"we should be working not just to pay the bills, but to make sure we don’t create software that we will one day regret", I like the term #ethicalDebt, software engineers think a lot about technical debt when building software but we should not forget the ethical debt of what we build. thenewstack.io/tech-ethics-new #software #engineering #ethics

@bjoern “when Mark Zuckerberg was making Facebook in his dorm room bedroom, he probably wasn’t trying to make this dopamine-inducing tool”

Yes he was. He called his users “dumb fucks”. Can we please stop perpetuating this myth and giving the people who knowingly created this mess a pass with this “oops, they just wanted to make things better but ended up making things worse and accidentally becoming billionaires” narrative.

VC/startups/the Silicon Valley model is unethical.

@aral @bjoern As far as I remember Facebook was originally created so that Zuck could stalk his college contemporaries in a voyeuristic manner. So it originates from a place of creepyness.

Facebook's arc was so predictable from the off. It was all there to see. That is why I tire of the decade-too-late centrist takes on the dangers of Facebook from embedded journals that have been riding the FB convoy for years and still now feel compelled to warn their readers against the extremism of looking for alternatives or smear FOSS types & decentralists, often barely making a living, as Mr Robot style weirdos.
@bob @bjoern

@krozruch @aral @bob @bjoern That othering means that free software proponents have to cut themselves off from reaching people to use safe platforms, which only feeds the loop.

There's also a lack of concern from users. I can tell all the horror stories I want, but they still think it's just how things are. Especially because the platforms are free. No one pays for "unnecessary" services.

@kcnightfang @krozruch @aral @bob @bjoern

Don't know whether any of you would/could gain anything from the following, regardless I present the article:

"List of problems endemic to social media"


The last bullet-item currently on the list:

"• Apathy: The meta-problem. 90% of users don't care enough about the above problems to switch to better systems."

@FerdiZ @bjoern @aral @krozruch @kcnightfang

The problem is not so much apathy as network effect. Real People (TM) have said things to me in the past like:

"Why would I move to a social network where none of my friends are?"

It's not that they don't care about privacy. If you ask them to give you their credit card number or to remove their curtains they'll say "no". It's more a case that if you want to be with your friends then you have to accept what the social networks are.

@bob @kcnightfang @aral @FerdiZ @bjoern Depends where you are and what demographics you mix with, I think. Penetration of these issues is higher in some places than others. In Prague, despite a very high proportion of IT types, there are the people you describe, but also a lot of people who either don't understand at all, who understand to some degree but are apathetic, and those I meet most often, people who are outright hostile when you bring up alternatives or problems with Facebook etc.

I hear this comparisons often and also used it in the past. Meanwhile I come to the conclusion that it is something you can't compare. Whether it is rational or not, people have a strong privacy feeling if it is about their friends, neighbors, etc who could know something private about them but not if something as anonymous as algorithm analysis it...
@FerdiZ @aral @krozruch @kcnightfang

@bob @FerdiZ @aral @krozruch @kcnightfang
That's why I no longer use such comparisons, in my experience they don't really help. In my view you need some "real world feature" no one else has to win the majority. Just copying what's already out there in a more privacy friendly way will not win on large scale - 1/3

@bob @FerdiZ @aral @krozruch @kcnightfang That's why believe that the messenger war is over, XMPP had a opportunity 10 years ago which we missed, unfortunately. Next opportunity will come when something better/different from what we have now appears. Same with social networks - 2/3

@bob @FerdiZ @aral @krozruch @kcnightfang Just copying Twitter/Facebook will not win the masses. That's why I think such small features like groups, not available on Twitter, are important and could become a game changer. - 3/3

@bjoern @kcnightfang @krozruch @aral @FerdiZ

WhatsApp is really just a version of XMPP. They even run ejabberd on the server.

They just took something open and made a proprietary client, with the telephone number as username.

So, the popularity of chat apps has little to do with features or protocols. A lot of it is down to factors which we don't have much influence upon, like marketing.

@bob marketing and somehow giving you less freedom instead of more... cause that makes the feds happy

@adambredenberg Taking WhatsApp as an example, the centralized architecture then allows for exclusivity and brand control. The lesson of the fediverse in the last couple of years is that celebrities have a really hard time within federated systems because they don't have exclusive control of their brand and aren't sheltered from criticism or parody accounts. Feds also love centralized architecture because it allows them to control lots of people via official decrees. Companies will usually comply with censorship demands, etc.

@bob @adambredenberg

Just watched an old keynote by Jan Koum the other day... It's from MWC 2014, just when it was bought by Facebook. So many things that he assured about their future business model are so dated now (based on paid subscription, not free, etc.) that I'm not sure even he believed them there. I will cut some stuff from the video and post it here, I think it's interesting to see.

@aemon @aral @bjoern @adambredenberg I don't see a lot of spam in the fediverse either, although it has been a problem for some XMPP servers.

@bob @aral @bjoern @adambredenberg

Sure. Also, I don't think that's such an obstacle... He just didn't want to let it go. Phone calls are also open... Yes you do get some spam from time to time, so what.

I don't see the relationship between being Free Software and the amount of Spam send in a system. Said that, XMPP spam is a real pain, it made my main JID I used for many years useless. While we have systems in place to handle mail spam quite good, spam is still a unsolved problem in XMPP.

Cc @bob @aral @adambredenberg

@bjoern @bob @aral @adambredenberg

What I get from what he said is that when it's free software (well, "open source" in their own words) the service is more likely to become an "open net", then anyone running their own server means more ways of exploiting it (which would lead to ways to prevent it I guess). Having said that, the questioner mentioned Telegram, which is a non-federating closed server.

So he's just kind of dodging the real issue.

You know what generates more spam? Bussinesses.

@bjoern @bob @FerdiZ @krozruch @kcnightfang Maybe that would change if more people knew that the Auschwitz tattoos originated from the tracking numbers used by IBM mainframes. villagevoice.com/2002/10/08/th

@aral @bjoern @bob @FerdiZ @kcnightfang The more I think about these issues the more I see that marketing works well to make invisible what those who have the money and networks wish to keep invisible, and manipulate the image both of a given product and those who would offer up valid criticisms of it. I feel the impact of some of this regularly because, being autistic, some of the clever smears of FOSS types and "edgy" SM by proprietary firms of all kinds works very effectively against me..

@aral @bjoern @bob @FerdiZ @kcnightfang I sometimes suspect that in the Czech Republic and other post-communist countries, the privacy arguments Bob comes across have not made so much headway and I absolutely accept that among those communities (typically the ex-pats I work with), the network effect is the main barrier, but I think there is as much PR power going into this area at every level as there ever was with tobacco and oil, and it is working at all of the above levels to various effect.

@aral @bjoern @bob @FerdiZ @kcnightfang For the federation perhaps the best kind of approach could be one of federated constructive dissent whereby we each take our own experience and knowledge and work on whichever part of the problem we are best placed to take on whether it is on the level of tooling or outreach. Each of us will have a slightly different reading but that would be a problem only if we had to agree on a single putative monolithic solution to what we are each of us confronting.

@krozruch @aral @bjoern @bob @FerdiZ
I agree that the network effect is the main barrier. It's what keeps me on Facebook. And for social media that's very true. I was thinking more of infrastructure like email and cloud storage and VPNs.

I think people would care about privacy if they felt like it was in their control, and right now it's just not a factor. Also, companies have used data to make things "convenient"

@krozruch @aral @bjoern @bob @FerdiZ
Once a company is big enough it becomes seen as more "trustworthy" in proportion to the decrease in how much we should probably trust it.

I'm just thinking out loud, and I'm still caught up in all these things. The problem is structural, and consumer choices aren't sufficient to solve it. I think there's good work to be done, there has to be multiple approaches.

@aemon @krozruch @aral @bjoern @bob @kcnightfang @pootz

Re: userbase momentum re Facebook etc.,

The following essay is related imo; but "unfortunately" it is behind the standard Medium spyware paywall. Venture forth at your own risk and/or convenience.


@aral @bjoern @bob @FerdiZ @kcnightfang It's kind of ironic now, but I first heard this come up in a talk by Jacob Appelbaum at CCC a few years ago (via YouTube). Around the same time I was working on an essay, The Pwned Mind. I developed the concept of tag muting whereby tropes are created as systems of associations, & maintained so that they may be readily slapped on people who challenge the dominant narrative. Want to mute Occupy? Easy, here's an off-the-shelf anarchist tag. FOSS: a 'hacker'.

@krozruch @aral @bjoern @bob @FerdiZ
The fact that some of the people in those groups proudly adopt those labels doesn't help. Branding is power.

@bjoern @bob @FerdiZ @aral @krozruch @kcnightfang part of the problem is that it's invisable. It's easy to adsime something's not happening if you can't see it for yourself, eslically for non-technical people. If facebook were required to send you a letter in the mail telling you what tbey kniw aboit you, people would care

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