It really is. Part of the problem is that these days, so many people use mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. I know I do – I love my phones and my tablets. I use them every day, sometimes all day (when I’m unemployed, that is).
So we’re all used to using apps. Social networks that don’t have apps sadly don’t get as many users as those that do. Gab is an exception because of their notoriety (which is totally undeserved, no thanks to the asshole liars in the mainstream media). It has a huge userbase and is only growing, despite not having an app in either app store.
Speaking of app stores, the fact that there’s only two operating systems for all major smartphones – Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android – is absolutely part of the problem. A big part. Both of these companies control which apps are allowed in their respective app stores, and by default, you cannot install an app unless it is in their app store.
Android users can turn on a setting that allows third-party app installations, however. Who knows how long that will last, given the events of the past several days.
As you know, the Parler app was banned on Google’s Play Store first, while Apple made this huge show of sending Parler a set of ridiculous demands for “moderation” that had to be implemented within 24 hours or else the app would be removed from the App Store. John Matze, the CEO of Parler, told Apple to go fuck themselves and the app was removed from the App Store this morning.
Of course, things got much worse for Parler as a bunch of simpering, whining crybabies working for Amazon insisted that Amazon remove Parler from their AWS servers, which they complied with, and informed Parler that their site will be removed from their servers by Monday morning, January 11.
I was so incredibly pissed off to find out that they had chosen AWS as their host. What the ever-loving fuck? Have they not learned anything from what happened to Gab? Gab used to be hosted on Microsoft’s Azure service. Then some asshole leftist made some complaints about Gab’s supposed anti-semitism and hate speech (and that’s a laugh, as if leftists cared about anti-semitism when they’re constantly calling for the destruction of Israel – god forbid the Jews have their own fucking country, but Muslims get acres and acres of land in which they can bury women up to their necks to throw stones at their heads).
I had to take that little detour. When I heard that Gab had turned off their API, making it impossible to use Gab with any Mastodon-based plug-in, app or service, I was really pissed off. I have a Mastodon auto-post plug-in for my blog, I used Tootle on my iOS devices and Fedilab on my Android devices, and a Mastodon share extension for Chromium-based browsers and one for Firefox (of which I have since ditched), all used to post, browse and share links (my big thing, if you follow me anywhere, I love posting links). I even wrote a post about it, but never finished it, and I probably won’t now, because there’s more important things to discuss, and I think it’s kind of unfair, at this point, to dunk on Gab after all it’s been through. The team over there is not perfect and some of their decisions are questionable, but I can’t help but admire and respect them for fighting so hard to keep Gab alive. If only they were running the country.
Anyway. After thinking about it, and signing in to some networks I don’t use that often, like Codias and Minds, I realized that having an app and sharing links all day long isn’t that important. What’s important is that even if a given app is removed from an app store, you can still access the social network using your device’s browser.
Being dependent on these apps gives Apple and Google way too much power. I also believe that one thing we really should have been working on is ending the app store monopoly, especially where Apple is concerned, because their mobile devices are already walled gardens from hell, and given how fucking irritating and intrusive the Gatekeeper on macOS is, I feel that their laptops and desktops will end up being walled gardens too, especially now that Apple has just released a MacBook with their own chipset.
Some people believe that Microsoft will try to do the same…maybe. I don’t think Windows users will take kindly to that, though. Mac fanboys will not care, and they’ll continue to drool over everything Apple puts out. I think Windows users will revolt.
I’m going to just have to get used to using these sites in the browser and not via any fancy official app. They’re not going to let alt-tech have apps in their precious stores.
Oh, and if you look into their official reasons? Those reasons are bullshit. You can just as easily “organize” to “commit violence” by accessing these networks via a browser – are they going to ban all the browsers too, simply because you can access Gab or Parler or whatever?
This is proof that their banning these apps is total bullshit and is politically motivated. It’s also probably motivated by a desire to help Twitter and Facebook squash their competition.
Anyway, as long as we can access these social networks via our browsers, we should consider ourselves fortunate for the moment. That sounds so damn defeatist, but it’s the truth. Hopefully someone who can actually do something about it can, in fact, do something about it, since we no longer have free and fair elections in the US anymore.