Twitter is going to pay five people to work on decentralized standards for social media. They hope it will help combat hate and harassment online. CEO Jack Dorsey made the announcement in a thread on Wednesday. Wired explained what it all means for the future of social networking.

That could mean that, instead of Twitter the company having sole control over Twitter the social network, many other people could run their own versions of Twitter, in the same way that many different companies, nonprofits, and individuals run email services. You can send an email from Gmail to Yahoo, or to a server run by a mom-and-pop email provider. You can even set up your own email server at home. That’s because email is based on open standards that anyone can use. But don’t expect to set up your own Twitter tomorrow. The project is in its earliest stages. Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal is hiring the team, which will be known as “@bluesky.”

Check It Out: Twitter Announces Changes to Help Combat Hate and Harrassment

4 Comments Add a comment

  1. geoduck

    For the record, a friend of mine, who is trans, just abandoned Twitter. He just posted art, thats all. But as soon as his gender became known he started receiving an avalanche of pure hate. Death threats, demands that he off himself, and on and on. He finally concluded that it was hopeless and abandoned Twitter.

    That’s what everyone should do. It is irredeemable.

    • wab95

      @geoduck:

      Your friend’s experience and solution are not uncommon. When my daughter started her business, she quickly discovered that this was not the platform for her, and adopted another, which though better, has not been without problems.

      There is another approach to Twitter. I started to add this to my earlier post. Essentially, many of my colleagues and I use Twitter primarily as a specific information platform. We post mainly to alert one another of newly released peer-reviewed publications by our teams, new research projects, important research findings, activities of interest such as conferences and highlights from those conferences (often nested within an app, such The American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene or ASTMH – which has a large international membership) and specific opportunities for students and junior faculty.

      As John Martellaro once opined, Twitter, in this use case, as a little like a sub-space communications platform on Star Trek for information that would otherwise take time to get unearthed amidst an avalanche of email or other media.

      From time to time, I have received a fair amount of input from the general public for topics of interest that get retweeted. However, anything that appears untoward, vulgar, gratuitous and hateful, if possible, one should ignore and report, which I acknowledge can be easier said than done.

      I do know people who post their work or general activity topics for public consumption, and have found other platforms a better option for this (eg Instagram). I do think that Twitter remains a viable platform for business and professional activities. If one is effectively living on Twitter for a social life, however, it may be time to re-examine one’s life and priorities.

  2. wab95

    @geoduck:
    One sympathises.

    Charlotte:

    While it is premature to declare this as good news, since much will depend upon the approach and solutions recommended by people assigned to develop @bluesky, one can at least be encouraged that Twitter acknowledge that there is a hate/harassment problem on their platform, and are investigating ways to address it.

    That said, if the only solution is to create silos of refuge, then that will be a short-lived solution, unless organisers of these different ‘services’ can both set and enforce standards in a way that is transparent and does not strike users as inconsistent and arbitrary, or worse, directionally asymmetrical.

    One should hope that, if these organiser devise up to five alternative models, that Twitter will hire someone familiar with adaptive study design analytics who can then determine which of these are the most successful, by whatever predetermined metric Twitter sets (eg decreased hate speech/bullying, faster corrective measures, highest use rate, user satisfaction – multiple performance indicators would yield a more robust assessment), and then make their users aware of these results, permitting people to switch to that option if they hadn’t already. Over time, the less well performing options could be discontinued, or retained as a ‘hate sink’ for those who simply insist on bilge.

    Updates and a development timeline would also be desirable.

  3. geoduck

    Five whole people? Wow their commitment is truly underwhelming.
    Here’s an idea to “combat hate and harassment on Twitter. Dump Twitter. I closed my account months ago and have not missed it at all. The platform itself is irredeemable. Pull the plug.

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