Usbek & Rica – “Facebook is not loyal to its users, it is loyal to itself”

What is gratifying, in any case, is that Europe has understood that ignoring the GAFA was not an option. A few years ago, some claimed to want to create the ” new google without looking coldly at the situation. Today, we focus more on the problems to be solved, what to prohibit or adjust. All these regulatory policies can serve to make Facebook less toxic as well as to create new virtuous behaviors among users.

Do you think that the future of social networks will go through smaller and more modest platforms, but unique ». Why ?

Take the fan fiction site Archive of Our Own. It was created in 2008 by a fan fiction author who was arguing tired of being chased from one platform to another for copyright reasons. She therefore decided to create her own space, which quickly became very popular: today, it is used by 5 million unique users per month, and there are tens of thousands of original stories. The entire site is powered by passionate volunteers, who have decided to create their own rules of the game. The creators of this space have built precise moderation criteria on the copying and reproduction of original works, but also on the sensitivity of the content, for example by trying to ensure that people never come across content they don’t want to see – sex, suicide, etc.

I will take another personal example. As a diabetic, I would really like to be able to go on a social network where I could exchange with people like me, to get advice for my trips, for example. I don’t want to do it on Facebook, because I know that my data will be transferred there and that I will receive advertisements on the subject. But what would happen if there was a space for anonymous and peaceful exchange, where politeness would be the rule and where other subjects, particularly political ones, would be banned? Wouldn’t that be better for everyone? In my opinion, these are the needs that single-purpose social networks can meet.

By compartmentalising each task in this way, isn’t there the risk of feeling overwhelmed? Between Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or even Snapchat, don’t we already have “too many” social networks?

That’s a very good question. But the reason we all feel overwhelmed this way isn’t what we think. Take the example of emails: today, a platform like Gmail allows you to centralize your professional, personal and university addresses in a single space. Better, this space is designed to be loyal to its user: you can specify that you do not want this kind of spam, that you want to prioritize this recipient, etc.

We should be able to do the same with social networks. Currently, when you use Facebook on your laptop, not only can you not transit to another social network, but you also pour an infinite amount of data into the company, which it will use for advertising. Facebook is not loyal to its users, it is loyal to itself. When there was a program loyal to its users and Facebook was forced to cooperate with this same program, we would be in a very different world. Many social networks could be mobilized at the same time, under the same banner, without necessarily having to register permanently with each of them. Here we come back to the question of interoperability, the objective of which is to regain control and decision-making power.

In the latest issue of our paper magazine, we came across the notion of Web3this generation of the web that defenders of the cryptocurrencies and NFT, asking us if it is a revolution or a scam. What do you think ?

Some of these networks are called “decentralized” in the sense that each part of their buildings is unique and there is no central server. This is how cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or ethereum, for example, work. There are also social networks based on this operation, such as Planetary: we have our own data directory and, each time we tweet or publish a post on Facebook, no one can take it.

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