I recently read on Platformer that Facebook is trying to build a “next-generation” text-based social media platform to replace Twitter. I mean sure, Twitter is dying and its death is not happening nearly as slowly as I thought it would be1, but why on earth should we trust Facebook at all in this?
Facebook uses all the “right” words about how it will be decentralized and how it will federate with Mastodon so that it’s open. But Facebook also said that video was what you should pivot to and then yanked the rug out from under media companies. Facebook gives platforms to misinformation despite saying it would stop.
Sure Mastodon is a bit of a lift currently to get an account. You have to choose a server and then choose your user name. Yes, some company like Facebook could smooth that out by just giving users an account with a single click to connect their current accounts to a federated Mastodon instance. But that still means Facebook owns your account that’s federated to Mastodon. That’s still power and user data tracking centralized in Facebook’s hands.
The only thing I trust Facebook to do is to capture as much data as possible and try to monetize every thought I have. I trust them to try and federate with other servers and then when their users follow people on those instances that are currently disconnected from Facebook, collect data on these people that are currently not within Facebook’s immediate grasp.
We Already have Decentralized Text Based Networks
We already have everything that Facebook is claiming to produce. We have blogs and RSS feeds for decentralized text-based communication. Yes it can be a bit of a lift to set up your own blog, but services like WordPress.org or Ghost make this process easy if you’re willing to pay a bit.
We already have ActivityPub, Mastodon and Micro.blog. We don’t need Facebook to get into our data and I know that if my instance doesn’t reject Facebook as a federation source I’ll be leaving that instance. I’m not on Facebook so they have less of my data2 and I’d like to keep it that way.
- Kudos to Musk for showing us how fast you can trash something. ↩
- Yes the ubiquity of Facebook means I can never be sure they don’t have a full profile on me already. In fact I bet they do. ↩
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