Diaspora social network cannot prevent IS posts, says developers

22 Aug 2014

The developers of the social network Diaspora have said that, as much as they’d like to, they cannot remove posts made by the group the Islamic State (IS), despite condemnation.

The militant group that has taken over large areas of Syria and Iraq in the effort to create a strict Muslim super state have taken to the relatively small social network after administrators removed its previous posts on microblogging site Twitter.

Now however, the group has taken to Diaspora to continue its online campaign, but the site’s developers have stated on their blog page they cannot follow similar procedures of removal because they don’t have singular access to all servers, according to the BBC.

According to their post, the network is designed so it is made up of a series of ‘pods’, commonly known as nodes, which are spread across several servers outside of their control, which is why they feel their network has specifically been targeted.

In order to remove the material, the developers are trying to contact those in control of the servers, known as ‘podmins’, but the process has been slow and uneffective so far.

Censoring a privacy-minded network

They are worried about not just the material being posted, but legal ramifications.

“The Diaspora project team is, however, concerned about the activities of these members inside our network, because of the potential legal difficulties that hosting such material may cause individual pod administrators (‘podmins’).

“We will continue our efforts to talk with the podmins, but we want to emphasise once again that the project’s core team is not able to decide what podmins should do. If you find user accounts on a Diaspora pod which are a cause for concern, please contact the administrator of that pod; most pods have a link to contact the podmin.”

Four students established Diaspora in 2010 with the help of a crowdfunding campaign to create a social network which, aside from a decentralised network, also promises privacy and the right to be anonymous.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic