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CTO at The 19th. Writing a novel.
Previously: Co-founder of Elgg and Known; former investor at Matter.

benwerd

benwerd

werd.social/@ben

19thnews.org

 

A Creator of ActivityPub on What’s Next for the Fediverse

“As well as technical improvements he’d like to see, Prodromou has thoughts on what the fediverse can ultimately become. He thinks it will take some time for people to “detox from their Twitter experience” and realize that their social media world is no longer subject to corporate manipulation.”

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Hello! You’ve Been Referred Here Because You’re Wrong About Twitter And Hunter Biden’s Laptop

“Now, apparently more files are going to be published, so something may change, but so far it’s been a whole lot of utter nonsense. But when I say that both here on Techdirt and on Twitter, I keep seeing a few very, very wrong arguments being made. So, let’s get to the debunking.”

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A year of new avenues

“The platforms of the last decade are done. […] This is … tremendously exciting! Some of you reading this were users and/or developers of the internet in the period from 2002 to perhaps 2012. For those of you who were not, I want to tell you that it was exciting and energizing, not because everything was great, but simply because anything was possible.” +1,000,000. I love the moment we’re in.

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The best of Protocol

“And for this, our final edition of Source Code, the Protocol team has nominated our favorite stories from the past three years. I hope you enjoy them one last time.” Protocol was great - I’m still sad to see it go.

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Mastodon Isn't Just A Replacement For Twitter

“The age of Big Social may be ending, as advertisers shift to platforms like TikTok and streaming video that are more like entertainment channels. For many reasons, we say: good riddance. The damage commercial social media has done to politics, relationships and the fabric of society needs undoing. As media scholar Victor Pickard suggests, “Hopefully Twitter’s collapse will lead to a more expansive conversation about the relationships between capitalist imperatives and the communication [and] information needs of democratic societies.””

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Thinking about taking your computer to the repair shop? Be very afraid

“Researchers at University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, recovered logs from laptops after receiving overnight repairs from 12 commercial shops. The logs showed that technicians from six of the locations had accessed personal data and that two of those shops also copied data onto a personal device. Devices belonging to females were more likely to be snooped on, and that snooping tended to seek more sensitive data, including both sexually revealing and non-sexual pictures, documents, and financial information.”

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PSA: Do Not Use Services That Hate The Internet

“If posts in a social media app do not have URLs that can be linked to and viewed in an unauthenticated browser, or if there is no way to make a new post from a browser, then that program is not a part of the World Wide Web in any meaningful way. Consign that app to oblivion.”

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Defederation and governance processes

“To “keep things the way they are” is always an option, never the default. Framing this option as a default position introduces a significant conservative bias — listing it as an option removes this bias and keeps a collective evolutionary.” Some great thoughts on collective decision-making that pertain directly to open source.

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How to Weave the Artisan Web

“Now, why should we bring back that artisan, hand-crafted Web? Oh, I don’t know. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a site that’s not run by an amoral billionaire chaos engine, or algorithmically designed to keep you doomscrolling in a state of fear and anger, or is essentially spyware for governments and/or corporations?”

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The cost of your cat pictures

“Anyone who thinks that social media sites are “public spaces” is welcome to propose that Congress gives Facebook $30,000,000,000 a year to keep up that infrastructure. Otherwise, no, it’s not. That’s $30,000,000,000 a year in private money being used to buy private property.”

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Amazon Is Gutting Its Voice Assistant Alexa

“By 2018, the division was already a money pit. That year, The New York Times reported that it lost roughly $5 billion. This year, an employee familiar with the hardware team said, the company is on pace to lose about $10 billion on Alexa and other devices.” The strategy depended on Alexa users paying for goods and services through the assistant - and they just didn’t.

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Word Persons and Web Persons

“It's likely that both word persons and web persons are in the minority on the modern internet. Most people would rather read short snippets of text rather than long blog posts. Most people would rather use apps than browse the web or consume content rather than write it or create their own websites always. But hopefully there will always be room for those of us who enjoy plain text and simple HTML.”

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Tanya O’Carroll v Meta; Landmark case to stop Facebook spying on us

“We shouldn’t have to give up every detail of our personal lives just to connect with friends and family online. The law gives us the right to take back control over our personal data and stop Facebook surveilling and tracking us.”

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Announcing the Science Eye

Here I am debating social media content policies; meanwhile very impressive people I used to work with are building this.

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We Joined Mastodon. Here’s What We Learned About Privacy and Security

“If you’ve been considering signing up for Mastodon, here are some things we have been thinking about as we take the leap.”

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Slocan Statement

“The following is intended as a starting point, a first draft towards establishing a shared charter that would serve to protect, support, and enrich the nascent Fediverse.” A necessary, characteristically thoughtful start from Blaine Cook.

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A guide to potential liability pitfalls for people running a Mastodon instance

“This is not about just creating a Mastodon account: it's for people who are running a Mastodon server. If you just made an account on someone else's server, you can safely ignore this.” This is actually great advice for anyone running an online community, on Mastodon or otherwise.

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I’ve been thinking a lot

“Web people can tell you the first site they ever saw, they can tell you the moment they knew: This, This Is It, I Will Do This. And they pour themselves into the web, with stories, with designs, with pictures.” This piece on web people vs startup people resonates for me, hard.

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The long-awaited US broadband internet maps are here — for you to challenge

These broadband maps are an important inclusion issue - and here we’re still talking availability rather than accessibility. Right now some of the most vulnerable in society are left offline.

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Inside Elon Musk’s Takeover of Twitter

“Twitter executives also suggested assessing the lists for diversity and inclusion issues so the cuts would not hit people of color disproportionately and to avoid legal trouble. Mr. Musk’s team brushed aside the suggestion, two people said.”

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Mozilla Foundation releases the highly anticipated Mozilla Firefox 1.0 web browser

“Today’s announcement marks the worldwide launch of Mozilla Firefox.” 18 years ago, this saved the web.

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Elon Musk addresses advertisers and asks them to keep using Twitter

“Musk’s expansive plans for Twitter include adding financial products to the mix. It could begin, he said, with Twitter allowing users to pay each other through the platform, with the company setting up each user with an initial gift of $10 to test it out. Over time, Musk added, Twitter will offer the ability for users to transfer money out of its system to third-party banks — and then to market its own banking services.” Called it.

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Mysterious company with government ties plays key internet role

“Your investigative staff will collect its best evidence while users are lulled into a false sense of security afforded by web, e-mail or VOIP encryption.”

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Palmer Luckey Made a VR Headset That Kills the User If They Die in the Game

“It is also, as far as I know, the first non-fiction example of a VR device that can actually kill the user. It won’t be the last.”

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Signal Stories are now available on iOS and Android

“Stories are now available to everyone on Signal, allowing users of the encrypted instant messaging service to create and share images, videos, and texts that automatically expire after 24 hours.” But why?

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Email: ben@werd.io

Twitter: @benwerd

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