Twitter Chooses Crypto Developer to Lead Its Bluesky Project

Twitter has selected startup founder and cryptocurrency developer Jay Graber to head up its open-source project Bluesky. Although Twitter funds Bluesky, it will operate independently of the social giant. Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey stated that Bluesky is his “biggest focus right now,” and Graber explained that she is “excited to take on this role and build the future of social media.” Dorsey established Bluesky to create protocol technology that would break down the boundaries between various social media services.

Bloomberg reports that, with Bluesky, “users’ posts from, say, Twitter, Facebook and Reddit could be integrated into features and services created by people who don’t necessarily work for any of those companies.” This is only possible, however, “if those networks agree to use the same protocol.”

If Twitter does adopt the protocol, “the millions of tweets sent every day could be viewed through Twitter’s existing app and through other interfaces created by developers using the protocol.” Likewise, Twitter could “show content that was originally shared on a different network, so long as that network is also using the protocol.”

Dorsey promotes the protocol as enhancing “public conversation” and “proponents of the strategy also say it would have an immense impact on content moderation, enabling different organizations to create their own rules and algorithms.”

“In such a world, we can let a million content moderation systems approach the same general corpus of content — each taking an entirely different approach — and see which ones work best,” said Techdirt blog author Mike Masnick, who suggested this in 2019. “If people feel that one such interface or filter provider is not doing a good job, they can move to another one or tweak the settings themselves.”

Bluesky is in its earliest days and it’s not clear if Twitter or any other social media company would adopt the protocol it aims to create. Bloomberg notes that, “email services already use a protocol that lets people send and read messages from various user interfaces … but most social media companies, Twitter included, currently keep all user posts contained within their own platform.”

CNBC points out that, “while the Internet was built as a decentralized network … a large portion of web traffic today is controlled by major search engine and social media companies such as Alphabet’s Google and Facebook, who each decide the rules of their platforms, such as what type of content is allowed.”

Bluesky is an attempt “to introduce a new decentralized technology, the idea being that Twitter and others will become clients of Bluesky and rebuild their platforms on top of the standard.” Dorsey testified to a U.S. House committee that “collaboration on building content algorithms … [will help] reduce the burden on individual companies to fight issues like abuse and hate speech.”