Who should be in control?
The reaction to the recent #twitterfail episode has been incredibly interesting to watch. On the one hand we've had those who welcome Twitter's apology for screwing up over the suspension of Guy Adam's account, on the other we have those who seem unwilling to permit Twitter any mistakes.
No doubt, Twitter will need to look at its policies and put things in place to ensure that they adhere to their own rules and the discussion is far from over. Alex Twitter General Counsel stated in his "apology" post:
"We should not and cannot be in the business of proactively monitoring and flagging content, no matter who the user is"
so, as Jeff Jarvis says, they need to ensure a proper division "between the church and the state". They really need to draw the lines and stick to them to restore public confidence.
One post that struck me in particular amongst the furore was that of Matthew Panzarino over at The Next Web where he says that the future of the real-time web can't be trusted to Twitter. While he admits that most of Twitter's decisions are required to create a profitable company he argues that we should instead be investing in a different future for the real-time web, a more open future but does the open web really exist?
Whether we are dealing with a free service reliant on advertising or a subscription service that aims to be free of external pressure someone is always in charge, there is a central point in control, someone making the decisions even if the users are allowed to have an input. Even with the best of intentions service pressures can lead to unwanted just in order to survive.
The real-time web has to be entrusted to those who can afford to run it; the open web is an ideal that no longer exists.
Image by Justin Marty.