The Cambridge Analytica incident last year sure raised eyebrows on the manner in which social media giants handle user data. The result of the incident has seen a considerable number of users deactivate their accounts. A study by Pew Research Center says that 44% of youngsters in the US alone have logged off their Facebook accounts for good.
But there is an emerging technology, one that promises to eliminate the problems being witnessed in centralized social media networks. It’s Blockchain technology.
Decentralized Social Media
Blockchain technology is not entirely new, it has been here for quite a while since 2008 when social media was at its peak. But since its inception, it has been causing havoc in a number of industries, it might do the same in the social network business.
Blockchain social media platforms already exist. They operate on the premise of giving users more control over their data, something which cannot be guaranteed on the dominating centralized platforms.
Decentralized ledger concept which defines Blockchain is when information is stored on a network of computers rather than a centralized server system. While the concept has found more use in cryptocurrencies, it can still be put to use in anything and everything, including social media networks.
With no central server on a Blockchain Facebook, there would be no authority or middlemen in control over the network. It, therefore, limits the tech giant’s power over user data and contents seen on the user feeds.
Blockchain Facebook offers an incredible alternative in the wake of Facebook’s accusations. If users embrace Blockchain Facebook, allegations of Facebook promoting certain news types and their impacts on political events would be a thing of the past.
Embracing Blockchain Facebook also means that whatever you post on the platform is traceable and cannot be copied. It also means there will be greater transparency in the manner which your data as a user is handled. And when you delete your information, third parties will no longer have access to it.
On Fake News And Bots
Facebook removed over 1.3 billion fake accounts in the first half of 2018 alone. This betrays the seriousness of the issue. But in a system like Blockchain Facebook, it’s easier to track and delete bots and fake accounts. In addition, decentralized Facebook also limits the possibility of attacks on central servers. Attacks like the 2012 LinkedIn incident would never occur in a system with no single entry point.
The best chance to solve the problem of fake news lies in distributed consensus mechanisms. And Blockchain Facebook makes it easier to track and trace data to its original source. The legitimacy of information is therefore guaranteed on Blockchain Facebook.
Shortcomings Of The New System
But in as much as there are many benefits, there are shortcomings that come with getting rid of the central servers. Having no single entity in control of system monitoring makes it harder to block contents that violate system policies such as hate speech. But this problem is only miniscule and can be taken care of in a system where culprits can be easily traced.
Can It Measure Up To Mainstream Facebook?
Blockchain Facebook alternatives like Steemit already exist. With 61,000 users, it has a long way to go to reach Facebook’s status of 2.3 billion monthly users. It needs more than an investment to trigger massive migration to its decentralized platform.
As for Facebook, it has seen the direction of the tides and the company is now adjusting its sail. According to reports, Facebook is developing a cryptocurrency for its WhatsApp platform. Whether this is the beginning of a shift to the Blockchain way, we can only wait and see.