From Casey Newton’s email newsletter The Interface, a distressing story about research into Facebook usage and attacks on refugees in Germany. There’s a lot being written these days about how to make social network forces for good, and nowhere will you find people as bought into this idea as the tech sector, which makes this all the more surprising:
Recently I ran into a well known tech CEO and asked him how he was feeling about social networks. (I am extremely fun at parties.) The CEO’s unequivocal response surprised me: “shut them down,” he said. His reasoning was simple: the networks undermine democracies in ways that cannot be fixed with software updates, he said. The only logical response, in his mind, was to end them.
I thought that was mind-blowing. But really, short of a public utility version of Facebook, I don’t see how you make it work. The basic model is broken, and it’s breaking things around it.