Back to the F**kture: Sue Fennessy

type - podcast
In a world of fake news and hate-fuelled algorithms, entrepreneur Sue Fennessy discusses her new power-for-good platform, WeAre8, in the latest episode of Back To The F**kture with The Future Laboratory co-founder Martin Raymond. 


While many of us blame the stupidity and biases of right-leaning social media users for spreading fake news, the founder of ‘no-hate’ app WeAre8, Sue Fennessy, has a different take on the matter. She blames it on how platforms like Facebook reward us for sharing.

And she isn’t wrong. A recent University of Southern California study indicates the same thing. According to its findings, 15% of Facebook’s most habitual sharers are responsible for spreading 30–40% of the platform’s fake news because the more they share, and the more salacious that sharing is, the more frequently they are rewarded for their efforts.

This is why she asks a simple question while we’re chatting together on air: ‘Should algorithms exist at all? And if the answer is yes, can we nudge them to do beautiful things, be zero-tolerant of hate, re-imagine, or be part of a social experience or experiences that we can share with friends in a private, beautiful way?’

She believes we can, and to prove it she launched WeAre8, one of a growing number of anti-provocation social media platforms, as we discovered on LS:N Global, that are challenging the current negative effects social media has on us – especially among teens and late adolescents, where depression, anxiety and suicidality have increased along with increased social media use, according to a recent report in Nature.

Fennessy’s platform removes algorithms and ads from its members’ feeds, ‘so that the entertainment experience is pure, our connections with friends are pure, and we are encouraged to scroll less and live more.’ But if you opt in to watch them, as many of the platform members do, you and the charities you support get paid for your efforts.

Published by:

31 March 2023

Author: Martin Raymond



This pay-as-you-view approach to advertising, she believes, allows brands themselves to build better relationships with the WeAre8 community, who comment on the ads, so that future campaigns are more targeted and relevant rather than served up based on usage, salacious sharing or tracking data.

Recently, she and her team also launched a creator’s fund with cash and facilities grants of between £2,725 (A$5,000, US$3,340, €3,100) and £54,500 (A$100,000, US$66,800, €62,070) for creatives to realise their work. ‘Social media creators are probably among the largest unpaid workforce in history. And because of how platforms currently work, they have to monetise their value by working directly with brands, when brands like Instagram or TikTok should be paying them directly for the creative work they are doing for them.

‘Having to partner with brands so directly can, in some cases, undervalue or undermine the true beauty of the work they are doing, especially if you have to create content around a product, or if your creativity or how you connect it with others is interrupted with paid advertising.’

Finally, she tells me, her ‘goal is to have a billion people on the planet making a positive impact every day for two minutes, and to harness and fuel this positivity with an ad manager that allows millions of advertisers to directly book their campaigns into an eco-system where ads will be run in a transparent and sustainable way’.

And the result, if she can get it right? ‘Within three years we could be putting £55bn (A$100bn, US$67bn, €62bn) back to people and charities directly. More to the point, she says: ‘You can dance on TikTok, tweet on Twitter, but change the world on WeAre8.’

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