Join the search for a safe digital public space – De Groene Amsterdammer

How do we achieve an open, fair and inclusive Internet? And what does it really take to move from obscure old social media to new initiatives? the green Published critically about how we are being exploited by Big Tech, what social media is doing to our humanity and why we should stop using Facebook. At the same time, as a weekly newspaper, we rely on these platforms. It’s time to explore serious alternatives.

In the Element app, which uses the Matrix communication protocol, we take the first steps away from mainstream social media and test ways to design a secure digital public space. Download the appCreate an account and discuss it with our other readers and editors Green colorArticles in rooms green space

When using the Element . app downloadedCreate an account on the server “”. The account name you choose will become part of your Matrix address: username: Now you can start. In the Element app, you can start private and group conversations, but you can also communicate with several people in public rooms and exchange files. Rooms the green Collected at De Groene Ruimte, where you can participate Via this invite link† Here you will find, among other things, the room’Freedom from Big TechThis is where a discussion is taking place.

To secure your account, you generate a key that is used for secure connection on the Matrix. Under Settings, choose the Security option. Under “Secure Backup” you will see the “Setup” button: click on it and then choose “Use a security key” to allow the Element to create its private key. Make sure to keep this string of twelve “words” in a safe place! For further assistance in using the app, we have made a more comprehensive guide.

On March 31, Waag is organizing “The State of the Internet: Operation Reboot,” in which human rights lawyer Nanny Janssen Riventlo will give a lecture. We invite users to share their experiences and ideas during our actual Expert Meetings on April 21st.


Internet giants like Facebook and Twitter still struggle with it: moderation. How are theories of hate, misinformation and conspiracy dealt with on social media? At Element, we make this moderation part of the public discussion and then make adjustments if desired. However, we formulated two basic rules.

  1. Stay within the law
  2. Have a conversation between two people

Everyone has the right to participate in the public debate without being intimidated, intimidated or threatened. my editors the green They have moderation rights and can decide to remove any post if the post is racist, discriminatory, threatening, abusive, or contains blatant lies or suspicion. If someone repeatedly violates the rules, we may deny them the opportunity to contribute or participate in the room. This will be accompanied by a short impulse. We are currently working on Auto Broker Program It can filter spam and bots. This program also allows users to report messages.

What is the element?

Element is an app that you install on your smartphone, desktop, or use via your web browser. At first, the app will look more like other messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or Signal. You can also send messages, create groups, and exchange files in the Element app. The component, like WhatsApp and Signal, is end-to-end encrypted. This means that the conversations are encrypted and can only be read by the sender and receiver. You can have private conversations as well as participate in discussions in public digital rooms.

Element has a number of advantages compared to, for example, Whatsapp. The component is open source. This means that the application code is available to everyone. This way anyone with some experience reading codes can see how the app works and how the data in the app is used. What makes the Element app unique is that it works over the Matrix protocol.

What is the Matrix?

Matrix is ​​the name of the communication protocol Used by Element App, the nonprofit that runs the Matrix protocol. A protocol consists of technical rules that describe, among other things, how an application can send messages. The main advantage of Matrix is ​​that, unlike other protocols, it must allow communication between different applications. In computer parlance this is called interoperability. This is similar to the principle of email, where you can send email from Gmail account to Hotmail account without any problem. Matrix is ​​a federated protocol. Anyone who wants to set up the Matrix can thus host the accounts and store the information on their own server. For example, your messages are not stored on a server of a big data merchant or an opaque Big Tech company. An example of such a local server in Amsterdam is Thorp.

What is Thorpe?

In practice, the local Thorp server (with Amsterdam signature) is set up to enable public discussion on non-standard social media. It also means collaboration between different partners who want to work towards a secure digital public space, not dependent on big tech companies like Google or Meta. on this server the green Create an account to open a room on Element.

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