The right to free speech should be upheld online, but the web also provides a platform for misinformation that can lead to censorship and unjustified de-platforming.
Many social media channels outright ban anyone with a dissenting opinion or anyone who is not in line with the mainstream ideology.
While the current news surrounding Twitter and Parler is an attempt to provide censorship-resistant platforms, they need to fix some fundamental issues and redesign these platforms to work like a public town square.
Decentralized social networks of the future should protect free speech by preventing unjustified censorship, holding people accountable for their actions, verifying facts, and preventing misinformation.
Real Users Vs. Bots
One of the ways is to build a social network where all users have to verify using a digital signature before engaging with the platform. This will eliminate the problem of bots.
These platforms will also provide a way for users to earn tokens through their contributions to the platform (for example, by creating content), which can be exchanged for other currencies. This will move these platforms from advertisement-based revenue and promotional content to organically shared narratives.
This opens up new opportunities for enterprise solutions in digital advertising, where companies can use tokens as rewards for their customers and employees and devise new forms of engagement.
The future platforms also need to account for polarization and echo chamber effects that tend to happen on social media.
This can be solved by having a lineage back to layer-0 truth/fact, while layer-1 would be an opinion on top of the fact layer. People should be able to consume and separate facts from opinions on their own.
Lastly, to prevent the need to compete for attention, these platforms should operate without considering user base and clicks as the metrics for growth. This will prevent the need to over-engineer addictive UI, introduce dopamine-inducing content, or influence click-bait stories.