Micro-blogging site Twitter talks decentralization, election labels, and easier GIF conversions for iOS.
The biggest news this week is undoubtedly the challenging prompt from the site’s founder. If the project becomes successful, other people can have their own versions of the social network.
CTO Parag Agrawal will hire the independent group, to be known as @bluesky.
Dorsey claimed that decentralization would help the company focus on their efforts to build open recommendation algorithms. This promotes healthy conversation and will force the company to come up with more innovative solutions in the future.
The company was funding an outdoor team to come up with decentralized standards of social media. If they fail to find an existing standard, they will have to start from scratch.
Dorsey also said the company sees decentralization as a way to handle content moderation. This could raise competition to design interfaces and the like that don’t need to censor certain voices.
If Twitter decentralizes, it means the company won’t be the judge of what can or can’t be seen on the platform.
ActivityPub, the protocol used by Dorsey’s inspiration Mastodon, seems to be the site’s most likely prototype. Some worry that this was a ploy to colonize projects like ActivityPub, overmining the decentralized protocol for its own.
Some worry that decentralizing is a gateway to further misinformation and disinformation.
The company once gave this freedom to outside developers to make the platform more accessible to its users. Those capabilities gradually tightened over the years for what Twitter claimed was “all reasonable at the time.”
Elections and GIFs on Twitter
Special labels on candidate profiles are back on Twitter for the 2020 US elections. The social network will add said labels for those running for the US House of Representatives, US Senate, or state governorship.
They will appear on profiles in separate dates, due to individual states having different caucuses and election dates. The company started verifying accounts who qualified and will qualify for US primary races this week.
The company first launched the badges on candidates’ profiles in 2018. The labels also applied to the candidates in the same categories under their names every time they tweeted.
Both qualifications are under the company’s partnership with nonprofit Ballotpedia for verification.
After the 2016 election, the company claimed it exposed almost 700,000 users involved in Russian propaganda involving fake news. In the same year, they banned bulk tweeting and duplicate accounts to reduce bot counts.
Meanwhile, smaller updates allowed iOS users to convert Life Photos into GIFs without having to transfer apps.
In a video saying “Let your Live Photos live,” Twitter announced allowing users to upload their photos as GIFs. To use the app (on iOS), select a photo on your camera roll while drafting a tweet, and tap the GIF button.
Android users can wait for updates because the company hasn’t confirmed any dates for its release.
In the meantime, they can enjoy photos with less quality compression in the app without chroma subsampling. Maximum resolution reaches 4096 pixels on any side for 16-megapixel resolutions in the app with a maximum size of 5MB.
In-house software engineer Nolan O’Brien said the feature would also be available for user avatars starting next year.