Web3 is constantly evolving. There are now also social networks. But what are the dangers of social media?
In some countries, freedom of expression is not guaranteed. Because of this, people are trying to find other ways to share while bypassing censorship. Currently relevant in Iran, for example, where the government has temporarily shut down all internet. The current version of the Internet, Web2, unlike Web3, is centralized. They mainly control companies that offer their services in exchange for personal data. On its own, centralization is not objectionable and is simply the basic structure upon which the current Internet is built.
The New Internet: Web3
However, in centralized systems, there are usually entities or intermediaries that can control the network and censor user data. This can result in parts of the network being cut off from interacting with the rest of the network. In addition, centralized system controllers are likely to abuse the privacy of network members or monetize their data. While Web2 is still the version of the internet that most people know and use today, Web3 is gradually overtaking the advent of blockchain technology.
The Web3 version of the Internet consists mainly of blockchain-based decentralized applications (dapps). They are decentralized because each person has permission to use the network and there are no central bodies controlling or censoring other network participants. Web3 is a new dimension of the Internet that creates space for the development of decentralized social media platforms. Decentralized means that everyone can participate and share their data without censorship and without risk of hijacking. But the new generation of the Internet also harbors dangers.
The Dark Side of Web3: Cyberbullying
The main criticism of Web3 is that it is almost impossible to regulate: freedom of expression is positive in principle, but it also harbors a great danger. Not only does this get rid of censorship, but also insults, violent content and threats. This in turn turns social media on the web3 into a cyberbullying platform. At a time when young people in particular are being influenced by social media more than ever, this is an even bigger issue.
Absolute freedom of speech on the Web3 is also a big issue for companies and people who work as content creators. Experience shows that negative comments appear more frequently on the Internet because people are anonymous there. Where there was still a check in Web2, there is no longer in Web3. Due to the freedom granted, more users will inevitably make many more negative comments. And these can cost companies their good reputation.
It is a well-known fact that negative feedback outweighs positive feedback. They stay longer in people’s minds. And that’s why absolute freedom of speech is not just a danger to all individuals, but also to entire businesses and people who have found their calling in social media. On Web3, your image can be destroyed even faster. And social media on the web2 has long shown that people can sometimes make very offensive comments, even out of boredom or displeasure.
In order to eliminate the dangers for all users, suppliers must find appropriate regulations. The challenge is to preserve the benefits of decentralization – including freedom of expression – while ensuring protection. A good balance must be found.
Maintaining decentralization while ensuring protection
How do you create a platform for the public that is free from violence and hate, but still resistant to censorship? Wikipedia’s basic design is an example of a proposed solution. The platform resides on Web2, but the community, like Web3, runs it themselves. Individual users ensure that only verified content from trusted sources is published, or at least that’s the goal.
Thus, it would be possible for part of the community to filter the posts themselves. This way, social media on Web3 has no space for offensive or hurtful posts. Although everything is irrevocably stored on a blockchain and cannot be deleted, it should be possible to hide suspicious posts.
The problem with decentralization is freedom of expression
The decentralization of social media platforms leads to a major problem: freedom of expression. Even though it was intended as a benefit, it poses great dangers to users. Cyberbullying and the dissemination of violent content are inevitable. In order to be able to protect users, a solution must be found. It is more difficult than expected not to centralize the decentralized platform.
Freedom of expression must be preserved, but at the same time, there is no way around the removal of content. Wikipedia has a good solution that can be used for such an implementation. Social media on Web3 can only become a positive experience for all users once the dangers are hidden.
About the Author: Maximilian Schmidt is CEO of CPI Technologies. The company develops NFT-based digital identity and specializes in software development in the areas of blockchain, finance and AI, as well as marketing and fundraising. (gs)
Read also: Social networks: a new study examines the success factors of B2B companies