Magnify #4 — Decentralising Social Media

Magnify #4 — Decentralising Social Media

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The Long-Short

Remember the project Bluesky that was announced in 2019 by Jack Dorsey? They wanted to create a decentralized social media protocol and eventually make Twitter its first client. They have recently hired Jay Graber, and this can be a crucial step forward.

Jay Graber is the creator of U.S.-based events platform Happening and a crypto dev with previous stints as Zcash. Garber plans to join forces with other companies on a journey to decentralize social networking.

While this sounds exciting, I have a bunch of questions.

What standard will they use? How will members be moderated? On what network will the protocol run?

Bitcoin?

We all know that Jack is vocal about bitcoin.

I have been trying to wrap my head around this ambiguous venture. The idea of removing a centralized authority to build a social media platform that does not regulate user opinions or unethically uses their data is surreal — a dream comes true for most. However, to successfully execute it, the platform governance and the technology are two important factors.

Let’s look at governance first. For a social media platform, some things can happen through code; Moderation of NSFW content and fake news, for example. But the fundamental responsibility will lie with the community or members of the DAO.

Delegating power to the community is ideal, but the transfer of power and governance models must be perfect. If that happens too soon, the risk of failure increases. If it happens too late, then most of the initial levers may have already been set, making it significantly tricky and time-consuming to make changes. Also, if there is a wrong decision made, who will be legally liable? The code? The community?

DAOs have a lot of benefits but, at the current stage, are inefficient in achieving quorum. I recently wrote a detailed thread on how this happens in the context of DAOs. You can read it here.

Governance aside, the scale of social media on a decentralized protocol is technically complex and almost unachievable at the moment without significant centralization. Some of the fastest public blockchains, including Solana, Terra, and even L2 solutions, are not scalable enough to store all the information.

Personally, I don’t feel we are there yet as a society. I am eager to get more details on Bluesky and will be closely following their journey.

What do you think?