The Reality Crisis of Social Media

Sorry if you just woke from a coma…but it appears our institutions are failing.

During the last US presidential election cycle both sides claimed election fraud which deepened the fissure that is our political discourse and two-party system of democracy.

Whether you self-identify as left, right, center, or anywhere along any other political dimension, you know something is wrong. Whether you accept as truth the US main stream medias’ Russia-gate narrative or the Fox News Hillary Clinton email controversy, one thing is for sure, something ain’t right. Whether you believe it was trolls, corrupt politicians or both that are the problem with our election process, you know in the pit of your stomach, something is deeply wrong and we as a people are deeply divided.

Source:Pew Research Center 

And it appears to be getting worse over time.

Source:Pew Research Center

Whoever controls the past controls the future, and whoever controls the present controls the past; because all records of the past are stored physically in the present. 

– George Orwell, 1949

So Who Controls the Present Social Media Landscape of our Minds?

Who controls the distribution of news sharing that shape our collective opinions today? 

Before the internet, you could say it was a handful of television networks, a handful of major metropolitan area newspapers, and a few large publishers. Then as the internet began to form a consumer base in the late 1990s and early 2000s, that grip began to give way to the hands of big tech social media giants like Facebook. 

In fact now, Facebook owns FOUR of the TOP SIX social media sites worldwide. Although Facebook does’t produce news, it controls an inordinate amount of distribution, effectively controlling the news. 

This monopoly over our minds has inevitably led to Facebooks’ CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before US lawmakers…

Which of course led to Facebook deleting more than 2 billion fake accounts in 2019, instead of making fundamental changes to the disturbing model of selling and unleashing our private data embodying our psychological profiles to the highest advertising bidder and possibly worse.

Number of fake accounts disabled and removed by Facebook

Believe it or not: Now for the Bad News

Facebook just quietly revealed how they plan to moderate content on their platform and it’s absolutely frightening and even more shocking to think that this is their response to the congressional tongue lashing and beat down its leader took just last year.

Forbes Contributer Kalev Leetaru explains…

“Perhaps the most Orwellian of all of Facebook’s presentations at F8 last week was a little-noticed presentation about the company’s huge investments towards performing content moderation directly on users’ phones, allowing Facebook to scan even encrypted person-to-person WhatsApp messages for content Facebook or repressive governments dislike.

…A private text-only WhatsApp message between friends that violates Facebook’s content rules would be deleted on the sender’s device before it can ever be sent.

…In short, by moving content moderation to the edge, Facebook will no longer be deleting bad content hours, days or even weeks after it has gone viral and spread to the far corners of the web — it will delete posts before they can ever be sent in the first place.

…What happens as governments themselves awaken to the idea of preemptively stopping all private communications they dislike?

…A government working with Facebook to ban all terrorist content within its borders could easily utilize its same national security laws to force the company to ban all pro-democracy messaging it views as a threat to its existence.

…Making matters worse, earlier this year the company clarified that it views any user that installs its app on their phone as granting the company the legal right not only to track their realtime location through their phone’s GPS, but more disturbingly, to access their camera, microphone and non-uploaded photos residing on the phone for any purpose.

…Instead, once Facebook’s on-phone content scanning algorithms are sufficiently robust, it no longer has to ship anything off of the device. Image recognition algorithms can scour the user’s private photo gallery and monitor every photo they take, including the ones they never share with anyone. Voice recognition algorithms can monitor their phone calls and flag every mention of Facebook and the context it is mentioned in. The microphone could even be left permanently on to scan the surrounding background environment 24/7, creating a globally distributed network of billions of always-on microphones transcribing global private conversations.

In many ways, Facebook’s shift towards a “privacy first” encrypted future might better be described as “moving Facebook’s surveillance to the edge.


SOLUTION: Real Voices Without Surveillance

More Signal, Less Noise

The solution is to connect real people with real people, not bots or hidden trolls and making people accountable for what they say and share, thereby eliminating the need to surveil and censor our public discourse.

The solution is to build accountability into the social media platform itself. When someone or some group can create a fake account or even worse hundreds of thousands of fake accounts, fake posts, fake likes, fake everything, you get what we have today, which is absolute chaos and a blurring delusion of reality and illusion. As a real person, you don’t get unlimited chances to fake a story or your own identity. Think about how differently people act on halloween night with a full body costume and mask versus a dinner party where most of us are on our best behavior. Yes, that’s what we’ve been doing when we use Facebook; a never-ending halloween party where some of us have been hiding our identity with a costume and cloning ourselves to the hundreds of thousands to do dirty deeds.

The solution is to build a social media application on a decentralized blockchain where identities and the sources of posted content can be proven, bringing one voice to each person without streaming the private data of users to advertisers or those that wish to surveil.

The solution is to give each real person a real voice without giving them a collar. 

Real Voices from Real People producing Real Content, Real Attention and Real Value

The solution could be the Voice.com decentralized social media platform, application and token by Block.one, the creators of the code that drives the most popular and utilized blockchain ever, EOS

This is not an ad. This is the solution to the social media problem. Voice.com


Watch Brendan Blumer and Dan Larimer introduce Voice.com at the Block.one June 1st announcement.

Voice is a truly revolutionary response to the invasive and usurpive Facebook model of surveillance and censorship because it eliminates the selling of your private data and returns that multi-billion dollar social media ad revenue $tream back to its rightful owner, YOU; YOU the content producer, YOU the commenter, YOU the participant. The entire Facebook business model is turned upside-down-inside-out to the benefit of the people that make it, YOU! 

Everyone, the user, the platform, the contributor, plays by the same rules, no hidden algorithms, no invisible interests; just a level playing field, where everyone gets an equal chance to be heard.

Brendan Blumer CEO Block.one

How it works: Here is what we know.

Block.one CTO Dan Larimer has revealed some of the details through the EOS Telegram chat community.

Users signup through a special authentication system that verifies that they are a real person. Information supplied to satisfy the authentication process will be private; only your first name, last name and country of residence will be public on your profile. Unlike Facebook, your data will Not be sold to advertisers. Verifying identity is key because real people care about their own reputation, unlike millions of fake accounts that have nothing to lose by posting fake content or pushing hidden agendas. Voice changes all that and provides at least one place for civil public discourse.

As part of your new account you will get some amount of Voice tokens initially, and each day thereafter as a Universal Basic Income(UBI). You can use Voice tokens to promote your own posts so more people will see them. When people like(Voice) your posts you get paid in Voice tokens which will have value. The reason they will have value is because advertisers will need to purchase Voice tokens to place ads.

As a user you can either use your tokens to promote your own Voice posts or sell them. Even if you choose to sell them you will get some more the next day. You will always have a Voice; what you choose to do with it will always be your choice.

When another user likes your post you earn Voice tokens. When you make a comment on someone else’s post and other users Voice(like) it, you earn Voice tokens. So everyone is earning because everyone is participating in the attention economy.Remember when you Voice a post you are helping other people find content they might like. That has value that is going unrewarded to users in the current social media business models but that reward is central to the Voice attention economy.

Users can spend their Voice tokens to promote their own posts and comments. If that increased exposure creates more token earning Voices(likes) than they had to spend on the promotion, they net gain Voice tokens. So normal regular users, even ones that choose not to post anything, but simply comment on other peoples posts, can earn tokens too! Everyone has a stake in the conversation.

Because users can’t buy tokens, no one can dominate by simply spending money buying tokens and promoting their content.
  
“Tokens can only be had by being a real person, producing real content, liked by real people”, or automatically dropped into user accounts through the daily Universal Basic Income(UBI).

On the other hand, only advertisers can buy tokens, however advertisers can’t use those tokens to promote user content, only place ads. 

Notice the separation between the roles of users and advertisers. One creates attention by posting and Voiceing(liking) content and the other consumes attention through ads. Keeping these two roles separate yet connected through the Voice token supports the integrity of the system.

Here is a really cool part that drives user engagement to the next level. 

Listen to the founders Brendan Blumer and Dan Larimer layout the Voice.com big picture for EOSwriter.

Brendan speaking …

“Rewards are not based off of how many tokens you have. They’re based on your identity. What it does do is bring transparency to paid influence. If you think about how it works in Facebook, people go and spend USD and they put ads in our feeds and we don’t know how they are being calculated and it’s completely misaligned. The money is going to a group of shareholders and no value is passed to the users.

So the Voice token is really just a mechanism we use to decentralize… right… that control amongst the user base and give them an equal chance to participate in that type of influence.”

Dan speaking …

“Social media is the attention economy. Users have a limited amount of attention. For both what they can see…you basically need to create a means for managing the supply and demand, right? The demand to see content, the demand to promote content, and vice versa. It’s just the means by which the Voice community interacts with each other and discovers the price to have what they say heard by other people, because having other people see and hear you is scarce and to prevent the spamming and other annoying aspects of social media where other people just try to shout louder than other people. 

You can now be civilized. If you produce good content that other people enjoy hearing you’ve earned the privilege of having your voice heard by other people and the Voice token is what mediates that.”


Conclusion

The world is at an inflection point. Never before have so few been in a position to influence the minds of so many. The state of social media today is at the center of this unprecedented power. The decentralized social media platform that is Voice which will soon be made public, offers the prospect of striking into the heart of that power by completely reversing the centralized business model of monopolies like Facebook that trade our privacy for profit, and foster an environment of misinformation.

The time is now for people to recognize the power that they possess; the power to choose. With non-violence and the strongest of determination, we should walk away from these models of centralization to build and participate in decentralized systems of civil and fiscal freedoms that all people want for themselves. 

I will be keeping my own facebook account open until Voice officially opens. Then I will let all my Facebook friends and family know where I am going, and finally I will close my Facebook account, if they will let me.

Choose your Voice


Perry Shenas | @grahappa

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