Jack Dorsey regrets his role in creating a centralized internet

Mistakes were made.

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Twitter's algorithms and content monitoring on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 5, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Chris Wattie / reuters

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey would like you to know he too misses the early days of the internet when protocols like IRC made the web seem like a place of boundless possibility. He also knows he’s partly to blame for the current state of things.

“The days of Usenet, IRC, the web… even email (with PGP)... were amazing,” Dorsey said on Saturday in a tweet spotted by Mashable. “Centralizing discovery and identity into corporations really damaged the internet. I realize I’m partially to blame, and regret it.”

Dorsey’s tweet is a remarkable admission by a tech executive who made billions creating a platform that centralized the way we consume news. Twitter may not be as big as Facebook and TikTok, but the effect it has had on the information economy is undeniable. Many of us turn to Twitter when we want to follow ongoing events in close to real-time as possible, but at times the company has struggled to combat misinformation, much to the harm of our public institutions. 

This isn’t Dorsey’s first time lamenting the current state of the internet. In December, he went on a rant about how Web3 had already been co-opted by investors. “You don’t own ‘Web3,’” he said at the time. “The VCs and their LPs do. It will never escape their incentives.”

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