Interview with Bruno Leralu, director and founder of Qwice, a newcomer among social networks. He also joins the reduced club of French and sovereign Social Networks.
Interview with Bruno Leralu about the new French social network Qwice
[Emmanuel M] : Good morning Bruno, thank you for accepting this interview. Could you explain us quickly your background ?
[Bruno Leralu] : My background is in banking/finance and software publishing. More precisely, I have experience in managing large innovative projects within banking groups and in managing IT and banking entities and subsidiaries.
[EM] : How did you come up with the idea of Qwice ?
[BL] : It’s a collegial idea. We are 4 partners.
As long time users of social networks, we have witnessed over the years the different drifts: disinformation, fake news, aggressiveness, harassment, thought bubbles…
We have seen the negative impact of social networks on society and individuals.
Like many, we were indignant:
-of the non-respect of users and their data,
-the way social networks operate, creating an economy of retention that only serves a business model in which the user is a product,
-the visibility given to the buzz and the liked punchlines which reduces the freedom of expression and its diffusion,
-the mechanisms of confrontation generated,
-the absence or ineffectiveness of moderation despite the promises and announcements of social networks.
After a while, tired of waiting for an improvement, we decided to create a social network with a different paradigm.
We then put down everything we expected from social networks and we imagined innovations to build a social network that brings people together and allows them to rediscover the pleasure of sharing, without compromising freedom of expression.
[EM] : What are your specificities, in your approach?
[BL] : Qwice is thus based on a complete protective ecosystem implementing numerous innovations.
It is based on 4 pillars: relevance, level of trust, reputation and moderation.
Relevance: On Qwice, everything you publish can be evaluated in one click by other users: Is it useful? Supported? Or on the contrary aggressive? Deceptive…?
These nuances, more subtle than the simple “Like”, are brought through a dozen criteria, and have an influence on the visibility. The more constructive you are, the more visible you are! Conversely, malicious publications, fake news and harassment do not take off, as the system can block their propagation. The contributions made to a topic are classified according to their relevance evaluated by the community. Discussions naturally gain in nuance, clarity and richness.
The system assigns a level of trust to each user based on the quality of their interactions. This level of trust evolves over time and with user behavior: constructive users will see their level of trust improve, while malicious or inappropriate behavior will lower it.
At any time, everyone is free to choose his or her exchange mode: we define the level of trust of what we want to see, independently of the one attributed to our profile. For example: You can choose to view only the content of the Serenity level to exchange on a sensitive subject that is close to your heart. On the other hand, if you want to have a lively discussion, while accepting more heated controversies, you can opt for a Freestyle exchange mode, which corresponds to the lowest filter. And if the discussion gets heated or if the exchanges get out of hand, you can switch back to serenity mode at any time to protect yourself. This is a very effective protection against outbursts, mass attacks and stalkers, as they can no longer have any impact on the user.
On Qwice, the more constructive you are, the more it shows on your profile, as well as the topics where you are the most active and relevant! The profile presents a summary of the evaluations received and given during the last months. Trolls can no longer hide!
Qwice benefits from a moderation at 2 levels: by the one who launches a topic and by the team of Qwice moderators. It will be assisted by an AI.
The reports are checked by the Qwice moderators, with a system to sanction abusive reports. This protects against the grouped reports that we see on traditional social networks and which aim to silence or exclude accounts.
[EM] : At what stage of the project are you?
[BL] : The alpha version is in operation. A community is growing. This was not expected! One-off testers have taken over the alpha version and made it their daily social network.
The launch of the beta version is planned for April. 3000 users are registered and waiting for the opening.
[EM] : Is Qwice a sovereign solution, in addition to being French ?
[BL] : Yes and it is a strong will.
[EM] : Why is Digital Sovereignty an important issue for you?
[BL] : This is important for several reasons.
On the one hand, to protect users from the extraterritoriality laws applied by foreign companies that may require them to transmit user data to the country of origin. It is important to note that there is a very good collaboration/proximity between these companies and their respective States.
On the other hand, many strategic issues require strict guarantees of independence.
As far as social networks are concerned, we know that they carry the majority of information, and can give rise to or distort it. They intervene in national stability and are an important geopolitical component as the conflict in Ukraine shows. As we say, “he who holds the information holds the world in his hands”.
Finally, digital sovereignty is a central element of national economic development. Digital technology has become essential to most companies, whatever their activities. France cannot be considered as a business territory at the disposal of foreign companies that would benefit from it without contributing to its economy.
Finally, digital sovereignty affects key areas such as health and national defense.
[EM] : Do you think that the fight for Digital Sovereignty is an outdated fight ?
[BL] : On the contrary, it is a current and essential fight.
[EM] : What do you think of the concept of hunting in packs that a certain number of players are trying to put into music? Is it applicable in the case of Social Networks ?
[BL] : I am clearly in favor of hunting in packs.
However, a pack is not just a group of sympathizers constituting a possible lobby. It must implement an effective attack strategy.
1- List the key sectors: 1st and 2nd level
2- Analyze the different areas where it is possible to act. Classify them according to the means to be implemented and the deadlines for completion
3- Analyze the impact of making a given sector sovereign and the impact it would have on other sectors
4 – Weight the 3 previous criteria to determine priorities, a roadmap and common actions to be taken. Indeed, we cannot, for example, ask the State for support in all areas at once.
For example, if we are not up to speed in one area, we can negotiate the temporary use of a foreign offer with technology transfer.
It is necessary to have a “quick wins” approach to drive a wedge into the foreign digital preeminence
[EM] : Do you think that there has been a real awareness of the challenges of digital sovereignty, beyond the speeches ?
[BL] : Not really. But in defense, there is no organized pack with an action plan acting on it. The relationship without an action plan is ineffective.
[EM] : Do you think the “trusted cloud” initiatives are going in the right direction, and can we talk about trust when we build our offer on American scalers ?
[BL] : No, it could go in the right direction if it was temporary with a technology transfer over 3 years for example.
[EM] : In this regard, what is your choice of accommodation ?
[BL] : Qwice is hosted by OVH.
[EM] : In your opinion, are business leaders aware of the economic war being waged on us by the US, and do they understand the risk associated with the use of their digital tools ?
[BL] : Not really, except for those who are directly involved in their main activity.
[EM] : We are coming to the end of this interview, could you give us your final word ?
[BL] : First of all, thank you for this interview. Then I would say to conclude: let’s not wait for a better world, let’s create it!