Decentralized Networks vs. The Trolls

My presentation at ActivityPub 2020.

In the summer of 2019, the alt-right social network Gab migrated to the decentralized “Fediverse” of social networks after being booted from mainstream financial services and hosting solutions. Almost immediately, Gab was met by a dedicated movement to isolate it. The movement was largely successful; within a year, the Gab CTO announced they would leave the Fediverse. This talk will cover how moderators, activists, and developers in the Fediverse used human moderators, strong moderation tools, representative codes of conduct, and no small amount of organization to promote healthy online spaces.

We’ll review how some of the challenges faced by centralized platforms, which struggle with their own size and scale, have been addressed in networks of smaller, community run, more moderated servers. In the debate over how to make a healthier internet, the open platforms and open protocols in the model of the Fediverse may have some of the best resources to isolate bad actors, including Gab.

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