“Frank McCourt, the billionaire real estate mogul and former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is pouring $100 million into an attempt to rebuild the foundations of social media,” reports Bloomberg:
The effort, which he has loftily named Project Liberty, centers on the construction of a publicly accessible database of people’s social connections, allowing users to move records of their relationships between social media services instead of being locked into a few dominant apps.
The undercurrent to Project Liberty is a fear of the power that a few huge companies — and specifically Facebook Inc. — have amassed over the last decade… Project Liberty would use blockchain to construct a new internet infrastructure called the Decentralized Social Networking Protocol. With cryptocurrencies, blockchain stores information about the tokens in everyone’s digital wallets; the DSNP would do the same for social connections. Facebook owns the data about the social connections between its users, giving it an enormous advantage over competitors. If all social media companies drew from a common social graph, the theory goes, they’d have to compete by offering better services, and the chance of any single company becoming so dominant would plummet.
Building DSNP falls to Braxton Woodham, the co-founder of the meal delivery service Sun Basket and former chief technology officer of Fandango, the movie ticket website… McCourt hired Woodham to build the protocol, and pledged to put $75 million into an institute at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and Sciences Po in Paris to research technology that serves the common good. The rest of his $100 million will go toward pushing entrepreneurs to build services that utilize the DSNP…
A decentralized approach to social media could actually undermine the power of content moderation, by making it easier for users who are kicked off one platform to simply migrate their audiences to more permissive ones. McCourt and Woodham say blockchain could discourage bad behavior because people would be tied to their posts forever…
Eventually, the group plans to create its own consumer product on top of the DSNP infrastructure, and wrote in a press release that the eventual result will be an “open, inclusive data economy where individuals own, control and derive greater social and economic value from their personal information.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.