Need for democracy in social networking

I’ve read a newspaper article about closed accounts on Facebook. They wrote about incidents such as blocking an account of an activist due to complaints deliberately submitted by his political opponents, or permanent closing of an account based on Facebook detection of posting copyrighted images despite the images were actually copyrighted by the account owner (which Facebook refused to recognize).

Large centralized social networks can easily conflict with their users’ needs. Big business based on selling personal data and information about users inherently conflicts with issues such as privacy protection or proper user handling.

The article mentioned government regulation as one of possible, although not necessarily effective, solutions. But it’s better to think about democratization instead. Such processes are already working in some well known projects like Wikipedia (democratization of knowledge sharing) or OpenStreetMap (democratization of geographic data). Those big and very successful projects are completely based on cooperation of their users, from content creation through software development to infrastructure maintenance.

A completely new and different social network could raise in a similar way in the future. A decentralized social network created in a bottom-up way and available to anybody without one-sided conditions could offer communication free of closed accounts, lack of privacy, censorship and government supervision. Yet another reason to pay attention to projects like FreedomBox, StatusNet or Diaspora.

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