Problem: Network-level moderation of content on federated networks leads to fragmentation and lower total value for users
Federated networks consist of instances that are voluntarily connected together. The benefit of being connected is that users across the network can interact with one another. On the other hand, above the protocol level there is no universal set of acceptable interactions. Instance administrators can moderate their own users and the content they generate, and they can moderate other instances on their users' behalf.
Content moderation is complicated and time consuming. It is a form of arms race where those who wish to spread their message are pitted against those who wish such messaging would not propagate. An instance can generates high volumes of unwanted content, creating asymmetric load on the moderation abilities of users and administrators across the network. To manage their time, instance operators may terminate connections even though some users on each instance might still obtain value through their interaction.
According to Metcalf's Law, the value of a network grows with the square of the network's size. This means that a single network, such as the one run by Facebook will be much more valuable to users than many separate networks, even if the same number of users were to access each. This is important because users are unlikely to switch to a federated social network that provides less value to them.
As a reference point, Facebook has recently reached $1048.53B. The value for a federated social network is harder to measure. On one hand, improved federation helps migrate users away from commercial environments meaning more time can be spent on substance, entertainment, or human connection. In addition, federated networks enable greater freedom for expression without censorship. Furthermore, users can have direct involvement in the development of features that provide value to them. Though hard to quantify, it's hard to imagine the value of solving this problem being lower than hundreds of billions of dollars globally.
Is this problem described accurately? What about the description above is ambiguous or incorrect? How can we determine the number of users that are connected to the largest federation?