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There is no shortage of articles slamming Facebook over misusage of personal data. The jury is out regarding social media’s pernicious effect on society. Between filter bubbles that keep people locked into a personally tailored world-view via content recommendation engines, and state-level actors swaying elections, Facebook and its social media brethren have been deservedly dragged through the mud for repeatedly turning a blind eye to these issues.
While it would be easy to write yet another ‘Facebook is bad’ article, I’m not convinced that’s what the world needs right now. What we need are solutions. We need to find a way to fix the massive social media ocean we find ourselves floundering in.
Public blockchains, like Ethereum, are still in their early stages of development. But I believe blockchain technology can help steer the social media frigate away from the iceberg. The culpability of these online platforms can no longer be swept under the rug, and social media companies are already actively building blockchain products.
Mark Zuckerberg recently stated in an interview with Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain that “a use of blockchain that I’m potentially interested in” for Facebook Connect was replacing it with “something that’s fully distributed.” So while social media platforms are already warmed up to the idea of embracing blockchain technology, they are still grappling to figure out exactly how.
On the topic of misinformation, we know that a lot of fake news is designed to get clicks which lead to ad revenue. I am reminded of a friend of mine who once posted an article about a pirate ship that had been ‘found’ at the bottom of the Mississippi River.