How decentralized social networks can change things


As President Joe Biden is presiding over geopolitical shapeshifting as the poster boy for Orwellian “thought police,” the biggest blowback to date may be the loss of faith in U.S. tech companies. Corporations have been politically militarized in the service of American interests.

Today, other emerging decentralized social media networks are betting on regaining control of privacy and freedom of expression. They intend to phase out compliant and centralized companies as the de facto means of online social interaction.

Over the years, key figures in crypto and Web3, entities primarily behind US government intrusion, have either disapprovingly reassessed the mainstream social media monopoly or begun to dissociate their relationships.

The loss of trust is symptomatic of the political entanglements of entrenched social platforms like Facebook or Google. This places decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and, by extension, decentralized social networks like Dorsey’s Blueskyon the right side of the story.

In a recent survey article, The Intercept detailed how the US government secretly works with leading tech companies to monitor and moderate content. Companies include Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Discord, Wikipedia, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Verizon Media.

The plan is to filter content from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) considers “dangerous speech”. The report claims the DHS is targeting what it calls “inaccurate information about the origins of the covid-19 pandemic and the effectiveness of covid-19 vaccines.”

It also examines “racial justice, the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of American support for Ukraine.” Monitoring extends to elections. Facebook, for example, reportedly “created a special portal for DHS and government partners to report misinformation directly.”

truth police

In April, the Biden administration spear the so-called “Disinformation Governance Council”. The advisory committee was supposed to control disinformation, disinformation and disinformation that are believed to threaten US interests.

It was quickly disbanded following a public outcry. But the surveillance did not stop. In George Orwell’s 1984 dystopian classic, the Thought Police, the secret police of the superstate of Oceania, use all manner of methods to surveil citizens.

The secret police punish thought crimes, personal and political thoughts that are unapproved and challenge the authority of the regime’s tyrannical Big Brother. Similarly, Uncle Sam weaponized social media to control freedom of expression at the risk of flouting his First Amendment.

The Intercept said it analyzed “years of memos, emails and internal DHS documents” it obtained through leaks and an ongoing lawsuit, as well as public documents. He concluded that the information “illustrates a significant effort by the agency to influence technology platforms.”

Suffocating freedom of expression

In 2019, former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa described his successor Lenin Moreno as “the greatest traitor in political history”. This after the dismissal of Moreno Julian Assangeasylum and sentenced him to a possible prison term in the United States. He is still being held in a British prison.

The founding editor of Wikileaks had been locked up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for seven years, under the Correa asylum. He was wanted by the UK and Sweden on various charges. The United States wanted Assange extradited for conspiring to disclose his military secrets.

Australian-born Assange is one of the most recognizable figures to have faced the full might of the US government for speaking truth to power. Following his arrest, Wikileaks’ Bitcoin address, used to avoid financial censorship, received a deluge of donations in support.

Bitcoin and Wikileaks date back to 2011. The cryptocurrency maintained financial aid to the guerrilla publisher after Paypal, Mastercard, Visa and Bank of America disabled Wikileaks services under political pressure from the United States.

In return, Bitcoin (BTC), then newly launched just under two years old, received international attention for the Wikileaks association. More importantly, the informal alliance of Wikileaks and Bitcoin suggests the need for more entities that thrive outside of state and corporate control.

Unlike Paypal, Mastercard, Facebook or Google, Bitcoin and decentralized social networks offer users both the financial freedom act according to their conscience rather than under political instruction.

More examples of censorship

There are several examples of censorship by social media monopolies. In April this year, Twitter suspended the account of Aave founder Stani Kuleshov. Likely because of a joke on the management of the social media site.

Kulechov told his 210,000 followers that he was joining Twitter as interim CEO – a tweet seen by many at the time as a joke. Others found it confusing.

“It was a shameless indirect take for Lens Protocol,” said Alex Masmej, founder of the NFT platform Showtime, at the time. Masmej was referring to Kulechov’s new decentralized social network, a censorship-resistant protocol that allows users to create profiles.

Kulechov’s ban came just days after Twitter agreed to a $44 billion takeover by Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk. Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal was expected to keep his job. But he was fired last week after Musk closed the deal.

Twitter says accounts are suspended for breaking its rules.

“When we permanently suspend an account, we notify individuals that they have been suspended for abuse violations, and explain which policy or policies they violated and what content was violated,” the rules say.

Stan Kucholev has since regained his account. However, the former US President donald trump remain banned from the social network. His account was permanently suspended in January 2021. He was accused of using the site to incite violence.

Trump, a prolific tweeter in his day, now runs his own social media platform called “Truth Social.” The platform is a right-wing network that seeks to rival Twitter. Even Truth Social has faced censorship issues with Google.

Until recently. Google blocked downloads of the Truth Social app from its digital store for what it called “violent content”.

Decentralization of social media

Decentralize chaos

Crypto and blockchain have emerged in the past as a solution to situations where other actors fall victim to traditional financial or political instruments. The complicity of payment processors, and now social networks, with powerful state interests is a major concern.

Replacing Twitter with, say, Trump’s Truth Social, a site based on the Internet’s old system known as “web2,” could ease similar problems in the long run. All of this makes the case for Web3 products that are censorship-resistant and immune to international interference.

The most tenable solution that fits this description is, of course, Bitcoin (read crypto). And the decentralized social networks that come with its technology. The acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk was presented in this way, as a victory for freedom of expression.

The Billionaire describe himself as a “free speech absolutist”. He showed strong support for cryptocurrency, especially Dogecoin (DOGE). Musk is now expected to steer the platform towards the ethics of privacy and individual freedom. He said it himself.

“I hope even my worst critics stay on Twitter because that’s what free speech means,” Musk wrote on his Twitter in April.

“Free speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital public square where issues vital to the future of humanity are debated,” he added in a separate statement. statement following recovery.

Binance CEO joins the fray

Binance Founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao, or simply CZ, backed Musk’s acquisition of Twitter with a $500 million loan. Like BeInCrypto reported earlier he did it for free speech as well as for the growth of web3.

“We would like to make sure that crypto has a place at the table when it comes to free speech,” he said. “There are more tactical things like we want to help bring Twitter to Web3 when they’re ready.”

Simply put, Web3 is the idea of ​​a decentralized internet powered by blockchain technologies and the token-based economy. Not fungible Tokens (NFT) are expected to play a key role in Web3 as a medium of exchange.

Blue sky

Bluesky, a decentralized social media protocol backed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, has amassed over 30,000 waitlist signups for its beta release. This happened within 48 hours of announcing the protocol.

Bluesky builds the AT protocol, a new foundation for social media that frees developers from corporate and government control. Large-scale distributed social applications can be created using the protocol.

It aims to provide a protocol that grants users portability, scalability and trust, he says. Portability allows users to switch between applications without losing their data; scale, allows apps to handle more traffic and then trust, preventing algorithms from profiling users.

Privacy, autonomy and individual freedom are key principles of the Bitcoin movement, almost untouchable. In the example of Julian Assange, even the most principled states or corporations are ultimately vulnerable to shifting interests.

This shows that they cannot be entirely trusted to defend individual freedoms at all costs. A conviction of the dissident by the United States would flout his First Amendment. Also setting a dangerous precedent for the criminalization of journalism, and therefore freedom of expression.

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