A recent article by Benedict Evans exposes how hard it is to “fix” social networks.
“The internet and then social platforms break a lot of our definitions of different kinds of speech, and yet somehow Facebook / Google / Twitter are supposed to recreate that whole 200-year tapestry of implicit structures and consensus, and answer all of those questions, from office parks in the San Francisco Bay Area, for both the USA and Myanmar, right now. We want them to Fix It, but we don’t actually know what that means.”
I often think about issues that platforms like Facebook brings to our society. I don’t pretend to have any solution. I can’t quite define what Facebook is actually from a societal point of view. That being said, a lack of definition and understanding cannot prevent me to wish for things to be done differently. And I have one simple wish.
I want the eradication of algorithm-based feeds. I want them to be regulated, prohibited even. At the very least, it should be an opt-in “feature”. I want the return of chronological feeds. No tweaks, no tricks, nothing more. Nothing less. I want all people to have a look at the same reality. Two people having the exact same followers and following the same guys should give the same timeline. Period.
Without hyper-manipulated feeds, we have to wonder about the usefulness of all gathered data about us and our behaviours. Maybe ads targeting doesn’t make as much sense in tact hypothetical context.
If two people don’t see the same thing, it’s because the choice was made by an individual wishing to control his or her exposure, not by a corporation’s algorithm or an arbitrary group of people.
That’s my wish. Let’s try it and see if things change for the better.