Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger put forth a proposal to decentralize the social media industry.
Sanger left Wikipedia more than 20 years ago due to a disagreement with the direction the site was going, according to the Epoch Times. He is now developing technical standards that would bust Big Tech's bloated stature and give more control to users, including better privacy protection and less censorship of speech.
"What needs to exist is a system that just makes it really easy for the average user to push out their social media content from a place that they own, like a blog, and then make it available on all these different platforms so it doesn’t matter which platform you use," Sanger told The Epoch Times.
Sanger says that alternative social media platforms such as Gab, Minds.com, and Parler are not quite a definitive solution.
"They are alternatives, but they themselves still involve the platform owning your data. … They don’t really constitute a solution to the problem that Twitter and Facebook and the rest give us," he said.
Sanger's vision involves a "browser plugin," according to the Epoch Times, that would aggregate content from across multiple platforms from whichever profiles the user interacts with. The user themselves can post their individual content to a sort of "micro-blog" that they will own.
The micro-blog could be placed on any web hosting service of be hosted on the user's own server, and would have a standardized protocol to translate all content into a displayable and engageable form.
"You cannot have a truly successful decentralized network of some kind of content … unless those things are able to talk to each other and they’re talking in the same language," Sanger said. "Otherwise you just have a proliferation of silos."
Sanger is trying to convince the large social media companies to adopt the idea, though isn't holding his breath. He acknowledges that monetization of platforms would be an issue under his model, making the idea a hard sell for companies who run on the monetization of their platforms.
"We don’t care about monetization. I mean, if you’re just a person who wants to share his opinion, do you care about monetization? No. You’re just trying to reach your people,” Sanger explained.
"It’s very important that we stop thinking in terms of monetization and start thinking in terms of liberation."
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