Taringa! seeks to become the first social network based on Blockchain technology; oldest and most popular social network wants to develop its own digital currency and decentralize decision-making.
It is one of the most popular and oldest social networks: Taringa! has 14 million unique users, only from Argentina. The community was born in 2004 and has been expanding for 15 years; in an infinite number of groups and channels integrated by users who basically share interests.
Now, with the help of its directors (and after having been acquitted of a copyright cause), it is beginning to take the first steps towards a new radical change: they want, in 5 years; to be the first social network in the world based on the concept -economic and philosophical- known as “Blockchain”. As Matías Botbol, one of the founders of Taringa, told PROFILE; “The statistics of the consulting firm Comscore showed that we are the second most visited social network in Argentina and the third in Latin America. Maybe we’re not too worried because those rankings vary. What is certain is that, of the networks made in Latin America, we are the biggest.
The first social network in the world
They want, in 5 years, to be the first social network in the world based on the concept -economic and philosophical- known as “Blockchain”. For Botbol, current CEO, Taringa! shows a notable difference with other social networks: Therefore “Our characteristic is to have communities with similar interests. Your users interact, create and share content; regardless of whether they are friends or acquaintances.
The key is that they share tastes. According to your data, the most “popular” niches on the net are four: those dealing with technology, recipes, current news -including football and politics´´; and the Do-It-Yourself´´ Tutorials and tips sector. Therefore One of the big problems that today threaten the development of the web is that of the trolls and haters who usually have discussions and insults against any opinion.
“We wanted our digital space to be quiet and apt for everyone. And then we developed Artificial Intelligence algorithms capable of automatically moderating both the new images and the comments that are published,” said Botbol. “In less than a minute the photos are classified as ‘Suitable for all’, ‘Sensitive’ or ‘Forbidden’ and we have a low error rate. But the most radical solution was faced in the moderation of insults.
If the system identifies an aggressive comment, it does not eliminate it: it can only be seen by the person who published it and the addressee, who -in turn- can delete it, leave it or open it to everyone. “In this way we can discourage the quarrels and accusations typical of opinion forums without moderation. And we don’t do prior censorship either. Therefore, this idea was even put together as a service to offer technology to other sites that are interested in lowering the level of “hatred” that usually nests in networks.
If the system identifies an aggressive comment, it does not eliminate it: it can only be seen by the person who published it and the addressee, who -in turn- can delete it, leave it or open it to all Autonomy. Although the site was redesigned in channels a few weeks ago and now works with thematic sections whose contents are provided by users; the people responsible for Taringa! are already planning the next transformation. Therefore “We want that, in 5 years, our network can be decentralized and managed through Blockchain’s technology; the new paradigm in the Internet”.
“For that, the first step is to develop a Taringa-Coin; a digital currency of its own that can be used within the platform for different transactions: “from rewarding a publication to distributing profits; or offering exclusive features to users. It can also be used in donation campaigns. And it will be a currency that can somehow be exchanged for real-world money.
That controls Taring
This system will enable all participants to interact economically; from a moderator to a content creator or service provider. But the idea goes further: “We think about it so that decisions can be decentralized and distributed. So that, in the medium term, we can stop being a structure that controls Taringa! in a hierarchical way and let users take all decisions and govern themselves.
According to Botbol; the ultimate goal is to bring this network to “Such autonomy that, if we founders leave it, the community itself will continue to make it work. That it can grow by itself, in a self-regulated way. We seek to build a fairer, distributed model in which everyone can win and decide based on their contributions.
According to Botbol, the final objective is to bring this network to “an autonomy such that, if the founders leave it, the community itself will continue to make it work. In 2009 a group of publishers (Astrea, La Ley, Rubinzal; Ediciones de la Flor and Magenta) initiated a criminal lawsuit against Taringa! for infringement of Intellectual Property Law 11.723 due to protected legal works shared by Taringa! users in this virtual community. Last December, after nine years, the Oral Tribunal 26 acquitted the three founders of the company: the brothers Matías and Hernán Botbol and Alberto Nakayama.
“We developed and gave them tools so that anyone affected by a copyright; issue could remove protected materials, which were published by users. But we couldn’t do a prior censorship; which was what they wanted,” recalled Matías Botbol. The CEO of Taringa! assured that they plan to file a civil suit for damages against Magenta; (the only company that followed the lawsuit to the end). “We never wanted to close the matter with a probation.
For us it was a matter of principle and we wanted to defend the freedom to publish on the internet, which is key. Of course, in the media we were very affected to our growth: the pending lawsuit kept us away from advertising advertisers; and also possible investors of Taringa! because it was never clear if we were a legal or illegal site”.