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Beyond Encryption: Our Vision for Trustworthy Messaging in a Viral World

January 11, 2022

Private messaging platforms like Messenger, Signal, Telegram, WeChat, and WhatsApp are seminal technologies. By assuring private communication on a global scale, these innovations expand and protect democracy as well as our human rights. They have fundamentally reshaped human connection.Omidyar Network believes in the promise of this type of technological innovation. We also believe tools with this depth of political, economic, social, and cultural influence must be held to the highest standards of trustworthiness and safety.For the past three years, we have invested in individuals and organizations that are working to make private messaging platforms more trustworthy (and as a result, safer). We have seen firsthand the pivotal role of private messaging platforms in empowering diverse ideas and social movements. And we have witnessed the inequality, injustice, and trauma that result from risky design choices which preference the technology's scale, virality, and monetization over its users' well-being. To preserve the best qualities of these innovations, all stakeholders must engage in renovating the product designs, policies, and incentives that introduce and increase risk.

Is Social Media a Threat to Democracy?

October 10, 2017

The advent of social media introduced transformative platforms for people to share thoughts and information in entertaining and connective ways. But the benefits are increasingly being overshadowed by negative consequences as the monetization—and manipulation—of information threatens to tear us apart.In this paper, we examine six key issues and implications presented by social media participation and manipulation, and we cite examples of what we and others are doing—or could do—to possibly mitigate their negative impact.

Big Data, Small Credit: The Digital Revolution and Its Impact on Emerging Market Consumers

October 26, 2015

This research report sheds light on a new cadre of technology companies who are disrupting the credit scoring business in emerging markets. Using non-financial data -- such as social media activity and mobile phone usage patterns -- complex algorithms and big data analytics are forever changing the economics of how we identify, score, and underwrite credit to consumers who have been invisible to lenders until now.