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How Fringe Underground Developers Got Ahead Of Big Tech, Decentralization & The Real Web 3.0
The Future Looks To The Fedi
The “Fediverse” (fedi -federation + verse -universe) is the groundbreaking solution to the Big Tech stranglehold that can appease all parties desiring to remain on the internet. Not limited to one kind of medium (video, blogging, etc) the Fediverse is here to create Web 3.0 (a term later co-oped).
Web 1.0, a near forgotten 2D digital landscape of peaceful landing pages were shook by someone’s bright idea to let anyone with internet access comment on articles and posts. This was the birth of Web 2.0. What was once a large and open web, eventually gave way to corporate interests. The niche communities and forums were pushed to the outskirts, as the number of sites mostly visited could be counted on both hands.
These SIX companies essentially are FOUR, as Google owns YouTube and Meta/Facebook owns Instagram.
Meta, formerly Facebook and global microblogging platform Twitter have been under scrutiny from the masses for years regarding their policy on hate speech and censorship. Note that we say “the masses” as both people who lean politically “left” and “right” have strife with the “Big Tech” platforms. While the right have created a mirage of centralized alternatives from Gab, to Parler, to Gettr, there were leftists who believed Twitter DID NOT censor enough and sought another solution.
The answer, the largest pirate ship in the sea of Web 3.0:
In March 2016, Mastodon was created as a Twitter alternative and was instantly popular with LGBT communities that thought twitter did not censor enough to protect their feelings. This was the first step out of the centralization stronghold.
How do we know this is the way to go? For starters, big tech is trying to catch up on what they have missed out on.
Bluesky, a Twitter funded project to decentralize social media:
Naturally, the Fediverse would be wary of the billion dollar centralized big tech giant promoting their own decentralized protocol plan.
The fedi in Fediverse represents the concept of federation. This means that all these sites can
Communicate with other servers (instances/websites) that run the same software
Communicate with other servers within the Fediverse (software running on the same protocol, this is akin to subscribing to someone’s YouTube channel through twitter, or retweeting a tweet from Facebook) and
Anyone can use this software to create their own instance on their own server
Unlike a website like Discord, where people talk in “servers”, which are still chat rooms on a centralized platform, beholden to their Terms of Service, the Fediverse exists on actual servers. If you are banned on one instance, you aren’t banned from the entire Fediverse.
This jolly looking vegan man is Alex Gleason, along with running his own instance Gleasonator, he also co-founded with his partner, Mary Kate Fain, Spinster.xyz, an instance marketed for feminists. He is now the founder and lead developer of Soapbox. You can find Soapbox running on instances such as Poa.st, one of the largest, non-mastodon instances on the Fediverse, popular for shitpoasting (not to be confused with shitposting), niche right wing celebrities, and Australian commentator Randbot.
To understand this popular software, Soapbox, we have to take a trip back to August 2016 and the start of Gab.
Modern Christian Missionary, Andrew Torba started Gab as a “free speech” twitter alternative. When it moved to Mastodon in July 2019, this led to conflict (referred to as The Gab Holy War) within the Fediverse with other “gabbers.” Another instance involved was the Pleroma (another microblogging software) instance “Free Speech Extremist”, who some say scared Gab off the Fediverse. In August 2019, Gleason co-founded Spinster.xyz with a fork of Gab’s Mastodon fork. In December 2019, Gleason rebranded Spinster codebase as “Soapbox”. In February 2020, Gleason was contracted with Gab… for about a month. In March 2020, Soapbox was made available as a Pleroma frontend.
So, why would a shitposting site with right wingers use software made by feminists?
Code is asexual. Developers on the Fediverse understand the nuisance that is big tech. Alternatives operating as online fiefdoms, outside of centralized control, create not only security, but tighter communities. The Fediverse is far from united, and that is just fine. Everyone has their own space, curated to their liking, and new instances continue to pop up! The Fediverse is home to microblogging instances running Mastodon, Pleroma and Misskey, video hosting instances commonly run Peertube, and PixelFed as an alternative to Instagram. As you see, this is the -verse in Fediverse. With over 5,000,000 users and counting, the Fediverse is a decentralized, welcome alternative to the centralized prison Big Tech built. Thanks for the fresh air fedi!