Jack’s kinda right?

Jack Dorsey just wrote up a little piece on where he sees the future of content on the web going. I saw a few hot takes that seemed like they might be taking things out of context. Which I think they kind of were. So, go read it for yourself.

This is the part that stuck out to me.

But instead of a company or government building and controlling these solely, people should be able to build and choose from algorithms that best match their criteria, or not have to use any at all. A “follow” action should always deliver every bit of content from the corresponding account, and the algorithms should be able to comb through everything else through a relevance lens that an individual determines.


What some seem to have missed is Jack making an argument basically for the fediverse.

Take my mastodon account as an example. The first “algorithm” that I use is the one provided by https://mstdn.social/@stux#, the admin of the instance I joined. I get a set of content moderation rules and a server block list that blocks a bunch of instances that have been shown to not line up with mstdn.social rules. This list is transparent and I can review it.

The next level down I have my own block lists as a user. I’ve blocked one server and I believe one user so far. Then, because of how mastodon works I get to see a chronological feed of all the posts from all the individuals I follow. (chronological feeds are algorithmic btw. It’s just an algorithm we all understand).

This isn’t some kind of endorsement of everything Jack is saying. But I do think he gets it right that we don’t want our online communities to be curated by black boxes at large corporations with misaligned incentives. Instead making the internet “smaller” and more diverse is better in the long run.

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