The Decentralized Web

The ISIS flag next to symbols of Twitter and Facebook

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In this digital age, internet in the U.S. is arguably a human right. It’s essential for everyday communication, networking, knowledge consumption, impulse buying, and navigation–among everything else us humans need.

But what about the rest of the world? It can be striking to think about what the internet means to people internationally. To some, it’s the only way to protest against a tyrannizing government. It’s a way for groups to come together, to console each other, to brainstorm a resistance, and to get the rest of the world to hear and listen to them.

Take Ethiopia for example. The country shut down the entire nation’s internet as a form of punishment due to rioting.


Concurrently, in some developing countries, terrorist organizations use online platforms to promote radical ideology, strategy, and domination.Image result for isis propaganda

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This past December, mainstream operators Facebook, Twitter and Telegram cracked down on ISIS. The radicals specifically dominated Telegram with thousands of accounts, before they were all deleted.

ZeroNet logo

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Now, ISIS turns to the “decentralized web” for their communication, with platforms such as RocketChat and ZeroNet. Since the developers of these platforms have “no way of acting against content that is stored on user-operated servers or dispersed across the user community”, ISIS is free to utilize these networks (“ISIS is using new social media sites,” Harley).

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The decentralized web is a hybrid way of using the internet that gives users the ability keep their date safe, without the risk of it being distributed to media corporations to be sold to other parties. In a sense, this empowering form of internet was birthed from the era of scandals involving media conglomerates stealing information without proper consent of the user.

Though, RocketChat offers ISIS limited reach, with only a reach to the 1,000 people who have registered profiles. That being said, some ISIS members still attempt to navigate Telegram.

ISIS media operatives see the banning their accounts as an opportunity to explore other forms of the decentralized web.web 3.0 examples

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This piece, and searching through definitions of the online web, had me thinking of the next generation of web browsing. As history shows, the internet has had astronomical expansion these past couple decades. And of course it must continue to evolve, even if it’s the demise of all things virtual.

I ponder what the presence of decentralized web will grow to be, and if it will become commonly used by not only these select groups, but by average citizens. Or it may be the beginning of something utterly dangerous to mankind.

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The Fourth Branch of Govt.

Social media finds its place beside the legislative, executive and judicial branch as its own entity. Douglas McKinnon, a contributor to the opinion section of The Hill, classifies social media as a big player in influencing the government, considering our ever-expanding digital-dominated era.


With platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, accounting for billions of active users, the users’ political influence does not go unnoticed. When users comment, post and share, they are transferring information. And in an era where online users are so heavily involved in politics, the content being circulated is often related to some type of societal issue politicians are ignoring, or it’s used as means to expose a problematic member of government. If these posts gain enough traction, they’re bound to be seen, interacted with and even influence the politicians being discussed.

social media and politics

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McKinnon theorizes that there are two driving forces as to why politicians are so heavily affected by social media: to defend and secure their own reputation in fear of criticism and to be liked by their fellows, CEOs and other societal members of high status and power.

And this is easily evident when exploring the social media outlets of politicians. An obvious example is President Trump’s continuous bullying tweets at any opposition to his ego.

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Unsurprisingly, this tweet was sent this morning. It’s unsurprising because Trump rolls out ridiculing sentiments in an attempt to bully other people on the daily. But even on a smaller scale, we find politicians caving into lashing out at their counterparts online. It’s so prevalent that recently, Nancy Pelosi addressed liberal democrats in a closed-door meeting to refrain from using the aforementioned platforms to express grievances with other parties’ beliefs.


But what’s alarming is its existing impact on real world policy and legislation. Though sometimes, good change can transpire online. Social movements such as Black Lives Matter and the Me Too movement has ignited a massive amount of societal awareness and progress, by gaining global coverage on the reality of police brutality and exposing the surplus of Hollywood sex offenders.

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However, with the online trolls, instigators and criticizers alike, it’s not hard to believe comments from these particular individuals have potential to influence government officials and the choices they make.  Think about how social media can fuel us to make decisions: whether good, bad or simply impulsive, who is to stay our leaders are not swayed just the same?