Challenges with BYOA and social networks

There has been discussion recently about bring your own algorithm (BYOA) for social networks. Here are some challenges:

  1. At-scale, world-class consumer apps in 2024 use machine learning (AI) based feeds. This is overwhelming consumer revealed preference in terms of time spent.

  2. Making a good machine learning feed is hard and requires significant resources to make performant and real-time.

  3. If you want to do a feed marketplace with good UX, you'd likely need to create a backend where developers would upload their models and the client runs the model in their infra. This obviously has privacy concerns, but maybe possible.

  4. TBD if consumers would be willing to pay for your algo, though.

  5. The likely outcome is a marketplace of clients, where each have a different algorithm that uses inputs (both public from the protocol and private from app usage) to tailor a model for each user.

  6. PS — here are two data points from a developer who was building a Farcaster client: 1) feed performance is a challenging engineering problem and 2) running the backend is expensive (the client had a few hundred active users).

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