If you want to be a member of Mozilla.Social, Mozilla’s new Mastodon instance, you are not allowed to harass other users. You are also not permitted to use derogatory language about gender, sex, sexual orientation, race, age, ability, or any other “physical, social, or cultural attribute or classification.” You also cannot spread misinformation and misinformation. Or impersonate someone. Some of them are normal policies, others are exceptionally cumbersome, and all of them are difficult to challenge. But Mozilla’s position is quite simple and extremely unusual in the world of social media: if it’s moot, it’s gone.
“We’re not going to advertise that we’re some kind of platform neutral,” says Mozilla chief product officer Steve Teixeira. He says too many platforms try to find common ground between, say, people who want to hurt others and people who don’t, when in reality there is no middle ground. agreement at all. “You have to land on the side of people who don’t want to hurt others.” By not pretending to be neutral and not pretending to be the free-speech wing of anything, Mozilla hopes it can be much more active in making Mastodon a better place to live.