Decentralized social refers to a social networking system that is based on a decentralized architecture rather than being controlled and governed by a central authority or platform. In a decentralized social network, users have more control over their data, privacy, and the overall governance of the network.

In a traditional social network, such as Facebook or Twitter, all user data and actions are stored and controlled by the central platform. This means that users have limited control over their personal information and how it is used. Additionally, decisions regarding content moderation, algorithmic sorting, and terms of service are dictated by the platform owners.

Decentralized social networks, on the other hand, aim to distribute control and ownership among the network participants. Data is stored in a distributed manner, typically using blockchain or other decentralized technologies, ensuring that no single entity has full control over user data. Users have the ability to decide who can access their data and how it is shared. Furthermore, decisions about content moderation, algorithmic sorting, and governance are made collectively by network participants rather than a central authority.

Decentralized social networks offer several potential advantages, such as increased privacy, data ownership, and transparency. They can also foster more diverse and open communities, as they are not bound by the policies and algorithms set by a central authority. However, there are also challenges associated with decentralized social networks, including scalability, usability, and the potential for abuse and misinformation.

Examples of decentralized social networks include Mastodon, Diaspora, and PeerTube. These platforms aim to create alternative social networking experiences that empower users and prioritize user control and privacy.