Be Your Own Social Media

A site for individualist feminism and individualist anarchism

In the news today, I see that Twitter has "unverified" notorious Breitbart columnist Milo Yiannopoulos for unspecified "violations of the Twitter Rules." Given that "verified" status means that Twitter has confirmed his identity, I'm not sure what it signifies to be "unverified" -- Twitter decided they were mistaken earlier?

They're Twitter, it's their server, and they have the right to do that. Which reinforces a point I've made over and over again -- you have no rights, and no property, in "social media." On Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram, or whatever, you surrender all rights to what you post, and you can be booted off at someone's whim.

If you value your computing freedom, you must take full, personal charge of your on-line presence.

When Wendy started blogging, we briefly considered using a service like I put my foot down when they required FTP access to our web server. (In hindsight that was the right choice, as I have seen people get their blogs cut off for spurious reasons, and blogspot is now owned by "evil as we wanna be" Google.) Instead, we installed independent blogging software -- first
Greymatter, then the e107 CMS -- that runs on our web server.

Sure, our web hosting service could cut us off...but they probably won't, because we pay for the space, and they don't care about our content as long as it isn't illegal or spamming. But even if they do, we have complete backups of the content, so we can move to another web host if we have to.

I have a lot of personal and philosophical reasons to dislike Facebook -- they don't believe in privacy, they do believe in a "walled garden" model of the Internet, they sell your data and stuff your page with their ads, their CEO is a jerk -- but the overriding practical reason not to use Facebook as your web presence is because they can cut you off at any moment, for any reason, and you have no recourse. Ditto Twitter, Google, and all the rest.

If you must use Facebook and Twitter, do what Wendy does -- host your own content on your own web page, and use Facebook and Twitter to post links to that content. And when you sign up, give them the absolute minimum of information about yourself, because whatever they say, the info you give them might as well be published in the New York Times.

And, of course, back up your web page regularly.




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