Former Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey has said he is “partially to blame” for the centralization of the internet while revealing his regret for having done so.
Dorsey took to Twitter on April 2 where he made the comment, writing that the “days of usenet, irc, the web…even email (w PGP)…were amazing. centralizing discovery and identity into corporations really damaged the internet.”
“I realize I’m partially to blame and regret it,” he added.
Ukrainian-American software engineer and businessman Max Levchin, who is the CEO and co-founder of financial technology company, Affirm, responded to Dorsey’s Twitter post about the early days of the internet.
“They were amazing for the number/type of people using it then. Internet changed from arthouse to blockbuster because it needed to gain an audience and make money. The subtlety of those days wouldn’t work for today’s user at all,” Levchin wrote.
To this, Dorsey replied, “Perhaps greater emphasis on protocol first and then interface would have helped. I agree there was less technology options around making money tho. It led to advertising dominating.”
Dorsey, who helped launch Twitter in 2006, stepped down as chief executive in November 2021 and was succeeded in the role by Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal.
His latest post came just two days before Tesla CEO Elon Musk acquired a 9.2 percent passive stake in the company, according to a U.S. securities filing.
Musk bought nearly 73.5 million shares of Twitter on March 14, and according to Twitter’s closing price on April 1, the billionaire’s stake in the company was worth $2.89 billion.
Dorsey has a 2.25 percent stake in Twitter.
This is not the first time that Dorsey has supported decentralizing the internet, meaning it would be controlled by many as opposed to one. Decentralization could create less censorship and take back the power from Big Tech giants such as Google and Facebook, in many ways seeking a throwback to the early days of the internet.
After Twitter permanently removed former President Donald Trump’s account from its social media platform due to his posts allegedly violating the company’s “Glorification of Violence” policy, Dorsey said he did “not celebrate or feel pride” in having to do so.
“I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation. And a time for us to reflect on our operations and the environment around us,” Dorsey said, adding that social media bans also set a “precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.”
Dorsey, who also co-founded and leads the financial services and digital payments company, Block Inc. (formerly called Square), has also funded Bluesky, touted in 2019 as a decentralized standard for social media that would allow for open and unregulated public conversation.
However, shortly after Dorsey’s 2019 announcement of Bluesky, the official Twitter account of Mastodon, a rival open-source decentralized social network, said the move was “not an announcement of reinventing the wheel” but rather “this is announcing the building of a protocol that Twitter gets to control, like Google controls Android.”