For Immediate Release
The Internet – October 19, 2016 – The ongoing rumors about a possible Twitter sale have led to the formation of a user movement that wants to acquire Twitter. Today, it announced the launch of their #WeAreTwitter-branded campaign’s petition.
Internet platforms play an increasingly important role in our lives. While many users appreciate the services they provide, there is also recurring debate regarding their business models. Economists, for instance, indicate that successful platforms often show so-called winner-takes-all effects which can result in monopolies. A growing movement known as “platform cooperativism” asks, “Wouldn’t it be better if their services – which are important communication infrastructure for billions of people – were owned by the people who depend on them.
Ideas about an alternative future for Twitter as a user-owned property have been circulating on the internet for some time. In the wake of recent rumors about a potential sale of the company, the #WeAreTwitter campaign intends to act upon them. Initiated by a Guardian article by Nathan Schneider, a diverse, global group emerged. Today, it launched its petition, which can be read here. The text addresses Twitter directly. A key passage reads:
“We have an idea—a proposal. Your CEO, Jack Dorsey, recently called you “the people’s news network.” What if you really were the people’s? Why don’t we figure out a way for us to buy you instead?”
The manifesto represents the first step of a larger campaign. It aims to eventually acquire Twitter and turn it into a cooperative owned by the service’s users and employees. Initially, the group gabapentin online aims to spread the idea and recruit supporters among users, current stockholders, and Twitter employees. They also intent to initiate talks with Twitter’s management and investors because they hope to find a mutually beneficial solution. The organizers have a diverse skill-set including financial experts, experienced co-op developers, and people with a background in tech.
Should the campaign result in a large support by Twitter’s user base, the next step will be to incorporate a cooperative and initiate a crowdfunding campaign to begin buying TWTR shares in order to participate in decision-making for the future of the platform.
The organizers believe that a user-owned Twitter could create opportunities for viable business models that are unavailable to an investor-owned structure. Their petition reads:
A community-owned Twitter would result in new revenue streams, since we users would have a chance to buy in as co-owners. We could re-open the platform’s data to spur innovation. We could set more transparent, accountable rules for handling abuse. And we would no longer merely be fickle users; we’d be invested in your sustainability and success. The very meaning of success would change. Without the short-term pressure of the stock markets, we believe we can realize Twitter’s full value—which the current business model has struggled to do for years now.
Silicon Valley typically prides itself on embracing game-changing, big ideas. How it reacts to this one remains to be seen.
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Our Global Media Team:
Priscilla Grim, USA
Nathan Schneider, USA
Eugenia Siapera, Ireland
Tristan Copley Smith, UK
Johnny Haeusler, Germany
Thomas Euler, Germany