sourcegraph
May 22, 2024

Jack Dorsey has barely posted since January on Twitter, the social media platform he helped create.in his last two tweetthe billionaire entrepreneur promoting an app for the new social network Nostr.

“#nostr is now officially available in the Apple App Store,” he wrote. “And the Google Play Store.”

Since then, Dorsey has averaged 59 posts a day on Nostr, including posts aimed at Twitter and its new boss, Elon Musk.

“It’s weak,” Mr Dorsey said wrote Last month about Mr. Musk’s move to block Twitter users from linking to Substack, a newsletter platform that competes with Twitter.

Mr Dorsey has also started using another new social network, Bluesky. In response to a question from a Bluesky user on Saturday about whether Mr. Musk was Twitter’s best steward, Mr. Dorsey responded bluntly: “No.”

“Everything has gone bad,” he said of what Mr. Musk was doing at Twitter. “But it happened, and all we can do now is build something to prevent it from happening again.”

Dorsey, 46, a bitcoin-loving techie who for years was Twitter’s most visible face, appeared to fade from public view after Musk bought the social media company for $44 billion last year. . But Mr. Dorsey’s recent spate of activity on Nostr and Bluesky suggests he still has a lot to say.

Much of what Mr. Dorsey posts is in line with his interest in cryptocurrencies and open-source technologies, where code is made public so that people can modify and reuse it. But he has also publicly criticized Mr. Musk’s ownership of Twitter, becoming one of many Silicon Valley founders to express dismay at the man who took over the company.

Mr. Dorsey also put money where he posts by backing a new Twitter competitor. In 2019, while serving as Twitter CEO, Dorsey funded the Bluesky project, which will decentralize all social networks by making it easy to share posts and users. In December, he donated 14 bitcoins, worth about $250,000 at the time, to Nostr’s pseudonymous creator, nicknamed “fiatjaf.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s hiding his voice from Twitter on some principle,” Jason Goldman, a member of Twitter’s founding team who also sits on Twitter’s board, said of Mr. Dorsey’s recent actions. He added that in his recent comments, Mr Dorsey “acknowledged how bad things are at Twitter under Elon Musk.”

Credit…through the blue sky

Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Musk did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Dorsey, who helped found Twitter in 2006, served as the company’s chief executive for eight years, two different terms. While the social network’s success has made him a billionaire, he seems frustrated with the direction Twitter has taken in recent years.

Among other things, Mr Dorsey, who supports free speech, lamented that Twitter had become too powerful to arbitrate which posts should stay online and which should be deleted. He also accused Wall Street of keeping Twitter away from its primary role as a communications platform, forcing it to make money and eventually sell itself to the highest bidder.

In November 2021, Mr. Dorsey, who also led payments startup Block (formerly Square), stepped down as CEO of Twitter. He left the board last year after Musk bid to buy the company.

Mr. Dorsey has since said Twitter should be built as a different kind of social network: a decentralized one. Unlike mainstream social platforms, which run private code they control, decentralized social networks expose their systems so users can potentially build their own applications and communities. That way, no single entity can impose rules on what can and cannot be said in these networks, and users can customize their experience.

“The problem today is that our companies have both” the technology and the algorithms that display posts, which “ultimately puts one person in charge of what content is available and viewable,” Mr. Dorsey wrote in a December blog post postal He shared it on Nostr. “By definition, no matter how great the person is, this is a single point of failure that, over time, will undermine the public conversation and potentially lead to tightening controls by governments and corporations around the world.”

Mike Masnick, editor and technology policy expert at the blog TechDirt, said the decentralized web “allows for more experimentation and trying to do things differently.” But he warns that they also face challenges in complying with content moderation laws such as Digital Services Act in Europe or Copyright Act in the United States.

Mr. Dorsey has been interested in decentralized social platforms since at least 2019, when he started working on Bluesky, and has a long-term interest in Bitcoin, a popular cryptocurrency. He joined Nostr — the acronym stands for “relayed notes and other content” — in December. Nostr also allows users to send each other small cryptocurrency payments, called “zaps.”

Mr. Dorsey’s backing was “a game changer, not so much in terms of funding but in terms of the awareness and enthusiasm he’s generated for Nostr,” Nostr’s founder Fiatjaf said in an email. He added, “We’re hoping that the funding part will eventually start to play a bigger role.”

Bluesky, which declined to comment, said in a statement blog post Mr. Dorsey remains on the board. (Twitter severed ties with Bluesky after Musk took over.)

The relationship between Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Musk has long been rocky. When Mr. Musk bid to buy Twitter last year, Mr. Dorsey supported the effort.

“In principle, I don’t think anyone should own or operate Twitter,” Mr Dorsey said in Twitter then. “However, when it comes to solving problems as a company, Elon is the only solution I trust. I believe his mission is to expand the light of consciousness.”

But immediately after Mr. Musk bought Twitter in October, he fired many of the executives Mr. Dorsey handpicked. Musk has since fired about 75 percent of Twitter’s workforce, refused to pay rent for some of its offices, and made sweeping and sometimes contradictory changes to content moderation policies.

As Mr. Dorsey posted on Nostr and Bluesky, his criticisms of Mr. Musk and Twitter have piled up.

In some posts, Mr. Dorsey blamed Twitter for repeated outages.Last month, he suggested on Nostr Twitter users may leave the platform If they want. He also mocked Mr. Musk’s move to charge Twitter users $8 a month for a checkmark that used to signify a verified identity on the platform.

But Dorsey’s most pointed assessment of Musk’s leadership came at the weekend’s Bluesky, where Dorsey has more than 11,000 followers. (He has more than 6 million followers on Twitter.)

On Saturday, Mr. Dorsey responded to several Bluesky users who asked him about the Twitter sale and how the company has changed in recent months. He said a decentralized social network is the best defense against corporate intruders, adding that Mr Musk “should have given up” buying Twitter.

Goldman was one of the Bluesky users who questioned Dorsey over the weekend, saying the comments didn’t take into account how Dorsey led Twitter over the years or take responsibility for the company’s ultimate outcome.

“He blames the inevitability of market forces, even though he has led the company for more than a decade as executive chairman or chief executive,” Mr. Goldman said of Mr. Dorsey.

On Sunday, Mr. Dorsey resumed posting on Nostr, where he has 134,000 followers. He said he regrets taking Twitter public and making it a company.

Credit…by Nostr

He also added to Mr. Musk’s criticism by praising the Twitter owner’s efforts to reduce the site’s reliance on branded advertising, which accounts for the majority of the company’s revenue. He encouraged Mr. Musk to consider using decentralized technology or “open protocols” to make Twitter more open.

“I understand the urgency and hasty move,” Mr Dorsey said wrote“I hope he eventually realizes that building it on top of an open protocol like this solves a lot of problems and makes for a pretty incredible business. We’ll see.”





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