How Facebook Can Get Out Of The Participation Trap

So what better way to think about solving these problems from a design perspective?

This question is one of the reasons why we built the Institute, because there are actually some things that have been tested in space, at different levels of success, but a lot of that knowledge is within the small teams within companies and without it. nothing but widely disseminated.

One of my favorite examples that I always point to is the Google search quality team and the work they did even until 2015 or beyond. Google has developed search quality guidelines. Everything is very objective; they don’t examine the quality of the content, they just look for an objective measure. Many of these are really just basic media literacy assessments, such as: All things being equal, it’s better if the publisher or the creator of the content is clear on who they are. Another is the different ways of evaluating how much effort has been put into the content, because all things being equal, it is better if more effort goes in. The lowest quality signals here are, is the content copied from elsewhere?

At this point, however, it’s about defining quality metrics, as, in part, like: Duh, of course platforms should try to show users the good and not show them the bad. But they seem to avoid it, at least in the case of Facebook, because they’re afraid of being seen as play favorites, especially in user -generated content.

Many social media companies came out in the 2000s internet era, many of their mission statements and their values ​​are all about giving voice to everyone. YouTube’s mission statement is “Give everyone a voice and show them the world.” The Twitter mission statement is, I really forgot—

“To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers.”

“Immediately with no obstacles,” yes. Facebook’s first mission statement was like, “connect everyone in the world.”

All of these mission statements are like, “Tell everyone, show everyone, unite everyone,” and it’s not consistent with any objective definition of quality, to say what kind of content that we want to be successful on the platform.

And they all grow fast. We shouldn’t be surprised at all that the big platforms that have survived the first generation or two of social media companies are at the forefront of growth, seeing that the bigger you are, the more useful, and therefore you should be. be as large as possible.

There’s a pessimistic implication to that, which is, Facebook and other dominant platforms are making a ton of money doing things the way they do now. And yet one thing Facebook Papers reveals is that Facebook is just as dominant—of Meta—Is in the market, they are still afraid of potential competitors like TikTok. So if you’re proposing to make changes that could sacrifice some of that quick deal, you can imagine the leaders of these companies thinking they can’t take the risk of a bored child to open TikTok because Facebook is trying to read it. a New Yorker article. So why don’t we even talk about platforms that change course in this way?

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