Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey’s Private Messages About Decentralizing Twitter
Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey shared direct messages about creating a more decentralized version of Twitter shortly before Dorsey exited its board of directors earlier this year.
Those messages have now been publicly shared as part of a legal discovery process in Elon Musk’s battle to refrain from buying the social media platform. Here’s what they had to say.
An Open-Source Twitter
On March 26th, Dorsey told Musk that a “new platform” would be required that does away with the corporate model. “This is why I left,” he said.
Dorsey stepped down as Twitter’s CEO in December, stating that his presence at the company as a founder was increasingly becoming a “single point of failure”.
When Musk asked what the founder’s ideal platform might look like, Dorsey suggested an open-source model with a foundation that contributes to the protocol, but does not own it. “A bit like what Signal has done,” he added.
He also stressed that the new platform cannot use an advertising model, as that gives governments and advertisers a “surface area” from which they can control it. This reflects Dorsey’s previous public comments about Twitter embracing advertisers, and how it becoming a company was his “biggest regret.”
“If it has a centralized entity behind it, it will be attacked,” he said. “This isn’t complicated work, it just has to be done right so it’s resilient to what has happened to Twitter.”
Musk called Dorsey’s proposal a “super interesting idea,” and added that he’d like to help Dorsey realize the vision. “I think it’s worth both trying to move Twitter in a better direction and doing something new that’s decentralized,” the Tesla CEO said.
Musk announced that he purchased a 9.2% stake in Twitter on April 4th – just one week after his conversation with Dorsey. Two weeks later, he offered to buy out the entire firm and make it a private company that bolstered free speech.
Twitter on a Blockchain?
Musk also had conversations with other big names in crypto, specifically around decentralizing Twitter using blockchain technology. Sam-Bankman Fried – CEO of FTX – said he’d love to discuss “how blockchain-Twitter could work”.
Musk also shared messagex in which he proposed that users pay a small amount of money to register social posts on-chain, which would help to cut spam. Michael Saylor – Executive Chairman of MicroStrategy – has previously suggested incorporating the lightning network into Twitter’s current model to accomplish the same task.
“There is no throat to choke, so free speech is guaranteed,” wrote Musk.
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I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.