Introduction to the Fediverse

Social Time

Article from Issue 269/2023
Author(s):

Do you have to you give up your privacy to enjoy access to social media? The makers of the Fediverse say no.

As this magazine goes to press, Twitter has just announced that it is closing its API – a radical move that will limit access from outside applications. Some form of API access might be possible, if you pay for it, but as of now, the terms are unclear, and anyway, the move is likely to cause still more restlessness from the Linux community, who have never had much patience for closed APIs and are likely to abandon the platform in even greater numbers. Where will they go?

Social networking and the new generation of users who live on it have changed the Internet. Your thoughts, your experiences, your pictures, your politics – it all goes on the Internet now through your platform of choice: Life events on Facebook; links and short opinions on Twitter; videos on YouTube; photos on Instagram. The whole world is connected, but many users, including many who have never heard of Linux or free software, have already begun to ask whether it is all worth the price.

"What do you mean," the companies tell us. "Our services are all free." But it all depends on what you mean by free. Commercial social media services earn billions selling knowledge of their users' opinions and habits. To get on the site, you need to click a box that signs away your privacy and, in some cases, even signs away your ownership of your own words and images.

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