Done With Facebook, Twitter? User-Owned Social Networks Hear You

By Marissa Lang
San Francisco Chronicle

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A group of Twitter users and investors who believe the company would be better off as a user-owned cooperative gained a confidence boost last month when the #BuyTwitter push earned enough support among shareholders to resubmit its proposal at next year’s investor meeting.

San Francisco Chronicle

Maybe it was the algorithms that did it — software that turned social media timelines from a chronological, serendipitous flow of ideas to a smattering of posts filtered by bots to show you what computers think you want to see.

Maybe it was the lack of control over users’ own data, the monetizing of their eyeballs. Maybe it was the proliferation of hateful comments and violent videos. Or the role many believe social media played in the 2016 presidential election.

Whatever the reason, a backlash is brewing.

Facebook and Twitter users tired of opaque and, at times, controversial company policies have begun pushing for change.

Some hope to work with the industry’s giants — and maintain their existing social media accounts, carefully crafted over several years — while others have decided to start anew.

What both groups have in common is they want to wrest control of their social media lives back from Wall Street investors and big-name tech executives.

A group of Twitter users and investors who believe the company would be better off as a user-owned cooperative gained a confidence boost last month when the #BuyTwitter push earned enough support among shareholders to resubmit its proposal at next year’s investor meeting.

But not everyone believes Twitter could be transformed into a truly democratic company — even if it tried.

The founders of Mastodon and Minds, two of the biggest user-owned social networks seeking to unseat Facebook and Twitter, drew different inspiration from their own frustration.

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