HYDERABAD: As Twitter suspends and bans politically outspoken accounts, privacy and free Internet activists are encouraging the use of decentralised social network platforms, that are more resistant towards censorship and provide a new approach to data privacy. In this regard, city-based Free Software Movement of India (FSMI) has come up with a social networking website similar to Twitter which uses a decentralised system to store user information. Launched in March 2019, the social media website, hosted on fsmi.social/main/public, has a layout similar to that of Twitter, with features such as ‘repeat’ — akin to retweet in Twitter and ‘star’ — which mimics the ‘like’ feature. It has around 900 members now.
However, it differs from Twitter in the way it works. Speaking to Express, general secretary of the FSMI Kiran Chandra said, “A decentralised platform doesn’t have a single server. The source code is open and everybody can host their own instance of the software.
“Twitter, on the other hand, is centralised and run by a single company. When an account gets suspended on Twitter, it is completely the decision of that platform and users do not have any recourse to the suspension. In contrast, in a decentralised platform, you or a trusted group have complete freedom to express the content you wish,” Chandra said.
The issue began when Twitter suspended the account of SC lawyer Sanjay Hegde twice in one week. Once for a cover photo— which was the 1936 picture of August Landmesser refusing to do the Nazi salute — and the second time for a tweet which commented on a poem by Gorakh Pandey.Chandra also said that apart from being in full control of the services hosted on a decentralised platform, one can communicate with other platforms as well. There are decentralised versions to YouTube (PeerTube) and Instagram (PixelFed) also available.