Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has now apparently made it public that Twitter is putting resources towards creating a federated protocol that Twitter will only be a part. This I’ll take as a good sign, as centralized social media networks are a plight on Western culture and certainly on democracy. However, I think that Twitter is re-inventing the wheel, as W3C has already laid out a standard that is a federate social network through ActivityPub, which Mastodon and Pleroma, among others, already use.
Mike Masnick for techdirt has a more in depth take of what this is and what it might look like. The concluding paragraph sums up my initial thoughts on this:
If you’re worried about the dominance of certain social media platforms, or if you’re concerned about privacy online, or if you’re uncomfortable with leaving the decisions for how content moderation works in the hands of a few internet company bosses – this is big news and something you should be paying attention to. It won’t change the way the web works overnight. Indeed, it might never have that big of an impact. But it certainly has the potential to be one of the most significant directional shifts for the mainstream internet in decades. Keep watching.
Aside from the benefit of not having a single corporate, who does not care about you and does not need to answer your questions about why you’ve been banned from their platform, it also decentralizes points of failure. Both Facebook and Twitter have had astoundingly good track records of reliability, however, they have experienced outages. Discord recently experienced an outage that effected, presumably, every single one of their users. If people were instead using Mumble or Riot.fm , both of which are open source and can be hosted by anyone, an outage would effect a tiny slice of all of the users of that system.