Arguably the greatest invention in human history, the Internet has failed. we can all feel it. It’s harder than ever to tell if we’re engaging with friends or foes (or bots). We know that we are constantly being watched in the name of better ad conversions, and we are always afraid that we will click something and get cheated.
The failure of the Internet is largely due to the inability of large technology monopolies, especially Google and Facebook, to verify and protect our identities. why don’t they?
The answer is that there is no incentive to do so. In fact, the status quo suits them, thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act passed by the US Congress in 1996.
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But things may be changing.The Supreme Court will hear the case this term gonzalez vs google, a case where Section 230 may be reorganized or deleted. It’s hard to imagine a scenario that doesn’t break the social media platforms we use today. This provides a great opportunity for blockchain technology to replace them.
how did we get here
Section 230 was a key factor in the early development of the Internet, stating that web platforms are not legally responsible for content posted by users. As a result, social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter are free to publish (and monetize) what users post.
Plaintiffs are currently holding the court responsible for the death of their daughter, who was murdered by Islamic State-linked attackers in a Paris restaurant in 2015. He said an algorithm developed by YouTube and its parent company Google “served users with ISIS videos” to facilitate the recruitment of terrorist groups and ultimately facilitated the attacks in Paris.
Section 230 provides many covers for YouTube. If defamatory or, in the above case, violent content is posted by a user, the platform can make that content available to a large number of consumers before any action is taken. A lot of damage can be done in the process of determining whether content violates the law or the terms of the platform. But Section 230 protects the platform.
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Imagine YouTube after Section 230 is repealed. Does the 500 hours of content that are uploaded every minute need to be queued for review before others can watch them? greatly lost. Or will you publish the content as-is and be held legally liable for copyright infringement, incitement to violence, or defamatory language spoken in one of your billions of videos?
Platforms like YouTube quickly start unraveling when you pull the Section 230 thread.
Global impact on the future of social media
Although this lawsuit focuses on US law, the issues raised are global. Other countries are also grappling with how best to regulate internet platforms, especially social media. France recently ordered manufacturers to install easily accessible parental controls on all computers and devices and banned the collection of data from minors for commercial purposes.In the UK, Instagram’s algorithm was officially found to be involved in the suicide of her teenage girl.
And in authoritarian regimes around the world, governments use armies of trolls and bots to spread disinformation and mistrust, and to enforce censorship and manipulation. With the vast majority of social media accounts lacking valid identity verification, this situation is not only possible, but inevitable.
Also, the beneficiaries of an economy without Section 230 may not be who you expect. More people will file lawsuits against major technology platforms.In a world where social media can be held legally liable for content posted on their platforms, all posted on We need to gather a bunch of editors and content moderators to review the images and words. Given the amount of content posted on social media in recent decades, this task seems almost impossible and could be a win-win for traditional media organizations.
Looking a little further, the demise of Section 230 will completely upend the business model that has driven the growth of social media. Platforms suddenly become responsible for a near-unlimited supply of user-generated content, and increasingly stringent privacy laws strain the ability of large numbers of users to collect his data. We need to completely redesign the concept of social media.
Many platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are misunderstood. They believe that the software they use to log into those platforms, post content, and view content from their networks is the product. It is not. Moderation is a product. If the Supreme Court overturns Section 230, it will completely change the way we think about social media products.
This is a tremendous opportunity.
In 1996, the Internet consisted of a relatively small number of static websites and message boards. Little did we know that growth would one day lead people to question the very notions of freedom and security.
People have the same basic rights, including privacy, in their digital activities as they do in their physical activities. At the same time, the public good needs mechanisms to separate fact from disinformation, honest people from fraudsters in the public sphere. Today’s Internet meets neither of these needs.
Some argue, openly or implicitly, that a healthier, healthier digital future requires a tougher trade-off between privacy and security. But with ambitious and deliberate efforts, both can be achieved.
Related: Facebook and Twitter will soon become obsolete thanks to blockchain technology
Blockchain allows identity protection and proof at the same time. Zero-knowledge technology means that information such as age and occupational qualifications can be verified without revealing the data of course. Soulbound Tokens (SBTs), Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs), and some forms of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to make a single cryptographically provable identity portable across any current or future digital platform Become.
This is good for all of us, in our work, personal and family life. Schools and social media will become safer places, ensuring adult content will be age-restricted, and intentional misinformation will be easier to track.
The end of Section 230 will be an earthquake. But it can also be a golden opportunity to improve the Internet we know and love, if we take a constructive approach. With our identities established and cryptographically proven on-chain, we can better prove who we are, where we stand, and who we can trust.
Nick Daze Co-founder and CEO of Heirloom. Heirloom is a company dedicated to providing no-code tools to help brands create a secure environment for their customers online through blockchain technology. Dazé is also co-founder of PocketList and was an early team member at Faraday Future ($FFIE), Fullscreen (acquired by AT&T) and Bit Kitchen (acquired by Medium).
This article is for general information purposes and is not intended, and should not be construed as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views or opinions of Cointelegraph.