Washroom Vs. Social Media: On Governance and Oversight

Standard of public washroom: shit in the toilet and be responsible to keep it clean. Hired or voluntary cleaners regularly clean up the occasional mess.

Standard of social media: shit anywhere you want, as long as you don’t shit on someone who has power over you while they are here shitting.

Basically, the standard of the latter is much lower than that of the former.

There are three major differences between the two:

  • Legal boundary: washroom often has effective legal boundaries; social media don’t.
  • Oversight: washroom often has efficient oversight; social media don’t.
  • Governance: washroom often has satisfactory governance; social media don’t.

‪Social media always have the oversight problem.

Oversight is a wicked problem that requires more than technology and principles to address.

Look to political philosophy for inspirations.

Perhaps, the fundamental problem is – how our own society works dominantly frames what options are available for social media governance.

Social media is surely much harder to do than washroom is. Social media is a wicked problem, whereas washroom is not. Social media is arguably far more impactful than any washroom can ever be. But isn’t that why social media need to have a higher standard than washroom does?

Would we ever want a washroom to be like our social media?


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