A new social network used blockchain technology to ensure that users are all equally represented
Recent revelations regarding the selling of personal data by social media platforms has shocked many. As a result, there has been increased public scrutiny of how centralised social media platforms use personal data. One result of this has been the European GDPR legislation governing the storage and use of personal data. Another has been the creation of blockchain social networking. Chinese startup ONO has created the first blockchain-based, decentralised social media platform in China. It joins other innovative uses of blockchain, including a secure way to sell genetic data and a cryptocurrency that tackles climate change.
The ONO network is built around the Decentralized Autonomous Corporation mechanism, which divides operational tasks and distributes them publicly, without administrative oversight from a central authority. This creates more openness and transparency, as well as greater security. Because all the data is held in a distributed system, ONO does not have access to users’ information and so cannot sell it on. Users can also join real-time telegram groups where they can chat securely. The chat environment is protected with encryption and the chat is deleted after viewing.
According to ONO founder and CEO Xu Ke, centralised social media platforms like Facebook and Weibo encourage over-commercialisation. This is because the accounts with the largest followings have the most visibility. This makes it difficult for “ordinary users” to benefit, even if they are contributing quality content. As a result, Ke argues that there is a proliferation of click-bait and low-quality content. The ONO network instead rewards users with an ONO token. The tokens are distributed based on a users’ reputation. This reputation increases when a users’ content is liked, reposted, commented on and shared by others. Those who post vulgar or offensive content see their reputations decline. Will a decentralised social network increase engagement and community building?