Social Media and Economic Incentivization Systems


Economic incentivization systems can reward populations of end-users for contributing valuable content while mitigating malicious and mischievous acts, spam, bots, misinformation, and disinformation.

Models of systems thus far considered include those where end-users would: (1) pay to post, (2) pay for any boosts or prioritizations pertaining to the distribution of their content, (3) receive monies back depending upon the value added by their content.

Essentially, in these models, end-users can be described as investing to post their content and receiving returns on their investments based upon the value provided by their content.

For the average post, monies paid to end-users should equal (or even slightly exceed) their initial investments. Better-than-average posts should result in profits for end-users. Malicious or mischievous posts should result in effective fees or fines.

Revenue-sharing Models

The distribution of monies to end-users, in a manner rewarding valuable content, can be viewed as a form of revenue sharing with, beyond select influencers, broader or entire populations of end-users.

Economic incentivization system models can distinguish social-media services from one another while enticing end-users to migrate to those services which are more financially advantageous for them to make use of.

Measuring the Value of User Content


Applause is one approach for measuring the value of end-users’ content. End-users could be allocated a number of points, per intervals of time, which would be distributed over other users’ content. If an end-user applauds often, the value of each instance of their applause would be diluted. If an end-user applauds less frequently, then more weight would be assigned for each occurrence.


End-users should also be allowed to complain about content, e.g., spam advertisements, while indicating which service, group, or page rules were violated. When so doing, end-users would be signaling that content should be reviewed by a moderator or administrator.

To curtail frivolous complaints and system abuses, complaining should require investment. In the event that a moderator or administrator confirms a complaint to have been valid, complaining parties should be provided with monies exceeding their initial investment. Valid complaints, then, would result in profit for complaining end-users. These monies would come from those fines or fees taken from the complained-against parties.

Research Questions

Predicting the Value of Content

The value that posted content adds to a social-media system is seemingly best measured after it is posted and after the system interacts with it. Can the value of content be predicted before it is posted or after some initial interactions with it?

Distinguishing Types and Roles of End-users

Should some user roles and privileges be available for purchase, e.g., digital press passes?

Distinguishing Types of Content

There may be different types of content. In the news domain, should reportage be distinguishable from opinion and editorial content, from humor content, and from other freestyle forms of content? Perhaps end-users could utilize a drop-down menu to indicate the type of content when posting.

With respect to news articles, schemas currently include types for reportage, analysis, ask the public, background, opinion, and reviews.

Predicting the Veracity of Content

Can the veracity of some types of content be predicted before it is posted or as it is initially interacted with?

Incentivizing Speed

While economic incentivization system models can be devised such that it pays to post true and valuable content, could it also pay to post such content first?

Predicting the Results of Moderation

Can the results of some moderation processes be algorithmically predicted?

Risk Management

How should risk be estimated for end-users at instances of time? Should end-users’ requisite investments to post content and their related rates of returns be equivalent for all end-users, at all times, or might these vary based on end-users’ recent past behavior and algorithmically estimated risk models? Could models of risk enable more efficient algorithms for content moderation?

Multiple Co-existing Systems

In particular if there are to be multiple types of, or roles for, end-users, and if there are to be multiple types of content for them each to create and provide, could multiple economic incentivization systems simultaneously co-exist on a platform?

Could different groups, forums, and pages on a platform have different rules and potentially different parameters for their economic incentivization system models?

Points versus Money

In some points-based systems, end-users receive points which they can redeem for prizes or for entries into drawings for prizes. With respect to social-media services, it is easier for end-users to move between competing services with money instead of points; points might not be portable across services. There are also know-your-customer and other benefits for social-media systems from end-users transacting with money instead of points.

Policies and User Agreements

End-users would agree to policies pertaining to economic incentivization system models as they entered and joined services, groups, forums, and pages including with respect to investments to post, profits from content value, fines and fees, moderation procedures, elections of moderators, and pertinent appeals processes.


I hope that these preliminary ideas inspire further explorations into economic incentivization system models with which to advance social media. Thank you.

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