Benedict Evan’s post, Fashion, Maslow and Facebook’s control of social:
You can optimise a product, and measure it, but people still have to want it. Facebook can fill the home page with a feature, and a retailer can fill a shop with a look, but that doesn’t mean you can make people take it. You can only propose.
For the most part, I agree that Facebook is merely a platform and ultimately the final decision is up to the individual. His analogy is apt, and perhaps sticks out to me due my own retail experience. However, he loses me a bit at the end with this:
But I think we attribute vastly too much power to a handful of product managers in Menlo Park, and vastly too little power to the billions of people who look at their phone screen and wonder which app to open. Facebook writes algorithms, and designers cut the cloth, but that doesn’t mean they control what people look at or what people wear.
Facebook designs their platform to be incredibly addicting and they have vast resources to make that happen. That is real power and shouldn’t be dismissed. There are projects looking to create new decentralized projects, though it’s unlikely a true competing project has been launched yet and general public is certainly nowhere close to adopt.