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Hansel and Gretel in front of the witch's candy house. Hansel and Gretel have been replaced with line-drawings of influencers, taking selfies of themselves with the candy house. In front of the candy house stands a portly man in a business suit; his head is a sack of money with a dollar-sign on it. He wears a crooked witch's hat. The cottage has the Tiktok logo on it.

This week on my podcast, I read my Pluralistic blog post, Tiktok’s enshittification, which sets out a kind of master theory of enshittification, illustrated by Tiktok’s platform dynamics.

Here is how platforms die: first, they 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.

I call this enshittification, and it is a seemingly inevitable consequence arising from the combination of the ease of changing how a platform allocates value, combined with the nature of a “two sided market,” where a platform sits between buyers and sellers, holding each hostage to the other, raking off an ever-larger share of the value that passes between them.