Social media has become a very important part of our lives. It helps us connect with friends and family, know what’s going on in the world, and engage with others.
However, social media has also become a tool for centralizing power and control. Companies like Facebook, WeChat, Tiktok (and many others) have become so big that they can dictate terms to users, censor content, and manipulate public opinions.
As the technological era is moving towards Web3, we see a shift from centralized to decentralized applications.
In a decentralized social media platform, users would be in control of their own data, and there would be no single point of failure.
In this post, we will discuss the main issues of Web2 social networks, how Web3 will solve them, and some of the most revolutionary social network projects on the blockchain.
Today’s Social Media Is Outdated
While social media platforms started as a method for interacting with friends and family over the internet and sharing ideas with others nowadays, they are much more than that.
It has become a powerful tool for marketing, trading, and gaming – key parts of our digital identity.
Social media companies are centralized by default and keep all your data on their servers.
What began as a way to communicate and meet new people has become mired in problems: censorship issues, privacy concerns, and distrust airing from routine mass data harvesting leading to trading of your personal data.
One of the main issues with social media is how Companies handle user data. Your personal data is routinely collected, sorted, and used to target ads at users or shared with government agencies without your knowledge.
For example, in 2018, the Cambridge Analytica scandal brought these concerns to light when it was proven that it leveraged Facebook data to target the campaign and steer the US voters in the “right” direction.
Just try using the Facebook Ads platform. You will be baffled by how much information Facebook has on you. Everything from your political views to your relationship status – is kept track of.
Companies frequently buy your data from other platforms; they pair it together with their own and, as a result, know more than you “allow” them to. Or, they just buy other platforms as Facebook did with Instagram and Whatsapp.
Social media companies have recently come under fire because of their content moderation or lack thereof. Critics say that these companies do not do enough to prevent the spread of hate speech and fake news.
The line between silencing truth and banning hateful speech is very thin. For example, In 2016, Facebook was accused of political bias when sources claimed that it was censoring conservative news outlets. Or Twitter, which was under fire in 2021 for suppressing some of the voices during Arab spring – the list goes on and on.
Nowadays, social media is about likes, comments, and shares. The algorithm also takes into account the time people spend on your post. If they spend more than a few seconds, it means they’re interested in what you have to say.
This raised a wave of controversial, shocking, or even repulsive content – created purely to keep your eyes glued to the app.
The algorithm does not care about your actual preferences. It analyzes where you spent 1 second more – and double-downs on serving more of that to you. They know that it will overstimulate your dopamine centers and keep you coming for more, and more views mean more revenue from ads.
Social Media In the Web3 Era
Web3 and decentralized social media represent a paradigm shift characterized by decentralization and individual ownership.
Control will flow from centralized entities to a distributed network, and users will have greater control over their personal data.
Platforms will also have no single point of failure, as they will be using a distributed ledger.
Instead of a single entity controlling access and storing all the data, users will own their data (as it will be stored on their devices).
With Web3 social media, there can be no downtime, and usurpation of control would be extremely difficult.
What Is A Decentralized Social Network?
Our peer-to-peer communication system Sending.Network powers the social platform that we are building. It allows users to do the same things current social media platforms allow.
Namely broadcasting and sharing content, communicating with friends and family, investigating interests, finding like-minded groups, managing communities, monetizing the audience, and making connections.
The network is maintained and operated globally. This marks the most significant change with huge ramifications for censorship and privacy concerns as now there is not a single point of failure or a central authority to make decisions about the users and data.
Decentralized social networks empower individuals. These platforms give them total control over their personal data allowing for greater autonomy. They are censorship-resistant and offer vast improvements for freedom of speech.
These new platforms move away from the revenue-driven methodology of traditional social networks.
Web2 social networks are prioritizing engagement at all costs. Encouraging users to remain on the platform so social media companies can create a dopamine addiction and show them more advertisements.
Decentralized social media won’t pursue ad revenue. Therefore, it will not need to keep you “hooked” but will rather focus on the features that will help you communicate, trade, create communities, and much more.
How Does A Decentralized Social Platform Work?
Decentralized social media do not rely on a central server. Instead, they use a peer-to-peer network.
This is similar to how Bitcoin and blockchain work. There is no central server that houses all the data. Instead, each user has “a copy” of the data and can share it with others.
The decentralized social network is a so-called DApp (decentralized application). For DApp to work, it has to operate through smart contracts and live on the blockchain.
Decentralized Social Media Projects
Let’s have a look at the project that we are brining you in the Web3 social media space!
Sending.me is a decentralized social media platform, at the core of which is an instant messenger.
The platform comes as a response to the issues that we described above and also to the fact that most of the Web3 instant messengers and social media platforms lack Web3 features.
Sending.me provides its users with seamless “wallet to wallet” communication which is private and fully secured. No data is centrally stored and can not be sold (as is the frequent case with Web2 social networks).
In addition to that, Sending.me has a full suite of features allowing you to discover, trade, and crowdfund NFTs.
To prevent client-to-client fraud, Sending.me built a reputation system that keeps the users’ identities anonymous but serves as a trust signal to the community.
Just imagine everything that you wanted in Discord that is Sending.me!
Misconceptions About Decentralized Social Networks
While decentralization, data protection, anonymity, and essentially no moderation brings a lot of freedom to the users – there are downsides and limitations.
Lack of moderation
Facebook and Twitter act as curators and are essentially in charge of applying the rules of what is allowed and what is not.
This leads to a more uniform user experience but also to a lot of controversies. On a decentralized social network – there is no one in charge and no moderation whatsoever. This can lead to toxic behavior, scams, and all sorts of other problems.
At Sending.me, we have a reputation system in place that will ensure that bad elements will not stay on the platform for too long. The community system will ensure that misbehaving users are marked as such – bringing their trustworthiness efficiently to zero.
Each product goes through this phase. Before something goes mainstream it has to start somewhere right? While it may not seem so, Web3 is definitely quite new – building it’s audience. It goes double for social media, which are just gaining traction as people start to understand their benefit.
Some argue that Web3 social networks will not catch up to the likes of Facebook because they will always be less user-friendly.
We believe that there is a big market for people who are willing to try a new product – especially if it offers them more privacy, security, and freedom.
Facebook was founded 18 years ago, it had plenty of time to shake of the novelty aspect and polish all the features and improve the user experience.
Sending.me is easy to get into, and it is focused on instant messaging, so not only do you gain all the advantages of a decentralized social network, but you also get the most important feature – seamless communication!
At this moment, you need a lot of Web2 tools to do anything in Web3. Let’s take NFT trading as an example – to buy or trade an NFT, chances are that you will need to be on Twitter, Discord, OpenSea (or any other of the available exchanges).
Multiple decentralized social networks provide a solution to privacy and data protection but are not taking into consideration the daily needs of a “Web3 user”.
In Sending.me, we wanted to ensure that you have everything in one place. Your communication, portfolio, trading, and project discovery are all in your Sending.me an instant messenger.
The centralized nature of social networks poses several risks, including data breaches, censorship, and manipulation.
Web3 social networks provide a solution to these problems by distributing power among users rather than keeping it inside one company. This allows to mitigate or completely eliminate all the risks of Web2 social media.
We built Sending.me, to provide you with a social network with an instant messenger at its core. It is also an all-in-one tool allowing you to store, trade, discover, and crowdfund NFTs and much more!