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    #DeleteFacebook distributed privacy medium.com
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    What’s the best way to use Mastodon? I appreciate its dedication to privacy, but the distributed nature of Mastodon confuses me. I feel like it’s the World of Warcraft server problem, where it’s impossible to find a server with all your friends on it without one server having everyone on it.

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      You don’t have to be on the same server, you can follow accounts from other instances.

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        Many of us in the BSD world went with https://bsd.network/.

        You might try the instances.social finder: https://instances.social/.

        One of the things I like about Mastodon is I can join a server (or servers) that are more closely aligned to my interests. By monitoring the instance timeline I see all the posts. I don’t have to find a bunch of people to follow immediately. I can grow the list by following the folks I notice posting things I enjoy reading.

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          What network do Haskellers use?

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            Yeah that’s one of the things I really dig about it. It’s a metacommunity. You find an instance that focuses on your interests, or create one of your own if that’s what floats your boat, and it becomes a microcosm unto itself, but you all still share the global timeline.

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            Replace instance with server and mastodon with e-mail. Then all these explanations become less confusing. Unless your server’s admin or your peer’s admin blocks your messages, you can write messages to every peer on every other server as you see fit.

            Does that make sense to you?

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              You don’t need to find a server with everyone in it since federation allows you to follow people on other servers. I do recommend to simply find a community you enjoy and use that as home-base.

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                With sites like joinmastodon.org or instances.social, I haven’t experienced this to be too much of a problem. Yes, it takes a while, but you can always delete an account and create a new one on another instance.

                To me, the real problem seems to be the difficulty to find interesting accounts to follow, and create a informative, fun and interesting stream. There are a lot of inactive accounts, regardless of the server (mine is one of these), and some active ones, but I can’t really re-create the same level of experience as on twitter, reddit or image boards, for example, even though I have stopped using all of these by now.

                1. [Comment from banned user removed]

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                    The flagship instance is overloaded and has some trouble scaling; I’d recommend finding something else, if only to ease the burden on the poor folks doing ops on it.

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                  Replacing a corporate data aggregator with a distributed one doesn’t actually reduce the amount of data gathered.

                  If you don’t want your information online and searchable don’t put it online.

                  It doesn’t matter if it’s a friendly mastadon instead of a Harvard dudebro–sharing data means your data is shared. Staaaaaahp.

                  EDIT: Mastadon also has some interesting history.

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                    If you don’t want your information online and searchable don’t put it online.

                    This is not a panacea. Facebook has my phone number because other people chose to upload their contacts. Google has incredibly personal conversations because other people chose them for email. Equifax has my credit history because nearly every banking institution reports to them. Nielsen-Catalina Solutions knows my shopping preferences because retailers secretly sell it to them.

                    If you don’t want your information online and searchable, get data protection laws.

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                      Laws help, but we also have to take responsibility for not sharing our data (or the data of our friends) online.

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                        Unfortunately most users don’t know or don’t care that Facebook uploads their contacts.

                    2. [Comment from banned user removed]

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                        Please elaborate. I thought it was an interesting look into experience of having vastly different cultures using the same messaging fabric, and the issues that that gives rise to.

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                          I don’t think it’s garbage. I think it could have been better written, but as you point out the culture clash thing is an interesting phenomena.

                          I also don’t think said history would have any bearing on which social media platform you choose for most people.

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                          That article is absolute, complete garbage.

                          Do you see it as garbage because of an abundance of factual inaccuracies, or something else?

                          The reason I ask is that clearly there’s an absolutist free-speech position being promoted, but certainly all the stuff about Japanese and Spanish speaking Mastodon activity correlates well with what I saw at the time. I don’t know anything about people getting upset about Eugen being paid though, or any of the behind the scenes stuff.

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                          Replacing a corporate data aggregator with a distributed one doesn’t actually reduce the amount of data gathered.

                          It does if the data you share is subject to aggregator influence. And it is, since the aggregator controls the platform and its defaults.

                          Facebook went through a period where everytime I checked my privacy settings I found something open that I didn’t want to be open. The years of the Cambridge Analytica scrape line up pretty well with that phenomenon. Facebook used to be hugely incented to make as much of your data public to the world (search engines and, it turns out, CA) as possible. Mastodon has no such incentives.

                          Yes, if I share something with someone I share it with them. But I’d like to not share it with everyone else.

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                            It does if the data you share is subject to aggregator influence

                            I’m not quite sure what this means, do you mind elaborating?

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                              I thought I did in the rest of my comment? Basically I’d enter some data in my profile with some understanding of what was visible to whom. Then I’d come back a month or three later, and somehow stuff I intended to be visible only to friends would somehow be visible to some new vector (apps) or API. Facebook’s privacy settings sprawled out of control for a couple of years. Here’s some links I was able to dig up in a quick search:





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                            I agree with this sentiment but I think all the bruhaha is currently about something entirely different. When you use an account on Mastodon, your toots are federated across the global timeline. That, along with an email address that stays local to the server you signed up on, and maybe some HTTPS traffic logs on your server, is the sum total of the information you are exposing via Mastdon until you choose to add more.

                            This is, from where I stand at least, a vastly different kettle of fish than Facebook.

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                              I agree. To some extend the distributed nature even makes it harder to remove data you don’t want online anymore.

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                                On the other hand the data is also distributed across many instances as opposed to being owned by a single entity. There’s also the fact that Mastodon doesn’t try to track your personal identity, and the interactions can be completely anonymous. Meanwhile, the whole purpose of a site like Facebook is to build an intimate profile of you and your friends.

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                                  Depends, some instances have ElasticSearch enabled, ostensibly to enable full-text search, but ES can be used for more insidious ““big data” purposes, to profile users with. Tools like Kibana from the ES people make such tasks trivial compared to writing tedious queries by hand. And due to the nature of federation, if someone from that instance follows you, they have your toots, which the admin can use for said purposes.

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                              Deleting facebook isn’t a particularly useful exercise because i’m pretty sure they don’t delete the data they already have, and they create shadow profiles for people who aren’t facebook users, even without directly collecting data from you. Blocking their domains is a mild hinderance, not an actual measure to stop them.

                              If you’re deleting your facebook account because it’s not useful to you, or as a political protest action, fine, but at least acknowledge that you’re not meaningfully preventing them from collecting data.

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                                If enough people delete their profiles, then it affects the stats Facebook presents to advertisers, making it a less attractive advertising platform with a smaller audience. That hits Facebook in the pocket, which is the only thing they care about.

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                                  I think it is very useful because they lost one of their primary sources of data. Installing ublock-origin, privacy badger, and other extensions should also help block trackers from most websites. There’s nothing I can do to hide against facebook buying credit data and other 3rd party data except lobby my local politicians. But if everyone deleted facebook and stopped browsing instagram models for.. ahem.. personal entertainment purposes.. facebook would lose their primary source of income :)

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                                    It may be a functional no-op, but it very definitely sends a message to Facebook corporate. I doubt this will change anything in the long haul - their bottom line depends upon exploitative behavior, but I expect a lot of smoke and little to no fire coming out of all of this.

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                                    I applaud the initiative to delete your facebook profile, but looking at myself, I’ve come to realise that I’m hopelessly depending on it.

                                    I’m depending on it for a number of reasons, primarily because I’m a foreign national living abroad and my entire network back home can be interacted with primarily by facebook. If I suddenly left facebook, I would be even more separate from the people I know and care about and a great deal of my network.

                                    I am part of a lot of groups that coordinate activities I take part in. I get invited to events that I make the appropriate travel arrangements for in good time, so I keep contact with friends and families.

                                    If I were to leave facebook, I would hope they would send me an email once in a while with an invitation or an update on their life, but that just won’t happen I’m pretty certain.

                                    The only social network that ever came close of being able to replace facebook was Google+, and we all know how that went - it seems mostly kept up so Linus Torvalds can rant there - and speaking of alternatives, I remember how long it took for all my friends to come on facebook, any potential alternative out there is going to be a half-barren wasteland for any foreseeable future.

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                                      I deleted both Facebook and Snapchat a long time ago. What I find interesting is that it’s called social media. But in fact is the most non-social thing. Now I’m contacting my friends by calling. SMS and actual meetings.

                                      Quite frankly, I don’t care what people ate for dinner, nor when they went to the bathroom.. I find sites like these better for news/social.

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                                        Ment this, as in Lobsters :P