Twitter’s ambitious “bluesky” decentralized working group on social media took a significant step on Monday as the social media company appointed an official project lead who will guide how the protocol evolves moving forward.
Crypto developer Jay Graber has been hired by Twitter to lead the initiative, which the company hopes will eventually create a decentralized social media protocol that a number of social networks including Twitter will run on. The separate bluesky organization will operate independently but has so far been largely funded and managed by employees at Twitter.
Graber was already working in a less formal role within the bluesky team, with Twitter pushing it to create a technical review of the decentralized social ecosystem for a working group of developers in the space. Graber previously worked on the developer team behind privacy-focused cryptocurrency Zcash and created her own decentralized social network called Happening, designed to compete with Facebook events. Graber eventually walked away from that effort after having problems booting up a user base interested in the benefits of decentralization, something that grew into a near-intractable problem for most networks emerging in the space.
In an interview in January, Graber told TechCrunch that she saw a huge opportunity for Twitter to enter the decentralized social space due to the huge user base on the Twitter platform, which will eventually migrate to the protocol, the company said.
“The really strong thing about Twitter making a decentralized protocol move is that if you can design a protocol that works in an optimal way, you don’t have to put the initial effort into finding a suitable place to boot from because Twitter will get that many users,” Graber told us.
In January, TechCrunch identified the initiative because it attracted more attention after Twitter permanently banned former President Donald Trump from its platform. Following Trump’s firing, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey highlighted the dismal effort as one of the company’s ongoing initiatives to ensure social media moderation is reduced. decentralization In the future. A decentralized social media protocol would allow individual networks to govern themselves without a single company or organization exercising monolithic control over the domain of online conversations.
“I think the big focus of everyone involved has been thinking about how to enable better moderation, not just from a single source,” Graber told TechCrunch.
The blues organization is still in its infancy. Graber’s next task is to mobilize the team with its first hires, which include a protocol developer and web developer.