According to The Telegraph, Facebook mobile use in England as declined by 38% between June 2018 and June 2019!
That is an incredible decrease in user activity.
It makes me hopeful that we are finally seeing a move away from the top dog, to platforms that are more tailored to the user, like Neighborhood, or to platforms that are decentralized, private and free from Facebook’s censorship like Steem and Gab.
However, the data also suggests that user saturation is increasing throughout Europe. Still though, in America there’s data floating around showing that young people aren’t adopting the juggernaut as their platform of choice or are spending less than 3 minutes on the platform per day. They are also choosing their ancillary products, Whatsapp and Instagram, but also adopting alternatives.
Which brings me to Gab and Steem.
Gab has been under attack since its inception, being deplatformed and debanked from numerous services, all for allowing it’s more unsavory users to say what they want so long as violence is never called for and illegal content isn’t uploaded. They have so far managed to survive.
The success of Gab is an interesting development in the push for less control over speech by Big Tech (I hate that phrase). Despite what many people think of the platform, their move to migrate to Mastodon’s open source software was a brilliant move to defend their ability to exist. Federating effectively destroys the effort to deplatform the service by allowing its users to run their own instance of Gab, distributing the network across the globe. They then instituted the ability to pay for their service with Bitcoin. Their success is due to this and their ethos of protecting free speech as an absolute principle, federating and using money controlled by no one. There are strong echos in Steem of these very same ideas. Or is it the other way around?
After migrating to Mastodon, Gab became the largest instance of the software over night, royally pissing off the Internet.
To top things off, Gab doesn’t rely on advertisements, so that powerful vector of attack for the censorious has been removed from the game.
I see a commitment to the principle of free speech, the lack of reliance on ads, token economics, decentralization and cryptography as an avenue for Steem’s success. Both Gab and Steem share many aspects and where one can succeed, so can the other.
I’m bullish on Steem for these reasons, and I still believe we as users should push more fervently on the angle of a free speech principle. I believe that Gab demonstrates not only a hunger for freedom but also the disdain other’s have for it. This fight is going to continue and intensify over the coming few years and it seems like the only thing keeping free speech alive are those that believe in it and the arms race of technology keeping the power to shut down out of the reach of those that seek to wield it.
I don’t like or associate with the extreme assholes of the Internet, but that is up to me. Freedom to associate is intimately tied together with free speech.
I’m glad Gab and Steem exist so we can all enjoy the freedom of being able to express what we want, free from the fear of being unpersoned across the digital world.
The existence of a fight over this at all actually gives me hope.