In light of the BIG news coming out this weekend and today regarding Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, I would like to migrate to a social media site that is set up with values, morals and subscription base. I think many people will be leaving FB and perhaps will even seek to sue. I am worried my data was stolen? I have a few Trump friends whom I couldn’t disagree with more, but I’m in their friend group, so that means my info could have been used illegally.
I understand completely with your concern with Facebook’s misuse of personal data…there is no excuse for it! I would ask why an alternative social media site is necessary though. All social media sites basically operate on the same business model - the more eyes = the more ad dollars, which basically makes the user a commodity to sell. Wouldn’t it be more fulfilling to have face to face connections with people in your own community and spend less time on social media all together? I used to be a small share holder in Facebook due to their size and reach, but have sold all shares due to the belief that they do not serve society in a way that benefits more than it harms.
It’s such a shame that most social networks that reach scale then become marketing platforms and sell their users. I am currently testing alternative business models to paid subscription and advertising that are value-add to the users and the results have been incredibly promising. I hope to have more to share on this soon.
Any online social network will need to have advertising as the backbone of its business model to support server and labor costs. Open source, non-advertising based alternatives such as Mastodon delegate labor costs to volunteer developers and server costs to Mastodon users, who are also volunteers. It’s possible that you could support a smaller social network through a subscription basis such as Patreon, but it’s hard for me to imagine the smaller social network being able to provide services that make it much better than email.
But, that does beg the question - in your case @KulaMama, what does a combination of email + phone lack that you’re looking for in a social media site? Or to put it another way - suppose you stop using Facebook. How does your life become meaningfully worse off?
I agree with @aniket on questioning if we really need a dedicated social media platform to fulfill our basic communication tasks. As long as it is free and somewhat “unregulated”, I don’t see a clearly alternative to Facebook or other social media apps.
I don’t think Facebook provides a service so good we couldn’t possibly live without. In my opinion, the best alternative now is to stay off these sites and limit our usage to messaging platforms.
Yes, I agree about the problematic model. Human Tech has suggested a new model that does not commoditize our attention. I’m looking for referrals to any strong alternative that has a model that serves connection, rather than hijacking or humanity. Personally, on FB, I connect with women around the world to help reforest the tropics. The connections are priceless and doing much good in the world . . .
Maybe you would be interested by Facetts?, it’s not a social network it’s is a community tool (mix between forums and messaging apps) focusing on user privacy. It’s subscription based, 5$ for a community for 1 year, 50 users can join for free.
I’d be happy to have your feedback on it, and if you have any question you can ask me.
(I am the co-founder of Facetts)
This article is unbelievable. You will be shocked at how internet scammers are making millions and how Facebook has even been courting these scamvertisers. These people are leeches and many are even criminals, yet fit in quite well with the rest of the tech industry!
We really need to fix the sick culture of the tech industry and the depraved mentality that sees indiscriminate selling and hustling as good things. People are actually looking up to scammers! It’s not just smaller companies. I know it’s a hard pill to swallow but these scammers go all the way to the top and run the biggest tech companies… such as Facebook. Time to delete Facebook and all your social media apps.
What about TV station like CNN or Foxnews for example. Should we also “delete” them, after all, they also manipulate the public?
Social Media is Here in Its going to stay.
If public is going to take it down. If the public “destroys” Facebook and other Social Media.
New ones will come to their place , and not the fact that they will appear in America. And how will you control them later? Can you imagine for example if Facebook is Chinese or Russian company, how much propaganda and manipulation we will see. And the Americans will have no control to influence them.
So before you “delete” something you supposed to have plan what you going to do after it
I have already done so long ago. I haven’t seen any of those sites / channels in ages, it’s been so long that I can’t even remember the kinds of garbage they spew out. I get my news from Bloomberg and Economist which I mostly trust, plus the Guardian which unfortunately contains some fake news but is of value due to its reputation and investigative journalism.
I don’t currently have any social media accounts at all. The last one to go was Facebook which I deactivated once I realised they’re even worse than I imagined. It’s easy to delete. Go on living life.
Delete all your phone apps too except for the browser, messaging and maps.
But you do make a valid point. We need a “replacement” but I’d rather think we need an “alternative” replacement. I would say, let’s build something like a world forums where people can discuss democracy issues, intellectual things, their opinions, share family photos etc online. No harmful ads, no showing off, no selfies, no likes, no notifications, no apps. You may think I’m crazy, but why can’t it be done?
The biggest problem of this position is the majority of public will not stop using social media. And when somebody will manipulate them through social media, is going to change your life also. Because they gonna elect people who manipulate them. And we on this stage of democracy that majority decide everything. You can’t hide from this in your own little bubble.
I don’t think you’re crazy I also have this idea for couple years. But the biggest problem is this it’s very hard to find investors, who is not looking for profits. And you going to need Investments to start. You need to have a really Good Idea of alternative of Facebook. Maybe then you can find investors, who will invest in you, just too short Facebook stock. Since if your idea is really very good, that’s mean that Facebook will go down, because they gonna lose users. That will use your site and instead of theirs.
The problem is that startups should not look for investment. Looking for investment is a waste of time, and means being controlled by the immoral and greedy.
Yes its hard to start with no money. That’s why you’d need the founders to already have enough money to support themselves until a few years later when hopefully they could be fairly reimbursed.
There are alternatives. Crowdfunding. Asking for donations. Asking for user volunteers to build some parts, act as moderators, translators, etc. And yes I believe the moral social network should probably still run ads, but much less and much better quality. Even if this new network earned 1/4th or 1/10th per user compared to Facebook, it would still be able to support its core employees, engineers etc and other people who’s work should be well paid.
The tech industry mentality now is limitless greed and exploitation, “kill yourself” with work, and “optimize” (exploit) indiscriminately based on harmful metrics like “engagement” and “conversions” which are causing addiction and misdirection. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Did you know people work better when they feel they’re doing good? Also people actually do better work when they are volunteering rather than getting paid, even for the same exact job according to studies.
On this topic - I just wrote a post about the negative consequences of big tech companies harvesting our attention, and personal data, the root cause of why they do it, and then present some ideas of possible (more positive) alternative business models.
Great article! Especially loved that graph you posted from Adam Alter. His book was really eye opening.
I have seen that quote from the Facebook exec being thrown around about Facebook “ripping apart the fabric of society” pretty often, but I’m not so sure about that guy in general.
If you watch the rest of the interview, he is asked about any advice he had for young people getting into tech who want to change the world. His answer? “Just get the fucking money.” Not sure I will look to that guy for insight in the future.
I agree, great article, @danfennessy! I especially like the section where you deal with solutions and alternative business models!
There are so many articles just stating the problem already, that there is a risk of concerned consumers losing ‘attention’ and it all slowly ebbs out of the news media once there are no new scandals to throw at us
BTW I notice that everywhere FB gets the brunt of criticism while Google - an even bigger data ingester, and with its negative YouTube societal impact - is hardly ever mentioned (in this Guardian article Google had 5.5 Gb of data on the journalist, and FB only 600 Mb)
I think Facebook and Google are really different from each other morally. There’s nothing wrong with having data about people – it’s about how you use it, and how you protect it. Is anyone saying that all interest-based advertising (tracking users) is wrong and we should only rely on contextual-based advertising?
We are going after Facebook right now because they are the worst of the big tech firms. It’s all about Zuckerberg, one crooked man who has the power to make something great for humanity but instead through his own greed has done really horrible and immoral things. Zuckerberg literally has absolute authoritarian control over Facebook, and he’s apparently chosen to use his power to make himself a wealthy Tsar at the expense of hundreds of millions of people’s lives being wasted online, then adding insult to injury by gravely violating each and every one of those people’s privacy.
Really hope you are right, but they also already have their share of dubious practices, and with almost everyone using their search, they have authoritarian control on what you see on the entire internet. And once again we are the product here, not the customer…
I am working on this project right now… with www.heartcup.com. It is going to be a social media platform not built on an advertising model, but more on the crowdfunding model with some exciting innovations to change the way that charity is done online… but it will still be a traditional social platform with a feed, etc. that can be used for sharing life with friends and supporting things you value. With our business model not being based on ads, we do not need to use user data to generate revenue in the same way. We plan to not have any ads on the platform.
The reason I actually just joined this forum (today) was to learn more about these principles so that we can be sure to design our platform with a variety of attention/value prioritized features so that users can feel their time on the platform is time well spent. Some example ideas we are tossing around:
fully customized alert times for notifications
the ability to set a reminder after XX minutes have passed while using the platform.
I am just getting my bearings in the forum and have a lot to explore, so any recommendations on threads is surely welcome. I am also very open to ideas about how to balance the need for user engagement but not adding to the society of screenbots our tech is creating.
In the meantime, we have a video up on our site as we prepare for launch. feel free to check it out and let me know what you think.