Apple Should Make a Privacy-Enhanced Social Media Network

https://digitalcitizen.ca/category/writing/Apple has been on the march to fight for better privacy requirements of people’s data on social media. They even put some action where their mouth was recently, by changing their privacy practices to have users opt in some sharing of their data via apps rather than opt out so that the default wasn’t to share their data like with many other platforms. However, if they want to be really serious about it all, they have the perfect avenue to not only do this, but also maim one of their tech rivals in Facebook, who survives on data sharing (often through targeted ads) without significant revenue stream elsewhere like Apple has with hardware, software, and more.

If Apple were really serious about users’ data privacy, the perfect way it can win the support of the public would be to create a privacy-based social media network. It’s a big idea, but if anyone can pull it off, it would be Apple with its multiple revenue streams and posh status among public opinion. Even those who hate Apple tend to hate it, or partly hate it, because of how others put it on a pedestal, not because they deem Apple products to be trash. Overvalued, maybe, but not trash. So here’s how I see the social network model to work for Apple.

  • Reverse engineer it to be a bit like Facebook, with Apple’s design features to it.
  • Allow people who download their data from Facebook to recreate an analogous account where things would look and be organized a little differently, but all the content would be shown in one way or another, except maybe without all the reactions and maybe with names with comments blocked out. I’m not sure what one can get from one’s own Facebook account upon downloading the info Facebook has, but just map everything to something in the Apple network.
  • Let people choose what they want to share about themselves (as is the current Apple model) for ads or otherwise. Apple would also have to be very responsible in how it uses this data, and keep a minimal amount rather than much or most or everything, which should reduce network maintenance costs.
  • The revenue model would be ads targeted by only what people opt to share about themselves, or else be random so that there’d still be some ad revenue, just not much and not targeted. I’m not sure that would get Apple enough to support it but they have other revenue streams, and I think once enough people get on board, they’ll be fine. Or else have a partial pay model where people with Apple devices can have access to more features (helps sell Apple products to pay for it), and those that don’t can have it free with fewer features, or full features for a small fee or a few dollars per month or save a bit if purchased a year at a time.
  • Get some high profile people and influencers, particularly Instagram ones, to join to start the avalanche, if the privacy enhanced features weren’t easy enough to draw people. The hip and popular will likely jump anyway, with Apple having such a reputation unlike if Samsung were to try this and just be thought of as second rate.
  • Build in more privacy features for users among their networks, like 3-5 levels of info sharing into which every new contact needs to be placed. So the people in Level 1 might be closest to you, with whom you might want to share everything, and Level 5 is sharing not much. Then, with each post, or album, ask what level of sharing do they want with it and make them just momentarily think twice about how far they might want to share each thing (default is value for last post to save a few taps, or a set default otherwise). Hey, if people had privacy on their minds, keep it present! And if they didn’t, let them disable this feature. I have set up a similar system with my Facebook with Friends List, which I will share one of these days in one of these daily blog posts. It a little cumbersome to set up or edit on a PC, and not available on phone the phone app, I don’t believe, so most people won’t even have the chance to do it. However, Apple can, of course, do much better!

I think it would be absolutely fabulous for the world and for Apple if they were to build a social network that is privacy enhanced! It would further enhance their reputation, make them a privacy leader and champion in what it deems as one of the two most important issues of the century (alongside climate change), remove some corporate stigma and bad rep every big corporation has, and, reduce Facebook to the current Yahoo!

What do ya say, Apple?

 

 

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