Whitepaper

Flic's Whitepaper

Abstract

A peer-to-peer mutable version of social media would allow users to create custom social communities without needing to create fully custom software, procure web-hosting, go through app approval procesees, or rely solely on the user-moat they drive. A decentralized social platform provides the solution to a trusted third party who has sole access to create and approve updates to the platform created.

We propose a solution using a decentralized social application.
The base-layer allows the creation of custom no-code communities from a bank of plugins and mods avalible from the community, with no limits to what a developer could code in on top of the mutable base-layer.

Introduction

Today, social media is more centralized then the financial industry was prior to the creation of Bitcoin. A handful of private companies effectively control public discourse, and earn monopoly profits off from content that they don’t create. Meanwhile, the creators who actually produce this content are underpaid and under-monetized thanks to an outdated ads-driven business model. In addition to all of this, the ads-driven business model also forces social media companies to keep a walled garden around content created on their platforms, preventing external developers from innovating or building apps on top of it, and giving users and creators no choice but to continue using apps that they have no ownership in and cannot build on top of.

Most social platforms today also track user activity, hide and wall off the algorithm that they build from the activity, and allow the user no goverance over it. This means as a person grows and adapts they lack an ability to change their algorithm to curate content that is aligned with who they are becoming, or who they want to become. We believe giving users the ability of choice over their algorithm means more developing a more positive relationship between the user and the platform. While these hidden algorithms are often very powerful and addictive to the user, they lack any user input. As we understand our human relationships to need to be mutable and work over compromises and change with us as we grow, we want to give users back the ability to decide what they want to see. While this may not provide as addicting of content, it develops a positive rather than a toxic relationship between the user and algorithm which is built to last for the long term. Currently the solution requires setting time-limits for ourselves or deleting the apps all-together with an inability to change when a user realizes that a relationship has become toxic to their well-being. As we move into an age of understanding the importance of the food we put into our bodies, we are now becoming aware that the content we consume to be just as important to our mental health.

Goverance

Currently only the central companies have access to making new platform features, only these companies can curate competitive feeds, only these companies can build competitive new features, communities, and push their own ways to monetize this content– content that isn’t even created by these companies in the first place. We saw one such exmaple of this with Instagram replacing the acitivity button on its platform with a SHOP tab. While this may generate more revenue for the social media conglomerate is was not a request by its userbase and over-time will hurt the platforms relationship with its users. Platforms also do not currently provide support for creators and brands to work together. This forces creators to do third party deals outside of the platform often causing legal headaches between brands and creators when deliverables are not met. We are solving this by using smart contracts between the representative brand and creator. This provides a simple automatic framework that is clear for both sides, allowing approval of the requested content before posting, and ensuring deliverables and funds exchange automatically.

There’s value in combining all of the content into a single pool, since it allows for curation and discovery at a global scale, but the platforms built before the age of web3 fails to create a solution that allows creators to diverge from the central pool and create their own communities and ecosystems. A solution would arise if a web3 platform gave the creators on the platform an ability to spin off their own custom communities/apps with their own rules.

We firmly believe all of these problems can be solved by decentralizing social media in the same way Bitcoin and Ethereum are decentralizing the financial system. Bitcoin and Ethereum have shown that dominant platforms can be built around open code and open data. Bitcoin and Ethereum don’t have data moats to protect. In fact, the more open they are and the more people that build on top of them, the more value accrues to Bitcoin and Ethereum holders. This open model for software is already disrupting financial institutions all over the world, from banks to exchanges, and we think, for the first time, this model can be extended to disrupt the social media giants. We believe we can create an economy of scale around a new platform that is powerful enough to rival, and ultimately surpass, what the traditional social media giants have created.

Open Access

By storing all of the code and data on a publicly accessible blockchain and building an open source no-code social creation tool, we make it simple for anyone to curate a social media experience that’s competitive with the existing incumbents. With just one engineer there can be no boundaries to the platform they create. It cannot be overstated the extent to which this lowers the barrier to entry for creating new social media products. It becomes possible for existing publishers to trivially spin up social apps and experiences as direct adjacencies to their core business, and allows startups to innovate on a relatively even footing with megacorps for the first time. Compare this to today where building a competitive social app generally requires building a hundred million-user data moat first.

While an entirely decentralized ecosystem is possible via a decentralized protocol, in order to access the majority of users and utilize native IOS technologies the base layer following Apple’s store regulations is required.

Restrictions:

Below is the regulations provided by Apples Review Guidelines Page:
1.2 User-Generated Content
Apps with user-generated content present particular challenges, ranging from intellectual property infringement to anonymous bullying. To prevent abuse, apps with user-generated content or social networking services must include:

– A method for filtering objectionable material from being posted to the app
– A mechanism to report offensive content and timely responses to concerns
– The ability to block abusive users from the service
– Published contact information so users can easily reach you
– Apps with user-generated content or services that end up being used primarily for pornographic content, Chatroulette-style experiences, objectification of real people (e.g. “hot-or-not” voting), making physical threats, or bullying do not belong on the App Store and may be removed without notice. If your app includes user-generated content from a web-based service, it may display incidental mature “NSFW” content, provided that the content is hidden by default and only displayed when the user turns it on via your website.

The token holders not only serves as governance of the base layer, but proof that changes are made only in accordance with the democratic system of token holders. As long as a majority of Tokens is controlled by entities that are not cooperating to attack the platform, the total of the platform will be in control of the system.

Real-World Examples

Reddit is one such example of a company who gave any user the ability to spin up an online community.

That interconnectedness is what makes Reddit great, but for the system to work, each community has to conform to the one-size-fits-all mold of a subreddit. One size fits all, but it doesn’t fit anyone particularly well. That creates unbundling opportunities. With reddit being an early internet company built before the smartphone they have lacklusterly attempted to integrate video into their platform to provide a truly engaging mobile experience. With a majority of global internet traffic coming through the phones, a majority of phone usage being on social apps, and 6/10 of the top apps downloaded in Q2 of 2021 being video focused its obvious that mobile video is the future of social.

At Flic, we aim to be the harbinger of this web3 social revolution and pledge to create an open-source social builder on top of our platform for others to build off of.