Social network MeWe will integrate with the Frequency blockchain network, a parachain of Polkadot, according to an April 26 announcement at Consensus 2023. The announcement added that the company will begin moving its users’ accounts over to the network during this quarter.
Just in from #Consensus 2023 – Polkadot parachain @one_frequency has announced a major partnership with social networking app @mewe to connect its 20 million users to Polkadot and the Social Web, giving each of them a social identity and full control over their own data. pic.twitter.com/O39RNtEhDy
— Polkadot @ Consensus 2023 (@Polkadot) April 26, 2023
MeWe was launched in 2012 and has been touted as a “Facebook alternative” with allegedly better privacy protections. An Axios report in September stated that the network had over 20 million users. Frequency launched as a Polkadot parachain in November.
At a Consensus 2023 panel called “Laying Web3’s Foundation With Decentralized Social Networks and Data Rights,” MeWe CEO Jeffrey Edell stated that the move will allow MeWe to make a permanent commitment to data ownership for users:
“Blockchain is like doubling down on privacy. So now you’re allowing the technology to do what companies promise […] Someday MeWe could get acquired by someone, a big company, and in that instance, the privacy aspects could be lost, but once we commit to the blockchain, we’re committing to that privacy side.”
“We never surveilled, we never amplified bad news or misinformation, that’s just not something we do, so we’re very logically set up to move into the Web3 world,” he said, adding, “We have to sort of march into that slowly and prudently but with full commitment.”
According to the announcement, the integration between MeWe and Frequency is based on the Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (DSNP), which Woodham worked on as part of Frank McCourt’s Project Liberty. McCourt allocated $100 million to that project in June 2021.
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Amplica Labs was the initial technical contributor to Frequency. Its president, Braxton Woodham, who was also on the panel, emphasized that the partnership between Frequency and MeWe will not solve all problems in social media right away. However, he claimed that it would provide a basic framework that app developers can build upon to fix a variety of problems in the future.
“Social networks involve a lot of different problems, ranging from the user experience to moderation to AI algorithms for curation,” he said, explaining that “it’s virtually impossible to solve all problems at once, and so the approach we’ve been taking together is, let’s link our digital presence together on the web to create the social web. That sets up the ability to attack the data layer and approach those difficult problems.”