I'm happy that I'll be part of two meetings this month in front of the EU Commission talking about decentralized social networks and the work we've done socialhub.activitypub.rocks/t/ec-ngi0-liai…

I believe this conversation is an important one to have, and I'd like to expand on why below.
You've probably noticed that governance bodies all across the world (including the US, and in the EU but definitely elsewhere as well) are taking note about the shape of social networks.

Here's some early draft legislation from the EU. It says "gatekeepers" 16 times in 6 pages:
There's good reason to be concerned about gatekeepers to our communication, so 16 times in 6 pages isn't so surprising.

Yet, we've *built* alternatives to gatekeeping social networks across ActivityPub and other fediverse projects... how many times are those mentioned? Not once.
There's another way to look at this situation: as my friend @frandallfarmer said to me: "Society is interpreting centralization of communication as a pathogen. What we're seeing right now is an immune response."
Having an immune system is important to keeping a human body, or a society, healthy.

However, immune systems can misfire. What we've seen in the COVID-19 pandemic is that what's killing people *is* the immune system response.

But regarding centralization: we have a cure.
The federated social web community has been at this work for over a decade. I'm proud to have been part of the ActivityPub standard: w3.org/TR/activitypub/

There's also further research happening for the next generation of this work in @spritelyproject.

Centralized social systems are playing a losing game: there's no way to make everyone happy. But the immune response we're seeing could also misfire, resulting in only the creepiest social network possible being allowed to play.

This would be bad. But we have an alternative.
I think for the most part, legislators aren't even aware there's another option.

But recently, @jack did mention an alternative option in front of a congressional hearing, that we can build protocols as an alternative to centralization:
Whether you're optimistic about an organization like Twitter launching an alternative or not, it's important to start getting that message out there. This is a good first step to counter an immune response misfire.

You can see what was actually said here:
This is a good start, but it's not enough. It should be clear from watching the video that most people in congress had never even heard of such a direction before... certainly didn't know this work has been ongoing for over a decade.
We need to make ourselves visible, show a real effort for a system that empowers and delivers agency to our citizens.

Legislators should know that this is a viable path, otherwise they'll write legislation that assumes gatekeepers-only, because gatekeepers is all they know.
I said before that centralized social networks are currently playing a losing game: there's no way to make all political parties happy.

But a top-down solution which *assumes* gatekeepers will *codify* a losing game for the citizens legislators are *intending* to protect.
There is a path out. Instead we should have governing bodies rally around & *demanding* people-empowering decentralized solutions. Solutions which give agency to all citizens. Solutions without centralized gatekeepers, but which also empower communities to self-govern & moderate.
There is also much to be done in the centralization space; this is why after ActivityPub was released, I decided to turn my work to fill in the remaining pieces with @spritelyproject.

I'm optimistic we can build a better future and get it out there.

Let's do so together.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Christopher Lemmer Webber

Christopher Lemmer Webber Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @dustyweb

5 Apr
Some terminology updates:
OCapN: this "generation" of CapTP and friends
CapTP: the "distributed object capability communication layer" (abstracted so you don't have to think about it!)
Netlayer: network abstraction CapTP can sit on top of (Tor services, I2P, IBC, carrier pigeons)
In general you'll probably just hear me say "CapTP", but really, OCapN is one of *several* CapTPs (and friends) that have been implemented over time, starting with E's Pluribus suite.

"Netlayer" is meant to be pluggable this time, and is akin to "VatTP" in E.
I started out calling "Netlayer" the much wordier "Machine Communication Transport Layer)" but @marksammiller thought that wasn't clear.

But we both liked the definition of "netlayer": merriam-webster.com/dictionary/net…

> a small naval vessel equipped to lay and repair harbor defense nets
Read 4 tweets
31 Jan
I've made massive strides on CapTP for @spritelyproject and honestly, I think this is the most important work I've done in my life. But it's hard to explain *why* when few people even know what CapTP *is*.

So: CapTP explainer 🧵, right here (with blogpost to follow):
CapTP is a protocol to allow "distributed object programming over mutually suspicious networks, meant to be combined with an object capability style of programming".

Wow! There's a lot to unpack there! So let's break it apart piece by piece...
"Distributed object programming": Yes, CapTP allows you to program across networks with the level of convenience as if you were programming against *local objects*.

(Throw out your assumptions of "objects" as OOP, this can be functional; @spritelyproject's is)
Read 23 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!