An insight into the moral and technical aspects of crypto social media

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Following Vitalik Buterin’s call for more social use cases on Ethereum earlier this summer, several crypto companies expressed their intention to build decentralized versions of mainstream social networks like Twitter. However, it is short-sighted to create and view cryptocentric social platforms as merely decentralized versions of Twitter. The moral and technical implications of creating truly decentralized social networks that conform to the principles of Web 3.0 go well beyond what the idea of ​​“decentralized Twitter” currently encompasses.

Beyond mere decentralization, there are four key issues that are central to the idea of ​​the social development of cryptocurrencies: private communication and resistance to censorship, moderation, decentralized governance, and secure and decentralized money.

Private communication and censorship resistance

Privacy is a human right, but this right is increasingly being violated by centralized big tech companies that have financial incentives to collect, store, and monetize their users’ data. Facebook’s earnings report earlier this year reported that the company alone had advertising revenue of $ 28.6 billion. As the saying goes, “If you don’t pay for the product, you are the product” and it is time to redesign the incentives on existing social networks. Currently, platforms are motivated to collect private information from users in order to get paid by advertisers. With the privacy and encryption of social crypto networks, this paradigm is being challenged as identifiable personal data is nowhere near as accessible – if at all – to advertisers.

At the heart of any crypto social network should be the ability to communicate and organize freely, detached from centralized corporate oversight. In recent years, concerns about online censorship have increased, a notable example being Discord’s ban on the r / WallStreetBets server amid the GameStop short squeeze, ostensibly over concerns that hateful content is being posted in the community. In contrast to centralized Web 2.0 platforms like Discord, decentralized social networks eliminate bottlenecks for censorship. If no one controls the network servers, no single person or entity can control and censor content. While this combats censorship, it also presents a unique challenge: moderation.

Related: Social media giants need to decentralize the internet … now!

moderation

The idea of ​​moderation is a catch-22 for social crypto communities. On the one hand, Crypto Social’s Web 3.0 values ​​are about creating democratized applications free of censorship and curious oversight. On the other hand, communities should be able to protect themselves against spam attacks and malicious actors. Balancing moderation with the need for privacy, decentralization and censorship resistance is a complex consideration with no straightforward solution.

The bottom line is that communities – not third parties – should be in control of the content that exists in their areas. The types of engagement vary from community to community, as does the classification of “good” and “bad” content. How good information is shared and how bad information is curated ultimately defines the value of the community itself, and it is important to approach moderation in a way that cannot be hijacked or tampered with.

One way to prevent spam is to have communities implement chat functions with token-based permissions. In this method, holding certain tokens can grant members access to publish, view, and / or manage permissions in a particular community. To preserve the integrity of the tokens, smart contracts can be implemented to control the portability and permissions of each newly minted token. This decentralized system ensures that the moderation is carried out in a way that does not allow the subjectivity of an independent person to control the curation.

Decentralized governance

The problem with Web 2.0 social networks is that centralization inherently prevents communities from being self-governing and self-regulated. The success of a social network should mean the success of the entire social network – not the success of a single founder at the expense of the social network. This is the problem with the existing order of centralized social networks: the decisions of an independent person or entity determine the development and fate of the network.

One way to remedy this mistake and establish decentralized governance is to use community funds. Holding governance tokens gives individual community members the opportunity to vote on decisions that will shape the future of the community. The collective nature of this democratized electoral system has the power to save the community from falling victim to the whims of the corporate bureaucracy. With decentralized governance, users are given a voice to make change happen.

Related: Crypto social governance will lead to online freedom

Safe and decentralized money

Decentralization alone cannot guarantee the longevity and independence of social crypto networks. The integration of token-based incentives gives users a unique way to maintain and navigate social network communities. By issuing tokens to users, individual users become shareholders of the platform, which provides an incentive to participate in and contribute to the growth of the network.

If each user maintains a balance of tokens, he can carry out transactions in a peer-to-peer manner on his own terms, thus contributing essentially autonomously to the economy of the network. The use cases for these tokens are endless – from voting on proposals to crowdfunding an initiative to sending encrypted messages – and provide support for the long-term growth of the community.

As decentralized social networks are gaining in interest and dynamism, these four main themes show that much more is at stake in the design of new social networks than just the idea of ​​decentralization. What we need are more purpose-oriented platforms that advocate the intellectual and financial sovereignty of users – not superficial buzzwords. Despite the gray areas in achieving this goal, the nice thing about decentralized social networks is that the community has the opportunity to help shape the future of the social network.

This article does not provide investment advice or recommendations. Every step of investing and trading involves risk, and readers should do their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Corey Petty started his blockchain-focused research around 2012 as a personal hobby while doing his PhD candidate at Texas Tech University in Computational Chemical Physics. He then co-founded The Bitcoin Podcast Network and still serves as the host on the flagship, The Bitcoin Podcast and a rather technical show, Hashing it out. Corey left university and entered the data science / blockchain security industry for a number of years troubleshooting vulnerabilities in ICS / SCADA networks before finding his position as security chief at Status.im, where he has remained to this day.