Published: Thu, December 12, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Jack Dorsey wants to decentralize Twitter

Jack Dorsey wants to decentralize Twitter

Dorsey said the team would not only develop a decentralized standard for social media but also build open community around it, inclusive of companies and organisations, researchers and civil society leaders.

Twitter wants to move its platform onto the blockchain. "For example, OAuth [the open-source secure authorization protocol] 1.0 was an existing standard, and while reviewing it, Twitter found some architectural problems that made it unsuitable for them to use".

Dorsey on Tuesday announced he would fund an independent team of 5 architects, engineers, and designers - dubbed Bluesky - to develop an "open and decentralized standard for social media". The only direction provided is that the team should find an existing decentralised standard to develop, or create one from scratch.

Dorsey went on to address new challenges centralized solutions are struggling to meet, specifically saying that "centralized enforcement of global policy to address abuse and misleading information is unlikely to scale over the long-term without placing far too much burden on people". Social media firms have been pilloried relentlessly over the past two-plus year over issues around illegal and harmful content, moderation failures, and the spread of misinformation and propaganda.

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"I think open internet standards serve every person better than ones controlled or started by companies."

"Why is this good for Twitter?"

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The goal is to allow Twitter to access and contribute to a much larger corpus of public conversation, "focus our efforts on building open recommendation algorithms which promote healthy conversation, and will force us to be far more innovative than in the past", Dorsey said in a tweet thread on Wednesday.

The open standard, however, could upend Twitter's business model in the process, giving rise to competitor services that offer filters, content suggestions or other tools that prove more popular with consumers.

Dorsey firmly believes that the new standard should be developed openly and transparently, and should not belong to any single private corporation.

Twitter declined to make Dorsey available for an interview.

Dorsey, who is also CEO of the payments company Square Inc (NYSE: SQ), said that the role of social media has changed from content hosting and removal towards "recommendation algorithms". Apart from the technical elements outlined by Jack today, this is about exploring the fullest and most participatory vision of our service. "We're excited to share more".

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