Google has pulled multiple ‘fediverse’ Android apps from the Play Store for allegedly enabling access to hate speech, but critics say it’s overreaching.

So, don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen a lot of real hate-speech in various corners of the Fediverse, and it’s disgusting, but I feel corporate spaces are going to use this as an excuse to curtail all sorts of anti-corporate wrongthink in their walled gardens (such as basically the ENTIRE mobile software ecosystem). Censorship and corporate feudalism aren’t suddenly okay just because some disgusting people are getting censored. They’re not going to stop at nazis. No real anti-corporate discourse can take place on corporate tools.


That’s exactly the problem, Google is basically trying to snuff out open alternatives to corporate social media. This is an incredibly disturbing development and shows the problem with the whole app store model. A deeper problem here is that phones locked from their users, and companies like Apple and Google decide what the user is able to run on them. We need to have open alternatives that put users back in control. I think it’s important to support alternatives like Librem, Pinephone, and Fairphone to combat this.


Let me be clear, I support Tusky and other apps refusing to connect to Gab, and I think one of the best parts of the Fediverse is the potential for better moderation from accountable admins on your local instance. Free speech doesn’t mean that everyone has to give Nazis a platform, any more than it means that we need to let spammers spread phishing schemes. Hate speech drives out speech from the oppressed, and letting nazis spread unchecked makes it harder for anyone else to communicate, just as spam makes it hard to find real conversations. Alternately, I could compare it to ad-blocking and how it’s necessary to make the Web usable.

That is different from an app store banning every app whose moderation policies they dislike. This reminds me of when Tumblr had trouble keeping its app in app stores because of the porn on the platform, and Tumblr responded by banning porn and destroying an entire subculture, along with its own popularity. This is more like removing an open source email app from the app store because its spam filters aren’t as good as Google’s.

It’s also different if a monopolistic app store with almost complete control over a platform bans an app vs., say, F-droid banning an app. F-droid trivially supports adding your own repositories or sharing apps in person. Monopoly power and lock-in render even reasonable moderation policies very troubling, because there is no recourse if the monopolist gets it wrong.



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I guess America doesn’t do anti-trust anymore…


I don’t think, they care when it comes to IT companies, because those damage the competition in other countries just as well and then the USA gets to control the dominant platforms.

The Play Store is a monopoly unfortunately and Google can just do what it wants, downloading and installing APKs from websites should be easier for regular people


It is a little sad/ironic that decentralised spaces rely on centralised services to reach audiences, a bit like bitcoin largely depending on fiat. One of my problems with something like peertube or ipfs is not being able to find much content — which is traditionally solved by centralised indexing.

Perhaps this is an opportunity to improve discoverability issues.

“fediverse” apps (groups of interconnected servers used for web publishing) from the Play Store


How viable is creating a progressive web app version as a work around to the play/apple store barrier?

I’m using Mastodon, Pleroma and Pixelfed straight through the web apps and never felt like switching to native apps on my phone. The only thing that’s missing are notification popups which I really don’t care about.


This article is clearly written by someone who has no idea what they are talking about. They keep calling different instances “fediverses”.


I mean, yeah, but I don’t think, the article suffered from it.


I think we all know we can’t trust Google to be decent. Antifa Google? I wish…

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