Social Media is broken, let's do better!

Good point. Journalists often look for ‘blood in the water’ and if they can’t find much, then maybe ratchet things up a bit to increase the controversy.

And FB has to operate at a scale beyond what many of us can probably even imagine. So naturally whatever they do, good or bad, is going to look big to anyone who looks. And Amazon does the same thing with Alexa.

But there is a bit of a story here though for the reason you point out: they don’t disclose.

The “break things” ethos unfortunately allows a lot of room to justify unethical behavior. And this is exactly why they get so much scrutiny. The company leadership misrepresents what they do, even, in the case of Zuckerberg testifying to Congress, while under oath. Those sharks will never leave his tail after that.

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Facebook got fined 5 billion dollars by the US Govt last month. The EU is about to announce its findings on FB’s alleged violations of the GDPR regarding sharing WhatsApp data with FB without user consent…

These are huge fines, but they seem to not make a real difference. Europe needs a bigger strategy than leveling big fines. It seems like only a migration of people somewhere else will cause them to change. i imagine that most FB users are not that concerned about it actually.

I dream of antitrust policy based on access to market: “if you don’t break your company up, we will no longer allow you to operate on our 500 million rich people market”. The EU is almost there, with pretty strong decisions imposed on non-European companies by commissioners like Monti and Vestager.

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I do think denying access to market is the only way to enforce monopolistic behavior. But does breaking up big tech companies solve the problem? So for example you would break Instagram and WhatsApp away from Facebook?

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Hi it’s been several months I didn’t come here. I’m really enthusiast about your project, great efforts, however as it was probably mentioned before, why not join an existing solution like Fediverse/Mastodon, because when you reinvent the roll, you do it on your own, and you add to the hundreds and thousands of little projects that exists and that lack of users.


We actually plan to build on ActivityPub, to join the Fediverse. And Darcy will be open source, to give back to everyone else too.

We will however expand things a bit, to include better moderation interfaces, combining the moderation of several instances, sharing of blocklists between instances, and so on.

I don’t think so. The problem isn’t that this is all owned by Facebook these days, but that the underlying business model is “grow big, get sold, earn money through ads”.

Issue is that not only Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp et al are responsible for violating consent, issue is often the ad-tech ecosystem which is compromised from companies that most people never heard from such as Appnexus, IndexExchange and others that have loads of data obtained from users and its almost impossible to get to them.

In the United States monopoly has for the past many decades been defined as being a monopolistic practice only if it raises prices on consumers. That is not the problem that we’re looking at here and at least in this country there is no policy at this point for dealing with the data issue.

The public itself, and thus the legislators they elect, so far do not view a person’s personal data as being a commodity that has assignable value. So it is all regarded as a free service. After seeing what a lousy job the senators did in questioning Zuckerberg at his hearings not long ago I’m not real confident that some of those old guys are going to understand it well enough to write workable law.Add to that truly massive lobbying campaigns by big tech and I really don’t expect any movement on this side of the Atlantic.

Yeah, I was just connecting the issue of data handling from Facebook and big tech with companies that store that data (and most of people never heard of them, but they have loads of data on people).

For the zuck hearing, yeah, if they will create a law based on their questions, it will be quite bad. For lobbying, well, in EU Parliament that was also (and still is) a big issue with GDPR which was watered down by influences from big tech (and if you ask me, big tech wins big with GDPR in place). I’m not sure how can we make an advertising ecosystem that gives people what they want, but treats data with confidentiality and use it only in purposes that the consumer who gave them that data allowed them to use it.

I re-discovered one great technologist (listened to her long time ago, forgot, randomly discovered on youtube again), Aleks Krotoski, that has a podcast show on the BBC on these topics and has a interesting video on web privacy. I’ll link it here:

Right now I’m reading “Chaos Monkeys” by Antonio Martinez. It’s a pretty fascinating Silicon Valley tale with a lot of focus on his time at Facebook a few years ago. He points out that FB didn’t start raking in the truly huge money until they started following people around the web to figure out their real interests. Just confining it to likes friends groups and all the “inside Facebook” activity didn’t produce the kind of targeting that brought the higher ad rates.

This came about around 2011-12, a few years after Google blazed the surveillance trail that is now the norm.

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