The Blueprint for Destroying Social Media

Alan Cai

May 12, 2023

There will always come a day when a corporation collapses under its own weight. The finite resources and capital available in the world render it impossible for companies to grow and expand their customer base continuously. Thus, the growth and deterioration of businesses come as surely as the rise and set of the sun itself.

Corporations fail for a variety of reasons. A reduction in customers, supply chain disruption, and loss of investor confidence can all independently bring even the largest of conglomerates down. social media companies are different in the sense that humans are the product and not the customer. Thus, the role of humans in the business model is not to generate revenue but to extract attention.

Attention is much easier to obtain than money because its expenditures seem to be much less of a detriment than the spending of real currency. A simpler anecdote can be described as follows: imagine a busy walkway in Stanley Park, Vancouver. A street vendor with hot dogs may attempt to sell products for hours to merely a handful of customers. Most pedestrians decline the food and some venture so far as to look away. Meanwhile, a paid advertiser spinning a triangular sign walks down the same walkway and garners the attention of all the passersby. They stop to look at the contents of the sign and many later purchase the advertised product.

Such is the method by which social media giants generate income. Instead of directly asking for customers’ money, they instead implicitly gain profits by diverting users’ attention toward paying advertisers raking revenue from the proceeds.

As long as social media companies are capable of retaining user attention(which it is constantly perfecting through their powerful Artificial Intelligence machinery), they will continue to kindle returns to feed the ever-present need for businesses of all forms to advertise. With the business model of social media companies firmly established, there seems to be but one path capable of bringing the industry down: investor confidence.

Investor confidence is key for any publicly traded company hoping to expand and survive. Without capital to operate, companies must juggle between mass layoffs, bankruptcies, and other terrible measures, all of which have the ability to bring large companies down.

A proven method for eroding investor confidence is corporate lawsuits. Issuing civil suits, class action suits, or perhaps even criminal litigation against companies will undoubtedly shatter a company’s market value and destroy credibility. social media companies and internet corporations as a whole are largely shielded from liability for content on their platform under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The Communications Decency Act was originally passed to restrict access to inappropriate content on the internet. Most of its provisions were struck down by the judiciary under First Amendment grounds. However, the vestige of Section 230 continues to prevent companies from being successfully sued for content by classifying such organizations as not publishers.

The 1996 law does not take into account the polarizing and vehemently hateful content prevalent on social media today. Thus, it is imperative that Congress or the judiciary strikes down Section 230 and remove the unjust immunity provided to social media conglomerates. Without such protections, social media companies will be forced to either heavily regulate their content or face damaging lawsuits, both of which will cripple investor confidence. Without capital, such companies will fail to continue daily activities and collapse.