Blogs and blogging Writing

Facebook can’t censor your blog posts

I came across a post on Facebook that is a great reminder that Facebook can’t censor your blog posts when you publish them outside Facebook’s sphere of influence.

Two days ago, Facebook deleted my personal account of the Holocaust, my intellectual property, for no reason in the world and under the sole justification that it “violated Facebook standards.”

I don’t know if Facebook actually did delete the original version of this post but this sort of thing happens on services like Facebook (and not just Facebook) all the time (often for good reasons, too).

Essentially, services like Facebook can (and do) remove posts that they feel are in violation of their terms of service. Reasons can include posts that advocate racism, incite people to commit violence and other bad things.

Sometimes, though, posts are removed simply because they offend some troll’s peculiar sensitivities. Examples of this include posts depicting breastfeeding.

Ran Shirdan’s Facebook highlights the importance of having your own space on the Web that companies like Facebook (and others) can’t censor simply because your content doesn’t meet their standards. It is almost trivially easy to create your own space on the Web which can share from to other services. Start with or even Medium.

Sure, the flipside of this is that racists, bigots and other offensive people can also publish their crap outside Facebook’s sphere of influence but that is the trade-off for your ability to publish the stuff that is meaningful to you and that you feel should be shared with the world without fear of being arbitrarily censored. By the way, there are ways to deal with bad stuff being published on independent sites too but they aren’t perfect.

Sometimes you have something important to share. Sometimes you just want to share something that isn’t that important. You should be free to express yourself in legitimate ways without worrying that some troll will have you censored.


IFTTT v Pinboard – BFFs again

After a little drama and consternation, it looks like the IFTTT people and the Pinboard person have reached some sort of agreement on the way forward. There aren’t many details but IFTTT sent out an email on Thursday (31 March) which largely apologised for mistakes made, lack of clarity about certain aspects of the new platform and confusion about the terms and conditions.

Hello Pinboard Customers,

We’ve made mistakes over the past few days both in communication and judgment. I’d like to apologize for those mistakes and attempt to explain our intentions. I also pledge to do everything we can to keep Pinboard on IFTTT.

IFTTT gives people confidence that the services they love will work together. There are more services in the world than IFTTT can possibly integrate and maintain alone. We are working on a developer platform that solves this by enabling service owners to build and maintain their integration for the benefit of their customers.

The vast majority of Channels on IFTTT are now built on that developer platform by the services themselves. We made a mistake in asking Pinboard to migrate without fully explaining the benefits of our developer platform. It’s our responsibility to prove that value before asking Pinboard to take ownership of their Channel. We hope to share more on the value of our platform soon.

I also want to address Pinboard’s concerns with our Developer Terms of Service. These terms were specific to our platform while in private beta and were intended to give us the flexibility to evolve our platform in close partnership with early developers. We’ve always planned to update and clarify those terms ahead of opening our platform and we are doing so now. We are specifically changing or removing areas around competing with IFTTT, patents, compatibility and content ownership. The language around content ownership is especially confusing, so I’d like to be very clear on this: as a user of IFTTT you own your content.

I truly appreciate all of your feedback, concerns and patience. Helping services work together is what IFTTT does. We respect and appreciate the open web. This very openness has been instrumental in enabling us to build IFTTT and we fully intend to pay it forward.

Linden Tibbets

There were certainly mistakes made although I’m not so sure about the other stuff. That said, this is certainly a positive development and Pinboard’s Maciej Cegłowski seems to agree:

It’s not clear how much longer Pinboard will remain connected to IFTTT. I imagine the parties came to some sort of agreement about modifications to IFTTT’s terms and conditions and requirements for integrating Pinboard into the new IFTTT platform. The approach for now seems to be a “wait and see” approach but it’s a step in a better direction.

With all that, we can probably return to our regularly scheduled programming or work and carry on. As for my complaints about Cegłowski’s apparent lack of empathy, his sarcasm is growing on me.


If you missed the saga, you can catch up here:

Part 1:

IFTTT v Pinboard

Part 2:

IFTTT v Pinboard Redux – Contracts and Condescension

Image credit: Pixabay

Travel and places

Taking the train

I presented at a Protection of Personal Information Act seminar today and took the Gautrain instead of driving out to the venue. I took my camera with me and, on the way back, I took a number of photos at the Rhodesfield station just outside the OR Tambo airport. I enjoy taking the Gautrain (I’m not a fan of road traffic) and I love how the outdoor platforms are designed.

Here are some of my photos (along with one from one of the underground Sandton platforms – I like how the train’s light comes up behind the guard). I really like the empty platform photo and the three photos of the commuter looking at his phone.