Facebook is a very metrics driven company, and privacy has been a remote concern for the company. I think they have dug their own grave if they even want to venture into finance or healthcare like Apple is doing. I would not trust Facebook with my health records or bank account. But, Instagram is great for finding vacation ideas and spotting new products or trends. Twitter IMO now often is a much better source of information than the NYTimes. Also, let's not forgot the NYTimes has its own axe to grind here.
The point isn’t that Facebook is all bad, just that it’s mostly bad. And all of those things you mentioned can, and do, exist without Facebook. There was a world before Facebook, there will be a world after Facebook.
As you rightly point out, history is proof that the ad dollars don't care what the platform or who the messenger is, as long as they are easy to use and effectiveness can be measured.
How many subscriptions am I supposed to have anyways if my go-to information consumption mode is to cross check several websites?
I don't want to be confined to NYT, Der Spiegel, Wired or WSJ. I want all of them whenever I please. The Internet made this possible and now we are on the road to taking this away again.
At the very root of all of this is the Internet's financial reliance on advertisements. Advertisement based business models need to die but at the same time we cannot lose the free, accessible Internet as it used to be.
I don't think this is a prerequisite at all. Isn't most marketing focused on the persuasiveness of the seller, instead of the effectiveness of the product?
Well you can. Lots of things have been successfully restricted in the past, in lots of places. It doesn't have to give rise to the mob, illegal smuggling or iniquitous burger dens that so often is the American experience of outlawing things.
Or you can just tax it until lettuce becomes appealing.
You don't have to outlaw it, just tax revenue from the undesirable behaviors to dis-incentivize them. In Facebook's case (and also that of much of the web), most of what people object to is the practices that support personal profile-targeted ads. So tax those until page context-targeted ads become attractive.
I think a 1 cent per impression ad tax would have a very positive impact on a lot of the internet. It doesn't destroy the advertising industry entirely, because there are still plenty of ads profitable at that point. A lot of the bullshit the advertising industry is subjecting us to isn't about those ads, where the signal is bright and clear and easy to monetize; it's about chasing the long tail and extracting every last ounce of data to make that stuff profitable, heedless of the societal damage it can cause.
And the personal tracking side would still exist, it would just happen before showing the impression, to identify you and calculate whether the 1 cent is worth it for you.
I've encountered this argument before on HN now, and the problem is, you're accounting for all this tracking as being free. It isn't. It's actually very expensive. The tracking has to work in a world where impressions are much more expensive, and consequently, the demand for ads has shrunk along with its total market.
The entire purpose of this tax is put the industry in a new set point where it can't afford all this tracking. It can only afford very high-return things, which we can't really stop anyhow. It can't afford to hoover up every email you've ever written and subject it to high-quality ML learning run by a team of 25 PhDs with hundreds of support staff behind them with effectively unlimited hardware budgets to squeeze an additional 3 lifetime cents from everybody in the world in a world where ads have a cost floor of 1 cent rather than their current .000001 cents (or however many zeros it may have, it's enough).
(Those numbers may seem weird to you, because we are not good at working at large scales of factors of magnitude. But 3 cents over the liftime of seven billion people on Earth is 210 million dollars. This is the fundamental reason why the ad industry is so dangerous; it is not only worth it, but trivially worth it, to spend 100 million dollars to build a system for invading your privacy if it will net them just a few more pennies. We need to strike at that value calculation, not fritter around the edges.)
Those are by far the dominant social networks in the US. They all compete in terms of fighting for limited user time. WhatsApp is kinda sorta in that group, however it's not particularly popular in the US. Tumblr used to be, it might as well be dead now, it's going the way of MySpace (sold off a few times, passed around, until it's hardly valuable at all).
Snapchat competes primarily with Facebook and Instagram. At the edges there's some competition with sites like YouTube, Reddit, Imgur (and other image sharing networks).
Instagram competes with core Facebook, which is of course why they ate them. Also with Snapchat. To a lesser extent YouTube, Pinterest and misc image sites.
YouTube competes with Facebook and their goal to build a much larger user video platform. To a lesser extent they compete with Snapchat and Instagram, particularly on very short form user video.
Reddit competes with Twitter and some of the smaller niche social networks like Imgur. There's some limited competition between Reddit, Instagram and Pinterest.
LinkedIn competes with Facebook. Microsoft scored a nice protected fiefdom in LinkedIn. It suffers no serious competitive threat other than incompetence.
When you examine the competitive landscape, it's very clear that Facebook has no direct competitor to their core platform. And further, Instagram has far overwhelmed its competition. Facebook core is Facebook's Google search, Instagram is Facebook's YouTube, all are monopolies at what they do. The scope of Facebook core + Instagram + WhatsApp is breathtaking, it must be something like 2.6 to 3 billion monthly actives now when you include everyone across all three major platforms.
The most interesting social network among the group, is Pinterest. If they don't screw things up, they'll have a far better business than Twitter over time. It's a dramatically more mainstream product with direct, obvious, superior monetization potential. None of the other social networks can compete well with what they do (not without contorting themselves into a pretzel and risking their existing userbase and business).
That will turn around quick if Pornhub actually succeeds in buying it.
What do you consider to be their obvious superior monetization potential? And is their anything else about Pinterest that makes you find it so interesting?
As an independent place to stay connected, it enables people to leave social media without losing their social network (an important distinction). It also makes it easier to discover and try out new apps (just link them to your card).
Check it out maybe :) https://cardbox.app/
Data generated by users implicitly or explicitly should be protected in the same way other highly personal data is protected. I'm talking specifically about health data and video rental records and (in some states) library records.
in other words, would banning surveillance business kill FB, Google ect? Would we still want that law if that was the case?
Duck Duck Go doesn't use it and they do okay. There is a lot more money in surveillance based advertising, but it isn't the only way.
Right. My point was FB/Google would cease to exist in their current form employing hundreds of thousands of ppl and responsible for US tech domination.
Would we as a society ok with losing all that and turning FB into a 100 ppl company that no one cares about.
Privacy-focused mass-market products like DDG and Firefox will very rarely be able to keep up with the giants that prioritize profit. As long as users disregard their privacy, there'll be businesses ready to entice them with customized features, and of course advertisers will reward that too. That's why regulation is the only real way out (GDPR, etc.).