Larry Sanger, the co-founder of Wikipedia and a strong proponent of decentralized web systems, is highly skeptical of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s plans to develop a decentralized standard for social media.
In a blog post, Sanger questioned Dorsey’s sincerity and said he simply doesn’t believe that Dorsey will follow through with the plans.
“My reaction to this announcement is similar to my reaction to Mark Zuckerberg giving a speech in favor of free speech: to laugh,” Sanger wrote.
Sanger added that he started to discuss open standards for a new system of decentralized social media with Dorsey in March. While Sanger started out being “cautiously optimistic” about Dorsey’s plans, he no longer believes that Dorsey was being sincere.
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Sanger cites several reasons for his loss of faith in Dorsey’s plans with two of the main reasons being a breakdown in communication between the two and Twitter’s subsequent throttling of Sanger.
Sanger says that the breakdown in communication occurred in April when he and Dorsey were planning to have another discussion about decentralized social media standards. This discussion never happened.
Then in June, Twitter suppressed Sanger’s social media boycott campaign – a campaign that drew attention to his Declaration of Digital Independence which calls for a decentralized internet.
These reasons combined with Twitter’s history of abandoning its early commitments to free speech and open standards have led to Sanger being doubtful of Dorsey’s recent plans:
“Twitter used an open standard in its early days—then abandoned it. Twitter said they were the “free speech wing of the free speech party,” then started banning and throttling people for political speech.”
Sanger also wrote about how he has continued to work on decentralized internet standards since the social media strike, first through Everipedia, a decentralized encyclopedia, and then through his work on the Encyclosphere – a project dedicated to defining open standards for encyclopedia articles. He suggests that much of this work is in response to Dorsey’s “mishandling” of Twitter:
“A lot of people are working on decentralizing content in reaction to your mishandling of social media.”
Sanger concludes with a strong message for Dorsey: “We don’t need Mark Zuckerberg’s “help” to support free speech, and we don’t need your “help” to make content decentralized.”