Tired Of Twitter Blocking Accounts? Political Deals?

Then “Twister” looks like the solution. A Peer To Peer (P2P) “micro-blogging” platform.

Tired of the whole ‘Parade Of The Politically Blocked Accounts’? The Corporate Snooping for a Political Party and Political Posturing? Would you like to know of an alternative method? Then read on.

From their FAQ page:


Posted on November 24, 2013 by mfreitas — 38 Comments ↓

What is twister?

twister is a microblogging peer-to-peer platform, that is, it is a distributed system like bittorrent or similar file sharing technologies. Being completely decentralized means that no one is able to shut it down, as there is no single point to attack. The system is also designed so it cannot be censored, freedom of speech cannot be taken from you. And because the cryptography is employed end-to-end, no entity is able to spy on your communications.

Is it open/free?

Yes. The protocol is open and community is invited to help to extend it with new features. The reference implementation is free software, based on Bitcoin and libtorrent sources, which are released under the terms of the MIT and BSD licenses, respectively.

How does it work?

For the complete description you should refer to the white paper. But in short: twister is comprised of three mostly independent overlay networks. The first provides distributed user registration and authentication and is based on the Bitcoin protocol. The second one is a Distributed Hash Table (DHT) overlay network providing key/value storage for user resources and tracker location for the third network. The last network is a collection of possibly disjoint “swarms” of followers, based on the Bittorrent protocol, which can be used for efficient near-instant notification delivery to many users.

Does it scale?

I hope so, but only time will tell. DHT network should distribute resources evenly to be stored by every node, including the posts themselves and profile information. Those resources are produced on a relatively slow volume, in average (add the total number of posts produced every day and then divide by the number of users). Registration database is duplicated on every node, with about a hundred bytes or so per user.
The registration database may actually grow larger if we have a million of users, but still nothing comparable to the size of Bitcoin transaction database. Some strategies are proposed to allow very low lightweight clients which wouldn’t need to store the entire registration database.

What does it do? (twister features)

The first prototype (or proof-of-concept implementation) is meant to replicate the basic feature set of a microblogging platform. That means: finding users, browsing profiles, follow/unfollow, send text posts limited to 140 characters, retransmiting and replying posts, navigate through post threads, mentions, hashtags and direct (private) messages. Private messages requires the recipient to be follower of the sender, which is a common requirement in other platforms as well.
Some other features may be difficult to implement in a completely decentralized system and may require more thought. This includes arbitrary search of words in all posts and collecting the hashtags to find out the top trends.

How is Bitcoin used here?

Bitcoin, in the sense of the digital currency, is not used at all. However, the Bitcoin protocol and the implementation of the neat idea of block chain is on the basis of twister. The block chain provides a sort of distributed notary service, certifying who owns a given nickname. The name is associated with a specific key pair, which is used for authentication and cryptography.

To me it looks pretty well thought out and secure.

Even if they only get a following of those folks who have had their Twitter account blocked and / or spied on, they ought to grow fairly large. ;-)

There may well be other similar alternatives. This one turned up with only modest searching. So I’m not saying this one is the only one or even the best one; but it sure looks like a good enough one.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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5 Responses to Tired Of Twitter Blocking Accounts? Political Deals?

  1. tom0mason says:

    Private encrypted communication channel…. umm…
    I wonder if Homeland Security folk are already on to this and the security implications of this technology.
    Nothing on their website to say so.

  2. jim2 says:

    “I wonder if Homeland Security folk are already on to this …”

    They probably built it. :)

  3. tom0mason says:

    Indeed Jim2, as Chiefio says elsewhere “Sun Tzu: All warfare is based on deception.”

  4. Larry Ledwick says:

    As was the case with open source operating systems, the more they try to clamp down the more people will “leak” out to these sorts of alternative tools. At some point there will be a land rush to which ever one (or ones) that are the most effective and suddenly twitter and face book values with crater as the cash cow of user data dries up.

    That is why I registered with gab.ai right when the started up. I seldom go there now because they have not reached critical mass yet but it is slowly growing, as folks not happy with the PC oppression of the major players like Twitter, youtube, and facebook gets more and more punitive.

  5. philjourdan says:

    The lessons of Norway were quickly lost. Anders Brevick turned violent because he had no outlet for his anger. Norway is big into censoring “hate speech”. Had Brevick been able to vent on line (note to snowflakes: Just because someone posts does not mean you have to READ. Learn the ignore protocol), he probably would not have acted out his anger in the real world.

    Contrary to snowflake beliefs, words do not hurt you. But sticks and stones (and knives and bullets) REALLY do.

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