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Let me start by saying that I am not running for elected office because it's a really hard job; even though I might believe I would do it with more integrity and rationality than the next person, I'm also smart enough to realize that everyone thinks that way and I'd probably end up within a standard deviation of average corruption.

What I'm saying, seriously, is that we need a society-wide blameless post-mortem on social networks. It needs to be a slow, careful discussion, where all the stakeholders have their voices heard, and we decide what is good for us all. I don't know that we need them at all, I'm not sure they provide ANY value to ANYONE, but as a non-user I'd of course be open to persuasion by current victims. Erm, users. In the meantime, it should be illegal to operate a social network. Nobody needs to go to prison yet, even though I think it's horrifyingly clear at this point that the ethics are out the window.

One obvious one: advertising and public conversation must always be separated; the same way no public schoolteacher may read scripture in class, it should be illegal for an internet service that hosts public conversation (e.g. Twitter) to allow sponsored content.

We should also establish guidelines for addiction. After cigarettes, drugs, sugar, etc; we should as a society be prepared to understand the various forms that addictive products can take and regulate them aggressively before they become serious problems. UX patterns like infinite scroll, pull-to-refresh, and push notifications are particularly suspect.

I also think we should close the apparent loophole in COPPA that allows parents to post photos of their children on social networks.

> that they have to hire moderators (which they already do?) or do you want to make it illegal to post "bad things" on the internet?

I tend to come down on the "free speech" side of these issues as much as possible; I would prefer unregulated public fora that (perhaps by requiring identity verification) encouraged good-faith participation in substantial discussions. I think if you are just fooling around, maybe you should head down to the bar and get drunk with your friends and do your shit talking there.




> What I'm saying, seriously, is that we need a society-wide blameless post-mortem on social networks

Social networks aren't dead, so we can't have a post-mortem.

Also, you can't have a society-wide blameless analytical conversation about anything, especially if there are significant conflicting interests involved; that's not how people work. (It's perhaps noteworthy that even while suggesting this you offer no objective descriptions of impacts with reasoned analysis of contributing factors, instead jumping straight to blame and policy responses, with some labelled as “obvious”.)


>In the meantime, it should be illegal to operate a social network

So what about the countless number of people whose livelihoods depend on social media in some capacity? They're supposed to just be fine with being irrevocably fucked over until the moral panic about social media subsides? (or, in your words, "we decide what is good for us all")

Where does the small business owner who depends on a social network factor in as a "stakeholder"?

Drugs, sugar, cigarettes are measurably and objectively harmful to your health and that's why they are regulated (or should be).

There isn't similar comparable scientific evidence that social media is nearly as harmful except for questionable non-reproducible psychology studies, so I don't think it's comparable at all.


I hear you saying you don't believe social media is addictive. Will you please kindly open the "digital wellbeing" app (or whatever it's called on iOS) on your phone and share the number of hours you've used social networks over the last week?


I couldn't help but notice that your comment doesn't address the other parts of his argument, nor did you choose to respond to the earlier reply you received (by dragonwriter) outlining the legitimate flaws in the reasoning you provided with your initial opinion.

Social media has a lot of problems - even this article on just Facebook outlines a number of them [0] but I agree with the above poster in saying that you can't have a societal post-mortem analysis of the effects of social media given its very much _not dead_ state. Advocating that society just presses a 'shut down' button until "we collectively decide how we should proceed" is an entirely unrealistic scenario.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Facebook


> nor did you choose to respond to the earlier reply you received

HN's posting frequency limits made that choice for me. The system is unfortunately biased towards drive-by comments and against engaging with feedback on your own comments.

Edit:

> Advocating that society just presses a 'shut down' button until "we collectively decide how we should proceed" is an entirely unrealistic scenario

But that's what I'm advocating. I don't think I'm obligated to respond to people who only came by to reject the premise of my argument. More interesting discussions are available to anyone who shows up with an open mind.


You claim to be for free speech, yet most of what you propose directly infringes on the concept. You don’t get to determine who gets to say what.


The point of free speech is that it’s not regulated according to an opinion about “what is good for us all” or what is “needed.”




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