Ideas and Validation October 3, 2020

Idea: Hide toxic and offending comments on Facebook

Artem Smirnov @uluhonolulu


I've been inspired by many recent success micro-startup stories and decided to launch my own. The plan is to launch in 2 weeks and get some pocket money to fund my other startup and to allow me to work less on my daily job.

The idea is to create a Chrome extension that would read comments on Facebook (Twitter and Reddit to be added later) and hide the ones that potentially offend people. This will work on a neural net-based API that I could sell later to other online services.

I would sell it for $2/mo or $15/yr, with a free option for the first 10 comments daily.

What do you think about the idea and the price?

What would be the best way to presell it? Use a crowdfunding website or just put a Stripe button on the landing page?

Here's a link to the invite list:

  1. 1

    Interesting idea at first, but I don't really think you realize what you're up to.

    First of all, facebook is monetized by a glitch in society with which they can convert attention into cash. They do this through ads, first and foremost. However, there is an incentive to have people linger around for longer on their website, to get more ad views, which generates more revenue. A great tool for this is controversy.

    As I imagine your idea you would want to be a force against the facebook algorithm, which would require an enormous insight in human behaviour, as well as lots of general psychological knowledge. Just simply creating a neural net is not going to work, especially because there are a hundred thousand different people, whom are all offended by different things based on their own individual personalities.

    Additionally, it shields people from leaving their own bubble. If there's a thing we would not need more of it's more individual bubbles emerging, with everyone in one believing their own version of the truth. More clearly put, I doubt this tool will help society as a whole. I do not think you're in a position to determine for all what their version of the truth should be, and what they should or should not be offended by.

    With regard to the price, 15$/year is an incredibly low price not to be offended anymore. Way cheaper than a therapist at least.

    Ps. if you'd create an inline fact checker, that'd be totally amazing, and I would love to have such tool to validate stuff on the fly.

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot for your deep analysis. To be honest, my idea is much more humble than that (although it could evolve into something bigger one day). It is something between what you described and a simple word-based filter, and it's certainly not personalized. So it won't hide opposing opinions, but rather stuff like "f*ck you, moron" and the like. Maybe even "you're pathetic" kinda stuff. I do believe that online insults only increase our division and crystallize the bubbles. I also hope that if enough people use tools like this, trolls and haters will lose interest and move elsewhere.

      As for creating a fact-checker, it's a fantastic goal, and I thought a lot about it, but it's too ambitious for me now, and I think the tech is not there yet. As I probably wrote, my goal is to spend 2 weeks on this and drop it quickly if it doesn't work. Maybe someday...

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