Social media platforms are now the gatekeepers of our society, but increasingly are morepowerful than their predecessors. By leveraging data produced by their users and the widespread reach of their platforms, social media companies can change the behavior of their users and quite literally manipulate the minds of people.
It is, then, no surprise that users are looking for alternatives and lowering their use of social media platforms. Rising from the anger of users, are a distinct brand of alternatives: decentralized social media platforms.
Where are the points of entry for decentralized social media platforms?
To understand the shift in the mindset of users and the growing interest in alternative platforms, we take a look at the failings of centralized social media platforms:
- Censorship: For the average user, censorship may not feel like a pronounced issue. For the fringe user, however, censorship is very much real. As businesses, centralized social media platforms have full control over who gets access to their platforms. And, as we’ve seen, many platforms leverage that control as they see fit.
- Data security: Centralized social media platforms rely on advertising. To generate revenue, social media platforms collect an immense amount of data from users, which improves their ad-targeting and social engineering tools. When users access centralized social media platforms, they have to trust that these platforms will properly secure their data. However, as shown by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, user data is not being properly secured.
- Content curation: Because it is free to create an account and engage with users, centralized social media platforms face bots and spammers. There are few consequences for bots to spam comments or inflate engagement numbers such as likes, upvotes, and shares. As such, the presence of bots and spammers creates a content ecosystem that is not reflective of real users. This presence contributes to the spread of truly fake news and what is essentially a denial-of-service attack on user content.