Is Social Network, MeWe, Really Planning to Use Solid?


#1

I can’t tell if this is real or just a PR move, but the founder of social media network, MeWe, is claiming that they will somehow use Solid:

Mark Weinstein has also managed to get Tim Berners Lee on board as an advisor. The pair text and meet in person, and MeWe has ambitions to be the first social network to introduce Solid, the world wide web inventor’s decentralized identity platform that could reshape the web. Berners Lee clearly believes in MeWe.

Does anyone have any insights into how real this might be?


#2

Yes, I can! Mewe is a social network which has been around for a while. It is different from many in that it does not do bad things with user data. It has a privacy bill of rights. I have supported the concept because a social network which respects privacy is a good thing. Yes Mark and I chat every now and again. Disclaimer: I have some shares. I use it to a certain extent as well. I have (not surprisingly) suggested that they should give every user automatically some solid space - a solid pod. I don’t know whether their engineering team will be able to pull it off before anyone else! But to go back to their core mission, to respect user’s privacy, they deserve respect for that – whether or not they are solid compatible. People who have found the abuse of privacy elsewhere frustrating have ended up there.


#3

Thanks for clarifying, Tim. I ask because there is a group of us on Google+ who are looking to coordinate a mass migration of people off of that service and onto something else. Contrary to what the tech press has reported, there is a sizeable community there, many with excellent content. The disappointment with losing our investments in Google+ makes this group uniquely receptive to a platform that doesn’t just protect privacy but that is also decentralized (i.e. is resilient to the hoster shutting down).

I know things are still fairly early in Solid’s development, but I think that Google+ may represent an interesting opportunity to migrate a bunch of interesting people over to Solid. There are decent tools for extracting data using Google Takeout and a tool for importing Google data into Solid pods. It’s really more a question of what people might be able to do with that data once it’s ported over.

Google+ shuts down at the end of next August.


Plan to win users?
#4

Gents, this is an important conversation, thank you for having it. I am excited about Solid and yes absolutely, MeWe is planning to implement Solid as soon as possible. We’ve had high level technical meetings with the Solid team, and believe with just couple of months of engineering focus we will be 100% compatible. Our privacy policy and Privacy Bill of Rights already meet the standards required for Solid. These are remarkable times as together all of us are focused on disrupting the data vacuums of the current social media establishment that are accessing our data, interfering with our privacy rights, and attempting to manipulate our minds and newsfeeds. It is an honor to be part of the Solid movement.


#5

Thanks for jumping in, Mark. One of the analogies that I think might be useful is the WordPress.com and WordPress.org distinction. The .org openness is made possible, financially, by the .com hosting and add-ons revenue. That platform openness is critical for attracting 3rd party developers, which is at the heart of WordPress success.

I think there is a real opening in the market for something similar in social networks. It is one thing to build MeWe in a way that is Solid-compatible and another to build a Solid-compatible platform that is also open and hostable by third parties, even if MeWe represents the cutting edge of that hosting and differentiates through add-ons.

The opportunity to migrate a lot of Google+ users over the next ten months is very real and there is a core group of people there who could help catalyze the exodus. Do you see the WordPress analogy as a viable strategy?


#6

Thank you Gideon for sharing this thread over in the comments of your post! The community of people I’ve built up over on Google+ has been collectively figuring out where we will all move to. Many have shut down their Twitter and Facebook accounts because they didn’t like the experience those platforms provided. Google+ was and still is their home until they (including me) are pushed off the platform.

I very much enjoy the casual atmosphere social media can provide but I’m tired of being at the mercy of these tech platforms. I’m moving much of what I am doing now to my website(s). I am excited about MeWe and finally having control over my data.

It would be great to have a way to import our Google+ data over to MeWe. There are already a few people from my aviation community (including me) already signed up on MeWe. I think the ability to import our Google+ data to MeWe would all but seal the deal on which platform to move to especially for those who have used Google+ as a blog as I have.


#7

@gideonro Great to hear that MeWe is looking to use Solid. There are a few people talking about how to build social media services on Solid, I’d be happy to make the introduction. Would you like to set up a call to discuss how I can support you in this process? Let me know when would be a convenient moment on mitzil@inrupt.com.


#8

That’s great to hear, @MitziLaszlo. I don’t know whether the timing is such that we can take advantage of the Google+ mass migration that is already underway, but it does seem worth at least exploring. I will follow up in email with you.


#9

Another privacy-oriented social network, Openbook, is set to launch March 2019.

The below is taken from the Openbook FAQ:

Will Openbook be decentralised?

We want to get there eventually. We’re looking into Solid MIT approach (The one from Tim Berners Lee) and we’re very pleased with it so far.

Our first versions will however be centralised.

We do this because it’s then easier to focus on innovating in the product features and overall user experience. These things will determine whether we’ll reach the user base necessary to take on existing social networks.

If we succeed at this, sky’s the limit into what we can do in regards to decentralisation!


#10

Shameless self-promotion: We’re trying to keep an overview of all things social media that have been recognised as important to various parts of the Google+ Communities on this wiki: https://social.antefriguserat.de/index.php/Main_Page

The result may actually become a template that could be applied to a new platform built on Solid. If there are folks here interested in doing that, talk to me! :slight_smile:

(“We” in this context are Just your average space alien cats and other unsavory types)


#11

Hi @MarkWeinstein and @gideonro

At Humane Tech Community we have just proclaimed both MeWe and OpenBook as ‘Exemplars of Humane Technology’ in the new forum category I created for that (respectively here and here) and it would be super cool :heart: to see both social networks tick the ‘Decentralized’ humane tech checklist item in the future, when adopting Solid!

(Note: We will be starting a number of promotional activities surrounding our Exemplars, at a later time)
(Note 2: Our moderator @patm is enthusiastically following and promoting MeWe as a user)


#12

I’ve signed up to MeWe -

  • name is odd
  • worried by groups focused on guns and those saying that Islam is a cult
  • privacy settings for things I post aren’t clear
  • massive problem is that it isn’t Facebook. I have quit Facebook, but most haven’t and there needs to be something compelling to make people switch. Privacy is important and the site touts that, TBL input is reassuring but if this is the USP, with things as they are, I don’t think people will switch from Facebook.
    Also the site just looks boring but that isn’t necessarily a problem if the privacy sell is compelling and functionality is the same