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Saudi Arabia: Digital activist calls for open, decentralized platforms that don’t archive or sell users’ information

"The Dangers of Digital Activism", 16 Sep 2018

..For activists and citizen journalists in the Arab world, social media has become a powerful way to express dissent, to disrupt and to organize...The very tools we use for our cause can be — and have been — used to undermine us... our aggregated data was weaponized against us. Over time, such data can be used to build an accurate picture... of [users'] beliefs, political views and intimate personal details... For a fee, social media platforms offer access to users’ information via internally developed analytical tools... As of February, Twitter has started offering a service that enables people to access archives of its users’ tweets going all the way back to 2006. Anyone can request access to these archives for as cheaply as $99 per month... In September 2017... parent company of Snapchat bowed to pressure from government officials and removed the Al Jazeera network, which is funded by Qatar, from its platform in Saudi Arabia... People seeking technological liberation are moving toward alternative social media platforms like Crabgrass, Mastodon and Diaspora, which allow social connectivity with an additional layer of privacy and security. We need platforms that are open, decentralized and don’t archive and sell users’ information to the highest bidder...