The corruption and surveillance culture of Facebook is baked in deep and can never be removed; if you doubt it, just peruse a sampling of their patent filings, which are like Black Mirror fanfic written by lawyers.
Tim Wu (previously) points out that sites on the scale of Facebook -- like Wikipedia -- deliver value to titanic, global audiences at a fraction of the cost of Facebook's operating budget. When you take out the spying, the sleaze, the giant paydays for execs and investors, it's a tractable proposition to run Facebook without Facebook, Inc.
Another “alt-Facebook” could be a nonprofit that uses that status to signal its dedication to better practices, much as nonprofit hospitals and universities do. Wikipedia is a nonprofit, and it manages nearly as much traffic as Facebook, on a much smaller budget. An “alt-Facebook” could be started by Wikimedia, or by former Facebook employees, many of whom have congregated at the Center for Humane Technology, a nonprofit for those looking to change Silicon Valley’s culture. It could even be funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which was created in reaction to the failures of commercial television and whose mission includes ensuring access to “telecommunications services that are commercial free and free of charge.”
When a company fails, as Facebook has, it is natural for the government to demand that it fix itself or face regulation. But competition can also create pressure to do better. If today’s privacy scandals lead us merely to install Facebook as a regulated monopolist, insulated from competition, we will have failed completely. The world does not need an established church of social media.
Opinion | Don’t Fix Facebook. Replace It. [Tim Wu/New York Times]
It's the Electronic Frontier Foundation's annual Power Up! week, when donations to the charity are matched by a group of challenge donors, making every tax-deductible dollar you give count twice! I'm a contractor for EFF (my fees come out of a grant from the MIT Media Lab, where I'm a Research Associate), and I've been […]
In times of trouble, people want to do something, but as activist Kat Calvin points out, make sure your time and resources are spent wisely. Otherwise you end up enriching grifters:
Gothamist voted to unionize in late 2017; immediately thereafter, its new owner, the evil, Trump-supporting billionaire Joe Ricketts killed it and all its sister publications in a fit of petty revenge against the uppity laborers in word-mines; but then, in February, a consortium of public radio stations announced plans to revive the beloved site, backed […]
Take a scroll through any app marketplace and you’ll see that the doors are wide open for any game these days – and any game developer. Like any creation, virtual or analog, it all starts with an idea. And if you’ve got one of those, the Complete Unity Game Developer Bundle can walk you the […]
At the rate the world is shrinking, you don’t need to be a globetrotter for a second language to be a useful skill. And if you’re looking to learn that second language (or a third, or fourth), uTalk Language Education is the learning program that makes progression not only easy but fun. If you can’t […]
Smokers on the go can breathe a little easier. With an innovative, easy-loading spiral design, the Twisty Glass Blunt offered a smoother, more consistent draw than conventional pipes. Now the Twisty Glass Mini delivers the benefits of its heavy-duty sister pipe in a more discreet package. For those that haven’t already made the Twisty Glass […]