Do Social Networks Consider Your Best Interests?

Social networks including Facebook & Twitter are primarily funded by advertising, therefore they essentially have duty to provide a service/reason for advertisers to use their service over another. With this in mind, as much as they’d like to accommodate users’ needs, their priority (or at least a very strong influence) is the commercial aspect of the business. In my quest to dive into App.net, I noticed that a strong emphasis is placed on the values which ultimately should make the network deliver for its paying users.

The App.net Core Values

  1. We are selling our product, NOT our users. We will never sell your personal data, content, feed, interests, clicks, or anything else to advertisers. We promise.
  2. You own your content. App.net members always have full control of their data and the fundamental right to easily back-up, export, and delete ALL of their data, whenever they want.
  3. Our financial incentives are aligned with members and developers. App.net’s financial incentives are entirely tied to successfully delivering a service you can depend on and that you would pay for.
  4. App.net employees spend 100% of their time improving our services for you, not advertisers. Rather than waste engineering time developing new ways to sell your personal data to advertisers, 100% of our engineering and product team is focused on building the most innovative and reliable service we can.
  5. We are operating a sustainable, predictable business. App.net will always have a clear business model. We know that depending on services that could go away or desperately squeeze users for more and more money is a toxic cycle. We want our ecosystem to rest easy that App.net is built on a financially solid foundation.
  6. We respect and value our developer community. We believe that developers building on our platform are increasing the value of our service, and thus our financial interests are fundamentally aligned. We hope developers build large, robust businesses on top of our platform. We pledge to never shut down developers acting in good faith, even if it means that we will forgo some huge future revenue streams.
  7. Our most valuable asset is your trust. Many people have become so cynical about user-hostile, privacy-violating social services that they refuse to participate at all. We can understand why. Earning your trust is the most important thing we can do. It won’t be easy, and we will make some mistakes, but we will do our best to be honest and transparent.

It’s great to see a network with such core values; values build confidence and connection. This is something that you really don’t get with larger networks; there’s almost a sense that you’re not valued in any way, which ultimately disconnects users from feeling an attachment to a network.

So What’s My Point?

Networks come and go. There’s always someone who can take a concept and make it better. If users don’t feel cherished or even respected, there’s no loyalty. They will jump ship and not look back. With this in mind, can you see the larger networks becoming more open or even approachable? Is it even a possibility on the scale they operate? We’re fascinated to see.

Article by James Duffell

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