Auf einem Vortrag zum Auftakt der Transmediale in Berlin benutzt der bekannte kanadische Netzaktivist und Autor Cory Doctorow seine in den USA zum Wort des Jahres gewählte Wortschöpfung «Enshittification» (≈ Scheissifizierung, Verschlimmscheisserung) zur Beschreibung jener Metamorphose, in welcher digitale Plattformen durch ein Produkt Versprechungen auslösen, diese jedoch nicht einhalten und in der Folge aufgrund ihrer Marktmacht solches Verhalten zu unzufriedenstellenden Erfahrungen der Beteiligten führt.
Doch ist dies nicht sowieso der normale Spielverlauf im kapitalistischen Monopoly?
So what’s enshittification and why did it catch fire? It’s my theory explaining how the internet was colonized by platforms, and why all those platforms are degrading so quickly and thoroughly, and why it matters – and what we can do about it.
We’re all living through the enshittocene, a great enshittening, in which the services that matter to us, that we rely on, are turning into giant piles of shit.
It’s frustrating. It’s demoralizing. It’s even terrifying.
I think that the enshittification framework goes a long way to explaining it, moving us out of the mysterious realm of the ‘great forces of history,’ and into the material world of specific decisions made by named people – decisions we can reverse and people whose addresses and pitchfork sizes we can learn.
Enshittification names the problem and proposes a solution. It’s not just a way to say ‘things are getting worse’ (though of course, it’s fine with me if you want to use it that way. It’s an English word. We don’t have der Rat für englische Rechtschreibung. English is a free for all. Go nuts, meine Kerle).
But in case you want to use enshittification in a more precise, technical way, let’s examine how enshittification works.
It’s a three stage process: First, platforms are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.
Abschliessend hier gleich noch ein Zitat aus einem aktuellen Newsletter, welcher die Heilsversprechen von Big Tech als arglistige Täuschung entlarvt:
Back then (2025) there was hope, a belief that these companies were building the future and selling it to us in a seemingly-honest transaction, and a level of trust that tech companies were so profitable because they were making cool stuff. Tech had banked a great deal of goodwill, adding depth and connectivity to our lives, making information easier to find and take action upon, delivering anything we wanted faster than we’d ever got it before. It was exciting to imagine what Apple, Amazon, or Facebook might do next.
Sadly, we found out. Big tech — with venture capital by its side — spent a decade mistreating, manipulating and misleading governments, consumers and the media in the pursuit of greed, taking advantage of society’s optimism in the name of eternal growth.