What if Facebook issues a passport?

Wonjun Song
Mar 15, 2017 · 4 min read

Recently, I began to think if there’s any way to improve visa application process. North American and many European citizens have privilege to travel around most part of the world without visa for 90 days. This is outcome of sheer power of a nation or through the advantageous foreign policies in place. However, this isn’t simply true for many people who live in other sides of the world. Especially, if you are coming from Middle East, Africa and some parts of Asia.

It’s too complicated. And you want me to wait for months? Ugh.

As for work visa, some of my European friends struggled to come over to US for work because getting the work visa and sponsorship was such a hassle and expensive. In 2017, if anyone wants to work anywhere, I think it should be as easy as booking a home through Airbnb. Persecuting and limiting people just because of their geological habitat is cruel and there’s got to be a better way to open up opportunities for people who look for better lives.

If you look into Facebook’s MAU (monthly active user), it outnumbers China and India with ease. There’s a steady growth in smartphone adoption in developing nations so this number is expected to grow in my opinion.

So here’s a question. Can Facebook be a country? A country that defies borders and politics and help people without bureaucracy? If so, what does it look like to have a passport issued by Facebook? And how can they form a relationship with countries to overcome bureaucracy and promote goodness in society while opening up opportunities for people?

The first step that came to my mind was to help expedite visa process through technology. I am not certain of actual technicality behind how something like this can work but I presume this type of service requires tightly knitted collaboration between policy makers, international lawyers, non-profit/for-profit organizations and the citizens. Maybe Facebook can hire representatives from every single nation in the world to overcome this hurdle as well.

Also refugees don’t have to risk their lives for having better lives. Photo Credit: Global Giving

In addition, the service can have another layer to promote the social goodness around the world. In order to get expedited visa, a person should be required to volunteer in the community that needs his/her expertise.

And I believe this is where Facebook’s technology can get really handy. I believe with Facebook’s data points, it would be possible to recommend volunteering opportunities that’s fitting to his/her skill set.

This solves people’s pain points and help elevate Facebook’s mission on connecting people, even in the offline world.

Here’s my initial design for the service.

Express Lane for Facebook Passport Holder

Little background. I started to think about this issue after hearing about Muslim Ban. Few days after protest broke out, I read news about EU parliament seeking U.S. citizens to acquire visa for EU entry.

My reaction wasn’t a pleasant one. Because of politician’s skewed rhetorics, millions of people’s convenience would be taken away. Most politicians obviously don’t have best interest in people’s needs.

I looked into Facebook because it is the largest platform that people live virtually. And I personally think Facebook holds enormous responsibility and accountability on making this world a better place not just online but offline as well.

This is just one man’s thought. And I don’t know if this type of service would actually benefit the world. As some people might ponder, I too think this can be a double edged sword. One platform’s dominance isn’t always the best for the people’s interest. But if we don’t have a much choice, we should at least try to make available space into a better one for everyone who resides in.

Wonjun Song

Written by

Product Designer. Beat Maker. Lifelong Learner.

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