(ANTIMEDIA) As concern over corporate censorship of content on social media continues to mount, an alternative to giants like Facebook and YouTube has emerged — Minds.com, an encrypted, open source, community-owned and operated social media platform.
Speaking to Observer, coder and Minds co-founder Bill Ottman said the idea is based around a highly secure network where people can freely express themselves while maintaining a level of privacy they’re comfortable with.
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“Minds is engineered for freedom of speech, transparency and privacy,” Ottman said. “Users may choose to be anonymous, if they wish, and free speech is limited only by U.S. law. The software is free, open sourced and encrypted end-to-end for maximum transparency and privacy, peer-reviewed at Minds.org.”
It’s no wonder there’s so much enthusiasm for the idea. As Observer highlights, Facebook has been taking heat since last year over its handling of the “fake news” hysteria, and as recently as March, YouTube was being criticized for demonetizing the content of independent media voices on its platform — at the behest of corporate advertisers.
Ottman said companies like Facebook have it all wrong, and that machine learning software is no substitute for human judgment when it comes to deciding what content should be on a user’s page:
“They are approaching these problems completely backwards, and it’s creating unnecessary censorship. Users should determine themselves whether their news is fake or not — not a Facebook algorithm. Likewise, users should determine themselves how/if they want to be targeted with ads.”
But Minds is about far more than simply posting content in the hopes of accumulating likes. It’s a platform that literally rewards its users.
“Minds believes that users should be rewarded for their efforts online and pays users points that can be redeemed for views on the network,” Ottman said. “Minds also pays bloggers for revenue earned by placing banner ads on their content, and any channel may create exclusive content viewable only via paid monthly subscription.”
The platform even has a program, Minds Wire, that allows users to monetarily “tip” other users — with Minds points, cash, or Bitcoin — if they come across content they find particularly valuable.
If the record-breaking speed at which the Minds project is gaining investment is any indicator, all this is sounding pretty good to a lot of people. Indeed, in an era when the corporate media has been put in charge of fact-checking news, perhaps it’s an idea whose time has come.