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    Twitter and Interoperability: A case for tearing down the walls and introducing interoperability between social networks

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Tuesday, 26 January - 10:22

Big social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc hold their users captive through the high cost for users to migrate elsewhere ie. all they have to give up by leaving friends and family behind, finding a new alternative platform, losing follower counts, often losing sponsorships, etc. This is why Facebook for example cut off their messenger interconnectivity with XMPP years ago because then any Facebook user could leave, and stay in contact with friends and family on Facebook.

As the article points out there are also some downsides to decentralisation like maybe losing the ability for one network to do mass mobilisation for good.

Personally I've also held the belief that we need more interoperability rather than just breaking up a big tech company. We do already have protocols such as ActivityPub, XMPP, etc that are in use connecting completely different social networks together.

Break the walls down and let Big Tech compete more equally and openly with everyone. This will also give the smaller social media networks a chance to compete for attention.


#technology #bigtech #interoperability #socialnetworks #decentralisation

  • Twitter and Interoperability: Some Thoughts From the Peanut Gallery

    Late in 2019, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey floated "Project Blue Sky," a plan for an interoperable, federated, standardized Twitter that would let users (or toolsmiths who work on behalf of users) gain more control over their participation in the Twitter system. This was an exciting moment for us, a...

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    Father of the Web Tim Berners-Lee prepares 'do-over' for the Internet, but I'm still struggling to understand how it will actually work?

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Sunday, 17 January - 19:54

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist who was knighted for inventing the internet navigation system known as the World Wide Web, wants to re-make cyberspace once again.

The Thing is he has been busy with it for a good two years, and we're not really seeing anything. It sounds a bit like a virtual identity and some form of virtual pod for publishing and interacting from? So not a federated network where you log into your account at a server instance and can move it to another instance. It sounds more abstracted than that. I understand he is working on the open protocol side to ensure it works globally and is not limited to some big central tech company, and that various devs can produce the client software and apps. All good, but where is the prototype after all this time?


#technology #bigtech #socialnetworks #Internet

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    Uganda Govt blocks Google Playstore, Apple AppStore, and YouTube - Which Is Why You Want To Belong To Alternative Social Networks As Well

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Sunday, 10 January - 09:53

It is extremely easy for a government to block / monitor a social media service which relies on a central server like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. They just block traffic to that domain and their citizens are cut off.

The two alternative types of Social Media networks are federated and peer-to-peer (P2P).

Federated means numerous different servers interconnect and transmit messages, so you can belong to any one of them and find your friends anywhere else. These include popular ones like Hubzilla, Mastodon, Friendica, Pixlefed, Peertube, etc all using ActivityPub protocol. Hubzilla even allows a nomadic backup node to be created ready for use. There are also networks such as Movim and others using XMPP Jabber protocol, and then also Diaspora.

Peer-to-peer networks have no central server or even decentralised servers with data on at all. They interconnect individual users' computers and each computer helps send data along to others. This is impossible to block unless you have all internet traffic blocked. Popular networks for this type are Secure Scuttlebutt (SSB), RetroShare, Aether, etc. But joining after a government has blocked a network is a bit too late....


#technology #africa #uganda #socialnetworks #censorship

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    Lest We Forget: This Is Mark Zuckerberg Assuring Us We Own Our Data And He'll Never Share It

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Tuesday, 5 January - 18:25 edit

This was why Facebook grew so big initially, but Mark clearly has thrown those principles he professed to have right out of the window. After Cambridge Analytica, and other revelations, it became very clear that data was being sold for research, political analysis is, and who knows what more.

With him now drawing Instagram and Whatsapp further into the fold, and amending their terms of service to allow sharing of data and analysis, we can see where this is going. I withdrew from Facebook and Instagram, but I can now see I'll need to withdraw from Whatsapp too. Why? Because we cannot trust what Mark Zuckerberg says.

Watch Mark's promise at

#technology #socialnetworks #deletefacebook #privacy

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    Welcome to the splinternets – where freedom of expression is suppressed and repressed, and Big Brother is watching - Many countries want more localised control

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Monday, 4 January - 16:47 · 1 minute

Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Gilmore said that the internet routed around censorship. But what if the net stopped being one big, connected thing? National governments are busy walling off their own sections, and in some cases changing the technologies that underpin it. What's more, they're not stopping at their own borders. The BRICS countries are all mentioned and for many the global Internet is an absolute saviour for human rights, whilst many countries at state level for the same reason see a global Internet as a threat.

This certainly poses problems for any centralised social media service (ie. Facebook) as it's easy to block or monitor such access.

Interestingly enough I've been delving more and more into alternative social networks and the number and variety of them is staggering. Here I'm talking about proper decentralised / federated networks (XMPP and ActivityPub protocols) as well as peer-to-peer networks. The P2P are especially interesting as they create their own virtual layer independent of any other network or the open Internet. Their data resides on each hard drive so there is just no central server to seize or block. Interesting communities are springing up, and they are far from political - some have an interest in programming, some on sailing, some on art, etc. Nothing subversive at all, but all are sick and tired of adverts and having their data and behaviours sold.

So know just one thing and that is that central networks are at the biggest risk of splinternets. I pity Big Tech a bit as they will become the easy targets in the future. The people though do have choices and clearly many are already moving off Big Tech.


#technology #socialnetworks #splinternet #privacy #BigTech

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    Decentralized Social Networks Report: How Flexibility Deals With Trolls And Scalability In the Fediverse

    Danie van der Merwe · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Sunday, 3 January - 11:08

A very interesting report back from some research conducted in 2020 around how Fediverse social networks deal with scalability as well as moderation (or not) of trolling. This is also a must-watch if you don't know much about the Fediverse.

It's very true users migrate either toward instances where you have more rules or fewer rules, and the Fediverse does allow this type of flexibility to accommodate everyone. The video explains how moderation is managed differently on decentralised networks versus large centralised networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

It underlines again you must select your social network instance based on its terms of use as you need to abide by those rules, and can expect moderators to enforce the same rules. If an instance has few rules, then don't expect much moderation on that instance.

Watch at

#technology #socialnetworks #fediverse #trolling #moderation