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SCOTUS Decision Could Set Stage for Decentralized Social Media
While much of the focus on blockchain is cryptocurrency, it’s important to also look at the possibilities that Web3 unlocks. The reason we’re building Silvermint is to help usher in that new phase where decentralization revolutionizes everything. In the cryptocurrency realm when we speak of “censorship” we mean interferences in a transaction, but Web3 will mean censorship resistance in the classic definition of the word.
A new Supreme Court case involving social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook could mean the end of platforms as we know it, opening the door to decentralized social media:
Looking out a little further, Section 230’s demise would completely upend the business models that have driven the growth of social media. Platforms would suddenly be liable for an almost limitless supply of user-made content while ever-stronger privacy laws squeeze their ability to collect massive amounts of user data. It will require a total re-engineering of the social media concept.
Many misunderstand platforms like Twitter and Facebook. They think the software they use to log in to those platforms, post content, and see content from their network is the product. It is not. The moderation is the product. And if the Supreme Court overturns Section 230, that completely changes the products we think of as social media.
This is a tremendous opportunity.
In 1996, the internet consisted of a relatively small number of static websites and message boards. It was impossible to predict that its growth would one day cause people to question the very concepts of freedom and safety.
People have fundamental rights in their digital activities just as much as in their physical ones — including privacy. At the same time, the common good demands some mechanism to sort facts from misinformation, and honest people from scammers, in the public sphere. Today’s internet meets neither of these needs.
Some argue, either openly or implicitly, that a saner and healthier digital future requires hard tradeoffs between privacy and security. But if we’re ambitious and intentional in our efforts, we can achieve both.
Blockchains make it possible to protect and prove our identities simultaneously. Zero-knowledge technology means we can verify information — age, for instance, or professional qualification—without revealing any corollary data. Soulbound Tokens (SBTs), Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) and some forms of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) will soon enable a person to port a single, cryptographically provable identity across any digital platform, current or future.
This is good for us all, whether in our work, personal, or family lives. Schools and social media will be safer places, adult content can be reliably age-restricted, and deliberate misinformation will be easier to trace.
The end of Section 230 would be an earthquake. But if we adopt a constructive approach, it can also be a golden chance to improve the internet we know and love. With our identities established and cryptographically proven on-chain, we can better prove who we are, where we stand, and whom we can trust.