Idea - Turning the weapon around, raising awareness!

I received this link from the Flourishing Enterprise community animator about stuff that Roger McNamee encountered on FB (and that may have been a precursor to the humane tech initiative): How to fix Facebook - Before it fixes us

Just like many other articles these days it describes how social media can become ‘weaponised’ and used by all kinds of interest groups for nefarious purposes. I won’t go into detail… because you know all about this :slight_smile:

But if this is true, and a weapon is lying in wait for anyone to use, this also means that it can be turned around :gun: Let me explain…

Before I got the idea for my non-profit startup - which I am currently working on - I was thinking of doing a hobby project and create a - rather simple - social network for the amplification of positive news. My frustration was that in the (social) media negative news, stuff that appeals to our gut, tends to be amplified and has more news value, and therefore more commercial value.
There are so many positive developments in our world that get drowned out by negative stories.

So the idea of this app was to have people select positive news stories as they come across them, pass them on to the app, then have these undergo a small review process (some other users verify if the content is really suited for sharing), and - if approved - spread the article to the whole user base. Then each user of the app in turn could use their own social media accounts to share, retweet, like and upvote these articles.

My feeling was, if this app was free, and was transparent in how it worked and why it was needed, it could become quite popular and really give a boost - and more attention - to positivity :slight_smile:

Furthermore - when adding a small reputation system to the app - as a user you could allow positive news articles from trusted members to be automatically shared/liked through your own accounts, and thus allowing you to become a ‘bearer of good news’ without having to spend any time on it whatsoever (except some initial profile settings on what you do/do not allow automatically, and maybe set filters to the kind of good news that you would like to amplify, etc.)

There are many experts on this community already that know much more about the intrinsics of large social networks, behavioural design, etc. and I would love :heart: to hear your opinions on this idea…


I like this idea. There are a number of Good News Networks (including ) that have had varying success over the years. And there are other ways to use such weapons / exploits for good, that is certain. This can both be transparent – these hacks work even after you tell people why and how they’re working, esp. when the outcome is desired! – and done in parallel to identifying and countering harms.

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Thanks @metasj! Yes, GNN is a nice example. I will reach out to the editors and point them to humane tech and this idea. See how far they are with implementing that (looks really good, but they probably don’t have the auto-sharing thing). I knew about them before, but I’ll now become a member as well :slight_smile:
(Maybe in a tips / best-practices section on people can be advised to do as well).

If they have a good feed, or API, then this can be used to source the app, together with other sites that are similar to GNN. Are you - or other members - aware of other such good sources? Would be cool to add them to this thread.

If there are many such sites an additional piece of code could be created, that they can install on their webserver to connect to the app’s backend and supply content.

(btw, there is something on the GNN landing page that makes my CPU go into overdrive 120%)
(oh, and lotsa trackers on the site I see in Privacy Badger)

Yes that is a great idea on mobilizing social media for positive news!

I am just sharing some links that come to mind while reading your post, and hopefully would be relevant for you. Each have their own method of propagating positivity within society.

The Hidden Good - Aims to be a community platform that reveals the good in society and the world us. They carry out this strong social agenda through social experiments, guerrilla movements of kindness and youth activation.

SG Cares - SG Cares is a national movement dedicated to guide and support the goodwill of all who live in Singapore to better help those in need. Giving and kindness can take many forms; spontaneous, informal or organised. From daily acts of kindness to volunteering together with friends, colleagues, neighbours and others - every action matters.

The Philosophers Mail - Instead of just dreaming and grumbling, we devised an experiment. During 2014, we would produce the Philosophers’ Mail. We would take typical news stories – about celebrities, disasters and scandals, which dominate major outlets like the Daily Mail – and view them through a philosophical lens.

Medium - Medium taps into the brains of the world’s most insightful writers, thinkers, and storytellers to bring you the smartest takes on topics that matter. So whatever your interest, you can always find fresh thinking and unique perspectives.


Nice pointers @QingPing!

Couldn’t read The Hidden Good as I’m not on FB (yeah, that’s right :wink: ).
The Philosophers Mail is no longer, I read, but has turned its attention to a new, even better initiative:

A true gem, it looks like :slight_smile:

Funny, I just found this… there does actually seem to be a market for good news :slight_smile:

I love the Happy News. Unfortunately, she can’t mail hard copies to the U.S. Found her on IG. Love her stuff.


A nice explanation on how negative news gets the most attention… and this isn’t even with the social media amplifier applied to it…

A recent discussion on Hacker News about a new positive news website (that repackages the content from a subreddit):

Not Depressing News