The Decentralization of Social Media Platforms

MASTODON

  • Instead of “tweets”, you’ll “toot” and instead of “retweeting” you’ll “boost”.
  • Mastodon also ditches the 280-character restriction giving you up to 500 as well as several options for privacy & content monitoring.
  • This platform is 100% ad-free
  • They have anti-bullying monitors/admins to effectively provide a safer social media experience.
  • There are two home feeds: Local Timeline & Federated Timeline. Local is a stream of publicly posted “toots” whereas the Federated Timeline is a bit more complex involving connection to content off of the platform. For example: you can send an Outlook email to someone with a Gmail account even though you’re not using the same platform — and Mastodon is developed to operate in the same capacity.
  • While this platform has steady growth at 2.2MM users & rising, it’s far from being a major competitor to Twitter due to its complex onboarding process & server structure.
  • Mastodon definitely sparked a decentralized effort among social networks & will surely play an interesting part of the future of the internet.

GAB

  • Very little content moderation or policy restrictions.
  • Content & users are geared towards the far right/Republican audience in the U.S.
  • The platform also offers an open-source, free-speech-focused web browser called Dissenter.
  • This platform has received a lot of criticism & controversy due to its lack of regulation & hateful content. As a result, it’s unlikely they’ll remain a key player in the social space.
  • The Apple App store & Google Play have removed Gab from their respective platforms due to “objectionable content & hate speech,” which will obviously negatively affect their growth goals.
  • Paypal & Visa have blacklisted the founder & the site due to several criminal actions & unfavorable/hateful content.
  • Other content aggregators like Mastodon have blocked content from Gab in an effort to isolate them & discourage growth. Mastodon released a statement in protest, denouncing Gab as trying to “monetize and platform racist content while hiding behind the banner of free speech.

PARLER

  • They are not currently offering advertising or selling data to third parties.
  • They require individual account verification to keep out bots/fake accounts & encourage civil discourse & platform integrity.
  • Current usage: 4MM active users, 10MM total.
  • While this platform doesn’t specifically target Trump supporters, it does have a large Trump supporter base in their user demographics.
  • Parler’s growth nearly doubled since its development. It was downloaded nearly 1MM times the week following Election Day, and was becoming the most popular free app on both Apple’s App Store & Google Play.
  • Most recently, Parler lost its place on both the Apple App & Google Play stores for not doing enough to protect the flow of accurate information and prevent hateful content from being produced on their platform. Quickly following, Amazon pulled the plug on the social network by abolishing their cloud web hosting services because the platform did not have an effective process to monitor content in conjunction with the Amazon Web Services policies, terms & conditions.
  • Now Parler is in the middle of a suit brought against Amazon claiming the act was motivated by political animus and is meant to reduce competition for brands like Twitter. They are claiming breach of contract and antitrust violations.

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