- The dispute between President Donald Trump and Twitter has sparked a heated debate about the legality of Twitter’s actions.
- Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin expresses strong concerns about whether centralized social networks can guarantee real freedom of speech and press freedom.
- Buterin calls for a blockchain-based decentralized alternative that offers real freedom from censorship.
A few days ago, a fierce dispute broke out between the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, and Twitter. The social network had marked a tweet from Trump as “allegedly false content” based on allegedly false facts. Trump described in a tweet on Tuesday that during the last presidential elections mailboxes were robbed, ballot papers were falsified and even illegally printed and signed.
Because of the tweet’s labeling, Trump even threatened to shut Twitter down immediately, stressing that the time was ripe for alternatives that would actually offer freedom of speech and censorship. The founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, also agreed with this view.
Buterin: Blockchain based social networks are the future
Although Buterin dissociated himself from the content of Trump’s Tweet, he emphasizes that centralized social networks can influence political opinion in a targeted manner and steer public opinion in a desired direction. Buterin explains that the development clearly shows that a blockchain-based alternative must be the solution:
In the long run I’m pessimistic about the ability of centralized social media platforms to stay highly independent of the political environment of the country they’re centered in. This only further shows why we need an alternative.
Twitter has placed a warning under Trump’s tweet highlighting dangerous or potentially false content. Buterin finds this approach worth testing, but it does not solve the fundamental problem of centralized social networks:
Putting a warning label beside potentially dangerous content is like, exactly the thing that libertarians actively promote as an alternative to outright banning it.
The current political debate and the waves of censorship on YouTube against Bitcoin or other crypto-based content illustrate the continuing increase in demand for alternatives. The decentralized social network Minds was already founded in 2015 and is based on the Ethereum blockchain. CEO Bill Ottmann explained that fact-checking is the most used approach of big tech companies like Facebook or Twitter to dictate the real truth.
He sharply criticizes this approach, as selected teams from mainstream media and politics are engaged to check the facts, which primarily sort out opinions critical of the system:
In terms of ‘fact-checking’ warnings, the approach of most big tech has been to hand select orgs and mainstream media to do this job, which is clearly subject to bias.
Minds has now grown to a user base of more than a million people and reaches almost 1.5 million page views per month. The following video shows how the platform works in detail.
Meanwhile, Trump has issued a legal injunction that will enable him to take active action against social networks. So far, however, no further details are known.