Monday, November 21, 2022

The Man Behind Mastodon Built It for This Moment

I don't want to write for adults. I want to write for readers who can perform miracles. Only children perform miracles when they read.

Astrid Lindgren, born in 1907

“Don’t you worry about me. I’ll always come out on top”, (Lindgren 1997, 3) she informs us.

 Could this be Twitter without the toxic slurry?’ My week on Mastodon

The Man Behind Mastodon Built It for This Moment Wired: “Eugen Rochko looks exhausted. The 29-year-old German programmer is the founder of Mastodon, a distributed alternative to Twitter that has exploded in popularity in recent weeks as Elon Musk’s ownership of the platform has rained chaos on its users. Rochko began developing Mastodon shortly after leaving university in 2016. 

He was a fan of Twitter but wanted to create a platform not controlled by any single company or person, reasoning that online communication is too important to be at the whim of commercial interests or CEOs. 

He believed that the lack of profit motive and canny design could discourage harassment and abuse, and provide users more control. Instead of creating a single unified platform, the Mastodon protocol allows anyone to use open-source software to boot up a server that hosts a Twitter-style community with its own rules. Together those servers form a collective of interlinked communities dubbed the “Fediverse.”

 People can join a server that matches their interests and community standards, but also connect with users on other servers, or block all content from a particular server completely. Mastodon grew slowly after the first code was released in 2017, appealing mostly to free software enthusiasts. Then Elon Musk took control of Twitter for $44 billion. 

His promises to weaken moderationdeep staff cuts, and chaotic changes to the platform turned many dedicated Twitter users off the platform. In the past few weeks, Rochko says, some 800,000 new Mastodon accounts have been created, overwhelming popular servers and flooding existing users’ timelines with introductions, questions, and complaints from newbies. 

Last year, donations to the nonprofit that runs Mastodon and where Rochko is CEO totaled 55,000 euros; it spent only 23,000 euros…”

Lee worked as a relationship manager for American Express’ Centurion, the exclusive club for black cardholders who typically spend half-a-million dollars each year.

Smith already had a platinum American Express from living in the US, but Lee suggested he sign up in Australia, so he could show him how to squeeze the most out of the benefits.

He agreed and soon began using American Express as his primary banking card. But he quickly became suspicious that Lee was monitoring his transactions, after a series of comments about items Smith had purchased, places he had been or payments he had made.

“I asked him how he was able to do this without my consent or authority (one time pin etc), and he replied, ‘because the system is completely open, I have god mode’,” Smith wrote in a complaint later filed with American Express.

‘Insider threat’: How an online date led to a ‘systemic’ failures investigation into American Express