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Social networks are also an issue of sovereignty!

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I dare to say it, the American social networks present a danger and an extremely serious nuisance for our democracies, but not only. Indeed, they represent an important danger for the bonds of socialization, which are the important feature of humanity, and promote conflictuality and inter-individuality.

In this article, I will review all these risks which are mostly known, but which we fail to take seriously. But I will not stop there, and I will try to present you some French alternatives, and to make you feel the differences between the two approaches, which are probably explained by a different culture…

U.S. social networks (SN) seriously undermine plurality!

 

Unfortunately, social networks such as #Facebook, #twitter and even #LinkedIn (supposed to be an RS for professionals), through the use of algorithms, make you prisoners of an abstruse trap. The way algorithms work, therefore seriously biases the “information” you have access to, the mechanisms are revealed in this publication of smmafrance.com:Les algorithmes des Réseaux Sociaux .

But we must take into account that these algorithms are not fixed in time, and the actors of these platforms do not hesitate to change the rules of the game.

We have seen here the use of algorithms that are used to make users’ publications visible. However, they are also used to help the work of moderators, automating more and more these moderation tasks (Télérama : « Les algorithmes, les nouveaux censeurs des réseaux sociaux »)

The massive use of these algorithms raises the essential question of censorship. Indeed, there are many examples, where these automatic censors, censor works of art on the one hand (Europe1), but let pass videos of execution of Daesh… We can also ask ourselves the question of censorship, of the former president of the United States, Donald Trump operated by #Twitter and #Facebook… The state censorship, which existed in our country, and which now disappeared, at least as an official body, would be authorized and practiced now by private entities? And this does not shock anyone anymore?

As we can see, if the SRs can be seen as a space of freedom, which they were at first, it is also quite normal that there is a moderation work. But here, it becomes a real challenge, what should be the moderation modalities, who is the guarantor, the SR itself, the state, and if so which one since the SRs have a global geographical footprint?

SRs are above all commercial entities, their services for you may seem free, but it is not really the case, since everything you post becomes their property. And it is the resale of this data that is the basis of their business model. The other impact of this aspect is when it comes to going to territories where democracy does not exist, we accept state censorship, as shown in the different episodes with China…

Then, comes the moment when, the SRs themselves arrogate the right to say what is right or wrong, we could see it in particular with the story of the deletion of President Trump’s accounts. Moreover, we must not forget that the leaders of these American digital giants have political opinions and an ambition for the future of humanity. They are said to be “progressive” and above all, they are followers of Transhumanism (Wiki). In Europe, one of the proponents of this ideology is Dr. Laurent Alexandre (Youtube)…

I have very little attacked the Chinese RS, but the same criticisms can be applied, the major difference is that instead of private interests of a small transhumanist oligarchy, it is in this case the omnipotence of a totalitarian state, which implements very concretely a social score based on these technologies … Welcome to the world of Orwell …

My last charge on these RS in particular, concerns the devastating effects in terms of addictive behaviors. They provoke a vicious circle, where only an immediate and narcissistic reward counts, provoked by the race for “Likes”. (Drogues et dépendances)…

 

What problems of sovereignty do they pose ?

 

We have been able to address some problems inherent to any SR, but with specificities related to who is behind it, transhumanist American digital giants versus Chinese government … But the problem of using these SR, is much deeper. Indeed, by the information you give, post, you feed these companies for free of a resource that they can exploit, resell and draw an infinite source of profit. On this subject, I refer you to my article and the excellent program Cash Investigation.. Moreover, the SRs do not really give you access to all the available information, but on the other hand they know how to display on the screens of their members, the advertisements or contents targeted thanks to your data.

These masses of data collected through your activities on your favorite RS, often thanks to your passivity, indeed who takes the time to update his “privacy” settings, or who has read all the terms of use? You may think, what’s the point! I have nothing to hide…

But the day you’re looking for your first job, or a new position, and you don’t understand why you’re getting nothing but negative feedback… Isn’t it because on your #Facebook page there’s free access to your photos where you’ve put on a shabby face during a private party? Or because you posted pictures of yourself participating in a demonstration?

I’m not talking about the pilot projects of our public finance department that buys access to the RS in order to detect possible tax fraud, lifestyle or undeclared swimming pool (Le Progrès)…

Let’s not talk about the possibilities for banks or insurances to collect information that will allow them to develop your customer profile and eventually change their pricing without you understanding the fundamental reasons…

And all this data collected gives a tremendous economic power to a small group of companies in a quasi-monopoly position, most of which are American. These data are in themselves an economic resource through the resale that can be made, but also a formidable power of pressure and lobby, a real power of economic and financial coercion against major political or economic decision-makers. Should we really be satisfied with this state of affairs and give up?

What alternatives?

 

There is no easy answer to this question.  We have accepted to become so dependent on these tools that most of us cannot suddenly give them up.

First tracks

In our first steps, we must first learn to be careful in the configuration of the confidentiality rules that we set on these tools. Then, probably be more selective in what we publish on the RS. Is it necessary to publish your children’s pictures (without their consent…) while not making the effort to correctly set the rules of diffusion? Don’t forget that especially on #Facebook, but also on #Google, the published content doesn’t belong to you anymore, they can use it, like #Facebook, for example with #Clearview (Le Point)).

Think of using a vpn systematically, which allows you to mask your real IP address, which is systematically collected by these RS…

Remember also to use a dedicated email address for your RS, this segregation of email accounts to register on different sites, is a recommendation of the ANSSI.

 

Alternatives souveraines

The other possibility is to find new SRs which, by their design, allow us to control our data a little better. And French solutions do exist!  The advantage they present is multiple, first of all by being French, they are under French law, and this is not an insignificant detail, considering that our legislation is much more protective of our personal data. Moreover, their designers being of French culture, allow to have another approach to SR than the one proposed by the American or the Chinese approach.

In the French SR in the broad sense, and which are intended for the general public in free mode, I currently have two on my radar (I do not speak of the many professional solutions, offering rse).

First of all, there is #Whaller,, an RS that can be used in its free formula by everyone, and with which you can create environments that will allow you to have a secure bubble, respectful of your data. It also offers more than that in its paid mode and is aimed at companies, public services and associations.

But the one I would like to present to you in depth, especially since I am a user, is #Smartrezo. It is above all a collaborative media platform, and it is interesting by its approach that I find innovative. Indeed this platform was built by taking into account our territories and by putting itself in the place of the great majority of French people who are interested in what happens in their close environment. If the platform, for the UX advocates at all costs, may seem a bit frustrating, and for some a bit old-fashioned, which for me is not a deserved judgment, it stands out by the quality and richness of its content. That’s what I like about this platform, and that’s why the term collaborative media platform fits it like a glove.

What changes in the way it works is that in order to register, you have to show your credentials, an identity check is done. The interest of the approach is that each author will then have the full responsibility of his publications, but above all, there is no pollution by false accounts, or robot accounts…

To publish articles, you need a premium account, but you don’t need it for the RS part.

Another point that I find interesting is that there is no algorithm to propose you topics that would be tagged as your preferences.

And above all, it is also a platform that offers e-boutiques and “click & collect” solutions, or to back up your e-boutique to the platform. The advantage for merchants is that the whole platform is without trackers (cookies) and therefore there is no risk that a customer visiting your site will be canvassed by your competitors following his visit through targeted ads. Interesting, isn’t it? In addition, the territorial networking which is the heart of Smartrezo, strengthens the power of these additional tools.

I have only touched on the different features, applications offered by this platform, but there is also a music TV, and it is also an excellent platform to publish video content, without going through #YouTube…

This platform is growing little by little, and its interest is growing with this growth allowing to reinforce its interest. The other important point of the philosophy of this platform is to encourage its users to take advantage of the information found in the real and local world, with the objective of recreating territorial link.

 

Conclusion    

 

What seems to me to be essential is first of all to become aware of the stakes that SR represent, and of the challenges that they pose, and to learn to protect ourselves from the most harmful consequences of their use, without denying the contributions that they also have…

But we can also look at the proposed sovereign alternatives, and analyze the differences in approaches, philosophical, cultural and technological proposed. This can allow us to build our own responsible environment.

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