In 2019, Jack Dorsey, CEO and Co-Founder of Twitter, made public his desire to turn his social network into a decentralized platform.
Since then, little progress had been made on this initiative, until a recent intervention by the key man of this network of microblogging, in a meeting with the investors of your company.
The aspiration to turn Twitter into a decentralized protocol
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. 🧵
– jack (@jack) December 11, 2019
Through his Twitter account, in December 2019, Jack Dorsey made public his intention to turn the network he created in 2006 into a decentralized and open platform, adhering to a standard faithful to the same principles. In this way, what we know today as Twitter, would become just a client of something bigger. In the same thread of tweets in which he comments on this idea, he made a simile between his project and the dynamics of e-mails operation through the SMTP system, which allows the communication of addresses managed by different providers through a single protocol.
Starting last February, we invited a diverse group of people from different parts of the decentralization community to a virtual forum for collaboration + discussion. They led an inspiring conversation on the purpose bluesky is intended to serve and the directions it can take.
— bluesky (@bluesky) January 21, 2021
That project was named Bluesky and after its announcement, there were no big news until just last January. On that occasion, from the official account of this project, it was reported that the team formed to execute this initiative already has a team of collaborators with whom they have discussed the general guidelines under which the development of the coming stages will be framed. These works are still in the research phase and the team was open to receiving external contributions.
New details revealed by Jack Dorsey
In a meeting held with Twitter investors, the CEO and co-founder of this company revealed new information about the initiative that he previously presented. These statements were collected and published by The Verge.
By turning Twitter into a decentralized network, the company would go on to manage a network over which, by nature, it could not have absolute control. Regarding that point, Dorsey highlighted as main advantage the access to “a much larger corpus of conversation”, which translates into an increase in content alternatives for its users.
This aspect is highlighted by the co-founder of Twitter as a movement that would make the platform more competitive. Being a decentralized system, all messages would circulate through the network, but the way in which these are presented to users will depend directly on the chosen client and their algorithms.
Dorsey stated that this project is being approached with enthusiasm at his company. The main purpose is to provide users of the platform with the greatest number of options to control the way they consume content. “You can imagine an app store-like view of ranking algorithms that give people maximum flexibility in these terms,” said Twitter’s point man.
According to the aforementioned, Twitter would offer its own algorithms for this eventual protocol and would compete as equals with other options that arise along the way, leaving this power of choice to fall on those who use the service.
Previously, other projects have tried to put the concept of decentralized communications into practice, with very few of them that have lasted over time, with very modest success. Examples of this are Element, an instant messaging service and Mastodon, a Twitter clon.
Outside of Dorsey’s remarks, other company spokesmen have declined to give more details to the press. For now, between 40 and 50 people work at Bluesky remotely in the initial design phase of this project.