This seems exceedingly hyperbolic. With advertising, we can enjoy many services free of charge.
Using google as an example, google maps, search, android, etc all provide tremendous value to their users while being ostensibly free. Without revenue, they simply wouldn't be able to exist.
I know someone who is in debt (and in denial) because she can't resist buying something that is "on sale". Her house filled with things she does not need but that were a bargain.
No, "targeted psychological manipulation" is not an hyperbole, you just are not the target. You, when you see "YOU HAVE WON A PRIZE!" blinking you think "Yeah, right, who falls for these anyway?" The answer is, a few people whose life is pretty miserable.
I'd rather have the internet financed in a sane way through microtransactions than the thing we have now.
It's not free of charge, you're just paying in a different way. These services are able to operate because they deliver content that changes your mind in a way that benefits the corporations who pay for ads. They alter your purchasing habits, sway you politically, and change your emotions. If they were not able to manipulate you then they would be worthless.
That money isn’t being spun out of thin air, it’s being extracted from you somehow.
Whether that method of abstraction is getting you to buy something you otherwise wouldn’t have, or by using your data to manipulate others to do the same; they exact their toll on you.
Nonsense. OSM exists, HN exists, Linux exists. And just because some services need revenue to pay bills, it doesn't mean advertising or users paying is the only way to get it. Google Maps gets revenue from businesses using it on their websites, for example.
Google gets much much more than just showing you ads. You surrender all your digital life using Google free services, and that info is priceless, because 95% of people did the same. What would you say if in 10 years, government, police and businesses will routinely use google data for background checks? It is just one use case.