Social media moderation and regulation
When Twitter and Facebook removed the former POTUS, Donald Trump, from their social media platforms, debates surrounding social media censorship arose.
Various people supported the social networks' decisions to suspend users who violated rules, while others perceived the move as an infringement of the right to free expression.
Some argued that strong democracies depended on access to public information and upholding individuals' right to express themselves freely.
Social media networks have become invaluable tools for activism, spreading information, and relaying unfolding news. Movements such as Black Lives Matter relied heavily on social media to organize the protests. The violent attack on the Capitol building relied on social media to get protestors to assemble in Washington.
Consequently, social media networks play a crucial role in facilitating the exchange of information between people. But, they are also private companies, which can impose rules on their users and restrict certain kinds of information that they deem unpalatable.
Unfortunately, users cannot do much except refrain from using social media sites that do not seem to support their views.
This raises an important question regarding social media's role in public discourse especially taking into account that the main websites that people use have monopolistic tendencies as they serve billions of users and lack viable alternatives.
Additionally, these websites provide access to their users in exchange for their information, data, and time. However, the users do not understand that these privileges can be taken away at any one time that the social media companies decide.
So, what are the solutions to this growing issue?
Signal and Telegram
The answer lies in the decentralization of the internet.
First, individuals can opt to use self-sovereign digital identities where the users own their identity data without intervention from third parties. Second, the use of autonomous P2P networks like Elastos, which are server-less and decentralized. The Signal app is decentralized communication channel that seeks to give services to their users without infringing on their right to privacy.