Twitter plans 'decentralized standard' for social networks

December 12, 2019 12:23
Blockchain technology could provide a model for decentralizing content hosting, oversight and even monetization of social media, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says. Photo: Reuters

Twitter plans to set up an independent research group to create an "open and decentralized" system for social networks, CEO Jack Dorsey said on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

The system, or "standard," will not be owned by any single private company, and would enable individuals to use a variety of services to access the same network, just like they choose different email providers to see the same messages, Dorsey was quoted as saying.

"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," Dorsey tweeted.

He said the new approach will also allow Twitter to “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.”

The idea, as outlined in articles Dorsey shared, is that developers could use their own algorithms to offer like-minded individuals targeted access to the same social media networks.

For instance, an individual could sign up with a provider that would aggressively filter out racist material, or another that would promote conversations over other types of content.

Twitter will fund the project, which will take many years to complete, but will not direct it, Dorsey said.

Parag Agrawal, Twitter's chief technology officer, will be in charge of hiring a lead for the research team, called BlueSky, the CEO said.

In other comments, the Twitter boss suggested that blockchain technology might provide a model for decentralizing content hosting, oversight and even monetization of social media.

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