Social media companies have been wrestling with content moderation for several years. Jaron Lanier recently suggested an alternative to a laissez-faire approach and government regulation. Here’s how he describes it:
…a platform would require users to form groups through free association, and then to post only through those groups, with the group’s imprimatur.
…It would be like starting up a zine, a band, or a partnership. You’d find some people with whom you feel compatible, people whom you trust, and then you’d work together to create a brand—a name for your group to be applied to a common feed of posts. Only groups like this would be able to post, not individuals, though individuals would still identify themselves, just like they would when playing in a band or writing in a magazine. Individuals could join multiple groups and groups would self-govern;…
…Members would share both good and bad consequences with one another, just like a group shares the benefits and responsibilities of a loan in microlending.
…Groups, as they appear on existing platforms, can be of any size. Some number in the millions. The sort of groups I have in mind would be much smaller as a rule. The point is that the people in the groups know one another well enough to take on the pursuit of trust and quality, and to rid their groups of bots.
…each group will be self-governing. Some will have a process in place for reviewing items before they are posted. Others will let members post as they see fit. Some groups will have strict membership requirements. Others might have looser standards. It will be a repeat of the old story of people building societal institutions and dealing with unavoidable trade-offs, but people will be doing this on their own terms.
I’ll write some thoughts later. What do you guys think?