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]
Every year, veteran sex-advice columnist mounts (ahem) HUMP, an amateur, pornographic short film festival, which tours around Canada and the USA for a dazzling evening of smut, humor, tenderness, weirdness and delight. HUMP is now in its 15th year, and none of the videos from the festival have ever leaked online, which is a testament […]
Social Science One is an academic consortium that was created to conduct "independent scientific research into potentially consequential phenomena such as online disinformation, polarization, and echo chambers" after the Big Tech platforms made changes to their policies that made this kind of research effectively impossible without cooperation from the platforms themselves.
The NSO Group (previously) is an Israeli spyware company that sells tools to autocratic states that are used to spy on democratic opposition movements, journalists, and so on (the company's tools were used by the Saudi government to spy on Jamal Khashoggi in the runup to his kidnap and grisly murder).
Now that the latest iPhones have embraced the wireless charging revolution, there’s really no excuse for not having a wireless charger of your own. But even the best wireless chargers don’t allow users to use their phones while they’re being powered up. This Suction Powered Wireless Charger breaks that rule by allowing you to comfortably […]
You no longer need to invest vast quantities of your time and money in order to take advantage of everything that graphic design can do for your brand or business. Design Wizard Pro allows you to quickly create pro-level image designs in minutes, and a lifetime subscription is currently available for over 90% off its […]
The Nintendo Switch is an undeniably awesome gadget, pairing old-school gaming styles with modern-day graphics and functionality for a new generation of gamers. The only complaint people seem to have is that its controllers are somewhat lacking, which is why more and more Switch-enthusiasts are picking up this Gbros. Wireless Adapter that lets you play […]