EDPS decentralised social media pilot: the end of a successful story


INSIGHT
Published
Apr 26th '24
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Two years ago, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) embarked on a pioneering journey to launch two social media platformsEU Voice and EU Video. The pilot project has proved successful in delivering alternative, privacy-friendly and user-focused social media platforms. It is time to review the results.

 

On 28 April 2022, the European Data Protection Supervisor launched a pilot project featuring two social media platforms: EU Voice and EU Video. The two platforms are part of the free, open-source and decentralised social media networks, based on Mastodon and PeerTube. Over the past two years, EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies (EUIs) had the opportunity to create accounts on the platforms and connect with users registered in the Fediverse, an online network of platforms and services interconnected with each other, including social media platforms.

 

Initially due to run for one year, the pilot project of EU Voice and EU Video was extended for a second year, due to its success amongst EUIs and its users. By the end of the pilot project, EU Voice hosted 40 institutional accounts, including EU Commissioners and Members of the European Parliament, and EU Video hosted 6 accounts, making EUIs the largest group of public bodies present on the Fediverse globally.

 

Wojciech Wiewiórowski, EDPS, said: “The EDPS pilot project of EU Voice and EU Video has proved that public bodies, like EUIs, can offer social media platforms that respect individuals’ fundamental rights as alternatives to common platforms owned by a handful of big players. I am proud of the success of this project, especially considering the limited resources at our disposal. Unfortunately, despite our efforts to find a new home for EU Voice and EU Video in other EUIs, we have been unable to secure new ownership to maintain the servers and sustain operations at the high standards that EUIs and our users deserve”.

 

The EDPS’ pilot project of EU Voice and EU Video proves that community-driven and decentralised social media platforms may prioritise users’ fundamental rights to privacy and personal data, and foster the EU’s digital sovereignty. Thus, these platforms are possible tangible and viable alternatives to commonly-used social media platforms. While this two-year pilot project presented challenges to secure continued support and dedicated resources, its legacy serves as a testament that collaborative efforts, and solutions to shape a safer digital future for the EU are possible.

 

The EDPS will facilitate the required migration of EUIs who wish to keep their accounts active in the Fediverse, by providing the necessary support to ensure a smooth transition to other platforms. EU Voice and EU Video will be officially closed on 18 May 2024.

 

Following the success of this pilot project, the EDPS remains committed to exploring innovative solutions that empower both public bodies and citizens in the digital sphere.

 

Source: EDPS

 

Background information

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) is the independent supervisory authority for the protection of personal data and privacy and promoting good practice in the EU institutions and bodies.
The EDPS’ tasks include:

  • monitoring the EU administration’s processing of personal data;
  • monitoring and advising technological developments on policies and legislation that affect privacy and personal data protection;
  • carrying out investigations, including in the form of data protection audits/inspections;
  • cooperating with other supervisory authorities to ensure consistency in the protection of personal

 

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