Written by Jonny Fry
Writers linkdin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonnyfry/

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram have certain media types on which they focus. Twitter uses nuggets of texts limiting users to 280 characters per Tweet; Instagram mainly uses pictures; YouTube is focused on videos, and Facebook is a mix of the three previous media types. One thing which Blockchain technology is poised to change and which the platforms all share in common is how power is managed.

These social media platforms claim they want to transfer the decision making and control from a centralised structure to more of a distributed organisation. However, what do these social media platforms offer currently, aside from their platforms? Nothing. The majority of content on social media platforms is created by the users, but who earns from all the posts and activities? Centralised companies that own and control these platforms take the lion’s share of any income since, after all, they are owned by shareholders looking to maximise profits. Typically, decentralised social media platforms aim to share the revenue and distribute it into the hands of platform users, although there are signs that some centralised social media platforms are changing. For example in September 2021, LinkedIn announced a $25million fund to pay users for content.

Decentralised social media platforms mostly use open-source software and crypto-economic incentives to build their platforms and user-base. Several blockchain start-ups are creating alternative social media platforms such as:

  • OpenStream World (OSW)               

  • LBRY

  • D.Tube

  • Dlive

  • BitChute


  • Verasity

  • LivePeer

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Decentralised social media platforms are also looking to address some of the challenges that the traditional social media platforms such as YouTube and others face, these being: 

Data privacy

Now, more than ever, we are connected to  and members of a range of different apps and social media platforms which all want to capture our data. The average social media users have over 8 different accounts. The data captured is typically resold to advertisers (of Facebook’s revenue almost 98% was generated by advertising) and this then can used to manipulate the behaviour of the users social media platforms. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook’s CEO) has been summoned before the US Congress on concerns over the misuse and data-related issues on a number of occasions. Meanwhile, according to The Sun newspaper: “YOUTUBE has been accused of allowing its platform to be "weaponized" leading to viewers being "manipulated and exploited".

Data property

At the heart of every data issue, privacy of whose property the data belongs to is a particular question.  Over the years, ‘Netizens’ have voiced their complaints about how their data is being used

Freedom of speech and freedom of association

Many argue that freedom of speech and freedom of association are the essentials for a free, democratic society. The challenge is that ‘one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter’. YouTube has been caught in just this as one party argues the importance of allowing the public access to videos whilst another party disagrees. The New York Times has claimed: “Facebook Has Been a Disaster for the World. How much longer are we going to allow its platform to foment hatred and undermine democracy?” But people should be free to see what they want without big tech companies deciding for them - or should they?

Decentralised social media platforms are designed so the control of the platform is vested in the users but this is not to say decentralised social media platforms are paradise. As much as there are pros, cons follow.


Retardation of the monitoring and illegal use of consumer data: it has been reported that, for the first time since 2004, there are more autocratic states than democracies around the world. So, having control over social media can be a valuable and powerful tool. Meanwhile, many citizens are drawn to decentralised social media platforms as a way to promote transparency and suppress what some call, ‘fake news’. The use of Blockchain technology and smart contracts which hold data cryptographically, enables decentralised social media platforms to offer user access to data practically, in real time, by anyone globally.


Decentralised social media platforms have no central authority so anything can be posted, meaning hate groups also have the freedom to launch their own social media sites. Thus, what can be considered socially unacceptable content can prove to be difficult to police and have removed. This can encourage nefarious actors to establish create accounts without having to link to real-world identities, such as email addresses or phone numbers. In terms of privacy, some decentralised platforms do not encrypt data, meaning private messages may potentially be accessible to administrators. However, possibly the greatest challenge in terms of the operation of decentralised platforms is the reliance on decision-making by committees. Another drawback is the need for users to have a certain level of sophistication and knowledge in order to effectively engage in governance decisions.

Overall, there would appear to be a general desire to have greater decentralisation and also for users to have more control over their data - hence the rise in self-sovereign identity. Notably, Facebook renaming itself ‘Meta’ and focusing funds and resources on the development of its space in the metaverse is a pointer to the fact that the importance of decentralisation is being understood. There are many who hope that, as we see more people spending less time on social media platforms and more on the metaverse, there will be less centralisation and a decrease in the dominance of the current social media tech giants.