Damus: Decentralized Twitter Rival Banned in China

• Damus, a decentralized Twitter rival was launched and got taken down in China by the CAC because it violated the nation’s speech rules.
• Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder had funded the development of Nostr protocol which is used to create applications like Damus, Anigma and Jester.
• Dorsey has been advocating for more censorship-proof social media channels since 2019.

Damus – A Decentralized Twitter Rival

Damus is a Jack Dorsey-backed decentralized, Twitter rival that was available in China’s Apple App Store for 2 days before being taken down by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) for violating national speech rules. Apple cooperated promptly after being asked to by the authorities.

Nostr – A Decentralized Social Network Protocol

The open-source Nostr protocol provides the groundwork for a decentralized, censorship-resistant social network that can be accessed anywhere in the world thanks to its cryptographic key pairs. It is impossible to prohibit users or censor content on applications built on top of Nostr due to all clients being operated by users. Some examples of projects developed on top of Nostr are Damus as an alternative to Twitter, Anigma as an alternative Telegram and Jester as a chess software.

Dorsey’s Support For Censorship Resistant Platforms

Dorsey has been an outspoken supporter of the need for more censorship-proof social media channels and donated 14 BTC (about $327,000 at the time of writing) from his own funds towards developing Nostr a year ago. Back in 2019 when he was still CEO of Twitter he had allocated funds to develop a decentralized social media system too and pleaded with Elon Musk after his takeover of Twitter for it to be moved to an „open source protocol funded by a foundation.“

Chinese Government Censorship

The Chinese government enforces strict censorships laws on its citizens which is why they were quick to take down Damus when they felt it violated their speech rules even though it was only available in their app store for two days. Furthermore, Apple cooperated promptly after being asked by authorities without any hesitation or protest from them either.


To conclude, we can see that although there have been efforts made towards creating more censorship resistant platforms like Damus, these initiatives have not been completely successful yet due to governments enforcing strict censorships laws upon their citizens online activities which prohibits any sort of freedom of expression online.