Over the past 15 years or so, social media has gained tremendous traction. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have reached soaring heights as companies. Social media has its benefits, such as global connectivity and low barrier to entry. It also gives people a platform for expression. The sector has taken a dark turn in recent years, however, igniting aggression and spreading false information, while, at the same time, raising questions of censorship. Eric Yang, founder and executive director of Junto — a nonprofit decentralized social media startup — sees three main issues with the current landscape.
The first of the three issues mentioned by Yang relates to governance, which is essentially the people or entities tasked with a given platform’s overwatch and management. “A lot of these companies are set up as for-profit institutions that have a fiduciary obligation to their investors,” Yang told Cointelegraph in an interview.
Essentially, profit drives said social media entities as their actions impact investors’ pockets, Yang explained. These giants often lure users in with a seemingly free platform for interaction, while selling those users’ information and data for profit, in tandem with advertising tactics and other measures. Looking out for themselves instead of users, these social media giants maintain their digital platforms with such profit tactics in mind, while playing on customers’ psychological weaknesses, Yang posited.
Centralization also comes into play as an issue. “By nature, it’s not sustainable,” Yang said. At present, social media businesses wield significant power. One entity can essentially control the perceived reality of a large amount of the global population, censoring content while also manipulating the content people see, not to mention deciding how to handle customers’ data, Yang believes.
Summing up the three main issues he sees in social media, Yang noted: “The first one is really a business-model problem and then that…