Every week I hear someone talking about leaving Facebook. There’s a growing consensus that the largest social media platforms are unfairly censoring user generated content based on an idealogical or political difference.
And while several platforms like Parler have launched prematurely as a reaction to censorship, the world really needs some well thought out options if the main platforms of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram are to ever be abandoned.
CF was born out of social media
You could accurately say that CultureFeast was born out of MySpace. When we launched in 2005, MySpace was King. Radio stations were still huge, and all the coolest DJs and talk show hosts were promoting their spots on MySpace. Though blogs already technically existed elsewhere, MySpace
But honestly, there wasn’t much competition. Does anyone even remember MSN Groups, Classmates.com, Friendster, Hi5, Orkut, or XING? Facebook emerged a year later for college students only, then Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr, FriendFeed, and so on.
We’ve come a long way as a technologically connected society since the very first person was poked by Mark Zuckerberg.
But with the past few elections, it’s become increasingly clear that Facebook (and to a lesser extent any other social media platform) cannot be trusted to adequately verify the sources of news and information being shared.
Either valid alternative news/research sources get penalized for not being mainstream (see Google Medic update) or imposter sites purporting to be mainstream sites are allowed to continue influencing the public. Both extremes affect the voting citizen’s ability to know, evaluate, and decide.
“We are creating living journalism instead of static news platforms,” said Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer. “With Voice setting out to fundamentally change how media platforms are working, it was the right time for Block.one to hand the reins to (Voice CEO) Salah Zalatimo and allow Voice to grow under his leadership to create a truly unique experience for content creators everywhere.”
Today’s media and social media landscapes are rapidly converging, and the resulting digital forums for engagement are broken. We’ve witnessed a profound loss of trust on social media sites given their opaque use of personal data and capricious content regulation rules: If you need to hire armies of people to remove disturbing content, then there’s something fundamentally wrong with the platform. Voice wants to bridge divisions and rebuild trust in our media platforms by promoting authenticity, transparency and humanity in our community.Salah Zalatimo
Voice Could Be The Answer to All that Facebook Isn’t.
By requiring robust identity verification, Voice can virtually guarantee the identity of its users. Identity creates accountability. If you share a post stating X, and X turns out to be patently false (or worse intentionally deceitful), your personal reputation is on the line.
There’s no hiding behind pseudonyms or profile pics of cats and sunsets.
But At What Cost?
Voice.com currently requires private personal information from each user in order to gain access to the platform. Information including full name, residential address, photo taken in real time, and photos of active driver’s license.
Is that safe? Voice believes so. The platform utilized blockchain technology to protect private user data.
It remains to be seen whether a platform requiring so much personal information will gain traction from potential users.
So What Is Voice and Why Is It Different?
Voice is the first public social media platform to standardize the requirement of identity verification. You have to send photos of your driver’s license and verify your information via mobile phone in order to successfully create an account. Why does that matter? Imagine what Twitter could be if every single member owned only one personal account that was verified and their name was plastered at the top.
Trolling would likely drop by 80%. Most people who troll and fight and demean each other only do so because they can hide behind the mask of a fictitious name and profile image. Once you are forever linked to your content, you choose what you say much more carefully. At least, that’s the idea.
It’s A Timely Beta Launch
Voice.com is offering a social media platform that speaks to veracity and accountability. The United States is closing in on a Presidential election in November (less than seven months away).
Is that enough time to gain traction? With a Beta program, probably not. But with enough testers, Voice has the opportunity to be the “I told you so” solution everyone turns to immediately AFTER the election when the results inevitably shock and disappoint 48% of Americans.
People will blame Facebook and foreign government intervention, hackers, and the like. Voice appears poised to step in and say,
“Excuse me, did I hear you say that you wish you had a verifiable source of information on social media? We haven’t met yet. I’m Voice.”
Is Voice The Answer?
While Voice has the requisite single syllable and easy-to-remember name, it’s too soon to anoint it or any new platform as the next GOAT (greatest of all time).
My single biggest complaint is the Voice token system. The creators behind Voice established a point system in which you give and receive tokens through likes which boosts your “voice” to the front of the line.
I just shared my most recent Facebook post on Voice to see how it performs there. While I was logged in, I tried to like another post I saw about haircuts during COVID. I was then informed that I could not “like” the post because I don’t have enough Tokens (points) to pass on.
So if people with tokens like my posts, I will get some of their tokens. Those tokens will be stored in my account until I share them by liking someone else’s post(s), and then a portion of my tokens will pass to them.
The gamification approach might appeal to a limited crowd. I notice a lot of posts about cryptocurrency on the app. To people with that mindset, gaming the system by strategically liking and posting for tokens would be a driving factor to stay engaged.
But for the average user who just shares content as it occurs to them in real time, this system is restrictive and preventative. You can’t like things unless you’ve been liked enough. So you have to post more and post quality to be able to like other people’s stuff.
But if you’ve just joined to try it out and post randomly, you’re not going to make the effort. And if you don’t make the effort, you’ll never be able to like other people’s content. And if you can’t like their stuff, you’ll get so annoyed that you’ll leave.
There are definitely some kinks. Voice is developing it’s own personality right now, just like TikTok and SnapChat did. I’m along for the ride, but hovering in wait-and-see mode. As a Facebook replacement app, Voice doesn’t get my endorsement just yet.
But maybe that’s just because I’m out of tokens.