Can Little Tech Save Us From Big Tech?

The Wall Street Journal cites Director of the Center for Technology and Innovation Jessica Melugin on social media platform regulations:

Was there a hopeful note in this week’s generally disturbing congressional hearing with social media CEOs? The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Jessica Melugin argues that Twitter boss Jack Dorsey had a point in suggesting the market is finding a way around giant gatekeepers.

Various proposals to regulate these platforms would harm free speech, chill innovation, and give the large incumbents a distinct advantage over nascent or yet-to-be-invented competitors. But the promise of technological innovation to solve the problems of existing social media platforms is already taking shape. Dorsey testified about Twitter’s investment in a decentralized approach called Bluesky, but similar approaches are already available to consumers in the form of Mastodon, Steem, and many others.

These new apps could compete with or eventually even replace Facebook, Twitter, and Parler. Decentralized social media has a different infrastructure with no central server. It works similarly to, but not exactly like, the music sharing service Napster used to. No company controls the site. The users themselves control content moderation. Some platforms will likely use cryptocurrency to promote and reward content. The apps are decentralized via blockchain technology to varying degrees and there will be no way for either big tech or big government to de-platform them.

Readers may wonder how welcoming Mr. Dorsey will be toward new competition and toward anyone seeking to avoid the cancel culture, but Ms. Melugin makes an interesting case.

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