Has anyone noticed any positive changes since Aral Balkan wrote this wonderful article 2 years ago? I haven't used Facebook, Google, Youtube and others since. It's done me no harm at all, I feel much better for it. I'm not a techie and don't need a mobile phone either, so it might be more difficult for many of you. But have you made changes and have there been any systemic changes?



@gud @aral

I bought a wristwatch and threw away my phone. Nobody calls me on it anyway and looking at the time was the gateway to me just 'faffing' about on it for HOURS. My mental health needed a break.

@gud @aral

During the pandemic, I started to become more interested in online privacy (that was previously limited to using vpn, firefox and adblocker). As I learned and got amazed about all the wonderfull FOSS alternatives out there, I made my internet browing more secure and anonymous, and after some months, I managed to switch from gmail to tutanota, google docs to cryptpad, youtube to freetube, play store to F-droid and Aurora store... I now managed to delete my FB and Google account! It feels so liberating! Big shout out to all those working tirelessly to provide alternatives to damaging, unethical and creepy surveillance capitalist companies!

PS: I am still dependent on FB and Google bcuz of WhatsApp (some people don't want to switch to Signal) and Google Play Services on android...For now...

@anacrypto @aral @Tutanota @FreeTube @cryptpad @fdroidorg
Anacrypto says it really well. If everyone working in technology had the same attitude we'd start to see changes in the system because you folk are at the forefront, imho.

Seems like suitable FOSS alternatives for everything are not yet available but they are coming soon.

And the best reason to change? It feels liberating to do the right thing! One life, one opportunity, do your very best!


Take a look at Watomatic which just entered F-Droid, and send the notorious WA users auto-replies where they can reach you. We've seen messages starting like "Warning: your message could not be delivered. You can reach Joe at..." And then the "new place(s)". You can still answer if you want, but they see you really mean it. Might have the desired effect.

@anacrypto @gud @aral @Tutanota @FreeTube @cryptpad @fdroidorg Google Play Services are easier to rid yourself of than you may think. What are you using that still requires them?

@jawsh @aral @FreeTube @cryptpad @gud @Tutanota @fdroidorg

I am still using some language apps, whatsapp, shazam,... :/ i'll look into /e/OS once my current phone dies

@anacrypto @aral @FreeTube @cryptpad @gud @Tutanota @fdroidorg really no need for /e/OS, IMO. You can get the same functionality with numerous AOSP based builds and Micro G via a Magisk module. Also, a lot of apps that are "GSF dependent" will still work without Gapps being installed.


But you see, I am totally not a technical user, i don't know what AOSP and Magisk mean. If you don't know what you're doing, I think it's very easy to brick your phone. The alternatives I listed previously are all quite easy to use and beginner friendly. However, I didn't know that GSF dependent apps could still work, that's very interesting.

@anacrypto AOSP = Android Open Source Project, it's what all your ROMs use as a base and are built upon /e/ included. Magisk is a root manager with addons (modules) that provide various functions. Simple as booting into recovery and flashing each. You can do without Magisk and flash MicroG so long as your ROM supports signature spoofing. AOSP+MicroG+Nextcloud gives you basically all the functionality /e/OS provides and you get the added benefit of controlling and storing you own data. IMO it's worth looking into.

@Utgardloki @gud @aral @Tutanota @FreeTube @cryptpad @fdroidorg

Thanks :) I know it but my phone is not supported yet. Plus am a none-technical user so i'd have to get a preconfigured one (graphene or e/os/)

@anacrypto @gud @aral @Tutanota @FreeTube @cryptpad @fdroidorg
Installing GrapheneOS is easy. It now even exists a web installer: grapheneos.org/install/web
So yeah you're only need a supported Pixel phone. Others aren't supported do to lack of hardware security.
/E/ is a joke and base on old unmaintained LineageOS code with suspicious included apps without any security nor privacy hardening.

Hey, if you are interested in VPN you should now that @mullvadnet is now on mastodon too. Also you should definetly take a look at newpipe.schabi.org at @fdroidorg! Be proud of what you have achieved and let others know how to protect their privacy :mastolove:

@gud @aral @Tutanota @FreeTube @cryptpad


I use newpipe, it's an amazing app! Am already good on the VPN ;) and thanks for the compliment, i am spreading the word!

I ve switched to @e_mydata a year ago and got ride of google play service :)
You should give it a try

@gud @aral @Tutanota @FreeTube @cryptpad @fdroidorg

@gud @aral I’ve been also going through some positive changes during past couple of years, when I got more interested in privacy and surveillance capitalism.

I deleted Facebook/Instagram, changed to my private email from Gmail, started using Signal for messaging, tried using DuckDuckGo, started using Fathom privacy focused analytics on my side-project, and overall became much more aware of where my data is going and what consents I am giving.

@gud @aral

At the same time reality is not so black and white. I still had to get Facebook account to use Messenger, because so many contacts of my family and friends are there. And I cannot get them all to Signal (I’ve tried).

Many other people I talk to scattered on WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber...

I went back to Google searches, the DuckDuckGo is just not that good.

Youtube still has many great tutorials and documentaries.

@gud @@mastodon.ar.al and Mastodon is stupid just deleted my whole message because it was too long... 🤣

Anyways, as I wanted to say, I am much more aware now, but it will take many more years to go through this transition. So we should all be a bit realistic and see what works for our daily lives, and not suffer with bad products or exclusion.

But there also have to be people like @aral , who advocate for the radical changes to outweigh the crap we have in tech.

@gud @aral I still use google (email), and still use YT, and even have twitter account, but no FB account...but none of it's the same, YT not like it was in beginning, when videos allowed to be seen by all, before google bought them and started monetizing the platform and directing views, limiting views, and now just a 'pay to play' site like all other things google touches that pushes the small timer aside, once again.

@gud @aral
I remember back in the 'hey day' or 'glory days' of social media, before traffic flow controlled and corralled, back in the glory days, like on twitter, within a week, one could get 1000+ organic real followers from around the world, same with YT, videos would get 1000's of views when information flowed freely, but now days, forget about it, now you have to pay to play...now it's like they, behind the scenes, decide the winners and the losers...

@gud @aral

Social media is more 'therapy' for most than anything else, where people are basically talking out loud to 'self'...beyond that, unless a business, there's not much practical use for it anymore since posts/ and views, aren't allowed to flow freely anymore...I post that would of gotten 40,000 natural random search views 8 years ago is luck to get 40 now...I so miss the old wild wild west days of social media, it was way more fun in the beginning.

@gud @aral I like your "I'm not a techie" statement - I kind of thought it harder for non-techies, because as a bit of a geek I love trying out alternatives, and getting to grips with self hosting things etc. Trying to talk to my non tech friends about alternatives is hard.

@iamalsoandy @aral
I meant it might be harder for those working in technology who must use it to keep a job. I can't programme but can do some html/css but I always struggle with tech. I think the main thing about being a non-techie is we don't want to spend so much time struggling to learn stuff that gets replaced by something else very quickly. I've hardened Firefox, use invidious, search with ecosia, etc because there were good step by step how-to articles.

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