Does anyone else feel like Apple is uniquely positioned to create a “non-toxic” social network?
I know that Apple has failed at “social networks” a few times but I really feel that Apple is the only company right now who has all the pieces to make a social network that is privacy focused and isn’t purposefully designed lead to unhealthy usage patterns.
Apple could increase its device sales, its services revenue and help its users’ mental health with a barebones social network based on iMessage. It could be built into iMessage in a way that is non-intrusive to people who don’t want to use it, or be separate app.
Here’s all I’d need from it to quit all other social media:
-Be able to post text, links and photos to a “feed” that is accessible to the people who have your iMessage information. These posts are temporary or permanent as a user controllable setting. All content is hosted with the user’s iCloud storage. You’d purchase more if you wanted to keep your posts around for longer or forever. Similar to how iMessage in the cloud and shared photo albums work now.
-Instead of a “newsfeed” we’d see something similar to the iMessage conversation list currently. You’d see your contacts as a scrollable list with blue dots on the left if they’ve posted something new. It would be a linear list based on time without any algorithms to decide what’s important. You decide this yourself by unfollowing contacts or just not clicking their name on your list.
-Comments on content go directly to a user’s normal iMessage thread with that person. This stops one of the fundamental problems of social media. No comment threads where people are assholes to strangers and it would disincentivize making deliberately incendiary posts for lots of comments/attention. You can “like” posts and it will show the number of likes on a post to everyone but only who liked it to the owner of the post.
-Because there are no comment threads or the ability to see who liked someone else’s post, there’s no way to discover strangers to “friend” in the app. It keeps the service exclusively for sharing things with the people you really care about. It eliminates the toxic incentive to overuse social media to amass more followers. It stops you from worrying what you post on social media for the fear that a potential employer might search out your profile. Thinking more darkly it’s a better tool to organize protests against hostile governments or other actors.
-You choose which contacts have access to your feed. If you meet someone interesting in real life, it would be cool with you could just touch your phones together to share your social feed with them, or your phone number if you’d like.
-The service would work like group iMessages do now. They’re encrypted and only shared with the contacts you approve.
-Since the service is hosted from your paid iCloud storage, Apple doesn’t have to mine your data to make an advertising profile for you so privacy is respected by design. No ads, no targeted posts, no worry that unsavory players are trying to manipulate the news you see and the opinions you form.
-Since this isn’t a free social network, Apple doesn’t have the incentive to make you spend too much time on this app like the other players do. No recommended videos and posts. No FOMO because the algorithm might have hidden from you an interesting post from a friend. No progressive accumulation of meme pages and tag groups for you to waste time in.
Do you think this would be good for Apple to offer? I think that most people who have been paying attention know that “free” social media is nefariously gathering their data and using it to manipulate their decisions with advertising and targeting. Right now our only options are to get rid of social media entirely and disconnect from a lot of our friends, or use social media and put our privacy and security at risk. It seems like Apple (and right now *only* Apple ) could fix this for a lot of people and make us more secure without having to withdrawal from our friends.