Twitter shares are dropping while the platform bleeds users and may or may not be shadow banning conservative voices. Facebook shares are dropping while the platform bleeds users and may or may not be enabling white supremacists. And I couldn’t be happier.
Both of the platforms had optimistic, sunny starts that I enjoyed. Now they’re both filled with meaningless garbage and mindless vitriol spewed by cowards behind a keyboard. Both suck up as much of your private information as they can get away with and need not fear government regulation at all, since it seems that the legislators in the West don’t understand technology, or think that individual privacies are not worth their time. Google’s $5 billion dollar fine from the EU came over anti-trust issues identical to the Microsoft anti-trust case in 2001, not violations of GDPR.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a piece titled: Facing Facebook: Data Portability and Interoperability Are Anti-Monopoly Medicine.
From the piece:
We think Facebook should:
- Give users a tool for real data portability. That includes a way to export the rich contact list that Facebook hosts and the tracking data Facebook collects without meaningful consent.
- Open up its platform policy to enable competitors, cooperators, and follow-on innovators. Allow developers to use Facebook’s APIs for software that modifies or competes with the core Facebook experience.
- Interoperate with next generation of social networks via open standards. Adapt Facebook’s APIs to use the W3C’s social web protocols where appropriate, and allow open, federated services like Mastodon to work with Facebook as partners.
As for me, this is a good piece that works within the world as it is, I’d prefer to see Facebook and Twitter pass into the night with their granddad, MySpace.
I have spent time wondering if social media is entirely a blight on the modern world. But that’s throwing the baby out with the bath. Social media can be a terrific way to share and organize. Instead, mentioned in EFF’s last bullet point, social media networks should operate on the W3C’s ActivityPub, which is a standard for decentralization of social networking (so not just a couple of big companies sit on everyone’s private information AND keeps the flow of information as robust as email). The bullet point mentions Mastodon, which is currently the only social media platform that I ever participate in now and, even then, uncommonly.
A federated social network instance is its own thing, answers to no one, and is responsible for itself. It can be run on a home server, a virtual private server, or a more traditional company that may be paid or driven by advertising revenue. Any activity on it is sent out to other instances and it receives that activity back. If there is a instance that becomes poisonous, you can block every user from that instance, or the entire instance can block traffic from that instance. I hope that it is the future. Social networking done in a democratic fashion helps protect the right to free speech and the right to not hear other people’s free speech.
Further reading, Sean O’Brien’s write up for BoingBoing about Mastodon: Facebook Domination vs. Self-Determination