Return to Level1Techs.com

A better social network?


#1

This is going to be a long post and sort of a rant perhaps? I guess well see where this goes… (I’ll organize this later)

I left Facebook (where I was working as a contractor for 3 years) right before the cambridge analytica scandal broke to the public. I was and still am pretty upset about it. At the time I was proud to work at the company and I just felt betrayed.

The long story short was that facebook had allowed CA (Cambridge Analytica) access to some API endpoints that were later abused to gather a ton of private data from the users who used the app and of their friends… millions of accounts were compromised and facebook was drug in front of congress and slapped on the wrist.

It really got me thinking, why has another platform not come along to replace facebook that was privacy focused and didn’t have the same privacy fuckups that facebook continues to demonstrate so well.


My biggest grips on the platform are the bots and limited privacy settings available to us to help protect ourselves when were using the platform.

When I was brainstorming of ways to limit the amount of bots on the platform I could only really come up with one solution, one that facebook already uses (DL verification)

Facebook would use DL verification if they believe you are a bot account or need to ‘verify’ your account. Though in my own testing, this system is flawed and I’m working to report the vulnerabilities once I have more data available. (sorry zuck)

I thought about using the same process except that would be required on signup. But I feel that this wouldn’t be received well from a privacy standpoint… even if I nailed everything else that bothered users.


By having users register via a DL I feel it would accomplish the following and I would love to get your thoughts on why this would or wouldn’t work…

  • Users couldn’t register for multiple accounts as they would need their DL which would have already been used.

  • Bots are currently created via many creative ways, after browsing some blackhat forums and reading up on various tactics bot’s wouldn’t be able to sign up as they would need a DL that would need to be verified. (Not sure how to deal with fake ID’s yet, but assuming I had a backend system to verify with the state that it is authentic might be something?)

  • Using the tactic above and eliminating most of the bot threats I feel that we could actually have a social platform without vote manipulation, and all the other bs that bots bring to facebook.


If there were a new social media platform created that gave you complete control over your data on the platform, didn’t have intrusive advertisements, and had no tracking abilities (you should see some of the webrtc shit on facebook’s website btw… scary stuff) is that something people would want even if they had to sign up using their drivers license?

I would love some honest feedback or even criticism of the DL idea. Additionally what issues does Facebook currently have that you would make the switch if it was made available on another platform?

Sorry for the long unorganized rant…


#2

I’ll go ahead and throw some of my other ideas below and see if that helps with inspiration…

Geep’s main gripes about FB.

  • Bot and Spam Accounts
  • Lack of Security Options
  • Lack of Privacy Tools
  • Lack of Transparency for Site changes, and reported content on the site.
  • Users don’t have a voice and are ignored.
  • Reporting workflow on Facebook is a laughable disaster.

Features I thought about adding if there were enough interest.

  • The User

    • Customize your profile and layout your way
    • Content Feed Customization
    • Ability to download your profile
    • Ability to create advanced posts (markdown support)
  • Organizations

    • Content Creators can now monetize their content.
    • Enable Content ID for their content.
    • Allow the Org to advertise based on tag they choose.
  • Site Experience

    • Lightweight (no bulky js here)
    • Good Ad experience on site, clean, not intrusive, no gimmicks
    • Night Mode, Custom Themes
    • Full Resolution Video, Pictures, and Audio
    • Content Feed Customization/Filtering
  • Content Experience

    • High Definition Audio, Video, and Photos
    • Get Badges and Achievements for Browsing, Interactions, Contributions
    • See current Trending based on your followed tags, cliques, and pages
    • Ability to review content on profiles, groups, pages and edit content or privacy
    • Follow tags or various topics and subjects
  • Privacy Options

    • Ability to actually delete your profile or take a break
    • Setup an ‘alias’ so you don’t have to use your real name
    • Full control over all profile tiles, content, groups, cliques and more.
    • Everything is encrypted, end to end, including stored content on servers.
    • View as ‘Public, Individual, Clique’ for privacy verification
  • Useability

    • Moderate any content on your profile, page, or group via Moderator.
    • Moderating tools for posts (turn off comments, delete comments, report)
    • Moderating tools for page owners (turn off comments, delete comments, report)
    • Markdown support for complex posts across all pages, groups, posts, etc…

#3

Just a couple cherry picked points.

Using any identifiable information will sacrifice privacy. As you know the ID will have to be stored in order to compare new users against existing ones. I suppose you could disassociate the ID with the account after creation…
But what if a stolen ID is used to register an account and the legitimate owner wants to make an account? Would you leave the already created account alone? Without knowing what ID created the phony account then this could be abused.

Maybe a different approach will need to be considered. Such as communities within the social platform. Think of it like this forum on the internet. We can usually identify bots fairly easily and ban them from our community.

Also, the ad system. Ads should be approved first by the user. For instance I want to know when certain bands are touring, I want to know when certain types of technology are available…
Give me a system where I select what I want to see, from generalities down to the fine details.


#4

The bar.

Otherwise? Legit? IRC.


#5

Interesting, what if the ads were just based off of the content your following or subscribed too?

Example: you follow ‘fallout boy’ you could be getting ads for concerts, albums, and merch?

As far as the getting ads approved first, we would have a system where you could opt out of certain ads based on keywords or something but I’m not sure how to serve ads to users if they have to approve them first.


#6

Like IRC support?


#7

Exactly this.

You don’t. Opt-in only, make it a part of registration or something. Nag me every few months with suggestions to update my preferences.

Also, something like this maybe less invasive…
https://vidy.com/


#8

Nah, just IRC.


#9

The problem there is that if it still links back, it’s not truly anon. It needs to be anon.

That’s directly counter to The CIA’s Facebook’s business model.

Would be nice, but how do we bring about that change on a system that allows for public consumption of 95% of the data?

Excellent idea, actually. No gripes here.

I thought this was already a thing. (shows how often I use Facebook (I don’t))

Night mode, yes. Custom themes, I hope you don’t mean like MySpace or Tumblr. yuck

bad idea. Content ID does not work in it’s current form.

That sounds like an excellent improvement. I though they already gave ads based on interests. (is that not the case?)

I honestly don’t believe that Facebook is concerned with security. I think Facebook is more concerned with building a network that can be used to build huge user interest databases that drive ad sales. (maybe other nefarious shit, but that’s a bit tinfoiley for me)


My main problem with Social Media is that it’s a major source of depression (primary driver: FOMO). I think the primary drive right now should be to figure out how to ease this.

The best thing for my mental health was to get off all social media. I wouldn’t say I was severely depressed, but I was definitely not happy.


All in all, I like that people are interested in coming up with solutions, rather than just bitching about it. :+1:


#10

is that something people would want even if they had to sign up using their drivers license?

Pseudonymity is on my list of basic criteria for signing up. That would be a deal breaker for me, personally.

Also… ads. I’m against them unless there’s curation. If Level1Techs started accepting sponsor spots in their videos, I’m fine with that since they have editorial control. What I’m opposed to is being treated like a drop in a potential pool of advertising targets.

Facebook has Groups and Pages. I’d be fine if the owners of those groups could pick the adds they displayed to their members, but not if the social media network itself is also an ad platform.

I’d much rather pay a subscription fee that simply disables all advertising code.


#11

What’s the business model then? How do they generate revenue?


I’m asking seriously, not just trying to be a dick. I want to try to come to a real solution.

I don’t think people are willing to pay a subscription.


#12

People pay for dating apps, I think some people will pay subscriptions for a social media app. Even if it is just the rich kids.

Especially if it is something like whisper.


#13

I think there’s a higher value placed on literally finding someone to spend the rest of their life with than somewhere to share cat photos and drunk pictures you’ll delete the next day.


This is a better argument.


#14

Funny you mention that, this is also a core item that would be part of the site.

The fee would allow you to have a ad-free experience. No ad’s. As far as other ‘premium’ features go I have a small list of stuff that is a WIP.


#15

I like this actually. sub to remove ads? hell yeah!


#16

Just thought of something, regarding DL identification.

Would this network tie into the DMV or something, to verify that the DL is legit?

Because I know a guy who can make really convincing fakes for like $20, so if you want to run a couple alts or bots, it’s really not a huge investment.


#17

I believe that would be similar to how the South Koreans have it set up for 18+ sites, you have to enter the number of your ID to view the site.

Edit: after doing some more googling, it appears a lot more sites, not just the pornographic ones, require an ID to use the site. But of course in order to view adult content and such your ID has to state that your age is 18 or over 18.

It appears that they have that system in place to prevent hacking.


#18

I feel bad for Best Korea. :frowning:


#19

Literally anything but ads. The problem with advertising is that advertisers want to know how effective their ads are. Who’s seeing them, how many conversions do they generate, et cetera. There’s no way to make an effective advertising platform without violating user privacy in some ways, and it’s a death blow to privacy when ad data is coupled with real life identity.

Reddit’s free, but their entirely voluntary gold system generates revenue. It’s a model that I think could be emulated. Keep it cheap enough that it doesn’t feel like a burden, don’t cap it so people who want to spend more can, provide enough little perks, and make sure there’s a “gifting” mentality behind it.

They also have a guilt-elimination model. On the side bar, there’s a counter that shows the daily cost to operate the site, and each time someone gives gold, the counter ticks up, showing they’ve covered 117% of the site’s operational costs.

Patreon’s subscriptions are also a successful model. I can make use of all of Level1Techs stuff without paying a dime, but I give them $19 a month because if someone doesn’t, it goes away.

I’d also be willing to mine crypto in the browser if the option were presented to me. I’m opposed to it when it’s sneaky, but I’m willing to opt in if there’s transparency.

Those are a handful of models that I personally like. If I can think of any others, I’ll pop back in.


#20

I agree. I think they could definitely do something like that.

Imagine Facebook implementing a feature like patreon or youtube “join” and taking a cut from that.

That’s fair. I’ve supported them through the store, so I agree. My @Wendell shrine is nearly complete, all I need is hair from his beard. :stuck_out_tongue: