Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The New Social Media

Image Courtesy of Russia Today

Below is the transcript of an email interview I did with the founders of the new social media site

1. What is Minds? How did it come to be a reality?
Minds is a free, open-source and encrypted social networking platform. It rewards users with viral reach and is powered by the people via voting. It came into existence out of the glaring need for a top social network that respects the freedom and privacy of humanity as well as empowering users with reach and other rewards (coming soon). 
2. How does Minds differ from mainstream social media sites? What are some of the goals of the website?
The free, open-source software, encryption, and reward system are all key differentiators. All other 'alternative' social networks are missing at least one of those pieces. We are making freedom and privacy EASY which is key because it seems too complicated for most people. The mass appeal though is coming because people's voices are being heard. You earn points for various actions on the app and can then use those points to directly boost your content to totally new audiences. For example if you earn 100 points you currently get 100 views. This rate will fluctuate over time due to market forces. You can also exchange points for shares with other users.  We will never manipulate newsfeed algorithms and limit reach like other networks do. 
3. Given the fact that government surveillance of social media is so all-encompassing, do you think that eventually the governments of the world will be able to crack Minds of infiltrate it?
The fact that we are allowing the global security community to peer review our encryption code is the best anyone can do to battle unwanted hackers. Most companies claiming encryption have proprietary code meaning they actually cannot prove that they don't have backdoors into the system. Because we will be allowing anyone access to the source code, the proof is in the pudding and the most advanced encryption protocols known to mankind will be used. It isn't perfect now and will evolve over time to become ever better. We already have great participation from the world helping us find bugs and vulnerabilities which have already been fixed. This is the beta phase and still very early. Patience is important! It's possible certain agencies have cracked various encryptions, but that isn't proven yet, and either way we have to continue to work to make encryption better. 
4. What is the website's connection, if any, to the hacker collective Anonymous?
Anonymous is a decentralized movement of Internet freedom activist and programmers. There are whitehats, grayhats and blackhats. Various sub groups of the greater movement made calls to action to inspire people to collaborate on Minds and it happened. is run by a team of public individuals who are actually not anonymous. We are known. That being said we welcome support and development from all ethical hackers around the world, but we never claimed all of Anonymous supported us. Many do. Many don't.
5. Minds is free and open-source. What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of being an open-source site?
We don't see any disadvantages to being composed of free software. We think the free and open source movement is destined to take over the web. 
6. Do you think that Minds will be able to build up and be a serious contender with major social media sites like Facebook?
We hope so!

7. Minds is organized in such a manner that users interact with posts and are given points to promote their own posts. How was this thought up and why was it implemented?

This was thought up as a direct response to the proprietary and manipulative algorithms on top networks in the world which limit visibility and rank what they want over what the users may want.

8. How can be support Minds and contribute financially or otherwise to it?

The best way for people to support us now is to spread the word, inspire signups and BOOST your posts, especially the paid version. Users are able to both earn and buy points. We love both but obviously it's a huge financial help if people are willing to purchase them. We are initiating bounty programs soon for finding bugs and doing various other moderation tasks on the site so stay tuned for that. 

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