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[liberationtech] Facebook: Building Global Community - What's your response to Mark Zuckerberg?

Yosem Companys companys at
Sun Feb 19 11:36:30 PST 2017

First of all, I want to commend Steven for all he has done over the years.
He was a pioneer of e-democracy in the 1990s, when the Internet was a mere
curiosity for most people. And Steven has worked arduously over the years
to help foster e-democracy around the world. That is to be commended and

That said, Thomas, you raise important points. If we look at the
alternatives out there for grassroots organizing, they tend to be
proprietary like NationBuilder. I do not know any open-source alternatives
off hand.

Please review Rand Strauss's list at
Kudos to Rand for putting the list together.

If I want to look for good open-source solutions to start a movement and
I'm not tech savvy, I need either someone to build it for me or I want it
to be easily installed on a server.

That is why Bram Wets' suggestions were so on point -- I repost them here
in case you missed them:

Idea 1:
> An idea list where the Liberationtech community can post ideas for
> projects, upvote (and downvote) them, put your name with an idea to
> contribute.
> This would facilitate your call for ideas/projects ;-)
> I actually like the format of software bugtracking. It maybe can be used
> for such an idea list. Or a github-like structure with pullrequests...
> Idea 2:
> An overview of tips, good practices, tools and apps for secure
> communication and digital privacy. And the organisations and platforms that
> work on this topic.
> Yes, there is a lot out there and some organizations already have done
> terrific work. So the focus has to be on the overview, not on doing all
> there work over again.
> Additionally we can add good practices in how to reach people and teach
> them those privacy tools.

Just having a simple wiki of tools and people willing to help for free or a
nominal fee would be a contribution. Being able to evaluate tools with up
or down votes would also be a contribution.

In the meantime, if you go to sites like Progressive Exchange, you will see
that pretty much everyone recommends closed-source software with
questionable security for online organizing. Putting all your activist
friends on NationBuilder, for example, is a security risk. We don't know if
NationBuilder under a different management team might be tempted or forced
to give the entire list to the government for surveillance purposes.

And Rick has outlined the risks of Facebook already, as Thomas writes, so I
won't reiterate those. Maybe we need to build another Diaspora and this
time build it right: open-source, best encryption, Napster-like one-to-one
capabilities, hosting of data in servers in privacy-friendly regimes,
ability to connect to the large social networking sites like Hootsuite for
widespread dissemination, non-profit or at least cooperative status, and so

If this is a project folks are interested in, we can start doing some
research on what it should look like and look for funding sources to make
it happen.


On Sun, Feb 19, 2017 at 11:10 AM, Thomas Delrue <thomas at>

> On 02/19/2017 01:46 PM, Al Billings wrote:
> > Someone remind me again what the alternatives are to Facebook that
> > are actually easy to use for "normal" users and which they will be
> > able to quickly sign up and use...
> Oh, and before I forget, why the need to "sign up"? Why is that a
> requirement? If you're doing something that at some point could be
> deemed subversive, why would you maintain a list of members of said
> activity/thinking that can easily be requisitioned or compromised?
> Why does everyone need everyone else to sign up and hand over
> information in order to use a simple website? Why does everyone want to
> lock up everything behind a login-wall?
> Maybe that's the big problem... Everyone thinks that you need to
> maintain a list of users and a login form in order to run a simple
> website...
> --
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