If you want to be a member of Mozilla.Social, Mozilla’s new instance of Mastodon, you can’t harass other users. It is also not allowed to use derogatory language about gender, sex, sexual orientation, race, age, ability or any other “physical, social or cultural attribute or classification”. You also can’t spread misinformation and disinformation. Or impersonate someone. Some of these are standard policies, others are unusually strict, and all are difficult to dispute. But Mozilla’s stance is quite simple, and extremely unusual in the social media universe: if it’s moot, it’s gone.
“We’re not going to announce that we’re some kind of platform neutral,” says Steve Teixeira, Mozilla’s director of products. He says that too many platforms try to find a middle ground between, for example, people who want to hurt others and people who don’t, when there really is no middle ground. “You have to land on the side of people who don’t want to hurt others.” By not claiming to be neutral and not claiming to be the free speech wing of anything, Mozilla hopes that it can be much more active in making Mastodon a good place to be.