Current State of Alternatives to Facebook - Okuna/Openbook vs. MeWe

Hello community!

I hope I’m not being redundant by creating this thread, if so, I kindly ask the moderators to archive the thread right away.

I’ve been reading about alternatives to Facebook (again) lately, and have naturally been scouring the Humane Tech Community forums for thoughts and inspiration. My impression has been that there are currently two main humane alternatives to Facebook: Okuna (previously known as Openbook) and MeWe.
From what I’ve understood both have their respective merits, but as I’m finally thinking of making the switch away from Facebook, I was hoping somebody with experience on either or both of the social networks could offer a comparison of the two. When I do switch, I would like to get my friends and colleagues on board, of course. For that case, its best if I can simply offer them one solution that we can stick with, to avoid the chaos of everyone having four messaging apps that happened after the WhatsApp sale to Facebook several years ago.
Specifically, I’m wondering which of the two networks has the more humane design and privacy options, which one has the better ‘outlook’ for the future, so to speak, and what the user base of each mostly consists of. I know I must be forgetting many relevant points, but these came to my mind while searching.

Thank you for your time in advance.




Hi @RollingCompass, if you didn’t find it already you may find interesting information in this topic: Exemplar of Humane Tech Social Network: MeWe

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I only passively use FB now and joined MeWe but didn’t invite friends yet hoping the field would offer some some clear alternatives which does not seem to be happening.

without friends, mewe seems like a lot of empty hallways and i have only found a couple topic groups of interest but the traffic is still too low to make it worth it.

i just joined mastodon but don’t have anything to say yet other than it seems the most promising of what i’ve tried so far.

here’s a list of open source alternatives

it’s a little confusing to find apples to apples comparisons since there are many different types of networks

i tried Vero but found the interface a nonstarter

i also tried two interfaces for one of the decentralized social network not realizing they were based on the same platform. there were some very interesting posts but it was a steep learning curve and the traffic was very slow so i lost patience with both.


@neoluddIT’s observations about MeWe are similar to mine. Having been on Facebook more these last few months, I am wondering why FB has more pull on my time. One obvious reason is that I belong to a group on FB that doesn’t exist on MeWe, and it’s the group’s membership and interests that fulfill an important emotional need.

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Good day! I have used MeWe and Okuna.

MeWe is humane in that it doesn’t mess with your feed to drive your addiction, and it doesn’t track you violating your privacy. It’s also explicitly against deleting or moderating content unless it crosses a very high standard or legal definition.

The problem with MeWe is too many people annoyed about censorship have flocked there nearly over taking most of the communities I’m interested in. Thus, science, news and political groups are overrun by conspiracy theorists, alt-right/far-right and neo-nazis. In other communities this might not be as obvious, especially if you never talk about politics. But even entertainment communities will have a lot of people with a far-right leaning.

The founding members are those members, making it hard to use if you are centre-right, centre-left or left on the political or not in to intense conspiracy theories. There is no indication they will move toward other more humane policies.

On the other hand, Okuna’s founding members tend to be less supportive of the far-right, making it a more welcoming home across the political spectrum. But there is still a waiting list to get in it. (I suggest signing up now!) But new invites go out all the time.

They have indicated several things that may help make it more humane than other products, including MeWe. For example, people will have the option of setting their posts in to a certain category, and you can follow that person’s category and not their other posts. This could help you take a mental break by filtering our things that start arguments and be more efficient with your time.

They have also indicated social features that will tilt it away from click bait and sharing rage inducing links to generating social content on the platform. But such features are a way off.

Sadly, it’s still very early for Okuna. Links don’t have link previews yet. Videos don’t embed in the app. No website yet. Catagories and other pro-social features are probably a long way off.

I’m not a fan of Mastodon because it doesn’t let me be careful with my time like the post categories of Okuna or find good content like the groups features of MeWe, Okuna and Facebook. It’s not privacy focused because it’s designed to have everything be public. For me it’s not the type of social network I want. But many others love that style.


I have tried lots of alternatives, including MeWe, Diaspora, GNUsocial, Friendica, Mastodon. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, but as long as there is simply no one there of your peers, they aren’t of any real use.

The only reason why I started using Facebook in the first place is that it is where most of my peers are. I am working in the area of indigenous peoples and human rights, and naturally, our community is distributed throughoiut the world, so there is a real need for such a platform. The problem is, that hardly anyone of my peers bothers to move to any of the alternatives, and they don’t precesely because their peers in turn don’t. So this is a vicious circle, and the prospect of getting everyone at once or at least many of them to move at once are very small indeed.

Therefore I would suggest another approach of which I am not sure whether it is more realistic, but I’ll say it anyway: Just as email is stardardized, social networks should be. I don’t need a GMail account myself to send mail to a GMail user. And for those of you who are still familiar with the Usenet, I don’t need to be on the same NNTP server to join the discussion on any particular newsgroup. And of course, there is the Fediverse, of mostly Mastodon servers who are all interconnected. I don’t need to have an account on the same mastodon server to communicate with you or to see your posts.

So technically it should be possible to open social network platforms so that I am not force to join Facebook or Twitter in order to join discussions with their users. Actually until some years ago, Facebook used XMPP for messaging and allowed for connectivity with other XMPP servers. Now they switched it off. They should be forced by regulations not only to switch it on again but also to have an open API that allows for connectivity with Mastodon and other platforms. Only then would Mastodon become of any real utility.

The strategy I am trying is to have accounts on many of them if they are the good sort, even if dormant. This way people can find me and connect, which the rarely do. My thinking is that if one of the better ones starts to take off I will have done my part by already being on there, and people will find me when they connect. Though, I suspect any future products that do take off will happen on one I didn’t sign up for and don’t like. But it’s the only way I can think of to encourage such products.

I used to agree, but actually the founder of Okuna has changed my mind about this. In a world where we need privacy and security I think that is actually more important. Okuna will look in to a decentralized or federated model in the future. But his concern is data privacy: When you delete a post or picture on Okuna he can make sure it’s deleted. If you share something privately among a circle of friends has designs it so only they see it. If it goes to another server he cannot give that guarantee. While you cannot change if the end user keeps something private, you can confirm that the servers and the apps do.

(In theory I guess a hybrid approach is possible. Public posts are federated but private posts have restrictions on leaving the server.)

Since I have started creating accounts for myself at Diaspora,, a local friendica server and a local mastodon server (and I guess the latest addition was MeWe), I don’t know how many years ago, I haven’t seen even a single one of my contacts move over. So I have lost the expectation that they eventually will. Is your experience different? Maybe if you are dealing more with tech-minded folks, while many of my peers are not, but even of those who are, I only a single one has an account in the fediverse.

Again, my primary concern is, how to break up private monopolies and prevent them from re-emerging in the future. Even in a functioning democracy, we definitely don’t want a state run social network, but we also don’t want one of the now “good guys” like Okuna to later become a private monopoly unaccountable to voters. Google’s motto once was “Don’t be evil”, and they have abandoned it years ago now. Thus there is no guarantee that any one private company will remain committed to its values years down the road. Thus the only solution in my view is decentralisation, giving the consumer a real choice.

(Just to fully understand you: Is the possibility to delete public postings the only reason why you prefer a centralized over a federated approach or are there other reasons?)

What you say about Okuna is not exactly the “security by obscurity” approach, but it seems to be going in that direction: One institution/person/company is in charge of ensuring privacy and we essentially have to trust them. And since we don’t pay them (do we?) he/she/it, we have very little leverage. I think, we can have leverage either by becoming paying customers or by gaining the freedom to leave (to another server)

Of course, there tends to be a conflict between the equally important demands for privacy and for openness, but wouldn’t there also be other solutions? First, private messaging should be peer-to-peer anyway, the servers shouldn’t be involved in the actual message exchange, there should be end-to-end encryption. For public posts I don’t know what the best way would be. In either case, when you delete a public posting, the damage has already occurred. All those screenshots of embarrassing Trump tweets should be instructive…


I signed up for Okuna two weeks ago (around the time I made this post!) but haven’t gotten an invite yet, so I’ll have to wait to see for myself. Thanks for the preliminary impressions though!

Would you like an invite? Send me your email address and I can send you one soon.

Yes, it’s the same way for me. Very few friends ever pop up. But I continue to ‘support’ these products when they are better than the status quo in hopes that it might add just that little bit of push that may help it gain traction. It’s gaming the network effect. It’s not enough itself. It’s more the minimal requirement. Without buy in they won’t take off.

Almost. Both security and privacy on decentralized networks are pretty poor. Though, I forget how sharing works on Diaspora. On Okuna security is baked in as far as I know. And privacy is front and centre. Mastodon is a public network with, I think, all or nothing privacy. Not good enough. And what is more, Mastodon is hard to use.

Matrix/Riot is doing some great things. If you don’t know what you are doing you make a Riot accounts that works and add people and that works and they are making a federated searchable index. It’s actually very easy to use. If you know are what you are doing you can have a non-Riot account. But most won’t see that option and that makes it easy to use. I don’t even know how to tell people to get started with Mastondon. What servers are accepting clients vs. not?

I’m not going to push a service to my friends that will annoy and frustrate them before they even start.

I’m sympathetic to that view. It’s a long term goal of mine. But the way apps manipulate us and the loss of privacy and security are bigger concerns to me. But as I said, I think you main goal is very important.

Security by obscurity defined strictly means that something isn’t worth the time because the user base is too small and it does things in a way that’s weird enough that no one was bothered to figure it out. But that’s not the Okuna model. The guy who made PGP is a founder and advisor. The code is open source. So that’s not the same thing.

But yes, it’s a trust issue. Joel, the creator of Okuna, doesn’t want to trust other services yet because he cannot add such features as retracting data. Joel/Okuna’s income is very important, as you point out. Okuna will be a no-ad service. Their modification will be based on extras (like stickers) and services (like Patreon and tipping).

Then it’s trivially easy for hackers, corporations and governments to track who you are communicating with. Weren’t there some servers that would send out messages in batches to make it so anyone watching wouldn’t be able to tell who sent which one where? I forget. But there are security and privacy benefits to non-peer communication as well as drawbacks. I don’t know what would be better.

And a key part your posts ignores is private posts to small groups of people. Or people who don’t have consistent connections. It’s a complex subject.