I feel like I don't explicitly state this often enough, but I want to see a future where most people are on federated social networks. Mastodon, Pleroma, Misskey, etc, instead of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

@Gargron I don't care so much about federated or not, but I want the advertising and investor money out of our social lives. It poisons everything, and it has thoroughly poisoned the big social networks. And the fediverse is the best available alternative at the moment.

@WAHa_06x36 @Gargron

A centralised site can be sold to investors, a federated decentralised network can't.


The way this will end up is with federated networks… for a while, then there will be mastodon's answer to Gmail, where everyone will gravitate to the provider spending the most money on marketing.


@61 @Gargron

Gmail doesn't have the same network effect as Facebook or Twitter. People can more easily switching to alternatives from Gmail.

Even in this situation, decentralised is still better because it leaves the door wider open for alternatives.


It was just an example of how even in the face of you can get people to gravitate towards one particular provider, given enough .

Take for example, a glorified server, or , and all the rest of garden-walled implementations.

We need to do something different to break that cycle. I don't know what the solution is but it will be / , not .



Yup, I agree.

One tech idea is having peer-to-peer instead of servers, such as Scuttlebutt and Briar?

But yes, the bulk of the solution has to come from tougher regulation. Newspapers used to be heavily regulated to prevent monopolies and abuse of power. There should be a recognition that social media has become even more powerful than papers were.

In the mean time, I guess we just have to do the best we can with the tools available.

can only take you so far and is vulnerable to the same type of dynamics as markets are ( is a specialised form of ).

Not saying it is not helpful or necessary but the real revolution has to be in social attitudes.

In this respect, remember that always comes from a determined minority.


One concern is that social attitudes are being artificially manipulated through unregulated social media and particularly hypertargeted advertising.

So, in a way regulation and social attitudes may not be such separate issues.


But are they? We have heard much about it but I'm unconvinced that, if anything, it does more than reaffirm people in their preexisting opinions thus polarising discourse. I would be grateful for any pointers to quality academic research on the subject.


Polarising people is exactly the social change I mean, it divides people from each other and makes rational discourse more difficult.

I am not an academic but my understanding is that Facebook is less than forthcoming about opening its order books to outside researchers, particularly on political topics :/


Hyper targeted is seeing ads for vacuum cleaners half an hour after you bought one and moved on to watch cat videos. In other words: naff stuff.

Have you ever tried selling anything via or so? It doesn't work. 🙂

Political advertising Show more

You mean Cambridge Analytics or whatever they called themselves? That was two old Etonians full of shite, but a posh accent sells (at first anyway) and the rags love a good scare story. This was the post cold war version of mind control stories from the 60s.



CA was far more than two Etonians, its parent is owned by Mercer and he continues to employ Nix et al. Bannon also worked at CA.

That article leans heavily on pro-Trump Republican sources, who (with all due respect) are hardly likely to be reliable on this topic.

If these tactics were effective, they would also be potentially illegal, and they would be crazy to shout about them from the rooftops.

Whistleblowers from CA painted a very different picture:



From what was in the FB leaks, the conventional ads are irrelevant except as a payment method.

Officially, FB doesn't sell personal data to anyone. In theory, they analyse people's data without revealing it, then match up adverts to people, which is their equivalent of adwords.

Unofficially, FB would allow companies to use known-to-be-leaky apps to obtain personal data free of charge, on the understanding that those companies would also buy conventional ads.


Also, besides ads, social media content itself has an effect on society:


In the old days there were clearly authoritative sources (physical newspapers, radio, TV) that were legally accountable and professionally run. Extremist publications were rare and difficult to find.

Nowadays journalists publish side-by-side with hate groups on the same platforms, and it's very easy to publish completely fabricated news that newspapers would never have touched.

It's a known phenomenon: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

Remember Google Talk and XMPP?

@switchingsocial @gargron

@61 @switchingsocial @Gargron
IRC hasn't really really been federated since the Eris incident, and AFAIK walled garden XMPP doesn't federate from the very beginning, so for all intents and purposes it may not be XMPP-based at all.

So AFAIK gmail is the only example where one party in a federated network gained a dominant position.

Correct, but the example wasn't about parties in a federated network, rather about services that by their very nature should be federated and collaborative instead of fragmented amongst competing players.

There is no reason other than commercial why a WhatsApp user cannot message someone on telegram or vice versa, or slack stopped doing irc. (Xmpp has gateways for this, though they feel in disuse).

@switchingsocial @Gargron

@61 @switchingsocial @Gargron
Yeah, but I'm not afraid of a walled garden service that develops independently and gets users to move from the federated network into the walled garden.

What I'm afraid of is a service starting as part of a federated network, and then doing EEE or 4X.

Like GChat. Luckily, I don't think any noticeable population really migrated from other XMPP providers to them.

Mail and personal web sites remain the two big examples of a federated network that fell victim to big players offering convenience and features and in effect becoming the network.


What would be the difference? At the end you end up with an unhealthy competitive environment one way or another.

@switchingsocial @Gargron

@61 @switchingsocial @Gargron

In the first scenario, it's obvious from the beginning that the service is a walled garden, we can explain and show to the users how walled it is, and it doesn't exploit our openness.

OTOH, in the second scenario, the attacker is pretending to be one of us, hijacking our network's reputation, promising users that they can still contact the rest of the network, and then changing the rules after most of the users move in.

@61 WhatsApp is based on a stripped down ("optimised") version of the XMPP C2S protocol, but it has never been a part of the !xmpp federated network, nor advertised itself as such.
It's as if Twitter were to implement a highly modified version of the ActivityPub's C2S protocol. Would'n've made a slightest difference.

@xrevan86 Yep, that was my point. The current business model is fucked as it relies on hoarding users.

A saner business model could be along the lines of developing the protocol and then offer clients, hardware, services, etc., etc., that take advantage of it.

is one successful example of things done right, is a good example of things done wrong.

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