No impetus to clean up social media?
Last July I wrote "Will Social Media Companies Ever Make Fighting Online Abuse a Priority?" I offered several suggestions on how social media companies can reduce toxic behaviour on their platforms. One I proposed is requiring credit card and/or phone number authentication to create a social media account. This would eliminate anonymous accounts. Social media users, knowing they can easily be traced, will therefore rein in their toxic behaviour.
Every social media platform relies on advertising revenue. Eyeballs are what keep social media free for you and me. Having as many eyeballs as possible is why social media companies accept toxicity within their "user guidelines".
Toxic behaviour is a cost-effective way to attract and hold our attention. It's been said, "If it's free, then you are the product."
Who likes aggressive theatrics morphing into insults, labelling and accusations, all trying to prove the other person wrong? Has insulting someone or calling them a "racist" ever changed their mind?
With algorithms designed to prioritize sensationalized content over mundane content, anything that encourages debate is presented. Why? Because this content creates arguments in the comments section, which counts as "engagement."
What’s the likelihood that companies will walk away from social media (as LUSH has done)? I'm not holding my breath. The damage caused, particularly to the emotional development of adolescents, by social media is Machiavellian in nature and thus not widely accepted as being factual. Meanwhile social media companies' and brands' financial agendas are worth billions.
What's never talked about is social media usage being a choice, and user responsibility. Where we place our attention and reaction are our choice. We're choosing to chase emotions on digital platforms, giving social media companies the eyeballs they need to attract advertisers.