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Apps Aim to Douse Social Media Dumpster Fire

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A young woman using social media.

Last year two social apps rose to popularity: Gas and BeReal, both of which eliminate aspects of other social media platforms, like algorithms that spotlight controversial content, and an endless feed that encourages people to spend too much time online.

Credit: We Are/Getty Images

New social apps are being introduced that promote a more positive online environment.

Unlike Twitter and Facebook, Gas and BeReal lack algorithms that incentivize controversial content and endless feeds that encourage scrolling.

The BeReal app allows users to post an unfiltered photograph during a random two-minute window per day, after which they can see what others have posted.

Users of the Gas app, meanwhile, earn digital rewards for participating in anonymous polls in which they vote for the best compliments about their friends.

Some people may gravitate toward Gas because they know that they will only see good things on it, according to David Bickham of the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Bickham says a positive social experience comes from “moving toward [app] designs that increase the autonomy of the user, giving them more control over the type of content that they’re exposed to."

From Scientific American
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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