It’s time to move away from Twitter and embrace more open social media

Former Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey says it’s time to move away from the ailing social media platform and take a more open and decentralized approach.

As Twitter faces an overhaul under new owner Elon Musk, Dorsey published a 1,200-word post on Tuesday that included both a mea culpa about his failure to improve Twitter and a discourse on alternatives to traditional social media networks represents.

Critics have proposed ideas on how to address social media’s various weaknesses, including combating hate speech and bots while ensuring a free flow of ideas and debate. Dorsey divided In his own view, the ideal social media platform would adhere to three principles:

  1. Social media must stand up to corporate and government scrutiny.
  2. Only the original author may remove content created by him.
  3. Moderation is best implemented through algorithmic selection.

The idea is to create a platform that revolves around user choice when it comes to content moderation, rather than relying on corporations and governments to decide what’s allowed.

Twitter app image

However, Dorsey notes, “Twitter when I ran it and Twitter today do not live up to either of those principles. This is entirely my fault as I gave up promoting them completely when an activist joined our roster in 2020.”

This is a nod to Elliott Management, which acquired a large stake in Twitter nearly three years ago to replace Dorsey with a handpicked executive. Twitter later hit back at those efforts, but Dorsey resigned in late 2021.

“The biggest mistake I made was continuing to invest in building tools that let us manage the public conversation as opposed to building tools for the people who use Twitter to just manage them themselves ‘ says Dorsey.

Free and open protocol

His solution to Twitter’s failings is to essentially replace it. In his post, Dorsey advocates for “a free and open social media protocol, not owned by any single company or group of companies” that can remain resilient to government scrutiny.

As an example, he points to the Internet and e-mail, which work via open technology standards and allow any company to create a website or set up an e-mail server. Dorsey has been working to bring the same approach to social media through a project called BlueSky, but his post also mentions the potential for decentralized social network Mastodon to one day replace Twitter.

“As far as free and open social media protocol goes, there are many competing projects: @blue sky is one with the AT protocol, Mastodon is another, Matrix is ​​yet another… and there will be many more. You have a chance to become a standard like HTTP or SMTP,” says Dorsey.

The former Twitter CEO wrote the post to also address the “Twitter files,” internal documents Musk made available to select journalists about the company’s controversial content moderation decisions, including the move to remove the former president’s account Ban Donald Trump for his role in and response to the January 6 riots in Washington, DC

Dorsey says he would have preferred Musk to have released the files through a dedicated website, “Wikileaks-style, with a lot more eyes and interpretations to consider.” Regarding the discussions uncovered in the Twitter files, Dorsey said: “I continue to believe that there was no malicious intent or hidden intent and everyone was acting on the best information we had at the time.

“But if we had focused more on tools for the users of the service than tools for us, and had moved much faster towards full transparency, we probably wouldn’t be in this situation where we needed a reboot (which I support) . ,” he adds. “Again, I own all of this and our actions, and all I can do is work to make it right.”

Dorsey plans to fund grants for projects focused on creating open Internet protocols. His first grant of $1 million a year goes to signalthe encrypted message service.