Big Tech is a big problem. The centralization of power has predictable consequences and we've been recommending alternatives to the existing social media megacorporations for years now on-the-air on Free Talk Live. However, we're definitely not perfect at it ourselves, so we're doubling down on decentralization - more on that in a moment. I recommend you consider doing the same, for as long as you are on systems run by Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and various other state-worshiping companies, you are at risk for a takedown.
At Free Talk Live, we're big supporters of free speech and so today I'm happy to announce "FTL Social" - our social network that runs on our own server, where you can speak your mind without a Big Tech overlord holding an axe over your head. While "FTL Social" is still technically centralized, in that it's run on our server, it's more decentralized than Facebook, Twitter, Parler, MeWe, or the others, because Mastodon, the software behind it, is "federated", meaning it can speak to the thousands of other Mastodon servers out there on the internet. So if someone you want to follow is already posting to another Mastodon server, like the excellent Liberdon, then you can easily follow them from your account on "FTL Social" - and vice-versa.
"FTL Social" is not FTL's first foray into self-hosting and supporting and creating decentralized alternatives to the giant, pro-state systems we are faced with today. More than a decade ago we launched the Shire Forums for liberty-loving people looking to move or those already living in New Hampshire. In recent years the Shire Forums were upgraded to a very slick, snappy, and modern forum software called "Discourse". If you haven't been on forums in the last decade or ever, you should try out the Shire Forums, which feature a Free Talk Live and LRN.FM subforum.
We also were early advocates and adopters of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Decentralizing communications is what everyone is focused on at this moment, but decentralizing money via alternatives the state does not control is critical toward putting power into the hands of individuals. Should you wish to donate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to Free Talk Live, you can do that here. If you're new to Bitcoin, learn more at Bitcoin.com.
In the Fall of 2020 we got booted off the Discord platform, which was a chat room service run by a government-obedient corporation. As is so typical, they never bothered to answer my inquiry as to why the takedown. Given the Discord had been popular, I decided to launch our own Matrix chat server and it has been a tremendous success. With Discord we always had to be concerned with moderation duties to make sure the server didn't offend its true owners, the Discord corporation. On the LRN.FM Matrix, which is federated - like Mastodon - we have never had to ban anyone because it's fine if we don't care what you say. That's because it's our own server and no one can tell us what to do with it.
In theory, at least. We've never used a megacorporate Big Tech web host like Amazon to handle our web presence. Our systems admin, Michael "error" Hampton has our servers outside the United States and has backup service providers in the event that our current provider decides to take us offline.
So, we've got self-hosted forums, chat, and now social media, our servers are outside the United States, and we can accept payment in cryptocurrencies. That's pretty good, but it's just a start. We've got some other decentralization plans in the works that I'm not quite ready to say more about until we've had a chance to get them in place. More to come on those in future newsletters. Meanwhile, see you on "FTL Social"?