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New changes to Twitter make it even worse for free software users

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Web

There are many complicated debates happening right now around Twitter and its role in public discourse. These discussions are important, but we also shouldn't forget a very basic and clear principle -- whatever its policies are about who can and can't post or how, it's of fundamental importance that Twitter should not require users to run nonfree software in order to use the site.

Unfortunately, on December 15th, Twitter removed its "legacy" Web interface. As opposed to its much larger and more complex default Web client, the legacy interface did not use proprietary JavaScript (or any JavaScript).

Previously, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) could tolerate the use of Twitter because of this legacy interface. While it was active, we referred free software advocates to it, or to third-party free software applications. Twitter's removing access to this interface means that users are forced to use the site's nonfree JavaScript if they don't have a dedicated desktop or mobile client, preventing freedom-respecting browsers like GNU IceCat from posting to the service.

But why use Twitter in the first place, if we know that it has these issues? As any charity can attest, engaging users on social media is one of the chief ways of getting their message across. The same is true for software freedom. We need to be talking about free software in places where everyone is not already a committed free software supporter -- we won't be successful if we are only in our own echo chamber, or preaching to the choir. It's important for us as activists to be reaching the people on these platforms, even if we have some reservations about using them ourselves. Twitter has its share of issues, but until we're able to drive enough users to the software freedom movement to where we can rely solely on word of mouth, we need to include them in our messaging strategy. We are, however, careful to make sure that you don't have to follow the FSF on Twitter in order to receive news or updates. Everything we publish is also posted on platforms based on free software principles, including Mastodon and GNU social.

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the EvilNess of JavaScript (DON’T BE EVIL TWITTER) strikes …

  • the EvilNess of JavaScript (DON’T BE EVIL TWITTER) strikes … again!

    most users probably don’t care X-D

    twitter was updated and now, even viewing hashtags is impossible without JavaScript turned on (there used to be a functional version without javascript).

    JavaScript has developed from “it’s so great, the first true cross-platform language aka runs everywhere where there is a browser” to a massively mass privacy problem (intrusive spying bitch of pain in the ass catastrophe).

    from now on, content will only go to https://nerdpol.ch/

    (but even there js is mandatory to view it X-D!? #wtf? there really should be a NoScript.net (nice js blocking addon for Firefox) compatible version of this)

    only possibility: turn https://gnusocial.network (last time checked, it was kind of php-slow X-D) into a better twitter

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