Problems of Web2 Social

Social networks has been around since the early days of the internet. Currently, Web2 social networks like Facebook and Twitter have become ubiquitous in our lives and we rely on them for communication, entertainment and information sharing.

Now, social networks have also emerged in Web3 as a new category of blockchain-based applications. This shift can be seen as the next step in the evolution process of social networks.

However, these platforms also come with their own limitations: they're centralized; they collect our data without our consent; they sell our data to third parties; they don't give us control over what happens with this information once it leaves their servers; they censor content at will (e.g., InfoWars).

Censorship problem

Censorship issues have been raised concerning social network services in the Web 2.0 era. These problems involve the deletion or restriction of content considered inappropriate or offensive. In April 2023, Twitter faced backlash due to its censorship practices, specifically the blocking of several accounts expressing criticism towards the Indian government.

Data ownership and BigTech power

Data ownership and BigTech power are two interrelated problems that have been growing in importance in recent years. BigTech companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, have amassed massive amounts of data about their users. This data includes personal information, such as names, addresses, and email addresses, as well as behavioural data, such as browsing history and search terms.

BigTech companies use this data to target ads, personalize content, and improve their products and services.

Some of the problems with data ownership and BigTech power are:

  • Privacy concerns: BigTech companies collect and store a vast amount of data about users. This data can be used to track users, target users with ads, and even manipulate users.

  • Market power: BigTech companies have a lot of market power. This means that they can control the prices of their products and services, and they can make it difficult for new companies to compete.

  • Inequality: The data collected by BigTech companies is often used to create new products and services that benefit the wealthy. This can lead to increased inequality in society.

Freedom of Speech

Because our social data is centrally controlled by a handful of companies, this has created a dangerous situation where our social opinions, ideas, and content are all subject to censorship and manipulation based on their own "regulations". These companies have the ability to shape public opinion, sow discourse and control information flow with little transparency and accountability. Examples include suspensions for political reasons, pressure from governments, and shadow banning. Censorship threatens the honesty and variety of social networks.

Unfair Content Compensation (Content Demonetization)

Content demonetization is a problem particularly when it is used inconsistently or unfairly. For example, some creators may feel that their content has been unfairly demonetized or removed, even if it does not violate the platform's guidelines. In other cases, the enforcement of community guidelines may be uneven or biased, leading to concerns about censorship or discrimination.

Restricted Data Portability

Social media platforms have implemented restrictions on data portability, which can be seen as a problem in the web 2.0 context. These restrictions can take many forms, including limiting the types of data that can be exported, setting arbitrary time limits on data exports, or making the process of exporting data overly complex or difficult.

One of the main reasons for these restrictions is to prevent competition and maintain a user base. By limiting data portability, platforms can make it more difficult for users to switch to rival platforms, effectively locking them in to the platform's ecosystem. This can be seen as a barrier to entry for new or smaller social media platforms, as they may struggle to attract users if they cannot offer seamless data portability.

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