Jack Dorsey is becoming the poster child for digital currencies and blockchain technology. Last week, we talked about his decision to move to Africa to help build the Bitcoin future, and just a week later, he’s back to Twitter with another epic announcement.
In a 14-post tweetstorm, Dorsey told his followers that Twitter will be funding a small independent team to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media and that ultimately, Twitter hopes to be its client.
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
The Problem with Social Media
Social Media outlets have been under increased scrutiny for their role in the dissemination of misleading and harmful content and the algorithms that support it. Not just that, the methods of monetization, such as selling customers’ data, has triggered an outcry from both users and regulators.
In his thread, Dorsey honed in on these issues, laying out some of the challenges social media networks currently face;
1. “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.”
2. “The value of social media is shifting away from content hosting and removal, and towards recommendation algorithms directing one’s attention. Unfortunately, these algorithms are typically proprietary, and one can’t choose or build alternatives.”
3. “Existing social media incentives frequently lead to attention being focused on content and conversation that sparks controversy and outrage, rather than conversation which informs and promotes health.”
Blockchain to the Rescue
With a blockchain-based social media platform, the control goes back to the people. Today, algorithms built and monitored by central authorities control what becomes popular and newsworthy. With open-sourced algorithms, any piece of content can go viral. Dorsey says this change will promote healthy conversations on Twitter.
Also, blockchain can give people control of their personal data and how it’s used, ending social media giant’s data selling practices.
With these positive developments, advertising and data selling models would no longer be viable, and companies would have to find new ways to make money. Some have suggested switching to a micro-payment model that allows people to pay platforms and content creators small amounts of money. Twitter wouldn’t be the first company to try out this model, but with more than 300 million global users, it may have the best chance of bringing decentralized social media mainstream.
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