The EU has an incredibly crazy plan for open social networks focused on privacy and data protection

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How hard can it be to beat Twitter and YouTube?

Twitter and YouTube are two mainstays of the Internet, where hundreds of millions of users spend their time every day. The two platforms have something else in common: they’ve been plagued by privacy issues and other controversies over the past decade. In direct response, the European Union plans to throw its hat into the social media circle, with plans to launch its own service.

Specifically, the European Data Protection Supervisor is launching two social media services: Voice of the EU and EU Video. Both services are based on ActivityPub’s open-source social media standard, so it’s not exactly like EU world leaders are directly coding a new social network. Instead, they join Mastodon and PeerTube. Despite EDPS announcement, this initiative has been underway since at least February, judging by the first toots the agency has made on its server. Likewise, the oldest videos on its PeerTube server are over a month old.

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The EU has clashed with US tech companies over the past decade. The move to federated social media platforms is reducing its digital reliance on US companies for an online presence. It is also in line with EU values ​​on user data protection and privacy.

Whether this will actually affect the social media scene in Europe is impossible to say, but given the relative size between Twitter and YouTube on the one hand and Mastodon and PeerTube on the other, it’s not likely. And given that the EU institutions participating in this pilot program continue to have accounts on YouTube and Twitter, they aren’t exactly encouraging anyone to switch platforms.


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