The challenge to our society is that these online social platforms have created a dominant market that appeals to the masses, and there are not enough alternative options to provide a counterbalance.
By Marc Kaplan
The current landscape of major social media platforms sets a low bar for using ethical technology to do good for society. It is not a debatable truth that these platforms not only rely on, but that they thrive on the negativity, divisiveness and political polarization they enable. They of course do some good for the world and one cannot dismiss the tremendous value to the world that they have the ability to provide. However, they have deliberately chosen to use unethical technology to propel online toxicity that ultimately drives eyeballs and activity to their platform.
Research has repeatedly demonstrated that negativity and opposing views drive increased online activity. The major social media platforms understand this and use their algorithms to serve this content up to the masses often at the expense of truth, positivity and civility. They do a great job defending their actions by appealing to civil liberties and other such freedoms, and by speaking of their efforts to combat problems that they have created such as fake news and trolling. They certainly have the technology and the financial resources to address these challenges.
They choose however to use it largely to propel their business models which are almost completely driven by advertising which is almost completely driven by high usage of their platform and then targeting individuals with specific adds that appeal to them. The conversation around how they target individuals and the privacy violations around that is another topic all together.
The challenge to our society is that these online social platforms have created a dominant market that appeals to the masses, and there are not enough alternative options to provide a counterbalance. As such, today’s major social platforms have socialized an entire generation to expect a certain type of online experience, one that is less about picking each other up and more about putting each other down.
It will take a Social Revolution to change this and that this change begins with social platforms that use ethical technology to promote social good. We aim to be one of many future counterbalances that focus on creating communities that reinforce positivity, collaboration, and providing social good. This is about choices and those we have made have prioritized positivity over negativity, sharing and collaborating over dividing, safety and privacy over monitoring and trolling, and social good over sensational bickering.
The question of course will be how much interest is there in a online platform that focuses on doing good for the world. How much interest will there be in an online platform that is built to raise others up? How much interest will there be in a global online platform whose currency is about helping one another? This all remains to be seen but we believe that a Social Revolution is needed to counterbalance the impacts of the large social media platforms of today. We chose to invest in our society by investing in our platform. And we choose to bet on the goodness of people and the goodness of our society.
(The author is co-founder of ChekMarc, a global online social platform. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)