Comments on "User freedom: A love story"


SFScon18 - Molly de Blanc - User freedom: A love story.

This is one of the most relatable software freedom talks I've watched recently. As a college student trying to make friends, let alone find romantic partners, using non-free software is incredibly difficult to avoid.

Aside from online dating, which I have no experience with, I've pretty much done everything discussed in the video. I've definitely "Internet stalked" friends to learn more about them. And I've used screen sharing to be able to watch movies with a long-distance partner, which worked pretty well.

The biggest obstacle I tend to run into is mentioned in the talk - messaging apps. By virtue of nearly everyone being on Facebook already, Messenger is the most universal. SMS could also work, except our house has extremely spotty cell service, which makes engaging in a long conversation pretty impossible.

I've made efforts in the past to convert people to Signal, with mostly mixed results. Their desire to talk to you has to outweigh the friction of setting up a new app and checking it just to talk to you.

That's unlikely to happen unless they're already a good friend, and to reach that stage, you probably have to use some non-secure/proprietary messaging app first.

And speaking of proprietary algorithms, I think it's pretty creepy that Facebook knows who I'm crushing on, often before I've realized it myself. Since I don't post on Facebook anymore, I assume it's using data from Messenger conversations, but it's definitely doing something more advanced than volume or frequency of messages.

Molly de Blanc also wrote a follow-up post on their blog that I think is worth reading.