SubSocial

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SubSocial

Open protocol for social + finance on Polkadot and IPFS


Introduction  

Many of us signed up to Facebook unaware of what it meant to use a free product. There are always costs, so value has to be extracted somehow. Your data and your time is your payment. Had they known then what they know now, they may have chosen differently.

It is also important to acknowledge that while value was extracted by social media platforms of Web 2.0, the bigger story is actually a more positive one. Individuals could create content, share it with the world, and get paid without leaving their home.

Despite this freedom which they have to express ourselves and get paid for the value they create; they also know that the Internet is not as free as intended. 

Accessing the web, posting content, and receiving payment involves numerous service providers lurking the background. These service providers can block your content, halt your payments, or simply remove you from the platform entirely. Every service provider is a potential point of censorship. Each of them is able to extract value. 

Blockchain is technology for disintermediation. It is possible to remove the unnecessary service providers that stand between creators and consumers. They see an interesting paradox where blockchain technology is most valuable when it extracts as little value as possible from its users.

Facebook shouldn’t sell your data without paying you. YouTube shouldn’t get paid more for advertising than you do. Twitter shouldn’t be able to ban you or block your tweets because they disagree with you. 

This is why they have created Subsocial. A web 3.0 technology with the promise of data sovereignty. You control the data you create. Your content, your value. 

Overview

Subsocial is an open platform that allows anyone to launch their own decentralized censorship-resistant social networks and marketplaces. Subsocial will help you create your own decentralized version of the popular sites they see today, such as Medium, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Discourse, Patreon, OnlyFans and more. 

Our software uses the Substrate blockchain framework and IPFS for decentralized file storage. This enables personalized news feed and notifications, transparent reputation, full text searching, rich content formats, without sacrificing SEO (search engine optimization). 

Using Substrate also allows Subsocial to connect to the Polkadot and Kusama networks. Polkadot is a next-generation blockchain protocol that unites an entire network of purpose-built blockchains, allowing them to operate seamlessly together at scale. Polkadot will provide cross-chain interaction as well as providing a shared security platform upon which Subsocial can scale whilst remaining secure.

This is social media unbounded. 

Architecture 

Subsocial is more than a blogging platform with crypto payments. It is a revolution in connecting social media with decentralized finance. This is social finance where social media meets DeFi. To better explain how they differ from a simple blogging platform they must outline our architecture at a high level.

They will briefly cover topics such as where content is published and how it can be monetized via myriad primitives that they are working to add as soon as possible. This paper will also cover how they handle reputation and allow for a multitude of reputation types.

Subsocial saves you the hassle of running your own social network blockchain. Multiple social networks can run from the Subsocial chain which will provide shared networking effects. By default the network is censorship-resistant, however, each community is able to set their own rules for moderation.

Posts and Spaces 

The building blocks of Subsocial are the spaces, posts, comments, likes, and follows. They will be familiar to everyone who has used any social media platform.

The best way to understand them is through comparison to familiar platforms:

Spaces are similar to:

  • Blogs on Blogger, 
  • Publications on Medium, 
  • Groups or pages on Facebook, 
  • Accounts on Twitter and Instagram, 
  • Channels on YouTube,
  • Servers on Discord,
  • Forums on Discourse.

Posts are similar to:

  • Posts on Facebook, 
  • Articles on Medium, 
  • Tweets on Twitter.

How about something more advanced? How can they recreate popular platforms for Web 3.0 using Subsocial?

  • Airbnb – apartment listings are spaces, while reviews are posts. 
  • Quora – a question is a post, answers are comments/replies. 
  • Stack Overflow – 
  • - Answer writers can be rewarded, e.g. by the question writer.
  • - The distribution of payouts can also be split between what the question owner and what the community finds to be the best answer. 
  • Patreon/OnlyFans – supported users could be represented as spaces who are rewarded through paid subscriptions and community votes, etc.

All posts and spaces are associated with public key pairs (accounts). This means all content can be correctly attributed to the posts author and/or owner. The cryptography used is the same as found in Polkadot and Kusama. Subsocial supports the Polkadot{.js} extension that allows for easy key management in the browser or, in the future, an offline vault via Parity Signer.

With built in support for IPFS, your space can take advantage of decentralized hosting.

All code is open source and allows for customization of the front-end user interface and tailor it to the needs of your community. Check out the Subsocial JS SDK for more details. If you have an idea for new chain functionality, then you can suggest the feature or create a pull request to Subsocial node repo.