Social Media Needs Limitations Not Choices

Publication Type: 
Other Writing
Publication Date: 
April 9, 2015

Social Media is always updating to give people more. More features like video and picture sharing. More freedom to use third-party apps. More capacity to store more data and make more connections. More platforms so we can use one service while loading another.

Paradoxically, the future of social media is also about providing less. Sometimes the best social media design will constrain invasive and harmful practices. If we want online social interaction to be safe and sustainable, we should embrace the limitations.

Last week, the ephemeral media service Snapchat announced that it would render its API inaccessible to third-party applications. This is an important step for the company that promises images that will disappear within seconds. After all, it was third-party Snapchat apps that allowed people to save the hundreds of thousands of snaps that got posted online last year in an event known as “The Snappening.” I previously criticized Snapchat in WIRED for blaming users for the Snappening when it knew that it was vulnerable to third-party apps and failed to ensure that only approved software could access the company’s API.

Read the full piece at Wired.