Sure, why not make social media like Wikipedia?

The basic idea here we're not just fine with we support it entirely. The tactics to gain it we're less enamoured of. Sure, why shouldn't social media be run as Wikipedia is? Why should, in that basic and essential sense, it be something produced by capitalist organisations?

But there are also ways to create alternatives from the bottom up. Governments and regulators could foster the conditions in which alternative networks with more democratic foundations could flourish.

One way to do this is to increase transparency and public participation around rule-making for digital platforms. For an example of what this means, we can look to Wikipedia. It has its problems, but it is a remarkable example of how to make decisions as a community, rather than a company. The method by which articles on Wikipedia are produced is governed by a set of rules that have been determined collectively, over time. There are arguments, there is consensus, and there is everything in between – all of which is documented for anyone to see.

Compare this with Facebook’s decree that its news feed would prioritise personal stories over media content, without any apparent indication that it considered the impact on journalism. Or its equally clunky attempt to survey users about who should decide whether child-grooming content should be permitted on the platform.

The Facebook executive team is clearly unaccustomed to managing democratic processes and genuine community collaboration. 

Note that Wikipedia didn't in fact need any changes from governments or regulators to foster anything. And they rather successfully saw off the challenges from more capitalist alternatives like Britannica or Encarta.

If people are unhappy with the gelt and pilf seeking ways of Facebook why not go off and do something else? Those annoyed with what they perceive as the right on attitudes of Twitter have made gab.ai. Something of variable interest to the rest of us to be sure but it exists.

Our point here is simply our basic and complete liberalism writ small for this sector of the economy. Great, consenting adults get on with it, why not? If enough people share your desires then you'll be able to create just those communities not infected with data sales that you desire. If the 2 billion current users of Facebook think the deal on offer to them is just fine then you won't. And the only way we'll find out which people prefer is to watch which they choose.

As long as you're not insisting upon any particular privilege for your method of doing it - that's the tactics part we disagree with - then good luck to all who sail in such adventures. We're not even being flippant, this is the only way we'll ever find out what it is that people do want.