Over the weekend I just finished watching this insightful exploration into the 'Facebook Dilemma' - It is a fascinating doco put together by PBS Frontline exploring the questions that many of us have asked about Facebook and the misalignment of their ethics.
The doco explores the questions that most of us developing social media have to ask at some time - what is being sold, and to whom do we sell it? What level of transparency do I hold with my users? How important is it to make money? What am I prepared to compromise in my quest for cash?
I think the biggest challenge within Big Tech is that they actually have three sets of customers - First Customers are the people who use their software, Second Customers are the People who advertise, (Second Customers pay to access First Customers). But most important of all are the Third Customers - the Shareholders, and this is where it all seems to go terribly wrong - when the companies bow to a board of directors and the stockmarket, they often turn their back on first and second customers - a public listing seems to launch the quest for endless profit growth, profits before people, history has shown us time and again that there isn't much that they won't do to get there.
Personally I see a huge opportunity for community run social media - if I publish great content, that attracts attention page views = ad revenue = I get paid, not just a token payment, but a fair share of the dividends.
I know that it's been discussed before, and I think that it is timely for something like this to fly. Social Media of the people, for the people, by the people - with a clear charter and a run as a not for profit, all profits returned to the users. True Social Democracy on the web.
There are 2 hours screentime here - but it's well worth watching - it digs deep into a lot of the issues, there is a second part - I've linked it in the comments.