Over the past fifteen years, social media has gained immense popularity. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have reached a high level as a company. Social media has advantages such as global connectivity and low barriers to entry. It also gives people a platform to express themselves. But in recent years, the sector has taken a grim turn, fueling aggression and spreading false information while raising questions about censorship. Eric Young, founder and CEO of Junto, a perfectly decentralized social media startup, sees three major challenges in the current situation.
The first of the three cases Young mentioned is related to management, and it is mainly the people or organizations that are responsible for monitoring and managing a particular platform. “Many of these companies were created as non-profit organizations that have loan commitments to their investors,” Yang told Cointelegraph.
Basically, Yang explained that social media organizations claimed that their actions affected the pockets of investors. These giants often entice users with a platform that appears to interact, selling information and data to users to make money, along with advertising tactics and other measures. When they search for themselves rather than users, these social media giants are supporting their digital platforms in terms of these profit-making tactics by playing on the psychological vulnerability of customers, Yang suggested.
Centralization also plays a theme role. “It’s not sustainable by nature,” Yang said. Social media companies have a lot of power today. Yang believes that a single entity can essentially control the perceived reality of a large portion of the world’s population, censor content and at the same time manipulate the content people see, let alone decide how customer data should be handled.
Summarizing the three main problems he sees on social media, Yang remarked, “The first problem is the real business model problem, and then it affects the second, which is harmful user experience design, which is a kind of digital culture with which we are dealing. … “He added:” The third will be the centralization of technology and information. ”
Over the years, several startups have emerged that boast alternative, decentralized social media options such as YouTube’s alternative DTube. Jan’s non-profit organization, Junto, is one example. The Hunto Foundation monitors the social media platform. Junto is not blockchain-based, however, but rather provides explicit decentralization with a distributed ledger solution called Holochain.
In recent years, other approaches have emerged with the aim of reforming the existing landscape instead of redirecting people to other platforms. A solution from Discussions.app, for example using Telos, basically logs user information from existing social media platforms via blockchain.
The look cannot be resolved?
CT: It seems it’s not just the platforms, but also the behavior of people on social media. People are sometimes unpleasant. How does this affect all this?
EY: We believe that human behavior is just a byproduct of the environment in which we find ourselves. Obviously there will always be a spectrum. Some people will be kind and others will not, but there are things you can do to change this culture in a more positive way. So we really focused on reworking the basics of what we used to be on social media a lot.
For example, in the current paradigm, if you have algorithms that only reinforce what you truly believe and create hyper-attachment of opinions, it creates even more division. If you have these algorithms that also show you very provocative things because they are the ones that trigger the reaction, you will be more motivated. Or, if you have many of these general rating scales, they create a superficial competitive atmosphere based on authenticity and true expression.
For us, I truly believe that more considerate and people-centered design patterns will go a long way in encouraging people to have more respectful, compassionate, and more meaningful discussion on the platform.
CT: What can be done with social media in this situation?
EY: I think a lot can be solved. I am more optimistic about the situation. I think of all three things I mentioned earlier, what was broken, as governance and revenue models – I think it can be solved. For us, we have prepared this as a non-profit organization to lead the project. It is so early that we have created this framework in order to maintain the integrity of what we want to do in order to move forward and to truly ensure that all resources are dedicated to the mission and not to enrich any shareholders or that any third party can weaken our tendency.