The fundamental flaws in modern social media infrastructure are nothing new, and nor is the idea of using blockchain and other decentralized technologies to help remedy them.
But never before have these issues risen to the fore as they are currently. Never before have so many people been so aware of the ethical and practical weaknesses at the heart of Big Tech’s systems for controlling our communications.
Twitter, generally the most forward-thinking of the Big Tech titans, has appointed a small team to develop a decentralized social media protocol.
The aspiration is admirable but at the present time it’s not at all clear how the fundamentally centralized logic of the Twitter business model is going to harmonize with the radical degree of decentralization that would be needed.
It’s far too slow-paced and obtuse to deal with fast-evolving issues that are highly complex in both human and technological dimensions, in a way that’s compatible with the subtleties of Western constitutional and business law.
The mainland Chinese government has “solved” the issue of Big Tech and social media in its own way: by exerting explicit and detailed government control.
The more complex news is this: The blockchain community knows how to fix these problems, but it is not remotely as well-resourced as Big Tech, is not exactly a darling of the government and has a better track record making cool tech for elite geeks than apps that give warm fuzzies to the average TikTok user.