Maybe Facebook can make micropayments a reality for the media industry.

I'm sure that Facebook can be trusted.

[insert favorite eye-roll emoji]

Enter Facebook. The social network has been working on a not-so-secret plan, Project Libra, to build a blockchain of its own, which will come with its own currency—something that will likely be called Facebook Coin.

If this is what unfolds, it could finally solve the problem of micropayments by giving everyone something they can easily spend and ...

Was that journalism malpractice by saying "everyone," which would include me, even though I don't have a Facebook account?

Will non-Facebook users be able to use Facebook Coin? Unlikely.

Maybe the writer meant "everyone" who has a Facebook account, which is at least 70 percent of U.S. adults who have Internet access.

If this occurs, Facebook will find a way to track user purchases.

If Facebook Coin becomes a reality, then I predict that desperate media orgs will lose their souls yet again to the silo world.

Jun 9, 2019

Mediagazer link

Dutch news aggregator Blendle plans to stop selling individual news articles via micropayments and will focus instead on its premium subscription service

Here are a few reactions attached to that Mediagazer link. Naturally, these comments were posted to Twitter, which I won't link to anymore.

  1. Take an old idea that's known not to work (consumer micropayments) 2. BUT SEE WHAT IF IT WORKS THOUGH BECAUSE SAVING JOURNALISM SOMETHING SOMETHING

    So the thing I will never understand about micropayments as a strategy is how they constantly push additional cognitive load on readers. Why not move the load to the publications?..

    I have my new macro key for the next time a tech entrepreneur pitches me on micropayments as the ultimate savior for publishers

Savior? When Apple released the iPad in 2010, that was suppose to save journalism.

Blendle was the highest profile experiment to make per-article pricing work in news. But now, it is shutting it down.

I mean, I wish someone had predicted this:

This continues a long streak of micropayments for news not working

Does that mean micropayments should never be tried again in the future by any publisher? I hope not. Maybe the previous failures were due to poor execution.

Speaking of failures, how come the same mindset is not applied to other aspects of the media industry?

Media websites are polluted with ads. Success or failure? It must be a runaway success to bloat websites with ads because media orgs continue to do this even for subscribers. Brilliant.

Media websites are among the worst designed websites on the planet, using reader-hostile designs that belie decency. These horrendous designs must be wildly successful, since nearly every media org does the same things.

Over the years, media orgs have enslaved themselves to big tech, losing their independence by becoming heavily dependent upon referral traffic from sites, such as Google and Facebook. Building or expanding a business based around referral traffic from big tech is unlikely to succeed in the long term, but why do so many media orgs do this?

Ad pollution, wretched web design, and enslavement to big tech, why do media orgs continue use these losing strategies? Trying to use micropayments is a more worthwhile attempt at innovating. If media people poo-poo micropayments, then they need to refocus their attention to the media's other losing strategies.

Jun 18, 2019

"Facebook reveals its cryptocurrency Libra to the world (" - over 500 comments

Here's the top HN comment that might be part fear-mongering and part truth. Maybe the eventual reality will fall somewhere in the middle. I would not trust Facebook with anything.

If this succeeds, it will be a data collection tool the likes of which the world has never seen, which is why so many companies are willing to put their name on it. The data, along with ML/AI, and our contemporary understanding of the human mind, means that this is a major step towards control that we can't understand.

Dr. Harari explains it better than I do in "21 Lessons for the 21st Century", but this tool is part of a suite of data collection utilities that will be dissected and used in order to further subjugate our mental energies to the will of the tech giants running our phones. If you don't believe that this is already happening, hang out with some teenagers. I would say that there is a large contingent of people for whom this is already true, and once that group is large enough, then how can you assert yourself against that pipeline of information?

Every bit of data we give away for free is a massive mistake. I hope that Europe figures out a regulatory framework that works.

In recent years, I've been outraged at what seem like draconian legislation proposed and adopted by European countries to regulate the internet/web, but maybe it's time to embrace Europe's approach. Not yet. Because I don't trust governments either when it comes to the internet. Big Biz will cozy up with the governments and visa versa.

Also from today:

Today in Cannes, a group consisting of some of the world’s largest advertisers (Adidas, Unilever, Mondelez, General Mills, Diageo, GSK, Mastercard, Nestlé, P&G, LVMH, etc.), five major media holding companies (Omnicom, Dentsu, Publicis, IPG and GroupM), a pair of ad-tech companies (Teads and TrustX), two media giants (Verizon and NBCUniversal) and three of the largest tech platforms (Facebook, Google and Twitter) announced a new coalition designed to do the impossible: make the internet a safer place for brands and consumers alike.

Yeah, right. Make the internet safer, eh? What does that mean? Big Biz disguises their evil scheme as an altruistic motive. Big Biz probably wants to undermine the open standards that have powered the internet for over 40 years.

Excerpts from a reply HN comment to the above HN comment:

If anything we need some simple core digital privacy rights ala the constitution or charters of rights. Not some thousand page mess like GDPR that was intended to curtail the big guys but ends up giving small Austrian retail businesses $4000 fines for installing a simple surveillance camera, which happened to be too broadly pointed outside.

Reminds me of a comment posted in this past HN thread:

Regulation is one of the best ways for incumbents [Facebook, Twitter, Google, Medium, Netflix, etc.] to build a competitive moat against prospective new entrants.