a native internet protocol for social media

Dec 14th, 2022 (edited)
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  1. There’s a lot of conversation around the #TwitterFiles. Here’s my take, and thoughts on how to fix the issues identified.
  3. I’ll start with the principles I’ve come to believe…based on everything I’ve learned and experienced through my past actions as a Twitter co-founder and lead:
  5. 1. Social media must be resilient to corporate and government control.
  6. 2. Only the original author may remove content they produce.
  7. 3. Moderation is best implemented by algorithmic choice.
  9. The Twitter when I led it and the Twitter of today do not meet any of these principles. This is my fault alone, as I completely gave up pushing for them when an activist entered our stock in 2020. I no longer had hope of achieving any of it as a public company with no defense mechanisms (lack of dual-class shares being a key one). I planned my exit at that moment knowing I was no longer right for the company.
  11. The biggest mistake I made was continuing to invest in building tools for us to manage the public conversation, versus building tools for the people using Twitter to easily manage it for themselves. This burdened the company with too much power, and opened us to significant outside pressure (such as advertising budgets). I generally think companies have become far too powerful, and that became completely clear to me with our suspension of Trump’s account. As I’ve said before, we did the right thing for the public company business at the time, but the wrong thing for the internet and society. Much more about this here: https://twitter.com/jack/status/1349510769268850690
  13. I continue to believe there was no ill intent or hidden agendas, and everyone acted according to the best information we had at the time. Of course mistakes were made. But if we had focused more on tools for the people using the service rather than tools for us, and moved much faster towards absolute transparency, we probably wouldn’t be in this situation of needing a fresh reset (which I am supportive of). Again, I own all of this and our actions, and all I can do is work to make it right.
  15. Back to the principles. Of course governments want to shape and control the public conversation, and will use every method at their disposal to do so, including the media. And the power a corporation wields to do the same is only growing. It’s critical that the people have tools to resist this, and that those tools are ultimately owned by the people. Allowing a government or a few corporations to own the public conversation is a path towards centralized control.
  17. I’m a strong believer that any content produced by someone for the internet should be permanent until the original author chooses to delete it. It should be always available and addressable. Content takedowns and suspensions should not be possible. Doing so complicates important context, learning, and enforcement of illegal activity. There are significant issues with this stance of course, but starting with this principle will allow for far better solutions than we have today. The internet is trending towards a world were storage is “free” and infinite, which places all the actual value on how to discover and see content.
  19. Which brings me to the last principle: moderation. I don’t believe a centralized system can do content moderation globally. It can only be done through ranking and relevance algorithms, the more localized the better. But instead of a company or government building and controlling these solely, people should be able to build and choose from algorithms that best match their criteria, or not have to use any at all. A “follow” action should always deliver every bit of content from the corresponding account, and the algorithms should be able to comb through everything else through a relevance lens that an individual determines. There’s a default “G-rated” algorithm, and then there’s everything else one can imagine.
  21. The only way I know of to truly live up to these 3 principles is a free and open protocol for social media, that is not owned by a single company or group of companies, and is resilient to corporate and government influence. The problem today is that we have companies who own both the protocol and discovery of content. Which ultimately puts one person in charge of what’s available and seen, or not. This is by definition a single point of failure, no matter how great the person, and over time will fracture the public conversation, and may lead to more control by governments and corporations around the world.
  23. I believe many companies can build a phenomenal business off an open protocol. For proof, look at both the web and email. The biggest problem with these models however is that the discovery mechanisms are far too proprietary and fixed instead of open or extendable. Companies can build many profitable services that complement rather than lock down how we access this massive collection of conversation. There is no need to own or host it themselves.
  25. Many of you won’t trust this solution just because it’s me stating it. I get it, but that’s exactly the point. Trusting any one individual with this comes with compromises, not to mention being way too heavy a burden for the individual. It has to be something akin to what bitcoin has shown to be possible. If you want proof of this, get out of the US and European bubble of the bitcoin price fluctuations and learn how real people are using it for censorship resistance in Africa and Central/South America.
  27. I do still wish for Twitter, and every company, to become uncomfortably transparent in all their actions, and I wish I forced more of that years ago. I do believe absolute transparency builds trust. As for the files, I wish they were released Wikileaks-style, with many more eyes and interpretations to consider. And along with that, commitments of transparency for present and future actions. I’m hopeful all of this will happen. There’s nothing to hide…only a lot to learn from. The current attacks on my former colleagues could be dangerous and doesn’t solve anything. If you want to blame, direct it at me and my actions, or lack thereof.
  29. As far as the free and open social media protocol goes, there are many competing projects: @bluesky is one with the AT Protocol, nostr another, Mastodon yet another, Matrix yet another…and there will be many more. One will have a chance at becoming a standard like HTTP or SMTP. This isn’t about a “decentralized Twitter.” This is a focused and urgent push for a foundational core technology standard to make social media a native part of the internet. I believe this is critical both to Twitter’s future, and the public conversation’s ability to truly serve the people, which helps hold governments and corporations accountable. And hopefully makes it all a lot more fun and informative again.
  31. 💸🛠️🌐
  32. To accelerate open internet and protocol work, I’m going to open a new category of #startsmall grants: “open internet development.” It will start with a focus of giving cash and equity grants to engineering teams working on social media and private communication protocols, bitcoin, and a web-only mobile OS. I’ll make some grants next week, starting with $1mm/yr to Signal. Please let me know other great candidates for this money.
  • Maria_Pudja
    1 year
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  • girlposts
    1 year
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    1. Jack is gigachad newsletter author
  • MatejSvancer
    1 year
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    1. Amazing read!
    2. Jack please check Tweetoshi.com - Twitter client packed with Bitcoin and unique business model. A lot of people already sent you sats there!
    3. All is super easy to use, LN only, with build-in KYC-free wallet
  • cristinici
    1 year
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    1. love it
  • LasVegasGuy
    1 year
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    1. Protonmail.com funded by subscriptions from subscribers, secure encrypted email service located in Switzerland
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    1. Mr. Dorsey,
    2. Before you retire as a Newsletter writer, hope you get to read this:
    4. GO, Beyond Digital
    5. Go, Beyond AI
    7. Invest in Neurosciences.
    10. EXTRACT:
    11. Leaders have to become “translators” of technologies – today AI, tomorrow all the others – as well as of social movements.
    13. This notion of “translation” is crucially important.
    14. The role of the “leader-translator” is central.
    16. SOURCE:
    17. Beyond AI: How Neurosciences and Biology will Change our World and how Leaders. Should get Prepared for It.”
    18. Dominique Turcq.
    19. November, 2019
    20. https://www.iedc.si/docs/default-source/Publications/iedc-book-of-the-year-2019_web.pdf?sfvrsn=4
  • jdstanger
    1 year
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    1. Interesting. (posted some of this on twitter also) I've been developing a project to create a protocol that unlocks civil society expertise that often just gathers digital dust. The academy, research orgs, government, et al are the worst offenders and slowest innovators, yet sit atop a massive trove of trusted information. The protocol would establish content units specifically designed to carry factual information outside of monolithic documents, which have been and (unfortunately) continue to be the primary way experts publish information.
  • Maria_Pudja
    1 year
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  • hellaconfused
    1 year
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    1. Would reviving FireFox OS be a good candidate for a web OS?
    • jackjacks
      1 year
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      1. Maybe
    • tongfa
      1 year
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      1. I suspect it would be easier to create a super app that extends something like Chromium or Firefox with additional APIs to access all the "fun stuff" a phone has to offer beyond what's already available via standard Web API's. Considering FireFox WebOS's approach to the design of these additional APIs would be worthwhile. Then WEMOS apps (web only mobile OS) could run under this super app. The super app would need a system to keep track of which WEMOS apps have permission to access specific API's on a users phone. Would also need some kind of WEMOS app discovery system. A way to initiate running WEMOS apps from a regular web browser would be convenient. Initially users can run both native apps and WEMOS apps. Once user and developer buy-in is high enough a custom Android ROM that preloads only the super app with WEMOS apps to control the device (i.e. make calls, send texts) could be created.
      3. I don't know whether Chromium, CEF (Chromium embedded framework), Firefox, or Firefox OS would be a better choice. It worries me a bit that Mozilla doesn't have something as mature as CEF, but that's just me speculating.
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  • mud2monarch
    1 year (edited)
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    1. Thanks for the explanation, Jack, and for tackling the most important work in communications and financial services (with requisite longterm vision). Hold onto those dual class shares... Really love TBD & Spiral.
  • musyoka
    1 year
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  • LunaZen
    1 year
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    1. Always appreciate your honesty and transparency. I think there was likely a lot more going on behind the scenes that you didn't necessarily agree with or have control over... and the way even now you shield former colleagues from the social media hate says a lot about your character. Thanks for still making an effort to improve the world - many of us support you and see who you really are.
  • mwiesen
    1 year (edited)
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    1. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts, really appreciate it. Much of what you wrote resonates with me. Especially:
    3. > The only way I know of to truly live up to these 3 principles is a free and open protocol for social media, that is not owned by a single company or group of companies, and is resilient to corporate and government influence.
    5. and
    7. > This isn’t about a “decentralized Twitter.” This is a focused and urgent push for a foundational core technology standard to make social media a native part of the internet.
    9. I'd like to draw your attention to the Social Profile Exchange Protocol (spxp.org). It's an interesting protocol for a open and decentralized social network, that allows users to have 100% control over their content. The idea is actually simple, up to a point it's surprising that no one else has thought of it yet:
    11. * Basically, SPXP leverages existing internet protocols, technology and infrastructure
    12. * Because of that, there are many similarities to how a website works today. Here are some examples:
    13. * It’s based on an HTTP client server infrastructure
    14. * The servers host SPXP profiles and provide them to the public
    15. * The clients (e.g. a mobile app) request content from and publish content to a server
    16. * There can be many different client and server implementations and solutions
    17. * Because of this, SPXP offers unique features. A profile owner…
    18. * … has 100% control over their content (like a website owner has 100% control over their website)
    19. * … does not need to sign the terms of service of a single, centralized, commercial, social network platform
    20. * … can (at a later point in time) choose form a set of many different hosting solutions/offerings
    21. * … can choose to run their own server to host their profile
    22. * … can migrate their profile from one server to another
    23. * Additionally, SPXP is designed with privacy in mind and allows implementations to feature the following:
    24. * Message authenticity (profile identification and protection against man in the middle attacks)
    25. * Send messages to everyone or a set of recipients (“group”)
    26. * Message encryption for groups (e2e encryption, no forward secrecy)
    28. The HeyFolks app (heyfolks.app) implements the protocol and spxp.space allows to host profiles. I’d love to hear your feedback on SPXP. You can reach me at info @ spxp.org, and connect with my personal profile here (I don’t post a lot though) https://heyfolks.app/profile?uri=https://spxp.space/mwiesen&pkid=OqHDO7e4IWwVxSQH&pkx=AEUab1sVV1ZkzFlnn_Sw-p3TRExIc-QRNVQNh8NGK2o
    30. Thanks!
  • antderosa
    1 year
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    1. Decentralization is the right path. It's just a shame this wasn't pursued sooner and we wouldn't be in the position we are today. So much was built upon Twitter that is now being lost and will need to be built again, either on Twitter or elsewhere.
  • rabbitz3001
    1 year
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    1. Hello Jack and everyone! Yess the 2020 elections were very intense indeed. So many things going on then. I remember. I really wish I never said a word about anything since it simply didn't matter anyhow. I got into trouble for my thoughts. Jack I don't blame you at all. I blame myself for not censoring my words. Yes I do wish there was an edit button back then. I could have just deleted everything. Why I said what I said? I simply care deeply about what happens to our country. Jack you're an amazing business man. A power communicator and lead of social media. Brilliant really. I have much respect for you . I like everything you've said in this letter above. You're very to the point and honest. Don't give up on creating more great social media platforms. You're good at this. People will always clash regarding political, social, religious and sexual opinions. Our world's full of Bias people. We just can't get along sometimes. You did everything you could. Please don't be so hard on yourself Jack. Take care and I wish you the best. hugz, goldy3001 Angela D. :))xoxo
  • rabbitz3001
    1 year
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    1. Jack you are a good man..
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