Founded within Twitter, this group is working on the creation of a decentralized protocol that limits the ability of corporations and governments to influence social networks in a negative way.
Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, announced in late 2019 that his company had created a small group of independent developers with one goal: to create a social media protocol decentralized that could be used as the foundation for a new standard of online connectivity that is free from corporate or governmental influence.
It is now three years later and Dorsey’s departure from Twitter that the team announces that it believes that it has reached its goal.
Bluesky launched Tuesday’s website for its decentralized social media protocol . The Bluesky initiative also created a waitlist to receive the Bluesky app. This is what the team considers the best “browser” for accessing the AT Protocol network. The waiting list became full and required third-party intervention.
Bluesky’s team posted today that they have been working on protocol work since May in a public repository at GitHub. However, they’ve mostly been silent on their blog and Twitter. This is beginning to change.
As a decentralized network the AT Protocol functions independent of any company’s will. Bluesky believes that this independence will enable users of social networks built on top of the protocol to protect their data. This will enable them to avoid corporate algorithms that can cause controversy in order to keep them hooked.
Bluesky’s team today wrote that algorithms dictate what we see and can reach. “We must control our algorithms if we want people to trust our online spaces.”
Blueky’s mission is to foster interoperation or mutual compatibility between different platforms using the same protocol. For example, imagine TikTok on Instagram and vice versa. The team created Lexicon, an interoperational framework that facilitates connectivity between different apps built on AT Protocol.
The Bluesky team stated that “the world needs a diverse marketplace of connected services to ensure healthy competitors.” Interoperation must feel second-nature to the Web.
Dorsey congratulated today’s Bluesky team on their “foundational”, but he was not affiliated with the project. He stated that Twitter should be “a client of this standard.”
Twitter’s ownership situation has been turbulent in the interim. For months, Twitter has fought with Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, and Tesla over Musk’s once-off, but later reneged offer to buy the social media platform.
Court documents from Twitter’s ongoing lawsuit against Musk about the acquisition showed that Dorsey had sent texts to Musk, in which he lobbyed the richest man in the world to run Twitter as an “open-source protocol, funded through a foundation.”
Dorsey argued his case in those text messages–the same case he made when he announced the creation of Bluesky- about the dangers associated with operating a social media platform based on a profit-based business model.
Musk was told by Dorsey that it could not have an advertising model.
Dorsey explained that this would allow corporations and governments to control the discourse. It will be attacked if it has a central entity behind it.
At a time of political polarization and other factors, the AT Protocol’s launch comes at a moment when social media platforms such as Twitter are being criticized and splintered. Kanye “Ye”, a controversial musician and public figure, agreed in principle for Parler to purchase right-leaning social network company Parler . This was just days after the entertainer was removed from Instagram and Twitter due to making antisemitic comments.