Beautiful women holding a No More Censorship sign Decentralized Social Platforms

The Complexities of Censorship and Botting on Decentralized Social Platforms

Decentralized social platforms have been making splashes as a promising alternative to traditional social media networks. Unlike centralized social platforms, decentralized platforms are not owned by a single entity or company. Instead, they are powered by blockchain technology, which enables users to communicate and share content in a secure, decentralized environment. The nature of decentralization may help solve censorship and botting problems.

While decentralized social platforms have the potential to promote free speech and provide a level of privacy that centralized platforms cannot offer, they also present unique challenges related to censorship and botting. Censorship refers to the restriction of certain types of content or expression, which can be problematic when it is applied inconsistently or unfairly. Botting, on the other hand, is the use of automated tools to generate fake traffic, likes, or followers, which can undermine the integrity of the platform and the trust of the users.

In this blog post, we will explore the complexities of censorship and botting on decentralized social platforms. We will examine how these issues arise, the potential impact on users, and the various strategies that platform developers and users can employ to address them. Ultimately, the purpose of this post is to help users navigate the challenges of decentralized social platforms, and to promote a more informed and effective approach to managing these complex issues.

The Complexities of Censorship and Botting on Decentralized Social Platforms

Censorship is not a new concept, and it has existed in various forms for many years. On centralized social platforms, censorship occurs when the platform’s administrators or moderators restrict or remove content that they deem to be inappropriate, offensive, or in violation of their community guidelines. This can include posts, comments, images, videos, and other forms of content.

Decentralized social platforms, on the other hand, are designed to be censorship-resistant. They operate on a peer-to-peer network, which means that no single entity has control over the platform. This distributed model makes it difficult for any one entity to censor content on the platform.

However, censorship can still occur on decentralized social platforms, but it typically takes a different form than on centralized platforms. Since there is no central authority that can enforce rules, censorship on decentralized platforms is often community-driven, with users themselves deciding what is and isn’t appropriate content.

There are several types of censorship that can occur on decentralized social platforms, including content removal, account suspension or termination, and network-wide blacklisting. Examples of censorship on decentralized social platforms include the banning of extremist or hate groups, the removal of illegal content such as child pornography, and the restriction of access to specific types of information in certain countries.

The complexities of censorship on decentralized social platforms are many, and it can be difficult to navigate these issues, particularly as the technology continues to evolve. In the next section, we’ll discuss the challenges posed by botting on these platforms.

Bots, short for robots, are software applications that can automate tasks, mimic human behavior, and perform certain actions at a much faster rate than humans. In the context of social media, bots can be used for a variety of purposes, including spamming, amplifying certain types of content, and automating engagement with other users.

  • Definition of botting

    Botting is the use of bots to manipulate or artificially inflate engagement metrics on social media. This can include using bots to create fake accounts, post spam, like, retweet, or comment on content. Botting can be done for a variety of reasons, including to increase follower counts, manipulate the visibility of content, or spread misinformation.

  • Types of bots used on decentralized social platforms

    Decentralized social platforms like Mastodon, Diaspora, and others have their own set of bots. Some of the most common types of bots used on decentralized social platforms include:

    • Spam bots: these bots are used to post spam or unwanted content on the platform, such as links to phishing sites or advertisements.
    • Amplification bots: these bots are used to amplify certain types of content or artificially increase engagement metrics. They can be used to like, share, or retweet posts, making them appear more popular than they actually are.
    • Follower bots: these bots are used to create fake accounts and follow real users, giving the appearance of a larger following and more influence.
  • How botting affects decentralized social platforms

    Botting can have a significant impact on any social platforms and will pose the same problem for decentralized platforms. For one, it can distort the visibility of content and make it harder for users to find authentic and relevant content. It can also make it difficult for users to trust the platform and the information they find there. Additionally, botting can undermine the integrity of engagement metrics, making it difficult to gauge the popularity and impact of content on the platform.

  • Examples of botting on decentralized social platforms

    Examples of botting on decentralized social platforms are numerous. In 2019, Mastodon, one of the largest decentralized social platforms, discovered a network of bots used to manipulate the visibility of content on the platform. The bots were used to create fake accounts and artificially increase engagement metrics. In another instance, a researcher found that over 80% of accounts on the decentralized social platform Gab were bots, used to artificially inflate follower counts and spread hate speech. These examples demonstrate the pervasiveness of botting on decentralized social platforms and the need to address it to ensure the integrity of these platforms.

Decentralized social platforms are designed to operate without centralized authority. This design, while having its advantages, makes it challenging to address issues of censorship and botting. Unlike centralized social platforms, decentralized ones lack a single authority that can enforce content policies or implement measures to prevent botting activities. This means that the responsibility to address censorship and botting falls on the users and developers of the platform, rather than a centralized entity.

The decentralized nature of social platforms also makes it challenging to detect and prevent censorship and botting activities. Without a central authority, it is more difficult to track and monitor activities across the platform, and it is easier for malicious users to hide their actions. Furthermore, addressing censorship and botting on decentralized social platforms poses the risk of unintended consequences. For example, attempts to prevent botting activities may accidentally target legitimate users who are simply using automation tools to manage their accounts. Similarly, measures to prevent censorship may lead to an increase in the spread of harmful or inappropriate content.

In summary, addressing censorship and botting on decentralized social platforms presents unique challenges due to the lack of centralized authority, difficulties in detecting and preventing activities, and risks of unintended consequences. However, as the use of these platforms continues to grow, it is important to find ways to address these issues to ensure the integrity and functionality of these platforms.

Algorithmic Bias and Social Currency: Can We Achieve Fair Visibility on Social Media?
Algorithmic Bias and Social Currency: Can We Achieve Fair Visibility on Social Media?

Social media platforms have become an integral part of our daily lives. They allow us to connect with others, share content, and engage with the world around us. However, as the number of users and content being shared continues to grow, it can be difficult for individual users to stand out and get the visibility…

While the challenges of censorship and botting on decentralized social platforms are significant, several approaches have emerged to address these problems. Some of these approaches include:

  • Use of Decentralized Moderation Systems

    Decentralized moderation systems rely on community efforts to identify and flag problematic content. This approach involves the use of distributed networks of moderators who are responsible for reviewing and enforcing community guidelines. These systems use mechanisms such as reputation scores and stakeholder voting to ensure that moderation decisions are fair and unbiased. Examples of decentralized moderation systems include the one used by the Steemit social platform.

  • Collaborative Community Efforts to Detect and Prevent Botting Activities

    Another approach to addressing botting on decentralized social platforms involves collaborative community efforts. This approach relies on the community to detect and report botting activities, which can then be addressed by platform moderators. Some decentralized social platforms have created dedicated channels for reporting botting activities, making it easier for users to report and identify these activities. One such platform is Minds, which has an anti-bot channel where users can report suspected bot activity.

  • Blockchain-based Solutions to Prevent Botting Activities

    Blockchain-based solutions provide a transparent and secure way to prevent botting activities on decentralized social platforms. By creating a tamper-proof record of user actions and engagement, blockchain-based solutions can help prevent the creation and use of bot accounts. These solutions use algorithms that can detect bot behavior and flag it for review. An example of a blockchain-based solution for preventing botting on social platforms is Anti-bot Protocol (ABP).

  • Tokenization of Engagements

    1. Tokenization of engagements refers to the use of digital tokens to incentivize users to engage with content in a meaningful way.
      • This approach helps prevent botting by incentivizing authentic user engagement while providing benefits to content creators and users.
      • Tokenization of engagements helps to promote quality content, as creators can earn rewards for creating high-quality content that engages their audience.
      • One platform that uses tokenization of engagements effectively is CGTrader, which uses digital tokens to reward users who engage with and share content on the platform.
    2. In addition to tokenization of engagements, another approach that could be used to promote quality content and incentivize engagement is the use of social currencies.
      • Social currencies hold no direct monetary value but can be used to allow a profile to gain currency that allows their content to gain traffic to boost their posts.
      • This is a means of notoriety and can help to create a more engaging and active community.
      • Social currencies can also be used to reward users who are most active on the platform and create quality content, while not pushing away new users.
    3. However, there are potential drawbacks to using social currencies.
      • For one, holding these coins may become too much of a value, and users may focus more on accumulating these coins rather than creating high-quality content.
      • Furthermore, social currencies may not be valued by everyone, and some users may feel left out or excluded if they do not have enough of these coins.
    4. One potential solution to address these issues could be to use the blockchain’s token to create social currencies.
      • The blockchain token has monetary value, so it is a different philosophy that can help drive the token price just because of its value alone.
      • However, this may also create a divide between users who hold more tokens and those who do not.
    5. While addressing censorship and botting on decentralized social platforms is a complex problem, several approaches have emerged to help prevent these activities.
      • By using decentralized moderation systems, collaborative community efforts, blockchain-based solutions, tokenization of engagements, and social currencies, platforms can create a more secure and authentic environment for users and content creators.
      • It is essential to strike a balance between incentivizing engagement and notoriety while ensuring that quality content is still the main focus.
  • Definition of notoriety in social media platforms

    Notoriety in the context of social media platforms refers to a user’s reputation or credibility based on their actions and contributions to the platform. It’s a measure of their level of engagement, activity, and quality of content they produce. A user with high notoriety is considered valuable to the community and is trusted to a greater extent than a user with low notoriety.

  • Importance of notoriety in combating botting

    Notoriety can play a crucial role in combating botting on decentralized social platforms. Bots are often used to inflate engagement metrics such as likes, shares, and comments to make low-quality content appear more popular. By measuring notoriety, the platform can identify users who are genuinely active and valuable contributors to the community, as opposed to those who use bots to artificially boost their metrics.

  • Implementation of notoriety through crypto wallets

    One way to implement notoriety on decentralized social platforms is through crypto wallets. Users can stake their platform tokens in their wallets to show their commitment and dedication to the platform. The more tokens a user has staked, the higher their notoriety score. This can help to identify valuable and trustworthy users while discouraging botting and spamming.

  • Example of a social platform with a wallet staking mechanism

    One example of a social platform that uses a wallet staking mechanism to build notoriety is Users can earn “Minds tokens” for their contributions to the platform, and these tokens can be staked in their wallets to increase their notoriety score. The platform also uses a reputation system based on user activity and feedback from other users to further enhance the accuracy of notoriety scores.

A nodes-based system with clubs uses a network of interconnected nodes, each of which represents a club of users with shared interests or values. In this system, users can join and participate in multiple nodes/clubs, and each node/club has its own reputation based on the contributions of its members.

  • Functionality and Benefits of Censorship Nodes

    One of the benefits of this system is that it allows for the creation of censorship nodes, which are used to filter out unwanted content or behavior on the platform. These censorship nodes can be set up by notable users or organizations and are linked to their reputation within the community. This means that the reputation of the censorship node is based on the reputation of the notable user who created it, as well as the community’s feedback on the effectiveness of the censorship node.

  • Reputation and Membership in Nodes/Clubs

    To join a node/club, users need to gain notoriety within the community, which is a measure of their reputation and influence on the platform. New nodes/clubs have no reputation, so they need to do things to gain respect and attract members. For example, they could start interesting discussions, share valuable content, or collaborate with other nodes/clubs.

  • Independent Reputation of Clubs

    Another advantage of a nodes-based system with clubs is that it allows for the creation of clubs that are not linked to a single user profile. This means that a club can have its own reputation, separate from that of its individual members. For example, CNN could have its own club, Fox News could have its own club, and users could join whichever club they prefer. Political groups, like Democrats or Republicans, could also have their own clubs.

Hyprr Platform’s Implementation of Nodes

Hyprr is a unique platform that plans to incorporate a nodes-based system with two different types of nodes: Super Nodes and Seed Nodes. The Super Nodes will be responsible for running the servers, ensuring the platform is running smoothly, and managing the infrastructure. On the other hand, Seed Nodes will handle smaller operations such as censorship, auditing, and other smaller jobs that protect the platform.

While there are no specific details available on the operation of clubs on the Hyprr platform, it would be a great idea to utilize Seed Nodes as clubs, building their reputation and influence. Super Nodes are much more expensive to run while Seed Nodes are more affordable, but they all have important duties that complement each other and protect the platform from malicious activities. Node holders are compensated with advertising revenue and shares of the tokens that operate the platform as rewards.

By operating nodes as clubs, it would be very rewarding and enjoyable for the owners, giving each node holder a voice in how the platform operates and grows. This would help to ensure that the nodes are valued and needed, which would be an essential factor in protecting the platform from any harmful activities. Overall, a nodes-based system with clubs has the potential to provide a more decentralized and community-driven approach to social media, while also allowing for effective moderation and filtering of unwanted content and behavior.

The role of Nodes in blockchains in achieving decentralization and addressing censorship concerns
The role of Nodes in blockchains in achieving decentralization and addressing censorship concerns

Blockchains are decentralized, distributed systems that allow for secure, transparent transactions without the need for a central authority. Nodes are an essential part of the blockchain ecosystem, as they help to maintain the network and ensure that transactions are processed accurately and securely. In this blog post, we’ll explore the role of nodes in achieving…

Decentralized social platforms have the potential to revolutionize social media, but they also face unique challenges related to censorship and botting. Censorship on decentralized social platforms can be difficult to detect and prevent, and botting can quickly undermine the credibility of the platform. However, there are approaches that can help address these challenges and create a more transparent and accountable environment for social media.

Decentralized moderation systems, collaborative community efforts, and blockchain-based solutions are all promising approaches to detecting and preventing botting activities. Tokenization of engagements and notoriety mechanisms can also help incentivize users to engage in positive and productive behavior on the platform. Meanwhile, community-based governance systems can help create a more democratic and participatory platform, where the voices of all users can be heard.

It’s important to recognize that navigating censorship and botting on decentralized social platforms requires a multi-faceted approach. By understanding the platform’s policies and governance, building strong communities, encouraging transparency and accountability, and advocating for balanced policies, we can help create a more just and equitable social media landscape. With the right tools and a commitment to ongoing innovation and experimentation, decentralized social platforms can become a powerful force for good in our increasingly connected world.

As of 2023: First launched in 2016, Mastodon is a relatively new social network created by 26-year-old German coder Eugen Rochko. It is a microblogging service that offers many of the same features as Twitter. Mastodon currently boasts over 2.2 million users, according to its official website.

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I invite you to join me and become part of the awesome community working together to create a platform that’s not just fun, but also lucrative. We need your input, your creativity, and your willingness to take a stand against censorship and botting on decentralized social platforms.

So, come on over to our Discord server, and let’s make some magic together!

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