Users flock to decentralized social media platforms in the wake of Trump ban

socially distanced

The fallout from Donald Trump's ban from Twitter and suspension from Facebook, and Amazon's de-platforming of Parler continues as large numbers of users have been signing up to alternative social networks.

Many of these like Gab and Mastodon are decentralized in that they run on their own servers rather than relying on the public cloud so they are not at the mercy of larger businesses.

Of course this plays to the key strength of the internet. With its roots in defense the web is designed to be resilient and allow continued access to data even if part of the network is removed. It's likely that more new independent services will spring up to exploit this opportunity.

Clearly there are some political implications here. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has called the banning of Trump 'problematic'. No doubt leaders around the world are realizing that if Trump can be banned so can they.

Interestingly the grandfather of the internet Sir Tim Berners-Lee has chosen this week to launch Inrupt. Built on an open-source software project called Solid, Inrupt wants to deliver a web where you can use a single sign-on 'Solid ID' for any service and your personal data is stored in 'Solid pods'. These would be personal online data stores, controlled by the user, not by the tech companies.

"People are fed up with the lack of controls, the silos," Berners-Lee told the the Reuters Next conference. Unlike services like Google Drive, where your data is stored on Google's servers, with Solid all your data exists in your Solid pod. When an app requests access, Solid will authenticate and you can choose whether to give it access to your pod.

Inrupt has already signed up pilots with the UK's National Health Service, the BBC and the government of Flanders in Belgium.

Some of these new companies will fall by the wayside, but undoubtedly some will succeed and of course the history of the internet is littered with once big names that have fallen into decline.

Twitter has already seen billions of dollars wiped from its stock price this week as has Facebook. It's just possible that their recent actions have hastened their journey towards AOL-style decline.

Photo Credit:  Oleksiy Mark/Shutterstock

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