It’s About Time! Binance CZ, Vitalik Buterin Voice Support for Decentralized Social Media
The need to switch to using crypto-friendly decentralized social media platforms has been raised in recent calls by key players in the industry. The calls come as YouTube reportedly started purging its site of selected crypto-related content over Christmas targeting certain individuals.
After an old Q&A YouTube video of Ethereum lead developer got deleted citing its being harmful, Vitalik Buterin charged his followers on the need to create alternatives (for YouTube). The view, later echoed by Binance CEO, CZ, saw Buterin question the streaming service’s decision to remove a three-year old video of Ethereum roadmap at Coinbase prompting him to say “censoring an ethereum roadmap is just…weird”.
I know that poem says that speaking up when they come for me is already too late, but still, censoring an ethereum roadmap Q&A is just…. weird
Looks like we need alternatives to youtube. https://t.co/dvnExnhaw5
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) December 26, 2019
An appeal to YouTube comes with a response that the Ethereum video violates its sale of regulated goods policy. The several YouTube videos reportedly removed had also got CZ to make a similar call urging the community “to look at alternatives”. In another tweet, he suggested that the demand for decentralized platforms is being propelled by more censorship. With data now being considered the new oil, what the likes of Google, Facebook etc are doing with users’ data has also become controversial.
It may be time the #crypto community take a stab at its own blockchain-enabled sensorship-resistent social media platform.
Lots of challenges though, spam, scam, trolls, incentives, copyright, token economics, governance, stickiness, privacy… But
It’s about time!
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) December 25, 2019
Decentralization is a main concept of the blockchain technology, one that promotes the objection to a central point of control from where a platform’s accountability system could be subjected to protect certain interests. The concept has helped highlight key issues of particular interest about existing social media platforms. They include concerns over data privacy, their centralized nature which enables censorship, data monetization and lack of full ownership of work by creators among others. Part of global efforts toward decentralization includes this month’s call by the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, for interested parties to build a decentralized standard for social media under its BlueSky project. He committed Twitter’s willingness to funding the “small independent team” to develop the standard while the mini/blogging site will be a client.
Twitter is funding a small independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers, and designers to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media. The goal is for Twitter to ultimately be a client of this standard. 🧵
— jack 🌍🌏🌎 (@jack) December 11, 2019
A public petition has been launched from within the community to demand that YouTube justify its action to censor crypto YouTube videos as ethical. Also, other existing similar social media projects like PeerTube and Bitchute have sought to use the situation to push their brands as alternative platforms. Meanwhile, there are concerns over the success of these decentralized platforms and the loss of exposure the industry may face if crypto content go to obscure platforms.
Most of them are not well-known and, going by the community’s attitude to decentralized exchanges, they may not get known soon thus dampening the hopes that moving crypto content to decentralized social media platforms will work. Building a YouTube competitor is possible but getting people (who supposedly need it) to use it is another thing especially considering how it will gain recognition and generate income. There is no guarantee that the majority of the crypto ecosystem who uses YouTube will move too.
Ideally, decentralization could prevent content from being monitored or censored online but it could be argued that many published content today need to be checked and moderated. The concept is also not fully understood yet including how it could be beneficial. The removal of some crypto-related content on YouTube can be good and bad for the industry. It could help weed out scam projects being hyped for new users while at the same time cause some good and useful educational content to be removed along the line.
The clean-up may help the industry improve on producing genuine content to win more trust in the crypto ecosystem, building decentralized crypto systems to co-exist with traditional social media platforms would have to follow set guidelines which are currently non-existent to avoid perceived misunderstanding.