Privacy and social networks
Welcome stranger, let me start by saying this blog is just meant to be a space to share my thoughts and because I find it therapeutic, don’t expect the next best novel 🙂
Now, let’s get right to it: I had always known that big tech companies such as Facebook or Google don’t let you have free accounts out of the goodness of their CEO’s hearts, I also knew that their revenue comes mostly from ads, targeted ads. So far so good, what’s the problem? It doesn’t stop there.
I will not go through all the references and details but let’s just say that most people have an idea of what is going on by now (or at least that’s what I hope). After the Snowden and Cambridge Analytica scandals I started to dig a bit more into privacy and that is when shit really hit the fan…. trackers, cookies, ads, sensitive data breaches and mass profiling are terms that popped up very often. Let’s just say that at this point I was wary but didn’t take any measures.
It wasn’t until recently (2 weeks ago) that I decided to take some steps to protect my data, easy things like replacing Whatsapp by Signal, using OsmAnd instead of Google maps while trying to use Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) as much as I could.
When I was searching for privacy oriented FOSS alternatives for the apps and services I normally use I came across the term Federated Social Networks, and the term Fediverse, that describes all the social networks that work in this way, I got interested.
Turns out it gets even better:
1. No ads
2. Anyone can host their own instance and still interact with other instances
3. Instances can be dedicated to your topics of interest and (in my experience so far) the people that host them are not in it for money, they just want to create a community in which they can meet other like-minded people
4. There is a set of rules to follow and moderators
5. As someone used to YouTube like interactions on the internet I was surprised to see that everyone is very polite (at least on my instance)
6. Did I mention no ads?
It was until I was thinking of removing the Twitter and Facebook apps that I found a problem: while I can uninstall Twitter because I don’t use it that much, or Instagram because I mostly do it to have a nice gallery of my favorite pictures, Facebook is mostly how my friends organize events so I ended up deciding to keep the app while limiting the usage to just events and messaging if there is no other alternative, a necessary evil.
I think I’m going to eventually replace all my social networks for Fediverse alternatives…
Twitter -> Mastodon
Facebook -> Diaspora, Friendica
Instagram -> Pixelfed
More on Fediverse Party