Thursday, November 19, 2020

Alternate Social Media

 As most of our regular readers know, Facebook deleted all links to our little blog a short while ago with no warning or explanation. We're not alone in that regard; there seems to be an ongoing purge of "wrongthink" on many of the major social media right now. Twitter, Facebook, and Google's YouTube are either flagging, editing, hiding, deleting, or banning any content that they deem "wrong". This is one of the pitfalls of "free" social media: you're using their services, and they get to decide how you can use them. "Free" social media make their money (a lot of money) by selling ads and several of them have been selling users' personal data to ad agencies for a long time. Again, it's "free" to use and that EULA (End-User Licensing Agreement) that nobody reads before clicking "OK" gives them the legal power to do this to a certain degree. Lawsuits and investigations are attempting to define how and what the limits are, but for those of us who prefer to live a more private life there is an easy way to avoid being treated as the product instead of the customer.

Don't give them the information in the first place.

There are alternatives on the market for the "big 3" social media. After Facebook (FB) declared us heretics, we moved our little group (200 members and growing) over to MeWe. It's not as busy as FB and we can still keep in touch by sharing information and articles. Functionally, it has the same offerings as FB without the "fact checkers" deciding who gets to speak and who gets blocked. MeWe is growing, so I expect it will soon be easier to find friends and family there. 

Let's look at some of the other options out there.

Google Search

The largest search engine on the web, Google started out as a neutral entity with the famous motto of "Don't be evil". They have morphed into a gatekeeper of information that decides who and what gets to be found when people are looking for information, and they have a very strong political ideology. Here are some alternatives:

  • Startpage. No tracking cookies and the option for private browsing. 
  • Duck duck go. No tracking of your history or location, one of the best for privacy while searching. 
  • Bing. Owned and run by Microsoft, so it has some corporate strings attached, but MS has had its hand slapped in court a few times and they're learning to play nice. 


Prior to FB we had MySpace and LiveJournal to connect with friends and share our thoughts and creative productions. They're both still active, but don't have the following that they used to. There have been many "FB killers" launched in the last few years, but none have gotten even a small fraction of the users FB has until recently. Here are a few options, with many more out there or in the works.

  • MeWe. As I've stated, MeWe isn't as active as FB, but it's growing. They don't sell your data or track you across the internet like FB and their commitment to freedom of speech is very strong. Free speech means that you may run across opinions or pictures that you don't like, but that is a small price to pay for your own freedom to speak out. Rather than getting offended, ignore and block the fools and go on with your life. Joining requires an invitation, click on the Fallout Shelter sign to the right for a link.
  • Gab. Laid out in a simpler version of FB, Gab offers most of the same features without the nannies keeping track of what you post. 
  • Diaspora. A decentralized form of social media, Diaspora uses "pods" instead of large servers to host its users. You choose which "pods" or communities you want to participate in. 
  • Discord. Another that requires an invitation to join, Discord was set up for gamers as a way to chat in test or voice while playing various games. Very light moderation of "boards", they allow a lot that would get you booted from FB. There is limited ability to share pictures and videos, mostly text chat and audio channels. There is a BCP Discord, you can find it by using the search box in the upper left corner.


I've never been a huge fan of 140 character messages, but I know some of you are. Twitter has gone off the deep end in the last year or two, banning anyone with views contrary to theirs. Many of the folks who have been kicked off Twitter or effectively silenced by being excluded from search results have found other outlets for their pithy pronouncements.

  • Parler. Quickly becoming the new place for people who are tired of Twitter, Parler is a viable alternative.
  • Mastodon.  Decentralized and ad-free, Mastodon is laid out like Diaspora in a "pod" or community format. User-owned, so there is no corporate desire to farm your information for more revenue.

YouTube (owned by Google), Reddit, and several other social platforms are all in the same boat as FB and Twitter. The encroaching censorship and banning of any "wrong" expression of users is forcing people to find other ways to communicate. 

Use common sense when you use any online method of communication. Unless you have some serious encryption, everything you say can be intercepted and recorded. Corporations use this information to target advertising and build a profile of you and your activities, governments use it to track and monitor your activities with law enforcement being their main goal.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, add yourself to BCP on MeWe, there's no telling when Facebook will permanently kick us!


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