Minds Is The Anti-Facebook That Pays You For Your Time

from Wired

During Mark Zuckerberg’s over 10 hours of Congressional testimony last week, lawmakers repeatedly asked how Facebook makes money. The simple answer, which Zuckerberg dodged, is the contributions and online activities of its over two billion users, which allow marketers to target ads with razor precision. In which case, asked representative Paul Tonko (D – New York), “why doesn’t Facebook pay its users for their incredibly valuable data?”

It’s a good question, one that alternative social networks like Minds have attempted to answer. The idea isn’t entirely new—Minds launched in 2015—but the site and others like it feel especially relevant as people begin to reexamine the bargain Facebook has made with them.

More here.

Posted in Law, Privacy, Technology and tagged , , , , .


  1. It’s crazy to think how much data does Facebook have on its users. As I mentioned various times during blog comments as well as in our Legal Foundations of Business discussions, Facebook knows more about us than probably our closest relatives, since it monitors pretty much everything we do on the web, and sometimes, especially in teenagers, since they turn to the internet to have information and discuss topics they usually wouldn’t do in a family environment. As such, Facebook can develop a profile of a 2018 teenager, and just sell this information to the company who pays the most, and suddenly, a third party company, which probably we never heart of, has all the data and information which we gave Facebook for free during all these years. Perhaps, “free” may not be an accurate term, since Facebook gave us the right to use their platform and their services, but does it worth it? A platform which is reportedly becoming responsible for the giant increase of depression and anxiety, especially amongst teenagers? The same platform where two of every three Americans get their news from and is the greatest source of fake news, contributing to the political polarization, and overall disinformation of the United States population? I guess I know the answer to those questions, however, unfortunately, for many people, Facebook became an addiction. They cannot leave the platform, they start to feel anxiety, and many other signs of abstinence, similar to drug abuse. Considering all this aspects, society needs to engage in some way to control and reduce the damage Facebook caused it our lives.

  2. As we have learned from countless articles and news reports, Facebook has collected data on its users for years without paying any compensation to said users, and selling the data to advertising companies. A situation that is brought up with Facebook’s case is whether its users should be paid for their data being distributed to advertisement producers. The company “Minds” responds to this situation by rewarding its users “tokens” in exchange for their interaction on the social networking site.
    Minds is a much smaller company than Facebook, however it essentially pays its consumers to use the site and interact with other users. While the payment is not really money, the company founder hopes this will soon translate to cryptocurrency. Understanding the details of Minds is very confusing, for me at least, however a point that stood out is that the Minds team does not monitor what is posted on their site. That means that any hate speech, political view, or other unfavorable posts can be allowed on uses profiles. While this seems freeing in the sense that everyone is entitled to their political view and should be allowed to express it online, the non censored content can also allow for violent and unethical interactions on the site. As the article points out, this could lead to neo-Nazis finding each other whilst being paid. But as we know, with every good concept, there will be a detriment.
    I have never heard of the social media site “Minds,” however I think its quite interesting to know that there is a site such as it. I wrote in a previous blog post that I hate Facebook for not paying its users and stealing the data they’re using. Facebook is a very wealthy company, and even doing a token system like Minds would make me feel better about my usage; its not like theres much anyways. Maybe Facebook is thinking about developing a system like Minds, or even buying out the company to ensure that users aren’t getting any smart ideas. However, as the article states, Minds will never beat out Facebook; their user base is way too small to even compare, and regardless of whether Facebook pays their users or not, consumers will still use the site due to the accessibility and comfort Facebook has developed over the years. Unfortunately, although I don’t like the fact my data is making me no money and Facebook more, I’m too accustomed to the site and would hate trying to start a new profile on another one.

  3. Facebook is said to be free, but it isn’t really. Facebook profits off each of its users by gathering up as much information as they can about people and selling it to marketers to target ads. Minds is something I never heard of before this article, but it is a site that launched in 2015 with only about one million users. It is different from other types of social media because users receive tokens based on interactions that happen involving their posts. The article describes:
    The tokens users receive for contributing to Minds don’t yet translate to real money, but they can be used within the platform to buy two kinds of Boosts. News Feed Boosts largely work in the same way as traditional digital ads, injecting a post into other people’s feeds. Peer-to-Peer Boosts, meanwhile, formalize a part of the digital economy that has always existed, letting you pay another Minds user to share your post to their followers. It’s the Minds equivalent of a brand paying an Instagram blogger to wear their shoes, or a musician paying a popular Twitter account to tweet out their SoundCloud mixtape. The difference is that the financial relationship is disclosed in the open. “If you use the Boost well, you could have no audience and easily gain like five to ten-thousand followers,” says Ottman. Minds doesn’t let you use a Boost to target specific users on the platform; your post instead gets shared to 1,000 random people for each token you spend. Ottman says that if Minds ever did build out a targeting capability, the entire system would require users to explicitly opt-in. If you haven’t earned enough tokens from contributing to or using Minds, you can also choose to pay for either type of Boost using a credit card: 1,000 views costs $1.
    This idea is extremely intriguing to me. The social media platform is like a digital economy, but there is no targeting of ads and it is completely random who your post gets shared with. The platform also lets users contribute to the software and detect bugs. Overall, it is interesting to see a platform work hand in hand with its users and not take advantage of them like Facebook does.

  4. Personally, this was not the first time that I heard about an idea to have a social media platform such as Facebook to pay its’ users for the content that they provide. The first time I learned about this concept, I was listening to an episode in the NPR’s Planet Money podcast. I never realized about potential amount of money I could be made by simply posting cat videos, comments, and pictures online. I figured that it was more of a hobby. After listening to this podcast, I started to wonder how people such as Logan Paul and Pewdiepie (Youtube personalities) are actually making money via Youtube. I doubted that they only receive their paychecks by simply posting random videos of them doing shenanigan acts. One Youtuber explained the payment system nicely on his Youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wfk1EJnlBlk&feature=youtu.be). Simply put, advertising agencies pay Youtubers money to put their ads in front of their videos. If not advertising companies, Youtubers can also receive sponsorship for their videos, rely on their number of views and subscribers to increase their profit, and make their video contents kid friendly because they are most likely not going to install AdBlock. After realizing how involved advertising companies are in social platform companies such as Youtube, I thought that the recent Cambridge Analytica would have advertising agencies leave Facebook. However, it turns out that I was mistaken.
    It turns out that many advertising agencies are still on Facebook and they are pumping more ad money on the social media giant (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/18/business/media/facebook-advertisers-privacy-data.html). However, advertising agencies are now thinking of exit strategies if Facebook does go down. For now, Facebook remains as the world’s second-largest digital ad revenue seller.
    Going back to the idea of social media platform paying its’ users for content, I believe that eventually more people are going to search for alternative social media platforms such as Minds. The damage against Facebook is arguably going to come in gradually. However, one way that Facebook can save itself is through Instagram. Bloomberg announced a report that Instagram may be the one that brings Facebook out of its’ mess that is in right now (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-04-10/instagram-looks-like-facebook-s-best-hope). One other way that Facebook can save itself from a potential gradual decline is to restructure its’ business model that provides a monetary value for every content its’ users post. Facebook has the money for it and many charities and non-governmental organizations can arguably benefit from this. However, the future is not so certain for Facebook.

  5. Before reading this article, I had no idea what Minds was and have not even heard of it, but I am glad there is a platform that does what it does. Facebook is a company designed to harvest users’ personal data and sell to advertisers to make extraordinary profits. They make such large amounts of money due to one reason. They don’t have a product margin on what they are selling, simply because they aren’t buying it, they are just taking it. While Facebook just takes as much of users’ personal data that they can get their hands on and sells it to the highest bidder, Minds is a platform that aims to do everything that Facebook should be doing; benefitting users for their time and data offered to the platform. By implementing a currency system (Minds tokens), users are rewarding for the data they are contributing into the system and are paid back. While Minds tokens can’t yet be exchanged for actual hard cash, they soon aim to make it exchangeable with other cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, which would then translate into cash.
    Another interesting point mentioned in the article is how Minds plans to deal with controversial posts and comments, or posts considered hate speech. Minds founder Bill Ottman has explained how he is hesitant to handle hate speech the way that Facebook and Twitter do, which is through AI algorithms that flag and remove posts. Ottman believes that this creates collateral damage and harms users by censoring posts. In the article, it says “But controlling what users say, especially their political views, has always been incongruent with Ottman’s values.” While I am a strong believer in freedom of speech, I have to disagree with Ottman’s point of view. By allowing Nazis to form groups on his platform and discuss their beliefs and views, then in a way it is spreading their hatred and solidifying them. While I believe that everyone has a right to their own political views, allowing Nazis to openly discuss on a platform used by young adults and or teenagers is a dangerous idea and could end up as a platform for them to recruit. People need free speech, but hate speech is something that needs to be filtered out of public platforms such as Minds, especially considering that they could be paid to be interacting and recruiting on the site. Overall, I think that Minds is a very unique idea, and it is cool to see that something good has come out of Facebooks abuse of users data and backwards profit system.

  6. After reading this article, I was completely surprised to found out that something like this actually exists. I have never heard of a social media platform paying you for using it. That would seem like something completely out of a dream and totally unrealistic. But, Minds does just that. Of course you are not paid in real money, it is all virtual as of now. But who is to say that if Minds grows enough, the platform could begin to use actual currency. Now, while Minds was released back in 2015, it would make perfect sense that they are getting lots of publicity now. With the recent data leaking scandal, Facebook is getting lots of hatred from its users and the media. Minds is the complete opposite of Facebook in the sense that it pays you for your data rather than taking it from you without you knowing and making a profit off of it. I think many people see this as a breath of fresh air. It would seem like a social media platform has finally come along that is not power hungry and only cares about stealing our data to sell it to advertisers.
    If Minds gets more attention and more people find out about it, I could totally seeing it off. What is not to love about getting paid to use a social media platform. I feel that to many, Minds is going to almost feel like a game. In a very incentivized world, most people just want achievements for doing things. In this case, people will be earning an incentive for using social media and how easy and awesome is that!? I also feel that to all of those attention seekers that are out there on social media, this will be an easier way to rack in the likes and followers. Since Minds allows you to pay for getting your posts exposed to a certain number of people, the app almost acts as a personal advertising service. Those who go crazy for followers will easily jump at the opportunity to pay virtual coins in order to expose their content to thousands of other users on the platform. It will be very interesting to see in the next few years if Minds blows up or not because I think that it definitely has the potential to.

  7. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook faces a potentially fatal legal battle. I would say that it is more likely than not that no landmark legal precedent comes as a result of this breach. That being said, there is still potential that the courts may kneecap the revenue earning strategies of Facebook and all other social media platforms. As this article points out, the main way that Facebook makes money is through its advertisers. These advertisers pay Facebook because of the large user base that Mark Zuckerberg has amassed. With over 2 billion users, the data that Facebook possesses is a digital gold mine. As Paul Tonko pointed out during Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony a few weeks ago, the platform should pay its users for the data they provide. From a legal standpoint this is a genius way to eliminate liability. Users would have much less grounds for complaint on the usage of their data if they were profiting from it. They would even have an incentive to provide more of it if payment is determined by levels of usage.
    Currently, Facebook has almost no incentive to do this because by definition it would cut into their bottom line. At this moment in time, they pay their users nothing and do nothing but profit from their data. While providing some sort of payment could help their legal situation, in the mean time they are most likely to continue their current model until a court tells them they must change it.
    This is where the genius of platforms like Minds comes in. As this article explains, Minds is a standard social media website with a twist. They have established their own cryptocurrency that they pay out to users simply for their usage of the platform. This currency can then be spent on rewards redeemable within the site, such as sharing a post with 1000 other random users. Minds does not utilize targeted data analysis and this will most definitely hurt their ability to make profit from advertisers when compared to giants like Facebook. However, they have created an environment that does not take advantage of users. If a user chooses to surrender their data to Minds they do not get nothing in return. Instead they are given an invaluable networking opportunity. Since 2015 they have built a user base of about 1 million and they will likely continue upward. Now all we have to do is read the terms of services (https://www.minds.com/p/terms).

  8. Minds is a social network that rewards its users for interacting with each other or simply using the site. The concept seems to be exactly the opposite of Facebook’s, which essentially puts the users at risk by selling their data to outside companies.
    It seems to have an interface similar to Facebook’s, however. If we just analyze these aspects, Minds seems to be a lot better for the users. It doesn’t seem to cause much “victimless harm”. However, if the tokens were to be converted to real money, Minds could be relatively dangerous.
    If Minds incentivizes the sharing of data, it can inadvertently encourage users to overshare. After the use of Minds, people may think it’s okay to share more on other sites because their “limit” has been pushed. Similarly, someone long ago came up with the concept of inflation. Now you need to pay four dollars for a comic book rather than fifteen cents.
    (Not the best analogy but it’s similar enough.)
    There is another issue—the use of cryptocurrency. As I stated in another comment a few weeks ago, we as a society are generally oblivious to what cryptocurrency does, or how it works. It ‘s also very volatile, and can be used for illegal purposes, such as purchasing drugs from the Silk Trail, for example.
    What’s more is, it’s almost guaranteed that the Minds terms & conditions could give away too much information for the user to want to read—this is how people get into contracts they don’t want to keep. An article I read says, however, that sites should have shorter terms pages in order to actually make it more common for people to read them.
    Terms & conditions pages can be considered contracts, and it’s a well-known possibility that Facebook keeps all kinds of “fine print secrets” in theirs. There is no rule that means a contract must be easily legible, in the same way that credits given to companies for sharing trademarks have to be.
    Therefore, it can be concluded that Minds is almost as dangerous as Facebook is. If Facebook could keep so much in the terms and conditions page, then Minds can do the same to its users.

  9. animal = “cat”

    func soundFor(animal: String) -> String {
    switch animal {
    case “cat”:
    return “Meow!”
    case “dog”:
    return “Woof!”
    case “cow”:
    return “Moo!”
    case “chicken”:
    return “Cluck!”
    return “I don’t know that animal!”

  10. Minds has a great idea going right now. There are not a lot of social media out there that reward you for using their sight. In fact, none of the “major” social media platforms give you any incentive to use their sight except the fact that you get to keep up with what ever is going on in the world. However, with that being said, if Minds or a platform like minds can somehow take over and be the next big social media platform, I believe it would be very hard to take them down. Not only will they get to keep up with everything but they get “paid” to do so. When I am on Twitter of Facebook, I have no incentive to like a picture, retweet a tweet, or share a post because I do not have that many followers and it does not benefit me at all. However, if there was a purpose to actually doing those things, I would definitely be on that sight more and be a lot more active in that social media platform. I would be able to get rid of ads or even convert my cryptocurrency into actual money. It would also just make better for social media as a whole. The whole point of social media is to be social! If I have no incentive to be social or take part in the platform then social media is actually failing and that is when it only becomes about the famous people in the world. But, if everybody takes part equally, that make for a better experience.
    The only flaw I see in this sight is how they are going to protect everybody. With Minds, there is nothing in their terms of service that prevent people writing hate speeches or anything like that. In today’s world, I feel that it should be in everybody’s best interest to try and keep the peace as much as possible. That is nearly impossible if people can say whatever they want. I know that they said that in sights like Facebook and Twitter that there has been son collateral with the AI taking down posts that did not need to be taken down, but it is better to be safe than sorry in my opinion.

  11. I never knew about Minds before reading this article and the concept is really intriguing. According to an article by Wired.com, Minds is a social media platform that promotes users and encourages them to make money. The network is set up in a similar capacity to other social media sites, but it comes with a twist. The article states that Minds incentivizes its users by rewarding them. I have heard of social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook having recommended people and pages to follow to make the system more user friendly and to generate more users. In fact, almost every time I am on a social network, I have a stream of recommendations for accounts and pages that are based on my interests as defined by the site.

    Minds is different and smarter in the way that they market to their customers as well. By incentivizing them they are using basic psychology and rewarding their members for their usage. The article really surprised me when it said, “it only has around one million users, 110,000 or so of whom are active each month”. For a social media platform to reward users and to still have around one million users tells me one of two things, either the rewards for using it aren’t enough of an incentive or that it is extremely unknown. I think it’s really interesting that Minds also lets users pay to eliminate ads from their timelines. This is because when talking to my peers we all unanimously agree that ads are the most common complaint amongst users across all social media platforms.

    Minds incentivizes users by rewarding members with tokens which the article explains, does not have monetary value. Tokens can have an impact on how users communicate within the site. When I read that the rewards are essentially paying others to promote posts I realized why Mind has so few users. Traditionally on social networks, people want to promote others to achieve a sort of social status, paying to share a status update and having to promote others is too tedious for the minimalist population that are millennials. The simplistic, mindlessness that is social media is being stripped away from Mind. In turn, users have to ask permission and exchange tokens to share an update, people don’t want to have to go out of their way.

    The concept of The Wire is another concept that the company has made poor marketing decisions. The site has already become a place where users are mindfully using it and not using the site to decompress or find out what their friends or neighbors are doing. Their niche was decreased even further by asking users to help the site with utilizing its technology. Paying users with cryptocurrencies make the site less user friendly than others when they will pay for doing things life fixing firewalls and coding. Most users in their downtime want to give up their rewards for promotion of others and fixing a site that isn’t increasing in popularity. In my opinion, most people who would dedicate time into fixing another site would rather be using their skills to create a site of their own or making other technological advances.

    To conclude, I find it completely ridiculous that Ottoman does not believe in censorship on its website. Many other platforms are increasing the censorship due to hate speeches and the formation of hate groups through social media platforms. Censorship is a good thing at times especially when it comes to internet trolls or bullies that use social media as a way to hurt people from behind a computer screen. The company seems to be banking on people wanting to better the site and promote themselves and others in a way that people aren’t used to. Many people may argue that this company will be successful one day, but they won’t be. People like to use these platforms mindlessly and use a site that is simple and straightforward. Mind is much more complex and is banking on a series of business fads such as the use of coding and cryptocurrency to give it the upper hand.

    Works Cited
    Matsakis, Lousie. “Minds Is the Anti-Facebook That Pays You For Your Time.” Wired, 19 Apr. 2018, http://www.wired.com/story/minds-anti-facebook/ . Accessed 1 June 2018.
    “Minds Is the Anti-Facebook That Pays You For Your Time.” Shannonblog, https://www.blog.shannonweb.net/2018/04/20/minds-is-the-anti-facebook-that-pays-you-for-your-time/ . Accessed 1 June 2018.

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