December 12, 2019

Twitter Backs Social Media reform to Combat Misinformation

Jack Dorsey, co-founderof Twitter, promotes work aimed at changing how social media data is shared, with the goal of combating online abuse, hatred and misinformation.

Dorsey revealed Tuesday the creation of a “simple and descentralized standard for social media,” a independent team comprising five developers, engineerns and designers, known as Bluesky. In a series of posts, he clarified the goal is for Twitter to eventually comply with that new standard which is open to the use in other social media networks such as Facebook or TikTok.

“The hierarchical approaches are struggling to meet completely new problems,” Dorsey said.

These range from filtering out misinformation and the identification of violent contents— hate speech and child pornography— to the fact that today’s algorithms continue to lead users to material “that rages controversy and indignation.” “Without putting much of a strain on citizens, hierarchical compliance with global policy to counter abusive and misleading information in the long term is impossible”

But he argues that a single technical standard, which currently works like walled gardens, could be a game changer across different platforms.

A common new standard could curb the power of technological giants to determine what contents are viral— to control individual users.

It could also potentially re-control users ‘ data–currently stored and monetized on private networks, usually through ads.

Dorsey argued that the importance of social media is moving more and more from the hosting and removal of content to recommendation algorithms.

“Unfortunately, these algorithms are usually proprietary, and alternatives can not be chosen or built. But,” he wrote.

Dorsey said that an open standard would allow Twitter to concentrate on building “good dialogue” recommendations algorithms, and that the team will seek to “create open culture” around the new standard, including businesses, organizations and civil society leaders.

“This won’t happen overnight,” Dorsey admitted.

“It will take many years to develop a sound, scalable and usable decentralized standard for social media, which paves the way to solving the above-named problems.

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