Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Facebook showing Traces of Crowd Sourcing in Risk Management (?)

Picture by Matthew Filed/Creative Commons

If you're following the blog, you know I'm a big advocate of using the "wisdom of the masses" (well... at least their accumulated computational ability) to crowd-source complex tasks that cannot be easily automated. The way I see it, it's not that users merely "don't mind", they actually expect that to happen. This is the reason I'm pro offer walls (well, at least some of them) and like the concept of “jobs” or “tasks” incorporated into these walls. There's a lot to be done in the area of engaging users around various complex decisions, risk management being one of them (see other ideas on gwap). Now, I don't think that we cracked the code of making financials and risk interesting – whether it’s because financials are less “sexy” or because or more elusive reasons - but I do enjoy seeing interesting attempts.

That's why I liked the feature I discovered in a TC post

Yeah, I know, you’re wondering what I am so excited about. Well, for me it goes back to the dynamics that help establish and nurture communities. Online communities are here to stay, from Habbo hotel to SL to social networks. Communities like Facebook are growing by mere network effect; every day, people are pouring into the platform to interact, share, play. And at the same time, you can’t help but hear the murmur: Facebook did this, Facebook did that, I don’t like the new layout, I hate the privacy policy. This might means that we have (potentially) passed the docile stage of throwing sheep at other users, to the involvement period. What’s that? Basically, creating a real, lasting online community requires more than a news feed and a constant unedited stream of brain farts (dad, I actually like yours. Really). It requires users’ engagement, their involvement in regulating their environment, in setting its rules and in actively helping to make it better. It requires some kind of ownership, a sense of responsibility. This is what creates a healthy community that can be actually leveraged as more than a collection of unrelated, though somewhat connected, individuals. And that’s the reason why I like the potential of this nascent form of crowd-sourcing risk management: from my point of view, it’s a fair attempt at starting to enable users to assume that kind of responsibility. It’s a call to action where Facebook’s Risk team, effectively the police in a network that’s around 1.5X the size of US population, is asking you to join the neighborhood guard. If it’s really your neighborhood, won’t you act to keep it peaceful?

That’s why I like it. Or, at least, that’s the potential I’m loading on one poor notification feature… The other reason is, of course, the poetic justice of using the same type of resources fraudsters are using to overcome standard risk controls to actually deter fraud. Gotta love that.

What is your take on crowd sourcing risk-related process in your system?

In case you’ve never seen it, catch this remarkable piece of the performing arts.
Lyrics are here.