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#StopHateForProfit - How to fix Facebook

This morning I received a push notification from Firefox, promoting a ”#StopHateForProfit” campaign. This campaign is so wrong on so many levels. Why is Mozilla now pushing political content to my phone? Is using Twitter to bash on Facebook about hate not ironing? But more importantly, the level of reflection and thoughts that went behind this campaign is on a childish level; boohoo, some bad stuff, do something! It’s quite disheartening to see respectable institutions fall to that level of simplified thinking.

But still, I think that we can all agree, Facebook has become quite toxic. How can we apply reasoning to build a better platform?

Facebook 2.0

A number of effects I noticed with Facebook:

Getting back to basics

The best thing about the original Facebook is that it allowed to connect long-lost relatives. This is a human thing and of value.

Technology should be there to make our lives better.

Remove the feed

Unfortunately when the feed was introduced, it meant that all the events of the other people’s lives are now broadcast to us. What is left to discuss when all the events in life have already been displayed?

Other side-effects is that posturing is now encouraged. This doesn’t bring out the best out of humanity. It also help promote a fake vision of how people feel.

Sharing posts is the vector to infiltrate people’s minds with political content.

Remove likes

That sweet dopamine hit is similar to when playing in the slot machines. For some reason we see people addicted to gambling in a bad light, but now it’s okay to get a whole population addicted on likes?

We are training a whole population to optimize their behaviours to receive their little like treats, just like dogs. How sad is this?

Add a personal journal

That journal should be private and for your own benefit. I think that there is value if writing for yourself as it helps structure your own ideas. But this only works when writing with innocence, without the fear of being judged.

The nice thing about a journal is that it allows you to go back and remind yourself of past events, place things in context.

Add reminders of people you haven’t contacted in a while

We want genuine human interactions. This can only happen in private.

Facebook could help me by proposing ice-breaker questions I could ask. Or reminding me of ongoing topics that I should ask about. And then let me contact the person myself to have a proper conversation.

Give me tools for self-determination

Technology is overwhelming us with information, to the point where it gets hard to think properly. Our brains don’t have the time to process all that new content and get overwhelmed.

Facebook should provide the tools to filter content ourselves. Don’t let others invade our brain by default.

Conclusion

This is far from being a comprehensive solution. This is just things that come from the top of my head. Yet, it seems like it would have deeper effect than adding more censorship as proposed by the campaign. This is what I would expect from the campaign; a thoughtful analysis of the platform, which leads to concrete solutions. Do your research. Instead, it’s exactly of the quality of the average Facebook post that was drafted in two seconds and optimized for shock.

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