Challenging social media giants: BitClout’s rising clout

With BitClout setting the internet abuzz, Patriot takes a look at what the latest social media network is all about

The current social media works on the premise of user generated content, which is centralised i.e. controlled by a central organisation that keeps the content in check, sets limitations and is responsible for maintaining community standards. When it comes to the business model, the content generated by users brings in interactions and generates interest which in turn brings in more and more users. Now the higher the number of users, the better it is for companies that own, run and operate these social networks as it enables them to generate profiles of users enabling targeted advertising. 

Now, at a time when millions of users of are concerned about their data privacy, more so after the stark revelations made in the Netflix docu-drama The Social Dilemma, and governments across the globe are at loggerheads with social media sites for greater control of data, a new site — BitClout — is generating a lot of hype. 

 

What is BitClout?

In simple words BitClout is a social networking site and a crypto investment market, where, instead of companies, users can invest in the reputation of other users. There are two types of crypto assets that can be used in the platform. One is BitClout, a cryptocurrency of the same name and the other is creator coins. Both can be used for value transactions on the site. 

Although still in its infancy, BitClout has generated a lot of buzz, part of which is because of the connection with blockchain technology and partly because it threatens the very basis on which the current social media networks function. 

Being a decentralised network BitClout works on the principles of blockchain, that means it does not reside on dedicated or centralised servers controlled by an organisation.The native cryptocurrency in the platform gives users the ability to invest in creators giving them the opportunity to monetise on the content’s growth. This allows users to divest and invest in content and creators they believe in or see as a viable and profitable investment. The ability to invest enables creators to have greater control over how they interact with their viewers, how they monetize their content and how they view the future of user generated content. 

 

Privacy concerns 

Since its inception BitClout kicked off with preloaded accounts of some 15,000 scrapped Twitter profiles belonging to influencers and celebrities from around the world. This created an uproar with some influential individuals claiming their profiles, while raising red flags over the site creating their profile without their consent. 

Other concerns arise from the lack of accountability which is another point of contention between governments and social media giants. Based on blockchain technology, content on BitClout is largely free from any form of government control. 

In India, this comes at a time when the government is at loggerheads with social media giants over the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The aim behind this law according to the government is the monitoring of harmful content, tracking down the first originator of mischief. Messaging apps are also mandated to enable identification of first originator, if required by an order of the government. 

In this backdrop, the growing interest in BitClout will be a challenge for both the government and the social networking site. 

Questions over reliability

Being a new platform, both for creators and inventors, BitClout is being viewed as somewhat unreliable as of now. However, the backing of major VP’s has lent it some credibility. As of now, closed nature of the platform — users cannot cash out of it — is another aspect that has raised concerns over its nature and viability. 

Further, the anonymity that shrouds the identity of the creators on the platform has raised questions over its reliability. Not to mention the legal warning filed by Brandon Curtis, the product lead for decentralised token exchange, against the alleged creator of BitClout raises serious doubts about its future. 

All in all being the new kid in the block has many people concerned about the future of the platform. And though the platform has its set of problems, users are flocking to it — banking on its promise of a redefined way in which people use and interact with social media networks. 

 

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