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Twitter to fund a ‘decentralised standard’ for social media

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will be funding a new research team that will develop an “open and decentralised standard for social media”. This will be to evolve the current social media scene into an email-like one where users from different networks can communicate with each other – no matter the platform of their choice.

Dorsey added in his tweets that this would help users to control how networks recommend content to them rather than “algorithms directing one’s attention”. Moreover, it would also allow social networks to have better control over abuse and hate speeches. He added that there is much work to be done but “[Twitter] would like this team to either find an existing decentralised standard they can help move forward, or failing that, create one from scratch.”

“ That’s the only direction we at Twitter, Inc will provide,” he added.

The CEO said that this will be in return a positive outcome for Twitter, as it will allow the platform to access and contribute to a much larger corpus of public conversation, focus its efforts on building open recommendation algorithms which promote healthy conversation, and will “force” it to be more innovative than in the past.

“There are many challenges to make this work that Twitter would feel right becoming a client of this standard. Which is why the work must be done transparently in the open, not owned by any single private corporation, furthering the open and decentralised principles of the internet. We’d expect this team not only to develop a decentralised standard for social media, but to also build open community around it, inclusive of companies and organisations, researchers, civil society leaders, all who are thinking deeply about the consequences, positive and negative,” he added.

Meanwhile, according to an article on CNBC, there are already social media platforms that have a decentralised framework. What Twitter has however is scale being home to over 300 million users said the article.

Dorsey has spoken up about misinformation in the Twitterverse some times before. Most recently, he subtly called out Facebook for “working hard” to avoid spreading of misleading information, but ultimately continuing to allow political ads. This came shortly after Twitter removed political advertising globally. Dorsey said political message reach should be earned and not bought, and continued to explain the company’s move.

“A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimised and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money,” he added.

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