Facebook (Meta) is a single company that is responsible for the communications of a huge amount of the human race. Alongside Google and a handful of other players they control the global information economy1. Everything you might want to know about the world comes through them.
Why Finish with Facebook?
From censorship issues to data harvesting; political influence to misinformation; privacy invasion to climate denial and psychological manipulation to tax-avoidance, Facebook (part of Meta) is littered with well-documented criticism providing ample reason not to be part of it. Let’s face it, the reasons we use it are to stay in touch with people and events, and to be more connected with our loved ones, sharing our lives online. All of these things can be achieved on other platforms which don’t have any of the negative side effects listed above.
Some alternatives to Facebook, where your privacy is respected, are listed below. They are fully open source, decentralised, ad-free and privacy-oriented.
How to Switch?
If you’ve got FOMO why not make the switch gradually? i.e. Sign up for a new platform but remain on Facebook until you’ve managed to spread the word among your community. Once enough of your friends have joined you on the new platform you might feel more comfortable about saying goodbye to your Facebook account!
Firefish is a free, open-source and decentralised interconnected network of communities in the Fediverse*, where you are in charge of your feed.
Diaspora is a free and opensource nonprofit, user-owned, distributed social network which consists of a group of independently owned nodes (called pods) which interoperate to form the network. (My profile is here)
Bonfire is a federated social networking space where you can control your experience at the most granular level: customisable, decentralised, self-governed.
MeWe is branded as the “Social Network of the Future – Here Now!” With no ads and no targeting, you are our customer. Your data is not for sale to advertisers/marketers.
Trust Cafe was founded by Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia) with the goal of fighting misinformation in the social media sphere. A community-led and community-moderated platform dedicated to creating a space where discussions can thrive, and misinformation is quickly removed.
*The Fediverse. What is it? Let Per Axbom explain.
Whatsapp Alternatives (Whatsapp is Facebook!)
There are plenty of genuinely alternative platforms to Whatsapp who actually respect your privacy.
Delta Chat is like Whatsapp but without the tracking or central control. It doesn’t even need a phone number and they don’t have their own servers because it uses the most massive and diverse open messaging system ever: your already-existing e-mail server network – You just need an email address to use it.
Session also requires no phone number, is open-source and on decentralised servers. It uses onion routing/IP address masking. If you refuse to compromise when it comes to keeping your identity and your data private and under your control then Session is the best option.
Signal is a cross-platform messaging app. Privacy isn’t an optional mode – it’s just the way that Signal works. Every message, every call, every time. State of the art, end-to-end encryption (powered by the open source Signal Protocol) keeps your conversations secure.
Telegram is a popular cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app with a focus on security and speed. Warning: Telegram is only partly open-source and you must also ensure you choose ‘secret chats’ rather than standard chats for full security. This is not possible with group chats. Therefore neither group chats nor standard one-to-one chats are secure.
Zom was created by a group of developers with an interest in Tibetan culture and Buddhism. It is a private gathering place for family and friends to stay connected, no matter where you live on the planet. Free, open-source and privacy focussed text and voice messages, fun stickers and easy photo-sharing.
1. From iHuman