Data banking resolves the tensions between free speech, targeted ads, and misinformation

Zuckerberg is right not to police political speech; but he’s wrong not to pay users for their data.
resolving the tensions between free speech, targeted ads, and misinformation
Andre Hunter on Unsplash

There’s nothing wrong with Facebook’s business model except it will never pay users enough for their data. That’s why data banking could benefit Facebook.

On the surface, there is nothing wrong with selling ads online. But Facebook hyper-targets ads to vulnerable users; and it becomes problematic when those ads are politically charged.

The only way to align the interests of users, advertisers, and tech platforms is to embed accountability into the network. Here I outline the big role anonymous identities play in the issue.

I want to discuss how a new central bank achieves this. In particular, a data-based central bank may directly send data’s value to humans and facilitate an ecosystem in which demand for data increases data’s value, the price of a new currency, and the thickness of humans’ wallets.

In such a world, humans would be pleased to receive hyper-targeted ads since they contribute to the demand for data and sustainable currency price. Misinformation would be less easily amplified due to the elimination of anonymous and robot accounts.

Thereby, free speech would not be as resented a value as it is today.

So why doesn’t Facebook create a new central bank that disseminates a new data currency? (This is not the idea behind Libra, which intends to issue tokens in exchange for cash.) To be honest, they should, but they appear to be enjoying their position as data imperialists.

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Data bank to address economy-currency mismatch

Research by Deloitte shows the services economy measured in a currency designed for manufacturers

economy-currency mismatch in action
Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Out of alignment…

As the global economy sharply shifts to a services-oriented economy according to Deloitte, the financial system still uses a currency designed for manufacturers. A data bank arrives to the rescue!

The economy is the sum trade of goods and services. The currency is the tool that facilitates economic activity; it is stable and desired universally.

But risks appear when the economy and currency start to diverge.

For instance, today we see this happening as a data-driven economy functions in the shadows of money… You don’t ask for a penny as Google and Facebook collect trillions of dollars off of your data.

We love hard-working manufacturing workers who were the spine of the global manufacturing economy in the 1900s. But it’s time for a reality check. Trillions of dollars worth of data – not labor – go to Google and Facebook every year. Hence the need for data banking!

Truthfully, Google and Facebook deserve applause for generating data economies larger than the size of most countries’ GDPs. However, they have created a massive economy-currency mismatch.

Today labor currencies do not measure the growing data economy and services sector. To correct the mismatch, we need a global data currency.

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We can fix Facebook’s fake accounts and data surveillance problems

Facebook Deleted More Than 2 Billion Fake Accounts
Source: Facebook Community Standards Enforcement Report

Identity issues and money problems

Social media suffers from fake accounts and data surveillance & imperialism problems. The problems are related and, in general, big tech benefits from the chaos. But there’s a solution…

First, a bit about each problem.

1) Anonymous accounts make it impossible to keep track of who is doing what online. This is important not only to hold bad people accountable (which is what we hear about on the news a lot). It’s more important – and problematic! – that we can’t reward people for what they are worth!

2) Data surveillance & imperialism is big tech companies earning ad revenue by selling hyper-targeted ads placed side-by-side with the user-generated-content created by millions of users on their platforms.

Big tech companies like Facebook, Instagram, and Snap can fix these problems, but they haven’t thought hard and long enough about how.

So what’s the solution?

1. Social media accounts (even the playful, funny ones) need to have owners who can be identified. Each person can still have multiple accounts.

2. And each person needs to be given their data’s economic value. Tree of Wally underwrites data’s value using geographic baselines and individual privacy preferences. Then, accounts that drive traffic benefit from more revenue-generating opportunities (as is the case today). Click here for information on how our plan differs from a revenue-share proposal.

Visit to see a preview of what we’re working on to combat data surveillance. And make sure to subscribe.