposts—a common strategy lies at the heart of many of the features being rolled out across the web: they’re all prompting users to slow down a bit. These efforts are reversing a long-held course, and they reflect a wider reconsideration of what was once the industry’s enemy number one: friction.

In the technology industry, we consider “friction” to be anything that stands between an individual and their goals. And completely eliminating it was once a common goal. Teams worked for years to shave milliseconds off page load times and system responses, and companies invested millions in developing and testing designs and user flows, all to ensure that every interaction would be as fast and effortless as possible.

The emphasis on speed and ease of use makes sense—technology has always served to complete complex tasks faster and more easily. But as our tools have become more refined, and the information environment more complex, the speed at which information can reach us at times outpaces the rate at which we can fully process it.

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

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