Twitter to "develop an open and decentralized standard for social media"

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey announced today that:

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. (source)

In the thread, he develops his arguments:

  1. New challenges posed to centralized solutions to enforce global policy
  2. Value of social media shifting away from content hosting to attention-directing recommendation algorithms
  3. Social media incentives focusing on “controversy and outrage”
  4. Blockchain!

He mentions a number of sources for inspiration, including Stephen Wolfram on persuasive technologies and an article from August 2019 promoting an approach to build protocols, not platforms that fails to mention ActivityPub or any other existing new such protocols such as Matrix…

Dorsey announced he would be looking for “an existing decentralized standard … or failing that, create one from scratch.” It’s hard to believe he or his team never heard of ActivityPub. It’s good to know they want to go into Blockchain instead of embracing, extending, and extinguishing something they have no control over.

He adds: “This isn’t going to happen overnight. It will take many years to develop a sound, scalable, and usable decentralized standard for social media that paves the path to solving the challenges listed above. Our commitment is to fund this work to that point and beyond.”

The first reply Dorsey received to his self-absorbed rant was, obviously, about ActivityPub:

Adheeth Praveen: There’s ActivityHub Protocol
Why reinvent the wheel

There was no answer yet to this obvious question.

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just updating this thread with Jack’s direct reply to someone.


Looks like AP is on Twitter’s radar 100% now.

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Hey, I’m new to socialhub and activitypub, but have been around otherwise for a while. It seems to me that if its an open source effort then its a good idea to take him at his word and raise issues early. I’m interested in the effort - I tried to do a newbie rfc take on it here, and raise issues of risk/trust/ranking https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wKQBVYfkWNTRvyBZGsNeK_Jcnrr_q2vDbxKYcmm302E/edit#heading=h.cbi5z8yf8zky.

I do some human rights work - raisethevoices.org - and am really concerned with security of people posting on the network, and also making sure that if mastodon or other networks become really popular that they don’t get overrun with paid trolls. And actually in some ways I am afraid decentralization could make that harder, even though its something I support strongly. So trying to grapple with those issues.

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Welcome and Thank you for the doc and posting it here.

First off – raisethevoices.org is awesome :
Please keep it on, let’s raise the voice of the Carteret Islanders
[need to move my stories to ActivityPub soon]

Saw the doc before on social media, in a minute going with 15.000 hackers to ActivityPub at 36C3 – the "!decentral" assembly and fediverse.party and will mention it there.

btw: We can also make posts as “wiki” here (as alternative to g. docs) …