TECHNOLOGY

How Facebook can break free from the sharing trap


So what is the best way to think about addressing these problems from a design perspective?

This question is one of the reasons we founded the institute, because there are actually quite a few things that have been tried in the space, with varying degrees of success, but a lot of that knowledge is inside small teams within companies and isn’t found. It has been widely published.

One of my favorite examples I always point out is the Google Search Quality team and the work they were doing at least until 2015 or so. Google has set search quality guidelines. Everything is very subjective. They do not evaluate the content qualitatively, they are only looking for objective criteria. Many of them are actually just basic media literacy checks, such as: All things being equal, it’s best if the publisher or content creator is transparent about who they are. Another way is different ways of evaluating how much effort is put into the content, because all things being equal, it is better to put more effort. The signals will be of lower quality here, is the content copied from somewhere else?

At this point, though, in terms of defining quality metrics, it looks, on the one hand, like: Duh, of course platforms should try to show users the good and not show them the bad. But they seem to shy away from this, at least in the case of Facebook, because they fear being seen as playing favorites, especially among user-generated content.

A lot of social media companies that have come out of the new millennium era of the internet, a lot of their mission statements and values ​​all aim to give everyone a voice. YouTube’s mission statement is “Give everyone a say and show them the world.” Twitter’s mission statement is, I forget exactly –

“To give everyone the ability to instantly create and share ideas and information without hindrance.”

Immediately without barriers, yes. Facebook’s early mission statement was like, “Connecting everyone in the world.”

All of these mission statements are a lot like, “Let everyone talk, show everyone everything, put everyone together,” and this is not amenable to any objective definition of quality, to say what kind of content we want to succeed in on the platform.

They are all scalable. We shouldn’t be at all surprised that the big platforms that survived the first or second generation of social media companies were the ones that prioritized growth, and the ones that saw that the bigger you were, the more useful you were, and therefore you had to get as big as possible faster Available time.

A pessimistic effect on this is that Facebook and other dominant platforms are making a lot of money doing things the way they do now. However, one thing the Facebook papers revealed is that it is as dominant as Facebook—or dead—In the market, they are still really afraid of potential competitors like TikTok. So, if you’re suggesting making changes that could sacrifice some of that instant, short-term engagement, you’d imagine the leaders of these companies think they can’t risk opening up some bored TikTok kids because Facebook is trying to get them to read more New Yorker Article – commodity. Are we naive to talk about platforms changing course in this way?



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