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¡Viva la FREE WEB!

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the free web

A FREE, uncensored, neutral internet is ESSENTIAL to Free Expression and Freedom of Information.


¡Viva la FREE WEB!

In recent times, we have seen governments restrict access to the internet. We’ve seen the huge, corporate owned social networking and microblogging sites censor content their investors do not like, and even remove accounts belonging to protesting entities, such as Twitter’s recent removal of the account for OccupyWallStreet, and Facebook’s censorship of protest related photos.

But, we need the internet to communicate, not just locally, but nation-wide, and world-wide, to express our views, to make our voices heard, and to share what it is we are doing, and how our oppressors react, EVERYWHERE…

To that end:

The decentralized, federated, FREE (as in freedom, as well as price), social networks on which I currently play are:


Diaspora* is software that can be installed on a server by anyone that has the knowledge to do so. They in turn can allow people to register for an account on what is called their “pod”. There are many of these pods already established across the internet (list here with many users. You register for a free account on a pod and you can seamlessly connect with other users on other pods, the same as if you were making someone a friend on other social networking sites. No matter which pod you are on, you are all using Diaspora. If you have the technical skills, you can even set up your own pod for your family and or friends. They can in turn connect to family and friends on your pod or even other pods with ease.

Diaspora* has many of the features of other popular social networks, including groupings of friends (like G+ circles, but called “aspects”. Oh, and Diaspora* had this feature over a year before G+ was even launched!), sharing of photos, links, videos, etc. Diaspora will allow you cross-post materials to twitter, facebook, and tumblr, and allow you to connect to friends on Friendika, as well. The aspects give you great control over who can view your content, so you have complete control over your privacy. Also, YOU own all content that you post. Diaspora* has no advertisements, and nobody on Diaspora* is tracking you, either on the site or across the internet. Diaspora* will not censor your communications with others. Also, on Diaspora* you can use any name or pseudonym you like.

There are numerous Diaspora sites, but they are all connected, so contacts on any Diaspora site can be connected to folks on another Diaspora site.

Here is my Diaspora profile:

I recommend joining diaspora at or


StatusNET is for microblogging (like twitter, and can forward updates to twitter) built on free/open source software. StatusNEt is uncensored, free, and you can roll your own. StatusNet has features that twitter lacks, including posting of longer “blog” entries, sharing of events, uploading photos and music files, creation of polls and questions, and cross-connections with folks on any other StatusNet site. Also, one can make their StatusNet updates forward to Twitter, thus sharing with twitter contacts and StatusNet contacts, simultaneously. One more great feature of StatusNet are groups. By posting updates with a certain tag, the messages are grouped, and one can choose to be a member of that group and follow conversations on that topic. For instance, on the statusnet installation at, there is a group for Occupy New Haven, and any update with !occupynewhaven or !onh is posted to that group. So, statusnet is kind of like twitter on steriods. Much more powerful, many more features. It is also more configurable. Our statusnet installation, for instance, is set to accept updates with up to 200 characters, as opposed to twitter’s 140 (one can change this up to 500 characters). Like Diaspora*, statusnet does not track you, spam you with advertisements, censor you, or lay claim to your content.

There is a statusnet installation on at Check it out!
My profile is
From there, I am following friends from all around the world on,, and a few other smaller, private StatusNet installations, who are also following me from those sites, and I have my updates forwarded to twitter, from whence they forward to Google Buzz, Tumblr, and Facebook. If any of those proprietary networks cut me off or censored me, my friends all around the world on and would still see my updates, as would, of course, anyone on our installation, or any other StatusNet installation who chose to follow me.

One can even export updates from any statusnet site, group, or individual to an rss feed, or, one can follow an rss feed. I have my free-haven updates embedded on my free-haven wiki profile here. Also, I have all public updates to our statusnet installation embedded on the front page of this wiki here.




But, best of all, in my opinion, is Friendika.

Friendika is decentralized and federated, but also allows you to connect to contacts on twitter,, diaspora, facebook, and other sites, from friendika. I recommend Friendika most highly of all (although a combination of statusnet for microblogging and friendika is a good idea). Friendika has photo galleries, an event calendar, friend groups, and all the other functions you already use on other social networks. Like Diaspora* and StatusNet, Friendika does not track you, spam you with advertisements, censor you, or lay claim to your content.

Learn more about friendika at

The creator, Mike Macgrivin, is a friend (he was part of the team that developed Netscape Browser for AOL!). I have developed software to interact with the Friendika’s API, and may be developing some plugins.

My current friendika profile is

Comparison of Social Networks

In Diaspora, StatusNet, and Friendika, unlike FB, G+, and other sites, you own your own data, and completely control your own privacy. The sites are not corporate owned, and, in fact, if you have access to a server and the know-how, you can install and run a site yourself (kind of like you can with wordpress, joomla, etc.), and still connect to all the other friendika and/or diaspora sites. In this way, a truly FREE, open, neutral internet is forming, uncensored and unfettered by corporate interests.

Here is an excellent breakdown of the differences and similarities in social networks.
You will see that Friendika is richer in features than any other.


Creative Commons License
The Free Web by tony baldwin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

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Written by tonybaldwin

October 4, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Site Hopes Automatic Arabic-English Translation Translates into Peace | Epicenter |

with one comment

Site Hopes Automatic Arabic-English Translation Translates into Peace | Epicenter |

A new site hopes the seemingly simple idea of eliminating the language barrier, letting you write in English and be read in Arabic — and vice versa — will cultivate citizen diplomacy between the Middle East and the West. It aims to reduce tensions at the grassroots level between two cultures that increasingly co-exist but seem a world apart

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Written by tonybaldwin

February 22, 2010 at 9:20 pm