Social media’s aversion to cryptocurrency pushing blockchain adoption
There is no denying that in the past couple of years bitcoin, and the cryptocurrency market in general, has attained critical mass. Consequently, communities dedicated to digital currency-related discussion on social media multiplied several times, as is the case with any ongoing trend.
The immense surge in the cryptocurrency-related discussion also spurred a barrage of advertisements on every major platform. Most of them were rather honest in nature initially, generally aiming to promote an upcoming ICO. However, scams quickly became more and more prominent, eventually making up the bulk of all social media advertisements.
As a result, in early 2018, major social media networks declared that they would no longer serve cryptocurrency-related advertisements on their platforms. Facebook was the first of major social media networks to ban cryptocurrency ads, making the announcement in late January, with Twitter and Snapchat following suit in March. Google even took the idea one step further by banning them across its entire ad network.
The move was bound to happen since even without cryptocurrency advertisements, these platforms have been struggling to combat with related scams and impersonations. Twitter, popularly used for official communication, has historically been the worst affected of the bunch with respect to these issues.
For their actions in banning cryptocurrency ads, Google, Facebook, and Twitter have been sued by the Russian Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Association (RACIB), the Kore Ventura Business Association (KOVA), the Chinese Association of Cryptocurrency Investors (LBTC), who have joined forces to form the Eurasian Blockchain Association
It is also possible that similar blanket bans may make their way to other social media platforms. Given that the popular video platform YouTube is owned by Google, for instance, there is no telling when it will turn its back on the thousands of creative professionals that publish cryptocurrency related content daily.
While it is unlikely that YouTube will ban all content related to the digital currency ecosystem, it does have the power to demonetize channels that specialize in the segment. The scary part, however, is it wouldn’t be the first time that the video platform edged out content creators en masse.
A recent report by Bloomberg highlighted how YouTube’s aggressive automated algorithms affected the monetization of many ‘objectionable’ channels on the platform, sometimes even legitimate ones having millions of subscribers. Even apart from the looming threat of demonetization, YouTube’s history of censorship is another problem entirely.
As a result, blockchain-based alternatives are gaining relevance in the content creation community due to their decentralized nature.
Take the case of Peter “Furious Pete” Czerwinski, a YouTube personality with close to five million subscribers. Despite being rather popular on the platform already, he decided to begin posting a majority of his competitive-eating and weightlifting videos on DTube. Instead of relying on advertising revenue, DTube offers content creators like Czerwinski the ability to get donations directly from his viewers instead.
The main selling point of DTube, apart from the obvious reduction in censorship, is that it runs on the Steem blockchain network. Like the text-based platform Steemit, donations received by content creators on DTube are in the form of the digital currency Steem.
In essence, decentralized platforms such as Steemit and DTube can help shift control back into the hands of users. Given the recent controversy over Facebook’s handling of sensitive user data, blockchain could perhaps also restore the principles of privacy and security.