MeWe will integrate with the Frequency blockchain network, a Polkadot parachain, according to an announcement made at Consensus 2023 on April 26.
This quarter, the company will begin migrating user accounts to the new network, according to the announcement.
MeWe was introduced in 2012 and marketed as a “Facebook alternative” with purportedly enhanced privacy protections.
In September, Axios reported that the network had more than 20 million users. In November, Frequency was introduced as a Polkadot parachain.
At a Consensus 2023 panel titled “Laying Web3’s Foundation With Decentralized Social Networks and Data Rights,” MeWe CEO Jeffrey Edell stated that the move will enable MeWe to make a permanent commitment to user data ownership:
“Blockchain is like doubling down on privacy. So now you’re allowing the technology to do what companies promise […] Someday MeWe could get acquired by someone, a big company, and in that instance, the privacy aspects could be lost, but once we commit to the blockchain, we’re committing to that privacy side.”
“We never surveilled, we never amplified bad news or misinformation; that’s just not something we do, so we’re very logically set up to move into the Web3 world,” he said, adding, “We have to sort of march into that slowly and prudently but with full commitment.”
Woodham worked on the Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (DSNP) as part of Frank McCourt’s Project Liberty, according to the announcement. In June 2021, McCourt allocated $100 million to this initiative.
Frequency’s first technical contributor was Amplica Labs. Its president, Braxton Woodham, who also participated in the panel, emphasized that the partnership between Frequency and MeWe will not immediately resolve all social media problems.
Nevertheless, he asserted that it would provide a fundamental framework that app developers could use to solve a variety of problems in the future.
“Social networks involve a variety of problems, ranging from the user experience to moderation to AI algorithms for curation,” he said, explaining that “it’s virtually impossible to solve all problems at once, so the approach we’ve taken is to link our digital presence on the web to create the social web.” This enables us to target the data layer and tackle these challenging problems.