"The web was an interesting and different place before links got monetized."
Yes. Yes it was.
Anil has more on his mind than "some standard polemic" about walled gardens. So, as we used to say back in the day, read the whole thing.
We've lost key features that we used to rely on, and worse, we've abandoned core values that used to be fundamental to the web world. To the credit of today's social networks, they've brought in hundreds of millions of new participants to these networks, and they've certainly made a small number of people rich.
But they haven't shown the web itself the respect and care it deserves, as a medium which has enabled them to succeed. And they've now narrowed the possibilites of the web for an entire generation of users who don't realize how much more innovative and meaningful their experience could be.