November 14, 2021

Social networks don't care about their users. And making worse life for themselves

Likes – new oil

Most of us cannot live without social media. We communicate, absorb multi-format content without stopping.

This is a relatively new cool business that replaces Disneyland for kids, parties for teens and bars with adult friends.

That's why social networks around the world are growing and expanding, showing consistently high profits from quarter to quarter. Moreover, they buy each other, unite and create their own complex universes.

Yes, they are all sometimes accused of something, shut down and tried somewhere, but it doesn't change anything.

The rest of the business of our planet, especially B2C, also love social networks: now it is easier to "reach out" to specific users, optimize advertising budgets and sell more!

Social networks help to business abundantly, providing resources for creating, setting up and analytics of advertising – everything for your money!

And at whose expense does all this work?

But everyone forgets to care about ordinary people, consumers of digital content. They are being fed cool new features for communicating with each other, funny and interesting content and tons of ad creatives without any balance.


  • It is more difficult for people to communicate with each other in person.
    They often ignore the outside world and relationships with other people (divorces, quarrels with friends and neglected children as a consequence).
  • The concentration of attention decreases, which negatively affects the personal lives, their professional abilities.
  • The balance of time is lost: people don't sleep enough, are late, or simply lose useful time that they could spend on improving their financial situation, self-education, health, time with loved ones.

All this not only worsens the life of an individual user of social networks, but also reduces the effectiveness of advertising perception. As a result, ad metrics deteriorate, budgets fall, and profits fall. Both social media and advertisers are suffering. Why?

  • Scattered attention leads to the fact that the user stops noticing and remembering ads in a huge flow of information, the most interesting creatives stop working.
  • Even if this is not the case and the creative worked, then after going to the site or to the application download page in the AppStore, the user is easily distracted and abandoned - the tab in the browser will remain open without a completed purchase, and the downloaded application will remain in the application library. When will the person come back and take the conversion action? Unclear.
  • Let's not forget about the classic "banner blindness" – there is an insane amount of advertising. It is no longer possible to watch repeating banners with the same catch-up offer for a promotion or a discount. The finger itself reaches for the "close".

I didn’t do deep scientific research and didn’t communicate with well-known Internet analysts. All these conclusions are built only on the basis of personal observations, networking and opinions of digital agencies. And based on logic.

And now what can we do?

If I see a problem, I must offer a solution for it. It is unprofessional to write only that everything is bad. Perhaps they will throw stones at me for this anyway, but I have the right to an opinion on Internet!!!

My suggestions for social networks:

Limit the number of ad placements and advertising offers for each individual user with a gradual increase in bids for displaying advertisements

This is a very cruel position, at first glance, unprofitable for either social networks or advertisers. However, if you do not raise the price of an impression now, then soon it will rise on its own along with the cost per conversion. Omnichannel, retargeting, and other smart words will not help here, because the duration of the user's interest will fall.

Filter ads more strictly: not only for violations of the law, spam and porn but also for the quality criteria of the advertising offer

Is your advertising profile less than six months old? Are the topics of displayed ads on behalf of one account constantly changing? We are increasing bids.

The site is not adapted for the mobile version, the layout is slow, pop-ups appear everywhere, there is no warning about cookies and there is no SSL certificate? We send the ad a refusal, redo it.

Does the ad contain loud music, frequently changing bright colors or images, or capsicum text? Also a refusal, respect people!

I wanted to write at the end, but I will write here: of course, at the moment this measure will reduce the profits of social networks, the business will go on strike. In addition, you will have to hire more moderators and train them better. If you are thinking about it here, then this magic anchor will help you to come to your senses.

Take money for advertising from bloggers. At first, at least with large ones

Require the use of a badge similar to "Ads" in advertising content. If you have more than 1 million subscribers and you have used the Ads badge 2-3 times this month, pay, for example, 1000 euros. If there are 10 million subscribers, pay 10,000 euros. If you do not use the Ads icon and post an advertisement, then the social network blocks your posting for a certain time or restricts the publication of a certain format. In return, all shadowbans for advertising and other algorithmic restrictions (if they exist at all) are removed.

To be honest, this is the most controversial point in my proposals, because we need criteria for defining advertising from bloggers, otherwise, everyone will talk about "free personal recommendations" of brands. Well, this also needs to be processed by specialists from the side of social networks. Another aspect is that such a system can only be applied to really large bloggers with a huge subscriber base.

Subsidize useful ads. No, not only charitable foundations

Support can be provided to organizations and professionals who can help people with digital addictions. Does a person sit a lot on a social network, swallowing content? Let's show him more ads for mental health centers that can help him use less electronic devices and more enjoy real life.

This will require certification of qualified psychologists and confirmation of their ability to help - again, we are talking about investments. To social media, this all sounds like a shot in the foot, but it really isn't. The proof is the same anchor again.

Disable content by timer

Has a person been watching Tiktok continuously for half an hour? Show him a reminder to take a "breather" and get distracted. If it immediately closes and continues to scroll for another 10 minutes, then we show a repeated warning with a hidden "close" button. If a person watches Tiktok continuously for 2 hours, then we stop loading content for him. We give an error under the guise of a software bug. We attach the browsing history to the device, the algorithm analyzes user behavior and if it notices an addiction, then we offer him an advertisement from my proposal # 4.

Prevent posting content at night. Or make this option paid. At the same time, artificially reduce the amount of displayed content in the dark.

This is also a controversial proposal, but nobody cancelled healthy sleep. It is clear that there are "owls" and "larks", but hormones remain hormones. There is an assumption that a person will sleep better if he receives less content at night and fewer reasons to get into a smartphone and look through stories.

Okay, and where will this lead?

I understand that all these proposals sound totalitarian. “Prohibit", "restrict", "turn off", "filter"... If we imagine that representatives of the largest social networks and instant messengers suddenly see this article and implement something, then there will always be outraged people whose comfort and happiness have been violated.

Yes, this is a big burden on business, new systems and new cost items that most likely will not be approved by the finance department of any corporation.

But all these measures only boil down to ensuring that the audience that brings income to social networks and business becomes happier and continues to bring income to everyone. Only in the long term and with a healthy psyche.