While the revelations around Cambridge Analytica were startling to many, the truth is that advertising and data mining have always been Facebook’s business model. A recent article in the New Republic highlights that social media platforms have never shied away from “[vacuuming] up all the data they can and [monopolizing] people’s attention in order to make billions in online advertising.”
Understandably, public trust in platforms is at an all-time low. It is becoming harder for people to trust the content that they see on social media – in particular, only 51% of respondents in this year’s Edelman Trust Barometer said that they trusted platforms. It is evident that a new paradigm is necessary: inclusive civic networks that encourage ongoing engagement and empower the public as equal partners in the decisions that impact them and the places where they live, work, and play.