Challenges of the Web Era

Blogs, social media, video hostings, and other platforms changed the way media content is promoted and consumed. Now everyone can be a publisher. Bloggers (as well as vloggers and podcasters) build their personal brands often becoming one-man media, yet their audience is sometimes comparable to some very established traditional media companies.

This transition raised a number of new issues and made some old ones more acute. Amongst the key challenges the media industry is facing nowadays:

  • New business models for media companies and individual content creators. Authors gained independence from large publishers. Such individual authors can now either sell their content to publishers of their choice or bypass them and sell it directly to users
  • Authors depend on publishers less than before, but now they depend on platforms, which can dictate their prices or limit content visibility. In a way, authors dependency on platforms is much higher than their previous dependency on publishers, because authors invest their time and efforts in getting their clients inside a platform, and it creates the vendor lock-in effect
  • Individual and corporate reputations of content creators and media publishers, and their combinations are now structured in a completely new way. Related to that, fake news and unverified information became much quicker to spread

Fake News and Fake Profiles Issue

Fake news is one of the most alarming issues we face as the media go through the painful process of democratization via social media and publishing platforms.

Indeed, just 30 years ago media publishers – newspapers, TV, and radio – controlled the world. They followed certain policies, were in their turn controlled by some groups, and their clients were able to evaluate their reputation.

Everything became different with the emergence of thousands and even millions individual content creators. Some of these authors connect their posts with their real identity, while others prefer staying anonymous. Such authors may launch fake news and establish vast cross-references to each other, creating a feeling of numerous sources while in reality it could be only one original fake source.

Another widespread problem is ‘bot farms’, which create a false sense of public opinion through thousands of seemingly "individual" comments.

It is almost impossible for an inexperienced user to separate lies from truth now. Even respected publishers are not safe any more if they don’t invest in proper fact checking for each and every piece of news, which consumes a lot of resources.

(Re-)Introducing Measurable Reputation

People need a simple indicator of veracity. The unfeigned indicator.

Several projects keep trying to address this issue, but none of them dared to deconstruct the most basic thing: the reputation itself and the mechanics behind it.

We do.

The idea is simple: we will rely on the e-Karma mechanism, which is the basis of trust and transparency established by the Web 3.0 Data Space. You can learn more about it here.

  • reputation of the platform
  • reputation of the author
  • reputation of the content

As any e-Karma, the reputation of any of these elements will be built on millions of comments, likes, follow requests or any other human reactions related to the platform, the author, their content, and even every part of the content. One can comment on a specific paragraph, and then the Linked Data technology will be able to create a cumulative rating for a specific idea discussed in this paragraph, so that some smart platform could figure out a cumulative public opinion on this idea.

Since only authenticated users (with keys/e-passports) will be able to affect e-Karma, the system will roll out gradually.At first, only other authors and professional reviewers and editors will be able to rate content and authors, but quite soon regular users will join the club, as banks, mobile operators and governments will promote the Web 3.0 Data Space to a wider audience.

By the way, ‘authenticated user’ doesn’t mean ‘my real identity is always exposed to everyone’. Users may get any level of anonymity they require. Authors will be able to use pen-names, and these pen-names will be well protected from faking

New Opportunities

Within the Web 3.0 Data Space system, as more and more materials, authors and platforms are fairly rated with e-Karma, we expect a smooth transition from a vague world of uncertainty and fake news to the world with proven reputation of every trusted content provider, both individual and corporate.

In this world, authors will “just publish” their materials instead of posting on a specific platform/media. When published on PODs, materials will be available to public and publishers, on conditions set by authors. These conditions may include monetization. Actually, Web 3.0 unlocks and enhances a number of economic empowerment opportunities and makes several business models possible:

  • Traditional “employment” scheme won’t disappear: established media can still buy content from journalists and re-publish it
  • Individual media influencers will access a much wider audience, as their content will be available on a large number of post-platforms simultaneously, which will allow authors to generate additional revenue from advertisers
  • Some new post-platforms will also allow to automate and optimize all interactions with advertisers, leading to further revenue increase for influencers

In general, content creators will gain more power over platforms and publishers. For example, it will become risky for a platform to ban a popular author, as readers will go away and access content through other platforms, it will get negative reactions from unhappy authors and their readers, and its e-Karma will decrease.

Besides economic inclusion and e-Karma, more positive effects will emerge, such as:

Persistent IDs

Every author, media, or article will have its own unique and unchangeable ID (we call it a Persistent ID), similar to DOI, but free and open. What goes far beyond DOI, any platform will be able to count all links from all materials (video, articles, music tracks) to a specific item, thus providing authors with a 100% complete statistics of usage and references to their content. In this world information will never be lost. Digital content will become as solid as physical objects.

Investigation platforms

As all data will be well preserved, with persistent IDs and authenticated authors, we expect investigation platforms to emerge and to provide due diligence on all kinds of potential frauds.

Linked Data-based AI services

With most or all the content stored in Linked Data formats, it will become much easier to analyse and to transform it. With billions of verified content elements on PODs, AI will be able to derive very non-trivial conclusions and ideas. This reliable Big Data will also allow AI solutions to seamlessly create a comprehensive digest on any topic whatsoever, based on thousands of text, sound, image, and video sources, just in a fraction of a second.

We believe that the Web 3.0 Data Space architecture will provide a trusted ecosystem allowing authors to work without depending on any large corporations, and at the same time it will contribute to the empowerment of humanity and of every individual.

The old system was perfect for the world of paper and established publishers. Now we have to introduce reliable reputation and content-analysis mechanics to the new digital reality