Facebook, Solid, and De-centralization

I just watched a very insightful conversation about Facebook, SocialMedia challenges, and the Solid Project.

Key Video Segment: https://youtu.be/WGchhsKhG-A?t=861 .


Solid is all about providing a platform that simplifies the development of HTTP-based Read-Write Applications & Services where the Privacy of end-users isn’t compromised, implicitly.

How is that achieved?
First off, it has nothing to do with compute resources. It has everything to do with structured data representation combined with loosely-coupling of the following:

  • Identity (via a WebID)
  • Identification (via a #WebIDProfile doc)
  • Authentication (various protocols e.g., TLS or OpenID Connect)
  • Authorization (WebACLs)
  • Storage (various LDP and WebDAV supporting storage providers or proprietary alternatives from Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, GoogleDrive, Rackspace, AWS S3 etc… ).

A third party cannot offer privacy to an individual. That is fundamentally contradictory. A Blockchain doesn’t address the aforementioned issue either.

The same ingenuity that underlies the Web is what developers and architects need to pay a little more attention re its magical data interaction capabilities.

This issue is about Application Architecture.

This is what Solid Addresses and simplifies for Web Developers.


What are your thoughts on storage providers as third parties?

When you say blockchain doesn’t solve the issue, can you elaborate? I agree, but I’d like to understand what ways you think it is lacking (other than issues such as scalability, inefficiency) and whether you would include a solution like IPFS, or SAFE in this ‘doesn’t solve it’ category.

Really I’m trying to understand what it is you are saying needs to be solved better. I don’t think storage services solve all the problems either, but there hasn’t been much discussion of these issues. I’ve pointed out some of my concerns and would like us to dig into these areas more.

PS I haven’t watched the video yet.


Please help me to understand if SOLID could be implemented in IPFS. For what I see, Solid is a specification that relays both on RDF and some HTTP feature (content negotiation, verbs). Does IPFS matches the minimum SOLID requirements to be considered one of the “loosely-coupling” storage technology? If not what is missing?

Have you watched the video now?

Blockchain doesn’t enable the kind of whimsical content storage operatons that builds on patterns popularized by desktop computing and the Web. Basically, folks just want to hit a button and save stuff, without implicit privacy compromises (the problem 3rd parties have without the kind of loose-coupling I mention in the post added to the mix).

Naturally, I would happily look at a blockchain-based rendition of my demo :slight_smile:

I haven’t watched, because I’m not really interested in blockchain and can’t see it adds anything in this area… but I’m open to hearing if anyone wants to put the case.

I was more interested in your reasons for having a similar view, and whether you were lumping other decentralisation technologies together with blockchain, because as you know I think putting Solid together with these (non blockchain technologies) has huge benefits, and is why I advocate for and am working to put Solid on SAFE Network. I hope to have some demos of that before long, so that might be the time to have a bigger discussion about this.

The video is not about Blockchain :slight_smile:

Yeh, I realised that after I posted but have not had time / battery to watch until now. I take it you are interested in the ‘philsophical’ issue Zuckerberg raises about difficulties ‘policing’ a decentralised system versus regulating big corporations like facebook? I don’t buy his point - looking at how badly that’s going - but it is a discussion worth having.

He then goes into encryption (e.g. messaging) - again a necessary discussion (well aired on the SAFE forum).

What I’d say is that Zuckerberg (nor any exec or corporation) is not someone who should be deciding or influencing how that happens. The reason Solid is a thing is because corporations (and regulators) have done such a bad job of evolving the web.

Anyway, thanks for the video. I really don’t like watching / listening to him so I won’t watch it all. He seems odd to me, android [cough] like!