There’s an issue in social media today that needs to be tackled, namely these networks are full of bots. The ease with which fictitious virtual identities can be created has a significant impact on how information—both accurate and incorrect—is disseminated online. Public debate is increasingly shaped by social media platforms, and the conflict between online anonymity and accountability is a growing source of societal risks for society.
The current affairs of digital social identities
First and foremost, the anonymity of fictitious online personas makes it difficult for authorities to track down the culprit. Second, fake virtual identities are easily replaced, so even if you sanction a user's account, they can create another for continued abuse. Third, it's cheap to create a fake virtual identity, so determined abusers can multiply their abuse by using multiple fake virtual identities simultaneously. Fourth, by using deepfake technologies, abusers can create bot armies that are increasingly difficult to tell apart from real profiles, amplifying their power by orders of magnitude.
These issues are prevalent in the web2 social networks, namely Facebook, Twitter, Reddit etc. Similarly, these challenges exist in web3 social as it’s costless to create a crypto account.
There are numerous experiments being conducted to try and prove the existence of a person. While others use government-issued documents (like a passport). Another approach is based on social trust principles, where members of a digital network vouch for the authenticity of their connections' online identities.
Web3 has enabled better transparency of identity, by using a private-public keypair and social app built on open source software. Decentralized social networks and marketplaces can be built on the Subsocial platform. Censorship resistance and built-in monetization methods are two of its most notable features. As a result of the platform, individuals can design and manage their own decentralised sustainable social networks. Similarly, there’s Hive Blog, built on the Hive blockchain (fork of Steemit). To an untrained eye, it may appear to be just another Reddit clone. The difference is Hive Blog distributes a portion of its earnings to its readers with a cryptocurrency that has been incorporated into this revenue sharing scheme. The tokens on Minds can be used for more than just ads; they essentially power the social network's entire ecosystem, creating incentives for content creation.
Since web3 social networks are built on an open codebase, developers can construct social graphs that create reputations, which can prevent Sybil attacks on the network.
Tokenized communities are the next step in this space, as we see with various NFT applications. Only certain NFT holders are given access to a gated community. This is a means for social networks to generate exclusivity for token holders while at the same time build pseudonymous reputation. It is crucial that tokenized communities recognize members who are making impactful contributions and reward them accordingly. DIDs with proof-of-personhood systems can surface member contributions more clearly allowing for incentives to be used to reward and retain good people.
The role of Humanode
Humanode allows social networks users to be identified without having to share any raw biometric information in order to create a unique human identity. In other words, social network users can be assured that each profile belongs to a unique human, not a bot. The Humanode protocol employs search-and-matching and liveness detection algorithms to demonstrate the participants' uniqueness. With the application of cutting-edge liveness detection, validated participants can be proven to be human. One way is by scanning a QR code to undergo liveness detection when they sign in to a web3 wallet like Metamask or Polkadot.js. Based on the “one human, one network participant” premise we can build a more trustworthy social network.
Another use case is for some tokenized operations to be available only to verified users. Once somebody is verified on Humanode, their identities can be adopted to other avenues, and thus building a proof of personhood.