How to detox Facebook. Part 3 — thoughtstarters for Facebook.

Detox Facebook

1. Scale down.

Facebook should –if only for a moment — entertain the thought of scaling down operations in terms of both reach and velocity so as to be less impactful. A sabbatical, if you will, to help regulatory bodies and regionally placed Facebook staffers get a grasp on what’s needed to curtail how people use their extremely powerful digital tech. Scratch that: utility.

2.Is there other stock in stock?

An implication of this, is changing the kind of stock people buy and sell. For a publicly traded company with such an impact, it could be useful to explore alternatives.

3. Thoughtstarters on different levels for a different Facebook.

As with all monopolists in the past, regulators will break up Facebook. Right now, in a time with little regulatory power nor any dialectical opposition to speak of it’s hard to see how that development will come to be.

  • Let people own their data. All of it, in a tangible, useful way. Steps are under way, thanks to EU regulations adopted in May of 2016.
  • A bigger willingness to be transparent about algorithms used. In my book, I compare algorithms to patents in the pharmaceutical industry. But maybe there should be a point in time where their data & algorithms are white labeled. And shared with the commons.
  • The standard deletion of people’s social media history. The activist Maciej Ceglowski wrote:
  • The ability for users to tweak their algorithms. A willingness to share algorithms with users.
  • The ability of (democratically elected) governmental bodies or NGO’s to tweak algorithms for their citizens, be it via an independent and protected organization, or a news company. The one-size-fits-all solution currently in place is completely detached from local cultures, realities and preferences.
  • Think of a state-owned version of Facebook. Yes. I know it sounds weird. But we should discuss whether this is not a platform that, because of its size and impact, should function as a common carrier. Just like energy, public transport or health insurance.
  • A “you changed my mind button” next to the like button.
  • Distributing equal time to different perspectives in people’s timelines.
  • Independent scholars and independent media research companies that should be getting access to Facebook’s raw data– something they are still not doing. Read this depressing article by a researcher that was cut-off mid-research.
  • A decentralised version of Facebook, owned by you and me, distributed over millions of nodes.
  • Splitting up Facebook into two. One version of Facebook for social matters and one for news and public discourse. (This suggestion I read in Ceglowski’s great piece, to be enjoyed here.)



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Sidney Vollmer

Sidney Vollmer

Writer & freelance creative strategist. Last book: “ON/OFF” out now. | Member of the myndr movement. Hodl’er. More about me: