Does anyone know about research/analysis of the nature of the negative issues with current social networking services?
I am trying to understand to what extent these issues are fueled by Attention Based Business Model vs. Human Nature in the environment of Social Networking Service (a novel environment from evolutionary POV).
If we know this, we will be able to say, - what we can fix by creating Social Networking Service based on a humane business model (when interests of users and developers are aligned), and what cannot be fixed due to inherent properties of Social Networking Services (then practices of moderation, abstinence should be promoted - as with smoking for example).
Here is my personal/practical analysis of the issues (extract from my original post here):
- Emergence of Social Networking Services (SNS) – unseen from human evolutionary perspective, persistent one-to-many communication tool – “everyone has a 24/7 village fair stage with audience now”.
- Attention Based Business Model (ABBM) – business model based on capturing attention of users and selling part of it to advertisers. ABBM is used to develop and maintain all mainstream SNS.
- Human need and tendency to minimize mental load.
- Human need for connection/communication, belonging to a group.
- Human need/propensity for social competition (for attention, prestige, status; “to be liked”, “to be not worse than”).
Issues and their causal pathways
Before you go through the issues, take a moment and think about 2 quotes from the former Facebook VP for growth, – “I feel tremendous guilt … The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works.”; “My kids get no screen time whatsoever…” 
- Less happiness: ABBM >> enticing high engagement >> more notifications, more interesting “variably-delightful” feeds >> more short term pleasure >> dopamine resistance>> less long term happiness 
- Increased envy: ABBM + social competition >> enticing high engagement >> uncompartmentalized “all or nothing” profiles + more competition >> no opportunity for asymmetric social competition, no opportunity to switch focus >> “best moments only” profiles >> more envy >> more “best moments only” posts >> envy spiral
- Increased anxiety: ABBM + social competition >> … >> envy spiral >> feeling of inadequacy >> more anxiety
- Increased loneliness: ABBM >> enticing high engagement >> less face-to-face interaction >> more loneliness; || ABBM + social competition >> …(see envy path)… >> “best moments only” profiles >> feeling of
missing out >> increased perceived social isolation
- Increased depression: ABBM + social competition >> … >> envy spiral +
anxiety + loneliness + dopamine resistance >> more depression
/Other psychological issues/
- Narrow and shallow view on personality: ABBM + social competition >> high engagement >> uncompartmentalized “all or nothing” profiles >> more focus on conspicuous consumption, “shallow” things
- Unnatural distribution of communication time (a few post, most passively consume): ABBM >> enticing high engagement >> uncompartmentalized “all or nothing” profiles without easy to use layered privacy + enticing sharing mode “share-to-all or do-not-share-at-all” >> only a few people feel comfortable to share, most just consume
- Decreased attention span = ABBM >> enticing high engagement >> more notifications + more interesting “variably-delightful” feeds >> dopamine resistance >> less ability to concentrate [6, 7]
- Decreased motivation to do “boring stuff” = ABBM >> enticing high engagement >> more notifications + more interesting “variably-delightful” feeds >> dopamine resistance >> less motivation
- Leakage of private, personal personality information: ABBM + social competition>> enticing high engagement >> no easy to use gradiated privacy layers tools>> enticing sharing mode “share-to-all or do-not-share-at-all” + need to minimize mental load + need for connection/communication >> oversharing >> unintended leakage of personal/private information
- Psychometric, manipulative advertisement: ABBM >> … >> unintended leakage of personal/private information >> manipulative advertisement
/Community and democracy related issues/
- Echo chambers: ABBM >> enticing high engagement >> “do not upset users”>> show only stuff they agree with >> echo chambers >> bad democracy
- Fake news: ABBM >> enticing high engagement >> no incentives to create tools to fight bots and trolls >> proliferation of bots and trolls + echo chambers + more engagement from sensational news + need to minimize mental load >> more fake news
- Psychometric, manipulative advertisement in politics: ABBM >> … >> unintended leakage of personal/private information >> manipulative advertisement
What we can do
- Recognize the issues
- Recognize the root cause of the issues – ABBM (Attention Based Business
- Understand to what extent issues are driven by ABBM vs. human nature in
the environment of SNS !This is the question of this post. If we have an answer to it we can better handle the below points!
- Define goals
- Create new business model to support human-centric SNS
- Create and maintain human-centric SNS