What is DSNP?

DSNP stands for Decentralized Social Networking Protocol, which is an open protocol and potential standard for social media. It is not owned or controlled by any one person or company, allowing anyone to build on it or use it.

What is an open protocol?

An open protocol is a well-defined way of doing things that is used to make it easier to work together. The reason you can plug any kind of appliance in your country into any socket in your house is that there is an underlying standard that defines how these things work. An official/government group got together and defined the standard for electrical power in your country. Open protocols are like standards except anyone can contribute to them and they are often not enforced by law. Protocols may eventually become more formalized as standards.

Why don’t people have choice or awareness of how their data is used on current social media platforms?

Most social media platforms don’t cost people money, but that doesn’t mean these social media platforms are free. Most social media platforms make money by collecting vast amounts of data about each customer such as their age, sex and location. This data is often packaged and sold to other companies, and it is used to target ads for each customer across not only the social media app but other apps and websites used by that individual. How and why this data is used is mostly unclear to users, and this data may be used even after they choose to leave a social media platform.

What is a social graph?

In a social media platform, your social graph represents all of the connections and relationships you have on that platform. This would include those people and channels you follow as well as your followers and any friends you have on the platform. As you spend time on a social media platform, this web of relationships becomes a very important part of your user experience and the value you get from being a member.

How can users get trapped on a social media platform?

Currently social media is dominated by a few companies and platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube and TikTok. Users may choose among these companies and platforms to decide where they wish to connect with other people and share their content. And if users have friends on multiple social media platforms, they have to recreate their relationships on each one. And once a customer chooses a platform, they cannot move their friends or their content to another platform. They are essentially stuck there. If you choose to leave a platform or are kicked off a platform, you leave all of your relationships and content behind.

Why are DSNP users no longer trapped?

Traditional social media platforms work somewhat like mobile phone companies used to work. Initially, when you signed up with a cell phone company and got a number, you could not bring your cell phone number with you when you switched to another cell phone company. This meant if you wanted to change to a different cell phone company you had to leave your old number behind and call everyone you know to tell them your new number. Now, regulations in most countries ensure you can take your mobile phone number with you from provider to provider. In a similar way, users on the DSNP platform will be able to take their relationships (called their social graph) and their content with them from one DSNP application to another. This allows users to have a choice about their social media beyond the “like it or leave it” policy of most current social media platforms.

Where will my data be stored?

Users of DSNP applications have data stored in one or several places. The DSNP specification ensures that important pieces of your social identity do not need to depend on an application provider for storage. Typically, a DSNP application that runs over a blockchain such as Frequency will store a limited amount of data “on chain” which means in the blockchain itself. This data may include your pseudonymous (non-personally identifying) DSNP User Id, the pseudonymous DSNP User Ids of those with whom you have relationships (your social graph), and several types of keys including public keys and control keys (which are used to prove ownership of your data as well as encrypt and decrypt private data). The vast majority of the content you generate (like your posts and shared photos and videos) will be stored on the servers of the applications you choose. You may request that this data no longer be displayed on public sites and be removed entirely from the application servers, and you are free to keep your own backups.

This sounds far-off. When will users benefit from DSNP?

Users are already benefiting from DSNP. Next-gen social network MeWe has used DSNP to effortlessly migrate their social media users from a centralized model to a decentralized social web model while offering future options for choice and for governance. A growing number of organizations, open source projects, and application developers are working now to integrate DSNP’s interoperable identity, social graph, and social media functionality.