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Twitter is Dead to Me

Old Twitter

REMEMBER the minimalism of early/earlier Twitter? Here it is in 2009; Notice how in 2014 it’s already bloated; nowadays it takes up gigabytes of RAM — all this to read SMS-sized blurbs and replies to them. I have to restart my browser just to read notifications. I’ve had enough!

Twitter, the Saudi-owned (partly at least) social control media company (i.e. censorship, a filter of communications whose owners determine what people or speech are permissible), is finished. It’s dying anyway.

Weeks ago it banned, with neither warning nor notice (let alone an explanation), the account that supports Julian Assange. It was terminated despite being professional and polite. It was associated with some very high-profile people, including Julian Assange’s family. Weeks later the account was reinstated (after huge backlash), but other accounts associated with this one remain banned. Everything they’ve ever published got deleted for — possibly at least — being ‘inconvenient’ to the site’s owners, i.e. shareholders who subsidise this company’s losses.

In order to reduce these losses or turn up some temporary profits (for the first time ever!) a year ago Twitter cut off third-party applications. It killed APIs in an effort to impose its surveillance malware (‘app’) on all users and each page was greeted with a pop-up pushing this malicious ‘app’.

Moments ago the site started imposing its utterly disgusting mobile UI on all visitors, even those who do not use a mobile device. This, to me, was the final straw.

I will still have stuff copied onto Twitter (through Diaspora), I will occasionally check replies (perhaps once a day), but for all practical purposes my presence in Twitter will remain mostly a phantom. Later this week I will have posted my 666,666th tweet (special number), but before I get to it I sort of ‘quit’ Twitter. Knowing that many people have no account other than in Twitter I will keep sending copies of my dents/diaspora posts/Pleroma posts/toots into it.

Twitter as a company deserves to collapse. Like Facebook, it has artificially inflated the number of users; it lies to advertisers and gives a false impression/perception of scale. I predict that Twitter won’t last more than a decade (from now). It had lost billions before it began ‘squeezing the goose’ and now the goose is in its deathbed. RIP, Twitter. I won’t miss you when you’re gone.

The Linux Foundation Killed Linux.com After Two Decades of News Service

Linux.com

Remember NewsForge? Or Geeknet? Yes, once upon a time Linux.com was a site for geeks; under the Linux Foundation’s ownership it gradually became a site for large corporations, where they could buy puff pieces and interviews (agreed upon in advance, as covered in Techrights). But among those puff pieces and ads one could at least find some journalism.

I’m sad to see, 2 months down the line, that Linux.com is practically dead. Nothing new is being added to it. It’s now a fossil. Eternally? The Foundation has said not a single word about it. So much for openness and transparency, eh?

Tux Machines 15th Year Party

Tux Machines birthday

PLANNED for next Friday is a little local party to celebrate the Tux Machines birthday, which is a special one because it’s fifteenth. It’s hard to believe the site started its 16th year earlier this month.

The party will mostly involve some local/personal friends of ours, but if you live near Manchester and wish to join, send me an E-mail.

Gab is Not a Site That Tolerates Nazis. It is a Nazi Site That Bans People Who Object to Nazism. It’s a Censorship Site With a Dangerous Agenda.

Protecting Nazis from opposing points of views

SEVERAL months ago Gab banned my account which posted GNU/Linux news. It had many followers and said nothing provocative. No explanation was ever given for the ban. Nothing. Not even when asked. Repeatedly. They just zapped the account without warning. Then they pretended nothing happened, hoping nobody would notice that Gab is in fact a censorship platform.

Recently the site was offline for a week after a terror attack. The terrorist maintained a Gab account. Gab kept telling the media that it’s really just standing up for “free speech”, but that’s obviously a lie. It’s a fat lie. Torba is a liar and he knows he’s a liar. He’s just trying to profit from hate.

The site came back online just over a day ago and within a day my personal account got banned. I had many followers (about a thousand) and tens of thousands of gabs (mostly left-leaning and technical stuff). Did I post something obscene or offensive? No. Just some left-leaning news.

One therefore must conclude that the site isn’t just an echo chamber for radicals and sometimes terrorists. It’s a site that actively protects radicals (and sometimes terrorists) from opposing views. And that’s dangerous. Very dangerous. Gab is quickly becoming another Daily Stormer and at one point I received almost a dozen death threats and death wishes in just one day.

Since Gab has proven itself to be a censorship site (even twice in my case alone), it does not have the right to bemoan censorship. If the site is shut down forcibly and permanently, so be it. They cannot complain (calling it “censorship”) because gross censorship is exactly what these people do and we know in whose favour: violent, racist radicals. If you’re not one of them, then that might upset them and sooner or later you might get banned. Permanently.

Gab Isn’t “Free Speech” But a “Safe Space” for Bigots That Censors Innocent Accounts Without Warning and Without Explanation for the Censorship

I used to complain that Twitter was shadowbanning and suppressing my account. As an act of protest, even though I wasn’t leaning towards the political worldview of most Gab users, I then opened an account there. I later opened another account, one for TuxMachines, in order to separate my GNU/Linux postings from more political ones (some people just want the technical news, not opinions).

The TuxMachines account has been in Gab for a long time, well over a year, and earned hundreds of followers (almost 500 people last I checked). I didn’t post anything controversial and didn’t do anything abusive.

More than half a day ago the account was terminated along with its 10,000+ posts! No prior warning was given and no reason is being given for this. They’re stonewalling. Even some followers of the accounts have enquired about it, but Gab isn’t answering. Curiously enough, as soon as I spoke out about it other people came out stating that they too had been banned by Gab, citing some truly ridiculous reasons.

Make no mistake; Gab isn’t some politically-correct hyper-sensitive site. The site has many accounts of literal Nazis, people who even call for genocides. For some reason, Gab appears to have no issue with such accounts. They cite “free speech”, but as the above comes to show that’s just a facade for tolerating extremely intolerant views, bordering glorification of violence (e.g. lynching black people) and condoning genocide.

Gab cannot really use the “free speech” card (or excuse) to rationalise having that cesspool among its userbase. They use terms like “free speech”, but they don’t actually believe in free speech. It’s a site for “snowflakes” who can’t stand leftist views and ‘gang up’ on those who express such views. Nazis? OK. GNU/Linux news? Get out!

Detexian Reviewed

I am an early adopter of Detexian, a service which I increasingly rely on for security. My wife and I run a small media entity which attracts about 5 million hits a week. The sites are TuxMachines.org and TechRights.org. One of the sites is modest and non-confrontational, whereas the other one (the latter) is more controversial because it is critical of activities such as bribery, illegal surveillance, and all sorts of corruption. There are certainly people and organisations that are willing to spy on and undermine the site. Some of those who get criticised are large technology companies and institutions they work with.

We cannot keep up with logs because we are a small team and we cannot properly analyse these for security threats. It is just infeasible. For analysis of logs we also require a service which is isolated from surveillance-intensive hosts such as Amazon. We moreover operate on a very small budget as the sites are public services rather than for-profit.

We now rely on Detexian to inspect the traffic and generate concise reports. Detexian helps to avert disaster or alert about troubling patterns in activity before disaster strikes or flaws are found/exploited. TuxMachines.org and TechRights.org are not young sites. They have been around for nearly a decade and a half; over the years we have suffered more DDOS attacks than we can remember and there were also intrusion attempts (none were successful). Some attacks managed to cause damage, but it was always repairable. Recently, Detexian alerted us about SQL injection attempts and made recommendations.

We shall continue to rely on Detexian in the foreseeable future and are happy to pay for the service knowing that someone “has got our back” and is providing informed advice on how to guard the sites.

Barrett Brown, Who Received Money From Pierre Omidyar, is Both Rude and Extremely Sensitive

A toxic mix

Barrett Brown

IT is no secret that I have supported Barrett Brown for a number of years. What I underestimated, however, was his temper and willingness to turn against his own supporters. Money from oligarchs does appear to change people.

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