Social media sucks. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are designed to turn your precious free time into money. What we see as a nice way to stay in touch with our friends, in reality are just many hits of dopamine stimulating precise spots in your brain, leading to you spending more time on the platform consuming ads.

But what if I told you that there is a huge ad-free social network out there, not governed by a central authority, full of great people and completely free to use? This place is called the Fediverse. Well, it’s not really a place, it’s many places.

See the 6 reasons and a good short overview of what the Fediverse is about at https://slashdev.space/posts/2021-01-18-reasons-the-fediverse-is-better

#technology #opensource #fediverse #alternativeto #privacy

Dreeg Ocedam
19edit-21M

You probably heard that the Twitter-account of Donald Trump recently got compromised by the owners of the platform. I don’t want to engage in any political discussions, but the main flaw with this is the violation of freedom of speech.

No its not! In my opinion, Twitter should have banned Trump a long time ago. He has been posting dangerous content for way too long. Freedom of speech only means that you can share your ideas. It doesn’t mean that anyone has to give you a platform to do so, and it doesn’t mean that you can threaten people.

There are issues with Twitter having so much power to silence people. For example, they also recently banned Sci-Hub. Similarly other GAFAMS have already hurt LGBT communities and other minorities with excessive bans. Federation does solve a lot of theses issues. Someone mostly disliked like trump, would be booted of most instances, while Sci-Hub, or LGBT communities, would be able to find many willing instances to host their content.

The idea that the Fediverse promotes the completely stupid “Free speech” view of the alt-right where anyone can say anything to anyone without any consequence is absolutely false. What the Fediverse enables is the possibility to have the rules of what is accepted be much more democratic.

@yogthos
151M

Right, and we see that nazis have a much harder time on Fediverse than on Twitter precisely because policy is driven democratically instead of being decided by a corporation. I think the other big aspect is that Fediverse is operated largely nonprofit and people running instances are able to make morally sound decisions because of that. Twitter refuses to ban nazis because that would negatively affect their bottom line, and any moral considerations are secondary to that.

Dessalines
admin
81M

Yeah I found that strange too lol. The fediverse as a whole is much less tolerant of racism / fascism than the social media giants.

@yogthos
81M

I think the last point is particularly interesting. Centralized platforms end up creating more homogeneous communities because the same set of rules is applied globally by the company running the service. Meanwhile, federated services allow for a lot more diversity and naturally lead towards creation of smaller communities that have more meaningful interactions within them. Bigger isn’t always better.

@redstone
01M

aka the filter bubble?

poVoq
7edit-21M

Not necessarily, as you can still federate with communities that have a different viewpoint. But there is certainly a risk of that with the Fediverse as well. However it is still better than having some AI automatically create a filter-bubble for you as is the case with Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Fediverse has a bonus in that you know you are in a bubble. Where social media giants make bubbles for you silently with their Ais.

@tallship
31M

And herein lies the problem with the mega sites - moderation. You just can’t staff for that many zillions of people without looking toward automation to protect the bottom line.

Historically, even larger communities - forums and such, would enlist mods who were actually members of those sub-forums/SIGs, to perform the less than enviable task to maintaining order in the community. Mostly from trolls and list bullies, because politicization has created a mostly newer dynamic in super large communities policed by the proprietors.

Problems such as these exist even here in the Fediverse, on instances like mastodon.social and many of the huge asian instances, although the latter are generally more focused, rather than generalized, and the members generally better behaved.

The beauty of this all in the Fediverse has been touched on several times even in this thread:

One can move instances, one can filter undesirable actors as well as instances, and instance admins can apply policy of what that particular instance will tolerate from other instances. Theoretically, if there are bad actors at one instance, the admin seeing this in the feeds on another can contact the admin of instance that is home to the bad actors - and this is indeed the recommended approach. Too many naive admins are quick to pull the trigger however, and end up disenfranchising themselves from instances that have many friends interacting with their own userbase. But it the remote admin doesn’t engage when requested, there is little choice and the instance can be blocked.

In my ToS’s for most of my platforms, the FAQ lists a question, “Do you allow Porn?” The short answer for most instances is yes, but media is blurred, with options to filter media, block actors that don’t mark content NSFW or receive reportings from my users, and ultimately, just whack a whole instance - a combination of all of those in several of my MRFs are present.

Heck, I didn’t even block Gab at first (I thought, it can’t be as bad as they are saying), when they initially came online, but then I started seeing swastika shit coming through the pipe and thought, "fuck that, my users don’t want to see that, and I didn’t want to deal with the (and I believe very few when compared to the huge userbase they have) plethora of bad actors spewing things just because it will incite anger from folks combing through the fedi streams. The whole decision took about a week and then I was like, “Oh no fuck that shit”.

There’s some pretty militant hate sites on the other side of the spectrum too, and after giving them opportunities for their admins to reign in their bad actors, what was needed was a “Complete defederation” with them too.

Basically, I’ve found that simply setting, “Media is forced NSFW” along with, “Posts are removed from the federated timeline” usually does the trick, and still permits local users to engage with people they wish to.

The way I’ve seen it for the past 30+ years is that, if I’m not getting complaints from my users or admins of other systems then I’m doing my job and it’s all good. And I still run an active FidoNET node (1:102/127) from decades ago when I first started offering dial-up Internet access (to the NSFnet) and nobody even knew what that was.

Everyone needs a place for them to go. And they should have it. Maybe not in my town square, but the Fediverse does indeed serve to accommodate all in a decentralized network that can look accordingly different from where you’re peering into it from, and that’s a good thing, because it breaks the freaking backs of the FacePlants and removedters and InstaSPAMs of this world, and returns us to a newer kind of network of true communities where people can interact locally as well as remotely with one another - without being nicely packaged for consumption by the privacy invading aggregators of destruction.

aka the innovation social network. Servers can try different things and find out what works

Decentralized Social Networks vs The Trolls - https://conf.tube/videos/watch/d8c8ed69-79f0-4987-bafe-84c01f38f966

GadgeteerZA
creator
31M

To be honest I’ve had to block over 80 profiles on MeWe for active trolling (a centralised platform) vs on Mastodon.social only three. I can mute, block or report a profile on Mastodon and Pixelfed, and on Mastodon even block a whole domain by the looks of it, if it is a trolling instance. My other big problem network with trolls was Google+ also a centralised network. So it’s probably true the bigger the network, the bigger the problem. As I’ve been involved more and more on P2P networks the experience has been even better as you only see / hear from whom you connect to.

What is great with a decentralised network is if you don’t agree with the policies of an instance you can move to another and your followers can still follow you. On FB, Twitter etc you are just out.

@copacetic
2edit-21M

While I like the fediverse, I don’t buy most of these reasons.

  1. “It’s decentralized.” This is no reason in itself. That description rather says “It’s resilient.” Well, the big social websites have a pretty good uptime as well, so not a good reason.

  2. “It can’t be censored.” The description uses a warped definition of censorship. Originally, it is only about censoring by the government. Banning Trump is actually the reverse and no censoring. The argument is correct that in the fediverse you can switch to another equal instance. Switching from Twitter to Instagram is not equal.

  3. “Free as in freedom”. The description is actually more about public auditing than freedom. This is not a good argument because an admin in the fediverse can patch his instance without anybody noticing. The federation still lowers the impact though.

  4. “It respects your privacy”. Same issue. An admin can patch their instance and no public audit defends against that. The federation still lowers the impact."

  5. “It’s all about the community” Maybe. Maybe the crazy people have just not yet discovered the fediverse in significant numbers. An eternal september could occur. Federation might help. It might not.

  6. “There’s an instance for everyone” Well, there is also a subreddit for everyone and a twitter hashtag and …

Conclusion: 1, 2 and 6 are no reason to me. 3 and 4 are reasons but not strong ones. For 5 there is not enough data yet.

GadgeteerZA
creator
31M
  1. Centralised sites have been known to have outages up to a few hours affecting all users. But I think it was more about centralised sites like Twitter being very easy to block by governments, and frequently done. Decentralisation allows for more flexible / or not rules, giving choices, and allowing interest based nodes to flourish. Decentralised (and usually federated eg. with ActivityPub) means one friend can be using Pixelfed as their Instagram type usage, while another friend can be on Mastodon for Twitter type micro-blogging, but they can still interact with each other without being forced to use the same social network.
  2. Yes I think it meant not only not easy to block, but also not easy to monitor via a central point.
  3. And anyone can, and do, start up their own instances. I created my own Hubzilla node with me as the sole user, so I could fully manage functionality and my own rules. True generically on Subreddits and hashtags but a proper instance or node does give that like-minded community more control, and more so if they are a fringe group of society.

What’s the feather-and-W logo on the lower right of the image?

GadgeteerZA
creator
21M

That is Write.as / WriteFreely

@0x1C3B00DA
51M

The W is WriteFreely; The feather is Plume

This is the first I’m hearing of this, and it makes me want to switch to it from WordPress, lmao.

ufra
21M

eat your own dogfood and delete your twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/gadgeteerza

GadgeteerZA
creator
71M

Yes I know, but it is really the only way I still reach ordinary folk to tell them about Fediverse and P2P networks. My Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, etc are all deleted. There is little point in only us talking to each other. A lot of what I do is promoting Fediverse and P2P to users who don’t know about them.

And I thank you for that, promotion of open-source alternatives and decentralized platforms is always good!

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