Twitter’s ambitious BlueSky Decentralized Social Working Group took a significant step Monday as the social media company appointed an official project lead guiding how the protocol evolves moving forward.
Bluesky aims to build technology that fundamentally changes the way social media platforms work. She announced her lead for the project nearly two years after Jack Dorsey first announced her.
Twitter has hired cryptographic developer Jay Graber to lead the initiative, and the company hopes the initiative will create a decentralized social media protocol through which several social networks, including Twitter, will operate.
BlueSky’s separate organization operates independently. But so far it has been largely funded and managed by employees at Twitter.
Graber was working in a less formal role within the BlueSky team. Twitter pushed her to create a technical review of the decentralized social ecosystem for a working group of developers in the field.
Graber previously worked on the developer team behind privacy-focused cryptocurrency Zcash and created her own decentralized social network, Happening, designed to compete with Facebook events.
Graber walked away from this effort after having problems finding a user base interested in the benefits of decentralization, something that has grown into a near-intractable problem for most emerging networks in the field.
Twitter continues to develop the BlueSky project
Graber made it clear in an interview in January that she sees a huge opportunity for Twitter to enter the decentralized social realm. The company said this is due to the huge user base across its platform, which is moving to the protocol.
“The useful thing about Twitter creating a decentralized protocol is that if you can design a protocol that works perfectly, you don’t have to make the initial effort to find a suitable place to boot from because the platform brings in so many users,” she said.
The initiative attracted more attention after the permanent ban on the Twitter platform of former President Donald Trump. After Trump was fired, the company’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, highlighted BlueSky’s efforts. This is one of the company’s ongoing initiatives to ensure that oversight within social media platforms is less decentralized in the future.
A decentralized social media protocol allows individual networks to govern themselves. And without a single company or organization exercising homogeneous control over the field of online conversations.
The BlueSky organization is still in its infancy. Graber’s next job is to mobilize the team across initial hires, which include a protocol developer and a web developer.
While the Internet was created as a decentralized network, which means that no one owns it. But a large portion of web traffic today is controlled by major search engines and social media companies. which each decide the rules for their platforms.