Facebook’s famous motto of “move fast and break things” used to be cute until they actually started breaking things. Now, after the aftermath of several social media scandals and as society is poised to irrevocably tear itself apart over political differences, we might begin to wonder what gave social media the right to so thoroughly control us.
It didn’t need to be this way, but the algorithms at work prioritized engagement and outrage over meaningful interactions. As the oft-quoted, and increasingly irritating, saying goes “If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold.”
But the reason that quote gets repeated ad nauseam is that it is true. If we want to stop algorithms from provoking us to hate our neighbours, we must move away from networks that incentivize ad revenue over our wellbeing.
A good way forward are social networks structured as Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). In case you’re not familiar with DAOs, they’re blockchain entities that are operated and managed by the community that uses them. Typically, operations and development costs of DAOs are paid for by small fees when executing certain transactions but could be paid for by advertisers.
The key difference from normal social media though is that management decisions would rest solely on the community, and advertiser interests would only be considered insofar that they don’t damage what the decision-makers are ultimately trying to achieve.
As such, if the community remains strong, and doesn’t get corrupted by greed, through the power of a DAO they can collectively build a social media platform designed for their collective wellbeing and positive development of humanity.
It might seem utopian but, if structured appropriately from the outset, there is the potential to organize the smart contracts governing user behaviour in such a way that community wellbeing is prioritized.
This is why the WACEO views its mission of enabling DAOs to build regulatory compliant structures, as well as designed to suit the original ideal intentions, to be so vital.
Technology is finally allowing us, normal people, to be able to build organizations with the power to change the world, instead of for the enrichment of a handful of people. Let’s use this opportunity to create that brighter future where we work as a society, and not as enemies!
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