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SOSM: The State of Social Media

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ORANGE WALK TOWN (Rixstep) — Social media sites have come under considerable fire of late, mostly due to the authoritarian and subversive way Facebook and Twitter are being run. But what about their technology?

Facebook

One glance at the source code to the Facebook portal is enough. It's a blithering mess.



And that's the portal. Before login. After login the monster bloats to over half a meg.

Mastodon

Mastodon's a newcomer, a bit like Twitter, but it's 'federated'. And it's open source. So anyone can set up a Mastodon server anywhere and connect to all the other Mastodon servers.

A typical Mastodon page is under 6 KB.

Gab

Gab is the free speech platform, been around a few years, is not open source, but fully in the same league as Mastodon.

Twitter

And so we come to the all-time champ. Proving once again that diversity wins the day. 'Twitter - it's what's happening', says their portal. And is it ever.



Just a reminder how little is on that page:



Because once you log in, things go fucking nuts.



Apple's Safari browser warns about Twitter: it just sucks too much.

Bugs

Facebook is not for the intellectually curious. But yes, it's a mess. Obviously.

Mastodon is mostly well written, but has a few foibles, two in number, what can be seen.

  1. Pinning posts: you may have to first find the previously pinned posts and unpin them (they may be four in number) before you can pin the new one.
  2. Limiting feeds: you really don't want everything coming at you at once, but there seems no mechanism for viewing only accounts you follow.

Gab has a few foibles as well.

  1. Pasteboard ops - at least on macOS - don't pick up the right paste data.
  2. Gab still can't parse URLs correctly (but this is nothing compared to Twitter - see below).
  3. Downloading images doesn't work too well - no 'AddType' directive in .htaccess (or the equivalent).
  4. You can't drop image files on the posting panel, but must first open the 'attachments' dialog from your own system.

But once again, Twitter is the all-time champ.

Twitter's Greatest Hits!

Twitter's been a mess from Day One. Most early improvements and innovations came from Twitter users, not from the lackluster Ruby witnits. Twitter tried to co-opt user initiatives with '#NewTwitter', with bizarre blurbs about 'golden ratios', even stooped to 'soft intimidation', but nothing helped.

Out of pure frustration and bittersweet enjoyment (Schadenfreude) this site has documented the best/worst of it.

Furrfu. Pbisrsr.

2018 May Twitter's Holy Bug Story
2015 Jul Schäuble Misrepresented
2015 Feb The New Improved Twitter DM Menu!
2014 Oct Twitter: Compounding Stupidity
2014 Jun Another #EpicFail for Twitter UI Code
2013 Apr Clever Twitter
2012 Jul 'Twitter : <%= reason.capitalize %>'
2011 Oct Those Math Geniuses at Twitter
2011 Jul Twitter Twits Discover ROT-13
2011 Jul Radsoft: Twitter is a Mess
2010 Dec Happy Twitter Holidays
2010 Sep Link Shortener Exploit Cripples Twitter
2010 Jan twttr.BANNED_PASSWORDS
2009 ??? The Very Ugly: #NewTwitter Clobbers It!

To Ponder!

√ Twitter once used 'password' as their password on all their servers.
√ Twitter are so fartsy that they prohibit 'curse words' as passwords even though experts recommend it.
√ The Ruby nitwits at Twitter long presumed URLs were composed of basically only the characters in their own alphabet.
√ Twitter's had a URL bug in their panel code for years. It was only fixed this year (knock on wood).
√ Hollywood celebrities get paid to run accounts on Twitter, to in turn lure more people to the platform.
√ Hollywood and other celebrities insist on the ability to 'block' people from seeing their feeds.
√ Twitter once had the reputation of being the 'good guys' standing up to evil governments.
√ Things were almost under control until Evan Williams stepped aside for Jack Dorsey.
√ Project Veritas were able to reveal what everyone had already suspected.
√ Twitter went batshit after the November 2016 election defeat of Hillary Clinton.
√ Twitter have explicitly clarified that they refuse to 'verify' the account of Julian Assange.
√ Twitter canceled '@Nero' not for something he had done but for something they claim his followers had done.
√ When Courtney Love filed a defamation lawsuit against Twitter, Twitter responded by shutting down her account.
√ Twitter shut down Guccifer 2.0 for posting info on DNC leaks.
√ Twitter shut down PewDiePie for a joke they didn't get.
√ Twitter shut down US president Donald Trump.
√ Twitter will sometimes explain they shut people down for 'overlapping accounts' (whatever that means).
√ Twitter shut down Jedward.
√ Twitter shut down Tommy Robinson for 'hateful content' (but Peter Fonda's OK).
√ Twitter shut down 'DCLeaks' for, essentially, posting truthful info about Hillary Clinton.
√ Twitter are engaged in shadow-banning, although they use a loftier name.

Both Facebook and Twitter stock have tanked in the past few weeks. Twitter (TWTR) suffered a 25+% market sell-off. Facebook's Zuckerberg reportedly lost billions.

Twitter engage an inordinate number of non-professionals, not to improve their pathetic code, but to find new and inventive ways to stifle opinions they and their benefactors don't like. So do the minions at Facebook. Those frightful opinions don't go away - they return on election day, more resolute than ever, triggering an entire generation of Darwinian discards. (Or perhaps that's the 'divine plan'?)

Kim Dotcom's been promising an alternative for some time now, but nothing's yet come of it. Open source code is available. A great many see a collaboration between Kim and Julian Assange as ideal.

Censorship is always wrong but for one thing: it exposes censors, enemies of free speech. Their time's always limited.

About Rixstep

Stockholm/London-based Rixstep are a constellation of programmers and support staff from Radsoft Laboratories who tired of Windows vulnerabilities, Linux driver issues, and cursing x86 hardware all day long. Rixstep have many years of experience behind their efforts, with teaching and consulting credentials from the likes of British Aerospace, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Lloyds TSB, SAAB Defence Systems, British Broadcasting Corporation, Barclays Bank, IBM, Microsoft, and Sony/Ericsson.

Rixstep and Radsoft products are or have been in use by Sweden's Royal Mail, Sony/Ericsson, the US Department of Defense, the offices of the US Supreme Court, the Government of Western Australia, the German Federal Police, Verizon Wireless, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Microsoft Corporation, the New York Times, Apple Inc, Oxford University, and hundreds of research institutes around the globe. See here.

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John Cattelin
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