Using Blockchain Technology to Improve Content Distribution on Facebook and Other Platforms

The state of social media is broken. The majority of today’s users depend on centralized platforms like Facebook to consume and share content, and as a result, data privacy concerns are reaching the mainstream.

Yet Mark Zuckerberg’s recent congressional hearing reflects not just the fact that there was a data breach, but the implications that come with the content which users share and consume on Facebook.

For example, during the hearing, Zuckerberg claimed that everyone consents to giving Facebook their data, despite also saying that Facebook tracks non-users for reasons of “security”  and commercial purposes, such as targeted advertising.

The awareness of technology being applied to user data across the world shows the power of data transference. The need for peer-to-peer data exchange across transparent platforms has become a growing requirement, and blockchain technology can help enable this. Zuckerberg wrote in his 2018 New Year’s resolutions that he wanted to explore the application of blockchain technology, yet he was very vague as to what blockchain technology would be used for in terms of improving user data privacy and the way information is shared on Facebook.

Blockchain technology helps with content distribution

Content Neutrality Network is a blockchain-based content ecosystem with the founding principle of content equality. The company is dedicated to addressing the same issue being explored by Congress concerning Facebook, which is that when personal data is leaked, it leads to advertising content that is manipulated and sensationalized. Meanwhile, high-quality content becomes hidden, preventing quality content from generating views.

“Premium content creators have a unique opportunity to take advantage of technology and receive more exposure to a wider audience through the blockchain. Our goal is to help content consumers achieve a personalized content recommendation feed on the blockchain, allowing users to find high-quality content that adheres to their interests,” Yukun Chen, CEO of NewsDog and Founder of Content Neutrality Network, told me.

While a number of companies like Steemit and Primas have already proposed new blockchain-based protocols for the content industry, a big problem remains with these existing protocols. Primarily, the content distribution on both of these networks depends entirely on users’ upvotes, comments, and other actions. This approach might work for a single interest community, but content cannot be distributed across full-service platforms based only on user preference.

On Steemit, for example, users might have a difficult time finding the content that they are interested in since they are unable to fully rely on the community for recommendations. This essentially promotes distribution among isolated content communities.

Steemit’s white paper states that if there are one million articles, the most popular one hundred will account for one-third of the total value of all content. The next ten thousand will account for another third, while the remaining amount comprises the final third. These kinds of proportions are very unhealthy for a community that expects a large number of users to contribute content.

Content Neutrality Network’s blockchain technology attempts to solve this problem with seamless circulation of various kinds of content. The platform creatively combines a personalized recommendation system through the application of blockchain technology. In other words, the network uses strong computing power to provide recommendation services to all users across the platform through its “recommendation nodes.”

The network also proposes solutions to solving the efficiency problem through a fair contribution-based reward system on the blockchain. The native digital token of CNN Platform (CNN) is a major component of the ecosystem. CNN is a non-refundable functional utility token which will be used as the unit of exchange between participants on the platform, as well as the economic incentive that will be consumed to encourage participants to contribute and maintain the ecosystem.

Moreover, in traditional content communities, content consumers sacrifice their attention in exchange for the free use of products. For instance, one of the reasons why people are able to use Facebook and Google free of charge is because these two companies are constantly displaying ads to users. Users are distracted while consuming content because of constant advertisements. However, commercial companies or advertisers are the only entities that profit from user attention. As a result, they become increasingly powerful both in terms of finance and competitiveness.

The Content Neutrality Network’s platform takes a different approach to advertising, enabling revenue to be calculated based on the user’s attention. This is achieved by utilizing the trustworthy nature of blockchain technology, along with a low cost point-to-point payment mechanism. In turn, the platform guarantees that not only advertisers and content creators get rewarded for advertising, but also that content consumers receive some advertising revenue from each effective reading practice.

Additionally, the design of the Content Neutrality Network’s platform incorporates an incentive mechanism for those who repost. This motivates users to repost high-quality content that is suitable for particular target audiences and communities, rather than reposting content arbitrarily. This improves the efficiency of content distribution, eliminating manipulative advertisements and focusing strictly on high-quality content.

NewsDog, a leading content platform in India, will be the first application on the Content Neutrality Network. NewsDog has more than 40 million users, boasts thousands of media partners, and supports 10 languages in India. The NewsDog content community will be fully compliant with the Content Neutrality Network’s mechanisms and models to eliminate low-quality content from the network. This will increase user engagement on a platform where millions already log in daily to consume local and worldwide news, and to take the NewsDog quiz games – similar to the live game show app HQ Trivia – to earn cash rewards.

The Future of Content Distribution

An analyst from the Winterberry Group forecasts that 2018 will be the year that digital content revenue will overtake offline content media and marketing. According to the report, measured revenue is estimated to reach $117 billion and digital media spend will reach $100 billion, whereas offline media and marketing revenue will hit $97 billion this year. Today’s content lives on centralized social media, yet a transition to blockchain technology seems to be the future of content distribution.