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Henry Robinson

Great Product is my game.

10

1

Social Citizen. Everyone is an internet monitor: Exposing poor internet etiquette via social pressure

Have you ever watched a touching video, or read a fascinating news article, only to have your experience ruined by some idiots who posted in the comments section?  How many times have you wanted to quit the human race, after reading the frequently ignorant, racist, sexist, misogynistic, and/or homophobic comments on a social website like YouTube? (See the attached photo)

Furthermore, do you ever wonder who these people really are?  Are they simply internet trolls, looking for a fight, or do they actually hold those abhorrent views?  Do you work with these people?  Live near them?  By definition, anonymity means they could be anyone.

The aim of Social Citizen is to collect and aggregate information on people who troll the internet.  

Social Citizens can post links and/or screenshots of offensive content, while they browse, via a link in their browser bookmark's bar.  These submissions are sent to the Social Citizen community and are sorted and rated based on their content.  

Each Social Citizen community member will earn badges and recognition based on the number of posts that she rates.  

Later, as our database grows, we can begin matching the frequent offenders across online profiles.  The end goal would be to associate a given individual, with their entire ‘dossier’ of offensive content.  People signing in using OAuth (e.g. Facebook connect) on the website where the content was reported, will be identifiable immediately.  The others will be aggregated algorithmically, or by the community.

There are several potential business models, which could come out of a service like this.  (Please let me know if you think of more)

  1. 1.     Crowdsourced web community policing and brand protection:  Offer an alternative way for companies to manage disparaging comments; tweets etc., which are highly offensive and may negatively affect their brand. 
  2. 2.     Social Media Background Checks: For a fee, anyone can perform a background check on an individual to see if they have posted content deemed offensive by the Social Citizen community.
  3. 3.     Selling ‘Troll Dossiers’ or Outsourced discussion monitoring: Selling data on trolls to companies who wish to police their online content, but don’t have the resources to do so. This way, they could quickly ban offending users, without policing the site themselves.

The business could follow one or many of these paths, but would start with a single one to begin:

Sound too “big brother”?  Concerned about the chilling effect this may have on free speech?

These are fair questions, but consider this.  Companies like Facebook, Google, and Yahoo already prohibit certain offensive content.  Facebook is currently re-evaluating, and likely further restricting the content that can be published on its site.  Just about every mainstream website and community have terms against posting viruses, porn, excessive gore and hate speech.  Yet it is nearly impossible for them to hire enough people to police all of the content that is reported, by their communities.  Nevermind their trying to police everything!

Plus, these individuals are posting in a public forum.  This is akin to walking down a busy street while shouting the N-word.  Free speech gives one the right to do so, but the community has every right to ostracize anyone who does so.

Besides, internet policing is happening anyway.  I’d argue that Social Citizen is much more democratic in the way it determines what is offensive and what is not.  As opposed to an internal corporate censor, who doesn’t have to be transparent and is not accountable to anyone outside the company.

Internet users produce so much content that genuine hate often gains anonymity in obscurity. 

Will you join me in shining light on the dark side of the internet in a democratic way? 

___________________________

The minimum viable product is as follows:

1. A simple website/webapp where registered users can view and rate submissions:

2. A way to submit content to the site.

-A browser toolbar link, similar to those of Facebook, Pinterest etc

This will validate two hypotheses:

1. People will actually submit content

2. People are willing to review content submitted by others and provide ratings.

Is that too much?  Too little?  Wrong hypothesis? You tell me.

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