Brain Game: If you could redesign social media platforms, how would you do it?

  • Each week, our readers vote for their favourite answer and the contestant with the least votes is eliminated
  • This week, contestants discuss how they would reform social media platforms
Kelly Fung |
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Which Brain Game answer is your favourite?

Every Wednesday we ask our Brain Game contestants one interesting, thought-provoking or just plain quirky question. Their answers will be published anonymously in Young Post. Then readers vote for their favourite answer. We will eliminate the contestant with the least votes every week until we have a winner. The ultimate Brain Game winner will win a fabulous prize.

Votes close at midnight on Sunday.

Contestant 1 

These days, everyone is connected to some degree because of social media. We all enjoy using it, but some people have become addicted to it, becoming anxious at missing out on activities. 

Adverts frequently feature inappropriate content or products, and cyber bullying can happen easily because a single post can reach many people in no time. Social media platform operators only care about making money from advertisers and increasing user numbers, so  their lack of control of appropriate content has caused these problems. I would reform the industry so that social media operators must actively demonstrate social responsibility when conducting their business.

I’ll request major world governments to establish the World Social Media Organisation, WSMO, just like the World Health Organisation, to set standards for global social media platform operators to promote healthy online activity. Operators will have to join the organisation and become responsible for ensuring positive social media behaviour.  Operators would have to filter inappropriate ads containing smoking, drugs, violence or sex. 

Moreover, they will have to provide assistance for users who become addicts, detecting when they use the app excessively and sending them reminders or even suspending their accounts if needed.

Operators must also prevent cyberbullying. The platform must be able to detect threatening messages or images, and warn users not to send them, or risk having their account suspended.

Operators need to provide support to emotionally distressed users through the platform. The platform will scan messages, posts and statuses for extremely negative language. In response, it will show motivational messages, encourage users in need to talk to friends, and recommend social organisations for help and support.

The formation of the WSMO and establishing social responsibility standards will reform the industry so that social media platforms are no longer uncontrolled. The reform will help develop positive social connections and behaviour. 

Inappropriate content can affect a large number of people. Social responsibility standards must be established to ensure the healthy sustainability of these platforms. Therefore, reforming the social media industry so that operators have to demonstrate social responsibility will ensure people are safe and comfortable, and the platform will continue to grow and have a positive impact on everyone it reaches.

Contestant 2 

While all social media platforms have their unique problems, I feel Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have the most. These play a big part in spreading fake news.

Instagram is more focused on visual content than other social media platforms. While it’s great to see other people’s lives in photographs, there is a downside. Some users, especially teenagers, compare themselves to others, especially when it comes to appearances.  This can be harmful for a teen’s mindset and affect how they feel about themselves, especially when it comes to body image. 

I’d make Instagram less about comparing yourself with others. While scrolling through your feed, there are always ads. So, instead of putting ads for materialistic items, I’d make the ads about self care and self love so when teenagers scroll through their feed, they’ll be reminded that they are all beautiful in their own way. 

You may say that those ads are useless  but you never know what’s happening in someone’s life, and that little reminder that they are beautiful and loved could help them through a lot.

I would give Twitter an AI (Artificial Intelligence) fact detector to find out if what someone posted was true or not. If it were true there’d be a tweet sound, referring to the Twitter symbol ; and if it was false, there’d be a woof sound, as dogs are common predators of birds.

Last but not least, the “King” of social media platforms, Facebook. These days many teens have moved away from Facebook, and it seems like it’s only good for older users. I would give it a 2020 makeover. I’d change the colour scheme. The original blue and white colour scheme is wonderful, but I believe it has served its time. Instead, I’d make the interface customisable for all users. This would get rid of the sense that Facebook is outdated and would give the website a fresh coat of paint, hopefully attracting another generation of users.

Apps like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have one thing in common: very weak security systems. The final change I’d make to all of them is to create a better security system. 

One report button or block button doesn’t do the trick; instead I’d make it so that whenever you make an account on any social media platform, there would immediately be a backup account that saves everything you’ve done, your likes and followers and so on, so that even if someone hacked your account, you could go to your backup account and continue using it.

While we can’t deny the negative effects of social media, it can actually be good not just for teens, but people of all ages, as they can socialise with others and discover new things related to their interests. 

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