People are starting to wise up to what Facebook is doing with your data.
In fact according to the Ponemon Institute, trust in Facebook took a 66% Plunge in 2018.
By 2021 after a series of internal document leaks their reputation continued to slide. Something they have done little to recover from to this day. In one attempt to overcome this, the company changed its parent brand name to ‘Meta’ but this only added fuel to the already furious fire.
Over the past few years Facebook has been collecting vast amounts of data of all its users, which quite frankly is scary. You can see exactly what Facebook has on you by downloading your data zip file here.
Everything from photos and messages to mobile phone numbers of everyone in your phone. They also have all your text messages you’ve made on your cell phone! It’s crazy how much they have. And with the recent Facebookl CA scandal, people are now looking for alternatives to Facebook where privacy is respected and private information is never shared or sold to other companies or organisations.
Believe it or not, there are plenty of social networks and messaging apps that you can use instead of Facebook. For years these networks and apps have been living in the shadows of the mighty beast that is Facebook. But now is the time to explore a better way of interacting with friends and family without the fear of your data being stolen and stored on huge servers in far flung places.
Best Social Network Alternatives To Facebook
|Jimmy Wales (co-founded Wikipedia)
|Ned Scott and Daniel Larimer
|Paul Davison and Rohan Seth
WT Social is a social network that aims to be the complete antithesis of Facebook. The tagline says it all: WT Social is the non-toxic social network.
The network was launched by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales. Wikipedia’s microblogging and contribution features are prevalent on WT Social. But more importantly, it lacks all of the data collection that comes with Facebook.
At WT Social, your data is not collected and sold. Not only that, but advertisers don’t dictate what’s on the site or what you see. There aren’t even algorithms to curate your feed for you. Members have full control over the user experience.
The network also takes a hard stance against misleading content. Contributors can easily edit the content that’s filled with misinformation. Furthermore, WT Social removes members who violate the terms and conditions of the site. It’s a fair and honest platform that focuses on connecting people; plain and simple.
If you like the photo-sharing aspects of Facebook, EyeEm may be right up your alley. Founded in 2011, this platform has evolved quite a bit since its infancy. It started out as a mobile-only app where users could upload and share iPhone photos. Today, it’s a digital space that caters to both photographers and businesses.
On EyeEm, photographers can upload their best images. Other users can then interact with photos, share them, and learn more about the art of photography.
The business side of EyeEm has taken the stock photography world by storm. EyeEm acts as a database of more than 100 million high-quality images. Anyone can license photos from the platform. However, EyeEm is particularly popular with brands and marketing agencies.
The cool thing about EyeEm is that it uses artificial intelligence to find the best images for searchers, not advertising.
Yubo presents itself as the social network about socializing. Take one look through the app and you’ll see that Yubo isn’t about tracking users or slapping you in the face with ads every five seconds.
Yubo is a simple network that focuses on live streaming. Members can create live sessions with up to 10 different streamers and an unlimited number of viewers. On the main page of the app, you can search for live streams based on topics. There’s also the option to follow your favorite streamers so that you always know when they go live.
The platform is aimed at users between the ages of 13 to 25. To protect younger users, Yubo separates members into two communities. Those over the age of 18 cannot interact with younger users and vice versa.
Ever since its launch in 2014, MeWe has put privacy at the forefront. The platform touts that it’s “The Next-Gen Social Network.” How is different from Facebook? Well, MeWe doesn’t have any ads whatsoever. Your feed has nothing but content from those you follow.
MeWe doesn’t data mine or sell your private data either. The platform relies on optional paid services to generate revenue. You can buy extra storage for your Secret Chat account or pay a few bucks for custom emojis. Recently, MeWe launched a premium-tier plan with a monthly few. It also started offering enterprise-level services with a slew of paid features catered to business and collaboration.
Even with all those optional purchases, the core MeWe service is completely free for anyone to use. With an account, you can create posts, share content, and more. There’s also a secure chat system. MeWe doesn’t manipulate your feed in any way. So, you’re always in control over what you see.
PixelFed is a decentralized social media platform that was launched in 2018. Unlike many centralized social media platforms, PixelFed is community-owned and operated, meaning that users have more control over their data and how it is used.
The platform uses a distributed network of servers to host content. This means that there is no single point of failure or control, and users can connect with others without the need for a central authority.
PixelFed is similar in many ways to Instagram, allowing users to share photos and videos, follow other users, and engage with content through likes and comments. Users also have the ability to control who sees their content and who they follow.
One of the key features of PixelFed is its emphasis on privacy and user control. The platform doesn’t track user data or serve targeted ads. It is also built on open-source technology.
Friendica is another decentralized platform that wants to provide users with more freedom. This network is a lot more complex than Facebook. But, developers aim to make it as easy for non-technical users to access as possible in the future. The hopes are to create an installation process that’s similar to WordPress on websites.
Friendica is not owned by a single person. In fact, the software is open-source and available on GitHub. The ongoing development is done by volunteers. But, that hasn’t stopped Friendica from gaining traction in the social media sphere.
When you create an account with Friendica, you must install the software on a compatible system. Essentially, you’re making your own Friendica server that you can then connect with others. It’s a great way to connect and view posts from the people you want while avoiding the rest of the noise.
Users can integrate contacts from other platforms. It’s also possible to use the platform to post on other networks. Thanks to its open-source nature, Friendica is only going to get more flexible as it continues to evolve.
Ello launched back in 2014 with quite a stir in the US as it was about the time when Facebook changed its policy on names of its members, where they had to use their proper legal name. Its popularity grew as Ello presented itself to the world as a “Facebook killer social network” which doesn’t push ads down its users’ throats and doesn’t sell peoples’ information and data to 3rd parties.
Ello is growing fast again, especially as the #deletefacebook movement is gathering pace. People want to feel safe and secure on a social network and it doesn’t seem to be that way on Facebook at the moment. Hence why platforms like Ello are gobbling up these Facebook migrants.
Ello currently is a home to artists and creative people, but has the platform to embrace all types of users.
Vero presents itself as “a social network for anyone who loves anything enough to share it – and wants control over who they share it with. Just like we do in real life.”
Vero is a subscription based social network. It shows no ads and doesn’t collect data. It’s a totally different model to Facebook in the sense that Facebook needs user data in order to make money from them. Vero does collect some usage data which is used to see how often the app is used, but note that this option by default is off. Unlike Facebook where they have everything turned on and you have to go into your settings and turn them off.
Another great thing about the usage data they collect is how its displayed to you. Vero want to address the issue of social media addiction.
Vero says that they want the platform to enhance your life and not detract from it. So they use the usage data that they collect from you to show you how much time you’re spending in the app so you can manage your screen time.
Mastodon launched in 2017 and made quite an impact on the social network scene. Mastodon is a free, open-source social network. When it launched it was presented as an open source Twitter competitor, but as people are leaving Facebook its being used the same way you would Facebook, which makes it a really good alternative to Facebook.
Ultimately Mastodon is a decentralized alternative to all the commercial social network platforms, which means that no single company owns it or can monopolize your communication.
Steemit is like a cross between Reddit and Quora where you can publish your posts which can be voted up or down depending if people like them or not ( similar to both reddit and quora ).
When you get upvotes you receive Steem crypto tokens which lends itself well to those cryptocurrency and open source enthusiasts. Also people are using the platform due to its compensation to the users for spending time using the platform.
Users don’t have to post anything if they don’t want to and it can simply be used as a news aggregator or just a platform to get involved in conversations related to specific interests.
Steemit has about 10 million visits per month which in comparison to Facebook is tiny! But its growing and it doesn’t gobble up your personal data and sell it to 3rd parties.
Raftr calls itself a “civilized social network.” It launched in 2017 by Sue Decker, a former Yahoo executive. Here vision for the platform is to create a place where conversations and unfolding stories are the pure focus. Its a place where you can connect to the communities who share the same or similar interests that you have.
I love the initial sign up page as it gives you two options.
1: Find out what’s going on in the real world
2: Connect with people at your college / work / family etc.
To create an account, you have to join a pre-existing community, for example your college or union community. You can create your own community, but to do so you must be representing an organization, and carry out a phone call to request a demo of the product.
What data do they collect?
Raft collects some data, but that’s only to build your profile. They do not share any of your personal data with 3rd parties.
Raft is a great alternative to Facebook and a platform where you can follow news, events and interests relevant to you. It is however, not open to everyone.
This solution is tailored toward educational, workplace or non-profit organization environments. It provides a secure platform to engage across teams, share content and bring awareness to events and information.
Diaspora is also in the mix when it comes to Facebook alternatives. Diaspora is a decentralized social network that is nonprofit and runs on free Diaspora software. The software is in the form of a free personal web server.
Diaspora is decentralized which means no one person owns it. This means that it doesn’t have any form of advertisement and corporate interference. It also does not collect any of your data. When you create your account, you are responsible for your own data and retain the ownership of your personal data.
Unlike Facebook, Diaspora allows you to use whatever identity you want, so pseudonyms and nicknames are fine to display as your profile. You can use hashtags, mentions, text formatting, etc.
Diasporia’s tag line is “the online social world where you are in control.”
Users can join “pods” — independently run servers located all over the world. You can only interact with other pods that you deem trustworthy.
Minds is an open source social network that was created by Bill Ottman, John Ottman and Mark Harding in 2012, but launched to the public in 2015.
The platform is a community-owned social networking platform that rewards its users for their activity online, similar to the Steemit platform. They do this with paying users in crypto and providing users with more views on their posted content. Minds will monitor each users daily contribution and relative to the community. The amount a user gets will be determined by their percentage across the network which then determines their share of the Daily Reward Pool of tokens.
Minds social network is built on a foundation of freedom, transparency, privacy and democratization.
Clubhouse is a social networking app that allows users to participate in live audio discussions and conversations with other users on a variety of topics.
Clubhouse was initially open to a small number of people. It gained huge popularity due to its exclusive invitation-only policy, which created a sense of exclusivity and allure among users.
Clubhouse resembles a hybrid of a contemporary podcast and an old-fashioned chat room.
Users of what is known as “the social audio app” can enter chat rooms to listen to and discuss subjects that interest them or they can host their own rooms. The app offers a variety of chat rooms, where users can join discussions on topics such as technology, business, entertainment, and social issues.
The app has attracted a diverse range of users, including celebrities, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders, making it a unique platform for networking and knowledge-sharing.
Overall, Clubhouse is a new and innovative way to connect with others and explore a wide range of topics through engaging audio conversations. It’s not like Facebook at all, as its all about audio, but there is a similar vibe to the platform that has made it so popular in such a short space of time.
Alternatives to Facebook Messenger / Whatsapp
Signal is a feature-rich messaging app that’s open-source and free to use. Unlike Facebook Messenger and Whatapp, Signal is built with security and privacy in mind. Every conversation you have, whether it’s with a single person or a group, uses end-to-end encryption. This ensures that your data is safe from prying eyes.
Security features aren’t some optional toggle you enable in the settings menu. It’s what Signal is built around. Not even the developers have access to your conversations.
The app is very intuitive and comes with all the features you would expect from a modern messaging platform. You can send text-based messages, voice memos, photos, videos, and more. There are even voice and video chat. Signal uses standard cell numbers to keep your name private. Plus, there are several ways to verify the identity of someone trying to communicate with you through the app.
Threema is a secure messaging app that was launched in 2012. The app is designed to be highly secure, with end-to-end encryption for all messages and calls. Users don’t even have to provide any personal information, such as phone numbers or email addresses, to create an account. This means that you can communicate with others while preserving your privacy and anonymity.
Privacy is at the core of Threema, so much so that they themselves as the service provider don’t have any way to read your communications. The end to end encryption means that only you and the recipient are able to read your conversation.
It is available on all major operating systems, and it is fully GDPR compliant too, which is reassuring for businesses that want a secure messaging alternative.
The story of Tox is one that’s all too familiar in today’s digital landscape. The instant-messaging platform in the brainchild of aa team that was fed up with apps that spied, tracked, and censored users. Instead of continuing to use those platforms, the team created its own. The end product is Tox!
Tox uses open-source software. It relies on peer-to-peer technology to safely connect you with trusted friends and family. Every connection is encrypted using open-source libraries. So, the only people who can view your conversation are those who are a part of it.
To make things even better, Tox doesn’t have a centralized server or database. It’s all powered by the DigitalOcean cloud infrastructure. So, hackers can break in and steal data.
Tox focuses on providing users with a safe and advertiser-free platform. You don’t have to be worried about being bombarded with ads or having your data collected and sold. It’s a free platform that has all the features you would ever need to stay connected.
Matrix is an interesting network that utilizes some advanced technology to improve your privacy. It’s an open-source network that’s completely decentralized. The messaging platform is maintained by a non-profit organization that’s independent of big corporations. As result, your information stays safe from data miners, advertisers, and hackers.
Technically speaking, Matrix is a conversation store rather than a traditional messaging system. When you send messages to friends, data is replicated through all the servers of those participating in the chat. There’s no one data storage center. That means that there’s no single control point or vulnerable point, either.
All of your conversations are secured with end-to-end encryption as well. Whether you’re sending files or making voice calls through VoIP, everything is safe.
One cool thing about Matrix is that you can connect across platforms. Matrix acts as a secure bridge to other networks, allowing them to link together. It truly creates a larger matrix of safe communication.
Element is a secure, open-source messaging and collaboration app that provides end-to-end encryption for messaging, voice, and video calls. It was previously known as Riot and was rebranded as Element in 2020. Element is based on the open-source Matrix protocol, which enables secure communication across different devices, platforms, and services.
As with many of the solutions here, decentralisation is at the core of this product. Element uses a distributed network of servers and users can choose to where to host their data, either themselves or through use of a third-party server. This architecture allows for greater data privacy and security as users have full control over their data.
One nice features is that Element supports cross-signed device verification, which allows users to verify the identity of their contacts and ensure that their communications are secure.
Element is highly customizable and supports a wide range of features, including group chat, file sharing, and integration with other services like Jira and Trello. It’s available on all major desktop and mobile platforms.
There are no adverts or tracking and you don’t need to provide your phone number either.
Telegram is a cute little messenger filled with fun artwork and animated mascots. But don’t let the colorful nature fool you. Telegram uses some strong encryption techniques to keep your conversations safe.
The messaging client is free and open-source. So, it’s available to anyone. However, the server-side of the communication system is closed and proprietary.
Telegram utilizes a couple of different forms of encryption. For standard cloud-based communication, client-server/server-client encryption is used. Your data is also encrypted at rest when it reaches the server for another layer of security. Secret chats between users use full end-to-end encryption.
In addition to being safe from hackers, your Telegram data can self-destruct. There are several optional settings that you can use to ensure that Telegram destroys your data after a specified period.
The Telegram client app has a ton of unique features. You can send simple messages, chat with groups of up to 200,000, share files, and more. Messages can sync across multiple devices, too.
Jami Messenger is a free and open-source SIP-based peer-to-peer instant messenger that allows users to communicate via text, voice, and video calls, as well as share files and create groups. It was developed by the non-profit organization Savoir-faire Linux and is available on various platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
The origins of Jami are rooted in an older solution ‘SFLphone’, and stable releases of the current product have been available across platforms since 2021. The parent company based in Canada, propose the product as being a free, open source alternative to Skype.
Jami is available for individual users and as a business solution too. It’s a great solution for messaging, but also for sharing media and conducting conference calls securely. Similarly to Skype, you can also screen share which is a bonus.
Other guides you might find useful…
Best Domain Registrars – helping you find the best domain registrar for your new site.
How To Start A Blog – An easy to follow guide showing you how to create your very own blog in just minutes.
How To Make Money As A Kid – Cool mini business ideas and side hustles for kids to make some cash.
How To Make A Website – Step by step guide showing you how you can have a fully functioning website in just 30 mins.
Choosing The Best Blogging Platform – Comparison guide to the best blogging sites available to you.
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