Holy crap, google is apparently taking down all/most fediverse apps from google play on the grounds that that some servers in the fediverse engage in hate speech. At least three apps I know of anyway and I'd imagine the others will follow soon under the exact same reasoning.} Seems to be the case with Husky, Fedilab, and "subway" tooter.

this is a scary precedent if google play is going to ban any apps that can in any way be used to access content with hate speech. So what about a forum client, do they take that down just because there is a forum somewhere on the internet posting hate speech?

This is particularly worrisome because for most people Google Play is the only way they understand to install apps at all.

Picture attached of one of the notices received by fedilab.

@fedilab @tateisu

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@freemo I think this is basically an ultimatum to the app maintainer to "implement a block on Gab".

@khird Gab isnt even part of the fediverse and hasnt been for some time now.

@freemo Gab doesn't federate (i.e. they broke server-to-server communication) but as far as I'm aware you can still use Husky to log in (i.e. client-to-server communication still works). Tusky has a "feature" that I think directs you to a deradicalisation page if you try to log into an account on Gab, but the Husky derivative removed that block.

@khird ahh yes, that may be true.. but there is plenty of hate speech on other servers too, some just as bad or worse than gab... how far will they take this, do app maintainers really need to be int he business of maintaining a mile long block list?

@freemo The only reasonable model I see if Google takes a hard line on this is for apps to maintain a whitelist of known well-moderated instances, given how easy it is to set up a cheap instance to troll from. And if the app developer is supposed to be personally responsible for the content accessible through the app, then he'll probably only whitelist an instance he has control over. So you'll have a QOTO app, Gargron will have a Mastodon Social app, &c. If Google doesn't like some instance's moderation policy they ban its app.

@khird haha that would be a mess, there would be thousands of mastodon apps all virtually identical forks of eachother on google play at that point.

@freemo Yup. Google's starting assumption is that the app and the service are controlled by the same organisation (and this is actually a valid assumption in most proprietary, and even several FOSS, apps). So consequently they can punish you for mismanagement of your service by interdicting your app. Now we come along with our federated peg and it doesn't fit neatly into their hole for siloed apps, and their assumption breaks down.

@khird Yupits the slippery slope of censorship.. Censorship never works so you have to get more and more drastic in the hopes of silencing the unwanted material. Eventually you have as more collateral damage than productive censorship.

@khird @freemo Yet they can't see the connection that basically any stock android email app lets you login to "hate email services"...

@q @freemo @khird

Perhaps they need to learn an old adage: haters gonna hate.

It is in a valid assumption because they turned it into one. To me, it is a perversion.

@freemo @khird That's exactly what caused a lot of turmoil in the not so distant past when some fedi users called a boycott on Fedilab, who refused to disallow access to Gab and the like.

@freemo @khird A lot of hate and aggression is on random websites... So is this the time to ban all browsers? Or shut down the internet as a whole, problems would dissappear. Or create something like Great Chinese Firewall... is this direction world want to choose?

@madargon @freemo @khird probably not google's intent. their policies are probably designed to handle the case of browsers, but i am assuming that, unlike browsers, many of these fedi apps provide a list of instances, and as numerous lawsuits have set a precedence for, you're responsible for what you link to. in the case of an in-app list, this can give the appearance that the app maintainer is endorsing all the instances listed.

@thor @madargon @freemo @khird
Most likely by going directly to servers that are majority populated by groups, races, or nationalities of people they don't like. Guilt by association is a big thing at Google. Look at how they censor YouTube. All they believe they need to do to justify unpersoning app creators is attempt to access gab on their apps and if it's possible then they're automatically a #Naziโ„ข and don't deserve due process or free speech.

@madargon @freemo @khird I don't even bother with Fediverse apps. Pleroma works great on Firefox for Android.

@freemo Did they ban twitter clients for hate speech? Because there's a lotโ€ฆ

It's not the clients/dev job to block stupid fucks' instances. It's the admin job. By the way, it's not even effective, it's either a FLOSS client and you can remove the block or a proprietary client and you trust it, and it's an open door for shitload of abuses (No way to make sure it won't block other instances on whatever arbitrary criteria they choose, for political reasons, money, or something elseโ€ฆ ).



Not sure at the moment.. fedilab used to very briefly a while ago but then reverted that change.. as far as I know they never added the block back.


@freemo this happened to Clover, an imageboard client, because it supported access to 4chan - a site that Google considered unpalatable.

At the time, it was mostly cheered by a lot of the same people as use mastodon. It's unfortunate the precedent has come full circle.

@kline funny how they dont apply that same logic to their own apps. If they were to truly be fair they would have to take down Chrome from play store on the grounds that it can be used to access 4chan.

@freemo to be fair, I suspect this could be a time of reckoning for the fediverse. The willingness of people to draw instant parallels between software ("FOR ANY PURPOSE") and the beliefs and moral values of the users.

In the past, large swathes of the fediverse have written off pleroma and pleroma users as undesirable, regardless of whether that was true or not, because of a small element who were.

Google has now decided that fediverse apps, it seems, are likewise undesirable because of a small number of non-representative users. First we have sown, now we reap.

@kline Yea, what goes around comes around.. for many this will be a taste of their own medicine...

@kline @freemo Or, Google has sown and now they will reap. The Fediverse and its future incarnations, are the future of social networking which has become a huge part of the internet and how people get their news. With this kind of pressure solutions will be produced. War time always brings with it great innovations.

@freemo ... or Fediverse. Considering all of the "kill white people" posts that can be readily found on Twitter, maybe it's time to start reporting that app as well.

@master honestly if this rule were universally applied then any app with a social element would pretty much have to get axed at that point.

@freemo Which is why no open forum should be banned.

At the same time, Twitter actively censors one type of hate speech, but allows another. It's interesting because this means Twitter actively supports, and therefore publishes hate speech.

@master @freemo twitter is an interesting example. on the other hand, twitter has, afaik, never officially permitted hate speech. it probably also helps that they're big, and their ToS likely contains a section on hate speech, whereas with fedi, it depends entirely on the instance.

@freemo @kline except chrome doesn't provide a list of websites (which i believe many if not all of these apps do) and if they did, 4chan wouldn't be on it

@freemo @kline Literally all of that "offensive" content--fedi instances--can be viewed by #Chrome anyways. Unless you're going to ban the #Fediverse from the browser, there isn't any consistent logic here.


Yea its absurd logic.. the only difference between chrome and a mastodon client is that chrome gives you access to hate speech servers through http protocol and mastodon client gives you access to hate speech servers through the ActivityPub protocol


@kline @freemo ...which is quite funny if you believe that bullshit some people say about "4chan being owned by Google".

I mean, yeah, there is a Google Analytics thing on it. I mean, yeah, moot works for Google now. But I feel like it's all cum hoc ergo propter hoc and nothing else.

@freemo just wait until they hear about the internet and what you can say in a phone call or send in a messaging app.


They better take down all the webbrowsers, email-clients, chat-apps, games,

Well, everything since it can be abused in that way.

@freemo They should just ban all open source apps so that we have a good reason to force everyone to use the F-Droid store and stop using Google shit.

@Khrys does f-droid have any sort of screening process for apps though? I'd imagine they must have some criteria too.


Kind of. It's another case where the app is not necessarily controlled by the same people as the service is. You can subscribe to any repository you wish from F-Droid by entering its URL. By default, the app ships with two repositories enabled: one hosted by the app maintainers and one hosted by the Guardian Project, but there are others you can find online.

Criteria for inclusion into a repository are set by the repository owners. The F-Droid repository hosts only open source apps, and the Guardian Project repository hosts only Guardian Project apps. As far as I know, the app itself enforces no restrictions on the content it will allow a user to access.


@freemo Hm, and thinking further: Will they next remove their email client as well, as it can be used to access mail servers that don't filter/combat hate speech? They should distinguish between apps that access centrally managed content and apps that can be used with content hosted on different servers.
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