The Global Square: a social network for protesters

The Global Square: a social network for protesters

BBC covers The Global Square: a grassroots social network

Heather Marsh, spokesperson for The Global Square, appeared on BBC radio to discuss the ongoing effort of building a secure, decentralized social network.

As we reported earlier last week, The Global Square (original project outline here, updated information here) has been picking up steam. The effort to build a secure, decentralized, peer-to-peer, open-source organizing platform for our movement — an ambitious experiment in creating a form of direct global democracy from the bottom up — is gathering increasing attention both from the movement, from developers, and from the international media.

Heather Marsh of WL Central, official spokesperson for the project, appeared on BBC Outriders on Tuesday and gave a very clear outline of where the project stands and where it will be headed in the next couple of months. Listen to her excellent interview below. Also, please note that we are still looking for coders — for more information on how to contribute, check out this post or contact Heather here.

wiki Global Square

Creating connections for freedom of expression.mp3
Via BBC Outriders:

As we know, hackers are not all about taking down sites and cracking security, they also work hard to create connections, especially where there are communities and people who could do with some help when it comes to freedom of expression.

Secure communications over the internet have been paramount lately when it comes to both connecting and protecting people. Online groups associated with uprisings in Libya, Syria and further afield have been a focus point for organisations like Tor and Telecomix.

Another plan is currently in development to address social activity on the internet and the people involved hope to grow their network from the individual out, rather than planning a pre-set ecosystem for people to sign up to. Heather Marsh is the spokesperson for The Global Square project and we chatted about what this could be and how it should work.

Listen to the full interview here (from 6m30s onwards)



Coming events
  • 2.26.2012 – Getting the hands dirty, meeting for coders
Place: IRC channel #globalsquare at
Time: 20.00 GMT
Activities: New coders getting the necessary knowledge to start coding. Solve doubts.
  • 4.27.2012 until 7.1.2012 – TheGlobalSquare @Berlin
Place: Berlin Biennale – Berlin, Germany
Activities: Conferences, talks, hackathon, presentations.
Past events
  • 1.15.2012 – Skype conference
Subject: Welcome volunteers, please add the Skype screen-name theglobalsquare to your contacts.

Latest on media

Check the complete media coverage.

“Global Square”: Wikileaks-Backed Activist Platform Launching in March (CommonDreams, 2/16/2012)

Activist-backed Online Collaboration Platform Due for Release in March (PC World, 2/15/2012)

Activist-backed collaboration platform set for March release (ComputerWorld, 2/15/2012)

Occupy Wall Street Captures the Web (Citizen K, 2/06/2012)

Occupy Wall Street Builds Facebook Alternative (Forbes, 1/03/2012)

Occupy Facebook: a social network for protesters (WaToday, 12,30,2011)

Occupy Facebook: Protesters Planning Their Own Social Network (Slate, 12/29/2011)

Would you join a Facebook-style Occupy social network? (CBC, 12/28/2011)

Occupy Geeks Are Building a Facebook for the 99% (Wired Magazine, 12/27/2011)


TheGlobalSquare Affiliated projects

  • Occupy-dev Development, coding.
  • WLCentral News, analysis and action.
  • RoarMag Reflections on a revolution.

TheGlobalSquare Affinity groups

P2P Tools

  • Open, Free and Neutral P2P network.
  • Tribler Decentralized P2P file-sharing project.
  • YaCy P2P Search Engine.

Networking Tools

Python Resources

Related Projects and Interesting Initiatives

  • Federated General Assembly Project for a collaboration platform.
  • Kune Kune, A web tool to encourage collaboration, content sharing & free culture.
  • Propongo Open platform for taking of decision among individuals and assemblies in Spain.

Wiki Friends

  • occupy-dev For tech-related topics.
  • OccupyMediaWiki MediaWiki support and promotion.
  • Occupy.Net For general topics on the occupy movement, especially regarding the USA.
  • Occupy Research Distributed research focused around OccupyWallStreet / OccupyTogether.

Virality: international media coverage of The Global Square

The Global Square: a social network for protesters


With Wikileaks and several other major players throwing their weight behind the project, a vaporware press release has made The Global Square go viral.

Ever since a group of activists released the original proposal for The Global Square on ROAR back in November, the collaborative endeavor to build an alternative peer-to-peer social network has generated considerable media attention. After featuring in a major story in Wired last year, a recent call for coders by our friends and partners at Wikileaks Central has once again propelled the project into the global public discourse.

The Global Square has gained traction in recent months as we have secured the support of an independent team of developers, coordinated by Ed Knutson of the Occupy movement in the US and Johan Pauwelse in the Netherlands. Pauwelse directs the Tribler P2P research team at the Technical University of Delft, which — with a budget of 26 million euros — is the world’s largest experimental research group working on self-organizing internet systems.

Meanwhile, we are being assisted by the legendary hacker and free-software activist Richard Stallman, who as the main author of several copyleft licenses, including the GNU General Public License — the most widely used free software license in the world — has agreed to contribute his GNU platform to the project. Furthermore, we are now drawing on the direct support of a number of hackers and free software activists associated with Wikileaks and Anonymous.

From April 27 until July 1, The Global Square will be featured at the 7th Berlin Biennale, where we will organize a ‘hackathon’ with leading online activists, coders, developers and designers from around the world to build the platform and ensure its resilience against attempted crackdowns. The decentralized P2P nature of The Global Square will make it virtually impossible for governments to neutralize the network without completely shutting down the Internet.

With Heather Marsh of Wikileaks Central (the Wikileaks-endorsed news site) and Pedro Noel of Take the Square (the international commission of the Spanish indignados) throwing their weight behind the project, we now have a powerful international coordination team in place. However, we remain in need of coders to help us turn dreams into reality and live up to the expectations currently being created by the international media.

For information on how to contribute to this exciting project, scroll down to the bottom of this page for more details — or contact Heather Marsh (our project spokesperson) here. Meanwhile, below you will find links to some of the international media coverage of The Global Square in recent months:


The Global Square in the International Media

Original proposal:

The Global Square: an online platform for our movement
Reflections on a Revolution, November 2, 2011


‘Global Square’ the Wikileaks backed activist platform sends out call for coders
Patricia Lantz, The Examiner, February 16, 2012

‘Global Square’: Wikileaks-Backed Activist Platform Launching in March
Common Dreams, February
(Also published at Infoshop News)

Wikileaks is dabbling in social networking
Thom Hartman, Truthout, February 16, 2012

Wikileaks-backed Global Square P2P activist platform due in March
John Ribeiro, PC World, February 15, 2012
(Also published in Computer World, UK Computer World, TechWorld)

P2P Insurrection: Coders needed to build The Global Square
Adbusters, February 14, 2012

Occupy Geeks Are Building a Facebook for the 99%
Sean Captain, Wired, December 27, 2011

Occupy Facebook: Protesters Planning Their Own Social Network, December 29, 2011

‘Occupy’ Protestors Building Activist-Only Facebook
Devin Chanda, Complex, December 29, 2011

Good Luck Occupiers, But Here’s Why “Facebook For Protesters” Won’t Work
Josh Constine, TechCrunch, December 29, 2011

Would you join a Facebook-style Occupy social network?
CBC News, December 28, 2011

Occupy Facebook: Social Network for Protesters in the Works
Zoe Fox, Mashable, December 28, 2011
(Also published in the Sydney Morning Herald)

Occupy Facebook: A New Social Network
Ashley Baylen, Shalom Life, December 28, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Builds Facebook Alternative
Lorien Crow, Mobiledia, January 2, 2012
(Also published at Forbes, MSN)


Trends 2012: La fusión definitiva de lo virtual y lo real
Bernardo Gutiérrez, TICbeat Trends, February 17, 2012

Occupy Wall Street prepara su propia red social: «Global Square»
Ernesto de Casas, Canal 311, January 1, 2012

Global Square será la red social de los indignados
Nerea Bilbao, The Inquirer, December 30, 2011

Global Square: los indignados de EEUU trabajan en su proprio Facebook
EuropaPress, El Confidencial, December 30, 2011

Global Square, la red social de los indignados
Mónica Tilves, TechWeek Europe, December 30, 2011

Los indignados de Wall Street tendrán su proprio Facebook
ABC, December 29, 2011

La red social de ‘Occupy Wall Street’
El Mundo, December 29, 2011

Global Square, la red social de los indignados de EEUU
Jose Fernández Román, El Referente, December 29, 2011

Occupy Wall Street construye su propia red social
Juan Carlos Garrido Curbeira, dTecn, [date unknown]


The Global Square: o Facebook dos Indignados
Ana Rita Guerra, Dinheiro Vivo, December 30, 2011

The Global Square – a rede social do movimento Occupy Wall Street
Paulo Maurício Machado, Matéria Incógnita, December 29, 2011

Occupy Wall Street cria rede alternativa ao Facebook
TVI 24, December 29, 2011

Global Square, a futura rede social do movimento Occupy Wall Street
Fibra, December 29, 2011


Global Square, la nouvelle plate-forme de Wikileaks
Hélene Guerin, Studio Vitamine, February 17, 2012

La plateforme d’échanges de Wikileaks sortira en mars
Véronique Arène, Le Monde Informatique, February 15, 2012

Occupy Wall Street ne veut plus occuper Facebook et crée son réseau alternatif
Michel Mestrallet, IT Espresso, December 28, 2011


Global Square, gli attivisti di Occupy Wall Street lavorano a un loro Facebook
Federico Guerrini, La Stampa, December 30, 2011

Occupy Wall Street lavora a Global Square, un Facebook al riparo da occhi indiscreti
Fabbio Deotto, Panorama, December 28, 2011


Netzwelt-Ticker: Neue Internet-Plattform: Occupy Facebook
Der Spiegel, December 29, 2011

Global Square: Occupy-Bewegung startet soziales Nerzwerk
Werben & Verkaufen, December 29, 2011


The Global Square, Jejaring Sosial untuk Aktivis dan Demonstran
Aditya Panji, Kompas, December 30, 2011


Сеть оккупантам: Occupy Wall Street захватывает интернет
Citizen K, Komersant, February 6, 2012

Cоциальная сеть «The Global Square» от движения «Occupy Wall Street»
Massimo, December 29, 2011


Facebookowi nie można już ufać – twierdzą aktywiści. Stworzą własny portal
Łukasz Matusik, IT Tech Blog, December 29, 2011

Oburzeni uruchamiają Global Square – własny serwis społecznościowy
Vbeta, December 29, 2011


Nova društvena mreža za prosvjednike koji ne vjeruju Facebooku, December 29, 2011

The Global Square za generaciju prosvjednika
ZaMirZINE , December 29, 2011


How to Help Us Build the Global Square

For such an effort, we must count on the community of coders and developers. We are going to use a Tribler kernel based on Python. We urgently need the help of the community in order to implement all the features planned for The Global Square. If you have expertise in Python and P2P protocols you still have time and opportunity to join our project, a project which will hopefully change the dynamics of interaction among global society.

Various jobs require a combination of the following:

  • Experience with Open Source project basic operation;
  • Python programming;
  • Network protocols, UDP message transfers;
  • Cryptography, pub/priv key management;
  • SQLight, performance, transactions;
  • Epidemic gossip protocols, for global dissemination of crypted info;
  • Self-organising network programming;
  • GUI in WxWindows;
  • Android developer, mixed .py build chain (for later smart phone .apk).

To join:

  • Take a week to read the Global Square wiki and the other documents and understand the existing code;
  • Possibly work for a few weeks on prototyping;
  • Feb – March 2012 availability;
  • Join the mailinglist:;
  • Introduce yourself : )

General Contact:
Pedro Noel (“connecting people”)

Press Contact:
Heather Marsh (spokesperson)

Developers Contact:
Johan Pouwelse and Ed Knutson (development coordinators)

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