European Cultural Backbone 2.0

ECB 2.0 is an initiative to build a federated platform for European civil society media and content producers. Launched by developers, archivists and community media providers, we aim to connect communities across Europe by developing a sustainable and self-managed alternative to centralized commercial services for the publishing and preservation of non-commercial audiovisual content.

ECB 2.0 is an initiative of Cultural Broadcasting Archive (A), freie-radios.net, the development collective arso.xyz, nearfm.ir and the Community Radio Platform in Barcelona, https://xrcb.cat/en/qui-som/. We are also in discourse with Wikidata and the Chaos Computer Club.

What
ECB 2.0 aims to foster collaboration between non-profit media outlets, independent content producers, journalists, archives, researchers and technologists across Europe. This includes possible collaborations with public service media and Open GLAM initiatives.
At its core, ECB 2.0 aims to develop a European open source technical infrastructure for a network of interconnected, resilient content platforms for communication, media exchange and publication in European civil society.
We aim to empower and connect producers and consumers through a shared digital public sphere for European civil society media – democratic, free, open and accessible.

Why
The founding consortium comes from the non-profit media sector and is composed of a wide range of technologists and content producers with long roots in European civil societies.
We seek to provide a technological foundation for the longstanding desire to use the Internet as an open space, with a shared commitment to the open and collaborative sharing of knowledge and art. Big tech and commercial platforms cannot adequately meet these needs, as their business model often conflicts with the equally important values of data sovereignty, privacy, and self-determined governance. ECB 2.0 will create a self-governing public, open sphere for European civil society, providing a much-needed alternative to existing platforms controlled by for-profit companies.
While commercial providers invest billions in their digital strategies and technologies, technologists in independent outlets have long struggled to keep up with advances in media technologies. It’s time for a resilient, self-managed infrastructure for the media technology future of European civil society.

How
As a decentralized network of interconnected platforms, ECB 2.0 will be resilient to single points of failure.
ECB 2.0 integrates novel recommendation, search, and moderation approaches, as well as ongoing research on fair artificial intelligence algorithms.
Intelligent cross-network recommendations and public indexes will enable individual communities to extend their reach through shared nodes and databases. Through secure, decentralized software tools, we aim to enable existing trust networks in civil society to expand into the digital realm.
ECB 2.0 will provide recommendation and moderation tools that should be controlled by self-determined governance structures, not by maximizing the advertising value of a platform or the sale value of user data. Moderation can be delegated and discussed in a bottom-up process, empowering communities and networks to create a self-determined publishing space.
By encoding existing networks into distributed platforms with shared nodes, we create an efficient and secure way to share content between collaborators and like-minded communities.

Project Plan
Develop an open source toolset that creates an interconnected network of ECB nodes that import and link existing European non-profit media platforms. Each node is a repository of metadata for publicly available media files. The nodes are designed to exchange data with each other through a secure exchange network built on trust networks between nodes. Each node provides an API for integration with existing infrastructure.
Develop an intelligent recommendation and categorization framework to be used by ECB nodes. Nodes provide a search index for any number of connected nodes. Nodes can use Open Audio Search to provide audiovisual content for full-text search and automatic categorization.
ECB plans to build a trust-based moderation system that ensures free speech while trying to prevent hate speech. We are considering using social trust networks to delegate moderation responsibilities between groups and connected nodes.
Integrating ECB into existing content platforms managed by the original partner organization in the consortium. Establish a cross-outlet recommendation system. Support for partner buy-in. Integration with internal tools and websites.
Collaboration on business models / monetization for civic media creators and developers.
In spring, a grant was approved by the European Cultural Foundation for ECB 2.0, this will allow the development of a tool for replication of metadata and integration with a search algorithm to connect platforms.

This project is not directly related to the European Cultural Backbone project of the early 2000s, although it is also in the tradition of bottom-up initiatives that creatively use and develop participatory media for social change, see http://future-nonstop.org/c/aa3bef1b67f222cdb298dc3be518eb84.

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