Wikileaks has launched its own social network for supporters of the whistle-blowing site to connect and get to know each other. Dubbed Friends of Wikileaks, or FoWL, the site automatically connects users with like-minded individuals in an attempt to provide people with the useful connections they need to take action.
"Since its inception, many small groups have sprung up in support of WikiLeaks. They have been forming without much global cohesion, and only a fraction of the people who support WikiLeaks have found a way to come together to engage in the practical defence of the organisation," reads the FoWL manifesto. "FoWL will connect these individuals, groups and organisations so that they may find synergies, and work together in an efficient and productive manner. We want all existing WikiLeaks support organisations to remain fully autonomous and independent and continue the work they are doing, but at the same time interconnect and work together for various common goals."
FoWL isn't like your everyday social network, either. Instead of choosing and adding friends, FoWL will select your contacts for you. When joining, you'll provide your email address, the area you live in, your contact details (can be hidden or visible to your friends), languages you speak, and a little about yourself and why you're joining the site. FoWL will then connect you with 12 people in your chosen languages. Six of these will be from your area and the other six from around the world. If you choose to delete one of them from your contact list (if they're too quiet or "lazy," for example), you'll be connected with another.
On Sunday, Wikileaks was busy using its Twitter page to broadcast the reasons why FoWL is better than social networking giant Facebook. Reason number four stated that FoWL keeps users data "so encrypted, not even the system admins can decrypt it." This was followed by reason five, which stated that FoWL "uses military grade cryptography and the best industry standards" to protect user data.
FoWL is now open to sign ups, but the site warns new users that 'for some time, nothing else will happen. "We need the network to be of a certain size before we can start introducing you to candidate friends," FoWL explains. "Registering now will allow you to be a part of the network before the beta stage network gets full. As soon as we are ready to give you some candidate friends we will let you know."
Check out FoWL for yourself at www.WLFriends.org.