Hello! We’ve recently upgraded our old prototype social board at hugin.kryptokrona.se, which is a social platform built on top of XKR, to be completely decentralized and integrated into Hugin Messenger!
The new Hugin Boards use the same principles as Hugin Messenger where you completely control your own keys, no servers are involved (except a node, which you can run on your own machine) and perhaps most importantly – nobody can restrict your access to the service.
This in practice means that perhaps for the first time ever we have an easy to use messaging board, microblogging platform, forum, group chat – whatever you want to call it – that is completely immune to deplatforming, DNS-takedowns, DDoS-attacks, hosting takedowns, server raids – you name it.
Subsequent to the ban of Donald Trump on Twitter, we’ve seen alternative social platforms come into the spotlight, such as Parler, having been the subject of a massive takedown attempt from Amazon, Google, Apple and many others (https://www.businessinsider.com/parler-offline-outage-amazon-servers-2021-1)
This is quite an interesting case study of how alternative platforms actually get taken down, and what we can do to protect our services from such attempts.
Firstly, Parler got their Amazon hosting taken down, rendering their entire service inaccessible. This problem Hugin solves by being on the blockchain. For Hugin, hosting is distributed throughout all the nodes in the network. That means that you’d have to shut down every single node in a constantly changing flow of new ones, making it practically impossible to attack the “hosting” of the content on the platform itself.
So we don’t have to worry about having our hosting taken down by an outside actor, but what about the apps?
Google and Apple removed the Parler app from their respective app store on Android and iOS, making it inaccessible to millions of potential users.
For iPhones, there is no simple way of installing an app without Apple’s permission. That means, in practice, that if an app gets zapped from the App Store – people won’t be able to download it. Android users are better off, since they can simply download the app online and install it manually – with that said, being delisted from the Play Store will certainly hurt.
So mobile apps are kinda tricky, since Google and Apple basically controls the entire app ecosystem. On desktops, however, things are quite different. It’s as simple as pie to install a desktop app on your computer and run it, without any company having any say in the matter. That is great. As long as you can get a hold of the Hugin installer somewhere, you can use the service.
What happens when we go mobile with Hugin?
Well, we would definitely be vulnerable to the same app store take down that Parler faced, at least on iOS.
Even though the app could get taken down, a web version could be hosted by anyone, on any server, you could even host one yourself. That makes our network a bit like a hydra, if you shut down one outlet, others can pop up to take it’s place.
Since the web version could be accessed my mobile users, they wouldn’t be completely left in the dark if an app store take down would occur.
In summary Hugin actually addresses every single vulnerability that caused Parler to be taken down, while offering a platform that is also completely uncensorable.
That’s why we’re excited to continue our work on Hugin Boards and we’re happy to take suggestions. Please visit our Discord if you’ve got something to say!