There’s Nothing Like: ‘It’s Just a Platform”.
I’ll tell you why.
After the US elections, there was a hullabaloo that Facebook had some influence on the results due to the fake news being posted on the platform and the “platform” is being compelled to take responsibility for it, fixing the proliferation of fake news on it.
While I do not agree that it led to Hillary’s loss as there was as much fake news on both major candidates, It is clear that Facebook had an influence on the elections, from as little as always keeping us informed. Heck, people rely on Facebook as their only source of news. You cannot disrupt the media space without having editorial frameworks in place.
But Mark is failing to see this link. He insists it’s a neutral technology platform and not a media company.
…and I understand Mark’s sentiments. See, it is hard to connect the dots on Facebook and clearly see how the platform impacts situations.
It’s way more easy on Twitter. You see a spike of tweets while a TV show is on and you can measure its impact on the show. Think of the hate-speeches that have forced people to close their social media accounts…well, majorly their Twitter accounts. There is usually a clear pattern which has forced Twitter to take responsibility and work on it.
Okay, let me ask you: If your Uber driver was rude to you, who would you talk to?
Airbnb has had to address the issue of some hosts not taking in People of Colour (read: racism). They insisted they were just a “platform” until it began to threaten their business and “platforms” were being created for people of colour. Now, it is their responsibility.
Even the Instagram team tried to fight hateful comments, by giving people the option of turning off their comments. Alright, I just assumed that’s why they did that.
It is a whole experience. It has always been about all the touch points linking to the consumption of your service, and the fact that, using technology, you are simplifying a consumption experience does not mean you are absolved of the responsibility that comes with owning a certain space.
At the Web Summit in Lisbon last week, Dave McClure of 500startups stated that technology entrepreneurs have a responsibility to enable a “more well-rounded experience” for their audiences. “A lot of them are only thinking about how to make money. Maybe we need to mix in having ethics and principles and caring about the fact that people have a reasonable and rational experience of the information they process.”
More than anything, what the accusations against Facebook has brought to light is the fact that you are not just a frigging platform. You are offering a frigging service and you need to be ready for the responsibilities that come with it. So before you go ahead and create the next platform thinking: “ I should build a platform for people to …” — NO! DON’T! You know, Maybe you should give people a proper experience.
Again, disrupting an industry does not absolve you of culpability. Take Responsibility.