Back to the list

How will blockchain solve new social media problems?

04 February 2018 21:00, UTC
Every day it is getting harder to manage the rapidly growing content of social networks. Bitnewstoday asked the group of experts whether the implementation of blockchain would be able to bring regulation, preserving the original purpose of these platforms.

Earlier this week Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that last quarter, his social network saw a decline in one of the key indicators - average user spent 5% less time on the service. Can we talk about an emerging trend or is it a short-term phenomenon - we will see in the near future, but now it can be said for sure that social networks face a number of challenges.

Algorithm that runs the Facebook news feed has long been attacked by disgruntled users. Criticism is subjected to both the order and the very content of what is seen on the start page of Facebook. Instead of information about their friends - what Facebook was originally created for, people increasingly run into a flood of aggression, says Jeff Koyen President of 360 Blockchain USA, a subsidiary of 360 Blockchain Inc.

"We’re entering to a period when social network users — Facebook members, in particular — would rather not fight constantly. Years ago, they signed up to see their friends’ baby pictures, maybe creep on a high school flame. Now, their feeds are filled with angry tirades from people they barely know. Worse yet, angry tirades from their friends with the baby pictures. Encouraging rage to drive engagement is not a good business model, and Facebook’s management team knows this. They’re afraid that existing users will start dropping out, and that new users will be harder to attract," Jeff Koyen told Bitnewstoday.

While poor content is what users need to protect themselves from, when it comes to quality production, authors should be recognized. With current tools, it may be very difficult for a simple user to find out who created the text/photo/video that became popular on the web. Blockchain can help content creators get a fair reward.

"One of the key issues with social media is rewarding quality content creators. Viral images or videos are often reposted without proper attribution. Even when attribution is provided, often the revenue goes to the social media company via advertising revenue, with pennies or nothing for the actual creator. Social media companies are also constantly changing the terms of engagement to the chagrin of many content creators," says Jay Choi, author of the cryptocurrency webcomic Rhymes With Fiat.

Another problem that may be associated with the crisis of social networks are the issues of anonymity and security. Few people doubt that blockchain will be able to solve these problems, but this undermines the main idea of social networks and provides ample opportunities for intruders.

"Blockchain implementation has potential to improve the privacy of users and add secure and private financial transitions, which in the hands of most are positives. But these same benefits could enable criminals, terrorists, money launderers and more. They also may shield trolls from public view and derision. Despite the promise of privacy, the social networks and/or government regulators will likely have to play an active role. Otherwise the absolute privacy of blockchain social media could create an even more toxic environment that ultimately scares off the average user that the networks really want", believes Tim Collins, CEO of Grisdale Advisors.

Blockchain can remove unacceptable content from the news feed and secure users, but its implementation in the social network is still impossible because of the fundamental reasons, namely because of the principle of decentralization.

"Blockchain’s greatest promise is moving data ownership and control to the user. Today’s social networks act as centralized authorities that, in exchange for free use of their services, assume exclusive ownership of user data," Jeff Koyen points out.

The expert warns that with the current business model of Facebook, its problems can not be solved with the help of blockchain, since the social network remains centralized. It seems to be an insurmountable obstacle to the technology of distributed ledgers.

"I’m guessing that, sometime this year, Zuckerberg will announce the Facebook Blockchain Foundation, or whatever, as a public initiative that purports to bring blockchain’s transparency and security to the Facebook ecosystem. Don’t buy into it," Jeff Koyen recommends.

According to Jeff Koyen, we are "years away from blockchain's first killer app for social media". But probably now some developer is writing code for a revolutionary platform.