Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wants to change the way the Internet and web hosting works. Right now, you can choose to create your own website by using one of the best web hosting providers, and then sharing your content that way. Or you could publish your content on a social media site like YouTube or Instagram. However, what would happen if you are banned from those social media sites—would anyone be able to find your content?
However, it also isn’t a great idea to let people post anything they want to these platforms. The social media platforms have the responsibility to ensure that anyone who is accessing their website isn’t using it for things like hate speech, harassment, revenge porn, foreign propaganda, and more.
Because this responsibility falls on the shoulders of just a few companies, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wants to change that. Twitter is funding a new project that will decentralize social media networks.
That means Twitter would no longer solely control the social media website. It would be similar to how people have hosting or email servers at home. Many nonprofits, companies, or individuals use their email services from Google or Yahoo, and email is based on open standards that can be assessed by anyone.
However, this project is still a long way off from fruition. The team—which will be called @bluesky—is being built by Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal. Dorsey has stated that Twitter Inc. will provide little direction to the new group, telling them only that they want to find or create a decentralized standard.
Twitter becoming decentralized could change how web hosting is used in the future. People could now create their own filters, interfaces, and add any additional services that they choose.
It could be similar to the social network Mastodon, a decentralized social network that provides an idea of how this could work in the future. Mastodon allows anyone to set up a server and then sign up for an account. Once you have access to the server, you can follow people on that particular server or any other of the Mastodon servers. Each server owner is then allowed to dictate the rules for acceptable content, language, and behavior on their site, and can even keep other servers from connecting to their server.
Twitter is recently struggling with how people are using its hosting server and platform. But, with this decentralized server, it could help solve some of those issues. For example, when Gab, a far-right Twitter alternative, joined the Mastodon hosting network this year, many of the servers and client apps banned Gab, which meant it was isolated from most of the Mastodon platform.
By giving people more control, small blog owners or news organizations might turn from having to maintain their own hosting website and platform and join a decentralized social media network.
However, Twitter might run into some problems. Developers spent many years on projects for Twitter and building the API, helping to make the social media giant accessible to the public. Twitter then repaid their hard work by building a walled garden, which reduced their access. People might be unlikely to try that again. Jack Dorsey has a long way to go before he sees his idea come to fruition. Until then, it will be interesting to speculate on the effect it will have on web hosting and the social media platform.