Twitter Backs Open-Source Internet Standard

Potentially expanding its reach around the world, Twitter is backing Blusky: an open-source, decentralized internet standard on which it eventually hopes to operate.

“The goal is for Twitter to ultimately be a client of this standard,” CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted on Wednesday.

To advance the effort, Dorsey has committed to paying the salaries of five open-source architects, engineers, and designers.

In addition to developing a decentralized standard for social media, Dorsey said he will expect this team to build open community around it, which will be inclusive of companies and organizations, researchers, and civic leaders.

Regarding his rationale, Dorsey said centralized networks like Twitter are facing more challenges than ever before.

“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,” he explained.

Dorsey said the value of social media is also shifting away from content hosting and removal, and toward recommendation algorithms directing one’s attention.

“Unfortunately, these algorithms are typically proprietary, and one can’t choose or build alternatives,” he said.

Additionally, existing social media incentives frequently lead to attention being focused on content and conversation that incites unhealthy quarreling and controversies.

Finally, new technologies have emerged to make a decentralized approach more viable, according to Dorsey.

In particular, “Blockchain points to a series of decentralized solutions for open and durable hosting, governance, and even monetization,” he pointed out.

As for why the effort makes sense for Twitter, Dorsey believes that it will let the company he co-founded access and contribute to a larger conversation, while focusing its efforts on building open recommendation algorithms, which have the potential to promote healthier conversations.
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