There is a classic thesis in journalism: what we think of as the “real world” is to a large extent only the “mime environment” for the construction of media information. The extent to which it can restore the “real world” depends on what the media provides The authenticity and objectivity of the information. This makes it easy for us to understand the value of media “social tools”. No matter what era, people rely on the information provided by the media to make large and small decisions, obtain knowledge about events, and form a consensus on things. This is particularly prominent in the era of mass media.
Modern news theorists often regard the media as the guarantee of democracy. On the one hand, it is because the media not only provides important decision-making information for people’s democratic participation, but also provides knowledge about democracy, and has also formed a democratic belief in the entire society. It also penetrates into people’s lives, making democracy a way of life; on the other hand, people’s belief in the media’s ability to promote democracy stems from their belief in “freedom of speech”, and freedom of speech is a “natural human right.” At the same time, it is also a prerequisite for the formation of a “free market of opinions” to make the truth clearer and clearer. It is precisely because of this that although the media does not represent public opinion, it has also become an important society where public opinion supervises public power, exposes social darkness, and calls for fairness and justice. organization.
Understanding the media as an “organization” is in terms of the era of mass media.
In the era of mass media, the production of news content is specialized. It focuses on professional media organizations such as newspapers and radio and television stations. It follows a certain production process and according to a certain production cycle, and finally presents the so-called true and objective content to the audience. But the truth and objectivity at this time can only be called the ideal of the media. In fact, the specialization of media production forms a “black box”. Inside the “black box”, information is checked and framed by reporters and editors, and then professionally. Standard screening can hardly be regarded as completely objective, neutral and true information. Outside of the media, the objectivity and authenticity of the content it produces is deviated due to its ownership.
According to the different ownership, we can divide the media into national media and corporate media. It is easy for us to imagine the survival and operation of the national media: relying on government funding for survival and development, accepting government planning, and accepting the guidance, gatekeeping and even censorship of political power in content. It is difficult for it to independently “produce truth” and express opinions, and supervise public power. In a relatively healthy development environment, it can play a positive role in reporting and consolidating consensus, but it is also easily deformed due to power manipulation. The ruling group is a tool for political propaganda and “making consent”. National media is not uncommon in history. European royal families have used franchise systems and subsidy systems to support their own voices. The fascist regime also strictly controlled their own media to carry out powerful propaganda wars. The Soviet Union also had a high degree of unified speech. In the eyes of liberal theorists, these media systems are all threats to democracy.
Liberal theorists are more inclined to allow a free market of ideas to ensure democracy. The “free market of opinions” assumes that all opinions can be expressed, opinions can prove whether they are the truth in competition, and those fallacies can also be self-purified by the market in competition. However, the “free market of views” requires an open, transparent, and level playing field, which is often hindered by media mergers and media monopolies in the real world. Although countries that implement a free media system have also made various regulations to ease the trend of media mergers and media monopoly, the media monopoly is still unstoppable. Take the United States as an example. In 1983, there were 50 dominant traditional media companies. Today there are only five. These five media giants own approximately 90% of the media in the United States. As of 2020, the five major media giants are AT&T (it is mainly composed of Time Warner, CNN and HBO), Comcast (including NBC Universal, Telemundo and Universal Pictures), Disney (including ABC, ESPN, Pixar and Marvel) Room), News Corporation (including Fox News, Wall Street Journal, and New York Post), and Viacom CBS (including CBS and Paramount Pictures).
The ultimate result of a profit-seeking free market is market monopoly. Market-oriented media that are free from the control of political power will be fettered by another kind of power, that is, the economic power of enterprises and advertisers. A very small number of companies and individuals control the vast majority of the media. This is a huge blow to the speech market, because the foundation of the free market of opinions-the diversity of free speech can no longer be guaranteed.
The Web 2.0 media has developed a more severe ecology. The color of “organization” is not so obvious. Instead, it is replaced by a platform that encompasses everything. For web 2.0, we will have a utopian nostalgia, believing that it will rewrite the shortcomings in the past information dissemination with its decentralized characteristics, so that everyone has the right to participate in the production and dissemination of information. Media organizations have the same voice, and information democracy will come because of social media. However, technology has brought about a more serious monopoly, but at this time the control is concentrated on the technology giants that provide people with information dissemination platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. In addition, social media has also brought about the proliferation of false information. Information about “facts” can be updated in a timely manner, and lack of verification and verification of facts makes it difficult to bring truth to the public in the fleeting attention and noisy emotional expressions. The dissolution of the truth refers more to people who no longer care about the truth, but take the attitude of taking a stand first and waiting for the reversal. The “post truth” comes to social media. Moreover, there are also various political subjects on social media platforms, such as political parties and politicians. They use social platforms to propagate and use false information to control citizens’ consciousness. Social media platforms are nothing more than political parties’ contests for resources and votes. In this battlefield, a series of political black swan incidents took place. Studies have also found that during the new crown epidemic, there were a large number of social media bots on social media, spreading biased information and affecting the political situation.
In addition to threatening democracy with technological monopolies, post-truth and political black swan incidents, social media platforms have also caused serious data rights issues. Technology companies rely on collecting user data to train their own algorithms in order to achieve more accurate pushes, thereby bringing higher monetization efficiency. In order to use the functions and services of various application software, users must transfer their data rights to technology companies. The first is the ownership of data. The data produced by user behavior seems to be spontaneously produced by users, but users cannot control their own data. These data are controlled by technology companies. The second is the right to use and profit from data. Users only use software functions. , Does not use but exposes their own data, but technology companies can use these data for algorithm training, and can also obtain benefits by selling user information. Many technology companies have moral taints on the use of user data. Moreover, even if the company does not intend to sell user data for profit, user data concentrated in technology companies is vulnerable to data leakage security risks due to hacker attacks. In addition, users cannot control and retain their own data. Once the user’s information is released, it will be spread uncontrollably. In fact, it is almost impossible for us to delete all the information about us on the Internet by ourselves. The paradox is that , When the platform intentionally erases our voices, it can make certain users completely disappear on the Internet by canceling their numbers and deleting content.
The irony is that a platform-based society is making everyone an endless digital laborer with no rights guaranteed. We need to pay for the software we use and produce for the platform. A large amount of valuable data cannot guarantee that one has complete data rights, such as data security and privacy, information income rights and control rights. All this is only because the so-called decentralized social media platform has actually achieved unprecedented centralization by monopolizing the platform’s technology, and has also realized all-round exploitation of users.
Therefore, the problem with social media platforms is considerable. In order to achieve the greatest degree of freedom of speech and democracy, to protect the privacy of users, and to achieve value sharing, we need decentralized media. First of all, we should introduce the concept of a decentralized social network: it is a network composed of multiple servers that operate independently, rather than relying on a single centralized server, and it provides open source software that is not inferior to traditional social media. This ensures that users can realize the self-control and autonomy of personal data while using the software as they wish. Users can even establish their own social networks and decide how to manage it.
The biggest difference between a decentralized social network and a social media platform is that it guarantees diversity while allowing interconnection between different social networks. Traditional social media platforms will not allow their users to send private messages to accounts on other social media platforms. Wait, but a decentralized social network is fine, which makes it a “fediverse”, which is very similar to the form of emails belonging to different companies but that can send emails to each other.
Decentralized social networks are also different from traditional social media platforms in terms of governance. Compared with social media platforms that rely on company-made platform rules, decentralized social networks reflect self-control and to a large extent. Self-governance, users build their own social networks, set their own social network playing rules, and have absolute ownership and interpretation of their own content, rather than relying on a centralized authority, which to a large extent makes Users can avoid censorship from the platform and power, thereby ensuring the self-control of user data and freedom of speech. Moreover, this does not mean that a decentralized social network can dictate the playing rules of other social networks. Even this allows the speech of some hate groups to be freely published.
At the same time, it can also protect personal data and privacy. On a decentralized social network, users do not need real names or any real-world account associations. Encryption technology can ensure the security of social network accounts. This encryption technology relies on public keys, not any organization. Technology.
It also has another advantage that can solve the digital labor problem. On traditional social media platforms, user-generated content and user data are owned by technology companies. Technology companies enjoy the benefits of user content and also enjoy the second sale of users. Advertising revenue to advertisers. However, in a decentralized social network, these will not exist, and user content can also be motivated by digital currency, which can effectively resist the trend of “Demonetize” personal content on traditional social media platforms. Re-empower personal content with value. For example, the social network Steem receives funding from investors who are optimistic about its economic prospects. This ensures that the user’s economic benefits, can use their own content to obtain wealth.
We can see that the prerequisite for decentralized social networks is an independent multi-server network and open source technology, so a large part of the existing decentralized social networks are built on the blockchain. Blockchain provides open codes, decentralized control methods and democratic decision-making methods for decentralized social networks. In addition, the popular digital currency Ethereum has also become the universal currency in such social networks.
Currently, these decentralized social networks are benchmarking against traditional social media platforms. For example, Signal targets WhatApp, Minds targets Facebook and YouTube, LBRY targets YouTube, Karma targets Instagram, Aether targets Reddit, Mastodon targets Twitter, in addition to All.me, Memo, Steemit, Peepeth, Sapien, Social networks such as SocialX and Aurora Network are developing well, and they are all based on blockchain technology. Compared with the huge user base of traditional social media, this type of social network still belongs to the minority. However, we can still imagine its future-user control and democratic governance, financial services and global transactions, higher security brought by stronger algorithms, media transparency, authenticity and objectivity, and better quality media Content etc.
Decentralized social networks are so innovative in terms of protecting users’ personal data rights, privacy and security, freedom of speech and democratic practices, that Twitter has also formed a team to develop Bluesky-Twitter’s decentralized social network. Network, which allows everyone to enter to create their own social network. However, this move is very controversial. Some people believe that the addition of Twitter as a technology giant to the development of decentralized social networks will affect the degree of openness and decentralization of Bluesky. In the end, this social network is still in the hands of Twitter. Not owned by users. After all, what we need is a media system that can be used by everyone and welcomes everyone’s democratic governance, not a powerful media company, nor any centralized authority strengthened by technology.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/opportunities-for-the-era-of-web-3-0-democracy-privacy-and-value-sharing/
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