Twitter Alternative Protects Against Government Surveillance
Twister is a peer-to-peer microblogging platform that is decentralized and cannot be shut down by one entity.
When it was revealed that the government was involved in in-depth scanning of the internet and social networks, Rio de Janiero-based research engineer Miguel Freitas began creating a more secure alternative to Twitter.
Freitas used code from bitcoin and BitTorrent to build Twister back in mid-2013. In October he hired Lucas Leal to create the design of the user interface. The two released a test version that runs on Android, Linux, and OSX.
Twister is a “peer-to-peer microblogging” platform and is a distributed system similar to BitTorrent. Since it is a decentralized network, it cannot be shut down by one entity. It is also designed so that users are unable to know if other users are online, what their IP address is, and who they are following or whose posts they are reading.
Twister has the usual basic features of a microblogging platform. It lets users find other users and follow or unfollow, browse profiles, send posts that are limited to 140 characters, reply and repost, and read through post threads, mentions, hashtags and direct messages. Like most platforms, users can only message another user if that user is following them.
The network is still being tested, but the code is open source and other developers are invited to help create more features for the system.
A complete description of the platform can be found on this white paper.