How to save our social media by treating it like a city

The work of integrity teams is different. We have a long history in the industry and we are in the spotlight now. We have learned a lot from fighting email and computer security.
One of the best strategies for integrity is to bring some real-world friction back into online interactions. There are many more mechanisms like limits on group size, a karma or reputation system, a neighborhood indicator, and a less powerful share that can be used to explain this. Driving exams and speed bumps are two ideas that integrity workers have developed.

We need to make it harder for people to have fake accounts. Imagine if anyone who was arrested for a crime could be released and be a completely different person. Imagine if you couldn't tell if you were talking to a bunch of people or one person. This lack of trust is not good. We need to remember that pseudonymous accounts are not always bad. Maybe the person behind the name is a gay teen who is not out to his family or a human rights activist living under a repressive regime. We do not need to ban all fake accounts. We can make their costs go up.

In many countries, you can't drive a car until you pass a driving exam and learn how to operate it under supervision. New accounts should not have immediate access to the features of the app. To get the features that are more abusable, an account should have to pay some costs. Maybe it needs some time to ripen. Maybe it needs to have some goodwill. It might need to do a few things that are hard to automate. The account will only be trusted with access to the rest of the app if it passes the driving exam.

Those hoops could be used to jump through. We expect them to. We don't want to make it hard for legitimate users of fake accounts. We need to create a new disguise to bring physics back into the equation. There are three fake accounts. Hundreds or thousands would be hard to pull off.

The power users are the most likely to cause the worst harms online. Social apps encourage their members to post as much as possible. Power users can do this more often and to different audiences than in real life. In legacy cities, the cost of one person doing harm is dependent on the need for that person to be in one place or speak to one audience at a time. This isn't true online.

Some online actions are reasonable if done in moderation, but they become suspicious when done in large quantities. Think of creating two dozen groups at once, or commenting on a thousand videos an hour, or posting every minute for a whole day. We think people are doing something similar to driving at an unsafe speed when they use a feature too much. The speed bumps are a solution. They should be locked out from doing that for a while. There is no value judgment here, it is a safety feature. It would be easy to make things safer for everyone while inconveniencing a small group of people.