Alternative to Facebook that is Moral and not built on Ad $$?


#23

The problem is using advertisers to finance services. Most people are ok with trading their privacy but are not offered an alternative. FaceBook revenue for 2017 was $40 billion with 2 billion active users so $20.00 a year would provide the same revenue yet they do not offer this option.
We have bootstrapped WebSonar Libraries and provide an optional iPad app to finance. If you have a macOS computer you can download a free version of WebSonar and then move all your content from FaceBook to your own personal library.


#24

Social media like facebook is already a part of people lives worldwide. That is the problem facebook is a monopoly and its business model has created a lot of problem mentally, socially and politically. Personally I’ve seen a lot of depressed users especially young people using facebook hook(addicted) to it. And they cannot easily change their behavior. And more importantly they don’t know how to deal with the problem and some not even know that there is a problem. Awareness is important here. There are a lot of hate speech, disinformation and propaganda in facebook. These created divisiveness,violence,(Sri lanka, Indonesia ) genocide (in the case of myanmar Rohingya muslims). Politically social media helped manipulate election and voters leading to election of dangerous leaders and Brexit which has a global consequences. What is happening in China Surveillance Society right now is a warning to all of us where the use of massive user data, facial technology,AI to control the population via the combines effort of the state and private companies. Do you want that kind of society? It is important that regulatory body and unremitting pressure from the concern public around the world should now act in solving these problems. One important thing also we need real alternative to facebook. Monopoly businesses are rotten to the core, the only thing they care is all about profits.


#25

Yes, there is no such thing as free lunch. Anytime something is free there is a cost. Social media’s cost is hidden deep within us.


#26

There was a discussion on an article in Hacker News about Scuttlebutt, posed as a possible replacement for FB in some respectives (a privacy-preserving friends network with no nefarious 3rd party data collectors and ads), and completely decentralized (and open-source).

I’ll include the non-technical intro video here (11 mn.) and the article + HN discussion in the (more technical) Towards the Vision of The Decentralized Web! topic.


Goals of Social Media & the whys
#27

Interesting @aschrijver Scuttlebutt as possible replacement for FB. Here is an alternative for facebook is of different business model and a sort of anti-facebook and was launched in 2015.

"DURING MARK ZUCKERBERG’S over 10 hours of Congressional testimony last week, lawmakers repeatedly asked how Facebook makes money. The simple answer, which Zuckerberg dodged, is the contributions and online activities of its over two billion users, which allow marketers to target ads with razor precision. In which case, asked representative Paul Tonko (D - New York), “why doesn’t Facebook pay its users for their incredibly valuable data?”


#28

Thank you. I just told my friends on Facebook that I feel obliged to close my account. The person with whom I have the most interaction said that’s where/how he socializes. I therefore hesitated.

Based on your video, though, I have signed up. Will let my friend know that if he opens an account too, he can find me there.


#29

Thanks @anon22019695, I didn’t know about Minds, though I had heard of Steemit which is also mentioned.

The business model is indeed interesting, and these kinds of models could be the way forward for next-gen social media, if implemented well.

What I always find amusing is that alternative social networks are described as tiny - and thereby implying they are somewhat less interesting or viable - if they do not have multi-million active users, or can’t scale up to these amounts. This reflects our current way of thinking where success is measure against your potential future market value and revenue. This while a million user social network with 110,000 active monthly users will be able to sustain a small company, like… forever.

As I glean from the article, the core team is paid from the Patreon-like payment system Wire, while other contributors of both content and open-source code are ‘paid’ in points (and soon in Minds tokens). You currently can’t exchange the points back to money, but you can use it get benefits on the network, like reading quality content that is behind a paywall. Additionally the team earns money from subscriptions by users paying $5 per months to get rid of ads, called Boosts.

This can amount to good incomes for employees of Minds, which only needs a small team, according to the article.

This reputation system is nice. It stimulates valuable contributions, and for people that do not contribute much, to pay donations that sustain the network. For users there are little monetary incentives to ‘game the system’, to abuse it. Contributors with high reputation (points) will become valued/trusted members of the community.

Where I have my reservations as I have explained in the Brave browser discussion is the move to Minds tokens based on the Ethereum blockchain. Now you’ll get a different situation, and it is interesting to see how this turns out in the long run.

With Ethereum, unlike Bitcoin, the transactions that you put on the blockchain are called Smart Contracts. These are small pieces of code (using a simple scripting language) with which you can model all kinds of transaction types, not just payments from A to B. For this you pay a transaction fee, based on the calculation cost of the contract (expressed in gas) and the gas price (which is set by the miners that execute the transaction and is based on demand) which is expressed in Ether (the Ethereum token).

Because Minds tokens initially cannot be exchanged to other cryptocurrencies or dollars the core team can keep using the Wire payment system, do the Ethereum transactions themselves, and deal out appropriate amount of Minds tokens (note: I don’t know their exact mechanism, could be different). So far, so good. The only issue is rising transaction fees (Ether price may fluctuate wildly) which may need to be passed on to the Minds userbase.

A whole can of worms open, however, if the Minds team intends to open their token to the wider cryptocurrency world in the future, allowing 2-way exchange between other currencies. This will open up the ecosystem to all the kinds of speculative trading we see in the crypto market, with greedy traders speculating on fluctuating exchange rates to make their profit. For anyone in the know of this move there is now an incentive to hoard Minds tokens, and benefit from the likely price rise when this occurs.
Also there is the risk of the core team setting aside a large amount of tokens for themselves, as you see in Initial Coin Offerings, or ICO’s, and then become millionaires overnight. Not saying this is the case, just that it could be. If they decide to cash in, exchange for dollars, and there is a large crypto crash, they may lose the incentive to further maintain the social network.

One final thing on Ethereum: The smart contract are interesting in another way, in that ‘code is law’. The code of the contract determines the legality of the transaction, what you can do with it. If there is a bug in this code, then that bug is also law, and may allow hackers to ‘steal’ large amounts of tokens (this has happened before). Even though the scripting language is simple, a bug is easily created. There is much effort to alleviate the risk, but it is a risk nonetheless.

I have written a follow-up on the business model here: Business model innovation


Business model innovation
#30

I recently launched one: Hawser Personal Media. If you’re curious, you can check it out at Hawser.org

Always appreciate feedback & happy to answer any questions.

-Josh


#31

Hawser personal media is free (forever) for early adopters.

Please check out our info page at www.hawser.org


#34

I got two other Facebook friends to sign up, and one of them said, like me, she was quitting FB and joining Heartcup. I also sent a message to a person who heads a charity in case he wants to join too.


#35

Thanks bery much!!! I appreciate your attention to the details;)


#36

We just laumched a small “social” network alternative That doesn’t rely on ad $$& and offers services (like closed accessibility) that make it better than email.

I don’t know about you but I delete more emails in a day then I read because It’s simply no different then the mail I get at my physical address. Too much junk mail. Once someone has my email address…well, they have my email address. And as much as I could spend time blocking and labeling things as spam. It only takes someone a total of 15 seconds to create another email account and spam me from that one.

I would be grateful if you would take a look at And as much as I could spend time blocking and labeling things as spam. It only takes someone a total of 15 seconds to create another email account and spam me from that one.

I would be grateful if you would take a look at Hawser.org and tell me if you think it’s different enough from email for you.


#38

Thank younfor reporting this! When was that?
Which version and from where did you try to download the app? (AppStore, PlayStore???) On what kind of device and operating system?


#40

All of these are not controlled by a centralized authority, so there are many instances to choose from. Choosing the most popular instance might solve your problem of finding a moral alternative to Facebook that is not built on advertising.


#41

“A pro-competitive solution to reducing barriers to entry online will encourage platforms to compete on providing better privacy, control, and rights for consumers”


#42

Hi All
I find this an interesting post and one that raises questions about the normal ways of thinking about society and business and the internet. the problem seems to be this:
How can we leverage the power of connectivity that the facebook has done without the bad stuff, when the business model of facebook is based on selling ads to people who for structural/capitalist reasons want to deceive to make the highest return. The obvious alternative touted is a subscription model which is problematic because then the rich can protect themselves from facebook but the poor not. the other alternative is to pay users for their info, but that doesn’t really solve the problem, it just monetizes it, bringing a little redistribution and legitimising further dodgy practice.

These models may be the automatic thinking of US citizens focused on free enterprise (an oxymoron if ever there was one). One obvious alternative is for there to be a publically-funded space on offer: payed for by general taxation, and separated legally from central government, like universities. It’s of course no surprise that every major innovation on the web was grown in universities, but exploited by private individuals. Why not have a model where the benefits of public investment are shared by public bodies. Publicbook anyone?


#43

Interesting concept.


#44

Hello, my name is Michael and I am new here. I would like to address this topic because I feel the time right now is extremely important to understand the toxic context in which we are living in every day, and that is primarily because of how social media has educated us through the apps we use.
The biggest problems are the dopamine based reward mechanism and loneliness. When you put these two together, the problem is so big that, over time, it has extremely negative effects on society as a whole, because it directly affects how people interact at a foundational level.

In the comments I have seen that fellow forum members believe that there is not other business model except for an ad based business model. Please allow me to disagree.

An ecosystem based on a mixed model of free and paid-for content is the best approach, in my opinion. Just like in real life, you have things which are rather free and things for which you pay. I believe that there is a very healthy model which can exist by directly allowing people who create on the platform to be paid for what they create. When I say create, I mean a whole range of content: from posts to development on apps on the platform which others can use and implement those apps directly within their communities on the platform. This would create an economy based on meritocracy: people building things and being paid money by other users who use those things for themselves or the communities they serve. I can expand on this if you would like.

Finally, the need for ads can exist. Ads, by themselves, are not bad, they are a form of discovery which has served us and always will. The problems appear with the trivialization of ads. When people are getting in this ecosystem just to exploit it financially and not to make it thrive. And especially ads for non-utility products, such as a tabloids or attention seekers who provide no real value to others. Therefore, in my opinion, utility based ads are good, but these ads must be placed in non-invasive places within the app. Directly related to this, the data which must be collected is restricted to the communities, and NOT the users themselves. For example: if you have a group about cars, it’s obvious that the ads served there should be about cars and related industries. And it’s that simple, there is no real need to collect user data, especially sensitive data, to create e healthy and thriving ecosystem where people can actually feel good.

Finally, another big problem we have today is that big apps are not allowing us to actually meet in real life in a casual, non-sexual way. These apps are not bringing the internet closer to us, they are keeping it strategically far away and trying to build ever higher walls around their ecosystems to keep us lonely and scrolling.

My firm belief is that getting people together in real life is critical for any platform which regards itself as social. If that is not critical, that is not a social platform, it is just a media platform. And unfortunately we have been sold this narrative that FB and Twitter and Snapchat are social platforms. They are not. They are media platforms, they are the gossip tabloids of yesterday on a handheld device. Media (especially tabloid type media) is the silver bullet which cancels the native social aspect of any platform because it cancels action between people. It isolates them and makes them content consuming robots.

I firmly believe in people and people’s power to do good. People can do amazingly good things and thrive if the context allows them to. Right now, the social context does not allow people to thrive and rewards a specific, very toxic attention seeking behavior.

I also firmly believe in a Renaissance in human connection. We can only do that by starting a quest to cure loneliness and build tools for togetherness. Tools which allow people to harvest the power of technology to bring them together in person. To use ALL their senses in the interaction with other humans, not just the visual or auditory senses.

The final thing I will say is that, together with my team, I am working on something like this (I don’t want to ruin the spirit of this thread by advertising it). I never had a FB account (nor will I) and I purposefully subjected myself to Twitter to understand the toxicity of our current online relationships and communication. And I believe that together, we can bring forth a Renaissance in human relationships.


#45

It’s a pretty different format, but have considered a Slack team?

You could create different channels for different discussions. Users have control over how notifications are served to them. There’s no advertising and you can pay for an account if you want more message history.

The real-time nature of comms may be a bit overwhelming, but I still prefer it to FB.


#46

As a possible alternative to FB I would like to bring MeWe to your attention:

I know that @patm has recently started using it, so you could as her for her experiences…

About:

MeWe founder, Mark Weinstein, dreamed of the next generation in online communications, envisioning a social and chat app that would give people everywhere the most exciting and helpful sharing technology with privacy built into the design - where members would feel safe and respected.

  • It’s your show. Share your world online your way, by your rules.
  • You own your content. You control your interactions. You design your level of privacy.
  • MeWe challenges the status quo by making privacy the foundation of online social experiences.
  • MeWe keeps your information free from tracking, spying, and scraping.
  • Share content only with those you wish to see it. It’s your online life, with privacy, safety, and simplicity.

Examplar of Humane Tech Social Network: MeWe