New from @jack: Twitter is assembling a small team of researchers to develop an “open and decentralized standard for social media.” Company CTO Parag Agrawal has been tapped as the person whose job it is to tap a leader for the project, who will then tap up to five people to work on the project, which is lamely called Bluesky. Here it is in @jack’s own words:
“Twitter is funding a small independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers, and designers to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media. The goal is for Twitter to ultimately be a client of this standard.
“Twitter was so open early on that many saw its potential to be a decentralized internet standard, like SMTP (email protocol). For a variety of reasons, all reasonable at the time, we took a different path and increasingly centralized Twitter. But a lot’s changed over the years…
“First, we’re facing entirely new challenges centralized solutions are struggling to meet. For instance, 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.
“Second, the value of social media is shifting away from content hosting and removal, and towards recommendation algorithms directing one’s attention. Unfortunately, these algorithms are typically proprietary, and one can’t choose or build alternatives. Yet.
“Third, existing social media incentives frequently lead to attention being focused on content and conversation that sparks controversy and outrage, rather than conversation which informs and promotes health.
“Finally, new technologies have emerged to make a decentralized approach more viable. Blockchain points to a series of decentralized solutions for open and durable hosting, governance, and even monetization. Much work to be done, but the fundamentals are there.”
There’s more, but all this copy and pasting is giving me carpal tunnel.
Anyway, as The Verge reports Jack’s BIG announcement is pretty small beer in the eyes of folks who are already developing decentralized networks.
“I hear Twitter wants to invest in creating a new decentralized social media protocol,” tweeted developer Darius Kazemi. “Meanwhile a bunch of us are out here already doing the hard work.”
“The hilarious thing is that they could take their budget for this initiative, slash it by 90%, distribute the remaining 10% to like 2 dozen Patreons, and thereby do approximately 1000% more to create a viable decentralized social media standard and implementations.”