Lately, I’ve written a lot about the alternative media purge and how Big Tech social media platforms are attempting to control the narrative, the elections, and public perception through censorship and financial blacklisting. Lots of people are ready to leave websites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for less-censored pastures. But what are the social media alternatives that are currently available?
If all that has you thinking about deleting Facebook entirely, you're far from alone. (Quitting the social network is also somewhat of a first-world privilege, since for many people Facebook functions as the entire internet itself.) But going cold turkey can be hard; Facebook actually provides useful services sometimes, and there's no one-for-one replacement.
External companies are also looking at reining in the data that Facebook has access to. Mozilla, which makes the Firefox web browser, has just launched a Facebook Container Extension (a downloadable plug-in) that prevents Facebook from tracking you across other websites. Other plug-ins, such as Ghostery for Google’s Chrome browser (also available for other browsers) and Facebook Disconnect 2016, offer their own tracker-blocking features.
Facebook has been under relentless attack since the Cambridge Analytica scandal in early 2018. Broadcasters and news publishers have declared open season on Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and other senior executives at the company. And while not quite ubiquitous, #deletefacebook pops up every time there’s a story about data privacy. The EU has fined them, the US is trying to figure out how to regulate them, and the notion that free services should be absolutely free (as opposed to checking a box on a terms and conditions page that allows the free service to use your data as payment) is gaining traction.
I found it confusing to use (maybe you need to be more techy?) and was put off by the fact that I needed to log in via Twitter. Perhaps this is just so you can connect with the same people. It’s always worthwhile to look at your options. Mastodon was started by Eugen Rochko, who was fed up with the changes that Twitter was making that closely resembled the Facebook algorithms.
The aptly named Hipster borrows a lot from Instagram, including the snappy photo shooting and all of the great filters you can apply to your photos. Hipster also allows you to add text captions to your photo "postcards" before sharing them, and then post your photos to Twiter, Facebook, Flickr, or Tumblr for others to see. It's fast, easy to use, and probably the simplest to get started with in the roundup.
Ning lets you create your own social network (or blog, or website) around the topic you care about. Share your ideas, raise awareness, and find people who care about what you care about. Customize the look and feel of your network – with coding knowledge needed – then use it as a hub for fundraisers, events, and more. Ning lets you use an existing social profile (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) to sign up and join networks. While Ning is far more customizable than many other private social networks, the idea of building a network from scratch can be daunting. While Ning heavily promotes monetization of your blog, website, or social network, you’ve got to spend money to make money; bigger projects can cost $49 or $99 per month.
Steemit is still a work in progress, and new features are being added constantly. For example, Steemit recently changed many underpinnings of how the network operates in order to help onboard new users faster. (Sometimes there is a waiting period before a new account is approved.) Stone told Heavy: “Hardfork 20 is going to improve the account creation process and user experience (post editing and voting, specifically) on Steemit and other decentralized apps on the Steem blockchain.”
But regardless of whether you’re using Twitter, Instagram, or Google+: Awareness and consideration about privacy and data protection are also important factors in choosing to use any of the other social media giants. One common complaint targeted specifically at Facebook is that that Facebook Newsfeed algorithms decide exactly what you do and don’t see. Another problem is personalized advertising, which is of course only possible through accessing and interpreting personal user data. As you can see: the list of criticisms for the social network market leader is long. So it’s good news that there are a few other alternatives to Facebook on the market. Some of these Facebook alternatives are more conservative, offer less advertising, others offer improved data protection, and some even offer extended functions and features that aren’t currently available for Facebook customers.
Swipe for Facebook is one of the more powerful Facebook apps. It has a laundry list of features, including an ad blocker, Facebook Messenger support, themes, chat heads, Material Design, and support for over 30 languages. It's less resource intensive than the stock Facebook app. However, it is a little larger than something like SlimSocial. The app even includes multiple layouts that mock the stock Facebook app, Google+, and other setups. The free version has most of the basic features. A single $2.99 in-app purchase gets you the complete experience.
Add Friends – Players can request friends by targeting them in game and confirming the request. The friend display name will always be the name of the character that created the friendship. Characters have a context menu option to refuse friend requests. Players can have up to 50 friends at a time. There is a 30 second delay between sending friend requests.