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While modern social networks have done a lot to enable human interaction, their infrastructure and operations leave much to be desired. Widespread censorship, arbitrary algorithm changes, privacy violations, intrusive ads, and undue exploitation of creators are some complaints levelled against legacy social networks.
Blockchains can help create decentralized social media networks that are user-controlled, censorship-resistant, and private.
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Decentralized social networks are content creation and distribution platforms running on the blockchain. Many of these platforms attempt to correct the problems of Web2 social networks as highlighted in the previous section.
Large social networks have billions of users combined—Facebook (2.91 billion), Twitter (290.5 million), and YouTube (2 billion).
Censorship-resistant social applications are good until people start to spread dangerous messages. It would be difficult, if not downright impossible, to moderate such harmful content and protect users.
Web3 social networks may reward users for their time through watch-to-earn, learn-to-earn, play-to-earn, and other incentive programs. Some may even allow users to monetize their data and exchange it for crypto—as opposed to companies solely profiting from user data.
Influencers and content creators could further maximize earnings by creating subscription-based content. Using built-in micropayment systems like Lightning Network, content creators would be able to create steady streams of income instead of relying on platform owners for earnings.
Blockchains are distributed across multiple computers in a peer-to-peer system that's difficult to shut down or hack. To take down a blockchain like Ethereum, you'd need to find a way to control thousands of nodes running the network.
Decentralized social media networks are undoubtedly one of the most exciting applications of blockchain technology yet. Blockchain-powered social applications could create a safer, private, valuable, and better experience for users and fix the broken system we have currently.
Social media companies earn huge profits from user-generated content but hoard a large percentage of this money. Worse, content creators can be de-platformed without warning, leading individuals to lose their means of livelihood.
Many decentralized online social networks have native tokens, which members buy to unlock features, tip creators, or access certain services.
To truly scale and accept more users, decentralized social networks would need innovative solutions to solve blockchain data storage issues. Potential solutions include storing data off-chain on decentralized servers like Arweave, InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), and Filecoin.
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