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Occupy Geeks Are Building a Facebook For the 99%


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OWS media center

Protesters volunteering for the Internet and information boards of the Occupy Wall Street protest work and broadcast from their media center in Zuccotti Plaza on Oct. 2, 2011.

Credit: Bryan Derballa for Wired

As part of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, a team of Web and mobile application developers is redesigning social networking for the era of global protests.

The team hopes their technology can go beyond OWS to help establish more distributed social networks, improve online business collaborations, and add to the Semantic Web's development. The Occupy movement already has local networks set up for each occupation site, and the activist-developers are building an overarching, international network called Global Square.

A major challenge to all new social networking efforts is ensuring that members are trustworthy. To build trust, local and international networks will use a friend-of-a-friend model. "You have to know someone in real life who sponsors you," says Occupy Movement developer Ed Knutson. Global Square will connect through standards designed to link up disparate technologies.

The OWS projects also rely on Open ID and OAuth, which let users sign into new Web sites using their logins and passwords from social networks such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter. In the new OWS technology, an activist's local-occupation network can vouch for a user to another network, and since the local networks all trust each other, they all trust that activist.

From New York Times
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