Decentralized social media is also called blockchain-based social media, is a new concept in crypto and blockchain, which refers to putting your content on the blockchain without a centralized gatekeeper.
The main feature of these networks is using smart contracts and blockchain systems, giving users more autonomy and control. These networks operate on independent running servers, allowing users to make their own decisions. Here’s what you need to know about decentralized social media.
How it works
Decentralized and centralized social media networks use some social graph, a social network model responsible for mapping everyone on a network and how they’re related and letting users communicate on a front-end platform. However, on centralized social media platforms, companies own users’ social graphs, while users own their social graphs on decentralized social media platforms. In addition, unlike traditional social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Tik Tok, and Instagram, decentralized social media networks live on public blockchains. Mostly, anybody anywhere can run a node, gain back-end access, develop an app, and then curate a feed.
On the social Web3 app Entre, the traditionally employed, self-employed, and other professionals may post Twitter-like content while carrying out business transactions. They can host virtual events, conduct meetings and hire employees, with the app operating like a decentralized, digitally legitimate alternative to Zoom, LinkedIn, and Google calendar.
Decentralized social platforms create the Fediverse. Federated networks hosted independently can interact with other social networks in the fediverse. This is one of the most significant differences between popular social media networks and decentralized social platforms. For instance, Twitter only lets users receive and send messages to others with Twitter accounts. Conversely, federated networks allow users to engage across platforms. Email is an excellent example of how a federated social network functions.
Benefits of decentralized social networks
1. User control, free speech, and censorship resistance
Corporates control most social platforms, and a few people within these industries set engagement rules, raising censorship and free speech concerns among users. Banning hateful, dangerous, and violent messaging protects users from malicious online activities. Others believe these bans are against freedom of speech ideals. In addition, authorities can ban centralized social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube in their countries. For instance, Twitter and YouTube are banned in China and Iran. Decentralized social networks give users more control, and state blocking is impossible.
Federated networks promote independence without a centralized authority. The benefits include personal data ownership, censorship resistance, and better control over user-generated content. This means users won’t accept censorship and will push to have the last word on their content.
2. Personal data, privacy, and security
Thanks to user concerns regarding personal data control, a General Data Protection Regulation was established in Europe. As per the legislation, users are considered data controllers, while social media companies are called data processors. The GDPR data controller definition implies that users own their data. Legally, companies should give users more control over personal data.
Failure to do so may result in companies being penalized. While on federated social platforms, users can create an account without linking it to real identities, including phone numbers or email addresses. In addition, these platforms depend on public-key cryptography to ensure account security instead of relying on one company to safeguard user data.
While this may be beneficial from a data security angle, it comes with challenges. For instance, a bootstrapped federated social platform might shut down due to a lack of finances, making users lose their connections and data. Users won’t have an easy way of reconnecting with others on the platform as federated networks don’t keep personal data records on servers. These networks don’t encrypt data, meaning administrators can see private messages.
3. Economic neutrality
Economic neutrality is critical for many users who utilize decentralized social networks and would like to be free from invasive advertising and privacy risk. Federated networks find new monetization means to remain solvent. They mostly use a digital currency like Bitcoin to ensure operations are running. For instance, a company may pay its users to create or curate unique content, incentivizing content creators to concentrate on quality. Such companies get their cash from investors who trust that the network will grow in the long run and become profitable.
High censorship and privacy concerns have increased the decentralized social network growth. Decentralized social media can potentially tip the privacy and equity scales to favor content creators and users. Refer to this article to learn what you need to know about decentralized social media.