EXCLUSIVE (BYWIRE NEWS): Voice.com has launched and it aims to rewrite the rules of social media and put power back into the hands of the people.
Here at Bywire we’ve heard exclusively on the development from CEO Salah Zalatimo who tells us:
“Over the past six months, our world has changed dramatically as we’ve adapted to a global pandemic and civil unrest. What hasn’t changed, however, is Big Tech’s ceaseless promulgating of misinformation by bot accounts - misinformation that only deepens division at a time when we must be doing everything we can to come together to effect societal change and overcome unprecedented challenges.“
While the Covid-19 pandemic is escalating, civil disorder growing, the dangers of misinformation apparent, and the small matter of the presidential election’s forthcoming, the US society is shaking at its core. As citizens battle for equality, systemic changes and fairer access to healthcare, education, and opportunity; Block.one is releasing its still-in-development platform, Voice.com, “the social media everyone needs”, with a sincere desire to challenge falsehood with truth, and fact against fiction.
Where Twitter and Facebook have become playgrounds for trolls, misinformation, and cybercrime, Voice.com promises to be something entirely different: a place where real people can share, discuss and benefit, even financially from their own content.
Zalatimo continued: “Because other social media platforms are prioritizing their own interests, we decided to open our platform earlier than expected, to invite everyone in as we build to help shape it into the social platform we all need.“
Brendan Blumer, CEO of Block.one explains more. “Social media has not been a good friend to us and as in 2008 real people are footing the bill for what an elite few have decided are the rules of engagement,” he said at a special event marking the launch. “From data theft to misinformation to rampant cyber bullying the costs are just all too real.”
Voice.com has been developed by Block.one and runs on the open source blockchain operating system, EOSIO, which has been generating enormous buzz thanks to its lack of transaction fees on the network and its ability to perform up-to 10,000 transactions per second. EOSIO is a decentralised blockchain operating system which can support industrial scale decentralised applications, Voice.com is the perfect challenge to this assumption.
Block.one, but in partcular, Daniel Larimer (listen to our inteview with Dan on Voice.com), has solved the problem which has long been a major barrier to the blockchain: scalability. While Visa manages 1,667 transactions per second, Bitcoin, can only manage seven. By bringing fast transactions and low latency to the table, Block.one have produced a platform designed for the real world, which can suit a host of different business needs and challenges. Bywire understands that Block.one has had meetings with several US governmental departments, including at the White House. Could they be discussing for example, EOSIO being used in the chain of command process for the US military? We simply do not know.
With the launch of Voice.com, Block.one have produced something which has the potential to change the social media landscape forever. The problems with social media are there for all to see. What started as well-intentioned platforms to help people communicate and share content have become a corporate maladjusted, monolithic monstrosity, opening the way to misinformation, alleged election rigging, bullying and fraud.
As of July 4, perhaps not too coincidentally, the Voice platform is now open to global readers. Users can consume authenticated content on the Voice platform which is recorded across two blockchain networks that Block.one says can handle the “scale and speed needed for a global, social platform.” This would make the EOSIO blockchain operating system the fastest and most scalable blockchain in the world. (For clarity, Bywire News is also built upon the EOS Public Blockchain and is a holder of the EOS Token.)
“While we were busy building a sustained product and prepping for a big reveal in the fall, the world was hit with a once-in-a-century pandemic. In the following months, it became even more apparent how the politics played by Big Tech pollute a media ecosystem already filled with misinformation and bots. Society can’t wait for today’s platforms to get it right. We need to break away now.
“We are opening our platform to readers worldwide, meaning anyone can browse the content on Voice with or without an account. We’ve spent the past few months maturing our blockchain, and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished on that front. The world has seen very few (if any) blockchains that can handle the scale and speed needed for a global, social platform.”
The traditional approach to social media is fraught with weaknesses. Getting an account is easy; all you need is to come up with a name and an email address. Once up, you can post anything you want with little or no accountability and as Donald Trump proves, it’s really difficult to post something so outrageous that you get banned. Your data is used by the platform and auctioned off to the highest bidder. They say that once trust is gone, it is almost impossible to get it back. Although, Facebook user growth may suggest otherwise.
Today’s social media is a Wild West environment, controlled and influenced by nation states, political interest, and corporate interest; spreading lies like wildfire in which anyone can be subject to the vilest campaign of online abuse, regardless of fact. Without the innovations of Voice.com and Bywire.news, we could see the return of the infamous Salem witch hunts:
“We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!”
― Arthur Miller, The Crucible
Doesn’t that quote hold just as much weight today, in the context of trial by social media, as it did when Miller wrote it?
Block.one spokesperson confirmed:
“We’re offering a glimpse at the alternative we’re building and asking the community to join us in creating the social media everyone needs.” The block.one spokesperson continued:
“Today [Saturday], our intention is to give the outside world a glimpse into what we’re building — with the caveat that we’re not finished.
We’re just getting started.”
Bywire News is located in London, UK, therefore we have not been able to gain access to the beta publishing testing of the platform, as new users need a US ID, however we have been enjoying testing Voice as readers. So far so good, all the accounts and postings are made by real people, its real opinions being discussed and so far, we haven’t spotted anything derogatory, racist or hateful. Perhaps people may actually take more care in how they choose to communicate with others on social media if there are real-world consequences. There are no bots or advertisements, but there is lots of enthusiasm from users and content creators buzzing with ideas, excitement and there is a real sense of community from the early adopters. Voice is a network that has the potential to change the world of social media, but it also seems determined to reinvent how news content is created, monetised and shared. Marrying these two notions together, may not prove symbiotic. Voice.com could still fall foul of fake news being spread across its platform by trusted public figures, drawing the lines over opinion, subjectivity, and defamation, across territories, is likely to be its biggest challenge.
The ambitions, ethics, and technology are world-class. The interface, quality of the content, content ranking and look and feel is incredibly early beta. It is clean, effective, and intuitive, which is particularly important. The user knows what she is supposed to do and can navigate both the app and desktop easily.
Once Bywire obtains access to create a publisher account, we will be able to follow up with more specific details on how the Voice token will work, rewards, incentives, and how the KYC system will become streamlined. We have heard completely unsubstantiated and unlikely rumours that Voice.com could simplify their burdensome KYC process with some kind of LinkedIn login system. However, this really is just a rumour.
In conclusion, at a time when news and public information are dominated by social media, and when corporations, nation states and various vested interests are working to bend social media to their will, it has never been more important to ensure that access to truthful information is free, verifiable and attributable. We look forward to launching Bywire.new on Voice.com as soon as possible.
We are hoping to bring you a Face-to-Face interview with Mr Salah Zalatimo sometime next week. Please sign up here (and earn 100 Free Wirebit tokens) and stay updated with all the latest Bywire News.
If you have not done so already, GO TO VOICE.COM NOW AND CHECK IT OUT! We would love to hear your feedback.
Voice.com is proposed to launch to those who wish to publish and the wider public on August 15, 2020.
(Reporting by Melanie Kramer, written by Tom Cropper and Michael O’Sullivan, edited by Michael O’Sullivan)