Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder LinkedIn: Challenges Of Social Media And The Dilemma Of Addressing Them
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Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder LinkedIn: Challenges Of Social Media And The Dilemma Of Addressing Them

[MUSIC PLAYING] In a broad brush
sketch, I tend to think that people tend to go, look,
this technology broke this. Oh, what should we do
with this technology? And usually, you
have to say, well, what are the patterns
by which we’re going to evolve the technology. It’s how do you move the
clock forward, not how do you move the clock back. Moving the clock
back doesn’t work and has all kinds
of other problems. And then the question
comes down to is– and this is why it becomes an
inherently political question, which is one of the reasons,
despite it being timely, I also think it’s relevant
to the book, which is, well, if we’re going to say we’re
going to start making judgments about what’s true and
not true, and we’re going to start having that
as an editorial filter, to some degree,
across these networks, how do we get to that
judgment function? Who does the judgment function? How do they have the political
and moral authority to do it? And what does that look like? Because part of the
challenge is, they say, well, we’re a democracy. We allow people to
say what they think, because you are
allowed to say, I think the moon is made
out of blue cheese, even though it’s not. Hopefully that’s
not news anyone. And that’s the
problem that, I think, is the fundamental one that
actually underlies this, which is one of the
reasons why I raised the question within your
renovating democracy, because it isn’t
just a pure, OK, let’s call up Facebook,
Twitter, et cetera and say, hey, do this, do that. There is some of that stuff. And we try to do
that at a distance. But some of that
comes the question of, we go, OK, we’re going to
try to slow down the process. We’re going to try to have
a deliberative process. We’re going to try
to involve citizens. We’re going to go to experts. We’re tyring to
have a process that gets to a better outcome
versus the hack of an election. But some of this
gets down to, well, are we now going to
start proposing ways that were governing speech. And we’re going to do so
within the time clocks that work in these
social networks. And I think that’s what a
lot of people actually mean. But then they don’t confront
two central questions around it, like, well, who and how. Because they go, well, the
social network companies shouldn’t do it. And you’re like, OK. They kind of think
so too, which is one of the reasons they
frustrate everyone, because they say, well,
we’re not touching it at all. We’re allowing everyone
to say what they do. And we’re just having
it as algorithms, which leads to clickbait
and other kinds of problems, which is not good for
society and democracy. But who? And then on the who, then
how do you get there? Because the who gets debated. So for example, Facebook
has the unenviable position where a lot of the folks on
the left and progressives say, well, all
your fake news got Trump elected and all
the rest of the stuff, and that’s a problem. And the folks on the
right say, you’re trying to censor
conservative voices. And everyone in your company
is basically a lefty. So we think you’re an
institution of the left. And so they take the
fire from both sides. And they say, look,
we’re just trying to do algorithms that allow
individuals to express what they want to do. And what’s more,
we’ll take these steps to say, hey, we’ll just allow
more of it to be encrypted. And it’s just individual
voices that will authenticate. It’s actually individual voices. And they can do what they want. And that’s where
they’re heading. There’s a lot. We could spend a
month on this topic. The specific one very relevant
to renovating democracy is, well, where does
this process of saying, we want democracy, we want
this kind of accountability to the people, but we want
this deliberative process. How does that play into how
we should think about maybe what the next steps on
social networks should be?

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