Skip to content, sitemap or skip to search.

Personal tools
Join now
You are here: Home twitter

Is the FSF on Twitter?

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Feb 28, 2013 05:04 PM
Yes, we are!

The Free Software Foundation now has a bridge in place connecting our GNU social microblogging site to Twitter. This means you can find us officially on Twitter.

We are there so that people new to the free software movement can learn about it, and because -- unlike with Facebook -- we have no ethical objection to merely having an account on Twitter.

However, we do find Twitter problematic, and there are some ethical pitfalls that come up the way most people use it. If you're currently a Twitter user, here are a few reasons to consider switching to GNU social, a free software (licensed under AGPLv3), decentralized microblogging service.

  1. Twitter uses nonfree JavaScript. Nonfree JavaScript serves up proprietary programs through your web browser without asking or telling you. There are ways to use Twitter without using nonfree JavaScript, and that's what the FSF does. Using Twitter on the Web requires nonfree JavaScript, but when the FSF signed up, that was not the case. There are several free software Twitter clients that can be used to view and post tweets without visiting the site or running its proprietary code. Try using a free client like Turpial, Choqok, or Twidere to access the site instead. Another option is to use Twitter's mobile site. Or, use GNU social and activate the Twitter bridge.

  2. Twitter accounts have privacy issues, such as being vulnerable to broad subpoenas. Because Twitter accounts are centralized on one server, your account can be subpoenaed, and Twitter could be forced to hand over your information. This isn't a hypothetical: Twitter accounts have already been subpoenaed -- such as for Occupy. Decentralized services like GNU social, as well as the popular Mastodon and ActivityPub, mean that the developers don't necessarily own the servers hosting your posts or account information, making it harder for someone to execute a subpoena without your direct knowledge. Distributed servers are also less tempting targets for malicious crackers out to steal large amounts of personal information.

As a bonus, a federated system hosted on many servers is more durable than a centralized one. If we all continue to rely on Twitter, some day there will be a permanent fail whale. By contrast, when one part of a federated system (like email!) goes down, it does not take the entire network with it.

So, in support of software freedom and to protect your own information, switch from Twitter to a decentralized microblogging site. The GNU social project maintains a list of popular public GNU social instances for new users to try out. You can also set up an instance of GNU social for you and your friends by visiting the project's homepage. The FSF also has microblogging accounts at Diaspora and Mastodon. Another microblogging network is You can sign up for any number of instances of by visiting the random instance selector. Or better yet, try out on a public instance and then get together with some friends to run your own.

If you like the FSF's work in this area, please let us know by becoming a member or making a donation.

Document Actions

The FSF is a charity with a worldwide mission to advance software freedom — learn about our history and work. is powered by:


Send your feedback on our translations and new translations of pages to