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The problems with Facebook are inherent in its design, but that can change

Amber Case Contributor Share on Twitter Amber Case is the former CEO of Geoloqi, a past keynote speaker for SXSWi and at TED, and author of the O’Reilly book Calm Technology: Designing for Billions of Devices and the Internet of Things . She is currently a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society . More posts by this contributor How Facebook Can Better Fight Fake News: Make Money Off the People Who Promote It Why The Internet Needs IPFS Before It’s Too Late The latest controversies of social networks Facebook and Twitter are easily the most heated in their entire 12-14 year history — not just because of their suspect role in enabling interference in the 2016 election, but because by now, nearly all of us are users. If history is any guide, however, this outrage likely won’t last. The simple fact is Facebook and Twitter have become too useful for most of us to quit, efficiently connecting us to people and ideas in ways that no other platform can replicate. It’s usually enough for the social networks’ corporate owners to loudly apologize and promise new reforms; after the anger ebbs, equilibrium is rapidly restored. Even many users who vowed to quit social media forever will eventually, begrudgingly, return. Still, this current crisis of trust has created an opportunity to interrogate just exactly how social media is failing us, and push for the fundamental, systemic changes needed to make it better. I’m speaking of deeper, more subtle problems that are far less acknowledged than fake news or data mining: The core user experience of Facebook and Twitter are broken, rife with subtle visual and interactive cues which exploit and fuel our darker urges on these platforms — subtly impelling many of us to share fake news, engage in trolling, and worse. Here’s how: Fast, Focused, Frenetic Websites live and die by engagement, their ability to attract new users and keep them on the site. Facebook and Twitter have earned mass user bases and a central place in the mainstream discourse years ago, but their user experiences still reflect these companies’ origins as scrappy startups, desperate to keep growing

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The problems with Facebook are inherent in its design, but that can change

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