Michael Haupt

@michaelhaupt

Facebook CAN Be Fixed

Dept. of Systemic Reform

But only with a radical rethink of data ownership and entirely new social contracts — is Zuck up to the challenge?

Zuck wondering how to convert FB data to Universal Basic Income. Credit: youthvillage

Wow, John, your ‘Facebook is broken’ article has certainly stirred up an interesting cornucopia of responses. What I appreciated most was your acknowledgement that Facebook is simply too large an ecosystem for one simple fix — that’s true of most of the challenges the planet faces right now.

Finding Facebook’s systemic issue will not be easy. One way to do this is for Zuck to explore the interconnectedness of every actor in his ecosystem and how Facebook’s (and every institutional) design doesn’t cater well for all players. This systems thinking approach is beautifully described in the Q&A section of this enlightening talk (Q&A starts at 42:10):

What I find interesting in Zuck’s post is his focus on centralisation vs decentralisation, encryption and cryptocurrency (fully one third of his post). He’s a smart guy, and my guess is he’s wondering how and why FB could lead the charge in the rapidly rising decentralisation movement. Anne McCrossan and Jonathan Bean hinted at this in their comments to your article.

With that said, may I suggest a third scenario for FB to explore?

How Facebook could lead the charge toward governance by data

Governance and social contracts (the way in which we engage with each other and with institutions) are some of the most ancient conundrums of humankind and numerous examples exist proving that we are far from solving how we peacefully coexist as passengers on this planet. One method which has never been attempted (because technology has not yet allowed us to do so) is to apply data-driven, scientific method, trial and error to governance. Zuck himself has hinted at this:

Rumours have swirled that Zuck has presidential ambitions, but I think he has ambitions far grander — a vision of governance by data. For this to work, he will have to:

Easy? Absolutely not. 
Achievable? Yes.

Successfully transitioning Facebook to a fully decentralised platform AND a token-based UBI would certainly position Zuck well for prime nomination as Person of the Century. The billion dollar question is whether he will have the balls to do so. He really doesn’t have a choice if he wants Facebook to be relevant 10 years from today.

Updates

9 Jan: Added mention of Synereo and Attention Economy. Trent McConaghy wrote a much more detailed version of how Facebook could be tokenised in June 2017, which I was only made aware of after publishing this article. If this topic interests you, I highly recommend Trent’s exceptional coverage of a complex matter:

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