I’m currently exploring the different Dapps in the niche of blockchain-based Social Media. ONO social was mentioned to me yesterday so I decided to look deeper into it, read their whitepaper and join their telegram.
ONO Social is a new type of social network based on blockchain technology, aiming to create an ecosystem based on the value of attention with the main principles of freedom, equality and social public governance for users.
That is what the ONO whitepaper describes the project spearheaded by a team in China. Built on the EOS network,it peaked my interest enough to request an invite code to join. After reading it, I have mixed feelings about it. There are some interesting ideas but others give me an unsettling feeling. Let me share with you what I’ve learned by reading ONO Social whitepaper.
The Goal of 1 Person 1 Vote
It seems that ONO goals it to have a platform where people(not account) are rewarded for their attention. To accomplish that, they’ve created an algorithm that doesn’t rely solely on upvotes or likes. With the algorithm being open source, they had to create multiple ways to prevent people from abusing the system with bots or just bad behaviors.
Here are some of the ways they will try to curb abuse of the system:
The distribution of content in ONO Social is combined with users’ behavioral assessment and reputation mechanism. All activities of users such as reading, reposting, replies, shares, likes and dislikes of content will be recorded. Ultimately, all this data will be combined with the reputation mechanism, and open rules will be adopted to evaluate the quality of content.
The content released by users with high reputations will be first put into the recommended zone. When the reputation of a user falls dramatically, all content released by this user will be collapsed and other people will not be able to see the content.
Now, I don’t know if you remember that episode from Black Mirror episode 1 of the third season where the whole world run on a social media credit system of reputation. I couldn’t quite shake that episode off my mind while reading the whitepaper. It also reminded me of an article I read called: Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens. Where the Chinese government plans to launch its Social Credit System in 2020 to judge the trustworthiness – or otherwise – of its 1.3 billion residents.
I mean, it’s exactly the same concept applied to a social media.
KYC verified account will be able to unlock long form posts
To prevent abuse, they will also give special privilege to people who verify their account via Know Your Customers regulations. I understand the motivation behind it and it is one sure way to create a “1 Person 1 Account” situation…something even the Steem blockchain wants to get to…but I am not sure that KYC will get people all warm and fuzzy.
Moderation through 51 Super Partners
Ono Social SuperPartners are content police. Here is how the whitepaper describes them:
The mission of the Super Partners is to maintain the security, freedom, and decentralization of the ONO social network, properly manage harmful content, prevent abusive behavior from spreading, and transmit the values of ONO.
The importance of optimizing content quality and reducing the influence of harmful content is obvious. We can use the reputation mechanism to promote the birth of high quality content with “invisible hands” to curb the proliferation of low-quality content; individual case disputes can be resolved through Referendums
Undoubtedly, the role of the Super Partner will assume a critically important responsibility and will also receive a large amount of ONOT incentives.
So the algorithm creates a baseline for high-quality content but then, the second line of defense is the Super Partners DAC who moderate the content that they consider abusive. Decisions that are controversial will get into a referendum where people will vote (1 person 1 vote) to either be accepted or decline Super Partners decisions.
Now, again, I see the idea as some merits because many projects don’t take moderation into consideration…and it is foolish to do so. This is why I’m against the platforms who only focus on “freedom of speech” (Akasha for example) because it keeps away the possibility of communities to moderate spam and toxic content…which degrades the user experience.
But I wonder how this thing will roll out. What if democratically, the majority of people are “okay” to censor a truth-teller or a political dissident? I mean, we are talking China here. The mob(democracy) can be wrong.
The algorithm of ONO will compute the personal preferences to predict behaviors of users, in order to prioritize the individual preferences of the users. ONO will notify users of the likes by his/her friends that they focused on but which they are not aware of. It can even recommend to these users some content that the users dislike right now but might want to
take a look at in the future.
So here we are talking machine learning and AI if I’m correct. Now, again, I have a beef against this idea of a machine deciding in advance what will or not interest me. In that sentence alone, it says it can predict what will interest me in the future…how is that not completely creepy? I wrote a long piece about why I’m leaving Facebook..TDLR: because it’s becoming a psychological attach vector through AI and machine learning.
Users can independently choose whether to open the advertising column and decide what kinds of advertisements to pay attention to. Users who open the advertising column can get extra ONOT benefits.
That is something that I like. I like that it is not mandatory and that users decide whether or not they want to enable that feature. I think it is foolish to completely discard advertising as a way to generate revenue. From what I understand, ONOT will be the unit of currency to buy into their advertising platform, which will create a demand for the token if the platform takes off.
There is much that I’ve left out of this review. But I will make sure to update this blog post when I receive my invitation code. Let me know in the comment below what you think about ONO and if you would like to give it a try.