How hard can it be to beat Twitter and YouTube?
Twitter and YouTube represent two pillars of the internet, where hundreds of millions of users spend their time each day. The two platforms have something else in common: they’ve been plagued with privacy issues and other controversies over the last decade. In direct response, the European Union plans to throw its hat into the social media ring, with plans to launch a service of its own.
Specifically, the European Data Protection Supervisor is launching two social media services: EU Voice and EU Video. Both services are based on ActivityPub’s open-source social media standard, so it’s not exactly like EU world leaders are directly coding a new social network. Instead, they are joining the likes of Mastodon and PeerTube. Despite the announcement from the EDPS, this initiative has been in the works since at least February, judging by the earliest toots the agency has made on its server. Likewise, the oldest videos on its PeerTube server are over a month old.
The EU has been butting heads with US technology companies over the past decade. The move to federated social media platforms reduces its digital dependence on American companies for having an online presence. It’s also in line with the EU’s values of protecting user data and privacy.
It’s impossible to say whether this will actually affect the social media scene in Europe, but given the relative size between Twitter and YouTube on one side and Mastodon and PeerTube on the other, it’s not likely. And given that EU institutions participating in this pilot program continue to have accounts on YouTube and Twitter, they aren’t exactly encouraging anyone to switch platforms.
YouTube’s messing with likes, and we can’t hit dislike hard enough
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