Original title: Idea - Humane advertisement policies: ethical and mutual-beneficial
I was inspired to create this topic thread by some great posts and discussions  stating the following:
- The idea of a social network that uses all the tricks of the trade to actually improve its users (the example of FacebookForMe in @paulwduignan’s article)
- The opinion of @anon76657042 that an Ad-based business model and selling users data still is the best model
Initially very sceptical on 2. (still am on selling personal data, but that may be inevitable in some cases), I think there is a great merit in combining 1. and 2. in social network organizations that offer Humane advertising policies.
For my own incubating tech startup innercircles, I intend to use an ad-free business model, but this is a special case, because it will be a non-profit organization, be decentralized (less infra costs, control your own personal data) and can therefore be based on an alternative economic model that is not available to a commercial entity.
innercircles has a social network component, called fullcircle (with a sustainability theme, consuming less), where advertisement does take place (but by users), so I am very interested in finding a good ad policy.
I believe the root causes of current tech problems and also the reason that ad industry “is currently filled with used-car salesmen types, scammers and even a disproportionate number of psychopaths” as @anon76657042 colorfully states, is that our current global economic models (yes, capitalism) are failing… they are a zero-sum game, a race to the bottom, where ultimately only the global elites will survive and the rest of humanity will be left living in a dystopic society. A surveillance capitalism plutocracy, maybe.
But we are not there yet, and can still steer the ship around. In any case in any alternative economic model you still have people that need to sell their products and services and thus - necessarily - need to advertise them. If an organization / social network wants to be moral and ethical, actively improve their lives, and offer this as value to their users - even unique selling points.
So how to combine 1. and 2.? What are some of the criteria a humane ad policy should comply to? Well… just brainstorming a bit:
- Mutual beneficial: Benefits the advertiser (promotes/sells product or service), benefits the social network (advertisement income), benefits the user (is something the user might need, and complies to humane criteria)
- Transparent: User should be able to see which personal data led to displaying the ads to them. Should be able to easily browse/control any personal data that the social network has access to.
- Enforceable opt-out policies: If I don’t like certain ad companies, or even do not want to have the social network use it anymore, I should be able to retract the data, make it inaccessible / unusable
Enforceable data resales policies: As a user I should be able to choose how my personal data is traded to 3rd parties:
- Forbidden: The default setting (other policies are opt-in). This will cost revenue to the social network, so they may have to incur a subscription fee to me
- Free: Do what you want with it. The current practice. The social network could offer me added benefits for this
- Selective: Only allow certain 3rd parties of the users’ choice.
- Further restrictions might be applied, like 3rd party does not get full ownership of data it buys, is not allowed to resell to others (hard to enforce)
With regards to enforceable opt-out and resales policies I see a big role for new encryption methods:
- Data is managed / controlled by the user and encrypted by default
- When opting-out it is encrypted with a different key, which the opted-out party can no longer decrypt (existing data that was previously supplied could still be illegally used, so regulation is necessary, or smarter encryption methods… I am no expert in this field)
- Regarding resales: the 3rd party could receive the data in encrypted form and only while providing it to social network applications and apps that have my consent, can it be used to show ads to me. This would enforce a policy where it does not get resold without restriction
Very curious to hear your thoughts and additions!