Open: Where to go after Twitter

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Brueghel the Elder
The Tower of Babel, Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Musk isn’t completely wrong about censorship

Let’s start off by admitting that while much of what Musk is saying is naive at best, his central complaint isn’t entirely wrong even if he expresses it incorrectly.

Requirements

The overarching goal of Open is to put the user’s needs first and to put the user in control.

  • A user’s Open account, feeds and all the content they post must belong to the user and not some platform provider.
  • A user must be able to publish any material they choose, excepting those prohibited in all jurisdictions (e.g. child abuse, copyright). Publishers may refuse to serve specific customers for any reason or for no reason. But a user whose content is refused by one publisher may switch to another.
  • Curation and moderation functions should be limited to selecting content in accordance with criteria specified by the user consuming the content. Consumers are free to choose abuse moderation policies that are as restrictive or as permissive as they choose.
  • Open must allow users to protect their privacy. While providing rich social media functionality requires access to meta-data including the identity of a poster, link relationships and link semantics, these functions do not require access to the content itself or to the text of annotations.
  • The Open ecology must support a range of business models for publishers, aggregators and content curators including paid subscription. Platforms supported by advertising should not be able to invade the privacy of non-users.

Architecture

Open is built on the technologies provided by the Mathematical Mesh, an open specification that provides strong cryptographic security protections without impacting the user experience. The architecture of Open divides the functions of a traditional social media platform into three separate parts:

Content

What type of content should Open deliver? Should it be short messages like Twitter or allow for longer posts like Facebook does? Should the content be limited to text or include video? Should long format articles like Medium be allowed?

The Devil is in the Deployment

As always with new Internet technology, the devil is in the deployment. Proposing new technology is easy, developing it only a little harder. Changing the status quo is the hard part.

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